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Journey to Lutha

8/25/01

Command Center

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


CatsCradle drifts into the back of the room, sitting on top of her usual console nearest to the door

Striker comes in for his afternoon/evening shift and takes a seat at his post.

Soundwave is aware of those who wander in, recognizing them by their distinctive footfalls, but he does not give any outward appearance of noticing them as he's at his usual computer station, sorting through information.

Soundwave finally looks up from his monitoring duties and glances toward Starscream. For those who can read his expression, there's something thoughtful about it. Megatron is gone for the day on some mission of his own, leaving Starscream in charge.

Ruse walks over to Soundwave, coming to stand behind his chair yet abit to the right so she can see the monitor. She silently watches him work, curiosity still tugging at her as to how he can sort through all that raw data coming in from the earth channels and still be -sane-.

Soundwave seems to wish to ask something of Starscream, but then recalls the whole roomful of onlookers and decides now is not the appropriate time. Instead he regards Ruse.

Thundercracker walks into the command center with a grin that soon disappears when he sees the crowd, "Anything happening?"

Starscream glances over to Soundwave and then to the rest gathering in the room. He looks back to Soundwave, "Did Megatron say how long he would be gone ?"

Striker seems to be in a very good mood, much better than that of lately, "Nope, nothing at all TC. But maybe that's a good thing."

Soundwave says, "Ruse, I will have something of interest to show you in a short while." He looks back toward Starscream and replies, "Negative. But he will be interested to know how you conduct yourself in his absence." A subtle warning related to their last conversation, perhaps? Who can tell?"

Starscreamís optics narrow slightly on his remarks but he quickly brushes it off and smirks. "He should know I will do well. Whatever happens while he is gone will be handled as it should be."

Soundwave replies neutrally, "I am certain Megatron will return to no unpleasant surprises."

CatsCradle smiles as if to herself. Megatron returning to no unpleasant surprises? It would probably be the first time

Starscream replies confidently, "He wonít you can be sure of that."

Soundwave inclines his head a bit, and then looks to Ruse again. Conversationally he says, "I am aware of the standing orders regarding structural changes to your form. You realize that an extensive rebuild as you have requested, may take some adjustment?"

Striker watches the monitor on his station, bored and just wanting to get this shift over.

Ruse nods to Soundwave, trying to act rather dismissive about the whole thing. Yet she can't help the small smirk that tugs at her mouth as she answers, "Yes Soundwave. I know it will take some getting used to, and there could always be accidents, and so on... but the outcome outweighs such trivialitys."

Starscream listens to Ruse and ponders whether shes serious on something mentioned earlier.

Soundwave says, "If you have gotten Megatron to approve the undertaking-" the undertone to his words hints that he's not totally convinced as to the wisdom of it - "then the procedure will be carried out. I merely wished you to be aware that you will not be as effective in battle and in other contributions for a while.""

Striker yawns as he finds nothing really interesting.

<LongRange> Shockwave says, "Shockwave calling Megatron."

Skywarp runs in a bit late for his shift..

Ruse looks at Soundwave, her gaze meeting his. She says simply, "I understand that sir..."

Starscream hears something onthe radio and perks his audios up.

Soundwave turns toward the communcations console, touching a button that puts Shockwave on the main screen.

Skywarp sits at his Station

<LongRange> Shockwave says, "Repeat, Shockwave calling Megatron. Do you receive?"

<LongRange> Soundwave's image appears on the screen to reply to Shockwave's contact signal.  "Greetings, Shockwave.  Megatron is temporarily unavailable."

<LongRange> Shockwave says, "Indeed? He may wish to hear this if he can be contacted. We have found what seem to be alien artifacts on Cybertron. They demonstrate properties suggesting a crystal technology in advance of our own."

CatsCradle murmurs, "We get to play Indiana Jones again, don't we?"

Starscream stands and walks over beside Soundwave, "Megatrons not here fo rthis Shockwave, you can tell me what you have found."

<LongRange> Soundwave says, "Unfortunately he is not within radio range at this time, as he did not wish to be disturbed.  However-" he stops as Starscream steps into the picture behind him."

Ruse looks to Shockwave on the screen. She walks forward - though keeps behind the commanders respectfuly, listening to what the guardian has to say.

Thundercracker say quietly to Striker, "Why do you always have to be right?"

<LongRange> Starscream says, "stands and walks over beside Soundwave, "Megatrons not here fo rthis Shockwave, you can tell me what you have found.""

CatsCradle grins to Thundercracker and Striker. "It /never/ stays quiet around here for long."

Striker nods to Cats, "No kidding..."

Skywarp looks at the Screen

Soundwave gives Starscream a look - then stands and takes a step back from the console, allowing him more access to the screen. He steps aside and watches with interest.

<LongRange> Shockwave hesitates for a fraction on an inch, then inclines his head in greeting of the air commander. "As I said to Soundwave, this alien technology seems in advance of our own in certain repects. It would seem profitable to seek more of it, and Ravenwing has divined at least a starting point."

<LongRange> Starscream says, "Ravenwing? One of your underlings I take. What has been uncovered so far and where has all this been found?"

Divefire walks in to the command centre, having picked up some of the coms trafic on his travals. He gives a customery glance around the room before making his way over to Catsí side.

CatsCradle's optics glow at her mate. "Oh good," she murmurs to him. "You get to come with us to play Indiana Jones this time."

Soundwave glances over toward CatsCradle. "You have discerned we will be following up on this report?" he says, his optic band flickering momentarily brighter with some trace of amusement.

<LongRange> Shockwave says, "I'll send a data transmission with all of the findings. So far only fragments have been recovered, from a crashed ship in Tyrian. The partial log that was recovered has suggested an origin for the technology."

CatsCradle grins back at Soundwave. "Don't we usually?"

Soundwave's optic band flashes once again. "So it would appear. A *pleasant* surprise for Megatron upon his return, perhaps?"

CatsCradle says, "Too soon to say that yet.""

Soundwave looks speculatively toward Starscream, wondering what the Air Commander will decide.

Divefire gives Cats a side long glance, then Soundwave an even longer look of mild confusion before he shakes his head slightly. "Just remember not to look into the light."

Thundercracker sighs, "I just hope there are no dragons on this mission."

Skywarp nods at TC

Starscream gets a thoughtful on his face before replying

<LongRange> Starscream says, "I look forward to the transmission Shockwave. Await further orders when I am done"

Skywarp says, "I hope no Dragons Tc...They ruined my finnish.""

Soundwave says, "Starscream, does Shockwave require an additional scientific evaluation of this find?"

Starscream decides that will take too long and hits the radio again

Soundwave says, "I can join him on Cybertron if such is desired."

<LongRange> Starscream says, "On second thought have this information waiting when we arrive. Starscream out"

Starscream turns to the rest in the room and announces, "We are going to Cybertron.Ē

Skywarp smiles.."All right!"

Divefire just folds his arms across his chest and frowns towards the screen as he's want to do when he has no idea at all of whatís going on.

Soundwave inclines his head a bit.

Starscream glances to Soundwave, "I want you to analyzeShockwaveís report so far when we get there.

CatsCradle sighs a little. "Oh, goodie. We get to go home..." she says under her breath, then leans closer to Diver. "They found some alien artifacts. Something about crystal technology," she explains in a low voice.

Soundwave says, "Understood." He falls into step with Starscream as they head for the space bridge.

Skywarp stands...

Starscream says, "Decepticons to the tower"

Starscream heads for the door

Skywarp follows nudging his friend Tc

CatsCradle adds, "Oh, and Starscream is in charge."

Divefire resists the urge to slam his hand against his forhead and scream doh.

***

Spacebridge Transmat Chamber

        You are standing in a silver-gleaming room shaped like the inside of a funnel. Above is the transmat signal converter, translating your dissociated quarks that stream across hyperspace back into physical matter. A faint nimbus of light plays around the forked relay tips, like glowing coals. A sensor relay near the door scans and confirms the validity of your signal. A camera rig tracks all movements within this delicate area.

Starscream says, "everyone here?"

Starscream says, "No not Soundwave yet"

Skywarp lands and Tfs.

Skywarp says, "Iím here.""

The bright beam of the space bridge dissolves, leaving everyone standing in the spacebridge receptacle on Cybertron - a bit of a crowded fit.

Divefire mutters to himself mostly. "Shockwave should have built a bigger boat..."

CatsCradle overhears Diver and grins. "We watch too many movies."

Starscream looks around and gets a bit hyped for a second at the close fit with everyone. Then he realizes the trip was too slow as usual...."Not fast enough."

Soundwave doesn't seem disconcerted at all by the crowd, and merely waits for Starscream to step out first as the chamber opens.

Divefire smirks in Catsí general direction. "It's all in the name of research."

CatsCradle nods gravely. "Of course, it is."

No one has to wait long cause he has to get OUT of there...though he does it with a bit if finese.

Soundwave remarks neutrally, "Perhaps someday you can share your technological insights regarding the space bridge with Megatron and Shockwave, Air Commander."

Thundercracker says to Warpo, "so who do you think is going to attack us this time? Pirates, autobots, killer zombies?"

***

Command Center

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

Ravenwing waits for the greatly-anticipated arrival of the Wondrous Starscream, the legend in his own mind, then recalls something and says quietly to her Lord, "If we are taking the Harbinger, then perhaps I should bring the ship to Polyhex." The anticipated arrivals, well, arrive, and she glances briefly at the influx, only expecting Starscream. Ah, he must need an entourage.

Soundwave looks at Starscream blankly, making it unclear as to whether he does or does not understand Starscream's explanation. Then he regards the other inhabitants of the room as the others follow from the spacebridge receptacle, nodding to Shockwave and the Valckastans.

Skywarp walks in looking around..has a unique smile on his face..hes home.

Starscream looks to Shockwave with a certain amount of disdain and glances around the room critically. He notces several there he is not familiar with and looks back to Shockwave.

Thunderwing stands by one of the consoles, twirling a slim shard of some crystalline material between his fingers and regarding the play of light over the glittering surface with every outward sign of distracted fascination. Every once in a while, one browridge will arch at something perhaps only imagined. As the delegation of Earth Decepticons arrive, he looks up and nods a greeting to them, before turning to Ravenwing with a nod, "Do. It could not hurt matters, I suppose."

Shockwave looks back at Starscream, his mostly-featureless face difficult to read. "All inhabitants of Cybertron are technically under my command."

If Soundwave is pleased to set foot on his homeworld again, it is not apparent, though his expression does take on a hint of curiousity as he catches the piece of crystal in Thunderwing's hand.

Ravenwing bows gracefully to her Lord, then offers the same to the new arrivals. Diplomacy hides many a harsh opinion. Then she turns and leaves without a word.

Starscream looks back dryly, "That is what I said...." he glances to Thunderwing and looks to he crystel shard, " Is that some of what has been found?"

Divefire steps out some way to the back of the group and immediatly shifts his way to the edge of the mildly familure room. He casts a general glance across the room, noting who's coming and going before looking across to the main group, listening in.

Starscream pauses and watches the femme leave surmising this must be 'Ravenwing'. Then he dismisses it and looks back to Thunderwing

Thunderwing nods, "It is. A rather fascinating use of minerals, with, I am sure you will agree, far-reaching implications."

Skywarp folds his arms..

Soundwave's scientific curiousity gets the better of his military protocol, and he asks, "This substance has been shown to be of alien origin, I am told?"

Starscream holds a hand out to Thunderwing in a silent request(?) to examine the peice for himself.

Shockwave nods to the other Decepticons after speaking to Starscream, then looks after Raven in puzzlement. He gestures to one of the sentries, who nods and walks out also.

Spinister enters, looking around with blazing white optics, which narrow at the sight of Starscream. It appears he might have spoken with Ravenwing on his way to the Command Centre. If looks could kill, Starscream would be in trouble right now. Spinister walks over to his leige.

Skywarp leans on the wall and looks over at Thundercracker..."Alien stones?"

Thunderwing nods to Soundwave, "It is. Or at least, that is the theory among the Valckastan technicians at the moment. But I have seen nothing to indicate otherwise." Instead of handing the shard over to Starscream, the Lord tosses it to Soundwave, surrendering the specimen to superior scientific knowledge. After a moment, he almost lazily indicates a container where several more crystals are gathered.

Thunderwing transmits a message via radio.

Thundercracker leans on the wall as well. He says to Skywarp, "Wouldn't be the strangest thing we have seen."

Starscreamís optics narrow and glow for a moment as he regards this con in front of him spitefully. Then he looks to Soundwave, "Well?

A radio transmission is received by Thunderwing.

CatsCradle drifts to the back of the room, which is not unusual for her, but her body language has changed slightly, more withdrawn, as if being back on Cybertron weighs on her. She starts automatically to perch on the nearest console, then catchs herself and stands quietly, except for the fingers of one hand fidgeting slightly.

Spinister watches as Thunderwing gives the crystal to Soundwave instead of Starscream. He arches an optic ridge but says nothing. The alien crystal story is no surprise to him, after all, he was there when they were discovered. But he glances around the room, taking in the responses of the other Decepticons.

Soundwave looks over the crystal with interest, then takes out a small handheld med scanner and regards the readings. "Interesting. It would appear the latticework has been artificially grown to create a particular pattern, though more than that I cannot tell with this equipment. I can think of several potential uses for such a structure, however, and would have to know more about the substance itself."

Starscream nods, "Then lets go to where this has been found. Perhaps there we can determine more of its function and possibly creation."

Soundwave says, "Is there any indication, Lord Thunderwing, of the point of origin of this substance?"

Skywarp sighs and crosses one fot over the other...hates all this scientific mumbo jumbo...

Divefire frowns in a mildly curious way as he hears Soundwave's words. He glances over to the more knowlegable mech before asking. "Vat grown crystals? That's new, isn't it?"

Ravenwing returns from her errand and resumes her place with her Lord, offering Spinister a nod of welcome and an amused look. What an entertaining day, though she's not sure of who is being entertained...

