2015-02-26 Hello, Hello
From Transformers: Lost and Found
|Participants||Arbiter, Chromedome, Rodimus, Slugfest, Starshine, Tailgate|
|Plot||Check Your Map|
|Summary||First visit: not as planned.|
This is definitely an inhabited planet. Although from orbit it becomes clear there are only three or four dense population centers that appear to be technologically advanced enough to interface with the galactic milieu, there are life signs of a densely rich biosphere all over the planet. There are short sharp flurries of radio transmissions that Soundwave and Blaster have both been able to intercept and report back as mostly full of the kinds of subspace junk and really weird tinkly music. So, okay. Mostly it shows signs of being a farflung backwater. There is little electricity and indeed little refined metal outside of those few cities.
The planet's atmosphere would be all wrong for Earth air breathers, but luckily we don't have any of those aboard. The sunlight is pale, that of a small white star, and it has left the sky with a faintly greenish hue.
"Would you call that green or gold?" Rodimus asks Chromedome with his eyes turned up at the sky. (Dangerous question.)
They stroll out of an entirely unremarkable landing craft that does not look like their captain's head. There's a time and a place for the Rodpod, and this is not the time, nor the place. They are on orders for best behavior, which means no picking on each other, and no shooting organics, yes, we're looking at you, /Decepticons/. In fact, no firing at all, unless fired upon, and you better be able to back that up.
So this will go swell. With Nautica's list in hand, they head into the largest of the four population centers to come say hello.
Chromedome looks up at the sky. "Gold," he says, like he has a golden filter on his eyeplate. Well, he kind of does. He's just behind Rodimus, like some kind of /shield/ against Decepticon. A pathetic one.
The central city is built of high towers that almost mimic the structures of the trees that cluster close to the dirt track. On the outskirts of the city, a kind of market springs up out of the high-bladed grass, with thatched stalls of woven grass heavily peopled by ... aliens. Well, here, the Lost Light are /actually/ the aliens.
They are organic people, leanly built, with long, flowing coats of hair all over their slimline bodies. Their coats are mostly shades of blue or purple. Some of their hair is tied in with ribboned braids in bright fabric colors. Otherwise there's no sign of clothing. The tallest of them is about five and a half feet, which means that the cassettes are closest to them in size, and the other Cybertronians seem like great metal giants walking up out of the world toward them. The commotion starts as they get closer, and seems to turn into a teeming swarm of blue and purple bodies running this way and that, chattering in what sound like a bright scatter of myriad languages.
Let's hope they like tiny metal stegos! Because one got brought along with!
As landing parties go, Tailgate's presence on this one comes at odds with itself; but as non-offensively large bots go, he is a better size than his larger companions. And yet, as they near the first city, he can't help but feel bad for how -tiny- the locals are.
"Uh oh." Is Tailgate's first observation, as the group approaches to-and-fro of the city. He tips his gaze up towards the others, shuffling to a halt. "Should we stop here? They look afraid." If you were them, you would be too. Let's be honest.
"Hold up," Rodimus orders when the organics start getting antsy. He considers a moment, then looks down at the others. "Tailgate," he singles out. "You were Primal Vanguard, right? Used to dealing with aliens? Maybe without shooting them." His grin is easy as he teases, looking back at the milling midgets. "You want to take the lead and go talk to them? You're closer to their height. We'll hang back a little, let you talk. Turn up the charm and keep in radio contact."
Chromedome turns his head to regard Tailgate. "We all have faith in you. Mighty warrior." He may be playing along. He may not know! Either way, he's flexing his fingers and scanting glances as the hairy things. His talents would be wasted here.
Arbiter lumbers along behind, only slightly, because he's /really/ trying to keep up. At the sound of hanging back, it's possible his weary servos are grateful. "Yeah. We'll wait, and, uh, probably hurry after you if things get dicey."
Starshine has been following behind the others quietly lost in thought as they move. Glancing around now and then at the sights. Interesting is a good word, and she does like interesting. She listens to the chatter, tilting her head a bit back and forth. No, no..nothing she needs to add for now.
Oh. How sudden, Rodimus. Tailgate glances off of the captain as he speaks, looking off into the distance at the city in response. "I usually try not to shoot them." He lifts a hand to his faceplate, looking to the others and quickly considering. "I will see what I can do, but this is the last chance to give me backup. It -is- a new place."
The tiny stego tucks little feet under body and watches Tailgate go and further diplomatic relations. Maybe the loafed stego will look less threatening?
