2017-07-21 It's a Trap!
From Transformers: Lost and Found
|It's a Trap!|
|Location||Jungle Planet - Temple|
|Participants||Lockjaw, Nightshade, Penchant|
|NPCs||E'hsan, Hoorduk, Sak|
|Summary||What is it with old temples and booby traps???|
As the group enter the ruins, they will note that despite the suffocating heat of the jungle outside, the tomb is much cooler, though not much dryer. It was clearly not meant for a race of beings who grew taller than Hoorduk, so as they pass through the entrance hall they will notice that the ceilings are barely tall enough to admit Lockjaw, and the first passageway they step into is much narrower, Nightshade's wingspan nearly grazing the walls on either side. As E'hsan had said, the entrance hall has no traps, and once she pulls an electronic torch out of her pack and hands it to Penchant, they will find it rather empty. It is, as advertised, nothing more than an entrance.
"Stay together," E'hsan advises as they begin making their way down the first hall. "As I said before, we know where most of the traps are, but not all of them. Watch your step, and try to follow my lead." Behind her, Hoorduk taps something out on its chest, and Sak laughs, in high, wheezing buzzes. E'hsan's head turns sharply toward them, but otherwise, if she knows what they're laughing about, she says nothing.
As much as Lockjaw liked the planet on the outside, the inside is making her uncomfortable. It's much, much too cramped in here for her. The further they go, the more gloomy her expression becomes, even if the only thing that most people can see of it with the torch so low is the narrowing of the yellow lights of her optics, and the somwhat annoyed boom of her voice "Why are so many aliens so small?" as she follows a pack of such aliens.
"Oh my, this...really is an awkward place to be rather tall, isn't it?" Nightshade echo-trills with a hint of embarassment in her voice, ducking and lurching along and giving nervous glances to her easily scrape-able wings. She takes steps as carefully as she can manage with that heavy frame, hoping against hope that she doesn't stumble and fall. "Would be a terrible place if one had claustrophobia, wouldn't it? Or if one...had trouble moving around quickly..." ANother nervous little laugh.
Penchant is given the task of holding the electric torch, and by Primus he's going to do a good job of it. He wields it firmly, walking with purpose behind their lead, expression... unreadable. "I'm sure it'll open up, Nightshade," he offers, sensing her discomfort. To E'hsan, "What was the joke we missed?"
Being the smallest of the alien group, E'hsan bristles slightly at Lockjaw's question, shoulders and back stiffening. "You would have to ask Hoorduk's people that," she responds evenly. "This tomb belonged to some ancestors of its race." There's a sharp crack as Hoorduk smacks its fingers rather violently against its rock-like skin, and Sak's laugh comes again, a bit more nervously.
"Aw, you know he'zzz zzzenzzzitive! Bit on the zzzhort zzzide for hizzz race, ain'tcha Duk?" Sak reaches to hands up to Hoorduk's shoulder in a companionable shake that doesn't move the alien at all.
E'hsan makes a throaty sound, as if she's clearing it, before continuing on as if the interruption never happened. "Some of the rooms provide more space, which you will notice as we go along. The corridors appear to be roughly the same size, unfortunately." Lowering her voice, she asides to Penchant, "Hoorduk thought it humorous that you much larger creatures would attempt following my path. Ah, watch your step, there." Throwing out an arm, despite being around the size of a minibot compared to him she expects him to stop as she does so herself. Carefully, she puts a foot down on a stone tile that looks just like the others making up the floor - except when she steps upon it, it depresses slightly, and after a second's delay stone spears extend rapidly from the walls on either side and slowly, over the course of the next few moments, recede. "There we are. Come along."
That's probably not the answer Lockjaw wanted to hear, jusging by the low rumble that comes from the depths of her throat. A moment later, there's the characterisitc sound of a t-cog in action, and the Eukarian drops several feet, the tip of her snout now coming closer to E'hsan's head than those of the other Cybertronians. There, much better, so long as no one steps on her tail "And what would an artifact of Cybertronian origin be doing here?"
"There's nothing wrong with being short," Nightshade insists, perhaps a bit defensively. "There are many strategic advantages to being of a smaller size, in fact!...ahem, anyway." She fans herself with her hand and continues, taking careful steps.
