2015-04-14 Papers Please

From Transformers: Lost and Found

Papers Please
Date 2015/04/14
Location Constancy - Outpost 113
Participants Chromedome, Chromia, Grimlock, Moonlight, Rodimus, Tailgate, Ultra Magnus
Plot Papers Please
Scene GM Sao, Roz
Summary The Lost Light crew lands. Nothing goes as expected.

One day, they will get to take the Rodpod. ONE DAY. Sadly, today is not that day. Today, the Rodpod is left securely aboard the Lost Light while Rodimus and a team of -- something -- board up on the Leading Light. Someone piloty is surely piloting. The planet below them is mostly interesting for the large outpost, which includes cheerful things like information banks and a death row, just to remind you to behave yourselves. But right now, it's the space in between the Lost Light and Constancy that this team is concerned with.

Rodimus stands between the pilot -- Windjammer, it's totally Windjammer -- and the crew, handpicked at his request for ... reasons. He has some really /great/ reasons, too. He just hasn't explained any of them. "So, if you haven't run into the Galactic Council, you're lucky and I'm jealous, but for those of you who have, they've got this completely unreasonable and totally unwarranted mechaphobia, so try not to shoot at anything that doesn't shoot first." This may be why Whirl is on the ship and not /here/.

Chromedome spreads his hands. He's here for some reason, despite his /exquisite/ skills being pretty useless on non-mechs. "I can restrain myself. Captain."

Moonlight has probably /heard/ of the place, if not visited herself. Although she was not the leader of her crew, she was still a Cybertronian running around space selling things. Staying out of the way of the Council just plain made sense. Oddly she finds it more comforting to run across them with a team of others of her kind, rather than a single other member of her race, and a somewhat reclusive one at that. She listens to the Captain, politely, and nods her head. "Yeah. Kinda makes me wonder what we /did/ to them in the past. We generally tried to avoid them," she admits. "Not sure what was more annoying, having our stuff checked out by them or the space pirates. At lesat you don't have to look like you LIKE the space pirates," she points out. "As for shooting, well, that's generally my LAST response, so I'm sure I'm good." Maybe not being trigger happy is a good enough reason for both her /and/ Chromedome to be here.

"Well, that was a lengthy sentence that didn't prepare us," Chromia mutters to herself. Well, mostly to herself. Somewhat to herself. She isn't meaning for anyone to overhear but if they do... She lumps herself in that 'fortunate' category since she never has met anyone or anything from this Council before. Spark it, most of the folks on the Lost Light are new to her and more than she ever expected to meet in her lifetime. Still, she is here and Chromia did promise to pull her weight as part of the crew so... like jury duty, she's here to serve when called upon. "So," she calls from the back (she's tall), "This should stay here?" She holds up her ax since that's what she seeks clarification on.

As Moonlight comments, well, that's a great time for Mia to add perspective! "It's not hard to see *why* they hate you. Cybertron's history is... brutal. It's not hard to imagine why others would want to avoid it." Like, say, whole colonies.

"I think I'm safe. I don't usually shoot at people." Tailgate replies from nearby Chromedome, glancing up at the taller bot. Right? Totally safe. He hums a moment, considering. "From what I read about it, the war did affect a lot of places. I can understand how they're nervous, I think." He has a slight benefit, like the Camiens, of not being on the front lines of said war.

Ultra Magnus, who is also present because how could he let Rodimus go down to meet members of the Galactic Council without him, also has words of warning. They are more stern and also more detailed than Rodimus's, and include a full history of the reasons behind the Council's dislike of Cybertronians. (Hint: their war kind of ruined a bunch of planets and killed a bunch of non-Cybertronians.) It would sound funnier if Sao were here.

It -- and all the other conversations, most like -- are rudely interrupted by Windjammer suddenly yelping at a passing ship leaving the planet and swerving in out of nowhere. (Can both of those things be true at once?) The second ship knocks right into the side of the Leading Light, leaving both ships spinning as Windjammer tries to regain control of everything. The jerks in the other ship don't even wait around to see if they're okay; from the looks of it, as soon as their pilot gets things back under hand, they're /outta here/.

"What? No, bring it," Rodimus says, giving Chromia a slightly startled blink and then a puzzled look. Why would you ever leave weapons behind. "Just don't throw it at anyone unless they are throwing things at you first." There's a lot implied in the fact that he takes for granted weaponry, and also that it needs to be /said/ that they aren't here to /pick/ fights. It's something that the neutrals among them might find as cause to side-eye each other and knowingly nod. "It's the Decepticons fault, really," he says, sure that no Cons are present to call him out that on. Ultra Magnus is probably more helpful. He's about to go on again and fill their ears with Autobot propaganda when they are sideswiped. Thrown against the side of the ship, he heads to go nag Windjammer: "What just happened?'

