2017-07-22 Carry a Big Stick
From Transformers: Lost and Found
|Carry a Big Stick|
|Location||Destroyed Organic Planet 48489|
|Plot||Artifacts of the Knights of Cybertron|
|Summary||Swivel and Skywarp scout out a relic- fanboys are involved. It's surprisingly easy.|
Another location pings on the map, signaling a decoded location of an artifact -- but frankly, the crew's not in super great shape to go find it, meaning that the team that ends up being sent is--
Swivel and Skywarp.
With Swivel's reticence to put herself forward, it must be a particularly malicious plan of Rodimus's that places her in charge of the mission. The planet that the spacebridge drops them on is a barren, jagged wasteland. Analysis of the ash that swirls on the fierce winds suggests that organic life was once found here, but it has long since been purged in fire, leaving only the most rudimentary lifeforms scrabbling to hold to a few isolated islands of life. There's nothing of any high order than an insect, but there are, at least healthy pockets of those that exist in the shadows of the sharply uplifted mountains. The sun in the sky sears the air, making it burning hot through the intakes, and sending any travelers to the shelter of ruins dotted on the surface.
The scanner to help them find the artifact is supposed to register Cybertronian technology, but it is throwing back a dozen signals coming from one of those ruined structures, which can't possibly be right. Can it?
Swivel was eager to prove her worth. Well. Not worth. Just that she wasn't a layabout and an ingrate. So when she was told she would be sent on a mission after finally being awarded a clean bill of health, she was ecstatic. She may have hugged whovever told her. But then she, a nobody, with no background leading anyone, put in command of the mission and the femme nearly went right back into a coma from fright. The femme was not at all commanding. She was small, fragile, and self deprecating. But someone had snidely told her if Rodimus can do it, so can she. We won't name names.
Once on the scorching planet, Swivel shades her optics and looks around. Okaaaay. Not going to leverage her infrared thermograph here - it'd leave her snowblind. In that white, the hottest reading, would be mostly everything but those shady areas. Shady areas which Swivel is eager to cling to. Swivel looks at the scanner and frowns, handing it to Skywarp. "Don't suppose this is a glitch?" If it is, that would be awful. Not too awful, though. This can be salvaged, after all. Swivel smiles, trying to remain optimistic as she hurries toards the structure to get a better look - and better reading with her sensors.
"I bet it's bodies. Just a massive crypt of 'em." Skywarp chirps helpfully, intermittently walking behind and boost-hopping ahead of Swivel. "Or a crash. Can't remember ever being on this planet but look at it! Megatron'd be so proud." Despite misleading... everything, Skywarp's one of the ship's better rounded navigators and scouts. Hell, he can fight and formulate tactics, too! A good choice to go along with the incredibly green leader of this expedition.
The winds continue to whip through the air, rubbing and crackling together and leaving the air sharp with static charge that scrambles the sensors and makes it difficult for Swivel to clear up the reading. A dozen readings. Or else a sensor glitch. Either / or.
As they approach the building, it becomes clear that some effort has gone into maintaining and repairing the building. The doors are firmly secured, although keyed to open at Cybertronian life signs. --such as their own. The building has all the ruined majesty and fallen grandeur of an old theater. The gilt has peeled away, flaking into the wind. There are figures carved into the fallen columns, elegant and unarmored frames as one might have found in ages past, before war. Above the door is a mark: five faces, side by side, and all quite old.
"Well, a crypt'd explain the readings." Bodies count as Cybertronian technology when you are all space robots, right? Swivel seems open to even the darker possibilities suggested by her teammate. Yes. Teammate. Even if she's technically leading this expedition, she's not going to put herself above Skywarp. he's a flier, after all. And she still carries a few old fashioned ideas around with her. She also has no discernible reaction to the name Megatron as she steps into the shade.
"Hmmm... way too much interference here," Swivel says with a sigh. Perhaps she will need to calibrate her sensors when she gets back to the ship. Swivel systematically shuts down ones she doesn't think will be useful here, such as her hygrometer. Who needs humity readings on this dustball? Swivel also just simply uses her standard senses, like sight, in which she walks over and observes the relief images. Guiding Hand? Swivel frowns. She really should have asked if an archivist or archeologist or something could have come along. Still religious imagery is a good sign, right? "This probably is the place, even if the scanners being fidgety and not very reliable." Or there's an ambush inside. That'd suck.