Spinister nods in return at Ravenwing and turns back to look at Thunderwing, interested in what he would say about the source of the crystals.

Starscream glances to Soundwave, " I beleive I just stated we will go there to get some of these answers."

Thunderwing nods, expression growing grim as he surveys the gathered Decepticons, "Yes, there are certain clues as to a place of origin. Ravenwing will fill you in on that." He indicates the just-returned dark femme. "I will ask you the same question I asked of Shockwave; if the world is populated...then what?"

Thunderwing at long last manages to get around to nodding a greeting to his XO.

Soundwave turns the crystal over in his hands once more, and then looks to Ravenwing for more information.

Spinister says to himself, finishing Thunderwing's question, "...then where are the inhabitants?"

Thunderwing arches a brow at Spinister, "On their homeworld, presumably." With that somewhat cryptic statement, he motions for the other to listen to Raven's summation of the state of things, thus far.

Skywarp leaning on the wall with Tc, He looks over at Strikes..."Pppstt..hey Bud..over here."

Spinister has a reply for Thunderwing, but doesn't say it, choosing to listen to Ravenwing instead.

Ravenwing shakes her head slightly at how complex this is becoming, but inclines her head formally to the gathering and begins her report yet again. "There were no direct references to the crystals in the ship's logs, sirs, not as crystals. However, they did refer to gemstones, and the vast majority of gemstones are crystals. A bit of information that's complicating things is that our information is third-hand and was in an alien language. However, we have the coordinates of this planet, and I believe it is worth investigating."

Shockwave speaks quietly to a sentry, perhaps giving standing orders and operating proceedures for use during his absence.

Divefire drums his fingers on his arms slowly, musing over the conversations going on and then Raven's report. "How far from Cybertron is this planet, and I'd guess we haven't come in to contact with this species before?"

Striker sits off to the side, really glad to be back on Cybertron, even if it IS on a mission, his nervousness of coming to the planet such as in precious situations has all dissapatted.

Ravenwing notes evenly, "Quite a ways, and no, we've not encountered them before. Organics tend not to live long, sirs, so our records are rather incomplete due to the briefness of their lifespans."

Soundwave adds, "And is there reason to expect hostile resistance to our investigation?"

Starscream looks to the femme with his usual arrogant demeamer. " And how did you make this discovery exactly?"

Thunderwing's concerns are addressed by Soundwave, so he speaks, "It is something to consider, no? Perhaps a...peaceful approach, might be the order of the day, should it turn out that the planet is inhabited?"

Spinister stands motionless and unreadable as Ravenwing fields the questions. He arches an optic ridge at Starscream's arrogant demeanour.

Striker says, "Quite aways.... about how long of a trip?"

Skywarp looks at TC.."WHo cares if its uninhabited or not...We want it we take it..Right?"

Ravenwing turns first to Soundwave. "Unknown, Commander. There are no records of this planet or its people." As Starscream speaks, a glint lights her silvery optics, and she turns back to him with something resembling amusement swirling in those optics. "They were on the ship we recovered, Air Commander, along with the ship logs that gave us the planet's coordinates."

CatsCradle speaks for the first time, murmuring softly, "This is when we could use Diktat."

Soundwave says, "We will learn nothing by debating the matter here." He looks to Thunderwing. "May I retain this for further study, Lord Thunderwing?""

Spinister's white optics twinkle at Ravenwing's words.

Thunderwing nods to Soundwave, "Of course. There are quite a few of them, as you can see. And this is only a small selection of the total." He gestures once again to the container of crystals brought from Valckasta.

Thundercracker sighs and says to Warpo, "Only if we have to buddy. "

Divefireís optics narrow a little as he glances to the crystals and the words being banded about. "Out of simple curiosty, why are we going to so much trouble over a collection of curious crystals when we're already fighting a war on two fronts, one of which happans to be a fuel stockpile waiting to happan?"

Starscream walks over and looks inside the container. He notes how many are inside and looks for any visual differences between them. Then he turns back to face Shockwave and the rest. "How long will it take us to get to the excivation point?

Skywarp drums his fingers on his arm and wispers to TC.."I just hope they decide on what were gonna do sometime this century...My left afterburner is falling alseep just standin here."

Ravenwing has learned patience, though it's been a long, hard lesson. She simply waits, watching the others more than anything else. There is much of interest there, including Commander Soundwave. She must have words with him some time concerning a certain spacebridge accident...

Soundwave says, "Understandable question, Divefire. However, from my cursory examination, we may be able to make use of this unique technology. I suspect Megatron would be most interested."

Thunderwing smirks at Divefire, "Because if we can learn to incorporate this technology with our own, the war may be shortened by quite a considerable amount of time." He shrugs and adds, "Should it be needed, the Harbinger is at the disposal for whatever venture may come of this."

Shockwave says, "I think it should be entirely possible to avoid open warfare with organics. Even a few samples of the complete technology should be sufficient for our purposes."

Thunderwing finds himself agreeing with Shockwave? Well, it had to happen, of course, "I concur."

Divefire stays silent for a moment then nods to both parties. "Ah, well I should go to my lab while we're here then. I have a few tools which might aid secret weapon shopping."

Spinister nods slowly to himself. Wars are won mainly on technology. Any new technology must be investigated. His optics twinkle slightly as Thunderwing agrees with Shockwave. But he agrees himself. To Shockwave he says, "It would be well worth avoiding the sort of situation we have on Earth. Open warfare with organics is such a waste of resources."

Soundwave slips the crystal piece into a storage compartment in his forearm, and regards the group calmly. If they're to encounter trouble, there's certainly a diversity of talents and skills here, and he seems confident in that. He notices Ravenwing's scruitiny and looks over to her for a moment, then seemingly away again and focuses on Starscream. Again, waiting to see how the Air Commander will procede.

Shockwave makes a contempful noise. "The organics of this system could hardly wage a war with Decepticons. They are dangerous only in their aid of energy to the Autobots."

Striker smirks and says to himself, "I've heard something along those lines before."

CatsCradle says softly, "In sheer numbers, anything can be dangerous."

Starscream says suddenly, " Enough of this banter. Let get to this ship." he looks to Spinister, Ravenwing and Thunderwing, " The two of you will acompany us as you are more familier then we on what is going on here."

Divefireís optics shine a particularly nice dark shade of green as he glances over to the one eyed mecha of Cybertron. "Come to Earth some time, Shockwave. About the time the Autobots start supplying the Humans with Cybertronian technology should do it."

Skywarp stands away form the wall..

Soundwave says, "I do not believe they will have that opportunity, Divefire."

Thunderwing looks blankly at Starscream for a moment, then makes a non-committal gesture of acquiescence, "Very well..." He glances to Spinister, a sort of 'do as you will' look.

Spinister arches his optic ridges at Shockwave's contempt, but his own masked face is unreadable. "Energy aid is dangerous enough, Shockwave. Anything that gives the Autobots an advantage should be avoided." His optics flicker as Starscream orders Thunderwing and Ravenwing to accompany him - but not Spinister. He says, "I suggest all three of the Valckastans here should go, Starscream. We did find the technology after all."

Divefire looks to Soundwave for a long moment, but holds his vocaliser for now. Time and place for that particular discussion to take place.

Thundercracker quietly comments, "Rather a lot of us to go on such a simple mission."

Shockwave gives one final order to the sentry team, who salute and head off to carry out his instructions.

Skywarp looks at Tc with a smirk.."Since when is anything we do Simple?"

Striker turns to Thundercracker, "Have you forgotten, that our little trip with the huge kid was a 'simple mission'?"

Ravenwing idly examines her claws. She's spent a million or so years among the organics and has learned not to underestimate them. They have minds that are frequently as good as any Cybertronian's, and a powerful body isn't everything. However, she doubts that her opinion would be popular and so remains silent.

Starscream looks to Thunderwing, "Did you mention earlier you have a ship ready for us?

Soundwave says, "If the rest of this planet's technology is as sophisticated as these pieces indicate, Thundercracker, it might be useful to have additional warriors and individuals of diverse skills."

Thunderwing says, "Of course. It has been moved to Polyhex for this eventuality."

Starscream says, "Then lets go.""

Thundercracker salutes Soundwave, "yes sir. Sorry sir. I should probably just keep my comments to myself."

CatsCradle sighs softly. "Let's just hope we can keep the introductions to a new race from breaking into a fire fight," she murmurs under her breath.

Soundwave shakes his head. "Observations are not unwelcome, Thundercracker."

Skywarp elbows Tc lightly.. ďDonít sweat it Bud."

Spinister waits beside the other Valckastans. He is going on this trip and that is all there is to it. He folds his arms, ready to follow the others out of the room. He listens to the chatter around him, but says nothing himself.

Starscream heads for the door again and says as he goes, " We are taking your ship Thunderwing."

Ravenwing looks up to give CatsCradle an approving look. The other femme seems to be rather intelligent. Her own inclination would have been to go in by herself, but she didn't want to risk one of the Empire's few ships.

Striker shrugs and follows Starscream, taking notice of any of the Cybertronian Decepticon who he didn't know already.

Spinister turns to head out the door, following Thunderwing.

Thundercracker follows after the other seekers.

Thunderwing looks after Starscream and adds, all innocence. Hah! "Of course, Air Commander. ...it -is- the only working ship on the planet..."

Spinister's optic flicker, "How forgetful of Starscream," he murmurs then follows.


Airfield

        This huge, flat expanse is a tangle of runways, lights, windsocks, guidance units and control relay interfaces. The broad vault of the sky stretches high above and while the walls of Polyhex are large, they cannot serve to keep flyers from taking off into the sky.

Spinister switches off his leg engines as he arrives. The familiar sight of the shuttle is in front of him. Good old Valckastan technology!

Ravenwing heads inside to prep the ship for liftoff. Twill be a bit tricky with so much additional weight, but Valckastan technology is sound, and she knows this ship well.

Thunderwing stops a short distance away from the Harbinger, surveying the ship with no small amount of satisfaction. Keeping that thing spaceworthy costs a small fortune, but it's worth it.


Starship <Harbinger>(#1157LOQae)

     Reinforced steel bulkheads curve steeply on both sides of this ship's interior, more comfortable than most transports and certainly more elegant. There are two rows of seats staggered on each side of the center aisle, cushioned for both protection and comfort. The seats can swivel towards the aisle and fold back into beds for the passengers.

     Ahead of the passenger section is the bridge, complete with pilot and co-pilot seats, delicate and complex controls and instrumentation, and the six monitor screens, each displaying visual readings of the relational directions.

     Towards the rear is a fully-equipped lab with a vast array of securely-anchored instruments. In one corner is a shielded area for isolating possibly dangerous samples, and adjoining it is some standard decontamination equipment. Past that, at the far back of the ship is a good-sized cargo hold.

Divefire walks out onto the taxi way of the main airfield and looks up into the eternal night sky of Cybertron. He loses himself in the stars for a few moments before he notices every one else has gone and boarded the ship already.

Soundwave regards the interior of the ship with interest, standing ready to take over a sensor or communications station if so directed.

Thunderwing enters through the airlock.

Ravenwing sits at the pilot's console, running some last-astrosecond checks and nodding in approval. In perfect shape, of course, and she desperately hopes it remains that way. Nasty things tend to happen when they take the Harbinger out for a spin...

Skywarp takes chooses a seat and goes to it

Thundercracker looks around approvingly, "Nice ship. They try and bring this one back in one piece."

Skywarp leans back in his seat folding his arms behind his head...

Spinister sits down at the navigation console, and starts flicking switches. He has every intention of bringing back the ship in one piece!

Striker takes a seat and leans back in it, going to relax for the long ride there.

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

Divefire enters through the airlock.

Soundwave, having received no indication not to do so, seats himself at a sensor station.

Thunderwing is, much as it hurts to admit, absolutely no good as a pilot, so chooses a seat seemingly at random. As he passes Thundercracker, it would seem he heard the mech's comment, for the reply is wryly amused, "We are on a limited budget, or we would join the rising trend and begin scrapping our ships at an accelerated rate." With that, he continues walking until he finds a likely looking seat,

Lutha System

     The burnt-out ember of a dead star still glimmers faintly in this dark sector of space, its single planet still circling the gravity well created by the collapse of the once-brilliant sun. As the star went nova many eons ago, it charred the surface of the planet in its expansion, searing all life from the little world. Or so one would think. If anything had survived, it would have done so under the surface, but that too is questionable, as there are no energy readings detectable.

As they approach their destination through the cold depths of space, Soundwave scans ahead, searching for any unusual energy readings. He notes, "Divefire has offered to fly ahead, Commanders. This might be an advisable action, as a single individual will evoke less notice than an entire vessel. As long as he remains in radio contact."

Skywarp snoozing in his chair...

Thundercracker elbows his best friend, "Hey Warpo buddy wake up. We are there."

Skywarp opens his red optics..."Huh..Wha...Where there?..Thank vector."

Spinister watches from the navigation console as the burned out planet comes into view. So much for harvesting this planet - it doesn't look like the trip was worth it. He nods slightly at Soundwave, "Good idea, Soundwave, but it doesn't look like there's anything left on that planet to notice us..."

Skywarp sits up and stretches

Soundwave peers at his readings. "No indication of civilization from afar. However - most interesting - the spectrographic readings of the remnant star and its planet to not match. I would surmise them to be of different origins."

Skywarp looks out one of the portholes...."This..is it?"

Shockwave is looking over Soundwave's shoulder at the sensor station, observing.

Thunderwing tilts his head at Soundwave's declaration, "If not for the fact that our own planet is in a similar situation, I would ask how that is possible."

CatsCradle also fell asleep curled up next to Diver, but wakes up just before she hears Soundwave mentioning Diver offering to fly ahead. "You did, huh?" she murmurs to her mate.

Soundwave glances at Shockwave, indicating his readings. "Do you concur, Shockwave? This world may have been an itinerant much as Cybertron is, and was drawn in by the star's gravity."

