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2015-06-02 Wonderland

From Transformers: Lost and Found

Wonderland
Date 2015/06/02
Location Clemency
Participants Blast Off, Chromedome, Mercy, Rodimus, Slugfest, Tailgate
NPCs Ignition
Plot Labyrinth
Scene GM Roz, Sao
Summary More wondering through the dark, holding hands, and saving each other from nightmares with the power of irritation.

So far, the plan of keeping physically linked has kept the group from losing any of their members. Several stops along the way intended to try and navigate the maze of the ship have proven futile, as everyone seems to have a different mental map in their brain about the way back, and each idea conflicts with the next. A darkness has begun to settle over their sparks, the kind that leeches in past their armor plating and seems to settle in their very gears and wiring.

The next room they step in contains an eerie, greenish glow. The source may be emitting light, but it's far from illuminating: tanks line one of the walls, holding half-formed Cybertronians behind green. Armless and legless, the half-forms' torsos simply seem to twist and run out, leaving them little but chests and heads and eyes that can't possibly see anything anymore, if they ever did, but somehow they seem to follow the group.

"Well that's just ... great." Rodimus stares at the tanks. "Why not rooms full of aborted protoforms? I'd ask what next but -- let's face it, who wants to know?"

It's become a little harder to force those smiles as the weight settles, and the airy flippancy of his tone acquires a harsh, metallic edge: thin, brittle. /Sharp/. He laughs, once, glancing away, and then back again as a sense of responsibility pushes forward past the unease. "Mercy, any signs of life? What kind of condition are they in?"

Mercy's readings seem -- confused. There are moments her sensors seem to read some sort of life, and it's almost like she can hear them whispering for help, and then the next moment there's nothing.

As Rodimus stares, the faces on the half-forms seem to shift. For a moment, his old friend Boombox is there, mouth open in a silent scream. Then, like a strangely-angled reflection, it's gone.

It is still an adventure for Mercy, now that she feels like they're all together and holding hands! Darkness be damned, adventure awaits! The latest room draws Mercy even further into the experience, and her curiousity takes over. THe medic tries to shake free of both hands she was holding even before Rodimus asks about life signs so she could get closer to the glowing tubes.

Blast Off is getting seriously twitchy about now, but it's got as much to do with having to HOLD HANDS with an AUTOBOT as it does any unseeing horrors they might be walking past. That, and the fact that they're lost and trapped inside these dark hallways. The dark part isn't so bad, but as a flier the shuttle would really like to just soar up and stretch his wings about now. He's not particularly fond of enclosed areas he can't escape from- for a number of reasons. Still, he does his best to maintain an overall aloof, dignified attitude despite everything else.

He glances down at Mercy as she conducts scans. "Are you picking anything of interest up?" When she FINALLY tries to shake free of his hand, he is only too glad to allow it.

Tailgate finds himself at odds with the dark that settles in on him. He presses willfully towards optimism, but it gets harder and harder. When they find the long room of proto-bots and the sickly green light, more of it ebbs from him. Tailgate's grip on hands slacken when they get here, and Mercy's departure from the line leaves Tailgate lingering in expectation of being completely let go of. His first free hand comes up to hover near his chestplate. "What do you think was going on here?"

As Mercy pulls away, Blast Off has a sudden feeling of being off-balance, of falling straight into one of those glowing pods, and for a few moments he's trapped inside. The others watch impassively from outside, as if he's just another dead half-form.

Rodimus recoils from the tanks: he startles back, catches himself, and then leans forward again with an intensity just slightly too heart-in-the-throat for his usual energy. "I don't care what was going on here. All I care about is whether they're alive, whether we can help them, and if we should move on." He sounds a little terse.

A tiny stego puts little feets up on the tanks, reaching to try to peer into them! "Is mad scientist lab stuff?"

