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Title: The Ultimate Price

PCs: Prowl, Arcee, YX-939, Scattershot, Zeta, Acuity, Springer, Detour, Soundwave, Hot Rod, Shiftlock,

Location:

Date: 01 March 2015

NPCs: Jazz, Ironhide, Cliffjumper, Hubcap, Kup, Gears, Brawn, Bumblebee, Alpha Trion, Elita One, Sentinel Prime, Audience

Summary: A memorial dedicated to the late Bumper and Fastback is held at Iacon.


    Today is the big day. The day of the memorial dedicated to the late scouts Bumper and Fastback, who perished on a recon mission in the Forge. Why are they making such a huge deal out of their deaths? Surely many other Autobots had been killed in action before. But perhaps this time it's different. Perhaps it's because Megatron -himself- extinguished their sparks, and while they were helpless to defend themselves at that.

So of course the Senate is going to jump on this opportunity to show the world how brutal and merciless Megatron and his dastardly following is. How they will stop at nothing to tear down every last bit of the carefully structured society this planet depended upon for peace and security.

And not only how terrible the Decepticons and their allies are, but also how brave and noble Security is. Because they've shown the citizens of Cybertron that they are willing to pay the ultimate price to protect the denizens of this great planet.

Thus, the invite had gone out to every mech, femme, and even disposable on the entire planet to attend and in order to honor those who had sacrificed for the sake of all. As the time draws nearer, the streets of Iacon become packed with funeral attendees. Traffic is a nightmare, of course, but this was expected. Of course they want a high turnout.

Almost all of Autobot High Command is here (including Prowl), standing watch over the crowds from platforms around the perimeter of the seating area, just in case something happened. They're aware that dissenters and Decepticons know about this, so there is a significant chance that someone will attempt violence.

Up in front on the highest elevated platform in the area is where the two small caskets lie, with the names BUMPER and FASTBACK emblazoned onto each one. A giant hologram of the First Face hovers above the stage, its stern, imposing glare appearing to stare down at the crowd as it gathers.

Arcee is here. It's kind of difficult to miss her, as her shade of pink armor is rather unique. Despite her rosy appearence, however, she's very somber on this sad occasion. This is the first time that mechs she's gotten to know...actual field ops...have been killed in the line of duty. It's brought things home to the former Senate Aide in a very personal way. While she wasn't 'best friends' with Bumper or Fastback, she certainly recognized them from countless Decagon training sessions, and they were familiar faces to her. Their loss has left her shaken. She has her head bowed in somber thought as the ceremony begins.

Disposables may have been invited, but they couldn't exactly just up and go without permission. They were, after all, property and not considered living mechs. Still, as it stands, a solid dozen YX unit cleaning bots are near the memorial, but they're visibly there to do a job. They move about, sweeping the sidewalks and what streets they can get to with all the traffic; someone hired them to make sure everything looked nice around this tragic, mournful display.

The little bots do keep looking at the memorial, though. They can see some of it, and it IS quite an out of the ordinary thing to happen.

Scattershot is somewhere around here. Up in the buildings. In a place with a good view down below, plenty of areas of fields of fire to be set up incase something goes wrong and a clear view above in case he needs to take to the air. Springer and Prowl may get to be the facetime of the Autobots, but someone's got to be on the rooftops and Scattershot and his team were tagged for the duty. They share some general chatter amongst themselves, but for the most part - it's watch duty. Not exactly shake and bake in Dead End, ya'know?

Zeta remains at a respectful distance in the crowd; he's recording the event, privately, and broadcasting it to the mech that Senator Shockwave told him to look after. He'd want to be here, but his current situation prevents his appearance.

Jazz, nearby, notes this, but... won't report it. He gives a knowing smile and nod to Zeta.

Bumblebee, Hubcap and Cliffjumper stand at the front of the caskets, Hubcap with is hand on the other yellow scout's shoulder in consolation. Ironhide looks on, grimfaced as ever.

There is a duty to be here, though she's not technically /on/ duty, Acuity is the sort to be ever aware of what is going on. While it is considered honorable to die in the line of duty, she always believes it's better to live than to die. Loss might be necessary at times, but shouldn't ever be considered acceptible. Her expression can't show remorse, or somberness, but the slight bow of her head might convey it. Noticing Arcee, she moves slightly towards the pink femme, offering her a polite nod, but saying nothing for the time being; it wouldn't be respectful.

Business like and profession the Captain of the Triroian Guard leads the guards chosen to flank the senate in this state furneral. Springer looks somber and all business, right down to the fresh wax on his form. All of his guards are in the same detailed appearanea, all brandishing large laser weapons and everyone looking dead set on making sure no harm comes to any of the senate.

Springer lifts his hand signaling the guards to stop and with a step back (behind a senater) the Triorian Guard assumes its position. Springer stands at attention and stares ahead.