There aren't really gates to the city as such -- there is a market crawling with scurrying furry people, and it grows thicker with stalls and items for sale and sleek blue bodies up until the point where the first buildings start. More activity comes from the city, as blue people swarm up out of hatches around the roofs of the buildings, bearing the first signs of technology in bandoliers and heavy weapons -- well, heavy for /them/; the guns are galactic technology, some energy weapons, though their prehensile tails curl around what look like machetes. Against Cybertronians, they'd probably be better off with ... not machetes. It's hard to say if ribbons braided into flowing fur can look like a uniform, but each of the armed blues is wearing scarlet ribbons, a color that does not appear in any of the scurrying bazaar denizens /not/ lining the roofs of buildings.
A fuzzy whose long hair shimmers with ribbons in both scarlet and gold slinks forward, carrying a longer-bladed, curved sword in its tail, but there are no signs of other weapons on its person as it moves forward toward the giant metal strangers.
"Oh, no. Don't worry. We'll be right behind you." Rodimus ushers Tailgate forward with a hand to his shoulders and then follows after. "Aw, look! Weapons! Everyone look charming. /Try/, anyway, Arbiter. Tailgate? Make diplomatic."
Tailgate turns to face the city ahead, rocking on his heels once before he steps forward. This is probably a TERRIBLE IDEA-- but he's supposed to be someone with relevant experience here. He'll make it work! Nothing can go wrong. When he sees the single local with its scarlet and gold, and the sword in its tail, Rodimus is there to nudge him onward. Stop enabling, Captain. "I'm on it. You can count on me."
Tailgate steps forward after the initial touch, and he finds himself assuming a gentler posture than the nervous one he is tempted for. His hands lift in what he hopes is a peaceable greeting; showing no weapons, so one hopes that hands offered openly are not an insult. Please don't be.
His attention turning to the approaching fuzzy, Arbiter folds his arms across his chest, one shiny, one really not. He makes a throat clearing noise, which sounds not unlike an engine backfiring. "You got it. No Promises, though."
Starshine watches the fuzzy things, "Look charming?" She ponders that for a moment, "I don't know about charming...I think I can do faraway longing, or young innocence..I think innocence is the best choice." As she puts an innocent smile on her face.
Slugfest looks at the lone brave native of the planet and wags his thagomizer politely.
The lilac-furred creature watches him with huge dark eyes, pointed ears swept forward. It chatters at him rapidly in a series of languages. It talks so fast it's almost possible to miss when it hits on a common galactic trade language that one needn't have spent special points in languages to understand. "Xxxx xxx xxx? Yyy yyy yy? Bbz bbz bzz? Who owns you?"
"Young innocence, huh?" Rodimus glances over at Starshine with a somewhat crooked sort of smile. "Yeah, I don't think I can pull that one off, but keep it up," he encourages. He keeps a watchful eye on the weaponed ranks leaning out of the hatches on their buildings. He leaves the diplomacy in Tailgate's more than capable hands. "Hey, do those guns look familiar to you? Looks like they definitely trade, at least, so they can't be /that/ far in the middle of nowhere."
Tailgate visibly tilts his head in a mime of misunderstanding when he can't understand each attempt at communication, and when the sentient finally alights on one he can understand, he holds up a hand to make a gesture to his own vocal point. He isn't certain what the local means by 'owns you', but he thinks he recognizes the desire to find authority. "Hello!" A very nice precursor, very polite. "My captain is there, at the front. I've been sent to greet you on our behalf."
"I wonder if 'owns you' is a phrase for faction loyalty," Chromedome muses, sottoes. Just to participate.
The small fuzzy person tilts its head to one side, flicking an overlarge ear. It looks up, and then further up, as it follows the gesture. "Only ashata caste may touch metal," it says. "Please stay away from the eneti." Its tail flicks, sending a gleaming slice of pale light off the blade of the sword behind it. "Your captain is metal," it says, words slowing now as it considers this new information. "You are ... free metal? You speak for ... yourselves?"
Arbiter stands by, mildly amused.
It is possible that some of the energy weapons could be familiar if anyone has been shopping for energy weapons in the past century or so. Or. You know. None of them are super fancy new awesome, or if they are, it's hard to tell at range. They seem to take a lot of hard use.
Rodimus looks as Captainy as can be, all flame-painted and bold as he stands ... behind Tailgate. Yeah, okay. Super bold. Glancing down at the person Tailgate is talking to, he slowly says, "Are we being condescended to by fleshlings?" (That is not a very Autobot thing to say, Rodimus.)
Now, 'caste' is a familiar word, at least conceptually. Tailgate listens intently, gaze moving to the shift of light across the metal of its sword. So it must be one of the caste it mentioned? Maybe the red ribbons? Soldiers. He considers his answer carefully. "Yes. That is correct." Tailgate offers to the sentient, glancing up and back towards Rodimus. It's not nice to shush your commanding officer, but once in a while there is always that Incredible Desire to do just that.
"Free metal," repeats the fuzzy person. It considers Tailgate for a moment, and then says, "We take you!" and turns with startling speed to dart back toward the line of roofs. It drops to all fours as it moves, tail flagging in the air with sword lifted and pointed toward the white sun.
