This log is one where Pipes ended up being the center of attention. I think that sometimes I hog the spotlight in scenes, and I’m trying, with mixed success, to be more passive at times. In this case, though, everyone was happy to go along with it.
I had been unable to participate in prior logs when the “away team” ended up in Tyrest’s jail cell, so I had to write myself into it.
A pair of adjacent cell bars vanish, and a pair of guards half-shove, half-throw Pipes through the gap before they quickly blaze to life again. The minibot stumbles and falls to the floor like a sack of rusty bolts. He doesn't look damaged, but there are bulky braces of some sort festooning his arms. He moans a little, not in pain but in annoyance.
All of the captives’ weapons had been taken away or disabled. There were comments tossed out in prior logs that they were taking extra time with me, to explain my absence from the scenes. I tried to convey here that Pipes wasn’t hurt, just roughed up into a fuddle.
Pipes manage to sit up. "Yeah, I'm fine, Tailgate, thanks. They did /this/ to me, /finally/," he replies as he raises his arms up. Metal armatures wrap around his forearms and wrists. "Heh, yeah, Captain, they gave me some special treatment when they realized that if they didn't do something to block my pipes, I'd burn a hole in whatever wall was near me to escape. It took them /eight/ tries to come up with this, this --" he wiggles his arms around again.
Pipes likes his pipes.
The number eight came from Office Space.
Minimus Ambus would probably rather not, but he's not about to fail in following orders even when orders are terrible. "Ah ... Pipes," he says. He looks at Rodimus for a moment, and then across Pipes and Tailgate as he rises from his bench again. "My name is Minimus Ambus." What comes next? How does he even summarize this? "You actually know me, but I've been Ultra Magnus for the last few centuries." He looks to Tailgate next. Maybe Tailgate can magically explain.
"I couldn't try anything, even if I wanted to," Pipes grumbles. "They stayed right on top of me while they worked. I just let them. I figured if I tried anything I'd get walloped, and then they'd just keep working anyway." Tailgate helps him stand up, and Pipes gives him a quick pat of thanks.
Pipes then hears this new bot, not much taller than him and with some impressive facial insignia, claim to be actually Ultra Magnus. He is silent for a beat, and then starts snickering. "Oh, OK, right! That's ... that is funny! Wow they must be venting something /amazing/ into this cell." He nods his head, but when no one else reacts, he stops and looks at the others. "Wait, are you serious?"
An unfortunate consequence of me not being around when Minimus Ambus revealed himself is that he had to do it again here. I tried to make up for it by giving Pipes a completely inappropriate reaction. I had to speak the words to myself to make sure they came out the right way, with the right pacing and emphasis.
Pipes gets a sinking feeling in his spark as it becomes apparent that Minimus Ambus really is Ultra Magnus. Or, was, anyway. He turns back to the mustachioed bot, optics widened. "I ... I'm sorry, sir. I really didn't expect that that was true. Begging your pardon." He shudders a bit. Is it from being upset at having maligned a superior officer to his face? Or a suppressed giggle? Time may tell.
Pipes is very respectful of authority, so his reaction is a serious faux pas in his view. I’ll reveal now, though, that the shudder was in fact a giggle. (In OOC chat, Rodimus guessed that too.) I love tying minor thoughts and actions together across scenes.
SHOCKING, the words from the Captain's mouth as they reach Pipes' audio receptors. Shocking, but Pipes unquestioningly accepts them as valid, and Ultra Mag--I mean, Minimus Ambus only confirms them. "Escape sounds great to me, but my go-to for that is plugged up at the moment. I'm also pretty sure they drained my gas supply, so who even knows if I can regenerate any. In time. But I'll help with any other ideas." He looks around at the other prisoners.
Rodimus had just cursed up a storm about Tyrest, and Pipes would be very taken aback by that from his Captain. The capital C is intentional, by the way, and I use it whenever Pipes refers to Rodimus to signal his respect. Even after the whole Overlord thing.
I had to assert that Pipes was out of gas so that there wouldn’t be the suggestion that he just burn through, say, his own arms from the inside to let it out for use. Because Pipes would have done that.
