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2016-04-20 Spiderwebs

From Transformers: Lost and Found

Spiderwebs
Date 2016/04/20
Location Eukaris
Participants Getaway, Quicksight, Skystalker
Summary The spiders here aren't so itsy-bitsy

It was daylight the last time anyone checked, but it's no longer clear that the sun is out. The branches of the tall trees completely block the sky, and mixing with the descending haze lend a greenish-grayish coloration to everything. The criss-cross of tree limbs and thick vines make flying effectively impossible.

There is no wind, just the slow descent of wet from above. It's not cold; in fact, it's uncomfortably warm and close. Sounds are muffled from the rampant humidity, although the squishy sounds from stepping in the grime are clearly heard with every step. Chirps and buzzes and croaks from nearby are hard to pinpoint.

The thick undergrowth makes it difficult to spread out, and there is no clear path; hacking away at vines and saplings and massive grasses is the only way to make progress. As if those obstacles weren't enough, broad spiderwebs decorate many of the spaces between the tree trunks.

One might think that Skystalker, with such an impeccable armor and handsome manner, would be extremely averse to getting dirty. That couldn't be further from the truth. While certain things may gross him out, the starfighter is more than prepared to hoof it through the jungle. His wings tucked close, he currently has his staff in one hand to act as a limb and vine deterrent, and a walking aid through any particularly sketchy patches of undergrowth.

There may have been a few moments where he gathered some samples, but true to form he tried to make it quick. Humidity clings to his frame in rivulets, his feet muddy with the dark soil of the forest.

Even with all the branches in the way, Quicksight is still rather tempted to take flight. Being grounded makes him rather uncomfortable. The air is where he has the advantage. On the ground, especially on this squishy, marshy ground that keeps sucking his feet in, not so much.

He doesn't for now, however. Oh, it's not that he's afraid he'll crash in to something -- he does this sorta thing for fun. It's all those webs. After getting one plastered all over his plating, and in to his vents one time, he's in no hurry to repeat the experience unless necessary. At least on foot, he can see them in time to cut through them. His tiny blades are quite useful for clearing out a path through this mess. Plus, this way he won't have to wait for his bigger companions to catch up.

Know what makes trekking through the jungles of Eukaris difficult? Aside from the massively long-barreled snippet rifle he carries. Getaway loks one way to Skystalker, the hippie plant-lover that to appease means being careful with every step. He looks to his other side where Quick shot is, who might be entertained with some organic-stomping. So, not like he can easily use this situation to win over one of them without upsetting the other. "I should have asked to go with the Combaticon," he mutters to himself.

Stopping before the next big spider web he comes across, Getaway takes an impromptu break. "So...," he says aloud. Not like their going is stealthy in any way, so why bother trying to be quiet about it. "Colonies, huh, boys? Who's have thought we'd find one this alien. Those colonists, having adapted to this environment, it's just wild ... literally!"

Up ahead, visible just beyond Getaway's spontaneous break spot, a boulder sits in a small clear patch. Tree branches form a low leafy dome over the area; not enough room to fly in, but enough to somewhat alleviate the claustrophobia, and let a mech stretch, perhaps get their bearings.

The boulder is surrounded by a surprisingly pleasant cluster of yellow flowers. They seem to glow in stark contrast to the surrounding gloom.

Offsetting this surprising pleasance are two other sights. First, the patch is populated by little black spiders, each about as big around as a Rodimus foot; eminently squishable. Second, a small, metallic orb atop the boulder, flecked with the darkened pink of dried energon, and trailing some short, torn cording from one end. It is probably looking at you, although it no longer sees.

Skystalker can manage some sort of quiet, relying mostly on methodical toe-steps through the brush like a glimmering deer. There is still the matter of pushing things out of his way, though. He is wrestling off a fallen vine when Getaway pauses; he tucks it around one wrist and lobs it off of his wingtips. Git.

"They are quite fetching, I think. It's a beautiful planet." Says the guy wth mud up to his shins. Skystalker pushes on a bit, using his staff to nudge the web up out of their path when they go toward the clearing. His optics catch the flowers first, of course, but once they take in the rest of the scene, Skystalker freezes at the edge of the jungle clearing. "Found the spiders."

"Beautiful is one word for it," Getaway agrees by way of disagreeing. He's like to label Eukaris in another way. Yet, he is aware that sounded cranky. Something about this colony has him way on edge... maybe it is the lack of metal? There hasn't been a single road yet. "What I mean is, it takes some getting used to. It sure ius different. In a very different way."

