Title: Rebels in Kaon
Date: 04 April 2015
NPCs: Trailbreaker, Windcharger, Damus
Summary: Moonlight is pragmatic. Orion is patient. Hot Rod is really good at making Orion want to smack him upside the head.
One might expect that Hot Rod would take his freedom and GO, but he's still in Kaon. It's now days after his release from prison, and he's been right in the thick of things. Even worse, he's called other of his rebels to join him. (Somewhere in Nyon, Arsenal grinds her teeth.)
Hot Rod's temporary base is the burnt-out ruin of a looted store. The riot that Kaon has become has moved on from this portion of the city, leaving behind relative peace. The scent of smoke lingers in the air. The roar of continuing battles is audible in the background at a distance.
Hot Rod is standing next to a counter that's been swept clean of anything of value, leaving a flat surface. He's sketching out the structure of a building right in the middle of the current Decepticon vs. SecF battlefield. He waits for is partner(s) in trouble to join, and puts doodling to good use in the meantime.
Moonlight said she'd follow Hot Rod, not Nyon, so she's not one to stick around and listen to Arsenal complain about Hot Rod's dash for heroics. Nope, she's decided to help him in the middle of the chaos. Fortunately for her, she's good at skulking, so she manages to make it to the 'headquarters' relatively unscathed.
"Glad to see you in one piece Hot Rod. The world would be poorer without you," she says by way of greeting. "What's the not-plan?"
The brilliance of Hot Rod's smile is undiminished by his time in prison, the slaughter of the Senate, or the first skirmishes in what some are already calling a war. There's gotta be something that would dim his grin, but he hasn't met it yet. He greets Moonlight with warm cheer and enthusiasm: "Good! You're here. Perfect, that is going to make this so much easier. As long as we can keep them from shooting at you. Did you get a look at Kaon on your way over?"
"Frankly, it's a mess. All this violence is messy, messy, messy," Moonlight states. "There are definite advantages to flying, though a lot of my aerial 'kin' make way too big of a deal on it. It's not like I achieved the ability to fly; it's just how I was made." She shrugs her shoulders easily. "So, what are the Decepticons actually trying to do, and what are we trying to do? I mean, I'm guessing you don't care about their hold on the city so much as /how/ they are trying to hold it?"
"That about covers it." Hot Rod adjusts one more thing on his diagram...ish...thing, then looks back up at Moonlight. His smirk slips into rue. "I mostly hope that the Cons can take and hold the city. It'll take pressure of us, and maybe give people hope. They'll see that there are other ways to do things. But the Decepticons are killing anyone even remotely associated with the Senate from what I've seen. And not all of them deserve that." But maybe some do. "We're not getting between Sentinel's troops and the Decepticons. We're not helping either. All we're doing is clearing Kaonites out of the way. Clear enough?"
Moonlight nods her head. "So, anything without a symbol that wants to leave, I get out of here?" She strokes her cheek for a second. "If only I had more oomph on my ship; we could take a lot of people at once, but that sort of thing attracts too much attention," she says wistfully. She peers at the diagram. "Done enough scouting to see what the best routes out are?"
"Yeah." Hot Rod draws a few lines on the diagram with the point of his finger and says, "This is where the fighting's worst. Or was -- was worst, anyway. I thought you might be useful to get people out by air, but you might actually be more useful on recon. Help us avoid the fighting. This is what looks like the best route," he says with the draw of another line. "Or /looked/ like the best," he corrects. "Things change pretty quick. You're right enough about your ship drawing attention. What do you think? Better on recon or transport?"
Moonlight tilts her head one way, then the other, as she regards this. "Well, I wouldn't be able to lift out very many full sized people. Maybe two per trip if I'm lucky. The smalle ones, well, I can fit many more of them. So, it really depends on who I run across. But my colors are pretty dark, so recon is also a good option. You are definitely not the blendy type." She laughs softly. Hot Rod does tend to stand out...and that's not really a good thing now that they're NOT in Nyon.
"Recon," Hot Rod decide firmly. He meets her laughter with the flash of another grin. "Hey, I don't know. There's enough stuff on fire around here that I'm starting to feel like it's camouflage, you know? Never considered that I might've been forged to blend in to a riot, but it makes a certain amount of sense." He reshuffles a few things, having placed her mentally on recon. "Wish we had more of us, though," he says reluctantly.'.
Moonlight nods her head. "Well, you never know, after getting out of the chaos, some folks we liberate might decide to help us after the fact," she says. "They'd know more about the place than we ever would, just by living here." She frowns. "And surely not /all/ the miners that are revolting are so energon-thirsty or they would have already been Decepticons by this point." Her expression grows thoughtful as she studies the crude 'map'.
