Summary: (November 2026) The Military Operations CO and XO get a crash course lesson in maneuvering courtesy of some VERY hard knocks by Gundam Deathscythe Galvatron.
<Decepticon> Galvatron says, "Fusillade."
<Decepticon> Galvatron says, "Catechism."
<Decepticon> Galvatron says, "Both of you. Answer."
<Decepticon> Catechism says, "Yes, sir?"
<Decepticon> Galvatron says, "My patience is already thin tonight, after having to talk with Rodimus without having to kill him."
<Decepticon> Fusillade says, "Present."
<Decepticon> Galvatron says, "You will both meet me in the Arena."
<Decepticon> Galvatron says, "This is not a request."
<Decepticon> Catechism says, "As you wish, sir. I shall be there presently."
A huge enclosed oval structure, the Arena is now nothing more than a deathtrap. What were once tiered rows of seats are now seamless walls that slope sharply downwards into a deep gloom. The arena floor, once a flat expanse of dull metal has sunk further into the ground and reconfigured itself, dark shadows hiding the massed array of spikes and treacherous pits that the surface has become. The Imperial box has become a virtual bunker, thick armor plates hiding the opulence inside. Small gleams of light in the shadows hint at hidden weaponry now exposed, and overall, the arena complex is now an extremely dangerous place to linger - especially if you happen to be opposed to the Decepticon Empire.
Galvatron is standing in the center of the room, waiting for his aerial commanders to arrive. He is at the terminal, reading over the combat data from he and Scourge's fight yet again.
The radios were far from quiet tonight, and it's a perturbed Fusillade that draws near. Avoiding use of the air for the moment, Fusillade's brisk pace clatters down one of the stairways, depositing her in front of Galvatron. The night is well on its way to reaching its darkest point, and so it's in the glare of floodlights that she dips her head in greeting. "My liege."
F-35B <Catechism> glimmers, as if with dew. She's been out flying, up fairly high, hence being the later of the two to arrive, and the moisture from the air has clung to her frame. There hasn't been time for it to evapourate, despite the fairly warm temperatures. The Seeker bows formally and straightens after holding it for a long moment, the water streaking down her frame in rivulets now.
F-35, Marine Corps variant, transforms into robot form. Catechism's feet unfold, her arms unfold out of her body, her nosecone rotates through her body and ends up on her shoulders to expose her face, and her wings rotate into position.
Galvatron smirks at the two present, "Well. Let's just forget what happened tonight with the Constructicons. And my following meeting with Rodimus that disgusted me, shall we?"
He doesn't even pause for a response, "Good, forgotten. Now, you all know Scourge and I just perfected training that upped our melee effectiveness by 150%. You'd be fools not to have heard of it, so I know you have. But before we start that, let's start with the basics. I'm going to ask you a question. I want each of you to answer...and I want you to give your own responses, not based off what the other says. The question is this: What is the Decepticon advantage to Autobots in combat?"
Air head is slapped, into the wall, and dies. Pose for real, fiend :P
It's with a fair amount of trepidation that Fusillade even turns to Catechism briefly as Galvatron speaks. The incremental tilt of her head returns fully back to the fore, before she states crisply, "More heavily armed, aerial forms. Even those of us with landbound alt modes can fly in robot mode." Those vivid orange-yellow optics slide toward the console, seeking elucidation of the pending contortions through which it is that they are to be subjected...
Catechism looks a bit disconcerted as Fusillade gets in the obvious answer. Now she'll look like a copy-Catechism if she says that, not matter how obvious the advantage of air superiority may seem to the Seeker. The Seeker tosses her head about, trying to think of something else that she can say. What was it that led her to succeed in recent battles if not her wings and anti-graves? Well... flight had little to do with Killarn and with Warpath. Little to do indeed. It was ruthlessness that won those - the willingness to kill civilians or irradiate a whole area, to kidnap someone she doesn't even know and take away his freedom. Catechism tilts her head upward, optics shining, and answers, "The willingness to do anything, to use our abilities to their full extents. We are not constrained by petty Autobot notions of morality or outdated honour codes. We can do what needs to be done, no matter how cruel. Ruthlessness is our advantage."