Chromedome glances over his shoulder at Tailgate, just glances. And then he's sent flying, his shoulder-wheel bump-squealing against the floor. "We've been attacked?" he asks of the nearest piece of upended furniture.

Moonlight holds up a hand. "I'm not native," she says to Chromia. "And while I'm far from perfect, I'm pretty sure that the prejudice was there before I was even alive, so I couldn't have been the cause of it, even if I was a lot worse of a person than I am." She shrugs.

The sudden jerk of the ship, however, she is less complacent about. Muttering a couple less than polite phrases, she waits to hear an answer to Rodimus' question as she uprights herself.

Chromia is quick to stow her weapon away, after meeting Rodimus' puzzled look with one of her own. There's a lot of difference in fighting something at a distance with blasters than engaging it directly. she then glances around to take stock of the others and... quickly realizes why she was brought along. "Got it." Her head turns to Moonlight and she... blinks. "None of us are perfect and I am hardly expecting anyone to be. Though, it would be nice if it happened. Just.... I get it, why 'they' would have mistrust. Anger. Hesitation. All of the abo-...!" And then they're hit!

Calm under pressure, Chromia reaches for bot closest - Moonlight? If she's okay then she goes on instinct and moves to the bot that needs the most protection! So, she asks Tailgate, "Alright?"

Tailgate shrugs at the look from Chromedome, stumbling backwards when the ship rocks on impact. Maybe not under attack-- was that like getting shoulder-checked? He skids most of the length of the floor, ending near Chromia at the back when she inquires to him. "I'm fine! Oof. What was that?"

They're not under attack. The other ship is wobbling and then zipping its way in the opposite direction as Constancy, so unless their goal was to scrape the Leading Light's paint, there's little evidence that it was anything more than reckless driving. Windjammer's able to assess that the ship appears to be okay -- mostly just bumped and scraped -- and he resets their course to bring them all the way down to the outpost for a much smoother landing than the ride was. Welcome.

Chromedome scrambles himself back standing. He resituates a few things that have fallen over. This is how he proves his worth.

Moonlight is okay, though she's /very/ quick to make sure her hat is still on her head. People aren't panicking yet, so it's not time to let loose with the fancy stuff yet. She gives Chromia a nod to show she's fine. Noticing that Tailgate has slid back towards them, she offers him a hand up with a grin. "Well, that was /fun/," she says. Does she mean it? No, not really. "But if that's the worst that happens, then we're lucky." It doesn't take her long to settle back into place cheerfully.

"What was that they hit us with?" Rodimus asks as Windjammer brings them down. He has his hand resting over his hood, like he hit the ship a little harder than expected. He glances back to make sure no one died in the bump or anything, but lingers up front with a, "You guys okay?" called back and a, "Any damage to the ship?" turned forward.

Chromia finds it hard to not mother hen over Tailgate but... Moonlight is there to offer the little bot a hand up. "If there's danger once we land, don't get out of reach," she cautions him. Why is she so compelled to be worried about somebot she doesn't know? Maybe it's the eyes. She lapses into silence for the rest of the journey but once the Leading Light lands it's impossible for her to fight the urge to move to the door to be the first through it. Training and instinct dictate to her if there's to be an ambush then she should be the one to take the brunt of it.

Tailgate uses the hand up, of course, never to deter manners. "I'll stick close, I promise." His reassuring words to Chromia come with a small laugh, as well.

"Uh, the other ship, Captain," Windjammer replies to Rodimus, not entirely without dryness. "No sign of -- you know, weapons. Damage seems to just be minor structural in nature; bumps and bruises." And then the shuttle's on the ground, and the door's opening up, and it's a brand new world out there.

Muttering about inefficient lanes of directed traffic, Ultra Magnus closes his mouth over this exasperation as he follows up on the damage report. Following up on his warnings, he says: "Just because someone in residence appears not to have followed good protocol as far as /best behavior/ does not absolve us of any responsibilities. Was anyone injured?"

