Summary: (April 2026) Fusillade and Jetfire assess the oceans of Neocron as a potential access point for weapons delivery.
In an innovative deviation from the original design, the round basins in the surface have been filled with microcosmic representations of the lost oceans of doomed Quintessa. Unlike the other oceans, the yellow-orange water is opaque and even thicker. The perimeter of the basin is fouled with clusters of dead, fish-like creatures, both large and small. Of whatever killed them, there is no sign, but the turbidity of the water conceals whatever may still be lurking there.
The next closest Neocron basin to the Cybertronian encampment, the ocean below reeks of sulfur. The ebbing ochre fluid has dredged up another batch of beached technoorganic life, and it's with faint distaste that Fusillade picks along the coastline edge. Raising her head skywards briefly, she purses hematite lips as she mulls over what may lie beneath. A faint whish of anti-gravs and thrusters can be heard from her as she skims from spot to spot. She doesn't linger, all the better to evade the roving Sharkticon groups that busy themselves cleaning up the carcasses -- by eating them.
The roiling waters seem to be the focus of attention for an all too familiar Spacefighter. Gleaming white with the black and red highlights Jetfire streaks across the ocean, flying low enough that his shockwave is kicking up a roostertail behind. (Though, considering how fast he can move, he doesn't have to be very low at all to get some of that) the fighter wings to the side and cuts a long scythe-like curve through the ocean, even as sharks launch themselves and attempt to catch him. Periodically objects can be seen dropping from his underside into the water, though the purpose of this is hard to guess it's obvious that some sort of study is going on since no explosions follow the deployment of the devices.
The voluminous basso of the starfighter's augmented engines is unmistakable. Pausing after a swift kick to a shrivelled, corrugated anglerfish's flank, Fusillade directs her attention to Jetfire, zooming in a bit. Detecting the jettisoned pods, she takes to the air, and transforms to her larger mode. Limber in the air, she clips a leaping Sharkticon across the snout with one wingtip. Pulling alongside and a bit forward, she then radios out, <<Gauging the depths? Or are you just feeding them your failed experiments?>>
The Autobot Starfighter emits a response via the radio signal, <<Neither. The pods that are dropping are tracking beacons equipped with active sonar along with several other devices. I'm rather counting on many of them being eaten whole so that I can use the Sharkticon's to do my scouting for me.>> he pauses as he throttles up a bit - they BOTH know that if he really wanted to, he could blow her doors off, but he needs to keep things subsonic so as not to have the devices get ripped apart when they hit the water - and then adds, << I received your delivery... I ah...>> he trails off for a moment before mentally shrugging and finishing, << I thank you. It's quite an impressive piece... I've got it hung on the wall of my Laboratory in Metroplex, behind a protective field.>>
Drifting slightly wide as he picks up the pace a bit, Fusillade appears ready to give him his room. The moment is short-lived, and so she returns to a neutral holding position to his fore and right, at the same altitude. Watching a few of the devices, she finally asks, <<What are those other things, though? Some of the shapes and forms are so different. Do they all have functions, or are they just the Quintesson's pets?>> She sneaks an eight-point barrel roll as Jetfire speaks of the material, the thanks unacknowledged. The Colonel's lingering stiffness suggests that she is assuming that she is being recorded by her own side. << I did not intend to be perverse in the material selection. I was punished the last time I randomly chose an item for carving, so had to be sure that the canvas was one in my personal possession.>>
The Starfighter turns slightly, cutting another scythe like curve across the ocean, <<My personal belief is that all things the Quintessons make have function, but what that function is remains a mystery until we see it in action. These beasts are quite amazing in their intricacies however, and I'm hoping to seize a few of the different designs for study at some point. Corpses would probably be enough.>> The turret on his underside turns towards Fusillade, acting as a sensor unit at the moment as he regards the bomber, <<Well, the effort is certainly appreciated. I consider us even at this point, and I will take your message to heart as well, there's a strange sort of truth to it.>>
(OOC Note: The etching in question, made form a piece of Jetfire's chest liberated in a previous battle:  )
