2017-08-01 Tell-Tale Eyes
From Transformers: Lost and Found
|Plot||Artifacts of the Knights of Cybertron|
|Summary||Two of the Lost Light find a distant moon of distant graves.|
The space bridge opens and deposits Skystalker and Swoop onto a moon. A moon with atmosphere. They step out into a flat and cleared out areas of earth, the grass beneath pede all springy. The smell of dirt and dust clings to them in the damp air. Around them is a fence that keeps out the lush jungle, small stone building and other rocks running along the ground in parallel lines. An alien dialect is carved into the stones, but they seem to be names and dates.
It's quiet, somber, most of the flat land falling into the shadow of the largest stone building. Its columns rise above the Cybertronians, its heavy doors broad and elegant. A path leads up the well-kept building, melancholy flowers lining the trodden ground. Inbetween the columns at busts made from ject black stone, carved in intricate detail of several different alien species. They look wealthy even from just part of them. The Cybertronian signal is coming from within the building.
Meanwhile, the planet this world orbits is green. Mostly green- usually green. Part of it glows like embers as fire burns the green away. Black smoke is starting to choke the atmosphere. Wonder what caused that wild fire... But at least the moon is nice.
The gravity of the moon paired with the grassy knoll speckled with stone catches Skystalker off guard as they move through the spacebridge. The starfighter holds onto the signal reader with one hand, leveling it passively as it recieves a fresh reading. His wings stretch back as he examines their surroundings, from the softness of the ground below to the vastness of the largest building. Skystalker cranes his head back to look it over, but the world this moon orbits takes his gaze away with its endless wildfire and sooty atmosphere viewable from orbit. He looks away after a moment, pausing at the top of the path that leads between the stone columns to study the jet busts placed at intervals.
Given his nature, it takes this far for Skystalker to say something, and even then he seems to still be lost in thought. "...Looks like we're going in." He holds up the tool in his hand, still giving a steady blip.
Swoop's wings flick in their casings as he follows Skystalker through the space bridge, his mouth its usual slash of a scowl while amber optics scan their new surroundings. He's skittish, and restless, claws balling and unballing at his sides. He's been back in his body for several days now, and yet he hasn't seemed to get rid of that excess energy he'd accrued in the excitement of being himself again.
The moon is given a cursory once-over and a dismissive scoff, its appearance not doing anything for Swoop. The planet, however, and its fires, catch and hold his attention with much more success. "Damn," he says aloud, a grin starting to curl his lips out of that frown. He'd love to watch more of that, and keep not paying attention to the alien decorations in the area, but obviously that isn't the case. When Skystalker speaks, Swoop turns more toward him, looking at the scanner he holds. "Fine. Lead the way." He'll just watch your back, Sky, wings already flaring somewhat in anticipation.
The large building looms above the two Lost Lighters, the temperature seeming to chill the closer they get... The doors themselves might take some work to get open, looks like they might be a bit of a hassle.
Up above, something glints within the atmosphere. The wind whistles as something speeds in from in the distance, like an incoming missile. But nothing impacts, instead there's a twist and loud burst of thrusters as someone who looks awfully familiar comes to a stop, hovering above the ground. He throws something- someone- to the ground as he gracefully lowers himself to the ground, one foot on the !Decepticon he just threw. Where Skystalker is soft slopes and gentle, warm demeanor, !Skystalker is sharp and striking. He shoves !Nautilator with a foot, back and wings to the Lost Lighters. "Find anyone who managed to escape here. We'll take them back with the others before wiping the rest of their species from this universe. Drives prices up... Well, go on. Don't make me wait. And don't try keeping them from me." !Skystalker waggles a finger. "You know what'll happen if you try that again."
Nautilator scrambles to stand up when he's thrown to the ground but !Skystalker puts a stop to that pretty quick. He yelps as he's kicked back, rolling once befor finally getting the chance to stand. "Right, of course." He quickly tacks on a half-hearted 'sir' at the end of that and then transforms to scurry around on the ground. His antennae flick ahead of him, lightly touching the ground, and his antennules twitch and vibrate in an attempt to pick up the scent of those he's been tasked to find.
