2017-11-14 Hotel California

From Transformers: Lost and Found

Hotel California
Date 2017/11/14
Location An alien spa
Participants Nightshade, Jazz, Rung
NPCs Jink, Parra
Plot Artifacts of the Knights of Cybertron
Scene GM Jay
Summary You can check out any time you like, but...

While general life for Rigardians and the Lost Lighters has been uprooted, there are some things that remain the same, even now. Like searching for the lost artifacts of the Knights, a task that's far from completion. Detection of an artifact doesn't seem to care whether or not the crew is ready for it, so one crops up on their radar not long after Tempo first sets out into space, a small crew dispatched for its retrieval.

The space bridge will deposit them on a garden path, leading up to a square, unassuming building of white stone. The sign on the front is in an unreadable alien language, possibly organic, though the figure standing outside the building's double doors is mechanical in nature, taller by a few feet than the average mech, looking like a robot that stepped out of a 90's anime with its sleek silver frame. "Hello," it says, in a smoother voice than expected for such a cheap sci-fi look, opening one of the doors for them. A smell of incense wafts out, enticing, beckoning. "We've been expecting you.”

Rung had been one of those around when the call was put out for an away team, and likely one of the few in good enough shape to respond. The last time he went on one of these sort of quests it was to a ship containing a monstrous decepticons... this is quite different and, admittedly, throws the therapist off for a moment.

Helm tilting in confusion, Rung asks, "Pardon me, did you say you were expecting us?" as he warily steps forward.

This is good. This is very good, Nightshade decides. Business as usual and certainly not just a distraction from the way things have been going overall. Yes, everything might have gone a bit pear-shaped recently but science marches on, and so does the search for the artifacts! So maybe she did throw herself headfirst into this one just to keep her mind off her own worries. So what. Perfectly healthy and useful response.

The tiny scientist hovers in root form rather than trying to keep up with the bigger mechs on foot, tilting her head curiously as they're actually given a warm welcome for once. "Well! Certainly it is nice to find some proper manners out here on the cosmos," she trills, rather taken aback, "though I must echo Rang's sentiments. Were you really...?"

Looking up at their greeter, Jazz could attest for the 90's vibe, and it was giving a weird case of untimely nostalgia. He stays in step with Rung as, warily, his vision drifts past the open doorway. The welcome mat, although pleasant, made him uneasy, and the saboteur unconsciously heightened his censors. "And, if you WERE expectin' us, does that mean ya know why we're here?"

The greeter smiles blandly at all three of them, one long arm gesturing toward the open doorway. "Yes, that is what I said. I am Parra. We are always expecting our treasured Guests." Their deameanor is calm, and soothing, or maybe that's the incense, which grows stronger in smell as they approach. It lends a certain fuzziness to their processors, to their limbs, hinting at warmth and comfort inside. "You are here to be pampered, no? That's why all Guests are here. Come, come, I'll show you our facilities." Parra gestures again, a little more insistently. The group's scanners show that the artifact is indeed inside the building.

Rung glances at the other two, unsure of what exactly is going on but quickly beginning to fit things into place. Stepping forward, Rung enters the building as he begins to try to explain, "Uh actually we are looking for an object... of some kind..." The therapist pauses as he takes a glance around the room to take in the relaxing aura. Admittedly, it is very nice.

"Oh, I see! This is an establishment, a place of business, yes? We're not-we're not exactly clients," Nightshade starts, though she hesitates when she smells that incense. Oh, bless aromatherapy! She really must bother one of them for the scent formula on the way out. She finds herself drifting down to the ground as she follows Rung, going from flying to walking with little scooting steps. Thankfully she's at least steering clear of Jazz's bigger feet.

Jazz, intent reading the scanner's readings as the others talked. "Yeah, and if you could help us find it, that'd be real appreciated." Good, the artifact is here, and we're being let in. All we have to... wow, this is much nicer than outside. Distracted, Jazz glanced from the room, to Parra, to the rest of the crew, and gave a little grin. Maybe it would be okay to chill out a little.. surely if it came down to it, the him and the squad could get out of a kerfuffle if it turned out this unexpected friendliness turned out to be a hoax.

