2017-08-06 Storage Wars
From Transformers: Lost and Found
|2017-08-06 Storage Wars|
|Plot||Artifacts of the Knights of Cybertron|
|Summary||Finally, an artifact mission that doesn't involve corpses.|
An artifact trail as led to a truly massive storage lot, in the form of a multi-tiered space station. The species that runs it must have the average height of a minibot, as all halls and doorways are sized for them. Find and dandy for Fritz and Penchant, not so much for the two hauler-types that have been asked to come along. They keep getting their big kibble stuck on soffits and rafters, and finally resign to wait out in the circular, bustling lobby. Naturally, the aliens give all of them wary looks.
With Fritz manning the scanner, Penchant follows him into a large warehouse-style room with stark lighting and rows upon rows of storage lockers. A large crowd has gathered around... of course, the spot where the scanner's signal hones in on. "What do you suppose they're all waiting on?" he asks Fritz in a low voice, wiggling through the crowd.
Frankly a storage lot isn't really where Fritz would have expected a genuine artifact from the Knights of Cybertron to end up, though he supposes he shouldn't be surprised at the mundanity of it. He's heard about some of the other artifact missions, and the locations these objects were found, and honestly he's a bit relieved that the mission he's partaking in isn't bringing him to a heat-choked jungle or an asteroid covered in melted Decepticons. Plus, he's come on this mission with Penchant, which makes it even more pleasant. This should be simple enough, between the two of them!
Tuning the scanner some as the two make their way through the space station, doorwings flicking idly every so often, Fritz glances up as they reach the room where the signal is strongest, noting the large crowd there. "Hopefully not the same thing we are. It's already going to be tricky, since the artifact's not technically ours," he says, a bit nervously, his lower set of hands coming together to wring in front of him. He, too, slides as much as he can through those assembled, so as to get a better look at what's in the middle of this crowd.
"Yeah," Penchant murmurs, folding his arms. A springy organic with green leaves poking out from her red hair hops up on top of the locker to address the crowd, her vine-like tail flicking. "Today's lot is starting at a hundred shanix! Serious bidders only, please!"
"Aw scrap," Penchant laments, then turns to pull Fritz back into the shelter of the crowd. "Okay... Looks like we're gonnna' have to participate if we want that lot." Penchant pulls out a golden card, and makes to hand it to Fritz, but pauses. "This is Drift's shanix. There's..." Beat. "There's a lot of money here. Like, an obscene amount. But just because there's a lot doesn't mean we can be careless about it. Someone, somewhere, paid for this." Mmmmaybe even with their lives, but Penchant doesn't mention that. He hands the card to Fritz. "We have to try and keep the price low. I'm going to see if I can hunt down the organizer. You okay by yourself, Fritz?" By the end of the discussion, the price has ramped up to 400 shanix.
Aaaand judging from what Penchant is saying, it is the same thing the two are looking for. Fritz can't see what the lot actually contains from this angle, blocked partially by the bodies of aliens around him and Penchant as he's pulled back into the body of the crowd. Hopefully, whatever it is they're about to start bidding on here, it's worth it.
"I-I-I--" Fritz stares at the card Penchant offers him as if it's a hand grenade that Penchant has just pulled the pin from. "I don't--maybe we can just let it go? W-We don't need all of the artifacts, right, it'll be alright if we miss one of them?" Yet even as he says it, Fritz is reaching for the card with a free hand. Blood money is no joke, but he's handled it some before. Just have to do what he did then: put it out of his mind, and tell himself there's nothing to be done about it now. "I'm, um. Sure? I'll..try." It's the best he's got. He tries to remind himself of this as he shakily raises another hand to join in on the bidding, optics darting toward Penchant. Please hurry back.
<FS3> Fritz rolls Bravery: Success. (1 3 7 5 4)
"Five hundred!" the auctioneer chirps, pointing at Fritz, "Do I hear five fifty? Five fifty!" She points dramatically at a lone, red-armored Cybertronian near the back.