Mercy stares at the half-finished bodies in the tubes, and then at the readings she's getting...then not getting. Her faceplates shift, and she frowns before reaching to press one palm against the nearest tube. "I...it's hard to say. The readings aren't clear."

Just as he's "breathing" a sigh of relief that his hands are now his OWN again, Blast Off gets something far worse to worry about. The ordinarily quite agile and light on his foot shuttleformer suddenly falls forward and finds himself trapped inside one of the pods- defying all logic or sense. At first he doesn't do anything besides blink, his optics flickering as he attempts to make sense of what just happened. Then optics ridges furrow down as he stares...outside? Where everyone is just.... watching him?!

Wait, what is this? Now he finds himself fighting a growing sense of panic. He's trapped. /Imprisoned./ The former prisoner has felt THIS before. He's had everything taken from him- *everything, even his body*- and been stuffed inside a box before. At least this time he has optics to see and a hand to clench. Which is what he does- clenches it into a fist and pounds on the surface. "...What... what is going on? Let me out." He tries not to sound completely paniced... yet. "Don't just stand there. Let. Me. Out." Each word is measured and controlled, but fear brings a sharp, brittle tension to them.

To everyone else's eye, Blast Off has simply stepped closer to the pods. But to Blast Off, the glass between him and freedom is impenetrable.

"Do you think any of them could really be alive?!" Tailgate starts out loud, and his words progress into a lower volume, quailing in the green and dark. He breathes in, visor scanning the line of tanks with even more scrutiny. He looks right over Blast Off, as if the Con didn't exist at all inside of his pod.

Mercy leaves her palm pressed against the glowing green tube in front of her before pulling her hand back and turning to scan the room quickly to find the...AH! Something that looks like it might be the control panel. Making a beeline for it, the medic is entirely focused, looking for some sort of readout or screen that imght give her an idea on the state of those in the tubes.

"Not clear how? Alive seems pretty straightforward to me. Mostly." Rodimus glances back toward the tanks with a twitch of his shoulder and then looks away. He gives Blast Off a puzzled glance at his demand, then steps toward him with hands held up in a gesture of more-or-less peace until he gets close enough to poke him. "Hey, what's your problem? You're not in /anything/."

Inside one of the tanks that Tailgate examines, he sees a bot that looks a lot like himself, sleeping the millennia away in silence.

The control panel that Mercy finds does indeed have readings. In a moment of focus, she's able to be convinced that the half-forms in the tanks -- if not exactly dead, aren't alive. Maybe they never were. Or maybe she just wasn't quick enough.

Blast Off's fist pounds again- harder this time. "Did you *hear me*?!" Anger creeps into his voice now. "I said LET ME OUT!! Don't you *dare* just stand there and stare at me!" He looks to Rodimus. "I thought you said we were all going to be treated equally as a crew? What *is* this?" Then he stares at Mercy. "And you! I thought you were a medic- do no harm. What was all that about "pretty rocks"? You want to see those again, then get over here and *let* me *out*!"

His ventilation cycles begin to pace through more rapidly, expelling heavier, huffier bursts of air as he fights panic. "I said LET ME OUT!!" With that, he tries swinging his fist- hard- and see if he can shatter the glass. If that doesn't work, he's getting the gun.

"I...they aren't..." Mercy grinds her jaw, metal crunching on metal as she pokes and prods at the control panel, her movements getting more urgent as the seconds tick by. "They aren't -dead- but...they aren't alive, either. But maybe...if we can get them out, maybe I can help them? Blast Off...Rodimus, get them out. Now!" Mercy's tone has risen, a note of driven panic entering her words as she dashes away from the panel and back towards one of the pods to try and break it open with her own fists.

Next Tailgate knows, Blast Off is on about being in things. The ship? They are all tired of this place. Tailgate glances up at Rodimus approaching the other mech, before his line of sight is drawn back to the tanks. Before too much more yelling happens between Blast Off or Mercy, Tailgate is up against one tank, rattling on it with his hands. "Hey! Wake up!" He shouts, just before Mercy interecedes verbally, at least. He's then in a mild panic, visor brightening.

