2018-11-17 Snow Day

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Snow Day
Date 2018/11/17
Location Chaktu
Participants Minimus Ambus, Hound, Adagio, Prowl, Hunker
NPCs Decepticon Commanders, Newsparks
Scene GM Tez
Summary They came for a fight. What they got was a...hug?

As the attacks continue on the colonies, the Lost Light actually manages to become a serious thorn in Megatron's side. The Decepticons just can't find a colony where the Lost Light response teams aren't already -- somehow -- already there. This advantage is almost exclusively on the basis of Prowl's analysis of the battlefield, the ships and the enemy commanders. Predicting where they will next strike isn't a game, exactly, but if it was, he would be very, very good at it.

The next colony on the list is a cold one. It's a snowball hell, but Roughshod promises them it's quite nice, actually, inside, and takes a little extra time to make sure they are fully supplied. He probably slips Hunker a few extra treats and extracts promises to be careful. No promises from Prowl. In fact, it's weird, but they barely seem to interact.

So Hunker has all of the information on the colony, Prowl has all of the information on everything else, and with the Decepticons expected to attack at any moment, the Lost Lighters find themselves buried and waiting under the snowy surface of the planet all around the colony. The snow falls gently over them, blanketing them and giving additional cover. There's a burn of light in the sky on the horizon: Decepticon ships incoming.

Adagio's size makes him something of a furnace, should the others feel the need to huddle. In happier circumstances he'd find the snow nostalgic, a reminder of Velocitron Mu, for better or worse. Instead he just tries to quell his fear, reminding himself he's here to help and he can't well do that if he's too frightened to act. This is for Roughshod's sake.

"That's them, isn't it?" he whispers. "What's-what's our next move...?"

Roughshod being Roughshod, the extraction of promises from Hunker was a very aggressive affair, and as Hunker stowed away his extra treats, he made sure to say, gently, patiently, over and over again, that he would be alright. He was more worried about the colony, don't worry about him, he'll be fine.

It feels odd, being here without Roughshod, knowing as much as he does about his boyfriend's home colony. As they await Decepticon forces in a situation very familiar to Hunker - aka being buried alive - he mulls fantasies over in his mind of what he and Roughshod could be doing if they had come here to visit instead of to protect. Mostly these fantasies revolve around warm energon and toasty fires.

When the light of ships appears, Hunker tenses, attention trained on their approach while he waits for Prowl's orders. Not that he expects to move much, really; he's much better left in one spot.

The nice thing-- if it could be called nice-- about not being a boxy car is that Hound no longer has to rely on just holograms to lie in wait here. That doesn't mean it's comfortable for Hound to lie in alt mode, belly-down against the snow with more dusting over the top of him. He looks disgruntled and distinctly loaf-ish, though the only part of him that moves is an occasional twitch of his audial panels, flicking away an accumulation of snow.

He doesn't start moving when the ship comes into view, but he does tense a little, his optics tracking it through the sky. "I don't guess one of you could just shoot that thing out of the sky, huh?" Hound says quietly, with a slight tilt of his helm.

Prowl has nothing good to say about this weather-throttled mudball. There's two things motivating him lately, one being his success streak. The type of thrill he sought during the war, when Orion or Kup weren't getting the way. He looks between the furnace, the box and the dog loaf. "...Fire on them the moment they start to file out."

The cold seems to be baffling the Decepticon sensors, because they fly past, then circle and come back, and go around a few times before they seem to realize that the colony life really is down there, it's just buried under the cold. It's time that the Lost Lighters are left sitting and waiting in the snow, which piles higher and higher around them.

Then: two ships land, Scout-class. This isn't a major force. They weren't expecting a large colony. They also weren't expecting any resistance. Both ships open at roughly the same time, and Newbuilt Decepticons amble down the ramps taking instruction from the more experienced Decepticons leading the force.

