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Chapter Two - Desolation

Earth Date August 2, 1986

Repair Bay

Ravenwing comes to check to see if Armada has yet awakened. She has a few words for that mech...
Ghost has come back to medical, still battered, worn and tattered. Settled in a seat, her winglessness makes it all the more easy for her to curl up in it and watch those resting in here like a hawk... a quiet, exhausted hawk, but one that is still mostly attentive.
Ravenwing also spares some attention for CatsCradle as well; the femme lost her lifemate and was reacting most irrationally. Lastly, her gaze drifts to the weak, wan Ghost, the only other person awake. She inclines her head to the young femme, unsure if she's annoyed with her.
Ghost's optics flicker that ash-gray hue as she turns her head to regard Ravenwing. It takes a moment, a delayed reaction of sorts for her thin lipped mask of emotionlessness to slip enough for her to offer a shadow of a smile.
Whatever Ravenwing's opinion of the femme's actions, those must wait; this is not the appropriate time for a display of anger. The same goes for Armada as well, come to think of it. Down to business now. There's too little time left even for pleasantries. "Did you and Soundwave learn anything else of importance?"
Ghost lifts a brow before they furrow together, "Soundwave mentioned that he had learned something in his.. probing of the entity., But what it was, he is still condensing into a report, Ma'am." Her voice is as flat as her expression.
Ravenwing feels a flicker of anger stir, but sternly suppresses it. Two deaths because of an ill-conceived attempt to find out more about a supernova by sneaking up on it instead of observing from a safe distance. "I see. We must needs wait for him to finish it."
Ghost nods once, optics flicking over to watch Motormaster’s restless sleep, then to CatsCradle, then over Armada and back to Ravenwing. "Yes, Ma'am."
Ravenwing follows her gaze and frowns, recalling Harrier. There's another of Tempest's... conquests. She'll have to speak to him soon, lest he also be overcome by an attack of dramatics and throw himself off a cliff or some such nonsense. She shakes her head in bafflement. She loved her own lifemate and daughter, yes, but never felt any desire to throw away her life because they had died. "Any observations of your own, Ghost?"
Ghost goes as silent as a statue, optics that flat ash-gray hue as she recalls the experience last cycle. There is a moment of silence that seems to threaten to go on for some time as she recalls information, sorts the emotional duress out of it  and files it neatly in her mind before she even thinks to speak of it, "Nothing as of this time. I am still going over the event myself."
Ravenwing nods and echoes Ghost's own thoughts. "Try to separate the emotional aspects from the facts, something that is hard to do at the time. There may still be something useful to be found. For my own part, I noticed that external explosives seem to feed it, but internal cause a brief disruption with no apparent damage. He also has far superior scanners than expected; he knew where we were."
Ghost nods once, the movement furthering the impression of a lack of mobility. "The range of his systems was more close to .85 parsecs as opposed to the suggested .6." She pauses, optics narrowing as she sifts through the datum, "The switch of phase seemed to give its systems pause, but I would not be willing to risk anyone else, including myself on the banal assumption that it cannot adjust and track again upon a repeat maneuver of the same."
Ravenwing doesn't sit down, but leans back against a handy wall. "This is one of the first instances where we've come across someone who is well and truly superior to us. Not just because of size, either. He has superior technology, and that is a critical advantage. I wonder if he knows spacebridge technology..."
Ghost's gaze flits to Armada then back to Ravenwing, "If he knows what Armada knows, then he knows of it now for certain, Ma'am."
Ravenwing arches a brow. "Armada is no scientist. He would know that it exists, but not necessarily the technology behind it."
Ghost nods once, "As I said, Ma'am, knows *of* it."
Ravenwing notes, "From .6 to .85 parsecs was likely to do with have just... fed. I would push it to .9 for a safety factor if we ever have to approach him again." Of course, she hopes never to go near the creature ever again, but it will probably be necessary before this is over. "Pick up any transmissions from him?"
Ghost shakes her head, a soft creak coming from her neck, "Ma'am, I was simply focused on not loosing the commander to the pull. I had no scanning systems operational at that time."
Ravenwing snorts softly. "Indeed... I was rather busy myself, but there may be pertinent data in the Harbinger's computers. The scanners were on auto, and there may even be some transmissions from the probes before they were destroyed." She pauses and studies the young femme, gauging her resilience to the events. After a moment, she asks almost gently, "How are you handling this, child?"
Ghost doesn't reply immediately, just stares off in a void of her own for a moment as she carefully puts together a response to the more personal query. She speaks, but flatly, "I am awaiting repairs and another rest cycle before I return to my mission of locating the Autobot artifact." Some of the flatness departs in the wake of a darker emotion, a faint glimpse of a seething anger shining through, before it is masked back over as quickly as it arose.
