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2016-05-30 La Résistance

From Transformers: Lost and Found

La Résistance
Date 2016/05/30
Location Velocitron - Mu
Participants Astrotrain, Beachcomber, Cyclonus, Deluge, Grimlock, Quicksight, Swoop, Tailgate, Ultra Magnus, Viviqueen
NPCs Oversteer, Mu Navigator, Minders, Lightrail
Plot Colony: Velocitron
Scene GM Mox
Summary Transformers seem to really have a thing for mode-based oppression. And not standing for it.

When the Lost Light arrived at Velocitron, it received a welcome signal inviting the crew to Delta, the capital city. It also received a second, weaker, narrow-band signal, asking for help. That signal originated from the northern pole of the planet. There, a city glints in an eternal twilight, guaranteed by Velocitron's axial procession matching its orbital period.

Instructions from the senders of the signal recommended a specific descent path, which the flyers and/or shuttle pilots managed handily. The crew set down on a landing pad on the outskirts of the city, where a small contingent of Velocitronians waited to receive them. They trend smaller than the average (Rodimus-sized) Cybertronian, and are bulky compared to the typical - representative - Velocitronian. After some eager and gracious, yet hushed, greetings, the locals escorted the crew into one of the nearby dimly-lit, lonely, shabby, and altogether sad-looking neighborhoods. No other residents can be seen. Eventually, the group is led into an innocent-looking dwelling.

Inside is a comparative buzz of activity. While the windows are blacked out or shuttered, the interior is lit by numerous consoles and energon stations. It's a little crowded, especially with the inhabitants moving busily this way and that. But, they all pause when the Lost Lighters enter, and one, taller and perhaps slimmer than the rest (but still bulky), steps forward.

"Thank you, thank you for heeding our call. I am called Oversteer. Welcome to Mu."

Viviqueen is in a size-class all her own, but seems uncomfortable enough for it or perhaps for being stuck in her 'bot form for the moment when she'd rather be in dragonform. Her wings itch, her claws twitch, but she remains, perhaps wisely, silent as she ducks under the frame of the door to the building. She does bare her teeth at Oversteer in a smile, though, that might look a tad threatening. Hello!

Actual directions for where to land for once! This planet was already proving better than the last few colony worlds. To show his appreciation Astrotrain doesn't do anything jackass like buzz the local towers before settling down in the right position. Hopefully this would prove to be more interesting than the goofy negotiating stuff the others were likely going to be subjected to. Once everyone that road down within him debarked, the shuttle rose and folded in a blink of the optic to collapse into Astrotrain's hefty robot mode.

And a few scene cuts later they're all walking into some sort of building. Looks dank, but abuzz inside. Astrotrain has to duck and turn his body a bit to get his span of wings through the doorway, but seems to perk up a bit once he's inside. "Oh, is this a bar? Please be a bar, I could use some local dive bar time."

Swoop is not quite as large as either Astrotrain or Viviqueen, though he, again, is following on the dragonbot's golden heels. His crest comes within perhaps a foot or so of the doorframe, leaving ample room for him to walk right in, yellow optics scanning his surroundings and the bots inside. Tch. Reminds him of Nyon, in a way. To this 'Oversteer' character he gives a slight tilt of the helm, fully prepared to stop caring until something interesting happens. In the meantime he stays beside Vivi, wings folded fully though almost twitching in his restlessness.

Ultra Magnus, not unlike Viviqueen, is set apart from the Mu denizens by virtue of his own massive size in the armor. He could have possibly made them more comfortable by showing up smaller, but he did not do that. His bulk and his size do make him somewhat out of place on Velocitron anywhere. "Of course, Oversteer," he says, mildly. He stands with his hands folded loosely behind him, a serious expression that does not quite become a frown settled over his still features. "The question, of course, is what assistance you need from us."

There's a lot of heft to the Lost Light group; Tailgate isn't part of it. He is, however, at the fore of the group when they touch down and there through the travel into the city itself. He seems somewhat suspicious of the state of the place, if only because of the winding, roundabout way they use to get there.

Tailgate is dwarfed by the likes of Viviqueen and Astrotrain, but his greeting seems to fill in the empty space. "Good to meet you! I'm Tailgate. How can we help?" The minibot raps a knuckle on his own chest, glancing up and around to the others. His words echo those out of Ultra Magnus, save for a different, more relaxed tone.

Cyclonus is a bit bigger than average, although not as massive as Ultra Magnus, so he may be taller than their new acquaintances but far from the biggest. Since we're all talking about size. He stands near Tailgate, quiet and watchful as they're greeted by the contingent of Velocitronians. Hopefully his glower doesn't cause any diplomatic incidents. (Why is he on the diplomatic mission.)

Quicksight has no issue with being on the outskirts. To be honest, his current perception of Velocitronian society is a bit negative, courtesy of a conversation with Moonracer. Driving around in circles and hoping that the guy who wins isn't a jerkass is no basis for a system of government. Plus, the grapevine says that Drift is going to be among those going down to the capital. Whether or not it's true, Quicksight isn't risking it. Oh, this isn't exactly his sort of company either, between Tailgate, Swoop, Viviqueen, and all the other Autobots, but it's still better than Drift, and definitely better than being cooped up on the ship. He needs fresh air. Plus, this could be interesting, with the whole request for help and all. Even so, the scout sticks closer to Astrotrain, the only other Decepticon present. His optics dart left and right, taking in the scene, both out of his instincts as a scout, and out of sheer curiosity.

Oversteer surveys the newcomers - especially their considerable size - with a mixture of eagerness and, it's true, intimidation. He grins back at Viviqueen, but grins more readily at Tailgate. "We ... well, where shall I start? You are new to our world, so you certainly don't know of our oppression here."

"Here on Velocitron, speed is, supposedly, everything. If you are fast, you have friends, influence, power. But look around you. ... Please, show them." Oversteer sweeps a hand to the assembled locals, and they convert to their alt modes: there's a bus. A tank with a crushed barrel. Some sort of walker. An off-road vehicle.

Oversteer continues. "We are the slow," he growls. "The worthless. The undesirables. And we have been consigned to live here, in the lone city that doesn't move, and consigned to work for the benefit of the rest of the planet without any say in our destiny. Put simply: we want rights." Grimlock is huge. Therefore, he has huge guts.

It's PROBABLY not an intentional thing, that the Lost Light has sent some of her biggest, killiest crewmembers to make first contact ... but, well, there they are. Grimlock lumbers along with the rest of the crew, and casts his blue-visored gaze this way and that, wary. He stands on the side of Swoop opposite Viviqueen-- after giving the golden dragon-bot a measured 'I could take you' kind of glare, he elbows Swoop a little in a none-too-subtle aside. "So. Another colony. What do you think their problem is on this rock? Five Shanix says they throw people into a volcano they think is god or something."

Beachcomber's magnetic sensors are a bit screwy this close to the poles of the planet, which always makes him feel a little bit disoriented but not exactly uneasy. Left to his own devices with them as they were, he'd probably end up wandering in circles, so he made sure to stick close to familiar legs while in unfamiliar territory though his gaze swept every which way during the trek. He was ever so tempted to wander off for sampling the minerals of the northern pole of the planet but with the magnetic fields leaving him a little dizzy, that was ill advised and he knew it. He'd just have to be good for now, though a little thing like him in the midsts of Ultra Magnus and a pair of Dinobots would likely go unnoticed if he slipped away.

"I think that can be arranged." The burly mech that is Deluge finally steps through the door as Oversteer explains their situation, head almost wreathed in the smoke of his cygar as he hangs near the entrance. "Kicking down the heirarchy when it gets too big. I'd say we're pretty good at that, so you called the right people." He smirks behind his stogie and crosses his arms over broad chest.

"YOU ARE NOT WORTHLESS FOR BEING SLOW," booms from Viviqueen with a growl, her wings speading briefly in irritation for the very idea. "WE WILL TEAR APART THOSE THAT SAY YOU ARE." She doesn't transform in solidarity, but it is obvious that she wants to while she overcommits for the team.

<FS3> Tailgate rolls Diplomacy: Good Success. (7 3 4 5 5 8 6 3)

Swoop can't help it; he snorts at Grimlock's comment, wingtips shaking in amusement. "Far as I heard, seems like they'd rather race each other into scrap," he responds, keeping his voice low. Deluge's voice earns a narrowing of optics and a quiet hiss, but it's Viviqueen's boom that truly takes his attention. "We'll help you however he can," is his addition to this, even before Tailgate, who seems to be the leader of this little group, agrees. "That's scrap and they're going to know it." He cracks his knuckle joints to emphasize this.

"That sounds familiar" Quicksight grumbles as Oversteer explains the local plight, scanning the Autobots present, stopping finally on Deluge "When the frag did you lot give a frag about these things? We were the ones kicking down the hierarchy!" he taps his own badge with his hand. Viviqueen, oddly enough, gets a much more favourable look. It's also a bit confused. This is the one he was yelling at the other night for degrading the bartender, and now he's agreeing with her.