Detour could really care less about these deaths. Their names mean nothing, and how they died does little to reach his calloused, selfish core. The only reason he attended was a chance to tentatively approach a few minor members of the government before the memorial began about some business propositions. He'd heard it on good authority some of them were looking for things that were right up his alley. However, he stayed just to keep up appearances with those same officials. The mech looks very dour and very somber, but less out of respect and more out of the fact he usually looks dour and somber when he isn't trying to crack a pleasant smile or appear keenly interested in what someone is saying. Now he is merely waiting for the service to be over to try and hob knob with some other affluent merchants that may have attended and canvass the area for potential customers. Carefully and delicately, of course.

Soundwave is all too aware that the Senate will use this as an opportunity to make the Decepticons look as bad as possible. Of course, he is one, but secretly. He was there on scene when Megatron KILLED the two individuals being mourned today. On the surface he is an aide for Senator Ratbat, posing as a Decepticon only in order to spy on them, and Soundwave is here officially representing Ratbat today. The big, blue boxy mech stands silently, expression unreadable- but that's the way it usually is anyway. His /real/ reason? Record the procedings and report back to Megatron what happens.

Wow, who could that red and yellow mech possibly be. It's definitely not Hot Rod, because whoever it is they are wearing what looks like sackcloth of a fine mesh that covers his chest where flames definitely aren't, because that isn't Hot Rod, and what is completely not a gold spoiler on his back, because it isn't Hot Rod. (Hey, guys, I think it's Hot Rod.) He's in the rabble section, mixed with those too poor or unimportant to stand out, tucked away to the side where he's likelier to be overlooked. He's behaving. He isn't even handing out any anti-Senate propaganda.

Shiftlock is here, confined to a wheelchair; this is purely a precautionary measure after her recent injuries and attempted assassination. The new gauntlets on her forearms are capped out of necessity. Wheeljack may have fixed them, but she still doesn't have full control of them. Not yet anyways.

A golden first-face Autobot emblem is dangling from a ribbon around her neck. As the only survivor of this assault, she has been given her first medal of honor for bravery. It's difficult to tell from her expression whether or not she hates the emblem - or hates what has happened to bring her here.

In all honesty, as Acuity watches the Triorian Guard she is rather glad she got 'demoted'. All the formality and posturing isn't really her style. There's just something about it that seems to clash with honest, hard work. Some mechs and femmes might thrive on such things, but she doesn't. Let the others take care of the Senators; she's just as happy dealing with the general citizenry.

Speaking of which, she probably wouldn't be surprised that NOT Hot Rod is here if she had seen (or NOT seen) him, but she isn't in that area right now. She might notice (NOT notice) him later.

She does, however, notice Shiftlock and the medal she wears. Since first hearing of the femme and her tribulations, she's been rather worried about her. She can only imagine what /might/ be going through her mind at this point. She even goes so far as to wonder if Shiftlock is here because she wants to be, or because the powers that be wish to parade her in front of the masses. At least she doesn't voice these thoughts.

The cleaning bots, as it winds up, are pretty close to the 'poor' section of mourners/watchers/we came here to get out of work people. The YX bots clean up and down a walkway near where they view both the stage and large screens.

YX-939 is amongst them; he zooms up and down -- or what passes for 'zooming' for his kind -- and quietly transforms near the front of the path. He looks at the stage. Turns. Stops turning. Does a double-take.

YX-939 stares at Not Hot Rod. He doesn't say anything. He just stares, looking vaguely bewildered, and even squints a little. Is that?! No. But MAYBE?! But no...?

Arcee notes Acuity's presence nearby, and she nods in quiet acknowledgement. She glances around at all the mechs who have come to pay their respects, and it brings her some degree of comfort to know that the decency of recognizing sacrifice and respect hasn't become a relic of the past.

Springer notices the disposible and frowns slightly. Malfunctioning disposibles are not on the agenda today. He glances over in the direction the cleaner bot looked back at.

BUT YES, Y. Let's be honest, as much as Hot Rod might pretend otherwise, there are only so many people going around with /those/ colors, even if they kind of pretend to cover them up a little. Sneakily. Catching YX-939's glance, Hot Rod winks, with just a quick flicker of light from his eyes, then goes back to studying the memorial. He's oblivious to any attention YX-939 has drawn his way.

When the time comes, Prowl steps down from his surveillance post, temporarily handing it over to another officer. They exchange a few unheard words due to the overall chatter of the large gathering, and the chief of security makes his way toward the stage.

He steps up to the podium, his face as somber as the others'. The audience begins to quiet down as the seat lighting fades and spotlights focus in on him. He waits until the noise has settled to a satisfactorily low level before beginning to address the crowd, sighing briefly to himself before beginning. Bleh. Being charismatic and making speeches in front of people isn't exactly his specialty. He'd asked Prime to appoint Ultra Magnus to do this instead. But no, Sentinel -had- to insist. So here he is now.