There's a third person that is missing from this party - not that either of them would claim this was a planning meeting and agree wholesparkedly that this was a party. The back door of the looted door is opened and the first mech through is a medium size black mech with red trim, and a large adapter type on his shoulder. "Clear." Trailbreaker calls back over his shoulder.
Following him quickly is a small red, blue and silver bot who slips right past Trailbreaker into the room and continues on to the storage area to give it a once over, his arms vibrating as he does so, the waves rising from them causing the metal shavings on the ground to rise in response. "Looks good here, boss." Windcharger comments, waiting for the rest of the party.
Next is an empurata. Despite being part of the team, Trailbreaker and Windcharger keep their distance from him for the most part. Touching the side of the building when he first enters with his claw causes the lights in the area to cut off throughout. "Uh. Scrap. Clear." Damus, better known as Glitch, chimes in.
Finally behind them all is one red and blue bot, a simple mech only known as Orion Pax as the leader of the outlier group strides into the back of the store with the others. "Stay put. I know Hot Rod was here, but after his capture at the Forge, I want to clarify where things stand." he responds to the others as he moves towards the door that seperates his group from Hot Rod and Moonlight. And he knocks. Polietly. Please to be ignoring all the cautiously drawn weapons.
Hot Rod's expression brightens. Ask and you shall receive. A knock! A Pax! "You know, I don't think there's a lot of knocking going on around here," he says after opening the door to allow Pax in. 'Allow'. There are holes in the walls not far from where the door stands intact. As his gaze passes over the outliers, his expression brightens. That'll double their numbers and then some. "Hey, guys! I was just complaining to Moonlight about not having enough people around. Good timing. We're making plans to run some people out under the noses of the Decepticons and Sentinel's troops."
Moonlight tips her hat to Pax, she's met him before. The sudden dimming of the lights doesn't bother her; she used to operating in the dark. "Good to see you again. I'm guessing you've managed to stay out of traps then?" She gestures to the others. "And is this the group you've been protecting?"
She looks back to Hot Rod. "Well, looks like this might change things. At least we're not doing this on our lonesome anymore."
"This is." Orion says, gesturing to the group of Bots that led the way in and now follow him. "Trailbreaker, Windcharger, Damus." He just can't bring himself to use the name 'Glitch'. It's demeaning, at least in Orion's optics. Turning his attention to Hot Rod, Optimus offers a faint smile. "Great nets and all that. With this being the Decepticon hotbed, I doubt that any Autobots are going to be running rescue ops in the region. So, I figured that we would come check it out for ourselves and see where things stand. Also.." his expression darkens just a tad.
"I was informed last cycle that both Feint and Blurr had survived the Senate massacre but are both unaccounted for. It's a safe bet they didn't get out of the Section F headquarters before it fell and are currently being held by the Decepticons. I intend on getting them both back." Sure, not everyone likes Blurr, but he's still a Bot and he's in a tight spot. No explanation needed for the rally to Feint. Except you know, what she did to Scattershot. And other rumored things - and a Senator. But that's not here nor there.
"So, what do you have drawn out so far?" Orion finally asks Hot Rod, glancing towards the table where the mech was doodling in the dust.
"Not that we couldn't have managed, right?" Hot Rod says, glancing at Moonlight with a quick wink. YEAH. JUST THE TWO OF THEM. AGAINST ALL THE AUTOBOTS AND ALL THE DECEPTICONS. It'd have been great.
"From what I've seen, there are plenty of people trying to walk that middle line," he says, picking up an answer to her earlier words. "They support the Decepticons because to do otherwise would just get them killed. They might not need out, though. Some definitely do." Speaking of--. He looks up at Pax with open surprise. "Feint was there? But she survived? Can't believe they caught Blurr. Okay, so that's -- that's a whole 'nother thing." He shakes his head, refocusing back on the diagram -- 'diagram' -- in front of him. "This is a neutral holdout where the fighting's thickest. I was thinking Moonlight could do recon while a small group helped get them through. This is what looked like a safe path before--." He draws out the lines again, as he did for her, but he's obviously distracted by thoughts of Feint and Blurr.
"Pleased to meet you," Moonlight says to the mechs, giving them each a little wave and grin as they are listed off. "So," she says casually, "you all have cool abilities no one else does, hm?" Given the political climate of the planet, it might not be the most diplomatic thing to say, but she's not /from/ Cybertron, so such abilities just seem neat to her, not an abberation as many locals might see them as.