Ravenwing speaks a bit more frankly than she would under less stressful circumstances. "We all have to deal with fear and anger now. These can be excellent sources of strength, but must not be allowed to rule you. It helps to keep busy as well. The situation appears to be... hopeless, but whether or not it truly is, we must still go on and do the absolute best we can with what we have. It's the only chance we have."
Ghost focuses her gaze on a wall, a terse response given, "Anger is what is keeping me alert, Ma'am. It is all I have."
Ravenwing says, "Just don't let it control you. Anger is a good servant, but a poor master."
Ghost smiles a not smile, the expression only furthering the icy distance of her expression, "If It were governing me, Ma'am, I would already be back out in the field."
Ravenwing tries hard not to smirk, recalling events from the previous cycle. "Pride is also a bad master, especially when one is injured."
Ghost moves to stand abruptly amidst the protest of several systems, "Yes, Ma'am." she says softly, turning on a heel to depart, hands clenching at her sides. "All to aware of pride and the possibility of downfall in walking *that* pathway. If you'll excuse me..."
Ravenwing inclines her head graciously. "If the truth is so painful, by all means go."
Ghost stops midway to the door, looking over her shoulder at Ravenwing for a moment before she replies, "I failed. And in that prideful moment, caused the events that led to the deaths of two individuals that harbor more experience and ability to defend and grace the empire than I ever will. That, I will never forget, Ma'am. It is painful and it is mine to deal with no matter the condolences and words that others utter. In the end, I made the suggestion, I went out, *I* am the reason that Mer CatsCradle is comatose and Ser Motormaster did not have the chance to make better his harsh words to his mate. Four of the empire’s finest lost in a single decision when it should have been none."
Ravenwing's voice takes on a steely tone. "The responsibility was not yours. You were not in command, you made a suggestion that those who *were* judged acceptable. I will not say what I think of that judgment, only that it was not your decision, but theirs."
Ghost wants to say so much, to simply vent and let out all of her misgivings.. But all she does is give a shake of her head, optics gray, "If the suggestion had not been made.." she trails off for a moment, "Each one there will have their own viewpoints of the events and their own blame to lay. No two will agree." Another pause as she sways a bit unsteadily, fighting with an obvious difficulty to keep her words diplomatic and neutral once more, "It is in the past now, and we must go on for the future betterment of all."
Ravenwing nods agreeably. "Then sit down, since you were awaiting repairs and another rest cycle before departing, if I recall correctly. Yes, there's still guilt to deal with regardless of whether or not you were blameless in this affair. Failure happens through no fault of your own, and you know that, especially in your line of work. Divefire and Tempest are gone, yes, but not due to any actions of your own. If not you, I suspect that Divefire himself or Armada would have volunteered. That doesn't necessarily help the way you feel, but it is true nonetheless."
"Very little will help the way I feel change, Ma'am. Nothing less than the completion of my mission and the subsequent destruction of that. *thing*." a flash of anger colors that last word, hands clenching as she reigns in that seething anger of hers, "But.. I should.. rest.." she concedes, "And await final repairs with as much grace as one such as I can muster."
Megatron slowly walks in. Well, this time it is not him who needs repairs.  "I see the patient is recovering."
Ravenwing straightens up as Megatron enters, glancing at him, then back to Ghost. "Patience, child. You'll have your chance." She shakes her head again, though. Her control seems anything *but* complete. Vengeance, hate, fear are all immaterial in this situation. Then again, she's had a lot more time than almost anyone else to get used to the idea of a Unicron.
Ghost musters up a wry smirk, "Patience." she states as she slowly and gingerly heads back for a seat, settling in like an old woman. Her optics flash as Megatron enters and speaks, giving him a strange look before she curls herself in the seat, going back to keeping watch over those less fortunate.
Megatron walks over to the consoles, checking the medical data. His face is unreadable, whatever emotion is his, he keeps it professionally covered. "We have a lot of work to do, Ravenwing. Do you have any new data about the object?"
Ravenwing watches Ghost seat herself, then turns towards Megatron. "I was about to go download the Harbinger's sensor logs. There might be something useful in there, and I certainly didn't have the time to pay attention earlier."
Motormaster stirs where he was passed out on one of the medtables, presumably where he was placed last night, optics flickering back on as he uncurls a bit.
Ghost's optics flick to Motormaster as he stirs, tensing as she watches her friend slowly start to return o the world of the nominally working.
Megatron nods. "I ordered double shifts in the mines. We will get more material than originally planned.
Motormaster raises himself up to a sitting position, putting his head in his hands for just a moment and wincing a bit. Rather bad headache. Probably short-circuited an emotion circuit last night. He then raises it again, his face drawn and pained for reasons above and beyond the headache, but his determination still in place as well. He glances around quietly at the small group gathered.
