2017-07-20 The Ruins
From Transformers: Lost and Found
|Participants||Lockjaw, Nightshade, Penchant|
|NPCs||E'hsan, Hoorduk, Sak|
|Summary||An artifact is detected on an organic planet, and three Lost Lighters are sent to retrieve it.|
Another artifact has been detected, and a crew dispatched to find it; with how comonplace these are becoming, now, there's nothing beyond a brief exchange with Anialus before the Lost Lighters are sent through the space bridge. It's practically routine, by now.
The three mechs will find themselves in a lush green jungle, the air thick and suffocatingly damp - even for alien robots, it's uncomfortable. Before them lies the overgrown ruins of what appears to be an ancient pyramid-like tomb, the worn stone obscured almost completely in some places by vines whose unpleasant stench hangs in the air like an invisible haze. Their scanners show the artifact's signal is coming from deep inside the tomb, somewhere underground. There appears to be an entrance near where they've arrived, where two stone half-walls frame a short downward slope that leads to two great stone doors, covered in intricate, yet eroded, carvings. Beyond the noises of the organic creatures in the surrounding jungle, the Lost Lighters appear to be alone.
The first thing Lockjaw does when she steps through the portal is take a long, deep vent. It comes out with a long, pleased rumble, sounding not at all suffocated "Almost like home. Maybe there is even real water here" her optics narrow momenteraly to yellow slits in pleasure. Maybe there will be something to fight here too. That would be nice. Atleast, so long as it doesn't end up shoving her into a cage, like one of the last artifact expiditons. One time was one time too much already.
Nightshade is determined to get used to this huge, awkward, inelegant triple-changer body if it kills her! And if that means throwing herself into an artifact-finding mission, then so be it. Time waits for no mech! Besides, at the very least she doesn't have to worry about being so fragile.
"Well, I'm glad you feel comfortable here, Lockjaw dear. All this humidity is not going to be good for Astrotrain's joints and systems," she declares in a nasal, booming, echoing voice that is distinctly not hers, waving a much bigger fan in her face. She bought it in Rigard. "I'll have to make sure to get a thorough cleaning afterwards. Now then!" She clutches her big fists in front of her. "Shall we show those alternate universe fools and their overgrown locust-planet of a leader that this whole swap-trick of theirs isn't going to slow us down?"
Penchant is beginning to /like/ not having to climb people to see anything. He can tromp through the foliage without struggle, and see ahead pretty clearly. Since he hasn't been able to master Cosmos' asteroid-breaking wrist lasers, he's got a simple pistol at his side, that he hopefully won't have to use. Nightshade's cheery words through Astrotrain's frame make him smirk, more to himself, as he looks over the carvings in the stone doors. "Sounds like a plan, Nightshade."
With the heavy levels of humidity, it is highly likely that Lockjaw is right and that a significant water source can be found somewhere in the area; or maybe it's all sucked up in the dense foliage surrounding them, the trees and bushes and creepers that seem to press in upon them from all sides. The greenery almost seems to be pushing them forward, down the ramp, toward the great stone doors, which appear to be...closed. Very tightly.
Upon closer inspection, if one so desires, the designs will reveal a repeating pattern of four shapes amongst the carvings, which culminate in the center of the two doors, where these shapes sit in a diamond pattern: a curvy cross, an intricate swirl, a blocky cylinder and a dodecahedron. With the way the carvings have been made, these seem to be important, and focal.
<FS3> Lockjaw rolls Mind+Mind: Good Success. (6 4 3 8 4 7)
<FS3> Penchant rolls Mind+mind: Failure. (1 3 5 1 3 1 1 1)
<FS3> Nightshade rolls Mind+mind: Success. (2 2 2 3 4 7 5 5)
While they are trying to figure out these symbols, Lockjaw will note that they aren't as alone as they thought; behind them, near the edge of the ramp, comes a quiet, but rather sharp clunk, like rock hitting rock, followed by a quickly cut-off hiss. It is definitely not a sound on par with the rest of the jungle, and neither is the greenish arm that briefly appears in the open before being whisked back behind the stone wall.
Looking over her shoulder at Nightshade, Lockjaw chuckles "If such a body could be so greatly harmed by a little humidity, standards trually are fragile" With that, she tromps on over towards the pyramid. The first thing she considers when faced with the doors is whether or not she can force her way through. Even with her stregth, that doesn't seem too likely, but what of these symbols...
She just about bends down to get a closer look when the clunk makes her straighten out again, turning towards the source. Her optics narrow at the hiss, and the arm. "I will be right back" she informs the others, before moving towards the source of the commotion. "Come out come out where ever you are. I know you're here." Her sword is untouched, but she does shift her shoulder to put it in easier reach.
"He's built for land and space, but I don't know about moisture." Nightshade, a beastformer who spent her formative years on Functionist Cybertron, has no strong desire to defend 'standards' much beyond that. She stomps through the jungle simply because she can't do much else, missing the ability to flutter about. Ugh, she hates getting her pedes wet and muddy.
