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Chapter Seven - Hope?

Command Center - Polyhex
<Cybertron> Skyquake’s  deep baritone echoes out over the radio system, encoded to a somewhat higher degree then normal. "Skyquake, to Polyhex. May I request the presence of the Emperor at Vos? I have some details of our continuing battle plans against the Chaos Bringer that would be of... interest to him.

Soundwave looks up from his usual station as the call comes in from Skyquake.

Resyke scuttles in, almost immediately beginning to wipe down a wall.

<Cybertron> Skyquake says, "Very well, Megatron. Vos looks forward to your arrival."

CatsCradle slips into the back of the room, looking not much less disheveled than the day before, the notable exception being the patches on the palms of her hands; probably Harrier's influence. From the way she keeps clenching her fists, though, her claws will probably wear through the patches soon enough. She stands uneasily just inside the door, half leaning against the wall.

Soundwave says, "I would be interested to review Tyrian's progress, Megatron. I have been keeping a file on the various attacks and approaches that we have considered, in order to coordinate a strike from multiple angles. Valckasta should be aware of the capabilities of other regions as well. Perhaps an invitation to Lord Thunderwing and his entourage is due as well?"

Techno works, packing up equipment, into a box...

Soundwave's calm gaze wanders to the others in the room, lingering a moment longer than usual on CatsCradle, as though in evaluation - but his expression remains unreadable, and he returns his focus to his leader.

Megatron was working on coordinating the next delivery of raw materials and energy as the message came in. "Soundwave, I agree. Call Thunderwing to meet us there. And gather a few Decepticons that are not needed here at the moment. Unicron is near, that might make the Brotherhood eager to attack us.

Soundwave nods to Megatron. He transmits to Thunderwing, “Polyhex to Lord Thunderwing.  Please acknowledge.”

Thunderwing transmits to Soundwave:  “I am here.  What can I do for you, Soundwave?”

CatsCradle feels Soundwave's gaze on her, and can translate the reason behind it. Everyone has been giving her the same appraising look. She doesn't meet his look, but instead focuses her own gaze to a point just above his shoulder. If it has anything to do with Unicron, and therefore her mate, there's no way in hell anyone is going to make her stay behind.

Soundwave for his part would have no intention of asking CatsCradle to stay behind. He can well imagine the state of mind she must be in, but the worst thing she can do now, is to linger within her own thoughts. If Motormaster were available, he would be certain to bring the Stunticon leader along for similar reasons.

Techno keeps placing things in the box, not paying attention really to anyone else

Resyke looks sideways at CatsCradle, wishing there wasn't so many people around so he could find out how she's handling all this.

Soundwave transmits to Thunderwing, “In the wave of Colossus’ unfortunate disappearance, Skyquake has been coordinating the Tyrian defensive effort, as you are no doubt aware.  He wishes to present the state of his progress.  I have suggested to Megatron that you and your representatives be present as well, so we are all aware of each other’s capabilities and can add to the planning on the spot.”  He looks up at the distinctive sound of Motormaster's footfalls. The very individual who had just passed his thoughts. Convenient timing.

Motormaster does indeed arrive with his usual heavy footfalls, that at least not having been changed by his new demeanor. He raises an optic ridge as he sees the small group gathered in the Command Center, then steps over and stands straight and tall beside the door.

Thunderwing transmits to Soundwave: “Very well.  This would be the Vos meeting, I assume?”

Techno disconnects one of the chairs, placing it in the box...

Soundwave transmits to Thunderwing: “Affirmative, Lord Thunderwing.  Megatron requests that you and your chosen entourage meet us there.”

Thunderwing transmits to Soundwave: “Very well.”

Megatron looks at those present. "You will accompany me," he decides. "Motormaster, CatsCradle, you built a team today." There has been a strange fire burning in his optics since the incident with Divefire yesterday. It is anger, channeled to be an engine that drives him forward. He vowed that Unicron will be destroyed...

Soundwave looks to Megatron. "Thunderwing will meet us in Vos, Commander."

Megatron says, "Excellent, Soundwave. No time to waste. Decepticons, to Vos!"

CatsCradle relaxes slightly - only slightly - when Soundwave's gaze passes on. She returns her own gaze to the floor, fists tightened again and tremoring slightly... then looks up again at Megatron's words, her forehead creased in a what-did-I-do-I've-been-too-busy-being-insane expression.

Techno crawls under on of the control panels and works


Central Plaza <Vos>

     Entering the main plaza of Vos, it's apparent that the roof of the former processing plant has been gouged open, its contents exposed to the bleak sky. For as far as you can see, there are rusted hulks of machinery and silent assembly lines that would have once criss-crossed each other in a complex pattern. Chemical pools gleam amid the rust here and there, and gaping chasms in the ground reveal the underlayers. Strange sigils have been spray-painted on segments of the ruined walls. One particular chasm near the far wall looks to be well used.

Soundwave flies near Megatron as they approach Vos.

Armada approaches separately from Megatron and Soundwave, gaze sweeping around for Thunderwing and company.

Megatron lands on the central plaza of Vos. He radiates a certain anger which is directed toward the enemy. He also looks like he had a minor fight recently: there are scratches over his face and chest.

Skyquake stands at the gates of the slowly being rebuilt city, standing vigilante and proud over his city and lands. The gift of his birth, the supersight technology lets him see the arriving armada of troops escorting the Emperor as he lands. Skyquake offers a salute in greeting to his lord. "Greetings, Megatron and welcome to Vos." Behind Skyquake stands a veritable mass of fresh new troops. All standing tall and erect, but very lifeless.

Motormaster lands just a short ways back, for once apparently not having complained about having had to fly. His gaze is dim, cool, and his entire frame is held somewhat tensely, but he is under control for the moment. As well, he sticks close to CatsCradle now that they have been assigned to work together, without speaking to her or particularly interacting in any way.

Soundwave lands near Megatron, his unreadable gaze passing over Skyquake, whom he gives a slight nod of greeting as the nominal commander of the Tyrian forces now. He looks over the mass of unknown, identical troops behind Skyquake. There must surely be some 200 of them, each emblazoned proudly with the purple Decepticon emblem.

Megatron walks over to the Tyrian. "Greetings, Skyquake. What is it you are so eager to show it to me?  The troops, I suppose?”

Resyke is late.. as usual, being slower than most of the others.

CatsCradle lands to one side of the others, not far from Motormaster. She stumbles slightly as her feet touch the ground, catching herself more out of force of will than from her normal grace. The only difference in her appearance from the night before, is that there are patches on the palms of her hands. However dirty she was then, she is at least no worse. Her expression is... nothing. No anger, no grief, no ... personality. Just nothing.

Thrust slows his speed and tilts his wings, hovering for a moment then slowly descends. Right as he nearly touches the ground he transforms.

Thunderwing lands, fashionably late, a short distance down the plaza and walks slowly to join the others, giving him ample time to survey the scene. The 'drones' are given more intense scrutiny than perhaps they warrant, but it's not every day one sees cannon fodder all lined up and raring to go.

Ravenwing arrives, slightly less fashionably late than her Lord, as her alt mode is noticeably faster. Then again, she was held up by a few last-minute details that demanded her attention, plus some she was able to put off until later. She transforms in the air and drops rapidly to the surface, slowing her descent at the last minute just in time for a light landing.

Armada notes the Valckastan arrivals and hovers over towards them, touching down. He's not too interested in troop strength, as he sees little point in them against Unicron. However, as the distress call goes out, his plasma rifle is suddenly summoned into his hand, his crimson optics narrowed.

