With a flicker of fingertalons on the edges of the holographic display tables, Fusillade is half leaned over, peering at the current state of the main Cybertronian Highway. "Sweet Primus, what have I gotten myself into?" she half-groans, furrowing brow. "And what in the smelt should I choose as what *I* want to do that will concide with bigger plans. Mneh...." She half flicks her optics, and then once again stands, squaring her shoulders and taking in a draught of air over vents to 'cool her jets' as it were.
Cinderblock peeks his head into the room, and glares around, muttering, "...where is that blasted cheapskate welcher?" He steps into the room, peering around, before noticing the gathering.
Bandit walks into the Aerospace wing confidently and with an air about him as ususal. He makes his way over to a terminal off in one corner and jacks in. A small viewscreen pops up and his optics begin to interpolate data from various sources. He remains almost aloof, silent going about his business.
Catechism doesn't usually come up here. She's not usually confined to the base, either. The nonstandard Seeker isn't exploring per se. She more or less lives at IHQ nowadays, and she knows where things are. Catechism is more wandering the base out of a lack of anything more useful to do, and the second floor is marginally higher up in the air than the first. She's just seeing if the slight change in elevation will ease how much she's been missing flight any.
The long pause at the end of the quiet, yet incessant clacking of steel on steel in lightly taken steps hangs heavily in the air, seeming to freeze sound in mid-wavelength. It terminates behind the main access door into the aerospace wing central chamber, as if something... or someone... is standing at the portal. Is it opportunity, a slip of the tongue, maybe even the potential for a grand entrance that it waits for? The world may never know. For the pause is shattered by the whisk of hydraulics pushing open a blast rated bulkhead, leaving an image of burning scarlet optics and a slight scowl in its place. Some would call him AXIS. Others would just call him a jerk.
"Ahhhh... Once again the duty roster slips her allseeing eyes away from our beloved bruderkind." The tone slips from his mouth like a well oiled snake. "Or is it we are playing, how do you say, hookie? Is that right?"
Cinderblock hears Axis' voice... It sends a chill up his spinal circuitry. He clenches his fist and growls under his breath, swearing to take an additional price out of Rotorbolt's aft when he does locate the seeker...
The grey and white femme then grunts to herself, and palms a command on the table to get it to zoom out so that the curve of the planet is visible. The shift of light reflects off Fusillade's panelling even as she raises glossy gauntlet to tap on her chin. The corners of her mouth are drawn down in concentration, even as those vivid citrine optics keep sliding back to the scarlet tinted area that represents the western mouth of the Retoris Tunnel. The motions of others finally catches her attention, and Fusillade gives a limber twist of her head to peer at the others, as if they were the ones being addressed by Axis, and not herself. Her gaze flicks over Bandit, Catechism, and Cinderblock with increasing recognition, and she says to Cinderblock, "Hey, Weapon. I've gotten into a situation where I need to learn about everything happening on Cybertron by the end of the cycle. Apparently I'm expected to submit a proposal of sorts..." The words are loud enough to fall up the audials of all present, and she finally slips into a salute as the ranking Decepticon closes in.
Catechism glances back towards the entrance and shrugs. Ah, Axis. The Terran-taint. Still, Command has seen something him, so there must be something there. Far be it for her to question the unfathomable minds of her masters. Catechism turns and salutes, for he is her superior, and she explains, "I'm off duty, sir."
She doesn't explain why. 'I got thrashed by an Autobot,' is not an excuse. It's an admission of weakness, and she's not going to say such a thing in mixed company if she can avoid it.
Bandit looks up for a moment at the comment made by Fusillade, and looks at her inquisitively. His attention to his studies, only momentarily distracted. He notes the other familiar faces who enter the room and he nods to them all before delving back into his work. "Interesting....." he mutters out loud as he is going over reels and reels of combat footage, studying, replaying and then cross refferencing the details with others of similar ilk.