Cyclonus lookat Viviqueen. Then his gaze slides slowly over to Tailgate and Ultra Magnus -- that is, the diplomatic ones -- with the barest quirk of his brow.

<FS3> Astrotrain rolls Triplechanger: Good Success. (6 1 2 6 6 2 6 8 5 7 7 2)

Astrotrain is big and a bit blocky. Maybe not as outright massive as Magnus' armor, but his wingspan cuts him a definately fierce profile in appearance all the same. No one answers his rumblings about the bar, so it's just listening to Oversteer talk. Which makes the Decepticons expression scrunch up a bit. "Well waddyaknow. Two sides, one oppressin' the other." Callously he gives Ultra Magnus of all people an light elbow jab. "That sound familiar to anyone else?" He almost adds something about the ruling 'fast' side being descended from Autobots, but holds his vocox. He may be an ass but he knows when to keep up a good appearance. To a point.

Then he turns his attention back to the 'lowly', and cracks a big 'ol grim. "So what if yer slow! Look at what else you have. Yer big, yer brawny. I mean.. check THIS out."

A lot of people likely end up backpedaling out of the way and a few tables certainly get toppled over as Astrotrain transforms into his locomotive mode. Okay, technically not -that- slow, but it's a train. It's big and not exactly known for being -agile-. "You just gotta know how to use what you got!"

Oversteer can't help but smirk at Deluge's and Swoop's confidence, but he does trip backwards slightly at Viviqueen's outburst. Not that he's upset about her eagerness either. "You are clearly enlightened, where you come from! I wish it were so for the rest of my planet. Yes, the hierarchy," he agrees venomously. "We are at the bottom of that." When Astrotrain shows off, Oversteer cannot help but smirk more. "You are all so ... strong."

Though of course he feels very much for these locals, the words from his companions have him growing more concerned. "Guys, calm down--" Tailgate has to turn around and be the voice of reason for once. He will turn this bus around. "I know this hits home." He looks back at the Mu citizens gathered there, and then back to the crew. "But we can't come into this and start knocking heads, okay?" It may not be what any of them-- or Oversteer-- wants to hear, but it's the truth. Tailgate turns back to the Velocitronians, still giving the crew a watch out of his peripheral vision. "We want to help, you can see that. Can you tell us more, first?"

"Racing? That's dumb." Grimlock says with a little roll of his shoulders. He fixates his attention on Oversteer as the shorter mech goes on about how 'strong' the Lost Lighters are, and nods. "Yup." Grimlock says, and then neatly steps out of the way of Astrotrain's ... train-ing.

<FS3> Ultra_Magnus rolls Command: Good Success. (7 2 5 1 8 1 1 5 6)

The immediate and violent turn that this has taken clearly makes Ultra Magnus twitch visibly. He resets his vocalizer in a clear of his throat. "Settle," he suggests -- it sounds more like an order in the whipcrack of his sharpest command voice -- holding up a hand as if to stay the rising tide of revolution before it takes hold. He may be too late, considering some of the other people who are here, but he does what he can to back Tailgate up in his comparatively tempered opinion. He gives Astrotrain a particularly flat look for jostling him, for all that he remains anchored to his spot, giving no ground for anyone, as per usual. "We need more information. What rights are you denied?"

Viviqueen seems jealous, briefly, of Astrotrain's transforming and the compliments it receives: she even briefly seems to be considering doing so herself, but then Ultra Magnus is telling them to settle and she draws in a long breath. Only to boom in acknowledgement, "AS YOU SAY, COUNCILOR." And her wings wilt, and she only leans closer to Swoop.

"I'm just showin' 'em they ain't as bad as the high and mighty say they are." Just for a last bit of showing off Astrotrain gives his whistle a toot, before reconfiguring back to his root mode. Sigh, guess it's back to more listening. He grabs a chair toppled by his transformation and stands it up, only to thump down on it. Points at one of the locals. "You, get me somethin' to drink. I'm not buzzed enough to sit through negotiational rambling while the talky guys do their talky thing."

Swoop scowls at Tailgate, but - Ultra Magnus said settle. And Viviqueen is following that lead. So settle he does, though he sidesteps a bit closer to Vivi when Astrotrain transforms. Primus, you ugly fragger, keep a hold of yourself! "You're a lot more impressive than him," is his only comment, an aside out of the corner of his mouth to the dragonformer beside him.

While Oversteer may appear slightly crestfallen at not getting to "knock heads", he is not disheartened, as both Tailgate and Ultra Magnus ask for more information. "We are denied rights of free passage - we cannot leave this city. We are denied right to adequate energon supplies, even though we work here to manage the flow of fuel to all the moving cities of the planet. We are denied simple freedom to exist, because of the Minders. And we are denied the right to be known and regarded. We are forgotten!" Oversteer is visibly upset, but tries to gathers himself.

One of the workers notices Astrotrain's request. "Sorry," and she points to an energon dispensary. "This is all we have here. This is all they let us have."

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

Tailgate's attempt to calm the crowd earns him only a disdainful scoff from Quicksight. Despite recent progress in his matter, there is still a severe shortage of respect there. Ultra Magnus' order is revieved a bit better, possibly out of habit, or the phrasing of his question. Whatever the cause though, the scout's attention turns back towards Overseer, his optics narrowing as the Velocitronian talks "Knew this system was scrap. This sounds like fragging Functionalism all over again!"

"Thank you," hisses Viviqueen softly, her wilt fading as she draws up brighter than before. And what little light there is in this dim place, she catches it. Catches it and shines, all gold.

Grimlock edges a bit closer to Oversteer as he goes on about the terrible speed-based dystopia ... and which poing Grimlock can't help but overhear Tailgate's declaration, which earns a hearty "Ha!" from the Dinobot. "So we find whoever's in charge and punch them until they're not so speedy anymore. Typical regime change." Grimlock gives a slow, preparing roll of his neck, and then looks over his shoulder at the others present. Well, at least he's got one dinobot. "Should be easy. When do you want me to start?"

Tailgate rattles his shoulders a little, loosening up and keeping them squared back as Ultra Magnus, the voice of experience(if not command-rank) backs him up. He turns his optics to those that speak, visor bright as he listens. They can't even leave? The job description has Tailgate reminded of his own, before all this. The life is one that he probably would have had, himself.

"Grimlock." Tailgate's voice isn't huge like the rest, but his tone is a warning nonetheless. His posture straightens out more, and Tailgate gives the others a short look before speaking to Oversteer. " I understand. You said you control their fuel supplies? Who are the Minders?"

Cyclonus turns his steady gaze on Quicksight for the scoff. He does not glare; it is a bit more subtle than that. But it lingers there. And then it slides over with clearer disdain to Grimlock.

Perhaps it is because Tailgate's voice isn't so loud, or perhaps Viviqueen is learning (maybe), but it's a silibant warning she gives to Grimlock as she points out to him to bolster Tailgate's warning, "Knight, our leader hassss spoken. Were you not the one so adamant about doing our partsss and listening to command?" She glances, briefly, to Swoop, almost an apology to him, maybe.

"How are these restrictions enforced?" Ultra Magnus takes half a step closer only to stop again as he glances aside, around the breadth of the sad compound in which they stand, and his frown deepens across the edge of his helm. For all that Tailgate is the one who has probably the most effective diplomacy here, he still definitely has questions. "How are you kept in?"

Astrotrain cranes his head a bit in the direction the femme indicates. Ugh. He could just demand some anyways... But somewhere down in that big bully of a spark there's a resonance with these downtrodded mechs. Most Decepticons know how it feels, even the big and brutish ones that could shove others around to get what they want.

"Meh, keep it toots. You need it more." Astrotrain does grump a bit as he crosses his arms. "But next time I'm bringing this lot some of the good stuff. Even if I have to rattle Fulcrum's helm around to get it." He really doesn't care of the Command (or ex-Command) bots hear him or not.

Wistfulness glides across Oversteer's visage as even the meager glinting from Viviqueen alights on his optics. It must remind him of better times. Otherwise, he is confused between the restraint of those who appear to be in charge with, well, everyone else. "We do," he answers Tailgate. "The cities on this planet, besides Mu, travel eternally across its surface, staying on the night side. They require fueling, and we manage the planet-wide fuel distribution. We have done so for a long time, but our condition has ... deteriorated. The Minders are part of that. They are a gift from the rest of Velocitron. To keep us in line. To keep us working, so their cities do not stall and die!" There's a flash of anger there, but it subsides as Oversteer collects himself, and turns to Ultra Magnus. "The Minders enforce the restrictions. If we try to leave, they bring us back. And imprison us. As they did our leader. And, if the Minders do not catch us, the sun does. The day on Velocitron ... is lethal."

Between the shouting and the tension and the overall bad vibes of the room, Beachcomber shuffled his way back through the crowd of legs to step outside. Breathing deeply to clear his swirling helm, he plopped himself down to the side of the door where he could still listen without being in the middle of the arguing. He suspected Grimlock and the other fighty ones wouldn't take well to the offering of a prayer circle for calming and cleansing the mind and aura.