Skystalker looks from Swoop and his fidgeting wings to the tool in his palm, stifling an expression of something fond as he studies it. Something about his manner clearly indicates that he doesn't want to go in-- but this is where they've been led. The starfighter steps forward to test the doors first, the weight of them standing stalwart. Are they barred from inside? Unfortunately, he doesn't have time to investigate terribly far before he hears something breaks the upper barrier and has him turning to crane a look to the sky. He darts back under the cover of the doorway soon enough--
While the figure sweeps into sight in the sky, Skystalker grabs at Swoop's arm to try and pull him behind the busts and pillars that make up the stone palace's facade. Getting a Dinobot to hide is a tall order. Looks like it is either engage-- or force their way in the doors? Not much of a choice, is it?
<FS3> Swoop rolls Self Control: Failure. (6 5 2 4 6 6 3 2)
Skystalker's testing of the doors does nothing, and Swoop fidgets while he waits for them to open. C'mon, if they're going inside he wants to do it already, and get this over with. Maybe there'll be guards or something he can beat up? Those wings tick just a bit more out of their casings at the thought. He's about to suggest that he take over and just break the damn doors open without waiting for Skystalker to try again when they're interrupted by someone else joining the party.
Swoop knows already that it's not a someone from the ship, and that familiar, yet very, very wrong frame, has him snarling, wings rising to their full height. Skystalker's pulling doesn't move him - yeah, sorry, no hiding today, Skystalker, though the look he shoots the starfighter makes it clear that Sky should be hiding. "Lookin' for trouble?" he calls, completely giving his position away. Maybe you should've brought someone else, Skystalker, and not a restless Dinobot, who is currently spreading his arms wide. "'Cause you just found it!"
!Skystalker turns on a sharp heal, cruel smile spreading over his handsome faceplates. His sharp wings angle up, biolights shifting color and reflecting along his oilslick colors. "Trouble? All I see is something that will fetch a nice price..." His optics roll over Swoop. "After a bit of breaking in... But I believe..." Fingertips slide down his frame to finger at the collars hanging on one side of his hips. Coiled at the other lip is an offline energon lip. He trails a fingertip over its handle. "Nautilator, go hold him still so I can give that neck of his something lovely."
Nautilator's antennae stick straight upward for a second when Swoop suddenly makes his presence noticed. How startling! "Oh, uh, I found someone!" he says quickly, trying to take credit for finding Swoop lest !Skystalker beat him for failure of his duties. He transforms to apprehend Swoop and only when he gets closer does he realize how huge the Dinobot is compared to him. He looks over his shoulder at !Skystalker. "He's kind of big.."
Skystalker trying to make Swoop move is as ineffective as it sounds-- his heels press a little but he sees that look given to him, and it has his wide-eyed alert bubbling to the surface. Shit. Friend or no friend, dinobots for evasive missions are bad ideas. Skystalker will have to remember that-- as he ducks behind the first pillar.
The sound of a voice that is his and yet-- isn't-- sends chills down his spinal struts, the words a pain to hear. Nautilator's hesitance gives him a moment to move, however; he primes the pistols on his arms before darting out under Swoop's shadow and aiming a shot at the handles of the doors. If he can't pull them open, he decides to take a page out of the dino book and try to blast them in.
<FS3> Skystalker rolls Firearms: Good Success. (4 1 4 7 6 8 6 4)
Swoop sneers, a wicked thing almost as terrible as !Skystalker's in its excitement for this altercation. "'Breaking in'? I'd like to see you try!" He would, he really, really would. When !Nautilator approaches, Swoop barely spares him a glance until he speaks, and then that fiery gaze lands squarely on the lobster. "I am," he agrees, looming over the smaller mech. It's only his knowledge of the !Cons being slaves that keeps him from planting a fist in this mech's face and moving on to the bigger - prettier? - fish. "So BACK OFF or I'll crush you."