"Fellow citizens of Cybertron." he begins. "I would like thank each and every one of you for taking the time to gather here in this great city tonight, to honor the sacrifices made not only by these two enlisted mechs, Bumper and Fastback, but those made by the many soldiers and officers who have gone before them. In putting their very sparks on the line, they were willing to pay the ultimate price of peace, freedom, and security."

"I now have the tremendous privilege of bringing our most respected leader before you, to speak to you all regarding our deceased comrades." He turns stage left, nodding to Sentinel who is no doubt waiting for his cue. "Please welcome Sentinel Prime to the floor."

Applause erupts from the crowd as he finishes his sentence, and the Prime himself moves onto the stage.

Soundwave glances over at Shiftlock. Now SHE is the one complication in this situation for him, in several ways. His mind reaches towards hers, searching for two things: 1) Her state of mind. The outlier finds that he regrets what happened to her. He tried to stop it, but was eventually overruled by Megatron himself. That kind of invasive experimentation on a former Decepticon who was forced into Autobot servitude has not settled well with the mech, who truly seeks things like equality for all. However, he is also very well aware of the rage and sorrow that Megatron was going through at the same time, so... he knows it's a complicated situation. Still, he wonders how she is. And 2)... will she expose him? The fact that all his research seemed to indicate she hasn't yet is promising, but today is the acid test, isn't it? He does have excuses ready if she tries (see: his supposed undercover work), but he's hoping it won't come to that.

As for the others, Soundwave scans the room for the thoughts and feelings in the area. Prowl, Sentinel Prime himself- anyone who might have something of interest. Not surprisingly, there is a wave of grief roiling about like a massive tidalwave. He finds he must work to control his reactions to it- grief is a strong emotion and it's permeating the place, swamping into his mind and trying to drown him with the sorrow, even if he doesn't feel it so much personally.

Towering over the Enforcers and Triorian Guard that serve to "protect" him, the massive golden-red figure of Sentinel Prime moves towards the dias where the coffins are laid. His honor guard step away.

Sentinel removes his helmet, holding it in one hand, as he kneels beside the caskets, and brings his right fist over his chest in a salute to the fallen, bowing his head in a show of respect and tribute. It's a moment of humility that windows something deeper inside the Prime, something more than just what politics, stateship and a tight-fisted command style have painted him to be.

For a moment, Sentinel Prime is just a mech wearing the burden of his title.

He rises to address the crowd, placing his helmet back on his head, staring out over the thousands gathered here with a stern expression and steely blue optics.

As Sentinel makes his way onstage, Prowl salutes him sharply, then steps off of the platform to return to his post on the left side of the seating area. He resumes scanning the crowds, but the mech with the strange sackcloth over him catches his attention. Is that...?

Meanwhile, Acuity and Arcee will both likely recognize Blurr also among the audience, sitting near to them. His armor is still blackened in places, but he seems to have recovered at a remarkably rapid rate. Glancing over at Arcee, he grins playfully at her.

After a few seconds, YX-939 finally accepts that that is, in fact, Hot Rod. Except clearly Not Hot Rod. The cleaning bot gives a little wave. But then there's talking and applause and oh!

YX-939 stops to stare as Sentinel takes the stage. Most of the cleaning bots do, too. But then, so does just about everyone else in the area.

Sentinel's gestures of tribute are caught on camera and projected onto giant holoscreens located all around the seating area. Just look how humble and respectful fearless leader is! Everyone should follow his example.

Detour idly considers how good an advertisement for a new drink he is working on would look on that giant holoscreen instead of Sentinel Prime.

Arcee watches Sentinel salute the two fallen Autobots, then she glances over in Blurr's direction as the Prime heads to the podium to speak. She smirks slightly; she'll have to tell him later that she didn't extend an invitation to the mech she's been allegedly rumored 'seeing', who happens to be Blurr's friend, because she didn't really want to mix politics into her personal life. At least that's her reasoning behind it. Also, funerals aren't fun.

Hot Rod returns YX-939's wave with a smile, but then points forward with a shushing gesture. Better be respectful! Like him. He is just -- the paragon. Of respect. For Sentinel Prime. Yyyyeah. At least he's still behaving himself.

Springer studies the mechs in the direction the cleaning bot was looking when Prime steps up. Well he didnt notice anything anyway and he looks back in time to see Prime pay his respects and step up to speak. Springer beleives in the Senate and beleives in Prime and -- wait did that cleaning bot wave in that direction? He looks back again and carefully combs over the mechs in his line of view. Why would a cleaning bot be waving at someone?

"Words fall short of the mark."

