2015-12-02 Lair of the Beast

From Transformers: Lost and Found

Lair of the Beast
Date 2015/12/02
Location Asteroid
Participants Rodimus, Blast Off, Brainstorm, Tailgate, Gearstrip, Soundwave
NPCs Connexion, Ravage, Slapdash, Ammo, Fencer
Plot Big Trouble
Scene GM Pipes
Summary The Lost Lighters free some prisoners and fight off a monster!!

Knowing that they are there, it's no longer difficult to locate the floor hatches from which the attackers emerged. Helpfully, the controls work without objection, and so the Lost Lighters are able to descend deep underground.

The bottom of the chosen elevator shaft connects to a network of tunnels, running in seemingly random directions. While most are easily navigable, some reduce to thin cliffside paths running along bubbling rivers of black goo, which it seems unwise to attempt even touching. After some exploration and mapping work, the team gets its sense of direction.

Eventually, a large chamber is discovered, several levels of jail cells climbing its walls in a haphazard fashion. The lighting inside is meager but sufficient. At first glance, the cells appear to be empty, with barred doors hanging open. One is occupied, though: Ammo waves his hands through the bars to catch attention. "Somebody, get me outta here!"

One darker corner is also occupied, but not by the living. In a handful of neat rows lie dead Cybertronians; at first glance they appear to simply be recharging, but they are utterly inert. Each one's chest has been opened up in the same fashion. The slices are clean and neat, not rough or haphazard in any way. The spark chambers within each are dark. The only other commonality among them, beyond their apparent cause of death, is that many of them have green-shaded optics.

For good or bad, Animus is not among them.

'It seems unwise to attempt even touching.' Rodimus barely got past the rivers of goo without succumbing to just that urge. This is the toddler in charge. The hunt for his missing crew members keeps him relatively focused, and by the time they get to the jail cells, he's forgotten the goo entirely.

"Ammo," says Rodimus under his breath, relaxing slightly. "We got ya." His promise comes with the quick clasp of his hand to Ammo's arm as he steps up to the cell to consider it. "Step back in case we have to blow the door, yeah? Anyone got a can opener?" His idea of a can opener looks like 'lower his arms at the lock and shoot' so if anyone has a better idea, they better speak up. Quick.

"Oh no," Gearstrip breathes in a high soft voice, staring toward the cannibalized dead with plain horror written across her open features. She winds her arms loosely around her chest and then draws them tight, hugging herself; then she bites her lower lip, attention drawn back to Ammo's predicament by the question. She scuttles forward a few paces, peering ahead toward the cell, as she says: "I might be able to cut through the locking mechanism, or detach the hinges on the cell door, depending on the construction--" It's possible that blowing the door is inherently going to be faster than either of these solutions.

Contrary to what Knock Out might tell you, Brainstorm does not, infact, imediately go to touch at everything that catches his interest. This time he simply tries to satify his curiosity by throwing a couple rocks in to the goo. The attempt proves unsucessful, and his curiosity remains unsatisfied even as they leave the substance behind.

"I think I'm begining to lean more towards the 'cultist' theory" As the party enters the chamber, the engineer scans the room, his gaze finally stoping on the rows of the dead bots. Since he does not, infact, come equiped with a can opener, he let Rodimus and the reast deal with that problem and moves in their direction "Could be a secret lab, but those guys back there didn't look particularly smart."

Blast Off has been here all along, really. The space shuttle was just out scouting around asteroid while the main action took place on ground. Now joined with his teammates, the Combaticon is not liking what he's seeing. At all. First, they had to go underground. This isn't the flier's favorite location to begin with. Cramped underground tunnels are hard to make a fast flying getaway from. Second, when they come caross the jail cells, Blast Off feels even more un at ease. And third, the sight of people with their chests torn open brings back bad memories- all too recent ones- and the shuttleformer finds himself subconciously clutching at his chest.

Rodimus seems eager to start shooting, and the Combaticon sniper isn't going to complain. "Let's just get them out of here before we get company." His ionic blaster is out and he scans the room. He's less concerned about these people he doesn't know and more intent on not being surprised by enemies.

Tailgate's leg hasn't stopped bothering him since the patch, but at least he can still walk. He's in between the others, loathe to bring up the rear but also trying to keep back from the front. When they come upon the cells, Tailgate takes in the corpses with a measured wariness, avoiding looking at them for too long. Instead, he limps up to the cell door where Ammo is. "I can help with the door, 'Strip-- we shouldn't blast it open, we can't fight anyone in here, not like this."

<FS3> Gearstrip rolls Juryrigging: Good Success. (2 7 6 8 5 2 8)

"Watch me," Rodimus mutters. But despite his answer to Tailgate, he spools down his weapons and steps back to let Gearstrip and Tailgate dear with the door. "Okay. Yours to crack." He moves to stand between Brainstorm and the nearest doorway, glancing over to Blast Off with a nod of approval as he stands watch.

