Summary: (July 2026) A brief encounter over the Pacific with an aerial doppelganger suggests that some IFFs are just better left unknown. With breacher missiles, it's all fun and games until someone gets reanimated.
Stratosphere above Pacific Ocean
Through breaks in the cloud cover you see only an endless region of dark blue, the vast and shifting expanse of the Pacific Ocean. Strong air currents beat against you, shifting you back and forth as you soar through the stratosphere.
The massive and sleek form of Jetfire's alt mode belies a speed and nimbleness that few craft of this size could hope to boast of. Capable of ferrying several Autobots to and from battle as needed, the fighter is then capable of providing truly vicious front line support to boot. Measuring approximately 170 feet long and fully 130 feet from wing tip to wing tip, it's clear in the very sleek and curved design that Jetfire was designed to move, despite his size. The overall color of his armor appears to be white, with red striping along his wings, body, and tail.
A long tapered central body starts things off, a pair of trapezoidal intakes on either side of the cockpit nose extending backwards to sweep in to variable geometry wings, capable of sweeping back or forward as needed, as well as adjusting angles to provide increased maneuverability. On either side of that central body are two long curved pods, the back part of which seem to house his main engines. In addition, a long tapered booster pack of some sort seems to be mounted above the main body and engine nacelles, providing an extra boost, and by the looks of it cargo room, as on either side, embedded into the pods are loading doors large enough for a leader sized transformer to enter, most LARGE cargo is loaded from the back, as the engine pieces can fold open to allow much wider access.
In terms of weaponry, there's a turret mounted on the underside directly between the standard intakes which holds four independently tracking particle beam cannons which are capable of dealing damage or just incapacitating an enemy. In addition to that, slung under his wings are several missile pods, each of which contains a swarm of heat seeking proton missiles, by the looks of him, there may be other locations where more missile pods are stowed as well. Last but not least, his main weapon is mounted underneath the central body, aimed along his axis, that being a torpedo shaped rapid fire gauss machine gun.
Currently, the behemoth starfighter transport also has mounted his scramjet nacelles, which means he is fully equipped for extra orbital operations and indeed faster than light travel.
Guardian Starfighter <Jetfire> hangs in the upper stratosphere, the distances from everything making it seem as if he's standing still, despite being just subsonic and moving rapidly. His scramjets are on his back, their collectors running full power to pump hydrogen and oxygen from the atmosphere into collection tanks mounted inside his main cargo bays, which he has a special use planned for. Faint vapor trails occasionally burst around his body, leaving strange patterns in the sky behind him as he hits low pressure pockets and other atmospheric phenomenon's.
The whistle of high-speed, high-altitude flight echoes through the skies, eventually filtering down to the thicker atmosphere. Two radio signals eventually can be detected below, skirting the rain-heavy bottoms of a bank of stratoculumus. A moment passes -- and at least one of the two can be verified as Decepticon.
Guardian Starfighter <Jetfire> spirals once in the air as the long range scanners he's running detect mobile signals. A brief check of traffic patterns and logged flights show they're non-standard. A few moments later when one goes purple on his scanner Jetfire makes a brief calculation, tilts off of his current course and throttles down a little bit. Feeding trajectory data into the onboard tracking system of his long range Proton Missile's he locks the tracking onto the ident scan from his radar and drops. A long streamer of smoke erupts as the missile takes flight, spiraling up and away towards the distant storm clouds.
There's a faint snatch of radio conversation about <<... distance, please. ...re making me ...fortable. INCOMI-->> The interior of the clouds are lit up briefly by the flash of a detonation, leaving the one signal remaining. Alerts still chime once the query is processed, even as the signal recurves slightly and then begins to climb, leaving the IFF field left with the designation: UNKNOWN_
Guardian Starfighter <Jetfire> hmmphs, the other signal causing consternations... the only thoughts in his mind are a craft without IFF on - Smugglers? - or an Uncatalogued Decepticon symbol. In either case, the signal was in formation with the Decepticon that's a puff at this point, or at least a plumeting chunk of metal and fire. He considers his options... realistically without a positive ident, he could be in deep trouble if he guesses wrong. Fine... shutting down the collection systems, several vents sliding closed as the power to the systems is rerouted. His wings start shuttling back as his auxiliary boosters fire, going from 2, to 4, to 6 engines as he bursts the soundbarrier effortlessly, quickly passing Mach 2 and then 3 as he lances straight in on the Ident, wings swing back to provide maximum relief from air friction, though his lift is now diminished.
The signal rises, finally emerging from the cloudbank, moving under Mach. There is very little noise, very little heat from the four engines. Condensate clings to forward-swept wings, and full visual confirmation can now be had. There is no return query, no outside indication of motivation, intent, or... purpose of the scaled-down Air Guardian's wan reflection.
Suspended somewhere between transcendence and perversion, the largish Cybertronian craft is ensconced in ashen matte grey. Devoid of highlights, its shadows only emerge begrudgingly in the strongest of light. While no major components are missing, the needles in its metal skin express the state it is in.