These steps switch to what amounts to the closest she can manage to tip-toes after E'hsan demonstrates the spears in the wall. "Gracious! What a clever-erm, I mean diabolical trap. Diabolically clever trap. Good thing we're all very careful here, aren't we?"
"You seem to know what you're doing," Penchant replies evenly, gesturing at the spears. "We don't have a lot of archaeologists aboard. Our culture... uh... dissolved a little, because of our grand war." He studies Nightshade and her choice of words with a funny quirk of his visor, and presses onward.
<FS3> Nightshade rolls Reaction+reaction-2: Good Success. (7 7 5 4 6 3)
<FS3> Lockjaw rolls Reaction+Reaction-2: Success. (8 4)
<FS3> Nightshade rolls Elegance-2: Success. (2 4 2 2 7 3 4 5 5 5)
<FS3> Penchant rolls Reaction+reaction-2: Failure. (6 6)
"I don't know what an artifact of your people would be doing here. Perhaps it was collected as part of the treasure and stored, and therefore forgotten when this tomb was. I couldn't say." E'hsan gestures at the map as they continue, specifically the parts of it that are fritzed out or difficult to understand. "There is much we don't know about this place, hence why we wish to study it." Turning her head toward Penchant, she tilts it, showing interest the opaque facemask of her suit hides. "I've heard some about your war. Hard not to, with how widespread it was, and how much devastation you caused. Many organic species were convinced you had no culture outside of killing. I'm glad to hear that isn't true, though a bit saddened to find some of it is gone."
The group moves into another hallway, one that is roughly the same size, if a bit wider thankfully. Sak and Hoorduk, at the back of the group, seem quite engaged in a private conversation, Sak speaking in low buzzing sounds while Hoorduk taps back to him. Neither notice when Sak depresses a tile as he walks on.
The others will notice as, with an ominous rumbling, the floor splits in the center as they walk over it, sliding back over a wide black chasm. E'hsan gives a squawk of surprise and scrambles backward, slipping at the edge of the moving floor before she's back on solid ground. When the trap is finished, it leaves a broad chasm in the middle of the hall, dark and seemingly bottomless. It is too wide even for Lockjaw to reach across.
"Your culture may have disolved, but mine is still intact" Lockjaw reminds the standard. You know, if you ignore the Unicron induced disaster that's pretty much turned everything upside down.
She might have said more, or asked another question when the floor beneath them rumbles and splits open. Lockjaw is, thankfully, far enough away to stop in time with a reflexive hiss, only to lunge forward again when she realizes that not all of her comrades are that lucky. Her teeth snap as she reaches for Penchant, even as her claws dig into the floor to keep his weight from dragging both of them in.
"Now, now, the war had complicated-oh, well, that's a talk for later," Nightshade decides. She's a Decepticon, not an apologist and certainly doesn't have to defend herself to her tour-mates at a time like this! "And now that it's over, we can start to rebuild and--EEEK!"
The shuttletrain-former somehow manages to both daintily yelp and echo-boom as the floor splits open, stopping just short enough so that she doesn't fall in. Poor Penchant isn't as lucky, and while she can see Lockjaw has a hold on it she still stares down in worry. "Penchant?!"
Penchant is about to retort, proverbial hackles raising. Culture is pretty damn important to him. But the trap doesn't give him a chance, and he doesn't know his frame well enough yet to avoid falling, so down he goes - until the pinch of Lockjaw's teeth finds his armor. He yelps awkwardly, struggles, then just dangles, trying not to look /too/ alarmed. "Holy slag..."
With Penchant caught by Lockjaw, none of them are in immediate danger, and in the resounding silence that follows Penchant's likely dragging out of the chasm, Sak gives a cheerful, "Guezzz that wazzzn't on the map, eh?"
E'hsan, decidedly ruffled, says tersely, "No, it appears not." Having kept a good grip on said map, she studies it, and hisses in frustration, waving a hand dismissively when Sak tries to peer at it over her head. "It's one of the missing areas...oh, I don't know what to do to get across. Do any of you have an idea?"