The outpost would tower more impressively before them if they were smaller in and of themselves, but still it is a gleaming pinnacle of civilized life out here in this corner of otherwise remote space: the kind of facility, maybe, that no one actually wants in their back yard, but that still needs must exist. As the Leading Light sets down and its doors drop open to permit the Cybertronian passengers to disembark, however, several high speed hovervehicles are flitting close. One of them has a spotlight that spins to life, angling across the door of the Leading Light in a bright flare of light. Another spotlight wakes in light of the first as a second escort wheels into place on a high-pitched trill of engine.

"I can demote you, you know," Rodimus threatens -- just kidding, haha! -- in really mature fashion as tease answers tease. "I know they hit us with the ship. That's not what I meant." He has a faintly puzzled frown as he goes to join the others. "You guys are all fine? No one got rattled or hit or zapped or anything?"

Once that's been (re)confirmed, Rodimus pushes forward to lead his way off the ship, because of course he does. Flames first, team. His answer to paired spotlights is to pose. "Nice. A welcoming party! Is this the kind with flower necklaces, because I have to admit, I hate getting the pollen off my finish."

"I'm okay," Chromedome terses, and he's following Rodimus off the ship to meet yet /another/ welcoming party and what are the chances that this one's hostile, too. He tries to look neutral. This is easy. Neutral expressions are what Chromedomes do best.

"Only in our dignities perhaps," is Moonlight's answer to the question of injuries. At least, that's as far as she has observed; she's no medic. Stepping out with the others, she's quick to take in the surroundings, comparing it to everything else she's seen on the variety of worlds she's been on. Bouncing around space does have its advantages. She even has the presence of mind to NOT face-palm at Hot Rod's posing and comments about pollen. Of course, in other circumstances, she might have been equally cheeky, but this is the GC we're talking about here. She's not a fan of their kind, just as much as they are not a fan of her kind. Still, her mind is flickering through cultural greetings. Like Chromedome, she tries to appear neutral until spoken to.

"Not zapped." Tailgate joins the disembarking mechs as the first few make their way outside. "Remember what happened the last time you made me do the talking." He chirps in a whisper at Rodimus' back, as if subtly telling him to absorb at least -some- responsible habits. Surely that will work.

A tinny voice emits from the blaring speakers of the first of the spotlight vehicles. "Cybertronian party, you are directed to stand down in accordance with Council directive 141, subsection B, paragraph 4. If you resist, we will be required under subsection B to use force."

Ultra Magnus looks flabbergasted, in so far as such an expression is possible for him; it registers largely as a deep frown and a straightening, just behind Rodimus and to his right, to his full height, boots planting to a wide breadth. "Are you citing the correct authority?" he demands. "That paragraph is limited to the aiding and abetment of escapees from custody. Surely you mean to ask us to provide papers under section 771."

Chromia takes up her place somewhere near the front, since the others have pushed past her to get out. Rodimus' desire to become a target makes every system within her want to scream. "Isn't there a universal greeting we're supposed to use in situations like this?"

Chromia tenses as they are addressed. She looks away from all of the crew to see if she can spot something else or not, in a panic.

"Good, Magnus. Keep talking law things," Rodimus hisses over his shoulder. He doesn't stop posing, either. He angles his smile back toward the lights, /just so/. Who could POSSIBLY feel threatened by that smile.

Chromedome's eyeplate widens, but he's not a specialist in legality. He trained at the Institute, for crying out loud. He also surveys the landscape and the things on it. To play at being useful.

Moonlight lets herself smile just the faintest bit as Ultra Magnus speaks the 'language' of the aliens that are confronting them. While she knows a little bit about interstellar dealings, she certainly hasn't memorized code numbers and citation paragraphs. Since he's taking charge of communications, she stays quiet. Glancing over at Rodimus, she supresses a sigh. Yes, the mech is charming, and disarming even, but the Council are usually types that want a whole lot of respect shown them, and that smile just doesn't come across as respectful.

Tailgate assumes a vague position of confidence, adjusting the set of his shoulders until Magnus is talking, and they sink a bit in response to the apparent confusion. "Escapees?" Tailgate looks pointedly at the newer additions to the crew. Ladies.

There is a brief silence as the vehicles begin to circle, a third floating in towards them from the distance. It is possible that the Galactic Council authority here was not expecting to be nitpicked.

"Yes, we used the correct authority. Section 171 applies unquestionably to these circumstances. You must come with us to be subject to witness identification procedures." A third spotlight wakes from the third vehicle to center directly on Magnus's frown.

Ultra Magnus states in a low, rumbling voice, "This is clearly a misunderstanding. As the Duly Appointed Enforcer of the Tyrest Accord," well, that was inevitable, "if there were any fugitives from justice in our party, they would be remanded to /my/ custody by diplomatic requirement."