Penchant pauses, brow knitting sympathetically. "Fritz," he begins, settling both hands on his shoulders. It's a little difficult since he's a /little/ shorter, but he manages. "You're great at your job, and you always have been. You just need to be able to read the bids, the crowd. Hold down the fort and I'll see if I can at least get us a backup plan." He reaches to nudge Fritz's chin up before disappearing in the crowd.
Read the bids? Fritz's helpless expression only increases. What does that mean? How does he do that...? Whenever it came to business deals and haggling, Azize had always taken over. Fritz just covered their cyber-tracks. He has no idea what he's doing here, even if Penchant's compliments and buck-upping have his bared cheeks turning a bright bubblegum pink. He sure does wish he'd worn his faceplate. "I...o-okay. Okay." He takes a deep invent, even managing to smile a little at the touch to his chin. "Okay."
With Penchant gone, Fritz...well, he makes an attempt! Letting golden optics scan across the crowd, he tries to keep his doorwing-trembling to a minimum as he waits for another bid. If it doesn't come, he'll raise a hand himself.
"Six hundred!" the leafy auctioneer points to Fritz again. "Hm-hm!" The bid is pulled away from Fritz yet again as the red Cybertronian goes back and forth with a bipedal elk-like alien. They sneer at eachother, and the price eventually bounces too high for the elk, making him back off.
When Fritz keeps raising the price, the red mech (a large bomber-type), shifts to settle in behind him, and then booms his bid. It's gotten to be 1000 shanix now. "Guess you really want what's in there," he murmurs down at Fritz. It doesn't /sound/ like light banter.
<FS3> Fritz rolls Bravery: Failure. (2 1 1 2 2)
<FS3> Fritz rolls Kicked Puppy: Success. (6 6 6 2 6 3 5 2 8)
Fritz lets the two duke it out on bidding, keeping himself ready to hop in once that bipedal elk-like alien backs off. Once that happens, Fritz gets back into it, raising his hand to up the price once more. What he doesn't expect is for that other Cybertronian to meander on over to where Fritz is, and, of course, as rude bigs are wont to do, loom intimidatingly over Fritz.
Who immediately loses his voice, optics widening fully and doorwings wilting as far as they can. This mech is large, and...red. It's not him, it can't be, but Fritz just gave up Linebacker to Autobot command and for an instant that's who it is, towering over Fritz, using his body language to threaten without openly threatening. The sad puppy look he adopts as he squeaks, "Y-Y-Yes!" isn't even up to par; he's too scared, too ready for that blow to come, for the back of a large hand to smack across his face and that oh-so-familiar voice this mech's is morphing into chastising him for thinking he could do anything useful.
But...no, that's not Linebacker. It's someone else. Fritz remembers that just in time to shakily shove a hand in the air for another bid, even if he can't keep his wide-eyed, fearful stare off of the mech behind him.
The red bomber smirks, wings rattling against his back. Fritz does in fact look like someone's squeaky, abused pet, so this shouldn't be too hard. "Have a lotta' money, do ya'? Y'know, I'd hate to spend more than I need to. You're bluffing, aren't ya'. You don't actually have that much. That's against the rules... Fifteen!" he shouts.
"Fifteen!" the auctioneer repeats, scittering to one side of the locker. "The metal warmongers are in good form today!" she titters. "Less chat more bid!"
<FS3> Fritz rolls Bravery +2: Failure. (3 3 3 3 4 5 6)
Fritz spends 1 luck points on let Fritz be brave god damnit.
<FS3> Fritz rolls Bravery +2: Success. (3 2 6 6 6 5 8)
Against the rules...? "I'm not breaking any rules!" Fritz insists immediately, indignant. How dare this mech accuse him of that! His puff up is short-lived when he remembers that, oh yeah, this bomber is a lot bigger than him and could easily smush him, and when the bid goes up once more Fritz struggles to pull it together in order to bid again himself. Fifteen hundred shanix...? Can he really justify spending that much of Drift's money? Or however much more this mech is going to force him to bid?
