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2016-08-26 Declined!

From Transformers: Lost and Found

Declined!
Date 2016/08/26
Location Nowehere'sland, the 10-lightyears from anything interesting system
Participants Barrister, Blackstorm, Brainstorm, Inferno, Lieutenant, Red Alert, Rodimus, Skystalker, Vortex
NPCs Teller
Plot Denied
Scene GM Tez
Summary In human terms, we're trapped in a small town in the middle of nowhere and we're out of gas and none of our cards work and we don't have any of the local currency and no one wants our currency.

The Lost Light's quantum engines are quantum remarkable, but they are still engines, and engines need fuel. They've been burning through more and more fuel lately, stopping more and more often to recharge --

But this has nothing to do with that. This is just a normal stop for gas, to let everyone out so that they can stretch their wings, flex their tires, or other alt-mode metaphors as appropriate.

It's true that they've gone a little longer than maybe they should have, forcing them to stop at a crossroads on an otherwise entirely unremarkable planet orbiting a really boring star, occupied by a mix of organics and mechs, but their circumstances aren't dire. It's just time to fill up, grab a drink, and move on.

Except.

"What do you mean, that didn't work?" At the spaceport, first up after disembarkation is to arrange for supplies, refueling, and paying docking fees. Standing at the head of every person present on the ship who might want off, Rodimus has very confidently handed over Drift's magic card -- and it's declined. He looks confused.

Barrister is the self-appointed Ship's Counsel. That means he handles contracts and supplies and really whatever, at that moment, might make his life a little more interesting. As such, Barrister stands just behind Rodimus, black armor gleaming as always. Even he looks surprised when the card is declined. Ship's Counsel is not Ship's Accountant, or Ship's Auditor. He glances from Rodimus to the teller, organic or mech, then back again. "Hrm." He notes, in that way that denotes he's trying to make people around him think that he's thinking deep and important thoughts.

Normally, Brainstorm wouldn't care less that they've made a stop at some backwater planet. Unless something goes disastorously wrong, the refueling process has nothing to do with him, and he's got better things to do with his time than hang around on Nowehere'sland, the 10-lightyears from anything interesting system. Thing is, his workshop is currently a bit...compramised. Nothing dangerous, but if the smell clinging to his plating is anything to go by, nothing pleasant either. Since he now has some free time on his hands, he figured he might as well spend it planetside for a change. He'll have plenty of time to visit the ship's facilities later. Except it seems there's a problem, eh? Leaning around Rodimus' spoilers, he peers at the teller curiously "So what's the problem?"

Skystalker just wanted to step out for some air, as it were, on a planet that isn't filled with slavers or fledgling mafiosas. It's enough for him to wheel about in space, but in this case he feels like reminding himself that not all mixed planets are... scrap. Maybe while he's down here he can find some lab supplies he's needing. Or, he would be. Skystalker doesn't really notice what's going on until there's a bit of hubbub around Rodimus, looking up from a list on his personal datapad with an owlish flicker of optics.

Blackstorm weaves his way between the larger mecha's legs, whistling cheerfully to himself. This may be a backwater planet, but he is still excited to be here. The things you can find in the dark corners and back alleyways of places like this are usually way more creative and fun than more prosperous areas. That and the authorities were more liable to turn a blind eye. He is already anticipating blowing yesterday's paycheck on all sorts of questionable activities.

When he gets to the head of the line, though, he sees everyone stopped and staring at the captain. Considering how he lives in a state of perpetual having no money, it only takes him a moment of glancing between the cashier the captain to put it together. Blackstorm gives a low whistle. "You broke? I feel that mecha," he chirps, moving to take a step onwards. What? He's not going to wait and stare like the others. Too much of a good time waiti- "Wait, don't you sign my paycheck?" he suddenly realizes, turning back on his heel.

Inferno hasn't been off the ship in, well, ages, so even if this little gas stop isn't exactly crawling with adventure, at least it's something. He's keeping toward the back of the group, knowing that his companion will want to be able to have his eyes on everyone without worrying about anybody being behind him. "This oughta be fun, eh, Red?" 'Ferno asks, glancing down at the security bot with a friendly smile. He'd been glad that Red Alert had agreed to come with him; at first, Inferno had been expecting his invite to be rejected. If Inferno didn't get off the ship much, Red Alert definitely didn't. At least that's what he thought anyway. "Be nice ta stretch our legs a little, check out the scenery." Yes, the scenery. The very interesting....very mind-blowing....scenery.