Grimlock attempts a look of innocence at Tailgate's reproach. Grimlock is, really, really bad at looking innocent, for the record. "What?" He says with a little shrug. Grimlock pauses, then, as Oversteer goes on about the sun of Velocitron, which earns a little 'hnm.' Already, Grimlock starts cooking up various strategies-- "So, where are the Minders?" Grimlock says, with just a hint of eagerness in his tone. "Bunch of racers can't be so tough. Light frames are the best for racing, but when it comes to taking a beating ... " he trails off into a knowing chuckle.

Swoop is torn between his usual need for violence, ala Dinobots, and hanging back as Magnus, Tailgate and Viviqueen are all ready to do. He fidgets somewhat, wings extending just a few inches and shuttering back in at his indecision. He glances out of the corner of his optic at Viviqueen, and her expression, coupled with Grim completely ignoring her, decides for him. If it comes to violence, he'll follow without hesitation. Until then, he holds back.

If Beachcomber, outside the safe house, were to look up - or even if not - he would notice the sudden appearance of golden flashes of energy up in the sky, dancing everywhere, forming a wide ceiling over the breadth of the city. The additional light, adding to the pale glow of Velocitron's sun always over the horizon, dances off the structures, as well as off the cream-colored armor of the biped, wheeled drones that appear from around the corner.

For the record, It's super hard for Tailgate to hold in his laugh at Grimlock's innocent face. His visor sparks a little, though, before he stifles it. He wants to hear about these 'Minders'. Sounds like they are the core thing keeping the Slow Ones from being able to do-- well, anything at all. They do have to help, of course. "Then before we try to do anything else to help--" Tailgate glances to Grimlock, surprisingly. "It sounds like we should find these Minders. Are they also Velocitronian, or non-sentient guards?"

Ultra Magnus glances at Grimlock, but since that was a question he'd also kind of like to know the answer to -- having gotten past why and how, he'd still like what, but where would be good to know too. He asks a different question with a deeper frown pulling his mouth down at the corners: "Then it sounds as though you have the issue that even if not for the Minders, you would have nowhere to go because you can't outrun the daylight?"

"Sounds like if it wasn't for the Minders, they wouldn't be so bad off. At least they'd be in control of their own city." That's all Astrotrain has to chip in at the moment.

Viviqueen continues to shine gold as well, though she is inside the safe house. She bares her teeth in a smile at Swoop as he looks at her, but she remains silent and listening until Ultra Magnus' question. She growls out a simple, "If we were to rid them of their oppressors, they could live in the same city as the others."

Cyclonus's look is ignored. Quicksight's getting used to people disdaining him for his oppinions regarding justice. He's too busy giving the Autobots in the room some disbeliving looks, acompanied with a mutter of "Buncha hypocrytes." Where was all this justice seeking a couple million years ago, hmm? Nonetheless, he doesn't argue. He, of all people, will not be caught arguing against justice "So why not rebel? Cut off the power supply, or just shoot them?" You have tanks here! What's a racecar against a tank?

Oh.

Well. That didn't seem good. That's probably not good.

Beachcomber grabs onto the door frame to leverage himself up and swing around the edge of it at the same time, raising his usually mild voice to be sure he gets the attention of someone in charge. "Hey guys?! We got company inbound on the horizon! Not sure if friendly."

"Really? Good. I was afraid this would be boring." Grimlock rumbles at Beachcomber. The dinobot turns in the direction Beachcomber indicated. In a single, practiced moment, Grimlock hauls out his galaxial rocket launcher- the sort of weapon a smaller 'bot would use for a shoulder mount, but Grimlock uses as a sidearm. There is, of course, the requisite *KA-CHUNK!* as a rocket slides into place.

"Swoop. Let's get some eyes up in the air. Been too long since I got to stretch my legs." Grimlock rumbles, and then peers about. "Cyclonus, Shiny Lady, try to keep the weak ones from getting shot. Magnus, you can lecture us later."

Oversteer answers Grimlock and Tailgate together. "They are drones, so not Velocitronians, but stronger than we are ... for the most part. We also lack weapons. Confiscated by the Minders." He nods at Ultra Magnus's guess as to their problem. "It is a naturally made prison for those the rest of society wishes to forget." He looks deeply at Quicksight upon hearing his suggestions. "Why not indeed. We are running out of options. We cannot bear to live like this for much longer."

"Second!" a technician interrupts. "The shield is up. They must have spotted them anyway."

Oversteer grimaces, and then somehow grimaces more when Beachcomber raises the alarm. "We are out of time. The Minders have found us. We will try to escape, rather than be arrested. Lightrail," he speaks to the technician, "wrap things up, quickly. Oh, how I wish Powerdyne were here."

"You are not," Cyclonus tells Grimlock, even as he lifts his gaze to track the incoming lights, "currently in a position of command." He does begin to reach slowly towards the Great Sword on his back, however. Just in case.

The shiny lady only grins in that familiar bare of teeth, and she looks to Tailgate before she questions, "I SHALL TAKE THEM AWAY, YESSSSS? THEY WILL BE SAFE ON ME." (That was Viviqueen.)

"Literally no one here takes orders from you, Grimlock," Ultra Magnus says altogether mildly. This doesn't really detract from the fact that nobody takes orders from him either. It doesn't stop him priming his guns when Oversteer indicates that they are under attack, nor from reaching to take hold of his war hammer, which he draws out of subspace just in case.

Swoop doesn't even question as old instincts kick in. It's Grimlock's command, Grimlock's voice, the orders he's been following for millenia. He's already transforming, despite the (rightfully issued) complaints against Grimlock taking command. Viviqueen may follow, or do as she's told, he doesn't know; he's already out of the door, wings spread, razer-sharp beak bared in a screech. Up up and away.

"Except that one, obviously," Magnus mutters much more sotto.

Astrotrain glances at the door for a moment. That could be a fight. He could really go for a fight.... then the locals mention not having weapons either. He growls softly. That tears it. Time to his other job. Yeah, the one that he doesn't always enjoy, but the one that he's known for doing the best he can. "You guys need to get outta here? Then let's get outta here." He jabs one finger over his winged shoulder. "Those guys will make sure those whatevers have a real bad time."

With the other hand he pulls his rifle out of subspace, but instead of joining the Bots and Cons at the door he marches towards the downtrod locals. "I'm a transporter, I'll help get ya guys outta here."

Quicksight flashes a glare at Grimlock. Who put Dinobrain in charge? And yet, he doesn't argue. Oversteer's words, and the scout's own penchant for justice ensure of that. The enemy of his enemy (opressors) is, well, if not his friend than the enemy of his enemy "Four optics are better than two" he offers. He doesn't wait for a response -- there have been no opposing orders, so he does what his sense of right and wrong, and his wartime habits, tell him to - he moves to follow Swoop (of all people) in to the air.

Company? Ugh. Tailgate almost groans. Almost. He looks from Grimlock to Cyclonus, and then up, up at Viviqueen. "You can assist Astrotrain. Get them out of here, guard their escape. If they're arrested there's no telling what will happen to them--" Not when they're caught like this. They can't leave them here. Not anymore. "Grimlock has the right idea for once." Surprise. "We can cover an escape. If they're drones we can handle them, right?" Tailgate says this up at the others gathered as he draws out his slingshot, buzzing it into life with a flick of energy.

"I am in a position where something is going to try to KILL me." Grimlock notes, even as he raises his rocket launcher to sight in on the lead Minder drone. "Which is pretty much the usual. Now, you and Magnus can argue with me over protocol, or you can do what you were BUILT for and kill something."

Grimlock narrows his visor, still tracking the would-be attackers, and not firing ... yet. "Wait for my mark. These drones are probably programmed to round up unarmed protesters. They won't be expecting us to hit 'em so hard, so soon. Do it right, and they'll crumple like a cheap bunker."

<FS3> Grimlock rolls Command: Success. (1 8 2 6 5 4 6 5)

"That is not how the chain of command works," Cyclonus informs Grimlock with thin-wearing patience. It is only Tailgate's words that has him drawing his sword and following the line of Minder drones on their approach, keeping between them and the Velocitrons and smaller members of his team making their escape on Astrotrain and Viviqueen.

Oversteer is astonished at how quickly the newcomers form up. Their own movement could use that discipline. After a moment's hesitation, he points. "There is a rear exit that way. That is where our people will go. If you can load our equipment, and especially our energon ... that would be critical."

He turns to speak to Tailgate, apparently their leader. "I will stay nearby and help with the evacuation. We leave no one behind."

The Minders approach the safe house. Each a little on the tall side (so, maybe 1.2 Rodimi) and equipped with a standard blaster, they tromp up in a dumb unison. The one who happens to be in front speaks. "Outsiders, on authority of Mu Control, you are under arrest. Surrender your weapons and come with us." His single, vertical optic strobes dully, unable to comprehend exactly what is about to happen.

"LITTLE ONES, CLIMB ONTO ME," and that order will make much more sense, of course, later. But for now, she stops to pick up something that looks important. (What even is this that she yanks up? Who knows) And then she is striding towards the back exit with long legs, happily ignoring the Minders' orders in favor of their own.