<Cybertron> Ghost says, "Recon unit Ghost breaking radio silence under emergency protocol gamma delta seven. *Sound of weaponsfire getting picked up by her comm* I've run into the incarnation formerly known as Divefire and am experiencing severe difficulty in departing the immediate area."

<Cybertron> Ramjet says, "What area?"

Soundwave's optic band flickers slightly at the sound of Ghost's distress call over the broadband.

CatsCradle's body jerks as if she was physically hit. For a minute, her expression wavers, then evens out, although the tremor in her hands increase, and it looks like her claws will wear their way through the patches sooner than the person who had put them on might have hoped.

Skyquake nods slightly to his lord, passing a gaze behind him and looking over the troops. "Indeed. They are another of Colossus projects that I have completed in his absence." His voice seems professional and controlled, nothing less is expected of the commander of the Predators of course. He turns his gaze back to Megatron, frowning a little as the radio crackles. "You may have also noticed the cannons being constructed outside of Vos as well..."

Resyke's antennae straighten as he picks up the distress call. Oh scrap.

Megatron is staring at Soundwave as the radio message comes in, for a second not listening to Skyquake.

Thunderwing tilts his head as the global broadband suddenly became more interesting than any troop inspection. He looks from Raven, to the approaching Armada and arches a brow, posing an unspoken question.

<Cybertron> Ghost's voice continues a few minutes later amidst another weaponsovershot. She sounds edgy. perhaps panicked, "Location: Iacon section of the Megacity.  All patrols avoid this location until further notice. Repeat All *ERK*!.." she cuts off amidst static.

<Cybertron> Soundwave says, "All warriors in the vicinity, seek out Ghost's signal and assist."

Soundwave looks to CatsCradle briefly, attempting to triangulate the location of Ghost's message and already calculating whom of their group might reach her fastest.

Ravenwing frowns, her silver optics narrowing. Her first glance, though, is for CatsCradle. A speculative glance, as the femme is the only person who can get through to Divefire. She makes her way towards CatsCradle and murmurs, "Radioing him might be distraction enough for Ghost to escape."

Megatron says, "Thrust, I don't need you here. Assist, Ghost."

Armada scowls in response to Thunderwing's look, shaking his head slowly. He doubts there'll be much left, and if so, it's probably a trap. He leans close to Thunderwing, "We should remain close to Megatron. I suspect Divefire wants to get to him or Soundwave above mere troops."

<Cybertron> Divefire’s voice echoes out over the radio system, cool, separate and indifferent, but most definitely his voice and not that of the Harbinger. "No one comes after me and lives. Stay away and live for another day..." Then the radio snaps shut.

Thrust nods, "As you command, Megatron.”  He transforms into his Red Jetfighter mode. and hovers in the air.  “The coordinates?”

CatsCradle chews hard on her lip, fighting the urge to leap into the skies. Then she hesitantly murmurs into her radio, "Diver? Diver, love... speak to me. Please.”  Her voice is agonized, a pain that is crushing her soul...

Thunderwing nods gravely, "Yes. ...and such an uplifting thought -that- is, considering exactly why he would want to do so." Unispawn Megatron? Surely a horror not worth even contemplating.

Megatron says, "Iacon section of Mega-City."

Thrust turns and leaves quickly.

Soundwave wishes the others well, knowing he can't be in two places at once, even if he *were* a fast flyer. So for the moment he will have to concentrate on what they've come here to see.

Ravenwing keeps a watchful optic on CatsCradle, hoping that the femme can handle the stress. It may even be easier for her this way. In any case, the point is to distract the Herald without anyone getting hurt, though the forces converging on Ghost's location are likely to push it to a fight...

Flashpoint walks in from outside the city, lost in a datapad of tech specs and other goodies about our new troops. Mmmmm. Tech specs.

Megatron unconsciously clenches a fist, worried about his sister, but his behavior is professional as he turns his attention back to Skyquake. "I saw the cannons as we approached, indeed. He walks along the new built mechanisms. "Impressing. But they are lifeless..."

Soundwave steps forward a little further to get a better look at the horde of troops standing at absolutely silent attention behind Skyquake. He can only imagine the resources they must have cost Tyrian. "Your project, Skyquake?" he asks.

Divefire transmits to CatsCradle: "Go away Cats. Before it's to late."

CatsCradle glances at Ravenwing, the mask dropping from her face to show her nervousness. "No answer yet," she whispers, still chewing on her lip. "I can't tell if he's listening." She takes a breath, and says in a rush, "Sometimes, I just keep talking to him, saying anything, just... just anything, and sometimes it /feels/ like he's listening, but he doesn't answer --" Then as her radio sounds, her optics go pained again.

CatsCradle transmits to Divefire: " I won't leave you. If... if you don't come back, I'll... I'll come after you, Diver. I can't leave you. Diver, please... I love you."

Skyquake walks with Megatron as he inspects the troops to be, a side step or three off Megatron's shoulder. He shakes his head slightly as he regards Soundwave. "Not entirely, Soundwave. Colossus started this process with the aid of Macabre, I completed it with the help of Flashpoint, though we still need to infuse them with life."

Flashpoint continues walking, not looking up at all. He doesn't even look up when he walks straight into a wall. He just bounces off, turns and walks down the street more. He's been working on these things for what seems like ever now, and he's doing a last minute check to make sure his new commander, Skyquake, doesn't look like a fool.

Soundwave nods thoughtfully. "If they are to serve in the upcoming battle, they must have the ability to act independently."

Megatron rubs his chin. "The only possibility we have to give them life is Vector Sigma..."

Soundwave says, "That will present some difficulty, Commander. Vector Sigma is the only accessible source to give such large numbers of warriors life on short notice. However..."

Motormaster murmurs so that only those standing close to him might hear, as his optics sweep over the assemblage of lifeless bodies, "Th' exact same, each an' every one... is this what fightin' Chaos takes? The destruction of individuality?"

Armada shifts on his feet, not really seeing the point of a troop inspection, when the real problem is that the whole darn planet is going to be eaten, ants and all.

Megatron says, "It is contermined."

Soundwave says, "None the less, we have little option. And we will need every available warrior. Perhaps some method can be found of utilizing Vector Sigma's capabilities when we arrive."

Megatron murmurs: "Maybe we can talk the old fool inside to assist us. Cybertron is in danger, this is not just a Decepticon problem.”

Resyke pipes up, "Uh.. maybe the Insecticons can help.. make lots of clones?"

Thunderwing turns his attention back from wherever it had been wandering before, and adds as an afterthought, "...not that it has been particularly inclined to help us before, but the current situation might change its mind, one supposes. But if I may interject a small moral quandary, in the midst of all the impending doom? Who will claim responsibility for the well being of these new lives you are proposing to create, should they survive the carnage into which you will send them - something which is indeed their very reason for existing in the first place." Looks around him with a smirk, and an air of 'just asking'.

Soundwave nods to Resyke calmly.

Flashpoint finally lifts his head as he comes to the end of the memory capacity of this datapad, and he reaches into subspace for another one. Looking at all his little minions, he smiles an approving smile, then dives right into the fires of the next set of schematics.

Megatron says, "I think you can answer that question yourself, Thunderwing."

CatsCradle says suddenly, "Send 'em to the Grinder. We'll find use for them, maybe bring some individuality to them."

Armada ahems lightly, "These arguments will be pointless in less than 3 days... unless we do something.”

Motormaster says simply, "At this point, I don't know that we've got room for moral debates. If and win we defeat the Chaosbringer, we can argue over what to do with these troops."

Thunderwing nods to Motormaster and Armada, "Valid points, that."