CatsCradle is huddled in a tight ball in one of the beds, not moving. Her optics are open, but are still so leeched of color that they seem white. She doesn't seem aware of anything around her. Her face seems to have aged overnight, and she doesn't look like she has cried. Just... locked herself away somewhere in her mind.
Megatron looks up from the consoles as he notices Motormaster's movement, then he glances at Cats. His optics sadly turn dull for a second.
Ghost’s attention, despite the battering she has taken, is acute as she watches Motormaster move up to sit, studying him with that flat mask of emotionless she has taken to wearing once more. Slowly turning her head, she refocuses on the others she has claimed as hers to watch, peering at CatsCradle's motionless form.
Ravenwing ponders retreating to the Harbinger to download that information. She's not unsympathetic, but the sheer quantity of emotional pain in the room is depressing.
Motormaster rotates his legs so that they dangle over the side without saying anything, and then levers himself off, wobbling unsteadily for just a moment before he finds his sense of balance again. He reaches up with a hand to touch the crack in his helmet, finding it soldered, and then looks around again... this time spotting CatsCradle. his optics flick off for a moment as he turns his face away. But... internally he latches onto it. He can't help two friends, but there's one he might still be able to take care of. So he walks over to Cats’ table and just leans against it, watching her silently.
Megatron quietly decides: "I will go back to work. There is no time to waste." He glances at Motormaster and CatsCradle again.
Ravenwing decides that discretion is the better part of valour, and heads off to the Harbinger. She might be able to accomplish something there. Certainly nothing here. Emotional support is simply not one of her strong points.
CatsCradle's optics seem to flicker for a brief instant, still in that bleached out white. She seems to take in where she is without any surprise, and also without her usual panic towards repair bays. She focuses on the fact that someone is leaning against her
Motormaster reaches out and gently takes the catatonic femme's hand if she allows it, expression bleak as she takes in her unresponsiveness and general withdrawal. What do you say to someone like this? He's only a year old, and from what he can tell, people millions of times older than that haven't got a clue. It's so soon... but they've so little to get ready that they can't waste any. So he has to try. "I know it hurts, CatsCradle. I know... I'm not gonna claim to understand yer pain. I haven't been there, haven't been through it all... each person only understands their own pain. But empathy, sympathy? That I got in spades, hon." He raises a hand, scrubs it over his face, searches for a way to put what comes next.
CatsCradle whispers in a barely audible voice, "You should have let me follow him."
Ghost’s optics seem to unfocus before they refocus on Megatron as she raises a hand, "Sir?" A pause as she lifts herself out of her seat, "If I may walk with you."
Megatron was on his way out of the room. "Well, yes..." he answers a bit confused.
Ghost moves stiffly after her leader, "Thank you." Evidently the level of grief in the room is not to her liking as well, either that, or she is hard pressed not to give in entirely herself.
Megatron gestures towards the door. "You want to accompany me?"
Ghost nods, "Yes, sir." She stops at his side, movements stiff.
Megatron studies his sister for a while. "You still need to recover..."
Ghost's optics flash with sudden alarm, a deep violet before returning to that ash-gray hue, "Please?"
Megatron nods, heading out of the door.  He decides to use the empty labs for his conversation with his sister. "Yes?
Ghost follows her brother, not really paying attention to the where, just glad to get out of the room of despair for the brief moment. Stopping, she peers over and blinks, "Hmm?"
Megatron says, "You wanted to talk, Ghost."
Ghost ohs, "Actually, I just wanted to get out of medical for a moment in order to collect my thoughts." Her voice remains flat.
Megatron smirks painfully. "I understand."
Ghost glances at her brother, saying nothing at all, just staring with that mask of emotionlessness set on her face.
Megatron rubs his face. "Well, that is war..." He looks toward the door. "I really should go back to work." He sets his jaws, as the picture of Tempest, being sucked into Unicron, comes back to his mind. There is a good reason he avoids recharge: nightmares.
Ghost lifts a brow, finding herself asking a question that is well ingrained, "Have you recharged or rested?" Her voice is still flat and devoid of inflection, though the strain seems to show at the corners of her mouth in a tightness there.  Then her optics loose that distance first as they shade to a twilight lavender, brows furrowing together as she looks at her sibling, voice soft in its alto level, "I am sorry for your loss, my brother."
Megatron sets his jar. "My loss? I lost some of my best warriors, yes, but that is something a mech in my position has to deal with. CatsCradle and Motormaster - they are the ones who really suffered losses." Liar - he still felt a lot for Tempest...
Ghost sways a bit unsteadily before she forms words, optics flashing that dangerous hue of violent violet, "I saw your expression when you realized where she had gone. I saw the anguish when you rounded on Motormaster. Don't lie to me. It doesn’t work."