Spinister's optics flicker, "You mean someone actually brought this planet here?" He gazes out on the charred surface of the planet and his optics twinkle, "I bet they regretted it right away!"

Ravenwing delicately adjusts the controls to slow the ship and is cautious enough to try to use the dead star's energy field to shield them from any observers. There *have* been people here, and fairly recently...

Soundwave says, "There are numerous possibilities for such a thing to happen, Lord Thunderwing. Our own world being only one example."

Divefire glances up on mention of his name being mentioned, then looks over to Cats with a slightly apologetic look before murmuring to her quietly. "I don't get the chance to fly in the void as much as I used to. I miss it."

<O-Decepticon> Spinister read in New Scientist that real, itinerant planets should be quite common in space!

Shockwave says, "Agreed Soundwave. I would think this is too ordered to have occurred by chance however. The orbit is not eccentric enough to suggest the star captured this body."

Thunderwing nods in vague amusement, "Which is why I did not ask. Shall we?" He gestures to the airlock. After all, if Divefire wants to act as a decoy for whatever planetary defenses are left, that's entirely his choice.

CatsCradle nods slightly. "I imagine you would." Besides," and she smiles at him. "You'll think before shooting." Then her optics shimmer with amusement. "Usually, anyway."

Shockwave says, "Agreed Soundwave. I would think this is too ordered to have occurred by chance however. The orbit is not eccentric enough to suggest the star captured this body."

Soundwave keeps checking for signs of civilization or defensive capabilities from the planet.

Divefire gives a look of mild amusement to Cats before he stands, glancing across to Thunderwing as he points out the airlock, and then heads for it, calling over his should as he goes. "I'll be outside if any one wants me I'll be outside."

Spinister works at the navigation console, listening to the conversations over his shoulder. He says, "The planet may have been captured a long time ago, Shockwave, giving the orbit a chance to settle."

Thundercracker asks Warpo, "So how long to you think it will be before things start shooting at us?"

Skywarp says, "Mmm...What time it is now?""

Skywarp smirks at his friend

Striker looks up, "So... how long have we been gone from Earth?"

Spinister stifles a chuckle as he works. Thundercracker is one paranoid Decepticon!

Skywarp looks at Strikes.."A while bud."

Divefire steps out of the air lock and allows himself to float away from the Harbringer a few hundred feet before transforming and powering up his engines. His form blasts away from the ship and on a crescent course towards the planet of their interest.

Soundwave tracks Divefire's course, keeping alert for any energy build-up from the planet.

Shockwave muses, mostly to himself. "I suppose the advanced technology we're seeking could also extend to other areas such as stealth."

Thunderwing looks out at the system and eyes the unlikeliness of it all. The burnt-out husk of a star does possess an outlandish kind of beauty, however, and he settles for dividing his attention between scrutinizing it and watching Divefire whenever the mech is in his field of vision.

CatsCradle watches her mate leave with a slight expression of concern, then turns her attention to Soundwave, knowing he will pick up anything of danger before anyone else

Ravenwing puts them into a drifting orbit, not around the planet, but around its sun, much like any loose asteroid. She's tempted to shut down most of the power to aid in the disguise, but then again she may just be too cautious. She herself would go in, but she wouldn't be risking the majority of the Empire's High Command, either.

Divefire systems scan as he blasts through the inky blackness, with a mild wariness in his flight pattern he picks up speed as he nears the planet, orbiting behind it before entering into a re-entry pattern and disappearing from view.

<LongRange> Divefire says, "Well, this is scenic."

<LongRange> Shockwave says, "What have you to report Divefire?"

<LongRange> Divefire says, "There's nothing here. Save a hard baked surface. I've still yet to cover the majority of the planet but by the look of the devastation I've seen so far, I would assume the rest of the planet is the same."

Shockwave says, "Interesting. Perhaps we have arrived too late."

Striker is about to say a sarcastic remark, such as 'duh' to Shockwave, but somehow controls himself.

Spinister's optics do not flicker at Shockwave's words. He was sort of expecting that conclusion!

CatsCradle tilts her head in curiosity. "Could they have gone underground, perhaps? To escape the devastation?"

Skywarp says, "Ya mean we traveled all this way for nothin?""

<LongRange> Divefire says, "You can bring the ship in, but I'll warn you it's as cold as space on the surface and about as hospitable."

Thunderwing drags his attention back from the star and glances at the other two Valckastans at Shockwave's words, "Perhaps." He doesn't seem entirely convinced.

Spinister glances back at Thunderwing, "We shall see, Lord Thunderwing."

Ravenwing asks levelly, "Orders, sir?"

Thundercracker says to Skywarp, "There is something strange about this."

Skywarp looks at Tc.."Like what?..Look like a dead planet ta me."

Soundwave says, "I am detecting nothing that could pass for defensive weaponry from the planet. Other than a rather high background radiation count, the world appears lifeless at this range."

Spinister looks away from the navigation console just long enough to glance at Soundwave, "The high radiation count would be due to the star going nova, wouldn't it Soundwave?"

Soundwave says, "Affirmative."

Shockwave considers carefully. "We'll leave the ship in orbit and investigate the surface further."

Spinister nods slowly as he turns back to the navigation console. Altogether, this trip is turning into a farce. There may have been an advanced civilization here once, but it's looking more and more like it isn't here now. Perhaps the only thing left to do it to go back home and analyze the crystals?

Thundercracker says jokingly to Warpo, "Because we had to come halfway across the galaxy to get to this stupid planet. If there isn't something strange going on I will be really disappointed."

Skywarp chuckles.."Yeah ..Like giant rock creatures or somethin..Hehe That would be our luck."

Thunderwing frowns and turns to Raven, "What does this ship have in the way of automated defenses?" It's not that he disapproves of Shox's plan. He doesn't. But he -knows- what tends to happen to it whenever it ventures out of its safe berth back home. The sort of thing that leaves huge holes in a budget, generally.

Ravenwing gets a quick flash on her proximity screens and nudges a maneuvering thruster to turn the ship slightly, letting a tiny, but fast-moving asteroid drift by. She supposes it's safe enough to bring the meteor deflectors back up to full power without fearing detection by an enemy, and does so. She approves the notion of leaving the ship safely away, but arches a brow at the prospect of... floating to the charred planet. Unless someone has spaceflight capability and can ferry them to the surface... "Meteor shields, my lord, but no automated defenses other than electrifying the hull, which is something of a drain on the ship's power."

Spinister answers Thunderwing himself, "I plan to stay with the ship, Lord Thunderwing. I'll be little help in jetcopter mode on an airless planet at any rate."
Thunderwing nods to Spinister, "Your choice."

Ravenwing suggests dryly, "What if we set down long enough for the less-capable spaceflyers to disembark?"

Spinister says, "Only if we consider it safe to set down with the high background radiation level, Ravenwing."

Soundwave says, "I detect no likely damage to the vessel if we set down."

Thundercracker is paying no attention to the bosses conversations. He continues talking with Skywarp, "Rock creatures? Don't believe we have ever seen those before. How about energy creatures?"

Spinister nods slightly, it looks like he'll be able to go with the others after all. But not too far...can't let the shuttle get damaged again! The talk of rock and energy creatures behind him is making even Spinister paranoid!

Skywarp says, "Energy creatures?..Hehe naa..Ice creatures are more deadly.""

Ravenwing breaks her loose orbit around the dead star and begins the approach to that lovely charred piece of rock, still watching for anything unusual. Soundwave's conclusion is fine with her, unless someone else intends to object. As long as the planet has an atmosphere, and they can get close enough to move leave, and more importantly *return* to the ship, it should work.

Thundercracker says, "I think we could take some Ice creatures. What about ice dragons?"

Soundwave keeps watch on the energy readings during the descent, noting nothing unusual. He seems satisfied as the vessel touches down, and prepares to accompany the others, noting Starscream will stay with the ship and take it back into orbit for safety.

Divefire heads towards the planet fall of the ship, blasting across the barren landscape with the dark purple outlet of his engines being the only source of light from him.

Spinister waits by the navigation console while the ship lands. He hopes that Starscream will be taking good care of the shuttle while everyone is out and about.

Ravenwing looks between Thunderwing and Spinister, frowning. She really doesn't like leaving Valckasta so vulnerable should something happen to them here...

<LongRange> Shockwave says, "Any further readings or sighting Divefire?"

Thunderwing waits for the ship to settle, then he follows Soundwave out. Apparently he doesn't seem to be suffering from any sudden apprehensions concerning his own mortality this cycle.

Thundercracker follows after Soundwave, "This looks like where we get off."

Spinister carefully looks around, his footsteps crunching on the sooty ground. He glances at Ravenwing, guessing her thoughts, but he has no intention of dying in the near future. Looks like they arrives thousands of years too late to be in any danger.

Soundwave regards the endless stretch of charred ground, wondering for a moment if this really could be where those crystal shards originated. Whatever was here, is clearly long destroyed. And yet there's still all that background radiation in place.

Skywarp walks out after every one else and looks at the charred surface under his afterburners..

<LongRange> Divefire says, "None, Shockwave. This place makes Cybertron look virile."

Skywarp wrinkles his nose looking around...."What a dump..."

Shockwave says, "Everyone stay alert and be prepared for traps. It is easy to become lulled by a seemingly inactive environment."

Ravenwing looks for something that's not common to someone who lives on a metal planet: tracks.

Shockwave says, "Fan out, but stay within a hundred clicks for now. We'll complete a sensor sweep and then consider further disbursement."

Thunderwing grimaces at the sound of the brittle minerals that are crushed under his feet as he leaves the ship. Dust. Figures. His optics dart about, apparently trying to take in everything at once. Anything to take his mind off the annoying nagging sensation caused by the radiation. A tiny crystal shard proves a suitable distraction, and the Lord kneels down to pick it up.

Soundwave says, "Ravenwing. Lord Thunderwing. Is there any indication of how long ago your find arrived on Cybertron? Might it have come from this world before the star went nova?""

Skywarp follows after the others as the weak charred suddenly ground gives way under the jets feet...and he gets stuck up to his waist..."!!HEY!"

Spinister spots something glistening in the faint starlight by his feet. He bends and picks up a shattered crystal shard. He shows it to Soundwave, "Looks like the crystals did indeed come from here."

Thunderwing says, "Good question. The ship was buried not far from the Radlands for a long time, so any attempt at dating it are made more difficult because of it."

Shockwave looks sharply over at the cry. "Skywarp?"

Soundwave is about to get a closer look at Spinister's find, when he spins toward Skywarp's yell.

Thundercracker says to Warpo, "Well I don't see any giant rock creatu..You okay?!"

Spinister glances at his liege before following Shockwave's order to fan out. He starts and turns as Skywarp gives a yell.

Skywarp trying to pull himself up!!.."Unng..TC!"

Skywarp says, "Get me outta here!!""

Thunderwing looks up sharply. Perhaps Skywarp has found his rock monster after all.

Soundwave steps over to join him, listening for any activity below ground, and hearing only Skywarp's struggles.

Shockwave says, "Engage your anti-gravity units."

Skywarp stuck up to his waist ....."Ung..I cant..Im STUCK!!...GUYS.Little help!"

Thundercracker leans over and offers Warpo a hand. He hopes that he doesn't fall in himself, "I can't take you anywhere."

Striker quickly hits the anti-gravs and flies above the surface.

Soundwave takes hold of Skywarp's left arm, assuming Thundercracker will take the other, and helps to pull him free.

Ravenwing has already wandered a little ways off and turns at the commotion, almost tripping over a lump of crystal herself. She scowls, grateful that few if any were likely to notice her slip, and reminds herself that this isn't Cybertron.

<LongRange> Divefire  voice crackles as he transmits again, it may be the distance, the curvature of the planet, causing a radio shadow, or maybe a spike in the back ground radiation. "The background radiation..." The middle part gets eaten by interference. "...try and get some better readings."

Skywarp says, "shaddut and pull!""

Skywarp stands looking down at the hole..."Sheesh.."

Spinister looks at Skywarp sunken up to his waist and sighs. Looks like he's got plenty of help already. He continues to fan out, stepping more gingerly now that the ground is revealed to be fragile.

Thunderwing has a sudden flash of deja vu, recalling a similar situation in Tyrian. Thus, he allows himself to hover a few inces off the ground before even making any kind of indication that he will offer help. Besides, the others seem to have it well in hand.

Soundwave helps Skywarp steady himself back on solid ground, and regards the place he fell with interest. It seems to go quite a ways down.

CatsCradle taps warily at the ground, ready to leap into the air if it collapses under her. "An underground cavern, perhaps? Or maybe the inhabitants /did/ go underground?"

Ravenwing watches and wonders that Skywarp doesn't simply teleport out. As Spinister has already noted, the mech has plenty of help, and she returns her attention to the surroundings. With all the to-do, this would be a wonderful time for an ambush.

Thunderwing arches a brow at Divefire's transmission and muses to no one in particular, "Readings? Of...what?"

Skywarp thanks Tc and Sounders and looks down the hole..."Great..Bottomless..Swell."

Shockwave rotates his cannon arm a fraction of a turn, and it emits a strong light beam. He aims it into the tunnel, standing clear if shots were to suddenly come up.

Thunderwing shrugs and goes back to watching the surrounding area. Some of the innocuous nature of this planet was lost when it attempted to eat the Seeker.

<LongRange> Soundwave says, "Divefire, suggest returning to the main exploration team and circling our perimeter. We are creating enough commotion to attract attention, if such is possible here."

A faint glittery effect mirrors back in response to Shockwave's light beam.

Spinister turns in time to see Soundwave regarding the hole Skywarp fell into. Divefire's message is still playing in his head. Why was it so broken up?

Shockwave says, "Hmm. Almost certainly a metallic substance." He leans over to inspect the hole. "It appears to be a shaft downwards."

Thundercracker looks at the hole, "I am willing to bet we are going to have to go down there."