Skywarp shrugs unhelpfully, wings twitching around every now and then and inspiring a grimace. "Right." Stupid wind, he's down to infrared and echo readings, practically blind. "Looks fancy enough." He pauses, scrunching up his face. "Y'know, if it wasn't like, wrecked." It's not like there's any hidden place within a reasonable distance that could also have artifacts stashed in it- it'd stick out in the landscape. Probably. "Sooo.... You going in first fearless leader?"
The door sits there as patient as eternity, waiting for them to approach and step inside. There's no indication of any weapons -- or any defenses at all, really. If not for the signs of repair and the newness of the door itself, it might seem abandoned. It's definitely quiet.
Right. Swivel, as the leader, can't be cowering. She just nods to Skywarp and cautiously approaches the door, merely assuming that Skywarp has her back. Still, the fact that the door looks newer than the rest of the structure makes her very uneasy. And ready to jump, scream, and scramble behind Skywarp at the drop of a pin, the femme opens the door. Or tries too. If it isn't automated in some form, she might just be too weak to make it budge. But she'll try.
Skywarp is the ultimate getaway ride. Don't worry Swivel, he's staying close enough to lunge and grab her if things go south. He's covering her back on this door opening operation.
The door ... opens.
Honestly, it's a little anticlimactic, but more promising are the lights which flare, following a path ahead of them and deeper into the structure. The lights come in the form of writing high on the walls, carved in an ancient dialect. Some of the notes and the shapes of the characters may be familiar to Swivel from long ago. Notably, it has been defaced, though it looks ancient, worn smooth by wind and sand. It looks like blaster fire in places, or the drag of a blade that breaks the characters. Where it's broken, the light shines through, brighter still.
The interior is tiered, with stairs to either side and a grand doorway ahead that leads into an incongruously normal auditorium. The curtains framing the stage have rotted away, leaving curtains piled and spilling over the side of the stage, wearing away with every stir of the breeze. And above them stand five figures, shrouded in robes of silver and gold, black and orange and energon-pink. They are so still they could be statues, but the breeze pulls at the fabric, and five sets of eyes, glowing beneath their hoods, unerringly track the pair as they enter.
Swivel is somewhat surprised that the soor opens at her bidding. She jumps back a little when she feels it budge, but then determining nothing is hurting her, she finishes pushing it open all the way and heads in. The femme is silent, and each step is light and measured with continued caution. She's a little glad she won't have to flick on her higbeams, as the place generates its own light. Good, reliable ancient technology. WHy sin't modern technology this efficient and long lasting? Swivel approaches the stairs but stops at the first step, looking upwards, and then looking at the walls with scrutiny. "I kinna wish I had a long stick or something to start poking at the ground with." Swivel may not be a dungeon crawler herself, but she's read some adventure novels, and knows about pressure plates and booby traps. Or the fictionalised representation of such things. Though with this technology it would likely be motion sensors, not pressure plates. or something purely mystical and mysterious and beyond Swivel's limited comprehension. Still, a stick just seems like a good thing to have. She wonders why she doesn't have one. Swivel continues looking around, not sure what she's looking for, but using looking around as a stall tactic.
"Echolocation should give away any floor traps." Skywarp reasons, following close behind Swivel and frowning while she pauses. Instead of sticking to the chain of command and following her around, Skywarp just twists and hoists the tiny bot up and starts walking toward the grand entrance and auditorium beyond. There's something weird on the stage there and weird = Knights related. He's sure of it. "Slow. We're going this way." Caution is a thing for people who can't just skedaddle at a moments notice. Oh. Those look like people, but like, weird creepy dramatics-obsessed people. Millions of years with Starscream has prepared him for this moment.
All of their many senses fail to find any hint of traps. But as they near the stage, the twelve signals that their scanners were reading resolve to show as six true signals. The others are ghosts, phantoms: duplicates caused by interference. Five of those signals are those of life, coming from the five, dramatically cowled figures watching them. The sixth comes beneath the piled curtains. The five figures, previously still, step forward to stand between them and the sixth signal. They hold out their hands, fingers spread, before each closes their hand to a fist. They are silent.
Well. Swivel could chastise him for breaking command. But she really doesn't mind that much. As long as the job gets done, does it really matter? Of course the femme DOES squeak when she is grabbed, the only 'fighting' she does is just twist around so she can grab him back so that she may cling to him like a baby koala.