At that bit about loading up equipment and energon, Astrotrain actually laughs a bit. "Just like old times!" Just not a raid. Sort of. They're saving people from a police raid... okay, actually, you work with Swindle enough times, and that counts as old times too. Anyways! Astrotrain lumbers open to where the exit is indicated and nudges the door open to peak outside. If it's clear he'll duck outside, and then transform back into his locomotive mode. The back end of the 'cab' drops open like a loading ramp to give access to his, even in this mode, spacious cargo interior. The locomotive outside is just a badass beefy looking disguise after all. "Stuff in everything you can carry!"

"Neither do we." Tailgate's visor beams up at Oversteer, and then he is looking back to where they can hear the Minders approaching. He docks the ball of energy in his sling, keeping it lowered as he speaks up past the wall of bots ready to fight. "On authority of the Lost Light, you can respectfully choke on my dust!" Drones can't recognize a taunt, but it should work.

"Technically," Grimlock notes, "I'm still the highest ranking combat operative here." Which ... may or may not be true. "And who else are you going to listen to? Tailgate? HA!"

And then there's the drones speaking up, which gives Grimlock ample reason to laugh some more. "Yeah, sure. We'll surrender our weapons. One round at a time!" And with that, Grimlock neatly sights in on the lead Drone, and lets fly with a rocket, sending it across the battlefield with a *KA-FWOOOSH!* of flame and exhaust!

Viviqueen shoves her equipment into Astrotrain, which sounds dirty, but he said to do it. Then, with one happy, draconic roar that surely won't bring attention back to this side of the house, she transforms into her large, golden dragon form. Free at last! She is definitely taller than Astrotrain, but she hunches in a way to wait for the Velocitronites to climb aboard. If they aren't too scared of her, hopefully.

"Yes, I'm sure we can handle them," Ultra Magnus says. Guns already hot, he gives Tailgate a nod, and strides forward with his hammer spinning lightly in his massive hands before he takes up a firm and solid stance with it. "Tailgate is in command, you complete dolt," he snaps at Grimlock with somewhat less self-control than one might be used to seeing him use. He leaves the rest for now. The rockets in both of his shoulder towers are primed to fire, open in lines of red heat as he sets up to fire. Rather than firing immediately, he shouts back: "This is unlawful arrest under the Code of Interplanetary Conflict, Article 2, Section 4, Paragraph--" Yes, this is totally going to work. He takes aim while he does it, both rockets orienting on the line of drones.

There's quite the bustle as the Velocitronians pull out their equipment and supplies. There are hardly any wasted movements or stumbles; it's clear that they've gotten very good at this. Their rhythm is interrupted upon seeing Astrotrain, and then Viviqueen, convert to their alt (or is it root for the dragon?) modes, but only momentarily; then their glee pushes them to move even faster. Lightrail looks up at the golden dragon and lets out a whoop despite himself.

"Keep dreaming" Quicksight mutters, more to himself than anyone else. Taunting is a legitimate strategy, but only after surprise attacks stop being an option. Right now, an attack still seems to be surprising, so attack he will, swooping down in hopes of getting a drop on his target, and a nice, sharp blade in to its shoulder.

Cyclonus is the rear guard, mostly because he has a melee weapon and the drones are still on the approach. He keeps close to Astrotrain and Viviqueen as they load up with escapees until the Minders are a bit closer.

Swoop has primed the guns on his belly as he flies, noticing that Quicksight has followed him into the sky but making no comment. He's not here for the Decepticon. Instead he comms back to Grimlock, just before the Dinoleader lets his missile fly: "<< There's not many. We can take 'em, easy! >>" He has no idea if Grim acknowledges this, though he does see the familiar burst of light and smoke that accompanies one of Grimlock's missiles from his position in the sky, and if a pteranodon could grin, he would be.

<COMBAT> Minder B attacks Quicksight with Blaster Pistol and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Minder A attacks Grimlock with Blaster Pistol - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!

<COMBAT> Tailgate attacks Minder D with Tailgate's Energy Slingshot - Moderate wound to Chest.

<COMBAT> Swoop attacks Minder B with Machine Gun - Light wound to Right Arm.

<COMBAT> Quicksight attacks Minder B with Knife - Moderate wound to Neck.

<COMBAT> Minder D attacks Ultra Magnus with Blaster Pistol - ARMOR on Head stops the attack!

<COMBAT> Ultra Magnus attacks Minder D with Blaster Cannon - Serious wound to Right Hand.

<COMBAT> Minder C attacks Cyclonus with Blaster Pistol and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Grimlock uses a Missile!

<COMBAT>

<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Right Next To Minder A - Critical wound to Left Arm.

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Minder A - NEAR MISS!

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Minder A - Moderate wound to Abdomen.

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Minder A - Critical wound to Head.

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Minder A - Moderate wound to Left Foot.

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Minder A - Critical wound to Abdomen.

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Minder A - Light wound to Left Arm.

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Minder A - Moderate wound to Right Hand.

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Minder A - Moderate wound to Chest.

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Minder A - NEAR MISS!

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Minder A - Moderate wound to Abdomen.

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Minder A - Critical wound to Left Hand.

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Minder A - Moderate wound to Right Leg.

<COMBAT>

<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Pretty Close To Minder B - Serious wound to Head.

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Minder B - Light wound to Chest.

<COMBAT>

<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Pretty Close To Minder C - Critical wound to Left Hand.

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Minder C - Light wound to Left Foot.

<COMBAT> Cyclonus passes.

<COMBAT> Mox has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.

<COMBAT> Minder A has been **KO'd**!

<COMBAT> Minder B has been **KO'd**!

<COMBAT> Minder D has been **KO'd**!

Viviqueen is not unmoved by whoops, and her teeth are bared quickly in her particular smile as she tells Lightrail, "On, pleaasssssee." And as the transformer settles, she turns her dark optics towards Cyclonus and nods to him. "YOU TAKE CARE, PROTECTOR." And then, she pushes off the ground, giant, golden wings snapped out to catch an upward draft to bring her soaring into the air.

Grimlock watches in grim (pun very much intended) satisfaction as his Galaxial Rocket slams into the front line of the drones, followed closely by the fire of the other properly warlike Cybertonians!

"One--" Grimlock holds a finger up towards Ultra Magnus, even as a random blaster shot *PINGS!* from his brass chestplate. "We're not aboard ship, so this doesn't count as 'Security.' Two--" Grimlock idly switches out his still-smoking Galaxial Rocket Launcher for his hellishly glowing Energo Sword. "Tailgate couldn't kill his way out of a nursery if he tried. Now." Grimlock stompstompstomps forward, ready to meet the next wave of Minder drones. "I think I missed a few."

It's hard to tell if the hiss that comes from Astrotrain's wheel drives is just warming up, or a bit of a vehicular sigh at the sounds of the fighting starting out in the street. But he reminds himself this is important. This is what he was -made- to do, even if this mode was big and clunky. He was going to show these guys it didn't matter if you were chunkier and slower, you just had to know what you are doing to get the job done. "I need one of you with me to tell me where I'm going," his voice echos with its reverb from the engine. One that's settled and everything is loaded up Astrotrain slams shut the hatch and with a thooming belch of smoke out of his stack churns his wheels into motion and starts rolling out. His heavy wheels can handle rolling without a track, but it will take him longer to build up speed. And frankly, going full tilt down city alleys and roads probably wouldn't be a good idea.

There's a shot that comes from one of the Minders toward the two fliers, and though it is ultimately aimed at Quicksight, Swoop doesn't care. It was shot in his general direction and that's what matters! Swooping (heh) toward the Minder, Swoop releases a volley of fire, hitting it in the arm. At first he's disappointed, and then - yup, that's his leader, alright! Swoop gives a cackling laugh of victory over the commlink between himself and Grimlock as the Dinobot leader blows three of the Minders to smithereens, including the one he'd been targeting. Oh yeah, that's more like it!

The run-of-the-mill Minder drones are apparently not equipped to deal with the likes of the Lost Lighters. Sure, they attack well enough, although it seems to have no effect whatsoever. While two of them were probably felled by others' attacks, it's Grimlock's missile strike which does all the damage that matters, obliterating one Minder and ensuring two more stay down. The only remaining one teeters in place, ready to attack again, somehow.

All the ruckus has attracted some attention. Another squad of Minders tromps up; while four of them look like the first set, the other two look a bit beefier. They don't bother announcing their authority or anything, but just start shooting.

Tailgate's first shot blasts a Minder right in the chest. Good shot. He switches it up when Ultra Magnus' fire takes it down, tipping his aim elsewhere to lend a hand in taking out others. "Must be a pretty tough nursery." Yeah, he heard Grimlock. He says it as he narrows an optic and tracks a drone with his sling.

"What? That's it?" Quicksight actually sounds a bit disapointed, and somewhat insulted as he launches back up in to the air, having made a good mark, for him anyways, on his target. His disapointment does not last long, as the next wave arrives "<< More incoming! >>" he calls cheerfully, already moving in to get over and around his new target to repeat the manuveur that worked so well on the last one.