<FS3> Prowl rolls Recon: Success. (5 6 5 1 8 6 3 1 3)

"Yes, sir..." Adagio steadies his hands as best he can and pulls out the rocket launcher he has balanced on his shoulder. He'd much rather be running and helping others run, but maybe if they can cut the force off-scare them off, yes Adagio, that's absolutely what's going to happen here-there may not be as much need for running. He tells himself that as he follows Prowl's orders and fires a rocket. He can't tell newbuilds from others...

<FS3> Adagio rolls Firearms: Success. (8)

For someone who isn't very good with guns, Adagio does an amazing job setting up that rocket and firing it at the Decepticons. It's a dead strike on the ship's engine, and explodes in a brilliant flowering of fire. Shrapnel rains hot across the landscape, and the Decepticon troops -- protected from the fire by the bulk of the ship -- are sent scattering into the snow.

Some -- the more combat-minded, the experienced troops -- instantly find shelter or cover from the direction the rocket was fired, but the majority of the forces are left ... diving into the snow. It's not much in the way of cover.

A light dusting of snow has crowned the tops of Maximus Ambus, his towering rocket launchers and turrets. He stands as an enormous blue wall for the Decepticons to besiege, guns primed and ready but not firing.

He also has volume, which he cranks to the maximum and projects across the snowfield. Even as the first rockets launch, and the shrapnel rains, and the first fire becomes inevitable, he projects in a very booming, very loud Magnusian voice:

"Decepticons. Many of you are facing your first combat. Some of you are not. If you surrender, you will not be harmed. If you stand down and do not attack, you will not be harmed. If you help us evacuate the civilians, I will personally vouch for you to the Fleet and you may return with us."

Prowl gave an order. Hunker, in some loose application of the term, is a newspark himself - a mech who hasn't yet reached his first millenia. And so he doesn't have the experience Prowl does in recognizing the 'formers coming out of the Decepticon ships as being very, very newsparks. MTOs never did have a helpful sign attached to them that said they'd just been built.

So in the moment when Adagio fires, Hunker pushes himself into position, a slightly hunched figure with the barrel of his cannon pointed at the Decepticon ships. Whatever happens with Adagio's rocket in the GM pose I was too slow to beat, it's accompanied by the firing of his cannon.

All while Maximus is trying to talk the enemy down. Oops.

<FS3> Minimus_Ambus rolls Command: Amazing Success. (1 7 8 7 6 2 6 5 5 7 2 4 8 4 7)

<FS3> Hunker rolls Firearms: Great Success. (1 5 2 7 1 6 7 1 4 2 8 3 7 6)

Hound's audial panels pin back as he watches the Decepticons file off their ship. His hackles don't rise, not yet, but he transforms and pulls out his own gun. He's no sharpshooter, but it's better than charging in with tooth and fang to get himself exploded by the rocket that Adagio is so reluctantly carrying. "That's-- yes, they're scattered," he says, audials perking up as Minimus-- Maximus-- booms out his ultimatum. "Hold fire," he calls at Hunker and Adagio, even as he keeps his optics on the 'cons-- especially the ones that dove for cover. The moment one of them shoots, he's going to be shooting back.

The second ship goes up much in the same manner as the first, right as a few of the troops were starting to turn back and think about retreat in the face of a wall of giant Magnus. It's worth noting that those thinking retreat are the ones who had found cover -- the ones who know well enough what comes of Ultra Magnus, much less a giant Ultra Magnus.

Their retreat now cut off, there's a moment's fierce exchange across comms as the words impact just as powerfully as rockets and cannons. It's too far for anyone but Hound to hear: for him, the words carry over ice and straight to his carefully tuned audials. He can hear them trying to reinstall order, and is aware of just how fiercely some of those Newbuilds are resiting the orders of their commanders. THIS ISN'T WHAT THEY SIGNED UP FOR, WHAT THE HELL.