Megatron sighs. "She was my friend, yes," he answers. And quietly he adds: "My best friend." Yes, he loved her still, but he decided that being friends would be the best.
Ghost's optics still harbor that anger, flickering as she peers over, "For a moment then, let yourself have a moment of grief. It does none of us any good should you hold everything inside until you simply loose all control at a moment when we need you the most."
Megatron places his hand on Ghost's shoulder. "Don't worry, I won't lose control." He smiles a bit. "I have family and friends who take good care of me."
Ghost shudders at the touch, swaying slightly as she stands there, optics shuttering for a moment before she looks at the ground, "Yes, you have many that look after you to insure your well being." She glances up again, "That is why you should at least recharge, if not rest."
Megatron sighs. "I fear my dreams are going to exhaust me more than staying awake. And getting overenegized isn't an option either - not with that menace in our back.”
Ghost lifts a brow, "Then get a timed sedative so you won't dream." she states.
Megatron nods. "I will ask Soundwave for it later..."
Ghost's expression flashes back to that mask of blankness, "Perhaps he needs one as well, Sir." Again, a flat tone.
Megatron murmurs: "Possibly we all need some."
Ghost lifts a brow, "Dreamless rest.. Peace without.." She shakes her head and stares off.. "Yes, I think that there are some who need more rest than they are willing to admit too."
Megatron looks at her. "Like the Decepticon leader's sister for example. Not to mention the repairs she needs..."
Ghost looks away, "I have rested.. somewhat. But I have also been watching those who rest in case.. they need someone there when they wake from whatever nightmares they are suffering."
Megatron murmurs: "Family stubbornness..."
Ghost's optics flicker for a moment, "Yes. With duty and pride as well."
Megatron says, "Well, let's get back to work and... recovering."
Ghost gives a shake of her head, waving a finger, "Recharge. And I can watch over you, should you fall into a dream that troubles you, my brother."
Megatron now smirks. "If you go watch me sleep, then don't complain if they think you are my mistress.”
Ghost gives a shrug, wincing as a shoulder complains, "I've gotten used to it. As it stands, I get more teasing now from having asked someone out for a polite drink than anything to do with you these cycles."
Megatron says, "Well, at least Nightbird knows what you are. Otherwise I’d have a problem."
Ghost's lips upturn into a wan smile, "Yes. She knows.. Which has probably saved me from even more grief and confusion. A blessing."
Megatron was not really in the mood for jokes, but he tries to distract himself from the said thoughts. He nods. "Then let's get me to recharge.
Ghost gives a nod of her head, mask in place once more. "Then let’s."
***
Megatron’s Quarters
     Close to the entrance, to the right, there is a small square conference table with a hologram projector surrounded by four chairs. The wall to the left contains a private energon dispenser close to the door and the computer terminal with its huge screen in the rear corner. The back wall is occupied by a strange picture, showing nothing but a starry sky above Cybertron, and the door-less entrance to the little separate room with the recharge berth. There is also the shelf which holds Megatron's trophies from his days as a gladiator. Holders for a blade are on the wall above the berth, but there is no sign of a sword.
     The center of the right wall is inlayed with a polished purple stone in the form of the Decepticon insignia which nearly reaches from top to bottom. The symbol is framed by several weapons. Those belonged to former opponents of Megatron who do not need them anymore...
Ghost watches Megatron get ready for a nap, taking up a chair and curling herself into it, going as still as a statue.
Megatron watches his sister. "You take the bed. I am not damaged."
Ghost peers and shakes her head in a negative, "No.. If I lie down, I will not be able to keep watch over you as you rest. I am as comfortable as I can be. Please..."
Megatron sighs. "I /will/ rest. Now lay down and recover."
Ghost lifts a brow, optics glittering for a moment, "I have already taken a rest, sir." Formality is armed as a weapon of choice, so to speak, "Do me the honor of allowing me to keep guard over the Emperor in this time of great peril, while he takes but the moment available to rest from the ordeal from which we have returned.”
Megatron sighs. "I take that as an: ‘Take your rear plates over to the recharge bed or I'll knock you down and take you there.’"
Ghost lifts a brow, still looking all formal despite the damage and weariness, "Your translation does you well, my lord."
Megatron shakes his head and goes to bed then, muttering: "Family stubbornness..."
Ghost settles into the chair, "You keep muttering that and someone is going to notice." she replies softly.
Megatron grumbles: "Yes, yes."
Ghost gives a faint shake of her head, "Rest, my brother. Let your shadow-sister do her duty with good conscience. And little more argument, yes?"
Megatron lays down, shutting down his optics, trying to get some recharge.
Ghost sits there in the seat, curled up with knees to chest, watching her elder brother rest.