They're gone, Mercy. You weren't here in time to save them, and now they're gone.

In the distance, there's a sudden, unearthly shriek that seems to cut through their minds as it echoes down the hall. And around them, something dark and red begins to ooze down the walls, which seem so much closer than they were a moment before. Almost if the whole room is closing in around them.

"Eee, no are dead but no are live?" Slugfest wonders. The shriek sends the stego running!

"Blast Off, you're not in anything!" Rodimus sounds annoyed. He is distinctly not sympathetic. He falls back as the Decepticon starts swinging, but when he starts for his gun, he says, "If you pick that up to fire, I'll throw you off the ship myself. /Stand down/."

Rodimus's gaze skims past the wall as it begins to bleed to turn toward the others. He closes his eyes. "Guys, close your eyes. Listen to me. Not ... that. I think something's messing with our heads. We can't trust the readings. And you can't trust whatever it is you're seeing. And hopefully hearing. Blast Off, what do you think you're trapped in? Mercy, go take Blast Off's hand again."

"I'm thinking more and more," Chromedome is subdued and tense behind Rodimus, "that we may be in /something's/ head or something /is/ in ours, but I don't know how to get us out. Ignoring anomalies is a start." He seems to be talking more than half to himself.

Slugfest runs back and forth up and down the hall, stopping by Blast Off. Maybe a nip to the ankle will bring Blast Off to his senses?

Slamming her fist one last time against the tube that she hasn't managed to make a dent in, Mercy drops her forehead against the tube. "I can't help them, Rodimus...!" She groans, low and upset, before the Captain's order is received. She doesn't answer, but after another pointless bang of her fist against the tube, she turns and trudges over towards Blast Off. Sad optics lift to locate his hand before she tries to take his large black hands like she had earlier

But-- Tailgate is torn between listening to Rodimus and trying harder to get the mech in there out; the former wins if but barely. He steps away from it when he hears the scream, only to realize the walls are closing in bleeding red. Or are they? Tailgate ducks his head between his hands, visual receptors closing off, audio dulling so that he can hopefully only hear his comms.

Blast Off glances towards Mercy through the thick, impenetrable glass he's pounding. "Yes! Get me out!!" The shriek causes the shuttleformer to turn his head sharply and look, but soon he's pounding the glass again. Then he hears Rodimus speaking to him... from the other side, and there's something... weird about all this. He's bringing his weapon up but the command to stand down cuts through his panic and speaks to the military mech inside. It halts him for now, and he freezes, hand halfway up, optics flickering as he tries to comprehend.

He answers Rodimus, "I'm HERE. Inside this blasted pod! Now LET me OUT! Close my optics? Why? So I can be left *behind*? If you leave me here I *will* start shooting to get out!" Suddenly there's a sharp little bite at his ankles and he lets out another, sharper *hufff*! "And NOW I'm getting zapped by.. by something..." He tries to look down but he feels so /cramped/ it's hard to see. If Mercy takes his hand, he has at least stopped swinging his fists for now.

Mercy does take Blast Off's hand, though she has to jump a bit to do it.

For those that close their eyes, the feelings that have been bombarding them become slowly less oppressive, and the darkness of blindness is surprisingly comforting. The thing that the room leaves them with is the unerring urge to /leave/.

Slugfest starts trying to climb up Blast Off. "No are stuck in anythings!" he says, "Us should leave room. No are feeling guud being in here."

"You guys with me?" Rodimus checks. He's watching Blast Off in particular: for all that he's told the others to close their eyes, he doesn't quite risk it. His tone carries a somewhat grim note of humor and he says, "Back to handholding, then." He steps forward, reaching for each of them one by one with a warning: "Tailgate, it's me, I'm taking you to Mercy," and so on and so forth so that he can link them back up into a chain. "We're going to keep moving."

