Title: Map Quest
Date: 30 May 2015
Summary: Sky Byte has a Map Quest for you!
++ Uraya <NEU> ++
Silver and gold, Uraya is the entertainment capital of Cybertron.
Magnificent dome and spiral structures dot the landscape, and holographic
projections and decorations fill the area with form and color. Colosseums
for competitive performances in everything from dancing to athletics to
stunt shows are mixed between broadcast studios for the production of
holovision shows and movies. The living high, at least on the surface, and
the city is kept scrupulously cleaned and maintained. Uraya is also the
home of Six Lasers over Cybertron, an amusement park set up for the
enjoyment of high caste Cybertronians only.
The sun is glaring mercilessly down on Uraya, dehydrating one particularly exhausted Predacon shark named Sky-Byte. He's sitting right outside of his studio, in protoform, rubbing his chin and muttering incomprehensibly to himself. In front of the multicolored shark is a pile of zany theater equipment and varying stage props that don't look like they belong on Cybertron. The Predacon seems to be contemplating how to get the impossibly massive amount of stuff moved from the street into his studio.
He transforms into shark mode, 'swimming' back and forth pensively, tapping his snout much like Winnie the Pooh does when he's thinking.
Unfortunately, he's much too self absorbed to notice a thick lamp post directly in in front of him.
Shark collides with lighting fixture.
"Owwwooowooooww!!!" he howls. And then a fountain of energon tears explode from his dilated red optics like a broken hose. "HOW COME THE DAY BEFORE THE PREMIERE IS /ALWAYS/ LIKE THIS?!!"
If it hadn't been for the fact that Sky-Byte was a shark floating in mid air, the fact that he was crying as loudly as he was would have gotten stares. As it was, Backdrop stood across the street, optics wide and stupefied by what he was seeing. There was just... So many questions he wanted to ask but he wasn't sure if he wanted any of the answers.
Right now, dear ol' Backdrop is actually a different color. Dark blue all over! Though, it was a quick, badly done paint job; something to disguise him from the fact that he's been on propaganda posters for a while. He still had the same body type, but... Dark blue! ... And flaking a little. ... Hey, he made an attempt at it.
Hesitantly, he walks towards the sobbing shark mech. He didn't even know what to DO, but... Crying shark mech.
Blurr's vehicle form zooms up from a tunnel that leads into the Urayan underground, where some of the illegal racing tournaments are often held. Nope, no one saw him come out from here, and even if they did, he totally -wasn't- racing illegally! Just handling business as usual, being part of Intelligence as a courier. He recognizes Backdrop though, even if he's a different color. "Backdrop, hey. Been a while."
He stares at the...odd crying mech. Is that what's happening? "Good Primus, is he leaking out?!"
"WHAT!" the shark bellows at Backdrop between tears. After a nano-klik, he calms down a bit and peers at the Decepticon inquisitively with one dilated red optic. He peels off a piece of flaking paint from Backdrop's armor.
Then he turns away miserably, hugging himself in embarrassment. One of the stage props sitting atop the large pile of equipment loses its equilibrium and topples down, bonking Backdrop on the helm with enough force to bowl the little guy over.
Then Blurr arrives. This seems to stress the shark out even more. He protoforms. "GAH! I don't have time to deal with visitors right now, I'm FAR TOO BUSY!" He delves into the pile with both arms then heaves upward, starting to cart the armful of set material into his studio.
"Wh -- Oh, come on!" Backdrop sputters as Blurr notices and recognizes him almost instantly. "Do none of these paint colors WORK?" Sounds like he's tried a few.
Then, the shark peels off some paint. He makes a face that's somewhere between annoyed and terribly frustrated.
...Before SOMETHING BONKS HIM IN THE HEAD. Backdrop falls on his rear and rubs at his helm. "What..."
"Well, I know you already." Blurr shrugs. "You still have the same face, and frame." He chuckles, then peers curiously at the shark in distress. "You need help carrying those?" he offers.
How strange, the leaking seems to have suddenly stopped. The racer shrugs. Oh, well. Weird.
