2017-07-04 David and Goliath
From Transformers: Lost and Found
|2017-07-04 David and Goliath|
|Summary||It's time for round 2 at the Hutt Colosseum, this time with Hound vs. Starstruck! Spoiler alert: Hound doesn't die.|
Day 2 and while Launcher has already spoken to Starstruck, he still reminds him and Hound what they'll be getting into. "Put up a great fight, least you or your opponent loses their head." He can't say much because he's heading back to see a medic. Another lone victory for him, hopefully both will be as fortunate as yesterday's fight.
The arena is just finishing being cleaned from the last fight but they've neglected the damaged walls. It's ceiling is open to show the bright sky above, but escaping will be a challenge. A dome forcefield protects the roaring crowd, announcers, and Hutt from any damage. Vashta walks around the outer ring of the dirt floor arena. Should things get out of hand, and as a failsafe, the smoke creature watches.
Contenders, make your way to the center!
Starstruck's been trying to come up with ideas on escaping ever since his talk with Launcher, but when he's cut off from his friends and comrades like this, it's hard. He hasn't gotten anything concrete, doesn't know enough about the place to even start forming something, and can't contact any of the others to get their opinions on the matter. He's never been the tactician sort, always the front-liner or the muscle, and it's hard to just sit here and wait for someone else to come up with the plan; a plan they can't even tell him.
Launcher's reminder is met with a solemn nod, Starstruck's spark pulsing erratically in its chamber as he's herded into the arena. He only has to put on a show, it's true, but with his size and his strength, that 'show' could still be a very painful one for his opponent unless he's careful. Especially since they let him keep his morning star, which is gripped in a slightly tremulous hand as he steps out in the open. Deep vents, Starstruck, just remember that it's all an act...
The crowd, the light-- all of it makes Hound squint as he's brought out into the arena. He certainly remembers the warning Launcher gave him-- it's as heavy around his neck as the collar itself. Fight well, or he's putting both himself and his opponent at risk. Hound has no doubt that their captors will eagerly enforce that. The thought has been weighing on his mind constantly since they've been captured, but he hasn't had time to dwell on the upcoming fight. He's more concerned with getting this team out of their captivity. From where he's sat all night in his glass-walled cell, however, the chances of escaping seem grim. Rescue from the remaining Lost Light crew, for the moment, seems to be the most likely option. For that reason, Hound doesn't spare the open dome of the arena more than a glance. It's not like he can fly, anyway. For now, all he has to do-- all they all have to do-- is survive.
When Hound turns his attention to the arena, he catches sight of the flash of black and pink across from him. Starstruck... and with a nasty looking mace, as well. Hound doesn't show the wince that he wants to at the sight of that weapon. Instead, he looks at the mech's visor and gives a lopsided grin and the barest hint of a shrug. There's nothing he can do in the face of the pending fight except keep up his energy, and he hopes Starstruck can do the same, even as he brings his fists up in front of him in a defensive guard.
One of the announcers calls out over the broadcasting. "Another Decepticon, folks, and he looks like business!"
"And an Autobot! A universal classic here before us today! Let's get ready to RUMBLE!"
<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Starstruck=melee Weapons Vs Hound=reaction+reaction < Starstruck: Great Success (2 3 8 6 5 8 7 7 6 4) Hound: Failure (2 6 1 1 5 5) < Net Result: Starstruck wins - Crushing Victory
The grin and shrug (he thinks that's a shrug) are met with a crooked, sheepish smile of his own, Starstruck's antennae sliding back the only other indication of his displeasure in having to do this. Apologies in advance, Hound, for whatever happens here.
It's strange, facing an Autobot in combat again, and as the signal is given for the fight to begin, Starstruck feels an old thrill run through his circuits. He's been doing this for millions of years, he's been good at this for millions of years, taking those smug-aft Autobots and smashing them to pieces - as he starts circling Hound, Starstruck shakes his helm as if that will physically rid him of those thoughts. No, this is his friend, his commanding officer. He doesn't want to hurt him at all.