Megatron fell into a black hole of exhaustion.
Ghost just watches, this one of the few things that she has inexhaustible patience to do.
Megatron lies quiet like dead. His demons aren't awake yet and so his systems trying to recover as much as possible before they wake up.
Ghost lets her mind roam over thoughts and events alike, sorting through the emotional baggage for the glimmers of fact and information, a habit of hers. She remains alert, optics shifting shade like a gauge of her internal emotions now active since the only other being nearby is resting.
Megatron's form suddenly strains, his sleep starts to become troubled. The dreams creep up from the subconsciousness.
Ghost's optics snap over to the form of the resting mech, lips drawing into a tight lipped frown as she watches him shift in his sleep.
Megatron fights. He fights to keep control over the terrors that are threatening his souls. He shifts from one side to the other. His lips move as if he tries to say something, but there is no voice.
Ghost moves like a wraith in the night, sliding out of her seat and padding over to perch on the edge of the recharge bed. She pauses for a moment, concern on her face as she reaches out to gently rest a hand on his shoulder.
Megatron calms down a bit. His face show the signs of a deeply exhausted soul. This mech has more survived than anyone has ever survived, endured more than others... This leaves traces on your soul.
Ghost remains perched on the edge of the bed, resting her hand on her brothers shoulder as she heaves a sigh. So much to rest on one being alone, and so little peace gained with all the sacrifices.
Megatron suddenly claws his bed with his fingers, his optics snap online. "No!" he gasps hoarsely. "No..." He stares at the ceiling, slowly realizing where he is.
Ghost flinches at the hoarse gasp, hand patting the shoulder as his optics open, "Be at peace," she says softly, "It is, but a dream."
Megatron asks, whispering: "Where is Nightbird? Is she all right?" He slowly calms down.
Ghost nods once, her voice soft, "She is resting, brother. She is fine."
Megatron sits, rubbing his face. "Good..." He looks at his sister. "We must stop it; we have to."
Ghost simply nods in agreement, twisting to get a container of energon to hand her sibling to wash the taste of fear out of his mouth. "We will stop it,” she simply states.
Megatron downs the energon. Then he sits there for a while, staring at the empty cube. "I pondered of asking both to be my mates," he slowly says. "But it would not have been fair to either of them... So I decided for Nightbird alone... And I have been loyal to her. Still, I love them both..." He throws the cube against the wall.
Ghost remains motionless like a statue carved of shadow and dark. She watches her brother’s expression before she shakes her head, "Better to have loved and lost than to have never to have had love at all..." she trails off.
Megatron stares at the wall. "I don't want to lose another one, Ghost... I am tired of it all."
Ghost nods once, "Tired or scared?" There are some things most would never ask the man in charge. But there are few boundaries that Ghost won’t step over in order to see things taken care of.
Megatron looks at her. He shrugs. "Maybe both..."
Ghost nods, "Best to know for sure." She frowns, optics shading that odd jewel tone of violet that isn’t the violent shade, more of a deeper emotional state, "For if it comes down to losing the few that you hold dear over loosing something greater.." she trails off. "I only hope that you are as strong as I would be in that fell upon me to choose between."
Megatron answers: "I will have to be strong... for all Decepticons." He hugs his sister. "Take care of yourself, Ghost."
Ghost stiffens at the hug before returning it, "I've got all I can handle taking care of you." she replies softly. "That’s a big order."
Megatron smirks. "Maybe I should order Soundwave to take care of you then."
Ghost blushes suddenly as she shakes her head, "Errr.... Rather.. you didn't. It was difficult enough to have the fear that I was going to be the cause of his demise last cycle." Her voice drops, picking up the first hint of emotion since they all returned, a thready hint of fear, "It’s why I haven't slept."
Megatron says, "You are both alive, that is all that counts."
Ghost shivers as she moves to stand, "Yes, alive."
Megatron says, "Thank you."
Ghost looks over, offering a faint smile, "For?" she asks softly.
Megatron smiles a bit. "Watching over my sleep, and listening to me."
Ghost shakes her head and gives her sibling another tight hug, "I have always been here for you, Megatron. Even when you were not aware of it." She smiles.
Megatron smirks. "My shadow.”
Ghost smirks in return, a mirror expression, "Everyone has a shadow. Just not all are as.. tangible as yours."
Megatron lays back onto his bed. "I'll try to recharge a bit more. Take some rest too. We will need our strength."
Ghost shakes her head, "When you rest, I will watch. When you are done, I will go rest and get repairs."
Megatron says, "And when I promise not to have any more nightmares?"
Ghost's smile softens, "You shouldn't make a promise you may not be able to keep."
Megatron smirks. "At least I will try." He turns serious again. "You need to regenerate, Ghost."