Sky-Byte dutifully ignores Backdrop for the time being, he's much too busy carrying the props and set equipment into his studio! Backdrop may note, however, that the SOMETHING that bonked him on the head is a very ugly and colorful monster mask with googly eyes.
However, when Blurr approaches him, he startles. "ACK!" he cries, and accidentally drops all of the equipment he is carrying--on Backdrop. "Don't STARTLE me like that!" he complains loudly. "Hmph! What does it LOOK like?!" the shark harrumphs, picking up another armful of equipment and entering his studio with a sour huff.
There's still that sour expression on Backdrop's face. "Maybe I need a whole new face, then..." It's grumbled mostly to himself. Mostly. He stares at the monster mask with the googly eyes. Quietly, he puts it on.
"Maybe we shouldn't even OH COME ON REALLY?!" He's covered in stuff again! He flails an arm from beneath the pile. "What even IS this stuff?!"
Blurr shrugs and starts picking up as much of the equipment as he can. "-Sorry-! I wasn't -trying- to startle you...?" he peers at the mech expectantly, waiting for a name. "I'm Blurr, by the way. I mean just in case you didn't already know that." Because he probably already does.
"The hottest trends regarding stage equipment, and they HAPPEN to be EXACTLY what I need for tonight's musical, The Predaking." Blurr and Backdrop may note, though, that the stuff Sky-Byte is carting into his studio really doesn't look very current. This shark might be really behind the times -- since it also appears he doesn't recognize Blurr, at all.
"I've NEVER seen you before, what are you TALKING about?" the shark says, ogling Blurr. "Nope, no, never seen anyone like you before. You must have only seen me on stage once, after the closing act." He says, waving a dismissive claw at the speedster.
He then attempts pick up the entire rest of the pile. Which, he actually succeeds in doing -- it appears he is surprisingly strong. But the pile is too tall to fit through the door frame, so when he tries to proceed it simply all topples. "AGGGH NOO WHYYY!" The shark howls, and energon spurts from his optics again...
Well, at least the pile of stuff wasn't on top of Backdrop any more. The little mech picks himself up, dusts himself off -- some paint flicks off while he's at it -- and stares at the weeping shark with another round of stunned silence. He's still wearing the googly-eyed mask.
Slowly, he looks to Blurr. "I have no idea what's going on right now."
Blurr flicks behind the strange mech just as the items start to topple, catching each thing before it hits the floor. Yes, he can move that fast. "The hottest trends?" He laughs. "Mech, I know what hottest trends means, and it's -not- these. And it's not your paintjob or frame, either. Maybe you should take some time to study up on fashion or something."
"EXCUSE ME?!" Sky-Byte explodes. "H-How dare you! I'm VERY up to date!" He protests. "At least.. on all the things that matter," he says, sounding quite miffed.
His gaze then sliiiiiides over to Backdrop with his flaking paint and googly eyed mask. "I am fashionable! Fashionable enough to know that YOU look terrible," he points out to Backdrop, "come, you need help." He then proceeds to carry the rest of the items into his studio.
At this rate, the perpetually annoyed expression is going to get stuck on Backdrop's face. It's still there, somehow with an even deeper frown. "You have liquid spraying from your optics. Are you sure you don't need a medic or something? 'Cause I don't think that's normal."
Still, he isn't moving to run off. Still in the googly mask, he looks to Blurr to see if HE follows.
Blurr follows, because he is carrying some of the equipment. He just laughs at the shark's insistence that he is fashionable. "Haha, sure. You just keep on telling yourself that. You didn't tell me your name yet, though." He moves inside. "Where do you want these?"
He frowns, too. "You know, Backdrop has a point. You were leaking from your optics, do you have some kind of condition? Maybe you should see a medic."
"I'M FINE!!" Sky-Byte fumes, flailing his arms up and down. Oops, he is carrying a ton of stuff. Well, that doesn't work out so well for him. All of the zany theater equipment and props fall the floor with a CRASH. "UGH!!" He cries, face palming.
"Fine fine," he mutters, "anywhere will do, it's inside, good enough."
