Foxfire moves along the desert at a casual pace, optics and audios alert. So far, there's no sign of suspicious activity, or even the presence of others. Still, it's best to be cautious.
Oh, what's this? An overturned semi-truck on a highway? And is that the driver, lying still on the ground nearby? Well, obviously the poor fellow might need help.
Foxfire comes to an abrupt stop, perking his ears. Well, that's not good. He darts over to the truck and the fallen driver. "Hey, mister! You okay?"
The truck driver is unresponsive at first. But once Foxfire gets close, the driver lifts his head up, staring straight at Foxfire with blazing red eyes. "I am fine, little tape," the truck driver says in a voice that sounds just like Optimus Prime's, albeit with a sinister edge, "You, on the other hand..."
A hologram that had been superimposed over the semi truck flickers out of existence, revealing... Guiltor's alternate mode, a battle-armored truck! Transforming slowly, each piece sliding into place as Guiltor rises onto his feet, the amalgam forms his robot mode, glarimg down at Foxfire. "...are a different story altogether!" He glances at the fake truck driver, and waves a hand at him. The driver vanishes. "I apologize for the ruse, but it was the only way I could speak to you... ALONE."
Armored Battle-Truck is transforming towards you!!
Foxfire releases a yelp, instinctively jumping back at the sight of the driver's blazing eyes. "What in the--" As Guiltor reveals himself, he crouches slightly, snarling at the much larger mech. "What could you want to speak to ME about?" he demands in a hostile tone. "I have nothing to say to you, freak!"
"Perhaps," Guiltor says, stomping towards Foxfire relentlessly, as if he might even step on Foxfire himself. "But I have much to speak to YOU about... Tell me. How do you feel about... water?" He points behind the tape, and if he looks, he'll see a vast expanse of it, like a great blue ocean. And Guiltor seems to be herding Foxfire right into it...
"Water...?" Foxfire stares at Guiltor in disbelief. "But we're...in a desert..." He slowly turns, his gaze following where the other mech is pointing. He instantly freezes, optics widening. "No...no way...!"
White mists drift across the surface of the "ocean" as it seems to swallow up the entire countryside. Foxfire is eventually left alone on a tiny little island, but even that is steadily shrinking away. And Guiltor himself is... gone? Nevertheless, his voice is still present. "You have a great fear of water, don't you, my friend?"
"If you are to save Rodimus Prime, however, you must overcome it..." A ship appears in the water, turned over onto its side. It appears to be sinking.
"Help... help!" Rodimus Prime's voice echoes from within the ship.
Foxfire huddles himself up as tight as he can, staring at the water as it nears him, eating up the tiny island. His ears twitch at Guiltor's voice. "Rodimus...?" A gasp escapes him. "Rodimus!" He runs back and forth on the sinking bit of land. What can he do? He can't swim...and the illusion, mixed with his aquaphobia, make him forget that he is capable of flight.
"Jump, Foxfire! Jump for the ship! Maybe you will make it!" Guiltor coaxes.
"The ship's sinking!" Rodimus cries from within the ship. "I... I need to get off the ship! Is there anyone there? Heellllpppp meeeee!!!"
Meanwhile, the "island" continues to shrink away. Now, there's only barely enough room for Foxfire to stand on, but even does not seem like it will last.
"Jump?" Foxfire stares at the ship. Can he make it? Rodimus is in danger...he can't afford to wait! He has to try! "Hang on, chief!" He jumps onto the ship, grabbing onto a ledge and pulling himself up. "Rodimus!" he cries as he frantically searches. "RODIMUS!"
"FOXFIRE!" Rodimus shouts. "I'm so glad to hear you! I'm going to bang on the hull... that'll help you find me!" Something slams hard against the hull of the ship several times, revealing that he's somewhere in the middle, behind a very thick hull. "Look, Foxfire, I don't have energy to shoot my way out, but you can release me... I need you to use your bombs to open a hole in the ship! Hurry, the ship's still sinking!"
