Summary: (June 2029) A bored jet and a Sweep can at least agree on one thing: Mini-Bots make great playballs.
The Northwestern states, Washington, /Oregon/, /Idaho/, /Montana/, and /Wyoming/ range from the rainforests and sometimes volcanic mountains of northeastern Washington to the white-sand beaches and sea-carved monoliths of Oregon to the odd combination of lakes, fertile farmlands, and black lava desert in Idaho to Yellowstone Park in the high plateaus and deserts of Wyoming to the stunning peaks and lush valleys of Montana.
On the northern border of Montana, nestled a stone's throw from the Canadian border, Glacier National Park is enjoying its summer season. Hikers camp out along the steep, striated peaks that line the Going to the Sun Road. The peace isn't long lived, however, as a faint roaring sound echoes throughout St. Mary's Pass, reverbing and doubling on itself until a streak of dark grey thunders through the twilight sky. Pouring herself over the top of the mountain range, the B-1 bomber peels up at the last second over the surface of Gunsight Lake. Rooster tails stream in plumes from the thrust of the tremendous craft, before it snaps itself into an origami flurry of parts. Several campers scatter as the Decepticon aerialist settles on the shore.
Bumblebee was just driving along, letting his auto repair systems kick in but something zooms past him! He hits the gas and drives at top speed for the park. He then drives off road and begins to fold into himself, shifting into his robot state. He then begins sneaking about to see who was it that was here.
Bumblebee becomes the robot we know and love!
The striated clouds of the Montana sky part as a craft comes barreling down from the heavens. A high pitched whine indicates ion drives have been switched over for atmospheric drives as the Sweep descends. Leveling out at the last minute, the Huntsman unfolds and lands some 30 meters or more from Fusillade. He holds up a hand in greeting and begins walking around the shore. "Wind to you wings." the Unicronian greets, bowing low to Fusillade. "Hope you don't mind. I saw you on my scans and thought I'd drop in."
Decepticons, here in the United States! That certainly couldn't be good, could it? How come EDC isn't here yet? How'd they get so far inland? Bumblebee will have a lot to mull over. The small spy is yet undetected by the harlequin-patterned bomber, and does he ever get an optic-ful. Lop-sided grin begins to spread over her features, revealing fangs as she plants her hands on her hips, and gazes raptly at the finback peak before her. That expression only doubles in its boldness once the Sweep arrives, and identifies himself through voice and gesture. "Dredclaw! It HAS been a while, huh? So, whaddya think of my mountain? Decided to come along and visit it a bit, see how long it takes for a Talon squadron to come chase my tailfeathers out of here." Her tone is conversational, allowing former executive to make the first comment about the return of Megatron -- and the reordering of the divisions.
Bumblebee continues to sneak about, being the little spy he is. Sneak sneak sneak. He tries to remain undetected as he now has become...Solid Bee!
Sweepcraft <Dredclaw> nods, "Indeed. It has been too long. So /this/ is your mountain... I'd heard about it, but I've never been treated to a personal tour." he shrugs, "With Frenzy making such a hooplah over Megatron, I didn't feel like sticking around." he looks around at the campers throwing their gear into hybrid SUV's and getting the frak outta dodge. "Now, how long does it usually take for a welcoming committee to show up? That could be interesting."
The wings of the Sweepcraft smoothly swing back and around, legs extend and turn as Dredclaw emerges into robot form.
"Ehn, about four breem or so," Fusillade reckons, before rumbling to herself. "He's been beside himself with glee, no doubt about that. I came out of my most recent rest cycle to find 'Strategic Air Commander' attached to my name. THAT can't end well," she says archly as she plucks up an abandoned kettle off its firepit, and then tosses it into the air, before whipping out one set of wingblades and hammering it in a line drive to skip across the surface of the lake. "Sticking around really hasn't been your forte as of late," she says with an ease typically missing from most conversations between jets and Sweeps.
Bumblebee continues to sneak closer, trying to be able to listen in on their conversation better. Something about reorganizing the troops. He tries to let the forest hide his obviously yellow body.
