2018-01-13 Cassette Coup

From Transformers: Lost and Found

Cassette Coup
Date 2018/01/13
Location Ruined World
Participants Nautica, Perceptor, Air Raid, Strika
NPCs !Soundwave, !mainframe, !atomizer, !jackpot, !Overkill, !laserbeak
Scene GM Tez, Koi
Summary The last of the living !cassettes are rescued.

It's not exactly difficult for the Lost Light to find a fight in progress. The Harbingers are like a rash. A really gross, nasty rash, spreading across the galaxy.

In the ruins of a once-prosperous world stand !Atomier, !Mainframe, and !Jackpot on a hill overlooking the ruin of the last of the Harbinger shuttles. The others have left, headed back to the fleet. This last transport has been ruined. !Mainframe aims a punch at !Jackpot: "You slag-licking skidplate! This is all your fault! Your stupid, awful luck!"

!Atomizer watches them fight with an indulgent air, then reaches over to kick the tapedeck at his feet as he swings his crossbow down to point at it. "Hey, we need a ride. Call."

The Lost Light's spacebridge has dropped the team led by Perceptor on ridge just behind them, and they watch this exchange from afar as they figure out their approach.

Nautica manages to stifle a slightly offended squeak as she watches the kick. Sure, she knows the Harbingers are a malignant force, a scourge upon the galaxy, and so on. But still, kicking someone like that is just /mean/. What did that tape deck ever do to you? After a moment, she turns her attention -- and her comms -- towards Perceptor. <<"What do you want to do, boss?">>

<<"An organized assault would likely work, they've got range but cross reference to our own versions indicates their armor would be comparatively weak against you two.">> Perceptor tips his head toward Strika and Air Raid, speaking in soft tones despite the distance and comm encryption. <<"They're all ground frames, an aerial attack would press our advantage if you can manage it, Air Raid. Strika, I believe you are most useful as a ground distraction from the rest of us, pardon the descriptor. Get up close and get their attention on evading you and try to keep close to Atomizer, ours uses an energy bow. Nautica... how is your aim?">>

Strika stands behind the others, optics narrow and shoulders tense when she sees the harbingers kick the tapedeck. Fraggers. She waits for the plan... and its a plan right down her alley. Her optics glint gleefully as she confirms, <<"So you want me to rush in and smash some helms? That can probably be done.">> It can most certainly be done.

<<"Right!">> Air Raid is all too glad to transform and take to the skies. <<"I'll just- Oh right I don't have pylons anymore. Sunnuva'. Okay I'll just wing it. Leave it to me.">> He doesn't wait for Perceptor's mark, springing up off the ridge into plain sight, and flapping hard for altitude.

"I'm callin', dude! I'm callin'!" !Soundwave says in a shakey autotune. As he does so, a bird lands not too far away.

!Laserbeak hops around with a click of his beak. "We're stranded here too! You don't have to point that thing at him to get a call- SQUAAAAWK!" Some distance away hunkers a sad and silent Overkill.

Nautica looks down at the blaster she carries. <<"Better than it used to be,">> she replies to Perceptor, though the upward lilt of her voice at the end of the sentence makes it sound a bit more like a question than a statement <<"Chromia kept insisting I practice. And I actually hit one of the horrible flying fire-breathing zombie drones dead center on my last mission!">> A pause as she watches the exchange. <<"Or would that be that undead center?">>

One might get the feeling that Nautica is not terribly experienced at combat missions still.

"Call faster." !Atomizer's ready to fire a warning shot, which definitely isn't going to do any good. He looks deeply uneasy at being stuck here. He's just squeezing the trigger when all of a sudden there's a flap, and his first shot buries itself into the dirt. He drags his bow high, tracking Air Raid path back the way they came to find Strika.

!Jackpot and !Mainframe pivot, their squabbling breaking as fall in back to back. !Mainframe aims high; !Jackpot aims low. They might fight, punch, and claw, but presented an outside target and they fall in line.