Gearstrip's handiwork easily opens up Ammo's cell. With visible relief, he emerges a free bot. "Thank you," he says, and then shakes his head. "They dragged me all the way down here, and then one of them pointed some weird scanner at me. He just said 'Nope' and then they tossed me into that cell. Doesn't make a lot of sense to me." He then catches sight of Brainstorm and points a finger at him. "You! I heard you on the comm up there! Why didn't you help me out? Haven't you got any guns on those wings of yours?" Ammo has no wings. This might be jealousy talking.

From around an unexplored corner of the jail comes a faint "Is someone there? Hello! Over here!" In a partially hidden cell, a lone occupant grips the bars. He is short in stature, and has an asymmetrical yet kindly face. His body is roundish and bulky, with a shell on his back with windows running on either side and wheels at his shoulders and knees.

"Hello! Let me out!" he calls. "We have to stop him, and there is not much time until the ceremony. I will help you!"

Tiny welding torch flaring to life as she transforms her hand, Gearstrip lowers her goggles tackles the door, incising neatly through the metal and into the locking mechanism until its seal cracks. The spray of sparks hisses out behind her and she smiles a little as the latch gives. With her and Tailgate working together to shift the door, it opens to let Ammo out. Once the door is open, she steps back, eyes round and bright behind the shielding clarity of her goggles. She scuttles a few paces to the side, peering through those goggles toward the source of the voice. "Who's there?" she says, and starts toward him.

Tailgate gives Rodimus a small, pleading look before the other mech lets him in to help Gearstrip remove the door parts. It's okay, we're getting him out. "What?" He wonders out loud at Ammo, putting a hand on the other bot's arm for a moment, until the call from somewhere else. "Huh? Another prisoner? Rodimus--" The minibot turns around to look at the Captain, and then turns to look for the source.

Blast Off catches the nod from Rodimus and returns it. At least for now, they are one unit, in this together. Violet optics return to scanning the scene, fingers gripping around his gun. The new face -and voice- have him turning his head to look upon this newcomer. He makes no move to help- or hinder. "Who are you?" Then as the others seem to have this covered, he goes back to watching for trouble.

"Hey, I did tell everyone that you were in trouble!" Brainstorm counters "I had to keep watch to make sure no one else jumped us. Plus I'm not exactly built for air to ground attacks" The problem with being an aircraft with forward facing guns is that those guns have to be pointing directly at what they're shooting, and if that thing is bellow you...of course, that's only a problem when you intend to shoot things in the first place, but Ammo doesn't need to know that little detail.

As much as he would like to see what's up with the dead bodies, the voice of another living one draws his attention away from them again "What's with this ceremony anyways? Are they gonna throw people in to that stuff we passed back there?"

"When you're finished with that door, get this one, too," Rodimus calls to Gearstrip and Tailgate. He follows the direction of Tailgate's attention to move toward the other prisoner. He abandons Brainstorm to Ammo's complaints with a slight smirk. "Hey! We'll get you out in a sec. What's your name? I'm Rodimus. They're with me. We're looking for the rest of my crew. What do you know?"

"My name is Connexion," the captive answers Blast Off and Rodimus jointly. "I am a transport driver. Unfortunately for me, he found out I am also an expert in spark theory. So he imprisoned me, and forced me to help him with his vile experiments. On all of them," he waves a hand at the rows of dead.

He then turns to respond to Brainstorm, with a sarcastic grin on his face. "He wants to 'ascend'. He is looking for a special spark, one he can use for this purpose. So he has been sending his gang, his Syncons, across the stars, searching for those with the special spark. Each of those that you see on the floor was kidnapped, brought here, and experimented upon. And each was a failure." Connexion holds up a finger. "That was my doing! But it was all I could do. I told him he would find the spark in one with green optics. And he believed me, though it was a lie! It bought time, but time has run out. He fixed some device, built by his old master, that can detect that spark in anyone." His voice, bubbly with enthusiasm for most of his narrative, fades down sadly at the end.

"Why do we keep running in to all these weirdos trying to ascend, transcend, or whatever else by killing a bunch of other people" Brainstorm observes "This is the third one! I'm pretty sure most people don't have to deal with this on a regular basis." It's like someone's pushing them towards these guys on purpose! "What sort of spark does someone have to have to be considered a candidate? Point-one percenter?"

<FS3> Gearstrip rolls Juryrigging: Good Success. (8 6 7 8 1 6 5)

"Right away, sir!" Gearstrip carols, raising her little welding torch again. She's still wearing her goggles. It shouldn't take long at all for her and Tailgate to reprise their earlier performance. She turns her head as she brings her cutting tool to work, and asides to Tailgate, "What's wrong with everyday sparks? Do they not feel hard enough or something?"

"Experiments." Tailgate mutters quietly as he helps Gearstrip with Connexion's door too. He listens as the bot speaks, and briefly studies him from in the midst of their work. Though the bot helped his captors, Tailgate can understand the use of deception for someone else's well being. So can a lot of them. It's complicated. He looks to Brainstorm for the question, taken right from his head too. What kind of spark? Tailgate turns his face to Gearstrip as they remove the cell door, shrugging lightly. "I dunno. I feel plenty hard."