Dredclaw smirks, "What can I say... I'm more of a free spirit now that I've given up the mantle of command." he doesn't care that Fusillade isn't pulling any punches with him, he finds it refreshing. Most jets didn't even think the Sweeps were individuals, so he's glad that she noticed his absence. "I'm sure the half pint will find himself strung out to dry in no time." he golf claps for Fusillade's kettle shot. "My turn!" he crows and looks around and finds a four wheeler of some campers who are out hiking the trails. Snapping the chains easily he rips off a tire and lobs it up, executing an inverted soccer kick with anti-gravs to send the spike treaded tube bouncing over the surface of the lake. "Goal!" he pumps his fists as it finally stops with a large splash.
<Decepticon> Astrotrain says, "Awright, showtime! Scrapper still needs some of that metal stuff, right?"
<Decepticon> Redshift says, "We pretty much always need quality metal, so 'Duh'."
<Decepticon> Astrotrain says, "You shut up!"
<Decepticon> Astrotrain says, "Anyways..."
Dredclaw glances at his comm. "Any nickle-copper deposits around here? We could pick up a present for Scrapper while we're out..."
<Decepticon> Astrotrain says, "Scrapper's shopping list is as good an excuse as a ny to..."
<Decepticon> Astrotrain says, "I mean, I'll get some stuff for his list! Yeah..."
<Decepticon> Dreadwind says, "Our injuries are often so near fatal we almost seem to eat our supplies."
Fusillade's gold trimmed shoulders sag visibly at the display. "FINE FINE, show off. Smelt, s'not like I've got THOSE kinda servos installed for..." She trails off, turning to face Dredclaw, her poise stiffening some at the radio summons. "Could be, but let's get it somewhere else, I don't wanna deface this wonderful monument! The hyoomans didn't screw up for once." However, as she swings her citrine gaze over to the Sweep, her hematite lips purse. Reaching up to pluck amber goggles off her face, she leans forward on one hip, and peers closely at the shrubbery several dozen meters distant. "Hey, Dredclaw? Do you seem something over there? Maybe it's another one of those vehicles, you should see if you can throw it FURTHER than that first one!"
Bumblebee looks to see where they were talking about and begins shifting as lowly as he could, turning back to a volkswagon. The Autobot symbol thankfully was painted over with yellow paint, so perhaps he can blend in.
Bumblebee becomes the extra cute little yellow VW bug!
The object of interest, woefully, is yellow.
Dredclaw's audials definitely detect the tell-tale sound of a transformation cog in use.... "Really?" he spins around, talons extending automatically. "Let's see. I /did/ just get my servos upgraded recently... so I could toss around the likes of Inferno without so much strain from his fat aft."
<Decepticon> Compile says, "AStrotrain, if we go, I will not do to you what Frenzy was trying to do to ya last night with his words."
<Decepticon> Arachnae says, "Confuse him?"
<Decepticon> Compile says, "No, just wrongness on all levels nae."
<Decepticon> Dreadwind says, "Enhance his suffering even further?"
<Decepticon> Compile says, "Nope."
<Decepticon> Astrotrain says, "Hey!"
<Decepticon> Dreadwind says, "Are you sure about that, i have noticed that he has that effect on a lot of other Decepticons."
<Decepticon> Arachnae snickers.
<Earth> Insert blonde blue-eyed news anchor as she stares cheerfully at the camera, "And now in international news! Today, Japan unveiled their latest development in weapons technology for the Japanese Self Defense Force to protect the homeland from Decepticon threats in the future. This announcement came about much controversy in light of Japan's recent status as a central territory of the Protectorate during the global civil war. Nevertheless, permission was granted for Japan to develop the Self Defense Force once more with heavy EDC influence watching over their progress."
<Decepticon> Astrotrain says, "Oooh ooh it's starting!"
<Decepticon> Dreadwind says, "Starting? The suffering is constant."
"Yeah sure go ahead and get that," Fusillade remarks absently as she pulls out a holo foil pad, and snaps it to life by stretching the handgrips. "Hmm, hmm. Copper and Nickel, was it? Let's see... Montana Resources (MR) operates an open pit copper and molybdenum mine in Butte, Montana. The operation comprises the Continental Pit mine and a concentrator where tons of raw ore are processed into marketable form. MR serves an international market for these metals. There's also..." She scowls visibly. "They're all the way in JAPAN!?" She slaps down the pad against one tight and growls a bit.