As they step inside, they'll find themselves in a small waiting area, with seats large enough for creatures of all sizes arranged by the wall and a receptionist's desk placed across from the door. The receptionist is organic, Nightshade sized, a feathery creature with a startling lack of beak that nonetheless gives them the same bland smile as Parra.

They're ushered in further to another, larger room, and the aims of the building and its smells becomes much clearer. "Here," Parra explains, taking in the whole of the room with a sweep of their arm. "Is where we will pamper you." Sunk into the floor on one side are several baths, one of them definitely oil. There's already a Cybertronian there, an average-sized flier relaxing against the side of a tub that is large enough for all of them. On the other side of the room are several tables upon a few of which lie more strange aliens, being attended by employees dressed in bright whites. The incense is stronger than ever here, settling over them like a blanket, sapping their energy to do much more than relax. "There are other rooms, if you desire, but many Guests prefer to start here."

The artifact's signal is shown as being nearby, and Rung might feel a tug at his consciousness toward one side of the room. It's a vague, distant tug, overpowered by the warmth of the spa's atmosphere.

Rung is about to try and clear up this misunderstanding again when the incense fully begins to hit him, making his shoulders sag slightly and optics dim. Its ... actually quite nice in here. Maybe they could stay just a moment- wait, what is that? Perking up only slightly against the pull of the room, Rung's head lifts as he gazes at where the feeling is coming from. The artifact, its over there somewhere, he can feel it.

Rung begins to step across the room, brows pulling together as he concentrates on finding where that sense is coming from around the near equally strong pull of the room's scents and temptations.

"Oh, c'est magnifique!" This, now this is what Nightshade could get used to. Luxury, luxury worth of the higher-class Cybertronians she always envied, for once in her life! She clasps her hands together and zips over to the tub, briefly admiring her own reflection in it with a little trill. "Mm, surely we can stay a little bit? After all we've been through lately I'd say we could use, you know, a moment of relaxation. The you-know-what can't be far," she adds in a whisper to Rung and Jazz.

with a quick check of the scanners, Jazz shakes his head like a wet dog, hoping to clear his senses. What is UP with his head? The artifact, it's so--but Nightshade's word cut through his thoughts. Well.. the lil' bot's right, isn't she? with the artifact so close, what's the harm? Everyone's had a lot to deal with these days. Although some may think otherwise, Jazz had never before taken the time to indulge in anything quite like this before. Maybe..? He walks up to the pool beside Nightshade, swirling servo the liquid. Ooh, nice temperature "Maybe that's not such a bad idea."

The flier in the oil already glances their way, optics dim, lips curved in a frown. One gets the impression that's just their resting face.

"Yes, please, take your time. You have as long as you like here, there are no limits." Parra quickly crosses to where Rung is wandering away from the others, long-fingered hands coming to rest on his shoulders to try and steer him back toward the pool. "Why don't you join them? You can see the other rooms once you've tried the pool." They look back toward the opposite wall, and another attendant, tilting their head subtly. A moment later, the relaxing atmosphere grows heavier, almost oppressive. None of the other aliens seem to notice, though the Cybertronian's frown twitches ever so slightly.

The tugging at Rung is also buried, but before it is he can feel that it was pulling him toward one of the decorations on the wall. Two glaves, crossed artistically, are hung there, seemingly as normal as anything else in the room. One of them draws Rung's eye - or at least, it did, for a second there.

Rung was nearly halfway there when the scent amps up and hits the mech like a brick wall. Mind clouding, Rung no longer puts up a fight as he is steered to the oil- optics glazing over beneath his glasses. "I... I suppose..." Something doesn't... doesn't seem right.... But that looks so nice.

Led to the oil, Rung slowly steps into the pool and his helm begins to loll forward. It's nice. Why did he not want to get in?