Skyquake regards Thunderwing coolly from his position at the front of the group, considering his words carefully before speaking in controlled tones. "Indeed, the time for debate is long over, the hear and now requires action, before our world is destroyed around us."

Soundwave says, "Then we have little time to waste. Skyquake, can you direct these new warriors to accompany us into the underground?"

Skyquake nods slightly to Soundwave. "I can, but should remain with Vos for now to oversee the completion of the cannons. However," he pauses to regard Flashpoint. "I believe Flashpoint will be able to accompany you and guide these troops to Vector Sigma."

Flashpoint looks up at the sound of his name, "Huh? Oh. Yes sir."

Resyke guesses that no-one liked his idea. Oh well. At least he's trying.

Thunderwing seems to rein in his apprehensions for the moment, as they are somewhat counterproductive. Nevertheless, he falls back a little and lowers his voice as he addresses Armada, though the cynical edge to whatever he is saying is apparent merely by looking at him.  “... well... ... ... ... ... ... warriors ... Unicron. ... they claiming ... ... ... created ... ... any experience of life, ... be their ... ... ... they ... ... to storm Unicron, in ... hopes that ... sound of ... ... ... ... ... ... will sicken ... Devourer ... such ... degree that ... ... his course?”

Motormaster hears the gist of what Thunderwing says, and turns to him, voice low, even, and cold, "We do everything we can, Warlord. Not one measure, but dozens. Cannons, shields, soldiers, ancient artifacts... one by one, yes, we're gonna try each one. I don't know, maybe they'll each fail. Maybe we'll all die. But I prefer that to just giving up."

Thunderwing nods to Motormaster, apparently not taking any offense at tone or words, even seeming to approve of what he hears, "As well you should. It is the least any one of us could do." And it seems the Valckastan sees no conflict with this, and any other statements he may have made so far.

Megatron says, "Then let's move. There is no time to waste."

Armada starts to answer just Thunderwing, but raises his voice. "I do not understand the reasoning of these discussion. While we sit here and bicker over several dozen shocktroops, which will only end up feeding Unicron, plausible methods of defeating him lay fallow. Cannons, soldiers and all the conventional weaponry you can find will make /no/ difference to Unicron. How many worlds do you think he has devoured? Just one or two backwater planets? He has devoured planets that were millennia ahead of us in technology."

Soundwave says, "Armada, we must, as Motormaster pointed out, make every attempt. Other worlds may not have had warning, or our specific attacks, nor our determination. The alternative is to flee, or to hide and await destruction."

CatsCradle says in a dead voice, "If we flee... eventually, he'll just find us anyway."

Armada nods, "I do not say we should give up, but bear in mind what we face is no conventional foe. Many of us saw the Mercurian moon explode inside his maw with no reaction."

Megatron looks over at Armada, his optics have a strangely dangerous shine. "If you have a weapon that will work with certainty, bring it to me or keep your mouth shut. Until that, I will try everything I can. Maybe one of this measures will not work, but all together.

Upon Megatron's statement, the Unispawn just calmly returns the gaze, saying nothing.

Ravenwing says, "Shall we go?"

Soundwave keeps further thoughts to himself, and prepares to accompany Megatron and the others into the underground, with the eerily silent Tyrian shock troops as company.

Megatron says, "Enough talk, we'll go."


Vector Sigma Chamber

     This circular chamber is faintly lit by a bluish, flickering, indeterminate light source which plays over the intricate designs of the walls. The floor slopes downward toward a central point, its spoke-pattern converging in the center as well, drawing attention to what lies in the middle. A faintly-gleaming globe hovers just above floor level, without any visible means of support, a haze of orange energy shimmering around it. The acoustics in this room turn every word and movement into an echo, and a soft hum of steady power fills the chamber, making for the sense that one is an intruder here on sacred ground, where great power lies dormant. In the past, entire armies of Transformers experienced their first moment of consciousness here, and some remnant of that miracle seems to permeate the walls. The central globe itself is lined in a network of glittering circuitry, storing within itself vast reserves of personality engrams that can be combined in an almost infinite number of combinations. At first glance unimpressive, this is something that a modern-era Transformer will almost never see in their lifetime: an online creation factory, the site of installation of consciousness on an extensive scale.

The underground passages are this time clear of centurion droids, many of them having been destroyed by the last search party that was down here. The group reaches the Vector Sigma chamber without opposition.

Motormaster speeds up to walk next to CatsCradle as they go down, continuing to look straight ahead and not directly at her... but his voice is perhaps just a bit softer, "Can you reach him at all?"

CatsCradle lets out a soft sigh and shakes her head. "Nothing else," she says to Ravenwing, her optics full of agony. "Just that one response."  She does not look at Moto either, over-concentrating on where her feet are going as she says softly, "Yes... but he only answered once."

Motormaster nods slowly, purple optics raising as they walk into the chamber of Vector Sigma. The last time he was here, he was being born... He whispers softly, "It seems like such a long time ago... only a year. Only a year." Then, he shakes his head once, lowers his gaze again, and addresses CatsCradle once more, "I... hope. For you." He can't manage anything else, and figures she'll understand.

Armada whispers quietly into his radio as they go, frowning.

Resyke is awed by the... awesomeness of this place.

Ravenwing has never seen Vector Sigma before, and is fascinated, wondering at the technology that went into creating such a being. No, she doesn't believe in Primus, but everything had to begin with something, and she'd like to know what that something was. She divides her attention between the glowing orb and the surroundings, for even here in the presence of Vector Sigma, there might be ambushers lurking.

Megatron walks along the way he knows too well from their last visit. Now he will face again what once gave life to himself.

Thunderwing transmits to Armada: "Quite all right, Armada. I understand your view. We must not give up or flee, of course, but this charging ahead without thought to the fact that the universe may not allow your plans to go unscathed is ... draining, no?"

<Cybertron> Ghost's voice crackles over with a sudden rise of static and panic, "Nooo!!!!!!!! I belong.. to nobody!!" then her comm is silent. No return signal.

Megatron walks over to the computer, wondering if it would react despite the contamination.

Thunderwing walks in silence, save for a quick glance in Armada's direction. Then he focuses on what is ahead, and his optics narrow with interest. He has heard and read much of the place, of course, but never actually seen it. Perhaps the plan they have embarked upon has some merit to it...or perhaps alternatives may yet present themselves here.

Divefire transmits to CatsCradle: "*A shadowy voice echoes out* Don't come for me... Stay safe..."

CatsCradle makes a soft whimper as her radio sounds again. She presses her hands against the sides of her head, leaning abruptly against the wall for support.

Resyke stops beside CatsCradle, looking up at the femme and whispering “See? He.. still cares about you.. maybe when this is all over, he can be cured.”

CatsCradle transmits to Divefire: " I will never leave you. Never, Diver, I don't care what I have to do, I won't leave you."  She receives only static in reply, and lets out another whimper, shaking her head. "He's... he's not there anymore," she whispers.

Motormaster reaches out a hand to hesitantly rest on CatsCradle's shoulder as she slumps against the wall, optics flickering for a moment, “Stay strong."

Armada follows the group, nodding at Thunderwing after receiving a response. He looks around with detached interest. He's certainly curious, but as someone who was not directly created by the mysterious sentient orb, he doesn't have a vested interest in knowing more than he would about any such power.

Megatron receives a transmission from Thrust: " Leader, this ... energy thing ... looks like Divefire has captured Ghost ... we were unable to free her."

As the group, a much larger group than last time, comes clinking into the chamber, the dormant orb in the center senses their presence, not even waiting to be activated or spoken to this time. The orb begins to glow more brightly, and rises up higher off the floor.

