2018-09-30 Business to Discuss

From Transformers: Lost and Found

Business to Discuss
Date 2018/09/30
Location Tarantulas' Citadel - Noisemaze
Participants Minimus Ambus, Prowl, Rodimus
NPCs Quintessons
Scene GM Koi
Summary Prowl, Minimus and Rodimus are tasked with marking Tarantulas' citadel for tech retrieval and find that someone had beat them to the punch.

Thanks to Prowl, Tarantulas, and the Science Squad, the Lost Light- and the fleet at large- has access to not only the Noisemaze but to the Citadel within it. A veritable treasure trove of scientific advances. Sure, some of it will have to be filed away because of the ethical and moral implications-- but with what they could gain... The advantage over Megatron could cause even the Tyrant to sweat.

Having been to the Citadel and given the in-depth tour, Prowl is to head up the original scouting party to mark up the fortress for a retrieval team. And maybe take what they can carry, might as well. Once Prowl and his hand-picked team were fitted with anti-Noismaze helmets- hats, definitely hats- they were sent off with an emergency one-use return-home beacon to get them a portal outta there. Not that there's anything dangerous in the Noisemaze with Tarantulas gone. But just in case. You never know if there's sand worms.

That was an hour or two ago. Now. Now the scouting team is sure there's nothing here as they walk the twisting halls of the Citadel. There's also a creeping suspicion that maybe- maybe- Prowl got them lost. Maybe.

Prowl doesn't have the patience for getting his foot caught on yet another errant, sticky strand of webbing rounding a corner. He curses at it as he tries to mark off where they've been on the crude digital layout of the citadel in his datapad. "I know where we are," he barks, before anyone can say anything.

Rodimus immediately takes off his hat only to realize what a bad idea that is and put it back on -- EXTREMELY GRUDGINGLY. He's been in a bad mood ever since, a mood mollified only slightly by the repeated oogling he's doing of Prowl's aft. "You sure about that?"

Minimus Ambus has some unpleasant associations with this place, although surely not so much as certain others here present. It has led him to quiet introspection, and thus a brand of his reserve that makes him seem more distant than usual, for the past hour or so of plodding continuity. His contribution to this exchanged is a small chuffing noise, difficult to interpret as support for either position.

The halls provide no signs, they just have branching strands of spider silk running down their length. The air is damp and sticky, just like the floor, and its dark. Well, usually dark. The next hall Prowl pick has a window running down it, giving them a lovely view of the Noisemaze. All pinks and oranges and technicolor-neons as the sands and skies shift and morph endlessly. If one stares too long, they might go mad. But it sure is pretty in short bursts.

Prowl assumes all of Minimus' wind-based noise are in support of him. He looks back to Rodimus, possibly to comment on his hat for the third time, only to catch the stare on his aft. He looks down, fails to see anything, and awkwardly moves forward, kicking his foot free. "Yes, I'm sure. There's a big chamber around here, somewhere..."

This is not the first, second, or even third time that Prowl has caught Rodimus staring at his aft. This time, at least, he does something about it. "Hang on a sec, Prowl." He's seriously focused on serious recon. The problem: it's his hands doing recon of Prowl's aft. One sec.

Minimus says, as though this doesn't answer itself: "What are you doing?"

Prowl immediately springs away and lifts his datapad as if he's about to axe Rodimus' head with it. "Hey! HEY!"

"What?" Rodimus sounds so offended by their reaction. "I said hang on! You got something--." Rodimus raises his left arm to block the swat of the datapad and reaches to pluck with his right.

Minimus Ambus folds his arms across his chest. "Gentlemechs, honestly, is this really the time for horseplay...?" It's not clear what he thinks is going on here but it is definitely clear that he disapproves of whatever it is.

    <FS3> Opposed Roll -- Rodimus=unarmed Vs Prowl=reaction+reaction
    <        Rodimus: Failure (4 5 6 6 4 2 3 2 6)          Prowl: Success (3 4 5 6 1 4 7 2)
    <                Net Result: Prowl wins - Marginal Victory

Prowl flattens himself against the nearest wall after Rodimus swipes, and misses. Rodimus gets a smarting bonk against his arm with the datapad anyway. "Minimus, please check to see if Rodimus' anti-noise helm is on too tight."