"With me Nautica, try not to shoot Strika or Air Raid." Perceptor tilts into a smile, which abruptly vanishes when Air Raid takes off. Fine, this is fine. "You know your parts, we'll provide cover as needed, Strika. I trust you to take care of the rest." That said, he beckons Nautica to take cover nearby, she's no sniper but if she can hit a moving target, it's better to keep her hidden and out of the direct line of fire. <<"Wreck their day.">> He comms to all units, sliding into his own cover and lining up his first shot.

<<"I'd try to make a joke off that 'wreck their day' -- you're supposed to quip during battles, right? -- but I can't think of a good one to salvage the situation.">> Nautica moves to follow Perceptor, rifle raised to a ready position. And then one of the Harbingers is taking aim at her, and so she returns the favor. But even as she squeezes the trigger, she calls out almost reflexively, "I'm sorry!"

Strika gives a simple nod to Perceptor as he give sthe order to head in, quickly moving to try and cover Air Raid as he leaves without the go ahead! Sloppy soldier training. FLipping into alt mode, the femme gives no mind to stealth as her massive tank mode goes barrelling towards their enemies to let loose a torrent of cannon fire on them. Perceptor wanted a distraction, she's gonna give them a big one.

Air Raid flies high! And gets spotted immediately. But that's cool, he's not about stealth. There's a wee teeny red bird on the ground. Cassette. Worth saving, because everyone everyone speaks fondly of !Sounders. But Raid'll have to handle !Mainframe first. He dives, wobbly at first, talons outstretched to try and rake.

!Soundwave's online speaker crackle and Laserbeak squawks. He continues trying to call for a back-up shuttle as he works to block out comms. Comms for the Lost Lighters that is. He's doing his job- don't shoot him or the cassettes anymore Atomizer! The cassette and tapedeck aren't helping much more on the whole 'fight' front though.

While !Atomizer gets a brutal shot from his bow on Strika, !Jackpot and !Mainframe barely manage to tickle anyone. !Mainframe's shot hits dead-on as Air Raid descends, but his armor soaks the heat of the blast, while his claws tear at !Mainframe and leave him open to Perceptor's shot.

In the sky above them, one of the other retreating shuttles pauses, twinkles above, and then begins to return toward them as !Soundwave's call gets through: reinforcements, inbound, and descending fast.

"Take her down!" !Atomizer orders the other two, pointing at Strika as she closes. He scrambles to try to get a shot off at Perceptor, judged next most dangerous.

!Atomizer's order makes sense. It's a good order. But Air Raid is a much more present threat, so !Jackpot and !Mainframe ignore the order to turn their guns on the big flappy beast.

Apologies are now forgotten, as Nautica sees one of her comrades take heavy fire. Forgetting !Jackpot for the moment, she shifts to try and aim directly at !Atomizer's head. Forget playing nice, apparently. Her chances of actually doing significant damage through his armor are admittedly pretty minor, but that doesn't matter right now; he's clearly the threat, and so fire will be focused. But the Camien engineer begins moving a bit faster; if Strika goes down hard under the next wave, Nautica wants to try to be there to check on her.

Perceptor's first shot lands perfectly and he's quick to set tracking against another target, tails swishing and hinting at his hiding spot even if the first shot's trajectory didn't. <<"Nautica, keep your head down- be careful.">> Because she's the only one who hasn't been trained for this, not as much as the rest of them have. The sniper sets his sights on !Jackpot next, the only one who hasn't taken a decent hit.

Strika ... well she draws the fire as an adequate distraction. No one can say she didnt do her job as she takes fire from nearly every enemy at once- nearly blowing out what would be her chest plating in root mode. She shoves down the pain, forcing herself to transform with a grunt at full throttle to head directly into a sprint with an admitted falter as the pain of transformation with injured parts hits her. Yet, a full sprint nonetheless with the singular objective of flattening !atomizer.

Air Raid feels the hot lick of laserfire that his armor manages to endure, but damn it smarts. His talons catch on Mainframe's arm, and he tries to grip it tight as he slams into the groud. Wings beat as he tries to balance on one foot and face the next split-second onslaught. <<"Hey uh, we should uh... immediately wrap this up! Reinforcements! Kill faster everyone!">>

The Lost Light let out a volley that tapedeck'd !Soundwave is ill-begotten to avoid. Thankfully, he's got mobile cassettes while he's stuck until an order frees him. Overkill holds the tapedeck in his mouth, the small dinosaur isn't putting !Soundwave down again either. Not in the middle of the fight- giving !Soundwave a great vantage to continue trying to block enemy comms. "Watch where you're shooting!" !Laserbeak squawks, beating his wings.