Inferno's smile turns to a look of curious concern when Rodimus and whoever he's talking to become a cork in the bottle of the others. "Wonder what's up?" he asks, partially to himself. "Should we go have a look-see?"

Stretching and flexing is fun, but heliformers like Vortex prefer to spin his rotors. And boy are they spinning. They're just a little under 'whirlwind' territory so he hopes no one gets too close... But he's not hoping all that hard. Twisting and stretching out, he loosens up his struts and gyros before the most interesting thing he's ever heard ever.

Vortex's helm snaps around, visor flashing. His rotors slow slightly and he trots over closer. Being a mercenary, he knows a few things about blood money- and its eventual dry up. Sight. The woes of actually being an EX-mercenary. Vortex can't help but cackle and then burst into a hysteria of giggles. Rodimus's face is the best thing ever- His giggles cut off, visor brightening to almost a pinkish hue as Blackstorm speaks. "Hey, wait a minute..." Suddenly not so funny.

It was a general rule of Red Alert's that he not explore alien planets. Not since the last time, and the time before that. Perhaps it was just best to say that he didn't have the best of luck on foreign worlds. Still, when Inferno invited him out for a walk on a seemingly harmless little backwater planet... Well, it was getting harder and harder to say no to that hopeful smile.

"It will be...an experience," he said cautiously in the face of Inferno's boundless enthusiasm. "Of that I am certain." He wasn't sure the Lost Light could go anywhere without having an experience.

Like now.

"Hold on, I think I can hear something. Someone's saying the captain has run out of money." Red Alert frowned. That didn't sound good at all.

Lieutenant, pre-usual, is in the far back of the 'squad.' Actually he's not even in the back of the pack but instead, lingering around. He's been out of sort a bit so fresh air ought to give him the boost. So he wanders within a radius of the group, occasionally looking to make sure all are accounted for. At least everyone is together, but he, for once, isn't curious to know what they're up to now. Yet.

"I'm not broke!" Rodimus immediately defends himself, despite the fact that he really, really is, and this entire adventure is funded by Drift's dollar. "I'm sure there's just -- a glitch or something. Run it again," he encourages. He says nothing about any paychecks but looks briefly panicked. It'll be fine, right?

Nope. Under Brainstorm's eye, the port teller tries again -- and again. Rodimus hisses to Barrister: "Fix it."

Blackstorm rocks back on his heels, trying not to hide the grin threatening to blossom on his faceplates. While this isn't good news for him, it's hard not to laugh at the near-panicked look on Rodimus's faceplates. How many times has he been in that position himself? Too many. But however this ends, he is already thinking about how he can play his cards and get off this backwater without losing a step. Worse comes to worse, he can skulk around the docks and ask which ships are hiring before anyone else thinks of trying the same. "I don't know about you, but that looks broke to me. And, trust me, I know what broke looks like better than most," Blackstorm interjects.

Biting his lower lip component, he shakes his helm. "My paycheck won't bounce when I try to cash it, right? I was kind of counting on getting wasted tonight. That'd be a bummer."

Barrister glances at Rodimus as he's hissed at. For a moment he doesn't do anything, regarding the captain with a sidelong, blue optic'd glance. On about the fifth swipe, however, the lawbot steps forward. "Forgive my captain's pride." He offers, voice smooth and measured. Calculated. So is the smile on his features as he moves in front of Rodimus with the teller. "We're having a bit of difficulty. This far out, sometimes the data stored on those things can get a little...well, the nearest Galactic Reserve Banking Hub is pretty far away." Barrister offers apologetically. "Until such time as that connection is restored, along with our access to funds...well, you may want to get your manager for this but I'll say it here. We're invoking the Pan-Galactic Right of Sanctuary for stricken spacefaring vessels. If I've kept up on my Pan-Galactic Commercial Code that gives us..." He glances at Rodimus. "...Three standard cycles of berthing space. Which should be long enough for us to restore our connection to the relevant financial authorities." Barrister grins and slips a silicon card through the teller's window. "Barrister of Iacon, registered galactic legal counsel. Call me if you have any questions."

