From Transformers: Lost and Found
|Location||Constancy - Outpost 113|
|Participants||Chromedome, Grimlock, Rodimus, Rumble, Slugfest, Tailgate, Ultra Magnus|
|Summary||Team Lost Light has had enough of this dump.|
Intermittently, power fluctuates through the walls of their massive cell. There is time for already thin patience to thin even further. At length, though, they receive their rations, delivered by a wary-looking guard pushing crates of fuel on a cart like a hoverboard. It might be better practice to deliver each ration to each prisoner individually, but instead he unloads his floating pallet and then moves to book it back out of the amphitheater again. The forcefield shimmers with fresh ripples in his wake and then settles.
Rodimus barely waits for the rightly-wary guard to vanish again before he claps his hands together and says, "Okay! Move it! Fuel up by the forcefield. Unless I'm mistaken, the more and the harder you guys hit it, the more it reacted, and they complained about the power, right? So we blow that up here, we go fire /there/, and one way or the other, we're getting out of here." Hope they aren't bugged. Then again, if they are, nothing like threats of violence from a race /infamous/ for it to hurry things along, right?
--oh, speaking of good impressions. Rodimus opens his comm to Ultra Magnus: << So you're not like on the verge of letting us out or anything, right? Because I'm about to blow our rations sky-high and get out of here. They're stalling. >>
Grimlock had perhaps forgotten about the impending energon between Rodimus asking for it and the stuff actually arriving, so his immediate reaction to Rodimus's orders is a slow blink. "Me Grimlock -- drink energon?" Or blow it up? Your words are very unclear, Rodimus.
Ultra Magnus's response is slower in coming than you might ordinarily expect from the Duly Appointed Enforcer of the Tyrest Accord in response to a blatant threat to explode from legal captivity. He tells Rodimus: << I am not. My hearing is in a temporary recess while the magistrate consults an independent legal advisor. >>
There is a brief pause.
Then Ultra Magnus comms an additional: << You realize that what you are charged with is aiding and abetting an escape from custody. >>
The words that are curiously absent from Ultra Magnus's latest communique: RODIMUS NO.
Chromedome holds his rations. He looks at Rodimus, he looks down at himself. He moves obediently toward the forcefield, keeping the bemusement on his face so /slight/ that it couldn't possibly qualify as apprehension.
<< Then I might as well be guilty of it, >> is Rodimus's answer to /that/. LOGIC. HE HAS IT.
"No. Just -- move it. Move it up over by the forcefield." Rodimus even demonstrates, leaning against against the crate. He's not doing a very good job of moving it, but that's why he has Grimlock. And others. That he can delegate to. LEADERSHIP.
Ultra Magnus apparently just doesn't have an answer for that. Somewhere out there beneath the Constancy sky, he is probably gently knocking his head against something.
It feels a little like they've become accidental pets, less than prisoners. "So we can't keep a little of it? What if we need it?" Tailgate might be a little peckish, in some way. Still, he is prepared to follow direction, in some way. He has been waiting near Grimlock and the pod since the last attempt, and now he is quick to give the dinobot a thumbs-up. "I'll watch the pod again, okay?" He is very reassuring.
Grimlock peers at Tailgate next for a moment, but seems mostly appeased by the minibot's reassurances. "Tiny bot watch," he confirms/instructs, before turning back to the rations. "Me Grimlock thirsty," he complains, even as he stomps over to drag it over towards the shield.
"What is it with you guys, you'd think you'd never skipped a day of rations in your life. It's not like we've exactly had a lot of chance to burn it off, here." Pausing just slightly, Rodimus glances between Tailgate and Grimlock to ask, "You guys really need it? You okay to get back to the ship if we have to, mmm, go fast?"
There's enough fuel for all of them to have some, but it doesn't look like it's been budgeted to keep them there for too long before either their release or another round of refreshments.
Chromedome raises his hands. "I'm good. Myself." This is what he does in lieu of being useful. Does he look like a guy who pushes stuff?
Jails have terrible food, p.s., so it's probably like the energon equivalent of cheap peanut butter and spongey white bread.
Rumble managed to grab some energon for himself. Now, he consumes a cube, glaring at Rodimus the entire time as if /he's/ the one completely responsible for the group's misfortune.
Grimlock looks at the energon somewhat forlornly, but seems capable of restraint. "Me Grimlock -- explode instead," he says. Sadly. Half-sadly.
"I'm fine! Really." Says sad Tailgate. He may have been getting spoiled on the Light, after so long with nothing at all. He settles in with the pod. Tiny bot watch.