<Earth> The anchor continues, "That progress came to fruition today, with the unveiling of five mechanized units and their colorfully clad pilots, referred to as the Power Marines." The image shifts then, showing five elaborately colored Exo-suits that are actually slightly smaller than average, and their pilots alongside, each mecha and pilot color co-ordinated accordingly. Red! Blue! Black, Yellow and Pink! The Power Marines!
<Earth> "On their own, the five exos are a small squad by themselves, but the real power comes in the form of their special ability, which is about to be unveiled live!" The image shifts back to the mecha again, showing each of them operational and moving on their own, when suddenly they flip up and begin to merge together. A colorful mechanical super-warrior is formed, complete with horned helmet, huge blaster cannon and a large intricate glowing sword! It seems to stand about the same height as a Dinobot or so. "Mega-super-Godmachine! Ready to protect Japan from any and all comers!"
<Decepticon> Mother Goose Fusillade says, "Been there, done that, got these lousy gestalt sockets."
<Decepticon> Astrotrain says, "Who cares!? I know what I want!"
<Decepticon> Astrotrain says, "I mean...let's get some metal, and and...stuff, for Scrapper! Yeah!"
<Decepticon> Dreadwind says, "Don't get me started about having to merge with annoyingly cheerful team mates."
<Decepticon> Compile blinks at the radio and than busts out lauhing, falling out of his chair in the same process.
<Decepticon> Not Rumble but Frenzy says, "Doofus!"
<Decepticon> Mother Goose Fusillade says, "Yeah well we're in Montana over here, gonna be a bit late for the party. There's an open pit mine that's got copper and molybdenum by Butte, we could get some of that as icing on the proverbial petrol-cake?"
<Decepticon> Compile says, "Sorry," snickers. "But that broadcast is funny."
<Decepticon> Not Rumble but Frenzy says, "Heh heh. You said bewt."
Dredclaw heads for the forest line, cocking his head to the side and inhaling deeply. "Funny thing about terran vehicles, Fusillade... even the newest models have this scent about them... the combustion engine just doesn't smell the same as Cybertronian powerplants... even the cleanest ones reek of human technology." He continues stalking towards the visible yellow in the dying light. "Japan? That's not so far... but if there is raw materials to be had locally, that would be preferrable."
Bumblebee remains perfectly still, like a good little volkswagon.
The sleek bomber rears up, wings collapsing onto hips even as the rear fuselage splits to form arms. The horizontal stabilizer slides up, the forward fuselage folds up accordian style, and Fusillade hops up on thrustered feet.
"Ohhhhhhhhhhhh, we've got an eaves-dropper," Fusillade says with a wicked grin, and then wades through the ground cover, before unfurling one wingblade to its full span to start whacking machete-like through saplings. "And yeah, I got my orbital booster packs, it'd be a bit of jump, but... Hey, ever do atmospheric bounce? Now that's a shuttle full of fun."
Dredclaw grins, "actually yes, I done Atmospheric bounces. I wonder if our friend here has...." Dredclaw pulls back the last brambles seperating the cutest little volkswagon bug from them. "Hmmm... no Autobot sigil... perhaps you were right...just a terran vehicle."
Bumblebee remains perfectly still, despite being face to face with a sweep. Overall it is the cutest little volkswagon bug that yellow has ever touched!
"Oh come on, don't be an aileron-tease, Dredclaw! We've gotten this far, might as well! Think of how awesome it'd be if we dropped that thing from orbit! It'd be like kinetic bombardment." Fusillade barks out in challenge to the Sweep. She takes to the air, and throws hands wide in a mock catching gesture. "C'mon, do your worst! Or..." A sly glint races across her optics as she goads the Sweep into action, "Do you think that you don't have to prove yourself anymore since you got your own division back?"
Dredclaw scowls, "It wouldn't prove anything... but on the other hand, it would be fun." his faceplate lights up with malevalent glee. He steps forward and wraps his arms around Bumblebee, easily lifting the VW bug into his arms. Wings flare as he bends his knees and jumps into the air carrying Bee like an overgrown beach ball. "You really want to play catch?" he teases Fusillade. "I woudn't want to harm Empire property by playing too rough." he rumbles playfully.
Bumblebee is picked up and when the sweep begins to fly. He starts the engine and a massive cloud of black exhaust spew out of his tail pipe right for Dredclaw's optics as the little bug tries to drive out of it's hands.
