Summary: (April 2025) The Decepticons intercept an Autobot shuttle. Fusillade loses a fight with windshield wipers.
<Decepticon> Soundwave's cold voice drones on the broadband frequency. You lucky things, you. "All earth-based Decepticons. Report."
<Decepticon> WARRIOR! Long Haul says, "Reportin'. Whatcha want?"
<Decepticon> Scrapper says, "I'm installing light bulbs to shine a little light on the situation in the medical ward."
<Decepticon> Catechism says, "Standing watch, sir."
<Decepticon> Soundwave says, "Local transmissions indicate an Autobot shuttle will be traveling to earth. Shuttle: Alpha Trion. Contents: Supplies and troops. Pilot: Grimlock."
<Decepticon> Soundwave says, "Shuttle is scheduled to arrive at Autobot City. Available units are to assemble and intercept when the shuttles enters atmosphere."
<Decepticon> Catechism says, "As ordered, sir."
<Decepticon> Soundwave says, "Catechism. As highest-ranking Military official available you will assume the role of field commander for this mission."
<Decepticon> Envoy chirps, "Sorry, had to catalog some files. Data on light fixtures and skylights and...well, anyway, did I miss anything?
You descend to the South Central States below.
South Central States
The South Central State region consists of Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Oklahoma is a rugged area turned into a populated region with oceans of grass, highly variable weather patterns, the world's largest hill, and the nation's largest Native American population. The vast state of Texas has mountains, forests, beaches, and oilfields. Arkansas, possessing the only active diamond mine in the United States, also has poultry farms, lakes, hot springs, and spectacular Ozark vistas. Finally, Louisiana includes the Mississippi delta, bayous, marshy rivers, and the Big Easy, New Orleans, the leading U.S. port and the birthplace of jazz.
<Decepticon> Soundwave says, "Envoy. Report to Catechism for mission briefing."
<Decepticon> Envoy says, "Of course, Commander...let me just find her..."
<Decepticon> Fusillade, too conversationally for her own good: "Hey, Soundwave! I could come watch. Do some evaluation stuff. Maybe."
<Decepticon> Soundwave says, "Fusillade. You failed to report in time, and the mission's leadership role has been handed to Catechism. She will determine your usefulness in the task."
Somewhere high the in the sky, to the naked eye, it's little more than a burning white light that announces the return of the Autobot shuttle Alpha Trion to Earth's atmosphere. With retro thrusters burning steadily, the craft easily deflects the heat building up on it's nose as it descends in a long, graceful dive towards North America, guided along by the hand of Grimlock, of all individuals. The Dinobot Commander sits at the helm of the craft, adjusting the throttle every now and then, and maneuvering the foot pedals and control sticks as necessary. Apparently the dozen or so armed Autobot troopers on board had unfounded concerns at first, having been nervous when Grimlock had ordered them on board the ship for the return trip. It's gone without a hitch so far...
...with no monkeywrenches thrown into the plan. Yet.
F-35B <Catechism> arrives where Soundwave directed them. She pauses to pop open her cockpit and let out her... passenger. It was a rather odd and slightly unpleasant situation to have someone inside her, but cassettes just aren't as fast as jets, and she wanted to have everyone here in time, since she's vaguely in charge. "All right. This is where you get out, Envoy."
F-16 <Verdant> pulls up alongside Catechism, wondering vaguely what he's doing here. He's supposed to be a botanist and a scientist, not a warrior! And yet, increasingly, he keeps getting called out to the front lines. He'd protest, but hey, it's not like anyone's going to listen to him or that he'll grow the necessary neuro-circuitry in order to pull it off.
Envoy stifles a yelp as the cockpit opens. He looks up from his clinging position on the inside of Catechism's canopy, licking his optics in the face of the high winds. He seems a bit skittish about abandoning a ride that's far more armored than he is, but...well, orders are orders. His tail curls past the side of the canopy and he guides himself out this way, "Okay...now what?"
Hugging the ground, Fusillade's dark grey form cruises along, shadowing Catechism, Verdant, and the Seeker group assigned to this particular interception assignment. The larger craft is actually dallying a bit, almost as if preoccupied with toying with the altitude of the terrain-following equipment she regularly employs. The F-16 garners a curious hum from the bewhiskered bomber, but for now, Fusillade appears to be in a listening mood. Afterburners ignite upon seeing the reentering shuttle, and she surges forward, but at the last minute, reins herself in, and continues her low altitude pursuit. No words escape her just yet.