"Good." Rodimus waits until they've gotten all of the energon settled tucked up against the forcefield. "Right, get back." He doesn't even bother returning Rumble's glare with more than a brief sneer. Looking back at the energon, he grins, and says, "Check this out," in the words of drunk fratboy viners everywhere. He waits until everyone has cleared to the other side of their little containment zone, and then spills out a small trail of fuel, lights it, and flees to join the others. He's cackling. Like a, uhm, leader.
Chromedome has sensibly fled already. He watches Rodimus's progress with growing concern. "Are we sure about this?" he sottos toward Tailgate.
"Nope." Tailgate plugs his audio receptors.
Tiny flames ripple and dance over the spatter of fuel. There's a moment's hush, marked by the hissing crackle of flames eating towards the main mass of piled fuel crates. There's time enough for Chromedome to make that one undervoiced aside.
There's just enough time to take a deep breath, if any of you need to breathe, as the flames begin to melt through filmy plastic containment. It's a beat.
And then they all light in a series of explosive detonations that hurtle brilliant heat, deafening noise and melting, burning plastic in every direction.
At first the forcefield seems to absorb all of the force of the explosion directed into it in a shifting, blazing roil of color and light.
Then all the power goes out.
Rumble's optics illuminate in the darkness. "Well, THAT sucked," he grouses.
If the power's out, so's the forcefield! "Lights on!" Rodimus calls, following his own advice for once. "And let's go! Grimlock, Tailgate, you guys make sure the whatever stays safe. Rumble, with me in case we run into trouble and need to collapse things. The rest of you -- keep up." No offense, Chromedome and other et ceteras. "Try not to kill anything." At least he finds a use for one of them, saying, "Get in touch with the pilot and keep us pointed in the right direction, okay?" And one last 'get in touch': << You should head back to the ship. >>
There are so many levels of thing that can't really be portrayed by radio silence, so Ultra Magnus has to at least say: << ... ... yes. >>
"Me Grimlock carry," the big bot tells Tailgate. "Tiny bot too small to carry." He hoists the pod up into his arms, which might be an issue if he has to fight anybody. We'll see.
Despite being (supposedly) completely unimpressed with Rodimus, Rumble actually goes along with him /without/ any further bitching and moaning, taking a seat on Rod's shoulder.
It's taking their erstwhile captors a lot longer to get the power going again this time. Whatever the kinetic absorption systems have blown through, it seems to have gone through some failsafes. There are sounds of distant scrambling and shouting although they are still indistinct. The lights are out in the broad hallway beyond the amphitheater, which means that on-board lights are required to see which way to go. The hallway runs straight until it hits a T intersection; one way heads onward, and the left passage seems to go directly towards an upward passage, while the right is just more hallway with (currently closed) doors spilling off it. It's notable that on the way in, nobody went down any stairs.
Chromedome takes off after Rodimus at a loose jog. Despite not being named specifically, he attempts to radio the pilot with your due, << Hello? We're on our way. Enroute. Do you hear me? Will need directions. >>
If Rodimus could :) by radio, he would. :) :) :)
Since they didn't go /down/ any stairs, onward is the direction to go. Hallway, doors. Rodimus leads BOLDLY and without hesitation, because better to move than to stop and ask for directions. No one down here is going to be nice about it. "Magnus will meet us back at the ship," he reports to the others, who would surely otherwise be distressed by the lose of big and blue. "Which /better/ be fine after whatever they /shot/ us with." He keeps insisting on this, for all that they were supposedly just bumped.
Tailgate looks back with a trace of daring. "You don't have to carry me, I can fit on your back. I can see better up there too!" Nobody is safe. Not even people he just met. Unless Grimlock protests, he's going to attach himself like a friendly guardian barnacle as they make off in escape.
Grimlock follows stompily, because he's kind of a stomper. It's not /emphatic/ stomping. He's just big, okay. He seems vaguely confused by Tailgate climbing on top of him, but once the minibot is settled he possibly forgets he's there.
A few lights in the distance, not powered lights but those with the active motion that suggest they might be carried by personnel, and ahead of them, there's a slowly closing set of horizontal metal doors that must, with the lack of power surrounding them, be sealing itself via manual override.
"We better get a move on if we're gonna make it through those doors, lookit, they're startin' to shut!" Rumble exclaims, pointing toward the doors from his current vantage seat on Rod's shoulder.
"Then we better beat them to it. Get ready to hold on." At which point Rodimus reaches for Rumble and throws him.