<COMBAT> Tailgate attacks Minder H with Tailgate's Energy Slingshot - Moderate wound to Left Arm.

<COMBAT> Grimlock attacks Minder E with Energy Sword - Light wound to Right Hand.

<COMBAT> Swoop attacks Minder C with Machine Gun and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Quicksight attacks Minder F with Knife but Minder F DODGES!

<COMBAT> Minderx A attacks Grimlock with Blaster Pistol - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!

<COMBAT> Minder H attacks Tailgate with Blaster Pistol and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Minder G attacks Grimlock with Blaster Pistol but MISSES!

<COMBAT> Minder F attacks Quicksight with Blaster Pistol but MISSES!

<COMBAT> Minder E attacks Cyclonus with Blaster Pistol but MISSES!

<COMBAT> Minder C attacks Swoop with Blaster Pistol but MISSES!

<COMBAT> Cyclonus attacks Minder C with Cyclonus's Great Sword - Critical wound to Neck.

<COMBAT> Ultra Magnus attacks Minderx B with Ultra Magnus's Giant Hammer and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Minderx B attacks Ultra Magnus with Blaster Pistol - ARMOR on Neck stops the attack!

<COMBAT> Mox has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.

<COMBAT> Minder C has been **KO'd**!

As more drones approach, Ultra Magnus lets this shoulder towers cool, his onboard guns still ready to fire even as he lifts his massive hammer. He charges forward on pounding feet, hurtling forward with the massive doubled-headed hammer swung high above his head to come down with the full force of his strength on one of the drones as he closes to melee range. The crack of the hammer slams so hard into the ground it leaves the divot of a crater to cause future missteps for the unwary. What it doesn't do is kill the drone.

Once the drones get closer and most of those escaping are able to do so, Cyclonus stirs from his spot to bring his sword to bear. Striding without hesitation straight at the drone currently firing at him, he lifts his Great Sword and brings it down in a dramatic arc that severs its head entirely. He straightens, red-eyed gaze sweeping for a new target.

Oversteer peers out in awe from the safe house in between instructions to help with the evacuation. If they only had half the power in these outsiders, they could make such a difference in the city. He stays hidden.

This time Quicksight's knife strikes empty air as the drone evades his swoop. Not that it had any better luck. The agile scout isn't about to sit around lamenting his miss and let the thing get him. No, having missed his target, he imediately shifts back in to drone mode and shoots up in to the air again to go fo another pass.

Oh, there's more. That's fine. Swoop gives another dino-screech as he dives, but - aw, scrap. The Minder shoots at him just as he starts shooting, and he rolls in the air to avoid the pistol fire, which sends his own shots wide. Frag! Swoop hisses as he regains altitude, circling back around to make another attempt at hitting one of these things.

Except for a couple of stragglers, the Velocitronians have finished loading their equipment into Astrotrain and gotten on board. As he and Viviqueen make haste away from the fight, the femme that Astrotrain had requested a drink from earlier pipes up, shouting at the triplechanger from within him. "We'll make for the Cavern. It's the only place you all will fit anyway. Head towards the sun, but keep low! If you give me a forward view I'll guide you!" She looks over to Lightrail, who's gritting his teeth as he rushes to keep all the equipment from tottering over.

Grimlock lays into his chosen opponent with a swipe of his sword! The drone is faster than he thought- but no matter! One blaster bolt sails wide over Grimlock's head, and another *pings!* off his shoulder armor, leaving naught but a scorch mark! "Ha! Lousy Velocitrons don't know what they're dealing with!" He says, triumphant.

Grimlock transforms to his saurian mode without breaking stride, and then *SWEEPS!* his massive tail around towards the closest Minder Drone, looking to bash it into the ground! "Keep up the good work, all of you! I'll buy a drink for whoever has the biggest kill count!" Yes, Grimlock's having a good time. Why did they come to this planet again?

This set of drones does a much better job of not being destroyed immediately, although their shooting skills do not do them proud. That one remaining Minder from the initial patrol is relieved of the burden of his head with ease, and unable to warn the rest of what they are in for. Not that they'd understand.

Viviqueen doesn't understand the words 'keep low', and she probably doesn't hear them anyways. No, the Velocitronians on her back are in for a ride of their lives as she catches the currents, flying fast and high and freely. She does, at least, follow Astrotrain's general direction.

That Cyclonus simply lops off the head of a drone with one swing has Tailgate inwardly grinning even now. He's seen it so many times, but does it get old? Maybe not. It's pretty amazing. "Watch the big ones!" Not that they need to be told, but Tailgate does it anyway, keeping his aim on the Minder he hit just a moment ago. Come on! "Looks like the others are off-- hold this line, guys."

Once they're under way Astrotrain picks up speed with ease. It's easier to keep the momentum going once he has it going. Sparks sizzle from his heavy wheels on the pavement whenever he needs to make a turn, but for the most part he's having little difficulty. He goes where he's told to go, these people know their city better. But at the same time, old habits die hard and he keeps an optic out for alternate routes if they are needed. Slowly but surely the sound of fighting is fading in the distance behind them.

<COMBAT> Tailgate attacks Minder H with Tailgate's Energy Slingshot - Critical wound to Chest.

<COMBAT> Minderx B attacks Ultra Magnus with Blaster Pistol - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!

<COMBAT> Quicksight attacks Minder F with Knife - Light wound to Right Arm.

<COMBAT> Minderx A attacks Grimlock with Blaster Pistol - Moderate wound to Left Hand.

<COMBAT> Minder H attacks Tailgate with Blaster Pistol - Moderate wound to Left Hand.

<COMBAT> Minder G attacks Grimlock with Blaster Pistol but MISSES!

<COMBAT> Ultra Magnus attacks Minderx B with Ultra Magnus's Giant Hammer but Minderx B DODGES!

<COMBAT> Swoop attacks Minderx A with Machine Gun and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Minder F attacks Quicksight with Blaster Pistol but MISSES!

<COMBAT> Minder E attacks Cyclonus with Blaster Pistol but MISSES!

<COMBAT> Grimlock attacks Minderx A with Unarmed but Minderx A DODGES!

<COMBAT> Cyclonus attacks Minder E with Cyclonus's Great Sword - Light wound to Chest.

<COMBAT> Mox has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.

<COMBAT> Minder H has been **KO'd**!

Grimlock actually felt that one- a bolt slams into his dino-foot, searing its way between the claws there. Grimlock lets out a low growl of both pain and anger- And as the Minder drones scramble this way and that, Grimlock just pulls himself up taller as he stomps towards the drone that hurt him-- at which point he opens his tooth-lined maw, spitting forth a hellish column of superheated flame! *FWOOOOSH!*

Cyclonus turns next to the /other/ drone who seems to be shooting at him, however ineffectually. He heaves the Great Sword and manages to slice across the Minder's chestplate, although the cut doesn't go too deep. He shifts his stance and presses forward.

The as-yet-unnamed navigator aboard Astrotrain expertly calls out a path through the slums of Mu, until eventually the buildings become sparser and smaller, and then simply end. Before them is the glow of the Velocitronian sun behind the shattering brilliance of the city-wide lightning shield. The terrain slopes down under Astrotrain's wheels as the surroundings become rockier. Soon, a shadowy bluff rises before them, dimming the sunlight, and faintly within it can be seen the large entrance to a cavern. The atmosphere around them is noticeably warmer, even moreso if one is flying, where the heat from the sun is less indirect.

"Straight ahead, in there!" the navigator shouts. Scrap! Swoop circles back in and lets fly with his abdominal guns but - frag, somehow the Minder shifts out of the way just in time as it aims for Grimlock. Motherfraggin' son of a glitched anti-spark - he's seething as he makes another wide turn in the air, optics burning yellow. He dives in for another attack.

"Where'd this lot learn to fight!" Quicksight jeers as his knife finds its mark, and once more, the shot aimed at him goes wide. The scout himself is having a great time. Just because he's not actually built for fighting doesn't mean he can't enjoy it. He pulls up in to the air again only to imediately dive back down uppon his target.

"Gotcha." Tailgate grits out as another drone gets blasted in the chest and crumples. His visor reflects the shade of flame out of Grimlock's throat, and for a second he is struggling against the brightness of it. No time to be impressed more; there are still those bigger ones to take out. For being brainless drones, the Minders did a surprisingly good job for once ... except for Tailgate's target, who was gifted an extra aperture in its very center and promptly toppled over and burst into flame. The others are unfazed and continue with their ordained function.

Ultra Magnus is essentially having a game of Whack-a-Mole over here. Again, he leaves a huge dent with dust and cracks in the floor before he winds up for another slam.

Beachcomber is no use in this fight, dizzied by the magnetics as he is, so he scuttled off with the residents to lend his hands to their escape. The ride is a bit.. bumpy, to put it mildly, but he does his best to steady boxes and people alike on Astro's turns. The vibe is definitely tense, lots of scared bots in a relatively small space culminate in a warm, prickly sort of anxiety against his armor and he hums a low, steady note to try to help calm the refugees.