"How much money does Drift have?" Brainstorm ponders while the cashier keeps trying the card. It's a question of curioscity. Unlike some pessimists, he's not convinced that they're broke. Doesn't look like it. If the local wouldn't be trying the card, which he points out to the doubters "Looks like it's just getting declined, else it would tell us." and then to the cashier, jokingly, "Have you tried turning it on and off again?"

Skystalker puts away his tablet, spacing it with a faint noise of puzzlement at the ongoing scene ahead of him. He looks over his shoulder, wingtips angling downward as he looks to some of the others, and then slips forward to insert himself into the already rubbernecked crowd around the captain. It's a little crowded, though probably entertaining for the poor teller. At least until Barrister whips out some obscure galactic standard, anyway. Skystalker looks up and over at him with a raised browline, partway between impressed and concerned. Pretty far away, he says. Sky glances over at Brainstorm. "When we were on Zarazee he wasn't having trouble with withdrawals at all."

Blackstorm falls oddly silent when Barrister starts talking, rocking back on his heel to watch the strange mecha talk. Once he finishes, the minibot lifts a digit to point at him. "Can I get a translator? My translation protocols can't decode the words that just came out of his mouth. What language is he even speaking?"

"You -- might want to wait on that," Rodimus says after a delay, the words pieced out slowly from behind gritted teeth, grinding through his vocalizer. His gaze lights as Barrister gets his law on, and he says, "Yeah! That!" He has no idea what it meant, but it sounded good.

With a disgruntled serious of blats and bleeps, the teller cedes to Barrister: "You are correct. Three cycles and no longer, however. If you are here after that--"

"We won't be," Rodimus breaks in before the threat can finish. "Because Drift has so much money." Spotting Skystalker, he jumps up and flags a hand. "Hey! Skystalker! Loan me parking fees, would you?" Friendship means nagging.

Inferno as moved forward, as well as he can with his size, to join the rest gathering around Rodimus. "Run outta money? Now that can't be right." The question of his pay isn't actually on the forefront of his processor right now. It's more the issue of having the means to get supplies and energon for the ship and its crew. He's trying to crane his neck around Brainstorm - one of the few at his height - when Barrister speaks. Inferno falls back flat on his pedes, recycling his optics a few times.

"Uh." Good answer, 'Ferno. "Can't say I could tell ya, little guy. Sounded like a lot of law gibberish to me. What d'you think, Red?"

"Thank you. We understand the burden that the invocation of this ancient and venerable right causes, so we appreciate your willingness to accommodate us." Barrister replies to the teller. He flashes that smile again and nods. Rodimus seems to get it, so he doesn't say anymore, but something that Skystalker said has the black mech zeroing in on the starfighter. "What did you just say, Skystalker?" Barrister says, smile looking a little strained. "Did you just say that Drift used this very card, linked to his personal bank account, at the /Zarazee Casino/, which is *directly* linked to the Galactic Council's sprawling, and very heavily regulated financial system? Is that what I just heard?"

So the commotion earns a sigh from Lieutenant as he silently comes towards the group. Hands folded behind his back, he stands a bit away from the group but close enough to hear that they're having difficulty withdrawing? Probably blame it on the casino they stopped at. The navy avian's wings twitch slightly as he listens further, unknowingly starting to pull a Magnus frown. This is not good.

Skystalker makes his way closer at the wave, and gives Rodimus a small frown that lasts only a second. Why him? "I can get the parking fees." He is reluctant to do so, but he stops beside Rodimus and passes over his own means of paying for things. "This is a loan." Just to be clear. His eyes dart back up to Barrister. "I don't know which ones he uses, I don't watch that closely... I only know that every time we go somewhere he always pulls money out of some crevice or another..." Sugar Daddy Drift, it is known.

Declined.

"You didn't spend it all at the casino, did you?" Rodimus asides to Skystalker.

Blackstorm glances over as another mecha steps to the forefront, faceplates suddenly breaking into a grin. He remembered this mecha from the time he nearly got trapped on top of the rod-pod. "Well, if it isn't my would-be hero swooping in to save the day again!" he jokes. "I didn't know Gibberish was its own language. Things make so much more sense now."