Backdrop and Blurr will find Sky-Byte's studio to mirror every aspect of his personality. Weird, random, and disorganized. First of all, it's an unorthodox narrow triangular shape, at first giving the impression that it is very little space. However, as they travel deeper into the room, they'll discover the back is quite wide and very spacious, unlike the front. There are piles and piles of data pads as well as antiquated books with pages everywhere -- clustered on shelves hanging from the ceiling and in every nook and cranny imaginable.
Lined up next to the wall are the wackiest stage props either of them will have ever seen -- instruments with multicolored strings, a tiger striped cannon, a wagon with square wheels along with varying masks of bizarre shape and color. At the very back of the room is a large square hole in the floor with a ladder poking out of it, supposedly leading to a cellar or some other odd space filled with more random junk.
For a moment, Backdrop simply STARES. There's just... So much stuff all around. So much disorganization and chaos and STUFF and...
Backdrop starts to twitch. Slowly, he takes the mask off and sets it very carefully on what he hopes is not a pile of datapads but just a very interesting end table. He's seen the kinds made to LOOK like fake and disorganized stuff. Maybe this is one of those?
Nope. The datapads fall over.
"...What is this place?"
However, when the data pads topple, they reveal a bizarre looking table underneath, one that's shaped like a metro titan's outstretched palm.
"It's my STUDIO, what else?" Sky-Byte retorts. "This is where and HOW I think." He plops down in a bright purple chair across from a trapezoidal shaped shelf covered in clutter with a heavy sigh.
"There is a wardrobe in the back," the shark instructs Backdrop, pointing to indicate direction, "it will help you."
However, should Backdrop look back there and then turn around to ask the shark for more clarification--he'll find that the Predacon has mysteriously disappeared within the three nano-kliks it took him to look away...
"Okay." Blurr sets the pile of strange things on a random spot on the floor, then stares about the very odd room. He wonders to himself if -all- theater was this weird. He hadn't really taken the time to enjoy any of it himself back in the day, what with being constantly preoccupied with sports.
It only takes three nano-kliks. Backdrop looks first to the bizarre hand, then to the wardrobe, then back to the shark --- and he's gone.
"Okay." Backdrop calmly claps his hands together. "Okay. This place is haunted. Or something. I say we walk out and pretend we never saw anything."
Except should Backdrop attempt to leave the studio, he'll find that the studio is suddenly even more bizarre and slightly creepy than he had initially thought. The door they entered through to gain access to the studio is now closed. He might also note, that the doorknob, (yes, the place is really that old fashioned) on the inside is on the OPPOSITE side of where the doorknob is on the outside. Meaning.. the door must have had two knobs, for some random, freaky reason.
Aaaand it's locked. And Sky Byte is nowhere to be found.
The studio is hauntingly quiet.
Several books topple off of a nearby shelf, flopping open. Should either of them investigate the content of the books, they'll notice that they are draft scripts of unfinished playwrights. Coincidentally the topic of that particular section of the playwright is, in detail, the battle strategy of one particular fight scene for some musical Sky-Byte must have written ages ago. Oddly enough, upon closer inspection, it's... very solid, as a strategy, even if it is just fiction. And right next to that pile of draft scripts is a shelf COMPLETELY filled with books and data pads on battle stratagem. They look used. At least the guy did his research, right?
Blurr doesn't appear too worried. "Where'd he go?" he asks, tilting his head curiously. A few extremely old fashioned books fall open, attracting the speedster's attention. Seriously, those things -exist-? These are some really weird archives. Nonetheless, he finds himself intrigued by the stratagems spelled out in the writings. "Huh."
"Okay, now I KNOW this place is haunted." Backdrop sputters. "When things no longer make sense, then it's haunted. Two knobs on a door that doesn't even need ONE and it's locked? Haunted." Sounds like he's starting to panic a little bit.
Wait a minute. Backdrop blinks once. Then, he pulls a gun out of his subspace. It's... A very small gun. Teensy weensy. It's small enough for HIS HAND, at any rate, and he isn't exactly the biggest of mechs.
Backdrop shoots the teensy gun at the knob on the door. Pew pew pew!
Blurr will find there are multiple strategies spelled out, each of them seeming effective. Except the shark must have thought otherwise from a theatrical standpoint, there are large red X's on all of them.
