2018-01-05 And the Winner Is

From Transformers: Lost and Found

And The Winner Is
Date 2018/01/05
Location Thrillsought Gauntlet Planet
Participants Arrow, Skydive, Vortex, Air Raid
NPCs Desperado, Gilt
Plot The Thrillsought Gauntlet
Scene GM Yam
Summary Vortex, Arrow, Skydive, and Air Raid fall into final race of the Thrillsought Gauntlet.

It's late - extremely late, or rather, very, very early when Vortex stirs against the sound of arguing. Arrow and Skydive have returned from their ice cave match, all scuffed up and frosted, with snow still melting in their armor. Air Raid is presently grilling Skydive, demanding answers despite his situation. His wings hike high and his tail lashes behind him, tone wavering between anger and anxiety. He seems a little glazed, less perceptive, rounding on the same question over and over.

There's a lot of activity further out in the rounded hall, and through the grates up above. Their holoviewer swaps channels and begins listing the finalists, and the time and location for the last match. All four of their names are listed, and it's scheduled in... thirty minutes. Out in the dark cold of the morning.

Skydive is exhausted. This much flying reminds him of the academy and of the war, but at least then he could force himself to drink some energon and get a semi-decent recharge. Now he was barely drinking the avidrink and it showed, but he would persist. It's not like he wasn't running on half empty all the time anyway.

Still, being in that state made dealing with Air Raid less than ideal, even though he'd initially been overjoyed to see him. But now his teammate is fighting him, Arrow is a full blown addict, and Vortex is down for the count. Fair to say he's wearing thin. "This isn't a game, Air Raid, this is deadly! We came here to take you home, and now that you're here we're doing just that. I could care less about the prizes, they're nothing compared to keeping you safe!" He grates, wings flared up and out and fists balled. It's rare to see him even close to this angry.

Vortex's rotors twitch and he groans, rolling over. His visor flickers blearily online as he whines. His whine keys louder when he sees the staticky shapes of everyone. "Guyssss, I'm tiiiiired... Raideraaaaade, shh- my rotors hurt." His helm thunks against the bunk, visor offlining as he curls to try and get back to sleep.

Vortex jolts with a wild kick, knocking his helm against the bunk above him. Piece of scrappin'- "Air Raid!" he gasps loudly, scrambling before feebly thunk against Air Raid. His engine putters. "Found you," he murmurs against the warm metal of the aerialbot.

Arrow's plating is fluffed up as far as he can make it to soak in the heat of the bunker's hall, the steady drip-drip-dripping of snowmelt down his plating is only adding another itch to his already stressed frame. He wants a drink, and his wings strain and tremble as they finally make their way to their shared nook in the wall of a room. Arrow makes a beeline for the dispenser as soon as he can slip away from the noise and pressure of being stuck between two arguing Aerialbots and chugs down a cube of Avidrink. Sweet, cool, frame stilling relief washes through him and Arrow lets out a sigh of relief.

His attention returns to his crewmates as Vortex clonks into Air Raid's frame. Arrow pours himself another cube and sips it more leisurely, feeling the energy start to rise and push him forwards. "We've been winning races so far though, we can win the next one and then we help out the Lost Light and someone gets a frame change! It's win-win!" Or they lose horribly and die, but Arrow's voice of caution has been summarily executed in the past couple of days and he pays that possibility no heed.

"I'm not- I'm not here for the prizes, Skydive," Air Raid grumbles. "You wouldn't understand. I need to do this, alright? You-" Vortex comes to embrace him, and sure, the whole reason he's here is because of their little fight, but slag... Raid can't help but squeeze him tight. "What happened to you? Your chest is all... Ugh, slaggit. I didn't want this!" He blinks at the black and white jet, and it takes him a moment to realize it's Arrow. The little mech from dodgeball practice.

"All three of you are staying here!" Air Raid tries to assert, though his threat doesn't carry in his weary posture. "Skydive, please. I'll come back for you afterwards, okay?"

"And what if you don't come back? What am I supposed to do? How do you think the others will react?" Skydive replies with waning anger and a rise of sadness, his frame tense and wings trembling lightly from trying to reign back in his emotion. But he doesn't allow that tight expression to drop, still upset with him. Primus, he wants to leave this place, it's awful, but.. "..I won't let you go out there alone, though. You can't stop me from watching your back."