Psykeout slips into the back corner of the room, his optics a mere shadow of a crimson. Saying nothing, he moves into the shadows. Watching the proceedings carefully, he attempts to catch up with everything that has been going on. Damn that mech for stopping him earlier.

Megatron transmits a message via radio.

The 200 lifeless Tyrian troops march in step with the others, and come to a stop behind the other Decepticons, the picture of perfect, identical obedience.

Megatron receives a transmission from Thrust: “Yes ... well wait ... the energy ... Divefire ... it's gone ... let me check Ghost's status."

A voice sounds from the orb as its light illuminates the chamber, chasing the eerie shadows to the very edge of its halo. Though the voice echoes deeply in the room, some might recognize it as not the voice that greeted them once before, but the voice of the ancient Autobot Alpha Trion. It speaks, however, in a stock phrase: "I am Vector Sigma. Before Cybertron was, I was. Who intrudes upon my sanctum?"

Ruse suddenly steps out from behind Megatron's shadow. How long she has been there is hard to say.. She sits on her hind paws and gazes up at Vector Sigma, "..."

Resyke nods to CatsCradle, and is about to say something.. but is interrupted by the deep utterings of Vector Sigma.

Soundwave's optic band darkens just slightly, then brightens a bit beyond its usual shade of red. He's trying to see what, if anything, he can sense from the orb.

Megatron receives a transmission from Thrust: "Megatron ... Ghost has vanished."

Psykeout raises an optic ridge, watching this with interest. He doesn't have anything to offer at this current moment, so he stays hidden within the shadows. His optics flicker slightly at the voice of Alpha Trion, but no words escape his mouth.

Ruse says, "So this, is what gave birth to Motormaster? It seems.. weak sounding for an all powerful computer."

Megatron receives a transmission from Ghost: "*static*"

Soundwave says, "It has been ... altered, Ruse."

<Cybertron> Ramjet says, "This is Ramjet. Divefire teleported away or something. Either way he's gone. He took that spy chick with him."

Motormaster keeps his hand on CatsCradle's shoulder, silently offering whatever support the contact can provide, but he answers Ruse, "Yeah. That's Vector Sigma."

Thunderwing tilts his head in interest as the orb speaks, and offers a visage he recognizes, as well. But it's not the immediately visible which seems to interest him, for his narrow and dim slightly, as though reacting to a brightly shining light.

Megatron received a message that seemed to shock him, but he seemed to relax a tad after he received additional information. Then he hears Vector Sigma, speaking with Alpha Trion's voice. Not very pleasant. "It is me, Megatron, leader of the Decepticons, a creation of Vector Sigma itself."

Alpha Trion's slightly modified voice replies to Megatron, in a less stylized manner, "For what evil purpose do you seek Vector Sigma's power, Megatron?"

CatsCradle looks up then. "Since when is saving Cybertron an evil purpose?" She asks in a clear voice, her jaws clenched.’

Psykeout steps out of the shadows, his optics cold and emotionless. His lips curl into a slight sneer as he moves towards the glowing orb. "Saving the inhabitants of Cybertron from the threat of Unicron is not an evil purpose, unless I am mistaken."

Megatron transmits a message via radio.

Ruse glances to Soundwave curiously. She was not here the first time the current Decepticon army was here. She looks back to Motormaster asking, "I hope it didn't sound so feeble the first time." Her ears flick as Megatron says he was made by Vector Sigma and she looks to it, "So that is my ancestor? Defiled?!"

Megatron receives a transmission from Ghost: "*static*"

The orb's light pulses a bit, as though waiting for further explanation.

Ravenwing arches a brow at the voice. Having never met Alpha Trion, she doesn't recognize it, but doesn't think much of the hostile reception. Since when does Vector Sigma take sides?

Megatron chuckles ironically. "Is this my dear old friend, Alpha Trion? Now, that you are part of Vector Sigma, you should be a bit wiser about prejudice.”  He fixes the shining orb with his optics. "I am here because I want to save our homeworld from the greatest threat it ever had to face: a gigantic planet-consuming mechanism.

Ravenwing shakes her head, baffled. "What does Alpha Trion have to do with this? I thought he was dead; does he somehow control Vector Sigma now? And why would he try to help the Great Devourer destroy Cybertron? One would think that ordinary self preservation not to mention common sense would preclude that."

Thunderwing stands perfectly still and listens to the commentary, while not precisely looking at the scene that goes with it. He can imagine the image well enough. He hears Ravenwing and speaks softly enough, trusting her excellent hearing, "One would think so, but... Who knows how this existence has altered him? He may be beyond Unicron's capacity to destroy. Though he would still want to save his children..."

Soundwave says, "After our last journey to this place, Ravenwing, Shockwave reported that Alpha Trion merged with Vector Sigma in order to give the Aerialbots life. His mind remains within. And if we cannot circumvent it, the computer will not give us what we require."

Ruse stalks forward her tail swishing back and forth as this plays out, "..."

Megatron transmits a message via radio.

The orb remains silent for a long moment. "Unicron," it speaks then. Another long pause. Its manner of speaking becomes, for those familiar with both, a mixture of Vector Sigma's stilted manner and Alpha Trion's slightly archaic speech patterns. "I have witnessed your ways for many an eon, Megatron. I am well aware that you would bend the truth to your own purposes if you felt the need. These warriors you present to me - are meant for use against the Autobots, are they not?"

Resyke hangs around in the background, feeling slightly more useless than usual.

Megatron receives a transmission from Thrust: "But ... Megatron...."

Ruse grumbles, "He won’t listen to words alone." She slashes her tailblade a bit speaking up, "You now inhabit one our world’s greatest and most powerful computer... scan one of our minds.. even mine. See that we speak the truth you defiling piece of code."

Megatron sets his jaws. His sister has just vanished and he has to waste his time having a senseless argument with this old idiot. "I don't have the time to deal with your beloved Autobots at the moment. If we do not stop this... Unicron there will be nothing left. Neither you, us, or them!”

Soundwave looks over those present. Perhaps with time, the computer could be accessed and Alpha Trion's neural patterns purged - but there is no one currently present with such skill, if it could even be accomplished without destroying the very function of the creation machinery, and the countless minds swirling within, waiting to be given definite form.

<Cybertron> Ramjet says, "Megatron? come in please"

CatsCradle steps forward, gazing up at the glowing orb. "What approaches us now far bypasses the threat that either Decepticon or Autobot have for each other. What approaches now is Destruction itself. If it gets past Cybertron, it will continue, destroying planet by planet. Such a threat makes our petty wars seem like..." she shakes her head briefly. "Like nothing." She is silent for a second, then her formal tone vanishes, and she cries out with sheer pain, "It has my mate! Please, please, by all that you hold sacred, please help us!"

The orb dims a little in response to CatsCradle's cry, perhaps in some twinge of sympathy.  Then it pulses again. With a trace of reluctance it admits, "I can only generate minds, not control them once they exist."

Megatron transmits a message via radio.

Ravenwing murmurs to her Lord, "This is rather reminiscent of Divefire, the Herald of Unicron, though in reverse. Lovely. I would hope that the Autobots aren't spiteful enough to destroy Cybertron as long as they take us with them, but then I've been known to be wrong." Raising her voice, she continues, "It is true enough for those with optics... ah, make that scanners. The destruction of the Rodger Young, the attacks on Ghost and others. Surely you've perceived those."

<Cybertron> Ramjet says, "Megatron? How the slag are we supposed to get her back? Didn’t you receive my transmission ? They *vanished*."