The boulder, and what is on it, draws his immediate attention. Flowers? What even are those and spiders? Gross. Getaway points to the discarded sphere with the barrel of his gun. "Quicksight, check that out." He is in charge here, right? That and he is okay with sacrificing the Con should it be a trap.

"Yeah, maybe you should have" Quicksight grumbles in return. He's not exactly pleased about Getaway's presence either, simply on the grounds that he's an Autobot. But what can you do but deal with it? At least his other partner is Skystalker.

While the other flyer is admiring the flowers, the scout scans the rest of the scene, spiders, orb and all. Unlike Getaway might expect, he doesn't rush in to squish the former. Though he has no great love for them, he's not going to go attack organics just for the sake of it. Especially not when they're so squishy and wet. He doesn't need more of that in his plating. They're pretty big compared to him anyways.

The sphere is what really catches his attention, even before Getaway points it out "I was just going to do that. And who made you the leader here, huh?" he does move towards it, however, shooting Getaway an irritated glare along the way.

Getaway is quite okay to explain himself! "Well, seeing as how I'm wearing the colors we fly under and have actual combat experience unlike..." Well, Skystalker. "I mean, it only makes the most sense that I am."

Skystalker just smiles over at Getaway for his comments on Eukaris. It's okay, you can hate it. He gives Quicksight a glance at the protest, but before he can ask too, the small Con is moving into the clearing. "Just the first one to say something? Mind your feet, Quicksight." He had a different explanation for the leadership role, clearly. "Getaway isn't wrong, though." Skystalker takes a few small paces into the clearing, edging on the vicinty of the spiders.

"Hey, I got combat experience too, and I don't see a Autobot insignia on the ship!" Quicksight snaps over his shoulder, audiably agrivated. All that's been going on lately, especially with Soundwave (or what he's heard of that case, anyways), he's been a bit more prone to factionalism than usual.

Another different thing about Eukaris is that here, the spiders find you. As Quicksight and Skystalker enter the tiny clearing, the black spiders scatter away in a scratchy, squishy rush. Later on, one might hypothesize that they don't do it because of the Lost Lighters.

There is a loud, staccato chattering from nearby, and immediately a giant arachnid drops in a silvery flash from its unseen perch in the tree dome. It latches onto Quicksight and begins whittling away at his shell with some of its bladed arms, while the rest - maybe four, it's bigger than the minibot - embrace him.

At the same time, a second large spider jumps Getaway from behind. Its legs pierce him, and a screech-hiss erupts from its fanged mouth as it seeks an attractive site for its first bite.

Skystalker is spared for the moment, but more chattering can be heard from all directions nearby.

Getaway shrugs to Quickshot's snapping. "Just going off what our captain told me, to my face. With your boss there to witness it. Lost Light is a ship operating under Autobot Code. Might not have the insignia but... well, our rules, well, rule. Guess that is another benefit to winning the war, huh?" He s all prepared to launch into a victory speech when it all goes to hell.

His first thought? 'Who will miss the Con?' This could be a great distraction to Gert Skystalker out of here.

But then he is jumpoed too! He tosses his large gun at SS. "Bat those things off Lippy and both of you get airborne!" A command! Him, he throws himself backwards wanting to meet ground with the bug between him and soil.

Quicksight lets out a yelp of surprise, stumbling forward as the spider drops down on him. Now this is a whole 'nother story. If the scout had no intention of harming the spiders before, now he'll be quite happy to do so. His attacker is not the only one with bladed arms. Pushing against the arachnid's grip, he slashes at the legs clinging to him, trying to throw it off, or at least give himself some more room to work with "Get offa me!"

The rush of spiders out of the clearing puts Skystalker on edge immediately; he knows what fear looks like. But is it them? The sounds he hears next say no. Suddenly, there are two, very ravenous spiders on his partners; he gets an eyeful of Quicksight's trouble first, having been a few steps into the clearing. His wingtips flare out, and the hum of his thrusters fires with a startled gust when he lifts off the forest floor slightly.

"Quicksight!--" Shit, Getaway too? As Skystalker turns, Getaway is firing out demands and tossing his gun aloft at him. The starfighter catches it in one arm, staff still in the other hand. This is not exactly the best idea, is it? Rather than use the firearm, Skystalker slings it up over his shoulder, the thrusters on his boots flaring to life and carrying him in towards Quicksight's attacker, staff-end first.