He's not expecting Skystalker's sudden dash for the door, nor the firing upon them; hissing, Swoop's wings spread full and horizontal as he falls into a more defensive stance, backing away from !Nautilator and !Skystalker. He wants to fight, but he can't just let Skystalker go into that building alone. Maybe there's a way to satisfy both needs, and it comes to him then. Quickly reaching into his subspace, Swoop snaps, "Collar THIS!" and chucks a clawful of his smaller bombs !Skystalker's way before turning and bolting after Sky.
<FS3> Swoop rolls Bombing: Great Success. (8 8 2 6 1 2 8 8 3 4 2)
<FS3> Skystalker rolls Reaction+Reaction+2: Good Success. (5 6 4 3 8 8 8 6 6 4)
!Skystalker's wings hike up, biolights being muted with anger. "What have you been told about speaking out of turn?" He snarls, pressing something at his wrist to send a painful reminder to !Nautilator on what happens when he's a bad slave. His thrusters ignite, flitting him backwards and out of blast range. The smoke cover Skystalker and Swoop as they enter the building. !Skystalker touches back down, heels clicking as he advances after. He pulls the whip off his hip. "Nautilator, after them. If I miss out on this opportunity, you will be suffering the consequences."
Skystalker's shots do what his pushing could not, and the doors open- just enough for the mechs to slip through. Its a good thing none of them are bulky. Inside the building, it becomes appearent this is a giant mausoleum. More columns with etchings along the walls dictating where an alien is buries. Most of these are accompanied by more busts, each one rather daunting. Dim lights keep things semi-lit, the string of lights leading the way to a rather grand stair entryway. The artistry given to the molding just before the gaping maw of the staircase that leads downward into the unknown must be worth a small fortune itself. Whatever- whoever- lies beyond is of greater value than those that lie in the mausoleum itself. The Cybertronian signal comes from wherever those stairs lead.
One problem: The staircase is narrow, they'd have to go down one at a time. And by the sound of !Skystalker's shouts, they'll not be alone for long.
<FS3> Skystalker rolls Mind+Mind: Success. (5 6 5 3 7 6)
The sound of heels clicking behind them sounds all the more like some sort of death march, knowing who wears them. Skystalker slips ahead of Swoop and pauses for the span of a vent to cast a look up and around. His optics skitter over some of the etchings, and the amber flickers with recollection of something in them.
Swoop's presence jostles him out of his thoughts, and Skystalker moves to follow the stairs, brow bent at the expense of the artistry. A weight forms deep in his tanks, the gravity there tugging sharp and cold at his spark as he clicks down the stairwell. He looks up over his shoulder, features creased in worry. "Have anything more to keep them busy? It's down here--"
"N-no! I was just-" Nautilator's words are cut off by a yelp of pain thanks to the electric shock burning through his body thanks to the collar wrapped around his neck. He doesn't dare further voice his displeasure at this treatment and runs through the smoke cover after Swoop and Skystalker. Their delay at the staircase means he reaches them fairly quickly. "He's making me do this!" he shouts, throwing himself at Swoop and transforming mid-air to land on him in all his lobster glory. "I actually think you guys are pretty cool!"
Unlike Skystalker, the artistry of the mauseoleum isn't given much of a thought by Swoop, other than 'this would be kind of fun to blow up'. He's a simple dino, with simple tastes. And also with simple desires, like getting rid of the mechs now following them into the mauseoleum so that Skystalker can grab the artifact before he gets hurt. "I've got more bombs," he replies, stopping at the top of the stairs. He should probably--
Catch !Nautilator, who's currently bodily flying at him. Well, no time for setting any explosives. Swoop hisses in irritation, claws scrabbling to grab the lobster and chuck him away. "I don't care! Just GET OFF!"
<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Swoop=Unarmed VS Nautilator=Unarmed+1
< Swoop: Good Success (4 7 7 5 1 5 4 6) Nautilator: Failure (2 1 2 3 4 4)
< Net Result: Swoop wins - Solid Victory
!Skystalker heard that! "I can't stand a slave that can't do as they're told," he snarls, voice still remaining sultry. His heels make an annoyingly loud- yet oddly powerful- click against the stone, each one echoing around the mausoleum. They come to a sharp stop as he lets the whip fall, turning it on. He doesn't hesitate to crack it at Swoop as Nautilator is thrown. That Decepticon better not let up. Or else he'll get a taste of this whip as well.