When it's clear to Mercy that Blast Off isn't going to obey the orders given, the medic does the only thing she can do to help - she makes to CLIMB UP Blast and clamp her hands down over his optics before closing her own tightly. She failed to help the mechs in the tubes but...maybe she can help Blast Off. "I' not going anywhere without you, Blast Off!" she assures him - she couldn't without him knowing, anyways, not while she's perched on her.

Chromedome also has his optics functional, a bit of quiet daredevilism for the surgeon. "I'm with you," he says, his voice the kind of steady on the verge of shattering. BUT NOT SHATTERED. NOT YET. He nudges at Rodimus's back with a finger to show his presence and treads slow. He leaves his other hand out. An emergency support where needed.

"Ah, I think-- It's working." Tailgate makes a small sound of uncertainty when he hears Rodimus's dulled voice mention hands again; part of him wonders if that is how they got here. Still, he lifts his hands to follow Rodimus' lead to find another hand to hold. Everyone back into the duckling line. "Where will we go?" Somewhere else? What would happen -there-?

Blast Off doesn't /trust/ enough to obey such an order and make himself vulnerable. He's going to keep his optics open, kthnxbye. Determined to see what's going on, he raises his hand to pound at the glass again- but there's a weight there. In fact, there's two weights. He flinches... it feels like there are... *things* crawling on him. He tries brushing his hands to flick them off, hits objects he doesn't *see* and then he steps backwards in growing alarm. "Now there are... there's something ON me...." His voice is kept low now, but fraught with tension. His trigger finger on the hand holding his gun twitches.

"Don't *leave* me...." He almost says *alone*, but the word dies before it has a chance to emerge as something covers his optics. He startles at that, stumbling back. "Now I can't...I..." Wait.... now that he can't see, it's almost like his senses are returning. The shuttleformer stops and listens now. "Slugfest? What do you mean?" Mercy sounds so close. "...You... you are still there?"

Slugfest eeees as he's brushed off Blast Off and lands back-plates first! The pointed plates stick in the deck plating, leaving Slugfest helpless and kicking little feets helplessly like an upended turtle! "No can get up!" he squeals.

"Somewhere else. Without those -- well, just somewhere else," Rodimus says to Tailgate. He glances back at Blast Off and the others, then pulls to start the little train moving: followed by Chromedome, followed by who knows, followed by that person, followed by someone else. And if need be, they can just drag Blast Off along until he realizes he's moving. "No one's leaving you! Mercy and Slugfest are trying to /help/ you, so shut out whatever it is you think you're seeing, hearing, feeling and focus on how /annoying/ it is that I'm telling you what to do. Without shooting me."

Train's rollin'. Tailgate is perhaps way too close to whoever is in front of him in the dark, but at least he's moving. "Come on!" He tugs the next bot in line. "No dawdling!" You tell'em.

Mercy keeps her hands planted firmly over Blast Off's optics - he's not nearly upset enough about that for her to believe he's back in his right circuits yet, if what Rodimus is saying is true and Blast is seeing something. Besides, this way she gets a ride AND doesn't have to worry about getting separated or left behind. So long as someone grabbed Blast's hand, that is.

Slugfest kick-kick-kicks. "No leave behind! Am stuck and no can get up!"

Rodimus' advice is surprisingly affective. Focusing on his overall, apparently never-ending annoyance with the Autobot Captain *does* help him focus. And with his optics covered, Blast Off is able to focus more on what is going on and detect that someone is *on* him. Wait. SOMEONE is ON HIM. He flinches at that realization with another *hufff* "What is?..." Wait, that's Mercy's voice coming from behind there. "What are you DOING??!!"

Now he sounds properly affronted, hand reaching up to flail behind him to feel for his rider up there and make sure it's her. As he does so, he steps forward and likely kicks poor Slugfest out from his predicament- and nearly stumbles and falls as a result. "Ouch!" Now he sounds laregly annoyed- by *everything*, stumbling forward and grasping at Mercy. "Let go of my FACE! Get OFF me!"