Foxfire hurriedly follows the sound of the banging, and his leader's voice. He comes to the hull, where he stops, rearing up on his hind legs and placing his front paws on the steel. He looks around, finding nothing that could help, but then he nods to himself. "All right, just stay back!" He drops back down to all fours and opens one of his hip compartments, from which he removes a spare explosive. He sets it down, and activates it.
"Foxfire?" Rodimus asks. "Did you set the explosive? What's going on up there? Hello?..."
"Yeah, I set it!" Foxfire calls. "Just stand back!"
"What? I didn't hear you. Did you set the--" BANG! The explosive goes off, and Rodimus Prime's screams of agony rise up through the newly opened hole! "Ahh! AHHHHHH!! Oh, Primus... my... arm..." The Autobot leader lies within a compartment that's cramped for someone of his size, clutching his ruined left arm. His face betrays the extreme pain he's in. "Uh... uhhhh.... Foxfire.." Rodimus squints up out of the hole. "You... you have to set... another bomb... the opening... it's not big enough..."
"Rodimus!" Frightened, horrified, Foxfire backs up, staring in shock at the damage he caused. His processor quickly goes through each of his options; he is unable to think clearly. He reaches to his other compartment and produces another bomb, which he promptly sets. "Get back!"
"Can't... move..." Rodimus says. BANG! The bomb goes off again, inducing another round of screaming from the Autobot leader. "AHHHH!!! AAAHHHHHNNNNGHHH! Oh... oh... it hurts..." He sounds almost like he's on the verge of tears. Rodimus's body seems to be peppered with shrapnel, including on one of his optics. "It... it still isn't big enough, Foxfire... you have to set... one more... bomb... hurry... ship... sinking..."
Just as he warned, the ship has continued to sink, and the water line is coming up to the breach in the hull that Foxfire made.
"One more...one more bomb...just one..." Foxfire is growing more desperate, and his common sense is no longer valid. "Another bomb...get Rodimus out of there...save the chief...c'mon..." He produces one more explosive, and sets it off. He is on the very edge of losing his mind.
BANG! Off the bomb goes, and while the hole finally looks big enough for Rodimus to fit through, he does not scream or say anything this time. And that may be because a huge chunk of shrapnel embedded itself in his chest. Rodimus Prime's body slowly fades to grey.
The ship's descent into the depths continues, and soon it is swallowed up by the ocean, bubbles erupting out of the breach as it is flooded. Foxfire has nowhere in the whole wide ocean to escape to, now...
Foxfire hunches up, optics wide and somewhat dimmed. He is clearly traumatized, and still severely frightened by his surroundings. The ship is sinking fast, and there's nowhere to go but in the water. Seemingly giving up hope, he falls onto his side, trembling.
The water rises up over Foxfire's body, and he seems to fall into the murky darkness of the ocean, until...
Guiltor holds a tank full of water over Foxfire, dumping it onto him. The ocean is gone.
"You're reckless, Foxfire," Guiltor says, hands on his hips as he stares down at Foxfire. "You killed Rodimus Prime with those bombs. You should've taken more precautions instead of setting off dangerous explosives without any concern for whom they might hurt. Now look what happened! Did your fear of a harmless liquid make you so careless!? You're rustproof, Foxfire! Water is not a threat to you! Bah... pathetic." He turns, and begins to stomp heavily away from the tape.
<Earth> Guiltor says, "Another day, another victim."
<Earth> Glittery Magic Fusillade says, "SAYS YOU"
<Earth> Glittery Magic Fusillade says, "HAW haw."
<Earth> Dreadwind says, "Another step closer to your painful demise..."
Foxfire barely acknowledges the water dumped onto him. He is curled up and still shaking. "Rodimus," he sobs. "I killed...Rodimus...with my own bombs..." He doesn't seem to hear Guiltor's words--and besides, it is not HIS fault he's afraid of water. "Rodimus..."
