Title: Little Base of Horrors
Date: 27 May 2015
NPCs: Vehicons (OC/Megatron), Soundwave & Institute staff (Megatron)
Summary: A raid on an Institute laboratory turns into a rescue mission when Soundwave is captured.
Protihex. It is a city that is in constant flux. The citizens there seek change on a nearly nonstop basis, modifying themselves and their things. The landscape is transformed as buildings are moved, rebuilt or redesigned. Odd then, perhaps, how one lot has remained... empty. For thousands of years a whole block in the center of Protihex has remained empty, void of anything... that is, until an hour ago.
A building, sleek and void of windows offering a view in, appeared out of nowhere. It is twenty stories tall at least and who knows how deep it might go.
Nit long after it just showed up, some very bulky and heavily armed soldiers exited the building to establish a perimeter. Any not that gets close or questioned has been shot - dead. There is a ring of scattered corpses between these armed drones and the local authorities that have established their own perimeter.
See, operating on rumors that The Institute (what remains of it) has hidden in Protihex, Soundwave has gone to the city to investigate. Only moments before this building appeared he sent out a distress signal - scrambled, both to their not he trusts (Overclock) and to Hotlink. Megatron as well received notice, and he has dispatched Thunder cracker (and Sixshot) to get his communications expert back. Since Megatron was set to meet with Hot Rod ass this word came in, instead the Con leader will have tasked Sixshot to bring Rod here... and instructed all Cons to follow the Nyonese bot's lead.
There are precious few things more certain to get a swift response from Hot Rod than rumors that THE INSTITUTE has reared its shadowy head. He's all fire on approach: righteous indignation burning as sure as the flames of his paint job. Then they land. And -- and people looking to him? For a lead?
"Hey, 'cracker," Hot Rod throws out with an excessively friendly casual air that presumes much of the handful of friendly interactions they've had. From his tone, one might almost think them amica instead of acquaintances. Overclock and Sixshot receive familiar nods, and Hotlink a curious glance. "So what's the plan?" he asks, and then waits for someone not him to lead. Yep.
Thundercracker gives a nod at the Autobot and says, "Leave nothing bigger then a microbe of this place when we are done."
Hotlink found it only fitting that someone who was with the Malware Brigade would be kicking down the door to a place like this. He didn't care who was helping at this point. If they wanted this nightmare gone? He'd take their help no matter what their actual motive was for helping with it. With the call for help from Soundwave he was very quick to reply to the call.
With his orders from Megatron clear, he was ready, Hot Rod might be a bot? But he'd always stuck it to the system and had to make a horrible call. Hot Link didn't envy Hot Rod for the call he made. Still the seeker thinks he made the right one. He chose to grant his people a quick death and to take the attackers with them in an act of defiance.
"Time to make the scraplets behind this pay up, and the name's Hot Link."
Yup another Seeker, seriously it's a good thing they colour code themselves, it might be hard to ID them some days otherwise.
"I got just the thing for that too, Thundercracker."
Overclock is only familiar with the Institute through rumor and stories that have passed through the Decepticon ranks but what she's heard have been more than enough to put the femme on the front line against them. She's not here for the Institute though; a distress signal from Soundwave is one of the surest ways to get the femme's attention and as she runs up to the group in her alt-mode, it's all that's going through her circuits. "Scout... find a weak spot... find Soundwave," she instructs tersely with a noticeable drawl. A pair of Vehicons beside her rev their engines as the Insectibeast looks towards the perimeter. "Here's a freq for tactical," she offers, sharing a spare frequency by burst transmission. "Once we're inside I can sniff him out."
Upon recieving instructions, Sixshot made sure to take the Nyonese bot along with any others through a few hidden paths. Stopping near where the signal originated he glances to the Seekers and nods, "Thats the simple version of the plan. Unless 'you' decide otherwise.", his gaze turning towards Hot Rod for a moment, barely nodding to Overclock as he adds, "Unless you don't feel up to the trust Megatron has put upon you to lead this mission?"
After going to all the effort of looking to someone else for a lead, Hot Rod immediately disagrees: "Focus on getting the victims out, first. If one of the staff slips away, fine. Focus on saving the people. If we're lucky, no one has to die, and we can turn them all in."
(Of course the first thing he'd do on receiving asked-for input from some other authority is buck it. It's just what he does. Hot Rods gotta Hot Rod.)
