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2017-07-22 Odd Couple

From Transformers: Lost and Found

2017-07-22 Odd Couple
Date 2017/07/22
Location Jungle Planet - Temple
Participants Nightshade
NPCs E'hsan
Plot Tomb Raiders
Scene GM Jay
Summary One of the Lost Lighters is separated from the others.

Trapped in the smaller section of the chamber, E'hsan and Nightshade are left alone as Sak and Hoorduk leave them, and the others, to die. The wall separating them from Lockjaw and Penchant is too thick to really communicate much even if they tried; and E'hsan does not seem eager to try.

"Please hold this steady so I can find a way out of here." Good thing her face is hidden, so Nightshade can't see how E'hsan is absolutely incapable of meeting the Cybertronian's optics. "If we can escape, maybe we can help your friends before they're crushed...but they may be on their own." A pause, and there's a soft whoosh of air from the biosuit. "I'm sorry about all of this."

"Well, thankfully Lockjaw's a strong sort and Penchant is clever, so at the very least those traitors should have a bit of a struggle on their hands..." Still, Nightshade can't hide that she's a bit worried about this entire situation. If her earlier ranting outburst did not, in fact, tip anyone off. "Oh, please, we can't read minds and know when someone else is going to stab us in the back. I've been there before and I'll be there again. The important thing is vengeance." She stops and clears her throat. "I mean, taking action." She holds up the map for her much smaller companion.

"One can only hope." E'hsan peers at the map, trying to translate the notes concerning this chamber. The rumbling grows louder as she works - whatever is happening in the other chamber, it's probably not good. She goes quiet for a few moments before straightening and shaking her head. "You really don't understand, do you? I was in on it. Trapping you all here." With another whoosh, a sigh, most likely, E'hsan moves toward one of the walls. The smaller area of the chamber is not as ornately decorated as where Penchant and Lockjaw are, but it does have some carvings on its walls, one of which is a proud-looking figure very similar in appearance to Hoorduk. E'hsan reaches toward the compass it holds in its hand, pressing in the compass' face before turning it carefully clockwise. There is a loud thunk inside the wall before E'hsan adds, "Oh, and hold on."

As she finishes speaking, the floor beneath them gives way, dropping them down a long stone chute. It is thankfully large enough for Nightshade's current frame to slide through, though the walls are suffocatingly close as the two whiz downward at top speed. The chute deposits them finally in a dusty basement room, the air even staler than that of where they just were. E'hsan groans from the crumpled heap she has begun before picking herself up and dusting herself off. "That was unpleasant."

"...You're what?"

And then Nightshade finds herself sliding down a tunnel at high speeds, shuttering her optics just out of self-defense because she does not like being out of control of her movements. She needs her wings to brace herself, but these aren't designed for that! It's all too tight, too closed in, and...

She lands with a loud clang on the ground, moaning and stunned before her optics open up again. "Honestly that..." Wait. "YOU!" She storms over to loom over E'hsan, now that she has the actual power to loom. "You were in on it this whole time? I offered you trust! Do you know what that means, from a Decepticon? I don't even know why I trusted you all! I guess because...I'm used to being small and overlooked and I had some false sense of empathy or something, I don't know!" She grits her dentae. "So what, is this also part of your plan? Trapping yourself here with me so your friends can leave my allies in the dust?"

E'hsan really shouldn't have confessed to that, as the expected results are Nightshade's enormous frame towering over her, that loud booming voice filling the space they're in and shaking the walls so hard with its force that dust falls onto the floor in soft showers. E'hsan lets Nightshade get it all out before responding tightly, "No, that wasn't part of my plan. I thought we should leave you alone in the first place; Sak insisted we use you to get inside, and then kill you." Her fists, so tiny compared to Nightshade's ball at her thighs. "And at the time, I said yes to this plan, and do you know why? Your people razed the galaxy with your war! Could you really expect me to believe at first sight that you wouldn't do the same here, to this tomb?" A hiss of air leaves the biosuit, or perhaps E'hsan's lips, it's hard to tell. "These ruins are a wealth of information that I allied myself with those horrendous graverobbers to reach, and I was not about to allow your kind to tromp in and destroy them! Or Sak and Hoorduk, whom I knew would kill me at any opportunity so they could have sole possession of the treasure!"

She stops then, as something occurs to her, and her helmet turns toward the hand where Nightshade must still be clutching the map. "Hoorduk must understand more about these ruins than it let on, if they sacrificed me despite having no map of their own. Or they believed they could make it without me..." With a heavy sigh, E'hsan tilts her head up toward Nightshade's face. "We are each other's only hope of getting out of this alive and finding your friends. Kill me now, if you must; I obviously can't stop you. But remember that."

"We-I..."

Oh slag. Nightshade can't say that she wouldn't help raze it to the ground if Megatron ordered her to do so. "Look, the war was all much more complicated than that. But...ah, I don't really think much abot how it must have looked from the outside..." To an organic, no less. "And well, of course we have our reputation." That is not the Decepticons' fault, she tries to tell herself. They were rebelling against greater forces. They needed a home, a world, an empire forged where...people like E'hsan lived.