She looks over at Hot Rod. Artist he is not. "If only we had a real map," she says. "With more of us here, we have more options at least. More optics, more audials, and more skill sets."
"Yeah, cool abilities that get us killed." Windcharger says helpfully. "..but yeah, they're pretty cool." the minibot offers with a grin.
Orion shakes his head as he comes over to look over the map. "I assume the rest of the area has been checked and cleared?" he asks. "If not, I can get Trailbreaker and Windcharger to run a quick scout mission." the leader offers as he follows his fingers along the path that Hot Rod has chosen. "A couple of chokepoints that we will need to worry about, from what I can see, but the idea seems sound." he agrees with Hot Rod as he glances towards Moonlight. "She's one of your better scouts, I take it?"
Hot Rod looks down at his makeshift map with a lazy sort of grin. "Rewind might have a real map in his archives," he says, glancing back up at Moonlight with a shrug. "It'd be good to get it to mark what's been checked. I'll mention it when I see him." Glancing over at Orion, he shakes his head. "Not ... all of it. There's too much of Kaon and not enough of us. I can show you what still needs to be scouted though." Looking at Moonlight, he visibly hesitates. "It's ... certainly something she's good at!"
"Yeah, well, we already know the laws around here are screwed up," Moonlight says with a shrug. "On some planets it's the ones with superpowers that do the leading, not the hiding." She grins at Orion Pax. "I'm a smuggler," she says, as though that explains EVERYTHING. Of course it does.
She flashes a grin at Hot Rod. Whatever his source of hesitation, it doesn't bother her. She's not about to get into a huff because he doubts either her intentions or her abilities.
"We have a solid start then. But within the next couple of cycles, I'm going to want to try to crack the egg that was Security Force headquarters. I've been there a couple of times so at least I have an idea of what the layout of it is." Orion offers helpfully as he gives Hot Rod a nod. "Trailbreaker." he calls over the Defensive strategist. As he makes his way over, the outlier shakes his head defensively. "You sure I'm the best mech for this, Pax?" he asks.
"Positive, Trailbreaker. You and Windcharger need to make sure that the area is secure, this is going to be our escape path when we break out those that want to go." Orion offers, a small frown playing his features before he turns his attention to Moonlight and gives her a once over and then chuckles. "Well, seeing as you don't seem to have a shanix on this fight, I'm assuming it's Hot Rod's charm that's keeping you here." he comments in amusement as he looks back towards the map in question. "But thank you for staying to see this through." Even if there is the Clampdown. Shh, we pretend she wants to stay, she'll stay, right?
Hot Rod looks maybe a little sheepish when Moonlight just goes and /says/ it. He meets her grin with the duck of his head and a laugh. His eyes are bright as he looks up, and he shrugs. "She's a /good/ smuggler," he adds. No point to hesitation, so he just emphasizes the important part. SHE'S GOOD PEOPLE. Good criminal people. (Eh, aren't they all.)
"Would you be able to make a map of HQ? Gotta admit I didn't really retain much, but Barricade basically shoved us out the door," Hot Rod says with a shrug. "Could check with Rewind on that, too."
Moonlight has very little in the way of shame. According to her, she's the lesser of multiple 'evils' and she's perfectly content there. "Well, it less the 'charm' and more the fact that he seems to be favored by Luck. But the other is definitely part of the consideration," she says to Pax with a grin. "I'm sketchy, but I don't really relish people getting slaughtered. Death's usually about where I draw the line, and there's too much of it being dished out here like it's the flavor of the month."
She looks over at Hot Rod. "Too bad we didn't have any of those little ex-cleaner bots. They'd know all the good ways into and out of a place, the ones people don't think much about. All the tunnels and everything." She shrugs her shoulders. "After all they've been through, they'd make excellent smugglers," she muses.
"I'll try to get the map together as soon as possible, Hot Rod." Orion comments as he studies the map that Rod has put together again. "The tactical advantage that we have is that most of this area is heavily covered and protected with machinery. We can make noise and it won't attract too much attention, likewise, Decepticon air support under the command of Starscream will be hard pressed to get a line of sight to fire on anyone - they'll have to come down to street level to have any chance. And we can make sure that the path they have to take is the hardest one possible." the mech comments as he glances towards Damus. "Damus, you're the best choice we have for this mission." he admits, before he looks to the other two. "Damus' outlier ability is that he will short out and shut down any non-sentinent machinery he comes in contact with." Be it cranes, transports, security grids.