Slugfest ees as he's simultaneously kicked and almost tripped over! It does indeed dislodge him, but he ends up flat on his side. He tries to grab onto the half-stumbling Blast Off's ankle with little feets!

"Blast Off. I will shoot you. Primus help me, I will shoot you, and I will be totally authorized. /Leave Mercy alone/. She's helping." Rodimus gives her back-scrabbling, eye-covering ways a long look. "More or less." He waits to see that everyone is moving, but once he's sure of that -- on to the next room. And away from /this/ creepshow.

She had only been perched on him before, but when Blast Off nearly loses his balance after booting poor Slugfest, Mercy actually wraps her arms around his head - if she wasn't yelping in startlement herself, one might think she really was trying to give the Combaticon a face hug. "DOn't let go! We have to get out of here!" Rodimus is right! She is HELPING. Ish.

The room spills them into a hallway with a broad mouth at the end of the corridor, faint light streaming out across the paneling to invite them to cross the threshold.

The room opens before them, wreathed in an uncertain stillness. Faint light reflects from panels high on the walls, leaving a broadly octagonal room with eight different hallways sprouting from it like the arms of an octopus. Faint, irregular sparks of shimmer show where a few panels have been wrenched open to show the glitter of wiring and microchips beneath. Just before one of the hallway mouths, a bot kneels, head bowed, its frame dropped to one knee while the plant of the wide boot heel of the other foot leaves its owner poised to stand. The Cybertronian kneels, knightly, awaiting only the dubbing and investiture -- to be sealed with a kiss.

At first, the figure is marked by stillness and might be a statue, the fully finished form of the twisted halves and rent bodies in the room they've escaped. Its frame is a dark gleam of metal, glossy black interspersed with deep charcoal matte, with gold trim centering the curves of its leanly narrow torso and hips, and gold-bladed gauntlets marking its hands, currently clasped together before it. Long blades glide down the length of the lean back in gray-sheened black like the rotors of a helicopter.

"Let's keep on moving on, people," Chromedome says in the distantly unnerved way of someone trying /not/ to sound panicked. Like some wan echo of Rodimus. His hand flattens against Rodimus's back. Onward. Onward. He hesitates upon seeing the glittering room with its kneeling Cybertronian and rotor blades. Way to hold up the parade.

Slugfest clings desperately to a Blast Off ankle, sideways!

Blast Off hears THAT, all right. Rodimus' threat brings him to a halt, then yet another, even longer and louder *hufffff* of indignation, especially as Mercy's grip becomes even tighter. "What? How. WHY...." He nearly flails as she shifts and latches onto his head. "Gah!"... but he stops trying to dislodge Mercy. He frowns under his faceplate as *something* latches to his heel (Slugfest, unbeknowst to him) and stumbles forward, trying to follow the sound of voices... or wherever Mercy might guide him. THIS IS EMBARRASSING.

Stepping around the latest, slightly less horrible figure, Rodimus pivots to take a long look at the room. "Mercy, check out whoever that is if Blast Off has settled. Chromedome, take a look at that panel." /Still/ not the right kind of nerd, Rodimus. He glances down each hallway just a moment before his gaze returns to the lone Cybertronian to search for an Autobot or Decepticon insignia.

The kneeling figure must not be another ghost or shadow or statue. She seems to hear them as Rodimus directs Mercy towards her. Her head lifts. Her eyes open in a bright flare of pale light. Her features are sharp and hard, face centered between the stark metal blades of her cheekbones (on which you just might cut yourself). She rises from her kneel, unfolding to her full height: long and lean and tall, there is a sleekness to her build that suggests speed and stealth for all her size. The first sound they hear in her voice is a generalized expression of disgust. She says: "Ugh."