It quickly becomes apparent that Blackstorm isn't completely daft, though, because when Barrister chimes in about 'venerable rites,' the minibot helpfully adds, "Oh! Are they going to let us squat? Awesome. Thanks for letting us be squatters."

Red Alert is still content to hang around away from the crowd and eavesdrop on their conversation. That's his speciality of course. It works out pretty well until Inferno turns to say something to him, only to realize he is no longer standing next to him. Um. Oops.

<< Rodimus can't get his card working, so Barrister is stalling for time, >> Red Alert comms, unwilling to get any closer to the throng of people crowding around the captain. << We have three cycles to figure out what's wrong with the card or...find some other means to pay. >> He has no idea what that might entail, but it doesn't sound like it's exactly going to be the relaxing planetside getaway either of them hoped for.

"We are not squatting!" Rodimus sends up in a howl of outrage that interrupts whatever it was he was going to say to Skystalker. Although the teller dutifully tries Skystalker's payment several times as well, he too is declined. As that is going on, Rodimus throws dignity to the wind -- not that he ever had much -- and pivots to cup his hands and call, "Okay, come on, who has a secret cushy bank account other than Swindle who is suspiciously not present right now? We'll call it a loan."

Inferno glances back at Red Alert a bit worriedly, though he nods in acknowledgement at the comm. "<< Huh. Hope he's got a plan. I don't really wanna get stuck here washin' dishes for the next three cycles.>>" Red Alert will get the reference, right? He was on Earth too, right? Inferno takes a step or two back, still close enough to talk to Blackstorm but also a bit closer to where Red Alert remains standing. Hopefully the others will move off soon so Red will come back by his side.

"Hey, Blackstorm." Inferno manages a crooked grin. "Heh, can't say I'm savin' anybody. I'd help out the captain with funds, but I ain't got any more shanix ta my name than we do right now." Just enough to treat Red to something while they were there, a snack or something. He tilts his helm, looking back toward Skystalker and Rodimus. "Hope they got a plan to get us outta this."

Library duties call. Also Lieutenant would rather not let the rest of the crew know his accounts have been frozen due to the fact that he's supposed to be.. dead. Oops. In any case, you all need him, you don't.

"I have a feeling our cards just don't work here" Brainstorm observes as yet another card gets declined. Even so, he does address the teller again, this time seriously, optics narrowing on his machine "You sure that thing's working properly?"


Barrister is definitely a hero. A /law/ hero. He vents, fingertips going to the plate between his optics. "Ok. Ok. I can fix this." He turns away from the teller, no need to breach the circle of confidences. He looks at the assembled mechs, from Rodimus to Skystalker on down the line to Red Alert and Blackstorm and Inferno and all inbetween. "This is my guess. Assuming that Drift *isn't* broke, which I would hope he would know and that someone would keep track of, it's possible he used the card at the casino." Barrister reasons, holding his hands perpendicular to the ground but parallel to each other. Demonstrating. "Now, what I'm about to say isn't personal, it's only a legal descriptor. Drift, aka /Deadlock/, is a Class 1 galactic war criminal. This is my fault, I should've been more alert, but there was always a risk that using the card in Council space would trigger a hold, because war criminals aren't supposed to be able to gamble at casinos. And that would extend..." Barrister looks over his shoulder as Skystalker's card is declined. "...To any other associated accounts."

The teller makes a grand show of pulling his own card to run it through for a token charge -- certainly not paying for them, just a demonstration. It works juuust fine. "It's working," he tells Brainstorm.

"Oh ... scrap," Rodimus says after a long, drawn-out pause where he clearly substitutes the mild scrap for much worse language. He stares at Barrister, the first prickle of defensiveness subsiding as he's diverted from defense of Drift by 'other associated accounts'. "So none of our accounts will work until you legal-fu this? How are we supposed to get off planet?"

Skystalker's concern moves from Rodimus to his own payment declination, and he leans over to take his own card back with a mulling expression. "Sorry about this." He sounds truly apologetic for the poor guy trying to run all of them through. "I don't understand why mine would be associated." He frowns at Barrister. Though-- the rest of what he says makes perfect sense. It's easy for Skystalker to overlook the past until it comes rolling back. "Wasn't Zarazee just outside of Council control? Indentured servitude and all.