Starstruck moves closer even as he circles, until he charges suddenly, bearing down on Hound across the dirt circle in which their fighting. It looks like he's going in for a direct smash of his morning star as he raises it above his head, until in a smooth motion he's instead sweeping it to the side and down. He's going for a trip up, rather than smashing Hound's much smaller frame in, trying to make it look serious without doing too much damage.
It doesn't work out that way.
This is combat, after all. And in combat, sometimes things don't go as you've planned. Sometimes, in combat, the strength of a blow is misjudged. Sometimes a feint isn't. Sometimes a mech dodges too soon, and steps into the swing by accident, instead of dodging away from it. Sometimes armor has weak points not immediately visible to the optic. And sometimes, all of those things combine into a nasty accident.
Hound went into this fight intending to spend most of his energy dodging. With that mace, Starstruck's attacks are going to be slow and showy, and some near-misses and fancy footwork should be enough to entertain the crowd for a while, in his mind. With that thought, Hound is already beginning to dodge to the side when Starstruck's mace comes up over his head, and by the time Hound realizes the angle of the swing is different from what he expected, he has no chance to correct, just to brace for it. And when it connects, well. There's a crunch, and his optics white out, and the next thing Hound knows, he's on the floor of the arena, trying to reboot his optics and wondering why he's staring at dirt. Then the roaring of the crowd comes rushing back in, and Hound has to scramble to right himself again, crying out in pain when his knee, grinding and leaking pink, nearly gives out underneath him. He forces himself through it anyway, to put distance between himself and Starstruck.
<FS3> Starstruck rolls Skating -2: Success. (5 3 1 2 6 6 3 5 8)
Starstruck moves with the motion of his own swing, feet transforming into his skates so that he can smoothly zip away in the wake of his attack. It's not as easy to skate on dirt as it is on the smooth floors of the Lost Light, but he manages it without skidding on any gravel. He glances back to watch how Hound takes the blow and - oh. Oh, ouch. Starstruck can't contain his sympathetic wince as Hound does a few flips in midair, frame tossed by the force of it. He's going to find a way to make this up to Hound, he swears it right then and there.
Instead of moving in for another attack, Star skirts the edges of the ring and thrusts his morning star into the air, beaming at the assembled masses. Look at him, just out of the starting gate and he's already made a mess of his opponent. This'll be a cinch. He keeps an eye on Hound out of the corner of his optic, watching the Autobot struggle back to his feet, his big smile turning more into a grimace at the obvious pain Hound is in. Take your time, Hound, he'll keep their attention for a few more minutes...
<FS3> Hound rolls Fortitude: Good Success. (6 4 7 5 2 2 7 7)
It's a struggle, and it hurts, but Hound manages to push himself back upright. He can only spare a quick glance at the damaged knee, and note the trickles of energon smearing down his plating and mixing with the dirt already dusting his frame. It feels bad, and looks worse, but he doesn't have time to do anything about it when the fight is still going on. He can't trust his ability to dodge any more, not with that busted knee... but a new plan will have to do instead. Hound grabs a handful of dirt and rocks as he finally stands upright, and turns his attention to Starstruck. "Hey!" He shouts. For a goody-goody Autobot, he sure manages to sound angry! "I'm not done yet!"
<FS3> Starstruck rolls Skating -2: Good Success. (3 7 5 2 8 8 6 1 4)
Starstruck lets his full attention fall on Hound again when he's shouted at, and his grin turns wicked. "You weren't!" he yells back, sounding just as convincingly smug and taunting. "Until you took a mace to the knee!" As he rounds the next curve of the ring, Starstruck moves into a half-crouch, letting his center of gravity drop to increase his speed. He rockets around the other side, heading straight toward Hound, morning star held to the side in what looks like another incoming direct blow. At the rate he's going, he can easily miss and make it look like he was moving too fast to land it, or maybe let the pebbles beneath his skates slide him some. Either way, this time he doesn't plan on hitting Hound. He's giving Hound a chance to fight back, because honestly, the guy deserves to get in a good hit after that, if he can.