It's probable that most forms of fleshy conquest over machines do not begin quite this way. The purple soldiers begin leaping from the roofs, streaming out between stalls they may be intending to use as cover. There are dozens of throaty humming sounds, some from the energy weapons heating up, others from the throats of the soldiers mimicking the sounds of the guns.
"No kidding? Are we going to have to fight them?" Chromedome sounds nonplussed. He pays most particular attention to the energy weapons. "Should we just step on them now?" Resigned.
Slugfest starts running around in circles. "No are free! No take us part!"
Welp. Tailgate harbors a mild internal panic when he looks after the quick escape of his diplomat career. "Let me be perfectly clear that this was not my fault, there is a -caste system- and -metal rights- and--" Things. He is turning on one heel to rejoin the others properly, as the hum of energy weapons begins heating up. He might also be using the bigger bots for cover, a bit. "Maybe we should try a different city?"
Rodimus reaches forward and yoinks Tailgate back by his collar, dragging him behind a firing line formed of larger, more heavily armed Cybertronians. "No one's taking anyone, buddy. Put your weapons down or I'm going to get mad."
The gold-and-red-ribboned fuzzy who seems to be the leader has circled back around to take command of what appears to be a growing number of blue people. It actually leaps up to perch on the shoulders of one of the red-ribboned soldiers, taking up an energy weapon from the soldier's hand to point it at the metal giants on its doorstep. Its tail arcs above its head. "Take the metal!" it calls out.
Several of the advance soldiers who scurried forth behind cover peek out with the bright muzzles of their weapons hot to let loose a volley of short bursts at the Cybertronian delegation. Maybe they don't realize how tiny they are. There /are/ an awful lot of them, though.
Chromedome steps up into the forming cover line, drawing his gun. It is just a gun. It's pretty huge in comparison to the enemy combatants. "Orders?" he asks Rodimus, his voice all level.
"Them no like us! Them think us scrap!" Slugfest says, stomping a little foot.
"Oh, come ON. This isn't even a fair contest!" Rodimus need not draw a gun, because his guns are right there, striped along his arms in parallel silvered pipes against the red. "I didn't come here for a slaughter. Fall back." He steps back and fires a warning shot into the dirt ahead of the advancing line. "We're a lot better armed than you are, you know!"
Tailgate doesn't mind being manhandled into the rear line of bots; he doesn't have something like energy cannons or a large chassis of heavy armor. It's easier this way. "Wow, there are so many." Tailgate remarks, his sole visual being of the crowd of soldiers and the short bursts heading their way. At these, Tailgate is half-covering his head. He's more than willing to fall back, of course; he does try to stay amidst the others, just to avoid any errant sharpshooting.
After that first warning shot, the humming continues, but for a long moment the firing has stopped. The humming is interrupted with chattering, voices quiet and rattling together in an unfamiliar language that seems to contain a lot of clicks between voiced syllables.
"We need that metal," the leader says. "It is masterless. Take it!" It fires its weapon from atop the shoulders of the soldier on which it stands.
With this command, another round of fire is let fly.
Chromedome withdraws on command, but as much cautious ground as he can back-tread over (without treading on, say, Tailgate), it's hardly enough to be back to the ship before the second volley starts. As soon as the leader commands, he tosses off a snapped warning shot in turn. This isn't going to work.
"Damn right we're /masterless/!" Rodimus rude gestures at the leader, but it probably lesses some of its impact between one thing and another. As a second round of shots answer their first warnings, he calls a grudging, "Get back to the ship. I'm not going to run them all over because they are /incredibly stupid/."
As they withdraw, the rain of energy fire spits on a series of short, sharp bursts. Hot energy harshly into Chromedome's armor. Rodimus takes fire enough to scorch and damage his some of his paint but it's less serious than what cracks past him and sears into Tailgate in retreat.
Each warning shot wakes new hesitation into blue people, so that despite the commands of their leader, pursuit is slow to get started, and seems unlikely to continue past what cover is available in amongst the stalls.
It's not nice to get stepped on, not nice to step on someone. Generally. Tailgate starts to say something as they move for the ship, only to be interrupted by a sharp contact of a blast to his fleeing side, which sends him tipping forward into the ground with a shout. This is going well, don't you think.
Chromedome staggers, the barrel of his gun dipping. His side is scorched, the gouge in his armor drips. This puts him perilously close to treading on the poor fallen Tailgate. His head particularly.
Rodimus scoops Tailgate up in retreat with an absent grab to hold him sheltered against his side. "Chromedome, grab the Con," he calls, continuing to step back toward the ship. He leaves his arm leveled at the aliens, but holds his fire as pursuit trickles off. "I'll let Ratchet know to prep the medibay. We'll ... try again later."
