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Megatron's Master Plan
3/23/02

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.


CatsCradle slips into the back of the room, leaning against the wall just inside the door. Divefire's habit of being late must be rubbing off on her a bit.

Tempest eyes Starscream. Is he going to pick her?

Starscream gives a soft "feh" before turning to the assembled Decepticons.

Scorcher straightens herself a bit more, not wanting to appear to be asleep while the air commander is inspecting the troops

Starscream says, ""I want a scout to scope the are out. One flyer with Reflector.""

Starscream regards Tempest with a smirk. "You will do nicely, little sister."

Tempest ...hisses. "I'm not your /sister/, Starscream. I'm not even your /species./" She glances at Megatron, but stalks towards the door anyway. She actually looks forward to mayhem and destruction...her issue is with taking orders.

Scorcher eases down again, now she is no longer being regarded

Nightbird glances at the screen showing the live broadcast of the power station, then glances at Starscream.

Megatron drops his chart, looking at Starscream. This comment he really hasn't expected...

Thundercracker looks slightly disappointed at not having been chosen, since aerial rounds are usually his specialty. Fixing his attention back to the screen, he tries not to let his disappointment show too obviously.

Tempest grumbles, "Just because I'm built on a Seeker airframe..."

Ravenwing didn't expect to be chosen. After all, she's an observer and not directly under Starscream's command. She shakes her head fractionally, suspecting that the results of this mission will be the same as before. Tempest, she gives a neutral nod, whether in simple acknowledgment or in sympathy isn't apparent from the lack of expression on her face.

Starscream gives Tempest an unfazed grin. "On their tail, I want a full assault ready to take out the pitiful excuse of the humans defenses. Thundercracker, Scorcher...." He scans the room again, "Ravenwing...."

Scorcher sighs a little and checks her supply of missiles and energon. Ever since she almost got killed for going out with too little weapons she has gotten a bit paranoid about that.

Starscream gives Nightbird a once over, contempt becoming more apparent. "Your infiltration abilities will prove useful. We need a distraction from within the plant, something that will not harm the production of the energy, but to get the humans away from our goal."

Reflector shrugs, and settles back, his three sets of arms crossed. The Air Commander is starting to take a professional role of things, and is selecting a capable and balanced strike team.

Thundercracker straightens up to full attention, giving his weapons system a scan over in case anything's amiss. Though really, he sags a little back as the aerial commander rambles on about technical details, wishing that he could leave already.

Megatron folds his hands in front of his chest, observing Starscream very exactly.

Ravenwing arches an elegant brow at the addition of her own name to the list, then idly inspects a forefinger claw, pondering whether or not to ignore Starscream completely, or to take the earliest opportunity to kill him... She siiiiighs and recalls her Lord's orders, and so does neither.

Tempest heads out the door.

Starscream looks down at Rumble. "You, my sawed-off friend, will have a job all in itself. Uneven the playing ground to our advantage, if you catch my drift."

Rumble nods.

Megatron winks Nightbird back for a moment.

Soundwave joins the others in the Command Center, having been attending to business in his own way.

****

Great Plains <North America>

     At their northern edge, these inland grasslands are bordered by the Great Lakes gouged out by glaciers a mere several thousand years before and filled by meltwater. Continuing south and west from there, the original prairie ecosystem has been largely replaced by farmland, as have the original deciduous forests on the eastern edge of this range.

Scorcher waves her wings and performs a small looping. Some of her bad mood seems to have been burned of in her trip here

Thundercracker transforms into his Blue F-15 mode.

Dirge radios to the others, "Starscream is checking the area, we'll go down as soon as it's clear."

Scorcher frowns and mutters softly "Would make more sense to ask somebody whose job that is"

Soundwave accompanies the others, having joined them without much prompting. Apparently he's finished up some other project and is looking to make himself useful outside the base now.

Ravenwing maintains a holding pattern overhead, keeping her scanners alert for anything in the region. She's not familiar enough with Earth to tell what is and isn't a danger to them. To entertain herself while waiting, she imagines quietly offing the esteemed Air Commander. His command ability... or lack thereof... says a lot for why things are so chaotic here.

<Earth> Tempest radios Dirge.  "Area is clear.  We're going in now.  Bring in the main force."

Scorcher climbs a bit higher as well, to get a better look at approaching Autobots. Or Aerialbots

Dirge turns slightly toward Thundercracker, who is after all the ranking flier, to give the word.

Thundercracker gives the signal to proceed onward, and starts lowering his own altitude to lead the group.

****

Central City

        Nestled in the approximate center of the United States, Central City contains roughly two million humans. The sprawling complex of buildings is only occasionally broken by small fenced in patches of controlled growths of native vegetation. Routes called streets crisscross the area in a more orderly fashion that most human cities.

Tempest uses her longblades to hack a hole in the power plant's fence, her optics fixed on her prize...fresh power.

Reflector radios over to Starscream, "Commander, do you wish us to begin production of energon cubes? And should I maintain a lookout for the expected Autobot response force?"

Soundwave drops down with the others, drawing his plasma weapon as the group approaches the power plant.

Starscream points to Reflector exclusively as he lands solidly. "Scan the parameter and report anything that may threaten the success of this mission/"

Reflector nods to Starscream, and he takes up a patrol position on the exterior of the perimeter, taking his optics to their maximum acuity as he begins scanning the area for any Autobots that could be coming after them.

****

Airport

        Where the humans store and operate their laughably primitive flying machines. Unbelievably long runways are required for the ungainly and awkward planes to achieve the speed needed to take off. Today there is a gathering at one such runway, near a hangar. A large machine of some kind is surrounded by many humans.

Scorcher does not bother to land. Instead she climbs higher into the sky and takes up flying a perimeter patrol

Tempest cuts her way through the power station fence

Ravenwing is taken aback at the sheer quantity of vehicles in the city. No way to distinguish if any Autobots are among them, at least not without being familiar with the Autobots in question. She follows on to the airport, scanning the skies and watching for those pesky Aerialbots.

Starscream observes as he powers up his weapons. "Where is Nightbird's distraction?" he mutters impatiently....

Soundwave keeps his sensors attuned for any approaching interference, though he filters out the typical sounds of human panic reactions at the arrival of the heavily armed warriors.

Reflector takes up a perimeter position, circling on his antigravs, joining Ravenwing in a lookout position to spot any approaching Autobots that come to intercept them.

Thundercracker hovers in the sky, waiting for any further directions to proceed with the raid. With his rockets locked, ready to target at any source of irritation that the humans might present.

Soundwave starts generating energon cube containment fields, in the hopes that they can fill up and be gone again before the Autobots make their way through the chaos of the city.

Dirge swoops down near the humans, his engine noise causing them to scatter in fear. He fires off a few quarter-powered laser shots, driving them off.

Tempest succeeds in hacking the fence open. She eyes the prize. This thing better have as much energy as it was said to have.

Starscream regards Soundwave, impassively, then reverts his attention to Tempest. "Tempest....I want you to join the patrol now....Scorcher, aide Soundwave in draining the energy."

A moment after Dirge begins his assault, Nightbird appears from one of the buildings. She shakes her head once, then makes her way to where Soundwave is making cubes.

Thundercracker dives in after dirge, landing meters from where Soundwave is generating the cubes. Throwing open his cockpit, he prepares to be loaded with the energy and take off in minimal time.

Tempest stops dead. She's /hungry/ dammit! She moves to join the patrol, but takes time to cut the fuel tank out of a nearby truck and take a drink first.

Tempest transforms into her CF-18 Hornet Jet mode.

CatsCradle steps up silently beside Soundwave, making herself useful in filling cubes, since the others seem to be either scouting or loading.

Scorcher sighs deeply but, upon hearing the air commander's command she makes her way to where Soundwave is busy with the Energon cubes. It takes a while for her to get there as she was flying an advanced perimeter position

Reflector maintains a constant vigil,, his optics set at maximum magnification to spot any encroachers as far off as possible, and give the Decepticons maximum warning.

Rumble waits for the first cube to be filled with power.

Scorcher transforms into her Robot mode.

Ravenwing silently expands her holding pattern to take up where Scorcher left off.

Scorcher lands next to Soundwave and asks "What am I supposed to be doing?"

Ravenwing transmits, "Reflector, I'll have to depend on you to watch for the Autobots on the ground. I'm not familiar with their altmodes."

Soundwave hands Scorcher an empty energon containment field, and goes himself to hold one of them up to the generators. He does however glance back at Nightbird and her expression. He can soon guess what she meant, though, as the cube does not fill up with power as expected.

Reflector transmits back to Ravenwing, nodding as he continues scanning, "Very well. I will monitor for any traffic approaching us via the ground, then. Can y you spot them sufficiently ahead of time should they send an aerial response force?"

Rumble says, "Hey, what kinda scam is this? Where's the power?"

In fact, none of the cubes the Decepticons hold up to the power plant draw any energy. There should be tappable electrical power, but there is none.

Starscream glares at Rumble. "What are you babbling about?"

Rumble kicks the generator, as if trying to force it to give up its contents.

Rumble looks up at Starscream. "I don't understand! It'

Starscream is obviously growing impatient....

Rumble finishes, "It's like these devices are all...empty er somethin'!"

CatsCradle holds an empty cube, chewing her lip with a trepedacious look. She glances over at Soundwave, then shoots a side-long glance to Starscream. Oh, this is not gonna be good....

Ravenwing snorts quietly. "Visibility is 50 klicks. I'll see them." There seems to be some kind of ruckus below, but she keeps her attention on the surrounding skies.

Scorcher looks a bit confused at the cube in her hands and then to the others who are discussing what is wrong

Starscream growls. "It must be a trap.....Decepticons! Ready for Battle!"

Soundwave alerts Starscream, "Energy unavailable, Air Commander. We should be prepared for an attack." He himself takes hold of his rifle again....

Just as Starscream gives his warning, the solar panels open outward, revealing tanks of some unknown design.

Tempest perks up, not understanding what's wrong, but the warning cry is enough to put her on guard...and sure enough, something's not right. "It's a trap!" she cries out.

Scorcher tosses the empty energon cube aside as she decides that she really should not be on the ground like this

Reflector looks about, and he scans the area on the ground, before turning around and noticing the small tanks, broadcasting a warning.

Starscream launches into the air, his lasers online.

The tanks roll forward, pointing their cannons at the Decepticons. From one tank, a loudspeaker blares "Attention Decepticons. This is Shawn Berger. Surrender or prepare to be fired upon."

CatsCradle mutters, "Ah, hell." She drops the empty cube and pops her wrist lasers. "Shawn Whosawhatsit?"

Starscream seems to contemplate this. "How about not. Decepticons, attack!"

Ravenwing can't exactly miss that, and she almost laughs. Expecting her comrades to have no difficulty with the humans, she continues to watch for the real enemy: the Autobots.

Scorcher transforms into her Cyberjet mode.

Thundercracker doesn't need anymore prompting, instead taking off, careful not to connect with any others standing by the pile of empty cubes. Streaking towards one of the tanks, he decides to try his incendiary against one of the tacky looking things.

Scorcher blasts off before she caught on the ground by enemy fire

Reflector nods, and holds his position on observation - the Decepticons should have no problem with the Earthlings, and continuing to watch for Autobots.

Tempest snaps, "I don't know who you think you are but you're about to be sorry." She dives towards the tanks!

Starscream brings his clusterbombs online....

Rumble says, "Ok humans, let's rock and roll...Rumble style!"

Dirge does a simple flip and lands on top of one of the tank. One swipe of her energy sword cuts it in two, spilling the surprised driver out on the seat of his pants and the tank falls away from him.

Soundwave lets loose a blast of sizzling plasma at the tanks even as he rises into the air. If there's nothing to be had here in terms of energon, they should at least discourage these Autobot allies from thinking they can be effective against the Decepticons.

Nightbird does a simple flip and lands on top of one of the tank. One swipe of her energy sword cuts it in two, spilling the surprised driver out on the seat of his pants and the tank falls away from him.

CatsCradle catches Rumble's words and leaps into the sky, rather than be caught on the ground during one of his earthquakes. She sends a strafing of laser fire at the tanks.

Rumble turns his arms into piledrivers and decides to see how well tanks do in earthquakes.

Ravenwing transmits quietly to Reflector, "What is the usual Autobot response time? For both ground and air support?"

Tempest lands on the front of one of the tanks and uses her right blade like a crowbar to pry the turret hatch open. She then thrusts her sword inside, trying to shishkabob those inside.

Scorcher quickly gains altitude, not bothering the other 'cons in their slaughter of the human weapons

Dirge shoots a couple of the tanks, which blow apart from his lasers. Making a contemptuous sound, he takes to air again. Obviously these things aren't worth wasting time on.

Reflector pauses to Ravenwing, as he scans over the ground, watching for any Autobots approaching, "That depends on how close they have a patrol, distance from their primary base, and how much forewarning they have received."

Starscream fires off a round of clusterbombs air-to-ground against the tanks, following through with strafing laser fire. "Soundwave, what's the possibility there is no energy in the area?"

Soundwave fires on the nearest tank below. It's the typical ineffectual human construction, and explodes apart at the full impact of his plasma bolt. He noted and recorded for later the voice that sounded when the surprise was sprung, but the name means nothing to him. Perhaps one of the Earth researchers will have more insight later.

Soundwave replies to Starscream, "Unlikely there was energy here to begin with, Air Commander."

Rumble laughs as one of the tanks, the one nearest to him, starts spitting bolts and suddenly just rattles apart.

Thundercracker has little enjoyment tearing apart the usual array of human defense weapons, deciding that if that's all they have, they shouldn't have even bothered making an appearance. The lack of energy nearby concerns him slightly though, even if it's something Starscream should be worrying about instead.

Starscream says, "Then we're wasting too much energy with these humans....dispose of them, and let's return to base."

Nightbird says, "Surely the humans did not do this simply to spring this ineffective trap."

Reflector radios out to Ravenwing, and then he says, "Alert, probable Autobot ground response force approaching. Prime is in the lead..."

Scorcher kicks in her afterburners to take up her position in the scouting patrols as quickly as possible. Any moment now there will be Autobots to deal with, since these humans seemed to be prepared for their raid

Starscream growls. "That's what bothers me....the Autobots must be nearby."

CatsCradle lands on top of one of the tanks and pries the hatch open with her claws. She peeks in, then reaches in to pluck out the human by the back of its clothes and sets it on the ground. "Go on, now," she shoos. "Run away before someone steps on you." As the human decides that running might be a worthwhile activity, she happily begins wrenching the tank apart.

Tempest snaps, "It's a decoy! We should get out of here before the Autobots show up!" No point in fighting them over /nothing/, not unless the Cons have the advantage.

Ravenwing says, "Acknowledged. The skies are still clear, so it looks like they're using their ground forces this time."

Reflector radios out a warning to the Decepticons of the approaching vehicles, which he has identified to be an Autobot response force led by Prime. He radios to Starscream, "Instructions, Commander?"

Starscream snarls at Tempest's remark, taking a higher altitude. "Decepticons, return to base immediately! This was only a ruse to get us out here!"

Starscream says, ""Remain ready...I will not be ambushed again!""

The Autobots now emerge on the runway, transforming almost as one.

Tempest replies, "Too late Starscream, we're going to have to fight our way out of this one."

Soundwave's optic band flickers faintly. "Humans are insignificant targets, but their allegiance with Autobots marks them as a nuisance." He fires a few more shots after the hurriedly retreating bystanders, then shifts his attention to the onrushing Autobots.

Starscream says, "Decepticons, ATTACK!!!!"

Prime dives for cover at Starscream's bomb, but pieces of it hit him anyway. He says, "Take em Autobots!"

Scorcher realizes she was heading in the wrong direction and turns around to lay covering fire for her retreating fellow cons

Reflector fires a laser burst at the Autobots, drawing down behind cover - the situation is not to their advantage here, with them outnumbered, but he will follow instructions, and he draws a bead on Bumblebee, and he starts shooting while moving behind cover.

Reflector attacks Bumblebee with laser, but misses him!
Bumblebee attacks Reflector with Laser2, but misses him!

Starscream attacks Optimus Prime with laser2, and strikes him!
Optimus Prime attacks Starscream with Laser_Rifle, and strikes him!

Thundercracker zips by overhead, still musing about the laughably pitiful tanks, when he picks up the incoming Autobots, and whooo, is there a lot of them. From below, Starscream's distinct voice is heard issuing the signal for attack, so he torpedoes the nearest 'Bot, being Ironhide.

Nightbird draws her sword and heads toward the Autobot flank, ducking laser beams.

Thundercracker attacks Ironhide with rocket, and strikes him!
Ironhide attacks Thundercracker with Laser1, but misses him!

Skywarp appears in mid-air as he seems to have teleported here while emitting. "Thundercracker behind you!"

Soundwave fires on Jazz, who's sticking close to Prime and firing a barrage of laser blasts at the Decepticons.

Tempest abandons the tank, and darts forward. There's the troublemaker... Smokescreen.

Starscream falls momentarily, then rights himself before he hits the ground....

Reflector fires on Bumblebee again, dodging the return shots, and then trying to triangulate on the Autobots.

Tempest hopes she can take Smokescreen out before he blinds the Decepticons.

Thundercracker narrowly dives a streak of laser that almost nails him in the afterburner, thanks to his wingmate's warning. "Whew, thanks there 'Warp," he radios, "he could've toasted me!"

Starscream says, "Do you truly believe you can defeat me, Optimus Prime?"

CatsCradle looks up from her de-tanking. "Hmph. Here I am, minding my own business, taking apart this lovely tank here, and of course the Autobots have to ruin it." She scans over the field then crouches behind the tank as Sunstreaker, well... er... tries to streak by. Little hard to streak, however, when someone pushes a tank in front of you while you're going at a pretty good speed. The 'Bot squeals to a stop to protect his precious paint job, and Cats darts around the tank at him, sword raised.

Starscream attacks Optimus Prime with null_ray, but misses him!
Optimus Prime attacks Starscream with Laser_Rifle, but misses him!

Skywarp emits. "let's get these bozos"

Soundwave ducks under Jazz's return fire. The Autobot shifts to vehicle mode and tries to circle around to attack from another angle, part of a strategy that's trying to surround the Decepticon forces. Soundwave takes another shot at him, increasing the power of his attack.

Skywarp turns and fires some missiles.
Ironhide attacks Skywarp with Laser1, but misses him!

Starscream attacks Optimus Prime with ram, but misses him!
Optimus Prime attacks Starscream with Punch, but misses him!

Tempest grins as her blades tear into Smokescreen. Hopefully the annoying Autobot will be too busy trying to stay alive to use his little trick.

Ravenwing takes one last careful look around, including anyone on the ground heading this way, then siiiiighs and banks sharply around to dive towards the enemy on the ground, looking for a target not too near to anyone else... Inferno is a rather bright target and she fires at him just before having to pull up.

Nightbird easily outmaneuvers the clumsy Autobot Grapple, and strikes him with several quick disorienting punches before swinging her sword again.

Starscream mutters, "I am not amused...." Doubling back, he powers up his lasers for a second strafe....

Starscream attacks Optimus Prime with laser1, and strikes him!
Optimus Prime attacks Starscream with Plasma, and strikes him!

Jazz is struck by Soundwave's attack, which sends him skidding off his path. He seems to flip over from the blast, but in fact he's transforming and fires off a laser bolt in mid-leap, which strikes Soundwave across the side and scores an ugly black burn into his plating. Soundwave unleashes a sonic blast in response...