<Earth> Guiltor says, "Fusillade. How's Jetfire doing? Last I heard, he tried to kill you with those breacher bombs. Maybe there's still one inside you..." There's a miniscule, high-pitched beeping noise coming over the frequency.
Guiltor continues to stomp off into the distance, unmindful of the suffering he caused, or of the possibility help is on the way. "Goodbye, Foxfire. I can only hope, for Ultra Magnus's sake, that he stays away from you."
<Earth> Glittery Magic Fusillade says, "OH. Primus. LET me tell you. Glitch ain't called in /three/ months! Can you believe that? I guess I don't blame him, someone vanilla like that ain't gonna know how to handle some purple flavah in their lives, you feelin' me?"
<Earth> Spike Witwicky sounds confused, "Wait, did someone let Rider talk again?"
<Earth> Guiltor says, "Intoxicated. Like half of Galvatron's troops, I can only assume."
Quickswitch has arrived.
<Earth> Glittery Magic Fusillade says, "Nuh UH."
<Earth> Spike Witwicky chuckles at that, "I am shocked, SHOCKED I say, to hear of Decepticons hitting the high grade in vast amounts."
<Earth> Glittery Magic Fusillade says, "FEAST or famine, hyoo-man."
<Earth> Swindle says, "Heh, high grade. You like high grade? I got some stuff. You call me."
<Earth> Spike Witwicky hmmms, "Riiiiight."
<Earth> Glittery Magic Fusillade says, "Maybe it will give you some indication of the indulgencies WE can enjoy. WE have the luxury to /play/ at conquest." Sheng has arrived.
<Earth> Spike Witwicky says, "Well if that's what you call it, you've been 'playing' for years."
With the traditional transformation sounds, Sheng transforms from her battle-mode to her highly updated hovertruck mode, ready to move out.
<Earth> Glittery Magic Fusillade says, "Years are nothing to us."
Gold hovertruck drives along at her top speed, this is nice. This is all but HER home turf... Now... locator locator... where was that foxfire...
The distant jet arrives on bellowing engines. There's no sign of Guiltor that he can see. Quickswitch manages to keep his growing dread and contempt at bay as he scans the cracked ground for the tiny tape, like a hawk. The Quintessons had sent their remote drone to torment them all--Autobot AND Decepticon. <<Foxfire, respond if you are able! This is Quickswitch!>> he announces over the com. Quickswitch swerves, cuts his engines and transforms in midair, a purposeful, blurring motion and his great feet impact the shuddering ground, "Foxfire..?" he scans about.
Quickswitch springs up into his massive robot mode.
<Earth> Dreadwind says, "Indeed, it is the decades of suffering that are the worst, the years merely work to keep track of the continual agony."
Foxfire is curled up on the ground, trembling fearfully, and clearly traumatized by what he had just experienced. He is slightly wet from some water that Guiltor had dumped onto him. He doesn't look like he will be moving from that spot. He gives a quiet sob as he hears Quickswitch's voice. It sounds so distant, and he doesn't seem able to respond.
<Earth> Spike Witwicky says, "This has been a public service announcement from the Decepticon Recruitment Corps. Doesn't it just sound /great/ to be one?"
<Earth> Glittery Magic Fusillade says, "SMELT yeah!"
Gold hovertruck growls her engine as she arrives, transforming to land near Foxfire and the other transformer. She stares at Quickswitch coldly, dropping the sheilds over her talons... just in case.
<Earth> Guiltor says, "If both sides were to kneel to me, you would no longer have a need for war. For doubt. For self-pity. Or for... guilt. You will be free of all these things, with your eyes forced open to see the world past the veil of self-delusions you built to protect yourselves. You will no longer need those delusions. I will give you the strength and moral clarity to stand without them."
With the traditional transformation sounds, Sheng transforms from an updated hovertruck to her sleek and deadly battle-mode, ready for whatever may come.
<Earth> Glittery Magic Fusillade says, "Then you would have no PURPOSE."