Fleet comes here often to check the duty rosters. Really! If you haven't seen him here, it's because you weren't here yourself! The dancer comes here when he wants peace and quiet, since the wing seems rarely used these days. Thus it is he's rather shocked when he takes one step into the room and comes face to face with Axis's back. The seeker stops abruptly, in plenty of time to avoid running right into the other. One quick glance around is all it takes to tell him that the room is now unusually occupied. It's as though the writers were plotting against him!
"Spires and smelters," Fleet sighs in quiet exasperation as he attempts the beginning of a strategic withdrawal.
Eyes dance sidewards, brows furrow, even the gentle rumblings of a growl can be discerned by the attuned audial receptor. It is music and interpretive dance to this supposed tainted seeker known as Axis, a delicious amalgamation of respect, intrigue and fear. For after all, when the ever watchful eye is upon you, do you not stand a little straighter? Speak a little clearer? Act... as a loyal Decepticon?
Moving to the table from which Fusillade is reviewing the Retoris tunnel approach, he raises an appraising finger, tapping it gently to his chin as he reviews the plot on hand. "Ahhh, ja... Now THIS is a most wonderful use of one's down time. The approach, Frau Fusillade, that is key to the tactics of acquiring the tunnel." As he speaks, optics increasing in intensity, a slight smile beginning to spread on his face, you see there is more than a listening ear and watching eye. He's enjoying this. Like a good little Decepticon. "Shielded from above, access limited to two points... Yet held like the iron in the blacksmith's vise. Wouldn't you say, Herr Fleet?"
Cinderblock glances over at Axis, and frowns. He shakes his head and works on rearranging some data pads...well, more like dearranging.
Bandit perks up his audio recepters at the talk of retoris. "Retoris....what do you mean to do with that tunnel?" he asks curiously, as if wanting to take an astrosecond from looking at all the footage.
Catechism doesn't need to act like a loyal Decepticon. She is one. She just isn't the brightest crayon in the box somedays, and so she gets herself beaten silly, and so she gets taken off duty due to injury. Then she misses the big pushes where sensors get blown up. Such is life. Catechism perks up at the mention of Retoris. Dull crayon at times though she is, she can still draw that picture. She paces a little closer to Fusillade, although still keeping a fair distance and inquires, "Did you get any more information about exits from Iahex?"
Busted! Fleet's escape is cut off before it is well and truly underway. Now what did Axis just ask him? The seeker pads in silently, his antigravs on low power to counteract his weight. The pastel wonder tilts his head slightly to the right as he examines the screen while at the same time examining what's being said and what's being asked. "I know little enough about blacksmithing, sir, but from my uneducated perspective that seems an apt analogy," he replies softly.
"The tunnel... Explore her features, fraulein. Two entrances, one solidly entrenched in the holdings of the peasant rabble. Deeper than even your prowess with a shaped charge or hardened target ordnance. Deeper than our entire luftwaffe could penetrate from the skies. Inaccesible from the Agorahex wastes to the north, the southern reaches also giving no true vantage point. So what, my darling flieger..." Axis continues to tap his chin gently with that ever waggling finger, optics narrowing into thin slits even as the smile on his face continues to genuinely widen. For once, the thoughts of the iron fist waving threateningly over the populace, a rule by fear, vanishes from the mottled seeker's mind. Tactics, territory, acquisition for the glory of the Empire, those seize the day.
"...What do you do? Where tactical air power for once fails us? Come, Herr Fleet. Everyone who would lend an ear. Come let us assist our bro-I mean SISTER in her conundrum. For while it may not be a strategic position now, later... Yessss..." The S in yes leaks frmo his mouth like air through a slashed tire. "It could serve as yet one more dagger in the ribs of the unworthy. One more stroke against this sickening... REBELLION..."
Fleet listens carefully to both Fusillade and Axis, a thoughtful frown making its home on his lips. "Why not a subterranean assault, as she" here he tilts his head in Fusillade's direction, "suggested?" he asks. "Granted, that means giving primary responsibility for taking things down over to the ground-pounders, although I imagine some of us should be along as warrior support anyway." He shudders, his wings vibrating a bit longer than he does. "Burrowing underground like that may not be pleasant for creatures of the sky such as ourselves, but sometimes you have to swallow down your distaste to get the job done."