<COMBAT> Tailgate attacks Minderx B with Tailgate's Energy Slingshot and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Quicksight attacks Minder F with Knife but Minder F DODGES!

<COMBAT> Minderx A attacks Swoop with Blaster Pistol - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!

<COMBAT> Minder E attacks Cyclonus with Blaster Pistol and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Ultra Magnus attacks Minderx B with Ultra Magnus's Giant Hammer - Moderate wound to Abdomen.

<COMBAT> Swoop attacks Minderx A with Machine Gun - Moderate wound to Left Hand.

<COMBAT> Minderx B attacks Ultra Magnus with Blaster Pistol and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Minder F attacks Quicksight with Blaster Pistol - Moderate wound to Right Hand.

<COMBAT> Cyclonus attacks Minder E with Cyclonus's Great Sword - Light wound to Chest.

<COMBAT> Minder G attacks Grimlock with Blaster Pistol - ARMOR on Head stops the attack!

<COMBAT> Grimlock attacks Minderx A with Flamethrower - Light wound to Abdomen.

<COMBAT> Mox has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.

The crack and crunch of terrain changing beneath his wheels doesn't escape Astrotrain's notice. He's doing his best to not shake up his passangers too much, and having Beachcomber inside to help keep things in order certainly helps. He could transform and fly over the rockier terrain, but frag that, he's trying to make a point here. He wants these mechs to see what you can do with the strengths of your alternate mode, even if it isn't super fast or dexteritous or whatever is popular. "Hang on, this ride is gonna get a bit bumpier before it smooths out!" Once he's oriented towards the indicated bluff and cave entrance Astrotrain pours all his power into his drive, and let his bulk tear through whatever obstruction gets in their way. "It ain't what you have or don't have, it's -knowing- how to use what you -do- have."

Luckily, those transformers on Viviqueen get a break as she catches sight of Astrotrain's destination. Caves? Caves are definitely good destinations in the golden dragon's book. She swoops down, closer to Astrotrain, though she doesn't have the same troubles as he does in terrain before she dives easily into the cave's entrance.

Grimlock gets shot. In the face.

It doesn't slow him down. Instead, with a mighty roar, Grimlock transforms back to his robotic mode, and already his Energo Sword is slashing back and forth in great cleaving arcs, aiming to reduce the nearest Minder Drone to so many base components! "RAAARGH!"

When Swoop's guns aim true this time and pepper one hand of the drone in question with bullets, he smirks as well as he can with an enormous beak; mostly it's in the glow of his optics, the quiver of his crest and the tilt of his head. That expression widens when the Minder he'd shot manages to shoot back and - the blast bounces off of his chest, barey pushing him out of his flight trajectory. An spin puts him right back on course. The updrafts of this planet lift him higher, and he surveys the battlefield from a more elevated position, for the moment. He's already got his next attack course in mind.

These Minders seem to receive damage about as well as they give it. Except for that first set, those must have been defective. Even the two larger ones take their hits, one from the swing of a hammer and the other the blast from a T-Rex mouth. Still, they continue their assault. They aren't programmed to retreat; they've never needed to.

As they say, pride comes before the fall. Quicksight's only lucky that he doesn't actually fall. The drone's shot catches him right as he's going in for another stab, resulting in it hitting him instead of the other way around. Not that that's about to discourage him. With a pained hiss, the scout takes to the air again, aiming to get behind the drone this time as he goes in for another attack.

This time when Magnus swings his hammer he brings it up from below, slamming its other head hard into the trunk of the drone with enough force to render a crack in its armor. The hammer scrapes up the length of the drone, glancing off the drone's head, and Magnus steps back with a grim almost-humor lighting his gaze as he hauls back with it to WHOOSH the massive blunt instrument down atop it. Blaster fire whines past him to sear harmlessly into the nearest wall. "Nice shot," he says. "Keep them occupied." He goes on: "This is an unlawful arrest and we are defending ourselves." Just in case ... what, they're being recorded? Maybe it makes him feel better to say stuff like this.

Tailgate switches hands, thanks to a well-aimed shot from a past drone; there's energon leaking from his knuckles, but he clings to his weapon with a faint desperation, training it on a big drone again. "Keep it up!"

<FS3> Tailgate rolls Inspire: Great Success. (6 8 3 1 1 1 7 8 7 8 6 3 4 6)

Inside the Cavern with a capital C is ... well, not all that much. Some ramshackle structures, more like lean-tos scattered along the walls; scattered piles of crates; even open flames here and there, just for light. There's no energon feeds from the city out here.

There aren't a lot of Velocitronians here either, but those that are here run in fright at the oncoming gigantic aliens, either into those shacks or further back into the cave.

Cyclonus is silent, efficient, and brutal in his strikes: he presses forward with every successful attack and follows it with another. The cut across the Minder's chest grows deeper as he slices through it a second time.

Viviqueen lands with a roar, and then another roar where she claims, "MINE. MY CAVE. YESSSSSS." She hunches to wait for Velocitronians to disembark, before she paces along the Cavern slowly until she finds-- Yes, right there. She begins clawing up the ground before curling up, satisfied, right there to wait for the others.

Still inside the safe house, Oversteer watches through a slit in the shutters of a nearby window. In his widened optics are reflected the harsh strobes and flashes of an all out street battle, Cybertron-style. His mouth hangs open in awe, and his thoughts are inscrutable, even to himself.

"Great, more horders," Astrotrain mutters to himself quietly at the dragon's antics. Which means everyone inside him can hear it pretty clearly, because lets face it, Astrotrain doesn't really have a 'quiet' voice. It's the echoing effect. The hiss of air pressure and screeching, sparking wheels rumbles through the cavern as he puts on the brakes, straining systems extra hard to slow down a bit faster than he normally would. Probably going to need some work on his wheel assemblies when this is all over, but that's part of the job. It's a bit jarring and bumpy but the Triplechanger eventually rocks to a stop, releasing one last hiss of air from his brakes deperessurizing.

Beachcomber pats Astro's wall soothingly at his grumbling, though his mouth quirks up in a grin. He lingers with the refugees to help move boxes, though his visor lights up immediately at the sight of the caves they'd flown into. A geologist in his natural habitat, scans sweeping over stalactites and walls, wanting to dig in with his drills and analyze the mineral composition, or get a reading with his seismic sensors for the cave's structure and stability. That could be useful for knowing. Who knew what might be lurking in the mountain range just above or beneath them.

<COMBAT> Swoop attacks Minderx A with Machine Gun - Moderate wound to Right Leg.

<COMBAT> Quicksight attacks Minder F with Knife - Moderate wound to Left Arm.

<COMBAT> Minderx B attacks Ultra Magnus with Blaster Pistol - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!

<COMBAT> Minder E attacks Cyclonus with Blaster Pistol - Moderate wound to Right Arm.

<COMBAT> Cyclonus attacks Minder E with Cyclonus's Great Sword but Minder E DODGES!

<COMBAT> Ultra Magnus attacks Minderx B with Ultra Magnus's Giant Hammer - Light wound to Chest.

<COMBAT> Tailgate attacks Minderx B with Tailgate's Energy Slingshot - Moderate wound to Chest.

<COMBAT> Minder G attacks Grimlock with Blaster Pistol and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Minder F attacks Quicksight with Blaster Pistol but MISSES!

<COMBAT> Minderx A attacks Swoop with Blaster Pistol but MISSES!

<COMBAT> Grimlock attacks Minderx A with Energy Sword but Minderx A DODGES!

Grimlock slashes again- though the lousy drone is quick enough to skitter out of his reach! "Rrrrg!" Grimlock snarls in frustration- and then he backpedals a few steps- which happens to take him to standing shoulder to shoulder with Ultra Magnus. "Who're you talking to?" Grimlock says, and switches out his sword for his galaxial rocket launcher once again. "Or do you just write reports when something tries to kill you?" Grimlock slams another rocket into the muzzle of his weapon, and lets fly with another *KA-FWOOSH!*

In the future, the resistance members will remember the flight to the Cavern in two ways. Those who spill off Viviqueen in a daze will remember it as one of the scariest times of their lives, while those who file out from Astrotrain will remember it as a transcendent experience, thanks to Beachcomber's vocalizations. Either way, they all set to work unloading their equipment, as well as rounding up the other cave denizens to tell them that these are actually friends. While Lightrail oversees the apportioning of the equipment, the navigator femme walks around to the side and lays a hand on Astrotrain's flank. "Thanks, transporter. That was incredible." She startles slightly as Viviqueen lays claim to their hideout, but at this point they'd probably let her have it.

Swoop cackles again when he dives, and though the drone he's targeting tries to shoot, he does an easy barrel roll out of the way before his guns go off and - frag yes, direct hit! Not enough to take the Minder down but he can see that it's damaged even as he's on the updraft again, flying out of the line of fire. His optics dart to the massive gray form that is Grimlock, noting another missile's launch. Oh, yeah. These things are gonna get it now, just like they got it the last time Grim fired with that weapon.

