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2017-09-09 An Enlightening Experience

From Transformers: Lost and Found

An Enlightening Experience
Date 2017/09/09
Location Distant Planet's Moon
Participants Perceptor
Plot Artifacts of the Knights of Cybertron
Scene GM Wheeljack
Summary Perceptor embarks on a solo mission to collect an artifact. It goes... well?

The latest artifact signal has popped up on the edges of a populated sector. Specifically, to the moon of a planet sixth from its sun. The planet itself is inhabited, but the moon is not-- whoever the indigenous life forms are, they haven't yet made their way into space, or even to their moon. There's no danger of accidentally earning the ire of the locals, when Perceptor steps out of the space bridge. The space bridge deposits him onto the rust-colored, cratered ground on the edge of the dark side of the moon, with the planet glowing in a crescent arc overhead.

The scanner will point Percecptor forward, but he probably doesn't need it. The only thing around him is a low, circular building, made completely of some sort of brassy material, and the large, imposing doors facing him.

If he's being honest with himself, Perceptor is far more interested in the population of the planet he's orbiting than the artifact retrieval itself. Unfortunately for his curiosity, the fate of the universe is a bit more pressing. Instead of sitting around making a target of himself on the moon's empty landscape the sniper beelines toward the building.

The closer Perceptor comes, the higher the building towers over him, until standing just in front of them, the doors tower to three times his height. As he comes closer, lines etched into the surface become evident, revealing a pattern only slightly covered by the accumulation of moon dust. Along the seam where the doors meet, there is a little circular inset, set at eye height and decorated with a complex interweaving set of etched lines, reminiscent of wires and gears.

Just to check, Perceptor holds up the scanner, looking between it's readout and the massive doors blocking his entry. "... How, precisely, do you propose I enter this structure if there does not appear to be a mode of opening the doors?" Nobody around to see him talk to the relic scanner, this is fine. Magnetizing the equipment to his hip he stands as tall as pedes will allow and tries to clear the moon dust off of the inset and areas around it. Maybe it's the spot to open the doors from?

The dust flies away under Perceptor's hands, falling slowly toward the ground in a shimmering cloud, thanks to the low gravity. More importantly, however, the little circular inset gives slightly under Perceptor's touch.

If it gives a little it must be able to give a lot. Perceptor pushes at the inset, watching the doors for any signs of movement from the action.

If there were more atmosphere here, Perceptor would probably hear a click as the panel was pushed. As it is, he can feel as something gives way. The giant doors slowly, slowly open inward, though they get stuck about a third of the way open. All that moon dust must not be good for the hinges. As narrow as the gap is, however, not much can be seen beyond it.

Glaring at the small space Perceptor reaches up to carefully detatch his scope and raise it above his head, sidling through the small space. Whatever's in there he can hope his passive echolocation picks up on it before it picks up on him. Once he's through he sets the scope back into place to better look around.

The space that Perceptor enters is covered in dust. It probably won't take long to tell why: part of the ceiling is broken, revealing the same view of the glowing planet filling the sky as Perceptor could see outside. The floor, too, shows signs of destruction under the dust, with a ragged, almost circular hole in it-- some sort of meteor has apparently paid the building a visit. What is visible of the intact floor seems to be covered with some sort of elaborate mosaic, but large sections of it are destroyed or completely hidden.

The room itself seems to follow the outer curve of the building, with an inner wall that echoes the curve. Set into it, and much more appropriately sized for a mech like Perceptor, are another pair of doors, this time with some debris scattered in front of them.

The floor draws Perceptor's attention while he pads across it toward the doors at the opposite end. The impact destruction looks interesting but ultimately doesn't seem of import to finding the artifact. Speaking of which! He pulls up the scanner the closer he gets to the doors, just to rule out the circle of destruction as a possible spot. Then Perceptor comes to frown at the doors. Do they push or is there another button to open them? They could be completely locked, that would be a significant setback.

Perceptor can feel grit and debris crunching under his feet as he gets closer to the far side of the room, particularly around the material that lies along the front of the door. A few feet back from it lies what looks like the base of a pedastal or podium, presumably snapped off and contriburing to the material scattered in front of the next exit. The scanner shows the artifact still ahead, presumably somewhere beyond the doors.

The doors themselves appear to open inward, just as the outer ones did, so there are no visible hinges. However, the debris scattered in front of them clearly did some damage. The doorframe is noticably cracked, and the debris has also added some significant dents to the metal of the door, made of the same brassy material as the rest of the place. It's dented enough to be cracked open in some places. There is no circular panel set into this door.

