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The Quest for Cybertonium
2/23/02

Library

        This room is used by the Decepticons to study or relax. Located all along the walls are shelves of crystal data cards. There are also several computer stations to read the cards and display the data in various ways. Although all the information stored here is also archived in the main computer, the library serves as a backup as well as a gathering place. Decepticons can meet here for brainstorming sessions and plan strategy or to simply socialize.


CatsCradle has taken over two of the chairs, turning them to face each other and is curled up in them in a nest. A pile of datapads are stacked on the floor nearby and she is reading from another. She looks up as Scorcher and Motormaster come in and waves, while trying not to be obvious about peeking around her to see if anyone else is behind them. (a sorta repose)

Scorcher looks back as she hears somebody enter behind her "Hello Motormaster" she says

Scorcher slumps down in one of the chairs

Motormaster stumbles in looking tired... something rare for the usually energetic mech. Ever since everybody around here started to get all sick and disoriented, his team has been bearing a large part of the defensive load... and it's wearing them out. He manages a nod to the two femmes present, then walks over to the couch and slumps down in it.

Scorcher says, "If I have to fly one more recon mission I am going to scream. Let one of those precious seekers lift their lazy behinds off their bunks for a change""

CatsCradle peers towards the door again. "You... um... didn't happen to see Diver out there, did you?"

CatsCradle adds, "he's been in a reallyreally bad mood all week, 'cause of his engines." She hides behind her datapad. "I'm in hiding."

Motormaster just shakes his head wearily,"Not seen a bit of him. Need to talk to him though." He turns his head to look at Scorcher next,"Oh yeah. Got good news. For you."

CatsCradle shudders. "Actually, Motormaster, I really suggest you wait until he's fixed again. I don't think you'll get very far with him otherwise."

Scorcher looks up at Motormaster, wearily trying to figure out what he is talking about "Good news?" she asks dumbly

Motormaster nods and lets his head rest back against the cushions,"Got you that trainer we talked about."

Tempest hesitates in the doorway, noticing the gathering, and wonders if it is anything she would take interest in.

Scorcher smiles brightly suddenly "Ah. Thank you"

Motormaster is slumped on the couch, looking exhausted from the increased duty load with the majority of the troops incapacitated.

CatsCradle looks up nervously from her nest and pile of datapads and relaxes visibly when she sees it's Tempest coming in. She gives a little wave of invitation for her to join them.'

Tempest steps in, a little warily, and takes a seat near Catscradle. She doesn't speak but she looks at the assembly in a way that asks clearly, "What's going on?"

CatsCradle leans over. "We're hiding from the sick mechs," she explains

Motormaster mutters something about actually having come here for a nap because he thought it would be quiet, but also waves a hand to his yellow and blue bud.

Tempest raises an optic ridge. "Is Divefire driving you crazy?" she asks. Perhaps a flicker of concern is visible for a brief second in her optics as she thinks of something...and perhaps not.

Tempest smirks at Motormaster. "Quiet, this place? You've /got/ to be kidding."

CatsCradle shudders again. "I thought I had seen Diver's bad moods before, but this...!"

Motormaster awws playfully at CatsCradle,"Thought you bonded types were supposed to be there to support each other no matter what..."

Scorcher says "You could sleep in my bunk. Nobody would look for you there." Then she realizes how what she just said could be interpreted and hides her face behind her hands as her fuel pomp misses a fair few beats. She would sink through the floor if she could

Tempest says, "I heard a report...Autobots dynamited the Cybertron mine. Shockwave's shipment isn't getting through." The optics slide over to Catscradle.

CatsCradle snorts. "I was loving and supporting for the first few days. This is beyond any call of duty."

CatsCradle hears Tempest's report and snorts. "I'm gonna go back to Cybertron and rip the stuff out of the mines myself if I have to."

Scorcher shakes her head at Cats "That will not work. I already tried that."

CatsCradle grins evilly. "You just don't have enough motivation, Scorch."

Motormaster gestures,"We gotta find some way. As things are, my team is getting worn out." He does pause for a moment to peer at Scorcher, before just smirking in amusement at her slipup and letting his head drop back again.

Tempest nods a little. That was better than the alternative--Cats getting really upset. She's beginning to understand, if only somewhat, how people can have emotional responses to statements....and she's beginning to care, if only a little, how she affects them. Again, she thinks...could they really go to Cybertron and get the stuff themselves?


Scorcher shudders "Not much fun at Cybertron right now. Commander Shockwave had those droids responsible for letting those Autobots slip through smelted into support struts for the new mine. Everybody is afraid if the slip up they end up like that too"

Motormaster sighs,"At this point, bein' melted'd almost be a relief. Maybe I should go volunteer to held support the new mine."

Scorcher frowns in thought "What I don't understand is why the 'bots have not come pay us a visit yet?"

CatsCradle looks thoughtful. "You know, a troop from here might be more effective. After all, we're more closely involved with the problem." She nods at the three of them. "You're all exhausted from triple duty, and I want my mate back...well, if not in a good mood, at least not any worse than normal."

Motormaster shrugs,"Simple enough. They were in stasis just like our folks were... I'd guess they're goin' through the samet thing."

Tempest says, in a low growl, "I've done worse..." For her, it's the /lack/ of doing anything to solve the problem that's driving her crazy. "You know, Catscradle, I think you have a point. If we can't get permission to go, I say we take it anyway...good luck they'll have in stopping us!"

Motormaster holds up a hand,"Whoa now... stoppin' you folks maybe. I ain't all geared up to run off an' play at miner."

Scorcher squeaks "You mean... deserting ... our posts?"

CatsCradle shrugs lightly. "I pretty much have an open ticket back to Cyber at anytime, since I still work at the Grinder."

CatsCradle considers. "'course, part of that open ticket was Diver ferrying me back and forth, but I imagine I could still use the Grinder as an excuse to go back."

Tempest says, "I hardly think it's /deserting/ our posts since staying at them isn't doing the Empire any favours." Does she think that, or is she phrasing it in an acceptable way?

Motormaster simply rises to his feet again, shaking his head,"I'm willin' ta do a lot o' things that might not be right on the straight an' narrow, but I ain't gonna leave the base vulnerable just to go do somethin' that none of us is trained to do in the first place. Say you do get there... whaddya do then? None o' you is a geologist. You'd do more damage'n help."

Scorcher sighs "Of course, if things don't improve quickly I will be in repair bay soon for an extended maintenance. Flying round the clock is wearing my parts out

CatsCradle chews on her lip. "We can't take all the able bodied. Some will have to stay to protect the base. And would we actually have to do the mining? Or just escort the stuff back here?"

Tempest's optics narrow and she says, "I'll squeeze it out of the Autobots drop by drop if I have to!"

Motormaster shrugs,"Do what you want. I ain't gonna be involved in this." And he walks out.

CatsCradle gives Temp a quick grin, then settles deeper in her chair, drumming her claws and thinking. "Well, we've only got two places where we can get the stuff. Everyone has to agree with us on that. Cyber, and wherever the Autobots took that safe-ful from the hangar. So we either go back to Cybertron and get it, or we find out where the 'bots took it, here."

Tempest says quietly, "If the Autobots had the same problem we did, they'd have used up the stuff they stole fixing themselves. We have no choice but to get new."

CatsCradle asks, "Then why would Megatron object?"

Scorcher tries to think things through, something she rarely bothers with "I think we should move out of this base as well. If the Autobots can repair themselves they will come looking for us. And they know where the base is surely?"

Tempest's lip lifts a little and says, "Megatron likes to do things himself.... And as for moving, I don't think Megatron and Soundwave and the others are in good enough shape to do so."

CatsCradle grins again. "Fine. We go over his head. To Nightbird."

****

Command Center

        This circular room was formerly the bridge when the base was a viable spaceship. Now used as the Command Center, it is dominated by the large central viewing screen. The screen is linked to the main computer system, and can display anything from energon production reports to tactical updates to topside weather information. The various other bridge control stations have been converted to monitor and control the various mechanisms and activities of the base. They curve around the room from the door to the central viewscreen.


Scorcher staggers into the command center. Continuous duty for the past several days has left her a bit worn out."

Starscream limps into the command center, looking somewhat disheveled due to the effects of Cybertonium depletion, but even that is not enough to stop him from drawing himself up and announcing, "Megatron is unconscious. That makes /me/ the new leader." He proceeds to make his way to Megatron's chair and sit in it as if he owned it.

Sludge tromps into the Command Center, the ground shaking as he walks. He's happy, if rather bored... He's gotten some good fights over the past few days on Cybertron, and he hopes that he'll be able to get some more in.

Soundwave comes slowly and haltingly into the room, his movements alternating between almost smooth and occasional freeze-ups. He casts Starscream a dubious look, well-hidden behind his facemask.

CatsCradle slips into the command center just in time to hear Starscream's announcement. Her face shifts into her pleasantly impassive mask, and instead of sitting on her usual console, she leans against the doorjamb, her arms crossed.

<LongRange> Shockwave says, "Shockwave to frontier base, please acknowledge."

Starscream mutters, "What's taking that idiot Shockwave? We're supposed to get that Cybertonium shipment hours ago....About time!"

<LongRange> Starscream says, "This is Starscream, interim Decepticon /leader/.  Report!"

Soundwave stands back and lets Starscream, as self-nominated "leader," handle the call.

Tempest moves up beside Soundwave and says somewhat urgently, "Is Megatron all right?"

Reflector enters into the Command Center, shaking his heads. His path is somewhat sloppy, and his link is having a tendency to destabilize occasionally, so he is here merely to observe, and not to participate in things.

Scorcher just finds something to lean to and can not muster much enthusiasm for what is going on

Soundwave replies quietly to Tempest, "As alright as any of us are, Tempest. He is in no immediate danger, if that is what you mean."

Tempest nods a little...that's what she meant...and casts a glance at Starscream. "That's just...strange, and worrisome." She evidently means having Starscream in Megatron's place.

Sludge blinks around, and then asks, "Uhm, why Red Plane Thing in charge? Where big gun?" Sludge looks around, rather bored, and rather curious as to what's going on.

<LongRange> There's a discreet pause as Shockwave considers that, then he says, "There is a situation on Cybertron. Plant creatures identical to the kind that consumed the Insecticon clones have taken root on Cybertron. My usual sentry forces are unable to cope with them, and I require someone with personal experience to assist in cleaning out the infestation."

<LongRange> Starscream says, "PLANTS?!  We're sitting around here DEACTIVATING and all you care about is a few stupid PLANTS?  Get us our Cybertonium NOW!"

Gryphus pauses at the doorjam, leaning against it and watching, listening from there.

CatsCradle sighs. "Well, I suppose if the plants eat everyone, we won't be able to get any of the cybertonium..."

Tempest just...winces...at Starscream's hysterics.

<LongRange> Shockwave says in a supremely calm tone, as if speaking to a new creation, "The morphobots as they are informally known have spread directly through the heart of the cybertonium mine, and preclude any efforts to search for more. They must be eliminated."

Scorcher has been dozing off and jerks awake at Starscream's shouting

<LongRange> Starscream says, "Silence...then...Stand by, we are assembling a team."

CatsCradle thumps her head back gently against the doorjamb. "Of course. The plants take over the mine."