Galvatron hehs, "While both of you make strong true points. Fusillade is the correct one. But she touched on many facets. She wasn't totally correct."
"We hide behind our military superiority and our backgrounds too often. The truth is, all machismo aside...our only advantage over the Autobots these days is one thing, and one thing alone. The ability to fly. But how do we use it? ONLY TO ESCAPE! Whether it be to escape battle, or to escape melee! Do you not both see something fundamentally wrong with that? What should we be using the advantage for? Answer individually. And I don't care what the other says. If you both say the same thing, so be it. You agree. But say, how should we be using it?"
Catechism head-tilt and drums on one of her wings nervously. She's always used her anti-gravs to assist leaps and to manoeuvre to avoid shots and... well, to ram people... yay, aerobatics. And then there's that aerial dance that Fleet does. It still spooks her, but it has its uses in combat, she supposes. She smirks slightly and replies, "Aside from launching dead fleshlings?" She ducks her head and coughs. "You're leaving out aerial dance and dodging. And jet-assisted rams."
A wince from Fusillade is sent to Catechism as she hears the other flyer speak on ideological beliefs which were indeed valid, and from her point of view, struck home. So, it's a clear look of surprise that's sent Galvatron's way, before she mouths, 'I liked your answer better' to Catechism. "Most do just use it to insert themselves into and to retreat from battles. But truth be told I /hardly/ touch the ground. It's -FUN- to fly down low and lop off one of those suckers' heads with wingblades out. And LANDING on them? HA! Priceless. But you're right. Most of even Aerospace let their feet rest on the ground too much."
"Aside from that, I recommend a healthy diet of dropping things, particularly explosive ones, on the Autobots' heads. Hmm... what else?" She tilts head back, and plants hands on hips as she begins to pace and think out the less obvious answers. "Strike aerial targets that they wouldn't be able to easily access comes to mind..."
Galvatron shakes his head, "I never expected this. Both of you obviously use flight. But what you don't use is the verniers given to a seeker at birth. You use your abilities, but not to the extent they could be used. Neither of you know this, but 5 months ago I had seeker vernier added to my frame. This did not improve my overall speed, just my melee maneuverability. But like you, even though you use flight to you advantage, I took it for granted. Please, come. Look at this data." He shows the data for he and Scourge's last 10 battles. "Impressive, I know. But take a look at this..." he plugs in the data from he and scourge fighting each other with this new technique. It shows a 150% increase in reaction time. Nothing else. But reaction time is important, "So, after viewing this, do you want the new training?"
Catechism studies the data. She scratches at the back of her helmet, and then she pulls away and looks up. She comments, "I think it's a processing power concern. There are troops who can't walk and sip energon. It's probably why no one's put thrusters to use to that extent yet." If she intended the implied flattery there - that Galvatron must have processing power to have thought of this - she gives no sign.
Some time ago, Fusillade had given up on pointing out that she wasn't a Seeker -- if the alt mode was a jet, bomber or otherwise, most did not make the distinction. "The panels used for vectoring flight, yes..." Several other observations, one of which involved pointing out that there was likely little involved with 'wanting', it was going to happen, are stowed for now. "It will still be undertaken. I assume we're to start now?" she asks dryly.
Galvatron nods his head. "Yes, we are to start...RIGHT NOW. The point of this is simple: Stop thinking conventionally. Use your verniers. This will all be close combat. That doesn't mean only melee weapons. Don't be restricted by that. But you need to learn to use your verniers. We have maneuverability over the bots. Here, I'll show you!" With that, a holographic desert appears. Galv hovers above the ground. His jets fire, shooting him right and left at insane speeds. Finally, his backpack fires, shooting him forward, but at who? It's catechism! "Defend yourself. Learn to use your flight and verniers to your advantage as Scourge and I did! LEARN!" he soars at Cate, the cylinder in his hand suddenly igniting into a beam broadsaber. He makes an arcing slice at her shoulder, "This isn't for real, so don't hold back!"