Rodimus starts to answer Brainstorm, glances past him to Blast Off, and swallows his first reply. He focuses on Connexion instead with a expression that swiftly grows more and more uneasy. "What kind of special spark is he looking for?"

Blast Off notices that glance from Rodimus just about the time his own chest starts to feel itchy again. Absent-mindedly scratching at it briefly, he looks away pointedly for a moment. "I will be happy to shoot the next one we meet. Including this buffoon." Since he didn't get to shoot the last. Then he glances back to Connexion. "Just be careful. We don't know this person, or if he's telling the truth." He keeps a grip on his gun just in case.

"The quest for power can drive many a bot to questionable conquests."

That would be Soundwave who enters from where others have come, with Ravage padding along at his feet. He decided to leave the Lost Light once Ammo was found, to do his own questioning, but this Connexion could yield faaaaaaar more answers. "If you wish, we need not even ask to find out," he states to Rodimus as he touches the side of his head.

Ravage keeps walking until he claims a seat by where Tailgate stands with Gearstrip. "Not an consideration to put out there to entice testing, Littlefoot," the catcon grins.

Connexion scoffs at the term "point one percenter". "Green spark, of course, the very special spark. Point one percent figure way off." He nods gratefully to Gearstrip and Tailgate as he scuffles out of his cell. "So, green optics, see? That would fool him, and also make it hard to find new experiments. Slow him down, buy time for ... saving," and he spreads his arms out to the team.

Connexion leers at Blast Off and Soundwave as the latter enters. "Heh. Doubt old bot trapped in cell, while Syncons and worse prowl in the open. I give you information, they give you fighting!" He makes loose fists and wobbles them around, weird grin on his face again. Then he stops and turns serious. "We have no time for this. Before you came, he was here, where you stand, gloating to me. He said he had found a spark he could use, and that he would perform the ceremony to ascend. And his first act then would be to kill me! Hm!" He looks up with a sideways smirk. "So now what will you do?"

Rodimus meets Soundwave's gaze and shakes his head in firm negation. "We might not need to -- but we're going to ask, anyway." Where Blast Off and Soundwave doubt, he seems willing to extend a measure of trust to Connexion. The answer to his question is simple -- and obvious, of course. "We're going to stop him. He has one of my crew. And if he can find others like that -- we need to stop him," he says, cutting off the thought. He straightens. "Do you know where to find him? Soundwave, can you find Animus?"

"I bet you do," Gearstrip says to Tailgate. She presses her fist over her chest, over her spark chamber, and adds, "Me too." Reaching up to push her goggles back atop her head, she says, "Where do we go from here? His lab can't be far, not if this is where he's-- he's--" She breaks off and gestures by the cant of her head toward the abandoned bodies.

Minibots lack size, but definitely make up for it with Feels Capacity. Tailgate looks over as Soundwave and Ravage slink in from behind them, his visor dimming a little at Ravage's words before he glances off to Blast Off for just a split second. He doesn't want to be tested on. He's seen how it goes. "What, wait, so-- Animus is one?" His visor brightens again, part confusion evident in his voice. That seems suspect, but okay. "Has to be close, yeah."

Blast Off straightens just a bit as Soundwave appears. Gotta look good for the Boss, after all. (Sorry Rod, that's not you.) Then he turns to look at Connexion- unimpressed and aloof. "I have not survived the front lines of war by being naive, old bot. And I do not immediately trust someone simply because they tell me they are trustworthy." Glancing back at Soundwave, he nods. And yet Rodimus appears to- decline this generous offer from the Con leader?

The Combaticon lets out a little huff at Rodimus. "Soundwave can find out how trustworthy our "friend" here really is. He could be leading us into a trap, for all we know." Vortex used to do that kind of work for the Combaticons, after all. ...Of course then there might not be much left of the bot afterwards, oops. Details, details.

Brainstorm says, "He's the only lead we have" Brainstorm points out. Plus, if Soundwave's here, and not telling them to shoot, this guy's prtobably either telling the truth, or Megatron, and he certianly doesn't look like a warlord of any sort, no matter how much you squint "What did he have you doing anyways?" nearly mimicking Gearstrips gesture at the bodies, he looks back over to their latest rescuee, a bit more interest in his voice than appropriate for the situation"

"He's the only lead we have" Brainstorm points out. Plus, if Soundwave's here, and not telling them to shoot, this guy's prtobably either telling the truth, or Megatron, and he certianly doesn't look like a warlord of any sort, no matter how much you squint "What did he have you doing anyways?" nearly mimicking Gearstrips gesture at the bodies, he looks back over to their latest rescuee, a bit more interest in his voice than appropriate for the situation

"That is not a bot I am familiar with," Soundwave answers Rodimus immediately. Having a task to focus on will help to move pas the disappointment with the hopeful approach. "This does not mean this Animus will remain unknown to me. Ravage: Operation Uncover." He then falls silent as he concentrates with his mind and sensors, sensing for unknown minds and potential radio signals to help isolate his target while Ravage does the legwork. The catcon darts as soon as he is 'asked' to.