Skywarp dusts himself off...

CatsCradle says, "Well, Skywarp was half-way there already.""

<LongRange> Divefire  voice once again gets broken into a very hollow parody as he simply replies. "Understood."

Soundwave says, "Fortunately, Skywarp, your wings prevented you from dropping down faster than intended. I detect no activity below, from this range."

Skywarp says, "....blinks..."

Skywarp ....blinks...

Spinister turns back, closing in on the hole but keeping his distance. If the ground is fragile there, he doesn't want to be the next one to drop in. To Thundercracker he says, "We may as well, Thundercracker. There's nothing on the surface."

Shockwave gives his cannon another twist, and begins firing a think cutting laser. It makes quick work of the rock, and soon there's a larger opening leading down.

Skywarp steps back a bit..

Thundercracker sighs, "I volunteer to go first." He chuckles, "Maybe that is where the rock creatures are."

Ravenwing finds nothing in the still darkness and also turns back, stepping lightly through the debris with all due caution. Twouldn't do to trip and fall in front of everyone. She rejoins the Valckastan contingent and waits by her Lord's side, watching the excavation curiously.

Thunderwing continues watching the horizon, as everyone else seems to find the hole in the ground absolutely fascinating. Now would be a perfect time for things hiding out there in the darkness to ambush them. ...or maybe he's just being paranoid.

Away on the horizon, or as much as of it that can be made out considering the surface is the same colour as the skyline the smallest blinking of purple colour brakes the monotony, approaching quickly to the main site of the Decepticons.

Skywarp Looks at Tc.....

Shockwave hesitates for a fraction of a second before saying. "Negative. Soundwave, you first. Your detection abilities are superior."

Skywarp hears something...

Skywarp says, "Anyone ...catch that?""

Spinister always has some of his attention on his liege and now he turns towards him, following his optics to the approaching, blinking light. Is that Divefire approaching or...something else?

Skywarp looks at the Horizon...

Soundwave says, "I detect only the sound of Divefire's engines. As yet nothing below ground." He nods to Shockwave, and disappears into the underground darkness.

Thunderwing blinks at the sudden splash of colour on the sky. Purple -is- a...patriotic colour, one supposes, but -really-.

CatsCradle knows the sound of her mate's engines. "It's Diver."

Soundwave disappears into the shadows...

Striker stands aside waiting for orders, muttering about being gone so long.

Skywarp looks back at the hole...Sighs..

Shockwave says, "CatsCradle, you next. We may need your force field in the front."

Spinister's shoulders relax, the approaching light IS Divefire. He turns back to the hole, where Soundwave is vanishing.

Thunderwing turns away from the approaching 'con to the hole in the ground, watching it with no small amount of distaste mingled with curiosity. Why is it that the preferred habitat of mysteries is underground?

Divefire blasts overhead of the group, unaware of the mild panic he sets in and the mild make over tips Thunderwing muses. He backs off the power and sets into a wide holding pattern overhead, keeping his scanners peeled, for the lack of a better phrase.

CatsCradle nods and follows Soundwave, her dark form melting into the shadows

<LongRange> Soundwave says, "Detecting no activity below.  Radiation count slightly lower.  Passages lined in crystals similar to those that were discovered by Ravenwing, giving off some unusual activity in response to light, but I detect no danger as of yet."


Underground Realm

     The initial levels of the underground are made of the same burnt, brittle substance as the surface, but with increasing depth, a conscious design becomes clear in the lay-out of the tunnels and open areas. With increased depth, too, the lining of the walls and ceiling become coated with crystals, initially small and sharp-edged like an abstract growth of stone moss - and then increasingly beset with larger shards that follow a repetitive pattern. Colors and arrangements of crystal clusters seem to denote the purpose or destination of particular passages. There even seems to be a type of technology in place, since any imported light or energy source is picked up and amplified by the crystal lining of the walls and redirected into multiple patterns. There's a message and a language here, but it would take a great deal of further study to decipher.

Skywarp sets down right after TC.....

Soundwave is emitting a bluish light from his tape compartment, which illuminates a short distance ahead of him.

<LongRange> Divefire says, "You did all go down that hole in the ground willingly didn't you?"

Spinister flies down on his leg engines, noting ruefully that the light coming from them is reflected down the tunnels. So much for sneaking around...

Skywarp looks around the cavern..

<LongRange> Striker says, "No, they made us go down at gunpoint Divefire..."

<LongRange> Shockwave says, "Affirmative Divefire. You may stay there as guard or accompany us as you choose."

<LongRange> CatsCradle says, "Well, expect for Skywarp...""

<LongRange> Divefire says, "Guard us from what? The dust is hardly hostile. I'll be down in a moment."

Thundercracker looks at the moss on the wall, "Hey Warpo this place reminds me of your room for some reason."

Shockwave speaks softly, "Soundwave, report any readings. Cats, I am concerned about how these crystals may interact with your force field, so donít manifest one without my order."

Thunderwing touches down and looks around. Upon seeing his surroundings, the disdainful air drains away almost instantly. Mysteries are good. The scholar part of his personality begins cataloguing and analyzing the information to be had.

The arrival of others, presumably lighting their way with visible or infrared light, seems to activate the crystals lining the passages and they pulse faintly with patterns of light and color.

Skywarp says, "..Very funny Tc..""

Shockwave says, "These crystals undoubtedly make a very effective alarm and surveillance system. Perhaps we will now be contacted by someone."

Skywarp charges his weapons in case they do

Thundercracker says, "See I told you there was something strange going on here. Perhaps there is a crystal creature around somewhere.""

<O-Decepticon> Soundwave doesn't think Cybertron uses this technology. :)

Skywarp says, "Oh man..Why are you always right Tc?""

Shockwave says, "Soundwave, speculation on how light-based weapons fire might interact with the crystals?"

Soundwave says, "I am certain we can find you a world inhabited by rock creatures if you are so anxious to meet one, Thundercracker."

CatsCradle reaches out towards one of the crystals, her clawtips hovering warily over its surface, watching the way it reflects the purple light from her optics.

CatsCradle grins. "Maybe we can find a horta for you, Thundercracker."

Skywarp says, "Whats a Horta Cats?""

Thunderwing watches the play of light over the walls, tilting his head this way and that as he attempts to discern patterns in the pulses. A language, perhaps? He frowns and considers something for a moment, then shrugs.

CatsCradle chuckles. "A rock-creature from an earth show called Star Trek."

Striker turns to Thundercracker, "Will ya knock it off Thundercracker?"

Ravenwing ... listens. It's rather difficult, considering her proximity to an active group, but she slowly filters out the sound of their voices and tries to pick up on anything... else. Nothing seems unusual, and she relaxes slightly, suspecting that any dangers will not come from living inhabitants, but whatever they may have left behind. Or ghosts... She gives her Lord an amused glance, wondering what he sees.

Skywarp says, "Ohhh...""

Thundercracker ignores everyone else but grins at Striker, "Alright, alright."

Soundwave looks over the patterning of the light effects. "There would seem to be a message in the pattern, Shockwave, but it may be automated. Notice, different passages are showing separate colors as though indicating the way to various functional areas. Merely speculation, however. Weapons fire ... might well destroy these structures, as they seem somewhat fragile, but there will be the chance of reflected beams from some angles.

Divefire comes down a little after the others and immediately his gaze becomes fixated by the interior decor. "Fascinating." He murmurs before stepping over to one of the unoccupied walls of crystal, running a finger over it's sharp edges and absorbing the patterns of light the reflect to him his presence. The conversation of light catches his attention again as he looks over to the command group. "Or I could just transform and turn on my headlights."

Thunderwing offers, seemingly just uttering words as they come to him now, "A language based on colour and intensity, perhaps?"

Striker nods to Thundercracker, "Good... I only know one 'creature' who'll kill me... and that one's back on Earth." A comment that only Thundercracker, and perhaps Skywarp would understand.

Skywarp follows the others..

Shockwave says, "Proceed further Soundwave, Let's see if the patterns of light will lead us somewhere."

Ravenwing has traveled extensively, but never seen anything like this. Even without the mystery, the patterns are aesthetically pleasing, especially the deep crimson group.

Soundwave notices the intense red patterns as well, and moves cautiously toward the tunnel they indicate, keeping his audial sensors carefully attuned.

Shockwave says, "In case of an altercation Decepticons, use non-energy weapons first."

Thundercracker laughs a little at Striker's comment, "Seriously, This is not the place I would want to encounter anything. I don't think our usual plan of shoot first, shoot later, and after everything is dead shoot some more would work in this cavern."

Striker says to Shockwave, "What if we don't have any non-energy weaponry in our current modes?"

Soundwave comes to one branch-point in the tunnel where his presence, or the light he's giving off, activates the crystals in the walls and they shift into a different color, a pale gold. At that point, one can see a room opening up off the tunnel.

Shockwave says, "Then stay behind those that do, for now. We don't want to risk a disastrous chain reaction."

Shockwave says, "This appears promising. Do you sense anything Soundwave?"

Ravenwing mutters to herself, "What's powering all this? The crystals, as we theorized, or are they conduits for a more mundane power source?"

CatsCradle looks around, her optics glowing. "It's beautiful," she murmurs, but still wary.

Soundwave catches the mutter. "This technology, if it can be called such, seems to be powered by our own presence."

Divefire mutters to himself as he walks behind the group. "Let's hope that doesn't include draining our power in some elaborate trap."

Striker glares at Divefire, "Don't jinx us..."

Skywarp !!eeps

Soundwave looks into the room, still mostly dark, with faint gold traces of light. "Nothing out of the ordinary yet. Suggest dividing into groups to cover more ground, perhaps, while retaining enough firepower to fend off potential problems."

Skywarp backs into Tc.."Energy siphons..."

CatsCradle chuckles softly. "There you go, Thundercracker. Energy-vampire rock monsters."

Thunderwing finally drags his attention away from his impromptu attempt at deciphering what may or may not be a language and follows the others. He considers Raven's question, then offers, "The crystal shard I investigated on Cybertron seemed to have some residual power left in it, that much is certain. There were a fluctuations that I noticed." Soundwave's suggestion draws him away from any further explanation, however, and he looks at the crystals once again.

Divefire gives a side long smirk to Striker, but makes no move to say if he was joking or not.

Thundercracker says, "Well if this is a trap and we all get caught....then Starscream would be the only one who could rescue us."

CatsCradle mutters, "Oh, that's so reassuring..."

Striker says, "We're doomed..."

Skywarp looks at Tc...".....we`er doomed then.."

Soundwave moves on ahead, still keeping his sensors tuned, and steps into the 'gold room.'

Thunderwing walks up to follow Soundwave, paying little heed to the sudden outburst of semi-panic among the...well...commoners.



Archive

     Like the exterior, this room is lined in multifaceted crystals, but they're arranged here in very definite patterns: variously colored clusters along the walls, ordered columns precisely spaced from ceiling to floor, and geometric aggregations piercing down from overhead like an inverted coral forest. The arrangements clearly show a mathematical design, and upon examining each shard closely, it becomes obvious that the mineral lattice repeats these intricate patterns like a fractal design. Many of the crystals are broken off at the base and lie shattered about on the floor, but those that remain, may hold vast amounts of information storage if their technology, such as it is, can be deciphered by an alien mindset.



Skywarp kicks one of the shards out of his way as he walks in...

CatsCradle says to Skywarp, "Don't kick the crystals. They might get angry and blow us up."

In response to Skywarp's kick at one of the shards, a discordant flicker of light flares up and dies down again - almost a halo-like effect over the crystal.

Skywarp !!!steps back!

CatsCradle points at the flickering crystal. "See!"

Skywarp says, "Sheesh Sorry..I didnt think Mood crystals would be dangerous...""

Skywarp folds his arms..

Ravenwing doesn't have the scanning capabilities needed to assess these new crystals, so must wait for those who are better equipped. She briefly looks heavenward as Skywarp tempts fate, looking warily around for any response and taking a step nearer her Lord.

Soundwave seems quite interested in the effect - this is somewhat different from the light patterns contained within the rocks themselves.

Thunderwing stops for a moment, almost freezing in his tracks as he takes in the sight before him. Who cares about rock monsters or energy vampires when there is a prize like this to be claimed? All right, so he doesn't have a clue as to what this place is, but... The commotion behind him is largely ignored as the Lord of Valckasta steps over to one of the clusters and with a highly calculating expression reaches out...and touches one of the crystals. Perhaps he knows what he's doing. Probably not.

Shockwave says, "Interesting.. A result of kinetic energy?"

CatsCradle grins at Skywarp. "Maybe they're Pet Rocks..."

Thundercracker says, "Well I must say that was interesting. Want to try doing that again?"

Soundwave says, "I do not believe so, Shockwave. It seemed a projection of light-" he stops, observing Thunderwing intently as the cluster glows more brightly at the touch."

Skywarp says, "Pet rock monsters...ill stay with Goldfish..""

Shockwave follows Soundwave's gaze.

Divefire frowns in the Seekerís general direction as he steps to the side of the room and starts to examine one of the long chain of crystals. In exacting terms he gleens... Ooh about nothing what so ever before he frowns intently and simply transforms to at least scan the room properly.

Divefire transforms into his Mk III Trans-Am mode.

A projected image flickers up like a hologram around Thunderwing, almost hiding him in the middle of it. A scene, clearly detailed...

Skywarp looks at Tc,..."No"

A view of a city, or what appears to be so, under a natural sky, populated by bipedal lifeforms, like a view of the past captured on film and played back.

Accompanying the image is the soft murmur of a sound, an alien language mixed in with musical notes.

Skywarp says, "Oo Home movies...""

Shockwave watches and listens with interest to the holographic playback.

CatsCradle hums the alien theme from Close Encounters...

Striker says, "Knock it off Cats... it's creepy enough as it is."

Thundercracker says in his usual calm tone, "Well this is almost as strange as when we were trapped in that room with the musical walls." He pauses for a second, "Oh sorry buddy, I forgot about how that one ended for you."