Gryphus continues to say nothing as she watches the others.

Starscream turns to look at the other Decepticons. "I want /everyone/ who's still functional to go to Cybertron, clean out those damned Morphobots, and /bring us back our C...*static* our C *Static* *cough* urk *cough* Our Cybertonium!" His hand, raised in a fist, sticks in that position and won't come down, much to his disgust.

<LongRange> Shockwave says, "I await their arrival. Cybertron out."

Scorcher mutters to Tempest, who is standing nearest to her "What is going on?"

Reflector walks over to Gryphus, nodding to her, and his forms shaking somewhat as his link goes up and down. He nods to her, and then he pauses, "How are you functioning, Gryphus?"

Tempest Rolls her optics and says to Scorcher, "I think we get our wish...a Trip to Cybertron to get rid of morphobots."

Gryphus looks down at the trio. "I'm rested." is all she says.

Reflector nods to Gryphus, "Thank you for your assistance on our project. It is not necessary that you push yourself to your limits for it..."

Scorcher drags herself upright and says "I need a bit of energon, but I am ready to go"

Soundwave's optic band flickers slightly darker. "I do not believe I am in any condition to assist on Cybertron," he says quite realistically, though with an undertone of regret.

Sludge looks around and he stretches, nearly knocking a couple of the Decepticons by him over as he swings his massive arms around, shaking his head. "Me am bored... We going have fight? If we no have fight, me think that me stay bored..."

Gryphus gives him a dismissing wave. "Not the first time.. and won't be the last." she moves from the door jam.. "I suppose I will be going to Cybertron then."

Reflector nods to Gryphus, "Regrettably, I am in no condition for a field assignment, so I believe that I will be remaining at base. I will be here when you return."

CatsCradle nods. "I'd rather deal with morphobots than a grounded mate."

Starscream says, "There'll probably be a fight on Cybertron," to Sludge. She sets her jawplates. "I'm ready to go. I'll bring that stuff back." Yes, the one usually lurking in the background somewhere is now standing in the middle of the floor, ready to take charge.

Tempest says, "There'll probably be a fight on Cybertron," to Sludge. She sets her jawplates. "I'm ready to go. I'll bring that stuff back." Yes, the one usually lurking in the background somewhere is now standing in the middle of the floor, ready to take charge.

Scorcher mutters darkly "I hope you are around when we get back. If the Autobots are not repaired first"

Starscream says to Scorcher, "The longer you sit around yapping the more /likely/ you are to be greeted by Autobots when you return! So...GET GOING!" Yes, Starscream's nervous...

Sludge nods, and then crosses his arms happily, "Me go, then. Me want fight! ME want find stupid girlie bots that me smash last time, and me find the, and me smash them good!"

Tempest shoots Starscream a dirty look, and goes.
Soundwave folds up quite unexpectedly into his tape player mode. No, he's definitely not going anywhere

Soundwave transforms into his Tape Recorder mode.

Gryphus nods to Sludge. "Nice to have you on our side..."

Sludge nods to Gryphus, scratching his head, and he almost appears - embarrassed? "Uhm, me thank you, Horsie-Bird..."

****

Cybertron Polyhex Command Center

        Replacing the largely ceremonial Throne Room, this area serves as a liaison point between officers and troops. This is where, in recent years, Shockwave makes the day-to-day decisions about Cybertron's governance. The decor of the Command Center is purely functional, designed to facilitate the easy transfer of information. The area is circular in shape, with a raised standing area around the edges to give speakers an edge of authority. Various relays and datafeeds are displayed on banks of reclined monitors, set around the walls in a semi-circle, along with computer banks, datagrids and inert coms monitors. Security cameras map out every aspect of Decepticon territory, as well as constantly showing different location shots of the Nightwarren. A huge hi-res screen curves above the main terminal, and the gleaming walls capture the flickering and jump of information as it scrolls past on the screens, viewers and terminals. A funnel-like elevator exists at the centre of the room leading upward to one of the few above-ground facilities of this structure - the Spacebridge Transmat Chamber. Because of its proximity to the spacebridge site, the energon storage hold is located nearby.


Sludge walks out of the Space Bridge, whistling to himself. As he sees Shockwave, he grins, "Hey! One-Eye! How you do?" If there is one thing that Sludge will never master, it will be military protocols...

Scorcher salutes Shockwave "Sir!"

Gryphus steps through and nods to Shockwave. "SO how bad is it?"

Shockwave acknowledges the troops with a nod. "Bad enough that I will be brief. Which of you has had direct experience with the organisms?"

Tempest slips out of the command center in her fluid movements, and nods formally to Shockwave, putting herself at the head of this scattered crew. "The Earth detachment," she says simply. Her optics are ruby, flashing, her face sternly set, as if gearing for the task ahead. "Where's the mine?"

CatsCradle steps out of the bridge with a slight shudder. Ever since Intrigue disappearing on the bridge, she hasn't quite trusted it. Having a mate with space flight capabilities has allowed her to avoid the bridge for the most part up until now.

Tempest raises a hand, to say, she has seen morphobots before.

CatsCradle says, "I have, as well."

Scorcher nods "I have too, sir, but I did not have much direct interaction with them."

Sludge blinks, and then shrugs, "Just plants. All need is pull up, burn, and wreck... Me no think that hard. Us Dinobots do it with trees all time."

Gryphus says, "I think we all have Shockwave...""

Shockwave nods again. "Very well. Sludge, the plants are not the organic variety, and are far more resilient."

Sludge blinks at Shockwave, and then he nods, "Well, me am Dinobot, and am strongest and most powerfulest... Me can just rip up and then crush... Me no think it be that hard."

Tempest says, "Sludge, shut up," and pokes the Dinobot impatiently. She looks at Shockwave, not knowing where to go on this planet.

Shockwave considers for a moment, then activates his radio.

<Cybertron> Shockwave says, "Colossus, if you or Skyquake are available, I would you to join myself and a contingent from the frontier base to help deal with the plant incursion."

Sludge shrugs at Tempest, whom he towers over, but he nods, and then he falls silent, crossing his massive arms across his chest. She is Boss...

Gryphus Looks to Sludge. "These are tough robotic Plants, Sludge.Ē

Shockwave says, "Your strength will no doubt be of benefit Sludge. We shall proceed to where the plants have come to the surface."

Tempest says, "Lead on, then."

****

Ghostways

     Southwest of the dismal urban wasteland of the Nightwarrens lie what appear to be the remnants of a vast transport grid. Pieces of the old superconductor-enhanced tracks, designed to bear small light-weight shuttle cars from various regions, are scattered in all directions. This flat landscape is very different from the claustrophobic maze of passages and buildings - which might evoke in a traveler either a sense of relief, or the uneasy feeling of being far too visible. To the east, the broken towers of a city loom on the horizon.

Gryphus says, "How many plants would you say there are?"

Tempest stalks over the landscape, wearing the "bracelet" of her switchsword hilt on her right hand and the gauntlet of the tornado blade on her left, moving beside Shockwave with that strange fluid motion suggesting a trap ready to spring at a second's notice. Her optics rove about, never still, flashing blood-red.

As the Decepticons get close to the area, Gryphus' question is answered. Plants cover a large percent of the area, shooting up directly from the ground and prowling restlessly for food.

Scorcher stays airborne, scanning the area to see if the perimeter is secure

<Cybertron> Colossus says, "Us Tyrians are busy dealing with Autobots on Imperial lands. We are currently hunting down the guerrilla cell that invaded the mines last time. We are not gardeners. Ask the Valckastans, they need more to do."

Tempest hisses as she hears the radio call. "Megatron requires assistance. /EVERYONE/ should respond."

Sludge flies along in the air. He tries to figure out just how he's going to go about uprooting so many plants, and he just figures he'll go on in there, tear them up,  and  then trample them to kill them.

Gryphus Frowns at the plants and then more as Colossus replies. She is glad she left him to figure out the talks on his own... he is intolerable.

<Cybertron> Shockwave says, "I am asking you Colossus, and this situation is of far more immediate concern than hunting Autobots. Megatron and the other Decepticons need cybertonium, and that requires dealing with the infestation. Come to the Ghostways with whomever you can."

Shockwave expected Sludge to not quite be aware of the danger, and flies up toward him. "Sludge, stay away from them for now. They are dangerous, and we shall require you later."

Scorcher tries to stay inconspicuous while flying overhead, she rather not be asked to go fetch the warlord, with the other cyberjets

Sludge nods to Shockwave, and he sighs, "Ok Blinky, me go. Where you want me go, then? And me want get in on smash..."

Gryphus brings out her scanner and starts taking scans of the plants to be sure if they are the same as the one they encountered before.

CatsCradle grunts softly, "Tell him that it'll give him a chance to show up the Valckastans. Then tell the Valckatans it'll give them a chance to show up the Tyrians. That oughta get us more help than we need."

Tempest says, "Too bad Soundwave isn't here...he could play music like Blaster." She tries to remember what else worked against Morphobots. She doesnít' relish the idea of chopping each one to salad individually.

Shockwave says, "With me for now. Gryphus, you have a preliminary analysis?"

Gryphus looks at her scans. "A moment sir."

CatsCradle crosses her arms and glares at the plants. "Well, shooting them didn't work, as Starscream found out. Loud music does... Gryphus, did you try your sonic squawk at them before?"

Gryphus considers. "Same plants as before.. and no I don't think I did."

Tempest nods. "That's a good idea, Catscradle. These things were certainly noise sensitive."

CatsCradle lifts one shoulder in an abbreviated shrug. "Worth a try, anyway."

Gryphus nods and takes aim... issuing forth a sonic squawk at the nearest plant.

Sludge shrugs, and then looks about in the air, "Me say just SMASH them, and cause earthquake, smash them all up."

CatsCradle adds, "Either that, or we can feed them Autobots until they're too stuffed to move."

Shockwave says, "I did prepare a sonic scrambler in the past few hours, but I would suspect Gryphus can do as well or better. Proceed."
Tempest laughs. "CatsCradle, I like the idea, but it seems there are never Autobots when you need them... Go for it, Gryphus."

CatsCradle grins wryly. "I kinda liked that one myself."

Sludge hovers up in the air, rather bored, and hoping that he gets to go down and try and crush the things.

As Gryphus lets loose her squawk, a ripple goes out among the plants. They seem to move in a uniform way, then they go back to their usual thrashing.

CatsCradle tilts her head, considering. "It worked briefly. Maybe we need something more ... longer lasting?"

Tempest frowns, remembering what Blaster did. "Gryphus...you can't keep that sound /constant/, can you?"

Scorcher radios "I remember, sir, that these plants were also affected briefly by a sonic boom"

Gryphus considers. "I never tried a constant one before."

CatsCradle thinks some more. "We could have someone from Earth bring tapes of the same type of music Blaster was playing. Broadcast it over the plants."

Gryphus transforms, she shunts her power from unnecessary systems. and takes aim.. then issues a sonic squawk at the plants... trying to make it last as long as possible.

Shockwave adopts the classic thinking pose with one hand on his chin and says, "Even if we were to immobilize them, I suspect removing them would still be difficult."

Tempest says, "Is there any way then to keep them still while we go down into the root system? Maybe they're vulnerable there....or at the very least, we could get /under/ them and into the mines. Getting the Cybertonium, that's the important part."