Dredclaw succeeds in grasping A yellow Volkswagon, throwing it off-balance.
Bumblebee misses Dredclaw with its grasp attack.
There's a faint jerk of Fusillade's shoulders as she sasses Dredclaw. "C'mon, I've had some pretty bad mid-air strikes before, I can take my lumps. Bring it!" She actually transforms, and with an audial-shattering howl of engines, pours on the speed toward the grappling pair. The Lancer flicks her tiny nose canards, and laughs as she sees the cloud of smoke. "Looks like it IS a live one after all!"
Dredclaw is rising too fast for the exhaust to billow that far upward, the wind pushing the smoke down and trailing below them. "Wow, you need a tune up, Autobrat." he chuckles... "I'd advise against trying to get traction on my arms with those tires... we're already a few hundred feet up..." calling out over the revving of Bee's engine, Dredclaw addresses his cohort. "Fusillade, it seems that our sporting equipment would like to register a complaint."
"Oh, then you wont mind this?" Bumblebee says as he shifts, sending a foot right for Dredclaw's optics in an attempt to smash them in as he fully shifts. "So, how are the Decepticreeps doing nowadays, playing catch with innnocent bugs?"
Bumblebee becomes the robot we know and love!
Bumblebee succeeds in grasping Dredclaw, throwing him off-balance.
"OOh ooh ooh!" the hundred and forty-seven foot long aircraft shimmies in delight, circling wide around the ascending Sweep. She wing-waggles in solicitation. "C'mon, paddle-ball! I bet I can get him over Mt. Jackson from here!" At this point, a crowd of horrified onlookers have come along to point at the skies. Well, even if the Decepticons WERE able to sneak in using the radar shadows of the valleys, they couldn't escape the pointing fingers and cell phones. EDC likely has been notified, and it'll be a matter of minutes before the skies are filled with Exo-Suits.
Sideswipe arrived on scene in a less then grandoise fashion. He transformed and cast his optics uopwards, "Slaggit.. fliers.. How's such a little bot get himself into so much trouble?" wondered Sideswipe.. then again, the same could be said for the speaker..
Save for the little part.
A rocket pack folds out into view, the thrusters firing and providing the autobot with a rare gift, flight. He rocketed through the air. eruppting from a tree line and streaking towards the pair. "Hang on, Short-stop!" he called out as he raced into the air, heading straight for Dredclaw and his not so willing passenger, less interested in the sweep then he was in the bot he held hostage.
Dredclaw takes a boot to the face and snarls as he lobs Bumblebee away from him, "You wanted it... you got it!" he says, to both Bumblebee and Fusillade as he shoves hard, flying backwards from the point of launch... "Heads up, Fusi!"
Dredclaw succeeds in grasping Bumblebee, throwing it off-balance.
Bumblebee goes flying for Fusillade and keeps spinning in the air. "Some day I got to invest in some sort of rocket pack!" He yells as he is thrown for the Decepticon, trying to kick at her once she has him.
You evade Bumblebee's grasp attack.
With a violent mid-air twist like a shark maneuvering through waters, the Lancer noses down to intercept the falling mini-bot. With 120,000 horsepower of military thrust hurtling her towards the precipices below, she very quickly outpaces Bumblebee's fall, and then pulls up, hard. There's no gleaming chrome edges of exposed wingblades, but those reinforced panels and struts come up fast, filling Bumblebee's field of vision with the massive spans. At the last second, she jerks hard and away, sending the surface's broad side against the yellow 'Bot in an effort to send him flying. There's a dash of red on her peripheral vision, but she hasn't quite caught onto the second paddle ball in play yet.
Fusillade succeeds in grasping Bumblebee, throwing it off-balance.
Sideswipe's features contort in aggrivation, "Clanker." he bites once Dredclaw sends the gold bug hurtling towards Fusillade.. who send him flying back. The Lambior twin cringes in sympathy, "That's gotta hurt.." he prattled to himself befor he kicked himself off in a quick interception rush. Catching a minibot that had just got bomber swatted might not do any wonders for his paint jobn,.. or insurence premiums. He rushed to find himself a proper spot to catch the golden boy.