Motormaster steps forward as well, speaking solidly, firmly, “You created me just last year, Vector Sigma... in fact, it was my team that indirectly drove Alpha Trion into merging with you. If there is anyone here who's minds you might still have an understanding of, it's mine. You made me truthful, honest. I haven't changed. They're telling the truth. Unicron is coming, and if you don't act, we may be destroyed."

Megatron transmits a message via radio.

Megatron says, "So, Alpha, stop keeping my creator from doing what must be done."

The orb's voice takes on more of a deeper, powerful sound, almost but not quite reminiscent of the pure Vector Sigma voice. "You require life to be given to these lifeless forms before me?"

Megatron notes the change of voice as well. "Yes, I do. They shall be powerful, proud warriors, ready to stand against the menace, to defend our homeworld!" he demands.

Thunderwing sighs in what could be relief, as there seems to be the possibility of an end to the debate. He looks to the two hundred or so shells which have accompanied them, then back to Vector Sigma. This should be worth watching...

Ruse ponders, and glances to Soundwave. She slips over to him, "Can it do more then just give life?" she asks very quietly. Not that life isn't the most powerful of all abilities to be able to just give.. but perhaps this computer can maybe act as something akin to this Matrix thing there has been so much talk about. It is powerful after all.

Soundwave says, "That is its purpose, Ruse. It is a creation factory. It generates minds from untold millions of elements, so that each one emerging is unique."

Motormaster looks over at Ruse's comment... and his optics flare just a bit in a flash of thought, head turning back to the computer, “Sigma! Do any of your components know of the artifact the Matrix?"

Megatron glances at Motormaster, surprised he asked. But possibly that was not a stupid idea...

Thunderwing snaps 'awake' at Motormaster's question, then raises his optics to the ceiling and scowls in disgust. He must be getting old... How could he not think to ask that question, being in the presence of a fusion of two individuals who should have a fair idea...

The orb wavers a little. The overtones of Alpha Trion edge back into the reply. "If what you say is true, then Prime must use the Matrix as our last line of defense. Do you understand? Optimus Prime must obtain the Matrix. He will know what to do. You must inform Ultra Magnus that-" abruptly the voice cuts out, perhaps in fear of giving away too much to the enemy after all.

CatsCradle stretches out her hand towards the orb. "Please?" she begs again, beseechingly.

Thunderwing arches a brow at 'obtain'. Did the thing just imply that the latest in the line of Primes does not possess it? In-te-re-sting... And more than a little annoying, since it means more ferreting, when he thought there might have been an answer at hand.

Perhaps as much to divert attention from what was just given away, as because the combination consciousness Vector Sigma/Alpha Trion has been convinced of the dire truth before it, a sudden brilliant light fills the chamber - far more brilliant than the light which brought the Stunticons to life, as there are many more lives being formed here. The illumination is enough to overload every optic sensor in the room.

Resyke quickly shuts his optics, strange colored after-images burned into his sensors. "Whoa!"

Motormaster narrows his own optics at the choice of words, “Obtain?... Where is i-" However, then the light flares to an unbearable brilliance and the Stunticon leader staggers backwards, putting an arm over his optics with a cry of pain, having been looking directly at the source.

Soundwave too flinches back and turns his head aside, hurriedly dimming his optic band to black, but not in time to shut out the painful light.

Megatron frowns. "Prime?" Since when does Prime /really/ know what to do. However, it might be worth a trial - there is nothing left to lose now. "Soundwave, we have to find the..." Then he is blinded by the light, covering his optics with the hand.

CatsCradle cries out, crumpling forward and huddling on the ground. She, too, had been gazing directly at the orb.

Ravenwing snarls, bringing a hand up to block the light, but far too late. After all, she's not exactly faster than the speed of light.

Ruse nods to Soundwave then glances to Motormaster as he speaks up... and finally the orb. oO(Amazing what one little question can lead to.) She flicks an ear with a click, and then quickly shields her optics though despite this they are overloaded, her other senses record this amazing transfusion of life through light and she just sits on her hind legs muzzle agape in awe.

Thunderwing flinches and instinctively raises a hand to shield his optics. His scowl is more tinged with aggravation upon aggravation, but with a fair bit of pain. Still blinded, he turns that scowl upon the computer, as though taking it to task about a highly childish and unnecessary action.

Slowly, perhaps too slowly for those still under the effect of the painful burst of light, the illumination subsides back to its former level - which, after that brilliant burst, seems downright gloomy now.

Motormaster blinks his optics back to life... to find a huge purple-green blob covering the fast majority of his field of vision, an obnoxious after-image that effectively leaves him blinded. He raises a hand and rubs at the sensors, trying to clear them, and grumbles.

Crowded into the back of the chamber, the 200 Tyrian troops shift their weight and look around. Identical each one may be on the outside, but one can be assured that each bears a unique mind - and each has been given the task of defending the homeworld at all costs.

Thunderwing 'blinks', as though convincing himself that yes, his optics did not melt under the assault. Grand. He mutters in that particular aristocratic whisper which could carry across a battlefield, "Ah, yes...very impressive. Had it had a body, it would have punched someone, having run out of arguments..."

Megatron rubs his aching optics as the light dims again. "... Autobot leader," he finally finishes his sentence.

This burst of power seems to have exhausted the orb, or perhaps it merely no longer wishes to converse, and is keeping its own counsel now on the threat that faces the planet. It darkens, and sinks slowly to its original position, hovering just above the floor. From the edges of the circular chamber, the shadows creep forward again.

Ruse says softly despite being unable to see at the moment, " ... such... unique that what life feels like? Warmth and soft power slipping around your frame?" She slowly recovers her sight and notices... the other shapes. All 200 blobs of them... are slowly moving around.

Resyke flips up his visor and rubs at his optics like the rest of them, his sensitive antennae picking up the slack by creating a sound-based spatial picture of the room.

Ravenwing keeps her optics dimmed out to recover a bit, depending on her excellent hearing instead. The troops are moving, so that much is a success. "Thank you... I suppose."

CatsCradle climbs unsteadily to her feet again, hands still over her optics, blinking furiously to try to clear them from the after-blaze. She tries to look around, the blindness acting with her overall fatigue to disorient her further. She makes no sound, but feels desperately in front of her, still blinking and shaking her head.

Megatron turns towards the new troops. "Greetings, soldiers of the Decepticon empire and defenders of our homeworld, I am Megatron your leader."

Thunderwing turns to survey the troops, which are sporting the latest in Cybertronian fashion; fuzzy armour, all blurred outlines, wonderful for stealth operations. Oh, wait... He shakes his head twice, then attempts it again, and is greeted with a far more realistic sight.

Soundwave's optic band flickers a little as he tries to see around the halos in his own vision, which slowly, slowly diminish. Behind him, one of the Tyrian troops steps forward and looks to Megatron. With a closed fist against his chest in a traditional Decepticon salute, he states, "I am Avenger, and I swear loyalty to Cybertron. Destruction to all its enemies."

In a perfectly synchronized gesture, the remaining 199 Tyrians copy Avenger's salute.

Motormaster finally gets to where he can see /something/, and turns to inspect the new Decepticon forces with a modicum of curiosity... at least he's showing interest in something. He tilts his head, noting softly, “Far cry from 5 rough'n'tumble Autobot wannabes." But he smiles faintly as he says it, not bitterly just amused. And then absently, though not roughly, reaches over to take CatsCradle by the wrist and help guide her until her own, more vulnerable senses return to normal.