CatsCradle crouches down to squint at the base of the plants. "Are they rooted, or do they move? What if we made this area extremely unpleasant for them to be in? such as broadcasting high pitched or loud sounds constantly?"

Sludge shrugs, and then he says, "Well, we just go down there, we tear up, we rip them out. Me no think it that hard do..."

The new longer-lasting squawk seems less forceful than before. The plants stop the energetic trashing, and wave in an almost hypnotic fashion. Not the same as when they stood straight up with Blaster's music, but a more wave-like pattern.

Gryphus gives up after she has taken her systems down to a almost dangerous erm level.. "Woah.. I need a recharge..."

Tempest says to Shockwave, "Can we record that sound, and replay it?" She can tell Gryphus can't keep that up for long.

Scorcher lands next to Gryphus and hands her a partially drained energon cube "Here have this one. I brought it to munch on"

Gryphus cocks her head at the cube. "Uhm thanks..." she eats it up... apparently beast form tfs don't care about ABC cubes.

Shockwave considers for a moment longer, then hefts his cannon arm. "I shall attempt to determine how it responds to the electromagnetic spectrum. I suggest you all keep a safe distance."

Gryphus backs off and watches on

CatsCradle immediately begins to back away

Tempest does not need to be told twice, bounding clear, realizing how out in the open she is here.

Sludge stays in the air, not moving back at all. He's a big DInobrute, he can take it.

Scorcher blasts off again and keeps a respectful distance. She remembers what happened to Starscream

Shockwave starts off with a simple light beam, noting the response to it. There seems to be none, so he switches to ultraviolet. Still nothing notable, and he moves to x-rays.

Tempest watches the Morphobots...surely there's /some/ way into the underground?

Tempest mutters to Scorcher, "They've /got/ to be vulnerable to Something!"

Scorcher radios to Shockwave "Sir. We got company"

Gryphus watches on in silence.. just her tail moving

Tempest's head perks up as she hears something else approaching...she takes down her blades and waits...

Stands bathing a writhing mass of technoplants with x-rays. Finally he moves to gamma rays.

Double Punch scurries across the landscape like a bizarrely-colored apparition, his sensors picking up the group ahead of him and guiding him toward it.

Shockwave stands bathing a writhing mass of technoplants with x-rays. Finally he moves to gamma rays.

CatsCradle says, "Well, we know they hate loud music... it's just whether or not we want to take the time to have some imported in from Earth." Then she goes still for a brief second, then gradually fades into the nearby shadows, almost disappearing.

Scorcher flies closer to the new arrival, unwilling to let a Tyrian soldier near her commander

Double Punch seems to make no attempt at stealth in his approach, though he doesn't make much noise for so large and apparently cumbersome a creature. His direct approach indicates that he's probably not an attacker.

Tempest points a blade towards Double Punch and says tersely, "Is that one of ours?"

Shockwave finally shuts down the gamma rays, not wanting to try a coherent laser beam given the reflecting properties of the morphobots. "Even large outputs of light don't appear to affect them. This process will be difficult."

Gryphus says, "Yes he is. One of Colossusís warriors.""

Sludge shrugs, and then thinks, "You could just call other Dinobots here, we go in, we take out plants. We do it all time back home, when we find forest and we want wreck..."

Tempest says, "We have to get to the underground, we can worry about removing the plants later."

Shockwave says "At ease Tempest, it is Double Punch." He goes over to the scorpion and says, "Colossus has not come?"

Tempest nods to Gryphus and Shockwave, though she continues to watch Double Punch warily.

CatsCradle fades back out of the shadows again as she recognizes Double Punch. She waves her hand a little at Shockwave. "Loud noises?" she suggests again. "We /know/ that works."

Double Punch regards Tempest's hostile "greeting" with seemingly little reaction, and transforms as he reaches the group. "Lord Colossus conveys his apologies, Guardian," he says to Shockwave. "He has sent me in his place. We are precariously low on resources in Tyrian at the present time, so he sent those he could spare. Namely myself."

Gryphus nods to DP. "IT is good to see you again." she looks at the plants. "Other than myself.. it seems we do need some sort of noise maker."

Shockwave's optic flashes a bit. Perhaps thinking he'll need to address the topic with Colossus in the future.. "Very well. Be cautious of these plants, they could be capable of consuming you."

Tempest seems a little more relaxed to know that Double Punch is a Decepticon and not some form of hostile native wildlife.

Double Punch looks over the wavering plantlike cables. "I was not aware of a species like this on Cybertron, Guardian."

Sludge shrugs, and wants to fly down there and tear up the plants. Inside, he wants to transform to robot mode. He has more primeval instincts than most Transformers, due to his alt mode, and his primitive intellect. Inside, a large part of him is watering... LUNCH!!

Shockwave says, "I suspect it was imported in some fashion. There was an outbreak on the organic world, and it was brought there by Autobots. They could easily have repeated their foolishness."

A radio transmission is received by Double Punch.

Gryphus considers. "Is it possible that Soundwave could broadcast a song for us over the long range?"

<Cybertron> Colossus says, "*a trio of cannon blasts then* Ah, such an invigorating little skirmish. It seems the Accursed have taken more then previous reports indicate...*another cannon blast* And they seem to be centered around the region of Vos...We are now able to assist you in your...mission...Shockwave. The full Tyrian brigade will be mobilized on your word. However, we will require a station in the Vos region to protect ourselves and the Empire from the Accursed. Allow the Tyrians the honor of saving Cybertron yet again on both plant and Accursed fronts, and my troops ... however depleted our energy may be ... will be deployed."

Double Punch transmits a message via radio.
A radio transmission is received by Double Punch.

CatsCradle snaps her fingers and grins at Gryphus. "All he'd have to do is broadcast one, we'd tape it and set it on continuous playback."

Scorcher keeps flying in tight circles above the group. Both to keep away from the plants, and to stay close to her commander

Gryphus says, "That was my thought pattern CatsCradle.""

Sludge looks down, and he starts to feel something inside of him... "Me am hungry... Me am very hungry..." Sludge starts to slowly head towards the ground, floating lower and lower, his position taking him more and more in the direction of the Morphobots, bit by bit, a few meters every second...

CatsCradle grins again. "great minds think alike." She frowns then. "Or perhaps desperate ones. The cassettes love rock music. Have them pick something out."

Gryphus snaps. "Sludge no!"

Scorcher thinks out loud "maybe we should abduct that Autobot noise maker and toss him into the plants. He'd be forced to stop them or be eaten"

Shockwave seems preoccupied with the radio message, and doesn't notice anything until Gryphus shouts. "Sludge, I said to keep away from them."

Sludge ignores Gryphus, and continues heading towards the Morphobots. Inside, he's getting ready to transform... The bestial part of him is starting to take over. As he hits the ground he transforms and he lets out a bellow, and begins ambling towards them. "Me hungry... ME WANT LUNCH!"

Scorcher fires a missile just ahead of the rampaging dinobot, creating a wall of fire in front of him

CatsCradle tosses her hands in the air. "Quick. Someone feed him before he becomes the first Decepticon to be eaten by a taco salad."

Double Punch transmits a message via radio.

Gryphus bristles and gives out a small sonic c squawk to keep the plants busy long enough...

Tempest is having trouble summoning up much sympathy for the Dinobot.

Sludge heads towards the Morphobots, heading into the thicket, growling. And when he gets there, his massive jaws start tearing at vines, and he rears up and starts eating them happily. As he goes deeper and deeper into the thicket, the vines start wrapping at him, and Sludge grunts, fighting to free himself, and he growls, "Stupid food! No fight back! Me no like fast food!"

A radio transmission is received by Double Punch.

Double Punch brings out his flamethrower. "Can this ... creature ... withstand a certain amount of heat?" he asks, directing his question at the Earth contingent who brought Sludge along.

Shockwave shakes his head. "Blast it." He gets out his sonic scrambler, a decidedly puny-looking device to use against the massive forest of plants. He sets it to emit something a bit like Gryphus' squawk and flies in above Sludge.

Gryphus gives a few more squawks so the vines let Sludge go for a moment.

Tempest nods to Double Punch with a wicked smirk.

Scorcher, seeing her attempt to draw the dinobot's attention fail, hisses at Double Punch "More than You I would say, Besides he does not have the brains to feel anything. least of all pain"

As Gryphus squawks, the plants around Sludge do waver as the sounds ripples through them, but those who grip him refuse to let go.

Sludge tears at a vine, ripping it up in his mouth, and then munching happily on it, tearing it loose, and then walking away, using his great strength to rip free form many of the vines that are trying to pin him down, and he wallows deeper into them. This is nice, this could very well be a home for him...

CatsCradle watches. "I think this is more of a case of who is trying to eat which."

Double Punch unleashes a searing bolt of fire into the midst of the thrashing vines. Some of the flames wash over the Dinobot's thick plating as well.

As Sludge gets closer to the center, the tendrils start to converge on his location, burying the Dinobot in a moving mass of plants.

Double Punch transmits a message via radio.

The fire does blacken some of the plants, but it doesn't seem to affect their movements.

Sludge ignores the flames rippling over his armor, and the vines are slowly and steadily yanking him towards the underground chasm. He grunts, struggling to break free, and letting out a howl of fury. He tries to rise up and smash at them, but they're all around him, pinning him, preventing him from moving.

Gryphus launches herself into the air and looks for him. sending bursts of squaks at the plants.

CatsCradle suggests, half-seriously, "Maybe if we let them eat Sludge, they'd get a tummy ache and go away?"

Tempest growls, "And now we're supposed to bail him out..." She darts forward, but evaluates whether or not she can reach Sludge without getting over her head herself.

The entire mass of plants have now firmly entangled and surrounded Sludge, and looking almost like a video moving in reverse, the plant mass retreats into the ground.

Double Punch lowers his flamethrower, the briefest expression of dismay crossing his face. At CatsCradle's suggestion he says, "That sounds like a workable idea." He glances around at the others. "Most curious that the leadership from Earth has not joined us here. I would have expected Starscream, perhaps, to lead this contingent personally, or Megatron himself? Is the situation so critical?"

<Cybertron> Shockwave says quite distractedly, "Colossus, we shall discuss details at some later date. Bring whomever is available *now*!"

Sludge struggles valiantly to break free, a victim of his own stupidity once again. He struggles, but to no avail, and is slowly and steadily drawn towards the cave entrance, where Primus knows what fate awaits him.

Gryphus blinks. "NO!" she hisses and sends more squawks at the plants.. but she's draining herself dangerously.

CatsCradle says to Double Punch absently, "If you listen to Starscream and my mate, it is," Then she turns more attention to him. "It is serious. We have to get more Cybertonium back to Earth. Anyone who has been there for any large amount of time has been affected."

As the plants finish their retreat back under the metal plating ground they came from, a sizable hole has been left.

Sludge is dragged into the hole, and he vanishes underground with a howl, accompanied by crunching sounds as he munches.

Double Punch nods, taking in the information.

Tempest watches the plants pull Sludge underground. She slowly edges closer to the hole, blades ready to deal with any tendrils. She looks at Shockwave. "This is the /only/ way to the mines?"

Double Punch transmits a message via radio.