Ghost shrugs, "I know." she answers softly, optics shading back to that ash gray. "But I can't just yet."
Megatron says, "Soundwave is all right, Ghost. And he won't disappear.""
Ghost nods once, speaking a thought before she realizes she has spoken, "He's a constant. And that is very.. comforting... Should something happen to that constant presence, I would fear for what could happen."
Megatron sits again. "Take a rest, I will watch this time. Agreed?"
Ghost blinks, peering at Megatron, "Errr... No."
Megatron sighs. "Ghost..."
Ghost lifts a brow, "The original agreement was that I watch your rest. And you are not finished."
Megatron says, "Well, then you get a bit rest and I will rest afterwards and so on."
Ghost peers, "We're going to continue arguing until you get your way, aren’t we?" she asks.
Megatron nods.
Ghost gets an 'I’m up to something' smile, "Well then.." She stands and walks towards the door, "This can be ended rather easily then. Good cycle."
Megatron says, "Get a rest, little sister."
Ghost nods, "As soon as I am able, big brother. As soon as I am able."
Megatron says, "Now."
Ghost's mind tries to find a way around the word 'now'... She heaves a sigh, "Very well. I will head to the barracks and rest as per your order."
Megatron smiles. "Good.
Ghost's optics glitter for a moment, "You rest as well." she says before she slips out.
****
Science & Engineering Deck
Ghost meanders into the science deck, heading back to her self imposed post in Medical to watch over the crisis victims. She, herself, seems to be in dire need of attention but is like most, ignoring her own needs for the betterment of others. No wings, cracks radiating all across her frame and a flat, emotionless expression masking her face.
Gryphus is just sitting there, staring down the hallway. She does not move. She doesn't even seem to notice Ghost’s presence. If it were not for the lightly glowing optics, one might presume she were dead.
Ghost's footfalls are not as light as usual, a slight limp to her progress. She looks about, that aloof, distant expression wavering for a moment as she notices Gryphus just.. sitting there. She pauses, internally frowning, externally unable to do much in the way of emotional expression, before she pads over, "Ma'am?" she asks, voice a flat sound.
Gryphus doesn't seem to even hear Ghost, she just continues to sit there so deathly still she may as well be a statue. She doesn't speak either. Just.. stares.
Ghost peers at Gryphus, waving a hand as she kneels, "Ma'am?" she inquires again, brows furrowing together.
Gryphus’ optics don't react to the hand waving in front of her. It's a lot like the 'thousand yard stare', but much much worse.
Ghost heaves a very soft sigh as she stands and sends off a radio.
<Cybertron> Ghost says, "Any available medical personal please report to the Science area in Polyhex."
Ghost waits a few moments after sending the request before she makes her own decision. Anyone just sitting there and staring off is in need of medical attention. Despite her grievous wounds, she once again kneels moving to pick Gryphus up.
Gryphus’ optics flash a dangerous hue, a raspy voice murmurs. "Leave me."
Ghost seems to ignore the words spoken as she shifts her balance, "Come on, Ma'am. Sitting here isn’t good for you." Her optics flicker for a moment.
Gryphus’ feather bristle, the defiance is evident as her features curl into a cruel mask that no one has ever seen upon the usually peaceful femme. Her optics turn a even more dangerous hue, she raises a hand and points a claw towards Ghost's neck. "You /will/ leave me." That isn't a warning, it is dead serious.
Ghost freezes, going as utterly motionless as a statue, optics still that ash gray hue as she peers at the other femme. Then she speaks, voice flat, "You will get up and either come with me to medical or find an appropriate place to rest, Ma'am. If you are incapable of such a thing, then I *will* carry you to where I see fit."
Gryphus’ other claws slide into place, actually her hand just simply changes over to the front leg of her hippogriff form. Each claw as sharp as any metal weapon. "You will not touch me." comes a even raspier tone. Usually her voice isn't so hoarse sounding. It's like she screamed for too long, if that were possible for robots.. which apparently it is.
Ghost is.. to put it politely, rather stubborn.. She is also well past the point of mental exhaustion. So the words filter in, but her one track mindedness of making sure that others are safe is still in effect. "You leave me little choice." she states softly as she reaches for the other femme.
Gryphus will have none of it! Her body whirls into transformation, her hippogriff body rears up. Claws slashing near, but not tagging Ghost. A ploy to frighten the other femme away really. Okay, at least she got her to move, right?
Ghost falls back on her aft, optics flickering in surprise as well as for another reason. The sudden attempt of her systems to engage in a hyper state of being fails utterly, wracking her with pain as she falls back and curls into a tight tight ball, shadows starting to whip around her as if alive on their own. System tier malfunction...