CatsCradle blinks around, her vision gradually clearing around the edges enough to convince her that the blindness is not permanent. "Did it work?" she asks in a soft voice, then tilts her head sharply. Loyalty to Cybertron? Not to either faction, but to the planet...? Then Moto's taking her by the wrist distracts her, and she rests her other hand lightly on top of his and falls quiet again.

Megatron clenches his fist, confirming. "Yes, Avenger." Destruction to Unicron.

Ravenwing cautiously opens her optics and peers around her, her vision recovering as well. She sees well enough to step towards her Lord and note, "Alpha Trion wanted the Matrix to go to Optimus Prime, which means it is not currently in his position. 'Tell Ultra Magnus' could imply that he may know where it is, or may even have it himself."

Resyke blinks as his vision returns.. and then gasps at the activated legion.. "Wow..." he says, lost for any other way to describe what he's seeing.

Somewhere far above, on the surface, a set of planetary defense cannons continues to be built. Warriors, Avenger's group may be, but they can carry metal beams and hold a welding torch. Their addition will help shore up Cybertron's defenses in more ways than one.

Ruse dims and brightens her optics to recover her vision. She then transformers and stands, in awe again as the ranks seem to have swollen by so much in the mere flash of light. She looks back to the orb somewhat wistful but puts aside whatever she may be thinking.. looking back to the two hundred she salutes them, smirking just a bit, "Now this is a real recruiting drive."

Thunderwing nods to Raven, his mind already turning away from the newly created soldiers and in a direction which he finds far more interesting, "Yes. Then we should attempt to find him, no?" He smirks a little at that idea, and exactly how helpful he imagines the Autobot to be. Even though that one has always seemed sensible enough.

CatsCradle still holds her head tilted, listening. A relatively short time in Earth's sunlight has not completely wiped out senses developed over hundreds of years deep underground, and although her optics are not recovering as fast as the others', her hearing compensates. She hears the shuffling of the many troops, and she looks up in the direction of the orb. "Thank you," she says in a soft voice, her tone making up for the simplicity of the phrase.

Soundwave regards the silent orb again, then looks to the exit. There may yet be opportunity to tangle with the minds within Vector Sigma in the future - provided there *is* a future - but for now, they must return to the surface. He steps over beside Megatron into his usual place, and prepares to follow.

Soundwave moves aside a little, though, and seeks out the small form of Resyke as though wishing to speak to him.

Ruse looks to the orb.. its her grandmother...father... or something as humans would say. Perhaps it would be willing to listen to her if she ever came back and asked what she yearns for... every trick in the book namely. However for now there is Unicron to be dealt with. and 200 new troops to meet!

Resyke mutters "Wow" to himself again.. then notices Soundwave approaching him. The little Insecticon looks up at the big blue con with what he hopes is an alert expression.

As the group begins to make its way back up toward the surface, Soundwave speaks quietly to the little Insecticon. "Convey to Shrapnel, Resyke, that he is to go into overdrive in the production of clones. He must utilize all available resources." Someone *did* hear the little guy's comment, it seems.

Resyke blinks in surprise, though he knows he shouldn't be. Soundwave could probably hear a pin drop.. on Earth. "Sure thing boss."

CatsCradle still blinks furiously. "Soundwave?" she asks quietly. "How much longer until my optics come back on-line?" The physical beating her body has taken is one thing. She has long been used to functioning without repairs or fuel. Her sight on the otherhand...

As they all return to their point of departure, Soundwave notices CatsCradle is still having trouble seeing. "You were very close to the orb when it illuminated," he notes. "Your optic circuitry may be damaged beyond self-repair. Return to Polyhex with me and I will make adjustments."

Ruse simply follows after Soundwave remaining quiet...

Resyke is strangely subdued as well.

CatsCradle nods absently, not seeming to react to the promise of repairs.

Soundwave reaches out to carefully take Cats' arm to help guide her.

CatsCradle transfers her arm from Moto's grasp to Soundwave's with a faint smile to both mechs.

Ruse moves to simply aid Soundwave as 'nurse' if he needs assistance..

<Cybertron> Ramjet says, "this is a waste of time. I'm returning to base."


Repair Bay

<Cybertron> Soundwave says, "Ramjet.  Meet me in Polyhex repair bay as you return. I have a mission for you."

Soundwave gently guides Cats through the base and into repair bay.

Resyke scurries after them, an expression of concern on his faceplate.

Ruse follows and makes her way over the bed. She sets up a diagnostic scanner, while Soundwave helps Cat find the bed...

Soundwave says calmly, well aware of Cats' aversion to med bays, "I will merely adjust your optics so you can see, CatsCradle. It seems you require fuel as well, and there is damage to your hands that can be easily seen to. It will not take long."

CatsCradle eases herself to sit on one of the tables, unusually calm, considering the surroundings. She touches the ridge of her right optic with a cautious fingertip. "I can kind of see blurs and shades of light, but it's not getting any better." She hesitates for another moment, then asks tentatively, "The last time, they were replaced with amber... my normal color is the purple..."

Soundwave says, "Do you wish to have your original color restored? I believe there are replacements of various hues available."

CatsCradle hesitates again, then gives a brief nod. "Please?" she asks, her voice still soft.

Ruse takes out an optical calibration unit and sets it onto a nearby table for the good Dr. Soundwave to use. She then remains busy by going to fetch a few energon cubes for Cats.

Resyke hops up onto a spare repair-bed so he's not underfoot (literally), and nervously twists a cleaning-chamois in his fists.

Soundwave nods his appreciation to Ruse, and says, "Resyke, you will find a set of purple optics in storage in the second-from-left cabinet on the east wall. Serial number D-1452."  He may have spent the last year or so working in the repair bay on Earth, but he seems to have very well remembered where everything is. Either that, or he's been considerably active here again in recent times.

Resyke nods. "S.Sure!" he says, surprised. Jumping from the bed, he transforms in mid-air so he can climb up to the out-of-reach cabinet and retrieve the parts.

Soundwave deftly accesses a small connection point alongside Cats' left temple, and completely shuts down the input to the optics, sending her vision temporarily to total black.

CatsCradle's claws screech momentarily against the metal table as her vision goes out completely. She makes no other move, however, as if locked into place.

Resyke quickly grabs the purple optics and scuttles over to Soundwave, climbing up to sit next to CatsCradle with the parts held carefully in his mandibles.

Soundwave touches her shoulder briefly in a gesture of reassurance, nods to Resyke, and removes the burnt-out amber optics. It's a surprisingly quick procedure for such delicate sensors, but the real sensors are of course beneath the shield of the lenses. It's here that Soundwave applies the calibrator that Ruse provided, to test each tiny filament and determine which needs to be replaced.

Resyke quickly grabs the purple optics and scuttles over to Soundwave, climbing up to sit next to CatsCradle with the parts held carefully in his mandibles.

Ruse returns calmly with three cubes in her arms. She sets them aside on the table with the scanner for once Cat is able to see again. As she does she calmly steps over Resyke as he skitters past, "If only he had a cassette mode....", she can be musing aloud with a slight grin.

Resyke watches the procedure with the fascination of the completely technologically inept, antennae waving.

Soundwave, with an impossibly tiny needle-tipped forceps, removes several of the burnt-out filaments to the optic circuit, and replaces them, again checking to be sure everything is as it should be, before accepting the lenses from Resyke, and fitting them into place. Finally he reactivates the sensory pathway leading to the eyes.

Ruse watches quietly... she is unable to assist any further so stays out of the way.

Ramjet stomps in, the top of his head all flattened off and his body covered in scratches. He looks around for Soundwave and stomps over to him.

Soundwave hears Ramjet's footsteps and says, "Greetings, Ramjet," without looking up from his current patient.