Sentinel gathers his thoughts, giving the crowd a moment to gather their attention to him before he continues. "Losing one of our own is never easy." The Aerialbots stand a little taller to the side. Sideswipe, for once, is not attempting to be funny. "This is a great loss. But it is no tragedy." The Camien delegation looks on, Elita-One standing beside the ancient archivist, Alpha Trion. Gear and Brawn are looking restless, wanting to do something about the deaths of their friends.

"Loss of life is only a tragedy if it is without purpose. Some say that we may not see the purpose immediately, but that it will present itself in time. To me, this tragedy offers an immedate, startling purpose. A crystal clarity."

"As Prime, I am only the head of our planet's Security Forces. I do not make policy - together, we simply enforce the law. The difference now is that these outlaws --" He pauses, bringing his right hand up in to a clenching fist, "-- these Decepticons -- now command our attention. The only question unanswered:"

Sentinel opens a panel on that right arm, pressing a button. As he does, his color begins to change, his shape breaking up, panels sliding back and into a new configuration. Weapon turrets rise from his back alongside golden jet wings. His mass increases as he now fairly towers over even the tallest mechs and femmes.

Sentinel stands before the crowd, enshrouded in the Apex Armor. He finishes his question: "Is what do we do with it?"

Acuity isn't quiet at the level of 'grief'. It's more of a general sorrow as she didn't know the departed personally. Along with it is the sense of horror that greets her whenever she contemplates the extreme things that people will do to each other.

Acuity isn't terribly impressed with Blurr, despite the reassurances that he was in the right, she still maintains, at least to herself, that he didn't act professionally. Also, playful grins have no place at such a function, even if it wasn't aimed at her. Softly she excuses herself from Arcee and moves elsewhere. Catching the sight of NOT Hot Rod, she moves towards him. She doesn't have time to say anything because the speech has started, to which she listens with due attention.

The speech is touching, and would have meant more to Acuity if it hadn't likely been prepared, possibly by some closeted speech writer. The transformation, however, doesn't fail to impress.

Detour had been boredly scanning the crowds around him. This venture had better not be a waste of his time. He's well aware that these deaths are over hyped and being used as tools to further the agenda of those in charge. There is no doubt in Detour's mind that Sentinel Prime himself is as disinterested in the lives of these two casualties, only in their deaths as it serves his needs. Detour continues glancing about himself, until the presentation of Sentinel's Apex armour catches his optic. The mech let's out a low whistle, which gets a few indignant expressions from people around him. He doesn't care. The people he is standing by aren't likely to benefit him in any way.

Certain members of the audience may not have been impressed, but the cleaning bots that saw certainly are. See YX-939 over there? Look at how big those optics are. Look at him gape. He is AMAZED. AWED. Such an incredibly thing he just saw! With the growing and the cannons and the wooooow...!

Shiftlock doesn't know what to think of this - she didn't really want war. She was hoping it would stop, and yet... this looks like war, standing not but a few feet from her casting is massive shadow over her. She feels smaller, now, more helpless than she ever has. Nothing she tried to do in saving others has worked. Shift's feelings are mixed - on one hand she'd love to see Hook torn apart slowly in Sentinel's hands. On the other, she wants to run as fast as she can and risk everything to warn the handful of Decepticons she still cares about.

For all that Hot Rod's (not Hot Rod, totally not, stop looking over here!) been keeping an eye out for any law enforcement headed in his direction, Sentinel's /little surprise/ catches the whole of his attention. It's not until Acuity's basically right next to him that he's likely to notice her.

Blurr is basically a child. So perhaps Acuity shouldn't be surprised that he didn't act like a professional at all. He notices her get up and leave and makes a face at her back. Pfft, what a self-righteous prude, he thinks to himself. Though he does look back to watch Sentinel don his Apex Armor. It's definitely an impressive show. A low sound of awe at this sight comes from the audience in general.

Prowl in the meantime is continuing to watch NOT-Hot Rod like an ardurian roc. He knows the local police in Nyon had been after the mech...

Springer looks on n approvingly when Sentinel puts on the armor but catches something out of the corner of his optic. What is a none disposible doing waving and smiling as one? Slag he cant move from his position rght now but he keeps sharp optics out for aything ele out of the ordinary.

Arcee stares toward Prime and his awe-inspiring armor, and isn't entirely sure what to feel. Her own beliefs tend to divulge a bit from the 'typical' Autobot, although she has a lot of respect for Prowl specifically. This Sentinel? He's certainly an impressive physical specimen, but she isn't entirely on board with his call to arms. She hopes that her cognitive dissonance looks more like sorrow.

Zeta is stone-faced outside, but unnerved inside. "This definitely looks like the opening salvos of a war," he murmurs quietly.

Jazz shakes his head at the display, slightly. "Yeah, looks like the slag's about t' hit the fanbelt," he agrees, folding his arms. "And I -ain't- talkin' Dynobot."

"Probably a good thing too, because when a Prime gets armored this high, it never wants to come off," Kup agrees glumly. "This reminds me of the time Nova Prime went looking for the Cyber Caliber on the Planet of Junk..."