<FS3> Beachcomber rolls Geology: Good Success. (2 1 5 6 8 6 2 3 7 4 1 7 4 4 3)

This time, when the giant hammer comes down, the Minder doesn't manage to escape its fall entirely when it jumps back. The crunching edge of the double-headed hammer leaves a long scrape of peeling paint down the front of the Minder. Still, Ultra Magnus keeps coming, ignoring the hail of fire pattering across the armored front of his massive chest. "Arrest drones working for most galactic governments are typically equipped with recording software," Magnus states levelly, even as he hoists up the massive weight of his hammer again for another swing. "In the event this is investigated under the Interplanetary Code of Conduct--" He hauls back, "--there will be a record that we do not intend to attack lawful constabularies going about their business." --He lets the hammer fall for another swung blow.

Another decent blow! From Quicksight anyways. His opponent isn't so lucky again, as the little Decepticon weaves and rolls to keep the drone from getting a propper lock on him "These things are meant to subdue people?" he throws a verbal jab even as he dives in for another physical one. It's still fun, stabbing shit and everything.

Finally, one of the Minder's shots actually find their mark, and Cyclonus stumbles as the blaster fire singes the armor of his arm. His next attack comes a little slower, and the smaller drone is able to slip past in a dodge.

Astrotrain gives a little toot on his whistle in response to the praise. "I'm one of the best there is, miss... And you're welcome." See, he -can- be modest. When he wants to be. When trying to make a good impression, at least.... And Soundwave would give him an audio full if he found out one of the few Decepticons on these away missions was promoting the wrong idea. So the triplechanger sits still while the others are unloading him.

Arms and legs of the Minders still standing are shot through and slashed. One of the bigger ones receives another couple of love taps from Ultra Magnus and Tailgate; it shakes itself as pieces start to fall out of it, but unwisely keeps at it.

Tailgate seems to be ignored by some of the drones for a moment, and he uses it to his advantage to land a shot on a broad chest of one. As Grimlock questions MAgnus, Tailgate can't help but cheer on the inside when Ultra Magnus answers smartly, and still manages to swing his warhammer. "Hear that? Unlawful arrest!" Tailgate draws the sling back again, sidestepping out of the way of someone else's frame with a practiced slide.

Beachcomber's scans should reveal that the rock lining the cave has curious magnetic properties, likely due to the proximity of the cave to the planet's pole, and possibly the small tectonic pushes and pulls subjected from afar by the heating and cooling of the planet's surface. The mineral content is otherwise standard for a rocky planet.

<COMBAT> Minder F attacks Swoop with Blaster Pistol - Light wound to Left Arm. <COMBAT> Minderx A attacks Ultra Magnus with Blaster Pistol - Serious wound to Right Leg. [Newbie] (Staff) Roz says, "Yup! @password Old Password=New Password" <COMBAT> Ultra Magnus attacks Minderx B with Ultra Magnus's Giant Hammer - Critical wound to Chest. <COMBAT> Tailgate attacks Minderx B with Tailgate's Energy Slingshot - Serious wound to Abdomen. <COMBAT> Minderx B attacks Cyclonus with Blaster Pistol and MISSES! <COMBAT> Swoop attacks Minderx A with Machine Gun - Light wound to Chest. [Public] Majestic Saltbirb Jumpstart says, "I'm just saying that it's not chilling. It's fucking stupid that the guy forgot his gun. But there's no one in that theater who was like 'goddamn if I just had a gun I'd kill all these motherfuckers but dammit I just can't seem to find a piece'" <COMBAT> Quicksight attacks Minder F with Knife and MISSES! <COMBAT> Minder G attacks Tailgate with Blaster Pistol and MISSES! <COMBAT> Minder E attacks Grimlock with Blaster Pistol and MISSES! [Newbie] Blaster says, "Thank you!" <COMBAT> Grimlock uses a Missile! <COMBAT> <COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Right Next To Minderx A - Moderate wound to Right Leg. <COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Minderx A - Moderate wound to Left Leg. <COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Minderx A - Serious wound to Right Foot. <COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Minderx A - Critical wound to Right Foot. <COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Minderx A - Moderate wound to Chest. <COMBAT> <COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Pretty Close To Minder G - Serious wound to Chest. <COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Minder G - Moderate wound to Left Arm. <COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Minder G - Light wound to Right Leg. <COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Minder G - Moderate wound to Abdomen. <COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Minder G - Moderate wound to Left Leg. <COMBAT> Cyclonus attacks Minder E with Cyclonus's Great Sword - Moderate wound to Chest. <COMBAT> Mox has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action. <COMBAT> Minder G has been **KO'd**! <COMBAT> Minderx B has been **KO'd**!

No unusual energy detection, no hollows beneath their feet ready to collapse, nothing he can feel or sense through the walls that might risk the structure of the cave system. Still a bit dizzy from the magnetic fields, the readings put Beachcomber at ease and he returns to helping the Velocitronians unload and carry their cargo to their shelters.

"Huh." Grimlock muses at Ultra Magnus. "So if I start quoting 'Unlawful Arrest' next time you yell at me, does that mean I get out of the brig for free?" And again, Grimlock switches out his now-empty missile launcher for hi Energo Sword. And with a *WHOOSH!* Grimlock takes a mighty swing- hopefully able to stab the little drone before Magnus can smash it! Just as a matter of principle.

Who did they say was in charge of this away mission... Oh yeah, the little white Security guy. Since Magnus retired and what not. To pass the time while the last of the gear and energon is being unpacked Astrotrain switchs to his comm and dials up Tailgate's signal. "<< Astrotrain, reporting in. We've got the locals tucked away in their new hidey hole. >>"

WHAM! Ultra Magnus's hammer slams into the chest of the damaged Minder, the blow brought down with the full force of his weight -- and aggravation -- behind it. It crumples in a crunching twist of metal and gear, sparks spraying as the drone goes flying. If there was a recording in that system somewhere, better hope it wasn't in the chest region. Anyway, he hoists the hammer again, slinging it up over his shoulder as he strides through the smoking ruin left by the explosion to see if he can pick off any of the leftovers. "If I were to try to put you into the brig at this point, Grimlock, it would indeed be an unlawful arrest."

Swoop has focused almost entirely on this Minder he's been pummeling the past few passes, this time hitting the drone's chest and - frag. didn't do much. At least Grim's missile does more damage, and he's internally laughing when one of the Minders he hadn't been paying attention to gets a clear shot at him. "SCREEEEEE!" The raw sound that escapes him is more enraged surprise than pain, though his left wing-arm is a bit singed by the assault. Nah, nah, not today.

Quicksight's begining to see a pattern with the sucess of his attacks here. Hit, miss, hit, miss, hit, miss. Since his last strike went wide, his next attempt should obviously land, right? Of course he's going in again! It's not like there's any reason not to. His own injuries are fairly mild, while their enemies are begining to fall gain. So down the little drone goes again.

"No no, not NOW. Just like, later." Grimlock says, conversationally. "For future reference."

"That's the last of it," Lightrail calls out as he exits Astrotrain, some dear piece of equipment cradled in his arms. He hurries over to one of the less dilapidated shacks with it and chatters away with others in the group. The navigator steps away from Astrotrain to give him room to convert. She looks around, just a little lost now that the excitement is over.

"And nobody gets outta the brig for free!" Tailgate snaps his sling and hits the drone in the middle, damaging it into submission. How many is that? The voice comes in over his comms and Astrotrain gets a quick answer. "<< Thanks, Astrotrain. Keep'em safe over there, we're just about done with these drones. >>"

Viviqueen, not knowing that her Swoop-child has been injured, doesn't seem lost or anxious at all. No, she's happy to curl up here and wait, trusting the rest of the team to make their way back as she takes a draconic nap. That hopefully won't last a thousand years or what have you.

While some of the Minders get their shots in, one of the larger ones once again takes hits from the Ultra Magnus / Tailgate team; it flies into the air from another hammer blow, and a slingshot bolt strikes it midair. It falls to the ground deactivated. Meanwhile, the second Dinomissile shreds up another Minder while somehow leaving its stronger teammate standing ... barely.

The blade of Cyclonus's Great Sword bites a little deeper into the drone's chestplate, getting closer and closer with every swipe to doing enough damage to put the Minder down permanently.

Oversteer is now brave enough to peek out from the door of the safe house; he can sense that the fight is ending. There's a feeling stirring inside him, something he hasn't felt in a long time, so long that he's afraid to feel it.

<COMBAT> Minderx A attacks Ultra Magnus with Blaster Pistol and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Swoop attacks Minderx A with Machine Gun and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Minder F attacks Cyclonus with Blaster Pistol - Light wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).

<COMBAT> Quicksight attacks Minder F with Knife - Critical wound to Neck.

<COMBAT> Grimlock attacks Minderx A with Energy Sword - Moderate wound to Chest.

<COMBAT> Cyclonus attacks Minder E with Cyclonus's Great Sword but Minder E DODGES!

<COMBAT> Ultra Magnus attacks Minderx A with Ultra Magnus's Giant Hammer - Light wound to Right Arm.

<COMBAT> Tailgate attacks Minder E with Tailgate's Energy Slingshot - Light wound to Left Leg.