Ravenwing crouches slightly, tensing at the perceived attack and bringing her weaponry in line to fire. Thought catches up with instinct a few seconds later, and she realizes that this is a hologram of some kind. She straightens up almost grudgingly, reminding herself that using an energy weapon here would be a mistake.

Soundwave says, "Information storage. Activated by an input of the faint energy readings that we ourselves have been giving off."

Thunderwing actually starts a little as he is suddenly enveloped in an image of...something. A light of comprehension sparks in his optics as he begins putting two and two together. As though testing a theory, he withdraws his hand from the crystal and reaches out for the next one.

Skywarp snaps a look at TC.."Didja have to remind me about that?!"

As soon as Thunderwing removes his hand from the crystal cluster, the image and soft sounds abruptly blink out.

And in turn are replaced by a different scene, this one apparently one of warfare, of building a great fortress, again under a natural sky rather than an underground civilization - but all of this species' constructs are out of this same sort of crystalline stone.

Thunderwing looks for all the world like the only way to get him out of this room would be to use a crowbar. "A history of this world. So many records..." The rider '...so little time' is not added, but is there all the same.

Thundercracker says respectfully, "Sirs can I take a group and explore the rest of the tunnels?"

Ravenwing says, "Can we take these with us, or if not, then adapt them to download to more conventional storage devices?"

Soundwave has partially disconnected.

CatsCradle reaches out to touch one of the crystals, fascinated.

In response to CatsCradle's touch, another set of archive crystals shows another battle scene, or what appears to be such - clearly showing a crystalline weapon channeling a tremendous amount of power through itself and amplifying it, to blast apart an entire building complex.

Thunderwing frowns, "No matter how it is done, it will be quite an undertaking. Logically, the patterns should indicate some kind of chronology, and that must -not- be lost, lest the records become nothing more than disjointed images." The consummate historian comes to the fore.

Divefire car form just sits there, red led swishing back and forth, recording all the goings on to memory as the scans of the rooms contents and the make up of the crystals download into his memory banks.

CatsCradle grins in delight at being able to start a scene of her own, glancing over at Diver in a look-what-I-did manner

Skywarp folds his arms..Mood crystals donít interest him in the least...

Striker hmms and reaches out, hitting one of the crystals.

Soundwave focuses his interest on the weapons scene, glancing around at the others to see if they noticed this as well. All scientific interest aside, here perhaps is a practical gain to be had from the journey.

Divefire led swishing back and forth in an approving manner to Cats. Or at least as approving as moving light can get.

A brief, garbled image flashes up in response to Striker's hit, and blinks out again immediately.

Ravenwing speculates out loud, "Are these just historical recordings, or are there crystals that show data as well? If so, we've found what we came for: information on the technology involved."

Thundercracker thinks for a moment, "If they had such advanced technology how come they couldn't save themselves?"

Soundwave recognizes the historical fascination in those exploring, but he steps over to Thundercracker and says, "Further exploration is in order as you suggest. Perhaps some can remain here to discern what else of interest this civilization may have left behind, but I am intrigued by the possible energy amplifier that was shown in the playback.

Skywarp says, "Hehe..Cus maybe they werenít as Smart as Soundwave thinks..Hehe""

CatsCradle shrugs slightly. "We also don't know what they were up against."

Skywarp raises his hand..,"Ill go with Tc."

Shockwave doesn't touch any crystals himself, and seems to consider the situation. "I don't think it would be wise to activate any more of these recordings until we have more data on how they function. We shall need to assign a team to study this entire chamber."

Thundercracker salutes Soundwave, "I agree sir. Why don't I just take Striker and Skywarp."

Thunderwing has indeed noticed the scene brought to life by Cats, though his reaction to it is less than impressed. Oh, the weapon in itself is impressive enough, but it does bring about some rather cynical thoughts regarding his fellow Decepticons. Ignoring them, he produces a datapad from somewhere about his person and begins jotting down notes. "I shall remain here." ...as though there was ever any doubt.

CatsCradle reaches out to touch another crystal, curious to see if she can start another scene, but she stops at Shockwave's words with a soft reluctant sigh.

Shockwave considers for a moment. "Thunderwing, CatsCradle and I could stay here and work on unraveling this mystery. Soundwave, why don't you take Thundercracker and Skywarp and see if you can find the weaponry shown in the holograms."

Skywarp says, "Weapons!!..Now yer talking Shockers!""

Shockwave says, "Just be cautious about field-testing them down here."

Divefire emits from his position on the floor as he gives the images some thought. "If this high level of background radiation was here before all the devastation we've seen, then it might explain why this organic species is no longer with us."

Soundwave regards those present and considers their skills and inclinations. "Suggestion - Divefire may have insights here as well, as he has spent a good deal of time studying alien species. The seekers and myself can cover some of the nearby passages."

CatsCradle says, "Diver would be better at this than me. He's a researcher." She says it with some disappointment, though, for she is curious about the crystal videos, especially since she was able to activate one of them

Soundwave looks to Ravenwing, as though inviting her to accompany them if she so desires, or to join them when she's done exploring here, though that will ultimately be Thunderwing's command.

Shockwave considers for a moment. "These records could save us quite a bit of time. Agreed then. Divefire, remain here as well. The rest of you go with Soundwave."

Striker nods and follows Soundwave.

Soundwave heads back out. He'd be interested to learn more here as well, but once again, practical concerns take precedence.

Thunderwing looks at Raven once, then shrugs in a 'do as you wish' sort of way. He then goes back to his notes and the attempt at unraveling the timeline that just -has- to be here, cleverly hidden in the patterns.

Shockwave speaks firmly. "Thunderwing, I wish you to coordinate with the rest of us. All of us doing an independent investigation will be worse than useless."

Divefire finally transforms and steps over to Shockwave and Thunderwing, as he gives a glance over to Cats and motions his head in a come over here type way.

CatsCradle catches Diver's movement and goes over to him

Thunderwing hmms? Ah, time to resurface, then. He considers the words for a moment, then shrugs, "Perhaps. Very well... I am attempting to work out the chronology of the records, if indeed such a one exists. Moving the crystals, or otherwise downloading the information they hold, without knowing the order in which they depict events will, at best, lead to unnecessary work later, and at worst make the information useless for any kind of study deeper than weapons' designs." Was that just a hint of reproach tingeing the last few words?

Shockwave says, "You might not find weapon designs so useless when they save the lives of you and your fellows. But we will concentrate on becoming familiar with the systems first."

CatsCradle says softly, "Finding out about their opponents would be good, too. If they were strong enough to destroy this world..." She shrugs.

Thunderwing waves the hand holding the stylus in an impatiently dismissive way, "It is the notion that the intrinsic value of something is entirely based on its capacity to be used as a weapon that annoys me. Honestly, some of our number would see this place as nothing more than a repository for hard, pointy things to throw at Autobots..." The Valckastan makes a disgusted sound and pokes at the datapad again.

Divefire muses as he listens to the back and forth banter of the two commanders and ignores it completely. "In my experiences the first step would be to understand the basic language structure and work from there. If the need arises we can later find the chronological order of the data by simply observing the evolution of the society."

Ravenwing gives a last regretful look at her Lord, not liking to let him out of her sight when so distracted by the knowledge to be gained here, but... he should be safe enough. After that look, she quietly moves out of the room to explore.

Most of the crystal controls touched bring up tantalizing images of a long-distant time on this world, with the same alien language.

Thunderwing muses distractedly, "And how often has a society seen some event that sets its progress back by centuries, or even millennia? Progress is an inherently iterative process, I fear. But your point is taken. We made some headway in deciphering parts of the language from the crystals found on Cybertron, but nothing that could be used as more than the most basic syntax."

Divefire decides to focus on the later of Thunderwingís statement and nods slightly. "It's a place to start. I take it you have that data with you now?"

Thunderwing nods, "As we were journeying to this world, it seemed a prudent preparation." With that, he produces another one of those compact, somewhat old fashioned datapads and hands it to Divefire. "Perhaps you will be able to make more progress than we have so far." He looks up at the crystals, "You have far more material to work with, after all."

Divefire takes the datapad with a certain amount of gratitude in his body language. He gives a customary scan of some of the data and work on the pad before also looking up at the crystals. "We do indeed." He murmurs, before taking out a datapad of his own and transferring the files onto it. He turns to Cats and hands the copied information to her. "If we start at different sectors and immerse ourselves in the database, we might have a rudermentery language construction in a cycle." His tone sounds a little doubtful, but still, it has to be tried. He gives a glance across to Shockwave as if to ask for permission to activate the crystals again.

For those in the underground of Lutha, there's a sound like machinery approaching - especially in the areas close to the Archive room and the laboratory. Something on its way, something big and loud, or multiple somethings--


Thunderwing goes back to his own work and looks intently at the spreading latticework of crystals, trying to discern the underlying pattern that in his not entirely humble opinion -has- to be there. Top to bottom? Right to left? Widdershins? Moving along the third branch of each fractal? How -would- an alien civilization think? Seeing patterns is, however, a talent possessed by this one and perhaps...hello...what's this? The already swift movements of the stylus reach fever pitch as the Valckastan catches the scent of his prey...or maybe not. Only one way to find out. But his thoughts are interrupted by the sudden sound and billowing of dust. "Thundercracker's crystal monsters?" he ventures.

But before the approaching things can come within any kind of visual range, there's a tremendous crash that resounds and shudders through all the tunnels, like a whole section of ceiling caved in - because it did. Huge amounts of powdered crystal dust roil through the air, and when it all clears, it will be noticed that the passage back to the surface has been totally collapsed. The mechanical sound has gone silent again.

Thunderwing transmits a message via radio.

<LongRange> Soundwave says, "(faintly crackly transmission) Casualty report? Decepticons, please respond."

<LongRange> Thundercracker says, "Thundercracker here. My group is fine however we are trapped in this stupid maze."

A radio transmission is received by Thunderwing.

Thunderwing glances at his companions, then shrugs.

<LongRange> Soundwave says, "Striker and I have returned to our point of entry.  The passage upward is blocked, though it appears the way you went is still open.  Am seeking out the others and searching for the cause of the collapse. I do not believe it was a natural event."

Thunderwing transmits a message via radio.

A radio transmission is received by Thunderwing.

Soundwave comes in through a haze of slowly settling crystal dust to where he last saw some of his companions.

Divefire optics narrow as his studies of Thunderwing's information doesn't so much as get disturbed as totally and utterly shattered. With his train of thought total gone he looks to Thunderwing, noticing the shrug as he listens to the radio. "Well, perhaps now we'll have the time we need..."

CatsCradle sighs a little. "Well, that's one way to look at it. Of course... this means Starscream will be the one to rescue us..."

Thunderwing walks over to the exit and attempts to wave some dust out of his way to clear his field of vision. As Soundwave enters, he nods a greeting, "It would seem others concur with you in your belief that this was not entirely natural. A present left by our hosts, perhaps?" He looks over his shoulder at Divefire and nods with grim amusement, "So it would seem. Make the most of it."

<LongRange> Soundwave says, "Thundercracker, can you make your way back to the archive section?  Do you detect any enemy activity?"

<LongRange> Thundercracker's voice is just a whisper, "No enemies but we found something very interesting."

<LongRange> Soundwave says, "Explain.  Do you require assistance?"

<LongRange> Thundercracker continues whispering, "We found a room that does weird things with sounds. Amplifies them and such."

Soundwave assures himself that everyone is undamaged here. It would be noticed he's got his plasma rifle out and is keeping a good hold of it. "Keep watch on the entryway," he says. "I will attempt to find the cause of the collapse and seek another exit. Perhaps what Thundercracker's team has found, will provide a clue.

Soundwave steps back out, very much on the alert now, more so than he was when they first came down here and thought the planet was completely lifeless.

<LongRange> Thundercracker's voice is back to normal, "Sir we have found a temple of some sort."

<LongRange> Soundwave says, "Interesting.  Any sign of activity?"

<LongRange> Thundercracker says, "No sir, but we found a gem the size of my head."

<LongRange> Soundwave says, "I am debating the wisdom of having our forces spread out so far when there may be attackers nearby.  Yet - did not Ravenwing's report mention gemstones?"

<LongRange> Thundercracker says, "There is something strange or special about this one. You better get down here sir."


Thunderwing transmits a message via radio.
A radio transmission is received by Thunderwing.

Thunderwing arches a brow at the incoming transmission and notes to no one in particular, "And now Soundwave and one of the seekers are hearing voices... This is turning into a most...interesting excursion." He shakes his head and puts away the datapad for a moment, looking from the oh so tantalizing crystal patterns to the more practical matters to attend to beyond the exit.

Thunderwing transmits a message via radio.

With datapad in hand, Divefire continues his study of the alien language as the images of the crystals dance about him, correlating in a holographic image of the past. The cities of the aliens reveal themselves, a time of peace or of simple society, with out being able to understand the language it could be anything, yet he listens, making notes on occasion and focusing on the voice and the action.

CatsCradle watches over Diver's shoulder, occasionally murmuring comments.

Divefire eventually takes his hand of the crystal wall, typing some final notes into the datapad before glancing across to Thunderwing with a mild frown of frustration with his work. "Sorry Thunderwing, you said something?"

Thunderwing turns his attention from his musings concerning exploration and back to the others. The explanation he is about to give seems to amuse him for some reason, "The others have found a gem of some kind. It speaks to Soundwave and Thundercracker, apparently."

CatsCradle tilts her head in curiosity. "Thundercracker found his rock monster?"

Thunderwing nods to Cats, "So it would seem. He may well have started a new field of research. Xenogeology?"

Buzzsaw glides up and back, so he can be behind Skywarp ;)

Ruse looks to the rock and thinks a moment. She then remembers the tunnel they went though. o O(Very strange.)

CatsCradle chuckles. "Or a whole new definition to the pet rock craze on Earth."