Shrugging to himself and taking note, Perceptor snaps the scanner back into place on his hip. He gets to a good angle and reels back to send a kick at the door.

<FS3> Perceptor rolls Body+body: Success. (4 4 4 8)

The doors do not dramatically swing open. However, something in them does give, and Perceptor can see a gap open in them. Presumably, whatever lock or mechanism was keeping them in place has been destroyed, allowing the doors to now be pushed open.

Perceptor grins. That went better than expected. He steps around debris to shove at the doors and into the next room, drawing his rifle from it's mag lock on his back as he goes.

The next room is darker, with no hole in the ceiling to light it up. Dust slowly billows into the room as the doors open, and light seeps in from behind Perceptor, revealing another, smaller room, and a door, this time with a pedestal before it. Something glints on the top of it, a round shape that doesn't seem to be the same bronze as the rest of the place.

More doors. Somehow, Perceptor is still mildly surprised. But the pedestal looks promising. Going slower now there's less light, Perceptor scans the room and walks toward the pedestal. He hasn't actually seen one of the artifacts pre-recovery yet despite S&E's interest in them, and didn't Hound recover some sort of ball recently?

<FS3> Perceptor rolls Medicine: Great Success. (5 8 8 8 4 6 2 8 3 1)

Even in the dim light of this chamber, Perceptor can recognize the object on the pedastal to be a transformation cog. It's almost certainly a replica, and it's only halfway sticking out of the podium. Furthermore, the insides of it are laid open to the room, and thankfully dust-free. The insides of the t-cog, however, look wrong, as though pieces have been knocked askew. If this were inside an actual bot (and if it were real) it wouldn't even begin to allow transformation.

Perceptor stares down at the T-cog for a good minute, then stoops down toward the bottom of the pedestal to look around. If it's missing pieces maybe they're... scattered around? No, that doesn't seem right. He pops back up to try carefully manipulating part of the cog.

There are no missing pieces under the pedestal, when Perceptor looks. It's a different story when he actually touches the transformation cog, however. The pieces move and slide under his fingers, just as those of a real t-cog might respond to surgery or manipulation, the complex interlocking parts gliding together.

There doesn't seem to be any harm in playing with the T-cog, useless as it may be. Perceptor continues to move parts around curiously, watching for those missing spaces as he does so. Are they supposed to eventually align in some way? This all seems very elaborate.

Something happens when one of the moving pieces is manipulated. As soon as it hits the place where it should be sitting in a whole, fixed t-cog and is left there, it clicks into place, and with a whirring sound, one of the missing pieces transforms out of the walls of the model, adding itself to the array under Perceptor's hands.

Perceptor gives the model an annoyed look, changing up his tactics to follow what the locked piece seems to suggest and working to manipulate the pieces into their appropriate positions.

The pieces move quickly under Perceptor's adept hand, sliding into the appropriate place. Some pieces occasionally, momentarily, catch in the wrong slot, but a little bit of nudging on Perceptor's part will send them gliding on again. When the t-cog is in a working condition again, the sides abruptly transform up, sliding closed to cover the internal mechanisms. There is the slightest feeling of vibration from the floor....

And then the door clicks open.

Perceptor slides a hand down his face, turning slowly to stare at the door before he moves to walk through it. Who would do that as a locking mechanism? What possible purpose would you place a highly complex piece of extremely articulated internal structure as the key for entry? He knows of possibly seven mechs off the top of his head who could even recognize what the internals of a T-cog are supposed to look like

The room beyond is darker even than this one, with no visible light, and even the dim glow from the first room not enough to penetrate the all-encompassing darkness. The doors swing open enough to let Perceptor through...

There's no warning rumble. No rustling or chittering or hissing to warn him-- something simply flies out of the dark at him, a gaping maw lunging right for Perceptor's helm.

<FS3> Perceptor rolls Reaction+reaction: Failure. (1 6 6 4 1 2 6 4)
<FS3> Perceptor rolls Body+body: Failure. (6 2 6 1)

Perceptor really isn't expecting to be tackled, he's not even through the door before he's smacking into the ground. Armor crunches and his helm smacks hard into the floor- whatever just hit him has him well and truly on the wrong foot, and he doesn't even have his rifle in hand because of that sodding puzzle.

The creature, whatever it is, is long and sinuous, writhing on top of Perceptor as it slams into him, sending the both of them crashing along the floor. The most Perceptor will know is that it has teeth, mostly because those are scraping painfully along the armor of his upraised arm and shaking him, as thought trying to claw at him.