She leans over (with great effort) to look at the stone doors, but it's Lockjaw who seems to hear something. "Lockjaw?" She blinks her optics, stepping back. "Oh my. Where are you going? Who are you talking to?"
Penchant studies the symbols, but comes up with zilch, at least initially. Still, he keeps at it, tap-tapping his mask in thought. When Lockjaw turns to investigate, his visor flickers in confusion. "You heard something?"
For a moment, it seems as if whoever it is has decided they're going to keep pretending they're not there. Lockjaw's approach and voice initially receive no response, and the relative silence stretches for a few moments before, finally, the intruder reveals themself.
Or, intruders, as three beings step out from behind the wall. The first, the owner of the golden-green arm, is a stooped insectoid organic with six arms and eyes, the latter of which are all intently focused on Lockjaw.
"Hey there! Zzzorry about that!" In a voice akin to if Waspinator had an older, more confident brother, the being speaks. Its mandibles don't move, though the device around its neck blinks with each word: some sort of translating voice box. "Zzzorry for zzzpookin' ya like that! Name'zzz Zzzak. That'zzz E'hzzzan, and Hoorduk." He points to his companions in turn, the first a much shorter alien in a biosuit that completely covers her body, and the second a faceless creature made completely of what looks like black obsidian, who stands at about the same height as an average Cybertronian. "Didn't mean to be interruptin' anythin', heh, zzzo uh, pleazzze don't kill uzzz?" All six hands spread in an open, sheepish gesture.
A moment longer, and Lockjaw would have went in herself, quite possibly with her sword drawn. She doesn't fully drop her guard when the aliens appear, but she doesn't attack them either. Folding her arms over her chest, she peers back down at the intruders, stopping on the insectoid who seems to be leading this little troupe. Looks kind of like a cloud walker. Gross. Although there is something about him that's reminicent of Waspinator, though he seems to lack that spookishnes that drew Lockjaw to the Insecticon "So far, you have not given me a reason to kill you" she informs him with a nod "But what, may I ask, are you doing here?"
Nightshade is immediately well-inclined towards insectoids, even if they are organic. "Oh, goodness, no one's going to get killed," she insists as she approaches from behind Lockjaw. "We're 'intruders' here ourselves, aren't we? In a sense. Perhaps we can be of assistance to one another?" Working together with more allies is just a more pragmatic solution, isn't it?
Penchant mumbles something about their cursed reputation. He looks over the trio, instinctively trying to peer into some minds. But gets nothing. Oh, right. So Pench folds his rounded arms and tries to convey a friendly expression with his limited features, seeing as Lockjaw and Nightshade asked the pertinent questions.
Sak visibly relaxes, stoop increasing and arms dropping. "Ah, great, that'zzz great, it'zzz juzzzt, you know--" He stops when Hoorduk begins tapping its fingers against its chest, a complicated rhythm of sounds that seem slightly different depending on what area it hits. When it's done, Sak nods and jerks two thumbs in its direction. "Like Duk zzzaid, big robitzzz like yerzzzelvezzz, not the bezzzt reputation. Kill firzzzt, probably kill later." His head cants, antenna shifting with it, in another show of sheepishness.
"Yes, well, we are of course grateful that we can remain alive." E'hsan's voice is slightly higher-pitched, but clear and easier to understand than Sak's. "We are an advance scientific exploratory team, sent to scout these ruins." She tips her helmeted head toward the entrance to the tomb. "Supposedly there is a great treasure buried deep within them, and while that is fascinating, the ruin itself holds a wealth of artifacts and history pertaining to the civilization that built it. We are here to update our map as to what dangers and traps may be inside this tomb before an excavation team is deployed."
Lockjaw shoots Nightshade a warning look. Don't go inviting strangers before even knowing who they are and what they're doing here. The answers to those questions, however have her attention "And what do you know of these ruins, and how to get through them?" she is not prone to trusting an insectoid, but if they can even be remotely useful, perhaps they can, as Nighshade said, be of some assistance ot one another.
"Oh, please! Those are just negative stereotypes," insists Nightshade the Decepticon who absolutely never has been involved in campaigns against organics, what are you talking about? She folds her hands in front of her in a placating gesture which looks a little silly in Astrotrain's menacing form. "We may be interested in that particular treasure, or one of the treasures, for the sake of the universe. I of course entirely approve of updating maps and keeping stock of...traps, you say?"
Her optics blink for a second. And she gives Lockjaw a questioning look. She's just trying to be friendly!
Penchant remains oblivious to the exchange of glances. Apparently he's a bit out of practice when it comes to visual cues. "We're puzzling over this carving here on the door, wanna' have a crack at it? I'm hoping we won't have to... well, use brute force, but it's a little tricky."
"Yes," E'hsan replies to Nightshade, and at Lockjaw's and Penchant's questions, the three scientists exchange glances - or, at least, Sak looks at the other two, who have their helmet and non-face respectively facing him, so that appears to be what they're doing. Hoorduk taps out more of what appears to be communication while the other two pay attention, and finally, after a moment, Sak nods. "Duk zzzayzzz it'zzz a good idea to team up," he translates. "E'hzzzan?"