Blackstorm raises his hand, brow furrowing behind his visor, when Barrister turns towards them. There is one thing he doesn't understand about all this. "Why does the galactic council have a law against criminals having fun?" he asks. "That seems awfully hard to enforce." Not that he's going to let them bring him down. The minibot shrugs. No Galactic Council ever stopped him from gambling and they weren't about to do it now. "I guess I better watch my smile in Galactic Council airspace. It's so charming it might get me arrested, too."

He snaps his digits and glances back to Inferno. "There's the plan. I'll distract the space cops with my charming smile and you all can run away. No way it can fail if they're sticklers against having a good time."

Okay, so this isn't just another case of people not maintinancing their equipment. Eh, it was worth a try. With that option written out, Brainstorm turns to join the impromptu meeting "And even if it did somehow have some sort of council influence, that doesn't explain why we haven't had this problem before. Pretty sure this isn't our first Council stop."

"Just because the Council nominally outlaws indentured servitude doesn't mean it won't take your money." Barrister replies to Skystalker. "Your account is associated, I'm afraid, because we're all /Cybertronian/." The lawbot notes. "I'm sure if I tried my own card it would be declined. I gambled at Zarazee too." To Blackstorm he just shrugs. "The Council is all about law and order...their version, anyway. The hold on an account associated with Drift or one of his aliases could have been entered four generations ago, from their perspective. Just waiting for a hit before it activates." Barrister shakes his head, turning to Rodimus. "No, this isn't something you...'legal-fu' your way out of. You could petition, and file the appropriate paperwork, but it could take months if not years. And we're at the distinct disadvantage of actually having a Class 1 war criminal..." He pauses, looking around. "Well I'm going to be honest in the eyes of the Galactic Council something like two-thirds of the ship are war criminals of one class or another. No, Rodimus, what we need..." And this is where Barrister separates himself from Ultra Magnus. The straight laced from the bot who gets things done. He slams his fist into his palm, looking at his captain with deepest conviction. "...Is a bribe." If Barrister heard Brainstrom's eminently reasonable protest he doesn't reply. His theory is too good to be questioned, in his own mind.

Vortex has been busy remotely accessing his own account. Tricky, the intergalactic wifi here sucks some major diodes. But hey! Look at that. It's all there. Oh thank Vector Sigma. He'd rather not have to go steal and kill to make some quick cash... Actually, he'd love to do go and do that. But that's besides the point. He does not speak up on account of the whole 'volunteer your money' thing. Like Swindle would even volunteer for this. Haha, that's funny.

"Yeah, war criminal thing," Vortex mutters with a twitch of his rotors. He's definitly one. Haha, good times. "But, ya know, if the Zarazee place didn't like us and got the right info from our cards or about our cards, they could have done something. Report this, ring up that. Swindle's used something like that. Classic, really. Not hard to imagine, didn't they have cameras everywhere?" And a lot of illegal activities. His kinda scene. His rotors spin slowly, looking at Rodimus a moment. He leans in, voice low. "We could take the fuel anyways?" Steal. Just saying. "Or... Bribes work too. Always works on Swin.

Brainstorm probably makes that war crimial list with ease. Something to do with crazy weapons? This war criminal however sees a flaw in Barrister's idea "Except we still need money for that. Though if Vortex's idea is ccorrect, there should be some people who didn't use their cards, or all of them."

"Lots a places have laws like that, Blackstorm. If yer a criminal they don't exactly wantcha having the same amount of privileges as everyone else." Inferno shrugs, wing-kibble shifting with the movement. "Can't say I agree with that policy, 's just how it is." The minibot's joke gets a laugh out of him, though he almost chokes on the sound when Red Alert adds to it. "I, uh, heh, don't know about that, Red." Said smile has turned bashful, blue gaze flicking away as 'Ferno shuffles a bit on his pedes. He does, before he can catch himself, move closer to give Red Alert a quick, soft pat on the arm, then quickly drops his servo. "Right. Anyway. Anybody think up somethin' yet?"