Don't get too excited: Rodimus doesn't have the strength to fastball special. It's just a little lob ahead, underhanded. Rodimus transforms at a dead run, falling quickly and easily into alt-mode. It's one of those 'front cover of the journal of all of his moves' kind of thing. It's super cool. (It's a flashy, stupid stunt.) But it /does/ leave him free to pelt down the hall with Rumble holding on for dear life as they hit the doors before they can close. It does, however, mean that they are a bit ahead of the others.
Grimlock hugs the pod a little tighter and starts stomping faster. He does not transform, because he has a pod and a Tailgate and actually his alt-mode is not necessarily that much faster. STOMP STOMP STOMP. "Me Grimlock no like closed doors!"
Chromedome feels duly inadequate radio prodding in the shadow of Rodimus's impressive toss-and-dart transformation sequence and oh my we are running low on time, aren't we? He stops playing with the radio, flexes his fingers, and slide-hustles into a far less flashy car just ahead of the tank-like whomp of Grimlock.
Rumble is lobbed forward as Rodimus transforms, then he manages to grab onto the side of the flashy Winnebago and <BAM>, they sail through the doors.
"...Okay, that was...that right there, that maybe ain't so bad," Rumble very, VERY begrudgingly admits. Inwardly, he thought that jackass stunt was actually...kind of /cool/. But nerds don't DO cool...do they??
Past the doors, there is a youngish-looking alien in full armor grinding the doors shut by hauling on a heavy lever. Two of the more officerial guards ride hoverboards with lights on their helmets, heavy weapons angled at the doors. When the Cybertronians hit the doors, both zoom backwards, firing a wide burst of energy weapon fire. The kid on the door scrambles backward, leaving it half-closed as he shouts panicky code words into a radio receiver.
Longer distance radio traffic seems impacted by some kind of interference, but in between spits of crackling junk data, Chromedome receives something that /seems/ like it's probably an acknowledgment. It's certainly Windjammer, anyways.
Just go with it. e vantage points. Sometimes even the not so bigger friends. Tailgate's alt mode isn't as fast as Rodimus, and Grimlock has an agruably paced stride. A bigger one. He barnacles flatter against Grimlock, eyes moving between the dino's pod shaped charge and the door that they barrel through. "I don't imagine there are many you can't open, though." It's a compliment! Tailgate ducks his head out of reflex when he hears the whirr of firing energy weapons.
Tailgate readily assumes that bigger friends are there to provide vantage points. Sometimes even the not so bigger friends. Tailgate's alt mode isn't as fast as Rodimus, and Grimlock has an agruably paced stride. A bigger one. He barnacles flatter against Grimlock, eyes moving between the dino's pod shaped charge and the door that they barrel through. "I don't imagine there are many you can't open, though." It's a compliment! Tailgate ducks his head out of reflex when he hears the whirr of firing energy weapons.
Grimlock hugs the pod protectively against himself, angling away at the sudden flash of energy fire. "No fire!" he yells angrily. "/Important/!" He reaches a hand to smash into the manual door controls. That'll teach you. No more doors for you.
"That was awesome," Rodimus gloats to Rumbles. He doesn't take too long to pat himself on the back -- but he does take a moment, sorry, that was great, he's so pleased with himself, REWIND BETTER HAVE BEEN TAPING -- before saying, "Get that door the rest of the way open, yeah?" Leaving Rumble to deal with the armored alien scrambling back and shouting, Rodimus turns his attention to the hoverboarding officers.
"I've been shooting things for like four /thousand/ times longer than you guys have been alive, so let's knock it off with that, huh?" Rodimus lifts his arms, with weapons hot. "Fire agani, and I'm taking out those boards. Fire after that, and we'll see what I pick off next."
Chromedome pauses a moment in the gap between door and wall, little flicker of hesitation paired with trying to situate where everyone is and whether this door's shutting all the way or not. But it ain't, so he crawls through, transforms into his regular self, and tries to angle toward "covering" the gap for any new new arrivals. He is not big or combatty enough for this to be an effective gesture.
Rumble leaps at the alien menacingly, landing in front of him. "Alright, lissen up. Drop that radio an' open up those doors, or I'm gonna pound you into a gelatinous meatcake!"
There's a creaking whine and then a crack as Grimlock wrenches the lever free of the controls, effectively keeping the door in its half-open, half-closed state.
The hoverboarders hold their fire for a moment, staring across the distance between them, and then both quit the field, zooming off down different hallways.