ROLL: Bumblebee rolled a 85
ROLL: Sideswipe rolled a 51
ROLL: Dredclaw rolled a 52
Bumblebee is smacked with a THWAK! "Hey come on! I am not some toy!" He yells as he tries to kick or swim in the air. He notices a red blur pass him , he looks at the red thing. "What are you doing here, I thought I said I was alright!" He yells, not used to swirling winds about him. As he comes to dredclaw, he tries to kick against that con.
Bumblebee misses Dredclaw with its grasp attack.
Dredclaw spins to avoid being kicked by Bumblebee...he reaches out and tries to snag the minibot and hurl him back towards Fusillade, talons digging in to give him grasp!
Dredclaw succeeds in grasping Bumblebee, throwing it off-balance.
ROLL: Dredclaw rolled a 72
ROLL: Bumblebee rolled a 7
ROLL: Sideswipe rolled a 77
Oh delight of delights, they can FLY now! That only took how long? Fusillade doesn't have time to comment as she cheers at the graceful arc made by the quickly shrinking mini-Con. "Yeah hah! That felt GREAT! Even if I am gonna have to get Fulcrum to hammer out the panels. Woah, hey, Dredclaw, we've got another one incoming. This time with a jetpack looks like!!" The aircraft weaves and bobs, gamely swinging around to try to outrun the red twin!
ROLL: Fusillade rolled a 25
"Boot it cold will ya!" barks Sideswipe as he catches Bumblebee's complaints reached him, his aggitation growing as a reminder draws his attention the the rappiddly depleteing fuel cell for the rocket pack.
He chanced a glance over his shoulder only to see a whole lot of boner heading his way!
A bit of quick thinking and a little bit of thrust later had Sideswipe clinging to the nose of Fusillade's large form, "Don't mind me." he attempted as he snatched out a arm to try and catch a fly by bumblebee.
Dredclaw snarls as Sideswsipe deprives Fusillade and himself of a volleyball. "You meddling red aft'd prat!" he rasps, cursing as Sideswipe uses Fusillade's airframe as a taxi. Most any other jet and the Sweep would open fire on the pair of Bot's clinging to her, but not this one. Folding in on himself he roars towards the trio to try and remove his companion's hangers on.
In a fluid motion, Dredclaw soars into the air, and folds into the menacing form of a Sweepcraft.
The clack of armor on her radome is followed by a faint cross-eyed glint along her cockpit as Sideswipe straddles her, the fishbone pattern of her refueling markers making a fine saddle for the Lambo twin! With a spasm of whiskers, the bomber flares wings forward, and nearly stalls out, pitching nose up sharply. "HEY wait! That's supposed to be MINE!!!" At that point, she pulls a wind up turn, and simply inverts to let gravity do its worst. Mach-bronco busting, eat your heart out.
ROLL: Fusillade rolled a 32
Bumblebee is caught! "Thanks sideswipe!" He yells as he tries to cling to the red autobot. "Lets get out of here, I got enough info thanks to these rust buckets."
A flight of talon class exo suits pings in on the radar screens of anyone who has them... they are coming in fast and weapons hot. The Sweep snarls to his playmate, "That company you were expecting is here, Fusillade... time to test out those scram jets...."
As Sideswipe snatches Bumblebee away, Fusillade shouts out, "Enough of this physical bantering about! Time to lay down some firepower!" A bristle of active radar paints the retreating Autobots as she disgorges a disruptor hardpoint from an underbelly sling. However, two sleek forward-swept jets cut across her flight path, and it's with an audible whine of, "AWWW, I was just about to have some REAL fun," that she stands down. A rippling twist of subspace forms around the junction of her wings and airframe as four booster clips pop into existence and ignite their solid rocket fuel to send her careening up into the heavens.
Fusillade begins retreating, leaving herself vulnerable to parting shots from Sweepcraft <Dredclaw>.
Sweepcraft <Dredclaw> pivots and follows the arcing form of Fusillade into the stratosphere and beyond.
Dredclaw retreats from the area swiftly, outdistancing all pursuit and parting shots.
Sideswipe's tighten around Fusillade's wildly bucking nose, hanging on for dear life as the bomber bucks and writhes underneath him, jaws tightening as he holds tight, thank primus for jet-judo!
Thankfuly his ride is short, the Lambor happy to unsaddle. Not a moment to soon either. No sooner does he have Bumblebee in hand then does Fusillade rocket away, "Figures.. they never stay wen they lose their balls."
-- End --