While she looks to the others to brainstorm, Hoorduk, already an eerily still creature, becomes as rigid and lifeless-looking as a statue. Turning its head slowly, it glances back the way they'd come. It doesn't tap, or draw attention to itself. It is listening. Hard.
With Penchnant securely in her jaws, Lockjaw backs up, pulling him up and out of the pit. He'll probably suffer some scratching from being dragged across rock, but that's better than falling, right. Once he's safley out, she releases him and edges back towards the hole, gauging first its breadth - you'd have to be a cloudwalker to cross that - then its depth "What is under this?" perhaps if they can not go over...
"That's a...a very good question," Nightshade says to E'hsan, cupping her chin in her hand and looking over the chasm. "I don't think my shuttle form could quite fit in here, and I feel like trying to rocket you all across will just create more destruction here." Nevermind how inexperienced she is with that form. While Lockjaw looks beneath, she glances up, in case there's some kind of system up above. And she pays careful attention to the walls...
Penchant scrambles away from the ledge once he's set down, and remains there on the ground. "Thanks... Uhm. This frame can hover...? I think? But I haven't really messed with it, and-" He's so shaken that he doesn't look particularly keen on testing it over the pit. He tries to shine the torch down through the darkness. "There a way we can reverse the trap? Did someone step on another switch?"
"Someone must have." The inflection in E'hsan's voice says that she has a sneaking suspicion who was careless enough to do it, if her judgment of the timing is correct; she won't say it aloud, however. "I don't think this sort of trap has a reversal. Usually something like this has a trick to it, so that those who are meant to get across still can..." She moves close to the edge with Lockjaw, peering into the darkness of the chasm. "Perhaps it is another code? Does anyone see those symbols on the walls nearby?"
They won't, if they start looking, which may be disparaging. It won't help much when Hoorduk finally moves, now much more quickly than one would expect of it, to begin tapping urgently at Sak.
"Whoa, whoa, zzzlow down! Ya know I can't underzzztand ya when you're babblin' like that--" Sak stops, suddenly, as Hoorduk's tapping grows more coherent to him, if no less urgent. Swearing in a loud, crackly buzz, he calls to E'hsan, "Ya better find that trick zzzoon, we've got mattermitezzz!"
And the Lost Lighters will soon begin to hear what it was Hoorduk was listening so strongly for, a distant skitterskitterskitter in the darkness of the tomb behind them. It's difficult to see anything outside of their torchlight, beyond the shapes of debris that litter the corridors, but the sound is quite clear. And it's getting closer. E'hsan turns quickly on her heel, scattering dust and pebbles over the edge of the chasm, and makes a soft sound of fear. "Yes, we'd better hurry," she agrees, voice tight. "Mattermites are known to eat everything in their path. We must have disturbed a nest...oh, oh no."
<FS3> Nightshade rolls Mind+mind: Success. (4 2 6 5 5 1 7 2)
<FS3> Penchant rolls Mind+mind: Failure. (3 5 4 2 5 4 5 2)
<FS3> Lockjaw rolls Mind+Mind: Success. (6 3 1 4 5 7)
When E'hsan pivots as she does, dust and debris go skittering over the chasm's edge, disappearing into the blackness below. Except...not all of it. There should be nothing but empty air in the middle of the chasm, and yet some of the pebbles bounce and roll over it before settling, seemingly supported by nothing, in the middle of the open space.
<Events> Rodimus has submitted a new event: Off to the races!
Lockjaw turns around to face the direction they came from, her maw swinging open to let out a loud, warning hisss. She's quite capable of eating things too. Anticipating fighting, she grows more allert, trying to not miss a single sound or movement around her.
The next sound that chatches her attention comes, not as she expects, from the hall, but from the pit that she's put behind her. She turns her head, only to find that pit still there, only "It seems there is something sold there after all" she eyes the seemingly floating debries before turning back to the dark hall. Whatever trickery this is, it's either that, or fighting these Mattermites, just to go home empty-handed "Go, I will hold them off.