Galvatron strikes Catechism with Beam Saber Strike.
Catechism is already hovering a bit off the ground when the beam sabre strike knocks her back. She floats back, as if skating on ice. Well, that didn't hurt too much, but she can't fathom Galvatron being 'nice'. Raising up her other arm, the one where she wasn't struck in the shoulder, she attempts to 'skate' around Galvatron to circle-strafe him, opening up with her disruptor. She'll be shocked if he even feels it, should it hit.
Catechism strikes Galvatron with disruptor.
If it's one thing that Fusillade does pay attention to, it's the 'don't hold back' edict of Galvatron's. Even though it may have been two to one in that respect, she and Catechism were still amply outnumbered. And, despite the lack of operating in tandem that they've experienced, Fusillade breaks in the direction that will place Galvatron between her and Catechism. Not so much to avoid his strike, but to flank, and outmaneuver... and then the radio comes. It's with a flash of teeth that she acknowledges Catechism, and once one toe touches the ground, there's a rebound at an acute trajectory, sending her towards the equivalent of Galvatron's left shoulderblade. A hand snaps out, but no punch or clawing is delivered. Instead, the snap of her forearm mounted horizontal stabilizer is heard, and the razored edge dives home.
Galvatron evades your Wingblade Jab attack.
Galvatron smirks as his verniers fire, blasting to the side of Catechism. Her blast does strike him, but it strikes his cannon shield <TM> as he calls it. His energy shield he creates with his cannon. He does nod his approval of her using the technique though. The damage to his actual frame is minimal, little to nothing. His verniers fired him to the side, causing the shield to absorb almost all of the damage. His rear thrusters fire, throwing him backwards and they also turn him to face Fusi. He wishes Scourge was here...Scourge is way faster than him, despite the last battles result. They were both learning a new technique. But now? Scourge would be way faster than him. But regardless, he will train them! His verniers fire him backwards and face him towards Fusi as he waits for her attack...then it comes. She rushes him. He respects that attitude. But sadly, it won't work. His right verniers fire, spinning him around to let Fusi hit nothing but pure air.
"You both have the right idea. But watch me. Observe and learn! Notice how I avoided that? It wasn't because I had greater agility....it was because I knew how to use my verniers in close to ground air combat!"
Galvatron spins completely around, avoiding the slice, with that, he fires his backpack...soaring straight at Fusillade. He leans down, using his shoulder to try to knock her back.
Galvatron strikes you with Shoulder Knock-Back for 16 points of damage.
Catechism managed to get a hit in on Galvatron. Well, that's promising. She notes that Fusillade has not. She also notes that Fusillade seems to have been hit. Shrugging, Catechism 'skates' in behind Galvatron, considering her options thoughtfully. Then, she withdraws her combat knife, twirls it once, and throws it at Galvatron's thrusters. It's a bit deconstructing the point of the exercise, but Catechism has never been about thinking in straight lines.
Catechism strikes Galvatron with Combat Knife.
One of the virtues of the high speed dueling is that a lot of range gets put between both parties very quickly. And so, it's in the process of hovering and angling for a strafing run that Fusillade gets caught by the flying tackle. The disruptor doesn't even get a chance to get dispensed halfway before she finds a LOT of the Emperor, and a pursuing Catechism, in her face. The strike from the other grey flier lands, and it's a brief glance that she seeks to make visual contact with her executive, to urge her to prepare to take advantage of the next few moments' window.... A low, guttural snarl escapes her as she rears back and drives one hand upward hook fingertalons onto one of the larger vernier's connection hinges. Lucky or not, she tries to apply her own inertia and vectoring to shove Galvatron -- whether to destabilize him, or spin him into Catechism, remains to be seen.
You strike Galvatron with Clawed Scorn.
You transmit a message to Catechism: Present for you.
Galvatron smirks as he almost feels the knife incoming. He is still facing Fusi, but his verniers fire, tossing him to the side. It does him little good. The knife still rings true. His thrusters fire, spinning him in a 180, in which he brings his hand out, knocking the knife to the side...but it did manage to cut into him a bit, on his arm. His thrusters keep firing, spinning him back around to face Fusi...where he brings his saber up to block...but the force of the blow still manages to hurt him(1 pt). His backpack fires, as do his foot thrusters, they shoot him straight upwards where he twirls and then looks down on them both.