There is no sign of a badge: Autobot or Decepticon, her surface is smoothly neutral, without insignia. Weapons mounted in either curve of her shoulder extend but slightly, lit by the glow of undischarged heat, and she says now in a fierce alto voice of cold clarity: "I don't know who you are, these fugitives and the prize they carry are already claimed by me. I suggest you /step off/."

Swivelling her head around as they get into a new room, and Rodimus gives a new order, Mercy hesitates for only a short moment before she unlatches herself from the face she had been hiding against her stomach, and climbs down the monkeybars that Blast had become. Once regaining her feet, she quickly pats Blast Off's arm reassuringly before dashing off to check on the figure...and stopping short as it turns to look at her. "Uh...hi. Are you okay? I can help...I'm a medic, I'm good at helping fix things," she offers, helpfully, as her head slowly tilts back to follow the upward movement of the fembot as she unfolds. "I'm Mercy."

"As . . . you like," Chromedome says in helpless obedience as he disengages from the parade and takes two whole steps into the room, towardish one sparking panel, before the 'bot speaks in 'ugh's and the light extension of weapons. He stops. He spreads both his hands. "Hello," he says. "We're just tring to get out."

Tailgate keeps relatively in line with Rodimus as they enter the room. His inspection of the details doesn't get far before he is watching the kneeling bot. Even before she stands, he finds himself impressed by the fact she /looks so awesome/. Could be a bit nicer about it, though, lady. Tailgate's browline lifts when she speaks. "Whoa... hey, sorry-- we're not here to bother you!" He then points over at Chromedome very obviously. What he said! Don't shoot us.

Blast Off finds himself in a new room, then finds himself used as school gym equipment. Once he can see, his first act is to stare at Mercy as she *climbs down him*, every circuit tense and armor plates bristling with the /indignity and outrage/ of it all. But Rodimus' words echo in his processor, as does the fact that all of this is VERY strange... so he remains standing still and lets her climb down with a minimum of flailing. Besides, flailing would be undignified, and now that his senses are returning he's growing determined to somehow keep hold of *that* at least, or maybe *regain* it. Whatever.

Mercy's pat on his arm is surprisingly calming and he finally relaxes enough to look away as she dashes off- and to the weight on his heel. ".... Slugfest, what *are* you doing?" He doesn't realize why the tape is latched there. Then an unfamiliar voice rings out and he looks up, optics finally focusing on what's going on around them. His hand grips his weapon tightly and he prepares to bring it up and fire, should there be trouble.

Rodimus settles on his heels as she stands (and stands). He looks offended. "What do you mean you don't--."

Wait. Rodimus. That's not the point.

"We came here following a distress beacon," says Rodimus. "I'm Rodimus. The rest of them are my crew. Part of my crew, anyway," he adds. Because his crew is big. Huge. Massive. "We've run into some, uh. Weird stuff. And we're just -- hey, who are you, anyway?"

"No could get up so hanged on so could go wif and no be left behind!" Slugfest pipes up to Blast Off.

The stranger seems to look over each of them as they speak, intent, assessing. There's something about the way she holds herself, as if her very stillness is restrained motion. "Pf. The beacon," she growls, low in the depths of her frame. "Were they looking for a pickup? Were you planning on /selling it/? No matter." Her hand cuts flat through the air, as if to slice through the question with the blade curving from her gold-edged gauntlet.

Her gaze flicks sidelong to Mercy, first with the introductions, and then to Rodimus as she lets out a huff. "I am Ignition," she says, fiercely grim, "and this damn fool place has interfered with me /enough/. I've traced the item this far and I will not be dissuaded from my course by ... tricks." Her eyes narrow. "I will cut through you if you get in my way."

Chromedome spreads his hands all /full/ of peace. "I'm sure we have no /interest/ in getting in your way. To be honest, I haven't the faintest what you're talking about." Two beats. "I'm . . . Chromedome, by the way."