Aaand... there's some Apex Armor. Soundwave's attention is immediately all OVER that, scanners reaching out to obtain every bit of information he can get on the armor, the mech who carries it, and both the capabilities and weaknesses thereof. Yes, Megatron will be seeing this footage soon. The scan of Shiftlock reveals about what he had thought it would, and so far no propensity to reveal his identity.

** Radio: A-Chat ** Prowl says, "Springer."

** Radio: A-Chat ** Prowl says, "I think the one with the cloth on his head is Hot Rod."

** Radio: A-Chat ** Arcee says, "What? He's here??"

It's just as well Acuity didn't see Blurr's reaction. Pfft, what a self-centered child.

As for (NOT)Hot Rod, if he's not here to cause trouble, she isn't going to cry alarm. Perhaps he feels some sadness for the fallen. If he has come here to actually show respect, then she thinks perhaps it will do him some good in the long run. Then again, maybe not. Apart from that, she doesn't know if the higher ups would be pleased if she did disrupt things for the rebel-master of Nyon.

Oh, and there goes the radio. Sigh.

When Hot Rod manages to pull his eyes away from Sentinel so that he can judge the reaction of the others up front, he catches sight of Prowl glaring. He twitches, straighting his shoulders. His eyes narrow. Then he remembers to look innocent, because he's not Hot Rod. He's totally not. So he just widens his eyes and looks away. He barely keeps from whistling. INNOCENTLY.

** Radio: A-Chat ** Acuity says, "Should we disrupt the ceremony to deal with him?"

** Radio: A-Chat ** Whirl says, "That would be super disrespectful to the dead guys or something."

** Radio: A-Chat ** Prowl says, "No, but I want you to investigate and confirm if it is him or not."

** Radio: A-Chat ** Acuity says, "I am close by and will attract less attention than Springer, I believe."

** Radio: A-Chat ** Scattershot says, "If it's him, it stands to reason he'd be stayin to pay his respects and all. if he leaves, someone tail im, and we can deal with him away from the ceremony, yah?"

Alpha Trion looks particularly grim, and it's not just the funeral. "Elita, I believe it's time to get in contact with as many of the other colonists on the planet as possible. We need to send messengers to Override as well. This could change everything."

Elita-One nods to the older mech. "Agreed. I think it's time quietly took our leave."

** Radio: A-Chat ** Whirl says, "Are we going to arrest Hot Rod? OH! Can I be the one to do it??"

** Radio: A-Chat ** Prowl says, "Yes, confirm his identity, and tail him after the ceremony."

** Radio: A-Chat ** Scattershot says, "Copy. Acuity, where is he in relation to ya? I can get optics on im from up here."

** Radio: A-Command ** Sentinel says, "I'm making my exit now. Prowl, deal with this situation. I will dismiss the ceremony and begin preparations to root out this Decepticon insurrection and burn it clean from this world."

Arcee slowly lowers her head, face buried in her hand...she looks very much like she's crying, but in reality, she's facepalming.

** Radio: A-Chat ** Acuity says, "I am beside him. Though, if he /has/ come to pay his respects, truly, then it may be a small sign he's not completely a lost cause."

** Radio: A-Chat ** Prowl says, "Yes, sir."

** Radio: A-Chat ** Prowl says, "Regardless of being a lost cause or not, he must be apprehended."

** Radio: A-Chat ** Acuity says, "I didn't mean to say he shouldn't be. I simply mean that, in the long run, it might be considered."

From his perch high above, Scattershot just feels the urge to just roll his optics. Seriously. Though he takes out his rifle, flicks on the scope, maginfies and aims down towards the crowd.

Scanning, scanning. One-optic'd freak spotted. Oh, that's Whirl. Stop making googly faces, Whirl.

Scan, scan. Oh ho. There's that aft. Up. Yep. It's Acuity. And right next to him, she said - there's Hot Rod.

Supposedly.

Keeping a watch on him from his position, the Technobot leader just listens to the chatter on the radio.

"Guards: Begin Thirteen Gun salute. On my mark - Now!" The honor guard near Sentinel raise their laser rifles high into the air, away from the crowd, and begin an orderly repetition of fire, one round of shots for each of the original thirteen tribes. As they do so, the Apex Armor makes it way down the dias and out of the throng, as Sentinel leaves the area for his transport back to Security Forces Headquarters - in Kaon.

As the Senaters or their representivies leave, the Triorian Guard escort their charges off the stage. Their leader though hangs back slightly to once again look through the crowd and once agani look at the mech who seems friends with a disposible.

The awe and majesty of Sentinel's armor is gone, now. All that is left is a whole lot of mourning people and two caskets. The cleaning bots slowly settle down and continue doing their jobs.