Nightshade is rather at war with herself. On the one hand, everything feels a little...fishy. It's maybe a little too good to be true. But...

She gets a heavy whiff of the incense and slips very carefully into the pool on a shallow end. But it's just so nice. "Ah, see? We have as long as we like. It's not going to sprout legs and walk off, is it?" She has to admit she's lying to herself a little. She wants this perhaps more than she really needs it. "This is what I always wanted for myself, you know," she admits to Rung in a little happy sigh. "Glamour. I'm a butterfly! I'm drawn to light and beauty know, nice things..."

Parra claps their hands together gently, giving them both a pleasant smile. "Wonderful. If you need anything, please, do not hesitate to ask." They move off to another area of the room, checking on the other aliens no doubt. The two have a few moments of peace to chat, soak in the oil and let the warmth of the oil soak their troubles away...

Until the Cybertronian speaks. They're closer than before, though neither would've seen them move. "Foolish," they mutter, voice gravelly, static picking at the edges. "Fools. Shouldn't be here." Maybe they don't like sharing their pool.

<FS3> Nightshade rolls Mind+mind: Success. (6 4 5 1 6 3 8 6 1 3)

<FS3> Rung rolls Mind+Mind: Good Success. (5 6 1 8 7 3 1 4)

Or maybe they're just another piece of this odd puzzle. Rung will notice the static in their voice is from lack of use, and upon closer inspection their movements are stiff, and jerky, like their joints haven't been used much recently, either.

Rung blinks at the mech, leaning slightly backwards at the sudden closeness. Seems like they don't want them in the pool... or something else is going on, as they are already beginning to suspect. "I... we came for something." Its starting to get hard to remember what exactly that was, though. There's a long moment as he focuses, asking, "How long have you been here?"

Nightshade peers at the Cybertronian with a little frown. "Oh, come on. Everyone deserves a vacation once in a while, not just...not just the rich." The incense, the bath, something is really starting to get to her now and fog her mind. Which ought to alarm her, she knows. Her mind is her best weapon, something she's very proud of. But it's rather hard to bring up the energy involved in getting alarmed. Not when she can sit and soak and maybe ask for some Energon bonbons if they have any...

"Don't know. Lost count." The mech seems to be struggling, whether against the rustiness of their vocalizer or the very same relaxing stupor they're experiencing, it's hard to tell. Their wings twitch once, then go still, an aborted gesture. "Fools...always come for something. Don't leave."

As Rung starts focusing, the pull of his artifact resurfaces. It's right there, on the wall. Waiting for him. He just has to get up and take it.

<FS3> Nightshade rolls Mind+mind: Failure. (1 4 5 4 6 2 5 1 4 2)

That doesnt seem like something that might alarm the others, if Nightshade's current attitude is anything to go by, but Rung's relaxation is beginning to feel a bit soured. Eyebrows now fully knitted together, he glances once more at the mecha. Something most definitely isn't right. They have to get out of here.

With great difficulty, Rung stands and wades out of the pool. Not letting himself relax the slightest, at risk of whatever is happening get hold of him again, he begins to move across the room with more purpose than before. He knows that something over there is calling to him and by primus he is going to get it.

"Hmmm. You know, sometimes that doesn't seem so bad. I could go for this for a few cycles..." Nightshade is slipping out of reality, it seems. Whatever strange effect this place has on Cybertronians has taken her, as she rests on the edge of the pool and gently paddles her legs. "Everything's so awful sometimes, war and then more war, and the enemy always two steps ahead of us. Sometimes I just want to, want to..." She yawns. "Mm, Snailpace always did say I work too hard..."

<FS3> Rung rolls Dumb Luck: Good Success. (4 2 4 4 2 1 7 5 8 3 6)

As Rung's (dumb) luck would have it, no one comes over to grab him. The attendants in the room continue their work on the aliens there, aliens who share Nightshade's dreamy look, aliens who, if Rung looks, appear to be aged and cracked and even withering away, in some cases. Parra themself is poking their head into the waiting room, their attention taken up by the receptionist or some new Guest. The glaive, ornately crafted, its blade well-polished, is within his grasp.