Skywarp pulls up and takes a turn. "Hah you missed." then noses down and heads for Thundercracker.

Skywarp transforms into his Robot mode.

Nightbird winces as the Autobot hits her with a welder, more or less by accident. Her optics blaze and moves in for the kill.

Reflector dodges another blast from Bumblebee, but the return fire forces him to mess up his own aim, and he misses as well, before he pops up from cover again, and he fires once more.

Scorcher rushes by at close to her maximum speed, peppering the area with lasershot without aiming much, forcing the remaining bots to scatter

Skywarp lands on his feet next to Thundercracker. "Did ya miss me?"

Soundwave attacks Jazz with sonics, but misses him!
Jazz attacks Soundwave with Sonic_Light_Show, and strikes him!

CatsCradle's sword bites into the Autobot shoulder, and as he fires a rocket at her in return, she ducks and rolls, flowing to her feet as the rocket fires over her, exploding against the tank. She tsktsks. "I was having fun with that. I don't like it when someone blows up my toys." She slashes at Sunstreaker again.

Starscream transforms into his Red-and-Silver F-15 mode.

Skywarp yells at screamer. "Hey Screamer, you've got paper hanging on your tailpipe"

Thundercracker transforms, and turns to his buddy with a grin. "What took ya so long? Well, the party ain't over yet..."

Scorcher sharply turns for another strafing run, this time trying a bit harder to target one of the Autobot warriors

Starscream attacks Optimus Prime with clusterbomb, and strikes him!
Optimus Prime attacks Starscream with Laser_Rifle, but misses him!

Soundwave shades his optics as Jazz retaliates with a blast of obnoxious noise and light, and follows up on the moment of disorientation with another laser blast. He quickly pulls back behind cover, and fires a series of random shots to insure the Autobot forces can't easily surround the Decepticons entirely.

Reflector misses Bumblebee once again, and he moves to fire as the return blast narrowly misses his center component, and instinctively all of him duck down as they move to return fire once more.

Dirge attacks Tracks with CONCUSSION_MISSILE, but misses him!
Tracks attacks Dirge with Incendiary_Missile, and strikes him!
Ravenwing is at too poor an angle to hit the Autobot, who quickly dives out of the way, but at least she swerves enough to avoid his return shot. Instead of banking
around for another pass, she transforms in the air, still soaring away, spins to face him, then raises an arm as if she were pointing at him and fires again.

Starscream pulls up, hiding in the glare of the sun. "Power's too low....I dare not make a second pass!"

Skywarp says, "Well let's get this party going Thundercracker, I'd say Starscream is showing off again.. haha""

Scorcher attacks Sideswipe with laser, but misses him!
Sideswipe attacks Scorcher with Laser1, and strikes her!

Reflector is sent reeling by the blast from Bumblebee, and he staggers backwards, his center component ent smoking. He was moderately damaged there... He holds a hand over his smoking armor as all three of him feel pain, and then he moves to fire another blast at his opponent.

Starscream attacks Optimus Prime with null_ray, and strikes him!

Nightbird finishes off Grapple, then turns towards where Soundwave is fighting Prime. She kicks several Autobots out of her way in the process.

Obviously the Autobot's aim is better than Scorcher and she yelps as his laser burns her wing

Tempest tries to get in close to Smokescreen...she's a better shot when she can press her lasers right into her victim's metal.

Nightbird attacks Mirage with kick, but misses him!
Mirage attacks Nightbird with Rocket_Dart, but misses her!

Nightbird attacks Skids with kick, and strikes him!
Skids attacks Nightbird with Kick, and strikes her!

Thundercracker nods, while snorting slightly. "Probably, and it looks like Ironhide's got a thicker hide than I thought." Arming his arm laser at the Autobot, he fires a multitude of shots, then checks with command.

Tempest attacks Smokescreen with laser, but misses him!
Smokescreen attacks Tempest with Laser2, but misses her!

Starscream cackles as he readies his clusterbombs one more time.

Thundercracker attacks Ironhide with laser2, but misses him! Ironhide attacks Thundercracker with Laser2, but misses him!

Tempest snorts...not close enough...but at least the Autobot didn't do any better. He's a slippery one, oh yes....

CatsCradle's attack proves true again, as her sword slices into the 'Bot once more. The blade catches briefly in his shoulder armor, and Sunstreaker uses the chance to hit her hard. She snarls, slashing at his face with her claws as she wrenches her sword free.

Starscream says, "Decepticons, fall back!"

Skywarp attacks Ironhide with laser2, but misses him!
Ironhide attacks Skywarp with Laser1, but misses him!

Reflector smiles as he hits Bumblebee with a minor blast, his weapon scoring the paint of his opponent, but not doing much else, so he gets up and fires another burst, pressing his advantage before taking to the air.

Starscream attacks Optimus Prime with clusterbomb, and strikes him!
Optimus Prime attacks Starscream with Laser1, and strikes him!

Skywarp looks at Thundercracker. "Screamer is pulling back????"

Starscream cries out and falls from the sky, plummeting.

Rumble watches Starscream. "That's gotta hurt."

Thundercracker gives the annoying 'Bot a few last shots, then pulls back according to SS's command. "Guess the party's over then..." He then jets up and transforms, noticing that SS just took quite a blast back there...

Skywarp yells at the falling Starscream. "Watch your nose pal!"

Dirge dives down from where he's been bombing Autobots and attaches a grappling line to Starscream, keeping him from hitting the ground.

Tempest again feels irritated, wanting to finish the fight, but evidently Starscream is in no condition to continue. She tries to rein in her bloodthirst and struggles to do so. "Get the slag out of here!" she yells to the others.

Scorcher turns on her wing and fires two missiles straight into the pack of Autobots. The huge fireballs forcing them to dive for cover. Hopefully it will buy them time to rescue the air commander and pull out

Reflector takes to the air after the other withdrawing Decepticons, zooming after them at his top speed, with moderate damage, but overall intact.

Nightbird pounds through a few more Autobots, getting clear of them and looking for a ride.

Skywarp gives a funny look. "Aww can't we just stay and bash these fools?"

Soundwave leaps out from behind his barricade as Starscream hits Prime with a considerable attack - but not heavy enough, it seems, to knock the enemy leader entirely out of the action. The return fire has apparently caught Starscream in an unfortunate strike. Soundwave redoubles his plasma barrage, and follows up with a sonic attack directed in the general direction of the Autobots, to buy the rest time to pull back.

Soundwave takes over command as the ranking individual, making his way toward Nightbird so he can take her back to base.

<Earth> Soundwave says, "Decepticons, return to base!"

Ravenwing turns her flight into a curving arc back towards the airport and that agile Inferno. She's in time to see Starscream get blasted and arches a brow. Someone took on a foe beyond his capability and paid the price. Dirge seems to have the matter in hand, so she doesn't have to violate her feelings to rescue the mech. Did he call a retreat? She replays her recent memories and... hears Soundwave's confirmation. That sounds like a big yes.

Scorcher flies off erratically to avoid the return fire of the Autobots who are angry to have their paint smoking by her fire

Nightbird races over to Soundwave at surprising speed, ready to leave.

Skywarp shakes his head. "Who will take screamer?"

Tempest transforms and circles the area, jinking to avoid Autobot fire, making sure the other Decepticons are pulling out. She will volunteer to help but only if no one else does first... "Skywarp, Thundercracker, get your Air Commander out of here."

Dirge tightens the grapple line on Starscream and starts reeling him in like a bizarre fish. "I've got him."

Soundwave catches Nightbird as she leaps toward him, holding her with one arm while rising upward and firing down plasma blasts at the Autobots with the weapon in his other hand. Laser bolts from below sizzle past him.

Skywarp smiles. "Hey Dirge don't drop him"

Rumble follows Soundwave, staying close to his creator.

Thundercracker dives back down to land by Screamer, and transforms him to haul the other mech over a shoulder. "Man, you sure you wanna take him Dirge?"

Skywarp jumps up and starts to shape.

CatsCradle's claws slash into Sunstreaker's face, fluid immediately pouring from the slice marks and into his optics. He kicks out blindly at her, and the extra movement gives her the angle she needs to pull her sword free. Through the chaos of the fight, she hears the order to retreat, and lets out a grumble between clenched jaws. "Woulda been nice to tell Diver he has one less rival." She leaps into the sky and follows the retreat.

Skywarp transforms into his Black F-15 mode.

The Autobots sense the battle is concluded, and take token shots at the Decepticons as they retreat. Optimus is in really bad shape, barely surviving his encounter with Starscream.

Scorcher fires two more missiles to discourage the Autobots from giving chase before turning away herself

Ravenwing resumes her faster alt mode and lays covering fire as well, but staying at enough of a distance to be out of danger herself.

Reflector flies after the other Decepticons, taking to the air, and shaking his heads. He hopes that he will be able to get a ride on one of the Seekers for the purpose of a faster withdrawal, given his relatively slow flying speed.

Dirge takes off with Starscream literally in tow, either not hearing Thundercracker's question or thinking the answer obvious.

Skywarp transmits a message via radio.

A radio transmission is received by Thundercracker.

Soundwave isn't the fastest flyer of the group, so the jets quickly pull ahead of him, but he *is* determined to get everyone back to base now. Carrying Nightbird, he heads upward and turns in the air in the direction of home.

Thundercracker shrugs, then takes off, leaving the battered Starscream for Dirge.

Skywarp transmits a message via radio.
A radio transmission is received by Soundwave.

Thundercracker transforms into his Blue F-15 mode.

Scorcher, together with Ravenwing, bringing up the rear dives down a little to scoop up Reflector before he is captured by the Autobots

Ravenwing breaks free and follows the rest, slowing her speed substantially to pace the slower Reflector and Soundwave.

Tempest takes up the rear, watching over the others it seems...or maybe just dawdling.

****

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.

Tempest slinks in the corner, coiling up on a bunk and watching the repairs progress.

Dirge carries Starscream into the Repair Bay over one shoulder and plunks him down on one of the beds. He then turns right around and heads out again, not being damaged himself.

Soundwave wastes no time and heads straight to the repair bay. He's taken some damage as well, but as so often his thoughts are for getting the rest of the team back into shape. He is certain Megatron will want some answers, but Starscream will require repairs first.

Megatron rushes into the repair bay. "What the hell?" he starts, then decides. "Report! Whoever is able to..."

Skywarp raises his shoulders. "We retreated!"
CatsCradle stops at her usual spot in the doorway, managing to squeeze herself against the door jamb as Megatron comes in.

Soundwave shifts right into repair mode, setting out his tools and giving Starscream a quick scan to determine the nature of the damage, then gets right to work. He replies to his leader without looking up at him, "We seem to have been misinformed about the source of energy, Commander."

Tempest says acidly, "What does the word "ambush" mean to you?"

Scorcher looks sadly and rather uncomfortably at her smoking wingtip

Ravenwing muses, "Something odd about that... And no, not the ambush, but its implementation."

Soundwave has of course rather understated the case. Perhaps he's involved in his work - or he's giving Starscream the opportunity to report instead.

Megatron clenches his fist. "Autobots?"

Soundwave repairs some of Starscream's damage.

Scrapper walks in and sees Soundwave has Starscream well in hand and goes about looking for the next most wounded.

Starscream 's optics flicker online...

Ravenwing says, "Autobots came later. The Terrans attacked first, Commander."

Skywarp raises his hands before him and looks at Scrapper. "Hey don't look at me I got no scratches!"

Soundwave methodically removes burnt-out components and cuts away scorched armor from Optimus Prime's attacks. As he continues to replace parts, he notices Starscream returning to consciousness, and cautions him, "Remain still."

Nightbird says, "The humans had ineffectual machines attacking us."

Starscream hisses in pain as Soundwave works on him. "The Humans were no match for us....we dispatched them easily...."





Scrapper says, "All right Nightbird, let's have a look at that welder gash."

Megatron walks to Starscream table. "For dispatching the humans easily, you look like a heap of rejected parts, Starscream. Not to mention the rest of my troops." His optics glow a bit brighter. "So what happened?"

Nightbird's optics glow for a moment, but gets on a table reluctantly. Grapple of all Bots got her good with an arc welder.

Rumble shrugs. "Who'd have given the humans so much credit to think of an ambush?"

Soundwave continues to work on Starscream, apparently completely calm in the face of Megatron's irritation.

Starscream says, ""It wasn't a human ambush....they were decoys for the Autobots, of course.""

Ravenwing continues her own train of thought, "I suspect that the Terrans were acting alone in this, at least to start with. Otherwise, the Autobots would have been there already, not arriving some time later. A very poorly-planned action on the Terrans' part."

CatsCradle says from her spot in the doorway, "The humans were the ones orchestrating the ambush."

Starscream winces again, and snaps at Soundwave. "Easy, you oaf! That's sensitive!"

Ravenwing glances back towards CatsCradle and nods. "You noticed that, too?"

Reflector watches the other Decepticons, having taken moderate damage from Bumblebee's hit, and he can wait for repairs. "I would believe that the two efforts were uncoordinated - the Autobots had their arrival too late, at the time we had finished with the humans."

Starscream says, ""There was no proof...the Autobots cornered us as we were falling back, remember?""

Starscream 's optics dim in thought... "However...."

Starscream says, "It was you who sent us out in the first place, Mighty Megatron....and the humans weren't the problem. We had taken care of them with ease."

Soundwave says, "Their alliance with the Autobots has been a problem to us in the past, however.Ē

Megatron smirks. "Soundwave, it seems that Starscream wants that I repair him..."

Tempest rolls her optics, and slips towards the doorway, muttering to CatsCradle, "Here we go again," with a gesture towards Megatron and Starscream.

Scrapper doesn't add his two cents in, being somewhat involved in Nightbird's unique construction. Some of the parts and circuits seem a bit antiquated, but there is definite elegance of design here.

Starscream chuckles, lifting his arms in defense. "No, no, that's quite all right, Megatron....."

Soundwave finally seems content with the state of Starscream's interior systems, and fits a new armor panel back into place, replacing the old, damaged one. "Starscream's damages are fully repaired, Commander," he replies, and there's only the faint hint of a brightening of his optic band as he replies to Megatron, the briefest of "smiles." "I would not wish to have to repeat the process."

Ravenwing gives Tempest an interested look at her comment, then looks back to Megatron and Starscream. Maybe such things are over-familiar to the feral Seeker, but not to her. She... observes.

Megatron says, "Oh, what a pity."

Reflector watches the other Decepticons present, and he shrugs, shaking his heads as he observes them.

Starscream gets off the repair table quickly, taking his usual pose, standing tall with his arms crossed over his chest.

Starscream says, "In any case, the Autobots were the problem. I had incapacitated Optimus Prime in the process."

Starscream puffs his chest out, proud of the exaggerated deed.

CatsCradle drums her clawtips against her arms. "Great," she murmurs to Tempest.

Ravenwing crosses her arms, leans back against a handy wall, and waits to be entertained by the proceedings. Starscream's comments earn the slightest of smirks; looks like the show is already starting.

Soundwave looks around, checking to see who else requires repair. He does, of course, but that's not something he seems to concern himself with at the moment.

Soundwave glances at CatsCradle, but since she's still on her feet, he won't argue with her at the moment. He motions to Scorcher to step over. Looks like just surface damage.

Scorcher considers leaving the room and brave the supply sergeant when Soundwave motions to her to have her wing repaired

Megatron says, "So, this was a trap done by the Humans and then the Autobots joined the battle?"

Scrapper replaces Nightbird's armor panel, with the ugly scorch mark on it. He'll have to formulate the replacement coating of hers later. He goes to Scorcher and looks over her injuries.

Starscream says, "A pathetic attempt on the humansí part, but yes, in so few words."

CatsCradle says, "Humans who really didn't know what they were doing, short of using the right bait."

Starscream sends a glare at Cats. Megatron was talking to him, not her! How dare she!

Soundwave seems to be ready to work on Scorcher, and nods to Scrapper indicating he has her covered.

Scorcher mutters to Ravenwing "Maybe now we can quite showing that insane drivel the humans broadcast all day on our main screen."

CatsCradle seems to shed Starscream's glare easily. Might say she is used to being glowered at...

Reflector awaits his turn at being repaired, and then he swivels his heads to observe the discussions going about the room.

Soundwave expertly works out the burn marks and armor damage of Scorcher's plating, and starts fitting new wing panels into place where the originals were clipped by enemy fire.

Scrapper replaces Nightbird's armor panel, with the ugly scorch mark on it. He'll have to formulate the replacement coating of hers later. He goes to Reflector and looks over his injuries.

Ravenwing comments to Scorcher, "I find many parts of it interesting myself, but you are correct in that there is a great deal of "drivel" there." She siiiighs, as it seems that Megatron and Starscream aren't going to rip into each other, at least not this time. Alpha conflict, one would expect, though the illustrious Air Commander doesn't strike her as an alpha.

Scorcher pointedly looks the other way and tries to ignore Soundwave tugging at her wing completely

Reflector has taken a hit on his center unit, and his chest was melted, the camera viewport cracked, though his armor took the damage, and its primarily surface.

Megatron rubs his chin. They have to get these humans under control before they really may get a danger. But there is another question he has: "Has there been any energy at all, Soundwave?"

Scrapper peels off the melted armor piece. "Hmm, this doesn't look too bad. At least your internals are mostly intact."

Starscream is clearly upset that Megatron had asked Soundwave...after all, Starscream knew just as much as Soundwave!

Soundwave is pretty quick about it ... he quite efficiently fits the new wing panel into place, then looks down at himself as though just now taking note of his own injuries. Laser burns, a cracked covering to his tape deck, some burnt-out internals. He shakes his head a little. Unfortunate, and bothersome, that such a thing must interfere with his complete effectiveness.

Scorcher gets away from the repair table as quickly as possible. She is not as phobic as Cats about repairs , but she is hardly enjoying being in this room either

Soundwave looks up from his contemplation and replies to Megatron, "Negative, Commander. It was orchestrated as a trap."

Reflector nods at Scrapper, before replying, "Yes, it was primarily surface damage. It is minor, and should not be troublesome to replace."

CatsCradle chews on her lip for a moment, then gingerly enters the repair bay and wordlessly goes to the nearest terminal. Shawn... Shawn... Shawn Berger, that was it. She taps the name into the terminal. Doesn't hurt to see what might come up.

Scrapper decides that none of Reflector's components needs to be replaced and starts making spot repairs in the damaged circuits.

Starscream scoffs. "A pathetic attempt at one. Do those miserable fleshlings truly believe they would overpower us?"

Reflector nods as his systems are brought up to maximum efficiency, and his armor paneling is replaced. He runs a diagnostic, and finds that all systems are working with their customary efficiency.

Scorcher mutters to her roommate "I don't find their broadcasts particularly entertaining. Especially not after a few hours in the command center monitoring the security cameras

Scrapper gets a piece of armor from storage, and then the only replacement lens for Reflector. "Looks like we'll have to fabricate some more of these. I'll get Mixmaster on it."

Reflector nods at Scrapper, and then he says, "Very well. Do you think that you would be able to quickly assemble one that should hold temporarily in place, in case we depart on a mission before another can be created, that should hold until a more permanent one can be constructed?"

CatsCradle drums her claws against the desk again in a silent rhythm, the deep amethyst of her optics reflecting on the monitor. "Looks like the ambush was headed by a business man." She frowns. "Looks like he's working towards being a politician... mayor perhaps. But that doesnít make sense."