Why is she having such mixed feelings about someone who betrayed her?!

"Well, I suppose we're stuck together now. And no, I'm not going to kill you, what strategic use would that be? Teamwork, like I said earlier." It's missing a lot of the energy. "Let me assure you, we need a relic that's here for the literal fate of the galaxy. Literal. Fate of the Galaxy. So I suppose I must set my feelings of deep-seated betrayal from someone I just met aside." She stands up straight, crossing her arms over her chest.

"Isn't that what they always say?" E'hsan asks, tone even, despite the hint of venom beneath it. "'We had our reasons'. Well, so did I." At least Nightshade decides not to kill her, and some of the tension leaves E'hsan's body, her shoulders no longer quite as rigid. "Then let's get going, so we can find your relic. The map, if you please."

When Nightshade hands it over, E'hsan will power it back on in order to get an idea of where they currently are. It takes some doing, but she eventually starts walking out of the room they're in through the only exit, beyond the chute. "It seems there are several rooms like this down here...but I think I know where we are." She leads them into a corridor, similar in size to those from the ground floor, but much rougher and less decorated. It's slow going, without the torchlight, the only illumination being the soft glow of the map, E'hsan's biosuit and whatever biolighting Astrotrain has in his frame, but they make some progress. It's down the second corridor from that room that E'hsan, peering as she is at the map, walks over a particularly large tile on the floor, and nothing happens. It's when Nightshade is crossing it that suddenly E'hsan whirls and shouts, "Look out!"

<FS3> Nightshade rolls Reaction+reaction-2: Good Success. (3 8 6 1 7 3)

The large tile Nightshade steps on, while having remained unmoved by E'hsan's crossing, depresses beneath the greater weight of Astrotrain's frame. This trap springs much more quickly, as part of the ceiling drops beneath the weight of an enormous boulder, falling straight down toward Nightshade. At least, with E'hsan's warning, she has time to get out of the way.

Nightshade reminds herself that she is trusting someone who just backstabbed her because the alternative is navigating a deadly temple on her own, and she can't quite do that. "I am not debating morality with you," she hisses quietly. That's all she'll say on the subject for the moment as she plods along as carefully as this bulky frame can, pulling her wings as close to her back as possible. She tries to keep an eye on the map over E'hsan's shoulder, not that she'd know how to read it, when her companion cries out a warning.

Nightshade yelps in a voice that echoes and dives away from the boulder before it can squish her, landing on her stomach with wide optics. "I am starting to regret admiring the skill of these traps...!"

"You can admire them and hate them at the same time. I've made a career out of it." E'hsan temporarily puts the map away in order to help Nightshade back up. "I should have seen that trap sooner...that part of the map was damaged, too. Oh, I wish we'd been able to find a way to fix it before those thieves dragged me out here." She reaches for one of Nightshade's hands, which seems ridiculous for her to do, considering their size difference - until the grabs and heaves and, showing more strength than seems possible for someone so small, is able to help Nightshade somewhat in getting back to her feet. "And it seems some of these traps weren't built for my weight...well, I suppose if they were built by a people Hoorduk's size, they would be built for a people Hoorduk's size as well. Or bigger," she adds, eyeing Nightshade.

"Oh, you really don't have to-oh!!" Nightshade feels a sudden rush as a remarkably strong E'hsan helps her back up. "Well...thank you. I suppose you had your chance to be rid of me there and didn't take it, so thank you also for saving my life." Her voice is still terse and clipped, not the cheerful trilling she was showing earlier. "You know," she adds, looking onward as best she can, "that relic we're looking for is Cybertronian in origin. I doubt this temple is, it doesn't have the look...but I would bet whoever hid the relic would expect some like us to go find it."

"You said it yourself, didn't you? It wouldn't be very strategic to let you die when we need each other." E'hsan shrugs, tilting her facemask away, and almost seeming like she wants to say something else. Instead, she simply starts walking again, moving on to the next subject Nightshade brings up.

"No, this tomb isn't related to your people at all, I know that much for certain. But the treasure buried here was owned by the being this tomb was built for, so as I said before, it's possible whoever that was had collected the artifact thousands of years ago." She turns toward Nightshade briefly, looking over her shoulder. "Unless you really do think someone like you came to this tomb and hid it?"

The end of the hallway finds them in yet another chamber, though this one looks much different than the one where Lockjaw and Penchant were left. As they enter, they find that the floor stops about a quarter of the way into the room, with a great open space between it and the other side, where a smaller platform waits with the exit. Peeking over the edge will reveal that this chasm has a bottom, and the bottom is covered in thick, writhing, acidic-purple snakes.

"Well. We can't walk across the bottom, then. Those snakes are known for their highly acidic venom. Melts through most things, including metal." E'hsan moves to the end of the platform they stand on, noting the two large circular tiles set into the floor there. She hums thoughtfully and holds up the map, looking for notes. "There is a symbol here...it means 'clock' or 'time', but I don't understand why." She taps her booted foot (hoof? It's similar in shape) on the ground in frustration.