Cinderblock frowns at Fleet, "The agorahex tunnel is in a nuclear hot zone, or beneath the liquid of the Magnaron lake..."
Catechism has been trying to approach things from a more tactical perspective. By and large it hasn't been working. She was simply told to be more intelligent about things, so to speak. She was never advised on how, and the texts are only so helpful. And yes yes, Fusillade did mention her, but Axis is the superior officer here, and he said Fleet. Smart move. Fleet's the one with the brains, after all. So Catechism does know that much.
Tactical air power fails. Well, shoot. She muses aloud, mostly to herself, "Long Haul's got that brother... Bonecrusher? He's supposed to be good at blowing stuff up. He's a... demolitionist? A demolitionist. Maybe air power could hold the Autobots' attention long enough for MSE to collapse the tunnel."
For a moment, Fusillade's jaw slacks as she considers a distraction. "Schwalbe or Sturmvogel?" The question lingers, before she smoothly returns to the exercise before her. Some cruel, vindictive streak clutches at Cinderblock's words, vicious glee causing those optics to flare in a sunburst of color. "A bit of a tangent, but... dumping the lake on top of their heads in Agorahex? Well..." Laughter wrapped in silken menace shakes her shoulders briefly. And then, back to Retoris, she rumbles. "Subterranean," she repeats. "But the drilling would likely carry through the metal structure of planet, and would be detected by the Automated Robots. Flooding still sounds nasty. Hydrogen fluoride?" She says brightly. Put up the red flags, someone's probably over thinking this.
Cinderblock frowns, the voice of an older era of Decepticon tactics as always, " I say we just dispatch a bunch of heavy bombers, smash the sensor. Then a while later, make a feint near the ruins of the 'Memorial' Spaceport and then smash the tunnel of retoris."
"Ahhhh... The hammer of outright destruction, fraulein Catechism. But does not that remove our very own strategic advantage of holding the tunnel for ourselves? If this requires planning and discussion from the very heirs of Cybertron, do you not concede that the laboring infidels we face would find themselves... lacking? As they dare not command the skies, and struggle at best against the full force of the Reich on their corrupted soil?" The more he speaks, the more excited he becomes, not answering questions, but providing even more as the problem stays in a constant state of flux in Axis's own mind. For HIS questions to questions are forming even MORE questions, each one chipping away at the still standing edifice of the task at hand.
"Flooding the tunnel... It has merit, the idea alone, but again, we approach issues with servicability upon acquiring the prize. Likewise with any approach which renders the facility impassable. Cinderblock's feint also has merit, but with the easily mustered forces from the peasant curs' holdings to the spaceport, those forces could easily find themselves severed, and lost, including our loss of support to ground forces at the tunnel proper. SO, mein bruderkindle, do we simply let this potentially valuable piece of our rightfully declared Cybertron lay in the hands of this peasant rabble? What is it that we do?"
"A bit transparent, isn't it?" Fleet asks of Cinderblock, turning his head just enough to spy him out of the corner of his visual range. "If we're smashing sensors in their area, it's pretty obvious we intend to make a hit there, and if we give them a wait to get them to 'lower their guard,' we're only giving them time to replace the sensor." The yellow one shuffles from one foot to another as he thinks. He lowers his head, focusing on the ground, shaking his head once, nodding it at nothing, tilting it slightly to the right, then looking back up. "A close to simultaneous air and underground assault, then? Make the faint at the mouths of the tunnel itself. Why not have Autobots in it while we collapse it from beneath them? And we do have tunnelers who can make their way through the metal. We have to mine it, after all. And worse comes to worse, I suppose we could build a larger machine for the task." Then Axis speak, and Fleet frowns at him as he listens. "But... but I thought the object of this exercise WAS to collapse the tunnel, not to take it."
Cinderblock crosses his arms, and frowns. "The Autobots respond to feints quite readilly. We merely need to sweeten the pot with some 'innocent' hostage." He smirks, "Depopulate their forces by assaulting some terran holdings? Hell, we could send Runabout and his lunatic brother to cause trouble and draw attention towards Earth."