Connexion chuckles darkly at Brainstorm's question. "I am his advisor," he responds. "Not a willing one. He quickly learned that when he brought one of the Storms with him, and let them ... I could not refuse."

The old bot watches Soundwave and his odd mirth returns. "That could work, or you can just ask me! It is -" he starts to point, but then his eyes widen where he is gesturing. "There, look!" Where he points floats a round sphere of metal, about as large as a typical Cybertronian's torso. It has one large optic in its center and many smaller ones looking in different directions all around it, and tiny antennae jutting here and there. It jumps a little when it sees it's been spotted. "A guardian! What it sees, he knows!"

"Then he knows he's about to have a very bad day." Rodimus levels his gun on the floating sphere -- finally! something he can shoot! -- and fires. Important points like 'using the sphere to track him' and 'giving warning' don't really matter, obviously, since they've already been spotted, right? Right.

Gearstrip flips into her vehicle mode, dropping wheels first on the ground and starting forward in the direction he pointed. "That means back the way that thing came from, right?" she calls out as she wheels across the floor.

"I require greater focus," Soundwave intones. Good thing he doesn't express emotion to thus let on how distressed he is at what he finds - or rather what he doesn't. "Asking you would only prove to entertain your madness," Soundwave says to Connexion as he transforms, in Blast Off's direction. He has nothing more to say as he converts to a tiny cassette player.

Ravage returns rather quickly. "Found the way," he boasts. As he sees Rodimus shoot, his red optics light up and his hip guns appear, just like that! He shoots at that orb thing too! Attack cat attacks too!

Great. Brainstorm steps backwards, placing himself closer to the exist, and his more combat ready teammates between himself, and the potentially more dangerous side of the room -- the one without the exit. Here we go again.

Tailgate jumps when he looks after where Connexion points, at about the same time the orb startles upon being noticed. Oh. "That sounds about right." Despite his limp and the bother of lingering pain, Tailgate makes a small fist at his side. When Ravage appears to tell them the news, he steps after Gearstrip, lagging a little. "Follow Ravage!"

Blast Off frowns under his faceplate at Rodimus, but leaves it at that. Autobots never listen to him, nor make much sense anyway. Siigh. Life is unfair. Shaking his head, he goes back to scanning the room- and sees this *sphere* appear. His gun whips up but Rodimus shoots first. Blast Off follows with another gunshot just in case. That done, he looks around just in time to see Soundwave transform and reaches to grab him should the other Con fly to his hand, intending to carry him along should he desire it.

Soundwave does desire it, Blast Off.

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

<FS3> Blast_Off rolls Firearms: Good Success. (5 8 4 3 8 4 4 2 6 4 1 5 3 3 8 1)

<FS3> Soundwave rolls Reaction: Good Success. (8 7 4)

Shot through from three different directions, the beholder explodes, and its parts crash to the ground. It will no longer be sending any sensor data to its master.

Unfortunately, its dispatching is too late. The wide pair of doors identified by Ravage as the way forward open up, and from behind them emerges a very large, bipedal, slavering robotic form. Round yellow optics bulge over a toothy maw, and claws at the ends of its long arms scrape the floor as it thrumps forward. It surveys the intruders with a manic gaze, lets out a roar and swipes at Rodimus!

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Beast=7 Vs Rodimus=body+unarmed

< Beast: Success (7 3 3 6 5 2 6 6 1) Rodimus: Good Success (2 6 4 3 8 1 7)

< Net Result: Rodimus wins - Marginal Victory

Brainstorm does not usually hate being right as much as he has on this trip. Usually he loves it! Today? Not so much. First, the part about the trap, then the guess about this being some weirdo's lab, even if it wasn't his first choice, and now this. If anyone wants him, he'll be over there, behind all the fighting.

Considering that Blast Off and Ravage both got off a better shot than he did, Rodimus has no business going, "Yeah! That's how we roll!" like the victory was all his. And yet--.

When Tailgate encourages them to follow Ravage, Rodimus exchanges a look with Loyal Autobot Brainstorm all 'can you BELIEVE we are following RAVAGE on PURPOSE'. He's much happier when the doors open, revealing a monstrous beast. That's attacking him.

"Awesome." Rodimus meets this challenge with a wild grin, charging into the swipe to slide in just underneath the clawed reach. He drops to his knees, skidding beneath the beast's arm with sparks scraping off the ground under his legs and from the graze of the beast's claws as they graze his shoulder. Rodimus retaliates with a jab at an unguarded joint beneath the swipe of the arm, then rolls off to the side so that he can bounce to his feet and get some distance.