Tempest shies away from the doorway as Spinister walks in. She remembers /this/ one all right...the one who not only tried to give her a dressing-down, but dared to lay hand on her.

Tempest murmurs, "It makes perfect sense...is it not the job of a leader to /lead/ his people against their enemies?"

Starscream gets a bit antsy, taps his foot, then starts pacing. "Those humans are even more idiots than I originally thought....and that's not saying much. They had to have known we are superior in every way!" he comments to himself as he comes to a stop, standing over Cats.

Spinister walks in quickly, apparently driven by something he urgently needs to report. His white optics scan the room quickly, nodding at Ravenwing, before focusing on Megatron. He pays Tempest no more than the faintest attention. Clearly he's not as worried by her as she is by him.

Soundwave looks toward Spinister. If he's at all surprised to see the second-in-command of Valckasta pay them another visit, he does not indicate it.

Megatron looks over his damaged troops, his optics resting at Nightbird for a while... but alot at Tempest, assuring they are getting their repairs. "I will take care this drama ends here," he murmurs, heading for the door.

CatsCradle glances up at Tempest. "Well... yes, in a military setting. But on Earth, mayors are usually just..." She frowns again, trying to translate Earth terms. "...more of a civilian role."

Ravenwing straightens up, her silvery optics brightening on seeing her Lord's executive officer. She inclines her head to him and pays *close* attention now. Spinister isn't any more fond of the mudball than her Lord, and only something important would bring him here.

Tempest replies to CatsCradle, "In those sort of circumstances...when the threat arrives...one /learns/ to fight. Quickly. Or dies."

Spinister threads his way through the room, his garish colours contrasting strongly with his apparent mood. His optics brighten a moment as they latch onto Soundwave's. He meets up with Megatron, as Megatron heads for the door and says without preamble, "Megatron, I have something to report."

Scrapper says, "Don't worry about it Reflector, we have the specs. That one is flawless, and Mixmaster will have two new ones by tomorrow."

Soundwave finally gives in to logic and reason, and finds a place near one of the repair tables to await the services of the Constructicons. He listens with interest to what CatsCradle and Spinister may have to report.

Megatron nods to Spinister. "Let's talk outside.

Reflector nods to Scrapper, and his heads bobble up and down, and then he turns to Scrapper, "Yes, very well then. I will be able to function adequately until such a time comes, then. Thank you."

Scrapper nods to himself as Soundwave relents to being repaired and goes over. It's odd, but seeing the two of them upclose, one might realize their optic band and face plate seem almost identical. It's only their helmets that differ.

Megatron says, "I want your complete report in 10.000 astroseconds, Starscream."

Megatron enters Access Corridor .

Spinister nods in return at Megatron and turns to leave the room he has only just entered. He shoots the attentive Ravenwing an apologetic look. He won't be making the report here, but Ravenwing can hear of it later...if Megatron doesn't mind.

Tempest replies to CatsCradle, "Businessman, citizen, child...all will learn to fight if threatened. Or die."

Starscream scowls. "Of course, Mighty Megatron."

Starscream scoffs at Tempest. "It is obvious he is trying to win the favour of his people."

Ravenwing's attention shifts back to CatsCradle and Tempest. Ah yes, politics. What a lovely function. She smirks, recalling how the Diplomatic Corps played politics as easily as a children's game. The smirk vanishes, as she recalls Diktat and wonders yet again what has become of her old friend.

Nightbird looks thoughtfully at the scorch mark on her armor, and watches Scrapper repair Soundwave.

CatsCradle's fingers keep their silent patting. "Yes, Tempest, I'm rather aware of that," she says in what sounds like an absent tone, but her optics flare a silently darker shade. She gives the work center a final rap of her claws and pushes her chair back a tad, tipping it back on its back two legs. "I agree with you, Starscream," she says, this time with a rather wondering expression... the world is ending... I'm /agreeing/ with Screamer.... "However, the question is: how much of a threat is this one businessman/politician out of a whole planet of them." Then she fights down a grin at Ravenwing, wondering if she is thinking of Diktat, too.

Tempest shrugs a little at Starscream, not really understanding what that means. Fighting when cornered, that she understands perfectly. Being a leader of men or mechs...is beyond her.

Reflector looks over at CatsCradle curiously, "If he was attempting to pull off some sort of operation to impress his fellow humans, what would he benefit? I would hardly call it a success - his forces were destroyed, wiped out. I would not think that he benefited in any way from his operation."

Starscream chuckles, shaking his head. "This attempt to ambush us may prove to the people that he is wasting his time and energy on a lost cause...."

CatsCradle smiles slightly. "Well... he may not have won, but he proved a point that he was willing to go up against us. The fact that he lost may only bring him more support."

Scorcher shrugs, unwilling to contradict the air commander. She looks at Ravenwing and sighs as she sees her roommate preoccupied with thought

Ravenwing notes idly, "It also indicates a division between the Terrans and their Autobot allies."

CatsCradle nods to Raven. "Exactly. Up until now, the humans have been content to let the Autobots do their fighting and take losses for them." She wrinkles her nose at the screen. "So did something happen to change their minds? Or is it just this one power-hungry individual trying to get himself noticed?"

Starscream says, "Or the humans are trying to prove their independence with the Autobots....they wish to declare themselves self-sufficient against any threat...."

Reflector shrugs, and then he says, "Did anyone noticed whether the human's weapons incorporated any Autobot technology in it? It could be an independent organization that has gotten its hand on Autobot technology and is testing it, perhaps..." Reflector offers.

CatsCradle says hesitantly, "Maybe... but why would they waste their resources when the Autobots are so willing to waste their own instead?" She shakes her head slightly. "I wish Diver was here. He's been studying them longer than I have."

Ravenwing inclines her head to Starscream, who's finally said something intelligent today. Her silver optics swirl with a hint of bitterness. She is *very* cognizant of wanting independence and self sufficiency, oh yes.

Rumble tilts his head at CatsCradle and Ravenwing. "Some of the humans don't like each other, eh? There's more than just two gangs, like us and the Bots. They have a zillion little groups."

Starscream shrugs with a cocky grin. "Idiocy in independence. Who knows how humans think?"

Nightbird says, "Perhaps the humans have sensed that the Autobots are on the verge of defeat and do not wish to have no defense when that occurs."

CatsCradle grins and tilts her chair back a tiny bit further. "That's exactly what I want to know. How they think."

Starscream casts a sly smirk towards Nightbird. "Of course. You were built by them, weren't you, Nightbird? Tell us how the humans think....."

Reflector looks over at CatsCradle, and then he asks her, "You are the expert on humans that we have available, what would you believe that their motivations were in this situation?"

Nightbird's optics glitter a little as she glares at Starscream.

Megatron returns.

Spinister follows Megatron back inside, his message delivered. He now pays closer attention to the occupants of the room.

Tempest continues to eye Spinister warily. He may have forgotten what he did that bothered her, but she has not.

Megatron says, "Decepticons, attention! Spinister here needs some information from you."

Reflector looks over at Megatron curiously, wondering what is going on here.

Starscream stands straight, his arms once again crossed over his chest, the bored contempt returning into his face.

Scorcher looks up curiously as well

CatsCradle gives Starscream a wary glance... if Bird starts chucking shuriken, she definitely wants to be on her way outta here... she's been caught in the middle of too many squabbles as it is. "I think..." she says slowly, "...that this is a business man trying to gain support. I do not believe this is a sudden arming of all the humans against Decepticons. How dangerous this one human can be, I'm not sure yet." Then as Megatron comes back in, she lets the chair land on all four legs again with a *clunk*.

Reflector nods, and muses over what CatsCradle has said. She is probably the one that will have the most credible information to say, then. "What course of action should we take, then? Should we investigate this Berger? If he is successful in his defiance, he will only inspire more humans to do the same..."

Starscream 's optics suddenly widen, as though he received an epiphany....now, debating whether or not to say it aloud....oh, decisions, decisions.

Starscream says, "Perhaps this human wasn't waiting for the Decepticons...."

CatsCradle turns to look at Starscream for a long moment. "... waiting for ... Autobots, perhaps? To declare independence from them?"

Ravenwing simply waits for Spinister to ask for whatever it is he seeks here.

Starscream nods with a smirk. "After all, they are dependent of the Autobots for defense against us, correct?"

Megatron gets slightly louder: "Silence, I say!" Then he turns to Spinister. "Please, proceed."

Starscream lets out a loud "Feh."

Nightbird turns her optics to Spinister, her masked features giving away none of her thoughts.

CatsCradle's fingers go back to drumming. Not quite silently this time, but not very audibly either. "In which case... this Berger and the Decepticons might have a common interest. At least until he decides to claim independence from us as well." Then as Megatron's voice raises, she falls silent again. But her fingers keep pattering softly.

Reflector looks over to Megatron  and to Spinister, curious.

Rumble gazes at Spinister, hoping what he has to say will be more interesting than this boring crap about humans.

Spinister looks around the room with bright white optics at the whispering and chatting. These Earth Decepticons! So much less disciplined than Valckastan Decepticons, who would have shut up the moment the leader made an announcement! Spinister has no interest in the mention of humans, biased as he is towards those of the fleshling race, and the talk is meaningless gabbling to him. As the chattering finally fades, he says loudly, announcing to the room, "Decepticons, I need to know if any of you have heard of a religious cult known as the Brotherhood of Chaos. A group of them made an unsuccessful attack on Valckasta earlier today, but none were captured alive and we need to know more of this possible danger to the Decepticon Empire."

Reflector pauses for a moment, thinking, "My only knowledge of them is that a few weeks ago our team that went to Cybertron brought back a recording of theirs during the reopening of they Cybertonium mines."

CatsCradle looks up sharply. "Divefire has been doing research on them," she says quickly. "We were planning to ask Valckasta for an opportunity to use your library."

Scorcher simply stares at her hands. She is far too young to know things like that

Nightbird nods to Reflector. "I viewed that recording. My impression was that of a long extinct breed."

Tempest tilts her head. "As far as I know there's...wait a minute." Her metal skin prickles. "The Spaceways have some wackos who call themselves "slaves of the Chaosbringer" or something like that...but...ah, what do I listen to their prattling."

Starscream bows his head, his optics burning as his face betrays the fact that he is thinking deeply....

Ravenwing narrows her silvery optics absently, trying to pinpoint where she'd heard the term before. Recently, fairly recently, but only a brief mention, or she'd be able to place it by now. She.... almost has it before someone speaks and distracts her. Shaking her head in exasperation, she sighs. It'll come eventually.

Rumble asks, "What's the Brotherhood of Chaos?" He's curious now. Is this one more of those things Soundwave thinks he's too young to know about?

CatsCradle keys up a file on the terminal. "I brought a copy of the recording back with me." After a moment, the recording begins to play on the monitor

Reflector looks over, and he shrugs, "I have never heard of the group. I would assume that they were some sort of fanatical cult, and never gave them any thought."

Spinister watches the reactions of the assembled Decepticons and his optics narrow, not at the Decepticons themselves but at the news that this 'Brotherhood of Chaos' is clearly more active than a botched attack on Valckasta would suggest. To CatsCradle he says, "You are welcome to use the Valckastan Hall of Records, CatsCradle. Our researchers are looking up information as I speak about this new threat, but your help would be invaluable." He turns to Reflector and Nightbird and says, "Far from extinct, I am sorry to say. Would I be able to view this recording?: To Tempest, he says, "The Spaceways? So that's where they are hiding out?" He glances at Megatron, "Perhaps we should pay a little visit to the Spaceways?"

CatsCradle continues, "We haven't been able to find much more on it, at least in the scanty records from the Grinder. Polyhex didn't have much more. We did find mentionings of something called a Unicron usually alongside the Brotherhood, but we haven't been able to find out what a Unicron is." She shakes her head in frustration. "We've lost so much of our history." Then her optics brighten at Spinister's invitation. "We would be delighted. And I have a few cadets at the Grinder who..." She twitches her nose, trying to find a tactful way of saying it, "... have more aptitude for research than weapons. I can certainly loan them out."

Tempest shrugs at Spinister. "I have no idea if it's the same thing. Space is filled with wackos, the insane, the desperate, and the vicious. These Chaos types run around screaming about the end of the universe and being slaves to eternal destruction...but where to find one at any given time, I don't know."

Nightbird's optics glow in thought. "Perhaps I am missing some details, but I don't see the cause for concern. Surely there could not have been a dangerous force on Cybertron this whole time without anyone spotting them."

CatsCradle wrinkles her nose again. "All I know... is that it just doesn't feel right. And my mate feels the same way."

Reflector shrugs, and then asks, "Were you able to determine the faction allegiance of the attackers? Did they exist in our records at all?" Reflector asks curiously. It is far more likely for Autobots to have fallen for such a stupid idea, but if Decepticons have somehow been drawn in...

Spinister nods at CatsCradle, his optics gleaming, "Please do 'loan them out'. Valckasta would appreciate any aid in this matter. I haven't heard of anything or anyone called Unicron." He adds, facing Tempest, "Perhaps it is just religious ramblings of a crazed cult. That is most likely the case. But we must find out for sure and your lead is the only one we have. Thank you Tempest." He doesn't appear to be affected by Tempest's previous reaction to touching her shoulder. Turn his head he tells Reflector, "The attackers bore no mark of factional allegiance. Their alt modes were all car based, but that doesn't necessarily mean they were once Autobots."

Tempest raises her optics. "Chaos servants are insane. Their logic circuits are all crispy fried. And their instincts are almost dead."

Starscream laughs out loud. "A god? We are worried of the ramblings about a nonexistent being?!"

Reflector nods, and ponders for a few moments, shaking his heads, "I think that if she is available, it would be an excellent assignment for Researcher Gryphus to be put on... She does have some familiarity, I would assume, with the subject matter, if she is available."

Tempest tilts her head at Spinister. "Yes, um...You're welcome." The words sound, and taste, strange to her.

Spinister's optics twinkle at Tempest, "Certainly their self-preservation instincts aren't what they should be! Trying to attack a Decepticon city state in a group of twenty! Yet any threat to the Decepticon Empire should be dealt with, and their later attacks might be less crazed and more...successful."

CatsCradle glances up at Starscream. "Perhaps not. Perhaps we're more concerned with the insane individuals who believe in him. There is very little more dangerous than someone who is insane, and an army of them..." She shudders.

Starscream shakes his head, still chuckling. "To deal with those ruled with Chaos, one must take control of the one thing they have hold of: their belief."

Ravenwing smirks slightly at the mention of Gryphus, remembering the temperamental femme.

Spinister looks calmly at Reflector as he says, "Gryphus also has experience with Valkcasta, having visited before. But CatsCradle and Divefire have more direct experience with the so-called Brotherhood. I think they should be the ones that visit Valckasta."

Scrapper is keeping one audial sensor open to all the reports as he repairs Soundwave's damage. The communications officer is unconscious for now, having stressed his circuits repairing everyone else.

Ravenwing says, "When you are finished here, Commander, might I have some of your time to inquire as to Valckasta's current security measures?"

Tempest nods to Spinister, her visage still surprisingly grim, her optics sunk into the darkness cast by her helmet, two glowing coals in the blackness.

Spinister arches an optic ridge at Starscream as he says, "If you can make the Brotherhood believe you are the Chaos God, Starscream, go right ahead". His tone is as measured as always, but there is the faintest twinkle in his optics.

Reflector nods to Spinister, and he then steps back, watching the interactions going on throughout the room.

CatsCradle smiles over to Spinister. "We welcome the opportunity to visit Valckasta. We shall be there as soon as possible." Her smile turns more into a grin. "With Divefire's speed, it will probably be sooner."

Starscream continues to smirk. "Oh, that wasn't my intention...." Yet...he adds silently.

Nightbird hasn't said anything for a while. For those who know her, perhaps the faintest look of puzzlement or even disapproval can be gleaned from her optics. She's already said it seems rather a waste of time pursuing a few ragtag cultists with no real resources.

Spinister says, "I shall radio Valckasta and let them know you will be arriving, CatsCradle. Thank you again." He spares a sidelong glance at Starscream, who is smirking as if he didn't catch the irony in Spinister's suggestion that he become the 'Chaos God'. Doesn't Starscream realize he's already half way there? ;-)

Tempest murmurs, "It's very hard to fight a great quantity of individuals who don't care about their own survival. A few, is easy. A multitude..."

Spinister glances down at the little cassette, "We may only have a few to deal with, Rumble. I certainly hope so..."

Starscream meets Spinister's glance with his own defiant one, his smirk fading.

CatsCradle's optics flicker towards Tempest. "Or those who are desperate..."

Reflector watches curiously, but says nothing, merely standing back and letting the other Decepticons talk amongst themselves.

Tempest says, "Multitudes are hard to hide, true." She glances at CatsCradle and nods, a moment of silent...not just agreement but sympathy.

Scrapper leaves Soundwave to recover and heads off to the science section to fabricate some of Nightbird's outer skin.

Spinister's white optics are unreadable as he looks at Starscream. But they gleam as he looks at Tempest, "Active multitudes are hard to hide, Tempest. But the texts we captured in the Serridon Plains suggest that there are a horde of warriors deactivated an waiting to be revived to fight for their cause." He glances at Nightbird, "This may be only a fable as well, but we cannot risk it."

Ravenwing is only half-listening to the conversations. Her silver optics are distant and partly unfocused, and her attention is focused on her own memories, searching... searching.

Tempest murmurs, "This concept of deactivation but still viable to live again is...odd to me. But I have seen it happen, since I came here. That would certainly be a concern. Do the texts say where this...grave of warriors lies?"

Nightbird says softly in her oddly echoing waterfall of a voice, "It is a danger, but a hidden one. Even the Autobots avoid detection."

Starscream 's head snaps up, optics betraying his sudden interest.

CatsCradle shakes her head slightly. "For all we know, that could refer to all the warriors that were in stasis during the worst of the energy crisis. Still..." She shudders again.

Starscream slinks to the back of the group casually, still contemplating silently.

Spinister's optics brighten just a bit at Tempest, "No, the text doesn't give their location, Tempest. I wouldn't need to be here if it did and I have no idea if the deactivated army is true or not." He nods around at the assembled Decepticons and says in conclusion, "Thank you. I hope to resolve this soon with your help." He steps towards Ravenwing, clearly intending to talk with her privately about Valckastan security.

Tempest nods a little to Spinister. So be it...

Ravenwing almost starts as her attention is suddenly yanked back to the here and now. She catches the unspoken signal, and her optics move towards the door to the corridor with a faint look of inquiry.

Spinister catches Ravenwing's look and moves towards the door, looking around to see if anyone else has any comments to make about the Brotherhood of Chaos. No? Good. He glances back over his shoulder at Ravenwing as he steps outside.

CatsCradle glances around as if suddenly realizing where she is. "Gee-lookit-the-time-gotta-run!" She bolts as if fleeing the repairbay.