The shuttle continues to descend towards the continent of North America. Local airspace has long since been cleared in preparation for it's arrival, and a path towards Autobot city lit up. At least on the shuttle's sensors, such that the Dinobot Commander has no trouble following it.
That is, until his attention shifts to a blinking sensor indicator, staring for a few seconds before reaching out to flip the switch he can see, a superimposed image of the Decepticons in formation coming up on the main screen. "Hrnnn, Grimlock think this not welcome party."
One of the other troopers, by the name of Scraps, and the leader of this little group of passengers is up front as well, staring as well at the screen and frowning visibly. "This isn't a good thing...sir. Maybe we should get help."
"Maybe Grimlock think you shut trap, and get rest of Autobots out and protect shuttle."
"Uh...only two of us have altmodes that can fly, sir."
A moment of silence follows, at which Grimlock grunts. "...now this get more interesting."
F-35B <Catechism> needs to get a battle-plan together! She was far too frazzled on the trip to really think of one, because she had a gecko clinging to her insides, and Catechism has issues with animals. Luckily Envoy isn't an organic animal, or Catechism would have had a psychotic break and possibly repainted herself red and started calling herself DeathKilleeDoomster. She considers who she has here: a DCI cassette, an MSE Seeker of wussitude, and a bomber who outranks her. Now, what can she do with this, aside from start an excellent band? The F-35 loops a turn to bleed some speed and orders, "Envoy? Do not engage in combat, unless it proves absolutely necessary. I want you to gather information. Try to figure out why they're here and what they're up to. The rest of you? Robot modes and prepare to engage. We're going to stall this sucker long enough for Envoy to work his DCI magic."
F-35, Marine Corps variant, transforms into robot form. Catechism's feet unfold, her arms unfold out of her body, her nosecone rotates through her body and ends up on her shoulders to expose her face, and her wings rotate into position.
"Understood," Verdant says. Great... knowing his luck, there's probably some giant Autobot or combiner team on that shuttle. Aaaah. When did he get to be such a pessimist? Continuing to get sent into situations over his head probably did it.
Verdant transforms, his cockpit flipping down to form his chest, his head popping up, arms pulling out from his sides, and lower section extending and splitting into his legs and feet, while his wings move slightly to allow slightly greater freedom of movement.
Envoy's optics watch the mission commander as she flies off, "No combat, simple enough..." He then looks up to the shuttle, focusing his sensors on it, studying it for any type of entry...or better yet, a dataport.
The shuttle continues to dip down, now cutting speed dramatically as it inevitably draws closer to the seeker's holding pattern. As it stands, a pilot would love nothing more than to simply fly at a speed unreachable by the seekers and stay out of reach, but the reality of the matter is, that for all the speed capability of the shuttles in flight, it's about as aerodynamic as a dead pig in an atmosphere, and Grimlock's landing approach is somewhat ironclad and set. Or it -was- until he took manual control and started dipping the craft down into a bit of a steep dive, leveling out again a moment later, now 'gliding' forward for as long as his momentum and the struggle of the thrusters should let him. This has the added side effect of starting to draw in weapons range of the waiting Decepticons of course.
"Uh..sir?" Scraps speaks up, optics wide as he realizes the change in course.
"Bah." Comes Grimlock's response and a wave of his free hand for just a moment. "You and other bot get out and fly. Others shoot from ship if have to. Unless you plan on just sitting and let Cons shoot shuttle down."
There's a moment of hesitation but, orders are orders, and the Autobot trooper nods a second later, heading towards the back. It only takes a moment or two before the effects can be seen outside. The underbelly hatch opens up and two Autobots, Scraps...and another one by the name of Twizzler drop into the air, transforming into what look to be twin-rotered helicopters, peeling off as they prime their weapons. The other Autobots, being stuck to the role of ground troopers like so many others of their kin find themselves taking on the role of makeshift gunners, opening side hatches, doors and panels that they can hang out of and get their weapons ready. It's not the best kind of defense but it's better than nothing.
