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2016-07-11 Stones Above and Flames Below

From Transformers: Lost and Found

Stones Above and Flames Below
Date 2016/07/11
Location Dunia
Participants Soundwave, Blaster, Sideswipe, Gearshift, Pipes, Tailgate, Lieutenant, Brainstorm, Wheeljack, Cyclonus
NPCs Coalblack
Plot Colony: Dunia
Scene GM Sao
Summary The Lost Light crew heads down into the depths of Dunia to find what, or who, they can.

It's been impossible to find a landing site on the surface of the planet that isn't plagued by dust storms, but the severity of the winds are different in different parts of the planet. It's been a rough ride down, but once the broad bulk of the black stone mountain range surges up on their left, it's at least possible to use them as a windbreak. The shuttle sets down on a plateau beneath a high cliff where scans revealed a broad hollow cavern entrance that would admit entry to the world beneath the screaming wind and flying dust. Staying out in the open air too long is almost a certainty of clogging up fans and vents with choking dust.

Once within the sheltering craggy walls of black stone, all is quiet and dark. After the shrieking wind, the stillness inside is almost eerie. There's a couple of different pathways in here. One seems to climb up into the mountain; the other, partly blocked by a heavy boulder shot through with gleaming minerals in green and pale yellow, is the pathway down towards where the scanners revealed signs of mechanoid life.

Gearshift stands close to the entrace of the cave, watching the winds whipping the sand and dust outside. She's in awe of the powerful forces of nature at work here, and commits the sounds and sight to memory. Taking a quick glance around, she's happy to see Pipes and Wheeljack, so at least she's not totally surrounded by strangers. She also thinks she sees Windrose, which is nice too. The more familiar faces the better, in her mind.

"I can see why no one lives out here" is Brainstorm's first observation about the planet as he steps out on to its surface "And I just finished shaking sand out of my vents after the last planet like this." He's not complaining, just whining a bit. Okay, those basically are the same thing, but it's not like he was completely unaware of the climate before joining the landing party, and no one dragged him down here by force. A new colony is always an interesting thing, especially with their engine troubles. There's a very good chance that he has a scanner of some sort tucked away in his chest compartment.

Blaster hopped on the shuttle as soon as there were calls for volunteers to help explore the place and find the inhabitants of the planet. It is currently difficult to see anything out the windows, as the dust just obscures near everything. As part of communications, he is there to track the signal of where the people of Dunia was currently at. Carrying a portable beacon tracker with him, he stepped off the shuttle, immediately shutting vents as another duststorm rose up. Blaster hustled into the cave entrance, and opens his vents as soon as he is safe from the dust storm. "I am picking up stronger signals." He announces, looking at the tracker.

"Lovely planet!" Pipes shouts as he makes his way out of the maelstrom outside and into the cavern. Thoughts of more pleasant past colonies flash through his mind: Eukaris, Caminus, even Velocitron. He's along with the away team in case they meet up with any ... hostilities, but at the moment things seem quiet, so he fades back towards one of the rocky walls. He gives himself the once over to make sure his finish wasn't abraded by the blowing sand; if it had been, he'd need to be careful if he decided to use his pipes.

Tailgate is among those gathered at the entrance of the caverns, his own readings supplemented by the information given to him so far. He is looking around the stone walls with a wide look of curiosity, something which seems to speak through the way he moves, paces short and head craned back. He's covered in sandy grit from the outside, but does not seem to pay it much mind. This is awesome, sorry. He's too busy gawking into the dark. "Going down?"

Sideswipe is not fond of this weather. The dust and wind made for a horrible combination, as he hurries after everyone else, vents clamped tightly shut. He was there to make sure anything hostile didn't remain standing. Well, him and any other combatants. But right now? He is more worried about getting out of the howling winds. "Be pretty lovely if it was visible!" he shouts back to Pipes, before scooting closer to Blaster. "You're what now?" he asks, curious.

One bare benefit of having no mouth or vents on his face is that the blowing dust can't get into them, but it's hardly a comfort, as it gets into every single other part of his frame. He too hurries toward the cave entrance, doing his best to shield his face from the winds with a hand. The surroundings of black stone are an almost eerie difference from the howling of the wind outside. "Down seems good!" Wheeljack says at first, then winces when his voice seems louder than it should be with the quiet of the surroundings. He continues in a much more quiet voice. "I don't think we're equipped for a hike through a dust storm and up a mountain too."

Cyclonus is here in case they need a diplomat. Totally. He's super diplomatic and definitely puts people at ease. (He's here in case someone needs a sword through the face.) He steps off the shuttle, gaze sweeping their surroundings, and eventually finds himself considering the boulder blocking their path. Can his sword cut through that.

The boulder looks large but not impenetrable. With a little effort, Cyclonus's experienced eye determines he will probably be able to cleave through the rock.