Prowl scrambles to sort out a plan that involves sparing the newbuilds as Adagio and Hunker blast into the scout team, as ordered. As Hound and Minimus take over managing, Prowl draws pretty pictures in the packed snow. They grow more and more frantic until he just kicks the snow in frustration. "We can't attack yet," he growls. "At least they're... cornered now."

<FS3> Adagio rolls Fanboy: Good Success. (5 8 4 5 2 3 8)

"F-first combat?!" Adagio whispers to the others, lowering his rocket launcher in following Hound's order. Thank goodness. He looks up at the impressive and SO VERY COOL image of Maximus Ambus, using all that size to offer compassion, and does his best to maybe add some support. He stumbles up to his feet from his crouching position and...well, it's not quite as commanding. The clasped hands aren't really associated with that sort of thing. But...

"Yes, um, you don't need to fight like this. In the snow! It's safe with us, and-...and you won't have to destroy someone's home?"

First combat. Hunker slowly straightens, his visor paling. This is the first time he's been on the other side of it; the first time he was the veteran soldier compared to the enemy. He's used to being the one who hasn't seen anything but the inside of a dark hole.

"Do we got enough room in the ship for 'em?" Hunker quietly asks Prowl. Because they're going to be taking all of those newbuilds home, if he can help it.

<FS3> Adagio rolls Gentle Giant: Great Success. (2 8 7 3 8 6 6 1 8 6)

There's something about Adagio that calms, a gentler opening than the firm Maximus Ambus address: there's protection there, on the other side of the blue Maximus wall, but it's Adagio that makes it clear that it's protection that could be offered to them, rather than simply being arrayed against them.

The first Newbuild bolts for the Lost Lighters, throwing down their weapon and running. One of the more experienced Decepticon commanders rises with a snarl from cover to turn their gun on them and fire, attempting to stem a flood.

"Protect them," comes the booming Ambus order, the best possible order, as he centers one of his elbow guns -- does he have elbow guns? of course he does -- on the commander to fire.

"They're losing discipline," Hound says, leaning forward eagerly. "I can hear them arguing. Those first shots must really have made an impression." A grin spreads across his faceplates, there and gone as he watches for a particular hillock of cover by the scattered remains of the scouting ship. "Watch out, they might make a break for it." And Hound is already shifting as though in anticipation of giving chase. "Or they might try something drastic--there they go!" He snarls in irritation of his own and fires back toward the commander poking out of cover.

<FS3> Minimus_Ambus rolls Firearms: Good Success. (8 2 8 4 5 7 6 6 6 2 4 3 5 4)

<FS3> Hound rolls Firearms: Good Success. (8 6 2 7 7 4 2)

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Heroes=6 Vs Villains=3 < Heroes: Good Success (2 8 7 1 4 3) Villains: Failure (6 4 1) < Net Result: Heroes wins - Solid Victory

Prowl finds that he doesn't really need a complicated plan for this, as his crack team is doing pretty damn well right now. He doesn't fire, simply watching the line, waiting for more newbuilds to bolt. "Keep that up, Adagio."

Ambus and Hound land their shoots before the Decepticon commander can even think about firing, and the first of the Newbuilds makes it safely to the cover that Adagio provides. That first break cracks the seal, and seeing their commander turn on the one fleeing sends the rest of them flooding after. There are only three or four old school Decepticons who are trying to keep order, and they fall into a sudden panic, not sure who they should be firing on. Their own? Each other? The Autobots? THEMSELVES? This was supposed to be easy.

Adagio holds his hands out for the newcomers, more symbolic than anything else as there are too many coming over for even him to hold onto. "We won't force you to fight if you don't want to," he continues, a little more confident now. "We won't force you to die for your commanders! We have a-a nice fleet, and you can experience things you wouldn't otherwise. Like enercake! And tea! And transcendential meditation! And you can do something that feels right in your spark!" He's so glad he's able to make an impression without singing for once.