<COMBAT> Minder E attacks Grimlock with Blaster Pistol - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!

<COMBAT> Mox has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.

<COMBAT> Minder E has been **KO'd**!

<COMBAT> Minderx A has been **KO'd**!

"Now or later, I am not a command level officer and have no authority to place you under arrest," Magnus answers the conversational tone with a crisp coolness. "Any disputes between you and me can be settled with our fists. In an appropriate forum, of course." He takes a swing with his hammer but hauls back, with only a graze of impact, so as to avoid getting in the way of Grimlock's energy blade. He gives him a look, possibly for his imagined habits of email reading, and then turns to see that there's only one drone left standing and that it's in immediate range of both Quicksight and Cyclonus, so there's probably no need for him to wrangle traffic.

Astro unloaded, Beachcomber's just going to plop himself down somewhere in the middle of the lean-tos and pull out his trusty hunk of quartz to hold in his lap. He hummed quietly, sliding up and down the scale until he settled on the right note to feel the right resonance under his fingers. If he can help bring even a modicum of peace to the rattled Velocitronians, he'll be happy - and perhaps some of them will want to join him to meditate. He isn't hard to find even if he's easy to miss. Or trip over.

"<< Copy that, >>" Astrotrain replies. "<< I think Oversteer stayed behind you lead you guys once you're done >>" Which they probably already know by this point, but thats just as good. Okay, they're done unloading, so Astrotrain transforms back into his robot mode. Okay, he turns into a train, but has wings? That probably looks odd to anyone that wasn't there for his landing at the start of all this.

After a moment the Triplechanger settles down on the cave floor, crossing his legs. Looks to the navigator femme. "Look, I know you guys don't have a lot of energon to spare. But could I at least have a top off to the tank? Hauling stuff takes a lot out of a mech." But look! He's asking politely. That's something you don't see every day.

The machine guns aren't doing the job. Swoop snarls to himself as his shots go wide for the second or third time this fight - he's not keeping track of THAT, of all things - and switches to his missiles. There are bombs, but...next time. Only one Minder stands, since the one he'd been aiming at has been taken care of, fragging finally. His dive is faster than before and he drops a missile directly above the last drone standing. See how well you live through that, afthole.

<FS3> Beachcomber rolls Meditation: Great Success. (7 6 1 3 5 8 8 7 1)

Grimlock cleaves into his drone, just in time for Magnus to smash the thing with that big hammer! Hn. Grimlock takes a step back, and grunts. "I hit him first." Grimlock notes-- and then pauses as the guy lectures on. There's a brightness to his tone as Grimlock rumbles: "Really?" Not that he has any Fist-Settling matters to bring to Magnus right NOW, but still. Grimlock's battle-lust drains away, if slowly, and Grimlock looks around the blasted battlefield. "Hnf. If that's the best these Velocitrons have to offer, we can take this planet in a decacycle. Sooner than that, if we arm the natives." He muses.

Tailgate knocks a blast into one more drone, knocking it down to where it doesn't rise again. For a close quarters battle like this, he's not doing bad, is he? Now there's one, poor, sadsack drone left, and he can't help but aim to help the rest of his team finish the job. "We're here to help, not conquer."

As his target finally falls -- felled by /Tailgate/, not even him -- Cyclonus's attention is drawn by the annoying ping of blaster fire on his chest. He looks down at his singed armor, looks up, and then strides forward to slice his sword right at the last standing drone.

Yeah! There is totally a pattern! That was a good stab, if you ask Quicksight! Not enough to down the thing, but that doesn't deter him. Nor does the fact that according oto the patern, he's supposed to miss the next shot. Forward charge!

"I'm not saying we -STAY- once we blow up the speedmasters or whatever." Grimlock notes at Tailgate. "That's not 'conquering' so much as ... 'liberating,' right?" Grimlock glances to Magnus for a moment, as if the big armored 'bot would know the proper world-conquering protocols.

"Yeah, I'll see what I can scrounge up. We have more here than at the safe house." The navigator converts to her alt mode - a pickup truck with double rear wheels - and drives over to the nearby dispensary.

Meanwhile, there is a calm that spreads, nearly unnoticed, in the atmosphere of the Cavern. The Velocitronians still do their work, but it's a little slower and smoother, which makes it a little faster. A couple of them glance at Beachcomber and make as if to talk to him, but think better of interrupting him, and get back to their duties.

A few, though, do slack off for a few moments and creep closer to Viviqueen. They are just looking, wondering. This is not a vehicle mode.

One poor drone. If it had a mind, it would be very sad, and wonder what it did to deserve its fate. The answer to that, by the way, would be oppressing the citizens of the city. Anyway, it lifts its blaster weakly into the air, as if somehow it will still accomplish its mission. It knows nothing else.

<FS3> Viviqueen rolls Shiny: Good Success. (6 2 3 2 7 2 3 6 7 4)

Even in the dim light of this cave, the lights that the Velocitronians have lit pick up and reflect on Viviqueen's golden scales and shine brightly. She continues to nap, not reacting at all to those that come close, since there's no hoard to guard.

Oversteer finally emerges from the safe house and meekly, having seen what they all are capable of, approaches those who have stepped back from the fight. "You have fought ... admirably. Thank you. By now the others have reached our refuge. We will ourselves need to hide, soon, before we are swarmed with Minders. We have other hidden places, I can lead you there."

Oversteer pauses, then musters the bravery to continue. "You asked how you could help. What we need now, more than anything, is our leader back. Powerdyne. He was arrested some time ago and surely rots in the city prison. We ... I do not have the talent for leadership that he does. Our movement, our resistance cannot survive without him. We ... need him back."

<COMBAT> Swoop uses a Missile!

<COMBAT>

<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Right Next To Minder F - Critical wound to Abdomen.

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Minder F - Critical wound to Head.

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Minder F - Critical wound to Right Hand.

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Minder F - Critical wound to Head.

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Minder F - Moderate wound to Right Foot.

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Minder F - Serious wound to Right Arm.

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Minder F - Moderate wound to Left Hand.

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Minder F - Moderate wound to Left Hand.

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Minder F - Serious wound to Right Arm.

<COMBAT> Quicksight attacks Minder F with Knife and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Grimlock tries to attack but has no target!

<COMBAT> Tailgate attacks Minder F with Tailgate's Energy Slingshot - Moderate wound to Right Hand.

<COMBAT> Minder F attacks Quicksight with Blaster Pistol and MISSES!

<COMBAT> Cyclonus attacks Minder F with Cyclonus's Great Sword - Serious wound to Left Arm.

<COMBAT> Ultra Magnus passes.

<COMBAT> Mox has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.

<COMBAT> Minder F has been **KO'd**!

Haha, direct hit! Sure, Swoop may have wasted a missile on a drone that already looked pretty pathetic but it's still so fraggin' satisfying to watch the thing get blown into a billion pieces. This time his screech is triumphant, and even before the smoke and debris has settled, Swoop is descending, landing in root mode next to Grimlock and Ultra Magnus. "HA! Did you see that? Frag that felt good!" A curled claw is pumped up into the air. He hasn't had a good fight in a while; can you tell?

Okay, yeah, Quicksight is definitely not going to land a hit here, not with a missile going in for the same target. Quicksight is brave, not stupid. He has no intention of being riddled with shrapnel. Thus, he is forced to abandon his dive and pull up again. At least he can take a souvenier photo from up here. And keep watch for any new arrivals.

"Just like old times. Ha!" Grimlock favors Swoop with a hearty, Dinobot-worthy clap on the back- though honestly, Swoop may be used to such shows of enthusiasm by now. Grim pauses, however, as he notes the hand he used to congratulate Swoop happens to have a nasty blaster wound in it. "Hm." Grimlock muses, and takes a moment to observe the wound. he's had worse. "I'm gonna go get this looked at, make sure I can still pull a trigger with both hands. Someone let me know when it's time to spring What's his Face." Grimlock seems content enough not to ask too deeply into the exact details of the mission, so long as he gets to break stuff. And it looks like Velocitron is going to have ample opportunity for that.

Tailgate keeps his sling out until he's sure there are no more drones approaching. "Astro commed me to say they have everyon in hiding. So the rest of you are good. We'll rejoin them and figure this out, yeah?" He lets Oversteer know before he subspaces his slingshot, only to extend his knuckles with a small hiss of vents, energon still slick over his injured hand. He looks up over his shoulder as Cyclonus steps towards him, and briefly waves his hand to show it. "Gah. Just a bit. It smarts, but I'll be okay." He's usually okay, isn't he?

Somewhere during the fighting, Magnus picked up a nasty hit to his leg. He studies it with dispassion. The burn has scored right along his knee joint and he may exacerbate the injury if he doesn't have a care to how he steps. "Yes, good, let's regroup. I have a few concerns, but they can certainly wait until we've resituated ourselves."

Cyclonus's frown lingers as Tailgate insists he's fine, and then it shifts over to Grimlock as he narrows his gaze. But he says nothing to the Dinobot for the time being. He focuses on doing whatever needs doing to reconnect with the escaped group.

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