YX-939, though, stands there for a moment. He heard the murmuring of nearby mecha talking about... War? The armor was about war? But... No, defense, right? Not war? Disposables don't do very well in situations involving, you know, violence.

YX-939 stands there, looking conflicted and confused.

Watching as Sentinel departs, Hot Rod mutters a very quiet, "Scrap." He ducks his head, rubbing his helm, then looks up with a determined set to his features. He casts a last glance around the area, at which point he spots Acuity. He startles, then starts sidling off before she can notice him. (Ha ha.)

Acuity has been ordered to keep an optic on Hot Rod. So she does. Even though he's obviously NOT Hot Rod. (Yeah right.) She would face palm, except she has neither face nor palms. While she might not particularly want this task, she's not going to shirk it either. Fortunately, her face shields emotions quite well...unless SOMEONE happens to be an empath. As Hot Rod starts to sidle away, she weaves through the crowd to tail him.

** Radio: A-Chat ** Scattershot says, "I'm trackin ya, Acuity. I won't intercept until you are both away from the crowd."

** Radio: A-Chat ** Acuity says, "Understood. No sense in making those who came to the ceremony fret any more than they already are."

** Radio: A-Chat ** Scattershot says, "Exactly."

** Radio: A-Chat ** Shiftlock says, "I feel sick. I want to leave."

Arcee is...pretty sure what's going to happen, now. Hot Rod's going to prison. He's a slippery one, but he can't escape an entire contingent like this. Most of the mechs in this place are on alert and getting ready to jump him. Yup, he's totally getting taken in this time, unless he pulls a miracle out of subspace. That's literally what he's going to need to have happen. With a fed-up sigh of irritation, Arcee heads off into the crowd to exchange a few words with her old boss, Proteus, just out of protocol. She is *not* going to run after the hero of Nyon, not unless specifically ordered to do so. (What. Were. You. THINKING...) Her processor is actually beginning to hurt just thinking about why he thought he could hide in plain sight.

** Radio: A-Chat ** Shiftlock says, "I... I'm going home."

** Radio: A-Chat ** Acuity says, "You did well Shiftlock; hopefully you're clear to leave. Do you have someone to take you back."

Much of the crowd watches in awe as the guard ends the ceremony with the flamboyant 13-gun salute, though some of the ushers begin to help form lines up by the stage for people to come up and view the caskets if they so desired. There are quite a few who do, though most people begin to disperse once the shootout ends.

Prowl continues to watch Hot Rod from his post, communicating with the other members of security in regard to Rod's arrest. He steps down after a few minutes and starts to move through the crowd, keeping tabs on the mech. << Scattershot, move to intercept. Acuity, do you have a positive ID? >>

** Radio: A-Chat ** Prowl says, "Move to intercept as soon as he's away from the crowd."

** Radio: A-Chat ** Scattershot says, "Understood, sir."

** Radio: A-Chat ** Acuity says, "I would say a ninety percent ID. A single word out of him, and bump that up to full."

Well the worst of the boring part is over. Detour begins to circulate about those who linger in their mourning. He makes small talk with a few people as he mills about, pretending to care. Eventually though, he begins to gravitate to where a lot of the lower caste mechs are. Sure, HE is low caste, but that doesn't stop his shanix from trying to convince people otherwise. Just as Detour walks around a rather large mech who looks like he is about to crumble into sobs, Detour stops short, having almost walked into one of the cleaning bots. He nudges it with his foot and glares percingly at the little disposable, letting his expression do the talking - and the meaning is clear. MOVE IT!

** Radio: A-Chat ** Scattershot says, "Acuity, you're closer to the scene, you made the ID. This is yer collar. Let me know when to drop in."

Acuity doesn't WANT to go after Nyon's heoric figure. But orders are orders. Better to get him out of the crowd first. Besides, he /did/ make the choice to come here. He /did/ make the choice to have a completely unconvincing disguise. And he /did/ make the choice to defy the law in the first place. And here she is trailing him. Fortunately her poker face is superb as she makes the off-hand comment, as if to a stranger, "Quite the ceremony, wasn't it?" Just one word Hot Rod, just one word.

** Radio: A-Chat ** Prowl says, "Springer, cover his flanks. Make sure he doesn't get away."

Dropping off the side of the building, Scattershot converts into his techno-bomber form, the shadow cast over the crowd for a moment as he flies over the ceremony, low and slow now that the gun salute is over and doesn't put him in the line of fire.

Little YX-939 doesn't actually notice Detour until he's physically being nudged. Then, he jumps, stunned that someone is GLARING SO FIERCELY. This was a funeral, weren't people supposed to be more sympathetic or something?

Still, he knows his place, and he rushes to get out of his way. He bumps right in to Acuity. There were just too many people NOT to bump in to someone, now.