****

RandE Office

This is one of the smaller rooms off of the defunct Engine Room. To one side are two comfortable chairs that are suspiciously similar to those in the Library. A small table in one corner holds a small burbling fountain, the water cascading over a collection of rocks and plants into a bowl at the base. Two desks are present with consoles, one of them considerably more cluttered than the other one. The cluttered one has a poster tacked on it of a cartoon girl sitting behind a crude wooden booth with a sign that reads "Psychiatric Help 5 Cents". Also tacked to that desk is a full-color printout of a lake-side beach framed with trees somewhere in a mountain range, and a silver rose is tucked to one side of the monitor, somehow managing to not be buried under more clutter. Maps and arial shots of Earth terrain cover the walls, along with a few posters with Japanese writing, some with cartoon characters and one with a fire-breathing monster. A shelf is lined with what looks like human-sized toys styled after transforming robots, and although none of them are very similar to Decepticons or Autobots, an observant viewer might notice that the one labeled "Go-Bot" has been painstakingly repainted in Striker's colors. There is the faint pleasant scent in the air of unlit beeswax candles and that along with the splashes of the fountain, achieves a soothing atmosphere.


CatsCradle looks up from her sorting of data pads at the sound of a scuffling noise and goes to the door.  She peers out cautiously. Strange noises near her office usually mean that the office will be trashed very shortly....

Tempest lunges out of the darkness onto anything that will support her weight and looks down at CatsCradle silently for a moment before saying, "I sometimes despair of these civilized types, hm?"

CatsCradle wrinkles her nose. "They do have a taste for endlessly discussing something. But I fear I've become frightfully civilized myself, for the most part."

Tempest says, very softly, "They don't understand what it means to be part of the animal underground, or the galactic fringes. To be marginalized. They cannot /think/ as those on the edges do."

CatsCradle shakes her head slowly, her optics dimmed. "No," she says, just as softly. "They can't."

Tempest says, "You may be "frightfully civilized" as you put it..." and she slinks off her perch towards the floor, "...but you have /not/ forgotten. I can respect that."

CatsCradle's mouth curves into a very small smile. "No. I may have misplaced a huge chunk of my life... but I have never forgotten that part. Although it blurs a little, sometimes."

Tempest hesitates. "Perhaps it's rude to ask but...heh...Was I ever one to be polite? CatsCradle--how could you simply /forget/?"

CatsCradle leans back against the wall and slowly slides down it to sit on the floor, her legs pulled up to her chest and her chin resting on her knees. She taps the side of her head. "There's a connection in here that doesn't really exist anymore," she says. "It does enough for me to know there's something there, and enough for it to come back in my dreams, but not enough for me to remember."

Tempest murmurs softly, "Dreams." She leaps back up again and folds herself there, cat-like...a position almost of camaraderie that still doesnít' require getting too close physically. "So you woke up one day having no idea how you got there?"

CatsCradle nods, a very slight move of her head. "Yeah," she says. "That's pretty much it."

Tempest says, "Couldn't Soundwave fix that link so you could find out?"

CatsCradle laughs softly under her breath. "Yeah. He could."

Tempest seems surprised. "So...why hasn't he?"

CatsCradle tilts her head a little bit, finding a more comfortable positing for her chin. "I won't let him."

Tempest blurts, "Why the frag not?!"

CatsCradle gives her a soft smile. "I don't want to remember."

Tempest thinks about that, puzzling it over. "But... How can you do anything to make sure it doesn't happen again, if you don't remember what happened in the first place?"

CatsCradle is quiet for a long moment. "I'm not sure I ever thought about it that way," she finally says. "I'm not sure knowing would have made a difference back then. That... That's not really why I don't want to remember."

Tempest tilts her head, waiting. Now she's downright curious.

CatsCradle shakes her head briefly, as if trying to sort that new thought out from the old. "At first," she says slowly, "it was just sheer terror. Whatever happened..." She gives a sharp shake of her head this time. "To say terror just seems so inadequate. But back then, there wasn't anyone to fix it, and to try and remember was to go insane. I was half-way there already, wounded, starving. It would have been so easy to just let myself tilt into that darkness..." Her voice fades away.

Tempest says quietly, "I remember terror...Did Soundwave, or Megatron, tell you where I came from? Before the Spaceways."

CatsCradle blinks over at her, pulling herself out of whatever thoughts she was muddling in. "I never asked," she says softly. "I never ask anyone of their history. Because I don't have one to give in return."

Tempest shrugs. "This isn't a sale." She traces a pattern in the surface of her perch with a fingertip. "I'm the last survivor of an outpost planet called Kilair. One that left Cybertron to escape the Wars. One where the differences between Decepticon and Autobot were meaningless--if those distinctions even existed back then." Her optic lids snap open and shut.

CatsCradle lets out a soft breath. "They think their war..." and she lapses back a few million years, before it was /her/ war, too, "... encompasses everyone. The whole universe. And it really is just... so..." She searches for a word, and then finally comes up with "... tiny."

Tempest laughs, but there is no humour in the sound. "Their war is a microcosm. The whole /universe/ is at war, CatsCradle, each living thing fighting the others to survive. Animals leaving their homes to seek food or satisfy other needs, gambling each day they can get what they require before a larger creature dines on them." Her head tilts. "The Kilairians forgot that. It is the main reason I am the last of them."

CatsCradle grins briefly. "They were frightfully civilized?"

Tempest nods a little. "They left Cybertron to be rid of war. They forgot how to fight. They had no weapons, no battle skills, and no warning when raiders swooped down upon them and decimated them." Her breath is a short hiss. "It was the end of their world...and the beginning of mine."

CatsCradle says softly, "Like waking up and finding whatever existed before simply... doesn't."

Tempest says, "Perhaps. I do have memories of my life on Kilair but they are foggy...unreal. It's when the first raider came down from the sky that my memory becomes...solid, shall we say. Vivid." She pauses. "Their civilization is gone, as surely as your memory...however...I must confess....I remember every second of it in exquisite detail."

CatsCradle says, "Like you were really born that day, not whenever your body was."

Tempest nods. "That's it exactly." She pauses, and adds more softly, "But I do know what you mean by terror. By panic, running headlong through streets you should know but don't somehow... And most of all..." She looks up, as if she can see right through the ceiling. "...of having no one to fix it. Of screaming endlessly into a sky that swallowed my voice, of watching the stars look down on me, caring nothing."

CatsCradle says softly, "Starving. Worse than the pain was starving. Being afraid to sleep, because I didn't think I'd wake up again, I was so starving."
Tempest says, "I remember that briefly...on Kilair..." She glances over at CatsCradle and says softly, strangely gently, "How long before you learned to kill?"

CatsCradle tilts her head, considering. "Before that." She looks down at her clawtips. "I always knew how to kill."

Tempest shrugs. "I didn't stay hungry too long after I figured that out. Granted, some times were worse than others..." Her optics glitter. "I think for me the worst part was the being alone...the screams unheard." She pauses, as if trying to figure out how to ask something.

CatsCradle glances down the corridor. "C'mon," she says, climbing to her feet. "The chairs in the office are much softer than this floor.

Tempest nods, and follows Cats.

CatsCradle flumps down in one of the chairs, then pulls herself into the same position as before, knees to chest, chin on knees.

Tempest glances around. A small smirk twists the corner of her mouth to see the Striker Go-bot. She slips up in another chair, again coiling like an animal.

CatsCradle follows Tempest's gaze to the Go-bot figure, and smirks softly. "Every so often, my gruff and grumpy mate has a mischievous streak."

Tempest says softly, "You found it so easy to trust him, didn't you. Divefire."

CatsCradle is quiet for a long moment, not moving except for the flickering of her optics reflecting the light. "Yes," she says finally, in little more than a whisper. "The only one I've ever trusted."

Tempest nods. "That, too, I understand...but...Heh. You "cleaned up" far more quickly than I."

CatsCradle chuckles softly. "I had a few million years to clean up in."

Tempest tilts her head. "That sounds like a history to me. You were alive...how long, that you remember?"

CatsCradle sighs a little, not impatient, just thoughtful. "The part of me that tells time didn't work either. As close as I can tell, about four and a half million years.

Tempest raises an optic ridge and admits, quietly, "You're already over twice my age and you say you have no history."

CatsCradle stares at her blankly for a long moment. Finally she gives a rather sheepish tiny smile. "Well... yeah..."

Tempest smirks a little and asks, "Surprised?"

CatsCradle looks a little more sheepish. "Well... yeah..."

Tempest's optics glint...she seems almost amused somehow. "That's deliberate you know." She reaches up and catches the lip of her helmet...which, surprisingly, comes right off in her hands. The whole helmet with the spires is a detachable piece. Tempest's /real/ headpiece is much more softly rounded, painted in pale lemon and turquoise detailing. Little nubs that once held rounder, more elegant spires are broken shells on the sides of her heads.

CatsCradle's optics glitter in self-amusement, then die back to their normal soft shade. "When I'm being honest with myself," she says slowly, "it really doesn't matter what I don't remember. It doesn't change who I've become. It won't change who I am to Diver, or to who our children will be."

Tempest seems surprised. "You're thinking about children?"

CatsCradle laughs softly, ducking her head. "I'm not sure we really got a choice in that matter. Our son popped out of one of those time bubbles a while back."

Tempest rolls over on her back, holds the helmet in her hand and looks up at it as if she can see a face within it. "I think that what I remember--what happened on Kilair--is what shaped me...where I learned all I know about life...well, all I knew until I ended up here." She glances over at CatsCradle and blinks. "Time warp...how...odd."

CatsCradle nods at that last part. "It's very... disorienting... to realize you have a grown offspring without realizing you were a parent. Like I was plopped into this ready-made family that doesn't feel like it ever existed. Yet." Then she laughs weakly and buries her face in her hands. "And when I first saw my son," she says in a voice muffled by her fingers, "I accidentally shot him."

Tempest says, "I take it you missed? And I take it you're glad?"

CatsCradle peeks out between her fingers. "Very."

Tempest shrugs. "I don't have a family. Any more. I had a sister. She abandoned me on Kilair." Ugly truths, spoken in a very nonchalant voice.

CatsCradle lets the words sit on the air for a moment, accepting them as casually as they were spoken, but letting the silence be comforting. She grins suddenly. "My son shot Striker."

Tempest smirks a bit. "Striker has a talent for that sort of thing, doesn't he?" Another glance at the Go-Bot. She pauses. "I don't think I'd be a good mother, CatsCradle. But...you would. You've built yourself a whole new life here."

CatsCradle nods slowly. "I'd like to think I'd be a good parent, anyway. As for yourself.." she grins again. "Give yourself another coupla million years."

Tempest shakes her head slowly. "They say I'm...missing something. Like some kind of piece inside is gone from me. Ripped or burned right out of me."

CatsCradle asks gently, "Who's 'they'?"

Tempest shrugs. "People I know. I know I keep hurting poor Motormaster every time I turn around and I don't even mean to."

CatsCradle rests her chin on her knees again. "For the most part, opinions that come from "people I knew" somehow didn't seem to be accurate. Otherwise, a street brat never would have managed to get this far."

Tempest cannot put into words that she, too, feels hollow inside...that so many of people's emotions are mysteries to her. She can't bring herself to say that out loud. Instead, she simply shrugs, gazes into the helmet and say, "You get as far as you've got the will to go."

CatsCradle smiles wistfully. "I think I'd be happy not going any farther than this planet."

Tempest says, "You like it here on the dirtball?"

CatsCradle's smile turns more real. "Yes, I do." She lifts one shoulder in a shrug. "Maybe it's just because Diver is here, and he's more home to me than a planet, but we've lived for a while on Cybertron, too, and I never felt as right there, as I do here."

Tempest replies, "You know, me too. I think Cybertron is overrated." She glances over at CatsCradle though. "I don't know if I should stay here forever, though. I'm afraid I'm getting too settled...too soft. I wouldn't want to lose that razor edge." She runs a finger over her helmet spires.

CatsCradle's arms tighten around her legs. "I'd like to be soft for a while," she murmurs. "I'm so tired, sometimes. But I can't, and it has nothing to do with this war. But in about a century, I'll have children to protect. And that's more important."

Tempest says, "If you let down your guard you're dead, guaranteed..." and then her biting words stop and she says, almost wistfully, "but I wonder what it would feel like."

CatsCradle shakes her head slowly. "I don't know. Diver might. He remembers the Golden Age."

Tempest smirks. "Older mech perhaps?" Not that she's any one to talk...

CatsCradle gives another sheepish shrug. "No perhaps about it."

Tempest grins a little and coils up on her side again, still toying with her helmet. The interior of it has several dangling wires and scratch marks as if it was once cut off something else.

Tempest picks up her helmet and slides it back on again...her appearance once more reverts to the jaded, battle-hardened warrior.

CatsCradle glances at the pile of datapads scattered around the room. "Speaking of Cybertron," she sighs. "I'd better start gathering notes to take with us." She rubs at her optics for a moment.

Tempest nods. "Good evening, then," she says, and slips out.

4/6/02

<Cybertron> Megatron says, "This is a call for all Decepticons that are normally stationed on Earth: we return  to this mudball planet in 4000 Astroseconds."

<Cybertron> Tempest hehs and says, "Some of us like this mudball planet..."  A pause, an audible laugh.  "Yessir."

<Cybertron> Reflector nods, and his voices can be heard crackling over the intercom, "We are en route, Sir."

<Cybertron> Divefire  tone growls over the radio. "It's not a mudball..." Then his voice shifts to a more formal tone. "Does that include those of us currently knee deep in research, Megatron?"

<Cybertron> Thrust says, "As you command Megatron.""

<Cybertron> Motormaster says, "Just gimme a minute ta round up my boys... I swear... lazy buggers... sleepin' in all ti-*radio clicks off*."

Soundwave transmits to Divefire and CatsCradle:  Megatron is aware you are involved in research on another matter. However, your services are needed on Earth. You may return to Cybertron at the next opportunity.


Command Center (Polyhex)

        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.

Scorcher says to her commander "I am still operational sir." she hesitates. not wanting to disturb Shockwave at something important "sir?" she says very softly

Megatron says, "Well, that answers my question."

Soundwave nods to Megatron, just as Cats and Diver arrive.

Megatron says, "Shockwave, is the space bridge ready?"

Shockwave turns back to Scorcher and gives her his full attention. "Yes Scorcher?"

Shockwave says then without missing a beat, "Affirmative Megatron, you may proceed when ready."

Thrust continues to stand there in a rather menacing stance, arms folded across his chest, legs out slightly, quietly surveying the room.

Divefire walks in with Cats by his side, with a some what curious expression that he intones in Soundwave's direction, before glancing over the others and asking no one in particular. "Mad scheme on Earth day again?"

Scorcher looks around to see if any of the other 'cons about is paying any attention to her. Clearly what she wants to ask is embarrassing "I ... haven't seen Skyjack while I was home. I .. wondered if he is fine?" Her face flushes with excess energon and she avoids the optics of the others

Megatron says, "Decepticons, we leave."

Shockwave says quietly, looking at Megatron as he gives the order to depart, "I shall have him contact you with a tactical report."

Reflector looks over at Scorcher curiously, and then he shrugs, somewhat aware of the femme's crush on her commanding officer.

Nightbird moves from her space by the console and over toward the space bridge.

Tempest tilts her head at Scorcher. "Who's Skyjack?"

Motormaster just chuckles a bit at Scorcher.

Soundwave follows the others into the space bridge, explaining as he goes, "Earth has been almost unwatched since we have come to Cybertron. I suspect the Autobots may have made use of the opportunity. I consider it beneficial to have our Earth-researchers on the scene for such an eventuality."

Scorcher now looks acutely embarrassed and stammers a reply to Tempest "He's the Cyberjet team leader" She studies her feet with great attention

Chasm flaps up onto Soundwave's shoulder with interest.

Tempest shrugs at Scorcher, not understanding that she has a crush.


***

Engine Room

        Once one of the most important areas of the ship, the engine room now serves only to house most of the control systems, the conning tower to the surface, and the central computer. A large console provides access to the main computer and detailed information about its operational status. The main engines still remain in place, but most of the peripheral machinery and materials were removed once it was determined the ship would never fly again. Consequently, most of the adjacent rooms are empty, awaiting future expansion.


Soundwave arrives with the others back at base after a few weeks away.

Scorcher wrinkles her nose at the smell

CatsCradle says, as if the bridging hadn't interrupted her. "Which of course means it's another mad scheme.... we never have any happy schemes, do we?"

Soundwave replies to Cats, inflectionlessly, "There is always that possibility, of course." You just can't tell if he's joking or not. He looks to Scorcher, then, and his tone changes just slightly to something more earnest, "Your damage appears to be superficial, Scorcher. I will check Earth's broadcast readings first, then I will see to repairs."

Megatron instantly returns to the command center.

Scorcher whispers, making sure Soundwave does not overhear her "It does not *feel* superficial"

Nightbird follows Megatron silently.

****

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.

Tempest sighs. "It's good to be home," she says as she coils herself up in a chair.

Chasm flaps over to the other side of the room, looking somewhat bored at the proceedings.

Nightbird glances over at Tempest. Perhaps she had a similar thought?

Scorcher tries to find out if she is still leaking oil, without touching the gash in her side

Divefire mutters in a slightly bemused tone as he scans over the command centre, "Not like we don't have enough bad news at the moment."

Soundwave goes right to his communications station, aware of Chasm flapping around and the way everyone distributes themselves, but he first wants to see what they might have missed while they were gone. He doesn't imagine the Dinobots would have exactly kept track of the human airwaves.

CatsCradle perches ontop her usual console, torn between being glad to be home and annoyed at being interrupted at tripping over piles of ancient records. She unobtrusively rubs at the dust on her forehead, only making it streak worse.

Reflector follows along after the rest of the Decepticons, moving to stand by the door and await instructions. He had an interesting trip to Cybertron, and it was nice to go home, and be reminded of what they were fighting for once more, but it is always nice to get back to action.

Chasm sighs and hopes this newest 'plan' won't involve the Decepticons blowing up that TV station he recently invested in... "Mass media," he says dreamily,. "That's the future of this world."

Tempest says, "I heard that TV can make your brains rot and your core processor turn rusty."

CatsCradle murmurs just loudly enough to be overheard, "Yes, just the thing to record those giant monster attacks over in Japan...."

Chasm steeples his claws together, "Since when did I recall asking the unwashed masses for their opinion?"

Reflector watches as the other Decepticons interact, and then as Ghost enters, he nods to her, and then he turns his attention back to Soundwave.

Divefire glowers in the small dragon's general direction. "We're all bigger then you Chasm, our opinions are forced on you."

Megatron says, "So, this computer company isn't enough for you, Chasm?"

CatsCradle rubs at her forehead again self-consciously at the 'unwashed' comment, still only making the dust streak worse.

Soundwave extends a link from the tip of one finger and taps in directly, his optic band flickering faintly as he skims through a considerable backlog of data at tremendous speed. Several of the small communications screens light up with an ongoing scroll of data zipping past at a dizzying rate. Soundwave is, of course, not reading or replaying everything for himself, but is instead scanning for key phrases. The slight tilt of his head indicates to anyone watching that perhaps he has found something of interest. He slows the transmission and replays something to himself more slowly...

Chasm folds his claws together, "I like having many concurrent investments," he says brightly, now that Megatron has joined in the conversation.

Tempest's reply to Chasm's comment is to lick oil off her arms....oil from god knows where, or rather, oil that once belonged to god knows what.

Scorcher is not paying attention to what is going on around her

Chasm wrinkles his nose up at Tempest (if it did wrinkle). "Ugh."

Nightbird's optics narrow a bit regarding Chasm. She never quite gets what the cassette means by "investing". Some organic concept no doubt.

Divefire steps over to Cats wordlessly, wets his fingers and brushes them over her forehead, taking off most of the dust before stepping over glance at what Soundwave's scrolling through.