Scorcher mutters "great. more caves"

Gryphus circles around the hole. "Sir do we go in after him?"

CatsCradle sighs. "Make a note. After this, we create another entry." She hovers up enough to look at the hole left by Sludge's... um... being eaten. "Can we go down in there?"

Shockwave considers for a moment. "Gryphus, I speculate that Sludge has been taken to a more central location, perhaps a nest underground. What is your analysis?"

<Cybertron> Colossus says, "The Tyrian contingent is on the move..."

Gryphus nods. "Most likely. They show some rudimentary intelligence."

Scorcher grimaces "more intelligence than a dinobot, that is for certain"

CatsCradle grunts. "Great. They've taken him back to the hive to feed the queen and kidlets." She raises her voice. "I really suggest we don't go down there without broadcasting something nice and loud ahead of us."

Tempest tries not to laugh, and fails. Her laugh is really a strange sound to hear...so light and high, instead of her usual growling.

Double Punch tilts his head a bit at Colossus' words over the broadband channel, and then nods to himself once, as though approving of his leader's imminent arrival.

Shockwave says, "That being the case, it should only be a matter of time before they resurface. We have a window of opportunity to follow them. Scorcher, launch an incendiary missile into the cavern to clear the path."

CatsCradle sighs. "Now I know I'm back on Cybertron... where no one ever listens to me...."

Tempest says to Catscradle, "We donít' have /time/ to go get a tape recorder...we have to get that Cybertonium /now!/"

Gryphus frowns at them all making fun of the Dinobot... "And I'm taking it." with that she leaps into the gaping hole.

"Sir!" Scorcher says and fires a missile straight into the hole. A short while later an explosion can be heard and yellowish reflections of a fire deep below can be seen against the metal walls of the hole

CatsCradle glances at Tempest. "I have every reason to want the Cybertonium as quickly as possible," she says, her voice soft. "But it won't do them any good, if we're all killed trying to get it."

Tempest mumbles something about being hard to kill--though something in her expression is shocked as she follows Gryphus. Why /does/ she care so much about getting that stuff back?

Double Punch prepares to follow the others down the opening in the ground through which the wavering cables of alien plantlife disappeared. He's still got his flamethrower cannon out, though isn't currently firing at anything.

Double Punch pauses before leaping down with the others, though, his sharp senses picking up the familiar rumble of engines.

Colossus drives on in, leading exactly four people. The two major Tyrian officers, and only 2 gumby troops. He transforms, stomping into the ground once he lands and points the troops to the officers, "One of you to each. You're their eyes in behind now, soldiers."

Stalker pulls into line behind the others readily aimed down the big aft hole

****

Undercavern

     This 'cavern' is right down in the guts of the former waste-processing plant. Huge corroded pipes arch overhead and valves and shutgates are rusted into the walls. The floor is a stained mesh grille over a cauldron of chemical waste. Spraypainted sigils are plastered over the walls. The floor is littered with broken pieces of scrap. A gaping entrance in the floor to the west leads down into the tangled hollows of the pipe system.





Tempest skulks through the shadows, looking right at home...and, instead of looking timid or shy, looks instead like some kind of guard, or patrol, challenging invaders. Both longblades are in her hands and the ruby optics flash with internal fire.

Gryphus is a distance a way from the main group, literally sniffing down the missing Dinobot... anyone with good hearing or sight will notice that.

Double Punch transforms again and moves on ahead, keeping close to and slightly ahead of the Tyrian contingent, unless he should be called back.

Tempest moves up near Gryphus, trusting the other femme's sense of smell to locate Sludge.

Scorcher reluctantly lands and continues on foot

Shockwave calls down, "Gryphus, wait for us. There are dangers in these underground sections of.." He breaks off and his optics flashes.

Tempest hesitates at Shockwave's words and looks back at him.

Shockwave turns back to the others. "Stay alert. Colossus, I want you to keep your plasma cannon ready. It's possible it may effect the creatures."

CatsCradle seems right at home in the underground caverns, or at least not uncomfortable in them. She starts to make her way down to follow Gryphus, then pauses at Shockwave's sudden reaction, stepping automatically into the darker shadows of the passageway

Shockwave says, "Tempest, can you track Gryphus?"

Tempest says, "I think so..." She edges closer to the sewer labyrinth.

Stalker says, "how can you not follow them? their making so much noise"

Scorcher looks around, almost panicking, she is still muttering under her breath as if only hearing her own voice keeps her from bolting to the reassuring safety of the *big* sky

Tempest does not have Harrier's navigational instincts but she herself is decent at tracking by signs, and her own sense of smell is not half bad.

Colossus comments to Skyquake, giving Shockwave a nod of acknowledgment. "It seems like we're here kind of often. I remember chasing that femme Accursed around here somewhere..."

CatsCradle shifts out of the shadows next to Tempest. "Actually, I think we can trust the trail of munched tendrils," she murmurs with a smirk.

Skyquake glances across to Colossus, nodding slightly his agreement as his missile cannon appears in his hand. "Are yes, these caves do have a certain resemblance. I believe our hunt took us to the west however..."

Tempest's optics flash shortly. "Providing there are no tendrils to munch /us/." She waves her blades, to make it clear how she would deal with such a thing.

Scorcher whips around, aiming her laser at the shadows, only barely restraining herself from firing

Tempest moves forward, cautiously...hunting.

Shockwave is satisfied Tempest and Cats can lead the way properly and turns to Scorcher. "Are you capable of this? You can return to the surface and keep watch there."

CatsCradle moves with Tempest silently, her hands brushing against the sides of the passageway and smiling occasionally, as if finding something she recognizes.

Scorcher looks scared but she remembers a long conversation she had with Motormaster. She sets her jaw and fights down her panic "I... can manage sir" she chokes out

Shockwave seems about to question that, but then only nods. "Let me know if that changes." He gestures to the others and heads downward.

****

Sewer Labyrinth

     This sewer 'labyrinth' consists of a series of interconnecting gangways and walkplatforms over empty chemical treatment vats, creating a variety of small side tunnels and niches. Shafts head deep into the bowels of Cybertron, cutting far down into the planetoidís multi-layered landscape. At one time the chemical waste output must have been substantial, for huge pipes coil upwards to connect with the processing plant above, and over fifty empty energon feeders hang above the corroded vats.





Tempest moves forward cautiously, blades sweeping ahead of her, optics probing into the dark. She has no enhanced senses but what she has is honed to the utmost as she skulks forward like some kind of predatory beast on the hunt.

Scorcher becomes even more tense as the last clear sight of the sky disappears. She moves stiffly and keeps starting at the slightest sound or movement

Double Punch's multiple claw-tipped legs clickclickclick softly against the substrate as he moves steadily forward, keeping watch for anything suspicious up ahead.

Gryphus is struggling against tendrils.. wings beating.. she squawks.. small bursts of sonics.

Double Punch puts on a sudden burst of speed, skimming forward at the sound of struggle up ahead.

As Gryphus can be seen struggling in the section of Labyrinth the Decepticons find themselves in, more tendrils shoot up from that direction, reaching out the snare the trackers.

Scorcher fires wildly in the direction of the tendrils

Gryphus snaps her tail at the tendrils as well .. sonics and electricity... fighting for all she is worth..

CatsCradle goes silently from one set of shadows to another, her sword catching the occasional purple reflection from her optics. She pauses for a moment at the sound of the fight, then quickly ducks out of the way as Scorcher's shot goes past her.

Tempest greets the tendrils with a slice and a chop...chow mien anyone?

Double Punch is snagged by several tendrils. He's considerably bigger than these creatures' presumed favorite prey, the Insecticons, but he's an arthropod-type as well, and they're not picky. He fights back, snapping at them with his massive claws and swings his tail around.

Shockwave looks around somewhat confused as tendrils shoot right past him, even curving around him, to get to Double Punch.

Tempest notices that Double Punch is in trouble and leaps forward...

Gryphus fights, but to no avail.. she is getting weakened from giving out so much sonics.. to dissuade them... she's slowly being drug downward.

Double Punch's tail with its lethal venom stinger lodges itself in one of the tendrils holding him. The thing immediately starts to quiver and lose its grip - but he's still being held by three or four others.

Shockwave sets his cannon arm to a plasma welding function and slices through the nearest section of the tendrils.

Shockwave finishes his cut, severing two of the ones holding Double Punch. Curiously, no more seem to be coming at him, and he goes forward to stop Gryphus from being carried off.

Colossus stops near the edge of the group. He surveys the situation with a calm manner, idly resting against his mobile weapons platform. He looks over to Skyquake, then to the weeds and shrugs. When Double Punch seems to be in trouble, he fires his cannon at the apparent stem of the plant. Then fires another two blasts for good measure at the weed clumping.

CatsCradle turns to snap at Scorcher, just as tendrils snake out from the darkness and wrap around her. In a flowing move, she sweeps her sword down, slicing through one tendril as another slides forward to take its place. She fights silently, the atmosphere of being at home in the passageway bringing back habits millennia old.

Tempest hacks and slashes, but..."There's too many of these!" She tries to transform and jump free, only to have tendrils wrap around her belly.

Skyquake optics narrow at the sight of one of his troops in the grasp of these plants, although he doesn't open fire immediately, given that he might accidentally blow up some Decepticons with his missiles. "Curious, would those be organic life forms?"

Double Punch envonomates the last of the tendrils wrapped around three of his legs, able to pull free when it reacts with a lack of coordination. Colossus' blasts momentarily keep new ones from reaching for him, and he turns toward Tempest, curling up the tail.

Tempest doubles up, bringing her longblades into play, but as the left blade cuts, the right blade's tip is swallowed up by tendrils and yanked from her grasp. She activates her switchsword, cutting the tendrils up, but before she can retrieve her sword, her arm is immobilized by too many more tendrils!

Gryphus's sonics deter the tendrils for moments but continue to drag her along..

The bright plasma from Colossus' cannon melts through the plants quite handily, and they snap off of Double Punch.

Scorcher is still firing wildly into the plants and seems too terrified to move forwards, or to run for it

Colossus looks to Shockwave, asking, "Do you have a solution to them, or are we to merely strike at them until they submit or die?"

Double Punch's tail shoots forward with a blindingly-fast, well-timed sting that could have struck Tempest in her struggling movements except that he did, in fact, hit what he aimed for - one of the tendrils holding her. He injects another dose of corrosive venom.

Shockwave still has his plasma cutter and tries to free Tempest. He does cut through them, but it's time-consuming.

Tempest struggles, writhing wildly. The tendrils can't get ahold of that energy blade, since it's pure power and not a solid object. It takes a while for her to realize that she's getting assistance, and when to her surprise she realizes she has aid, she doubles her efforts, determined to get free instead of relying on others. Still...it is a strangely nice feeling...of having a team on her side.

CatsCradle fights her own battle against the tendrils, slicing with her sword in one hand, and clawing with her other. It doesn't seem to do any good, with more tendrils replacing each one she kills off.

Double Punch rips away one of the weakened tendrils with his claws, scuttling backwards to avoid being snagged himself by one of the vines that seem willing to abandon Tempest for him.

Shockwave says, "They are to die Colossus. Use your plasma, it's the only thing that kills them!"

As Gryphus is dragged down and Double Punch continues to inject venom, many of the tendrils start to retreat.