Thrust wanders in finally

CatsCradle blinks as her vision floods back, and she automatically glances down at the reflective surface of the table. The amethyst glow refracts back at her, and she lets out a soft sigh, touching her cheek under her right optic again. "Diver said the amber didn't make a difference to him," she says in a soft tone, little more than a whisper. "But it did to me. It never should have happened --" She breaks off as Ramjet comes in, and knowing where the jet had just been, cringes, drawing her knees up to her chest and wrapping her arms around them.

Ramjet salutes, the untidiness of his action mirrors the pointlessness of saluting someone who isn’t even looking at   you. He sounds kind of annoyed. "Ramjet reporting as ordered. What do you want?"

Ruse glances to Ramjet then Soundwave asking quietly, "What are my orders in all of this, sir?"

Thrust looks around at everyone, but says nothing.

Resyke waves his antennae with relief as the operation is a success. Then the cleaner realizes he's still in insect mode. Oops!

Soundwave hands CatsCradle one of the energon cubes that Ruse brought in, and says, "You require fuel." Only then does he look toward the two jets.

CatsCradle uncurls only enough to take the cube, watching the jets warily.

Ramjet frowns at CatsCradle. "Snap out of it already. Anyone would think nobody ever deactivated before."

Ruse hisses at Ramjet and moves to frankly step up and SLUG him one! Blast protocol! She admonishes, "This has been hard on all but indifference from fools like you just makes moral drop lower!"

Soundwave's harmonic tones carry a distinct undertone of reprimand. "That is uncalled-for, Ramjet. And Ruse, recall, this is a repair bay, not a battleground."  After a pause, he continues, "A sample of Cosmic Rust has been retrieved from our old base on Earth, as some of you are aware. I will require several individuals to undertake a mission to Unicron and attempt to infect him with the substance. Be aware that this may be a dangerous task, as we do not know how Unicron will respond to our next approach. According to all long-range sensors, he has continued his approach steadily since our last encounter, pausing neither to devour worlds nor to take any other action."

Ramjet switches his frown to Soundwave. "Cosmic what? Is that stuff going to do anything to a planet? It'd take vorns to even..." something bumps him on the cone. "...What?"

Resyke blinks, standing up and waving his arms around wildly. "Whoa whoa whoa!" he cries, as Ruse punches Ramjet.

Motormaster walks in with a stack of energon cubes in his arms, having brought them so that anyone low on energy could recharge... and blinks rapidly to see Ruse punch Ramjet right in the cone, "Fraggit..."

Ramjet scowls at Ruse. "What’s the big idea? You got some kind of problem?"

Ruse looks at Ramjet and mutters... darn thick helmeted baffoon. She then looks to Soundwave before nodding and stepping back towards Cats... she would do more but... better to let it slide.. for now.

CatsCradle does not seem to react to the comment... except that she seems to grow a bit smaller, her arms wrap around her knees a bit tighter.

Motormaster walks over to CatsCradle as she curls in on herself, setting the cubes down beside her and looking to Soundwave, "Is there some kind of mission that needs to be done? I volunteer."

Soundwave says, "I have no doubt that every Decepticon will stand in defense of our homeworld. You need have no fears about that, Ramjet. As for the Cosmic Rust, I have no way of knowing if such a thing would even affect Unicron. We have an antidote available for ourselves. It is, like so many other approaches, at least a possibility."

Ramjet huhs? at Soundwave...maybe he completely misunderstood what Ramjet was saying. He shrugs, it's really not worth arguing. "So you want this rust stuff dropped on Unicron then? I guess you'll need a pilot."  He folds his arms over his chestpit. "What’s that got to do with me though? Or did you just order me here to be used as a Punch drone?"

Ruse murmurs, "Hey you earned it with that crack buddy..." She crosses her arms and gives him a look... Moto would have done worse if he had insulted his mourning of Tempest.

Soundwave ignores Ramjet's irritation, and replies calmly, "I require a competent flyer to deliver the substance. You will indeed require a pilot, and for that I will send you to Valckasta to request the use of one of their vessels."

Ramjet says, "Why not just load it on a missile? Or crash the whole ship into it?"

CatsCradle shudders, desperately wanting to go with them, if there is any chance of finding her mate near Unicron... but she is the only one who knows where her other stockpiles of energon are hiding, and they will need every drop. She drops her forehead to her knees, locking the inner argument down tightly.

Motormaster looks over to CatsCradle, and hesitates for several moments. A suicide mission? Heck, that's easy to say yes to. Lowering his current defenses enough to try and comfort someone? That's a whole different story. He's afraid he might crumble if he tries. But.. he does anyways. He steps around in front of her and leans close, voice soft as he speaks, intended for her ears alone. “I will do anything I can to save Divefire, Cats. I know that he meant the world to you, and I know that you and I don't agree much on what's important otherwise. But both of us cared about him. You are not alone in that. If he can be saved, he will be. I swear it.”

Resyke slips off the repair-bed and starts tidying up in the background.

Soundwave looks speculatively to Motormaster, who was so quick to volunteer, and to Ruse, who is surely itching for action. A second flyer in the form of Thrust might not be a bad call either. "I cannot tell you what you may encounter as you close in on Unicron. Therefore, anyone who wishes to join the mission may do so, or I shall make additional choices." He nods to Ramjet. "Delivering the substance via a missile may be the easiest option. It is still necessary to approach in a ship, however."

Thrust just stands there silently knowing he must be a part of this and knowing this will be his part in the effort to try and save Cybertron.

Resyke remains quiet while the warrior types discuss strategy.

Ruse grins, "Gladly! I want to show that pretender who’s the real master of chaos." Said in such a way she believes she could do it too.

CatsCradle looks up at Moto, optics glistening, and her hand creeps to rest on his wrist again. "I should go too," she agonizes in a whisper. "I might be able to keep him off you... but the energon..." She shakes her head, looking away again, torn between trying to decide which direction would help the most.

Ramjet just shakes his head. "Fine. Whatever." he looks back at CatsCradle again. "Go where? To Unicron? And do what? Angst at him?”

Motormaster ignores Ramjet entirely, aside from a faint twitch of one of his hands, optics regaining something of that cold discipline that means he's forcing himself to stay in line. His voice becomes harsher too... but the words aren't. He remains focused on Cats, "Stay. Help Cybertron. I'll make sure the payload is delivered, no matter what. You don't have to be there for that. Even if it means we don't come back." He then rises to his full height again, and glances at Ramjet, "Remind me to destroy everything you hold dear when this is over with."

Ramjet looks at Motormaster with the same scowl. "Like what?"

Ruse says, "Like your nose-cone?"  She looks innocent as if she didn't just say that...

Ramjet laughs, "Go right ahead. You'd better learn to punch first."

Ruse snickers thinking to herself, oO(Oh Moto knows how to punch.. so does Menasor.... quite well.)

Resyke busily cleans something in the background, doing his best to become part of the ambient noise of the room.

CatsCradle doesn't bother to even glance in Ramjet's directions, although her words might be directed towards him. Her gaze is back to Moto again. "But so far," she says in a tight voice, "I seem to be the only one who can stop Diver."

Motormaster smiles at the bereaved femme, though there's not much humor in it. "I haven't tried yet. I might not be able to stop him entirely, but I can slow him down... long enough. Who knows... maybe this will be a milk-run mission. Pop in, fire a missile, leave." His jaw tightens just a bit at Ramjet's words, optics flaming up a bit brighter as he turns his head away and mutters under his breath, "On any other day..."