"Yeek!" Gearstrip yelps, wheels screeching to a halt. Then she launches herself from the ground in the firing of her antigrav thrusters, and, flying through the air, hurtles herself upward to try and buzz around the monstrous beast's head and give it a sock in the eye. "Get off, big and ugly!" she yells on a sudden rush of berserker adrenaline that has more to do with forward momentum than with ... any kind of true berserker. Beneath the adrenaline is a wild and wondering panic to the tune of wait how is this my life. She may yield to that any minute now.

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Gearstrip=unarmed Vs Beast=6

< Gearstrip: Failure (4 4 2 1) Beast: Success (1 1 5 2 8 6 5 6)

< Net Result: Beast wins - Marginal Victory

Being in the thick of it is something Ravage is used to, though admittedly he is far more comfortable slinking about in shadows. The beast charges past him, he backsteps out of the way, and when the time is right (and the angles so he won't get shot) he lunges to bite and claw at an ankle of the thing.

Meanwhile, Soundwave beepoops to himself as he scans for this Animus character.

Tailgate can't help it. He lets out a tiny shriek when that THING comes through the door. He can't do anything drastic like leap after CRAZY CAMIEN BERSERKERS, but what he can do is whip out his slingshot and shoot at its knee opposite of where Ravage gnaws at ankle.

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Tailgate=Firearms+Deadeye Vs Beast=6

< Tailgate: Success (4 1 1 7 5) Beast: Good Success (7 3 6 5 4 7 2 6)

< Net Result: Beast wins - Marginal Victory

OH GOOD! More targets! A nice big fat one, no less!!! As the thing swipes at Rodimus, Blast Off takes a side step to ensure he is not in the attacker's path as well as positioning so as not to actually shoot Rodimus. He waits for an opportunity, then fires off a shot. He does this all one-handed, too, because he's just cool that way. Meanwhile, he holds Soundwave in cassette form in the other hand, trying to keep the ride steady enough- and clear enough to do what he needs to do.

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Blast Off=Firearms Vs Beast=6

< Blast_Off: Good Success (7 2 5 6 8 5 4 2 5 2 5 2 7 1 2 1) Beast: Good Success (2 8 4 4 6 7 4 6)

< Net Result: Blast_Off wins - Marginal Victory

The swipe at Rodimus misses, and the creature is confused as it feels a sharp strike to its underarm. It sees Gearstrip coming and jerks its head to fend her off. It feels Tailgate's slingshot hit its knee but isn't bothered much; in contrast, Ravage latching onto the same leg bothers it much more. It sweeps its leg as it turns sideways, trying to get that thing off. Fencer has managed to sneak around, perhaps taking a page from Ravage's playbook, and gotten in a solid slash of his own. Finally, Blast Off's good shot nails it in the shoulder, and it's that last offense that it decides to address. It lunges toward the shuttle, jaws wide open to bite!

While the fracas has been going on, Connexion has sidled over to an innocuous-looking cabinet and opened it. He beckons to Brainstorm, Ammo, and Slapdash. "You! Here. They keep explosives here. Help me find something to use on that thing."

As Blast Off draws the beast's attention, Rodimus is free to take his sweet time lining up a shot very carefully-- okay, no, just kidding. Decepticon or not, Blast Off is crew. Rodimus is as quick on the draw as anyone could wish: he lines up a shot and fires, advancing to be sure he's in no danger of pegging one of the tinies with friendly fire. "Big and ugly, huh? Keep it up, you guys! Let's make it dead and ugly!"

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Rodimus=firearms Vs Beast=6

< Rodimus: Great Success (3 1 7 7 2 4 5 8 8 3 1) Beast: Good Success (7 3 8 1 2 7 5 1)

< Net Result: Rodimus wins - Marginal Victory

It's easy to miss Gearstrip -- she goes flying off at an angle and only brakes when she's well beyond reach. "Aaaaah!" she yells. "Aaaah! Too big! Too ugly!"

"Gearstrip! Careful!" Because worrying about someone else totally makes sense right now. "Hey, slobberpuss!" Tailgate prefaces his next slingshot bullet at the toothy monster with a taunt, and he aims at the creature's broadside when it lunges after others.

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Tailgate=Firearms+Deadeye Vs Beast=6

< Tailgate: Success (2 7 3 2 4) Beast: Good Success (5 3 8 7 7 1 4 2)

< Net Result: Beast wins - Solid Victory

"Coming!"As interesting as it is watching the other Lost Lighters bash the monster of the week, Brainstorm reacts to Connexion's quite promptly. Now he has an excuse for not fighting! Scampering over to their rescuee's side, the engineer peers over his shoulder at the cabinet.

Ravage is not a thing! But off he gets as he is swiped at. "Rude," he growls, judgingly. He darts further away, waiting for an opening to pounce. He'd rather let this Fender-Fencer-whatever get swatted.

Soundwave has found enough of what he was looking for. He unfolds, transforming out of Blast Off's hand - because he doesn't want to get mashed either! Though, maybe he can draw its ire. "Enough," he states to the beast. Without lifting a finger he directs a sonic barrage of scrambled static garble at the things face. It was confused with missing Rodimus? He aims to see what it does with this.