Hunker can only watch in awe as the seal breaks and the newbuilds come running to their side. As they reach the lines, Hunker helps those closest to him through the snow to Adagio and Magnus' side. His Decepticon badge - slightly off center, as he's removed it and restuck it several times now - hopefully provides them the same message as his words: "C'mon, you're alright, we ain't gonna hurt you. You're safe, you're alright."

Minimus Ambus is a stalwart counterpoint to the gentleness and warmth from Adagio and Hunker. He glances aside and down towards the others, his bright eyes widening slightly as he looks to Hound. Then he looks back and reiterates, because his offer wasn't just for the adorable babies: "Decepticons, you have my word that if you surrender you will not be harmed."

There's a confusion of breaking Genericons in front of them, and Hound takes the chance to lower his gun and shift back to his beat mode. No need to shoot when his fire might find the wrong target in the confusion and destroy all of the hard work that Minimus and Adagio have put into creating the mutiny in the first place. Instead he darts out onto the field, swinging wide to come at the panicking Decepticon leadership, intent on hemming them in before they decide to flee in their panic.

Prowl wishes he could take credit for signing on the most compassionate of the Lost Lighters! They volunteered themselves. He smugly stands there anyway, folding his arms, backed by his giant boyfriend.

<FS3> Minimus_Ambus rolls Law: Great Success. (8 6 1 3 8 6 7 2 8 1 5 1 2)

The reputation that Minimus has forged is stronger even than his ununtrium-coated frame, and it's firm enough that the Decepticons -- rather than turning on the Newbuilds and then each other in a panic -- lower their guns. Reluctantly, slowly, but surely, and the threat on the field is defeated. They are out of initiative, you might say, although the scout ships still smolder, one engine on each out of order. The commander on the field throws down his weapon and walks toward the Lost Lighters with hands raised, and behind him come the last of the Decepticons, with all Newbuilds safely rehoused on the other side.

It turns out, they were right: that was easy. Just ... not for them.

Prowl pins down the commander. Not physically, of course. "Hang on. You'll have our protection, but we need to know what you know. Everything."

Adagio carefully positions his big body protectively in front of the crowd of Newbuilds, as best he can at least, even if he's letting Prowl do the harsh talking while he smiles gently at some of the BABY ROBOTS.

<FS3> Prowl rolls Coercion+5: Good Success. (1 6 3 2 2 1 8 4 7 1 3 6 4 1 4 8)

Prowl on his own? Maybe not super intimidating. Prowl backed by gentle and non-gentle giants, intimidating Decepticons, and an galaxy-ancient old Autobot warrior of legend? (That's you, Hound.) Intimidating! He squeezes every last drop out of the commander as the others help the Newbuilds shake off the nerves of their first combat.

Hound, following the Commander with teeth slightly bared, darts a look at Adagio and Hunker, optics dim with concern. << "Careful with them," >> he comms in their direction. << "They gave up in battle, but that doesn't mean they don't still believe in their Cause, or at least whatever lies Megatron's given them about us. We're still going to have to watch them. Don't let being kind distract you from that." >>

Hunker stills in helping a newbuild out of a deep snow drift when he receives Hound's message. His free hand rises, resting on his badge. <<"Understood,">> he responds. And then he smiles at the newbuild, steadies them on their feet.

Prowl has run out of kindness at this point. He didn't have much of it to begin with, and now he's brooding over what's to come. Time to grill this poor 'con commander on his choices. "Is this really what you signed up for? Getting newbuilds slaughtered?"

Prowl casually leans back against Ambus' giant leg.

<<"Oh, right, right! I mean, yes sir!">> You can tell which of the two big friends has military experience and which stumbled about during a Velocitronian uprising Doing His Best. Adagio tilts his head down at the Newsparks and clears his throat. "S-so, um. What do you all like"

It's a fair warning from Hound: the Newbuilds seem to be expecting blood slaughter. Even in the face of the kindness and the offer of protection, they treat the Lost Lighters like they are half a step from going nuclear on them. The continuing gentleness, even from Hunker as he steadies one on their feet, unnerves and unsettles them. "Aren't you going to like -- strip us for parts or something?" the one Hunker helps rise asks. "Just leave enough to keep me online. You can take my legs if you leave hers alone," she says, nodding to one of the others.