Backdrop's firing at the door doesn't do much. The door, oddly enough, is quite reinforced. Paranoid Predacon much?
However, the shooting disturbs a can of very, very thin needles sitting on a mantle above the door, and it topples, falling on Backdrop. The needles may stick into the little Decepticon's joints, if he doesn't get out of the way fast enough.
Then both of them will hear the sound of a familiar voice humming near the back of the room. It's Sky-Byte, he's back!
"All I want is a room somewhere
Far away from the cold night air
With one enormous chair
Oh, wouldn't it be lovely~""
"Slag..." Blurr's optic ridges go up in surprise. This guy didn't even realize how good he was! Pff. What else could he expect, anyway. Then the strange shark is back, humming an odd tune, and the speedster drops the books quickly, suddenly dashing in front of him. He couldn't let this opportunity slip by! Whoever was going to take a stand against Megatron would need all the help they could get in the coming war. "Hey, mech. You never told me your name, you know."
"AAGH!" Backdrop was not, in fact, fast enough to avoid the needles. He flails, pulling at them and tearing them out of his joints. "Why -- what -- what --" He's SO CONFUSED.
As the shark mech comes back, he stands there and looks a little helpless. With the teensy gun in his hand, still. "...Why do you have needles on top of a door?"
Sky-Byte startles. AGAIN. "GYAH!" he cries, dropping the contraption he's carrying in his mouth. It crashes to the floor and breaks. "NOOO!" he cries, "I JUST built that!!" Though it may look like a jacked up vacuum cleaner and its function remains a mystery, the strange device he has dropped on the floor certainly looks like something that might have taken some skill to build. "I'm starting to see a pattern here," the shark harrumphs at Blurr.
The Predacon is already making a mental note to himself that Blurr ISN'T a person he wants to hang around.
Backdrop may find that some of his joints are starting to go numb. Sky-Byte looks at him with disdain. "H-Hey! That was a gift from a friend of mine, you dastard! Give that to me!" He snatches it.
With a sigh, he flops onto a cushion akin to a bean bag, his optics half-mast. "Woe is me.... I can't find them.." he mutters.
Blurr is really starting to get -really- impatient with this guy. He's asking him his name like, three times now. "Excuse me, -sir-, but I -asked- you a question and I -don't- like being ignored." As soon as Sky Byte is on the cushion, the racer has already followed him over there. "If you don't tell me your name, I'm going to have to make something up that doesn't sound nice." He folds his arms, but then his optic ridges go up in interest when the mech admits that he is looking for something he can't seem to find. "What are you looking for?"
He glances over at Backdrop in a pile of needles. "You okay there Backdrop?"
"Uhm..." Backdrop actually thinks about the question. "...I can no longer feel either of my shoulders, neck or much of my left arm, so I'm going to go with what the HELL was in those needles?" He's still plucking a few out. "Going numb wherever I got stuck."
"Perhaps if you stopped zipping around and STARTLING me like that I would have REMEMBERED more properly what the question was," The shark says, his tail twitching in annoyance.
"Hmph, you don't know who I am? I am SKY-BYTE, an acclaimed musician, director, and literary GENIUS!" He settles back down into the cushion.
His gaze slides momentarily over to Backdrop, but he makes no move to help him for the time being. "And how should I know, they were a gift, I don't know," he mumbles.
"My map!!" He moans. "I hid the pieces so that no one would ever be able to find my SECRET theaters. But now I don't remember where I hid them, or where any of my secret theaters are." Energon spurts out of his optics again, but now he actually gets up goes over to where Backdrop is, assisting him with yanking out all of the thin needles that have embedded themselves in Backdrop's armor -- while showering him with a fountain of tears...
"Sky Byte," Blurr says his name now, ignoring the protests against him startling people. "Have you ever considered the fact that things are getting pretty tense on this planet. Ever think about what you'll do if push comes to shove? Everyone knows war is coming. And you'd be wise to make sure you're prepared." He gestures around at the stuff in the studio. "All this? It's not going to matter any more, because entertainment's going to turn into a luxury none of us can afford."