Soundwave ignores the grumblings in the room between Chasm and the others, and instead says, "I may have an interesting example of this 'mass media' to display."

Megatron says, "Well, do what you have to do, Chasm. But don't forget to develop the net project."

Tempest says to Soundwave, "I caught Rumble and Frenzy watching daytime TV to "find out how humans interface," as they put it. They said it was really gross too."

Reflector looks up at the screen curiously, and then he crosses his three sets of arms, waiting to see just what Soundwave has discovered.

Ghost slides into the command center, still recovering from the trip back from Cybertron. With a slightly gray hue to her optics, she tries to find a nice, quiet shadowy spot in which to listen

Scorcher winces as she accidentally touches the sensitive edge where the sniper's shot ripped through her

Reflector nods at Ghost as she enters, and he moves over to her side, and he nods at her for a moment.
Chasm smirks, "Of course, Megatron." . o O (Now I can invest play with the markets /and/ do stuff to keep the Decepticons off my back - all at once!)

CatsCradle rubs at her forehead again with a sheepish grin after her mate, but this time seems to be satisfied... or perhaps just distracted by whatever has Soundwave and Divefire so interested.

Soundwave says, "I am aware that Rumble and Frenzy have amused themselves considerably over human 'entertainment' broadcasts. This one should prove similarly entertaining." He touches a control, and a larger screen flickers to life, showing a scene familiar to at least some of the Decepticons present: The purported solar power station that was recently attacked and turned out to be entirely devoid of energy.

Thrust is silent just listening to everyone. If he has a station and any duties there here then that is what he is doing.

Tempest mutters, "I've seen enough of that place to last me a lifetime."

Divefire glances half over to Soundwave with a slightly skeptical look. "More Shawn Berger related fun?"

Chasm looks at the empty base, "Aha, perhaps I could borrow it for a bit of filming afterwards, if I can round up enough contacts to make a 'fast-buck movie'. No sense letting that set go to waste," he murmurs to himself, his tail flicking with self-motivated interest.

Nightbird tilts her head ever so slightly as she looks at this image. Another human news story on that incident?
Megatron says, "And Chasm... there are a few 'mistakes' in the books we have to talk about later."

Tempest is watching a news story on Starscream's failed attack on the solar power plant. The one that was the setup by a human named Shawn Berger.

Ghost offers Reflector a slightly lopsided smile as she folds her arms over her front, leaning against a wall.. The topic of the conversation is slightly out of her reach, not totally familiar with some terms..

The scene on the screen shows the battle from an external angle, switching between a shot from above and several side views. As the battle unfolds, the power station revealing itself to be a hiding place for tanks that open fire on the Decepticons, a group of Autobots arrives as well. To the corner of the screen, very briefly, one can see one of the human-constructed tanks exploding effortlessly from a single shot, though that's quickly cut out, an instead close-ups of laser fire are intercut, showing various Decepticons struck by energy bolts. Tanks are interspersed, making it look as though the damaging strikes came from the tanks themselves, not from the Autobot firepower as was actually the case at the time.

Megatron turns his full attention to the screen.

Chasm's optics flare suddenly. "Mistakes, Megatron? Mistakes? I don't make mistakes. I'm sure it's just a few little data inconsistencies or something..." His tail-mace tip twitches nervously.

Motormaster just sits at a computer he's appropriated for the while as his own, seat turned around and straddled and arms resting on the back as he watches everyone chitchat in what sounds like a foreign language at times.
Megatron answers without turning his optics from the scene. "Inconsistencies like a private dragon account, indeed.

Reflector looks up at the screen, and he nods at Ghost, before commenting, "I see that one thing that the humans have at least done is to master the art of propaganda via editing of available transcripts and media footage."

The doors to the command center swing open and .. in walks Ruse in her foxmode. Good thing otherwise her expression would be abit sour she can sneak in through the vents anymore. She looks around and pads over behind Chasm eyeing his tailmace. She never really noticed how much it looks like a chewtoy until now.. oh wait something going on! She looks up and asks Soundwave, "Since when are we concerned about that?"

Scorcher mutters softly to herself "Missiles! I must resupply. Fired too many at that stinking 'bot"

On screen a voice-over starts, the voice that some might recognize as that of Shawn Berger. "Fellow citizens," he speaks self-importantly, "you see before you the efforts I have undertaken to rid our fair city of Decepticon intrusion. I have invested my considerable personal fortune in building my private army, to see that we are properly protected from this alien menace. Even the Autobots' abilities pale before the blow that I was able to inflict on the Decepticon forces, luring them into a trap and then sending them into retreat. Can my opponent make the same claim?" The scene ends with a shot of Thrust (who wasn't even there at the time of the attack, one might recall) interspersed with a laserbolt and an explosion, and the clip ends with words superimposed on screen: "Shawn Berger for Mayor. For our safety, for our future."

Tempest's jaw drops. Did she really see that? "But...but we pulverized those tanks!" she protests.

Soundwave stands back a little and watches the scene. "I merely found it amusing to note the discrepancies in the report," he says.

Thrust starts somewhat confused, "Hey....how did I get there? ..."

Chasm glares at Megatron, and stares at Ruse. He promptly sits on his tail and awkwardly shuffles over to Soundwave, "He's done a bit of spin-doctoring in it. It's too bad we can't do the same and fix up our PR rating in one fell swoop. We could release the tape to the mass media!" he quips. "They'd have a field day. You don't believe how stupid humans can be - they believe everything they see on television."

Reflector looks over at Soundwave, and he shrugs, "I would assume that this is immaterial. It is mere human propaganda, much like what the Autobots have been spreading about us on Cybertron since the war began. We know the truth of the matter."

Soundwave says, "Surely even humans would realize it is quite impossible for mere Earth machinery to have any affect upon us?"

Chasm sighs and looks at Thrust. "You weren't there. It was all done through TV magic..." He pats the screen lovingly. "That's why I invested quite a bit in a TV station recently."

Motormaster coughs a bit,"Hey, let's watch the insults of the 'mere earth machinery'... some folks were rebuilt from earth vehicles, thank ya very much."

Thrust frowns, "As long as this TV stops using my image when I donít know about it, I donít care how much you 'invest' in it....."

Nightbird's optics glow with some amount of anger. She was once a propaganda tool of sorts for these same organics after all.

Scorcher finally pays some attention to what is going on and sees everybody stare at the human propaganda channels. She shrugs, then winces. "Why are we still supposed to watch that silly humans stuff" she asks nobody in particular

Chasm waves his paws about. 'Humans believe their TV sets. It's as simple as that. Suppose we did a TV show of us helping humans and saving the world from the Autobots! They'd even believe that if it was convincing enough."

Ghost watches the screen, frowns and then shakes her head, murmuring, "They watch this sort of thing all of the time? Are they dense or just.. macabre?"

Techno listens to Thrust, pondering maybe there's two of him...one normal..one filled with a giant jellyfish..this must be the jellyfish one...

Tempest says dryly to Ghost, "Wait till you see what's on in the mid afternoon. ICK."

Thrust chuckles, "As long as we donít use Starscream that might work Chasm....heís a lousy actor."

Chasm's optics shine, "There so much money to be had in the TV industry! Advertising mostly, but there are deals you can cut and all sorts of things. The trick is getting the target audience right!"

CatsCradle says mildly, "The cartoons are kinda fun."

Megatron narrows his optics, murmuring: "Propaganda... Yes... The truth is what you want to see...

Reflector looks over at Chasm, rather confused now, "You are saying that the humans BELIEVE this scrap that they receive from their informational broadcasts? I have not given them much credit, but they cannot possibly believe in pure propaganda... No species can be that unevolved..."

Tempest slinks over near Motormaster, not saying anything, but is her presence conveying something?

Ruse says, "Please Chasm. Humans are foolish but even they know reality from fantasy. After all we don't see them hoping around dodging little blue invisible things when they wander around the forests."

Techno pulls out a scanner, pointing it at Thrust and taking some readings

Thrust looks to Techno and then looks to the scanner, " What?"

Soundwave replies to Motormaster calmly, "Your structure was greatly improved. Consider yourself fortunate." He looks to Chasm speculatively. "While I do not see the value in some of your pursuits, Chasm, one might imagine that some human constructs could be put to good use."

Chasm says, "After dealing with humans in business for some time, I've come to the conclusion that they're quite gullible and dense, which is a good thing to be. Individuals are all right, but get enough of them together and they become a stupid, mass shuffling herd of primates, eager to watch television."

Techno eyes Thrust..."eat any..space jellyfish lately?"

CatsCradle leans towards Thrust. "I'd advise that you run. Quickly."

Chasm says, "It has to be close enough to reality to be believable! I could make Starscream a star, if he kept his mouth shut /and/ if the story I was filming was mostly believable!""

Divefire shakes his head slightly, then rolls his optics. "I hate politics." As a general comment to the whole scene. "Not as if we're engaged in a PR war here."

Megatron faces Soundwave. "Isn't the actual major of Central City a special friend of the Autobots? And Shawn Berger is his opponent...

Chasm smirks, "Heh, that's my kind of war."

Reflector shakes his head, still not believing it. "They cannot believe such propaganda broadcasts, those go against ALL definitions of sapience that defines a species, the inability for them to think for themselves... And no matter what we think about the humans, they are a partially evolved, and semi-intelligent species..."

Thrustís optics narrow and he grins, "Yup ...tasted good too...it put up a valiant fight but it was doomed the moment it tried to deal with me..."

Nightbird says, "What could be gained from fooling the humans in any event? The Autobots are the dangerous enemy."

Soundwave says, "Such is my understanding. But I believe CatsCradle could confirm."

Megatron says, "Well, CatsCradle?"

Chasm adds to Reflector, "Sell them some crap real-estate, throw in some free knives - and then you can see how stupid they really are."

Motormaster offers Tempest an absent, but friendly, smile as she slithers over to where he's seated, then turns his attention back to the big TV thing, shaking his head a bit. He does acknowledge Soundwave's comment to him with a grin and a shrug,"Yeah, I know, but I'm still partially Earth-made."

Reflector shakes his heads, and he sighs. Are humans less developed than even /he/ was willing to give them credit for? Is such a species even /worth/ adding to the Empire?

Soundwave considers. "There is little reason to sell knives and real estate to the humans. However - would it be possible to convince the humans to turn over their Autobot allies, if they led to believe the Autobots posed some danger to them? Merely as a means of drawing attention to the Autobot hiding places?"

Tempest's optics glitter. "The Autobots may live to regret their alliance to this foolish species."

Ruse idly sits on her hindlegs, crossing her forepaws one over the other, "Would they believe it? After all we are the only ones who have attacked them since arriving."

CatsCradle shrugs. "I think anyone will believe what they want to, given enough to back it up."

Chasm, lost in his own self-congratulation, laughs and cants his wings backwards. "Of course! Give me a handful of actors, some time at the computer - and we could sell a negative Autobot PR report and leak it to the TV stations! We could even sell it to Mr. Berger! I bet you three energon cubes that he'll swallow the entire plan if it's done right!"

Ghost heaves a soft sigh, watching the screen show its little scenes.. if a anything, she is more than usually quiet, this being some of the first footage she's seen of the natives to This planet.

Divefire shifts himself and leans back against one of the side consoles, letting the conversation flow and keeping his more bitter comments about politics to himself.

Nightbird's optics glow as she considers Soundwave's point. The humans do help the Bots after all.

Chasm says humbly, "It's all because of my skill."

CatsCradle leans forward a little. "The humans will believe if they think that we have their best interests involved. 'Course the problem is, defining that 'best interest' so they think they're gaining, instead of losing."

Ruse says, ".... and close to reality IF what Chasm says is true. Showing that while we havenít changed, the Autobots are not the heroes they appear to humans."

Chasm thinks for a bit, "We could have the Autobots attacking a power station... no, they wouldn't believe that. Too many Autobots have been covered in the mass media. What the movie showed us attacking a power base, and then in the next scene, we take off our masks to reveal... Autobots! That twist is straight from a script I'm currently writing for one of my film studios. I ran lots of B-Movies through a random generator and I've come up with all sorts of new takes on the genre."

CatsCradle continues, "For example, trying to take over their governments directly and immediately would create a huge problem and mass rebellion. However, doing it gradually, easing into it..." She shrugs. "After all, we've got time. We live longer."

Reflector nods, and he shrugs, falling silent, "I am somewhat unsure as to how we would go about presenting ourselves as the benefactors of humanity, given their previous viewpoints of us. At the very least, if we could get them to regard us AND the Autobots as hostile..." He blinks at Chasm, and then he says, "Yes, but most of the human's knowledge of us has presented us as universally hostile of them..."

Soundwave says, "If the humans were to believe the Autobots were attempting to win their trust in order to take over their world later - it is a possibility." He seems rather intrigued by the idea now.

Nightbird remains silent as the ideas are tossed around. The subtleties of interspecies communication and psychology is somewhat out of her area of expertise.

Chasm waves his paws around, "We'll just pretend it was really the Autobots doing all those energy raids and creating those mass super weapons of destruction. Disguised as Decepticons! Who are really quite nice and don't really go for that world conquest thing."

Megatron starts to grin. "My dear Chasm, it seems as if you have the opportunity to get a nomination for an Academy award in short," he enters the conversation.

Chasm goggles. Megatron is actually backing one of his ideas?

Scorcher found an unattended computer console and is now trying to start a little game of 'bot blaster

Tempest says, "We're going to blame all our rampages on Autobots trying to ruin our reputation?!" The idea is...beyond her imagining.

Reflector shrugs, and he looks over at Ghost, and he asks, "You are in Counterintelligence, do you have any expense with propaganda? What are y our comments on the idea?"

Megatron says, "Yes, we will produce a movie - 'evidence' that the Autobot are the 'real' enemy of human kind."

Chasm shrugs, "It's only a movie. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work and we'll just look stupid. If it succeeds, we can have those humans turning on their beloved Autobots and evicting them from the planet!

Ghost lifts a brow as she replies softly, "Propaganda is a tool not to be used to lightly lest it be turned around. however, in the past it has been useful." se shrugs, "Never worked from that point myself,'

Scorcher's console plays an annoying little tune as the game starts up

Chasm ooohs, "I'll need a budget to cover cameras and lighting. And actors - to double up as Autobots! I'll use my holograms make it seem like the movie was filmed by reckless human journalists. The potential is endless!"

Soundwave says, "You would be capable of disguising us holographically, Chasm? It has been done before." He recalls the "Santa Claus incident" for a moment.

Divefireís face falls slightly in the universal 'I don't believe this' pose as he looks between Chasm and Megatron. "You're both insane." He mutters in short order.

Chasm adds, "There's a slight fee, Megatron, to cover my agent expenses, but I'll take that directly from the account."

Megatron says, "It will be a success, because we will play our trump: a greedy and power-hungry little human businessman."

Reflector looks over at the other Decepticons, and then he nods to Ghost, "If this does work, it will be a success, but if it does not, we will probably not be able to repeat such a plan again, and our reputation amidst the humans will be even worse?"

Tempest murmurs to Motormaster and Scorcher, "This is insane."

Megatron grins at the dragon - a warning grin. "Chasm... I will check the books afterward. So be careful that you don - accidentally - take the wrong amount.

Soundwave looks at Chasm and shakes his head disapprovingly. "I do not believe we will require a tremendous budget. I do not wish to dampen your creative enthusiasm, but this is meant to be purely functional, after all.

Ghost smiles a little smile, "Only if we're discovered as the backers."

Reflector nods at Ghost, and he chuckles at that.

Scorcher is busy shooting up Autobots in a simulation of Cybertron on the computer screen.

Motormaster shrugs at Tempest,"Ya never know. It might work, Storms. An' if it doesn't... what's the worst that happens? The little worms don't like us any more? So what? They don't like us ta begin with."

Chasm growls a little. Ever since he had persuaded Megatron it would be a good idea to open up a few bank accounts to get access to terran equipment, the Decepticon leader has been insistent on ratifying all the financial details for some reason.

Tempest growls, "I'd still rather wipe the place out," and in an almost sulky mood she settles down to hear what she's supposed to do.

Megatron has too good reasons to have an optic on Chasm - experience.

Chasm steeples his claws together, "So who wants to be a star?" he says. "I'll need a stand in for Optimus Prime and one for those annoying cars..."

Motormaster oh dears about the bit about needing a stand-in for Optimus Prime and hunkers down a bit. No, no transfer trucks here, sorry.

Ruse looks to Tempest, "We may.. ever act before Tempest? Its only pretend destruction but it could be fun."

Reflector shrugs, and looks around for any others before volunteering. He can play multiple Minibots, if the situation comes necessary, but he waits to see how the other Decepticons will react first.

Tempest says dryly to Ruse, "I pride myself on never faking."

Soundwave says, "For the sake of the cause, you may disguise me holographically in whatever manner you wish."

Megatron says, "CatsCradle, Soundwave, you two will take care of a "script". You know the "characters" and you don't tend to be to theatrical."

Chasm smirks at that. "Hehehhaha, *ahem*"

Scorcher mutters a curse as she got shot down in the computer game

Divefireís optics roll again, and shifts his frame a little more hunched like. Nope, no cars over here either.

If Soundwave is at all displeased at the prospect of being clothed in an Autobot shell, you'd never know it. Anything for the greater good.

Chasm glares at Megatron, "This is /my/ production! You can't let that ham-fisted jet write the script!"

Reflector shrugs, and then he sighs, stepping forwards, "I will volunteer for this mission as well, I can play some of the smaller Autobots, and can take on multiple roles."

Ghost heaves a soft sigh, listening as little details start to be made clear.

Megatron chuckles. "You are the producer, but not the script writer. So calm down, Chasm.

Chasm wails, "But... but..."

Soundwave says, "We should keep it simple. So simple human minds can comprehend it."

Ruse murmurs, "Not what I heard..." She then pads over to Chasm and looks down at him, "Would you rather work the dollys?"

Chasm composes himself, "Well, I suppose that mere humans will fail to comprehend my brilliance. Better let simple creatures deal with the simple humans directly. So, what location shall we use? The powerbase? The training room? Somewhere in the desert?" He completely ignores Ruse.

Megatron says, "The training complex, the hologram projectors there will serve us well."

Soundwave says, "Chasm, the mark of a great mind is in being to simplify the complicated. I am certain your message will be well received."

Megatron says, "We will meet there."

Chasm nods, and manages to avoid period of sulkiness. "Yes," he says dramatically. "To the training room!"

Reflector shrugs, and he follows along after the other Decepticons. Well, it /is/ better than the idea of making a new superweapon...

Megatron grins. "Decepticons, it is show-time!" He laughs.

Scorcher is caught up in her computer game again, not realizing she is supposed to pay attention now the TV watching has turned into a mission briefing without her realizing it

Chasm flaps forward, gliding towards the training room.

Nightbird prepares to follow the others. She has confidence that Megatron knows what he's doing, even she doesn't quite understand all of this.

Soundwave goes with the others toward the training complex. Hopefully Scorcher will realize the room is emptying out, and follow.

****

Training Complex

        A very large section comprised of several areas where the Decepticons gather for training exercises. The firing range allows users to practice their ranged weapon skills against holographic targets. The arena has five separate dueling areas to allow Decepticons to test one another in combat. Although normally used strictly for practice and sparring, the arena can be used for actual duels to settle a dispute. There is a separate area for engaging computer-controlled opponents in hand-to-hand combat.