This has been going pretty well- up until the thing lunges at HIM. Nope, nope, none of that up close and personal slag. Blast Off is just raising his weapon to fire again when the thing comes at him, and he immediately jerks back, twisting as he tries to leap to the side and keep a grip on Soundwave at the same time. But Soundwave has other plans, and he lets the other Con move away. It frees him to dodge even more freely, and he tries to saumersault away.

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Beast=7 Vs Blast Off=Reaction+Reaction

< Beast: Failure (4 4 3 6 2 1 6 6 4) Blast_Off: Success (8 1 5 2 1 3 3 5)

< Net Result: Blast_Off wins - Marginal Victory

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Soundwave=mind Vs Beast=6

< Soundwave: Success (4 5 1 8) Beast: Success (5 6 1 1 5 8 4 2)

< Net Result: DRAW

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Soundwave=mind+being Quiet Vs Beast=6

< Soundwave: Success (6 4 3 1 4 8 5 3) Beast: Success (5 1 4 3 8 5 4 3)

< Net Result: DRAW

The bots root through the cabinet, and finally Ammo spots a small cache of incendiary grenades. "Score!" he exults as he hauls out the box of them. Slapdash counts out three grenades - oh well - and grabs one for himself. Ammo of course snatches one too. Connexion looks at Brainstorm: "Take it. My rotators aren't what they used to be!"

The monstrosity endures more attacks, from Rodimus shooting his back (which hurts!) to Soundwave's sonic barrage (which annoys) to Tailgate's shot (which might actually feel good, somehow). Not only that, but it misses another interloper! Aggravated, it belts out another roar and transforms!

Oddly enough, the result is a second beast form, this one feline in appearance, with four clawed paws, a mane of spikes, and a large horn blade between its searing optics. Time for Round 2. With a low, thrumming growl, it charges at Soundwave!

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Beast=8 Vs Soundwave=reaction+deception

< Beast: Good Success (6 8 4 6 4 7 3 3 6 6) Soundwave: Success (5 3 2 3 4 7 5 4 2)

< Net Result: Beast wins - Marginal Victory

"Oh. Yes. Of course. Bigger and uglier." No offense, Ravage. "Why not!" Rodimus circles, moving to help Blast Off to his feet as he comes out of his dodge. "Maybe no one told it that bigger and uglier just means you go down harder and faster! You're not the ugliest thing we've taken down!" But it comes awful close. "Focus on the joints! Immobilize it, then take it apart, guys!"

Brainstorm blinks a the grenade. On one hand, he has aboslutely no desire to actually use it. On the other hand, simply saying no would probably not look too good. What to do, what to do. "I'd love to, but you're the one who was kept locked up here against your will" turning to Conexicon, he holds the explosive out to him "You should get a shot at that thing too!" he gives the older bot an encouraging look. Come on, old timer, you can do it! Please! Having to pass this thing on a second time would look kinda bad!

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

Soundwave is ready. After his last attack he figured should the beast survive that it would come for him. He braces himself, but the things transformation was unexpected, and thus he tries to adjust. He turns his side, trying to mask his intentions until the last moment. As the beast closes in on him, Soundwave means to grab it about the neck and twist... so that its head will be lined up with his shoulder cannon. He opens fire with it. He knows he is open to mane and spike and teeth and claws, but maybe that will buy an opening that Rodimus calls for that someone can exploit.

Wheeling in midair now that she's gotten her bearings again, Gearstrip hollers, "You bet, sir!" and sails back on a new burst of thruster power to try and bash the beastie in one of its joints, ready and raring to go. At least she's quick enough that she can probably get in and out fast, even if her strength and size are such that it won't be that impressive.

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Gearstrip=unarmed+2 Vs Beast=7

< Gearstrip: Good Success (1 7 2 4 7 4) Beast: Success (5 5 6 4 3 2 6 8 5)

< Net Result: Gearstrip wins - Marginal Victory

Blast Off escapes the thing only to see Rodimus trying to help him up. This garners a blank stare from the Combaticon. No touchy. The shuttleformer doesn't accept the help, pushing up on his own accord. Sorry Rodimus, got that whole aloof and distant thing going on. However, telling him to shoot something is more enthusiastically received. "Understood." He charges across the room, firing as he goes, aiming for the enemy's joints.

"What in the world?" Tailgate shouts, as much as exclaims. The beast has him backing up to reconsider where to shoot this time, his concentration heightening as Rodimus shouts instructions. "Gotcha!" He hoists his slingshot again and narrows one optic to draw a bead on the beast's rear leg.