"Robot mode? Oh shards, I'm gonna get killed. Acknowledged, Catechism." At this point, Fusillade mentally calculates just what in the smelt she can do useful. "Maneuvering for maximum efficacy of robot mode." The bomber then sits on her tail, wings swept, and climbs quite literally a mile a minute to meet the descending craft. "Okay, gotta time this right so I don't smear myself on the thing's hull..." The plane then somersaults midair as Fusillade transforms, and quite handily proceeds to do just as she was asked, stall the crew -- By attaching herself to the craft's still searing nosecone. "Yow yow ow, hot!" The thunk of paneling impacting, followed by the screech of fingertalons raking along the craft, can be heard, and soon, Fusillade's aft is blocking part of the cockpit's windshield, while she presses face to the canopy directly in front of Grimlock, cheeks puffed and delivering a big fat robo raspberry to the piloting Dinobot.
Grimlock stares at the viewport without expression, his visor focused on the raspberrying visage of Fusillade. His response is simple, reaching forward and tapping a key.
A large windshield wiper suddenly slides up. *WHAP WHAP WHAP*
Envoy has no idea what to do at this point...but if that shuttle passes him by, there's no way he'll be able to do much of anything. He spots the incoming bomber and, saying a few silent prayers that he read somewhere, he reaches out with his little padded feet... and is summarily yanked upward as he clings to her armor, a startled yelp getting drowned out in the passing. Once all is said and done, he finds himself clinging to her back as she latches onto the shuttle.
Rodimus Prime has now left Autobot City and is headed toward the shuttle, but it'll take a long time for him to get close
Catechism doesn't have time to question Fusillade about her 'getting killed' comment before Fusillade gets up close and personal with the shuttle. Quietly boggling and wondering if she ever acted like that, Catechism calls out to Verdant, "We don't want to hit our comrades. You circle to one side. I'll take the other. Pincer formation!" A little late, she realizes Verdant might not understand the formation she's referring to, being MSE. Ah well, she heads for the farther side, hoping that Verdant will understand to take the near one.
Those obsidian claws, coupled with Fusillade's tenacity, keep her from getting wholly dislodged, although Grimlock is currently getting a VERY up close, and VERY gratifying, show of the wipers smacking Fusillade across each cheek in a rhythmic, head-snapping pattern, to the point that the pearlescent surfaces are starting to darken from the abuse. Her amber visor actually goes tumbling, revealing those tangerine optics to be tinged with garnet. To Envoy, she bellows, "Hey!" -TWAP- "They have hat-" -SQUEEGEE RUBBERSQUEAK- "ches open!" -SMACK- "YOU! Really should" -WHOCK- "Try to get" -SQURONNNNNNNK- "Inside there!" A feral snarl escapes her, and risking being fully dislodged, she frees one hand to unholster one of her wingblade, and with it still folded up, rears back, seeking to drive it through the windshield like an icepick.
Well, Verdant has had a little bit of military training over the years--he'd have been dead long ago if he hadn't--so he knows enough to get by. Seeing what Catechism's doing, he takes the opposite point, heading toward the nearer side. "Understood," he says again. All the while, thinking about the many ways to go splat.
Envoy waits just another moment for his fuel injector to catch up with him, the faint trembling subsiding. He finally takes a few tentative steps up Fusillade's back, "Yeah...yeah, good idea...maybe once a couple of them clear out?" Nevertheless, it couldn't hurt to get into position. He takes advantage of the femme's hold on the shuttle by crawling down her arm, making a point to stay hidden behind it.
The wingblade has alot of hull to go through to get to within where Grimlock is...it -is- a spacecraft afterall. Though the viewports are predictably, the weak point. Afterall, they shatter like glass while crashing on Quintesson-owned planets don't they? Even as the tip comes in, in front of Grimlock's face, he has almost no reaction really, still staring at his instruments and concentrating on his piloting, though the words of 'Hull Breach' do come up on a side sensors. The Dinobot still continues to fly impassively, as if Fusillade -weren't- in front of him trying to tear the glass apart. This might not be suprising considering he's one of those that would consider a brawl with Devastator as 'good fun'. He deals with the Decepticon stuck to the windshield the best way he knows how, by turning the dial on the wiper up to hi-speed, resulting in a much quicker *WHAPWHAPWHAPWHAP* and then for good measure pushing the dial in, bring a sudden high-pressure spritz of some kind of greenish fluid at the femme's face.
Scraps and Twizzler, the two flying Autobots both peel off, their alternate forms climbing up higher than the shuttle, before spotting Catechism and Verdant closing in. This prompts them each to peel off and pick a Seeker, Scraps going for Catechism, Twizzler going for Verdant, attempting to get on their Six O'clock positions. "Hey no harassing the convoy! Play with us first!"