"Trailbreaker projects a powerful forcefield and Windcharger, now that he is repaired, is a master at electromagnetic manipulation." Orion reports on the other two. Might as well let Hot Rod know the cards that Pax is bringing to the table. "Getting into the Security headquarters is not going to be easy. There's a few entrances that the Decepticons may have overlooked, but with Damus we can use the next few half-cycles to create 'blackouts' in certain areas at random. Get the Decepticons on guard for places that they may not even know an attack could happen. We can use the chance to spread the word amongst the populace that those that wish to leave will have the chance to and to be ready." Placing his index finger right on the center of the polity, Pax frowns. "Megatron has already stated that those that wish to leave of their may accord can. I am not sure I can trust him on this fact, but if we must, I will call him on it, just to see how it plays out in public. But I do not wish to risk anyone's life on a hunch that Megatron might show clarity of mind and not massacre innocent lives." he admits with a frown. He glances towards Hot Rod. "Getting out the civilians is your priority. We'll make sure to make a play for Feint and Blurr, and hopefully, we can do it at the same time, that way while the Decepticons are busy with our main attack perhaps.." he glances back to Moonlight. "You can gather more of your rebels to make the play to evacuate the polity."
It's with a sober sort of expression that Hot Rod nods in echo of Moonlight's sentiments. "People are pretty careless with it. Don't like to see death treated quite as lightly as it has been," he says quietly, looking back down. "No life should be spent that cheaply." His expression stubborns up a few levels.
Glancing up, Hot Rod looks from Damus to Trailbreaker to Windcharger. Each he gives a quick smile and a nod of recognition. On their abilities, all he has to say is, "Cool." Glancing back at Pax, Hot Rod hesitates, then says, "He said that, but I'm worried about anyone who's worked for the Senate or the Autobots. It isn't all heavy-handed thugs, you know? But Decepticons aren't going to see past the badge."
Gesturing from himself to Moonlight, Hot Rod says, "We're mostly hit fast and get out. Some of us are /quite/ fast -- Cheetor, if you've seen him. I'd pay good shanix to see him race Blurr. But that's what we're going to be good for, pretty much every last one among us. I'd like to get in and get out without damaging the Decepticon's ability to hold the city, either. Important as it is to get Feint and Blurr back, I'm not interested in weakening their position here." Because he's a fool. A FOOL.
Moonlight gives a low whistle. "Wow. That's some pretty potent stuff you guys have there. Ever thought of being smugglers?" she asks, her half grin showing she's not serious. "Really, if most of the city is miners, and they support the Decepticons, it might be more trouble than it's worth to try to take the city. If this is who they want in charge of them, let them lie in that bed. Anyone who wants out of this madhouse, however, I'm willing to risk my neck to get out. It's the same the universe over, a lot of the average folks just want to get on with their lives without too much hassle. Big ideals don't mean all that much to them. I suspects Cybertron is no different in that way." She shrugs. "Hot Rod's right; I'm not exactly a huge fighter and I'm not built to withstand heavy fire. But I can get in and out of places without causing too many waves." She taps her chin. "Any idea what to do with people /after/ we get them out? Sending them all to Nyon will just make other problems. We'll probably have to spread them out amongst other cities."
"Good." Orion Pax offers as he considers. "Fast attack and withdraw with geurilla tactics is the best way to handle this situation." And really, to be honest? If the Enforcers blame the Cons and the Cons blame the Enforcers, all the better. As far as what Pax is leaving out? Orion is going to have Damus treat Security Headquarters like Whirl treats Blast Off. Shorted out and drained of everything good. "I'm not looking to take the city. My main objective is Blurr and Feint. Sentinel has already written them off as acceptable if unfortunate loses and I can't stand by and allow that to happen." he admits. As he listens to the comments on what to do next, Pax shakes his head. "I am sure there will be those that will want to repopulate Nyon. I plan to talk to Arcee, and see if she will allow her project to be a refugee camp at least for a little while." Poor Arcee. "Anything else that I should know about?" he asks the two.
"Nyon can handle them on a temporary basis," Hot Rod says with a confidence one might think to question, considering who it's coming from. "If we can get Arcee in on it--." He hesitates, clearly not entirely comfortable with it, but he doesn't object. He just shakes his head. "Biggest problem is going to be the problem we always have: fuel. We've got the space. We've always got the space." He laughs, but it somewhat lacks in humor. The ruined shell of Nyon is nothing but space in some neighborhoods. "Run them to Nyon, then worry about what comes after once they are safe." At Orion's question, he shakes his head. "I don't think so. I'll get a better map of the city and mark off what areas have already been searched for you, though."
Moonlight gives a little half shrug. She has only met Blurr once briefly, and Feint never. She doesn't care about them in particular as individuals, only the fact that they'll probably meet a very horrible and prolongued death if they stay where they are. As she's said many times, she deals in illicit goods, not death. "I don't think I have anything else to add. This isn't my usual kind of operation, but I didn't get this far without being adaptable."