Soundwave is not a mech taken by his outward appearance like some so dirt and dust isn't usually a problem. But this time, it's a bother. It's irritating his t-cog like mad, putting him in a rather irate mood. Can't you tell? He looks absolutely aggravated... Doesn't look too different from happy actually. As soon as they are safely within the cave, his deck opens to eject Ratbat, who cling upside down from his cannon. When in caves, bring a bat. His red visor glows dimly as his audios compensate for the howl of the wind. He stays silent as he steps towards the boulder, gaze sweeping over it to tell if it was purposefully placed there or not.

Lieutenant is lingering in the back, far back of the group. He probably shouldn't be out here with his injury but it's not like they need a flier. The avian simply looks around, take in their position, and the seismic sensation of the alien planet. He'll follow when the rest do, but for now, he stay put. Let someone else figure out how to move that boulder.

Well, okay then. Cyclonus draws his sword without comment or ceremony, because that's always a good idea in close quarters. He considers his angles, and then he swings it down in a fierce arc at what he deems to be the most vulnerable spot. Do rocks have vulnerable spots? Let's find out.

Gearshift turns to wave at Pipes and nod in agreement "The storm is wild, right?" Then she catches a flash of light on metal just in time to see Cyclonus swing his sword at the giant rock.

Wheeljack's attention is drawn to the boulder blocking their path just as much as the fact that their path is blocked. "Cool rock," is his very scientific first observation, as he leans forward toward it, then glances up at the gaps around here. The second is "do we need to blast this out of the way?" He might have been getting around to offering to help, but then Cyclonus steps forward and draws his sword, and Wheeljack steps back with hands raised. "Whoa!"

"Mm hmm!" Pipes agrees with Sideswipe as he continues to dust himself off ... from the dust. All his surfaces appear intact, if less glossy than usual. A matte finish, then. He's pleased that the consensus appears to be against going back out again. He catches notice of Gearshift and returns the wave. "No kidding! Glad we're staying inside!" He leans against his chosen wall and gazes at the boulder. Kind of pretty, but he imagines that it won't be intact for long. And there goes Cyclonus's sword!

Brainstorm eyes the boulder, and then Cyclonus. Or more specifically, his sword. He always was curious about the capabilities of greatswords. So far, no one's let him have a proper look at one, but this is good too. "If this doesn't work, we might have to. At least they won't miss us knocking down there!"

Tailgate has a second instinct for the sword swinging by now, still looking down at some readings on a tablet in his hand when Cyclonus unsheathes the blade; he barely glances up and hops sideways and away from the sword action, staying well out of the way. Welp!

As Soundwave observes the boulder, it does show some signs of not being in the place nature intended it, not least of which its distinct color. The faint shimmery gleam of malachite and copper deposits threading through it grow all the more distinct from the deep black of the rock around them when the hard stroke of Cyclonus's blade strikes through the stone. It takes a few strikes before it finally shatters, though it breaks into more pieces to scatter the floor with shards of mineral to crunch underfoot. The way is open. The tunnel looks almost pitch dark before them, but it is open.

All remains quiet. Soundwave might pick up distant flickers of noise like something scratchy against stone. Blaster's scanner has yet to pick up any crackle of transmission noise. Lieutenant's seismic senses expand around him in a broad swath of stone. The tunnel ahead of them runs very deep. There's a 9 meter drop off about 60 meters ahead that might take some effort to traverse in the dark.

WHERE ALL THE PEOPLE AT? The team hasn't found them yet.

"Stronger signals on the tracker." Blaster tells Sideswipe, pointing at the lit up green on his tracker. "I can trace anything that is using radio waves or any kind of sound wave out there." He looks up when he hears Cyclonus slam his sword down on the rather big, but pretty-enough-for-Beachcomber to collect boulder. When blasting was mentioned though, he turned to look at Wheeljack. "And you have explosives on you." It was a statement more than a question.

Soundwave steps aside as the sword is unsheathed, waiting calmly for Cyclonus to finish. When the boulder crumbles and reveals pitch, he glances over to Ratbat. The purple cassette harumphs as his boss tilts his helm. Then the bat releases his hold to fly in the dark up ahead. Bats The boulder shatters, and Cyclonus returns the Great Sword to his back. (It's not really /sheathed/. He doesn't have an actual sheath.) He looks to the others with an impassive gaze. Are we going now?

Sideswipe leans over, trying to get a better look, tugging at Blaster's arm. He's shorter than you, lean down please. He turns just in to see the boulder get itself hacked to bits by Cyclonus. Well. That solved that. They can go further in. Yay.

Oh. Well. Never mind. No need for explosives then. Although Blaster bends down to pick up a shattered piece of boulder. Looking it over, he opens up a panel on himself to place it in there. A little gift for Beachcomber later.