Meanwhile, the other Autobots in the open hatches and such begin to open fire, though shooting from a moving, flying shuttle is not something they trained for, so their accuracy is a bit wild to say the least. One -does- make an effort to try and spray alot of blasterfire in Fusillade's direction, using a top-mounted hatch as his gunnery position.
By now, the shuttle has dropped to some 10,000 feet and is still steadily losing altitude, though remains undamaged...for the moment.
Foxfire is just out on patrol, like a good little cassette. He's feeling a lot better, and he's healed completely, but he doesn't expect to run into any trouble out here. That is, until he sees the shuttle. Uh-oh. Shuttles attract Decepticons. Blinking, the fox keeps his optics trained on the vehicle, watching it closely, ears perked.
Catechism calls out to the gumby troops that followed her here to get their butts over here to beat up Autobots for her. She smiles, predatory as a shark, to Scraps and says sweetly, "I think my friends would like to cut in." Hoping that the Autobot is suitably distracted, she cuts hard towards the shuttle and opens fire with her arm guns.
Well, perhaps he can contribute something to this battle. Verdant is, after all, a seeker with a "special power" as they used to call it. The ability to direct energy that caused matter to break apart on a molecular level, to simply rot into dust. His rot ray. Very useful, as his sparring partners have learned. He brought an arm up and unleashed a blast of the green energy at the shuttle.
Envoy moves across the shuttle's hull. Between the thickness of the shuttle's armor, the softness of his steps, and all the other commotion, he doubts anyone within would notice the telltale whispering scratches as he toward one of the side-hatches. He pokes his head up slowly, letting the tops of his oversized optics peer over the edge to see if there are any Autobots positioned there...and, more to the point, how many and if they're looking up.
"Envoy, get ready. You're going to have to use those toe stickers when you get in..." Several faint 'ows' escape Fusillade as she gets further pummeled. "I'll slide back along the hull to the first portico, m'kay?" And then, insult to injury. She splutters and SQUEALS with indignation as the still space-cold washer fluid zots her on the skidplate, one hand waving wildly in the air in dismay. "FINE, you don't WANT me here?!?!" she barks out at Grimlock, although there's no way he can hear through the bulkhead and the admittedly cracked and stabbity'd window. With a GRUNT, she shoves the stabbed-in wingblade free of the windshield, and allows the wind whipping by the shuttle, as well as inertia, to begin sliding her to the firing Autobots hanging out the sides of the craft. A lot of skittish 'yeek's begin to escape her as she raises her wingblade in an attempt to deflect the shots. "Go, go, go!" she yells to Envoy as she watches him creep forward, the strain in her voice hopefully loud enough to draw attention away from the tape.
Scraps and Twizzler both line up behind Verdant and Catechism, but true to form they have no choice as several Seekers form up behind -them- in turn to break off. "Slaggit! This isn't good!" Scraps can be heard as he pulls himself into a hard turn, the two Bots having to fight for their -own- wellbeing. The shuttle is on its own for the moment.
One might wonder how an armored, military space shuttle could be easily damaged by the weapons mounted on a single transformer. But then again, when you get certain punk Hot Rod Autobots who can put a huge hole into the side of an Autobot shuttle with a couple of volleys, even if the punk Autobot has since turned into a punk Autobot leader, it probably isn't a stretch to think a seeker can do the same with a few well placed shots. And short of Metroplex, an Autobot shuttle is probably one of the -least- maneuverable things around, not that we're saying Metroplex is far or anything.
Verdant and Catechism's blasts rock against the aft section of the shuttle several times over, setting the craft to rocking as tendrils of smoke trail out from one side near the engines.
"Grimlock! We're taking hits to our port side thruster!"
"Is not problem."
"One of the power relays has been hit!"
"Is not problem."
With a metallic shriek, the whole -engine- on the port side suddenly tears away in a shower of sparks, flame, torn cables and wires trailing in it's wake, sending the junked piece plummeting towards the earth below. The shuttle gives a noticeable lurch to one side, alarm klaxons beginning to blare as several panels short out and smoke begins to trickle into the cockpit. If Grimlock had optics, they'd probably blink. As such his visor merely pulses.
"Now, is problem."
Envoy and Fusillade both find themselves the attention of several Autobots now as they turn their guns towards the two Cons, though with all the chaos, and now smoke it's hard to tell who's doing what. One of them is in fact just starting to draw a bead on the Tapecon when the shuttle lurches, spilling him out of the hatch and into freefall, his body flailing and giving an audible, "Aiiiie!" as his plummeting form is soon lost to the rolling expanse of ground below.