Colossus fires off his cannon again, blasting at the tendril going for Double Punch. He nods to Shockwave and shrugs, "Right...should be easy to finish."

Skyquake comments over to Colossus over the sound of the battle. "He seems almost emotional..." Before adding in a cold tone. "I shall keep these creatures busy, Colossus." Before he leaps off the ground to find a better firing angle from.

As Shockwave and Colossus keep at them with plasma, the remaining tendrils retreat back into the tunnels.

Double Punch says, "It would seem I make a good lure for these *things*."

Tempest reaches into subspace and withdraws the blade component of the tornado blade, activating the round disc blade and sending it into flight, controlling it with the glove gauntlet...and shearing through tendrils like a weed whacker.

CatsCradle slashes the last of the tendrils away from her and curls in a ball, rolling forward and away from any others... except there aren't any as the tendrils slither away. Her optics flash angrily, but she still remains silent.

Shockwave's optic glitters as the last tendril slithers back to where it came from. "Decepticons, onward!" He leads the way to Gryphus and hopefully Sludge.

Scorcher seems rooted on the spot

Tempest, free at last, lands on all fours and lunges to her feet, running up beside Shockwave. If the others set her free...she has to free Gryphus and Sludge.

Tempest looks at Scorcher. "Are you all right?"

CatsCradle stops next to Scorcher. "Can you do this?"

Scorcher shudders and says "yeah" though she does not seem to actually see Tempest, her gaze going off into infinity

CatsCradle shakes Scorcher slightly. "Look at me," she says, her voice low and hoarse. "Do not look at the walls. Do not look up or down. Just look straight ahead, as if you were flying through a tunnel and daylight is right ahead."

"Daylight?" Scorcher says, but it seems she is a bit more coherent now

Tempest leaves Scorcher to CatsCradle, who is much better at this sort of thing.

CatsCradle nods. "Right. You can't see it yet, but you know it's going to be there. Just don't look at anything else. This is nothing more than a tunnel. You've hotshotted through tunnels, right?"

Scorcher nods "Yes. I can fly through a tunnel" She begins to transform, then slides back into her robotic form

CatsCradle gives her a push, propelling her forward. "This is the exact same thing, then."
****

Totem Cave

     This sealed-off section of the sewer-ways is dominated by a bizarre statue in its centre. Coils of scrap wire, piping and shrapnel fragments have been welded together to form the image of a monstrous, hunching creature with polychrome jaws and fibreglass wings. Bodyshells are strung up from the ceiling, their armourplate gashed and clawed. Wickedly curved hooks protrude from the middle of chestplates and optical sockets. The walls of the room are madly splattered with spraypaint glyphs.


As the Decepticons enter the central nest of the Morphobots, they see Gryphus and Sludge covered in very thin cables, like fine wire, spun almost like a spider's web.

CatsCradle comes down from the tunnels, behind Scorcher, ready to give the other femme a reminding push if necessary.

Skyquake follows through a moment after Colossus, floating off the ground and after his commander, his weapons armed and primed to target these, interesting if rather aggressive and annoying plants.

Tempest hesitates, wondering why Gryphus and Sludge are so docile...then resumes.

Scorcher stumbles to her knees, then drags herself off the floor. She is still staring around wildly. Even more so at the bizarre environment she finds herself in all of a sudden

Sludge continues munching, trying to tear at the webbing that holds him, struggling to break free. "Me think that this is no way get lunch... Me no like it when food fight back!" Sludge is still in his mecha-brontosaurus mode, and he's using his powerful jaws and long neck to reach down and try and tear at the webbing.

Although there are tendrils in the area, they're moving very slowly. Several are on the ground quivering.

Double Punch climbs pretty easily up the weird statue that's been constructed here, and perches atop like a truly bizarre gargoyle, the poison-tail curved and ready to lash out.

CatsCradle leans forward, talking to Scorcher rapidly. "This isn't any different from fighting the plants before, right? Just like in that valley. You were fine, then, right?"

Gryphus decides to try what Sludge is doing and eat at the webbing.

Shockwave says, "It appears Double Punch that your venom has damaged the main root system. Perhaps a direct injection."

Scorcher nods slowly, still gazing off somewhere far behind Cats "Yes. the same" she mutters

Tempest tries to get through the root system. She wants to slash Gryphus and Sludge free, if she can reach them.

As Tempest approaches, thousands of the slender wires shoot out, wrapping her up.

Sludge's jaws clamp down on a strand of the thick webbing, and he works on it with his powerful and sharp teeth, trying to rip at it, and pull himself free.

Scorcher screams at the sight of Tempest being captured

The thin cables or wire seem impervious to even Sludge's powerful jaws, as two more wrap out from the roots to secure him for every one that's torn.

Gryphus keeps biting down.. grinding her beak on her bit of webbing.

Double Punch tilts a little atop the statue at Shockwave's words. He pauses, then, not so much in hesitation but to calculate the angle of attack. Scorpions aren't exactly jumping creatures, and he'll have to use gravity to help him. He pushes off with all his legs, launching himself a little awkwardly right toward the center of the root mass.

Colossus goes right off to work. His feet crush any opposing tendrils insipid enough to remain on the ground. His weapons platform wheels in behind him at a slower pace, firing bursts of very damaging plasma energy from the cannon at several junctions of the plants. It seems Colossus and his weapons are one - where he looks, the plasma cannon destroys the biggest threat. He slices through tendrils as they move by him or rest in near death around him. His hand without the blade simply grips on to other tendrils, which he tears right apart.

CatsCradle glances over at the root system, chewing her lip for a moment, then catches Scorcher's arm and shakes her again. "All right, then," she says to Scorcher. "The end of the tunnel is past that root system. All we have to do is rescue our friends and get past it, and we're out of the tunnel. Got that?"

Tempest shrills, slashing out at the wires with her energy blade!

Double Punch is immediately entangled in webbing, but he's close enough to his intended target - the junction between the roots at the very center. The tail snaps forward and the lethal tip buries itself deep in the strange substance.

"Yes" Scorcher says and promptly fires two missiles in the thick mass of roots

Gryphus moves from bit of webbing to bit of webbing.. grinning down the thin bits of metal in her sharp beak till they snap.

Sludge grumbles as he tears at the webbing with his powerful jaws, "Stupid! Me going smash you!" He grunts as he tries to dig his head in deeper, and then to tear it off with his strong neck servomotors. He grunts as he digs deep, tearing out a thick chunk of vines, only to have several more go into place, holding him even firmer. He continues digging, too stubborn, and too stupid, to give in.

A huge fireball engulfs the mass of roots, and those who are trapped by them

As the other Decepticons fire their weapons and destroy most of the tendrils surrounding to root system, Double Punch's venom tipped tail sinks right into a vulnerable spot. The whole root system begins to quiver, and thin strands covering the Decepticons start to give way!

Scorcher readies another pair of missiles, as soon as the fire of the first clears enough for her to aim at something

Skyquake slips into the air once again, keeping his distance from the main bulk of the plance and firing volley after volley of missiles into the plant structures.

Gryphus feels the webbing start to slacken and begins to move to free herself...

Double Punch is engulfed in flames. Fortunately he's well-armored, and the heat only darkens his coloring a little.

The missiles Scorcher fires don't seem to hurt the plant much, and the people caught by the roots are also protected.

Tempest claws her way free of the tendril mass, using a careful motion of the tornado blade to help cut through the "silk".

Shockwave moves in as Double Punch's venom takes effect, using his plasma cutter to slice Sludge free. "Scorcher, hold your fire!" he adds.

Double Punch struggles free of the entangling webbing as it loses its gripping strength.

Gryphus frees her claws enough to start using them in conduction with her beak...

Scorcher does not realize her fire does no good and fires another missile just before Shockwave commands her to stop

Colossus waits a bit to see how good Double Punch's venom works on the core of the threat. Should it not be enough, his plasma cannon is locked on to the center, with energy building up slowly inside of it. If the two are injured by it, when he does fire, he doesn't seem to care. Results and dead hostiles first, repairing wounded ... priceless.

Sludge continues struggling to break free, and as the webbing moves to loosen, he suddenly bursts out, falling to the ground, and howls as he looks at the remains. He rises his feet up into the air, and sends a hurtling earthquake towards the center of the root system! "STUPID! ME SMASH!"

The missile helps free the Decepticons and blasts them free. It also however burns their outer armor painfully.

CatsCradle gives a quick sigh of relief when she realizes that Scorcher's missiles didn't actually hurt anyone. "I did say rescue our friends first," she grumbles, then Scorcher fires another missile before she can stop her. "Wait," she commands, then hands Scorcher her sword. "Go chop a few down, instead," she says, deciding that an actively fighting Scorcher is still better than a panicking one.

Gryphus sawwks in pain as the pblast scorches feather and armor as she falls free from the webbing with a thumnk.

Tempest grits her teeth as the paint on her armour rises in bubbles from the heat...

Scorcher looks stupidly at the sword she got pressed into her hand. Experimentally she waves with it a few times

Perhaps fortunately for the Decepticons, Sludge's tremor has very little effect. The roots almost seem to absorb it.

Double Punch pulls back and shakes himself a little, a shudder rippling through his legs as he frees himself from the dead strands.

Sludge ambles over to Gryphus, peering at her with concern, his battle rage lightening, "Horsie Bird ok?"

Gryphus isn't all right at all.. she's not moving.

Sludge blinks at Gryphus, nuzzling her with his head a few times, trying to get her to move.

With the Decepticons free, the root system thrashes about quivering from Double Punch's venom.

Gryphus 's limp form shifts but not a sound comes from her... she's definitely out for the count.

Shockwave's stares at the roots, his optic glittering. "Decepticons. Weapons." He raises his cannon arm.

Sludge gently picks up Gryphus with his jaws, and he puts her up on his back, so that she's riding him, and that she's leaning forwards against his neck, so that she won't fall when he moves.

Double Punch transforms into his Robot mode.

Double Punch transforms and draws his firebolt cannon.

CatsCradle points to the root mass. "Scorcher, /now/ you can shoot it."

Tempest stands on her feet, still smelling like boiled paint, and powers up her arm lasers.

Skyquake still hovers in the air, missile cannon primed once more to fire at the root of this beast.

Colossus sees the two freed, and takes his shot. His plasma cannons fire a high powered twin burst of energy towards the heart of the silky thingy stuff. Venom's too slow to finish the job for him it seems. The intense rays spear into the core of the plants, lighting the area brilliantly for a brief period of time. Then, his cannon stops with a soft hum from the energy discharge. He turns, and starts to leave, weapons platform moving on treads behind him.

Scorcher cycles another pair of missiles into her launchers. Looking at Shockwave for confirmation that she must fire them

Gryphus shifts slightly as the Dinobot moves.. but not enough to fall free... her head lolls to one side of his neck... the hippogriff is in serious need of medbay time.

CatsCradle puts her words to action herself, her wrist lasers hissing softly out of her armor cuffs, concentrating her beams on one central spot within what is left of the root system.

Tempest opens fire with her lasers, and thankfully the root system is big enough that she can actually hit it.

Sludge is careful to move slowly, so that he won't shake Gryphus off, and he hopes that they finish up soon, so he can get her to a Doc... Right now he's torn between going out of here with the girlie bot, or staying here to finish up the fight.