"Nothing I can't handle," Vortex assures, looking down at the ten large punctures lining his chassis. "... You should see the other guy?" he tries instead, looking up at Air Raid impishly. He drops the little smile, though.

"Er, staying here?" Vortex's sluggish processor tries to wakeup and catchup. Stay where-? "The race? The last race? No way!" He holds tightly to Air Raid. "Yeah, The Skipper is right. We'll come race with you. Well, except, Arrow. Sorta."

Air Raid? Trying to order Arrow around? Obviously the jet-turned-pteranodon has no idea who he's dealing with, because Arrow's wings hike right on up to spite him. "Frag you, we're racing!" He shoots back, optics narrowing as he looks to Vortex. "I'm racing! No one's leaving me behind and that's final, my name's up on that board too." Arrow takes another drink of his cube, he's packed several away in his subspace over the past few days but nothing beats it fresh out of the dispenser. "Just need a ride is all," he mumbles into the cube.

Air Raid's hard stare at Skydive weakens, when he sees sad, sad wings. "It's too slaggin' dangerous..." His spark sinks further when Vortex tightens his hold. Damnit. They're making it so hard. Well, not Arrow. LITTLE PUNK! Raid will pummel him later.

Air Raid carefully peels himself away from Vortex (it's not easy) and walks backwards, out into the hall. Just as he steps beyond the invisible threshold, a bright orange semi-transparent field stretches across the dividers, walling them in. Moxie steps around the corner, waving a little datapad that Arrow will recognize as hacking model.

"Dinobird made a little deal with me. Ima' get so much cash from this, you guysss." Moxie beams from her minibot height, tapping the field. It ripples around her touch.

"I'll be back in an hour and I'll sort this out, okay? I'm s-sorry, I just... I'm sorry!" Off Air Raid darts, and Moxie doesn't bother lingering.

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

Arrow notices the little keypad off to the side on one of the dividers. It must control that privacy field, that admittedly doesn't offer a lot of privacy. Maybe it has a transparency setting. No ports exist on it. Arrow will have to crack it open manually.

    <FS3> Arrow rolls Engineering: Good Success. (1 7 4 1 4 4 8 6 7)

Skydive really has to get that Avidrink away from Arrow, note to self. Turning back to Air Raid, he grimaces when seeing him start to back out. "Air Raid, will you wait a moment an just listen--" But before he can reach him, a barrier phases in between them, locking the three inside their room. "What the.. Let us out!" Emotions be damned, his anger spikes now and he rushes to the barrier, teeth gritting and a fist banging on it. "Air Raid, stop! We can fix this! Raid!" Desperation begins to set in as he watches the Aerialbot run away, a distressed sound coming from him as lips quiver and a thin sheen of light rings the bottom of his optics. "Don't do this.." He croaks, his shoulders and wings fallen.

Vortex's rotors shift unsurely when he's peeled off. Air Raid is still mad at him! He sorta slides to the floor, sitting there pathetically as he watches Raid to leave. "We know its dangerous, that's why we want to- hey!" His blades hike up straight when the forcefield comes into place. His optics zip over to Moxie. "Why you little--!" He sputters, not in the right mind to really insult the minibot. Ugh, stupid smallfry.

Vortex drags himself up and limps over to the forcefield. "Arrow..." he mumbles. He worked with the mech, he knows what he can do. Like, handle this. His claws prod at the field as if to test it for any holes. Hrmph... He glances over to Skydive and hesitates before setting a servo near his elbow. "We'll figure this out. Been in tougher jams than this before, heh..." His brow plates pull together when he glances to where Air raid had run to. "And, ya know... Sometimes mechs do stupid things because they think they're doing the right thing. Don't take it hard- we'll get out and make sure Raid is safe, alright?"

Arrow stares at the energy field for a moment. Then two. His lips start twitching up at the corners as Moxie smugs at them. She gloats but she smugs and Arrow feels a little laugh start to rumble up from his chassis as they saunter away. He snickers as they leave- did they even know who they were locking up? Arrow heads over to the keypad and pries it open, still trying to stifle his laughter. "Yeah yeah- I got it- too fraggin' easy..." He manages to get out between the snickers. Arrow sets down his half-cube and gets to work.

He hooks up one of his spare datapads to the keypad and accesses the code, optics skimming over the lines of data and where the Thrillsought Bunker's code has been altered. No biggie, he's got this. Arrow's counterhacked an evil Blaster, and he sets his skills to work taking down the code that's keeping them locked up. It doesn't take long before the containment field fizzles away and Arrow pulls his equipment free and polishes off the last of his cube. "Let's go teach your brother and boyfriend a fraggin' lesson." He says, wiping the last of the Avidrink mustache away.