"What do you mean, what do we do?" the one indicated asks Adagio in confusion. She, as well as many of the others, remains jumpy. The Decepticon commander -- battlefield promotion, the Decepticon way -- turns his head away from Prowl. "You weren't supposed to be here. This was going to ease them in to fighting."

The weight of Maximus Ambus's arms is mighty across his chest. "Has it ever occurred to you," he rumbles in a low booming thrum from over Prowl's head, "that this could have been a whole generation of Cybertronians that never needed to fight?"

The commander slices a glare back at Ambus: "You're the ones who are resisting! It's your fault they even have to!"

From behind him, there's the slightest hint of a growl from Hound. Nothing more than that. Just a little growling. Not scary at all, right?

"You're shepherding neutrals to titan colonies where they're going to be blown up," Prowl hisses.

"What?" The question catches Hunker off guard, his shoulder guns twitching. "No, we ain't gonna do that, even if we needed the parts. Is that what he told you..?" Again, he touches his badge, fingers curling as if he might pull it off right there.

<FS3> Hound rolls Temper: Failure. (2 6 6 1 3)

"We're not even attacking the titan colonies, you idiot," the commander hisses right back at Prowl.

"I mean, um-no! No one is stripping anyone for parts!" A horrified Adagio holds his hands up and shakes his head. "I promise! Who told you that?" This clearly is just hurting his spark! There are faint sparks forming in the corners of his optics.

He shakes it out. "I mean, do you have hobbies? Does he let you read and listen to music? Have you ever seen a race?"

He then shuts the FRAG up at Hound's terrifying growl.

"That's -- that's what you do, isn't it?" Shaking snow off her frame, the Newbuild sort of covers her arms in a quick check to make sure Hunker didn't grab any in her distraction.

The other newbuild comes up behind her, a little quieter as she looks back at Adagio. "What? Yeah, of course we do. Megatron's been very supportive of my art career, actually." Before sending them out to slaughter colonists.

"Words, I find, are fascinating in their specificity. We're 'resisting'. 'Resist'. What does the word 'resist' mean to you?" Maximus Ambus finds it difficult to look down at the Decepticon from here because his own bulk is in the way, so he has to look off into the middle distance, pontificating. "Peace isn't something you 'resist'."

Minimus laying down the law earlier was pretty great. Talking about words is less great. Prowl rubs his face. "I think we're done here. To the shuttles, we've done enough convincing. Hound, calm down."

Adagio chooses to...quietly move so Hound is maybe not as visible to the Newsparks, since he is Kinda Mad and Scary Right Now. No offense, Hound. "You do art? Hunker does art too! He makes sculptures. You gotta show them later, okay, Hunker?" Sorry, he's adopted you, you're friends now.

"No, it ain't." Hunker carefully folds his hands in front of him, shoulders curling. "We don't strip anyone of parts. That's what--that's what Megatron does. That's what I'm built of." Took a long time for him to find that out, but he knows it. "Autobots, stripped for parts. That's what I am--" He stops at Adagio's words, and Prowl's order, glancing between the two. "Uh," he says. "Yeah. I do art. I can show you on the way back, if you like?"

There's a lot that needs clarifying on the way back: what does resist really mean, and aren't the Autobots and Lost Light really the aggressors here since they won't just lie down and accept Megatron's rule, and also, if Hunker's made of parts, doesn't that literally mean that is what they do, and what does he mean, no, that happened when he was under Megatron's command?

There's also probably some argument about art. Turns out, one of the Newbuilds is a real critic.

It's going to be an enlightening flight back.

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