The flier settled beside Nightshade spits without spittle, optics brightening just enough to lend to their glare. "Foolish," they repeat. "Shouldn't be here. You'll learn..."

<FS3> Nightshade rolls Mind+mind: Good Success. (6 6 6 5 3 6 8 7 6 2)

Rung does look, and he is somewhat unnerved by what he sees. Mind clearing even more, Rung manages to reach the other side of the room to look up at the glaive sitting there. He only spares a moment, though, as there is no telling when their perhaps not as gracious as they seem host will return.

Reaching up, Rung grips the staff of the weapon and carefully takes it from its setting.

Why shouldn't she enjoy herself? Everyone's always at war, nobody enjoys themselves anymore...

Oddly enough, it's the spit that does it. Nightshade's wings flare out and her pink optics flare behind her visor. "How rude...! Wait." It's when she really stares at the flier that she notices how unhealthy they look. "Are you...are you quite well...?...Rung?" This time she gets his name right as she crawls out of the bath, though it takes some effort. Everything is just so enticing. But...

"What is this place...?"

The flier's vents wheeze, and they look about to say more - until Nightshade starts moving. They're able to slide along the side of the bath, toward where she and Rung got out, but that seems to be all. From their new seat they watch the other two, longing etched into the tired lines of their faceplates.

As soon as the glaive is touched, Parra whips around, the pleasantness momentarily replaced with a horrible snarl. It smoothes out quickly. "May I ask what you're doing?" Coming toward them quickly, Parra reaches to take the glaive from Rung's hands. "Please do not touch what doesn't belong to you."

Rung generally is not one for rudeness either, but this seems like an appropriate time for it. Ignoring Parra and gripping the weight of the weapon in his hands- a weight that feels right- Rung moves back to the others, "Come, we are leaving. Nightshade, get Jazz out if you would." Before anything can happen and Parra crosses the room. The therapist turns to the flier, frowning but optics not unkind, "Can you move if I assist you?"

He doesn't want to leave the poor mech if they are capable of helping them

"Right, yes, of course!" Nightshade shakes the last of the fog off and nudges Jazz out. She can't drag him effectively, or she would; now that her eyes are opened, everything about this place is just alarming. "This incense, no wonder, something must be up with it...a sample would be very interesting to-no, no, you're right, urgent, best we leave..."

Parra hisses, the blandly kind facade slipping further as Rung and Nightshade continue to disobey. "Get back to relaxing," they snap. "You are our treasured Guests, allow us to pamper you!" While the other aliens might shuffle some, they don't seem to be bothered much by the outburst; and while another sharp gesture from Parra has the incense thickening further, Rung and Nightshade are too aware for it to work any longer.

"Think so." The flier's optics look brighter, hands coming up to grip at the edge of the tub as they try to pull themself up. It doesn't work very well, only managing to slide another foot of their frame out of the oil, revealing a faded and nearly invisible red symbol on their chassis. "Legs...circuitry's worn..." They lock their gaze onto Rung and add, urgently, "Go. Been here too long. Get out while you can."

Rung hurriedly glances up as Parra begins to cross the room, frown deepening, "Come on, you can do it." Only he knows logically that the mech can't. Gripping the poor being's shoulder, he apologizes, "I... I am sorry." There's just no time. Standing straight, Rung moves to follow the others, "No, I don't believe we will get back to relaxing but thank you for the visit." They will hopefully never be coming again... unless it is to save that poor mecha.

"Look, it's all lovely and everything but we really must be going. And..."

In her days in the Decepticon army Nightshade would have just left that poor sap to go. The strong and wily survive and the rest are mourned if they're lucky. But she thinks of Hunker, who can't always move around very well, and remembers how that flier tried to warn them. And that pesky conscience starts acting up again.

She kneels next to the flier. "And you need to be coming along too, right? It's been quite long enough. You can still do it. You remember how, darling, don't you?" She winks.