But still no transmission noise, but a definite detection of something still. He steps forward cautiously, turning on a tank light on himself to see a little further into the dark cavern. This looks like fun. The last time he was in something remotely dark was... well Transit. But there was no cart roller coaster this time.

So far, so good.

"It would have been much cooler if he'd managed to cut through it in one go" Brainstorm observes, leaning in towards Wheeljack, his voice slightly hushed. He doesn't really care to have the subject himself overhear his criticism of his form. At least the passage is open now "So, down the hole we go?"

Batlike senses permit Ratbat to scope out the dark tunnel ahead not entirely unlike Lieutenant's seismic sense has. The tunnel runs long and deep into the rock. Where Blaster's lights hit the stone, it continues mostly in that dull gleam of black. There are a fewer lighter strains of stone further down and further in.

Tailgate is ready to boldly go! He lifts his hand in a thumbs-up to Cyclonus as he cracks the boulder apart and more or less clears the path. The gesture lingers a moment before Tailgate sallies forth onto the path downward. "Last one down is a rusty cog?" If you can't tell, his adventurous spirit is winning this.

"I have plenty of things! Some of which can be used for clearing rock," Wheeljack says to Blaster, his fins flashing with amusement. "Since signs pointed to us going underground, it seemed like a good idea. But looks like it's been handled!" He pauses for a moment to scoop some of the rock off the ground, because it looks interesting even if he doesn't know all too much about these rocks. Then he starts to edge vaguely toward the dark entrance, but not far enough to actually pass the shattered remains of the boulder. His fins aren't enough to light up much, especially with the way they flicker as he talks. "It shattered, I'd say that's pretty cool," he responds to Brainstorm, as he does. "Yeah, guess so."

The avian's fins twitch as his optics narrow. He certainly feels what is upcoming and it's not too far ahead of them. "Tailgate, stop!" he says raising his voice above his usual monotone. "Do not run off ahead! There is a drop off up ahead in less than sixty meters! We need to find another route around."

Gearshift is impressed by everyone around her and their abilities. Meanwhile she picks up a small piece of the boulder as well, a Souvenir for herself.

Hup hup-- Tailgate stops in midstep, of course, looking back. "I would have found it when I fell off, huh? How many other ways down could there be?"

Blaster looks at Wheeljack. "None of them cause cave ins right?" His smile was teasing, but then he turns to look at Lieutenant. "Can you detect another way around? And, if anyone else has headlights to turn on, that might help us scope this out a little better."

Pipes joins those collecting up the nicer bits of metal and mineral that shattered from the boulder. For his part, he's thinking a certain Seeker might appreciate them, particularly the malachite. He's already got his running lights flipped on before Blaster's request, with a mild sense of deja vu from a similar excursion on Eukaris, heads in after Tailgate and the others. He keeps an optic out here and there, back and forth, so Lieutenant's warning doesn't surprise him.

Cyclonus reaches forward, slowly and calmly, to curl his claws fingers around Tailgate's shoulder, lift him, and set him several feet backwards. No. Don't do that.

There's no immediately clear way around the drop, not without getting a drill and digging into the cavern wall. The cliff face isn't sheer; there are a couple of thin, worrying lips verging from the cliff face of the dropoff that suggest supports for a ladder that is no longer there, and there are a few crags, pocks and general handholds down the cliff that might make it climbable for the enterprising. Of course, the drop also isn't that long -- if one large Cybertronian got to the bottom and their dignity could suffer it, they might be able to serve as an annoyed platform for their smaller fellows.

Soundwave concentrates on listening to Ratbat, ensuring his cassette's safety along with knowing what's ahead. Hmmm... He sends a quick message to the bat to investigate the drop off. How far down and where it leads. Then he strides forward. "Pointless standing around when we know where the drop off is."

The tunnel picks up after the drop and continues in a long, gently sloping decline into the dark.

Tailgate's foot in the air is suddenly dangling even further when Cyclonus lifts him up and sets him back. Wh--hey! The minibot gives a small wiggle of fuss, but otherwise he doesn't complain. If it makes him feel better. "So how far down is the drop?" Tailgate looks up and up to Lieutenant first, before he watches Soundwave start inward ahead of them. Okay, this order makes more sense.

"No cave-ins," Wheeljack promises absentmindedly as he turns his own headlights on and starts forward. As soon as he reaches the edge of the drop, he leans forward to inspect it. "That's not so bad," he comments. It's a bigger drop than he could handle, but at least it's not a bottomless pit. Or a pit with spikes at the bottom, or magma. This is underground, those things are apparently all possibilities. "Tallest first?" he suggests, still leaning toward the edge.

Lieutenant moves over to the front before pausing to look at Tailgate. "It is as nearly as deep as I am tall, nine meters." So guess who's volunteering to get into the hole? The avian carefully, climbs down into it but can still peek over the top. "I can move those who cannot get across themselves. Starting with the minibots."