Tempest looks around and says, "Great. A career in movies. I don't even like most of them."

Soundwave lets Chasm tinker with the projectors designed to generate computer-controlled opponents, and steps over to CatsCradle. "Suggestions for a scenario of attack?" he asks. "Something that may be engaging to the human attention span?"

Chasm starts to fiddle with the projectors set around the room and recreates the scene of one of the nuclear power bases that the Decepticons had raided in the past. Everything is modeled in loving 3D detail - Chasm's link to Soundwave's data archive creates the scene perfectly from memory.

Chasm sighs, "Exquisite..."

Motormaster brushes past Tempest, reaching out and lightly thumping one of her helmet-spikes playfully,"Yeah, most movies take a little bit o' emotion and imagination ta appreciate, I guess..." He then hastily moves away.

Tempest says to Motormaster, "We can watch Gone in 60 Seconds so you can drool over the Shelby again, Moto..."

Soundwave regards the scenery that shimmers into existence around them, and nods. "Nicely done," he approves.

CatsCradle says hesitantly, "I would say, make us out to be protecting something of earth. A natural monument, perhaps."

Reflector looks over at Chasm, and then he says, "Whom will be playing what roles then?" He is somewhat unsure as to whom is in charge of this effort, and he looks about from Decepticon to Decepticon, waiting for instructions.

Chasm points out, "It should coincide with a real attack of ours, so they can at least verify that the attack took place."

CatsCradle debates, drumming her claws thoughtfully. "The Sherman Dam, one?"

Chasm studies Reflector. "You can play... Bumblebee." He fiddles with the projector and the image of the yellow Autobot appears around Reflector.

Nightbird looks to Soundwave and says a bit unsure, "So, we are going to pretend to be Autobots pretending to be us?"

Motormaster says defensively,"Hey, I can't help it if it was a nice piece o' metal, a'right? I didn't hear /you/ complainin' durin' that movie."

Soundwave nods in agreement. "I am not certain the population will accept us as protectors - but to portray the known energy raids as the work of the Autobots, would be the preferable method, I believe."

Reflector nods, and his center image is turned into Bumblebee, and his other two move about to stand on the outside, to watch, or to be assigned other duties in this battle.

Chasm sighs at CatsCradle. "If you insist - (even though this nuclear facility is adequate enough) -" and then the scene changes to the Sherman Dam, excellently captured in holographic detail.

Megatron shakes his head. "No, it has to be an unknown raid.

Chasm explains, "Yes we're playing ourselves who are really Autobots in disguise..." He goggles at Megatron. "An unknown raid? Didn't you just listen to my rationale stated earlier?"

Chasm groans and adjusts the image to the Sherman Dam.

Tempest waits to be assigned a role. She /could/ make a comment about an affinity for wheels but...no. Not here.

Soundwave considers. "An unknown raid, as opposed to a raid that can be documented. I believe Chasm's suggestion has merit, Commander."

Soundwave says, "Provided any humans would seek correlation, they would have facts to corroborate their fantasy."

Divefire watches from the back, simply drumming his fingers over his forearms and waiting for some one or thing to try and involve him in this insane scheme. And they pulled him off researching a planet eating monster to be here...

Motormaster doesn't wait, he dreads being assigned a role, sort of fading back towards the exit bit by bit in the hopes of escaping.

Megatron says, "I think I articulated my self in a misunderstandable way. Well, let's do it different, if the Autobots 'steal' energy, they will do it secretly to keep their reputation clean."

Chasm hmms, "Motormaster - you'll have to be Prime. Tempest - how about Wheeljack? Soundwave - you can do Ironhide." The appropriate holograms phase in around the appropriate Decepticons.

Chasm whispers to Soundwave, "Do we have to do what Megatron says? I think my idea is better."

Reflector shrugs at Chasm, and then he waits for instructions from the other Decepticons.

CatsCradle unobtrusively drifts towards the back of the room. Suggestions are one thing... being in the film is entirely another.

Soundwave replies to Chasm, "It *is* ultimately Megatron's decision."

Tempest yelps, "Wheeljack! I don't know /anything/ about inventing stuff!" She looks down at herself in horror. She sniffs to make sure Motormaster Prime is /really/ Motormaster.

Soundwave stands quietly, unbothered, as Ironhide's form materializes around him.

Motormaster is indeed still Motormaster, though he has a hand over his optics in case he should catch a reflective surface and spot himself as Prime,"How fraggin' revoltin'."

Soundwave says, "You need merely pose as an attacker, Tempest. I will provide the voices, as I have recordings of all of our enemies which I can easily splice together.""

Tempest says snidely to Motormaster, crossing Wheeljack's arms, "So, am I ugly /now/?"

CatsCradle mutters as she passes Motormaster on her way to the back of the room, "Think of it this way... he got to play you, you get to pay him back now."

Laserbeak strolls in looking at Autobots... confused.

Scorcher slinks into the room, trying to be as unobtrusive as possible, but when she sees all kinds of Autobots gathered she almost opens fire at them

Tempest says to Soundwave, "Okay...I guess..." She sounds a bit skeptical. She has no idea how this will work.

Reflector shrugs, and his center form walks into the room as Bumblebee, somewhat odd given that he is fairly larger than the Minibot.

Motormaster nods unhappily to CatsCradle, and then uncovers one optic to peer at Tempest and note,"Nope... somehow, I can still tell it's you underneath, Storms. Could be the stance..."

Soundwave's voice comes from the image of Ironhide, which may be additionally confusing to Laserbeak. "Ironhide" looks over at the bird and nods to him reassuringly.

Chasm changes the scene /again/ to an unknown powerbase. He sighs. "They don't appreciate my genius..." He perks up again. "Motormaster - stay in character. Right, we'll be in our Decepticon forms to start off with, and then, after the raid, I want you to mime pulling off a mask, and that will reveal your Autobot countenance. We'll dub in voices properly in the post-product stage. Now, act like yourselves first and then be your Autobot character at the appointed signal. I'll cover the 'human report' and use some jerky hand-held footage. Okay, let's roll. Decepticon Raid - Take 1."

Tempest mumbles, "Is that good or bad? I hope the humans can't tell it's me."

Laserbeak ponders if he could pry Soundwave out of Ironhide with his Lasers.

The holograms fade off revealing the Decepticons, about to raid... "Raid, damn you!" cries Chasm passionately. "You do this for a living! It can't be that hard to act out yourself. Start Motormaster! Improvise!"

Chasm groans, "You better not have stage fright..."

Tempest whips down her longblades and tears forward....

"Ironhide" shimmers faintly to reveal Soundwave beneath. He sends a telepathic assurance to his creation, faintly amused, and then prepares to go into action.

Motormaster shoots Chasm an ugly look, but does indeed then get into character, yelling out,"Decepticons, attack! Let's see how much energon we c'n squeeze outta this place 'fore it's broken!"

Reflector waits about for instructions.

Tempest sees nothing really to attack, which is a challenge even for her, but she figures enough rending of scrap and firing of lasers will be good enough....

Chasm whispers to Reflector - "Raid for energy! C'mon..."

Chasm mutters telepathically Soundwave: "You see what I have to work with?"

Soundwave makes it look good, firing off a plasma blast to scatter the humans who scurry around the facilities, then starts producing energon cubes as usual.

Reflector flies down, blasting at the humans with his lasers set on low power, flying through the air.

Nightbird hurls a shuriken in front of several humans, which then bounces on a wall and returns to her hand. Then she helps Soundwave with the energon cubes.

Scorcher thinks she now understands what is going on, so she enthusiastically storms on the stage and fires a missile at a holographic human cowering behind some equipment. Unfortunately it is a very real missile and the resulting explosion engulfs half the room in fire.

Soundwave switches his silent instructions to Laserbeak, and instead directs him toward damage control so the film can continue on course.

Laserbeak Swoops down and begins pecking at people like something out of 'The Birds' as humans run about panicked.

Thrust runs interference in the air dive bombing and firing randomly at running humans

Chasm yelps, "Cut! Cut!" The hologram fades. "Put those fires out before they burn the projectors!"

The metallic room has several chemical fires in progress.

Nightbird covers her optics as the fire washes over her.

Motormaster acks and stumbles back from the roaring ball of fire that briefly washes over the room, trying to stomp out the little ones left behind and glaring at Scorcher.

Scorcher looks around, thoroughly confused again "What?" she asks stupidly

Ghost stays far away from, the cameras and the projectors, simply watching with some confusion.

Laserbeak says, "We need dummy ammo. We obviously cant use real munitions."

Reflector is blinded by the massive flame of fire that goes up, and he shields his optics from the explosion.

Divefire face-palms from the corner of the room at the sudden chaos and turns around to grab a fire extinguisher off the wall, then half runs to the heart of one of the fires, totally ignoring the flames and letting rip with the fire extinguisher.

Thrust dives down and turns his wings upward, aiming the fans in his wing motors toward the fire. Speeding up the turbines in his wings he tries to fan out the flames.

Soundwave sighs a little as the holograms fade around him. Perhaps this crew isn't movie star material after all.

Laserbeak uses his wings to shield him from the fireball streaking past him.

Tempest seems to have trouble readjusting from /causing/ carnage to fighting it.

Megatron activates the fire extinguisher units

Chasm sighs, "Just pretend to fire and we can add the special effects later. Scorcher, um, why don't you just watch for the next cut."

Ghost blinks, lets out a soft chuckle and stays where she is, watching.

When the fires have been extinguished, Chasm sighs. "Okay - take 2. Go!" The hologram of the dam fades in again. "Raid, raid!" Chasm crows impassionately.

Laserbeak is now beyond confused .

Tempest says, "So I get to wreck stuff again?" to Chasm.

Scorcher stays in the corner where she was told to sit, and does not move, like she was emphatically told

Chasm sighs, "Yes, wreck stuff again."

Tempest shrugs and tears into the fray. Who is she to protest....

Divefire brushes off the soot from the fire from his shoulders and slinks back to the side lines to watch the chaos again, trying to ignore the fact he's a stage hand.

Soundwave tries again, rushing forward with the others with his weapon ready, motioning a firing sequence as the holographic humans scatter in panic.

Laserbeak flies by Soundwave squaking something about a bad Twilight zone episode, as he once again darts after humans.

Chasm is struck with a brainwave.

CatsCradle pats Diver on the shoulder. "I thought the part with you putting out the fires was the best scene," she whispers loyally.

Thrust rights his wings and continues doing what he was doing before.

Megatron rubs his face, sighing. Why does he have the feeling this is going to be expensive?

Ghost sidesteps, making her way around to where others not actively in the 'raid' are standing. She folds her arms over her front and watches, bemused.

Reflector dives down once more, firing a laser blast from his lasers, and blasting down at the humans to watch them scatter, and he prepares for the 'taking' of energon cubes.

Chasm says, "What if we the Autobots are raiding first... and then the Decepticons show up? That will work even better! Cut! Cut!"

Motormaster stops, again, in the raiding and turns to Chasm as he changes what he wants once more,"You fraggin' little... make up yer mind already!"

Reflector comes to a halt, and then he looks at Soundwave, and he shrugs.

Divefire glances a sharp looks across to Cats and replies with just a slight degree of sarcasm. "Thanks."

Chasm resets the hologram. "Right, we'll do our Autobot disguises again - and then we'll raid. The Decepticons will show up and chase off the Autobots. And then the Autobots will pull of their disguises - it gets better and better! Take 3- Autobot attack! You are now disguised as Autobots attacking the power plant. Then the Decepticons show up! Go for it. Hmmm, who's playing the Decepticons?"

Chasm says, "We'll have Nightbird and Divefire on one side..."

Soundwave stops again, looking to Chasm with a faint flicker of exasperation. "Chasm," he warns, "this is not artistry. Much as you wish to make it such." He shakes his head, though, and seems willing to try it one more time.

Ghost blinks, "chasm? Sir? if the raiding Autobots pull their disguises off as cons, then we look bad, donít we?"

Megatron says, "Chasm, I don't have enough Decepticons left to show up."

Megatron says, "At least not the ones I need."

Chasm glares at Ghost, "No - wait until you see how it all works out! Actors! Guh! Er, Megatron, you can be with the Decepticons. We can always double up later in the post production..."

Soundwave says, "However, Chasm, this implies that we are disguised as Autobots and they are disguised as Decepticons. What is the message we truly wish to convey?"

Laserbeak tries understanding what Soundwave just said... but gives up because he's too bewildered.

Nightbird shakes her head slightly, trying to follow this train of thought.

Scorcher mutters to Divefire and Cats, who happen to stand nearest to her "Would it not be easier to simply raid the powerplant rather than practicing like this?"

Ghost eyes chasm and simply glares back...

Reflector looks over at Chasm, quite lost now... "You are saying that we will have the Autobots raiding, and then be driven off by the Decepticons?"

Divefire looks across to Cats with a slight smile. "You can explain this one dear."

Laserbeak says, "Surely Lord Megatron, you have a simpler idea I could understand?"

Chasm says, "Hmm, well, that Autobots are lying scum of course. Hmmm. Well, we have that Decepticon raid from Take 2 - He plays the hologram of the Decepticon raid ... and we'll splice that with this scene. Okay, this is when the 'real' Decepticons show up and confront the fake Decepticons...""

Ghost drops the glare.. and chuckles with a faint smile on her face. Some little aspect of this is simply too amusing.

CatsCradle rubs at her forehead. "Actually, the easiest thing to do would be to take footage that already exists and doctor it a bit."

Motormaster sighs and walks over to stand with Divefire and CatsCradle, shaking his head a bit and muttering about neurotic dragons and bizarre ideas.

Chasm says, "Take 3 - Decepticons, you discover that the fake Decepticons are attacking the powerplant. Confront them!"

Reflector shrugs his shoulders once more, and then he follows after the other Decepticons.

Megatron tries to stay calm. "Soundwave, take care of the plot and take care that this little lizard..." He points at Chasm. "... keeps his megalomania under control!"

Tempest feels her head start to hurt...She doesn't understand how Chasm can splice all this...swill...into something the humans will believe.

Chasm replays the hologram from Take 2 where the Decepticons are raiding the powerplant. "Remember, these were false Decepticons..."

Divefire looks up and across to Motormaster with an expression of understanding. "I'd say you get used to him... But you don't."
Reflector looks over at Chasm, and then he says, "Would it be better to have separate units involved in driving off the 'false' Decepticons to avoid confusion as to what is going on?" In reality, he is completely lost now, and wants to get out of it..."

Chasm clenches his paws, "You morons don't understand!" he complains fervently.

Soundwave finds that somehow playing Santa Claus was easier than this. But, once again, he heads into the fray, brandishing his weapon at the images of the Decepticons from the previous take, hoping the others will follow his lead. He takes aim at the image of himself filmed just a bit ago.

Reflector shrugs, and then dives down into the fray once more, firing on the 'Decepticons.'

Chasm says, "Megatron - expose Motormaster for what he really is!"

Soundwave dodges to the side as though avoiding a laser strike.

CatsCradle murmurs to those nearby, "Anyone wanna bet that any minute now, Megatron grabs Chasm by the tail and beats him into the ground?"

Motormaster bumps his head against the wall with a series of distinct thumps, and replies to Cats,"If he doesn't, I'm about ta."

Divefire adds with a slightly eager tone as he watches the madness. "I'll help."

Laserbeak ponders clawing out Chasm's optics and wonders if anyone will object.

Soundwave pauses again and looks to the others. He attempts to explain to the others as he understands Chasm's plan: "Let us attempt this one more time. Our scene is this: we, the real Decepticons in the film, are confronting the fake Decepticons who have just earlier raided their target. As we fire upon them, they reveal themselves to be Autobots disguised as Decepticons. They will drive us off. End of film. Not so difficult, surely?"

Chasm says, "That's it, Soundwave!"

Soundwave says, "Chasm, if you will reply our earlier scene of attacking, the rest of us will respond. Agreed?"

Divefire mutters in a very low growl. "That tape needs to come with subtitles and a leash."

Soundwave tries to make sense of the chaos to get the project completed.

Thrust TFs and lands and just gives Soundwave a rather blank look

Megatron grumbles. "Yes, it would be simple, if we made clear before who plays what!!"

Chasm sighs, "Yes, Soundwave." He replays the original attack - again...

Reflector looks about, and then he shrugs, "Why do we want the Autobots disguised as Decepticons driving us off?"

Laserbeak says, "This is going to be a long night."

Soundwave notes to Megatron, "We will simulate a counterattack, a retreat - and finish with a scene where our 'disguises' are removed to reveal Autobots beneath. Chasm can then splice it appropriately."

Laserbeak says, "How about we blow them up after they attack. Simple and the Camera gets a good look at my leading bird potential."

Chasm glares at Laserbeak, "That is not an option."

Megatron says, "Soundwave, the problem is that no-one knows who they are playing."

Soundwave says, "Another time, Laserbeak. You will have your opportunity in reality. Come, now, let us complete this before your sibling is sent out the nearest airlock."

Soundwave says, "We will each resume our Autobot images at the end - Motormaster as Prime, myself as Ironhide, Reflector as Bumblebee. I do not believe we need more than that."

Tempest says, optics gleaming, "I wonder if dragons taste good with ketchup?" Evidently her plans don't involve airlocks.

Megatron nods. "Good, that makes the rest of us staying who we are.

Chasm snarls, "The nearest airlock? After all this effort and sweat and blood I've poured into this production? You're all hams to work with! None of you have a career outside of world conquest! I'll be in my trailer. I'll be waiting for the post production, Soundwave!"

Chasm storms off to his virtual trailer.

Chasm transforms into his Green Cassette mode.

Megatron says, "SHUT UP, CHASM!!!"

Chasm enters Soundwave's tape compartment.

Laserbeak leaves and quickly returns with a 24 pack of Alcoholic goodies. He begins lobbing them around the room to various 'Cons. " We'll need the believe me..." he mutters.

Laserbeak transforms into his Red Cassette mode.

Laserbeak enters Soundwave's tape compartment.

From inside Soundwave, Laserbeak says, "are you ok?"

From inside Soundwave, Chasm sulks, "No. They're all idiots."

CatsCradle looks up from where she had fallen asleep on Diver's shoulder, at the sound of Soundwave's cassette door slamming, "Hmm... might go faster now, without Chasm..."

Megatron says, "What scenes do we have. The raid and the retreat?"

Soundwave just shakes his head as Chasm storms off and slips back into his tape compartment. No amount of urging seems to be able to bring him back out. Soundwave looks around to the others. "I suggest we complete the footage, at least. Otherwise we have wasted the afternoon. Reflector, can you take over the filming?"

From inside Soundwave, Laserbeak says, "ehh... even the greatest artists have their critics."

Laserbeak leaps out of Soundwave's tape compartment.

Scorcher looks a bit glazed and glances warily at Megatron, seeing that he is in a bad mood. Hesitantly she speaks up "Permission to go fly a patrol , sir?" This must be a first ever that she volunteers to go out alone...

Laserbeak says, "Can I Direct now?"

Megatron says, "No, Scorcher, we just finish the end-scene: revealing the raiders "true" identity."

Ghost blinks and heaves a sigh, refolding her arms over her chest. As an impartial observer, she simply finds that all she can do is chuckle softly and shake her head. She isn't assigned as attacker nor raider, simply observer. And as Chasm huffs off, she lifts a brow, flicking her glance to Megatron..