<FS3> Tailgate rolls Deadeye: Success. (1 1 8 6 1 3 3)

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Blast Off=Firearms Vs Beast=6

< Blast_Off: Great Success (7 7 8 4 2 7 3 6 5 5 6 2 6 4 2 4) Beast: Success (6 4 4 7 3 3 5 1)

< Net Result: Blast_Off wins - Solid Victory

<FS3> Tailgate rolls Firearms+Reaction+2: Success. (6 6 8 6 1 4 1)

<FS3> Tailgate rolls Firearms+2 Vs Beast=7: Success. (5 8 5 6 2)

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Tailgate=Firearms+2 Vs Beast=7

< Tailgate: Good Success (5 2 7 7 5 1 1) Beast: Success (5 3 3 3 4 5 7 5 6)

< Net Result: Tailgate wins - Marginal Victory

<FS3> Tailgate rolls Deadeye: Good Success. (1 7 6 8 4 5 8)

Thanks in part to inspiration from their captain, the team collectively does an effective job of hobbling the joints of the beast. Gearstrip fouls up a front knee, Blast Off blows out a rear knee, and Tailgate drills through the center of the other rear knee. The strikes ruin the beast's charge on Soundwave for the most part; while it doesn't impale the Decepticon as desired, it does scrape him up pretty well with its mane. The shots from Soundwave's shoulder cannon splinter up that side of the mane, but otherwise don't cause much more damage.

Slapdash doesn't waste any time throwing his grenade, but it strikes the beast's hindquarters with little effectiveness. Connexion hesitates to take the last grenade; his arms are really only good for working a steering wheel these days! Ammo seizes the chance and grabs the last grenade and lobs it and his other one; they land on the creature's midsection, bursting into flames.

The creature is almost completely immobilized and also on fire, but it still has a little more fight in it. Its frightful gaze settles on Soundwave, still nearby, and goes in for one more bite.

When the beast sets its sights on Soundwave again, Rodimus makes the most disgusted noise in the world -- and rather than a shot, he moves to help pull Soundwave out of range of that last bite. He trusts the rest of his crew will take care of the monster; he takes care of his crew.

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Beast=6 Vs Soundwave=reaction+2+hacking

< Beast: Failure (3 3 3 3 5 6 5 2) Soundwave: Good Success (4 6 1 3 6 5 3 1 2 5 8 1 7 2)

< Net Result: Soundwave wins - Solid Victory

Soundwave is scratched up, sure, but he is still functional. For a Decepticon that means the fight is still on! So his captain might grab him to pull free, but the Con in him looks to get in a parting cheap shot. A punch right in that eye he missed shooting out. Of course he does that void of emotion, right?

Well, that works too, so long as Brainstorm doesn't have to throw it himself. "Hey, nice shot" he observes as the grenade lights the beast up "Aand it's still fighting." Honestly? Not too surprising, with all the things they keep running in to.

"Yeah! Take that!" Gearstrip hollers enthusiastically, and flips in midair as the scooter to again fling herself at the beast's face, to try to jab it in the eye from beneath. She has to veer a little wildly in the process to avoid the crackle and lick of the flames. "Whoop-- fire is hot!"

Blast Off looks over as Soundwave doesn't quite show the dexterity he just did. The Combaticon takes a step towards the Decepticon leader, taking careful aim (to make sure he doesn't accidentally hit Soundwave- oh and the other people too) before firing at the other knee.

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Gearstrip=unarmed+2 Vs Beast=5

< Gearstrip: Success (6 4 8 5 4 1) Beast: Good Success (1 4 1 8 8 8 1)

< Net Result: Beast wins - Solid Victory

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Blast Off=Firearms Vs Beast=6

< Blast_Off: Great Success (5 1 6 6 1 6 7 8 5 2 3 7 7 4 3 8) Beast: Great Success (7 8 3 6 7 6 6 8)

< Net Result: Blast_Off wins - Marginal Victory

It's only a few away from getting taken down, and that surely helps Tailgate's morale. He levels another shot at the beast's side this time, aiming for the flames on its metal hide.

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Tailgate=Firearms+2 Vs Beast=5

< Tailgate: Success (5 7 1 3 2 5 6) Beast: Good Success (5 3 5 8 2 8 5)

< Net Result: Beast wins - Marginal Victory

<FS3> Tailgate rolls Deadeye: Failure. (4 5 6 5 4 2 3)

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Blast Off=Firearms Vs Beast=5

< Blast_Off: Good Success (6 3 4 3 5 5 4 1 5 7 4 7 2 8 6 5) Beast: Good Success (3 1 8 6 4 7 4)

< Net Result: Blast_Off wins - Marginal Victory

The final round of attacks - most notably Soundwave's utterly stoic eye jab - finish off the beast. Utterly defeated, with a final whine it slumps into a heap, and the whirring of its internal mechanisms spin down as its other intact optic mercifully fades to darkness. The flames from the grenade impacts continue to flicker and crackle across its carapace.

From somewhere in the heights of the chamber, a sinister voice speaks. "My minions! The final ceremony is about to begin! Gather in the ceremonial chamber!"

"Oh, no," Connexion mutters. "We are nearly out of time. We must go through the doors to the ceremonial chamber, and stop him!" He pauses to think for a moment, and then says, "But first, first." Connexion peers around just inside the doorway. "From my cell I have seen the Storms enter a room near here and come out looking much more powerful ... ah! Here!" He beckons the Lost Lighters inside a side room just inside the doorway.