The staircase is encased in stone. And that stone smoothly transitions into dense dirt walls. The stairs end, leveling out into a narrow passageway Laying on eitherside, carved out of the wall, are places for bodies to rest. Each one is coverd in a veil, the corpses all degrees of decay and mummified. Stone plaques in alient writings name who is laid to rest here in the catacombs. As the passageway goes on, the corpses's tombs become fancier. Some hold bouques of jewels. Others draped in fine fabrics. Way up ahead at the end of this passageway is the brightest collection of lights- a room? The Cybertronian signal is strongest there.
"I can't! If I don't do what he tells me, he's going to do something terrible!" Nautilator kicks all his gangly lobster legs and flails his claws around in a futile effort to take down Swoop. He fails miserably and is chucked aside with zero effort. "I'm doing exactly what you're telling me!" he exclaims to Skystalker, transforming back into his robot mode for round two.
"Aaaaaaaagh!" He launches himself at Swoop's ankles to wrap around them and try to impede his movement.
<FS3> Skystalker rolls Mind+Mind: Failure. (5 5 4 2 3 4)
Skystalker cuts off when !Nautilator leaps on his partner in crime, and he truly feels for the Decepticon-- but he can't stay and fight. He can hope that Swoop is enough in his element to know when not to hurt someone who doesn't want to fight. He lingers in mid-stairs for long enough to see Swoop tangle with the !Con in a disgruntled fashion rather than a vengeful one. The light of an electrowhip spackles the stairs as it soars in his wake, Skystalker's armor glittering as he dips down into the underbelly of the mausoleum.
The smell of decay and dust and earth fill Skystalker's senses, one hand finding the wall and wings tucking tightly against his frame as he traverses ahead. His fingers arch back to his body when he brushes against the long resting veil of one figure, and the feeling of it ripples down his back. As he passes one portion of these catacombs, a figure slumps from its moorings and onto his feet.
Skystalker scrapes his helm on the wall when he jumps away from it, optics darting up to look at the etching above the slat filled with dusty jewels. "No, no, no..."
The starfighter edges further down the corridor, darting forward when he focuses on the lights ahread. Go, go, go...
With Skystalker down the stairs, Swoop can only hope he can deal with anything down there himself while Swoop deals with, well. This.
Lip curling in distaste at !Nautilator's whining, there is some pity in him for the mech, stuck between a rock and a hard place as he is. That's not going to stop Swoop from defending the choke point so Skytalker can do what he has to.
Swoop jerks away when the whip cracks toward him, working to avoid getting hit by it as !Skystalker intends. When !Nautilator goes for his ankle struts, his wings flare and he flaps hard, the thrusters leftover from his original frame coming alive to push him up into the air. From there, it should be simple enough to fling !Nautilator away again with a good kick. "I REALLY hate you," he seethes on a hiss in !Skystalker's direction, and the bombs come out again, two palm-sized things that he flings !Skystalker's way. These are a lot more actual explosion than smoke; he's not going for just distraction this time.
!Skystalker's optics flash a heated glare at Nautilator as he talks back. But he doesn't have time to deal with that. Bombs are a little higher on the importance list. He twists around and manages to kick one bomb away and towards the entrance to the catacombs. He has to activate his thrusters to get out of the blast radius, but he's still peppered by rubble and shrapnel- maybe some light scorching. The other bomb, thankfully, is a dud and doesn't cave in the catacombs. But that's the most luck Swoop will get. !Skystalker activates his plasma cannon, taking aim at Swoop. Sometimes, they need a little extra encouragement to lay down and roll over.