Gryphus brings her feet down solidly, on either side of Ghost. Her feathers hackled up and her tail lashing. She drops her head, beak clacking noisily as she eyes Ghost, trying to judge if she is playing a game or not.
Ghost remains tightly curled up, not making a sound as her shadow writhes and twists, slowly dancing across her frame and sinking into the dull gray metal. The feet to either side of her aren’t even noticed as she struggles to regain that pristine control she had held..
Gryphus snaps her beak at the shadow thing but it sinks back into Ghost. She snorts softly and moves her feet and cocks her head. Seems now the one that insisted she go to repair bay needs it more than she. Ghost's body is broken, that can heal. Broken hearts thought, take longer to heal... and no repair bay can fix that. She reaches down and clamps her beak firmly on one of Ghost's ankles and begins to drag her to repair bay. She reflects that Ghost got her to do it... sly.
Ghost doesn’t even flinch at the beak on her ankle. She's well absorbed into her fight not to utterly phase out without proper control and the strain is taking its toll as parts of her begin to go strangely transparent, curled up as her shadow seems to be attacking her.
Gryphus backs into the repair bay, dragging Ghost by the ankle. Once inside, she releases her ankle, and lashes her tail. Never a medic around when you require one. She turns and taps a claw on the radio transceiver.
<Cybertron> Gryphus says, "Priority Alert: Repair Bay. Require medical aid immediately."
Ghost balls up even tighter, if possible, joints creaking as she lies on the floor. Wisps of that odd shadow start to lash about around her, rippling across the floor, twisting in back as if seeking her out again.
Gryphus turns her head, watching and unable to do anything. Is it because she isn't a medical person or is there more to it? Her researchers eye watches the darkness, studying what it is doing... trying but failing to understand it... as if she was unable to grasp it from being trapped far too long in her own mind. She knows she somehow triggered this.
CatsCradle slips off her bed and simply... walks out, without a word to either of the femmes.
Ghost is silent, which is probably the strangest part of the entire scene.. She is trapped focusing on getting her systems back under control, fighting to just get them to stop phasing out.
Gryphus looks up as Cats suddenly moves and leaves. She clacks her beak and snorts. This week has gotten worse already.
Soundwave steps back into the repair bay.
Ghost doesn't move. She remains that tightly balled up form that Gry dragged in here, minus a few places where the transparency lingers. The shadow seems to recoil in on itself, wrapping around a leg.
Soundwave steps over to Gryphus and Ghost. "What has occurred?"
Gryphus’ feathers bristle slightly, "I warned her not to touch me, to leave me be and this happened when I faked an attack on her." As always, the researcher does what she does best, tells it straight up.
Soundwave takes out a small handheld scanner to check Ghost's condition. "Faked an attack?" he tries to clarify, even as he regards the readings.
Gryphus lashes her tail, claws and hooves clacking against the steel floor, "I missed deliberately. I just want to be left alone. She would not take the hint." she lowers her head as she continues walking, "I shall blame myself if she perishes."
Ghost's systems seem to have tried to initiate a standard defensive pattern but instead triggered her stealth systems. That in itself wouldn’t be a problem if the gray femme had ooohh.. lets just say listened to someone about taking a nap.
Soundwave says, "I read no actual hit on her. Systems have locked up from an energy surge, aggravated by initial low power." Even as he speaks, he's deftly opening a small access panel in the side of Ghost's neck, where the main fuel lines are more easily accessible. Pulling her over toward the nearest repair bed, he reaches up with the other hand and brings down an energon infusion line, inserting it into place. He dials up the temperature of the unit to be slightly warmer than normal, to help in the release of frozen systems as fuel starts flowing in slowly and steadily.
Gryphus pauses at the door. "As I said, I did not hit her. She did, though, fall down. I will leave you to your work. But do me this favor, no one is to speak to me for some time to come." she states, optics flashing that dangerous hue she'd given Ghost earlier.
Soundwave glances aside briefly toward Gryphus, though his main focus is on Ghost. "Considering we have already lost two brave warriors, with the very real prospect of an even greater disaster, I will hope we shall all put aside these tensions and reflex reactions, to concentrate on immediate survival."
Gryphus’ comment is all her emotions summed up, "I really don't care Soundwave. I'd jump into the Chaos Bringer's mouth and let him take me." with that she is out the door
Soundwave's optic band shades a little darker. "That is precisely the thinking we do not need at this time." His tone changes to something more soothing, as he speaks to his patient. "Ghost, can you hear me?"
Ghost's systems take the energy like sponges take water. Or dry sponges at that.. She remains tightly balled up, still straining to get things to deactivate but the added fuel helps make it easier. She manages a soft, "Yes.. sir.."
Soundwave says, "Attempt to relax. I am infusing fuel into your system at a slow rate so as not to overload you." He diplomatically doesn't mention the irony of the one who told him quite logically to refuel last night, having let her own systems run down so far.