CatsCradle sighs a little, nodding, accepting. "Keep talking to him. Memories, Earth, anything. The fighting, that just brings out the Chaos. Try to get /Diver/ remembering." Her optics flicker towards Ramjet. "Offer to trade that one in for him, or something."

Ramjet says, "Any other day what? Just what the frag is wrong with everyone round here? So her mate got killed. Big deal. We have been at war for the last dozen vorns. He isn’t the only one. You know if those two had actually done anything apart from make kissy faces at each other, I might actually give a slag.""

Soundwave backs up Motormaster's words, "You are needed here, CatsCradle." He looks from Ramjet to Motormaster. "And need I remind both of you of the enemy we face? Ramjet, Thrust, Motormaster - contact Valckasta for the use of a ship at its earliest availability. I will entrust the Cosmic Rust sample to you, Motormaster. See that it is delivered." He takes out a small glowing rectangular container, and hands it to the Stunticon leader.

Ruse walks over and moves to lean up against Moto, "So when do -we- leave?" She is eager to face Chaos.. even as the notion of a trade goes through her mind, being mentioned by Cats.

Motormaster accepts the container, looking at it with something akin to distaste... it could kill all of them hear, without the antidote. Here's hoping it can do the same to the Chaos Bringer. He looks to Ruse, "As soon as we get a ship. There's no time to waste." He pauses to ask Ramjet with every evidence of sincerity, "Were ya born this stupid, or does it take effort?"

Ramjet looks aghast. He stares at the tiny cube. "That’s *it* ?! What the slag is that gonna do? Can't you put it in a huge bomb or something?" He completely ignores Motormaster.

CatsCradle says without hardly missing a beat, "Better yet, dump the Rust on Ramjet and leave him for Unicron to eat. Maybe the slimebucket will poison the planet-eater himself, and the Rust will just be a desert." She doesn't need to mention the fact that if it weren't for Diver and herself, they would have had no warning at all of Unicron. Or the humans' use of nuclear energy, or that Ramjet would still be stranded in the Middle Ages without Diver's translation of the runes... The list goes on, but people like Ramjet... useless to even note they exist.

Armada quietly stands in a corner, watching the bickering and posturing with distaste.

Soundwave says, "I would just as soon not wait for Unicron's arrival if there is any chance of stopping him along the way. Indeed, that is 'it'."

Motormaster notes calmly, "You don't have to go if you're afraid. We'll find another pilot." He then looks down at the cube, and back up to Soundwave, "How do we get it on him?"

Ramjet looks around to see who Motormaster is talking to. He is not a pilot.

Ruse puts a hand to her face... "Lets just get going! We can 'wing it' once we get there." She moves towards the door, "Valkasta has ships, Soundwave, have one meet us at the landing pad, please?"

Ramjet says, "I need to refuel. I'll meet you on the launch pad."  He turns and walks out, shaking his head.

CatsCradle uses the distraction of the group leaving to ease off the table herself and slip out of the room. The energon cube, she leaves behind on the bed, still untouched.



Responding to a distress signal from Ghost, Thrust and me went over to Iacon. We found her under attack by Divefire who was using some wierd energy. Our weapons were completely ineffective. He grabbed the spy and then vanished somehow, taking her with him. I guess her security codes should probably be purged or something. Ramjet out.

Leaving no possibility unexplored, we have obtained a sample of Cosmic Rust from our old Earthbase, which is now ready to be deployed against Unicron. Perhaps he can be stopped before he arrives. At the earliest opportunity, a contingent of warriors is to take a ship within safe distance from Unicron, and launch a missile bearing the spores. Under no circumstances are you to get closer than absolutely necessary. If there are no counterorders from Megatron, the mission is to include Motormaster, Thrust, Ruse, and Armada. Contact Valckasta for the availability of a vessel and pilot. Other volunteers are welcome.

 (The spinny is replaced by everyone's favorite little bird. And he's angry) "I request...No. I Demand to accompany those selected for this mission. I feel my unique abilities will serve as an asset to this mission, and I do wish to obtain some more file footage of Unicron, which my prove invaluable in this struggle. Laserbeak out." (Fade back to the spinny)

*text only, prefaced by the sigils of the Empire and Valckasta*
     After an encounter with the Autobots at Vos, where they attempted to sabotage the planetary defense cannons, it became clear that Unicron's influence has extended to touch Optimus Prime, resulting in erratic behaviour and paranoia similar to that exhibited by Colossus before his disappearance. One can assume, then, that the Commander of Tyrian was himself influenced by the Devourer to take the drastic actions he did. Negotiations were therefore held with Ultra Magnus, who has admitted to having access to the Matrix and presumably its power.
     In light of the current situation being a threat to both factions as well as the entire planet, a highly unofficial truce was called, and the Autobots have agreed to share what information they have concerning Unicron with us, and I promised the same cooperation from us in return. Ultra Magnus will contact us in order to work out a safe place to exchange this information.

     Cats' face appears on the screen, her face grimy and with the frazzled expression of one who is being pulled in several different directions at the same time, and not sure which direction should have the priority. "All cadets of the Grinder, who are not otherwise dedicated to some other part of the Unicron Defense, report to Harrier. He has the location of several caches of energon that need to be recovered and brought to Polyhex. The list keeps growing, so if you finish with one cache do not assume that the job is over. Report back for the location of another. If you need it to be, consider this an order. Any other personnel who wish to help... she sighs and rubs at her optics, exhaustion showing through momentarily, ... please do so, as long as you aren’t already assigned to something of priority. CatsCradle out."

     *A pair of.. antennae? appear on screen. With the sound of someone trying to scramble up onto a console, the rest of Resyke's small frame comes into view. He grins nervously at the display*
      "Uh.. hey, guys? Shrapnel? Kickback? Bombshell? Um.. I've been ordered to tell you that the boss.. uh, I mean Lord Megatron, wants you to make as many clones as you can.. and be ready to come to Cybertron through the Space Bridge. Oh.. and I'm out of Pine-E-Fresh cleanser. Could you grab some from a warehouse or something? Kay, thanks. Bye.
      *Resyke looks around in vain for the "off" switch, before shrugging and jumping off the console. A few minutes of boring footage of the communications center follows, before the transmission is terminated by an irritated looking seeker.*


         Two femmes and a Mech stand in a hallway, talking.
 mech: I heard that thing has the size of a planet; and so far, no weapon was able to stop it. I don't think we have any chance stopping it from devouring Cybertron.
      femme 1: Well, Megatron thinks we can. He is obsessed by the idea to destroy the planet eater. Must be something personal.
      femme 2: No wonder, he lost two mistresses due to that thing.
 mech: Huh? I thought he has a mate...
      femme 2: That is an reason against, but not an obstacle to.
      femme 1: You mean that yellow seeker was..?
      femme 2: (nods) Sure. Though I don't know what was so special about her.  
      mech: (slowly) Err... Tempest was Motormaster's girlfriend. Oh... yes... right... (sighs) reason against, but not an obstacle to...
      femme 2: (grins)
      femme 1: (curiously) You mentioned another one he lost...
      femme 2: That strange spy-femme, Ghost. Divefire kidnapped her.
      mech: (surprised) She and Megatron too?
      femme 2: Well, they saw the both disappearing in his quarters a few days ago...
      femme 1: (chuckles) Wow, that is quite a harem!
      femme 2: Megatron is the most powerful mech on Cybertron and obviously also... (grins) very potent.
      femme 1: And handsome. Wouldn't push him out of my bed either.
      mech: (unbelieving) Goodness! Our home world is about to be doomed and you discuss the emperor's love-life!
      femme 2: That's gallows humor. Better that than standing here, mourning.

On to Chapter Eight

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