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Quicksight=Melee Weapons Vs Soldier H=6 < Quicksight: Good Success (4 2 7 2 7) Soldier H: Good Success (4 6 7 8 8 3) < Net Result: Soldier H wins - Marginal Victory

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Skystalker=Melee Weapons Vs Soldier H=6 < Skystalker: Failure (3 4 4 5 3 4 1 3) Soldier H: Good Success (2 8 6 1 8 8) < Net Result: Soldier H wins - Solid Victory

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Getaway=Body+Body Vs Soldier I=6 < Getaway: Success (6 6 7 5) Soldier I: Good Success (2 7 8 2 3 1) < Net Result: Soldier I wins - Marginal Victory

Quicksight slices at the spider, but the spider slices at Quicksight just a little bit more, especially at those wings that are sticking out. Flying out of here became that much more difficult, beyond still having a giant arachnid on top of you.

The impact of Skystalker's artful staff thrust is fully rebounded by the hard silicate carapace of that same spider. If Skystalker doesn't outright drop his staff, the reverberations from the impact will surely sting, making further use of his weapon of choice difficult. Shoulda gone with the gun.

Meanwhile, at the perimeter of the clearing, Getaway's suplex fails to dislodge his own new friend. The giant crawler sets his barbed legs in just that much deeper in thanks, and gives him a love nip on the arm.

The chattering increases in volume and closeness, and a third silicoid spider drops in on Skystalker, seeing how lonely he was. Further above, a large mass can be seen moving back and forth methodically, just beyond the inner surface of the dome. Biding its time, working, working.

"Use the gun, you i-...!" Getaway yells after Skystalker as he sees the sleek Nyonese Starfighter FAIL TO USE A PROPER WEAPON! "Neuts," he grumbles as trashes about with this thing on his back. Getaway doesn't cry out; he was built not to. "You two need to get to the sky, even out of this canopy! These dumb things don't have wings as *you do*," he 'reminds. "They're testing us, these are scouts, so you both need to *get gone*!" Oh, well, now his spider is sunk in deeper, great...

"Organics, you all hate loud sounds, right? Well," Getaway grumples as he transforms. If doing so clips off parts of hius attacker then GOOD! As soon as he is a car hy lays on his horn - both a good and bad thing. Maybe it will work, or it might just draw all attention to himself. Either way, that should free up the two softies to make an escape.

The longer he remains in the spider's clutches, the more frustrated Quicksight becomes. This is bad. He's not built to take a lot damage. His usual fighting style involves a lot of trying to not get hit, which is a bit difficult at the moment. He's not out of the game yet, however. His wings, now an extra layer of armour over his arms, absorb the damage, leaving him free to continue his attempts at freeing himself by means of his knives. Getaway's chatter is not helping "Gimme a moment here! Ngh! I said get off!"

Skystalker keeps hold of his staff, and barely manages to wedge it between himself and the spider that drops down on him from above. His wings flare and his thrusters burn hot at boots and back, spitting hotly before he goes to shift into his altmode underneath of the dropping spider's legs. Maybe not 'get gone', but Skystalker definitely has a plan B.

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Quicksight=Melee Weapons Vs Soldier H=6 < Quicksight: Good Success (8 4 8 2 6) Soldier H: Failure (5 4 3 1 1 6) < Net Result: Quicksight wins - Solid Victory

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Getaway=Transportation Vs Soldier I=6 < Getaway: Good Success (4 1 7 2 5 8 2 8) Soldier I: Success (8 3 2 3 6 2) < Net Result: Getaway wins - Solid Victory

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Getaway=Inspire Vs Soldier H=6 < Getaway: Success (8 3 1 2 2) Soldier H: Success (8 5 1 2 6 2) < Net Result: DRAW

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Getaway=Inspire Vs Soldier I=6 < Getaway: Failure (2 2 3 6 4) Soldier I: Failure (3 3 5 5 1 6) < Net Result: Both Fail.

[Public] Windblade says, "And I said 'CALL ME MEGATRON'." <FS3> Opposed Roll -- Getaway=Inspire Vs Soldier J=6 < Getaway: Failure (4 3 2 4 3) Soldier J: Success (5 7 2 1 3 5) < Net Result: Soldier J wins - Marginal Victory

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Skystalker=Reaction+Reaction Vs Soldier J=6 < Skystalker: Good Success (1 2 3 4 8 5 7 8) Soldier J: Failure (5 5 4 1 4 1) < Net Result: Skystalker wins - Solid Victory

Quicksight's friend grew overconfident due to its initial success at slicing, and wasn't ready for the next set of fury swipes. The ends of two of its legs are lopped off, and it scrambles off him with a squelching scream. Its black and red compound eyes flare in anger and fear.