Reflector shrugs, and then he looks to someone to take over...

Reflector nods at Soundwave, and then he says, "My other two units can film while my third participates in the 'assault.'"

Megatron says, "Ready, Soundwave?"

Laserbeak says, "Glad to see the breakneck progress were making at this rate the sun will burn out before we finish."

Despite the lack of Chasm's guiding vision, the rest of the production somehow stumbles to its conclusion. The already filmed footage is once again replayed and reacted to, to finish with Motormaster, Soundwave, and one of Reflector's components standing before the camera. Suddenly their "Decepticon disguises" slip away to reveal Prime, Ironhide, and Bumblebee beneath - or that's what it looks like, at least. It's really just spliced film from the initial take. This jumbled mess of footage, Soundwave carefully assembles into a data-cartridge which he inserts into his tape compartment, with the strong admonition for Chasm to finish up what he started and fit it all together.

Laserbeak says, "I'm ready for my closeup..."

Reflector shakes his heads, and he mutters, "I certainly do hope that this presents the end of my acting career..."

Divefire mutters to those nearby, being Cats, Scorcher and others. "Put it on the list of things we don't do well, movies."

Soundwave turns to Megatron. "I believe I will have a completed product for you shortly, Megatron. I can replay the final version on the command center screen."

Nightbird seems a bit relieved as the rather unusual project is completed. A straightforward battle would have been much easier.

Soundwave says, "Laserbeak, perhaps you and Chasm can practice this unusual hobby at another time. A time when we have convinced the humans to inconvenience their Autobot allies."

Tempest says, "My scenes got mostly cut." It's hard to tell if she's happy or irritated. Maybe both, in a way. "I want to go kill something.?"

Scorcher mutters back to Divefire "What are those Autobots doing? I thought we were making a training holovid or something?"

CatsCradle grins at Tempest and suggests, "Chasm?"

Megatron got calmer since the filming is finished. Chasm nearly crossed the line this time...

Divefire looks across to Chasm and tries to think of a quick way to explain. And can't. "It's a political espionage video meant to set up the Autobots."

Ghost heaves a soft sigh, turning on a heel to go play by herself.

A tape reel moves in Soundwave's chest. Apparently Chasm for all his sulking is at least doing the rest of his share. Soundwave heads off to the Command Center to play the final result.


****

Command Center

Nightbird takes a seat in the command center, curious to see what the completed video will look like.

Reflector shrugs and awaits for Soundwave to play the finished product onscreen.

Scorcher looks longingly at an unattended console but decides she better pay some attention to whatever is going on

Tempest says to Scorcher, "Ready to watch some home movies?"

Megatron rubs his face. Next time - if that will ever happen - he will keep the direction in his own hands. This waw close to become a disaster.

Soundwave pops the data-cartridge out of his chest compartment and lets it play on the big screen. Chasm just couldn't resist, it seems - the starting sequence is straight out of a big Hollywood production, with music and a title screen complete with special effects - before it fades into a home-movie-style view of a power plant being attacked quite realistically by a group of Decepticons. Not long into the scene, *another* group of Decepticons shows up. Through the noise of explosions and laser bolts, their exact words can't quite be made out, but two sets of identical warriors confront each other with angry gestures and accusations. A renewed firefight breaks out, and the first set of Decepticons drives off the second. As the flames die down, three individuals step into a close-up: Motormaster, Soundwave, and Reflector. They shimmer for a moment and their disguise drops away, to reveal Optimus Prime, Ironhide, and Bumblebee beneath. Optimus Prime raises his fist in triumph. His voice now becomes clear: "As soon as the humans trust us completely, and think the *Decepticons* are stealing all their energy, we'll strike - and suck this planet dry!" He laughs maniacally.

Motormaster puts his head in his hands,"Oh, jeez, I hate cheap B movies. An' now I'm spoutin' off lines that'd make some o' those guys cringe."

Soundwave assures Megatron a little apologetically, "I will, of course, edit out that opening screen."

Tempest raises an optic ridge. "I didn't realize Prime even knew how to laugh maniacally."

Soundwave says, "I would not know, Tempest."

Megatron stares at the screen, his optics narrowed and glowing. One day he will make spareparts out of this dragon... one day...

Despite the fiasco of filming it, the finished product is fairly realistically done.

Nightbird looks to Megatron and Soundwave. "And now we give this footage to the humans?"

Reflector shakes his heads, and eh sighs, "I believe that if we wish to make such a feature again, we should not include Chasm as the director of the feature..."

Divefire smirks slightly. "Reflector has mastered understatement?"

Motormaster pretends to wipe away a tear,"Our li'l camera's all goin' an' growin' up."

Reflector snickers at the two, "Yes, and I believe that I will eventually be joining you in your evening's spent drinking and mass debauchery." He doesn't quite get joking yet, but at least he's trying...

Ghost finds herself following everyone to see what exactly is made of the random seeming footage. She grins for a moment, moving to stand next to Motormaster. "You know... I didn't think you'd ever finish."

CatsCradle glares at Diver; hands on her hips. "What evenings of drinking and debauchery?"

Divefireís smirk grows to a slightly worrying level as he meets Cats glare. "The ones spent with you, dear."

Soundwave tries unsuccessfully to coax Chasm back out of his sulk. Having no result, he looks to CatsCradle and Divefire again. "Your suggestions on the ideal recipient of this piece of 'evidence'?"

Laserbeak says, "debauchowhat?"

CatsCradle hmphs a little at her mate. "Well, that's better.... I think..."

Motormaster raises an optic ridge at Ghost with a grin,"Hey, it ain't /my/ fault it took so long, y'know... I played Prime darn well, if'n ya ask me." He then pauses,"Though maybe that's not such a good thing..."

Divefire chuckles lightly to his mate before Soundwave grabs his attention, he shifts a little, coughing slightly to get back his business tone and thinking on actually who the blazes would do something with that tape. "Hrm, well I think most human Governments and News Agencies would sit on that tape, however, there is a chance the United Nations Security Council would actually act on seeing that footage."

Scorcher giggles at Motormaster "Yeah. I liked that laughter bit at the end. It reminds me of somebody, but I can't remember who just yet"

Soundwave does a quick edit on the data-cartridge, cutting out the ostentatious opening scene. Then he copies the information over onto an Earth-style videotape and pops it out of the computer, handing it to Laserbeak to carry.

Reflector shakes his head as he watches everyone interact, and then he says, "I would think that it would probably be appropriate to have it done somewhat anonymously and mysteriously, to perhaps gain in attention, instead of having it directly stated whom it is from?"

Motormaster teases Scorcher,"I was just giddy with relief that I wasn't gettin' bombarded with missiles any more... that's why I laughed." He then indicates agreement with Reflector,"Yeah, that sounds smart ta me."

Soundwave shakes his head, however. "If we are attempting to proclaim our innocence, as it were, we should move in the open."

Soundwave looks to Megatron for his decision.

Tempest, having never cared to hide her guilt before, just looks puzzled.

Scorcher mutters "sorry" to Motormaster

Megatron says, "I think the right place to deliver this tape to might be this organization the humans call UN. Tempest, Divefire, do you know a better receiver?"

Motormaster grins and pats Scorcher on the shoulder,"It's okay, ya fiery punk... I'm just kiddin'." He then notes to Ghost,"Things aren't normally this bad, just so ya know."

CatsCradle mutters to Ghost, "No, usually they're worse..."

Soundwave catches the muttered conversations and notes, "We have not encountered any zombies yet today."

Divefire shakes his head slightly to Megatron, who's obviously been thinking about how to dismember Chasm. "The UN sounds right to me."

Motormaster mutters,"Unless ya count Chasm as a mindless, soulless creature."

CatsCradle snorts. "Any more zombies and I'm hiding under my bed for the rest of the war."

Reflector shrugs at Motormaster, and then at Megatron, and he nods at his Commander's decision. Well, this has been a most interesting evening, if one that he hopes will never be recounted...

Tempest shakes her head.

Megatron says, "Then we will deliver this... piece of evidence at once! We fly, Decepticons."

Soundwave says, "I will, with your permission, Commander, send Laserbeak to deliver the evidence. I would prefer to accompany him, however. And additional warriors may be a good idea, so as to appear out in the open to the humans."

Soundwave follows Megatron, curious to see how the plan will go over.

Scorcher frowns "Does this mean that next time from now on we must look like Autobots?"

Tempest isn't sure she likes being out in the open but...orders are orders...

Motormaster rises to his feet,"Hey, boss, would it be okay if I stayed here instead and got my team situated back inta Earthbase? Don't seem like this is gonna be a battle-heavy mission after all."

Soundwave says, "Negative, Scorcher. That is a bit much to expect of us."

Megatron nods. "Good, Motormaster, you and your team guard the base. But take care, Wildrider is not polishing the floor.

Motormaster grins broadly,"Got it... no floor polishing. I'll just let him wash the windows instead..."

Soundwave silently hopes they come back to a dry base. He fits Laserbeak into his tape compartment.

Tempest says, "Happy housecleaning," to the Stunticon.

***

New York City

     This bustling human metropolis is characterized by a large spanning bridge over the Hudson River and a unique statue of a woman with a torch in the harbour. The downtown skyline is marked by famous buildings and hundreds of lesser high-rises, many covered in gargoyles. Crowds bustle through neon-lit Times Square; pigeons gather in Central Park. The city is the epitome of human culture for this continent.

Scorcher targets the torch of the statue of liberty, to see if she can give it some real fire

Soundwave says, "Scorcher, remember. We are here to make a particular impression upon the natives of this world. You can unleash your firepower another time."

Nightbird flies with Megatron over the human city, looking down at all the cars.

Megatron realizes that Scorcher is leaving the formation, barking: "Don't even think about setting something on fire!

Soundwave lets CatsCradle and Divefire direct the way to the UN building.

Tempest grumbles, "This is boring as hell...and I keep expecting to come under fire."

Reflector flies along after the other Decepticons, moving silently through the air, taking the opportunity to observe the humans down below.

Scorcher sighs deeply and returns to her position somewhere way in the rear of the formation, where she can do least damage

Thrust is flying patrol above the rest and watching for any possible attacks

The busy city seems barely to notice the overhead flyers.

Divefire scans over the skyline of New York, doing his best to remember where the heck the UN building is, then half remembering it's near the coast. "This way." He leads, heading down and towards the harbour district.

Megatron follows Divefire leading the group.

Reflector follows along, taking images of the humans down below. He figures that perhaps Divefire or Gryphus can make use of the images for their research purposes.

Laserbeak ponders If Megs would reprimand him for dropping the tape...

****

United Nations Building

        From the outside, a large rectangular building with a semi-circular arrangement of decorative bits of cloth hanging on poles.

http://www.essentialbigapple.com/graphics/unposs.jpg

From the inside, the main area is the general assembly, where human leaders gather to discuss whatever it is they think is important.

http://www.un.org/Overview/Tours/UNHQ/tour-10.gif


The Decepticons crash in on the scene - despite being on a "peaceful mission," their presence can't help but evoke panic among the inhabitants of the building.

CatsCradle leans closer to Diver. "I wish Diktat were here," she murmurs fretfully.

Scorcher peeks curiously through a third floor window, trying not to step on the humans

Divefire gives a slightly skeptical looks across to Cats. "Politicians dealing with politicians? I'm not sure that's wise."

Immediately, security guards spring into action, drawing their weapons and firing a few shots at the group of Decepticons, which bounce completely harmlessly off their armor.

Megatron also is very careful while moving through the halls of the building.

CatsCradle gives the same look back at her mate. "Yeah, but he's more likely to talk than shoot."

Nightbird doesn't draw her swords or shuriken, her optics glowing just a bit as a few bullets bounce off of her.

Soundwave sends a mental reminder to his creations not to fire back or take any aggressive action for the moment. He follows Megatron until they come to the huge conference chamber at the heart of the building.

Tempest is visibly twitching, hating being out in the open, hating not being able to retaliate, obviously a step or two shy of fully stir-crazy.

Laserbeak says, "Return Fire or ignore?"

Reflector lands in the background, observing the United Nations, and looking for structural weak points in the buildings, just in case it ever becomes necessary to assault them... His center chest unit starts flashing as he takes pictures of the buildings, almost like a tourist would...

Megatron looks down at the guards. "Please, there is no reason for any kind of hostility. We come in a peaceful mission - a mission of truth."

Scorcher returns to Tempest and mutters "Think we should get in the air again, looking for Autobots?"

Fortunately the whole interior is so vast that the Decepticons can move about mostly unhindered. The delegates in the huge chamber start to scramble their way toward the exit, the Secretary General at the head of the room hurriedly gathering his papers as the huge robots appear, but demands, "What is the meaning of this?"

Soundwave says, "Ignore, Laserbeak. For now."

Laserbeak snickers at these pathetic lead munitions being fired his way.

The guards soon realize the uselessness of their bullets, and cease fire, but instead assist those delegates who are trying to make for the exits. A lot of people pause, however, at Megatron's unexpected words. The Secretary General says, "A mission of truth?" with considerable doubt in his tone.

Tempest replies to Scorcher, "That might be a good idea. Some idiot is sure to report this as an attack."

CatsCradle leans over and plucks a gun from the nearest guard. "That isn't very nice," she scolds. "We're not shooting at you, are we?" She tucks the gun away. "If you're good, I might give it back as we leave."

The guard boggles at Cats for a moment, then turns and bolts for the nearest doorway. Forget keeping the delegates from trampling each other as they try to push past - he's pushing past them now.

Scorcher slowly shuffles back towards the entrance

Soundwave instructs, "Laserbeak. Deliver the tape to the human commander."

Divefire shakes his head slightly at Cats. "You've just given him nightmares for a year."

CatsCradle carefully pokes at the gun in the palm of her hand with delight. "It's so tiny!"

Megatron step a bit closer to Mr. Decuelar. "Mr. Secretary, it is apparent to me what a bad image the inhabitants have of us Decepticons. But I assure you, there is no neat to fear."

Laserbeak delivers the tape to the Secretary General in the politest most humble way possible.

Javier de Perez de Cuellar flinches back only slightly from the big robotic bird that drops a video tape quite unexpectedly infront of him. He picks it up, looking at it as though it may be some kind of trap, but then realizing it's not about to blow up in his face, he looks to Megatron again. "No need to fear, you say? Your kind has kept my planet hostage with fear."

Tempest paces to the door, looking out. Standing guard for Autobots is at least a sort of outlet for her feral urges, a drive which could ruin Megatron's plan.

Megatron sigh "sadly". "I know that is what /they/ want to make you believe to hide their true intentions... Oh, the power of public relations."

Laserbeak perches on Soundwave's shoulder.

Techno glances around, sizing up the guinea pigs...err humans..yeah, thatís it...

Scorcher takes up position at the other side of the door, looking longingly at the sky

CatsCradle carefully puts the gun next to the video tape. "I only took it, because he was shooting at me," she says apologetically.

Reflector slowly clicks as he takes pictures of the delegates, and of the Secretary General taking the tape, not using his flash, and he is barely noticed amidst all of the chaos.

Tempest points out the door. "Megatron! Guess who has finally shown up..."

Anyone at a window will notice the distinct and familiar Autobot convoy driving up.

Tempest edges closer to Megatron.

Tempest mutters 'Want ... ... ... them ... '.

Scorcher mutters "I am really going to hate this.."

Laserbeak says, "Lord Megatron, engage ?"

Secretary de Cuellar still looks highly doubtful - but curious now. The Decepticons haven't run rampant through the building, nor have they taken any hostages, it seems. He motions to one of his aides, and instructs him to hurriedly bring a video projector and screen.

Soundwave tries to damp down Laserbeak's understandable eagerness. "Not yet, Laserbeak," he says to his creation quietly.

Megatron addresses the humans in the room: "Quick, take cover! We don't want you to get hurt.

Scorcher steps in front of the door, but does not open fire at the approaching Autobots

Reflector does not draw his laser pistols, but moves to put himself 'in' the line of fire between the approaching Autobots and a cluster of human delegates.

The Autobots outside transform and make their way into the building, Optimus Prime in the lead.

Laserbeak says, "Look what the cat dragged in..."

Thrust powers up his weapons for an attack

Divefire slips forward a little to the door, muttering in an off hand tone. "This is no place for a firefight."
Those delegates who have still remained, quickly dive under their desks. The Secretary General does so as well, expecting a shootout - though he peers out as best he can. This really isn't going as expected. Meanwhile the aide is setting up the video equipment as ordered, despite a possible danger in doing so.

Reflector nods, saying silently, "That would defeat the entire purpose of what we are trying to achieve."

Prime raises his laser rifle and says, "Whatever game you're playing Megatron, it's over. The Autobots are here."

CatsCradle gives Laserbeak a quick glare. "I did not," she mutters.

Tempest says, "Scorcher...to the skies! Let's get rid of those...um...Threats to the Humans!"

Scorcher transforms into her Cyberjet mode.

Tempest transforms and takes off, waiting for the attack to begin

<Earth> Soundwave says, "Decepticons, disengage.  Allow the Autobots to enter unimpeded unless they attack first."

Thrust Transforms and follows. Heís better in the air anyway.

Laserbeak says, "Stand down guys..."

Scorcher reluctantly transforms back to robot mode

Megatron doesn't show any attempts to fight, just remarks. "That would be most likely that you would fire inside a building, killing the present and then... blame the Decepticons for it, wouldn't it, Prime?"

Laserbeak says, "Typical Autobots , always looking for a fight, human casualties be damned. Cold Heartless..."

As the Autobots barrel into the assembly chamber, Chasm's tape starts playing. It's the same scene - only without the gratuitous opening screen - showing the Autobots-dressed-as-Decepticons raiding a power station, running off a second set of Decepticons - and then removing their disguises to reveal Prime, Ironhide, and Bumblebee beneath. The humans peer out from under their desks, expecting the ceiling to start raining down on them at any moment - but none the less they crane their necks to see the screen, and gasp collectively.

Divefire folds his arms across his frame, fighting the base urge to leap into a host of Autobots, or maybe transform and run them down...

Prime starts to say, "You must be more delusional than.." He trails off as the video starts playing.

Reflector looks over at the Autobots, saying somewhat theatrically, "Your charade has finally been revealed, Autobots. Now, the truth will be known, and you cannot hide it anymore."

Tempest says to Scorcher, "Fly a holding pattern. Don't attack unless the Bots shoot first."

CatsCradle tugs at Diver's hand. "We've been trying to study Earth and learn about this beautiful planet, but the Autobots keep ruining our chances, right?" She glances up at her mate. Everything she said was true, after all...

Prime's optics narrow and he grips his rifle even tighter. He says in a low voice, "This is low, even for you Megatron. You won't get away with this."

Laserbeak digs into the ground with his talons, locking his lasers on the herd of Neanderthals in the entranceway... ready to fire at a moment's notice.

Divefire looks across to Cats with a slightly stunned expression, then half nods, then more enthusiastically. "Yes, that's right... I've lost count of the number of times Sunstreaker and Sideswipe have interrupted our peaceful research projects."

Scorcher decides that blocking the entrance is all fine, but she is in immediate risk of being shot from two sides

Soundwave sends a calming influence toward Laserbeak, and regards the Autobots expressionlessly.

<Earth> Laserbeak says, "Do not surround them. It would be conceived as aggressive on our part. Leave them a way to back out."

The humans in the room slowly start to crawl out from under their barricades, some of them edging away from the Autobots.