There's a terrible moment where the alien who no longer has a lever to pull is all by himself, standing inches from Rumble with a radio clutched anxiously in his hand.
He ... squeaks.
"That's what I thought." If Rodimus could twirl his guns, he would. But he can't. They are on his arms. They /are/ his arms. So he just puts his hands on his hips and turns back to make sure that everyone has cleared the doorway with a wide grin. "Okay! Good. And so far we haven't even had to murder anyone. Let's keep it up, then." He offers Rumble a hand back up with a, "Gelatinous meatcake, huh? Pass that on!" he tells the squeaker with the point of his finger. "We run into any trouble, it's all meatcakes." Optimus would be so disappointed in him.
"Meatcakes!" Grimlock agrees, now with a stick to brandish. Around his pod. Shut up he's super menacing.
The kid shouts something into his radio and then turns and runs. Of course, he's not going to outrun any of them on foot, except maybe Arbiter, but it's the thought that counts.
Tailgate puffs a light, nervous laugh from Grimlock's shoulder. "Don't you think that's just a little bit unfair for the-- meatcakes?" He tests the word with a note of pause.
Chromedome treads a bit closer to Rodimus to report, all subtle and soft-voiced, "I think I got Windjammer, but we're getting interference. Can't actually communicate much."
Rumble is somewhat pleased, even though he didn't get to actually pound on the alien. He got to be mean and threaten, and that's ace in his book. He climbs back up on Rod's shoulder. "Yep, meatcakes."
"We're not actually gonna smash anyone," Rodimus says in offhand reassurance. He gestures, continuing in the general direction of 'out' and 'to the ship'. "But as long as they think we are, we don't have to put that to the test." They get a few steps, and then he says, "Uh, maybe don't mention it to Ultra Magnus, though. He's not as -- flexible. In his thinking. If you get me."
"What unfair," Grimlock grumps back at Tailgate without bothering to look up or back at the little bot. "Made of meat."
There are distant humming, buzzing sounds that seem to get closer as they move down the hall. There's another heavy door ahead of them that seems to be the outer wall of the complex, and this has a folding garage style door that is currently closed. There continues to not be any power to any of the light fixtures or to the door here, but some of the buzzing and whining of machinery does seem to be coming from just past it.
Slugfest peers up at Rumble questioningly, thagomizer swishing. "Are meatbags nummy?"
Rumble is perched up on Rod's shoulder. "I dunno, you're the one who needs to eat everything...you find out," he tells Sluggy as he peers down the corridor. "Damn. We got a big door to take down."
Chromedome meets the giant door with a sigh. A /sigh/. Couldn't look more put-upon.
Phew. Tailgate feels much better, for all that Rodimus' reassurance is basic. "They're so much smaller than us." He informs Grimlock. "And they are only doing their jobs!" See? Unfair. "What's that sound from?"
As they approach the door, Rodimus tilts his head to take in the buzzing and whining and mutters something like, "I bet that's what hit us." He leans to set Rumble down and then glances back to Grimlock with a grin. Big door? Big bot! "Hey! Grimlock! You wanna get that open? The rest of you, move to the side and get ready to fire at whatever it is they've got on the other side. Take out the weapons and machinery, but try to avoid making any meatcakes."
Grimlock considers the door a moment. Then he sets his precious cargo carefully down and shakes Tailgate loose from his back. "Little bot guard," he tells him seriously. Then he straightens back up to his -- considerable height -- and gets a running start to ram right into that door.
The door is thinner than the surrounding wall and after that first solid wham it is all bent out of shape. Or into shape. That is, there is a seriously Grimlock-shaped dent in it. It is partway ripped off its track, so that daylight sneaks and creaks in through cracks between bent door and solid flooring.
Tailgate hops down from his perch and moves over to the side with Grimlock's precious. "Got it!" He puts his hands around the side of the pod and watches the dino versus door.
"Lemme hit it a few times!" Rumble offers, encouraged when he sees light peeking out from around the dented doorframe post-Grimlock impact.
"Go ahead. Have fun. And if you can get a look, even better," Rodimus indulgently allows.
Rumble gleefully leaps over to the door, transforming out his pylons and slamming the door with considerable enthusiasm. <WHAM-WHAM-WHAM-WHAM-WHAM-WHAM>
Chromedome has mostly stayed off to the side, but perhaps Rumble's enthusiasm inspires him. He sidles close enough to the door to gently rap on it thrice. Oh boy.