Maybe it's the fact that Strika is suddenly in his face, but !Atomizer's shot goes wide. He wheels back, switching to his sidearm to unload gunfire dead into the center of her mass. "Where are those reinforcements, Soundwave?!" They are actually pretty close, and closing fast. They are taking their sweet time slowing down. It might make someone nervous, if they looked up.

Although !Mainframe gets a shot off at Air Raid's arm, he doesn't manage to score any closer hit -- and !Jackpot, wary of firing on his partner, misses entirely. He scrambles, looking for an angle to get another shot, and yells back at !Atomizer: "We're outnumbered! Make Soundwave's cassettes help! Useless fragging tapes!"

<<"C'mon I'm trying to be funny here!">> Air Raid complains, even as !Mainframe lands a painful shot on his left wing. Well now it has a hole in it. <<"Hello? Oh. Okay.">> His attempt to subdue failing, he hop-hop-hops towards !Laserbeak since he hasn't really gotten the quadrupedal walking down yet. Hopefully !Laserbeak won't resist as Air Raid tries to wrap talons around his neck. "You're coming with us, dig?"

The hiss of comms going dead means they're being jammed, and there's only one likely cause of that. Nautica's expression is one of pure unhappiness as she turns her gun towards the boom box; she clearly doesn't want to be the bully! She felt bad when he was being kicked earlier! But there's no time to whip up a quantum phase signal intercept shifting algorithm to keep the comms from being hacked, and without them the team is likely to scatter as cohesion breaks down.

(Mental note: design a quantum phase signal intercept shifting algorithm later.)

Atomizer's shot misses but at least Perceptor knows the bright mech's angling for him. <<"Focus them down. I can hear engines-">> Except he's met with white noise. Perceptor finally looks up and balks. That can't be good. "Finish this quickly!" He shouts into the battle with a great deal of urgency. "Pull out as soon as you are physically able!" In an effor to help that happen, he's lining up a shot again, angling for Atomizer this time. Strika groans as she hits yet it does nothing, strength buckling as energon drips down her plating in rivulets. "Frag!" She loudly cusses but knows well enough that if her fists didn't work that time they likely aren't about to work again. She tries to call back to Perceptor- likely to ask him to get his act together and blow a harbinger's helm off- when she realizes their comms are now cut off. Frag it all! While !atomizer unspaces his sidearm, Strika charges over towards Air Raid to help him- aiming a punch at !Mainframe's chassis and hisses to him, "Stop grabbing mechs and kill something!" It seems like they are doing all the work here!

!Laserbeak hops around and beats his wings anxiously until A GIANT SET OF TALON GRIP HIS NECK. He flaps harder and squawks and screes in fear! "No! Nononono-!"

"Laserbeak! It's okay! It's okay. Just... Just be careful with my little dudes!" !Soundwave calls, which calms the small, red bird. Overkill, however, bristles. He bares sharp teeth at !Jackpot, forever silent otherwise.

Those reinforcements are here, breaking in with a sudden, shattering crack of sound. They shuttle lands, and !Atomizer, !Mainframe, and !Jackpot begin to fall back toward it as it settles. They fire as they go, with !Atomzier staring unbelieving at Strika:

"I'm pretty sure I just literally shot your spark. Why aren't you dead yet?" !Atomizer demands, firing again. !Jackpot and !Mainframe keep their fire on Air Raid, especially as he grabs one of the cassettes: "!Atomizer!," Mainframe calls, "he's got one of the cassettes! Cap's gonna melt down if he loses another."

Nautica fires a shot at the ground near !Soundwave, hoping to startle the boom box out of the jamming; she looks immensely relieved when she hits the ground rather than the deck. And then she just takes off at a run, literally trying to all but slide through the area and make a grab at Overkill. Hello, new friend! Let's go somewhere with less explosions!