Giving Sixshot a sidelong glance, Hot Rod ... ignores his question. Yes, that is a good answer. Ignoring it. He squares his shoulders and wings his spoiler high. "If the building just popped up, I'm guessing there's no way to get an idea of layout. 'Cracker, you could probably stun people pretty well, maybe draw them away so that the rest of us could slip through, yeah?"
The arrival and thus gathering of the more notably recognizable types outside the building sure draw the attention of those sentry drones. They are bulky, broad and powerful looking - at least in appearance. Six of them gather and then advance towards the bots that are gathered around the flame-wearing one. As they approach it becomes clear that the weapons they hold *aren't* being held but rather are manifestations of them own appendages. Their march towards the group is heavy and there is a hissing groan that comes with them - pained expressions from the featureless brutes that approach - weapons up and ready.
"Paiiiiiin," one of them intones as it fires - right at Sixshot! That causes the others of this advancing group, this forward six, to open fire as well. "Allll that isss knowwnn nowww isss paaiiiinnn."
Behind them there are ten more of these things, still stationed outside the mysterious building.
Thundercracker was about to answer the flaming autobot when the sentry drones make their move. "I got this." he says and leaps to transform into jet mode. With a full afterburner ignition, the blue Seeker climbs up fast and levels out straight for the drones. He stays low and as he gets above them he sends a ping of wanring to everyones radio to brace and then he unleashes his namesake right over the sentries. That should shake them up a bit.
And just like that, Overclock doesn't mind Hot Rod. Victim's first is the kind of direction she was hoping to hear although with her engine idling as hot as it is, a few casualties might be unavoidable. The sound of approaching sentries draws the Insecticon's attention away and she growls at the approaching guards, first in anger, then in confusion as their words reach her audios. "What the scrap?..."
There's only so much the sensor-sensitive beastformer can do with Thundercracker's warning and she winces as the boom rattles her systems before running off to the side and splitting away from the group, leaving one of the two Vehicons behind. In part it's a flanking maneuver, but it also gives her a broader area to sniff and hopefully pick up Soundwave's trail. Better to let the Seeker draw their attention for now.
"Slag, just what we don't need, lobotimized soldiers," Sixshot scowls behind his faceplate before quickly moving to avoid the shots, blasters in hand. He waits for a moment and braces himself as Thundercracker waiting for the effect to fade as he says, "Don't even bother thinking of trying to save these ones. Its too late and we're doing them a favor by ending the pain."
Thundercracker barrels rolls and banks back somehow almost in the same move and as he comes up on the sentries again he unleashes both his wing lasers. There are already peices of sentry on the ground from his sonic boom and he adds more to the pile as his wing lasers slice into them brutally. Of course they are returning fire and a couple of times the blue Seeker commander is grazed but nothing bad enough to slow him down at this point.
Even with the warning, even with the /obvious/ suffering -- Hot Rod hesitates. When he joins in with the others, he moves to disable rather than kill: shooting weapons, hands, arms when he needs to, or knock them out with a short, sharp blow to the head. Even his weaponry is designed to temporarily short out an enemy's microcircuits rather than fry them to a crisp.
IN SHORT: Softie.
Hot Rod loses the almost anxious edge as they fight against the drones, throwing himself into it without hesitation, full-sparked. By the time they get to the building, he's even smiling. "What do you think? Find a door, or make one?"
Someone forgot about collateral damage.
- ka-BOOOM!* Thundercracker's boom goes off like a bomb over the heads of those drones and they were clearly not prepared for it. They stagger, off-balance and open for any effort to take them down. "Yessssss, ennd it," the speakering one *pleads* as it starts to regain it's proper footing. Whatever sufffering they are going through will have to wait as they are taken care of.
As Hot Rod & others make it to the building - he is right. There is no door! At least not an apparent one. The entire exterior is a complex network of shielding and coding. They could try shooting their way in or if there was someone skilled at hacking such things...
The other drones around the building move to engage as the crew make it to the building. Some of them - alter their form! They sprout wings and take to the air, to chase after Thundercracker! Others remain on the ground, shooting at the crew as they seek to get inside.
It is weak but one of those Vehicons with Overclock turns to her. "Beneath. What is above houses the cloaking technology for the building. I am being held below the structure."