The door crumples under the fresh unslaught and soon there is an ever-widening gap shredded through it. As Rumble pounds his way through into the light, he is the first to get a real look at what's beyond:
It's an open garage with a number of the flitter vehicles that first escorted them. A number of them are parked, dormant, with no one in them. About five of them are active, though, floating in air with guns extended.
"Stand down!" orders a voice from inside one of them. "You are violating Galactic Council Code Section 141--"
Another one is already shouting about destruction of property, almost drowning the first one out.
Two more are circling out over what looks like fresh but deep ruts bitten into the mucky earth just ahead of them. This makes for a total of seven flitters in sight.
"You've violated the Lost Light 'Standards for Reasonable Imprisonment' guidelines part III subsection A line 362 so why don't you just /bill me/." Rodimus advances with weapons raised. "We're walking out of here, and you're letting us, because you've unlawfully detained us." He's making it up. He's making it aaaaaaaaaaaaall up.
"Meatcakes!" Grimlock agrees, glaring at them. He's picked the pod back up so they can continue their journey, but he still manages to look big and intimidating.
All the voices coming from their projectors stop and there's a moment's hovering hesitation wherein the flitters seem to be conferring with each other rather than directly acting. In this moment's hesitation, no one is shooting, or shouting.
Chromedome angles out. He tries to cut an imposing figure, but in Grimlock's wake, he looks almost like a toothpick with padded shoulders. Inadequacies abound.
Rumble smirks, putting his pylons away and grabbing both of his laser-rifles off his back. Then, things suddenly go quiet as the flitters confer with one another. He glances over toward the others restlessly.
Slugfest scampers beside Rumble, revving his chainsawplates for good measure.
If anyone thinks that Rodimus is waiting for an answer, think again: he doesn't stop walking. He strides forward fearlessly, secure in the RIGHTEOUSNESS of his JUSTICE.
Grimlock stomps after him. YEAH.
If Chromedome is a toothpick, Tailgate is a thimble. He marches out in the shadow of larger bots, gaze uncertain when their wardens confer. But no mind-- Rodimus decides for him! He is secure in Rodimus' security, and steps after Grimlock. Better get a head start if someone changes their mind, you know.
As they march forward at Rodimus's heels, the group of them approaches the tire ruts in the soft, squelchy ground. These two flitters angle their cockpits towards the Cybertronians as they approach and pace them silently for a few steps.
Then their guns retract.
A tinny voice from one of them reports in tones that split the difference between magnanimous and deeply disgruntled: "Orders for your release have been entered by order of the magistrate."
Chromedome glances briefly, /briefly/ upward in relief. He keeps walking.
"I knew you'd see it my way." Rodimus fairly /oozes/ in satisfaction. He never once breaks stride until they've cleared all flitters and guns and their ship is in view. Then he turns back for a head count to make sure everyone actually got out. (He should've done that earlier, but he was too wrapped up in how awesome he looked walking away from it all.)
Rumble grins. "Even the magicstraits know we're badaft," he exclaims with a satisfied grin.
Tailgate reassuringly gives Chromedome a quick pat on the arm as they move off, like heroes into the sunset. "That was close." He remarks, sigh leaving him as Rod takes his count.
Oh, okay then. Grimlock hoists his pod and follows Rodimus with little bother.
The Leading Light is waiting for them, along with a remarkably muddy version of Ultra Magnus standing there with his arms crossed. It doesn't look like anything was left behind, with the possible exception of some of his dignity.
Rodimus doesn't even correct Rumble. He just goes, "Scrap yeah." They're awesome. They are so awesome, in fact, that he lets factional squabbling lapse. He settles in next to Ultra Magnus to watch as everyone loads up on the Leading light. "That looks like a story," he asides with a quick grin. "Tailgate! That pod -- it's not going to explode or anything right?"
Ultra Magnus makes a disgusted noise but does not offer any other commentary for the moment.
Tailgate aims a somewhat apologetic look at muddy-Magnus, before Rodimus addresses him. "It's not a bomb." Was that the question?
"Good enough! Let's load up!" Rodimus says, waving everyone on board and off planet. They'll check their maps somewhere a little less hostile. He's not wasting another moment here.
It's not even until they've already loaded up the whole shuttle and Windjammer has started doing preflight checks that Ultra Magnus takes Rodimus aside to go, "Is that /Grimlock/?"
It actually took a moment or two of confusion to get Grimlock loaded onto the ship -- he's a little convinced he's supposed to be on a /different/ ship -- but eventually they get him on. And then he can stand around with his pod some more.