Title: Return to Space
Date: 20 August 2014
Summary: Blurr needs Element Zero, so he turns to a sentient space shuttle who is just itching to return to space... legally or not.
++ Iacon ++
Today was the day. The day Blast Off would finally get a chance to see the stars like he used to. To go into real outer space. It's been so long...
Well at any rate, the plan is that he'd take off from the port in Iacon as usual, as if he were just leaving on a routine trip to Luna-2 or one of the orbital stations. Then he'd use the cloaking technology provided to him by the IAA (don't ask where they got it) to sneak past the sub-orbital patrols and the sentry drones. Easy as engex at the Helex Gardens, right?
Blast Off walks into the spaceport, and... while his outward demeanor is basically as aloof and quiet as ever, an especially observant individual might notice an extra spring in his step. There's a spring there, an extra brightness to his optics... and the occasional twitch of a wing elevon. This is risky... *very* risky.... but also so very exciting. He should be more nervous than he is, and indeed he's just slightly agitiated.... but overall he's confident and more ready to get back to space than a non-space-flight-capable mech could ever possibly understand.
It's what he was BUILT for, and then he woke up in a world that told him he CAN'T DO IT any more. It's like telling someone who breathes air to stop using oxygen. So when Blurr approached him with that offer.... how could he have ever said no? And so- here he is now, looking around. Blurr should be here somewhere.
And indeed, the speedster is there, leaning casually against the wall in Blast Off's typical docking and fueling area. Blurr smirks slightly at the shuttleformer when he arrives. "Hey," he chuckles, and pats him on the back. "Stop trying to look so reserved. You have a right to be excited about this."
Blast Off winces slightly at the pat. He does not like being touched, and prefers to always keep his distance- phsyically and emotionally. He has reasons for this, but he doesn't enjoy divulging them. But Blurr is helping him, and so the shuttleformer attempts to remain polite.
Nonetheless, he stands and looks as regal and, yes, reserved as possible, giving only a small shrug of his shoulders. "I just... really am not one to wear my emotions on the surface, is all," he explains quietly, then turns to look at Blurr. "But... yes, I am looking forward to this. Are things ready?"
Blurr nods. "Yep." He holds out a small disc-shaped device. "This should conceal your energy signature from the drones and patrols. Just...stay out of their line of sight, and you should be good."
Blast Off reaches out to accept the device, his optics unable to compleately conceal the flash of excitement he's feeling. He holds it, inspecting it, then subspaces it to look back at Blurr. "Understood. That should not be a problem for me."
He pauses to glance skywards. "I will admit... it has been too long, and I am more than ready to go. A Cybertronian should not be denied his own reason for existing." He looks at Blurr. "Imagine someone telling you it was now illegal to *run fast*."
Blurr grins. "I can only imagine how terrible that would be. Well, I won't hold you back any longer. Go get 'em."
Blast Off nods to Blurr one last time, and there's a small smile there as he does so. Then he turns and heads towards the landing pad. But this time... it's not some short trip that only teases, taunts, and entices... while leaving him wholly unsatisfied. No, this time... he's going all the way. And he can't WAIT. The shuttle transforms, checking all his systems during the prelaunch stage. The countdown finally begins, and he can't quite control the growing excitement he's feeling. He's going to do this... he's really going to do this. Finally, it's time.
3, 2, 1... BLAST OFF. And he lifts into the sky, icy smoke billowing behind as he goes... heading towards the first of several likely obstacles.
"Good luck!" Blurr shouts as Blast Off takes off into the skies. But he's going so fast that the speedster is merely a speck on the ground far below within seconds of leaving the dock.
Of course, between the surface and Luna-2 there's not much to worry about. But past the moon there are the orbital patrols. The enforcers who make sure no one unauthorized gets out of orbit. Better also steer clear of the drones, as they'd alert the patrols to his presence if they spot him.
Blast Off heads up, breaking through the stratosphere with ease, and reaching that point where the planet begins to curve all around and even massive geological structures become insignificant smudges and dots. This is always the point his never-admitted-to anxiety grows, where he is so close to what he loves and yet so far away... but this time will be different.