Hotlink says "You got a point, the poor hulks in here, either need to be freed if they can be saved." The seeker has no issue in rescuing bots from here, after all they might be possible new comrdes in arms once they have had time to recover, right? There's a disturbed look on the seeker's face as he beholds what's going on. What happned to those bots? What did this place do to them?! He brings up one of his arm lasers and opens fire attempting to bring them down as quickly as possible. He gets these ones cna't be saved, but he's not cruel he is trying to put them down quiclly as possible, he also wishes to find the ones who /did/ this very badly. He will however not gun downa ny of them that hotrod stuns. Whatever can be done for them can be handled later.
"I can make a door if we need it."
OK one told Thundercracker he wasnt going to be the only one with Aireal party favors. He spins around when he sees several morph wings and take off after him. Then he turns and lets them take off after him. He turns toward the building and begins to manuver them in how they chase him leading at least one to smash into the building. The rest he draws away and turns and fires on.
<< Their minds have been *erased*? Primus what happened to them... >> Overclock asks in surprise as she stares at the brutes, then growls as the implication sinks in and hot air hisses from her vents. The Vehicon by Sixshot transforms and begins to fire back with a laser mounted in its own arm as the one beside the Insecticon does the same, the group switching in unison from defense to offense. The femme herself joins in as well and eschews fire for more visceral methods. The beastformer pounces on the first guard she gets a good line on and stabs him with her tail, pumping her paralytic venom into his joints before leaping off and moving to another. Her methods are visibly messier than Hot Rod's and operating up close, the Insecticon makes sure to sever critical fuel lines on some but not all of the guards she passes.
Once she comes up by Hot Rod, she licks a fleck of energon from her muzzle and audibly sniffs the air. "Find one--" Overclock turns to her closest Vehicon and stares, then nods and turns back to the Nyonese rebel. "You heard Soundwave - down... give me room." Backing away slightly from the structure itself, the Insecticon opens her mouth and breathes a narrow jet of plasma at the ground before cutting at it with her claws. As thick as the walls are at the surface, they can't go underground forever.
Sixshot doesn't waste anytime as he looks back to the drones not listening to any protests as he quickly fires on those that continue to move forward. Optics focused on targeting vital components. In his brain module images of his past barely flash. Good thing Soundwave is probably far enough not to view as the mech forced back images of the experiments performed on himself along with Quickswitch among other Cybertronians.
Infact he ignores any protests as he fires any that were just disabled saying to himself, "To think once this could have been a similar fate for me." He waits for the others to create a entrance, optics scanning for more enemies.
"That's one way to make a door." Hot Rod chases the wince from his features as Thundercracker delivers the blow that breaks the building open. He flashes Hotlink a quick grin: "Next time, huh?"
Guns up, Hot Rod's all set to throw himself through when Overclock starts digging away. "--whoa," he says, sounding something between impressed and intimidated. "No one ever thinks about going down. I got away from the Autobots that way, once," he brags, like there weren't /totally/ other Autobots actually helping him get away. No. He did it all one his own. Definitely didn't need help from others.
Hotlink says "Sounds like more of the Primes dirty laundry." His own tools are not needed to making the door as Thundercracker makes a way in, he then pulls out a new weapon it looks strange, flamethrowers are not a very standard weapon after all. He moves in to cover Overclock. "We can't be leaving Soundwave waiting."
Thundercracker continues to harrang and shake apart and blast to bits the drones outside that just keep coming. He uses a mixture of all his fighting abilities with the occasional sonic boom thrown in for good measure.
The assessment that the drones are mindless is a mostly accurate one. They certainly possess far less of their minds since they have been operated on, knowing little more than the constant pain they are in. That clouds their minds - what is left of them - which makes them easy pickings. They clearly aren't an elite force but rather more likely ... a diverse, or a delay tactic.
Going down is the same as going in - in that you can get into the building. It is sterile and quiet inside. There is a constant hum to the empty hallways you shall find yourself in, which comes from the vast machinery above. There is a whine to them though - sabotage no doubt. Perhaps Soundwave's doing? Doing that got him captured.
There are no personnel above ground but below, well, that's where the labs are. Disected bits of Cybertronians are nearly everywhere. There's the scurry of random bots to try and flee as the crew enters. But there's also something large that clanks towards them.
There is a large room, like a hangar in size, or an auditorium, that on the opposite side is a heavily sealed door. The Vehicon that spoke to Overclock points; in there. What stands before them, however, is a *thing*. It is far larger than Overclock and even more grotesque in its form. It is vaguely Insecticon-like, with fourteen spikey legs and two long segmented barbed tails. an array of eyes take in the would-be visitors and its mandibles open to led out a challenging roar.