As the squirming and horseplay and ass-grabbing goes one, one of the spiderwebs that run along the hall give a little... bounce. A tiny jiggle.

"Prowl, you fragging--! What if it's a bug? A bug-bug?" Rodimus says, starting to dive after him and then stopping with hands on his hips. He glares. "You can't seriously think I'm trying to play grabaft." He's way too full up on self-righteousness to pay attention to the webs. All of their trampling and horsing around has got to be sending jiggles of their own.

"Yes, what an absurd idea, you only just grabbed his aft," Minimus says with a derisive snort. "What would you do if someone suddenly--? Never mind." He sighs, exaggeratedly, and frames his hands over his hips as he turns the weight of a dour frown as Prowl flattens himself up against the wall. "Was it a tracker? Prowl, you'd best turn around so that we can inspect."

"..." Prowl fidgets, then slowly turns around to face the wall, doors wilted. "I don't know who'd be trying to track me..." It's not like he has a notorious reputation or anything! "Well?"

Prowl turns and Prowl and Minimus see... Themselves. Its a mirror magnet. And gaudy, Quint-y one at that.

Behind them, the spidersilk jiggles again, bouncing, even, in the reflection of the ass mirror.

    <FS3> Rodimus rolls Recon: Success. (7 2 3 4 2)

"I wasn't grabbing his aft, I was grabbing something on his aft," Rodimus grumbles. He says something further under his breath, half-smothered, about whose afts people are grabbing these days, then reaches to pluck and admires the mirror in his fingers. He turns it, this way and that, before catching the jiggle of silk in his now-rearview instead of rear-view mirror. The play drops from his features, and he turns to eye the silk. "Guys, quit messing around." Ha HA. "You see that?"

Minimus turns swiftly, drawing a pistol from seeming nowhere to stare towards the shifting silk. "What is it? Why is it _wiggling_?" There's probably a joke to be made here about Prowl's aft-wiggle but Minimus is not the one to make it.

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

Prowl tries to wrangle Rodimus' wrist to snatch the trinket. "Someone thinks they're funny," he says. "They'll be even more amused when I track them down-" As Rodimus and Minimus focus on potential threats, Prowl zeroes in on the microscopic residue left by- "SOUNDWAVE. Cool. Great. Wait, what?" He finally pulls a sidearm. "Just shoot it."

The spidersilk shakes rapidly and then it goes still, pulled taut. And then-

The thick thread hits the floor. Someone- or something- cut it further down. There's no telling what. And with what Tarantulas got up to here, their imaginations can go a little wild on the culprit. (This culprit, Prowl already caught his culprit.)

As Prowl identifies it as Soundwave's present, Rodimus breaks into a grin despite the seriousness of their situation. "Come on," he says, glancing at the fallen thread. "Something's here, and we're gonna find it." He immediately starts in the direction of whatever cut the thread.

Minimus Ambus shoots the fallen splat of the thread in a blast of hot pistol fire -- maybe it's just satisfying, or maybe he's doing it for Prowl's benefit -- before he snarls, "Right. There was an entire room of biological ... constructs that I stumbled across while I was exploring. There might have been more than one."

"...I think Nightshade was hoping to utilize that grotesque process in a positive way, so... Maybe we shouldn't shoot. I don't know. If something attacks, shoot." Prowl marches onward, tucking the magnet into subspace.

The fallen thread is easily shot and it... Catchest lightly on fire. But the air is so thick and wet that it doesn't spread among the webbing, eventually petering out. Its sad. But the rest of the fallen thread makes for an easy-to-follow guide through the winding, twisting halls.

As they go, the halls look a little... Familiar to Prowl. Yes, he definitely remembers something up ahead! And, there it is, a doorway lit up. And... Something loud operating from inside, heard even from the end of its hall. CLUNK-CLANK! There's a slupring, spitting sound accompanying it, echoing hollow and metallic.

Minimus Ambus has an idea for what the play is, and he demonstrates it by hauling out his shotgun in lieu of his pistol. When Prowl bwips his lights, he chambers a round. It's very dramatic.

The loud clangs and clunks from within the room come to a stop as Prowl's sirens go off. There's a pregnant pause of silence, during which shadows can be seen moving within the bright lights of the room. Then hurried, slurping words. A foreign language- and several speakers. Those, too, fall silent.