He heads towards Luna-2, following the usual path. Nothing odd here, just move along now, patrols.... nothing to see or notice. But as he gets closer to the surface of the moon, he pauses to transform... and apply the device Blurr gave him. Now it's time to see if this really worked. Blast off transforms, and heads off... this time pointing directly into space itself, attempting to avoid any drone patrols he sees. His scanners sweep the area, searching for them. And meanwhile, his excitement only grows. There it is... space- deep space, true space- is RIGHT THERE, and it's calling to him.... and he intends to answer it.
Blast Off simply needs to stay out of their direct line of sight. Without the cloaking the device, the probes would have easily detected his energy signature. But with it, they are completely unaware that he's there, unless he accidentally flies right by their optics.
A short distance off, a sub-orbital patrol can be seen making their rounds, the Autobot sigil emblazoned on their wings. They don't seem to be aware of his presence, either, that is, unless he ends up in their direct line of sight. He just needs to break out of orbit before they get too close...
Blast Off rockets onward, and the tingling he feels on every surface has as much to do with his mental state as anything physical in the environment around him. Every sense seems extra sharp now... it's probably what Blurr feels while running a race. This is it, this is the big show, the thing he lives to do.... everything feels extra alive and practicaly sings with monumental meaning.
But he must not lose himself to the moment... he is a professional, and he must keep his wits about him. He spots the sub-orbital patrol appraoching and points his nose upwards, engaging thrusters and attemtpting to leave them far behind.
The patrol passes by just below him, barely missing him as he rockets past and breaks orbit.
He's finally free. There's no one out here...just him, and the vast void of space.
Blast Off ... can hardly believe it. He's waited so long for this. A lifetime, and then some. He hasn't been in deep space since... how long has it been? That last time... before he was stripped of everything he was and imprisoned for what seemed like an etenrity in a white box limbo along with his fellow Primal Vanguard team, the other Combaticons. And who knows where they are now, still in that box? Freed- but not really- like him? He doesn't know, and he MUST learn... but not right now. Right now he won't let that dampen his... well, it's ...JOY.
Blast off has finally returned home.
At this moment, he's about ready never, ever to come back. He denies any responsibility at all, of any... well, anything, at least for this moment, and allows himself the joy of finally being HOME again.
Suddenly, Blurr's voice on the comm shoves him back to reality. <<Blast Off, status?>> Oh, right. He's still not quite -completely- free, is he?
Blast Off is, unfortunately, snapped back to reality. *sigh* Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. And while he'd like to just laugh into the comm and streak away never to be seen again, .... that wouldn't work. Besides, he doesn't have the fuel for a deep space trip... it took a lot just finding-and obtaining- enough fuel for THIS far.
<< I have broken orbit, pulled beyond Luna-2, and am currently headed into deep space. ETA in 3 cycles.>> Once past any patrols, he hits the FTL engines and starts rocketing even faster than before... streaking into deep space.
<<Sounds good, keep up the good work.>> Blurr's voice replies over the comms. <<Let me know once you've reached your destination.>>
<<Like I said before though, I'll warn you it is pretty hot out there.>>
Blast Off responds back, << I am not concerned. I am built for this work... and I have met very few things out here that have ever given me pause.>> Of course... there have been a *few*, and Blast off hasn't been out here in so long... but the egotistical shuttle is still quite confident he will be just fine.
He sets along the course given and continues on, reveling in finally being out here again. He takes it all in, in every way possible... so he can relive it as much as possible once he gets home... not/home.
It's not long before he arrives in the sector of space that Blurr had requested. The Phalaxian Belt is a dense asteroid field around a supergiant star, with no other planets in the system. Indeed, it is quite hot...even Blast Off's heat shields won't last too long, so he'd better get this done quick!
Blast Off believes he's prepared, though... and he is *exceptionally* fast and agile, too. This should not be a problem. The shuttleformer performs a few last scans, ensuring all systems are running as expected and safety parameters have been met... and all seems well. So the brown and purple shuttle speeds in.
And indeed, the heat is... astounding. The icy cold of space turns into an inferno as he enters the gas cloud.
Turbulence hits, and rocks him a little, but his heat shields (which he was sure to reenforce for this trip especially) hold up. The shuttle darts in and out of the asteroids, and... what a rush! He could do this all day. Except... no, he really couldn't, he'd melt.
So... without further ado, he looks for a likely spot to land. He's got to bring out the heat-resistant condenser he brought with him to collect as much of the "Element Zero" as possible before his heat shields give out- then get out of here.
Indeed, if he stayed here too long, his shields would certainly melt and he'd be nothing more than a pile of slag.