Shockwave lets loose with a burst of gamma laser, which can generate heat about the same as plasma.

Double Punch fires a jet of scorching flame toward the root system, mingling his attack with that of the others.

Scorcher fires her two missiles she had readied. One hits the core of the roots, while the other goes wild and smashes into the ugly statue

Skyquake adds to the collective firepower with another barrage of missiles fired from his cannon, aimed to intermingle and add to the firepower already slamming into the plants

As the Decepticons unleash a tremendous amount of pure destructive power, the root system shrivels and then melts completely.

As makeshift as the statue looks, it's welded together pretty toughly, and only parts and sections chip off, the attacks leaving noticeable scorch marks.

In the area behind the plant, there's a section of wall that's been melted away.

CatsCradle pats Scorcher on the shoulder, deftly taking her sword back. "Nicely done," she murmurs.

Tempest points towards the hole. "Is that the way to the Cybertonium pit?" she asks Shockwave.

Scorcher, seeing the strange plant dead, pleads "Can we go now?"

Sludge peers around, and then, almost anxiously, "We done now? Can we go?"

CatsCradle calls to Shockwave, "Might I suggest that Scorcher and Sludge take Gryphus in for repairs?"



Shockwave says, "Agreed CatsCradle. Proceed."

Gryphus hasn't moved on her own or spoken since that colossal strike...

CatsCradle nudges Scorcher. "You can go now."

Scorcher smiles very thinly at CatsCradle, as if she really wants to scream

Shockwave goes to inspect the melted area. "It seems to be some sort of vault. There are some data storage disks here."

CatsCradle recognizes Scorcher's expression and pats her shoulder again. "Go on, now."

Double Punch looks mildly interested at this. An information find, so deep under the surface?

Skyquake comes down from the air, and lands near Colossus again, once more giving the delightful cave the once over. "An interesting level of decor in here..."

Colossus looks to Shockwave. Leave it to him to find data somewhere. The Warlord slows down his travel out of the area, seeing how the data is to be treated. He nods to Skyquake, "It has a certain feel that I kind of enjoy."

Shockwave thinks for a moment, then calls into his radio. "Sentry Command, this is Shockwave. Send a medical team and have someone bring a Zenon type data reader to the Ghostways."

CatsCradle looks curiously at the disks, her priorities clashing. Something of history to record for the Grinder... or her mate back to normal... She sighs a little, deciding that whatever the disks are, she can read the report later. "We really need to get that Cybertonium back to Earth, sirs," she says in a politely reminding sort of way.

****

Ghostways


Scorcher transforms and lands again

Double Punch makes his way up from the underground with the others.

Shockwave comes out from the underground and is met by the sentry teams in the area. "Shockwave sir, report from excursion team. The plants created a lot of tunnels in the area down there, and we've gotten to the cybertonium mine."

Colossus notes, "Those tunnels could easily be used by the Accursed. They could run right into their bases and give them a direct path to our areas.

Shockwave seems to relax and nods. "Excellent. Begin processing the ore and send a shipment as quickly as safety permits."

The sentry nods and scurries off.

Skyquake nods curtly to Colossus. "They do pose a serious security threat to our territory."

Shockwave says, "True Colossus, but they have access to a vast network of such tunnels in any event."

Double Punch taps one claw against his leg as he considers, "It would make sense to post additional warriors below, to keep the Autobots from the mine."

Double Punch says, "And, this *does* border our realm. I cannot be both above ground and below."

CatsCradle says quickly, "Oh, yes... trust me, we do /not/ want another round of cybertonium deficiency. Really we don't!"

Scorcher inches closer to Cats and whispers, with a shamefaced expression, "Thanks"

Double Punch steps over almost casually to join Colossus and Skyquake. "Then perhaps ... our forces could be of assistance in this matter." The glowing-green gaze flickers briefly toward Colossus, then goes neutral and almost disinterested again.

Shockwave says, "I believe I can ensure adequate security. Colossus, you will be able to post troops as well, yes?"

Colossus says, "I, personally, can not allow such a blatant security threat go. The Autobots would be able to fight Tyrian on both possibly fronts. Even we can not keep the Empire safe if we are put into a siege situation. Tyrians will be deployed there yes. Both soldiers and construction mechs."

CatsCradle gives Scorcher a comforting glance and says in a soft voice, "Just wait 'til you see me dragged in for repairs and going through /that/ phobia."

Shockwave says, "See that they report to my sentry forces on their progress."

Another sentry approaches Shockwave with the data reader he requested. He says, "Excellent. It has the cleaning hardware and decoding algorithms?" The sentry nods and Shockwave activates it.

Sludge walks up as he watches the Medical Team take Gryphus away. He watches them go, still in his mecha-brontosaurus mode, "Horsie Bird going be ok?" He seems to have a fondness for the hippogriff, though what brought it on can't be said at all...

Colossus nods, "Of course." Eh, well, at least partial ownership of Vos is better then none, that works enough. He looks towards the sentry with the disks, curious as to what information they have.

Shockwave fiddles with the device, and then retracts his cannon attachment. Another hand comes out, and he continues working with two. It's a rare thing to see.

The data reader's circular viewscreen activates, at first in a few blinking flashes of various colors as the modern equipment recalibrates to an ancient encoding system. Then the picture clears to show....

CatsCradle tries to peak around the crowd, then decides as the representative of the Grinder she actually has the right to be there and moves forward to get a better view of the screen.

Scorcher is quite content to stay back

The screen shows a clearly Cybertronian cityscape, the architecture familiar and yet of a more archaic, simpler style. Most striking is that the sky is lit by a natural sun, giving it a brazen-gold cast, and the buildings and transportways below are undamaged and glistening in the light.

Shockwave looks on, his optic glowing. Those that really know him could tell he's very interested, or even in awe of the images of Cybertron as a whole planet.

A voice-over begins, a smoothly-modulated male voice. "Behold, Cybertron. Our homeworld. Currently in an age of peace, it has suffered great wars in the past between two irreconcilable ideologies."

The images change, to show the glistening cities exploding into horrific fireballs of molten metal and shrapnel. The peacefully moving inhabitants run in all directions in panic, while others draw weapons from seemingly nowhere to fire on each other.

Shockwave's optic dims a bit. This he is more familiar with.

Sludge watches, standing up on his hind legs so that he can see over everyone's heads. This isn't something that he's familiar with. "What this?"

The voice continues, "Many a time the Decepticon rulership of this world has been toppled by Autobot insurrection. Many a time, the Autobot rulership has been all-but-extinguished by Decepticon conquest. Each side in a struggle it cannot escape, a struggle it cannot win." The image fades to black.

But the voice continues, as a small rotating globe appears on the black screen far in the distance, and spins ever closer - a golden orb circled in rings like a strange mechanical planet.

Double Punch does not recognize the emblem.

The voice speaks, "What the warring factions do not realize, is that they are both doomed to extinction. They are in the path of the Great Devourer." The orb spins closer, and as it comes into sharper resolution it can be seen that there are indeed curved horn-line structures emerging from it.

Sludge blinks at this, "Uhm, what am Grate Divowerer? Me no hear that before... He have really big tummy? He eat lot?" Sludge blinks in curiosity, trying to puzzle this one out.

Shockwave crosses his arms and continues to watch.

Skyquake straightens a little as he watches the screen with great interest, trying to understand what the image shows.

CatsCradle remains silent, her gaze not leaving the screen.

Now the silhouette of a horned helmet appears on screen, replacing the orb. The voice apparently emanates from this image, though only the faintest glow of optics can be seen. "Only we who follow the Brotherhood of Chaos shall survive the coming apocalypse. Be strong, my brothers and sisters, and know that our time is near." Again the image goes to black, this time with nothing to replace it. This ancient disk, dated by the primitive designs of the robots in the playback, seems to be some very old prophecy from a more superstitious time, and the speaker's promise that "the time is near" may seem a little dubious in the clear light of present-day reason.


Scorcher, having caught some glimpses of the movie, shrugs "crackpots" is her only comment

Shockwave shakes his head. "A truly monuments find. The ramblings of a long-forgotten cult."

Shockwave starts issuing orders to his sentry team in the area, giving them the reader back to be put into storage.

Double Punch questions, "Is this of any use to us?"

CatsCradle is quiet for a moment, then taps the edge of the reader, looking up at Shockwave. "Sir, I'd like to request a copy of this. Both for the Grinder, and for the research team on Earth. And Gryphus would like a copy, too, I am sure, and I believe she deserves it after today's battle."

The sentry who was about to stow the reader on their transport looks to Shockwave questioningly. He turns to gaze at CatsCradle and says, "I suppose if you so desire CatsCradle. I fail to see the value, even in an historical context."

Scorcher mutters under her breath "It would be good for a laugh"

CatsCradle smiles slightly. "I've discovered researchers are interested in all sorts of odd things."

Shockwave he none-the-less gestures for the sentry to make copies onto modern data crystals.

Sludge shrugs, and then asks, looking about, "Uhm, me want know... What "divowerer" mean? Me no know... And what is kult?" Sludge peers about curiously, wanting to get back to base, and then shaking his head.

CatsCradle takes the copies with a half-bow of gratitude and tucks them away in a subspace pocket.

Shockwave says, "I will explain later Sludge. As for now, I want you in the repair bay getting those plants out your system. We don't know what they might do, even seemingly dead."

Skyquake steps back to glance across to Colossus, a thoughtful look in his optics. "Given the location of this find," he stats in a low tone. "Perhaps it would be best to look into this, 'cult of chaos'."

Double Punch says a little disdainfully, "I've never heard of such a thing."

****
Earth Command Center

Divefire walks in, an expression of thunder deeply imbedded onto his features. Although he gives a curious glance around the command centre as to why there are only the four of them in there before finding a place to sit down and firing up one of the consoles with a furious stab of each button.

Reflector blinks at Divefire, sitting at his console, set on monitoring duties. He stifles a yawn, feeling somewhat out of whack, and he watches the scans from the sensor grid come up, and the sonar screen continue to twirl about.

Soundwave is sitting in tape player mode on the communications console, tapped in directly through a cable. Not his usual style, and it might seem odd to anyone who's used to seeing him here in robot mode.

Starscream looks over at Divefire and says, in a strangely quiet voice, "How is your functioning?"

Divefire optics narrow at Starscream's words, his fists clenching a little more as replies with a barely contained voice of frustration. "Slagged. I can't fly, I can't drive and everything I try and do something remotely skillful I glitch like an 'empty' on his last drinking binge." He growls again and turns his head to look at Starscream. "So Iím fine. How are you?" He snaps off with pure sarcasm.

Starscream snaps in reply, "I asked you a civil question, and besides you should show a little more respect for your /new leader./"

Soundwave's voice emits from the tape player, calm and harmonic as always, "We are all in a similar state, Divefire. It is disconcerting. But be aware that we are vulnerable at this time, as well. Our enemies do not have these problems, and they surely are aware of this."

Reflector sighs, and looks over in Soundwave's direction. T his dose not look promising... He sighs. Starscream is certainly not the most patient, or calmest mech that could be put in charge, and Divefire's state does not help matters. He stays silent as Soundwave talks, who certainly has the greater ability to calm down the proceedings.