"Who is out there?" someone asks from within the room, in a wet-sounding Cybertronian. "... Tarantulas, are you back?"

In an incredibly bad imitation of Tarantulas, Rodimus says, "Yes, it's me, Tarantulas. I'm back," as he steps to the side and takes up a position ready to fire. He looks at Minimus and Prowl with a sort of helpless recognition of just how bad his imitation was.

    <FS3> Rodimus rolls Improvisation: Good Success. (1 7 5 8 2 1 4 3 2 3 8)

Minimus Ambus stares at Rodimus in disbelief, but luckily he has spent centuries not laughing at the ridiculous.

Prowl covers his optics with his free hand and drags his palm down his face. But he adds nothing to this attempt, only buckling down in his crouched position.

More, quiet mutterings in some alien language and something large and mechanical shifts from within. "This is... Unexpected. We were just going over the merchandise. Uh. Well. Come on in. We have... Businessss to discusss..." says the same voice as before, this time more oily than wet. There's a chance they've never actually interacted with Tarantulas and Rodimus's quick wit has earned them an advantage. for now.

'Quick wit.' Quick wit. That's Rodimus, for sure. He leaves his weapons hot but strolls forward with an air of absolute confidence as he dials up the lies. "Great, I love talking business. I just got back from a repaint--" YOU SEE? A COVER STORY. Ah, but what quick wit. "--so don't smudge the paint. Come on, guards." That's you, guys. He gestures for Minimus and Prowl to follow him. Yeah. This is a good plan.

The smallest bodyguard, Minimus, looks from Rodimus to Prowl and then back to Rodimus again. His expression has gone so controlled and blank that it is impossible to read. Which would work for a bodyguard, actually. He falls in step with Rodimus while keying a quick static burst of radio: "<< I can't believe that worked. >>"

Prowl spends a little too much time trying to decipher Minimus' blank expression. He does this a lot. It's almost fun. << "I... assume we'll arrest them at some point - ? I didn't know Tarantulas was making any deals. Here of all places." >> He follows, stoic as ever.

Rodimus enters, flanked by his 'bodyguards', and they all get a look inside: It's the Chimeracon room. Large vats with partially formed creatures are still locked into place. Others are stacked onto a loading truck. And one is held within the giant, mechanical tentacles of a very large drone that is doing all the loading. The room has been stripped of tech and wiring along the walls, leaving it bare- even the webbing is being cleared... Cleared by Quintessons. They have small bodies, bulbous heads, and sharp teeth. And tentacles, of course tentacles. Low-class Quintessons.

The Quint in the far back lifts his foremost tentacles, the large drone imitating their movements. One of them says. "Right, you're fired." And then the very large, heavy chimeracon serum vat the drone holds is thrown at them. "Meeting adjourned."

    <FS3> Prowl rolls Reaction+reaction: Failure. (6 4 5 3 2 5 1 1)
    <FS3> Minimus_Ambus rolls Reaction+reaction: Success. (3 4 7 3 1 5 2 1 3 4)
    <FS3> Rodimus rolls Reaction+reaction: Good Success. (7 6 3 7 7 4)

"Oh, gross," Rodimus says, and it's not clear if it's for the Chimeracon process or the Quintessons. It's probably not for the tentacles. He kind of likes tentacles, lately. When the large drone chucks one of the fats, Rodimus moves more quickly than anyone with feet that size should to turn and shield Minimus, standing between him and the incoming vat.

The vat hits and it hits hard. Hard enough that it also shatters and gushes its serum in a wave over Prowl and Rodimus. Minimus remains dry. They both immediately feel a faint tingling sensation. Prowl, still recovering, noticeably grows a few hairs along his front. That is, before the half-formed organic matter slops itself against him, oozing and furry.

Quints. QUINTS! Prowl is so caught on this revelation that he fails to react in time. He starts to move, and then just gives up halfway, standing to endure the impending splash. Oh god not again. When the organic... thing drapes on his armor, he frantically kicks away, and just brings his sidearm around to fire on it, holding the trigger down. Just going to ignore these hairs for a while.

Minimus says, "Thank you," and then pirouettes from behind the shelter of Rodimus's frame to start firing in a hail of wild shot. He doesn't fire like someone who cares much what he hits. "This contraband is being seized in the name of the lawful authority of the Cybertronian Fleet," he pitches to the max of his volume. "Seizure of Cybertronian technology remains unlawful under Galactic Code section--" Chapter and verse, reliably. You can take the Tyrest Accord out of the Enforcer-- wait.