Hound bares his teeth in a snarl at that, but he doesn't respond to it. Let the crowd think that he can't come up with a retort. In actuality, his attention is focused on tracking Starstruck's approach, and the timing of the mech's long, gliding skates across the ground. He has to give it until the last moment, and... there!
The moment Starstruck is in range, Hound whips around his handful of sand, flinging it straight at Starstruck's faceplates. With any luck, the dust will coat his visor, but the distraction is what Hound really finds important. The moment Starstruck shows any sign of reaction to the thrown dirt, Hound throws his shoulder toward the mech, trying to knock him entirely off-balance.
<FS3> Starstruck rolls Reaction+reaction: Good Success. (8 7 8 3)
<FS3> Starstruck rolls Fortitude: Success. (3 2 6 3 7 4 4 4 6 3)
As he barrels down the track toward Hound, Starstruck's expression settles into determination, noting how Hound isn't moving, how he's staying right where he is. There's a twinge of guilt when Star wonders briefly if Hound can move, or if stepping aside might be too painful right now because of his injury. No, can't focus on that, gotta get the timing right this time, gotta be prepared to miss if Hound's move falls through. He's concentrating so heavily on that that he slips into a real battle mode, moving more on instincts than anything else, and it's this that has him jerking his helm out of the way when Hound throws the sand at him.
In this state of mind as he is, Starstruck realizes his mistake very quickly. He should've taken that blinding toss of dirt to the face, but now it's too late, and he's not--he's not stopping. He skates straight into the blow of Hound's shoulder, taking it full on. At the speed he's coming, it fucking hurts, and there's a guttural grunt of pain when Hound's strike lands. The mech's size, coupled with Starstruck's own momentum, means that Hound isn't the only one doing aerial tricks today; Starstruck flips forward, landing hard on his back in the dirt, a great whoosh of air forced out of his vents that leaves him heaving.
<FS3> Hound rolls Fortitude: Good Success. (2 7 8 3 6 4 6 6)
Ramming a speeding bus with his shoulder isn't the smartest battle plan Hound's ever had. Bracing for the impact jars his hurt leg, which forces him to grind his dentae together to keep from crying out again. But the pain isn't the important part. The important part is that Starstruck's gone over. Maybe if Hound were a more vicious mech, now would be the time that he moved in and started getting his revenge, but-- That's not what he does. Instead, Hound darts forward to snatch the morning star from the stunned Starstruck's hand, before edging his way back again, the weapon clutched tightly in front of him.
Impressed with Hound's display on the field (although Starstruck has not gone unnoticed) one of the lights on Hound's collar goes off. Hutt will now allow him to use his holograms as he sees fit.
Prone as he is, Starstruck can do nothing as Hound steals his weapon. In fact, the action gets a chuckle out of him, an amused grin splitting his features as he pushes himself back to his feet. Good on ya, Hound. "You think that'll matter?" he jeers aloud as he slowly straightens. He's sore, that's for sure, though not enough to really bother him. "I'll pound you flat, weaponless or not!" Internally, he hopes that having the morning star won't be too much for Hound. The weapon's nearly as tall as the Autobot, considering it's built for a Starstruck.
Resorting to his bare hands, now Starstruck is the one hanging back, falling into a defensive stance as he starts circling Hound again. Let's see what you do next, green boss!
<FS3> Hound rolls Holograms: Failure. (1 5 5 6 2 3 4 4 4)
Lieutenant spends 1 luck points on Hound sucks, so I gotta help him.
<FS3> Hound rolls Holograms: Good Success. (5 5 2 4 6 3 8 5 7)
It's a rather ridiculous size difference, but Hound isn't letting that stop him. With the butt end down toward the dirt, Hound holds the mace as though it was a staff instead. He meets Starstruck's amused look with a brief grin of his own. He doesn't have any illusions about who is going to win this fight, but between the two of them, they're making this into a decent spectacle.