Getaway's conversion to his alt-mode causes his captor to loose hold of him and slip off - unfortunately in the direction which they had come and cleared the path. It's on its back at the moment, legs wiggling in the air.

Skystalker's wedge and flip combination combine to send the falling arachnid flying away. It lands in the clear patch with a crinkling crash, but rights itself and gets ready to try again. It holds off, though.

Because, that mass moving about above has finally decided to make its own appearance. This new spider is at least four times are large as the others. It soars down, trailing from several strands of translucent, silicon-laced silk anchored here and there across the low canopy. It crashes onto Skystalker's flight mode, sending them both to the ground.

Remember the chattering? It gets even louder, and more of the smaller soldier spiders appear around the perimeter, on the ground and in branches. The whirring rebounds across the small clearing, making it hard to hear. That could be why Getaway's honking was mostly useless against their assailants.

Getaway is free of his bug, Yay, but the treat is hardly over. "Must not be loud enough," he un-honks because his horn isn't doing much of anything. Revving up, car-Getty zooms forward, meaning to get away from his spider attacker. "Rapidly going from bad to worse," he growls. He races for the spider Skystalker shook off. Why? He transforms and leaps in one motion, meaning to step on that bug and launch off it, arms out, wanting to use his momentum to tackle the big newcomer off SS. "Hands off the pretty!"

"Ha!" Finding himself finally free of his attacker, Quicksight hops back a few steps to a safe distance, ready to resume his attack from a more advantageous position, or make a retreat. It's getting a bit noisy, which probably means that these guys aren't alone. Getaway's suggestion is begining to sound like a good idea. Quicksight's always ready for a fight, but he's not exactly rushing to throw his life away for no good reason. He's a scout. He's used to fleeing the enemy to complete an assingment.

Both of those ideas will have to be put on hold, however. The sight of something big and ugly dropping down on Skystalker draws his attention in their direction, with a mutter of "scrap". At least it's distracted (hopefully). Abandoning his previous opponent, the minibot lunges at the bigger spider, trying to flank it from the rear and aiming a blade at the spot where one of its legs connects to the body.

The shriek of his engines is loud when Skystalker hovers there in the clearing, revving his light-capable systems and thrumming against the trees. Rocketfire blasts from him, sending a wave of heat and light outward just before the shape in the canopy drops like a ball bearing to roll onto his back and buckle them into the ground. Purple plasma sparks into the ground below Skystalker's breast, seeping out around his sides in threatening, bright flashes. "Get off--!" With a mighty push, the starfighter moves to press up into the air, only faintly aware of the bots criss crossing his back in efforts to dislodge this particular Shelob.

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Getaway=Transportation Vs Soldier J=6 < Getaway: Good Success (8 4 1 3 7 4 5 7) Soldier J: Success (3 4 7 4 3 6) < Net Result: Getaway wins - Solid Victory

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Getaway=Unarmed Vs Hunter F=10 < Getaway: Success (2 3 5 3 1 2 7) Hunter F: Success (6 2 8 6 6 2 6 4 3 4) < Net Result: DRAW

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Quicksight=Melee Weapons Vs Hunter F=10 < Quicksight: Success (2 2 7 4 5) Hunter F: Good Success (5 2 4 3 1 8 7 3 3 5) < Net Result: Hunter F wins - Marginal Victory

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Skystalker=Transportation Vs Hunter F=10 < Skystalker: Great Success (4 1 1 7 1 2 7 4 8 3 3 5 4 8 5) Hunter F: Good Success (1 2 7 7 1 4 8 5 6 1) < Net Result: Skystalker wins - Marginal Victory

The trio of explorers converge upon the hunter from all sides after he bursts into the fray. Somewhere in its animal brain it muses: how nice it is when the prey comes to it.

Getaway makes a brilliant leap and gets a helpful boost from one hapless soldier, which splats to the ground, legs splayed and shattering. Unfortunately, the hunter's mass and movement proves too difficult to grapple, and Getaway bounces off ineffectively. Meanwhile, the spider he so recently gave the slip to has been righted, and he and his buddy grab one leg apiece of the Autobot, holding him fast.