Slugfest is too small or too adorable a target to get seriously hurt by the energy fire while they retreat.
Did I just get shot in the tailpipe? Tailgate doesn't voice his concerns, even as Rodimus hoists him up against his side. Try again? Later? Because this went so well. In the meantime he just tries not to fall out of Rod's grasp.
Chromedome steeps his shoulders and reaches down to snatch Slugfest against his side. Without so much as a 'pardon me.' He's trying to continue backwards at the same time.
It also turns out that Cybertronians in full retreat can get away from small furry blue people who are dithering too much for hot pursuit. They leave behind the armed blue aliens en masse.
As they beat it back to their transport vessel, Chromedome is the first to spy a stealthy dark blue-violet fuzzy with bright yellow ribbons hugging the shadows near the ship, cleverly lying in wait to possibly try to stow away on board. Though its attempt to hide isn't bad, everyone manages to at least see a glimpse of something not-right in the shadows.
Slugfest fleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees, pelting little feet.
As they get to the ship, Rodimus is paying more attention to getting Tailgate set down on his own feet again than he is paying attention to mysterious somethings in the shadows. He casts a glance back at the settlement, obviously disgruntled. "What was /their/ problem."
Chromedome loses his grip on the patter-darting Slugfest and in the next distracted second catches the fuzzy in the dark. He points a finger toward the shadows. "Hey. Careful."
Amidst the bustle and rush to get back to the ship and away from their new 'friends', Tailgate sees the world sideways for a few long moments, still under Rod's arm. He does see the vague shape, but that might be a rock? "Thanks," As he is set up on his feet again, his attention is pulled back and focused on standing straight, favoring one leg and checking the state of himself with one palm, tentative. Chromedome's notice doesn't go unheeded, and Tailgate looks up to follow the gesture.
The violet fuzzy seems to realize it has been noticed, from the frozen way it stares back out toward them, pointed ears swept forward, dark eyes huge (oh shit). Hunkered down on all fours, it looks a lot like a prey animal. The yellow ribbons are the only sign of civilization it bears; its tail arcs over its head, not unlike those of the others, but it holds nothing, no weapon or tool.
Taking a moment to remember which language it was that they seemed to understand, Rodimus considers the wayward fuzzy. He leans down to offer his hand. "Want a ride?" Let's add kidnapping to the day's adventures.
Chromedome skips his glance from the fuzzy to Rodimus. His eyeplate widens upward. It's like lifted eyebrows. "Suppose it looks harmless enough," he mutters.
Slugfest reaches the ship! And peers at the fuzzy!
The violet one stands abruptly. It's a little like watching a meerkat suddenly elevate itself. It tilts its head, flicking one ear back, and then opens its mouth wide, showing a neat row of flat pearly teeth. It says: "Yes!" And, possibly casting aside who knows how long's worth of caste tradition (?), the yellow-ribboned fuzzy reaches up with both of its hands to wrap its grip around Rodimus's metal digits.
Rodimus scoots his other hand beneath the violet fuzzy to lift it and bring it into the ship. "Come on, then. We need to head back for medical care. Chromedome, you're sciencey. Stable enough to make sure we've got stable atmosphere for it?" He deposits the fuzzy a little further inside -- out of the way, but at a good angle to see and be seen. No hiding. "What's your name, anyway?"
Tailgate isn't familiar enough with this civilization by far, but his experience back there was enough to tell him that the little creature is definitely breaking rules. He balances his weight carefully, looking from one bot to another. "Will the ship be safe for it?"
Slugfest creeps up to the fuzzy and noses at it gently.
"I don't know that I'm that kind of sciencey. I don't do organics." Chromedome squints at the fuzzy anyway. "But it's just a scratch. I'm stable enough. We'll do a comparison between the ship atmosphere and outside atmosphere. See what we can tweak." He treads off to do just that. He doesn't even hold his side too much.
Once Rodimus has put it down, little violet looks around the transport where it has been deposited with huge and fascinated eyes, its feet planted wide, its tail lifted for balance. "I am Cui," it says. "Cui-ete," and it clicks a few times, tongue to teeth, which might be part of its name, or might not. It greets Slugfest by returning the poke of nose with the poke of fuzzy tail, investigating the little stego. Poke poke!
As far as the atmosphere goes, well. Let's say that if it isn't an exact match, it's possible to adjust enough to-- negate most potential issues. For ... reasons.
Slugfest allows the lil fuzzy to tailpoke. It kind of tickles! "Hee!"
Slugfest tries to puzzle out the name of the critter. He cocks his head sideways. "So are named....Cutey?"
Good enough for /reasons/. That'll do. "Eh, it's still science," Rodimus says, dismissing Chromedome's area of expertise.
Making sure that Cui will be safe for transport delays their return to the ship, but soon enough they are launching skyward, plus-one and with a lot of questions that'll need answering.