Ravenwing has once again developed the Cybertronian equivalent of a splitting headache, but at least is beginning to hear again.

Divefire raises a brow in response to Thunderwing. "A talking gem?" He replies with mild surprise then shakes his head with mild annoyance. "He's more of a trouble magnet then you are Cats." He glances down at his datapad and scrolls through some more data and his frown increases, before he notices the new arrivals walk though the door and looks to them, expecting some thing it would seem.

CatsCradle mutters plaintively, "I haven't gotten into trouble in a while, now...."

Thunderwing arches a brow at Cats and gets an 'not even gonna ask' sort of expression. But he does mouth the word 'pet rock?' in some bewilderment as he turns at the sound of people approaching. Ah, the cavalry...

Thundercracker walks into the room carrying a large green gemstone. He appears to be talking to it as well, "Alright we are going to meet a few friends of mine now."

Skywarp walks in and looks at Dive.."Ya want a talking rock..lookie what TC has."

Soundwave looks over the group still in the archive, and reports without preamble, "I have been in contact with Starscream."

Buzzsaw decides that all Seekers are legally insane.

Soundwave says, "He is still with the ship, but detected the cave-in from the surface. We will have to discern a way to dig or blast ourselves free without collapsing the area further. I will attempt to find out what Starscream can detect from outside."

Thunderwing's optics widen slightly as he looks from Thundercracker to the gem he's carrying and back again. Yep. Definitely certifiable... "Made a new acquaintance, have we?"

Ravenwing makes her way over to her Lord's side and murmurs, "Audio overload due to crystal amplification of sound. I'm not hearing too well at this time, my lord."

Soundwave transmits a message via radio.

Skywarp looks at Sw.."What about the noises we heard?"

Skywarp says, "Could be an enemy we havenít seen yet.""

Thunderwing smirks faintly at Raven's words, "In relative terms, I take it?"

Thundercracker would salute but he is holding the gem with both hands, "Yes sir. She is either very shy or low on power, but believe me she really does talk."

A radio transmission is received by Soundwave.

CatsCradle looks curiously at the gem Thundercracker is holding. Maybe she wasn't too far off with the pet rock theory....

Divefire simply frowns in an increased manor at the mention of Starscream in the same sentence as finding things out. "I hope he has more success the we've had so far." He replies to Soundwave in a tone which could be considered disparaging to some. "This alien language is proving to be some what impenetrable at the moment."

Skywarp blinks at TC,,,,,"She?"

Ruse seems somewhat on edge. All the stories Slasher as told her of being overwhelmed by alien beings on a strange world come back to her as the group enters the library. She begins to softly hum afew bars of her fav song to herself while looking around... to keep her mind of such silly thoughts.

Skywarp says, "Tc...are you feeling ok?""

Thunderwing cannot quite get past the fact that he has just heard a stone be referred to both as 'she' and 'shy', but...then again. He shrugs and ventures, "There -are- lifeforms based on the most outlandish things, one supposes..."

Thundercracker shrugs, "I am feeling fine Warpo. Soundwave is the one that said it was a she."

Skywarp looks at Sw...

Soundwave mentions a little distractedly, "I can corroborate Thundercracker's evaluation of the gemstone. A more logical evaluation will have to wait. Starscream reports mechanical readings beyond the point of collapse, a possible automated defense system. That would explain the sounds we detected."

Skywarp hmms at what Soundwave says but he looks over at the rock Tc is holding...he doesnít trust pet rocks that talk....

Ruse stops humming and looks to Soundwave, "Why didn't they trigger earlier?"

Soundwave says, "It is possible that one of us inadvertently released an alarm in our exploration."

Thundercracker asks the Rock, "So I don't suppose you know another way out of here do you?"

Ravenwing watches, as she can do little more than that at this time. All seems to be well, at least in this area, but she moves back towards the door to lay a finger on the framework. Nothing, as metal isn't the main building material here, and so no vibrations would be detectable. A faint jabbering filters through her slowly-recovering audio receptors, but not enough to allow her to understand what is being said.

Skywarp facepalms himself at his friend...

Divefire shakes his head slightly and mutters in a low voice about tombs to history and such like before looking across to Thundercracker. "Thundercracker, if that gem of yours talks, ask it if it knows anything about the basic language construction of the aliens contained in these crystal data banks will you."

Soundwave actually glances toward Thundercracker as though wondering the same thing, but he detects very little in the way of energy readings from the green gemstone at the moment.

CatsCradle watches with fascination. "Will she talk to anyone?"

Thunderwing muses quietly, "If this delayed reaction was in response to an alarm, then, yes, perhaps there is a host out there, telling us that we have overstayed our welcome."

A radio transmission is received by Soundwave.

Skywarp walks up to Tc..."Ifs its power it needs why donít we just give it some."

Skywarp says, "Maybe your pet will talk /then/...*says that a bit sarcastic*"

Thundercracker stares a Warpo for a moment, "I would but I have no clue on what the correct way to power up a rock is. And she does too talk."

Ruse murmurs something around the lines of, "Strange the defense would seal us in rather then attack." She wanders around pondering this, then moves to pick up and examine one of the crystals out of curiosity.

Soundwave listens again. "Starscream reports there are what appear to be sentry robots amassing beyond the point of collapse. Enough to give us some difficulties once we break free.

CatsCradle sighs. "That's right, Skywarp. Get the inhabitant of this world angry at us, while we're trapped here...'

As Ruse brushes against one of the crystal clusters, an image appears around her: an image recognizable as the planet's surface above, the sky lighting up in a brilliant flame-pattern as its seemingly filled by the approaching sun. As though in a time-compressed film, the remaining surface vegetation is scorched away in an incredible conflagration.

Skywarp looks at cats with a growl..."Hey Cats..It aint my fault were trapped in here..Im sick of being pushed around by a bunch of Dead organics.."

Thunderwing says, "And you have found nothing resembling a command center after you left here? If the defenses are automated, they can be shut down."

The scene shifts to a view of the underground passages, though they are lit up and populated in the image. A record of the species that moved its civilization underground in time to avoid a scorched death on the surface.

Divefire muses in a half voice of reason. "Unless they have the spirits of the dead running the drones, trapped in complex crystal patterns which are powered by an unknown power source..."

Soundwave seems less interested in the record display now, as he calculates. "Starscream reports robotic sentries. That is not consistent with this lost civilization's technology."

CatsCradle watches with some satisfaction... her underground theory had been right after all... She glances back at Skywarp. "I never said it was your fault. However, if Thundercracker's friend can help us, but decides not to because you anger her, then it /is/ your fault."

Skywarp narrows his optics at her....

Thunderwing arches a brow at Divefire and asks skeptically, "Ghosts?" At Soundwave's words, he nods, "Not with what we have seen so far, to be sure. But it is not entirely unheard of for settlers to use structures already in place."

Thundercracker is still trying to figure out a way to get the rock to talk, "Ummmm anytime you have something to contribute I am listening. I mean if you could tell us how to power you up that would be nice."

Ravenwing is staring out the door with an odd smirk on her face. Her training concentrated on using senses *other* than sight, but nary a thing on dealing without sound. How... insightful. She turns back in time to catch the last of the holo then returns to her Lord.

Soundwave filters out the extraneous chatter about spirits and fault and blame, and focuses on the practical. "Something must control the automated defenses." He turns to Ravenwing. "If this world was a source of gemstones to other species, might they have left defenses in place to guard their cache?"

CatsCradle suggests, "Could the sentries be something left over from whoever attacked this world?"

Ruse seems frozen as these images play around her... She then nods in understanding. o O(Interesting.) She places the holocrystal(?) back and moves to take another one, "Maybe one holds a map of these caverns?"

Another image flickers up around Ruse, this one from a point further back in time, apparently - showing an agricultural scene under an open sky.

A radio transmission is received by Soundwave.

Skywarp huffs and walks a bit away from the others...

Divefire glances across to Ruse and offers her a slight nod in agreement, putting to side the idea of ghosts for now, idle minds usual create RPG's rather then scientific ways out of bad situation. Or become Star Trek writers. "There may well be Ruse, but at a guess I'd say this archive room contains well over a million different sources of data. However since we're not going any where for the moment..."

Soundwave's optic band flickers. "Starscream reports long-range communication beyond this system is temporarily down."

Ravenwing tilts her head, trying to listen. That Soundwave is addressing her is only apparent in that he's looking directly to her. She catches the words, faintly, then nods. "It would make sense. Crystal gemstones are greatly valued by many species and so they would guard their wealth."

Thunderwing glances at Raven, waiting to hear her opinion on the matter. As he does, he takes a closer look at Thundercracker's new friend, optics narrowing as though attempting to intimidate the crystal into yielding its secrets simply by glaring daggers at it. After a few moments of this, his expression flickers through several conflicting emotions to finally settle at mild bafflement and dawning fascination. He looks up at Thundercracker and inclines his head at the Seeker, "I stand corrected." Cryptic, yet to the point.

Suddenly the chamber shakes violently, a shower of crystal shards and dust raining down from overhead.

Skywarp leans on the wall glancing down he sees something shiny in the dust...without anyone seeing he bends over picking up two small shards of broken crystal...he smirks putting them in his arm compartment for Gry when he gets back...

Skywarp !!!looks up!..."What the!!"

Soundwave catches himself against the wall, activating his radio again to see if Starscream has detected anything from outside. The defense drones digging their way through the cave in?

Skywarp covers his head with his arms...

Thundercracker does know how to react, "Umm thanks sir...AAAhh!" He quickly shields his new friend with his body. He is not even sure why himself, "This just keeps getting better!"

Soundwave transmits a message via radio.

CatsCradle ducks, catching herself just in time before throwing her field up over her and Diver, remembering that she was warned not to use her 'field around the crystals. She glances warily up at the rock ceiling

Thunderwing reaches out in an involuntary gesture to find something to steady himself on and looks up at the ceiling for crystals jarred loose by the shaking.

Buzzsaw SCRAWWWKS and lands on Soundy's shoulder, shielding both their heads with his wings.

Ravenwing is suddenly jolted, but doesn't look up; she looks to the door to make sure that it's still clear. "Perhaps now would be a good time to find another way out of here, sirs?" There's a certain regret, too, for the knowledge here that may soon be lost...

Ruse shakes her head and places it back. She agrees with Divefire, "The-" She gahs and stands her ground as the room shakes, "Whatís happening!? Soundwave?"

Skywarp steps back just as one sharp crystal hits the ground in front of him like a javalin....!!!!

Skywarp ulps...

One of the large colored rock clusters works its way lose from the ceiling and shatters against the floor, spraying the surroundings in sharp-edged multicolored slivers. Soundwave calls, "Less danger of large falling shards outside," and pulls Buzzsaw and Ruse out through the entrance.

Divefire rocks back on his heels, arms flailing slightly to retain his balance as Cats field springs up around them both. With neither grace nor style he falls on his aft with indignant hrmph and looks up at the ceiling of jagged sharp and also pointy crystals. "Yes, moving out of here might be an idea..."

Ravenwing looks back for her Lord. He'd better be coming.

Thunderwing glares at Raven as though taking her to task about a suggestion like that. Leave a place like this to whatever fate awaits it? Never! Then Skywarp narrowly avoids being impaled on a shard and the Lord scowls as reason overtakes his other inclinations. With a soft growl, he leaves the chamber, but not without one last, almost wistful glance at the crystals.

Thundercracker asks, "Shouldn't we grab a few crystals or something!?" He says to his gem, 'Sorry about your friends" And then dives for the door.

CatsCradle says, "Good idea," tugging Diver to his feet and toward the passageway

Divefire takes another look up at the ceiling and mutters to Cats. "Thundercracker had a good idea, grab some crystals before we get out of here."

The shaking of the underground slowly fades out again, leaving another haze of dust in the air.

CatsCradle stops long enough to gather an armload of crystals

Divefire grabs a few crystals as he stands and shoves them into subspace before stumbling for the door, stilling taking some crystals as he moves out.


Underground Realm

     The initial levels of the underground are made of the same burnt, brittle substance as the surface, but with increasing depth, a conscious design becomes clear in the lay-out of the tunnels and open areas. With increased depth, too, the lining of the walls and ceiling become coated with crystals, initially small and sharp-edged like an abstract growth of stone moss - and then increasingly beset with larger shards that follow a repetitive pattern. Colors and arrangements of crystal clusters seem to denote the purpose or destination of particular passages. There even seems to be a type of technology in place, since any imported light or energy source is picked up and amplified by the crystal lining of the walls and redirected into multiple patterns. There's a message and a language here, but it would take a great deal of further study to decipher.

Thunderwing waves at the dust as though attempting to clear it from his sight faster. "This...is getting tiresome." he notes acidly. Raven is awarded a grudging nod, though he is still clearly none too happy about the turn of events.

Thundercracker dives out of the room, "Well someone didn't want us getting that information. I am fine bud." He asks the gem, "You okay? Sorry about your planets information." Then he waits for an answer.

Soundwave brushes some dust off himself and Buzzsaw who is on his shoulder. He reports, "Starscream attempted to fire on the defense drones from outside. He has ceased. I fear a concentrated attack will bring this region down upon us."

Skywarp walks up to Tc looking at the rock...

Soundwave slips Buzzsaw back into his tape compartment, just to be safe, giving the overhanging rocks a wary look.

Ravenwing is actually almost happy, simply because she's hearing at normal levels again. Perhaps not as good as she's accustomed to, but tis enough, till serve. "If that is the case, we need to find another way out, sirs, not only to protect ourselves but the knowledge still here."

Divefire stumbles out of the archive with an arm load of crystals from the room. "I knew it had to be Starscream's fault some where along the line." He mutters before starting to put the crystals into subspace.

Ruse looks to the crystal and Thundercracker. She looks to Divefire, "He didn't know firing would cause this area to become unstable. She then looks back to the gem.. an idea forming.

CatsCradle steps out right behind Diver, her own arms full of crystals. "Thundercracker, has your friend told you what would give her more energy?"