Soundwave adds to Starscream's posturing, as a simple matter of fact: "Megatron is currently incapacitated, placing Starscream in charge." Leaving unspoken, though he surely does not need to add, that it's an interim position for Starscream. No sense in Divefire getting all riled up.

Starscream looks at Soundwave, at first annoyed that /he/ didnít' get to make the grand announcement, but grits his teeth a little...he can't afford to fight Divefire here and now, not with the Autobots out there somewhere...

Divefire optics widen a little, then he simply barks out a hard laugh at Starscream. "What ever makes you feel happy Starscream." Before he turns his back again and mutters some choice words. "So do we know what the Autobots are doing? And where the blazes are every one else?"

Starscream says, snidely, "As your /leader/ I already dispatched them to Cybertron to bring back the element we need."

Reflector falls silent at the posturing going on, and he stays at his station, monitoring the area around the base, and using the spare time in between sensor sweeps to go over satellite photos in an effort to backtrack the Autobots to their new base, a project he has been working on in his spare time.

Divefire optics flicker a darker green, his body posture stiffening somewhat before he tries in vain to keep calm. "So..." He growls out in a reply. "Megatron ordered them to Cybertron then, and went himself despite his condition... Leaving the brave, brave Sir Starscream in charge..." Oh, the sarcasm... He shifts a little, looking over to the tape deck in a curious glance. "Soundwave, why doesn't he put you in charge more often when he goes running out to play hero?"

Soundwave replies, "Leadership is not my function nor my specialty. And Megatron was in no condition to lead the charge today."

Starscream gives Divefire a /look/. "If our situation wasn't so critical I'd throw you in the brig for insubordination!"

Divefire gives Soundwave an odd look at his words. "Megatron's that bad?" He half whispers to himself, then shakes his head slightly, looking just for a moment, downcast. That's before his head snaps back up in Starscream's direction with a good few choice words for the Air Commander. "Just..." His optics glimmer a darker and darker shade as he fights between rage and duty until finally. "Just... Oh forget it Starscream..." He manages before shifting in his seat again and calling up some information.

Starscream retorts, "Fine, I will," and tries to do so. Inside he rages. Let's see if he /ever/ shows any concern for Divefire's well being again! He doesn't want to admit how scared he is, with the Autobots fully functional out there somewhere, and him with the sole responsibility for protecting Earthbase.

Reflector watches the interchange, and then he swivels his head around to look at the monitors. Above, no craft go by overhead. There are no ships in the region, and the sonar is only picking up biologicals. The sea is as quiet as it ever was.

Divefire musses to himself in half hearted manner, his fingers glitching nicely as he tries to work the controls. "Did the Constructicons ever finish, or start for that matter, the base defense upgrades?"

Soundwave says, "The Constructicons are forever adding small upgrades. All sensors and weapons are online. An Autobot attack will not have an easy time of it. However, we are limited in our own ability to fight back.""

Starscream says, "We only need to keep the Autobots back until the Cybertron team returns...assuming they don't mess it up!"

Reflector shrugs, and then looks at Starscream, but he remains silent. He will not criticize a superior officer, but a twinge of annoyance goes over his face at the unfounded criticism of his teammates. "I am certain that they are capable of successfully pulling off the mission, Commander."

Divefire looks at the screen infront of him in thought, trying, unsuccessfully to tap his fingers in rhythm. "Well, if we need to we can seal the bulkheads at least..." He mutters, not finding a lot of comfort in that.

Starscream nods a little, without a single smartalek comeback. "Let's hope we can hold them off /outside/ the base."

Soundwave says, "That would be the preferable solution."

Divefire nods in unison. "No kidding... Pity we don't have enough energy to electrify the hull..."

Reflector nods, and falls silent, "If the Autobots would mount an assault on us, it would be difficult to repulse, in our present state."

CatsCradle pages: perhaps... but it caught your attention, didn't it :)

Starscream says suddenly, "Soundwave, can you locate the Autobots using the satellite hack-ins?"

Soundwave says, "Only if they are in a region where we can get a fix on them. One disadvantage of destroying their base has been a greater difficulty of finding them via satellite."

Starscream says, "Then how about satellite views of the shoreline near /our/ base? Maybe we can see them coming, be ready when they get here."

Divefire comments in a low tone. "One of the advantages of transforming into a car, or truck..."

Reflector nods, and then says, "I will endeavor to attempt to track any craft on an approach vector with our base, then, whether it be Autobot, or human."

The main viewscreen flashes on, going through a series of changing images of the shorelines to the east and west of the Decepticon base.

Starscream retorts, "At least cars are slower than planes...besides...are you saying Soundwave doesn't know an Autobot when he sees one?"

Divefire gives Starscream a very evil look of annoyance. "And how many times have the Stunticons sneaked up on you, or the Aieralbots taken you by surprise, Starscream?"

Starscream is taken aback...scowls...and snaps, "Just keep an optic on your screens."

Reflector continues monitoring on the sonar, and from their aboveground scanner stations, and their cameras set up underneath the waves, "I report nothing on scanners, Commander."

Divefire almost, almost laughs back at Starscream, but holds it in for now, simply wondering which Dragon Ball comic to read next before looking over the schematic of the ship again. "What about shuttles, do we have any of those lying around?"

Thundercracker glances at Soundwave with renewed interest. "Shall I go to meet up?"

Reflector watches his monitoring station, glancing up at Soundwave, "I take it that our mission was a success to retrieve the Cybertonium, then?"

Soundwave says, "Unnecessary, Thundercracker. CatsCradle has just arrived.""

CatsCradle comes in with a hoverpad following her with a case on it, cheerfully humming. "Delivery of Cybertonium... anyone want to sign for it?" She points at Diver and her voice turns more serious. "You. To the med bay. Go."

Soundwave is apparently locked in tape player mode, sitting on the communications console, connected via a cable.

Divefire swings around in his chair and looks to Cats with a deathly case, mutters then stands up and makes his way to the med bay. "And Starscream thinks he's in charge." Is all he mutters.

Thundercracker gets up anxiously from his console spot. " 'Bout time, so everything went smoothly?" Glances towards Soundwave to hear what his input will be.

CatsCradle turns to Soundwave and pleads, "Please fix him? Before he drives me any more insane?"

Soundwave tries to transform and doesn't quite make it.

CatsCradle watches with concern and the obvious question goes across her face... if Soundwave can't transform, who does the repairs.

Thundercracker waits patiently for Soundwave to lead the others into the Med Bay. Is a tad concerned when Soundwave a la bot mode doesn't show up. "Problems...Soundwave?"

Soundwave remains motionless on the console for a few seconds, then says, "I will make another attempt."

Divefire stops half way through the door, frowning in Soundwave's direction. "We could just call the Constructicons in?"

CatsCradle looks relieved. "Never thought I would be glad for Hook," she mutters.

Thundercracker grins knowingly towards CatsCradle. "Need some of that Cybertonium to charge you up a bit?"

CatsCradle shakes her head. "Nope. I haven't been here long enough for it to bother me... other than being around my engineless mate."

Divefire grumbles silently in the corner while contemplating doing the circuit board construction himself.

Soundwave gathers himself for another try. With a rather distorted transformation sound, he finally manages to expand into his robot mode.

Reflector shrugs, "We should have Scrapper replace Soundwave's cybertonium first, so that he can continue to assist in the repair efforts, and then our medical staff can incorporate it into the rest of us who are suffering from a deficiency."

Soundwave says, "I will contact the Constructicons. They can begin repairs while my own Cybertonium is replaced."

Soundwave starts to make his way carefully toward repair bay.

CatsCradle falls in step with Soundwave and hands him a datapad. "Here's a report on what happened on Cybertron, along with a copy of the records we found buried away there."

Soundwave accepts the data from CatsCradle, regarding it with interest. "You found unrelated records during your quest?"

CatsCradle nods. "There were mixed reactions on its accuracy."

Divefire glances to Cats with an inquisitive stare. "What did you find out there?"

CatsCradle waves another datacrystal at her mate. "I've got a copy, and if you're nice to me, I'll even let you see it." She trots after Soundwave

****
Repair Bay

        The place Decepticons seek medical care, the repair bay makes every effort to put the patient at ease. The temperature and lighting are optimized for comfort, and the walls are a neutral grey. There are ten beds along each wall, all with display panels. Equipment and tools are stored in the wall between beds and diagnostic scanners emerge from under the beds when in use. Off of the main room is a specialized surgery unit for laser core trauma, a small cryogenic stasis facility, and an emergency room with stacked beds to be used when the main room becomes too crowded. Overall the repair bay appears to visitors as modern and efficient and this impression is quite valid. Even the most catastrophic injuries can be treated here by a skilled medic.


Divefire glowers after his mate as he heads for the med bay

Soundwave says, "I will be interested to review this, CatsCradle, as soon as the more immediate problem is seen to."

Soundwave has apparently sent out a silent call to the Constructicons, because Hook and Scrapper are already there waiting as the group arrives.

CatsCradle gives Soundwave a little half-bow. "I thought as much, sir." She stops just inside the door and leans up against the wall, waiting.

Reflector walks into the Repair Bay, staggering a bit. His mental linkup has been rather strained over the past week, and it has been an experience to him to do any sort of activity.



Thundercracker waits expectantly for repairs to proceed. He hasn't been in the most comfortable state lately.

Hook and Scrapper go right to work, taking the glowing-green Cybertonium.

Divefire walks in in a humph and simply sits down on one of the med tables and waits, saying nothing what so ever, at all. No, really. He's being good.

Hook goes over to Soundwave, while Scrapper busies himself with Divefire, who's being so cooperative.

Scrapper observes, "This really is a simple matter of exchanging the deteriorated element for the renewed substance. Amazing how so small a change can make such a difference."

Hook's actions are likewise efficient, as he replaces Soundwave's depleted Cybertonium in short order and replaces it with a precisely-measured amount of the fresh element.

Reflector watches as the medics work, sitting silently and observing, getting malfunctions every now and then in his operating system.

Divefire just sits there and mutters under his breath as Scrapper works. "Great, fit some spare in there then, would you?"

Soundwave very rapidly feels better as Hook finishes up the simple replacement, and now can safely take his turn at assisting others. He motions Thundercracker over.

Scrapper says, "Spare? No no, none of that, Divefire. Too much is as dangerous as too little. Besides, we have plenty to last us now.

Thundercracker plops himself obediently on the med table in front of Hook. "Ready when you are, Doc."

Divefire shoulders slump a little, this past week has not been fun at all. "Fine then. Just so long as my engines work again."

CatsCradle gingerly moves over to stand next to Diver's table. "He'll be all right, won't he?" she asks softly.

Scrapper reassures, "Oh, certainly. Now that we have this critical little piece replaced, he'll be just fine."

Soundwave leaves Thundercracker to Hook, and goes on to Reflector. He has some experience with Reflector's unique design, after all.

Reflector gets up on the repair beds, his system shorting out every few moments, until he goes into shutdown, awaiting Soundwave to complete the repairs on him.

Hook says to Thundercracker, probably unnecessarily, "Now hold still." He pops open an armor panel and removes the old, depleted Cybertonium from its storage compartment.