Pipes considers using his gas as improvised thrusters to let him sail down elegantly to the foot of the cliff. Fortunately, Lieutenant offers a more reasonable alternative, so when he gets his chance, he takes his ride down. He could totally have floated down on his own though. It would have been impressive. Once at the bottom, he brings his lights back up to full and takes up a position just slightly ahead of the group, hoping to illuminate things a little further.

Lieutenant's senses make him aware of something -- several somethings -- scuttling along the wall of the tunnel ahead, past the drop. He gets the sense of a low-slung creature, multi-legged and moving at speed. There are also rock mites and other nasty little insects snapping and crawling beneath the stones around him but that's just atmospheric, not an actual threat to any armored Cybertronian pedes.

Likewise, Soundwave can hear more skittering, scrabbling claws against stone.

As the first bot down to the other side of the drop past Lieutenant, Pipes is the first to see the beginning gleam of color and hue in the distance up again. There's something faintly bluish glowing in shimmery threads along the black stone walls of the tunnel ahead, lending a dim but still helpful pale illumination to the crags of stone around it.

Time to put all that crate lifting he did in logistics to good use. One by one he'll put which ever smaller bots take up his offer on the ground safely. This was not actually the best idea since he /still/ hasn't had a medic look at his wing. It does hurt, but he mentally kicks aside that feeling for the movement he feels.

He may have armored pedes, but they give no protection to harm, or anything else for that matter. His seismic sense makes him weak against... basically anything on the ground. "Um, watch where you step." he cautions, "There are /many/ little creature down here."

Tailgate is one of the next bots to get a hand from Lieutenant on the way down the ledge. He sets down beside Pipes as they come to the floor again, giving the tall flier a nod of thanks. "Ohh. I wonder that that stuff is?" Tailgate stops beside his friend and looks onward down the cavern, and to the paleness webbed across the walls. He glances up and back at Lieutenant, vocalizer sputtering with a small laugh. "Hey now, that's not very nice!" Still, he gets the message, and looks onto the corridor again. "I don't see anything yet."

Soundwave doesn't need anyone's help to get down. He's quite tall himself. He waits for Ratbat to return however, finding purchase on his shoulder. With his cassette back, he crouches down to lower himself into the drop before falling the rest of the way. His fingertips twitch, hearing all that... The light in his visor narrows as he lifts a pede and casually... crushes some of the skittering creatures. Disgusting. Again, he nods Ratbat forward to look ahead again.

Cyclonus is on the taller side as well. He waits a bit while the smaller bots are making their assisted way down the drop before he eventually follows suit. Rear guard, apparently.

Rocky shell crunches underneath Soundwave's stomp. Some ichorous splatter smears over the stone. Now there's a slick patch. No one else step on the dead rock crab.

Brainstorm eyes the drop, relying on the headlights of his companions to gauge the length down, and forward. The height doesn't really bother him, it's not like he isn't used to them. He's a jet after all. Actually, the bigger problem might be the lower ceiling if he chooses to simply take advantage of that fact, especially with his fins jutting out uptop. He's not pretending to be some aerial ace, and it's not that big of a drop, so he might as well take the popular route down, tucking his precious briefcase under his chin to keep it from banging against the wall as he follows the rest.

Blaster sees how deep the drop off is, and finds that it is not so bad for him to go down in. So he follows LT in, and he says to him, "Need any assistance with getting everyone across?" Cause if not, he is just going to move forward. Either way, he is making faces at the crawly things that are moving around or over his peds. "Ew." He says quietly.

Wheeljack accepts his help down with good grace. He's not the shortest, but the help down is appreciated, a drop that's just a bit too high for his taste, especially since he's a car with no thrusters or anything to catch him if he falls wrong. He stays slightly behind the minis as they start moving forward, looking at the glowing blue ahead, cheerful. "Oh, good," he notes. "Less worry about dropoffs now!" Headlights are all well and good, but not everyone has those.

Lieutenant gives a snort in amusement at Tailgate's humor. Funny. "AHACK!" The avian cries out in alarm and jumps back up the drop off, and shakes a bug free from his foot. (if it feel on someone, hopefully Soundwave, he may or may not be sorry about that.) Ugggghh, he hates bugs. Leave him for now, he'll pick up on the rear in a bit.

"No idea," Pipes muses. "Maybe some kind of algae or fungus? Or maybe it's something the colonists set up, if there are any around here." Pipes pops out his pistols and uses their handles to gently and harmlessly scootch away any little bugs nearby. Some bots. He continues to peer ahead, and creeps forward himself. His sidearms are at the ready. Just in case.

As they begin to draw nearer to the glowing blue strands, there's something about them that almost resembles a seaweed more than it does a lichen: the glow, mostly blue but some a little more greenish, and flow in drifting tendrils as they grow out of the rock. If bruised, they give off a pungent, spicy scent and their light begins to dim and die.