Catechism glances over at Cinderblock, curious, and inquires, "Why the Memorial Spaceport? Can it serve a dual purpose? Would an attack there be of any ore use than as a faint? Granted, it is a spaceport, and if we could get take taken down, it'd be one less way off the planet for those ground-shackled fools." She then glances over at Axis, looking a bit unsure of herself. Well, it is common enough for superiors to address subordinates and expect conversation in return. Why, Soundwave wanted her opinion! It's still blasted weird. And yeah, she is a 'hammer of outright destruction' kind of girl. Pointed head; blunt approaches. "Sir, there's an unhappy number of flighted Autobots today." She pauses, frowning. "And it occurs to me that taking down the tunnel, by collapse or flood, may be a futile effort, if those flighted freak Autobots can simply airlift their wretched fellows over the obstruction."
Fleet is the peanut gallery! "What's a peanut gallery?" the seeker asks, tilting his head in confusion. He shakes his head and shrugs it off. No matter.
Catechism ticks off on her fingers, tone stone dead, "Defcon. Sky Lynx. Powerglide. Defcon. DepthCharge, The Dinobots. Hazard. All of these Autobots have wrested the gift off flight from the sky. Shall I continue? There are more."
Cinderblock crosses his arms, "We need to find a way to get the dinobots and that freaking airborne ego away..." he crosses his arms, and mutters, "...bloody airborne Autobots. I remember when nobody was in the air!"
Axis rises from his nearly bent crouch, optics dancing in a sea of crimson as they touch each person as they speak, the smile widening and growing to nearly scary proportions as cause:potential effect is thrown from person to person like a rubber ball. It is the recipe for greatness, and Axis's love of his ideaology, his blind faithfulness to the Empire and her existence, grows with leaps and bounds as his brothers, his comrades, his bruderkind, find focus from the blur, a singular mindset against a singular task, all in the loving service of the Decepticon Reich. And Fusillade hits the answer to the $64,000 question, just in time to cut a gleeful squeal from the normally monotone, devious seeker.
"An effort in futility... For those who do not claim the skies as their own, those who merely dabble in the updrafts and threaten to rub their sickening, diseased selves against the pureborn heirs of OUR Cybertron! Your lack of faith in our cause and effectiveness surprises me, fraulein. Yet your tactics are becoming the stuff of legend." Axis bends at the waist, pressing buttons on the table to explode the view of the Retoris tunnel to include the surrounding areas. It glows with an eerie green tint, even as the dark grey finger of the seeker stabs it like a fish on a pike.
"THERE, my quick witted fliegers..."
The finger penetrates the red dot that indicates the sensor at the entrance of the tunnel.
"THERE. By an aerial display and subsequent application of ground forces seen not since the end of the Golden Age."
The second stabbing penetrates the miniscule marks that indicate the eastern exit of the tunnel. "The serpent has two heads, does it not? Remove them BOTH. The only territory that needs holding, the only advantage we have in this pitiful reach of fiefdom, is the tunnel's mouth. The Autobots within..." A dark chuckle begins to slide from his audializer. Can I get a cold spinal chill from the congregation! "...heh heh heh... Simply starve themselves into oblivion."
Fleet crosses his arms and lets the others speak, doing his best to fade into the background. Despite his pastel tones, it's usually easy. He is, after all, 'just another seeker,' and apt to be dismissed as such. Besides, when one thinks of oneself as not worth noticing, often enough others just fail to notice one, and Fleet has trained himself to think this way when it serves. Axis seems to have nicely brushed aside the point of the increased number of flying Autobots by trying to dismiss them, but the likes of Sky Lynx and Defcon are not so easily dismissed face to face. And just where will we GET ground forces to rival those of the Golden Age? But the seeker now keeps all his objections silent. Let others worry about the planning, and he'll concentrate on working out paths of survival should he be used in the assault.
In other words, ladies and gentlemechs, Fleet is chickening out. Well, sooner or later, he was bound to show his true colors, and his true colors shall ever be yellow.