"I think you're starting to get it. Now. Decisions, decisions. Which one to hit. Hmmm. Decision made!" his backback fires!
He streaks right at Fusillade, his beam broadsword becoming bright. It seems his decision is made...or is it? Right before he hits Fusillade, his thrusters fire. He streaks to the left of her, then his backpack fires, shooting him straight up, he then fires right and 180, streaking at a new target.
He streaks straight at Catechism, his saber brought up at ready, but his other arm raises...firing high speed cannon blasts, somewhat like vulcans. A high speed assault.
"Be ready for anything! Use those thrusters! Avoid such shots!"
Galvatron strikes Catechism with Rapid Fire Cannon, VulcanCannon Style.
Aims to receive! Actually, Catechism just attempts to jink out of the way of the shoved Galvatron and then attempts to put out a leg to trip him. The floor can probably hurt him more than she can, and testing the limits of manuverability is the point of this exercise, so why not a trip? After all, she was the one claiming that ruthlessness is key. However, she's not quite ready for anything. She can't pull herself out of the vectors made by the vulcans, although she does manage to pull back enough that they don't hurt much.
Catechism strikes Galvatron with Going For A Trip.
Symphony slips through the door on a cushion of blue flame, clicking to the floor very near to the door using shadow and angles to her advantage. Curiosity having finally overruled her sense of caution. A long glance tells her what's going on... a training session. She slinks forward a little and crouches to watch, a faint glow issuing forth from her optics and mouth.
The light of Galvatron's ignited beamsaber pierces back toward the lower altitudes like the descent of the Morning Star. The aerial freight train of inevitability fills Fusillade's vision. The horrified shriek gets cut short at the lack of searing pain anywhere in her body, and it's with a faint curse and belated midair twist that she sees the Emperor's contrails take him away. Too late to return strike, she internally chides herself even as she chases after to catch up, seeking to maintain a much closer range than what was seen earlier in the evening -- closing the gap, bringing both peril and success within reach. Another short burst to counter the spin, and she cuts back in, seeking to intercept, and build upon, Catechism's successful strike. If the pair could coordinate, followup on each other, it could prove to be a most worthwhile juggling act. Don't give him the chance to recover... it would take too long to close the gap to use her favored wingblades. And so, that vaguely Desert Eagle shaped sidearm gets put to use. Still closing, Fusillade dives in, and takes aim.
You strike Galvatron with Standard Issue Argon Disruptor.
Galvatron smirks as he nails Cate, but then he is tripped mid-air. He goes flying. His vernier fire, as does his backpack, trying to bring him to bear. He finally does, away from them. His optics trace from them, left to right. "Good, you seem to understand. Use flight to the advantage, not just to escape. But do you really understand!" His thrusters fire, shooting him left and right at insane speeds. It's unclear where he will strike. He head right at Catechism, his saber held back in strike position, but right as he reaches her, his thrusters fire...shooting him in a 180 around her. He fires straight backwards, aiming his cannon. "However, you have learned much...but you must also learn that melee combat also means ranged weapons. IN close combat, they mean even more!" he fires several low level blasts at Cate. Several. They are all over, left and right, but when the dance is finished he comes to bear on Fusi, firing a mid level blast at her, "learn your enemy. Know him. Know where the attack really comes from!"
You evade Galvatron's Quick landing Cannon attack.
Symphony smirks faintly, catching some of what the Lord of Decepticon's was saying and nodding to herself... it's something she's noticed before, not enough Decepticon's use their maneuverability advantages to their maximum advantage. She creeps further into the room and starts working her way around the outer edge, attempting to get a different angle on the conflict.