"What item?" Mercy wonders, either ignorant of the VERY obvious threat Ignition presents, or simply trying to ignore it and...kill it with kindness? "If it's the bots in the tubes in the other room," she continues, tone a little less bright than during her introduction., "I couldn't help them, I was too late. But I can help you!" She steps forward with her offer, perking up again at the idea of helping.

"Just curious -- want to make sure we didn't grab it by accident, you know," says Rodimus, super duper casual, "but plan on selling what, exactly? You know where the beacon is? How to switch it off?"

Consternation writes itself plainly across Ignition's bold, fiercely angled face. "You would have me believe that you have come here, to this forsaken place at the back end of nowhere, following their trail, and you don't know what it is they hold? What power it has?" She sweeps them all with her bright gaze, and her voice flattens out as she barks out a, "Ha!"

She turns in the pivot of a caged predator, moving with such vehemence that each stride she takes as she paces before the mouth of the hallway might be driving home a point under her boots. "I know how to find nothing in this place. Even the air here is a lie. It will fry your processor--" and now as she turns, it is to drive her gauntleted fist into the wall. It accomplishes about as much as you'd expect.

Chromedome straightens. He folds his arms across his chest. It's almost casual. Almost. "Believe me," he near-sottos, "we follow all kinds of dead trails to nowhere for no particular reason."

Tailgate is curious about the mystery item too, but he is also cautious about Ignition's intent to have it for herself. Or else. He concentrates on something else. "How long have you been here?" Tailgate wonders out loud, limbs closing in on himself when Ignition moves to drive her fist to the wall. She seems-- tense.

Blast Off's grip on his weapon tightens even more, and he begins drawing it up as this Ignition femme appears to threaten Mercy. Not that he *cares*, of course. No. No. Of course not. But then she turns and takes out her aggressions on the wall instead, causing the Combaticon to lower the gun slightly. He's still ready for trouble, however. "If you know something that can help us get out of here, then tell us. Now."

Mercy watches as Ignition slams her fist into the wall and sloooowly steps back. "You -sure- you don't want some help?" she wonders before the offers of the others com from behind her. "Yeah, do you know how to get out of here? You could come with us, and then you could look for whatever t is you're looking for!"

"Yeah, actually, that's kind of our thing." Rodimus throws Chromedome a smile that's bright despite everything, and paces the room to end up back at the wrenched panels. He kicks it open a little wider. "Lost Light, dead trails to nowhere our specialty." He contemplates the wires with the unformed intent of doing /damage/. Yes. Just shoot things. Good idea.

"Days." The word is clipped, cast aside from Ignition as if she finds it disgusting. Her head lifts again as she turns it, glancing toward one of the other hallway mouths with tension sharpening the edges of her jaw.

In the distance, there is a repetitive clanking sound, like the beat of very large and heavy feet.

"If I knew how to get out of here, I would not be standing here talking to you ... Lost Light," Ignition says, her voice gone quieter and more controlled, each syllable measured and meted out carefully, as she contains the fires that drive her to something more banked and productive. "I would be gone. The trail is getting colder. There is clearly a way or those /nincompoops/ would not have managed it."

Slugfest is still clinging to Blast Off's ankle, because he can't right himself if he lets go!

As Ignition seems less likely to shoot anyone at the moment, Chromedome treads over past Rodimus to another open panel. He prods at it a bit. He is really not that kind of nerd. As commentary, "What is that clanking noise, exactly? Could it be leading us anywhere? It would be nice to be led."

Blast Off looks down and sighs, then reaches down to pull Slugfest from his heel and place him on his own feet. "There. Now stand for yourself, as a proud Decepticon." He isn't usually big on the Decepticon pride, but surrounded by Autobots sometimes it's hard not to fall back on it. He straightens and looks at Ignition. "*Nincompoops?* Who are you after, and why?"

Slugfest yays and is set on feet!

Holding her ground now that she's moved back, Mercy bounces up onto her toes before resting back on her heels. "So...does that mean you -don't- want my help?" she wonders, almost sadly. And then the name calling starts. "Who's the nincompoop?"