"...Uhm." Backdrop lets Sky-Byte tear the needles out, but edges away from the shower of... Liquid... As soon as he's able. "...Thank you?" It sounds more like a question than a statement; he isn't really sure what to DO.
"So... I can't feel my left arm at all now. Can you, uhm, open the door?"
It would appear, that quick removal of the needles takes away the numbness. Sky-Byte sniffs, looking miffed. "If you're really thankful, you ought to help me find the pieces of my map," he huffs. "Maybe," he says in response to Backdrop's request, "if you agree to HELP me," he says, all of a sudden invading Backdrop's personal space and peering at him with large, dilated red optics.
He shakes his head stiffly at Blurr, "and where are you going with this, HMM?"
"Soon enough, there won't be any more sitting around on the fence, Sky Byte." Blurr says matter-of-factly. "Cybertron won't take any more tyrants. We've already been through Sentinel and Zeta. We won't allow Megatron to do the same thing the Primes did. Like I said, war is coming, and it's going to be fight, flee, or die. Isn't that right, Backdrop?" he asks, glancing over at the minibot before turning back to the eccentric mech. "So. What's it gonna be, hm?"
"...Uhm." Backdrop just stares at Sky-Byte, frowning a little. Sure, the numbness went away -- and he stretches his left arm just to be sure -- but he still doesn't seem quite happy. "...Are you holding us hostage?" A glance at Blurr. "I don't think he's, uhm, in the frame of mind to really answer that." Hint. Hint. HE'S INSANE, BLURR. Hint.
"Nnnn...!!" The shark's fins curl into scroll shaped little balls. "I don't want to think about that!" Sky-Byte shoots back quickly, shaking his head and making a face. "Besides....! I.. I like Megatron a lot. He writes sooooo beautifully," he says, shedding a single tear.
"But ...fine! If you help me look for my map pieces, I'll think about what you said!" he cries.
He peers at Backdrop. "FINE!" He grumps. He protoforms, then produces a key from his subspace compartment. He then proceeds to open the door for Backdrop.
"Pff, I'm telling you this for your -own- benefit." Blurr shakes his head. "Megatron might be a good writer, but he's not practicing what he preaches." The racer points out. "Fine, you don't have to think about it, but what are you going to do when war erupts in your face and you don't have anywhere to run?" he challenges.
The Predacon puts the key in the lock, but unfortunately, it's old, and he didn't do it right. The key jams in there, and now, no matter how much Sky-Byte jiggles it, it won't come out.
"I changed my mind, I AM HOLDING YOU HOSTAGE," the shark says, a wacky and innocent grin spreading across his features as he jumps in front of the door to hide the jammed key.
He arches a brow ridge at Blurr. "Join the Autobots? NEVER! Those buffoons ruined my reputation!"
Somehow, Backdrop isn't surprised by either the jammed key or the shark's sudden proclamation. "Would it help if I said I'm a follower of Megatron's stuff, too?" Another reach for subspace; this time, an old and slightly clunky datapad comes out. "I even have Towards Peace! I've had it for aaaages. Read it aaall the time!"
He's not trying to recruit the shark, nope, no siree.
"Hey who said anything about joining the Autobots?" Blurr pffts. "All I said was you ought to be thinking about this stuff, because it's coming. Wouldn't want you to get left high and dry, right?" He stares at the sudden hostage situation. Ookay. "Who are you holding hostage? Me, or him? And whe the hell for?"
"OOooohh!" Sky-Byte's optics dilate massively, nearly popping out of the the Predacon's head. "That's my FAVORITE! I read it every night, before I idle off for the megacycle!!" He protoforms, and jumps around in a giddy fashion, delighted by Backdrop. "Perhaps I /could/ join the Decepticons, maybe Megatron will find me WORTHY." He sheds another tear.
Then he leans forwards, invading Blurr's personal space. He jabs at the speedster's badge, repeatedly. "You don't have to say anything, you're WEARING it on your chest! HMPH!" He steps back. "My offer stands. If you prove yourself to be truly WORTHY and are able to find all my map pieces, I shall consider joining."
Aaaand about the door. "Er, eh-heh, j-just for fun, kidnapping is such a beautiful plot twist, right? Hee...hee." He looks around, shifty opticked. "Help me with my map piece quest, and I shall set you free!" he cries, waving his arms wildly.