"I certainly agree we should try and pool the resources we have." Barrister replies to Brainstorm. "I'm just thinking...I may still have some contacts, or people who know people, who could lift such a hold if they had the right incentive." He notes with a slight nod. "And not Shanix, real currency." Barrister pauses at something Lieutenant says. "...You know, it couldn't hurt. They might have cold, hard credits on this planet. I'd have to see what the going rate for lifting a hold like this is...but it could be worth it to scrape together some real cash."

Blackstorm puffs up a little at Red Alert's side compliment. While it was meant for Inferno, it could be construed as a compliment to him, too. And he's more than welcome to twist it. "Did you hear that? Your friend there has good tastes. He's a keeper," Blackstorm remarks to Inferno, leaning around to finger gun at Red Alert. That done, he turns back to the circle of mecha trying to brainstorm a solution.

"Well, if we don't have money, why not something else? We can always barter drugs, illegal weapons, or that kind of thing." A pause. "What? I'm a Decepticon. What do you expect? At least I'm not heartless enough to suggest holding their hats hostage for a ransom."

Skystalker crosses his arms as the teller moves off, presumably to tell his boss that there are giant metal squatters in ship bay 45. "So we just need enough to bribe someone, then?" Ugh. He frowns more deeply and shifts away from the teller booth, looking between those gathered and looking to Lieutenant. "And how would we do that? Out here? This is the middle of nowhere, even if they have currency we can take." When Blackstorm pipes up, Skystalker lifts his hand to the back of his neck. Then looks over at Brainstorm. Because, you know.

Vortex's rotors wilt a little and he pouts, crossing his arms. "Fine but that would have been the easiest way to do it. Onsy would have done it." He'd probably have a plan right now too! Welp, guess we can just be uselessly stuck here... He looks over with a slightly bemused flicker in his rotors. "Don't go knocking hostages quite yet. They're quite effective. And you usually only need to off one to get the others to cooperate," he shrugs a little. "We could gut the Lost Light to save the Lost Light. Just a little bit of it."

"What do you mean, working for it?" Rodimus does not understand. But as much as he balks there, he puts a hard stop as he goes on: "We're not selling drugs or illegal weapons on our quest to find the Knights of Cybertron!" He's turned into such a stick in the mud. "Are you kidding me? Come on! That'd look so bad in the epic vid series retelling of our adventure. There might be some legal things we can sell, I guess."

The avian falls silent, mainly because it's Skystalker addressing him and he'd rather melt into the floor than answer him. Lieutenant glances around at the locals, then at the group thinking on maybe something they could do together without getting lost, separated, or you know, killed. He needs a lollipop to think, he thinks better when something sweet is also on the mind. Bless energon goods.

"We can edit that part out. We've got a guy! Rewind. The best guy. He does editing all the time." Barrister replies to Rodimus with a lopsided grin. "Now, I should go call a few contacts and see if I can verify this theory...I don't care if we're working, or selling, or what...but we need some liquidity, at least if we're going to extend the time before they kick us out and start taking collateral for the berth." Barrister notes.

Blackstorm gives Vortex a thoughtful look, and then nods his helm. "You're right. After all, you know what they say. Desperate times, desperate measures, right?"

And this whole conversation is becoming a little too serious for the minibot's tastes. He'll let the others find solutions, especially if his suggestions were going to be immediately classed as 'too dangerous and illegal.' So he is going to make himself useful in other ways. "And I know the perfect solution, now that I think about it. Let me save the day!" he announced.

Blackstorm turns and trots after the direction of the teller. He disappears as he ventures deeper into the docks. Only a moment or two later, there is an outraged scream and a hoot of laughter. Blackstorm runs toward the huddled mass wearing a much-too-large hat, chased by an angry organic behind him. The hat obscures his vision, causing him to thunk into something (likely someone's leg). "I have our hostage!" he announces.

"Well, we could hack an atm" Brainstorm suggests in response to Skystalker's look "But I'm guessing that falls under the list of illegal things Rodimus is unwillng to do" he gives the captain a meaningful look. He couldn't care less about whether or not they hack anything, but the captain never had any such moral issues back on Hedonia. Just saying. "Or see if they won't let us take a look at what might be wrong." Sorry, Sky, money isn't his strong suit. "Otherwise, we've got several hundred Cybertronians with various skills and tallents." surely someone here needs something moved, or shot or made.