Soundwave watches Sentinel leave. IT is not a good day for the Decepticons, but they will have a response ready soon enough, he is certain. He simply needs to get back to Megatron now. He picvks up something else from the crowd.... some kind of focus that has nothing to do with the armor. The outlier's head slowly turns and he picks up a now familiar thought pattern. Now the almost predatory positioning he's detecting makes sense: Hot Rod. Why on Cybertron did he come here? Soundwave marvels at this a moment. But he simply observes. Hot Rod brought this on himself and Soundwave is only here as an observer.

Tailing him? Hot Rod sidles faster. Nooope. He picks up his pace -- not quite outright running, but ... not that far from it. With Acuity so peskily persistent, he angles to put the bulk of the crowd between them and the forces that had been arrayed near the front. With traffic a nightmare, there's not a lot of room for him to grab a long straightaway, transform, and tear off. So he doesn't even try. But he's totally going somewhere.

** Radio: A-Chat ** Shiftlock says, "I'll help myself home, thanks."

Shiftlock uses the joystick on her wheelchair to maneuver herself out of the crowd. Soundwave will sense her disgust and revulsion at this turn of events, while everyone else will just see her making her way back to her medical transport.

The little cleaner isn't really any sort of threat to Acuity, and he certainly doesn't have the mass or strength to bowl her over, but that momentary distraction comes in. Turning, she peers down at YX-939. It is a big crowd, and she recognizes that there's a good chance the bump was an innocent mistake. Still, she gives the small bot a nudge to the shoulders to send him on his way before looking back towards Hot Rod. Damn! Has she lost him? No, wait, there he is! And she's back on the trail.

Oh, good, this new person wasn't yelling at him or trying to hurt him for the innocent bump. YX-939 lets out a breath of relief; higher casts can be so MEAN.

But then he's dodging to the side to avoid bumping in to someone ELSE. He soon finds himself ducking underneath a chair to avoid being trampled. He's small enough to actually fit as people file out.

While waiting for the crowd to thin enough to leave again, he looks to where Not Hot Rod is moving very fast and... Are people chasing him? ... Huh.

Prowl moves to the edge of the crowd and transforms, driving along the perimeter as he continues to keep his sights on Hot Rod. He's noticed that the mech has begun to move faster, almost running, which is a sure sign that he's aware he's being pursued. That about does it, there's no question---that's Hot Rod. The crowds are thinning...it's almost time. << Springer, cover his left flank. Make sure he does -not- get away. >> Meanwhile, Prowl moves toward the right. Hot Rod is going to be surrounded, this time!

Springer was already on the move as the situation devolves pretty quickly. He transforms into car mode and blazes a quick trail to indeed block Not Hot Rods left flank.

Someone forgot to pay his parking ticket. Hot Rod uses the brief moment of distraction to good effect, so that when Acuity briefly loses sight of him, she picks him up again right as he's turning a corner. Overhanging signs obscure his path, leaving little for sky spies to track. He doesn't seem aware that he's being surrounded -- or he doesn't care. He's foolish enough to duck into an alley. CLEARLY, AGAIN, WITH THE NOT THINKING.

And yet, when they catch up, his /clever disguise/-slash-scrap of cloth hangs on the edge of an access hatch to the city's tunnels, and Hot Rod's underground. Of course.

Oh bother. Well, Acuity's gotten dirty before and she'll get dirty again.

** Radio: A-Chat ** Acuity says, "He's gone underground. Shall I go under as well? We'll have to start covering access points."

Soundwave also heads off, his duty to Ratbat (and more importantly Megatron) fulfilled for now. If Hot Rod escapes, perhaps the outlier will see him again.

** Radio: A-Chat ** Prowl says, "Affirmative. Pursue him."

And down Acuity goes. Unfortunately, Hot Rod probably knows the underground better than she does, even though she had gone there a few times during her time undercover, it wasn't her goal to map and memorize the tunnels. Once down there she looks both ways, trying to discern which way the flashy mech went. Oh, if only she was better armed right now.

** Radio: A-Chat ** Acuity says, "Can those still on the surface start heading to the other access points in case he tries to leave the tunnels again? And if someone could look up a map that would be very helpful."

** Radio: A-Chat ** Prowl transmits a map of the underground in the immediate area.

** Radio: A-Chat ** Prowl says, "Scattershot, intercept from the access point in sector 2A. Springer you cover 2B. He can't have gone that far yet."

** Radio: A-Chat ** Scattershot says, "Copy that."

As he gets his orders, Scattershot peels off his pursuit and races through the skies towards the northern access point to the sanitation tunnels. Transforming back to his root mode, the Technobot drops into place, just behind the tunnel. And waits. If Hot Rod comes this way, he could be in for a nasty surprise.

Tunnels underground? Winds up that Hot Rod and Those That Want Him are not the only ones down there. Why, there's several YX bots as well!

Cleaning bots in a sewer? How... Ordinary? They're kinda made for the place.