Down below, some dirt sprinkles on Skystalker from the one bomb going off. Otherwise, its all pretty stable, safe. The room at the end of the passageway is circular and wide. The bodies here have been positioned, most of them upon throwns. This holds the bodies of the wealthiest and most powerful of different alien species. Some might be recognizable to Skystalker but one in particular holds the most importance. He stands as tall as he did in life. He hardly looks different, jewels replacing his eyes to make them shine like he were still alive. His carapace has kept him intact and looking as much as he did alive. He's bejeweled and lavished with goods and other jewelry. In his hands he holds a slim staff like a sceptre. At his feet read his name in a familiar yet alien language to Skystalker. Al-Ke-Anth.
<FS3> Swoop rolls Fortitude: Success. (8 3 4 6 4 1 4 1 2)
Nautilator is trying really hard to be effective but it's tough when your master doesn't let you have any real weapons. He's flung away yet again and crashes into a wall. "Come on! Can't you let me have just one good hit on you so it looks like I tried! I need this! Do you have ANY idea what he's going to do to me!?" He hopes !Skystalker is too busy to bother listening to what he's saying, but a part of him knows he's going to get a good whipping after this.
Damnit, this spry motherfucker and his agile kicks! At least the bomb that comes back toward Swoop and the staircase ends up being a dud, which means Skystalker is relatively safe, for now. The bad news is that while the other bomb delivers some damage, it's cosmetic, and doesn't deter !Skystalker from firing on him. Exposed as he is, flying above the catacombs' entrance and busy looking down at said dud, those plasma cannons hit him square in the chassis.
Swoop's blasted backward, chunks of plating blown away by the cannon's blow. It looks worse than it is, which is...still pretty bad, and down he goes, frame tumbling down the staircase. He's not unconscious, but he's close, and there's no way he's going to be able to do much but weakly lie here and clutch at his mangled plating and the energon gushing out of his wound.
Nothing living is there to hear the fearful, rattling sob that chokes out of Skystalker's frame as he stumbles knee-first into the dazzling crypt and looks up to the arranged thrones. The brilliant amber of his optics flares and dims, motes of light dabbling at the edges as the filters give way. Lips catch on nothing before he lets out a strangled cry that echoes up the corridor.
The explosion in is audials is distant-- somewhere at the end. Though it does not hit him it still sends quivers down his wings, which spasm and clamp shut like a barrier. It reminds him to move, not having realizing he has frozen in that crumple onto his knees.
Getting back up takes what feels like everything, and Skystalker's gaze is fixed on the shining, tall figure seated in the biggest throne of them all.
The starfighter's entire frame shakes as he approaches it, the tool in his white-knuckled grip beeping violently as he nears the corpse of his master.
Jeweled eyes twinkle and follow Skystalker as he moves. The 'eyes' of his master simply look down upon him like they did for so many years so long ago. He's as large and intimidating as he was the day he took Skystalker's wings from him.
The sceptre-staff within his grip calls for Skystalker. Somehow this item, setting off the Cybertronian tech decetor, has ended up in Al-Ke-Anth's hands just like Skystalker had. And here it is still, and here Skystalker is... But the corpse doesn't speak or command the spacer. He stands there, stiff and with a thin film of dust covering his once shiny carapace.
Skystalker approaches the seat of the crypt on uneasy steps, optics wide and deep as he looks up into those massive gemstones, mirrors of a face he's tried for so many years to forget the details of. But there they are. Here they are, in front of him as meticulous as when he last saw them.
The pulse of his spark is in his mouth, thrumming in his head; the tug of threads towards the staff in Al-Ke-Anth's stony grip pulls harder as he closes in. Skystalker reaches out, hand freezing in place partway, his face and biolights paled when he looks up one more time. No. He's dead. Dead. Take it.
Skystalker's hand closes in to wrap around the sceptre, the clench of his fingers as silent as the grave.
Al-Ke-Anth's grip is strong even beyond the grave and his fingers hold tight. The sceptre warms in Skystalker's hand, as if its been molded to fit him. The touch seems to bring into focus all the wrong details with his former master. The dust, the fact that those 'eyes' only reflect the light of the room, how Al-Ke-Anth is silent and still- it all comes to sharp focus. He's dead and this sceptr isn't his, nothing is his anymore. Skystalker needs only pull it away from his old master now.