By -now- the shuttle is losing altitude. Fast, even Grimlock's mighty hands struggling to keep control of the craft as it begins to plummet.
<Decepticon> Fusillade says, "Smelt! We're not going to be able to find out what they're DOING IF WE CRASH THE THING!"
<Decepticon> WARRIOR! Long Haul says, "But you'll hurt 'em. I thought the tape deck said they were transporting troops and supplies, though? In that case, crashing it means the supplies don't get where they're going."
<Decepticon> Catechism says, "If we crash the thing, they lose a shuttle."
<Decepticon> Fusillade ... "Was that an engine that just came off?"
Foxfire starts running back and forth, as if that will help with the situation. Not good, not good, not good! The vulpine begins to seem like an anxious Earth dog, a small whimper emitting from his vocalizer as he watches helplessly. He can't exactly attack the Decepticons, lest he miss and cause even more damage to the shuttle.
<Decepticon> Envoy says, "Dilerium Shipyards 2400-class, to be precise...I think...I could tell you for sure with a closer look, but I don't think there'll be enough left down there to identify."
<Decepticon> Fusillade reflexively orders, "Just see if you can get any information out of them!" A pause. "Provided this meets with the mission leader's approval."
<Decepticon> Catechism says, "I did tell him to gather information."
<Decepticon> Fusillade pauses again. Adds, "Go faster!"
<Decepticon> Commander Shockwave audibly stares.
<Decepticon> Military Transport Astrotrain says, "I think I hear somethin."
<Decepticon> Military Transport Astrotrain says, "Sounds like...yeah. Sounds like Shockwave."
<Decepticon> Catechism says, "Commander, sir?"
<Decepticon> Commander Shockwave says, "Report."
<Decepticon> Military Transport Astrotrain says, "I picked up some kinda space mould on my last run."
<Decepticon> Military Transport Astrotrain says, "Oh, wait. You meant them. My bad."
<Decepticon> Commander Shockwave says, "Requisition form A-5467Z to request inspection and treatment from Medical Science."
<Decepticon> Catechism says, "An Autobot shuttle with troops and supplies has entered the atmosphere, sir. Upon orders from Commander Soundwave, Envoy, Fusillade, Verdant, and I have investigated the matter. Envoy is attempting to gather data, and the rest of us are dealing with the shuttle."
<Decepticon> Commander Shockwave says, "Have you determined the nature of these supplies."
Staring blankly at the gouged and bent flat of the pleated blades, Fusillade winces as a gallery of laser, gauss, and projectile rounds begin converting the weapon-turned-shield into Swiss Cheese. "Ah, sharding wire-strippin', I'm gonna have to fly back in robot mode at this rate!" With a snarl of frustration, she snaps it forward, smacking one Autobot in the face with the flat of it, before reholstering the ruined flight surface. Finally, she whips out her pistol from her right thigh dispenser, and begins lay suppression fire for the gecko. There is no lizard. Only an obnoxious grey and white Decepticon here. Yes, shoot here, never mind the others flying nearby... "This is going to suck like a sump pump in the bottom of the bilge vats of Nightseige..." More loudly, "Hey!!! Your creators cobbled you together from a sludge percolator!"
<Decepticon> Envoy says, "Infiltration is unfeasible at this point...a strategically placed hole in the cargo bay, however, would facilitate a visual survey of their cargo."
<Decepticon> Catechism says, "Well, you heard the gecko. Let's get cracking! Aim fire at the cargo bay."
<Decepticon> Fusillade says, "There's several optional ingresses from the engine tearing away infrastructure."
Envoy crawls along the hull, using whatever cover it has to offer to remain out of sight. Fortunately, being small as it is, and also crawling low to the hull, provide a very small silhouette to shoot at. He continues making his way toward the ragged hole left by the engine, looking for an alternative entrance into the ship...hull breaches, ductwork, whatever.
Verdant goes after the shuttle yet again, raking firepower against its hull. Rather than use his more energy intensive rot-ray, he's using traditional laser-fire this time. Still, there's a small smile of satisfaction on his face. He's not really big on battle, but he does hate the Autobots, for they stand in the way of natural selection by helping the weak survive.
Catechism ignores the Autobot gumbies and go after the shuttle's cargo bay, aiming to blast it open with her arm guns to give the on-scene DCI agent a better view. All the channel chatter has her a bit distracted. She really ought to learn how to better multi-task. She'll need it.