Stunned by sudden Chase Sequence, they just stand to the side, looking in the general direction Hot Rod goes. Betrayed, accidentally once more, by the YX bots.

Acuity notes that the YX units are staring in one direction. That seems a likely indicator, but just to be sure, as she's running past, she asks, "Did a mostly red mech come by this way?" If they indicate 'no' she can always reverse course.

Springer circles around when he looses sight of the mech and transforms back into bot mode. He looks at the YX units and says,

Nope! He's not going north! With the YX to betray him, is it really that much of a surprise that Hot Rod's headed west? That way lies Nyon, after all.

"Did you --" and thers Acuity asking the same thing suddenly, "I dont think is a question of if but when and where did he go." He looks at the closest YX unit, "Where did he go?" he asks bluntly.

The stunned YX bots nod very quickly; they have no idea what's going on, but it's kind of exciting! They just point. Thattaway!

The more she sees of Hot Rod, or the wake of Hot Rod, the more Acuity is convinced that there is NOTHING about the mech that is a mastermind. She just shakes her head. How much of the 'threat' has been proven, and how much is a theory or fabrication? But she doesn't stop to ponder these. Heading towards Nyon it is! She nods to the units and briefly says, "Thank you." And she's off. Springer can follow or order her to do something else, but she's still on orders to pursue, so that's what she does.

And at the western entrance to the tunnels, Scattershot continues to wait. Not that he has plans to wait much longer. That is until he sees a flash of red and goild past by where he is. There comes the soft click of a rifle and a quiet.

"Pump the brakes, kid." commented to Hot Rod as the technobot comes face to face with the so-called terrorist. Studying him for a moment, the technobot considers him. Finally, he comments. "They're goin to block the western access to Nyon. Find another way around kid." he comments as he grabs his radio. << I just saw him nead north towards access 2B, in pursuit! >>

Springer needs to pursue but also has senate guard business to take care of. He will deal with Prowl later, "Pursue him. Acuity." he says and then jumps up to transform into chopper mode and leave.

Having told Springer and Scattershot to cover the alternatives, Prowl speeds toward the first likelihood: the westward bound passages. After all, that's the direction Nyon is in, and Hot Rod isn't the sort to be clever about this stuff. No, he is definitely not a mastermind.

He enters through an access point somewhere down the line, hoping to intercept the runaway on his way toward his home city. He hears Scattershot's comm but just replies with << Copy that. >> and begins to scans the tunnels up and down in search of any evidence of Hot Rod's presence.

Acuity shrugs her shoulders and keeps going. Springer can deal with the CoC; he's a big mech. /She/ has a Hot Rod to nab. She won't really label him a bad guy. Trouble, yes, but bad doesn't quite seem to fit him. Pumping her metal legs she just keeps going, using her map and any intel from the others to guide her path.

The click of a rifle catches Hot Rod's attention as much as the words. He whips around, pumping his brakes -- and who says he never listens! -- before transforming back to root mode. He activates, but does not yet raise, his weaponed arms. He meets Scattershot's gaze, briefly hesitant, then tips his head with a smile. "Well, I guess that's pretty smart of them, all things considered," he admits. He tips two fingers to Scattershot in a salute and transforms to zip back off again. He ... does not head toward the western access tunnels. He moves south to enter smuggler tunnels mapped once upon a time when taking down the Institute in Nova Cronum.

Out in the now-dwindling crowd of mechs paying respects to the deceased Autobots, Arcee laments to herself as Proteus 'invites' her along to a post-ceremonial 'gathering' to some posh club. Even though he's no longer the boss of her, there's still a degree of protocol she has to follow, and it would be seen as wrong to turn him down. So she heads off with the most boring mechs she knows, to some uppercrust club in Translucentia Heights for a few drinks (and a ton of dull Senatorial conversation).

Why Scattershot did what he just did? Who knows. Maybe someone once told him that change has to come from the inside and having Hot Rod in a cell just didn't make sense in the Technobot's mind.

Instead, he turns in the opposite direction with his rifle and tromps off to go find some treads in the great number of treads that could be or not be a terrorist.

Somehow it seems almost silly to be going after Hot Rod when the Decepticons are out there murdering people in cold energon. Hot Rod is too much of a hot-head for such tactics. His lack of forethought and foolishness don't equate to the sort of brutality that the Decepticons seem to dish out. Still, she's not going to argue with these orders; Hot Rod has, in fact, broken the law. She just hopes that his sentancing isn't too severe, all things considered. So, how far behind him is she? Well, that's hard to tell.

Prowl determines from the data returned to him that Hot Rod has not come down this way. Thus, he transforms and heads off in a different direction that must have been second on the probability list.


Alas for Acuity that she's far enough behind him that when she hits the smuggler tunnels, with their many branching passages, it's not immediately clear which way he went. If only there were a few YX bots down here, too, to betray Hot Rod. Too bad.

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