The hunter doesn't fully notice Quicksight's focused stab; there's good armoring there. It does notice enough to give the Decepticon a swat with one leg, sending him into the boulder with a crack. Wouldn't you know it, the soldier who had been slashing up Quicksight comes back again for more, not letting it being down two legs stop it.

The raw power of Skystalker's engines are enough to get the hunter off, although it's a stepping off more than a falling off. The spacecraft is unencumbered by arachnids, but those silk strands that provided the hunter a ride down are in the way of escape, not to mention the thick foliage and whatever hides behind it.

Dismounted, the hunter spies Getaway in a very compromised position. Time for a snack. It moves in, its drooling mouth gaping, fangs gleaming.

Well, so little of what he had hoped to accomplish worked. As he lays there though, Getaway can't help but think two things. First, how come the neutral has found a spine NOW of all times. And second, what does a bot have to do to get listened to? Paint flames on his chest?

Getaway should have spent more time reacting that wadding into his own thoughts, as he is grabbed and held there. "Scrap it down to the struts, Skystalker! Get. Out. Of. Here! Go get help, go give a warning!" He wants to yell 'be useful' but should he live past this he can't afford pissing the starfighter off. Quicksight though... "Think of the others!" He even spares a glance back the way they came, trying to be all suggestive like. "Though first give the gun over to Lippy and see if the nearsighted nitwit can hit anything with it." Not like Skystalker is using it, and besides, Cons tend to work best when they are pissed off.

Getaway then looks to the spider advancing on him. "Go on, do it. Make it quick. Swallow me whole if you can, you ugly waste of life. You freaky twisted monsterous perversion of nature."

This fight is not going well for Quicksight. The crack that's his back hitting the boulder is accompanined by a loud "Ooof!", and punctuated by a pained groan. It's not enough to knock him out of the fight, but certianly enough to stun him long enough for his old buddy to pick up where they'd left off. Maybe next time it'll be a better idea to deal with his own opponents properly before jumping to the rescue of anyone else, eh?

And so it's back to the same old. Quicksight meets his attacker with the sharp ends of his blades and an irritated hiss. Part of the irritation comes from Getaway's name-calling. If he weren't so occupied, he'd probably come up with something more witty to fire back than "Oh, go get yourself eaten!"

The bungee of silken web and canopy that disturbs Skystalker's ascent has him hovering, a moment of indecision playing out as he scans the ground below him. If he leaves, they're dead. He's not a coward-- not like they think.

The starship pivots around, engines hot, gushing one side of his thrusters and wheeling to tip his nose towards the biggest of the spiders, now closing in in Getaway. Skystalker's cannon unfolds with a click-click-whirr just moments before he lets loose a large, angry plasma cannonball at the massive hunter spider.

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Quicksight=Melee Weapons Vs Solider H=6-1 < Quicksight: Good Success (4 4 6 7 8) Solider H: Good Success (8 7 6 3 4) < Net Result: DRAW

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Skystalker=Firearms Vs Hunter F=10 < Skystalker: Great Success (4 7 8 8 7 6 6) Hunter F: Good Success (2 1 3 7 7 6 4 5 5 6) < Net Result: Skystalker wins - Solid Victory

The hunter does not fully understand Getaway's noble little speech, but catches the sentiment. It generally appreciates this attitude in its victims; they taste better, later. It bites, deeply and firmly, on Getaway's shoulder, and a flow of venom swiftly infiltrates his systems. Drowsiness and dizziness set in right away, and Getaway will not have the strength to fight, or even stand. Several soldier spiders collect around to gather him up.

It's only after this delight that Skystalker's fireball smites its abdomen. He's knocked away from Getaway, though not clear from the fight. It screams in frustration, a grinding screech, and several soldiers collect around it in defense.

That call wasn't just for its own protection, though. It has many associates, and they move in at the signal. A cluster of three of the smaller arachnids drop in and land on Skystalker, slashing and biting at him. Meanwhile, although Quicksight can perhaps feel proud that he's kept his persistent opponent at bay, he'll be saddened to see a second hunter emerge from behind him. It pins the scout to the spot with its forelegs, and leans in for its own first bite.

Getaway cannot believe that his last thoughts are going to be 'I should have flames on my chest'. What little energy he has left he uses to say one thing, hopefully loud enought o be heard before the drowsiness and spiders get him.

"Fly, you fools."