<FS3> Nightshade rolls Elegance-3: Good Success. (4 7 7 6 5 3 2 6 6)
Nightshade's wings go out vertically as the look on her face can best be described as 'frustrated, alarmed attempt at a smile.' "Mattermites. Good. This had been going so smoothly otherwise." She vents in and out to get her thoughts straight, and that's when she looks down at the way some of the rubble is not falling into the bottomless pit. "...Oh, clever. Maybe it's a trick of the light or an energy bridge...wish me luck, comrades!"
She steps very carefully, very delicately on the invisible bit and tries to put her weight on it, proceeding only if she doesn't start falling.
Penchant fails to see anything, but the sound has him back up on his chunky feet, and he watches with great worry as Nightshade balances Astrotrain's tremendous frame over seemingly nothing. Oh, right, he has to hold the torch. Scooping it up, he cautiously moves after her, keeping his visor solidly on the ceiling.
As Nightshade tests the invisible bridge, the skitterskitter of the mattermites gets closer still. As they approach and emerge from the shadows, it's clear that whatever nest the group's presence has disturbed, it was a very, very big one. The creatures are small, maybe half the size of E'hsan's hand, yet there are so many they move in a great mass. Stone, debris, organic animals skeletons, all disappear beneath the wave of insects.
"There are too many to fight!" E'hsan raises her voice as Lockjaw decides to take a stand. "They'll strip you in moments, we have to run!"
"I zzzay leave 'er, if that'zzz what zzzhe wantzzz!" When Nightshade's weight upon the bridge proves its steadiness and she makes it across unharmed, followed closely by Penchant, Sak and Hoorduk follow in their stead. E'hsan means to make another protest but Hoorduk grabs her by the arm and drags her too. No time for talk, it's time for running!
<FS3> Lockjaw rolls Speed Burst: Good Success. (5 6 8 2 6 8)
Lockjaw lets out another long hiss as the swarm approaches, even as she watches the others escape from the corner of her optic. It's only once she's sure that everyone has safely made it atleast half way across the bridge does she wheel around and go after them, moving remarkably fast for someone of her size and build.
"Oh we are not leaving her behind!" Nightshade insists with a huff, looking behind her only to see Lockjaw rushing after them. "Good, good, yes, time to run!" Which she does to the best of her ability, Elegance thrown to the wind as she just clomps along the invisible path as fast as this big, slow form will go. She's never looking down on big frames again, how do they manage this?!
<FS3> Penchant rolls Floorplans: Success. (1 2 5 8 4 1 1)
Penchant scoot-scoots over the gap and moves ahead of Nightshade, running his hand along the wall. He's no expert in tombs, but he's pretty familiar with the standards of simple buildings and what's required to keep them stable, including wall placement. His fingers trace the seams in stone, and he looks around the hallway, this time a little more mindful of any extra switches.
E'hsan is dragged bodily along by Hoorduk, hissing in pain and stumbling once they're acros the bridge and it lets her go. She keeps the map clutched to her chest as she runs after the others, about to lead them, but - oh, it seems Penchant has that covered. She hadn't expected that.
With Penchant seeming to know what he's doing, despite having no map, the group quickly falls in line and follows his lead. They don't have much of a choice as the mattermites continue coming, surging over the invisible bridge and the chasm. The six gain some time as the insects either fall in or throttle their mass to cross the bridge safely, which helps them get the distance they need. Crossing from one hall to the next, E'hsan points them around any remaining traps before they're stumbling into a room that opens up both in height and width, easily fitting them all. It is exposed partially to the outdoors where part of the high ceiling has caved in, and over time the smelly vines from outside have crept through this opening and covered the entirety of the room.
As the six enter, the mattermite swarm begins to catch up, yet. When it reaches the archway the group just came through, the insects stop, restlessly surging and skittering about. They do not come any further.
<FS3> Lockjaw rolls Mind+Mind: Failure. (1 4 5 4 4 1)
<FS3> Penchant rolls Mind+mind: Good Success. (1 1 7 5 3 3 8 3)
<FS3> Nightshade rolls Mind+mind: Good Success. (4 6 5 7 6 7 6 8)
While Hoorduk and Sak stay back, Sak hissing and bbzzzzting in irritation at the stopped swarm, E'hsan takes a step forward, watching the mattermites. They surge and withdraw in short bursts, seemingly for no reason, until one is accidentally shoved a bit further by its buddies. What E'hsan, Nightshade and Penchant will notice is how it gives a high-pitched squeal as it brushes against one of those smelly vines, before withdrawing back into the rest.