<Earth> Spike Witwicky says, "Who is this guy? Is he working for the Scientologists?"
<Earth> Bandit says, "No one will kneel to someone who sucks on the Quintesson's teat"
<Earth> Glittery Magic Fusillade reeeeeees at Bandit. "I think something was lost in translation."
<Earth> Swindle says, "Nah, Fusillade. '0100101010' -- teat, right there in the Cybertronian-English dictionary."
<Earth> Glittery Magic Fusillade says, "Oh. OH. Gross!"
<Earth> Guiltor says, "This IS my purpose, Fusillade. To free you. To free all of you. But you cannot be released from your own prison of lies until you are dragged, bleeding, through its shattered walls."
Guiltor, by now, might be a little speck on the horizon. He's in no big hurry to return to base.
<Earth> Spike Witwicky says, "Oh my god. It's worse than I thought. This guy used to write lyrics for Creed, didn't he?"
<Earth> Guiltor chuckles in that warm way that Optimus Prime used to. "Spike. Tell me. Who did you think your son was going to grow up to be? Do you feel you were a good father to him?"
The environment was still a foreign place to the enormous Six Changer. He stood on gigantic feet, supported by tight metal sinews stuck at an odd way into his equally odd torso. His whole form, enormous and blocky, scanned the area for Foxfire. His own face quivered with emotion, chief of which was worry, but when the optics found the femme, looked toward her gaze for gaze, that look was replaced as an equal steadiness locked in place, "Identify yourself," he said at once. His blasters were out, not pointed at her, but ready in case Guiltor or anyone else decided to intervine.
<Earth> Spike Witwicky hmmms, "I was right in the thinking that my son was going to grow up to be a man, and as for my thoughts on how he was reared...well, I think that's a little too personal for such public consumption."
Quickswitch has not seen the quickly concealed talons. Whew.
Sheng stares coldly at the larger transformer. "Autobot Sheng. shift your weight off yourright leg slightly, the sand shifts under you." she turns and gently slids her hands under Foxfire, pickign him up. "Foxfire, I have you. I can hover over water. You are not sinking."
<Earth> Guiltor says, "Oh, but you decided to start this public conversation with me, Spike. So why not reveal your inner-most secrets? Like the fact you had the Autobots raise him for you? Or the fact that doing so constantly exposed him to life-threatening danger?"
<Earth> Guiltor says, "OOC: Decided to join, rather"
<Earth> Dreadwind says, "Life is danger, pain and suffering are its companions."
Foxfire shudders a bit as he is lifted, his already dimmed optics going offline for a moment, giving the impression that he's blinking. "Hover...? That...that's right...I can fly...but...so much water..." A quiet whimper escapes him.
Sheng says, "The water won't touch you. You are safe, and already drying out. Be calm. I will not let you fall.""
Quickswitch regarded the other. He looked down, baffled, and shifted his weight over the sand as indicated. The baffled gaze remained as he looked back toward Sheng, the tones from his vocorder correspondingly quieter with compassionary tones as he observes Sheng rescuing Foxfire from this torment, "Foxfire was injured badly recently... We must return him to Autobot City immediately," his optics backlit with emotion, "I am Autobot Quickswitch," he answers, turning his gaze across the dead land, "I'm assuming Guiltor headed off in another direction.." his blasters go up as he looks around for him, "I'll escort you back, Autobot Sheng." Should the remote monster return.
"Stay...calm..." Foxfire seems to be partly unconscious at this point, a result of the trauma.
<Earth> Spike Witwicky doesn't sound impressed, "Those are two questions I've /never/ been asked before."
Sheng simply nods and transforms carefully so that Foxfrie ends up curled in her truckbed. "You see? I hover, you will not get wet. Already you are dry. Calm. I will keep you safe. This I swear." she uses her radio to speak to the other transformer. *~Very well. Please inform me of the abilities and description of the unknown transformer 'Guiltor'.~*