Summary: (February 2027) Best way to test weapons? Go somewhere scarce with a mini-Galvatron, and blow $#!% up, of course.
The wilds of Australia. Called by those who choose to make the place their home, The Outback, it is a rugged land, filled with danger for the unwary, and even for those who know how to survive here, it is a struggle. It is also a place of savage beauty, a rich (and fast disappearing) native culture and a place of extraordinary solitude, unlike anywhere else on the planet. Rocky ridges give way to groves of trees, then to marshes and swamps filled with crocodiles. Stands of banyan and eucalyptus hold the gentle koalas, while vast plains of open grass (rare here) are home to the roving packs of kangaroos and wallabes. A natural wonder, unlike any other.
Although still pretty swift, Fusillade's robot mode's flight speed is sedate compared to that of her altmode. She speaks to her escort, explaining, "You've been doing a fair amount of studying and analysis of combat performance, so I'm hoping for some honest feedback on the performance on the new systems I've had installed. I believe that you heard Dredclaw mention it earlier. I just... really did not want any disasters with unproven technology in a match where I had to depend on my systems to the utmost."
Homunculus inclines his head. "Of course. I have no intention of confusing the facts to save feelings." His small face is set grimly as he speaks. "My duty is to the Empire and no one individual, save Lord Galvatron. If something is wrong, I intend to document it. Have these systems been tested at all?"
Fusillade explains as the rugged terrain slips past them, "It's intended to dispense my bomber's payload while I am in robot mode. The carriage action of the empty clips appeared to work just fine. Holo arena's been jumping since the open free for all's been announced, so this is the best in terms of proving grounds that I could find. At least, none that requires us to go through US airspace..."
Homunculus ponders this for a moment. "If we are testing with live ammunition, I do not expect we will have an abundance of time to evaluate the system's performance. These Australians are bound to be as protective of their territory as the Americans." He chuckles darkly, "Not that I expect them to be a tremendous challenge."
"Hence the pains to get a relatively isolated location. We'll stay away from any monuments," Fusillade explains as she finally sets down in a place that appears to be me mostly featureless scrubland and boulders. "You don't see any kind of funny writing on any of these?" She asks, red dust kicking up around her feet as she spins around to gauge her surroundings.
Homunculus drops beside Fusillade, although he doesn't actually touch down. His gravity systems kick up small clouds of dust of their own. "There does not appear to be an aboriginal markings present. We should be safe enough in this location." He produces his datapad and thumbs it on. "Exactly what type of data do you need me to collect?"
Fusillade ehs. "Accuracy will come in time. Considering recent events, I'll be happy if I can get them OUT of me before they explode." She smirks a bit as she gazes to the horizon as she elaborates on the various components. "Proper loading. Appropriate range to prevent shrapnel injury to me. Those are two good starting points. I'm sure you've noticed I'm happier when in alt mode... I'm hoping that this will allow me to be more useful in robot mode, and also to ah... tap into that confidence."
Homunculus dips his head in understanding. "Yes, I had noticed. I do not much enjoy my tape mode and as such avoid it as often as possible. I commend your efforts to conquer your distaste and improve your effectiveness when transformed." He hefts the datapad lightly. "I am not equipped for full focus technical scans, but I can provide real time imagery as well as external data analysis. There will be a record, at least, if this terminates you." Cheerful little fellow, isn't he?
"I've had worse," Fusillade sasses back, before giving a click of heels and another bow. She recalls well some of the tape's more unusual quirks, and seems quite happy to indulge him. "Just... try not to laugh too much." She lines up a decent target about... half a mile away, and turns to it. The flat panels on either side of her cockpit open up. The rounded tip of a smallish missile noses out, accompanied by a soft clack. And then, there's a hiss of ignition, before the female WHOAS slightly and steps backward to brace herself against the recoil. The angle causes the missile to lob off at an upwards angle, sending it in a near perfect ballistic travectory. It spirals upwards in the air. About twenty seconds later, there's an explosion on the horizon, overshooting the mark by about three miles.
Homunculus folds his arms and levels a narrowed gaze at the femme. "I don't find things humorous. I laugh at stupidty and when I'm about to kill someone. As neither situation is likely to happen here..." He falls silent and takes a few careful steps back as the projectile locks into place. The tape quirks a brow as the launch and subsequent explosion go off without a hitch. "That was, I'd venture to say, a successful first test. You appear to be suffering no unpleasant side effects of the launch nor were you blown to pieces. I would, however, perhaps incorporate some recoil compensation devices in the future. One can't afford to be off-balance in combat."
Fusillade looks horrified at how far off the mark the explosion was from her point of view. However, she doesn't have the luxuries of her alt mode. "It's... very different!" she stammers out, before humming thoughtfully to Homunculus. "What ever did happen with that Seeker in the Shark's Rib, anyway? And I only have two to start out with, so after this we can go home. Now..." She flashes a grin, plants her feet wide, and rests hands on her hips. "Wha-POW!" she moonlights as Warpath as the second missile zooms out. This time, its initial path is steadier. The flight path is greatly improved. A set of boulders slightly to the left of her intended strike detonate in a spray of dust and rubble. "Yeah, that's more like it. Wonder if they'd do better if there was some kind of lock-on first. Rocks don't have... heat patterns really."
Homunculus waves a hand in dismissal. "He failed and paid the price. As for this test, you are used to having a specific type of control over your weaponry. Obviously that is impossible in your current form." He taps his chin with a finger for a moment. "If I were you, I would utilize a number of different targeting mechanisms. You never know what your foe will have in his arsenal to defeat your systems. A well prepared warrior, will be a successful warrior."
Fusillade looks a bit disappointed. "He probably already knew he couldn't perform. It explained his fear." She considers Homonculus's recommendations, and nods, settling her gaze on the tape's fierce violet optics. She taps the panels, trying to peer downwards as the panels flick open in response. "I... can't get over this, it's..." She bites her lower lip, before shaking her head sharply. "You're right. I'm going to have to learn to visually estimate. That seems like the most likely alternative."
Homunculus allows himself a tight smile. "Do not expect too much of yourself too soon. You will only encourage disappointment and despair. Know that no warrior can perfect his skills in a day. I have faith that you will take the steps necessary to perfect this new facet of your combat protocols. You have imagination and an ability to think beyond simple carnage." His smile disappears as quickly as it appeared. "Succeed and better the Empire."
Fusillade still looks terribly preoccupied with the panels, before admitting, "Slightly heavier because of the rotary assembly. But you're right. I'll have to commandeer the training room, where bomb bays runneth over," she says smoothly. There's a faint drone on the horizon of a propellor driven aircraft. "Ah, looks like some kind of bushplane. We probably should go. So. Glam down, make sure I have my feet down, and swing my chest around like I mean it. It's a good start," she remarks to Homunculus. "And I will do the Empire proud," she assures. "Even if it's... not quite the same path as most others."
Homunculus nods slowly. "Our goals are the same, but our paths are different." He rises slowly higher into the sky. "I'm sure after the upcoming command challenge, the training room will become free once more. Of course, there are always our resources on Cybertron as well."
Fusillade's ebullient behavior fades at Homunculus's words. "Yeah, THAT thing," she remarks sourly about the free for all. "Thank you!" she yells upwards after the tape, before she as well takes to the skies and transforms, engines igniting.
Fusillade leans forward, wingblades whipping out to their full span, even as her arms lock backward in place as the rear fuselage. Her torso folds out to the become the cockpit of a Terran B-1B Lancer, ready for flight!