Rodimus's response to being covered in gross, organic sludge is a fairly predictable torching as he attempts to burn it clean -- particularly in light of what's going on with Prowl over there. He moves forward, angling to pass the drone and lower class Quintessons to head straight for the head of the many-tentacled snake. "If you're smart," he tells the smaller Quints, "you'll run, and we might be too distracted to catch you."

When the Cybertronians don't die, one of the Quints- he's wearing a hat so he's the boss- looks to the one controlling the drone and says, "How'd you-" guttural slurp-sucking sound- "that one up, Klatsy? Ack!" He dives behind something as shots are fired. "Gralewth- take that shipment back!" A yellow-eyed Quint squirms his tentacles to dive for the loading truck and take off to the doorway opposite of the one the Cybertronians just came through.

Rodimus charges and the hat Quint squeaks. "K- stop them!!" Klatsy- "K"- uses his control of the drone to make it lash a large, mechanical tentacle at Rodimus. The fire Rodimus tries to light doesn't burn very bright. It's too wet everywhere and, if anything, it makes the Chimeracon serum more sticky. Other Quints scramble, not wanting to be shot. A few jump onto the exitting loading truck. "You're trespassing! We have every right to protect our property, Cybertronians! We WILL file for legal repurcussions!" the hat Quint continues to shout from where he's hunkered down.

"You have no legal right to the seizure of contraband," Minimus Ambus explains between rounds of shotgun fire. If only most legal advice could be delivered like this.

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

Rodimus almost begins to pause in the face of the Quintesson counter-argument, but luckily Minimus is there with the ultimate legal trump card, and he can charge forward secure in a rock-solid (ununtrium-solid) legal defense. He makes straight for the hatted Quint, firing at where the tentacle joins the drone's body to break free of it.

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

"All merchandise created by employees once hired by Quint Ink. is legal property of Quint Ink. and can be seized at any time! It is not contraband if we own it--AIIEEE!" Hat Quint declares before pulling a tentacle close to his body from where he hides, the end shot off. OW! OW OW OW. Don't shoot him! But he seems determined to out-legal Minimus. Either he's supremely confident or has no idea who Minimus is. Or both.

The drone's left tentacle arm goea a little limp, just able to sweep the floor, but the right makes another slash at Rodimus. It just clips him.

Prowl hits a tire on the transport he follows, making it skitter. But, as quick as he shot the wheel off, another replaces it. A few wet and sloppy words are spoken and a Quint that hopped onto the transport pulls out a gun to take a shot at the cop on their tail.

    <FS3> Prowl rolls Reaction+reaction: Success. (6 1 3 2 8 4 4 6)

Prowl gets a solid helping of whatever awful fuckery beam is leveled at him. He feels it dissipate over his hood, but it doesn't seem to do any actual damage. So he attempts to pull forward and perform a PIT maneuver, but right is left, and left is right, and he scrambles to compensate. "FRAG!" He spins out, thumping against a wall. << "Rodimus! After them!" >>

Too late. Rodimus is committed to this tackle.

    <FS3> Rodimus rolls Unarmed: Great Success. (1 6 7 8 8 8 7 6 4)

The transport picks up speed and begins to gain distance with Prowl unable to follow and blocking some of the hall. Thanks, copper! Prowl will notice how things have been stripped from these halls as well... And there's only more Tara-tech deeper in this citadel.

Meanwhile, Rodimus isn't stopped by any sort of drone machine and tackles to fuck outta the head Quint- his hat goes flying off and everything. The Quintesson squirms and wriggles-- but Rodimus is more than used to tentacles trying to invade where they shouldn't and knows what to do. "Ack! K! K- desist! Stop! That's an order! W-We surrender! We surrender!! Take us hostage, please! Don't kill meeee!"

Minimus Ambus flips into vehicular form and hurtles after the transport at high speed. The whine of his sedan engine is not as impressive as the mighty roar of a speedster, but he corners well and he's... pretty small. Maybe it can serve as an advantage.

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

Minimus is able to squeeze by prowl but he can't quite keep the pace of the transport with the distance it's already gained- not without time and considerable separation from him and his team.