Ghost was making sure that a certain Decepticon leader took a needed rest as well. She gives a slight nod, "Trying to relax.. System won't shut down yet.."
Soundwave says, "Some of your specialized systems take a great deal of power. And you used a great deal of power yesterday. It will slowly revive."
Ghost's shadow slowly sinks back to the normal thing it should be as she regains opacity at the sections that had phased out. "I.. know.. was heading here to rest some more when.." she trails off..
Soundwave says, "You were surprised, and reacted on reflex."
Ghost nods once, "Still keyed up. And concerned."
Soundwave says, "We are all concerned. But if you keep yourself powered above the point of depletion, your surprise reactions will not result in such inconvenience."
Ghost uncurls very gingerly. "Understood, sir. I was heading here to rest again. I had.. something else that needed tending."
Soundwave looks around the room again. "I was hoping to check on some of the others. They seem to have gone their own way."  He transmits a radio message.  
Ghost's optics flicker, "I was hoping as well. " she says quietly.
Soundwave receives no response from his radioed inquiry. Without further explanation he opens his tape compartment and ejects a gold and a red cassette, who transform into Buzzsaw and Laserbeak, respectively. With a silent command he sends them on their way to check up CatsCradle and Motormaster. Meanwhile, as Ghost's fuel lines continue to accept energon, he takes the opportunity to start work on affixing a new set of wings.
Ghost is quiet, optics half lit as she has finally gotten everything settled. Remaining motionless can be an artform. And she seems to have it pretty down pat.
Soundwave methodically works on the wings. There are some replacement parts available, but they're not quite the right shape, so he starts cutting them down, smoothing the edges, and shaping the lines.
Ghost arches a brow at some errant thought, a distant expression on her face. She turns her head slowly to peer over her shoulder at the wings being refitted, a smile forming. "Thank you, sir."
Soundwave nods to her, and fits the left wing into place smoothly ... pausing a moment to switch off the pain sensors in that section of her back, so he can weld the wing into place, and then repeats with the right one.
Ghost goes back to simply staring off, mind finally stopping the entire rapid frantic pace to settle on the simple thought of a good, solid rest.
Soundwave finishes the final touches, disconnects the fuel infusion line, and looks Ghost over for a moment. "I will be nearby," he says finally, and goes back to his computer console a few steps over ... but a tape reel moves in his chest compartment to play a strange, low alien melody that might encourage relaxation and sleep at least for a while.
Ghost peers over rather sleepily, offering a faint wry smile, "I'm not going anywhere anytime soon or fast, sir."
Soundwave seems content to hear that, and continues to play the melody. Tomorrow they might all be in pitched battle again, but for this moment, he wants Ghost to get in the chance at recovery, to fight again tomorrow.
Ghost settles face down on the table to let her wings get fully integrated with her systems. The melody garners a soft chuckle from a memory long since past as she lets herself relax for the time being.
***
CYBERTRON BROADCASTS

RAVENWING
      The Harbinger's scanner logs have been downloaded and are now available for analysis, to supplement any readings Commander Soundwave was able to gain.
     We've done some interesting things with the Space Bridge... Perhaps it could be used as a weapon against the enemy. I'm not familiar with details of its capabilities, but we could either transport Unicron himself to the heart of a supernova, or transport something inside of him.
     Another potential use for the spacebridge would be in evacuation. Not to Earth, as it will be known to Unicron, but another planet. One possibility would be Lutha. Unicron has already passed that system, and isn't likely to backtrack. This would require work in setting up a spacebridge there, and a lot of energy, but has greater potential for a mass exodus of nonessential personnel, i.e. those not directly involved in the defense of Cybertron.
****
RUMORS
     Somewhere in the following 24 hours after her mate's death, CatsCradle vanished. Since no efforts had been made to prevent it, it was most likely that she simply ... walked out of the repair bay. She has not answered any radio messages, nor did she say anything before she left. She just disappeared.
     Throughout parts of the Polyhex base, piles of energon have been appearing over the last many hours. Lots of it. Reallyreally lots of it. Security monitors only pick up a slight, dark-colored form, not easily recognizable. The piles appear in sections that were apparently deserted at the time, and consist of storage boxes, canisters, army ration containers both Decepticon and Autobot marked, and various other ways of holding energon. Some of it looks to be ancient, some of dubious quality, all of it pre-Earth. As if someone, who had spent hundreds of years starving, could not stop the habit of stockpiling a portion of their rations over a very very long time. Millennia, perhaps. It is also as if that someone knows that energon will be in desperate need against the oncoming threat, but cannot bring themselves to give it openly.
     Or maybe it's just that person cannot bear to see or talk to anyone.     


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