    <FS3> Skydive rolls Transportation: Good Success. (1 6 3 5 8 1 7 6 1 4 8 5)

    <FS3> Vortex rolls Transportation: Good Success. (3 5 5 8 5 8 7 1 3 6 4)

The halls are empty. Everyone is in the main lobby, watching the large viewscreen. No one seems to notice Skydive, Arrow and Vortex hop on the lift to the surface.

The trio miss the shuttle that would've taken them to the location - so they'll have to fly, and fly fast. Skydive leads them to a sooty-black mountain range, and into a heavily charred valley, where the bright armor of the competitors catches on his sensors. It's a match of twenty mechs, as usual, but these are the best of the best. They're all crowded together, including Air Raid, atop a relatively flat piece of land. The media crew hovers above.

As /soon/ as Skydive and Vortex touch down, explosives go off in a massive circle around the group, and black smoke blocks out the... moon? It's still pretty damn dark. The ground crumbles, and they're falling. The tche-tche-tche sound of transforming fills the air as fliers scramble to get their wings.

Skydive doesn't want to admit it, but.. he does appreciate Vortex's reassuring words. After a long moment he's able to tear gaze away from the empty hall and look to the rotary, hesitating before nodding. "..Alright." He may not like him, but he trusts to help Air Raid. He's also happy to have Arrow, who makes short work of the forcefield.

Now free, the three of them speed off to the start of the race, which is harrowing just to look at with the dark mountains and scorched valley. They touch down, but looks like they won't be able to hang around for long as the competition starts off with a literal bang. "Ngh!" Skydive is jarred as the ground underfoot crumbles. "Arrow!" He'll spare Vortex from having to carry Arrow for now, grabbing the hacker mech just before the ground gives way completely. The sensation of falling doesn't panic him in the slightest, flipping into his altmode again immediately and letting Arrow maglock onto him.

It was nice to have a touching moment Skydive was conscious enough to remember. But no time to linger on that or Arrow's victory! Off to the race! Vortex has never been so grateful to land before, rotors swinging low and sore. Uff, now to rest on his feet and- and fly again.

"I'm gonna KILL whoever thought this was a good idea!" Vortex snarls as he twists back into alt. His blades twists to keep him aloft and hovering briefly. "<< Skydive, Arrow! Where's the finish line to this race? >>" He's got no idea what direction to go.

    <FS3> Arrow rolls Recon: Good Success. (7 5 3 5 6 6 3 6 7)

The landing is rushed, but not nearly as rushed as their sudden takeoff as the ground is blasted out from under them, Arrow yelps- if anyone claims the audial-splitting scream was him he'll deny it- as he drops through the air. Luckily, Skydive has his back, and Arrow acivates the belt to maglock onto the Aerialbot as he shifts into plane mode. Finish line, finish line- where's? Arrow's scans ping back with a faint read, and Arrow's almost surprised at the location, but this is the Thrillsought Gauntlet. "<<Down! Go down!>>" He comms, "<<We're going to the Core, or near it at least.>>" The little jet lays flat on Skydive's plating, trying to keep his grip for the dive they're in for.

    <FS3> Vortex rolls Acrobatics: Failure. (4 2 2 4 5 4 6 5 4)

The blast has opened a tremendous shaft, seemingly straight to the core of the planet. Fliers struggle to point their nosecones downward as they plummet between giant boulders. It's pitch black, at first, and stark beams of light cut through the dust from headlights flicking on. A few jets failing to right themselves smash into ledges straight away, and the heat of their explosions is felt by every single competitor. Shrapnel rains alongside the boulders, lancing through wings and warping blades.

A golden hand slides teasingly across Skydive's wing. Gilt has remained in his root (seeker skillz), and is smiling beside his old classmate. "I can't believe you've made it this far. Told you we'd catch up. You have a little, ah, growth there." He gestures at Arrow, and twists to angle himself downward, tearing ahead.

When Vortex tilts to join the frantic dive, a boulder catches him on his tail rotor, /hard/. It very nearly twists it off.