"Curious. Well, it's...hard to say." Nightshade really needs to do more research on the Knights of Cybertron. "But maybe our kind had contact with yours, and whoever built it knew that we'd be interested in their treasures as well, or at least one treasure. She follows E'hsan until she stops short at the pit, scowling. "Another gap in the floor? This would be so much easier if I could fly..."

She stomps over to the tiles. "Are they meant to be set like a clock? Can we move them, maybe, rotate them? I've seen clocks with round faces before..."

"That's possible, if your kind came to this planet. It's believed these people had limited space travel, so perhaps they could have met your kind within the few surrounding solar systems." E'hsan looks from the map to the circles, slowly pacing between the two round tiles. "No, I don't see anything about rotating...simply this clock symbol, and a phrase. 'Step quickly'." Patting the bottom of her helmet in a gesture similar to rubbing one's chin, E'hsan testingly steps upon one of the circles, and off again quickly. Unlike the one in the corridor with the boulder, this tile depresses beneath her weight. From the other platform, across the chasm, a long stone ledge extends, reaching about halfway through the open space; a few moments after she steps off, with a grinding of stone against stone, it slides back into the platform's face.

"Hmm..." E'hsan looks to the map again. "Do you think...?"

"It means we have limited time, I'll bet. That's not fast enough for us to jump onto that platform unless one of us...hmm. Wait." Nightshade stomps on the other button briefly and observes. "We...we may need to press both of them at the same time, and then just...dash across fast as we can. Time it right. Timing! It means timing, yes, good..."

"That's what I was thinking." E'hsan fiddles with something on the side of her suit, a cloth panel that opens up, and inside shows a few buttons. She presses one, turning on a feature she previously wasn't using for keeping her emotions unreadable, and instantly the lighting strips along her suit cycle to a soft light blue. If Nightshade has ever spoken with Wheeljack, she'll instantly recognize what it is: a smile.

Moving back to the circle she'd originally stood on, E'hsan compresses the tile with her weight, watching as the opposite end of the bridge extends. When Nightshade does the same on the other tile, a stone ledge slides out from the platform where they are currently standing, meeting its twin in the center with a light smack of stone. E'hsan takes a moment to ready herself, before counting. "One...two...three...now!"

<FS3> Nightshade rolls Reaction+reaction-2: Success. (2 1 3 7 4 1)

The 'smile' is a little surprising, and...wait, no, this is a traitor! Sort of. Ugh, Nightshade isn't really sure how to feel about this organic right now, and shoves that into the back of her mind. She must maintain poise and not let her emotions get in the way! And she has to run!!!

Run she does, and she uses her long arms to scoop up E'hsan and grab her to bring her across the vanishing bridge. Just because it's a pragmatic thing to do, and for no other reason! It's saving them time!

E'hsan starts running as soon as she gets to 'three', a strange, loping, almost galloping gait that will hopefully get her across in time before both ends disappear back into the platforms. She absolutely does not expect Nightshade to help her in any way, let alone to be scooped up, and therefore gives a sort of undignified squawk when suddenly she finds herself in the Cybertronian's arms. Her biosuit lighting flashes now in an embarrassed pink as she's carried, and when they reach the other side, safe and sound, she clears her throat.

"Ah...thank you, for that." E'hsan leans over the edge of Nightshade's arm, looking at the floor that is now quite far below her. "You can put me down, now. Thank you."

Nightshade seems to realize she's still carrying E'hsan and her wings twitch in mild embarassment. This looks odd on Astrotrain. "Yes, right, of course! Just...figured that'd make things faster." She sets the alien down and clears her throat as well, which makes a hollow, echoing sound. "Very good reasoning on our parts, I'd say, and clearly a trap best overcome with a traveling companion. Very crafty for both of us to stick together. Of course."

E'hsan shakes herself a bit when she's put down, brushing her biosuit free of nonexistant dust. "Yes, it was much better for us to work together on this endeavor...it would have ended badly had we not." That's all she's going to say on the matter, because that's all that needs saying on the matter. Taking the time to bring her biosuit lighting back to a neutral soft gold, E'hsan pulls out the map again. "We're getting close now, and I mean it this time." She leads the way out of the chamber, then glances once more toward Nightshade. "It seems Sak and Hoorduk put us right where we needed to be without realizing...or perhaps they thought we'd die without finding out. Either way we're nearly there." She goes quiet, briefly, before adding, "I do hope your friends made it out."

"Well! All's well that ends with us not dead, I suppose." What happened to Nightshade's wrath, the terrors that befall those who deceive a Decepticon? Maybe it's laying two near death experiences away or something. Besides, she reminds herself, doing something terrible and vengeful to E'hsan wouldn't be practical. And she doesn't want to do it. There. "I have a good feeling about Lockjaw and Penchant, at least. Your former companions may well have underestimated all of us..."

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