More of the rock crabs scuttle along the floor. They have large pinching claws with razor edges but at a third of a Tailgate in size aren't much of a threat as they mostly seem to try to avoid the heavy feet of all the Cybertronians.

Soundwave can sense, now, below them and to the right, a patch of distinctly Cybertronian-seeming thought: a few individuals, close together and murmuring to each other. Blaster is able to pick them up a few beats later when one of them sends a crackly, staticky transmission off into the aether, although where that radio signal is headed is unclear, out of range.

He doesn't draw any notice to the fact, but someone keeping a close eye on him might notice Cyclonus take at least some small amount of care not to crush any of the scuttling crabs beneath his feet. A /small/ amount. Shut up, don't look at him.

"Whatever it is, it's pretty cool." Tailgate sticks beside Pipes as he creeps forward, his gaze turned to the weeds flowing from the walls in a bit of rapture. They're so pretty! The motes of light reflect off of his visor. He avoids the scuttle of a passing, craggy critter, the crab dodging between his pedes as he dances over it. Yikes, some traffic down here, huh?

Tailing the others, Brainstorm takes advantage of whatever lighting available to him, natural or otherwise, to peer down at the little skittering critters, and the glowy stuff. "Bioluminescence probably" he observes, poking one of the strands with his finger.

Soundwave wipes his pede off, sending a message to all the other crabs. He's big, heavy, and they are nothing beneath him. So stay far away. He walks forward, getting close to the wall to inspect it and taking care to catalogue everything he's seeing and... hearing... His shoulders stiffen. "We are not alone." He says suddenly. "Beneath us." He concentrates, trying to catch the words possibly.

Lieutenant watches the rest move on a few feet before tentatively following after them. He watches from behind Cyclonus who, surprisingly, seems to make somewhat of an effort not to squish the bugs. Interesting, he wouldn't have guessed. Unlike him, however, the avian makes the full effort to avoid stepping on the creatures. Ick.

"Pretty handy for anything that lives down here," Wheeljack notes. Speaking of, Soundwave might go stiff at the discovery, but Wheeljack quite literally lights up with excitement, glowing the same blue as the seaweed-like material around them. "So there's really a colony here? That's great! How far is it?"

The conversation is on the desultory side: old friends on watch together, on guard against some uncertain threat or maybe just on general principles. One is responsible for the radio signal; he's communicating with someone else about a new camp site, apparently ... a group of travelers through the caves?

Sideswipe, being himself is taking most of this in stride. Shaky ones, but he's managing. Still he trots after Blaster, his own headlights on to give a bit more light, as he follows. "Hopefully not too far. Don't have my jetpack on me." he chirps.

"I guess so," Pipes eyes the wavy, flowing tentacles of ... whatever it is. "You know, between this stuff, and the crabs, and the blue glow, it's almost like we're underwater." He peeks a little closer at the quasi-plants but stops when Soundwave and Blaster raise their alarums. He straightens up and looks around some more. He'd ask if they were friendly, but he's not in charge here, so he just tries to stay ready.

"Huh, you're right." Tailgate hums. Caverns underground that make things seem like water... on a dusty planet? It's like things are backwards. "Radio?" He looks up to Blaster, then to Soundwave. The minibot looks down past his toes. Beneath. "So how do we get down there? Just keep going and hope it branches?"

Guards could mean danger. He begins to move forward, long strides threatening to surpass Blaster. "They are guards," he informs everyone. "We could hack their signal, communicate with them..." Seems reasonable to him. "They could tell us of a path that leads to them."

There does continue to be the gentle incline of the tunnel's path -- it doesn't so much fall as saunter vaguely downwards. Lieutenant can tell that up ahead, round one of these bends, there's a broader, open space with a few branching paths off from it. There's something very large and alive with living warmth that is very still in the broad chamber but for the soft rumble of its breathing. Like something across between a bear and a woolly mammoth (or, in keeping with the oceanic theme of the rest of the underground decor, a ... land whale?).

Guards you say? Brainstorm will stay back here then, behind some of the fightyer people. Wouldn't want to deprive them of all the fun, now would he?

Blaster hums as he cleans up the signal he got to get a clearer picture. His ridges furrow in concentration at the conversation, then a slight smirk. "I got a radio conversation, something about finding a new camp site. We might not be the only explorers around here." He says to the group around him.

Although he does not have seismic sensors or long reaching hearing, he is picking up something very alive right now. "Uh... there is something up ahead.

Primus, Lieutenant is getting all sort of sensations he's never expected to feel before. His visor drops over his optics as he stamps a foot down to sense not only the layout of what's up ahead but a strange creature? Blaster 'sees' it too... somehow, so at least the avian knows his sensors haven't failed on him. Yet.