Fusillade gets her wish a moment later as no less than three of the defending Autobots turn their weapons in her direction, indeed giving Envoy free reign to find himself a hole to get in if he so wishes, whether in the form of one of the untended hatches, or the gaping hole where the engine used to be, or perhaps the actual hole opened up by more firepower that manages to chip away at the shuttle's exterior hull. Why one would want to climb on board a shuttle heading down for the ground would be anyone's guess though. Either way, Envoy does get a glance at the crates and other equipment inside...no doubt about it. War supplies. Possibly ones diverted from the attack on Polyhex in fact, being brought down here for the effort on Earth once more.
Somewhere near the outskirts of Miami, traffic on the freeway comes to a halt as people look out the windows of their vehicles, and in some cases actually get out of their cars to stare agape. It's a sense of morbid curiosity that demands they sit and watch rather than run for their lives outright as the Autobot shuttle plummets towards the roadway.
It's only be a last minute pull of the control sticks that the Dinobot Commander avoids a tragedy that would no doubt look sensational on the headlines, though the roaring wake left in the shuttle's passing is more than enough to blow a few humans off their feet. For a moment, the stricken shuttle levels out, holding at some dozen feet above ground level or so. And then, then it dips down, the nose hitting the surface water of the swamplands around Miami. Momentum is abruptly lost in a sudden, sickening lurch as water sprays up in miniature tidal waves to either side, the shuttle skipping across the surface like a flat stone hurled by the hand of some giant child, up until it finally splashes down with a heavy *BOOM*, a wall of water, and finally a curtain of steam rising from it's superheated surface. Gators and birds scatter in all directions as a brief moment of silence falls on the shuttle, save for the hissing of boiling water. Soon enough, life -does- begin to stir again, the Autobots picking themselves up, realizing they're still alive, the shuttle's actually still in one piece, -and- the cargo is still intact, then also realizing there's still Decepticons to deal with.
Grimlock meanwhile, is somewhere outside the shuttle. Mainly because when it 'landed', he was thrown forward and hurtled clear for a couple of hundred feet, shards of the cockpit canopy having exploded outwards when his much more solid body had passed through. Facedown in the muddy water, he pushes himself up on his hands, briefly staring face to face with a crocodile, before twisting in place to look towards the shuttle. It's down...albeit a little crumpled and missing an engine. But down.
"...landing not so bad afterall." He audibly muses.
Foxfire stops in his pacing, ears twitching frantically, and starts running toward the shuttle. "Grimlock! Grimlock!" he calls, clearly concerned for his comrade, and seemingly unaware of just *which* Decepticons are present. That freaky Fusillade...meh.
Rodimus hadn't expected to be forced to drive cross-country from Autobot City. It's a good thing that for an RV, he has a ridiculous top speed, along with cartoon physics, that allow him to be just on the outskirts of Miami when the shuttle goes down. "Hang on bots...." He mutters to himself, burning energon like there's no tomorrow in order to reach the crash site before it's too late to do any good.
"Yeah! C'mon you fraggers, keep - YEOWW!- on shootin' at me, you have the targeting ability of a-" *ZOT* Fusillade does a decent enough job popping off argon bolts from her laser, but a well-placed shot, just to spite her earlier goading, does indeed nail her in the flank. "GRAH!" And at that point, the shuttle does a wonderful impression of an overenergized trooper finally going face-first into the bar. The impact sends her flying as well, the impact with the swamp sending her skipping over the murky waters and reeds like a skipping stone. That one shattered, dented, and otherwise abused wingblade snaps loose from the holster, splaying open in the marshland. After a few dismayed flails, she rights herself shakily, and radios back her condition. Leaving a few obvious spatters of hydraulic fluid in her wake, she limps skywards. "Oh, feh, where *IS* my wingblade?" She frowns visibly, but abandons the already ruined weapon, gaining altitude as she makes her retreat.
Fusillade retreats from the area swiftly, outdistancing all pursuit and parting shots.
<Decepticon> Fusillade says, "Withdrawing from combat. Damage prevents further safe operation."
Catechism runs things over in her mind. They made an Autobot shuttle crash. That, in and of itself, is cool. DCI actually got some information. That's also neat. They now have other Autobots approaching, no doubt angry and wanting to feed the Decepticons their faces. That's not so great. Fusillade has bailed, without checking with Catechism or anything. Eh. The coneheaded Seeker assimilates all this and calls out, "Decepticons, retreat!" She'll wait a bit to make sure that they all get out or die trying.