    <FS3> Vortex rolls Body+Body: Failure. (6 1 3 1)

Immediately there's nothing but chaos around them. Skydive does his best to orient himself, angling nosecone down and plummeting into the core-bound shaft, doing his best to avoid the falling debris and mechs around him. And he'd like to focus, but a distinct brush on a wing has him jerking a little to the side and sensors training on the golden mech.

The sight of Gilt has Skydive's engines stuttering and his flight wobbling, Arrow likely able to feel the mech's sparkbeat spike. This is how he felt when he saw him before. God, he can't face Gilt, not now.. Distracted, he loses speed, allowing the seeker to blast ahead so Skydive can get his bearings. Damn that mech.. But he can't let him get to him. He has to catch up to Raid! "<< Hold on tight. >>" He warns Arrow before thrusters flare, kicking him forward with a burst of speed.

Arrow'll hold on as tight as he can, but Gilt has Arrow's energon boiling- who just acts like that to people! And who just calls him-- "A growth?!" Arrow shouts above the noise, pride bristling. Seriously! Frag that guy!

So of course, Arrow does the sensible thing and launches himself off of his ride and towards the Seeker, one hand ducking into subspace for the first of his unused surprises, a simple can of aerosol paint- "Let's see how well you fly blind, jackaft!" Arrow yells, hoping the magnabelt will help him hang onto the jerk.

    <FS3> Arrow rolls Impulsiveness: Great Success. (8 8 4 2 6 7 3 6 1 1 8)

Vortex curses when he's told about the finish line. He curses EXTRA LOUD AND EXPLICATIVE when a large rock nearly takes out his tail rotor, sending him falling end over end. Sure, he tends to fly crazy and not straight but he's still in control. Severing a rotary of his frametype's tail rotor is like severing a jet's flight control. He can pull up but that doesn't make his blunt little nosecone point at the sky. It's not good and Primus does it hurt like slag.

"Fraggit!" Vortex barks before transforming. Time to perfom some impromptu surgery. Its a good thing he's so well acquainted with his own body. He yanks out a tooth tool while holding his trusty glue gun in the other. No big deal, just plummetting to the center of the world while performing minor repairs. "<< Hope you're both doing better than me. >>"

    <FS3> Vortex rolls Medicine: Failure. (2 2 1 1 3 2 4 4 2 3 2)

Gilt doesn't get very far when the little black-and-white growth tackles him mid-air. "Wh-! Get off you little-!" He claws at Arrow's armor, but Arrow sticks HARD with his magnabelt, and manages to spray paint right over Gilt's optics. It does, in fact, blind him, and he screams in rage, thrashing and angling off into the crowd of falling jets and choppers. The dust and boulders are starting to clear now, but it's still painfully dark.

Vortex is off to a rocky start. He's able to repair enough damage to make sure that tail rotor isn't twisted in a bad angle, but his twisting to reach components makes a few internal welds open up. It's not the best feeling. Tex is used to pain, at least.

Far below, a pteranodon shape can be glimpsed in the low light. Air Raid hasn't noticed anyone yet.

As Vortex struggles with his repairs, a giant set of avian talons wrap around his middle. They belong to an enormous Eukarian eagle, and they start to squeeze.

One crazy thing after another seems to be happening. And one of them is the sudden lack of weight on Skydive, the mech bristling with anxiety as he sees Arrow leaping for Gilt next. "Arrow, no!!" He tries to swerve after them, but Gilt gets blinded and careens off into the pack.

To make matters worse, Vortex isn't doing so hot behind them, especially with the eagle that's taking a hold on him. Torn between the two, he makes his decision swiftly and shifts back to his root mode. Twisting, he falls back first and fans wings wide to catch the air and slow him to meet Vortex. He hopes to catch him, but before he can do that he'll draw his pistol without hesitation in the time between and takes swift aim at a joint in one of the Eukarian's wings to cripple it.

    <FS3> Opposed Roll -- Skydive=firearms Vs Eagle=8
    <	Skydive: Success (1 1 4 6 5 8 1 1 6 1 3)          Eagle: Good Success (5 8 8 5 6 2 8 2)
    <		Net Result: Eagle wins - Solid Victory

Arrow careens away from Skydive and into a flurry of other fliers on his blinded jerkjet, it's a satisfying to hear him scream and screech but it does dawn on Arrow that he's now without a proper ride that at least kind of likes him and is hurtling towards the core of a planet that he really doesn't want to die on. Heck. Okay, next plan.