The ventrally flattened nosecone resembles a blanched SR-71 Blackbird, its cockpit cast in liquefied smoky quartz. Four angular engine intakes jut forward hungrily, seeking air, and perhaps more, in their eerie silence. Vaguely familiar, many-splintered wings are swept forward. The glitter at the raised corners of the sutures comes from the weeping of transparent fluid -- one can only hope that it is condensation. A disturbing lack of heat comes from the distressed frame, although functional particle beam cannons and heat-seeking proton missiles do come as part of the abomination's package.
Another lozenge of transparent greyness sits atop the tail, almost as if it were gazing back at the world, its nacelle flanked by two ailerons that jut heavenward in silent supplication for release. Surely this cannot be -- a smaller, colorless version of an Air Guardian -- but oh, it is.
Guardian Starfighter <Jetfire> flashes past the other unit at aproximately 1 klick, his shockwave following far behind him as he pulls hard up, wings flaring out as his big boosters shut down, reverse thrusters kicking in as he sails high into the air. Spiraling once as he sheds speed he checks his sensor logs, his findings becoming rather disturbing as he cannot pick up clear signals of much of anything, "Frak... must be out of alignment..."
The silence continues as the craft rolls, oblique to the shockwave. Perhaps a trick of the fading light, several panels shimmer and darken in a faint pattern of stripes. It climbs again, seeking altitude on Jetfire. There are no invasive sweeps, no weapons arming, merely silence and trailing, for now. Several seconds later, the pale Starfighter settles into a steady flight. Several other seconds after that, if not impeded by maneuvering, a query with awaiting data packet chimes at Jetfire's peripheral awareness.
Guardian Starfighter <Jetfire> wheels hard around, dropping into a near verticle dive as he eyes the data packet suspiciously. Once he's got positioning he sends out an active lock laser, the four barreled turret on his underside swiveling to follow the laser as he goes ahead and accepts the datapacket, running it through heavy filtering in the process.
The nicked skin of the craft continues to rustle as it shoves past the rarefied air. The file is quite simple, text only, transcribed in Cybertronian standard. <<You destroyed my emergency food supply. I will need energon access in half of a Terran hour.>> At the ratcheting of weapon systems, and the scrutiny of finely honed targetting systems over its frame, the ashen figure is impassive. There's a faint shift of splintered ailerons. They bring closer the spectre of what has already happened to countless Transformers, and what will continue to happen to countless more. Another query is loaded up, but discarded before transmission. Instead, a staticky zephyr utters, <<F-h-reedom.>> The word is toneless, little more than a response to the simple stimulus of Jetfire's presence.
Guardian Starfighter <Jetfire> spends a few minutes puzzling over the message as he maintains laser lock, before responding in kind. << This matters to me why, precisely? You're no Terran or Autobot Craft. >> he continues running on the high 6 o'clock. Occasional fluffs of vapor burst over his form as he wavers a little, maintaining as level a flight as he can in conditions rapidly turning stormy on the direction the two craft are heading.
The equatorial atmosphere, sultry even after sundown, breeds turbulance that echoes the stiff standoffishness between the two. On shortwave radio, the voice responds, a few inflections recognizable as it becomes more demanding. <<Cor-h-rec-h-t. I am not. Finis-h-h what you began, Jet-h-fire. F-h-reedom...>> There appear to be more pressing matters for the craft, though, and it -- no, she -- doesn't appear to be waiting around for an answer. Something else has her attention as she aligns nosecone with the nearest Polynesian island relative to their location.
The air seems to suddenly drop in temperature rather sharply, either that or the energon in Jetfire's body froze. He'd had his suspicions based on the failsafes he built into the system on that Breecher, he hadn't heard about any detonation big enough to be attributed to the weapon and had to assume it was a stillbirth. However, given what he's scanning here and what that -thing- just said... he pulls up sharply, winging hard to the left to grab distance.
Ideally, there would be a timer going off somewhere in Medical back in New Crystal City, and there would be a nervous tech setting out a few cubes for Fusillade's return. Nudging engines into a slightly higher output, irregular surface glittering under the gibbous moon, she rockets to the south and west. Falling back on older habits, she drops altitude fast, in defiance of the frame in which she currently resides, unspoken volumes of turmoil and frustration clawing their way through the detonation etched on her synaspes, to the surface of her awareness.
Guardian Starfighter <Jetfire> swings around after he's opened up distance, the laser tracker being joined by an active radar ping and then a heat paint. A second missile is primed as you start to go evasive, his frame rolling hard to keep an active signal as the missile pops free from it's latches. The burst of smoke soon follows, but despite his targeting data the missile simply sails right down into the ocean, a burst of steam and water the only sign of the missiles passing. The targeting systems in the missiles aren't as smart as Jetfire's onboard systems.
The directive to consume energon has been hardwired in the current setup for this craft, and it's that fixation that saves Fusillade. Even as the periphery of her vision blurrs from a reboot, radar systems belatedly pick up the warheads. The first from earlier had claimed the escort... perhaps they could claim her. However, there's a lag in response, and by the time she is half-way through a belated turn, they've already ditched in the ocean. A labored groan escapes the airframe, before it returns to seek sustenance.
-- End --