Pipes dutifully sits down. "I can ram things," he says dumbly. He reaches to his thighs reflexively for his trusty pistols, which of course were confiscated, but then remembers something with a flash. "Oh my Primus! Is it still there? Tell me it's still there!" He pops a hatch on his side and tries to reach in, but the contraption on his arm knocks against him. "Gah. Tailgate, reach in there, wouldja? I had a container stowed with some of my collection. Maybe it's still there since it's not a weapon, it's just a box. I can't remember what's in it, but maybe something can help."
OK, this is where the scene gets really fun. I had suggested OOC the idea that Pipes still had some junk from his collection with him, since we were starting to inventory what we could do to escape. Everyone else responded enthusiastically, so I went with it.
I decided to make things awkward for Tailgate by having the braces around Pipes’ arms keep him from being able to reach in to get the box. Heh heh.
"Thanks, Tailgate!" The joy of cracking open a box of his collectibles momentarily distracts Pipes from their current, imprisoned, close-to-execution state. He lifts the container's lid and starts producing its contents, laying them out in neat rows and declaring what they are as he does. "A sharpener for a graphite-core writing implement called a 'pencil', oh this is in the shape of a monument called the 'Statue of Liberty'; a dispenser for rectangular candies, with this charming little human head with pointed ears on top; a rubber ink stamp for the word 'DENIED'; and this, a small car that can operate via remote control. I never got the controller for it.
Oh, and this!" The last item Pipes produces is a small red and blue plastic replica of a very familiar Autobot. He holds it up and tilts it side to side playfully as he drops his voice and says, "Freedom is the right of all sentient beings."
All of the basic ideas for the contents of the box came from other players. I embellished them to give them more character, so to speak. The candy dispenser is, of course, a Pez dispenser with Spock’s head on top.
The final item is, of course, an Optimus Prime toy, and the quote is the classic from his Tech Specs. Later on, Rodimus drops hints that he’s a little envious of the toy. OOC, he was imagining picking up the toy a la Darth Helmet and having it tell him how much better he liked Rodimus than Bumblebee.
Pipes agrees with Tailgate's assessment of the last item. "Isn't it? /Adorable./" He places it down gently next to the rest of the stuff. He looks up as Minimus asks his question. "It may, sir. I believe these - I suppose they're drones, technically, but usually they're used just for entertainment - they normally receive commands from control units. It's possible that this one could also be able to transmit telemetry back. If not, well, maybe its receiver could be modified."
The “Adorable” is another Spaceballs reference, this time to Yogurt.
This is the beginning of the idea to use the RC car as part of an escape plan. We ended up joking about putting the Ultra Magnus head on top of it and driving it around.
Pipes looks over at the head, the Ultra Magnus head. Even though he's just learned it's really part of some suit of armor, it still looks grisly to him, its optics dark and lifeless. He looks back at the arrayed artifacts and harrumphs. "This is all I've got for us to work with. I guess the drone is the best bet, but I don't know how to modify it. Maybe we can just try to control it first, send some signals to it." He starts putting the other pieces back into the box. Tailgate might be interested in the rubber stamp so he lets him check it out.
I was leaving open the idea of using the Ultra Magnus head as a control mechanism. In my mind, the antennae sticking up from it would make great joysticks.
It was starting at this point where I was getting lost as to what to keep doing with the scene. Looking back, I should have written in that I still had the remote control that went with the car, but at the time it seemed better not to, since Pipes’ collection really is just a mess.
Pipes wishes he'd spent more time learning how the stuff he collects actually works. He turns the car over and examines it, not really noticing Magnus holding his own head. "You're right. I'll see what I can figure out about this thing."
My aimlessness continued, but fortunately the scene was about to end. Pipes doesn’t have any particular mechanical aptitude, although he knows how Earth things are supposed to work when they work right. Later on some days after this scene, I commented OOC that it was reasonable that highly advanced technological beings should be able to rewire a toy from Walmart, so maybe I should have given him a little bit of skill here. I may grant him that going forward.