"No offense," Hot Rod asides to Overclock, "but that thing has /way/ too many -- everything." Too many legs, too many tails, too many eyes. "Probably compensating for something." With that cocky assertion, he throws himself forward and transforms to drive right between its legs so that he can come up shooting on the other side when the others attack from the front. Friendly fire? Look at how he's /painted/. Surely no one could hit him by /accident/. (Maybe on purpose. Wouldn't blame them.)
<< Insecticon, >> Overclock answers tersely to Hot Rod as she walks down the hole as it forms. The heat of her plasma has smoothed any jagged edges but left the surfaces semiliquid and still painfully hot. The femme's paws glow with absorbed heat to no effect as she disappears from the surface layer and works downwards along the edge of the building until she finds a weak enough section to make an exit for her tunnel. Silently, a focused thought is sent out to Soundwave as she breaks into a laboratory room and looks around.
No Soundwave yet, but... the Insecticon growls at the macabre display she finds. << I wonder how many corpses it took to make all this... >> Heading out the room, Overclock's sense of smell leads her on as she finally catches the blue carrier's scent, tailed still by one Vehicon. << This way! I've got his scent. >> Feeling her command of it slip again, she turns to the direction the Decepticon drone is pointing - and stares.
The spirited femme is speechless at the sight of what's blocking her path and instinctively she hails it over Wavespeech even in spite of its roar. Crouching down, the Insecticon braces herself for a more serious fight and roars back in her own style. Her engine redlines in a cacophonous rumble that echoes in the large room, her tail points skyward... and a gout of mingled flame and plasma blast out at the front of the monstrosity. Hot Rod should be fine; red means fire-proof right? Or maybe he can use it as a shield.
Hotlink does not say a thing, as they move through this hell. He sees some fleeing, they can run all they like, they will be found, they will be made to pay for what they did. Then comes the hulking monster, that's no normal insecticon at all. He levels his flamethrower it powers up and fire a burst of powerful flame trying to keep the creature at bay.
Hotlink just can't help himself sometimes in a fight like this, seriously horrible monster that might have once been an insecticon.
Sixshot doesn't even comment as he looks at the abomination, moving from the others and quickly protoforming to tank mode. Turning towards the thing he quickly starts to let loose with his turret mounted guns. He doesn't cease fire as he moves forward to attempt to ram into one set of legs.
Whether he hits or not he quickly moves to avoid any counterattacks. Panels shifting as the multichanger quickly changes again this time and moves to hover into the air in his floating artillery (gun mode), once more peppering the creature with shots.
Above, Thundercracker is proving what it is to be a Seeker, that the Cybertronian skies aren't meant for everything with wings. Boom after boom, he will secure the skies for himself alone.
Below ground, the beasticon gives to Wavespeech answer to Overclock for it is no real Insecticon. It is no real anything, but rather a clobbered together experiment. One that goes up in flames. Bombarded from all sides by flames, its feet are swept out from under it by Sixshot. It goes down - hard - and it does not get up. Six shots to keep it down? It is little more than molten slag after the barrage of Overclock, Hotlink and... yes, as the smoke clears there stands Hot Rod.
The massive sealed door is the only barrier now. "Hurry," the speaking Vehicon urges. Through force or clever digital manipulation, the door will open to reveal... an elaborate laboratory, a private one. It is round and in the center is an operating table, shaped much like an anvil. Splayed and restraigned over it, chest up, is Soundwave. He looks rather battered and abused for his troubles. Over him stands a bot, one unfamiliar to ... well, everyone. silver and black, the lanky mech with a red visor looks startled to see the door open. So much so that he drops the hammer and chisel he was about to use to crack the carrier open. "Oh my," he gasps.
Behind him are two tanks, within each are suspected figures. One if a spikey dark shape and the other a lean, slick racer type frame that is possibly blue-ish.
-- Radio: D-Con-Mission -- Hotlink says, "We need a medical team ready, we found Soundwave and he's in bad shape."
With all the fire (and /fire/), one might be a little surprised that Hot Rod's reaction is just a cackling, "Nice!" He's unbothered by the heat or the closeness of the shots. He waits with visible impatience for the door to open -- but let's face it, in terms of force OR cleverness, he's outmatched by others.
Once the door is open, he steps flame-first from the (stunningly and appropriately scenic, nice work, team) diminishing haze of smoke to enter the room. Hot Rod holds his hands up. What might be a peaceful gesture from other, softer species is instead made a threat by the silvered pipes that run the lengths of his forearms: weapons that he can't just drop. "Okay. So. I know it's cliche, but no one has to get hurt. Just do the smart thing, step back, and stand down. Let's be friendly. You're outnumbered, outgunned, and basically we're better than you."