The flier grumbles, a sputtering, sad cough the sound of their engine attempting and failing to start, the propellers on their wings spinning once. Rung is given a solemn nod despite the grump, but for Nightshade...

"Not darling." Shoving at the edge of the bath once more, with an agonizing creak they push themself up, old legs getting purchase on the bench where they'd been sitting. Slowly, they get out, staggering a few paces on unsteady feet. From near their shoulders down their frame is smooth and brighter than what the Lost Lighters had first seen upon entering, a side effect from having soaked in that oil for who knows how long. "'S Jink. Not darling." A craggy smirk curls their lips.

Parra, meanwhile, is no longer playing around. They cross to loom over Rung, trying to snatch the glaive from his hands. "Put back what isn't yours!" None of the attendants, even the one manning the incense, come to help, though dazed eyes flick toward them every so often.

Rung is relieved when Nightshade manages to get the Cybertronian out, moving to intercept Parra so Nightshade can get the now named Jink out, "I understand and would be inclined to agree if it were not for the fact that this place clearly has some form of hypnotic effect keeping others trapped here, as is quickly becoming evident. So with these circumstances I am afraid to say that I do not necessarily care about your opinion on the matter!" He doesn't hand it over, staring up at the other mecha with jaw set stubbornly.

"Jink? Jink. Got it." Nightshade takes flight again, wondering why she ever felt so bogged down as to walk in the first place. "We're going to get out of here," she whispers to Jink, "and then we'll get you some medical help. We have quite the skilled team if I do say so myself. Now, if you'll join me in looming behind Rung to help him intimidate, I would appreciate that."

She does indeed turn to glare at Parra, hovering right behind Rung. Look, see? The stick is not alone.

<FS3> Nightshade rolls Intimidation: Failure. (5 1 6 2 3 5)


"You have not been given permission to go, nor to take this!" Parra moves to jerk the glaive away from Rung, small as he is. The addition of Nightshade to this little intimidation act does nothing, but it's the addition of Jink and Jazz, both mechs who may not be taller than Parra but they are certainly thicker, Jazz especially, being a mech in his prime, that have Parra snarling and dropping their hands. "Fine." They take a step back, flexing their long fingers, eyes blazing and sharp, crooked teeth bared. "Go. You are unworthy Guests. Leave!"

"You have not been given permission to go, nor to take this!" Parra moves to jerk the glaive away from Rung, small as he is. The addition of Nightshade to this little intimidation act does nothing, but it's the addition of Jink and Jazz, both mechs who may not be taller than Parra but they are certainly thicker, Jazz especially, being a mech in his prime, that have Parra snarling and dropping their hands. "Fine." They take a step back, flexing their long fingers, eyes blazing and sharp, crooked teeth bared. "Go. You are unworthy Guests. Leave!"

Rung resists the urge to rub his temples as Nightshade tries to help, a tiny fae-esk being at his back. He is quite sorry Nightshade but you are likely not helping give the desired effect. Jazz and Jink seem to do it, however, and soon he moves around Parra to leave. "Very well." He is not complaining about being unworthy.

Looking at Nightshade, he tells her, "You two go through the bridge, I will call ahead to let the crew know we will have a guest." And Rung does just that.

Nightshade assumes it was her presence that pushed it over the edge, intimidating and fearsome Decepticon that she is. "Well, then! At your leave." She bows with a flourish and leads Jink off alongside Jazz, looking over her shoulder. "Come along soon, Rung, you've got an artifact to show off!"

She's gonna get some bonbons when she gets back, dammit.

The call goes through, the guest is noted, and everything looks ready to go. The space bridge will open, allowing Jazz, Nightshade, and Jink through, with Rung to bring up the rear and herald another artifact mission completed. Or, that's how things appear to be, until Rung begins to step through the bridge and strong, long-fingered hands grab him from behind, pulling him back.

Nightshade, Jink, and Jazz will arrive safely on the other side. They will be down one therapist.

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