Amber lights dim as the world refocuses, and the heat of the stave in his grip ebbs up the length of Skystalker's arm. Dust and bone and decay-- and one beating spark. The ultimate jewel. Dentae clench tight, and Sky divests the corpse of its artifact, pulling it to bear in both hands.
The artifact goes with Skystalker and it almost hums once its in both his hands. Al-Ke-Anth's hands break apart, a shudder running up his corpse before it begins to fall apart. The thing about a carapace is that they leave behind an empty husk. Al-Ke-Anth collapses into a heap, dust billowing out, and he's left to decay and rot with Skystalker standing strong and victorious above him.
But that's hardly the last slaver Skystalker has to deal with.
Above, another explosive goes off, tho not quite as powerful. !Skystalker slams his foot into !Nautilator. "You set that off," he accuses the !Decepticon, covered in more scorch marks and not happy about it. That former dud went off right before he could fix a collar to Swoop who's still in the entryway to the catacombs. He reaches forward to wrap his hands around !Nautilator's throat. "Admit it," he hisses.
Nautilator does his best to come off as stupid or cowardly but !Skystalker knows him better than that. You spend enough time with someone, even as a brutal slave master, and you get to know everyone's tricks. He grins a smug grin even as he's grabbed by the throat. "You Autobots have already enslaved us, I won't let you enslave them too." He gurgles under !Skystalker's grip and then hocks a hot loogie into his face. "You're shit!"
The billowing of dust spreads out on the floor, passing through Skystalker's feet with one last bitter goodbye.
Skystalker grips the staff in both hands, wings slowly fanning out at his back, flaring wide as he turns back around to face the dark doorway into the corridor. He looks back once more, daring to snake his hand into the jumble of dust and brittle carapace and draw free the two brilliant indigo gems. Slender fingers clutch them victoriously, and the ghost of a smile flickers past Sky's face when he spaces them and dashes back for the mausoleum stairs. He has one thing left to do, and coming upon Swoop knocked out on the stairs he steps silently over his fallen friend. He watches the scene at the top, !Nautilator making him proud. He wishes he could help him-- but if he knows himself, !Skystalker would never let it happen.
He keys in the command for a bridge to the tool, half-watching ahead and crouching down beside Swoop.
Rage rushes through !Skystalker's biolights. The rush of energon through his lines deafens him to the sound of a spacebridge opening before Swoop and Skystalker. He shifts, pressing a knee to !Nautilator's chest to hold him there, and grips the Seacon's throat with on hand. He uses a thumb to force his chin up. "Since you cannot learn to check your tongue, I will silence you myself if its the last thing I do." Sharp wings trembling with fury over his head, the claws on one hand flex... And then they dive into !Nautilator's throat, working on tearing his vocalizer out. So consumed by this, he doesn't notice any escape. !Nautilator will bear the brunt of that when he does though.
The metal of !Nautilator's chest creaks under !Skystalker's weight. He continues staring up at him, ever defiant and without any outward sign of fear. He knows what's coming, !Skystalker has threatened it over and over again. Looks like today's the day it happens.
!Nautilator does his best to accept his fate stoically but once those claws sink into the soft metal of his throat, instincts kick in and he begins to writhe, twist, and kick under !Skystalker. The deeper they go, the more vocal he gets, eventually crying out in anguish when those claws sink into his vocalizer. He gurgles and chokes on energon as it spills out of the wound and into his throat.
The bridge opens at the bottom of the well, shrouding Sky and Swoop in flickering light. With one arm around Swoop, Skystalker manages to work him into a movable daze and back them up towards the bridge. Still, he can't look away from the mech who wears his face-- the claws in !Nautilator's throat, the mech's thrash of helplessness.
"I'm sorry." Skystalker whispers, arm tight around Swoop and the other bracing them both with the staff. He pushes off with it, sliding into the spacebridge with a hushed murmur of energy.