Envoy was rather enjoying his sudden fortune, taking stock of the shuttle's cargo hold. Not only was he visually observing, but comparing it all to whatever data he's got in his internal memories, categorizing and classifying accordingly. Unfortunately, that pesky planet down below is coming up to interfere with his work. As he sees the swamp rapidly approaching, he takes one last account of the contents of the shuttle and releases the miniature hooks in his feet. With no more purchase, the gecko goes flying off, relying on his own systems to avoid crashing...then looks around for the nearest fellow Decepticon once the retreat order is issued.
<Decepticon> Envoy says, "Uhm...I could, uh...I could use a lift out of here if nobody minds?"
Verdant is happy for a chance to pull out. Successful harassment of the Autobots is much better, at least for him personally, than a long, drawn-out, and messy engagement. So it is without a heavy heart that he breaks off combat operations and prepares to retreat.
Grimlock slowly picks himself up, his feet sinking into the muddy water until he hits 'bottom' which is about up to his shins or so. The everglades aren't all that deep in most places afterall. Bits of mud and swampgrass are clinging to his body, and a very confused turtle is sitting on a clump of damp earth that's stuck on the top of his head, though the Dinobot Commander is unaware of this extra 'hitchhiker' he's picked up. As Foxfire approaches, he gives the tapebot a...glance, before turning his head to look at the shuttle once more, then up to the scattering Decepticons. His sword is in hand a moment later, but he knows darn well he has no chance of catching them as they decide to beat feet and get while the getting's good. "Hmph. Grimlock wanted trip to not be boring, Grimlock not expect -that- much excitement." He states indignantly. There's a part of the highway, a raised portion that runs along the everglades here, and there's no shortage of rubberneckers who've pulled their cars over to the side of the highway to have a look. Some of them are still pulling themselves to their feet after the 'near miss' of the shuttle flying overhead. A few Swamp Kings, those airboats with the big fans on the back are also approaching the crash site to get a better look.
With the call to retreat, Scraps and Twizzler find themselves getting the pressure taken off of them. Twizzler had to put down after taking a few bad hits, but Scraps is still going strong, his design light, but speedy and maneuverable. And he's just finished pulling out of a complex series of rolls, flips and upside-down flying to level out, chuckling to himself. "Hah, all's well that ends well I guess..." This is about right when he realizes he's on a collision course for Catechism. "....crap." He pulls hard to one side, rotorblades screeching as they actually start to tear out of their sockets from the force. But did he pull aside in time?
<Decepticon> Catechism says, "I can get you a ride out of here, Envoy. ...ack!"
Foxfire slows to a stop as something catches his attention. What IS that? A lizard? A blink, and the vulpine cassette moves closer, head lowered and his posture similar to that of a cat stalking another cat. His ears are lowered now. Foxy will leave the shuttle to Rodimus...although he'll get a little annoyed if his commander doesn't show up soon.
Rodimus runs up on the gridlock at near full speed, tires screeching in protest as he tries to slow his forward momentum. Does it work? Not in the slightest. He's running upwards of 250mph, and a vehicle moving at that speed does not stop on a dime. He's forced to transform and shift his weight as he's thrown forward, landing in a crouch atop a boulder situated in the nearby gator farm where the shuttle 'landed'. The force of his impact with the rock's surface pushes it deeper into the muck, and sends several of the alligators running for the hills. "You always want excitement Grimlock, and you always wind up getting it one way or another." His quiet joking is half-hearted as he gazes up toward the retreating Decepticons, rifle in hand. "At least you found a soft spot to land, sortof."
Catechism isn't the most agile Seeker there is, but she's hardly a brick in the air, and she knows her aerobatics. So when she sees that Autobot coming at her, as much as she likes ramming things, she jinks out of the way hard. between the Autobot's own evasive maneuvers and her own, it send them both to scant safety. She flips over into jet mode and cruises over to pick up Envoy.
Catechism transforms into her alternate mode: a F-35, Marine Corps variant. Her feet flip up against her shins, her nosecone rotates through her body and out in front where it belongs, her arms tuck into her torso, and her wings rotate into position.
Envoy is hovering just above the treelines. He knows the ground below isn't solid (even though he could probably blend in with the smaller alligators if he really tried), but the trees offer cover from view should anyone take a shot at him. Finally, though, he relaxes once he sees Catechism heading back around for him, hovering higher and getting ready to slip into her cockpit.