Arrow plants his magentized feet on the seeker's back and tries to twist the mech mid-air- lobbing up his can of highly pressurized aerosol paint and one of his fireworks- thanks Trink- upwards into the mass of fliers. If he's lucky, the blast might not hurt him as much as it hurts Gilt when the firework goes off.

    <FS3> Arrow rolls Transportation: Good Success. (7 2 7)

    <FS3> Arrow rolls Firearms: Failure. (3 6 2 4 2 3)

Arrow spends 1 luck points on I'm going aggro into that good night..
    <FS3> Arrow rolls Firearms: Good Success. (4 2 1 8 7 7)

Its an off day for Vortex. But his tail rotor is at least in a good enough state to fly again, even if he's falling apart. Just a little bit though. Tis just a mesh wound.

Vortex audibly "HRK!"s as he's caught by a giant eagle. Oh, this is great. JUST GREAT! He wriggles and kicks uselessly. Okay, Plan, uh... Plan I time! As in, Plan I hope this works. "HEY POLLY!" He shouts, revving up his engine. "CLAWS OFF!" And then he lets his bladed rotors loose. Hopefully those aren't heavily armored bird feet.

    <FS3> Vortex rolls Melee Weapons: Success. (2 1 5 1 4 6 8 1 5 2 4)

A chopper, Tex-sized, gets slammed into the shaft's wall by a stealth fighter-type, who's in root. The heat of the explosion peels paint, but doesn't seem to fade. The growing warmth seems to come from below, now, and glowing streams of molten rock pour from the ledges around them. A harsh, yellow glow brightens as they near the core. Thick ashes force vents shut. Someone's bloodied wing ignites when an ember lands on it. There's a scalding updraft that manages to slow their descent.

Skydive's shot on the eagle's wing joint hits, squarely, but the armor appears too thick to do much damage. It looks like it's considering chomping down on the Aerialbot.

With Skydive distracted, a pair of yellow-armored hands clap down on Skydive's shoulders. He'll feel a terrible tugging at his spark, and his entire frame flashes cold for a split second. "I'm sorry about this, Skipper! Just gonna' borrow your mimicry for a little bit! Gotta' win this!" Desperado offers a sheepish salute and twists back into his giant bomber mode.

Gilt continues to twist and flail angrily as Arrow /rides him/. The fireworks burst the paint can and make for a very surreal and terrifying vision as bright, swirling and fizzling colors explode against Gilt and a few other nearby jets. It forces him to scramble and find a ledge to smolder on. Looks like he's out for the count.

Vortex's blades dig deep into the eagle's talons as they whirl in the grip of an angry engine. The claws slice right off, spattering Tex with energon, and the eagle screeches and tears away, tucking its foot against its chest.

Skydive curses inwardly when his shot does nothing, at least not bodily. It does distract long enough so Vortex can slice through the eagle's talons. Unfortunately they splash the rotary with energon, giving him second thoughts on grabbing Tex. Conflicted, this gives Desperado his chance to grab hold of the Aerialbot and do exactly what he warned him against before.

His tank twists in a knot and his spark clenches terribly against the strange tug against him, Skydive feeling like he has ice in his lines for a fleeting second that stuns him. He feels some dizziness after, losing his control in the air, but when the moment passes he twists back around to see the bomber making of with his Outlier ability. Primus, he wants to scream at him, but the mech is already fleeing towards the core. Skydive could swear the flare of heat in his circuits was from the surrounding lava, but it's full fledged anger.

Screw Gilt. Screw Desperado. Screw this whole race! He doesn't need his powers to do what he needs to. And so, angling himself back down, his wings tuck and body straightens before the thruster on his jet kibble flares hot and sends him speeding towards Air Raid far below like a rocket powered skydiver.

    <FS3> Skydive rolls Transportation: Good Success. (3 2 6 6 7 6 8 4 2 7 4 5)

Arrow kicks himself off of Gilt as the firework explodes into color, vaulting himself into a freefall back towards the planet's core. His wings tremble and strain in an attempt to stay steady and help angle his descent- but he's never been good at this and Arrow's spark soars with the closest sensation to flying he's ever had in his life as the heady energy of bad choices hits him hard. He lets out a loud whoop and searches the darkness of the tunnel for Skydive or Vortex, trying to fall towards them if he can as he preps the magnabelt to latch on. He's slowly running out of tunnel and that lava looks terrible.