"Well, we could hack an atm" Brainstorm suggests in response to Skystalker's look "But I'm guessing that falls under the list of illegal things Rodimus is unwillng to do" he gives the captain a meaningful look. He couldn't care less about whether or not they hack anything, but the captain never had any such moral issues back on Hedonia. Just saying. "Or see if they won't let us take a look at what might be wrong." Sorry, Sky, money isn't his strong suit. "Otherwise, we've got several hundred Cybertronians with various skills and tallents." surely someone here needs something moved, or shot or made.

Did Red actually lean into that? Inferno's faceplates are a mixture of wonder and confusion. No, surely, surely he's imagining things - he's distracted from this dilemma by Blackstorm's, ah, hostage situation. The sounds draw Inferno's attention, and he can't help the roar of laughter that escapes him at the sight of the mini trying to run with a huge hat slipping down over his helm. "Blackstorm, mech, what'd ya do?" he asks through his mirth, leaning down to lift up the hat some when Blackstorm runs straight into his shin. Not hard enough to hurt, mind you. Minis are just wee things. "Yer gonna get us all jailed before we can even figure out how ta pay what we owe!" He's kind of hoping the organics try. A good tussle is always fun!

Except maybe not when they're apparently on the radar of the Council again. Remembering that dampers Inferno's mood a bit. "We should probably give that back ta the nice gen'leman, Blackstorm." He's got that apparently illegally charming smile trained on the organic whose hat Blackstorm has stolen. He's like our pet, don't mind him, he's a rambunctious little blighter, it's fine.

Rodimus points at Brainstorm. "No." It's true. He was way more fun on Hedonia. Ultra Magnus isn't even on the command staff any more and his influence could not be less strongly felt. He visibly recoils when Blackstorm charges in with a hat, and he repeats, "No," a little more loudly and a lot more forcefully. "Ugh, get rid of that. It even smells fleshy. It's gross the way they just--." He breaks off before he can reveal a slightly un-Autobotly level of distaste. "And someone start putting together a way we can use our skills that don't involve '4 million years of war'."

Vortex points to Blackstorm. This guy! This guy gets it! "Why don't we hang out more? I feel like we'd get along..." He trails off, rotors wilting again as Blackstorm goes off. Aww, but new friend. Don't leave. "Well, I'm out of ideas. 'Legal' ain't my area of expertise. I'm more- holy shit!" Vortex watches Blackstorm runs into view. He cackles. "Aw yeah, go-" Inferno just said his name. It was-? "Blackstorm!" He trots over closer to Inferno, looking down at Blackstorm gleefully. "Hey, you should keep it! The looks suits you! Can I try it on?" He leans in closer. "And if you need a speedy getaway, I'm pretty good at that." Rotors give a spin. Just no promises on a smooth getaway, though. "Oh! Is that a non-war skill- getaway driver? I'm also an excellent crime scene cleaner! And mortician. I can wittle too."

Barrister looks at the assembled Cybertronians. Autobot, Decepticon, Hatticon. "Give the alien his hat back." Barrister tells Blackstorm in no uncertain terms. Then he goes back to sizing up the rest. "Well! This is going to be extremely difficult, I can tell. I need to make some calls, so if you'll excuse me, I'm going to head back to the ship..." He isn't planning his own escape. No sir.

<FS3> Blackstorm rolls Escaping: Success. (3 6 3 6 7 6 4 5 4)

Skystalker looks intently at Lieutenant, puzzling over the silent treatment for a moment. Maybe he'll find out what's going on later. In the meantime, Blackstorm is taking it upon himself to cause trouble, and Sky turns to watch him disappear and return, running into Inferno in the process, pursued by an organic that is probably surprised to see the tiny minibot return to this pack of bigger bots. Don't be scared, it's only Cybertronians. "Blackstorm!" Skystalker is a little more indignant than the niceness of Inferno, and a little less sharp than Rodimus. He just kind of adds to the chorus. When Rodimus tells them to try and put their heads together, it causes him to quiet again. "I might have a couple of ideas, but--"

Red Alert skitters around the other side of Inferno. He needs to be as far away from Vortex at all times as possible. Not to mention it now looks like he's complicit in petty theft. "I'm just going to go have a look around," he calls to Rodimus, backing away from the scene of the crime. "Maybe I'll find something useful." And then he flees, following Barrister's lead.