Soundwave transmits a message via radio.

Skywarp says, "Yeah....Maybe it could call off the drones so we can get out.""

Ruse says, "TC... hand me that rock. I think I know. The other crystals used light, in some form... I bet that was this races powersource as well considering the sun above was so close to the planet in the images."

Soundwave looks thoughtful. "I do not believe the defense drones are related to the crystals. The technology is too different."

Thundercracker hesitates for a moment. Finally he hands the gemstone over to Ruse, "Alright, she certainly isn't talking to me."

Divefire shrugs lightly in reply to Soundwave as he puts the last of the crystals away. "We can sift through their remains later and determine who they work for then."

Skywarp pats his friends shoulder..."Its ok Bud.. Iím sure if it is a She ..She liked talkin to ya."

CatsCradle gives Thundercracker a reassuring smile. "Maybe she's just too low on energy for conversations right now."

<LongRange> Starscream says, "Allow me to adjust the targeting on the lasers to the sentry robots but realize I cannot control the stability of the tunnels. Be prepared. Soundwave is there any large computer systems or the like in your area?"

Soundwave says, "We seemed to have activated the defenses as our exploration groups split up."

Thundercracker stares at Skywarp for a moment, "Thanks....I think. Ummm when we report this mission to Megatron can we leave out the part where I talked to the rock for an hour?"

Ravenwing sighs. "Can't we simply move elsewhere, so that the library isn't targeted?"

Ruse takes the gem in her hands. She activates her holoprojection lights, and shines twin beams into the crystal... hoping to bring some life back into it that TC claimed was there.

<LongRange> Soundwave says, "None that we have seen.  Can you adjust the ships' sensors to search for such a thing?"

Skywarp smiles.."Hey Bud..Maybe if we get it working Megatron will let you keep the rock."...doesnít mean that sarcastically this time.

Thunderwing has been watching the gem for a moment, that slightly ominous blankness on his features that is always there when -something- grabs his attention by the throat. He frowns in concentration, "You found this...where? A temple?" The last is directed to Raven, in reference to her report earlier.

Soundwave takes a few steps northward in the direction of the tunnel that he and Striker explored, following a hunch. "We were headed in this direction when I first detected the mechanical sound. Skywarp, Thundercracker, you had not yet reached the temple when the ceiling collapsed, correct?"

Skywarp looks at Sw.."No we didnít... it was right after we split up.

Thundercracker addresses both leaders, "Yes sirs. It was in the temple which we found a while after the ceiling fell."

<LongRange> Starscream says, "I will attempt to do so now"

Ravenwing nods to Thunderwing. "Next to another chamber that magnifies sound. Anything louder than a whisper, and..." She makes a small, circular gesture. "... sonic attack."

CatsCradle can't help it and grins at Ravenwing. "Probably a good thing Starscream wasn't in there with you, then."

Divefire tries very hard not to laugh and manages a slight cough instead at his mates suggestion.

Thunderwing states simply, still frowning. "She feels safe there, I think. Things outside...but never reaching her." Oh, dear, he called the stone 'she', didn't he? So much for the pet rock idea.

Ravenwing blinks at Catscradle and smirks. "Primus help us if he were." As her lord speaks, her attention returns to him and she arches a brow. Thunderwing, captivated by a pet rock?

Thundercracker watch Ruse and the gem, "Is it working? I don't think it is working."

Ruse watches it bounce, and bounce, and.. nothing. She hmms and looks to Thundercracker as she stops projecting the light, "So you just picked it up - and it talked right?" She idly ponders shaking it like a magic 8ball contraption those humans make... feeling somewhat silly now that her idea didn't work.

Soundwave steps further away from the group, his hands brushing the collapsed rubble from the ceiling.

Skywarp says, "Maybe it only works for Tc..."

CatsCradle says. "Maybe it needs natural sunlight?""

<LongRange> Starscream says, "Iím transmitting location to you now Soundwave /burst of binary comes through for Soundwave to pick up/"

Divefire nods slightly in Cats direction. "Solar radiation perhaps?"

CatsCradle quickly corrects herself. "She"

Soundwave says quietly, "Ruse," hoping to draw her away from Thunderwing's communication with the gemstone.

Thundercracker says, "All I did was touch it and it lit up. Can I have it back now please? Or her rather."

Skywarp says, "Solar?..Hay any of us got a infrared projector? Or thermal blaster..maybe that will make it work..""

Ruse shrugs handing it back to TC as Soundwave calls her over. She looks up to him, "Yes commander?"

From beyond the collapsed stone and crystal barrier, a sort of scraping sound starts up, like something beginning to scratch its way through from the other side.

Thunderwing grimaces and drags himself back to the here and now, shaking his head to push away the intruding images. He looks to Ruse, as though waiting to see if she gets any of this aswell.

Skywarp hears something beyond the wall..."Uhm...Guys?"

Soundwave transmits a burst of binary coordinates to Ruse, and indicates the tunnel to the north. "Starscream reports with ships' sensors there is an energy signature in this direction. Striker and I explored there earlier, finding nothing but this planet's native technology. We have apparently missed something that lies concealed." He looks toward the ominous sounds coming from the caved-in rubble.

Skywarp puts his audio to the wall...."I think those drones want in."

The scraping sound begins to take on a deep pounding, a faint shuddering running through the walls as dust begins to filter down from above again.

Thundercracker glances over at the sound. He says to the gem, "Don't worry everything is okay. We won't let anything happen to you. I am probably going to have to go kill something now."

Thunderwing looks from one of his companions to the other, then behind him at the wall. With a renewed sense of urgency, he summarizes what he picked up earlier, "The temple. Thundercracker's friend seems to think she is safe there. As though things were outside, but never reaching her."

Skywarp backs away from the wall...

<LongRange> Soundwave says, "Starscream, we are heading toward the location you have indicated, if we can find the source of the energy you report.  Will keep you informed."

Skywarp says, "O...k..This could get ugly..."

Skywarp charges his weapons...

Ruse looks back, then looks to the northward direction. "Lets go then, quickly before whatever breaks through."

Soundwave shakes his head in response to Thunderwing's suggestion, and indicates the tunnel northwards. "I suggest this direction." He looks up. "And hurriedly."

Some of the caved-in rubble slides down onto the floor as the pounding from outside intensifies.

Divefire glances across to the wall with the pounding starting to put a nice fine sheen of crystal dust on his armour. "Some one just make the call in the next minute or we're going to be fighting out way out of here."

Skywarp says, "Now would be a good time ta go..."

Soundwave waits no longer and simply heads for the tunnel, hoping others will follow.

<LongRange> Starscream says, "Understood I will monitor and inform you of anything you need to know."

Thundercracker charges his weapons as well, "Look on the bright side Skywarp, at least they are not rock creatures." He pauses a moment and says to the gem, "No offense intended."

Skywarp says, "Hurry Tc..You go first!"

CatsCradle grumbles, "The last time I was in a cave-in, I got sent back in time..." She catches Diver's arm, determined not to get separated this time.

Thunderwing surveys the situation, then nods to Soundwave and follows him. A thought strikes him and even as he begins drawing back from the wall, he lowers his voice and comments wryly, for the exceptional hearing of Ravenwing only.

Divefire would offer a mild smirk of amusement but frankly he's a little to concerned right at this moment to do humour and simply nods, moving for the tunnel in step with Cats.

Tunnel

     This is a straight passage, one of the few that seem to exist in the underground realm of the dead planet. It slopes sharply downward - or upward, depending on the direction of travel - and is littered with a layer of broken crystal shards that shatter further under each footfall. The faceted pieces have apparently been broken off from along the sides and ceiling of the passage by something that has barreled through here, and in places the translucent stone has been ground to a fine powder. Many of the broken facets look recent, also, rather than being dulled by the dust and grime of the ages.

Soundwave is searching along the wall, trying to match the coordinates Starscream sent him, with his visual input, but is seeing nothing helpful.

Ravenwing takes a few moments to examine the tunnel and nods to herself. What she deduces is already obvious, so she says nothing.

Ruse follows, huffing. o O(That gem is the key to all this. For now though survival is more important than solving any mystery.) She looks to Soundwave, then begins tapping on the walls, pushing on shards, looking for a hallow point or lever... some way to gain entry to the energy source. She states after afew moments while still trying, "We may have to try blasting in."

The pounding is less intense here, but it's still possible to feel the faint vibrations, and little bits of rock and crystal are starting to rain down here as well.

Ravenwing says, "If I knew these tunnels better, I'd try to draw them off..."

Thundercracker calmly looks behind the group for the drones. He then says to the rock, "Oh I don't believe I ever introduced everyone. I told you who I was but not everyone else. You know if you can't hear me I am making a fool out of myself."
Soundwave would be halfway amused and halfway intrigued by Thundercracker's friendly chatter with the gemstone under other circumstances.

Thunderwing follows the others and scowls as...something breaks through the annoying niggling sensation of the white noise of the high background radiation. With the air of someone willing to try anything, just because there seems to be little other choice, given the situation, the Valckastan reaches out and presses his palm against the tunnel wall...only to have his hand and part of his wrist go -through- the up until now seemingly solid rock. "Blasting...may not be necessary." he points out, somewhat unnecessarily.

Ruse hand suddenly vanishes into the wall. She sounds at first surprised then cheerful, "Wha- a hologram!" Truly this world would be heaven to her if they were not in such a stressful situation.

Thunderwing pays little heed to anyone else now and simply...walks through the wall. Perhaps not the brightest thing to do, all things considered, but...

Ravenwing blinks as the two simultaneously hit on... or not hit on... whatever it is they're looking for.

A radio transmission is received by Soundwave.

Divefire just watches for the moment, pondering the idea of transforming and taking a scan of the area, but as Thunderwing manages to fall through the wall he decides the gesture is some what unnecessary. Instead he asks to Soundwave as he steps forward to take a closer look at this projection of light, "Soundwave, did Starscream get a head count of how many of these hunter machines there are?"

Soundwave turns to the Valckastans as they find something, as simultaneously more bits of ceiling shower down.

Thundercracker is staying calm as usual, "The guy with his hand in the wall is Lord Thunderwing, he is one of the bosses. Soundwave is the other boss. Ruse is the small on,no offense Ruse. Skywarp is the one that looks like me and those two over there are Divefire and Cats. Oh and the other one is Ravenwing."

Soundwave replies to Divefire with a less precise answer than he usually prefers, "More than we can easily handle."

A radio transmission is received by Soundwave.

Skywarp looks at the gem.."Hiya..Glad to.....Now you got me doing it..."

Soundwave follows Thundering into the seemingly solid rock wall of the tunnel.

Ravenwing goes to the spot where she last saw her Lord, scowling viciously, and begins the same prodding at the wall, muttering something about leashes.

Divefire optics narrow slightly at Soundwave's inclination, rather then the words. "Wonderful."

CatsCradle says, "More than we can't easily handle, or so many that it's impossible to handle?" She sighs and shrugs. "Hey, we fought our way through millions of zombies, what's a few sentries?" She tugs at Divers arm again towards where the others disappeared"

<LongRange> Soundwave says, "It seems we have discovered the control center, Starscream."
Control Center

     Very clearly distinct from the rest of the underground realm, this square chamber has been carved out of the rock with disproportionately smooth walls and edges. It is filled with equipment that is very obviously out of place in comparison to the other rooms: items that would be recognizable to most species as technology. A computer bank under a faintly glowing forcefield blinks silently to itself, tracking or sending some signal. An array of antennae or other sensory probes bristles from its consoles, still under the protection of the forcefield. Those with a sensitivity to it, would sense a steady stream of command signals emanating from this equipment. Some of the recipients of those commands stand nearby, deceptively calm: big dark hulking battle droids with featureless "faceplates" and arms consisting of plasma cannons. At the moment, they stand motionless, but there is clearly power in them, as indicated by the steady blink of amber lights that gleam approximately where the eyes should be on a living robot.

Thundercracker asks the gem, "I don't suppose these are friends of yours?"

Divefire walks through the hologram shield and into the room to stop. Dead. "Our situation has not improved." He murmurs in a dark tone."

Ravenwing swears viciously, but in a whisper. While she doesn't seem to have any weaponry, her posture indicates otherwise. She takes stock of the room with a few quick glances, then follows her Lord's lead in remaining still. The more information they can get about this situation, the better they can handle it.

<LongRange> Starscream says, "Very good. Have you found anything we can use? I donít want this venture to be a total loss."

As the rest of the Decepticons enter the control chamber, the drones present begin to give off a hum, their lights blinking on and off at an increased pace.

Skywarp !!>.."Uhm....S..Soundwave..."

Skywarp says, "I think we woke em up.""

<LongRange> Soundwave says, "We have samples and some ... interesting materials.  However, we have additional problems now."

Thunderwing takes care not to move, even though this seems somewhat redundant now. "Ah. Our hosts may wish to greet us, it seems."

Soundwave reflexively draws his handweapon as the drones hum to full activation status and begin to slowly raise their gun-arms.

<LongRange> Starscream says, "Like what? I detect nothing on the sensors at present"

<LongRange> Soundwave conspicuously does not reply

CatsCradle studies the forcefield and the control panel it surrounds. "I gather we need to get to that?"

Thundercracker carefully places to gem behind something, "Stay there I am just going to go kill something real quick." He charges his weapons.

Thundercracker drops Green Gemstone.

Skywarp charges his weapons.

Divefire summons his electro sword with a motion of his hand as he narrows his optics to asses the threat these drones give out. "Just don't shake hands with them." He mutters again in a sort of reply to Thunderwing.

Ruse examines the situation... and scowls. She summons a discbomb from subspace, "Looks like we can't avoid a fight no matter which way we go."

The closest drones zero in on those moving the most, namely Soundwave, Thundercracker, Ruse.

<LongRange> Starscream says, "Oh wait belay that statement. There is an impressive power spike emanating from your location."

One spins on Divefire as he draws the sword.