Fritz clenches his hand into a fist, remembering what Penchant said. You're good at your job, and you always have been. Penchant wouldn't lie just to make him feel better, he's always seemed too honest for that...and work's the only thing he's ever really taken pride in, so Fritz will believe it, and use it, this once. While his doorwings remain wilted, he steals himself as he throws that fist up. "Sixteen!"
The angry rumble of the bomber is enough to shake the glass in Fritz's frame, when the price is raised. The irate mech waits, apparently stymied, as the auctioneer asks around for a higher bid. He shifts his weight from foot to foot, optics darting behind his visor.
"Sixteen! Any higher? Anyone? Going once! Twice!"
"Bahhh," the bomber gruffs, waving everything off to shove his way back through the crowd.
"Lot 32B sold to the adorable little creamsicle!" the auctioneer kicks the keys to Fritz as the crowd disperses, grumbling.
Fritz shakes where he stands as he waits for someone to contest his bid, and then - no one does. The bomber gives up, backs down, leaves. It feels like air rushes from every vent in his frame at once as Fritz sighs with relief, doorwings shifting back up to their neutral position. His smile is weak, but triumphant, as he scrambles to catch the keys kicked his way. She could've just handed them to him...either way, he's won and the crowd is leaving and oh Primus he just spent sixteen hundred of Drift's shanix. It's enough to make a mech start quivering again as he comes forward to claim his prize.
As the sheet door rolls up to reveal the junk, Fritz's tracker will lead him to a tall tower of stacked boxes in the back. Dust coats everything, almost an inch thick! "Looks like a buncha' crap!" says the auctioneer, dangling from above the lot and peer in, upside down.
Penchant returns with a super duper disgruntled look on his face, but he's definitely glad to glimpse Fritz's orange paint in the open locker.
"Oh, good. I couldn't get anywhere with anyone! What's the damage?" Penchant asks, flicking on the locker's meager lights.
The auctioneer is right - it does look like a bunch of crap, and Fritz winces. Oh, no. Oh, how is he going to explain this to -- "Penchant!" It's practically a squeal, his doorwings hiked up like exclamation points, and he's this close (THIS CLOSE) to fainting dead away. Somehow he manages to bypass that particular unfortunate situation, instead jerkily pointing toward the tower of boxes he's standing beside. "The artifact's up there I think!" he says in a rush, before Penchant's actual question is filtered through. Oh.
In a whisper, almost too silent to hear (though easy for a mind-reader) Fritz answers, "Sixteen hundred?"
<FS3> Fritz rolls Organization: Success. (1 5 3 2 1 6 1 6 3 3 8)
Penchant glowers up at the auctioneer until she skitters off, then claps a hand on Fritz's shoulder to shake fondly. "Not bad. Considering this is an object of /utmost importance/." His hand slides away as he moves to start clearing out a space.
Turns out, it's not entirely junk. It's actually rare metals! In various forms, sculpted into artwork or melted into sheets. There's a crate full of blades, ornate and apparently pretty advanced, as they can hum with plasma energy if activated. "Wow," Penchant murmurs, getting distracted.
Fritz manages to sort the contents of the locker pretty quickly, and locates a small velvet box containing a type of brass medal with a green and white striped ribbon supporting it. It's diamond-shaped, with the edges bowed inwards, and there seems to be ancient inscriptions on the underside.
Well, Penchant accepted that very easily. Fritz swallows and nods before getting to work on sorting everything that's in the storage locker. It's not his best, and he could certainly do a more efficient job of it, but he's still rather shaky from all the excitement of just bidding for the damn locker. At least the 'junk' isn't completely junk after all: one man's trash, it seems. That lifts Fritz's spirits, and by the time he finds the velvet box, he's much more relaxed.