"Your authority is conditionally recognized, Duly Appointed Enforcer of the Tyrest Accord," whirrs the new arrival in, if that's even possible, a /tinnier/ voice. "If this statement is correct, our witness identification procedure will clear each of you of all suspicion and you will be not be detained." As it speaks, the first two buzz closer to the group and small but vicious galactic weapons are brought to bear, emerging from their trunks to aim at the Cybertronians.

"Notice any cameras?" That is a whisper Chromia makes to Chromedome. Out of all of the bots here, he seems the most... sensible? Maybe he'll pick up on what she means, because Chromia is worried at the apparent lack of non-partial presence here. If they are about to be framed and there is no photographic evidence... that sure would be convenient. Aloud, she shares a grin as she suggests, "Can't hurt to take a look then, can it?" They don't seem to have much of a choice in the matter.

It's true Moonlight escaped, but not from the Council. Space Pirates were at the root of her close call, so she doesn't think this has to do with her. As for the others, well, she hasn't met enough of them yet to say. Shrugging, she just stands around passively, waiting for instructions, but listening carefully to all that is said. She's been around the organics long enough to know that it's foolish to underestimate them because they're small and relatively fragile.

Rodimus glances back at Moonlight -- or, more likely, her /hat/ -- with intense suspicion. If anyone is an escapee criminal in their bunch, it is /obviously/ her. OBVIOUSLY. He relaxes out of his stance into a hip-slung slouch that screams 'boredom' as law meets law. Then the weapons come out. "Hey, hold on a second." He straightens sharply, suddenly alert "What kind of /identification procedure/ involves guns. I'm going to take offense to that pretty soon."

"Not my specialty, exactly," Chromedome sottos to Chromia. It is super sotto. "I'm seeing cameras. Doesn't mean they're recording." His hands are light-twitching by his sides with the advent of weapons.

Tailgate narrows his gaze a little, not at anyone in particular. "I'm okay with getting checked. I don't have anything to hide..." This is, in fact, a bold lie that reads as honest. He firmly plants his feet when the guns rear into sight, however.

Ultra Magnus glances at Rodimus and explains in an aside that sounds almost like a growl, "They are arresting us for aiding fugitives from justice. It is ridiculous, but if we resist arrest, they will have cause to hold us." He clears his throat and states with an increase in volume for the benefit of any recorders that may or may not be recording, "I will lodge a formal complaint for wrongful prosecution under Section 8. I formally request an immediate hearing on behalf of myself and my companions. This request is expedited by diplomatic necessity under section ... 770." He had to think about it for a detectable second. Don't tell anyone.

Striding forward ahead of the others, he says, "I require escort immediately and will await hearing," to the third one shining a spotlight in his face, and then transforms meangingly into his massive alt mode and revs his engine.

What happens next is that Ultra Magnus appears to be getting escorted off. It's not clear visually which of them is under arrest.

More flitters are starting to appraoch, probably in response to a silent call for back up from the initial armed escort rolling their spotlights over the /rather large/ group of /rather large/ (well, mostly rather large) Cybertronians.

"Pointing weapons at me sure makes me feel like resisting, Magnus," Rodimus hisses back at his second-in-command. Then -- more law things? And Ultra Magnus getting arrested? "Hey!" Rodimus leaps forward, which definitely is going to make those watchers happy, to scramble after him. "What are you doing? Where are you taking him?"

"Anyone else alarmed that our best chance of getting out of this just rolled away?" Chromia can't believe she is doing this... but she looks to Rodimus for answers. Do they roll out too or...? "He's coming back for us, right?"

"He's good at this. Might intimidate them into being reasonable," Chromedome tries to optimist. It's hard. He's not an optimist. Comes out sounding kind of gloomy.

"I am going to clear this up," Ultra Magnus says firmly and clearly as he progresses forwards across some distinctly bumpy, shocky ground (there's a reason these arresting biologicals are all flitting around in flying things, maybe). "And then I am going to inform this outpost what happens when the Duly Appointed Enforcer of the Tyrest Accord is subjected to completely unreasonable impediment in the pursuit of his duties." After a moment, he brakes, and his escort zooms back around to shine his spotlight on him again.

"Your formal complaint will be noted for the record but your request for an expedited immediate hearing--" buzzes the tinny officer.

Ultra Magnus ignores this, telling Rodimus, "I have to advise you that if you blow them up, this will be more difficult."