<LongRange> Starscream says, "What does that powerspike signify from your 'vantage' point Soundwave?"

You say, "umm... they seem to be getting more antsy at the sight of weapons....""

Ravenwing notes quietly, "Don't forget that there are still other drones outside as well." She stands lightly, ready for the fireworks to start. Motion sensitive, are they. Still unmoving, certain interior gunports shift slightly, zeroing in on a group of drones.

Several of the drones unleash a barrage of laserbolts at their chosen targets.

Soundwave manages to dodge the laserbolt aimed at him, as it sizzles right past his shoulder, as he fires in response.

Thunderwing starts to reply to Divefire's comment, but is cut short as the drones open fire. He summons a blade of his own, but does not move otherwise, still testing another one of those theories of his.

The drones look tough, but their aim isn't the greatest as they miss the moving targets of Ruse, Divefire, and Thundercracker, their blasts scoring the walls behind the Decepticons.

Soundwave turns to unleash a blast at the forcefield covering the computer, but the energy is harmlessly absorbed.

Thundercracker dives out of the way of the blast. He says almost happily, "And I thought we weren't going to get to kill anything." He raises his arms and returns fire.

CatsCradle notices the bad aim of the drones and after a brief second of hesitation, darts forward for the forcefield and control panel, dodging shots and laser blasts

Ravenwing, unmoving, also opens fire from hidden gunports in her armour. If these drones react to motion, why then they will pay her little heed while she destroys them. It's been an annoying day, and she doesn't mind blowing away some in-the-way drones...

Ruse begins leaping about, dodging laserbolts. She takes aim at forcefeild following Soundwave's lead, and frizbees a explosive disc at the ground near it!

Divefire reaction is rather less of the scientist in him and rather more of the warrior as the drone that's taken a personal interest in him sends a blast towards him, which thankfully goes a little wide of the mark as he charges forward to get up close and personal with the robotic bouncers. Of course if they are attracted to motion then there might as well be a large neon sign above Divefire's head saying in bold pink neon letters. Shoot Me.

One of the drones is hit dead-on by Thundercracker, another by Ravenwing, and while they don't explode spectacularly, they do show significant armor panel damage that spins them off their aim, their shots becoming more erratic still, and bouncing off the chamber walls.

Thunderwing watches the other 'cons dive out of the way of the blasts and judges them to be suitable distraction for the guardian drones. Moving off to one side with a speed that entirely belies his mass, the Valckastan Lord follows Ruse's example in attempting to reach the control panel.

Ruse's explosive blasts some of the ground upward into a fine powder of stone, but the forcefield around the controls stays intact.

Soundwave dodges sideways again - he's not the most agile being in the cosmos, but he can try to draw the attackers' attention while others try to get through the forcefield.

Ravenwing notes both her Lord and Ruse heading in and makes the slightest of movements, a matter of centimeters, to try to provide cover fire for the two.

Thundercracker attempts to give Ruse and Thunderwing some cover fire. He says to the gem, "If you have something to contribute now would be a good time!"

Soundwave is clipped by a laserbolt from an onrushing drone, which sears off half the paint on his left shoulder.

CatsCradle skids to a stop in front of the forcefield, studying it for a quick moment as she ducks stray and not-so-stray shots. Her fingers flash, weaving arcs of energy into her own forcefield, bubbling and curving in front of her, and in a quick step, she moves forward, pushing her 'field against the one surrounding the control panel.

The nearest drone to Divefire singes him with a laser blast as well, while Thundercracker's shot blasts open part of the side of one of the attackers. Ravenwing and Thunderwing's fire keeps two others off guard and unsure of where their targets lie.

In response to CatsCradle's action, the existing forceshield flickers a little. They're not compatible harmonics, but close - close enough to confuse the generator and allow an opening to grow in the protective layer.

Thunderwing narrowly avoids incoming fire, but has little choice but to stay moving. As he works out what Cats is trying to do, he nods in approval at the femme's quick mind and turns on his heel, opening fire on the drones to attempt to intercept any incoming fire that might...distract the other Decepticon.

The green gemstone, meanwhile, sparkles in its corner without offering any comment.

Ruse doesn't throw another. It would be a waste. o O(Conventions means wont unshield it. However something has to be giving it power.) She growls and dodges around the shielded computer, trying to avoid getting hit while drawing fire.

The forcefield deflects Ruse's attempt to get through from that angle.

Ravenwing keeps up her cover fire, almost like a statue. Only the slightest twistings to bring other of her built-in weaponry in line to fire. Outside of that, she could almost be a simple observer but for the firepower she's pouring in that direction.

Soundwave moves deliberately to draw the drones away still, noticing CatsCradle's actions. "CatsCradle, attempt to destroy the controls!" he calls.

Divefire features narrow as he's singed with laser fire, which for now he simply ignores and pushes through, barreling towards the closest drone with his sword cracking with energy in reply to the drones. With a controlled aggression he shifts into a fast spin, bring his weapon across the frame of the drone, slicing across it's armour with the blade as it discharges its energy into the robots frame.

CatsCradle steps through the opening and shifts her 'field aside just long enough to draw her laser pistol and fire at the control panel, then she ducks behind her field again in anticipation of an explosion.

Ruse is forced back. She leaps back, drawing her rifle again... as she is clipped in the shoulder. "Ah! Blasted things!"

As Divefire's attack strikes and Ruse is clipped by laser fire, the console explodes in a shower of sparks and a plume of roiling black smoke - which immediately immobilizes the remaining drones moving in on the other Decepticons. For a moment they freeze in place in mid-motion - then their cannon-arms slowly lower and the lights fade out.

Thunderwing stops attempting to pick off the drones one by one as they suddenly fall silent. Though far from relaxing at this change in events, he nevertheless shakes his head at the sight that surrounds him.

CatsCradle peeks around her 'field with an expression of surprise. "Whatdya know... it worked!"

Simultaneously the faint pounding from beyond, falls silent as well.

Ravenwing doesn't relax, but finally begins to move again, cautiously for fear of tripping another trap. She takes a careful look around, then blinks and points at another doorway. "Was that there when we came in?"

Soundwave slowly lowers his gun as well, favoring his scorched shoulder a little.

Thunderwing looks at the doorway indicated by Raven, "I believe it was."

Ruse holsters her rifle, and grips her shoulder as she growls, "I hope we don't run into anything else." Slowly she to the door Ravenwing points out.

Soundwave looks in the direction Ravenwing indicates. "The defense drones would have blocked us from reaching it, very likely." He steps forward, listening intently for more trouble.

<LongRange> Soundwave resumes communication, "Problem momentarily solved, Starscream.  Are you still getting power readings with the ship's sensors?"

<Guest> Soundwave growls.

Divefire takes a moment to actually realize his intended target has stopped moving as he slams a backhand across it's face and falls back to regroup a second, which is then he notices the fact no one is being shot at. "What happened?" He asks in an oblivious manour.

CatsCradle lets the energy from her 'field dissipate, shaking her hands slightly as the remaining sparks flicker from her fingertips. She grins smugly at Diver, rocking on her heels.

<LongRange> Starscream says, " Its all stopped. No energy what so ever after that spike. Whatís going on?"

Ravenwing lets Soundwave investigate the door while she takes a better look around the control room, frowning. Of all the people present, she almost seems to recognize it. Looking to her Lord, she almost says something, but falls silent, merely giving him a wry, amused look. Apparently an inside joke.

Soundwave edges toward the other entrance, hearing nothing beyond.

<LongRange> Soundwave says, "We are intact, for the most part."

Thunderwing catches Raven's look and nods, his expression somewhere between a scowl and an amused smirk.

<LongRange> Starscream says, " Well thatís a relief. . ."

Divefire catches Cats smug look and raises a brow in her direction, stepping towards her and keeping his sword drawn. "Must I guess or will you tell me?"

CatsCradle chuckles and points at the control panel as it smokes and spits out sparks. "I broke it."

Thunderwing finally gets to take a closer look at the panel they fought so hard to access. If his initial reaction to the archives were nothing short of fascinated, he seems entirely unsurprised at what he finds here. Indeed, after only the most cursory of evaluations, he walks back across the room and picks up the gem, apparently deciding to take over the task of carrying it around until Thundercracker gets around to reclaiming his friend.

Ravenwing idly wonders if her Lord will also hear voices and smirks. He'd just love that... "Shall we go? Soundwave has been gone for some time now."

Thunderwing examines the gem more closely, now that he has the chance, then nods to Raven, "Perhaps that would be for the best. Just because we have not seen them, it does not necessarily mean there are no backup systems. I have had quite enough of drones for one cycle." With that, he too walks out through the doorway.

<LongRange> Starscream says, "Soundwave, if you and the rest are done playing that human archeologist Iím coming down to get all of you."


Underground Realm Extension

     The initial levels of the underground are made of the same burnt, brittle substance as the surface, but with increasing depth, a conscious design becomes clear in the lay-out of the tunnels and open areas. With increased depth, too, the lining of the walls and ceiling become coated with crystals, initially small and sharp-edged like an abstract growth of stone moss - and then increasingly beset with larger shards that follow a repetitive pattern. Colors and arrangements of crystal clusters seem to denote the purpose or destination of particular passages. There even seems to be a type of technology in place, since any imported light or energy source is picked up and amplified by the crystal lining of the walls and redirected into multiple patterns. There's a message and a language here, but it would take a great deal of further study to decipher.


Planet Lutha

     The surface is blackened and brittle, an unrecognizable layer of rubble shattering to bits under each footfall. It's conceivable that once there might have been buildings here, or vegetation, or other structures - but now there's just an endless, uneven plain of soot under an oppressive dark sky. Here and there if the beam of a lamp should sweep across the ground, some bits of broken crystal still catch the light to reflect it from a broken surface. The background radiation is quite strong on this world, but otherwise all is silent, and extremely cold. There is a sense that any visitor to this world is an unwelcome intruder on a scene of long-ago catastrophe.


Ravenwing stays beside Thunderwing, keeping an optic on the distracted Lord and wondering how she's going to explain this to Spinister. Nahhhhhh, let Thunderwing do his own explaining.

Starscream sets the ship down perfectly and opens the side door.

Soundwave looks over the group, his gaze lingering on Thunderwing with the gemstone for a moment - then he leads the way into the ship.


Starship <Harbinger>(#1157LOQae)

     Reinforced steel bulkheads curve steeply on both sides of this ship's interior, more comfortable than most transports and certainly more elegant. There are two rows of seats staggered on each side of the center aisle, cushioned for both protection and comfort. The seats can swivel towards the aisle and fold back into beds for the passengers.

     Ahead of the passenger section is the bridge, complete with pilot and co-pilot seats, delicate and complex controls and instrumentation, and the six monitor screens, each displaying visual readings of the relational directions.

     Towards the rear is a fully-equipped lab with a vast array of securely-anchored instruments. In one corner is a shielded area for isolating possibly dangerous samples, and adjoining it is some standard decontamination equipment. Past that, at the far back of the ship is a good-sized cargo hold.

Soundwave is covered by a coating of rock dust himself, and his left shoulder is singed and somewhat damaged, but he goes to his accustomed place at one of the sensor stations. With a nod to Starscream, he reports, "We have samples of the technology, though it will take some deciphering to make sense of it."

CatsCradle curls up in one of the seats. "Diver and I nabbed all the crystals we could."

Ruse takes a seat, grasping her shoulder still. She hisses, "If we come back for whatever power might remain, we should bring a larger force."

Starscream walks over to him and looks him over, "Lets hope it was worth it, If not its my cogs."

Skywarp sits in the seat next to Tc....dusting himself off.

CatsCradle beams at Starscream. "Don't worry too much about it. After all, you could have been trapped with us in the small underground caverns."

Starscream looks around at everyone else then and then looks to Ruse, "You are damaged?"

Ravenwing has her own coating of crystalline glitter sparkling on her dark blue-black form, but doesn't seem to have more than a few scratches. She immediately heads for the pilot's console and takes her place there, scowling that Starscream might have messed with it. She runs a careful check, then starts the pre-flight sequence.

Starscream gives a mean look to Catscradle. "But I wasn....." he smirks, "Maybe next time I will forget to rescue you too."

CatsCradle grins back at him. "Oh, that definitely would take some explaining."

Thunderwing finds a seat and sinks down into it, still more or less completely engrossed in his contemplation of the large green gem he is carrying.

Skywarpís black and purple has a sparkling look to it from the crystal dust...

Ruse replies simply, "Its nothing Starscream... and YES it would Starscream."

Starscream smirks a bit lighter, "Yes you have a point Cats."

CatsCradle examines her claw tips. "A few of them, actually."

Starscream decides to walk away from her and goes to his pilots seat.

Starscream says, "Ruse see that Soundwave takes a look at your damage soon."

Soundwave says, "I will be curious as to what Megatron will make of our find." He looks back at Thunderwing again. "And perhaps I will have the opportunity to investigate further myself.""

Skywarp sighs and leans back his wing still smoking a bit from the drones blast...

Ravenwing's attention is on her instruments, and once the check is complete, she announces, "Lifting off in one moment." That's all the warning she gives before taking the ship gently upwards, running radar sweeps for any unfriendlies in the area.

Ravenwing pilots the ship towards Lutha System.

The journey through space is thankfully uneventful.

 Airfield

        This huge, flat expanse is a tangle of runways, lights, windsocks, guidance units and control relay interfaces. The broad vault of the sky stretches high above and while the walls of Polyhex are large, they cannot serve to keep flyers from taking off into the sky.


Ravenwing sets her ship down gently and waits for the passengers to disembark.

Skywarp wakes up and stretches...

Soundwave rises and nods to Ravenwing in thanks for her piloting, then looks to Starscream. "I will see to repairs in Polyhex, then we will contact Megatron."

CatsCradle grins. "Does this count as a pleasant or unpleasant surprise?"

Starscream nods quietly

Soundwave's optic band brightens a bit in a smile. "That will remain to be seen."


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