The scanner indicates that this is the artifact he is supposed to find, and Fritz feels....something as he pulls the medal out of its box. It feels right, truly, and yet - "A medal?" He turns the object in two hands, squinting at the inscriptions. He's trying not to sound too disappointed. "That's...it?"
Penchant tries to stifle his amusement. "Aw, c'mon, it was forged by a Knight! What were you hoping for? A weapon? Hey, I got a circlet, Fritz," he reminds. "A /tiara/. Cheer up, medals are awarded for courage, valor. That means you have it. Also... I'll have to get some of this appraised, but..." He steps back, gesturing to the dusty lot. "I think this'll all earn back what we spent. We got lucky!"
<FS3> Fritz rolls People Pleaser: Success. (2 2 1 3 5 6 5 1 8 5 1)
"A tiara is formal attire meant for those of high status," Fritz points out, turning toward Penchant now. "A symbol of wealth, and beauty. It's fitting for you." He decides not to continue though, or comment on how being awarded a medal of valor makes no sense because he hasn't done anything worthy of it. Instead, he gives Penchant a weak smile, nodding along as he looks around at the assembled items. "If that's true...then yeah, we did get lucky. You're right." He tucks the medal away in its box, and then the box into his subspace. He'll just...leave it there, for now, and move on with cataloguing everything in the locker.
Penchant seems to stand a little taller as Fritz outlines the qualities of his artifact. "Hah, aw jeez, I don't know about /that/..." He looks on his trusty courier with a mild look, as Fritz concedes and tucks the artifact away. "Good job holding your own," he adds after a pause. << "Okay guys, crowd's thinned out if you want to come in here and help load up," >> he comms, before addressing Fritz squarely. "You alright?"
That gets a more sincere smile out of Fritz, seeing his boss clearly pleased by these statements. Penchant has always been there for him, as a superior, and it warms Fritz to be able to give something back. Old crushes notwithstanding. "Thank you."
And that's the end of that, or it should be. Fritz cycles his optics once when Penchant speaks, before he says, "I'm. I'm alright. Um. It was a little harder than I thought, winning that bid. That's all."
"Oh?" Penchant steps around the boxes to move into the brighter light of the warehouse, gesturing for Fritz to follow. He'll take that card back at some point. Not that he doesn't trust Fritz with it. But. So much money.
"Someone give you trouble?" The question is innocent enough, though Penchant watches Fritz closely. "This stuff can get a little heated," he offers, gently.
Fritz does as he's bade, falling in beside Penchant as they leave the locker. The fact that he's still got the card doesn't even occur to him, though it is clenched tightly in one hand, as if unconsciously remaining aware of how this card is more important than his life. "J-Just...just a little. Trying to intimidate me into backing down." He gives a one-shouldered shrug, an interesting roll with two arms. "Bigger mechs do that...sometimes. But. It's okay. We won."
"Don't let bigger mechs get away with that slag," Penchant says with a little heat. "We're not base /mechanimals/, we're not driven by primal protocols, and we're no longer brutes of a terrible war - those that would use their size against you aren't worthy of your attention and time, Fritz. We're all the same, here," he thumps over his spark. "And those that can't see that are smaller than they know. Besides," he elbows Fritz, "Aren't you and the Garrus warden a thing?"
"I...know. Thanks, Penchant." It's a good thing the subject is so drastically changed, because that means Fritz doesn't have to try and explain why he has an instinctive fear of larger mechs, especially those that use their size as a silent threat. Instead, he flushes deeply, doorwings giving an embarrassed flick-flick as he drops his optics to the ground. "U-U-Um," he stammers. He doesn't sound scared, this time; he's smiling wider, tiny fang making an appearance as he tries not to show it. "We're--yes. Um. We're. We're a thing."
"Heh," Penchant studies the flick-flick, "And he's pretty fraggin' big. So." As if that solves all problems. "Help me get everything back in the crates and we'll head back, before any other catastrophic event happens to our crew." He elects not to speak /too/ much about relations, if Fritz doesn't volunteer more info. He's still an employee after all, even if Rodimus stole him away.