Upon seeing the five figures move, she squawks and clings tighter to Skywarp. However, she doesn't turn away, and makes sure to watch them very closely. ".....Hello?" She loosens her grip just a little. "I don't supposed, if those things are guarding the special thing you can just.... zip in, nab thing, zip out?" Of course, she's thinking just being quick and awesome like a flier can be. The femme didn't have time to read up on Skywarp's particular talent. Really. "I wonder if dirty limericks would distract them?"
Skywarp should have thought this through better, he's down an arm now- less than before since Swivel's supporting herself alone, but still. "If you can distract them I can do that, yeah." And he pulls a face, wings twitching. Sure, why not, distract the creepy cloak things with lewd songs. What could go wrong. He leans forward to drop her back to the ground. Off, koala.
Swivel drops to the ground without further prodding. Once she is sure of her footing, she looks up at the large statue-esque figures with wide-eyed wonder. Well she has their attention without whipping out some naughty rhymes. Which is just as well, because she wasn't sure if she remembered any. "For me? What do you mean you are for me?" Swivel glances at Skywarp, as if trying to discretely signal for him to do the thing, then looks back at the figures innocently. "I mean, do you mean me any harm? Or were you waiting for me for a good and not-slaughter-me sort of way? And by me, do you mean me or us? What is going on? I don't understand."
Skywarp side-eyes Swivel, shifting back and crossing his arms to give the line of mechs a skeptical look. She's doing a great job of asking all the questions, and he'd rather not do the Thing with all optics on them. There's such a thing as retaining the element of surprise, geeze.
"The Guiding Hand told us to make this temple--" It doesn't look like a temple. "--ready for those who would come," explains the golden-cloaked mech next. "And so we have. The rest falls to you." They step back then, moving to the side and clear of Swivel and Skywarp. That was super clear, right. At least Starscream has the decency to be shriekingly clear about his ambitions in his dramatics. A close observer might spot that they are a bit self-conscious about their theatrics: awkward.
Well, it seems like they really aren't guarding anything - so Skywarp won't have to do the thing. Swivel wasn't sure whether to believe that or not. But they SEEM nice enough. Swivel smiles and nods a little awkwardly herself. "Well. Thanks!" Swivel begins to stride towards the mysterious and curtain obscured object, but keeps glancing over at the figures as she passes them by. "You're doing a really good job - very majestic!" Swivel tries to sound encouraging. She has NO idea what she's talking about, though, and it's painfull obvious. Swivel reaches to pull away the curtains, then hesitates. "So... just to be sure, if I touch this, something absolutely horrible isn't going to happen? I want to be absolutely clear on this!" Clearly, the femme isn't used to talking to cryptic religious types.
"The guiding-" Skywarp tilts his head but doesn't actually comment further, or ridicule them, sticking close enough to grab Swivel at a moment's notice but watching the cloaked mecha instead of her. "How're you dealing with here. Planet makes my servos buzz." None of them look like they have wings, though. And if they're NAILS- which they totally are look at those frames- they're probably not sporting state-of-the-art equipment under that plating. "Also capes are the no.1 forboding attire choice, go with something else. Like Scarves. Scarves aren't forboding."
The magenta-cloaked figure is the most expressive of the lot, and grins openly when Swivel compliments them all, but every single one looks a little reassured.
The curtains tremble under the pressure of her reach, threatening to crumble even from that slight breeze. It's likely that when she actually touches, they will dissolve.
"What?" asks the orange-cloaked figure. "No. Why would something terrible happen? We--." He breaks off as Skywarp speaks, glancing over a moment and then back to Swivel. "I think I can speak for the others when I say that I'm glad to see someone who wasn't one of the war-makers come for this. As priests dedicated to the whole, we're forbidden from speaking with war-bringers." Skywarp is being snubbed. R u d e.
How handy is it that Swivel slept through most of the war! Swivel smiles. And it's not a simpering toadie smile, but a genuine one as she regards them all. "I was just making sure. The capes are a bit imposing." Pause. Shrug. Bigger smile. " But... I'm glad you can talk to me." Skywarp will just have to stand there and continue to be snubbed. Warmonger.
Swivel finally reaches out and touches the curtains, but her hand jerks back when they crumble. Her optic ridges are raised and she mutters an 'oops' and looks around like a guilty pet that just knocked over an expensive vase.