"What kind of something?" Is Wheeljack's question to Blaster. "Should we try to avoid it, or is this a universal greeting kind of situation?" He's glancing down the pathway now, and looking toward the crabs. If no one describes anything else, he's going to think this creature is something like them. He'll be continuing forward still, but at a cautious pace.

Guards and/or something. OK, Pipes could work with this. Maybe the guards and/or something are friendly, maybe not. Pistols in hand, but more as tools at the moment than weapons, he continues to push forward, around the bends and to the opening to some sort of chamber. It's still really dark, and his lights aren't all that bright, even augmented by the not-seaweed. He strains his optics to try and see what's in there, and part of him hopes everyone else is right behind him.

"We should just try to contact them, shouldn't we? It might be a little shocking to hear strangers, but..." Tailgate shrugs his shoulders and looks between Blaster and Soundwave, then the former again. Something up ahead? Rather than try and locate the something on his own, however, Tailgate stays close to Pipes. Safety in minibot numbers.

"Then no way but forward" Brainstorm pipes up, making no move to actually get to the front himself. He is curious, but he's quite happy to let the others take the honor of meeting anything they might meet first.

Soundwave stops behind the minibots, listening to the creature. If it's sentient, he could try to listen to its thoughts... But if it wasn't... He didn't like those thoughts. He glances back and then nods. "Affirmative." Forward the go then. He steps around the smols and walks towards to meet the land whale. Hopefully it was just sleeping and they could step around it.

The massive beast sprawled across the floor of the big chamber does indeed appear to be sleeping. It is essentially a gargantuan pile of fur and muscle with great visible tusks -- or maybe horns, it's hard to tell at this angle where the top of its head is. There are a few branching paths out of the central chamber and it would be hard to determine with a certainty their direction, but luckily, the points of triangulation between Blaster's scanner, Soundwave's senses and Lieutenant's seismic sense make it a simple thing to find the right way ... assuming everyone can get through the room without waking up the land whale, of course.

<FS3> Soundwave rolls Stealth: Success. (5 8 6 2)

<FS3> Wheeljack rolls Stealth: Great Success. (6 8 8 7 8)

<FS3> Tailgate rolls Stealth: Success. (4 2 4 5 7 3 1)

<FS3> Blaster rolls Stealth: Failure. (1 4)

<FS3> Brainstorm rolls Cowardice: Success. (5 5 2 1 1 4 4 7)

<FS3> Brainstorm rolls Stealth+1: Failure. (4 2 4)

<FS3> Pipes rolls Stealth: Success. (3 5 7)

<FS3> Lieutenant rolls Balance: Good Success. (7 8)

<FS3> Sideswipe rolls Stealth: Good Success. (3 8 1 6 5 7 6 1)

Wheeljack takes the time to darken his headfins and switch off his headlights, but not before he glances over through the room and picks out a path to take him across, where he can avoid rocks or other materials that might trip him up or cause noise. Only once he does that does he begin to step out into the room. All the preparation must be good for something, because he manages to get across the cavern with no problem. Once he's around the creature's bulk on the far side of the cavern, he pauses to wait for the others to make their way along.

Tailgate takes in the sight of the organic beast with as much of a wide look as he has given everything else. Wow! Just look at those teeth! Movements of his comrades in his peripheral vision goad him into moving too, part of his vision watching the giant hairball as he creeps after and tiptoes in Wheeljack's wake.

Pipes is not an inherently stealthy bot. He is, however, small, so any ruckus he makes when he's otherwise trying to be quiet doesn't carry that far. Keeping his optics on the giant beast, now visible to him, he works his way around the perimeter of the chamber. He's not sure what he'll be able to do if that thing stirs. He wonders if it's like an elephant, though. Except with hair.

This would be Sideswipe turning of his headlights, and shifting his balance to keep the noise down. He knows how to sneak around, after all, some pranks require silence. So, he can thankfully pull this off.

Brainstorm follows after his more combat-ready companions, quiet as he can. That does not look like something he wants to wake. And yet, he can't help but peer at it, his natural curiosity getting the best of him. Or it might be fear, making him watch it in case it stirs. Or both.

Staring at it, however, means that he's not looking at what's under his feet. Thus, he misses the loose stone in his path that gets caught under his foot, sending it sliding forward with a scraping noise, and causing the scientist himself to yelp in surprise as he tries to regain his balance. Well, so much for quiet. At least he's just about across.

Blaster also moves ahead, and if Sides wants to be a guard, that's fine (a.k.a. very attractive) to him. The Comms Officer does not have the telepathic talents of Soundwave, but he can catch sounds most others cannot, and whatever it was, it could be bigger than all of them. But definitely squishier sounding.

Lo and behold, it was a squishy thing. He watched the huge thing with some awe, then makes a motion that they should all keep quiet.