"I'm in a bad mood. I've got organic gunk on me, and I'm wearing a hat." Rodimus draws his fist back so that the hot ends of the barrels of the weapons on his arm are perfectly visible to the Quintesson he's tackled. "You want to live? Tell the rest to surrender."

Minimus Ambus veers off rather than abandon the others, braking hard and then reversing and circling back to join them. He knows better than to take on the whole squad by himself, whatever his internal instincts might say. "<< Their lead is too much. We should alert authorities about the extent of the contraband here. The last thing we need is to develop a reputation for "selling" this kind of trash. >>"

The formerly-hat Quint pales and all his tentacles go up. No more poking and prying! There's a few barking orders in that wet language from before. Then: "Everyone stop! We all surrender! We surrender!!" And any Quintessons left in the room lift their tentacles, including the one controlling the drone. The drone lifts its tentacles in a mirror, slapping the ceiling. It looks a little embarrassed by that. "What do you want?" the one in charge continues. "We've got Galactic credits! Take the drone! Anything- please don't kill me!"

Prowl feels some of his directional mixups fading, maybe enough to transform. He's still pretty dizzy, though.

Rodimus leaves his fist aimed in a threat but looks back to Prowl and Minimus for an answer to that. 'Punch' is probably not the answer. "You guys have any cuffs that work on tentacles?" he calls back before turning to the Quint he's captured. "Call back the ones who've fled and tell them to surrender their contraband, too."

Prowl slowly pushes himself up from his alt mode and braces against the wall as he makes his way back on foot. He perks up. Rod got one! "Just... Just tie them together."

"You can't just tie someone's tentacles together, Prowl!" Rodimus says in a shocked sort of voice.

"My cuffs are not calibrated for tentacles, although I have previously asked engineering to work on the problem," Minimus reports as he reverts to root mode. He doesn't... actually offer Prowl a hand because his hand would probably not help much, but he does hover nearby in case Prowl falls over or something. "We are not here for random acts of banditry. We are recovering contraband. If you believe you have an adequate legal claim to the unlawful material we're seizing, I'm certain our legal department can provide you with a form." He blinks in a narrowing of scarlet eyes, but he doesn't have any comment whatsoever on tying someone's tentacles together, or why he might have asked for tentacle-OK handcuffs, for that matter.

"Also, your entire race is up to no good. In fact, apparently, it has never done any good whatsoever." Prowl sets a hand on Minimus' shoulder to keep from teetering. "You're going to tell us the location of Orion and the Matrix." Faketrix. Whatever.

"Faketrix," Rodimus immediately corrects in an even more offended tone.

The Quint sputters. "Arrested?!" He doesn't look happy about that but Rodimus's fists keeps him from doing anything more than sputtering. "I can't just-- at this point they're out of range! And they're taking Quintesson property back. This is our property, our stuff! You have no claim. The Galactic Council will not take this and-and! This is an outrage! I don't have to answer anything!" He continues ranting about how they have no right and their laws don't rule etc etc.

Rodimus doesn't tie the tentacles, but he does squeeze them. Just a little. "This stuff is starting to congeal, and you know what? That's just making me angrier. Because I'm pretty sure you don't really expect me to believe you can't possible comm the rest of your crew."

The Quint's ranting ceases in time for him to squeak. "This place is weird and we didn't need comms- We just have orders to carry out! No one was supposed to be here!!" There's a chance hat guy wasn't the head hancho- just the boss of these low-lifes.

Prowl is done. There has been an intense, persistent urge to scream at the Quintesson that had been "responsible" for all of their woes, but this is just a lackey. He stifles the threat that had been welling in his intake, and waves at Rodimus. "We're taking back what we can, and we're going to speak to the Galactic Council as soon as we're able."

Rodimus growls at the Quintesson like he's really thinking about doing something terrible to him anyway -- and then he relents, pulling back to allow Prowl and Minimus in to tie tentacles ... or some other, more humane method of subduing the Quintesson. As they pack up, he can't help but aside to Prowl: "Do you feel funny?" His spoiler keeps jumping and twitching with the itches running beneath his plating. "O--h. Oh. Frag. I think you're growing organic stuff again. Oh no. It's on me. It's all over!" It's gonna be a long ride home.

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