But upon landing on the nearest asteroid, he would find something rather unexpected: That as hot as this place is, it isn't uninhabited. There's a settlement not too far from where he landed, and if his scans are correct that's not the only one. The rock is full of them. The aliens are tiny compared to him, and seem to live in primitive stone structures.
But perhaps the most important thing is that they're breathing the element zero--their bodies are dependent on it, and after all it seems to be only gaseous substance clinging to these small asteroids. Blast Off's scans and background in science would have him realize that if he were to fill the condenser, it would suck this rock dry. These creatures would literally suffocate. But on the other hand, he has a contract to fill, and his own word to honor. Blurr's done him a great favor, shouldn't he do all in his power to do the same in return?
Blast Off blinks in surprise upon seeing that this asteroid is actually *inhabited*. His optics narrow and he leans in to study this odd life form... and then recoils slightly as he realizes it's *organic*. Ew. His experiences with organics have usually ranged from nothing remarkable to experiencing outright hostility due to their fear or arrogance, and he isn't much of a fan as a result. Plus, he simply sees them as inferior... mechanical life is obviously the superior one.
So he studies them as a human would upon discovering ants... ants whose home happens to fall between him and treasure. He doesn't relish the thought of killing them, but he doesn't see it as something to avoid at all costs, either. He runs a few more scans for scientific study later, though. They may be inferior, but they are part of the greater universe that he *does* tend to admire.
And then he sets to work... he does have a duty to Blurr, and to himself, and has no intention of breaking his word. The condensor is brought out and set down as he prepares to begin his chore. He only has a short time, after all.
As soon as it is activated, the device begins to pull the gas into a supercooled chamber. It works very quickly--it needs to. And given his size compared to the organics, it's not long before they begin to suffocate as the air is literally sucked away from them.
Blast Off continues his work, though he decides to show the creatures one small mercy. Suffocation is a long, slow death... whereas shooting is not. He takes his ionic blaster out and shoots the settlement just to quicken its demise. There, no one can call him unnmerciful. But there is work to be done, and lower life forms do not get in the way when a professional is at work, stakes are high, and time is short....
Stakes are indeed high, well, as far as money goes, anyway. There's certainly a lot of shanix on the line, here. Blurr comes on the comms again. <<Blast Off? Did you reach the Belt? Just checking up on you.>> The speedster knows it's pretty dangerous out there. He also knows Blast Off is an expert, and if anyone can do it, he can, buuut...still, it's dangerous.
Blast Off grumbles slightly at the interruption... figures Blurr would call /just/ now, when he doesn't have time for such distractions. He quickly radios back, <<Yes, I am in the belt right now, extracting the element. I shall call you once I am out of here.>> He subspaces his weapon and resumes monitoring the condensor.
<<Keep up the good work.>> Blurr responds, and the comm cuts. Of course, that settlement wasn't the only one, and when the chamber is finally filled, the asteroid is pretty much sucked dry. He's wiped out the entire population of that particular rock. They never even knew what hit them.
Blast Off might feel bad... /*might*/ ... if he recognized them as truly sentient. But they are simply ants in the way of progress, so he continues on in his work. Nor does he have much time. He collects the element, then lifts up the condensor. A job well done. Then he lifts off the rock without looking back.
Well of course they were sentient, they had built settlements, and all that. But he probably won't have to think about them again, since Blurr doesn't know what happened, and no one's out here to witness it. So he won't likely be questioned about it, or anything.
Or will he?
Blast Off might not quite agree with that, but indeed... no one has asked him, and he simply has finishing his job on his mind. Which he has done. He transforms, using his shuttle arm to place the condensor inside, then proceeds to rocket off. As for being questioned, he'd have no qualms admitting anything since he did nothing wrong, after all! Well... except for the whole "break out of orbit of Cybertron" thing. THAT he intends to keep quiet about indeed.
Blurr is waiting for him at the spaceport in Iacon when he returns, with the usual smirk on his face.
Blast Off didn't really *want* to ever leave. Now that's he's back in space, he's half tempted to try and stay here forever... despite the fact that that could never work and he simply doesn't have the fuel reserves to do that. He doesn't even have enough to make it to the nearest intelligent solar system.