--"/Threats of violence/ to arresting officers are a separately chargeable offense--"

"Under Galactic Council revised code section 143, yes," Ultra Magnus says, "but that was clearly not an actionable threat under any sane reading of the law. I was noting actionable threats of violence when your grandsire was an egg," and then he starts up again. It's possible that he's going to argue with the flitter pilot all the way to the magistrate.

Several other flitters have arrived and are now flashing spotlights across the Cybertronians as they circle.

Damn! Moonlight should have studied into this stuff more. Since she doesn't know the full ins and outs of how this crew operates, she's looking around to see what everyone else is doing. If waiting is the name of the game, she'll wait. If they follow, she'll follow. Kinda simple really.

Rodimus doesn't look very /happy/ about this, but he does step back into place with a last shout after Ultra Magnus: "And find out who shot our ship!"

As he rejoins the others, he reassures the new kids, "Ultra Magnus is basically the biggest thing in law in the galaxy. We'll be fine. /As soon as they put those guns away/," Rodimus pointedly growls in the directions of the Council goons.

Tailgate lowers his head further into his collar, between questioning if they should shift, and figuring out how deadly this could get. "Would it help if we went into alt modes? Maybe they feel like we'll try to pull something, standing here like this?"

"If you agree to come along peacefully no weapons will be required," says the tinny voice of the first floater, focusing the flash of its spotlight across Rodimus's flamey chest. In response to this suggestion, several of the floaters retract their weapons and hover in place, watching. "If, as your ... companion claims, you are not the fugitives we are looking for, there will be no reason to detain you further."

Moonlight holds up her hands, smiling. Mentally she decides she'll need to have a chat with the dear Captain after this is settled. For now, she just says to the aliens, "Alright. Where do you want me to go?" she asks easily. It's not like the crew has any particular attachment to her. Nor does she have any responsibilities like Chromia.

"The fact that you don't know what the fugitives you are looking for look like bothers me. The fact that you think if we were these fugitives that we would return bothers me. The fact that you think if we were these fugitives that we'd just stand here and banter with you bothers me." Chromia maybe is understanding why Cybertronians slaughtered these things. Prima! She then steps forward, hands up (because that feels appropriate). "So, let's get this over with. Lead the way." She'll be the first to surrender herself then... well, first after Ultra Magnus. And Moonlight.

Chromedome glances at Rodimus. He keeps his voice easy. "Sure, we'll come along. Clearly this will sort itself out quickly."

Rodimus doesn't put his hands up. He keeps his hands fisted at his side. "Just how long is this witness identification procedure expected to take, anyway?" He sounds mulish and disrespectful: exactly the kind of thing to ensure a swift and peaceful resolution of any problems. He glances in the direction of Ultra Magnus's departure like he's /still/ thinking about racing off after him.

There is a brief silence. As each of the volunteers who agree to come along do so, one of the flitters detatches itself from the circling mass to start escorting them across the distance between the landing site and the visible platforms and buildings of Outpost 113.

A second flitter comes around to bring its spotlight to bear on Rodimus, and a lower voice from its grill states: "You will be escorted to the containment platform where the witness to the escape is being held. The witness will be asked to confirm or deny your status. If the witness corroborates your story, you will be released. Galactic law does not permit detainment without identification for longer than a reasonable time. We are not required by galactic statute to answer any further questions. If you resist arrest, we are required to use force. If you continue to delay, we will interpret this as resisting arrest."

Tailgate prefers not to resist arrest and get himself blown up. He has way too much to do! He follows boldly after Chromia when she lifts her hands passively and presents to be escorted; the minibot does much the same, save for a glance back to Rodimus when it starts feeling like he is considering those further delays. -Captain-.

"Define /reasonable time/." What do you mean, continue to delay. Rodimus is just clarifying. Aggressively. When basically everyone else on the team has already surrendered themselves ... he goes along with them. But don't think that makes him stop questioning things!!

By continuing to be the one to ask questions, Rodimus gets more attention from their escorts as they travel along, which means that as a happy side effect of his intransigence, he gets two spotlights circling him and glaring bright across his finish instead of just one as they traverse across the courtyard. "An objectively reasonable time," states the officer in its flitter without any sign of humor. These officers have even less sense of humor than Ultra Magnus, because their humorlessness is tempered only by flat and probably biologically bigoted dislike.