Peeling away to a slightly higher altitude, Fusillade risks the flak to ensure that she doesn't interfere with Jetfire's dispersal. The Lancer makes a dry observation, and then gets to business. << I suppose 'strange sort' is about right. Can you tell me more about where in the SMELT that damned cannon emplacement came from? I come back from Cybertron to find my best troops fricasseed. Never saw the thing any other time, and I've been working this part of the planet fiercely.>> Her hematite and alabaster lines turn back toward the coast proper. <<There are large numbers of mostly one or two types washed up. They've not been eaten by anything in the water beforehand, from what I can see.>>
The fighter continues it's low slung path across the ocean as he replies <<This planet is the size of Earth, and unlike earth it's insides have quite a lot of tunnels. From what I gather of sensor readings the Cannon was mobile, they probably just hauled it up from inside the planet. We've seen no others so I can only assume it was a new gambit. This entire place is one big factory.>> he finally drops the last of the pods and starts to climb rapidly, the burst from his engines kicking up a large splash. As he gains altitude, Jetfire adds, << I suspect they've learned a few things from that attempt, and will prepare something with better defenses, but as you saw, the theory worked so we'd best be on our guard for another long range strike like that.>>
A faint grumble escapes Fusillade. <<Ground investigations are best pursued by Autobots, the Decepticons will be on scout for any new fissures or... >> She trails off as Jetfire ascends in a glittering spray of bronze ocean spray. "Oh bother," she mutters to herself, staunchly holding her current altitude. A concommittal radio upwards, with hopes that the tightbeam message would reach, <<We should consider moving the cities soon.>>
The fighter pulls a sharp loop, twisting around until he settles into an altitude above and behind Fusillade as he replies, <<And just where would we move them -to- exactly? Everywhere on the planet is going to be the same. At least -here- we've disabled the antigravity systems so we won't get catapulted into space. This ocean will be key in how things unfold as well. The bottom line is moving them now would be counter productive.>> Fusillade might pick up her warning system as he paints her with a passive beam, as if playing tag before darting forward on a burst of thrust.
The attack approach causes multiple systems within Fusillade to bristle subconsciously. However, she chooses to plow ahead, and concedes, <<Fine, fine, but the area north all the way up to the Trenches have been secured. I've busted my skidplate to see to THAT one.>> An interesting, and literally apt, choice of words. The lock spurs her to vane nose canards and tail slab ailerons to nearly stall out, halting her forward speed, before she sits on her tail and does a fairly impressive climb at a rate of a mile per minute. <<So. There are plenty of things down there that would eat those of us who dared to go snorkeling down there. We need to lose the water somehow. I say evaporate it. Maybe I'll ask the Constructicons about it.>>
<<Indeed, Metroplex's Microwave Cannons could probably help with that. They'd need a fair amount of fine tuning for such an odd job however, and I do not have that kind of time available. If I try to take on too many projects, I'm going to wipe myself out, especially since I also fly several sorties a day.>> Jetfire laments, he watches as the Bomber goes through the steep climb, and perhaps because he's feeling cheeky he noses all the way up and goes completely vertical on a pillar of blue flame.
<<We all fly several sorties a day.>> Fusillade counters. At his display, she levels off, banking slightly while in the process of staring. The obvious, lingering commentary about adjusting weapons doesn't quite get said, though. Offering no additional bluster, the craft noses back eastward. <<RTB>>, she informs while wresting the desire to chatter about the inane into submission.
<<Acknowledged.>> is the simple reply from Jetfire as he drops out of the climb and hurls himself back down close to the water, going level at about mach 3 which causes quite a roiling storm in the surface of the water as he streaks towards the Cities at speeds the Bomber could only dream of. Ahh, the joys of being the swiftest of all are many and varied, but raw speed is definitely topping that list.
Those speeds that could only be dreamt of would be suicidal in the terrain that Fusillade favored. She will have a fair amount of time to mull this over on her way back in to the city formers, in between the jink and dodge of snarling ground forces.