Tailgate looks from Ignition to the various halls, and back again. "So you've tried all of these?" He gestures openly, gently, for all his questioning her. Curiosity killed the minibot? Hope not.

"The idiots with the beacon, obviously." Ignition smiles a grim, tight smile as she glances at Chromedome. She says: "Incoming? That would be my ... team."

The clanking grows in volume. Then they surge out into the dull gleam of the dim light in the central octagonal chamber, two of them: large and gold and massive, their mouths flat slashes. "Twelve ninety eight!"

"Twelve ninety eight!"

"Belay that," snaps Ignition. "That isn't even the way you came. How do you keep ending up back here? Bah!" She strides for the mouth of the hallway, and then, suddenly, leaps into the air, shifting into the sleek, dark, elongated lines of a stealth helicopter. Rotors beating the air, she whips off down the hallway at startling speed. It leaves a few questions unanswered and is kind of abrupt. Sorry. :(

It's not that Rodimus isn't listening to her, or to the others asking questions, but he's still thinking about starting to shoot the wiring in the walls for lack of better ideas. The arrival of two of the golden bots and her sudden departure cool his itchy trigger finger. He turns to watch, startled, as she vanishes. "No people skills," he says after her back. Tsk, tsk. He's so not impressed by her. NOT. AT ALL.

"Where are nincompoops? Is someones that need bitings?" Slugfest wonders.

Blast Off watches the arrival of the golden bots as this all just gets curiouser and curiouser, then Ingition dashes (or flies) off like the White Rabbit suddenly realizing he's late. But if it's a date, then where? And with whom? He looks to Rodimus. "Should we follow them?"

Chromedome tugs uselessly at those cords again. "Looks like we're all lost together."

Mercy is most definitely Alice, and she's pretty sure that Blast Off is the Caterpiller, Rodimus is the Mad Hatter...and does that mean Chromedome is the Queen of Hearts? Be that as it may... "But...but I could help..." she calls after the rapidly disappearing Ignition.

And Slugfest is the Teapot Mouse.

Tailgate watches the golden bots with a sense of confusion, and glances down, down into the hall where Ignition speeds into the dimness of the corridor. He looks back to the golden bots, even morew confused. She must have tried every combination-- if they followed them, they'd just end up back here! "Um. Twelve... ninety-eight?"

"Twelve ninety eight," intones one of the golden bots, immediately followed by the other also going, "twelve ninety eight." They start tromping heavily across the octagon and move off down the next hallway over. "Twelve ninety-eight--" Tromp, tromp, tromp. As their steps recede, the quiet of the octagonal room with its glittery open panels is slowly restored.

"I'll twelve ninety-eight you," Rodimus mutters in their wake. "Okay. Back to -- wandering, I guess." He deactivates his weapons and heads for the door pointing the exact opposite direction that their new not-friends went. He waves a hand back behind him. Oh yeah. Back to the hand-holding. "And keep your eye out for ... something."

"And hold hands?" Mercy wonders as she rejoins her crewmates. Time to move on, and once again be sure they don't lose each other.

"Daylight. More sparking panels. More bleeding walls." Chromedome's flat resignation is at least steady. That's almost like a ritual, which is almost like -- hope or something. He goes to place hands on folk.

"Hold...hands?" Blast Off doesn't sound happy.

"Hold hands!" Rodimus insists. "Get all nice and cozy with your friends. This is such a great bonding experience. Remember to tell Chromia."

Blast Off stares at Rodimus for a long moment, all kinds of protests running through his head... and then he just sighs, Shoulders slump and he admits defeat, hand reaching out to Mercy, optics dim and somehow... long-suffering. This is going to be a really, really, reaaally long trip.

Hands held! Tailgate links himself abruptly between the two nearest bots. "Ready, Captain!" Yep. Long trip.

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