Vortex gets loose of the eagle with a "HAW!" and fold up into coptor mode without interrupting the strong spin of his rotors. It only grows in intensity as he dives, batting around hot air. "<< Twister time. >>" he tells the Lost Lighter in warning as he starts whipping up the air. Stronger and stronger. Underground, subterranean tornado? Hell yeah. If nothing else, maybe he can make a wind tunnel that'll force everyone to the side and allow him to just dip down and win. He can dream can't he?

    <FS3> Vortex rolls Cyclones: Good Success. (4 8 2 2 4 4 7 2 8)

Desperado takes the lead. Skydive manages to catch up with Air Raid, who isn't far behind, but he's ignored. Or unseen. Or something. Raid seems to have tunnel vision. Five remaining jets plus the Lost Lighters dive towards an opening where the shaft flares out, but it's quite a ways - long enough for Vortex to start whipping up a dangerous cyclone. The winds collide with the heated updraft, and embers swirl faster and faster until the pressure scrapes chunks of rock off the shaft wall. /Everyone/ gets caught up in this howling tornado, and they're scooped up as a group and /slammed/ against the rockface. Desperado rages loudly as Vortex zips by and passes the sensor at the opening of the large pool of orange lava caked with cooling rock. Marking him the winner!

But now everyone is falling again. And thankfully there's enough room in this spacious chamber for the fliers to level out. Nothing to land on down here, though. Nothing but horrible, jagged stalagmites and molten rock. Air Raid continues to dive.

Skydive ignores Desperado as he speeds to the head of the pack with the rest. It's Air Raid he's focused on, but it's distressing to be equally ignored by the mech. "Air Raid!" He calls over the air rushing around them, but it does nothing. He wants to reach for him next, only Vortex sees to stopping that with the tornado that whips through the tunnel and rips him away, slamming him into the scorching, rocky sides. "Ngh!"

Dazed, he slips from where he was pinned after Vortex passes and falls with the rest into the main cavern. It's unbelievably hot, his paint already starting to peel and his vents feeling choked. He wants to transform and fly away from it, but as he regains his senses he sees the Raid still plummeting straight for the lava, the sight making him feel a sharp stab in his spark.


He reorients and pours on the speed to catch up with his brother, ignoring the scalding air burning at his armor and forming bubbles in his paint. Skydive levels with Air Raid and sweeps in to try and take hold of him, desperate to grab his face and get his attention. "Air Raid, please! I.. I don't know what's happened since you've arrived here, what that rotary is making you do, but we're trying to help you! The race is over, we can go home!" His spark swells with ache and throat burns while optics sting against the light starting to pour from them. "I'm.. sorry. I'm so sorry. I should have been there more for you through all of this.. The frame change, Vortex, everything.. Just don't shut me out, not now.. please.."

Vortex's last gambit, something he's waited until the last race to unleash, pays off. He sails past his bombarded competitors and straight into victory. He won! He won and it feels! It feels... Really hot. Swelteringly, painfully hot. He hates. the heat. The spin of his rotors dies down and he pulls up shakily. In time to catch sight of a dropping Arrow.

Vortex's engine sputters and he takes off, loosing his clamp and tether. There's a tunnel not far off, and he dives for it before the heat can warp his rotors while he goes fishing for an Arrow. "Hold on! I got'cha!" he calls. He won but this landing is not going to be smooth.

Arrow felt the crunch of his worse wing dimly as it connected with the tunnel wall in the distant, far-off way one feels footsteps through the floor. It probably looks terrible, but Arrow's just grateful it's dead to the pain as he starts to plummet towards the lava. The rest of him? Less dead to pain. Arrow flails for the tether cable as Vortex throws it, a burst of desperate relief- he wasn't forgotten in the victory stretch!

Air Raid sees the blinding field of orange below, and feels the heat on the roof of his open beak. His optics widen. He wants to dive in it, and burst free in a powerful arc. He's deaf to all but the thrill. Until Skydive grabs him. Skydive, with light burning from his optics, frantically apologizing. Why? It's hard to process. It's then that the heat of the lava scalds his metal, crisping his chest black. He comes to his senses and spreads his wings, grasping Skydive in his talons. They coast on the updraft, towards the tunnel Vortex has veered off towards. Raid is too dazed to say anything, and stays that way as he and Skydive tumble into a haphazard landing on the volcanic rock.