Without another word, E'hsan produces something from the shoulder bag she's carrying. This looks similar to the dodecahedron, and is made of a similar stone to Hoorduk. Yet, when pressed in certain places, in a certain sequence, the object shifts and swivels, before producing a holographic image before them, an image of--
"A map." E'hsan holds it out for the others to see. The map has clearly experienced some info creep of its own, as parts are staticky or left out completely. "As you can see, it is incomplete, and we aim to fix that. Especially seeing as these notes in the margins - yes, do you see them here? - indicate that there are quite a few traps set throughout the tomb for grave robbers and unfortunate busybodies." The margins are indeed filled with pictures and scribbles in an ancient dead language, though E'hsan seems to understand it. "We hadn't the time before your arrival to begin figuring out how to enter, though perhaps between the six of us we can come up with something."
<FS3> Penchant rolls Mind+mind: Good Success. (4 2 7 2 4 1 4 8)
<FS3> Lockjaw rolls Mind+Mind: Success. (6 5 2 7 6 3)
<FS3> Nightshade rolls Mind+mind: Success. (3 1 3 2 8 5 4 2)
As E'hsan points out the scribbles and notes in the margins, the Lost Lighters will notice something their temporary companions have yet to: amongst the notes are those same symbols from the door, drawn in a line. Swirl, cylinder, curvy cross, dodecahedron.
Lockjaw leans in to study the map. The notes don't tell her much, but this is better than nothing. Definitely better than stumbling around blindly, if it's real. Not to mention... her optics narrow as she focuses in on some of the border scribles leaning in even closer, before looking up at the door again. Hmmmm.
"Grave robbers and unfortunate busybodies, is it..." Nightshade clears her throat. They're no such thing, they're here for the fate of the universe! "Curious..." she adds as she looks at the map, and then over at the door. In that order? She mulls over the symbols on the door.
"Well, I think I know what we need to do to get that door open. I think I see a code."
"Four components," Penchant observes, peering over the map. He glances back at the door, and moves towards it, looking around for perhaps movable panels. "Oh?" He looks back at Nightshade, "Whatcha' got? Maybe something needs to be arranged in the order on the map."
"A code?" E'hsan turns her attention to the symbols the mechs were focusing on, and leaning in close to the holographic image of the map. She's quiet a moment, apparently translating the writing of the map, before wordlessly thrusting it over toward Hoorduk. The stone creature bends to study it before giving a series of taps, that Sak then turns into, "'Naught but a touch'?"
Communication between these three is, clearly, a bit difficult.
"I think you are correct." E'hsan strides down toward the stone door, holding the map in front of her. "It is a code that will tell us how to open the door." She reaches for the first symbol, the swirl, which sits at the bottom of the diamond. Pausing a moment to gather her wits, she then presses against it, and gives an, "Aha!" when the stone slides back into the door and remains down. "I can't seem to reach the others, if one of you would like to do the honors?" She looks back toward the mechs, gesturing. She's not tall enough, but you three certainly are.
With a nod, Lockjaw steps over to the organic, glancing down a the scribbles again before reaching up for the next symbol in the line. Well, maybe they can help each other here. "And where did you get this map?" her voice is a little softer than before. Well, might as well be a little friendly. A little. If they give her a reason to hit them, say, doublecross them, she will do that.
"Right, of course!" There are advantages to being taller, though few that can't be made up for by much easier flight. Nightshade pokes the remaining two symbols and steps back. "We'd best brace ourselves, I have a feeling something is going to happen past those doors opening if this place is as trap-laden as you say."
She is mentally considering taking notes on traps for her own reasons.
Penchant tries not to look /too/ crestfallen when Nightshade gets the remaining switches. And he doesn't seem particularly concerned. It's all wood and stone. Organic. Nothing stands up to Cybertronian armor! Usually. Well... Pench lifts his pistol, just a little. Just in case.
Sak and Hoorduk remain toward the back of the group as the symbols are pressed, E'hsan giving the impression that she is watching the progress carefully despite her features being hidden. When the last symbol is pressed - sorry Penchant - she steps back, gesturing for the others to do the same. "According to the map, there shouldn't be any traps in the entrance hall. They seem to be further in." Before she can elaborate, there's a deep rumbling as the stone doors begin to part, dust and small rocks falling as they slide away from one another. As they part, the group won't see much in the dimness of the entrance hall, but the stench of stale air and decay is plenty strong enough. Keeping the map up and in front of her, E'hsan confidently strides into the tomb, gesturing for the others to follow as she moves into the dark shadows of the ruins, soft strips of light lining her biosuit the first illumination this place has had in thousands of years.
Nightshade hops back, or tries; instead she kind of awkwardly stumbles because this body is not made for stumbling. She almost bumps into poor Penchant and mumbles an apology. But nothing explodes out, not even a giant spider. Curious. "Well! Right then! Sally forth, shall we?"