2016-01-14 Send In The Clowns

From Transformers: Lost and Found

Send In The Clowns
Date 2016/01/15
Location Scira
Participants Drift, Knock Out, Skystalker, Ultra Magnus
Plot Arena
Scene GM Sao
Summary The cavalry is working on it.

The city exists on variegated levels, each rimmed in a different hue of light, from brilliant white, to a pale pink, to a brilliant red light, to finally the rich amethyst cast of the highest level. Each street is peopled with dozens of species. Shops and businesses cluster together in limited space, vying for attention in neons and flourescents. Small craft flit between the levels.

WITH ONE EXCEPTION, no one in this away team is particularly stealthy. Strong: yes. Speedy: yes. Sassy: also yes. Stealthy? Not ... really.

Each has, however, been outfitted with a belt that temporarily obscures their energy signatures from a particular kind of scanner, because a little pressure applied to a few witnesses in the white district revealed that it was Cybertronian energy grouped en masse in the white district that drew the attention of the arena hunters, and brought up the first group of abductees on camera.

It's possible that it would have been wiser for some more of the command crew to remain behind with the ship, with so many already out of action. Nobody is answering to wisdom at the moment.

The district of the city where the arena may be found is lit in a gentle glow of blue, and even though far above the city the sky is black with night and spotted with stars, it's hard to tell that it isn't daylight with the constant light of the dense city. The noise level isn't so much reduced on this level as it is different. There are wide spaces between businesses where people park vehicles. Signage is more expensive and frequently holographic. Finding the arena isn't hard in and of itself; there are ads for it everywhere, some featuring splash color images or brief videos of recent battles -- some of which, although not all, even involve people they know.

What has been more difficult is getting information about how, potentially, to get into, not the customer side of the arena, but the rest of it, where damage done might actually accomplish something. At least they have a lead, though. Ultra Magnus has a map of the blue district that he is currently poring over (like a tourist). He got it from a security guard who got it from Swindle who got it from someplace that Ultra Magnus did not inquire too closely about.

"You know, for a planet that randomly abducts Cybertronians, it isn't that bad," Knock out says, gleaming in the bath of shifting neon lights that tend to bring out the sharp beauty of his angles. Why is he even here. (He is probably here in case anyone is dying when they find them.)

Drift looks a little on edge as the group makes their way through the district. He tries not to let his gaze linger on the advertisments for Crazy Eight's fights but it's hard not to when he keeps seeing people he knows in them. "Yeah, I'm sure it's great if you can get past the whole trafficking thing."

When command approached him about a mission to the surface of Scira, Skystalker was appropriately cagey about his conditions on going; there are very few who know about his past, and none of them here. Scira is not a planet that he trusts-- which is only for the benefit of everyone, isn't it? He has not been taking the incident well, at least in private-- to most everyone thusfar he has seemed forced, aloof, maybe cold-- but he has to be.

A figure of curves and fluid lines that reflects back the neon of the upper district, the golden hues of Skystalker's body armor flicker back the orange of one arena ad, the blacks of his outer shell colder against the yellow of a decorative streetlamp. "Up here, maybe." Skystalker doesn't say much, but when he does it filters out in a calm smoulder to Knock Out, amber eyes moving to Drift's back when he speaks. Exactly that.

Ultra Magnus glares at his map like he might be about to crack it between his massive hands, but he doesn't. He says quietly, "This place is terrible. One of these alleys has to get behind this pit of iniquity." Most people don't try to use iniquity in a casual sentence, and then there's Ultra Magnus. He offers it up to Skystalker. "Is this anything like scouting in space?" he says with a flat edge to the tense inquiry. He glances between Drift and Knock Out. "I have not been to a wide range of planets that randomly abduct Cybertronians and I would prefer not to have such a category to judge between."

Knock Out shoots Skystalker a dirty look. It's unclear what the reason for this look is exactly, but what /is/ clear is that he hasn't taken to the dark-hued stealth fighter jet with his pretty pretty paint and his dumb amber eyes. Ugh. He looks over at Ultra Magnus and snorts. "Did you just say 'iniquity?'"

"There has to be another way in, I doubt this guy brings prisoners in through the front door," Drift says, finally pulling his optics away from an advertisment that shows a three-second clip of Rodimus taking down some blipping monster. "Skystalker, you should get airborne and see if you can spot anything from up there. Who knows how often they bring people in, maybe you can spot them in the act and we'll have some idea of how to get in."