As they get closer to the outpost, it seems apparent by the deep ruts ground into some of the muckier parts of the ground beneath them that they are being led in a slightly different direction than the one Ultra Magnus was taken. There is a low arch that several of the larger bots will need to duck their heads to get through, although Tailgate won't have a problem, and then a high-ceilinged hallway with its own air supply humming recycled and occasionally buzzing with noise. There are cameras everywhere and many of them seem to be visibly active, following the Cybertronians by swiveling after them as they are escorted by.

Biological personnel take over for the flitters once they reach the 'containment platform' -- which is VERY large, and no one needs to duck; it's a little like an amphitheater marked off with forcefielding. The lights go on when they enter, from a point near where they are across a shielded metallic dome. Surrounded by individual containment fields in a space large but still too small for it is ... something, or someone ... large.

"This doesn't look like an ambush site at all," Chromedome mutter-sottos to /no one/.

"You've already passed my threshold for reasonable time, /objectively/ speaking," Rodimus sasses the local authorities. He looks ready to charge the exit. "And where's Ultra Magnus?"

Moonlight is SOOOOOO tempted to take off her hat if it will get Rodimus /moving/. But she holds off for now. She really hasn't been arrested, or almost arrested, very often. So, like many other things, she just absorbs the experience. It's just one more to add to the list. Blown up by space pirates? Check! Delayed by the Council for questioning? Check! Run into herself from another dimension? Not yet. But there's still time.

Of a size with Ultra Magnus, if not bigger, the witness is immediately recognizable as Cybertronian. He's also immediately recognizable to at least one person on the team, if not more, although he doesn't seem to show particular signs of recognizing /them/. His plating is mostly in greys and blacks, though his chestplate is a bright swathe of yellow-orange that matches the glow of his eyes. In his arms, he holds a pod. It's big enough to fit a person or even a Cybertronian of a certain size, although no one as big as its holder. Grimlock peers at them and, at first, says nothing.

Organics are strange. And the smell... it's impossible for Chromia to not make an ugly face. All of the data in the universe couldn't have properly prepared her for that. It's a new experience that she's not going to remember fondly, nor let Nautica forget. Her friend encouraged her to have adventures like this, to open her optics... but there was never any mention of expanding her olfactory experiences. When Chromedome mutters she has to grin. She knew there was a reason she liked him. "If it does go down that way, get behind me." They didn't confiscate her shield... or their weapons, she comes to realize. That panics her. Maybe they are meant to fight ba-... "You know that guy?" She thumbs to Grimlock as she turns to ask Tailgate.

A thin layer of invisible shielding shimmers into place across the entrance they just entered.

"Your friend the Enforcer is awaiting an expedited hearing in conference room 7," says one of the biologicals in a low, irritable voice, with a heavy weapon tilted not toward Rodimus but toward the ceiling. She has that look on her alien features that might appear on the face of any cop exposed to Rodimus but without sufficient time to build up an immunity. Who knows where conference room 7 is? Maybe she just made it up. There's a constant stream of data reflected in thin green galactic characters across her wrist. It could be the stock market.

One of the guards strolls up to the edge of the forcefield and prods it with a long-spoked stick that makes it spray sparks in a bright flare of light. He says: "Are these Cybertronians the friends you helped to escape?"

Tailgate follows without argument, tipping his head around to look over the hallway when they move into it; he skims the swiveling cameras, and the biological persons when they reach the containment area. "Why would we be ambushed here of all places?" 'No one' apparently means Tailgate, as he answers Chromedome at a low volume.

When they can get a good look at the cybertronian, Tailgate turns his head at Chromia to answer her, shaking it in a negative. Nope.

Rodimus punches the shielding almost on instinct as soon as it goes up. It's Pavlovian: shield, punch. He snarls a wordless, unhappy noise and then turns -- finally! -- to the witness. Surprise blanks his features and he then advances with the wide spread of his arms. "Grimlock!" he calls happily. "Tell these morons that whatever they're after, it isn't us." Maybe he shouldn't be acting so friendly considering what the guard /just asked Grimlock/.

Moonlight doesn't know Grimlock from Bob. Even so, the figure in containment is rather impressive. She takes stock of his features, wondering who he is and how he plays into this whole fiasco. So, if they /did/ get aided by this fellow, it was before she showed up. Then again, she's been with them for such a short time, that isn't surprising. What is a little more surprising is that Rodimus does know this guy. Great. Moonlight holds back a sigh.

Chromedome angles his head toward the shielding and Rodimus . . . punching it. To Tailgate, still low, he says, "No way out. Primarily." His attention shifts to Grimlock, uncertain, suspicious.