Cinderblock crosses his arms, "Respectfully, Sir. Sky Lynx, is competent enough to be one of us in the air. The Aerialbots can't be contested either. We have to do more to break them up. To shatter their solidarity." He nods, "I had a commander on Praxus once. He lured the Autobot heavy hitters out by attacking a 'native' settlement, and then was able to smash their base while they were gone."
Catechism pauses. Ow. This is a lot to take in. She's not used to thinking this much. Dodging missiles and slinging laser blasts are usually what occupy her processing power. The conehead stands quiet for a few moments, and if the room were quiet enough, one could almost hear the electrons chugging through the logic and illogic gates of her mind. It is not so quiet. Slowly, it comes to her, but she does not speak. Catechism recalls... what is Retoris is not the only way out? What if those groundcrawlers have tunnels hidden unknown to Decepticon kindred? That was the point of the concept of timing raids. Hit things other than Retoris. See how long it takes the Autobots to respond. Hit Retoris. If they respond faster, then Retoris should, theoretically, be more valuable to then than the other areas. A solitary exit should be pretty valuable, shouldn't it? Still the conehead is silent, and what she says at last is quiet different, "Excuse me, I do have watch duty."
Even an injured Seeker can do that, after all. It is on that note that she heads out, head spinning with ideas.
Flicking optics several times, Fusillade rears back, expression similar to that of a cat puzzling over how and why a favorite swatted toy disappeared under a piece of furniture. She catches his commentary, and murmurs, "Cause I do not doubt, but..." She dips her gilded helm, a tacit admission to having been caught on the doubting of her comrades' efficiency. "It is not the ideas that we had which were flawed," she announces to the others, a new understanding dawning upon her chiseled features, "But in the order and combinations in which we desired to apply them," she says to the others. As he explains the double-pronged assault, the second half of which would not be sprung until after the Autobots filled the tunnel, lurid realization dances across her face. It's the same look towards Axis that customers may give a stripper, urging them to continue. She begins to laugh more fully as she comes to the realization of just what he is proposed. "Positively delicious!" At this point, a few other nitpicks begin to churn in the back of her processor, but they are not coherent enough to contend with the unadulterated glee that scheming is giving her. She paces back and forth, seeking to take in every angle, although it may come off as agitated or restless behavior.
Cinderblock hrms and nods slowly. He crosses his arms, "...I've got experience, Axis." He frowns, "Respectfully, Sir. You'd do well to understand that. I've seen many vaunted charges. Secure inthe knowledge of our superiority. I'm a gambler, by nature, yes...but I believe in hedging my bets before I call bluffs."
Fleet doesn't want any gold stars, thanks. People notice gold starts. They attract attention. Cinderblock has a point, of course. Someone can stand in here in the safety of the IHQ and dismiss them all they want, but it's a little harder on battlefield. Still, the coward does not support the older mechanoid. Point out the flaws, and you get threatened with more dangerous duty? No thanks. Instead, Fleet intends to just smile and nod, smile and nod... and when this is over, continue about his business smartly, just as before.
Fusillade rocks back on her heels, and finds herself torn between practicality and the tactics involved. "It is a glorious pincher maneuver. By what means do you intend to secure the Eastern mouth, which is in Autobot territory? All of the Autobot responses that have been reported upon by fellow fliers have shown a strong response to incursions of single craft. A fortuitous patrol pattern, likely. Is there something that those of us without clearance don't know?" she inquires gently. She's trying to continue the exchange, allowing him to elaborate and exult in the ideas, while hopefully bridging the gap between theory and practice that seems to have the other aerial units on edge.
"Hence the beauty of the assault, fraulein. It is a compilation of everyone's most lovely contributions. And is the lynchpin from which the tactics with support the overall strategy." Pressing yet another series of buttons on the table, Axis's smile recedes somewhat as the excitement drifts away, leaving tendrils of energy tingling the tips of his fingertips. The dogs are on the hunt, have their scent, and expect prey. Give it to them, Axis.