Funny then, that his scanner went off at the wrong moment, just as Blaster was having a pretty successful crossing. A few things happen:

Although many of them make it across the room to the mouth of the passageway they need to reach without incident, and at least one of them does it super classy, the monster still begins to stir and rumble after those unfortunate last noises, scraping itself slowly awake, and this is a gargantuan biological monstrosity that looks like -- well, a giant thick-pelted hairy beast of a thing, big enough to get into it with almost any Cybertronian. As it rumbles and growls, some vibrations seem to echo from its basso frame almost into the very stones.

The rumble seems to echo into the stone and a subtle vibration purrs outward almost as though the beast is using some kind of subterranean sonar.

The radio transmissions suddenly take on a greater frequency as a few more people get involved-- She's awake. Stone above and flame below. Didn't you dose her? Must be time for another dose. I think there must be travelers. -- and there are more minds popping alert and awake where before there was only the dull quiet of the offline processor. A distant engine roars. Tire treads over stone start picking up in the distance. Distant voices that Soundwave gets a little extra of: "Just make sure everyone is awake! I'm going to go see who's there." "Don't let her step on you!"

So much for his attempt. Wheeljack watches with a wince as Brainstorm and Blaster both end up making noise, enough that the creature begins to stir. "C'mon!" he calls. At this point, he's abandoning their hopes of sneaking past in favor of hopefully confusing the creature long enough for them to slip down one of the tunnels and away. To that purpose, he brings his headlights on in full again.

At the rumble, Brainstorm makes a small noise as he darts to put some of the others between himself and the creature.. It's only once he's managed that does he speak up, even as he rushes towards the tunnels "Well, looks like it's awake now, huh?"

"Aw scrap," Pipes grumbles as the creature awakens. He stumbles slightly with all the weird vibrations going on. Freaky. He hasn't gotten all the way to their goal, and there's no point in further sneaking, so he converts to his alt mode and guns it. Fortunately, his vehicle mode headlights work better than what he has in root mode, so he can move decently quickly.

Guess who has no lights to dim or shut off. This guy. Soundwave takes care to tread softly, large pedes gently settling into the ground before taking another step. He's heavy but he's easily able to keep his systems quiet. Years of lurking in the background has lead to the ability. It takes more time but he manages to pass the beast. Now, if he's capable of staying silent, everyone else should- the scrapes and clatter smack his audial senses. He keeps his vents from hissing as he turns to glare at the offenders. Of course, Blaster was on. Of course. He gives the Comms Officer an extra intense glare before his focus shifts to the beast.

Soundwave's cannon onlines as a precaution before it rumbles. He steps back, fingers twitching. It's not a pleasant noise to run through him, but at least it doesn't cloud out any other noise as well. "Others coming, possibly from colony." He pauses. And then repeats, "Don't let it step on you... Suggestion: try not to agitate it." Quite possibly too late with all the headlights and shouting in Blaster's case. Idiot. He turns towards the tunnel he can hear the voices from.

Tailgate watches the creature wake with that perpetually astounded look, and he's near enough to Wheeljack to be able to shore up closer in case of emergency. As Pipes converts, as does Tailgate. It's a pretty clear impetus-- time to skedaddle, guys. "Or we can just get out of here!" And not worry about agitating it?

The tunnel opens out before them, wide enough for two to drive abreast -- or three if they're really small -- and rather smooth. The ceiling is a smidge low -- the tallest of them, on foot, might need to duck a little, and there are occasional beginning stalactites to dodge. Their headlights illumine mostly black and grey stone, and a few glowy shreds of the bioluminescent plants. Around the bend up ahead, a pair of highbeams flashes high and bright and then, as he rounds the corner to discover himself roaring at high speed towards a headlong collision, the oncoming car -- a low-slung black and red racer with a high white spoiler -- screeches to a halt and goes: "Whoa!"

Sideswipe whirled around at the noise, attempting to seize Blaster before he started yelling, but failing. Still, he attempts to grab Blaster and pull him out of the path of the...thing. And other things. Mechs. Whatever.

As much as Brainstorm would love to put some more distance between himself and creature, as the others begin changing form, he begins to lag behind. Jets aren't exactly well suited for indoors. Even in this mode, the length of his shoulder fins is making dodging the stalactites even more annoying. At least he gets a bit of a warning before coming uppon the new arrival, giving him time to slow down.

Pipes is indeed quite intent on not getting stepped on. He's had at least one very close call of that nature before. He rounds into the next tunnel and drives ahead, dodging a stalagmite or two, intending to get some distance between him and the leviathan. The unexpected highbeams ahead blind him temporarily, but he manages to swerve out of the way in time. He switches back to root mode as he rolls up the side of the tunnel, but lands, more or less, on his feet. "Whew!" Now what?