Once she's caught up with the rest of the group, Lockjaw slows her pace to stay at the tail, ready to put herself between the others, and the incoming swarm should it come to that. Thankfully, it doesn't, although the gator can't blame them as the smell of the room hits her more sensitive nose. Chela, they better not end up getting stuck in here! It's taking quite abit of concentration to ignore it and not lunge back into the tunnel. Even the hiss she directs at the insects comes out sounding more irritated and disgusted.
"Brilliant, Penchant! I don't know how you just did what you just did," Nightshade says as she clangs to a halt, "but you may have just saved our lives. -Ugh," she adds, covering her nasal ridge with her hand. "I really do not like that smell." She gives a glare at the vines, too exhausted and distracted at the moment to think of taking a sample, when she notices how one of those insects withdraws from the vines. "...Curious. Did you see that just now, friends? Do they not like the scent? Or...do you suppose they have a more urgent reason to dislike these plants?"
Penchant manages a sheepish look, somehow. "I'm mostly guessing here, my old superiors had me running messages through a lot of unfamiliar buildings and I wouldn't get the tip if I was late." He observes the insects' reactions and reaches to touch a vine. "Hoping it's just the scent. Maybe we oughta' wear some foliage to keep these things away... unless they get bored."
"Well, we should all be grateful then for your experience." E'hsan sounds sincere in her praise, even as she nods to Penchant's assessment. "I think it might be the smell, or we would have shown adverse effects earlier from touching them outside. And it makes sense that local flora would evolve some sort of defense against these creatures." Taking Penchant up on his suggestion, she breaks off a nearby vine, not close to the entrance where the swarm remains, and drapes it around her shoulders. "Wearing them seems our best bet." Looking over the map, E'hsan is quiet for a moment before she adds, "We're very close! There's a chamber that ought to lead us right to the treasure room, and it's only down the next corridor. Once we're ready, let's get moving quickly; stopped though they may be, those mattermites are unnerving."
"I think I almost preffer them over this" Lockjaw grumbles, eying the swarm. They may have stopped, but it would be foolish of her to drop her guard because of that "I assume there may be more nests in there" which means it really is either these things, or the smell. With a low vent, she transforms again. There is no way she's sticking those things in her mouth. It would feel lousy even soiling her sword with it, if she could draw it in these tight quarters that is. She'll just have to tear one off.
Nightshade makes a face at the suggestion, but at least it's an excuse to take a sample. One never knows what sort of chemical properties alien plants will have. She surreptitiously breaks off a tiny piece to hide in one of her compartments before draping the rest of a vine on her frame. "I'm glad this mission is going so well, relatively speaking! If it's not far from here then we'll be able to get back to our home before too long, all of us having helped one another. Teamwork! Is! Productive!"
Penchant settles a mildly incredulous look on Nightshade. She's too saccharine to be real! But it's not a cruel glance, more surprised. "Right, agreed - Let's just remain prepared." He snaps off a vine of his own, to loop around his wrist. "Lead the way, E'hsan."
"There is likely to be more nests, yes." E'hsan tilts her head ever so slightly as she looks over at Sak, who is rubbing his face on one of the vines like it's made of bug-nip. It is a good thing her face is hidden at the moment. There's a pause before she speaks again, to Nightshade, "It is, isn't it? We should count ourselves lucky. Let's go."
When everyone's ready, holding her map aloft, E'hsan leads the way down the next hall. She stops them once, setting off another spear trap (this time they come from the floor and ceiling) and the rest of the corridor is apparently free of danger, meaning they reach the chamber in question without any incident. It is an interesting room, an archway opening into an entry area, before a larger archway leads into the chamber itself. "It ought to be just beyond this room..." Slowing somewhat, E'hsan allows Penchant and Lockjaw to pass her, before stopping Nightshade in the smaller area. "Could you hold this for a moment?" she asks, offering the map. "I'd like to get a closer look."