Time for Verdant to transform as well! Aaaah, how funny that one who doesn't much like fighting takes the form of what was once one of the most deadly aircraft around.
Oh, there he is. Foxfire jerks his gaze to Rodimus and regards him for just a second, before shifting his optics back to the...hovering gecko. He doesn't get too close, as he doesn't wish to get wet. Besides, who knows how deep the swamp is? And Foxy is incapable of swimming, which accounts for his fear of water.
Scraps isn't so lucky in his own evasive maneuvers, flipping over upside-down, his twin rotor blades suddenly kicking up a curtain of swamp water as they make contact like a couple of giant eggbeaters. He tries transforming at the last second, and the results are...mixed, as he dumps into the everglade water face-first, his feet sticking out and waving back and forth for a few moments, along with a faint, "Mpphle!" He remains like this, until Grimlock walks over and slowly pulls him out with one hand, getting him upright, his entire upper body muddied as he spots Rodimus and salutes. "Grimlock hear them say, any landing can walk away from is good landing."
"You report now." Grimlock states, putting his sword away and crossing his arms over his massive chest as he turns to glance towards Rodimus fully. He's a sorry sight right now. Undamaged, but he looks like he literally just crawled out of the swamp which...he did.
"...Twizzler took a few hits but he's radioing that he's okay. Just needs to get back. The rest of the group's a little banged up but seem allright." Scraps frowns, turning and staring off into the distance. "Seems like Rimshot fell overboard on our way in, we're not getting any signal from him. Though I hear news reports talking about an Autobot falling into a resevoir in a town somewhere south of here. I hope he's okay."
Rodimus listens to the report in earnest, nodding faintly as he keys up his communicator. "Search and Rescue from Rodimus Prime. Locate trooper: Rimshot and render any necessary aid. Last reported position is near the outskirts of Miami." After the reply is given, Rodimus turns back to Grimlock. "Any damage other than the missing engine? Supply status?"
"Sounds like the engine landed in an open field a couple hundred miles south on our way in, thank Primus for small mercies." Scraps says, apparently one of those few Autobots gifted with special sensors for picking up radio and even television transmissions, just because it's convenient that way. Grimlock nods at this, before looking back towards the shuttle, getting a wave and a thumbs-up from one of the other troopers who was poking his head in one of the holes to have a look. "Cargo intact." He states then, jerking one of his own thumbs over a shoulder to indicate. "Is heavy loads, well tied down. Not even lose any through hole in cargo bay. Though it good thing Grimlock not carry Energon inside." That would likely have made a rather big fireball.
By now, a few Swamp Kings are milling about the crash site, some of them belonging to the local police who are trying to shoo off the rubberneckers. Leave it to humans to get underfoot.
Aw, the lizard's gone now. Somewhat disappointed, Foxfire starts heading back to the crash site, and gives his tail a few small wags as he spots Rodimus. "Glad you could make it, chief." He glances to the shuttle and winces.
The Autobot Leader listens quietly to all that has happened. Reports of the battle and the resulting damage. "We got lucky then." He replies to Scraps before turning to Grimlock. "We're going to have to get the shuttle's cargo moved out, and then get the damaged side raised from the muck so repairs can be made." He frowns at the cushiness of the surrounding soil, swamps are not conducive to heavy lifting afterall. "Superion should be able to help us with that. His ability to fly coupled with his strength should be enough to get it blocked up for repairs."
"Bah." Grimlock states with a dismissive wave of one hand, which is apparently also a dismissal for Scraps, who takes it as his cue to give a salute and move back to join up with the other troopers as they assemble outside the downed shuttle. Quite a picture for the reporters, a whole bunch of Autobots standing knee-deep in swampmuck.
"Him, Sludge best at moving through swamp, and strongest at lifting, except for Grimlock." A pause, and then he grunts. "Though him walk through swamp better than Grimlock. Him Sludge, get area around shuttle clear." He shakes one hand for good measure, before straightening up and setting his hands on his hips, glancing down towards Foxfire for a moment again before looking back. "Shuttle get fixed, cargo still here. Is not big deal."
Foxfire is glanced at! By Grimlock! He blinks again, and simply offers the Dinobot a foxy little grin. "Hey...you okay, big guy?" he asks, almost timidly. He's always had some degree of fear when it comes to Grimlock.