Oh, is that a serious question? Skystalker raises his fine brow to Magnus when the map is offered, and a cursory inspection of it comes with a note of pursing at his mouth. "If you mean flying into the black of an unmappable abyss-- yes." It's difficult to map unknonwn space, let's face it. He draws a slender thumb along one side of the map, panning it along to find a new portion and pointing out a couple spots that he thinks may be helpful.

"They may have a storehouse elsewhere, if not under the arena." Words careful, Skystalker tips his head up to the sky, obscured by neon light. "I'll get above the light pollution easily enough. I can follow from above, then." The starfighter does not linger long after he says this, slipping into his altmode in a blur of mercury, moving up out of the district and spiraling into the air.

Skystalker's pass through the air gives a better angle on the interlace of streets and tunnels, and one of the snakey back alleyways coils serpentine behind one of the shops that the group is near to eventually dip and wind its way through the warren of the district to curve behind the arena.

Magnus studies what Skystalker has shown him on the map and sighs a little. "Very well," he says. "This way. Skystalker may be able to direct us." He starts striding forward, although he also asks blandly, "Did you have a concern, Knock Out?"

"Woah." Drift watches Skystalker take off into the air. "That guy is pretty cool." And so alluring! "So, do we have a plan for once we actually get in or are we doing some on the fly strategy?"

"Hardly," Knock Out purrs in reply to Ultra Magnus. "Simply noting your exemplary vocabulary." He frowns at Drift. Ugh. Skystalker is not cool!

The ship above is silent when he passes overhead, starlit above and warmed into shadow from below. He melts into the night sky, skimming along the paths of the district. Skystalker is determined to shake the sinking feeling in his spark, brought on by the sight of the twisty warren and the reason he's here; it's time to focus. There is a fresh murmur of confirmation into their comms. "There's an upscale pawn shop coming up on your right. Get behind it and keep on."

"I believe that depends on what we find," Ultra Magnus answers. Following Skystalker's instructions, he begins following the dark-shaded twist of not-quite-road. The flashes of bright blue lighting from the neon intersperse the dark shading of the alleyway. There are even spaces where the Cybertronians have to move single file to avoid being sandwiched into the walls.

As they near the broad bulk of the arena's globe and the sunken structure beneath it, it's difficult to find anything that resembles a door. The smooth wall they approach seems, at first, endless.

Drift follows Skystalker's directions and for a while he feels like they're really progressing. Here comes the rescue team! Nothing can stop them! Except maybe a wall. "Oh, what the hell?" Drift starts patting on the wall with his hands as if there was some kind of secret door just waiting to be discovered.

"Well," Knock Out says, considering, as they slide along the unbroken wall. "I suppose selecting random areas to explode is not the most productive method of search."

Skystalker follows the trail of his fellows from above, skimming the horizon and the city skyline before descending far enough that he can move back into root mode and inch down between buildings, landing on one knee behind the others. "What's the--" Holdup? Skystalker tips his head at the expanse of wall, the edges of his head plating lifting slightly around his skull. A subtle confusion, repeated in the downward dip of the wings at his back.

The only break in the smoothness of the surface as they walk along the smooth edge of wall is the broad dip of a slatted vent. It represents an opening too small for anyone here. There's really no reason for Ultra Magnus to stop short and stare at it, arrested and blank-faced.

Drift eventually spots the vent and gives it a long look before sloooowly turning his head to stare at Ultra Magnus. Judging by the blank expression on his face, Ultra Magnus is probably thinking the same thing he is. "I think we've found our entrance point."

Knock Out scoffs, looking down at it. "Who do you think is fitting in there?"

He's actually probably looking up at it but I didn't make that clear so carry on.

Skystalker edges forward, swaying on his feet and clicking his lifted heels against the ground. He ends up staring after Ultra Magnus staring at the vent in the wall, then at Knock Out. "I'm not //that// stealthy." It's a little dry, his humor.

"No one watch." Ultra Magnus snaps this order as if anyone is actually going to obey it. "--Can one of you get that open?" There's a moment extended quiet and a soft, clicking clanky noise, but it's actually difficult to watch the process directly, hard to really notice the moment when the tiniest version of Minimus Ambus, his rootest root mode, emerges from the shadowed depth of the armor. (There's so many attention deflectors built along the interior that it's hard to pay attention when it opens up.)