Inside the chamber itself, where Lockjaw and Penchant will likely pause for the others, are beautiful mosaics covering every inch of the walls. Or, at least, they once were - closer inspection reveals the eroded remains of what appears to be historical moments, battles and ceremonies and natural disasters. On the far end of the wall, shining dully still, is a picture of a chest filled with golden coins. X marks the spot, perhaps?
Lockjaw is only too happy to put as much distance as possible between herself and the vine room, even if it's only a couple steps into the room. The mosaiacs catch her attention anyways. She stops at one depicting what seems to be a battle. "I have never seen the art of aliens before. It was probably quite magnificent a long time ago. Slowly, she moves to the next image, and the next, untill her gaze is drawn to the one at the end of the hall. "Perhaps this means we are on the right track?"
Nightshade stops at E'hsan's request and takes the map. "Oh, yes, right, of course!" She waits patiently, holding up the map for her erstwhile traveling companion. She rather wishes she could go into the chamber too, but she remembers what she said about Teamwork! and holds off for E'hsan's sake.
Click-click goes Penchant's optical camera. "Wild," he murmurs, perusing the walls. Why can't Cybertron have art like this! Well, it probably did, once. Pench lifts the torch further, and follows the mosaic down to the image of the chest. "Where's... who's got the scanner?" He looks to Lockjaw expectantly.
While Lockjaw and Penchant explore the chamber, E'hsan glances over the map. Having someone else hold it steady for her - unlike Sak, who enjoys rolling it around on purpose - makes it easier to get a closer look. "Yes, we're on the right track," she calls idly to Lockjaw as she peers at the map. This particular area is visible still, though a bit smudged. "It should be in order, just wanted to double check and then you can go in ahead of...wait a moment." E'hsan stops, staring at the map, her body stiff. She gently puts a finger near the holographic image and moves it as she reads the ancient language again. And then, whirling back toward the entrance, she screams, "You, you dirty, double-crossing--! There are two doors!"
Outside the first section of the chamber, standing beside Hoorduk, Sak smirks, a very strange arrangement of his mandibles happening to give that impression, as he places two sets of hands on his hips. "We dezzzided to decreazzze your cut," he quips, before reaching out to press something on the wall beside the archway. The effect is instantaneous - two huge walls of rock slam down, blocking both archways into the chamber. Nightshade and E'hsan are stuck in the smaller room, while Lockjaw and Penchant are together in the chamber.
There are no other discernible exits.
Lockjaw is about to answer when E'hsan's exclimation draws her attention first to her and Nightshade, and then to Sak and Hoorduk. Hissing, she lunges back towards them, only to nearly smack into the suddenly appearing wall. With another hiss, she draws her fist back and slams it into the barrier, but to no avail "Never trust anything that even looks like a cloudwalker."
<FS3> Nightshade rolls Monologuing: Good Success. (3 7 5 1 6 7 2 7 5)
"E'hsan? What are you-who's a..."
Nightshade stares as the door slams shut, trapping her and Eh'san together. "...Are you kidding me?!" Her eyes light up, her voice echoing as her delicacy flies out the window. "We offer the hand of friendship and camraderie to you and your fellow organics and this is how you repay us? Betraying us, betraying your own in the name of monetary gain? Such mercenary deeds will be your undoing, Sak, your absolute unraveling! No one, NO ONE deceives a Decepticon and gets away with it!"
Dramatic pose and shouting done, she turns to E'hsan with a little sigh. "Got any ideas, darling...?"
Penchant jerks when E'hsan's voice lifts to accuse her cohorts of... something? The stone doors slam, and Pench's visor widens, then narrows harshly. "Slaggers," he curses lowly, as Nightshade pretty much sums up his feelings. Except for the Decepticon part.
E'hsan is a bit startled by Nightshade's sudden vehemence. She hadn't expected it out of this one, with the sweet, fluttery way she'd been acting the whole time. It's a bit impressive, and intimidating; E'hsan is glad she's not on the end of that. "Only one." She gestures to the map, still held by Nightshade. "We'd better start looking for another way out."
And soon, for within the tomb begins another ominous rumble as mechanisms long dormant come back to life, and the chamber starts to feel like it's getting a bit smaller...