And then Hound feels something click in his collar, and-- there's a brief second where his optics go wide, before the grin returns, wider this time. It'll be clear why in only a moment, as suddenly, there are three of him, surrounding Star and beginning to hoist their improvised staffs.
<FS3> Starstruck rolls Mind+mind: Good Success. (4 2 7 2 8 4)
<FS3> Starstruck rolls Unarmed: Great Success. (1 3 8 6 1 1 8 7 7 3)
Despite the hard hit he gave and the discrepancy in their sizes, Starstruck is glad that Hound is the one he's up against. Mostly because it doesn't look like Hound is going to have any hard feelings about the fact that Star fucked up his leg, and also because Hound's on his level. It's a game, of sorts, and they both know that they have to play it as showy as possible.
Which Hound promptly does, creating three of himself out of nowhere. Starstruck groans dramatically, "Aw man, no fair!" Those damn holograms! Star's optics flick between each one as they surround him and approach. It's hard to tell which one's the real one without touching them...so he'll just have to touch all three. With a crooked smirk, Starstruck drops to the ground, using his hands to support his weight as he flings one leg out to, again, trip up the real Hound. It's a god damn breakdancing move but it should work here, now that Hound is in range of his much longer legs.
"Now you're complaining?" The Hounds say, as they move in toward Starstruck in unison. It's a testament to Hound's skill with holograms, the way they all move, taking their environments into account, moving similarly but not completely the same. Starstruck might be hard-pressed to try and figure out which is which... if he was focused on telling them apart. When Starstruck starts his leg sweep, his first move passes through the first hologram, which fizzles out as Starstruck's leg sweeps through it. The other two back up out of his range, before waiting for Starstruck's momentum to fail him and charging in.
<FS3> Starstruck rolls Body+body: Great Success. (3 2 7 7 7 8 6 3)
<FS3> Starstruck rolls Unarmed: Good Success. (7 5 4 3 1 5 2 2 7 2)
Well, one down, two to go. Starstruck finishes the move, his leg sweeping through one of the holograms, only to miss the second and the real Hound. He laughs again, the sound lost to the noise filling the arena as his attempt fails. That's alright, he's not finished yet either! When his momentum leaves him at the end of the spin, he twists his frame so that when his hands push against the ground, he's springing back onto his pedes, landing with a heavy thud in the dirt. He doesn't get the time to get out of the way as the Hounds charge him, but that's okay too. What he does have enough time to do is draw his hand to the side and then swing it in an arc, effectively, if successful, backhanding them both. He makes sure to rein in the strength this time, and if it connects Hound won't feel more impact than a friendly high-five.
Except, you know, to the face.
<FS3> Hound rolls Reaction+reaction-1: Success. (7 6 6 5 6)
Assumptions will get you killed, and Hound has probably been underestimating his opponent here. Not his strength, certainly. He has been wary of that from the start. But his agility and his ingenuity have given him an edge that Hound time and again hasn't expected. Now is no better. This time, the real Hound manages to duck the attack, but the second and final hologram doesn't make it through. Even as Starstruck is finishing off the last hologram, however, Hound is pulling up the mace, and swinging the spiky end of it under Starstruck's hand, at his unprotected abdomen, aiming for the same place he hit when he went to push Starstruck over.
<FS3> Starstruck rolls Reaction+reaction: Success. (7 4 5 1)
Strike two! The second hologram is down, and Starstruck is absolutely pleased with himself. Show or not, it feels good to succeed! Losing his concentration won't do him any good here, though, and it almost costs him when Hound gets in that strike at his exposed abdomen. It's a close call as Starstruck dances back out of its reach, the barbed ball of his morning star grazing his sore plating where he'd rammed into Hound before. Kind of felt like accidentally bumping into a bruise, and Starstruck bites back a hiss.
"Nice one!" he calls from where he's dropped back into a defensive stance. Despite the snarky way in which he says it, Starstruck hopes Hound knows he's being sincere there. "How about we finish this, huh?" Hint hint.