An ornate bar is set up along one wall. Connexion roots around behind it and finds a round flask filled with energon and smoking at the top. "Just as I suspected!" He picks it up and swishes its contents around. "Time for medicine! Drink this, all of you!"

"Nice," Rodimus compliments Soundwave. He's distracted enough by the fact that it was nice that he doesn't even remember to inject a note of sarcasm. He is entirely minus a sneer.

Evil Voices from Above draw Rodimus's attention up, and then with a snarl he turns. "Gonna scrap that nutjob--." He follows Connexion, but whatever he expected, that wasn't it. From the way he's braced to attack, he was kind of expecting, oh, you know -- the ceremonial chamber. Probably he wasn't listening to what Connexion said. "What's in the flask, bud? Magic potion?"

Soundwave is scratched, and worse than that, recently manhandled by Rodimus. Thus he is a mix of 'ew, no' and 'come this far already'. His visor settles on Connexion as he concludes, "Madness." Just as he decided earlier. He has millions of years of deferring first sip of any such thing to a superior officer.

Blast Off watches with satisfaction as the beast is felled, pausing to reload his blaster -just in case- before standing straight and rolling his shoulders to vent steam. "Well. That's that." He looks up and around. "For the moment at least." There's always something else.

And that something else is... Connexion? Blast Off just stands there and stares at this concoction he is offered. "You... have to be kidding me." He glances to Soundwave. "I'm not drinking that."

Finally! With the fighting over, Brainstorm moves in a bit closer to peer at their vanquished foe. He doesn't stare at it for too long, however, as Connexion brings out something a bit more interesting. "More powerful, huh?" there's definitely an interested look in his optics, though its not one of someone who wants a drink "Leave some for me at the bottom he requests.

"Minions? Really?" Tailgate looks up. Really. He follows the others following Connexion, and for a moment he seems just as skeptical as the rest of them. They have yet to find Animus, and Tailgate has fought those bots firsthand that have supposedly partaken in what Connexion offers them. It's a bit like a fairy tale story, isn't it? Only one way to really find out if he's a good wizard or a bad one. "I'll do it, if nobody else will."

Gearstrip -- back in root mode after the vanquishment of the great beast -- bites down on her lower lip. Looking a little worried and uncertain, especially in light of okay that stuff is smoking and who is this guy again, and wait, she goes: "I'll do it if you're doing it," which goes to show so much about her internal compass.

While several in the party demur on drinking the mysterious concoction, Connexion finds cups and pours out a portion for each bot present, including one for himself, which he picks up.

He growls in approval at Tailgate and Gearstrip, then he leans in to Rodimus and answers, "Huge buzz!" He takes a sip from his cup with an eager tremble, then lowers it and looks around and the others. "Still no trust! I give you information, I point the way, I find grenades to help destroy the beast!" He sips again. "There, I have had some. Now you. See things no one else can see. Do things no one else can do."

The brew tastes normal enough, but leaves those who partake with a very positive attitude about this, and makes them feel kind of invincible! All rolls in the next scene start with a +1 modifier!

Well, if TAILGATE is going to do it--. Rodimus says, "Sure, why not." He reaches for the drink to throw it back like a shot. Give him that buzz!!

When Rodimus lowers the empty glass, and he isn't dead, he asides in Soundwave's direction: "Before you get your hopes up, remember: if I die, you might be in charge here, but you'll still have to explain when you get back to the ship." It's an acknowledgment, of sorts, of Soundwave's rank. He does follow after Rodimus in the chain-of-command of those here. It's just not something he tends to be really thrilled with, so he doesn't bring it up all that often. Despite that, he grins. Like a guy with a very positive attitude.

"Understood," Soundwave answers as he eyes his glass still uncertain. "I can think of four valid ones," he asides back.

Over by the doors the beast came from... Ravage huffs in true Blast Off style. "Any time you all want to get to it then, I guess," he alouds as he just... lays down and waits for everyone else to catch up.

Blast Off is just watching all of this VERY dubiously. He still makes no move to drink it, but watches the others who do, to see what happens to them. He'll see how they react before even considering drinking any of the strange brew himself. Which seems... very unlikely. Ravage huffing over there does get a look though- and a nod. One huffing bot to another.

Brainstorm does take the cup offered, but he does not drink. Instead, he reaches for the flask, pouring his portion back in it. Then, after a brief glance about the group to verrify that everyone who wanted a drink got it, he proceeds to return the remaining portions back to the flask as well. The flask itself promptly disapears under his chest plate.

There's no instant death, and the strange ex-prisoner tastes it first-- he wouldn't if it were poison. Tailgate takes mild glee in Rodimus kind of stepping up after he does, and when he puts down the drink there's a faint brightness that settles in on his blue visor. "Ooh." He takes it in for a moment, voice grinning. "I'm so ready for this." Injury aside, of course.

Gearstrip follows suit, knocking most of the drink back all at once, and she grins, drawing down her goggles to resettle over her bright gaze. "Yeah," she says. "Let's do it!"

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