Tempest says, "Scorcher, stay away from the door...we're air support, only if they need us."

Megatron says - maybe a tad to theatrically: "Did you really think you could trick the inhabitants of this planet for ever, Prime. It is you who won't get away with this any longer. Today, Earth learns the truth about you and your kind.

Reflector shakes his heads at the Autobots, "You will not malign these innocent people to fight for you any more, Autobots. This is one planet that will not fall to your evil deeds!"

Prime replies, "The people of Earth will never believe your fabrications. Mr. Secretary, surely you must know this is a lie. The Autobots have always protected humans."

Secretary de Cuellar says cautiously, "Or they have *appeared* to do so."

The representative from Japan stands up and speaks, his voice carried to the whole hall by the microphone they all wear. "It has long been known to the people of Japan that the Autobots have their own agenda. They rampaged through downtown Tokyo, claiming they were chasing some energy creature. And it well known that when our power plants are attacked, it is the Autobots who initiate the firefight that causes loss of life and property damage."

Laserbeak says, "Autobots it's clear you'd like nothing better than to turn this building into the OK coral, but we won't have any of that."

Megatron nods, smiling softly.

Prime holds out a hand, saying, "We're only trying to stop the Decepticon's plans for conquest. Surely you must see that."

Laserbeak says, "Prime's a double talking self serving egomaniac... Surely you can see that!"

Secretary de Cuellar speaks carefully, "In light of these new ... revelations ... I have no choice but to order both of you out of this building until the matter can be further investigated." It's clear he doesn't really trust either side just now.

Tempest flies in circles overhead, hungry, restless...and feeling out of her element. She is a warrior, but a miserable negotiator.

Reflector looks at the Autobots, and then at the other Decepticons, waiting to see how they will proceed.

Scorcher is only too pleased to step out of the way

From behind Prime, Cliffjumper raises his gun. "Ok, that does it! Eat photons Megatron!" He fires.

Megatron says, "Of course, Mr. Secretary, it is far from my mind to endanger the present..."

Scorcher hits the ground fast and the laser narrowly misses her

Laserbeak transforms into his Condor mode.

Laserbeak attacks Sunstreaker with laser1, but misses him!
Sunstreaker attacks Laserbeak with Laser1, but misses him!

Megatron jerks around as a laser blast hardly misses him, but doesn't shoot back.

Cliffjumper's shot goes wide, missing Megatron and blasting out a section of the wall. Debris rain down on the Japanese delegate.

Reflector draws his own laser pistols, and points them at the Autobots, but he does not fire. Inciting a general melee here will NOT help advance their cause.

CatsCradle squeaks and before any more shots are fired, she ducks in front of the humans, weaving her forcefield and standing in front of them to protect them.

Megatron says, "Decepticons, hold your fire. We endanger the humans!"

Soundwave isn't terribly surprised when Laserbeak opens fire. He's been straining at the leash the whole time. He's not about to stand there and allow the Autobots to fire point-blank at his leader, either, and draws his own weapon.

Prime says, "No, wait, this is a mistake.." but the other Autobots are already firing.

Laserbeak stands down somewhat begrudgingly.

Scorcher is hurriedly trying to crawl out of the line of fire

Tracks attacks Laserbeak with Laser1, but misses him!

Reflector moves over to begin attempting to dig the Japanese delegates out from under the debris. "See what they do? Assaulting us when we point out their lies, and callously putting the lives of innocents in danger??"

Ironhide attacks Soundwave with Laser1, and strikes him!
Laserbeak attacks Ironhide with laser1, and strikes him!

Laserbeak attacks Tracks with laser2, and strikes him!
Tracks attacks Laserbeak with Laser1, but misses him!

Hound attacks Divefire with Laser1, but misses him!


Megatron says, "Now, you show your true face, Prime!"

Ironhide attacks Laserbeak with Laser2, but misses him!

Soundwave targets but does not fire on Sunstreaker, and instead lowers his weapon - though has to dodge aside as a rocket impacts on the wall behind him, sending a shower of mortar crashing down. He returns fire on Ironhide purely in defense.

Huffer attacks Thrust with Laser1, and strikes him!


Laserbeak attacks Ironhide with laser1, and strikes him!
Ironhide attacks Laserbeak with Laser1, but misses him!

Megatron says, "Decepticons, guard the humans!"

Megatron attacks Optimus Prime with Punch, but misses him!
Optimus Prime attacks Megatron with Kick, and strikes him!

Reflector calls out as he moves to dig the Japanese delegates out from under the debris, "Some cover fire would be appreciated!"

Scorcher lies on the ground as the fire goes over her head and wonders how she got herself in this mess

Laserbeak attacks Optimus Prime with laser1, and strikes him!
Optimus Prime attacks Laserbeak with Laser2, and strikes him!

Thrust recovers from the blast and dives for Huffer.

The other humans have of course all dived back under their desks when the weapons started going off, and crouch there in fear.

Laserbeak stumbles backward.

Megatron not being too used in taking care of humans, running around his feet, fails to hit prime and gets kicked himself.

Laserbeak attacks Ironhide with laser1, and strikes him!
Ironhide attacks Laserbeak with Laser1, and strikes him!

Soundwave unleashes a barrage of plasma against the Autobots to protect Laserbeak.

Divefire narrowly ducks at the last moment to avoid Hound's shot, glancing over to watch it slam into one of the walls. He glowers for a moment across to the Autobots position. "I said this was a bad place for a fight." He growls out. "And I meant it!"

CatsCradle backs up a few more steps, trying to provide as much cover for the humans as her 'field will allow.

Divefire transforms into his Mk III Trans-Am mode.

Megatron attacks Optimus Prime with kick, but misses him!
Optimus Prime attacks Megatron with Laser_Rifle, and strikes him!

Reflector is gladly not being fired upon while he moves to dig out the humans from under the rubble. He loathes doing this, but it will be 'Good PR,' he hopes...

Prime shoots Megatron off of him and says loudly, "Autobots! Hold your fire! I repeat, hold your fire!"

Ironhide quits shooting and says, "Ya heard him Autobots, hold yer fire!"

Laserbeak attacks Ironhide with laser1, but misses him!
Ironhide attacks Laserbeak with Laser1, but misses him!

Megatron tried to kick Prime from his down position, but gets hit by the Autobot Leader's laser rifle. No matter what happens, he has to play this role to the end.

Thrust attacks Huffer with laser, but misses him!
Huffer attacks Thrust with Laser1, but misses him!

Soundwave sends a message to Laserbeak to instruct him to hold fire, as difficult as it may be.

Ironhide fire back at Laserbeak, then catches himself. "Darn it! Includin me. Hold yer fire."

Thrust banks back and dives again at the sourpussed Autobot

Reflector has dug the Japanese delegates out from the debris by now, and he looks over at them. He shrugs - he is no expert at human anatomy, but they do not look to be in the best of health to him...

Rather then racing off to run down as many Autobots as he can, the black Trans-Am opens both its doors and emits to any humans that might listen. "Get in, just like the TV show I'm invulnerable!"

Thrust attacks Huffer with laser, and strikes him!
Huffer attacks Thrust with Laser2, and strikes him!

Scorcher, on hearing that order to hold fire, cautiously looks up, only to almost have her face shot off

Laserbeak says, "Thrust Stand Down... I repeat Stand Down!"

Megatron attacks Optimus Prime with ram, and strikes him!

Thrust says, "Laserbeak what?"

The interior of the chamber is in a shambles as the shooting dies down. Mortar has crumbled down from the walls and ceiling, covering everything, inhabitants included, in a white dust. Small fires burn on patches of the carpeting, and desks are charred and shattered.

Megatron gets back onto his feet, and quickly attacks Prime, nailing him against the wall.

Laserbeak watches Megs engage Prime. "Oh never mind! What's good for the goose is good for the Condor.

Prime is sprawled to the ground by Megatron but doesn't attack back. Slowly he gets up, looking at all the destruction that's been caused.

Laserbeak attacks Sunstreaker with laser1, but misses him!

Soundwave intones, "Laserbeak!"

Reflector shakes his head, and he calls out, "Look at what you have wrought, Autobots. How many more innocents must suffer from your conquest before you are stopped?" He then says, "I believe that this delegation will be in need of medical assistance..."

The Autobots reluctantly have stopped firing and they glower and mutter at Megatron's words.

Optimus Prime says to the humans, now mostly cowering and covered in debris. "Mr. Secretary. I assume you this is all a misunderstanding. Megatron is deceiving you. But we will leave in peace if you still wish it."

Secretary de Cuellar clambers out from behind his desk. His incredulous expression as he reviews the chamber, turns to indignation. "It was not the Decepticons who fired the first shot!" he says, leveling Prime with an accusatory glare.

Laserbeak perches on Soundwave's shoulder muttering something about Prime being a pompous (insert expletive here)

CatsCradle's 'field slowly dies down, and she shakes her hands, the last bit of energy flickering off her fingers. "Nor were the Autobots trying to protect the humans, as they like to portray themselves."

The delegate from Japan is being carried out on a make-shift stretcher as guards try to assess who else is wounded.

Megatron looks around. "Destruction... wherever you appear, Prime, destruction..!" And strangely, this time his complaint is really honest.

Scorcher looks up again, now the firing really seems to have stopped. Amazingly enough nobody has managed to shoot her even while she was laying in the front-line. The armour on her back is smoking in several places where narrow misses scored it

Reflector shakes his heads as he rejoins the other Decepticons, and then heads up to their side, his arms crossed.

Secretary de Cuellar demands of Prime, "You are a menace to our planet! Look what you have wrought! If you have any respect for our world's governing bodies at all, you will remove yourselves from this world immediately."

Tempest slinks in through the doorway, as if drawn by the smell of gunfire and smoke, and perches on a fallen slab of concrete. She says nothing; her optics are red mirrors on the scene of destruction.

Laserbeak says, "Hit the road you crude vile disgraces to Cybertron!"

Prime starts to say something, then stops. He only meant leave the building, not the planet.. He says haltingly "If we leave, you won't be able to stop the Decepticons."

CatsCradle's optics fall on Scorcher's smoking armor. "Soundwave," she calls, mindful of the world (more or less) watching. "Soundwave, Scorcher was hurt trying to protect the humans."

Laserbeak inspects the damage to himself and the other 'cons.

Scorcher mutters "The Autobots really have it in for me today"

Soundwave is reminded of Scorcher's earlier damage, which he'd meant to repair. Sometimes he really should be in several places at once, like Reflector. He nods to Cats, and goes over to Scorcher, taking out some tools for patchup.

Megatron says, "Our only attempt is, to stop you from your evil work."

Laserbeak says, "Mr. Secretary in our world you have to realize something... The name Autobot has become associated with Carnage destruction and death."

Secretary de Cuellar shakes his head in response to Optimus Prime's words. "I think I speak for all of our member nations when I say, we prefer to take our chances on our own. We have seen what your 'protection' is all about."

Soundwave starts patching up Scorcher's damage, at least enough to lessen the pain and add a temporary layer of protective plating to the wound.
There's a chorus of agreements from the delegates.

Prime takes another look around. Wheeljack says, "Come on Prime, you can't agree to it. The Decepticons will take over the whole place."

Laserbeak says, "Megatron, I'm sure a few of the others will assist me in escorting these ruffians away from the area, If you wish."

The Secretary General looks over the assembly and the damage, and then looks at the Autobots unflinchingly. He doesn't really expect them to go of their own accord.

Prime says, "We have no choice Wheeljack. We can only stay where we're wanted. Very well Mr. Secretary. We'll return to Cybertron as soon as we can build a spaceship to take us there."

CatsCradle looks up from bustling around the humans, checking for their injuries, too. "That's just asking us to wait while they think up another destructive plan."

Soundwave finishes up with Scorcher, and then steps over to Megatron, stepping through the remains of a whole section of desks. "Commander," he suggests, "we can offer this planet the means to rid themselves of the Autobots easily. We surely have a rocket we can spare from our supplies, at the Desert Base."

Megatron nods to Laserbeak. Then tells Prime: "We will take care that you really leave this planet. We will even provide you a space ship so that you don't have to built one. The sooner you leave, the better for the suffering Earth.

Reflector nods as he looks at the Autobots, "Such as the way your warrior shot at the Honored Delegate from Japan when he spoke the truth when others feared to about you and your rabble?"

The Autobots grumble among themselves, clearly not happy with what's going on.

Secretary de Cuellar looks visibly surprised that the Autobots are going on their way, even though they could simply trample over all the humans in the room. He seems to welcome the suggestion to send them offworld as quickly as possible, and looks to Megatron and Soundwave hopefully.

Megatron says, "Don't worry, Mr. Secretary, we will keep an optic on them."

Soundwave says, "I can instruct the Dinobots to deliver the means of transportation to this building."

Megatron says, "Yes, Soundwave, do that."

<Earth> Soundwave says, "And meanwhile we can observe from afar, to make certain they do in fact leave this world."

Scorcher stumbles towards the humans, making a show of shielding them from the Autobots still

Soundwave sends a message to the Dinobots guarding the Desert Base, and instructs Grimlock to retrieve a particular piece of machinery. He then prepares to accompany Megatron back to the undersea base.

****

Command Center


As the Autobots prepare to leave Earth, Soundwave focuses in on the scene on the big screen. The UN building bears the signs of battle, and the rocket stands poised to blast off. Humans have gathered in great numbers, many holding signs of protest and shouting rude comments.

Nightbird settles into a chair in the command center, watching the big screen.

Tempest says, "YOu /really/ think this is the end of the Autobot problem?"

Scorcher mutters "Amazing, a plan of Chasm that actually works. Though it wasn't very honourable"

Keeping a watchful eye on the Autobots are the Stunticons and Constructicons, ready to merge and pound if it should be required.

Megatron smirks, watching the rocket leave.

Tempest shrugs. "Who cares, if it worked?" she says to Scorcher...then catches herself. "I mean, it didn't involve betraying other Cons."

Soundwave says, "Honorable is what works, Scorcher." Although he goes about his actions in the same efficient manner as possible, there's a brighter glint in his optic band for a moment, as though he knows some wonderful secret yet, which is about to be revealed.

Scorcher shrugs, though she still seems slightly worried by the fact that the Autobots were defeated by a lie, rather than by strength of combat

Laserbeak says, "get out the party favors!"

Amidst the tumult of the angry humans, the rocket blasts off into the sky and is quickly lost even to the satellite view.

Tempest says, her lip curling, "This was almost too easy." She paces about. "SO we're just giving Shockwave our Autobot problem?"

Laserbeak says, "Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah, hey hey hey ... Goodbye!"

Soundwave comments, "We cannot, of course, guarantee that they will remain out of our business." He looks to Megatron, waiting for his leader to give the command.

Reflector shakes his heads as he watches the Autobots go off into space. Who knew that the final solution for their enemies would not be from combat, but rather from something as easy as a propaganda piece?"

Megatron says, "Oh, this problem /will/ be solved, Tempest, because we have control over the rockets course... Soundwave, I think we should give them a ride to a really sunny place..."

CatsCradle says, "For now, I'll settle for having them off this planet." She catches Scorcher's expression, and says more softly, "You haven't fought as long as the rest of us had, Scorch. Or you'd understand."

Nightbird's optics glint with satisfaction as the Bots are blasted off. She then looks to Megatron, wondering what he means.

Tempest tilts her head, looking intrigued.

Soundwave nods to Megatron, his optic band flickering a little brighter for a moment in a "smile" - and then he activates the controls. A simulated image of the rocket pops up, superimposed on a grid of nearby space. As the onlookers watch, the rocket shifts direction on a trajectory that will take it directly into the sun.


Divefire blinks slightly, watching from the back. "Your going to put them into the sun?"

Megatron says, "Their flight path is retarget - they are heading directly for the sun!"

Soundwave activates another viewer, a hidden camera that was attached to the ship before lift-off. One can see the brilliant halo of the sun suddenly fill the viewscreen, getting closer and closer.

Megatron laughs.

Tempest's optics grow wide...and suddenly she starts laughing, and laughing. Damn, that was brilliant!

Laserbeak says, "Always knew the Autobots were Hotheads!"

Nightbird crosses her arms, a very rare gesture for her, and her optics fairly blaze with satisfaction at the thought of the Bots burning to a crisp.

Divefire mutters in a low tone. "You did remove Cosmos from the cargo list, didn't you?"

Laserbeak flaps his wings in anticipation.

Soundwave announces, "External hull temperature rising. Structural integrity breaking down." On screen, the image starts to fizzle as the rocket and its camera closes in on the point of destruction. The last thing visible is an image of melting metal dripping away, and overwhelming light. Then the screen goes dark.

Reflector shakes his head, letting out a quiet chuckle. Well, it appears that their Autobot problem is finally solved...

CatsCradle moves closer to Diver, slipping her hand in his and looking up at him. "It's over then?" Her gaze goes back to the screen. "Just like that?"

Tempest cheers.

Laserbeak breaks out the champagne , and pops the cork... " whose up for bubbly?"

Scorcher shivers slightly though she is relieved that the war is finally over

Soundwave says, "Transmissions have ceased." For announcing the destruction of the Autobot high command, Soundwave sounds as matter-of-fact as ever. But there's an undeniable quiet satisfaction about him.

Nightbird can't quite maintain her usual calm centered manner at this development, and stands with a triumphant gesture. She moves over to Megatron's side and slips an arm around his waist.

Laserbeak begins spraying Soundwave and Megatron with champagne.

Reflector shakes his head, and he says, "It is over, it is finally over..." The long war with the Autobots will finally come to a close.

Megatron puts - in return - his arm around her shoulder. "This time, we made it. We won!" He laughs!

Soundwave would gently admonish Laserbeak for the wasting of such high-grade energon, but not this time. He regards the black screen for a moment as though it were the rarest work of art.

Nightbird says with affection, "I never had a doubt."

Divefire glowers at the dark screen, strangely a little anger in his features, though whether it's because they seem to have won via a whole political gamble, or just in the matter of how they won, it's not clear. "It's not over just yet." He mutters, being the party pooper.

Tempest watches Megatron and Nightbird and her smile flickers a little...but she turns her back, and leaves them to their moment. No hissing, no pouting, no slinking off...no interrupting.

Laserbeak looks at the black screen " Simple Beauty , but yet the most amazing image I've ever seen"

Laserbeak sprays Dive with the bubbly to add a little jolliness to him.

Reflector looks up at the Decepticons, and then he shakes his head, and he whispers, "Just today I was speaking with Motormaster that I doubted I would ever see the end of the war, that it would continue on long after we had passed on. And now we have seen the final victory..."
Divefire stands there, arms folded, glowering at Laserbeak with energon dripping down his frame. His expression deepens even further into anger and annoyance and he simply turns on his heel and heads for the door.

Reflector looks over at Divefire, but does not comment. This is not his place to intervene in.

Tempest says, somewhat icily, "We still have Autobots on Cybertron." She cannot imagine...cannot conceive...a world without some war somewhere.

Megatron clenching his fist like crunching something: "Without Prime, they will weaken very shortly and we will crush them once and for all, Tempest.

CatsCradle steps aside to avoid the spray of energon, and with no real surprise, her optics follow her mate as he leaves. She glances back at the screen and shakes her head. "There'll always be Autobots," she says softly. "We can't wipe them out entirely. And if we do... well, there might be something worse than them out there, too." And without explaining more, she slips out the door, following her mate.


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