Standing there once he has climbed out of the armor, he is, if not the slimmest minibot on the ship, very close to it -- a slight figure of green and white, serious-faced and mustachio'd.

<FS3> Drift rolls Swordplay: Good Success. (2 6 3 6 3 6 3 3 1 2 8 7 8 2)

Drift is respectful enough to honour Ultra Magnus' order, turning around and looking the other way, but he can't help but peek over his shoulder a few times. "Yeah, I can get it open." He pulls out one of his swords and makes quick work of the vent, slicing it open with a single swipe of his blade.

"Feeling shy?" Knock Out wonders and absolutely does not look away. Look, this is -- of medical interest. Okay. It's official. "My word," he murmurs when the green minibot steps out. That doesn't get old.

Skystalker has manners! He doesn't watch Ultra Magnus get undressed. That would be //so// rude. He averts his gaze to their rear instead, shoulders angled to double check the path. When Drift's sword slices, Sky looks back to them all; sorry, Minimus, he's staring over you with those luminous eyes. Knock Out's right, I mean, come on.

Minimus Ambus looks distinctly flustered as he finds himself subject to all of this attention. "Stop that," he says, shifting from foot to (tiny) foot. What are they supposed to stop? He does not clarify. He flinches a little, shakes himself, and then glares around fairly decromatically before he says: "Now pick me up, I can't reach it." It's possible he's telling this to Drift, although it's a little hard to tell because he's glaring at the vent when he says it.

Knock Out says absolutely nothing at all. He definitely doesn't reach for Minimus Ambus to pick him up. He looks at Drift.

Skystalker stops staring when prompted. He looks away to Drift as well.

Drift has only seen Minimus Ambus once before and he couldn't stop himself from exclaiming how adorable he is. This is a faux pas he doesn't repeat no matter how difficult it is to comment on, especially when he requests to be picked up. He assumes Minimus is talking to to him but he hesitates, not wanting to appear weirdly excited about the rare opportunity to pick up smol Magnus but then everyone stares staring at him and he starts feeling incredbly awkward.

"Uh, right." He reaches down to pick up Minimus, trying to figure out the most diginified way to do this before just grabbing him under the arms and hefting him up. "Can you reach it?"

This isn't awkward at all.

Ha ha. Ha.

Minimus Ambus holds himself carefully still in the grip of Drift's hands as he hefts him up. He reaches for the vent with both hands. "Drift, can't you get me any higher-- there." He grips the top of the vent and then hauls, crawling inside it in a clattering banging slip and slide. He peeks back over his shoulder and says, "I'll find a way to get us all in."

Then he scrambles on through into the vents, disappearing into the gloom.

Knock Out lifts his hand to literally cover his mouth. He is working very, very hard on the not saying anything.

As they watch Minimus haul himself up into the ventilation, Skystalker brings the back of his knuckles to his mouth, attempting to hide a tiny smile that he stifles promptly when the bot looks back out to them. Nothing to see here. "Good luck."

"Be careful," Drift tells Minimus as he disappears into the vent. He turns back to look at Skystalker and Knock Out and silently appreciates their amazing ability to not comment on what just happened. "I guess we just wait then?"

Some time passes. Ultra Magnus stands as a weird empty shell beside them. When the radio crackles to life again with Minimus's voice, there's a fuzz of electromagnetic interference that makes him a little staticky and hard to understand. << The doors are inset and concealed into the sides, invisible from the outside. Keep going. There's a concealed entrance. There's some aliens I don't recognize unloading some lizard creatures. I think I can get the door open with a manual override if you can subdue them, and then we'll all be in. >>

"I suppose we must," Knock Out says on a long, dramatic sigh. ALAS. WAITING. Eventually they receive word, though, and word is that they'll be taking care of some lizards. "This is really more Breakdown's department," he says in half-complaint, but starts sneaking his way along the wall.

Skystalker angles around outside the building to try and get better reception, eyes drawn to the Magnus armor and away again-- yes, it's weird. "A good a plan as any." He moves into line along the wall, his stealth mode a cloak that melts the mech into the world around him. Not a one trick pony, he tucks one hand back, ready to draw from his subspace.