Blaster felt Sideswipe grab him, and with a nudge to Sides, he transforms into tank mode. He is not as fast as the racers, but he is faster on treads. But just as he was attempting to build up speed, he had to soon stop in front of an unknown racer type. He was not going fast enough to have to break suddenly, so he could slow to a stop and transform back into bipedal mode. His scanner was suddenly alive with clear chatter. They were definitely in the strongest comms spot. "Who...?" He asked the racer, wondering if they found the colony.

As soon as he's sure that the others in the cavern are going to manage to get out without being squished, as Soundwave warned about, Wheeljack drops down into his vehicle mode and takes off, tires squealing for a moment before he gains traction on the stone floor and starts moving. With Pipes and Tailgate driving ahead of him, he has enough space to pull into a tight turn to avoid a collision himself. He doesn't transform yet- might still need to avoid that creature. "Whoops! You okay?" He calls. "Are you from the colony here?"

Sideswipe follows the rest and drops to his wheels, speeding up...only to be forced into fishtailing to avoid a racer. He scrambles up, biped now, and drops into a crouch. Who was this?

Tailgate moves after Pipes and practically does a somersault back into his root mode after bumping into the other minibot when he stops. Watch it! Wheeljack narrowly misses his own version of bumper cars. Tailgate rattles his head and adjusts his optics at the oncoming lights. The black racer reverses and flips into his root mode. He finishes transforming on one knee on the ground, one fist braced against the stone floor. He looks up with the dazzling flash of a wide grin. It's a bright, animated face, for all that the optics themselves are shielded behind a visor. "Hello, strangers. I'm Coalblack, of Obsidian Convoy. Looks like you've run into a pest problem." He's all bright-edged curiosity and just a little sardonic, teasing humor. His attitude makes clear almost immediately, especially to those who were party to his conversations before, that whatever it was he was guarding against ... it wasn't other Cybertronians. He seems untroubled by the prospect of strangers in his tunnels.

Soundwave gives the creature another look before heading into the tunnel... After all the vehicles. His pace is even but quick as he weaves around stalactites. Vehicular alts leaving those on foot behind, the usual. He arrives to the party late and moves past most the other mechs to put himself closer to the front. "Designation, Soundwave." Yes, hello there. Nice to meet you. "You require assisstance in removing the pest?" he offers. Hope no one minds him volunteering them.

"You know what that thing is, do you?" Blaster asks. "I'm Blaster, Communications Officer on the Lost Light. Is your colony in trouble?" And yes, he's nicer than Soundwave is. "Or... apparently there have been travelers here before..." He hopes that this meeting turns out good.

"Nah. She's a good early warning system. We usually drug her if we're going to be close by." Coalblack leans, hip first, into the stone wall. He has the hips for it. He's otherwise built on lean, angled lines, not unlike his alt mode: the narrow length of him suggests speed. He seems a little puzzled. Then he seems more puzzled. His thoughts, already high energy and high octane, bounce rapidly after his words as he threads suppositions. He was expecting a group like his own: Convoys, scattered communities of Dunians, mobile small scale groups of survivors cycling through the underground tunnels of the planet. "Colony? You mean..." He tips his head. "Colony." He laughs, his spoiler quivering with a new, startled tension. "You mean like ... the entire planet of Dunia, colony? You mean like ... you're a Convoy from off-planet?"

"That's us! All the way from Cybertron" Brainstorm chimes, finally catching up properly with the others. Seriously, not cool, guys, leaving the walkers behind like that.

Blaster adds "Specifically, we are a explorer ship from Cybertron." He quirks a ridge. "Nice to meet you then."

This is the point where Wheeljack finally transforms, mostly so that he can glance over to the others. Blaster and Soundwave have already taken point on this, and Brainstorm is more than willing to answer Coalblack's question. He nods agreement to everything that's already been said. From the curious way he's looking at Coalblack, he's bursting with questions, but he's managed to contain most of them. "If you can call a ship of bots a Convoy, anyway," he says instead.

Soundwave nods. Alright, no need to get rid of the creature. Though he could still hear that horrid rumbling. Hopefully it would shut up soon. "Affirmative. Our ship, currently in orbit of this planet." No point in reitering where they're from. His visor flashes. He hates hyperactive thinkers, they give him headaches.

Coalblack stares in blank shock. "Cybertron?" He was forged here and to him, Cybertron is little more than a legend. He has the vague idea that his colony was cast out, that his people were rejected -- that there was a war among the Primes, and his god was the righteous one...? The only righteous one...? He shakes the ghosts of history he didn't live and barely remembers -- not very religious -- off with a visible shake of his frame and his spoiler. "Stones above and flames below," he says. "I had a premonition today was going to be weird." He reaches up and scratches at the bladed curve of his helm, an absent-minded gesture that scritches beneath his audial. His fans kick on full blast and he laughs again in clear consternation. "Why don't you all come back with me to our camp? We can keep you from getting stomped by the marauder and share tales between us. Convoys always swap stories when we meet, but it feels like they get to always be the same ones ... You must have thousands we've never heard before."

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