<FS3> Blackstorm rolls Climbing: Success. (4 8 1 2 6)

Almost as if he senses a danger to his ha- hostage, Blackstorm recovers from his impact just in time to stumble out of reach of Inferno's grasping hand. Just in time to stumble back into the enraged organic. "Why you little-!" they shouted, his translation protocols bleeping out the rest. Wow, that is an impressive mouth. If only he could set this guy down for a drink and learn some of those words.

At the moment, though, the minibot has more pressing concerns. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, he settles for the place where he usually hides when trouble comes knocking: up. When the organic leans down to make a grab for his hat, Blackstorm clambers onto his back strut and holds on for dear life. "What's the matter?" he yells back at the other Cybertronians barking at him. "I'm only trying to help!"

When the organic starts to spin around and buck, though, in an attempt to knock him off he spares a pleading glance for his only ally. "A little help here?" he says to Vortex.

<FS3> Vortex rolls Enthusiasm: Great Success. (8 7 4 3 8 7 1 5 3)

<FS3> Vortex rolls Transportation: Failure. (2 1 2 3 1 3 4 1)

Well it seems Blackstorm isn't going to give up the game that easily. Inferno continues to be amused by the whole scene, until, out of the corner of his optic, he notices Red Alert skittering. What - his gaze lands on Vortex. Ah. That could be it. Vortex does not seem like a guy Red Alert would want to be around. Frankly, he wasn't a guy Inferno wants to be around, so he can't blame Red.

Then the security bot is bolting, and Inferno hesitates only an astrosecond. Watching Blackstorm horse around with his new 'friend' would be funny, but he can't just let Red run off on his own on some strange planet. "I'm comin' with ya, Red!" he calls after the retreating mech, and jogs to catch up. Much better company than a creepy helicon.

Vortex watches in complete delight, whooping happily. "Go Blackstorm, go Blackstorm, go!" If a mech could cheerlead, its Vortex. In lieu of pom-poms, he's got the rotors on his back. "Haha! Look at him squirm and try to get the silly hat! Come on organic! Get the hat squishy! Get the hat! Come on boy!" Or something? Meh, aliens. He cackles some more. "Alright! Alright, alright, here we go!"

Vortex grabs his clamp, loosening the tether and with expert skill, threw and latches it onto Blackstorm as the organic spun. "Hold on!" He hollers, twisting around as his rotors start to spin... And then disaster. His one foot hooks on his leg as he transforms, the imbalance making his already eratic flight pitch and spin, leaving him without any lift. His rotors scrap the ground as he flips and lands on his rotor hub in altmode. Well... Shit... "Okay... But did I atleast tie up the squish with the tether?" Or dragged them along for that wild ride. Maybe no one saw...

"And they say I am terrible in flight." Lieutenant mutters under a tired vent. He definitely saw that Vortex. "No, you unfortunately did not." Barrister will be so disappointed not to be able to have been the attorney.

Brainstorm watches the Decepticons' antics for a bit, making sure to stay clear of the action himself. Then he turns back to the others still gathered "Know what, I think I'm going to go back to the ship, before I get caught up in whatever that's going to end in." he jabs a thumb at the duo. The locals probably won't welcome such treatment, and the engineer does not want to be here when they get angry "I think most of the smoke should have cleared out by now. If you need something made for all this, or if you change your mind" again, Rodimus gets that look "You know where to find me.

Skystalker exhales through his vents, slow and steady as some of the others depart, leaving him in a moment of Blackstorm horsing around and Vortex enabling it. He turns to look, only to be given a view that he wishes he wasn't watching. He covers his eyes partway with one hand, the cringing stronger than his desire to try and physically step in. "You two leave that poor thing alone! Ugh."

Skystalker's frustration ekes out with his words, and then he's turning away in mild disgust. "If anyone needs me I'll be in the air." Thinking, most like. With that, Skystalker's wings flare and his frame bursts with the pulse of thrusters as he lifts off.

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