Waiting sucks and it's not long before Drift starts getting antsy but thankfully word gets back to them and the group departs along the wall. "It's fine," he tells Knock Out, already unsheathing one of his swords. "We've got this." He nods at Skystalker and sneaks in closer to the guards only to leap out from his cover to attack the closest shady looking alien. Subdue in this case means Drift takes his blade to they're knee and then punch them as hard as he possibly can in the face to knock them out.

Minimus triggers the door to open. The guards are solid, stocky mechanoids, four of them currently involved in attempting to wrangle two large bronze-purple desert lizards out of a floatvan. They're thrashing their tails around and snapping their teeth, untamed and unhappy about their present predicament, but they have leashes on.

The guards barely have time to react to the door opening before Drift is upon them.

One of the lizards throws back its head and starts barking in fierce, reptilian alarm.

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Drift=melee Weapons+body Vs Guardmech=5 < Drift: Success (3 5 2 3 4 6 5 1 8 1 4 1 1) Guardmech: Failure (1 5 3 2 1) < Net Result: Drift wins - Marginal Victory

"Sorry? Was that -- you've got this? I'll just sit back, then." Knock Out rolls back on his heels and watches Drift leap into the fray. After a moment, though, he sighs and lifts his blaster. Okay fine.

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Knock Out=firearms+reaction Vs Guardmech=5 < Knock_out: Good Success (4 6 6 6 2 7 4 1 2 7) Guardmech: Failure (5 3 3 5 6) < Net Result: Knock_out wins - Solid Victory

Skystalker brings a rod into his palm as they move, and watches in stealth mode as Drift moves in like a madmech. Knock Out and Skystalker have more in common than the former would like, because he too pauses when Drift shows off his sword to the lizard wranglers. Oh, yes. Right. A flick of the wrist extends the ends of Skystalker's staff, and he moves in to sweep the legs out from under the nearest.

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

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Skystalker=melee Weapons+body+2 Vs Guardmech=5 < Skystalker: Great Success (1 7 7 2 2 4 1 6 7 8) Guardmech: Failure (1 6 5 4 3) < Net Result: Skystalker wins - Crushing Victory

What happens, in rapid succession, is that Drift knocks one of the guardmech's flat, Knock Out shoots one of them down with practiced and casual ease, and Skystalker smashes the third with an amazing and stylish crack of his staff as he emerges from the shadows. That leaves one lizard free, and the other finds itself free quickly because its mate has leapt onto the last remaining guard and crushed it under its weight.

The desert lizard waves its tail threateningly over its head, barking at the Cybertronians as it turns its head this way and that, trying to track all three of them at once.

Knock Out lowers his arm, looking bored, and looks to Drift again. "You do seem to have the most fun with this sort of thing."

Drift watches the guard go down and shoots Knock Out a grin. "There's nothing wrong with a little fun." Unless you're one of the guards who just got their asses knocked out. He turns his attention on the barking lizard and his movements become slow, not wanting to trigger the creature into attacking him as he'd really rather not have to kill it. "Let's get inside."

The staff in Skystalker's hand balances expertly as he comes to a stop. He looks down at the unconscious alien and then up to the lizards, plates flattening tightly into place as it barks at them. Gripping his stave in both hands, Skystalker backs away from the lizard's space before either of the others. "Right behind you."

When Drift slows down and doesn't move to attack the lizard, and Skystalker likewise gives it a wide berth, it begins edging around carefully towards flight toward the open door. Its mate finishes thrashing the hell out of the guard, and then looks up, hissing. Their goals seem in line with each other. Both lizards are scrambling, darting for the opening.

As they escape out into the wild -- or, er, into the wilds of the city -- the room falls to a quiet hush.

Crackling fuzz half-impeding his transmission, Minimus's radio contact comes in: << -- magnetic interference -- ... somewhere in the interior -- find the source --- electronics -- ... -- jamming device. If we ... -- and destroy it, we can -- contact with our people? >>

"Happy endings for all," Knock Out declares, watching the pair of lizards escape into the urban jungle. He considers the door. He looks at the others. (Well /he's/ not going first.)

"I hope they'll be okay out there." Because it's the animals Drift's worried about, not the people will probably get mauled by them at some point. Everyone on this planet kinda sucks anyway. "Alright, you heard him. Magnetic interference, let's find it and take it out." He poises his sword and leads the way inside.

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