Unlike some Autobots, Quicksight is not about to just lie still and let these things take him down so easily. Twisting as best he can in his current situation, he jabs one of his blades at the latest threat, which has oh-so-helpfully put its head within his reach "Die already, you fleshbags!"

Skystalker will just have to be a fool, then. The weight of the smaller spiders on his back, the starfighter adjusts his cannon and fires it again, this time at the spider Quicksight is jabbing at. Maybe he should fly, but something in his memories is judging him hard. Just because he can, does it mean he should? The thought echoes in his head as the shriek of his cannon goes off, and the slashing and biting at his back makes his frame buck in the air, thrusters pulsing.

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Quicksight=Melee Weapons Vs Hunter G=10 < Quicksight: Failure (3 3 5 6 1) Hunter G: Great Success (8 8 5 7 3 6 6 8 4 5)

< Net Result: Hunter G wins - Crushing Victory <FS3> Opposed Roll -- Skystalker=Firearms Vs Hunter G=10 < Skystalker: Good Success (6 7 4 3 5 2 7) Hunter G: Amazing Success (7 8 1 8 3 2 7 7 5 7) < Net Result: Hunter G wins - Crushing Victory

It may have been Quicksight's six-legged buddy interfering, but for whatever reason, his stab at the looming hunter goes wide, and uninterrupted it sinks its fangs into Quicksight's chest. The spread of the poison carries sensations of ice and fire, and pain, and saps all strength from the scout. The incoming weapons fire from Skystalker reflects off the hunter's silver faceted carapace, hurling it here and there among the trees, causing sputters of flame to struggle to light against the pervasive moisture. Thus undeterred, the hunter begins to expertly weave a cocoon around Quicksight, its spinarets working back and forth in a practiced and ironically gentle fashion.

The other hunter, having recovered from its less fortunate encounter with Skystalker's gunfire, follows suit and starts its own wrap job on Getaway. In the process, the threads it rode down on fall away from the ceiling, so that his silk spinning can be devoted to the current task. The comparatively little soldiers spin and rotate Gateway's increasingly limp body to help the cocooning.

The floor of the area is now filled with soldier spiders, either assisting the hunters or reaching up to the remaining hovering intruder. His three passengers, meanwhile, keep slicing away with the blades on their numerous legs.

<FS3> Quicksight rolls Courage: Good Success. (6 7 4 8 1 8 6 6 3 6 5)

With the blades cutting into his back and the hunters wrapping his companions in tightly wound web, Skystalker's hovering falters as he swaps to his twin guns, heating them up and turning in a wild circle as he lights up the forest clearing and the litter of smaller spiders on the ground with small, rapid plasma shots. If they're going to give him a hard time, he'll reciprocate.

Everything in Quicksight demands that he moves, breaks his way out and gets out of the way, but his body won't listen. He barely even has the strength to cringe against the pain, let alone put up a fight. His optics still glow defiantly, but unless these spiders suffer from scopophobia, it's not going to do him much. He's not looking at them for long anyways. Who'd want to stare at something that ugly? Instead his attention turns to the last of their little group still standing. Maybe he thinks that it'll help boost his radio transmition, sent with the last of his strenght, if he looks straight at his target "<< Go! >>" Don't worry, Sky, he won't judge. At this point, he might not even judge a soldier, let alone a neutral, and his friend.

<FS3> Skystalker rolls Firearms: Great Success. (8 5 3 8 8 3 8)

Skystalker takes his highly ungrateful and stabby passengers on a wild ride, but they manage to hang on; they've got all those legs. The no-look shots from his guns spray everywhere, and four soldiers are blasted through, some falling in shatters from tree limbs to the earth. There are but a few among the many others, however.

Undisturbed by the last stand of the starship, the hunters finish their cocooning work at about the same time. With morbidly gleeful chattering between them, they leap into the air and pull the craft down to the ground. The Cybertronian is promptly swarmed with soldiers and, after a brief argument between them, the hunter that initially failed to take Skystalker down finally gets to sink its teeth into him. A careful winding and layering of silicon silk follows.

And so, within a few moments, the small clearing is once again clear. A detachment of soldier spiders ferry away three pristinely protected intruders along unknowable paths into the depths of the jungle, while the rest of them, along with their hunter masters, smoothly evaporate back into the green and gray shadows of the forest.

The flowers remain in place around the boulder in the center of the space, some trampled, others still intact and glowing. The lone optic also survives, somehow still in place, a witness to horrible sights it could not sense.

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