"Our initial assault approaches the tunnel here..." Axis points to the western tunnel entrance, tracking a finger across the image from eastern Magnaron. A yellow line marks the path as it passes. "...and drives forward, spearheading the attack." With a gentle jab of a digit, a red X is placed. "Flanking patterns will set from delayed reinforcements, pending insertion." Another sweep of yellow lines, forming ranks aside the red x, just short of the tunnel. "A show of such a frontal assault is the bait. The flanks, our fast movers beyond any speed the Autobot aerial forces have shown, our beloved Aerospace, assists in the entry point, feigning commitment. Again, with obvious dedication in reserve." Sweeping yellow lines from the reserve placements to the rear side of the tunnel, Axis sets another red X. "Once the fight is fully engaged, forces in full commitment to defense of the tunnel, we spring the trap. HERE. Our ground assault is already entrenched, supply lines will be commissioned by the forces within, as the reserve uses their unmatched speed to slice the very lifeline from the fools inside. Our eastern beachhead can be supplied and reinforced at our leisure, for the siege will have taken precedent over securing retreat patterns. It is typical of the rebels."
Cinderblock crosses his arms, and just nods slightly, "..."
Fleet shuffles his feet back and forth, a faint smile playing at his mouth but hiding far away from his optics. Gamma is designated as the quick strike/scout wing of Mil-Ops, so he can easily see where in this grand plan he would fit, but the trick was finding a way to ensure he comes back alive. Some of it will have to be winged. Still he says nothing, internally quite pleased that Fusillade and Cinderblock continue to hold Axis' attention.
The heady buzz of a connection, a spark of insight and inspiration, still hovers over the air lit from the holo-table below. Fusillade shifts weight, listening intently, one hand absently stretching down to smooth fanblades along one hip. A glance is shot towards Cinderblock, sizing up his reaction. However, the fact that he is still present speaks volumes to her. As Axis launches into a description of the assault's mechanics, she nods, mentally inserting herself into the thick of battle where the knot of troops intended as... well, bait, were intended. And apparently, it appears she's reached her capacity for the evening. Quiet contemplation which could be intpreted as flagging enthusiasm, she then makes a face and leans back, raising one taloned hand to prod at the junction of her optics and temple. "I do believe that my curiosity has quenched for the evening. You'll forgive my lack of endurance. It will come in time, I find it fascinating." A silvery flash of fangs emanates from her, and she pauses briefly, waiting for any last directives. Should none come, she will be on her way, sauntering back towards the etchings she's begun to inscribe on the flooring of her quarters.
Cinderblock seems less cheery then Fusillade. He enjoys blowing stuff up, but with Axis involved...things might get more dangerous. Dying interferes with Cinderblock's 'survival at any cost' mindset...
Mmmmmm... Ja. Assume your rest cycle, mein kamerad. Tonight's sinister dealings are but the place settings on the table of conquest. All of you. Herr Fleet, Cinderblock, please, do not let my rantings and zealous nature keep you from your duties or personal pursuits. I do, however..." Rising from the table and obliterating the image with a mere flick of a switch, Axis turns, touching each and everyone present with his once again piercing optics. He's back in <BLEEP>hole mode. Watch out!
"...appreciate each and everyone's input. Should you wish futher discussion on its merits, please refer to the proper adjutant in your chain of command, ja? It will serve you well to express your desire to participate, even against the likes of serfs such as Sky Lynx and the Dino-imbeciles, would you not agree, Herr Cinderblock?" The last is followed by that familiar, low, silken chuckle.
The sound of the dagger tracking its way to your back.
Cinderblock nods slowly, "Killing bots is what I'm here for, Sir." He slowly backs away from him, offering him a salute, "But yes, I need to return to my duties. I appreciate this open uh..." he searches for the word...the important sound one, "Dialogue."
Fleet leans forward, nodding his head in almost exaggerated formality. "Yes sir," he replies smoothly and confidently. "I will be certain to do so," he lies easily. The attention is back on him, but it's a bit safer now, he knows it will be removed soon enough. And that allows him to slip around Axis and hover over a terminal without sitting down, touching a few keys to see if the watch and patrol rosters have been updated and then, almost as quickly, shutting them down again. He offers one more nod to all those present before gliding out, and if they don't accept the nods, he leaves them laying on the floor to be picked up later. Nods are inexpensive enough to be wasteful of.