As soon as it's clear that the blow isn't going to properly connect, Hound pulls back his weapon, bracing it again in a defensive condition. He's in no condition to be chasing after Starstruck to try and do damage to him, especially not with a weapon that wasn't actually meant to be used this way. He holds his ground again, trying to keep as steady a stance as he can, when putting weight on one leg is too much for him.
"If you think you can!" Hound shouts back at Starstruck, with a nearly imperceptible nod. Hopefully this will be enough to appease the crowds-- the longer he fights, the more energon he's losing, and the harder it is to stay standing on the damaged knee.
<FS3> Starstruck rolls Transportation: Good Success. (8 1 3 3 1 4 7)
<FS3> Starstruck rolls Unarmed: Good Success. (8 5 4 2 8 5 3 5 3 5)
Starstruck has an idea.
It's everything the crowd will want, or so he hopes: showy, violent-looking, and an effective show-stopper. If he can control his strength, he shouldn't hurt Hound much more either, beyond some scuffing and light bruising. When Hound nods, Starstruck gives his own nearly imperceptible nod in return, and then without another word or warning he's charging. Weaponless he may be, that's still a whole lot of robot coming Hound's way. Fully expecting Hound to fight back, to probably hit him with the mace as he barrels in, Star steels himself to push through whatever comes. If his idea is to work, he can't stop.
With Hound injured the way he is, Starstruck takes advantage by straight up grabbing the mech by the scruff of his neck cabling. His grip is loose, painless, barely enough to keep Hound from slipping off the tips of his fingers; from afar it sure won't look that way, though. He hoists Hound off his pedes, and with a guttural yell that should trick the viewers into thinking what he does next is more violent than it actually is, 'slams' Hound back down onto the ground on his back. Star kind of hopes he throws the mace for maximum effect, as in reality Starstruck slowed his movement toward the end of it so that Hound lands with enough force to thump, but that's it. And then Starstruck's letting go, only to replace his grip with his foot, pressing it down on Hound's chassis. Once again, it's all for looks, and Hound won't feel much pressure on his frame.
Starstruck looks up to Hutt then, throwing up his arms as he pins Hound. "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?" he roars, hoping to pump up the crowd. C'mon, look, he won, let's end it already!
Hound knows what's coming, and the only thing he can do is prepare for it. It's true enough that Starstruck is intimidating when he charges forward like that, in a way that he hasn't done before in this fight. He's used his wheels to skate by, of course, but to have that much barrelling toward him is slightly intimidating. Sure enough, Hound does take a swing at Starstruck, and manages to land a blow across his arm that will surely hurt, but his attempt to dodge out of the way of the charging Decepticon is hampered by his leg buckling in a way that is entirely unfeigned.
When Starstruck hauls him up off of his feet, Hound drops the mace in favor of scrabbling at the larger mech's hands, but it's when Star all but throws him into the ground that Hound really acts. Allowing his helm to drop back with enough force to dent, Hound activates his holo generator one more time, creating a bright splatter of pink to appear beneath him and briefly "fade" down into the disturbed dirt of the arena, letting his optics flicker as though the fall really did knock him senseless.
Despite his posturing, the 'blood' splatter on the ground and Hound's optics flickering have Starstruck dying a little inside. That thrill he'd felt at the beginning of the match, the excitement in fighting an Autobot again, is completely absent. In its place is nothing but dread, because while he's pretty sure that energon isn't real, it looks pretty damn real. At least this means the crowd will think it is, too, from their raised positions around the center ring.
And, in the end, it's enough. The crowd roars its approval of the battle, and just like with Conduit and Frisk, many call for Hound's death because of his loss. Starstruck has a moment of panic when he thinks it might happen, but no, he's sent back to his cell while Hound is dragged off just as bodily as Conduit had been, presumably to be taken care of by medics. With that, another round is over for the Lost Lighters...until tomorrow, anyway.