Skydive doesn't seem to have any plans to pull away the closer they get to the lava. He'll plummet right into it if it comes down to it. He won't leave Air Raid. But fate has other plans and Raid just barely gains his senses, enough to have him grab up Skydive and sweep up away from the bubbling, liquid stone beneath them. Skydive doesn't even struggle as he's carried back, his armor practically smoking from burnt paint and charred, warped metal. The tunnel they land in isn't as hot, but his lines still ache enough from the singeing that he just braces himself in a crumpled, venting heap after they touch down.

Vortex transforms before landing, rolling and tumbling and gettig his bad leg tangled in his own tether. "Fer slag's sake," he hisses, sitting up. He runs his servo over his face, looks around and... Counts heads. The important heads. Him, Arrow, there's god-face Skydive, and-- "Air Raid! You're alright!" Tex flops around until he detangles before hurrying over, only to slow. Er... Distance? Would that be best? No, a hug. No, uhhh... He bite his upper lip before standing up straight. "Hey! Guys, I won!"

    <FS3> Opposed Roll -- Vortex=reaction+reaction+2 Vs Desperado=8
    <	Vortex: Amazing Success (7 8 7 8 4 6 8 1 8 8)          Desperado: Good Success (1 4 7 5 3 8 6 5)
    <		Net Result: Vortex wins - Crushing Victory

Arrow lets out a tired, "Woo..." From his spot on the rocky ground as he gets up. "Congrats, dude." The frantic energy of near death is fading and Arrow's drained, tired, and twitchy. He probably shouldn't drink it here but... Arrow pulls out a cube and starts to sip it. Ah... good old avidrink.

Air Raid stumbles into his root mode and slumps against Skydive, venting heavily. His optics swim up to meet Vortex's strange blue visor, and his smile is weak. Sheepish, almost. "You guys got out... Heh... Ah, slag." He leans back against Skydive's back, rubbing his face. Skydive eventually gets an awkwardly angled embrace, and mumbled apologies. Raid is going to pay dearly for this, later.

Desperado promptly comes up and takes a swing at Vortex's head - but Tex is a lil' too swift, and jerks out of the way. "Cheatin' piece a' scrap!" He kicks a rock at the wall, transforms, and blasts down the tunnel, presumably towards the surface. The remaining fliers just linger on their knees, armor burnt to a crisp.

"You... actually won," Air Raid slowly realizes.

Skydive hurts all over and is running on fumes at this point. But he's alive. They all are. When Raid leans into him, the mech can't help slumping helm against his brother, optics shuttered low. "Can we.. go home now?" He murmurs. He wants to leave this awful race and get away from Gilt as soon as possible and hopefully never see him or any of this again.

The disruption from Desperado charging in has his wings lift weakly in alarm, but Vortex handles the situation and the bomber goes soaring off. Tch, power stealer.

Vortex less 'handles' and 'dodges' and more like big bomber spooks tiny rotary who stumbles out of the way by accident because of a bum leg. But yeah. Sure. He did that on purpose. "CHEATIN'?! Talk to me when someone shoots you with a transforming cannon over an ocean of mercury! Ya... Ya SORE LOSER!" Vortex sticks his tongue out at Desperado despite the mech being... Gone. He vents and looks to Air Raid, smiling. Smiling really wide with a sparkle in his visor. He's never... Actually won something before. Not like this.

"Yeah... Yeah, I won! Haha! Okay, let's go collect our things and my winnings and we can all go home. And then talk. Heh. Wow, I won... Do you think I get to make a speech? I hope so- Come on Arrow! Magnabelt time!" Vortex jabbers away, jittering from nerves and excitement and adrenaline. He's not going to shut up. And if he gets that speech, he knows exactly what he's going to do. One: He's gonna reveal that he is NOT Alpha Bravo of who gives a hell but Vortex of Carpessa! And two: invite everyone to the Lost Light. Like he said. They can all go home.

Arrow picks himself up off of the ground slowly from his sit to a proper stand. Ow. Everything hurts, everything's kind of charred and awful- there's a low throbbing in Arrow's back near his left wing, and every other scrap of his plating is charred and scuffed and scraped. He's even got a splatter of the neon green paint he used on Gilt splattered over the side of his helm and audial. He looks over the other fliers and his face twitches up into a grin. Everyone is somehow, someway, magically properly alive and Arrow's frame trembles with relief... This is gonna be one hell of a story to tell Louie when he gets back to the Lost Light... Probably after a trip to medical, though. "Yeah, let's go home..." he says, more flopping onto Vortex's fuselage than climbing aboard, but it'll get him home.

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