<FS3> Perceptor rolls Reaction+reaction: Good Success. (1 3 1 2 8 5 7 4)

Perceptor grits his denta and shoves at the creature latched onto his arm, using said arm to wrench it away and shove his other hand down to his thigh. Said thigh pops open to eject a gun into his hand. Hypothesis: The creature is vulnerable to kinetic bullets. Initiating experiment 01...

<FS3> Perceptor rolls Firearms: Great Success. (4 6 7 6 5 4 2 6 3 8 7 1 6 3 7 2)

Experiment initiated. The shot goes off, and Perceptor's indication that it's hit home comes in the form of a spout of glowing blood, that turns into a rapidly growing stream of light, trailing down the sinuous body of the creature. It doesn't illuminate much of the room, but it is more than enough to show the way the creature collapses to the floor of the room, writhing weakly and spilling ichor everywhere.

Perceptor scrambles backwards, wincing when his armor pinches and grinds where the impact dented it. His head smarts something fierce, too. That went well! Still on edge, he clicks a few times to listen for any errant reverberations while he lines up a second shot to make sure the creature is well and truly down.

The shot hits true, sending another burst of glowing blood oozing out of the creature as its movements weaken, then finally stop.

With the dim glow of the creature's blood, it's possible to see more of the place. The creature itself, a snakelike animal as big as a cybertronian, with a mouth full of wickedly serrated teeth, lies dead near the edges of the room. A quick glance around will reveal that the room is different from the ones that Perceptor has seen before. This one is completely circular, with doors on all four sides. One of them is cracked, perhaps a sign of how this strange creature got in in the first place. The floor is decorated in elaborate mosaics, and at the center of the room, a little shrine sits, apparently untouched.

Perceptor winces, keeping his gun in hand as he cautiously nudges the creature with the tip of his pede before moving on and into the room. That blood is fascinating but he's a bit more concerned with the glow coming from his own punctured arm. Clearly he needs to rethink the density of his armor. The scientist cautiously approaches the shrine, slower now that he's on a much higher alert.

The shrine, in contrast to his initial entrance to the room, is completely peaceful. It's also relatively simple. If anything, it's just a simple box, with another little model set on top of it. This one isn't just any old piece of anatomy, however. This model is of a spark chamber. Unlike the transformation cog, however, this one doesn't show signs of damage, and it doesn't seem to need to be fixed. It's simply open... and dark. The only thing it seems to be missing is a spark.

Perceptor blinks at the spark chamber. Well isn't that ominous- though he thinks he knows what was on that first pedestal now. Creepy. Curiously he reaches out to touch the empty chamber. He needs whatever's in that box, thank you very much.

The chamber reacts, ever so slightly, to Perceptor's touch, with the faintest vibration, but other than that, nothing moves. The box doesn't transform away. Whatever it's reacting to, there isn't enough.

Sorry chamber, Perceptor doesn't exactly keep a spark handy for casually shoving into puzzle boxes. Testing, he puts both hands on the chamber and leans in a little bit. Open, damn you.

Still not enough, even when both hands touch the chamber. The low vibration does, however, pick up a little bit more when he begins to lean in closer.

Giving the chamber a dubious look, Perceptor leans forward a bit more and... sort of hugs it? He takes solace in the knowledge that his chestplate is practically impenetrable. This is weird, he's hugging a spark chamber but whatever. Less weird than a planet trying to eat the universe.

It almost doesn't seem like it's going to work. The hum does pick up, slowly, but it takes so long... just before Perceptor pulls away, something clicks. His frame is filled with a tingling sensation...

And the room is bathed in a kaleidoscope of light. From within the little shrine, a panel transforms away, and a beam of light shoots up, hitting the crystal that makes up the spark chamber and illuminating the room. The walls are covered in mosaics, vague figures building bodies, fixing parts, leaning over mechs that have clearly been damaged, of harvesting sparks from the ground. And then something clicks again, and the lights stop, as the shrine folds away, revealing an eyepiece on the stand.

Perceptor startles back away from the shrine, gun coming up to aim toward one of the figures tiled on the wall before everything stops and there's- A reticule? Slowly Perceptor reaches out toward the stand and picks it up, squinting at the piece in mild confusion. It... feels like this is what he came for. He's checking the scanner just in case though. You can never be too sure.

The scanner all but sets off alarm bells as it is passed over the reticule. Sure enough, it's the artifact-- time to collect it, and go back home. And maybe look up space snakes with glowing blood to make sure they're not venomous.

That answers that question! Artifact in hand Perceptor hurries to take some samples from the snake (just in case) and get off the moon before he runs into more of the nasty beasts. That was an adventure he's not too keen on repeating anytime soon.

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