Skywarp grits his teeth, silently snarling at the grouped NAILs and hiking his wings up in offense. Fine, don't talk to him, he'll just be here glaring daggers into these assholes who can't be bothered to look up the state of cybertron on their datanet- oh wait, they live in a radio interference zone of course they can't. Assholes. UGH.
There's no judgment from the troupe of awkward theatre nerds that step back to watch Swivel and Skywarp -- even if they are ignoring him -- with something uncomfortably close to reverence. Beneath the dust of the curtain is a simple box with folds open when exposed to air, revealing--
A sliding puzzle. The tiles are currently scrambled, and there are enough of them that it's clearly going to take AGES for it to unscramble.
Except they do, sliding of their own accord, whipping in a flurry of sliding clicks and clacks so that it resolves as a picture of the Matrix. They have a moment to see it and then it shuffles, dissolving again into chaos.
The reverence is VERY uncomfortable for the little femme. While friendliness is one thing, regard and respect is something else. Unfamiliar. And unfamiliar things are extremely disconcerting. But Swivel had better get used to disconcerting with the company she'll be keeping from here on out.
Swivel watches, in awe, as the many pieces shuffle, then unshuffle themselves. Swivel tentatively reaches forward with both hands to take hold of the sliding puzzle, and then peers uneasily over her shoulder at Skywarp. She also still somewhat expects the place to start coming down for no reason other than that's how it would happen in the movies. The femme, for once, has nothing to say.
That's... anticlimactic. "That's it?" Skywarp asks skeptically. Really? Sure he hasn't seen anyone's relics yet but... weren't they supposed to be cool? Magical artefacts designed to form a superweapon? "It's a slagging slide-puzzle." If he could sound more unimpressed. Ah, well. "If that's it then we're leaving." He moves to start picking Swivel up again to do just that. Warping might be a bit weird but he could manage it to a good bridge point.
The group watches Swivel and Skywarp without stopping them, dissolving into hushed whispers with one another. They sound more excited than ominous, like Swivel and Skywarp were ~celebrities~ and they are just thrilled to have met them. They'll try to pull it together and look dignified if need be in anyone looks back, but now the illusion's broken.
In Swivel's hands, the artifact settles with a comfortable weight. It feels solid, it feels right -- but it also looks like a silly slide puzzle. Skywarp's disappointment is understanable.
Swivel revels at how 'right' holding this object feels. Actually, since she has no possessions to her name at all, it sort of quickly become sentimental. BUt it isn't really HERS is it? It's an ancient artifact. She's merely its custodian for now. Nonetheless, she smile, shyly. "Mission comp-erk!" Well, Swivel, again, does not fight being grabbed by Skywarp. All she does is clutch the artifact tightly to herself so not to drop it in the shuffle, and cranes her neck to look at the caped mechs. "BYE!" she shouts cheerfully, but quickly before she can get whisked away by the warp master.
"Swell meetin' ya, rude as hell but what can you do- BYE." Skywarp snarks, shoving Swivel under an arm and hopping up off the ground to VOP-
-VOMP back outside. He's playing it safer than usual and they end up a fair ways above the ground about a mile out from the building and there's a brief period of falling before his thrusters kick in and he hovers. "A slide puzzle."
The wind scrapes across the barren landscape outside. It's Swivel, Skywarp, the slide puzzle -- and silence.
"YARG!" Swivel exclaims as she goes from one place to another with little warning. If she wasn't hanging on so tightly to the artifact, Skywarp would have another bad case of baby koala. There is a small whimper from the femme. But then she looks at the slide puzzle and smiles. "I dunno. I kind of think it's really neat. Although a fancy stick would have been nice too. So. Space bridge time?"
"The pit's with you'n sticks..." Skywarp grouses, setting them back to the ground but keeping a hold on Swivel. "It's lame. You're lame. 'S space bridge time." Sticking his nose up, the seeker takes initiative and comms for the bridge, wings twitching irritably again. Slide puzzle- who even DOES those anymore. His relic better be something awesome. Like a GUN. Or a really cool Abacus.
Lame? Well. Swivel's been called worse so she just laughs it off. Really. When Skywarp comms for the space bridge Swivel was about to say she was on it, but then shrugs. Who is leading this mission anyway? Swivel doesn't really care. Skywarp can do all the actiony stuff and she can sit there and adore her awesome tile puzzle. And she'll adore it for as long as Skywarp doesn't drop her.