The forcefield buzzes a little against the impact when Rodimus punches it, but mostly this just feels funny on his hand; it refracts in a shifting shimmer of light, and then fades back to invisibility again.

"Mmm--" Words seem to come slowly and with great difficulty for Grimlock, who focuses on Rodimus in particular with great intent after the bot calls his name. "Mmme -- Grimlock," he agrees finally. "Me -- know you." From his expression, it's not quite clear if he knows /how/ he knows him, but -- well.

There's a sudden flurry of activity from the guards. Two of them move back to fade through the force shielding itself, which appears to have been specifically designed to except their biological butts. The guard with the stick at Grimlock's force shield asks another question: "Is your identification equivocal or unequivocal?" as if there is any chance Grimlock even has a clue what that means.

"Hey, let the record show that he's only pointed out knowing ONE of us. *This guy*," Chromia notes. Loudly. As she points at Rodimus. a lot.

Rodimus's expression melts into confusion as he rubs his hand. "Yeah, Grimlock, you know me. But what's with the--." He breaks off and gestures, as if to encompass the 'me', then looks more closely at the pod in Grimlock's arms. "And what's with /that/?" He's not even paying attention to legal words, but he /does/ stop to give Chromia a wounded look. "What? Wait, are you selling me out? You're totally selling me out!" That sounds like something an innocent person would say, right? Look at him. He's laughing. It's funny. He doesn't mean it.

In an attempt to be supportive, Chromedome points at Grimlock. "Look, a fellow like that gets around, clearly. It doesn't mean much if he recognizes Rodimus."

Tailgate glances up at Chromia when she speaks, and to Rodimus when he reacts. Well, she's not -wrong-. He looks to the biologicals, lifting a finger as he points something out. "Maybe you should just ask him yes or no questions instead?"

Grimlock's gaze slowly turns to the guard and spends a moment refocusing as he tries to parse the question. "Me -- know him," he says. Is that an answer? What do your words mean?

The guard looks toward Tailgate, and then Rodimus, and then back at Grimlock, standing there hesitatingly with his grip on the stick. He says, "Did you help him escape?"

Chromia looks down to Tailgate because, well, she doesn't answer Rodimus. Maybe she is? Or maybe she's cleverly seeking to divert attention should they need to. Then again, maybe she is willing to sell out her captain if it means getting back to Windblade. "I think that is the point. That they aren't interested in what answers he has to give, just the ones they *want* him to." Because this is feeling more like a setup by the moment. Hey! Since the guards listened to Tailgate maybe they will listen to her! "You know, we do have a bot here that specializes in memories." She claps a hand on Chromedome's shoulder. She did read the file on him properly, right?

"Grimlock, you okay?" Rodimus steps closer. The laughter fades from his voice. The guard's question causes him to quickly review all the times that could've qualified over the long war as Grimlock helping then-Hot Rod escape and he shoots Tailgate a dirty look. "/Bright idea/. Look, whatever this is about, it definitely wasn't us," he tells the guard. His expression lights as he looks at Chromia: "Hey! Yeah! You guys can admit evidence derived from mnemosurgery, right?" Criminals can totally provide their own unbiased evidence.

"Yes," Grimlock decide with sudden emphasis. "Escape." Escape is great! He hugs that pod.

Chromedome is /designed/ to be a touch tricky to read, but his wheeled shoulder raises tense under Chromia's hand and he stares at Grimlock with clear apprehension, eyeplate uncomfortably narrowed. He doesn't say anything. The guard can -- prompt him. If it's admissable.

The guard makes a note against his wrist and then glances around the Cybertronians warily. He says, "That will be up to the magistrate." Then he books it for another door in the far wall, where he vanishes through another ripple of shielding. Because he definitely doesn't want to be in a room with a bunch of cranky Cybertronians who they've just trapped in a room.

Well, whoever this Grimlock is, he doesn't seem terribly bright. Either that, or his systems have been badly damaged. Perhaps a bit of both. "Well, I've never seen this fellow before," she says easily. "And I'm still not sure where this supposed escape was from," she adds. "There's obviously some story here, and I have been left out of it largely." She shrugs her shoulders, trying to remember tales of the Galactic Council and whether or not they are truly interested in law, or just the appearance of law. "What I do know is that this mech doesn't seem to be in full use of his senses. That has to account for something, doesn't it?" She lowers her voice a trifle and leans towards Rodimus. "Unless he's usually like this?"