It's quite likely that she'll use shady methods to accomplish her goals, but if it saves lives, who are they to complain while short staffed. "Well, anyone who has anything worth keeping might take it with them while they flee. Also, we might have more teachers with this influx. Remember what we discussed?" she says to Hot Rod.
"We all have a lot to adapt to that we haven't had to before, Moonlight." Orion offers with an optimistic smile. After all, Orion's never been on the losing end of a war that's starting. Or well, even been in a war. "It is together that we are a stronger unit than anything we can do seperatedly." the bot comments. "And I will get you those maps for Secruity Headquarters." he responds to Hot Rod before there is a physical pause at Moonlight's question to Hot Rod and he glances towards the flaming mech for the answer. Yes, what was discussed, Hot Rod?
"That's my hope," Hot Rod admits with the flicker of a smile in Moonlight's direction. "I know the land around Nyon is supposed to be pretty tapped out, too, but if we can get anyone to help with energon production or refinement -- it's just such a constant problem." He shakes his head, as though to clear it of the frustrations of logistics. When he looks up to find Orion regarding him expectantly, he says, "Nyon's mostly populated by people the functionists have denied training and education. So we're giving it to them. We started with self-defense, but Moonlight pointed out how valuable training in /trades/ could be. Maybe they can't perform them legally now, but let's face it -- most of Nyon skirts laws one way or the other."
Moonlight nods her head eagerly. "I told Hot Rod one of the best, non-violent ways of rebelling was to stick it to the idea of only having one, pre-determined function. Knowledge is denied to the people around here to keep them in line, so why not share the knowledge we have amongst ourselves? Also, that way, if someone falls, at least we don't lose what they know," she further explains to the ex-cop. "I don't hesitate to fight when I have to, but I don't think that beating the scrap out of people is fun or anything." Pause. "Well, maybe, once in a while I enjoy a good bar fight, but in those cases, people aren't really trying to kill each other."
Orion considers and then nods his head in agreement. "An excellent thought indeed." he admits as he gives a chagrined smile. Why hadn't he thought of that? The comment about her barfighting earns her a small chuckle of amusement and then he looks back to the table. "There's a lot to be done still. And I know it can be done. It will just take a lot to do it. More than we could possibly ever know in our lifecycles - but our efforts will bear fruit - and once we have the mechs back to Nyon, we can work to find a way to make sure that they are all supplied." he comments. He holds out on that one outlier that makes energon herself - no need to out Imager yet, after all.
When Orion adds his approval, Hot Rod's smile in Moonlight's direction warms even further. LOOK HOW GREAT SHE IS. He basks in the glow of a good idea that they're putting in place. They are heroes. HEROES!!! In an aside, he admits, "We actually do a lot of trading through Decepticons." Like that wasn't an obvious guess. "Another reason I'm not eager to burn bridges there."
Moonlight nods her head at this. "Well, when we're a bit more self-sufficient, we can decide if they are a loss that needs to be cut. I mean, I have nothing against each one of them individually, but as a group, they just seem like a bunch of energon-thirsty thugs." She frowns a bit. "Thugs have their place I guess, but they're not usually known for their discretion. Or the ability to see when enough is enough and back down." Then again, Hot Rod isn't known for these things either, but meh. "Either way, standing around talking about it won't get things done. We should spring into action, and all that fun stuff."
There may be a physical twitch as Hot Rod continues to press that he likes the Decepticons. Orion just shakes his head vaguely at the idea and gances towards Moonlight. "Right." he says before glancing back to Hot Rod. "I know that the Decepticons offer a lot, Hot Rod. Even I thought highly of Megatron and his ideas. And there may still be a chance for redemption. But after what happened at the Senate, I have little doubt that they will not be so restrained when it comes to their relations in the future that are not part of their group." he admits with a frown. However, Moonlight steers the conversation back to the immediate problem. The very one that Hot Rod's buddies are causing. "Right. If you can show me what areas need to be cleared still, we'll get to work on it."
Hot Rod makes a noise. It's a difficult noise to describe, but while he doesn't outright disagree with Moonlight, he certainly seems to have some skepticism for the label of 'energon-thirsty thugs'. It's not until Orion reminds Hot Rod about the Senate that he goes a little still, and closes his eyes. He nods. "Right." Opening his eyes, he leans forward. "Well, like you said, let's focus on what we can do to help." He begins to sketch out areas that have already been covered so that they can make plans. They really need better maps.