Hotlink sees the horrible thing go down and he cringes a bit. "Primus, this place is just worst and worse." When the door is opened he sees Soundwave and his condition.
HE turns his weapons at the one standing ove rhis superior and comrade. HE keeps the wepaon leveled bu does not fire.
"You heard him, do what he says, now."
Hotlink is also on the Decepticon tac net calling for a medical team, Soundwave's going to need it.
Overclock approaches the now-molten experiment and jabs her tail into an especially liquid section as she passes, sucking it into her frame with a wet gurgle. "Another fake," she grumbles beneath her breath before retracting her limb and focusing on the door. Once the lab inside is exposed there's a microsecond as the Insecticon processes the interior - the anvil-like table, the mech with a red visor that matches her own, a chisel, a familiar blue frame - then it's a race to either restrain the Insecticon or reach the mech first.
"Get away from him!" Overclock roars as she pounces into the room and sprays a jet of molten liquid from her mouth before she even reaches him, claws outstretched to pin.
Sixshot protoforms back to robot mode, studying the remains before making his way into the room. He shakes his head at Hot Rod's antics. Optics quickly shift to Overclock as the insecticon prepares to go feral, hoping her actions don't accidentally melt Soundwave. He holsters his weapons as he studies the tanks behind the mech.
Soundwave held out this long. Once salvation arrives he relents to the damage he's taken and he passes out. What answers he's uncovered will have to wait until he's repaired.
"Better... better than me!?!? I should think not! I will be Cybertron's next Prime! The false Matrix has proven that any bot can aspire to that position and I shall claim it, not with deceptions," the silver/black mech *sneers* at the Decepticons present. "Facts, knowledge, shall get me there! More than any Cybertronian has ever had! Right down to the CNA that makes up all of us! Better!" He snorts! "None is better tha-...!" That's when Overclock tries to spray him.
The mech is *fast*. He dodges under that jet of heated plasma, vanishing behind the anvil Soundwave is strapped to. The vent of plasma stead strikes the tubes that are behind where he was and with a hiss they crack open. The spikey figure is the first to fall free, though it is into the shadows. It twists away, recoils, fluid in shape and form as it makes a 'make shift' getaway. The other, the bluish racer breaks free as it takes to an alt form, tearing away and out of here in a high speed burst effort to avoid notice or embarassment. It was never here, just a mirage, a figment of your imagination.
And... just like that everything goes quiet. Too quiet. When the other side of that anvil is examined there is an open hatch there, the one that this unknown mech has vanished into. He's gone. Whatever his name was.
Hotlink isn't able to stop Overclock in time. "Wait don't do it Overclock!" It's too late the mech in question is one ast and tow using this who,e mess to make it. When two more test subject split at the same times the crazed mech had? He wasn't sure he now looks over to Soundwave. "Sir hang in ther,e a medical team is already on it's way. Hotrod we need to sweep for any other bots in this slag hole who can be helped. Once the medical teams are here I'm going to go through all the computer systems here to see what I can dig up."
Hot Rod doesn't look that concerned with the disappearance of the others. He checks the hatch, but only briefly, then lowers his arms and deactivates his weapons. "You guys got Soundwave? I'm going to go back through and make sure that anyone else held here gets out okay, too. Medics on stand-by?"
Any other time Overclock would be furious that the mech slipped away but once she lands beside Soundwave, the first thing she does is protoform and guard by the carrier. Once the steam clears she turns around and examines him as best she can. The femme is no medic (a fact she's found herself regretting a lot lately) so it's a rough overview. Conscious? No. Dead? Thank Primus not. Dieing? Hopefully not. "They are, I'll carry Soundwave out." Her braincase is tugging her to examine - and possibly appropriate - the secrets left inside the building while she can but her spark is tugging her straight towards the carrier beside her and then the exit. The spark won. She can come back for the rest.
Sixshot watches Overclock take Soundwave away before studying the rest of the room saying, "Time to get to work. We'll destroy the area later, best to secure the area before the others arrive."
There is one last crack of air slamming against air and with the grown of weakened metal there is a horrendoud thud outside. The ground trembles slightly and through everyones radio comm. Thundercrackers low rumbly voice says, "The skies are clear, the drones are destroyed. Ive sent order for more con forces to clean up this mess."