"Don't worry! They get treated like little kings. We'll getcha' soon!" Air Raid assures Soundwave, and readjusts his grip to !Laserbeak's body. "Should take some cover while we're ahead!" he shouts at what he can reach of his team, and starts to fly back over the ridge. The retreat leaves him open for two more scalding shots that light up his other wing and break through the scorches on his chest. A pained, heron-like trill escapes him, and he falls a short distance, beak sticking hard into the ground.

This is going poorly. Perceptor buckles down into covering their retreat, one which he hopes everyone has heard him call by now. Except he's not very loud, and shouting over battle never works well. He pops up from cover to get a better vantage, all the better to disable !Atomizer, their one confirmed sniper. "Retreat to drop coordinates!"

Strika knows her strike isn't going to do much, she just wants to make sure Air Raid can get away with the cassette... but that doesn't mean it irritates her any less. The dino out of the way, the femme lets out a short pained yell as !atomizer gets her in the chest plates again but manages to hold out. "ugh.. Rigardian's don't go down that easy, fragger!" And she flips into alt mode, slamming it in reverse, letting loose a volley from her alt mode's cannon as she goes. She might not go down easy, but she probably won't last another hit. Someone better grab the other cassette quick because she most definitely can't.

!Laserbeak calms enough to croon sadly at !Soundwave as Air Raid takes him away, tucked up in some pterodon talons. When they sorta crash and jostle him, he cries, "Are you okay? Oh Primus, don't die and trap me in these claws!"

!Overkill is slowly starting to back up to the !Lost Lighters when he's suddenly scooped up from a sliding submarine. His yelp of surprise is silent, thrashing for a moment and sending the tapedeck that was secure in his mouth flying... And bouncing several times against the ground. The dinosaur cassette gnashes his teeth and then calms in Nautica's arms. He'd say a thanks- and a demand to retrieve the tape- if he still had a vocodor to do so.

!Jackpot -- lucky! -- grabs !Soundwave as he clatters free, then races on ahead of the others and straight into the hold of the shuttle, knocking over the first wave of reinforcements ready to come out. Whatever he says has the rest hesitating, as !Atomizer and !Mainframe pile in behind him as Strika's fire scatters around them.

Nautica scoops up !Overkill, hoping to get both both cassette and tape deck... but alas, it doesn't quite work out that way. She reaches for !Soundwave, but then !Mainframe's shooting at her; she shifts position to keep !Overkill from being hit, and lets out a small yelp as she takes the shot herself. She scrambles back towards the others -- towards retreat, with what they have -- with Overkill still held close. "Sorry," she tells the dinosaur cassette, trying to sound calm -- and not entirely succeeding. "We'll get the others next time! But we've gotta /go/."

"I'm fine! I'm good!" Air Raid pries free, transfers !Laserbeak to his beak (carefully), and continues hopping along on foot. "Oh slag. Oh slag oh slag. Someone open the damn spacebridge!" HOW AM DO THAT.

"Go! To the evac point!" Perceptor leaves his perch entirely to get at level and direct the rest of the team, calling loudest to Nautica. She's in danger and has one of the retrieval targets. Also: One of his most valuable non-combat assets. A bridge request gets sent to Tempo's control, hopefully Soundwave's lost concentration enough for this one to get through.

Strika winces even in her alt mode as another shot bounces off her plating. This is becoming a lot of damage for even her to take... How is she not dead yet? Not wanting to find out how much longer she can hold out for her team to get back, the femme breaks off from combat to put all her energy into retreat. As she nears Air Raid and Nautica, the femme calls out, "Might want to transform and actually run or hop on!" That hopping isn't going to get him very far very fast and she's not sure how quick the other can run. She's also not about to stop as she flips around in a rolling crunch of tank treads so she can drive faster. If he wants on he better get on because she's headed straight back to the evac.

"Transforming into a submarine is probably not helpful right now," Nautica calls back. "My performance on land is sub-par!" Which is accurate if, by 'sub-par', she means 'stationary'. Given this, hopping on Strika seems the best bet.

The spacebridge opens wide just in time for them to slip through ahead of the volley of return fire that wings their way. They escape, minus any Harbingers for study, but plus two !cassettes.

!Rodimus is gonna have a meltdown.

!Atomizer, !Jackpot, and !Mainframe might be the melts that down.

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