Catechism flips over and 'floor-hugs'. No one expects a flat Seeker! It's easy enough for her to get back up once Galvatron returns his attention to Fusillade, because the Seeker does not actually need to stand. She simply just rotates back up. Galvatron's missed Fusillade, Catechism notes. Perhaps Fusillade is picking up on this stuff! Stretching out her wounded arm, which has more charge left in its capacitors due to disuse, the Seeker fires, trying to track not where Galvatron is, but where he'll be.
Catechism strikes Galvatron with gauss.
"Not so fast!" Fusillade spits out from her as she backflips to limbo aerially under the sizzling arc, dipping down before bolting toward the heights of the blackened night sky. Visually following him, she incorporates a few evasive darts, keeping her position changing even as she sizes up Catechism's performance. Aim ahead, aim ahead... YES! Teeth baring slightly, she anticipates a slight drop in the Emperor's altitude from the hit, and a slight backward trajectory. With a faint hum of their newly-gifted, magnetized recall systems, she unholsters her left wingblade, and makes ranged use of a melee weapon. Gripping the center, she pulls her fist in tightly to her chest, before lunging forward and whipping her hand back out to toss the entire span hurdling in a fierce, cuisinart spin toward Galvatron's torso -- like a boomerang from hell.
Galvatron evades your Wingblade Slash attack.
Galvatron is nailed from behind by Cate, unlike normal, he smiles "YES! That is just what I am talking about!" From that, he soars straight at Fusi, unyielded by such attacks. His armor is hardly dented from the attack. He fires his left verniers, barely dodging to the side of her Wingblade slice, "BRILLIANT MOVE!" he calls as he just evades it. His verniers fire, turning him in a 180 to face her back. His backpack fires, shooting him straight for her, his beam saber brought to bear.
"However, you will learn the meaning of pain differently!"
He soars right at Fusillade, he has a perfect shot at her back, but right before he nails it with his saber....he fires to the side, then backwards, "But not today. Today, your subordinate learns pain!" He screams.
The backpack fires him downwards. where he fires tons of evasive shots at Fusi and Cate. Just friendly "How do you do?" shots. But he does land. And when he lands, he fires a full powered blast at Cate "You were brilliant until now. You learned what I taught. Let's see if you can keep it up!" FWHOOMP
Galvatron strikes Catechism with cannon.
Symphony settles into a crosslegged position, resting her chin on her hands as she watches Galvatron work. For a moment she seems to get an almost dreamy look on her face before returning to her senses and carefully logging each move into her extensive database. The more she sees and studies, the more she can learn.
Catechism manages to swerve back and forth out of the way of most of the shots, but it slowly downs on her that there's a pattern, that is leading her to be in a specific place and maybe she really ought to throw herself out of the way, and... *THOOM.* Catechism would like to be able to say that she's had worse, in the various match-ups she's had - Rodimus Prime, Sky Lynx, Defcon or even when Shockwave punished her, but at the moment, she's having a hard time remembering when, if ever. Her torso is simply a mess; there's a hole clean through it. The Seeker's optics dim. And then, she stagger-skates back a bit, as if to sag into the ground. Sag she does not. Catechism grits her gears and bounds forward, like a hockey player on a power play, and attempts to check Galvatron.
Catechism misses Galvatron with its ram attack.
The air buzzes to life with the spread of cover fire, forcing Fusillade to keep more distance above than she would really like at this point in time. The praise clearly hasn't sunk in yet, as the pair are still focusing on staying on their toes against the leader. A faint wince and breathed out, "Geeze, lay off on her, will you?" escapes Fusillade as she finally snatches up the returning wingblade. Another rush comes from her, foolishly straightforward, although there is something a bit different in the set of her jaw, the almost... possessive gleam of her optics. The bladed weapons? The pistol? It was hard to tell which she was going for. "Atta girl," she growls out as Catechism gets up again, before she snaps up sharply out of her dive to send one double-thrustered heel towards the purple mech's face.
You strike Galvatron with Heel Snap.
Symphony's optics dim considerably as Catechism takes the cannon, unpleasant memories from her fragmented past surfacing slightly as she watches. She sinks down low in her sitting position for a few moments before she lets the shadow pass from her thought and returns her attention to the match.
<<snipped, sniff. Galv idled.>>