And so he finds himself back on Cybertron once more, having used the device Blurr gave him to sneak once more past the patrols. Once landed, he sits there in shuttle mode a moment, letting the heat of renentry leave his heat shields before transforming. He walks towards Blurr with a nod. "It is done."
Blurr nods, and holds out a hand for the condenser, watching him expectantly. "I knew you were the mech for the job." he says with a smile, and wait for the shuttleformer to hand him his merchandise.
Blast Off motions Blurr into a slightly more private area, and when they are not being watched he brings out the condenser. "Here it is, as promised. It was rather hot, but I was of course fast enough to get the job done." He holds it, then looks expectantly at the speedster.
Blurr follows him, then takes the container. He then brings out a datapad, and pokes at it a few times. "There, the money's all yours." He says, as the shanix are automatically transferred to his accounts. "You can check it right now, if you want."
"I told you it'd be hot, though." He chuckles. "But again, I knew you were the mech for the job. If anyone could do it, it'd be you."
Blast Off reaches for the datapad, and he does indeed check it just to make sure. He's no fool, and so he carefully goes over the information... and it appears sound. He gives Blurr another nod, then hands over the condenser and datapad.
"Of course. You were fortunate to find me, actually. There are few who have the skills to do what was required there... and fewer yet willing to take the risk of being caught." And yet somehow... the risk is almost... exciting to him. This "renegade" business is not as bad as it might have seemed.... "I imagine you shall benefit greatly from this. ...Enjoy. I trust this counts as the end of our contract, then?"
"Of this one, yeah." Blurr grins. "But I have to say I'm pretty happy with the job you did, and there's no doubt I'm going to be needing more of this stuff at some point." he chuckles. "Now don't go telling me I've got a glitched diode, I can tell you actually enjoyed that. You did, didn't you?"
You say "Understandable. Well, you have my contact information... you know how to find me." He rubs a small scorch mark on his heat shields... no biggie, it's just part of reentering the atmosphere.
He then allows himself a small smile, though Blurr won't actually see it under the faceplate, and looks at the racer. "Absolutely." He glances off again, making sure no one is watching, then back to Blurr. "It's been... far too long. And I don't like mechs who think they know my business better than *I* do, telling me what to do, anyway.""
"I knew it!" Blurr laughs. "You seemed like the daring type. And the non-boring type." He arches an optic ridge at his last comment though. "Why, someone been bossing you around lately? Talking as if they know more than you do?"
Blast Off starts nodding his head, but Blurr's last questions cause him to stop and blink. He looks at Blurr a moment, then glances away. "I.. I just meant the stupid laws that prevent mechs like me from going into space."
He remains staring off into the distance. "It makes no sense to prevent someone from doing what their own alt mode was /made/ to do." Of course, his comment encompassed a lot /more/ than just that, the Senate's grip on him among other things- but what he says does bug him. He finally looks at Blurr. "I suppose you never have a problem with mechs trying to run your life for you? Besides perhaps your agent?"
Someone trying to run Blurr's life for him? Hah...how about it's more like someone made his life for him. Orchestrated everything about it, and made sure he acted, spoke, and thought a certain way. Of course, he'd never tell anyone about that, in fact he's hardly even aware of the half of it. And even if he were, he wouldn't be talking to Blast Off about it.
"Me? Nah. I've got it good. I was made for racing, and that's what I do." he grins. "Well at least you have me, now, right? I guess it's not like going out there every cycle but it's certainly better than never."
Blast Off has no idea that Blurr shares certain "chains and collars" with him.. perhaps even from some of the same general people, who knows? All he sees is a celebrity who only knows the high life. But Blast Off doesn't begrudge him that fact... in fact he enjoys at least having some high class company once in awhile.
He nods. "Indeed. You are fortunate... never take it for granted, either. Things can be taken away very quickly." He glances back towards the landing pads, already missing space, and lets out a small sigh. "Yes. I must get out there again." A look back to Blurr. "As I said before, it would be like someone telling you that you could never move fast again..."
Blurr nods. "And I can only imagine how awful that would be. But don't worry! I'll have more jobs for you, I promise. You'll get to sneak out there again." He grins again. "Well, I'm looking forward to doing business with you again, but for now I'd better get back to the tracks."
Blast Off nods politely in return. "Indeed... I have some experiments that need to be checking on." A certain very intelligent Insecticon, for instance.... He adds, "Until next time, then. Enjoy your races." With that, he turns to start walking back to a launch point for the flight home.