CatsCradle nods and lets out a soft sigh of relief. "Good," she murmurs with a smile to her mate. Then she gives a quick nod. "Now," she says to him, "I'm going up to the lake. I'm taking the data crystal with me. If you can pull yourself back into a decent mood, you can meet me there. Otherwise, I'll see you in a few days." She gives Diver a quick kiss on the forehead and heads for the door.

Hook replaces Thundercracker's Cybertonium supply, which should result in his immediately starting to feel better. "You seekers and your incessant quest for flight," he says, though he finishes the job perfectly and closes the armor panel again. "There. Perfect."

Divefire watches his mate go with a scowl, but sighs somewhat inwardly. Glancing towards Scrapper he asks the mechanical genius. "Am I okay to fly now?"

Soundwave has to replace three separate compartments of Cybertonium on Reflector, and he starts with the middle unit. Weighing out an exact amount of new material, balanced for the weight of the patient, he deftly removes the depleted substance and inserts the glowing-green replacement.

Scrapper says, "You shouldn't have any problems." Then with a smile, "If you hurry, you can still catch up to her."

Reflector watches silently, his three bodies humming as they are in a temporary rest cycle, until Soundwave completes the repairs and reactivates him.

Thundercracker stands and assesses his parts, swinging his arms back and forth, then checks the levels of his thrusters. "Great, thanks Hook. Appreciate that." Then eagerly heads towards the exit, wanting to try out his renewed systems for reassurance. "Soundwave, there's nothing else immediately at hand, right?"

Soundwave looks up from his own work for a moment. "The Autobots may still believe they have us at a disadvantage. Keep watch for an attempted assault."

Divefire sighs slightly and nods to Scrapper. "You're right. I'll see you all later."
And with out another word the dark mechanoid slips out.

****
Valley

Dropping into this small valley from the surrounding mountains, the first thing that is noticeable is the lake in the deeper-most part of the valley basin, framed by huge pine trees. The lake is fed by a stream cascading down the mountainside in a waterfall and spills out through an underground cavern at the base of the valley. There is a small beach not far from where the stream splashes down into the lake, framed by a mixture of grass and pine needles before the first fringes of trees begin. The mountainside is formed by huge rocky crevasses, out-juttings, and overhangs. Hawks soar overhead, fish jump in the lake, birds sing merrily, and there are often the tracks of deer and other wildlife at the waters edge. The water is blue and crystal clear, and the air is clean and fresh. It looks like no one has ever touched this forgotten pocket of the world. Steps have been carved into the mountainside leading up to a cave, which has been made into a home, with power, heat, and running water. A console sits in a corner, which is networked to the ones in Earthbase, and a worktable sits adjacent to it. A large recharge bed is in another corner, underneath one of the skylights adapted from a natural crevice in the rocky roof. Light spills down from a similar skylight over two over-large comfy reading chairs. Shelves hold books, data crystals, and a small metal carving of a Mark III TransAm, as well as a collection of Japanese manga, anime tapes, and video games. There is the splash of water from the waterfall and the whisper of wind through the pine and maple trees, which gives the area a very peaceful feel of home.

Divefire slips into the valley layout and transforms to land on the beach, looking around him.

Lights shine from the naturally formed windows and skylights of the cave, looking very much as if someone is at home

Divefire slowly walks towards the cave and knocks on the door once. Curtly.

CatsCradle's voice floats out. "Quick, hide! My mate's come home."

Divefire optics narrow into a frown as he opens the door in a quick motion. "What's going on?" He demands before stepping into the cave.

CatsCradle is snuggled down in the bed, sipping on a glass of enerwine. Her armor is tumbled in a corner, rather dented and with what looks like pieces of metallic plant life stuck in parts of it. "Nothing, dear," she says with a quiet chuckle. "But it did get your attention, didn't it?"



Divefire glowers slightly as he steps in and closes the door behind him, looking at her, then to her armour. "Everything you do gets my notice. What happened to your armour?"

CatsCradle chuckles again. "Oh that." She takes another sip of the wine, looking equal parts tired and pleased with herself. "The cybertonium mine had been infested by more of those morphobot plantie thingies. actually, a whole hive of them. We had to fight our way through them."

Divefire optics narrow a little as he steps in further. "That can't of been fun, though since I managed to fly here I'll presume you were successful." He brings something around from his back. "These are for you." Indeed, these things appear to be rose like flowers, only they appear to be made from crystal.

CatsCradle's optics go huge. "Oh... oh, Diver, they're beautiful."

Divefire shrugs lightly. "No more then you." He comments in a dry voice before handing them to her, a little awkwardly.

CatsCradle sputters for a moment, then takes the crystal roses wordlessly. She runs a clawtip along one of the flowers gingerly, as if afraid she might break them.

Divefire smiles slightly to her. "It's okay, they're quite strong. They survived the trip to Earth with out a problem."

CatsCradle marvels, "But they look so fragile..." She runs another clawtip along a petal, the crystal reflecting the glow of her optics, then looks up at him. "How are you feeling, love?"

Divefire smiles a little more. "I can fly, which is a certain improvement over the past week."

CatsCradle tilts her head for a moment, as if thinking back. "Being grounded is pretty rotten," she agrees and pats the bed beside her in invitation. "There's more of the wine, by the way."

Divefire slips down and sits on the bed next to her, looking over the wine. "I think I'll pass for tonight." He looks her over again and frowns a little. "You're not damaged, are you?"

CatsCradle laughs softly. "I am not damaged. Really and truly, nothing past a couple of dents and being pretty tired."

Divefire nods slightly, trusting her word on this one. "I can't blame you for being tired, a busy day no less."

CatsCradle tries to smother a yawn and doesn't really succeed. "Travel to Cyber, tromp through the sewers near the Shadowzone, chase a Dinobot through metal eating plants, because he decides he's hungry enough to eat them, dive in to rescue him and Gryphus, because she lit off in after him, and do you know /no/ one on Cybertron ever listens to me? Then deal with a claustrophobic seeker ... another one, mind you... fight our way through an entire root system of these plants, run back to the Grinder while Shockwave's miners put together the shipment of Cybertonium, and come back here." She flumps back against the pillows. "Oh yeah. Busy day."

Divefire smirks lightly, looking at her with a little sympathy. "Massage?"

CatsCradle debates it for a moment. "I'll probably fall asleep in the middle of it," she warns.

Divefire optics flash a little. "I'll wake you up."

CatsCradle laughs again and rolls over, flumping the pillows more comfortable, then collapses back down. "I might even stay awake, if you do."

Divefire chuckles lightly and moves so he's straddling her waist with his legs. "It could be an interesting night then." He comments almost in humour as he starts working his fingers slowly up her back.

CatsCradle makes a mrflewhimper noise as his fingers begin to work out the tension around her shoulders. With an effort, she manages to ask, "Do you recall anything about the Brotherhood of Chaos in that collection of memories you carry around with you?"

Divefire thinks about as he works his fingers into her shoulders, moulding the skin to remove the tension under his powerful motions. "Botherhood of Chaos... I can't recall anything specifically. One or two old rumours, more like here-say and gossip really... Why?"

CatsCradle sighs, half in pleasure, half grumbling. "Damn, I was hoping you had. The record we found is a fragment of something of theirs. A warning of the extermination of both 'Bots and Cons."

Divefire frowns a little as he tries to think back but doesn't really get anywhere. "The extermination of both? Odd... There are a lot of texts that forecast the end of Cybertron, but then they're in the same place as the tombs that are dedicated to Primus." He adds while moving his hands to work on her shoulders and neck

CatsCradle tries to remember the recording. "I think the actual word was 'extinction', but I can't remember exactly. I've got the copy of it, and I bullied a few historians out of bed at the Grinder and had them make copies of what references they could find right off hand. They'll keep looking and send more if they find it."

Divefire musses, thinking about but still more interested in on his mates neck as he works it over with the tip of his fingers. "I'll look at it tomorrow if you like."

CatsCradle tries to nod against the pillows and abandons the effort. "I'd like to get us into the Valckastan library, too, or at least send some cadets over. I've been meaning to talk to Thunderwing about it for a while, now, but other things just take priority."

Divefire slips his fingers down from her neck, to run down the centre of her back again. "I'm sure Thunderwing wouldn't refuse a request from the master of the Grinder." He half smirks in his voice to her.

CatsCradle tries to swat at him, then gives up that effort to. "I think it will have more to do with that I already have Megatron's approval and he said if Thunderwing refused to refer him back to Megatron. but I've talked with Ravenwing, and I don't think there will be a problem with making the request. We really need to get all our libraries on more or less the same century."
Divefire nods a little, slipping his hands to her side and rubbing gently. "That would be the first time in a few million years or so."

CatsCradle nods again, forgetting that it didn't work the first time. "Exactly."

Divefire slip his hands around to gently cup her chest as he leans foward to kiss her back, just bellow her neck. "By the way, thank you for getting the Cybertonium for me. And the others."

CatsCradle chuckles softly and arches against him. "It was either that, or I was going to hide at the Grinder until you were fixed."

Divefire chuckles lightly as his fingers brush over her skin. "I suppose I have been a bit difficult to live with recently."

CatsCradle laughs again. "It was just as well we got sent over, because Tempest, Scorcher and I were just going to go and get it ourselves anyway. We had it almost all planned out... I was going to take them along to 'help out' at the Grinder, we were going to go over Megatron's head to Nightbird... a bizarre twist on Femme's Night Out."

Divefire chuckles slightly, running the flat of his palm to cup her chest lightly. "I don't think I can imagine a more dangerous force then that."

CatsCradle smirks into her pillow. "Well, we couldn't get Motormaster in on it. He hears us planning and panicked and fled the room."

Divefire chuckles lightly. "He's wiser then his years then."

CatsCradle is quiet for a moment, then lets out a long sigh. "I've missed this."

Divefire nods slightly, kissing the back of her neck softly. "I have to. I forgot how much almost..."

CatsCradle says miserably, "I'm so tired of commuting between two planets. We never have any time together, when we're not running off in opposite directions."

Divefire sighs a little and slips down next to her on the beds, pulling her into a tight embrace. "Well, maybe you could give the command of the Grinder to some one else... Or, well I could always come to Cybertron with you..."

CatsCradle thinks a moment. "I think," she says uncertainly, "that I'm pretty much stuck with the Grinder until Diktat comes back. I'm trying to get it so that it runs itself and all I really have to do is put in an appearance. I think it's almost at that point. I haven't been there in a couple of weeks, and it was still standing." She nestles against him, her arms slipping around him. "I don't want us to be on Cybertron," she says in a smaller voice.

Divefire looks at him after hearing this, measuring her carefully. "Are you sure?" Is all he asks her in a calm tone.

CatsCradle looks up at him, reaching to run her fingers along his face. "Cybertron... I /shrink/ when I'm on Cybertron. Like my skin is too tight."

Divefire smiles lightly to her, just watching and holding her. "Which would make you look far more hallow and gaunt, which wouldn't suit you at all."

CatsCradle smiles a little. "No. It doesn't."

Divefire rests his forehead against hers softly and smiles to her. "We can stay on Earth, things have just been, hectic, of late."

CatsCradle slips her arms around his neck. "This is home," she whispers.

Divefire smiles again and kisses her lips softly. "With you it is, yes."





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