What!? Tailgate looks momentarily hurt at the dirty look. What did I do? Rodimus! He runs a hand over his faceplate. It moves onto his forehead when Grimlock -dooms everyone-. "I have to admit, I'm not appreciating this turn of events."

Rodimus points at Tailgate all 'I'm watching you, and you are in trouble for this' and then gives Moonlight a quick shake of his head. "No, he's not." he steps forward, closing the distance between himself and Grimlock. He reaches to put his hand on Grimlock's side and says again, "Grimlock, are you okay? You remember me, right? What've you got there?" Without looking back, he asks Chromedome, "Could this thing be affecting his processor?"

Chromia takes her hand back. She didn't mean to make Chromedome uncomfortable. ";Sorry. It was just for emphasis." Honest. Once they are left alone, Chromia lets the others move to Grimlock. Her? She moves to the perimeter to look for ways out.

"No, no, it's fine," Chromedome is all distractedly reassuring to Chromia, and then he's approaching Rodimus and Grimlock. "Depends on what it is. If we can get it away from him, easy to test, right?"

Tailgate holds his hands out to the sides. That's not fair! Don't point me out! He is completely innocent. He doesn't move anywhere for the moment, only glancing after Chromia and her perimeter check.

Grimlock looks down at the pod in his arms, as if he'd briefly forgotten he was holding something. "Important," he says. "Me Grimlock -- have to watch. Important package." There's a brief tensing of his joints at Rodimus's pat, but whatever in him that recognizes the bright red bot doesn't let him chomp his head off.

The shielded room is the wide circle of a domed amphitheater. There are two visible exits, both of which are force shielded. There are a couple of vents inset into the walls through which recycled air is pumped into the room. There is a small terminal with some recording devices attached to it.

"I'll help you watch it, Grimlock. If you remember me, you know I won't let anything bad happen to it," Rodimus coaxes. "Why don't you set it down and let us help you guard it?"

Chromia eyes those vents. She turns back and eyes Tailgate. She narrows her eyes, sizing up the littler bot. Will it fit?

Not quiiiiite.

Chromia narrows eyes further. Could it be made to fit?

Not without some serious intuition and a lot of elbow grease.

Grimlock rumbles with a dinosaur growl, whether or not part of his brain remembers Rodimus. (Let's be honest: growls are not unwarranted if he /does/ remember Rodimus.) "Me Grimlock watch," he insists.

Tailgate looks back at Chromia by virtue of the fact he is already watching her. He bends his brow when she considers him, and then looks up at where she was looking. He looks back down to Chromia, and then to his wide shoulders. The small bot opens his hands in apology. Sorry, Chromie.

"Me Rodimus help," is totally rude to echo back at Grimlock, actually. Mocking speech impediments. What a jerk. "Put it down!"

Chromia returns to the group since the wall examination proved to be fruitless. If only someone's shoulders were more sensible, hrmmmm? Chromia does give Tailgate a little 'it's okay' smile, mostly because she likely shouldn't have thought of that anyway. She turns her attention to Grimlock and sizes the big bot up. "Hrm. How important to you is it," she asks, mostly to Rodimus, "That you get it away from him?" If he *really* wants it free, well, she is kind of subtly suggesting to go for the tackle.

Chromedome glances at Grimlock and glances down at his fingers before tucking both hands firm-clasped behind his back.

"Maybe we're going about this the wrong way," Moonlight says. Briefly she takes off her hat, holding it to her chest and making a slight bow towards Grimlock. "Hello, Grimlock. My name is Moonlight. I know I'm a stranger, but could you tell us where you were before they brought you in here?" she asks, politely. Respectfully even. Then she puts the hat back on her head. Hopefully no one will notice the side effects, it was off for such a short amount of time.

As soon as Rodimus starts raising his voice, Grimlock's reaction is distinct and visceral: his eyes narrow, his body seems to draw upwards and outwards, subtly broadening. "/No/," he says with a distinct note of danger in his low voice. His attention turns to Moonlight as she approaches. "Ship," he answers, which is true enough.

Rodimus gestures at Chromia, palm down, and laughs a little. "No. You haven't seen him fight," he says, turning away from Grimlock toward her with a shake of his head. His respect for Grimlock's ability to punch their lights out /and/ keep the pod in hand is pretty obvious, painted across his face. "No. Let's -- back off a little, let him settle down, and then try again. Maybe Magnus will come up with something. In the meantime--." Well, he gets close to talk over that walk she took, any possible exits she spotted, and whether or not they can chop Tailgate down to fit. (He's probably kidding.)

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