"What do these map things even look like?" Backdrop slides the datapad back in to subspace privacy. Yup, can't go losing that. "Are they in datapads, papers...? I once saw a movie where the scientist guy etched maps on rock with a laser." Well, he seems MUCH calmer now. A little chipper, even.
He looks up a little conspiratorially at Sky-Byte. "Hey, know those Decepticon recruitment posters all over the place with the little mech and the big gun? That's me!"
"Yeah, well the -Autobots- might be the only people standing between Megatron and other corrupt system commanded by -another- Zeta Prime." Blurr replies indignantly, folding his arms. "You wouldn't want -that- now would you?"
He sighs. Ugh. This guy was -really- set on finding these 'map pieces' wasn't he? "Well...what -do- they look like?" He asks, echoing Backdrop. Shh, shh, he totally didn't swipe those battle plans from those old scripts. He's totally not hiding them in subspace.
"Yes, yes fine," Sky-Byte says dismissively, waving a hand at Blurr. "Whatever you say, I'm not at all interested in your ... schpeel until you've done my favor. Then, and ONLY then, will you have my full attention."
The shark produces a small, flat, but colorful looking object with a large stone embedded in it. "I have this one--but it's not a piece that shows where any of my secret theaters are," he says mournfully. "I am also VERY certain there is another one here, in this studio, I just don't know where .. it's so vast," he mutters, shaking his helm. "ANYHOW, since you have agreed to HELP me, you must do so AFTER the premiere of the Predaking, as I am much too busy to assist you at the moment. Come back," he says, "two megacycles from now, and I shall tell you what to do."
He looks around. "About getting out.."
"TSUNAMI BLASTER!!" All of a sudden, the round and purple mechanism in the center of his chest lights up and emits a powerful laser blast that shakes the studio and blows the door to pieces. "Nn. At least.. I can go in and out now easier..." He rubs his helm ruefully.
"HOLY --!" And then the door is blown apart. Backdrop stands there, jaw hanging a little bit.
After a moment, he pulls something else from subspace -- a Decepticon recruitment brochure! -- and stuffs it in Sky-Byte's arms. "Here's a gift. Look it over, please? Uhm... Yeah, I'll be back in two megacycles."
THE RECRUITMENT WAR WAS ON. Against Blurr. Who Sky-Byte already disliked. Should be easy, right?
Blurr quirks an optic ridge at him. "Why would you have -secret- theaters? I mean, isn't that kind of missing the point of theaters? You -want- people to come watch your productions, right? If they don't know where it is how are they supposed to come to it?" It just doesn't make sense to him.
And then, TSUNAMI BLASTER. The speedster watches as the door is blown away. Okay, that was -sort of- impressive. He could've done the same, by ramming it physically with his alt mode. The racer chuckles. "Yeah, yeah sure you'll definitely be able to get in and out quicker that way." he smirks. "Might not be very good for privacy or security, though."
"Anyway, see ya!" He throws a jaunty salute to the two of them, and speeds off.
Later, Sky Byte may or may not notice that some of his old scripts are missing...
"Of course, I built them during Zeta's reign," Sky-Byte explains. "Back when they WEREN'T allowed," he says, his optics dilating again. "Of course, there's no reason to keep them secret anymore, which is WHY I'd like to find them.
And then Backdrop is stuffing a recruitment brochure into his hands. "...Er, right, I'll read it after you've helped me find the map pieces." He puts it on top of the creepy metro titan hand table.
"Buh--" But before Sky-Byte can even finish the word 'bye', both Blurr and Backdrop are gone. "Nn. DON'T BE LAAAATE!" he calls after them, before retreating to his studio.
The shark then notices that some of his old drafts and scripts are missing. "...I-I've been r-robbed!?" He cries, placing both hands on his helm. "Agh, w-wait, those old ones, they weren't finished or even used in the final draft... !!! H-how embarrassing!!!! I hope to Primus he doesn't read them.. my reputation will be soiled AGAIN!"
Humiliated, the shark retreats to the back of his studio, moping in embarrassment...