As you enter orbit above the blue-green surface of Earth, you peer through the clouds and see various possible landing sites...
The swell of Earth looms underneath, the edge of the daytime side of the planet steeped in rich greens, blues, and whites. Very tranquil, but misleading. The very air that brings sustenance to those living on the planet, can bring death to those trying to get to the ground. It's something that require training, and a very skilled tutor. Fusillade might be SOL in this regard. The dark charcoal grey and glossy ghost grey bomber lightly puffs maneuvering thrusters to point herself to Earth, and sends a shortwave radio burst to the other Decepticons in the area. <<So. How exactly do we go about doing this, again? I've heard a lot about angles.>>
The blues of Earth have nothing against the blues of Blueshift, as the sleek spacecraft mode glints in the light from the sun as it orbits the planet. <<Ah sir>> he emits. <<It is a very difficult procedure, complete with years of practise. Only a skilled warrior such as I could ever hope to master such a complex scenario, though I am sure you will have no problem>>. Of course, Blueshift usually just points himself at the planet and lets gravity do the rest, but he's not going to admit that. <>
<<There's really nothing to it,>> Sweepcraft <Sunder> adds. Re-entry for him is as easy as oilcake. <<All you have to do is make certain that your heat-shield is taking the brunt of the re-entry, and keep your nose up as you descend. I like to use controlled bursts of retro-rockets to keep me from descending too quickly.>> The people who probably had the most experience with re-entry were probably Astrotrain, Cyclonus, and quite possibly Blast-Off. But he and Blueshift will do as instructors in a pinch.
The conversation still doesn't quite reassure Fusillade, who radios her telemetry down to New Crystal City, just to be sure. <<Mmm-hmm,>> she radios back to Blueshift and Sunder. <<Your service will be noted. Although I have to wonder why, when you're able to go where you please, do you spend so much time on E-yarth? There's other resources, even just in this solar system...>> She flicks her nosecanards, and spins so that her belly points away from Earth. At that point, the Lancer appears to almost dismember itself, the swing-wings ratcheting and rotating fully forward to form a spade-shaped sled of sorts underneath her belly. They're somewhere over the Indian Ocean at this point, and Fusillade fires her reaction control systems, spinning so that her path in orbit makes her look like she's flying upside down and aft-backward. <<OKay, I think I'm in position now, guys.>>
<<Ignore the Sweep Commander>> Blueshift emits. <<It is cowardly. Why would you want to slow down upon reentry, the speed is glorious and will serve to put fear into the fuel pumps of the Autobot scum. Only an Autobot would try to creep up on a PLANET>> He too rotates to face Earth. <<If you go at the right angle, you will not NEED to slow down, the momentum will simply serve to carry you over the horizon>> Oooh, thats a big word. <<And I go where my Liege order me>>
Sweepcraft <Sunder> chuckles over the shortwave. <<Have you gotten me mixed up with Scourge?>> he asks Blueshift, clearly amused and maybe a tiny bit flattered. <<Oh yes, you /could/ do it *that* way. It's faster, but I do not prefer it. Do whichever way you think is best.>>
Arachnae slips quietly into the area.
As unusual as the upside-down and aft-backward position looks, it actually is correct. She's rotated the wings around so that they're locked, sled-like, underneath the bulk of her body and forward fuselage. Fusillade did some serious reading on all those flights between the US and New Crystal City, but now, with the actual even looming before her, she balks. The opposing information from the two escorts certainly didn't help. 'Go in fast and hard, slowing is for Autobot cowards' from Blueshift, and then there was a Sweep, not Scourge by his radio transmissions, that left the bedevilling 'Do what you think is best' door WIDE open.
<<It is easy sir>> Blueshift reassures. <<Simply point yourself at the planetary mass and go as fast as your internal drives will allow you. Myself, I prefer to take a run-up a couple of klicks out of orbit, to allow for a greater re-entry speed. It helps the uh.. speed atoms and stuff>> The blue ship continues to hover there. <<You have heat shielding, yes?>>
Voidcraft (Arachnae) glides into earth orbit, velocity still bleeding off from her FTL trip from Cybertron to the mudball. Unawares at the moment of the 'training' ongoing, she begins her loop around the planet, checking for weather patterns before prepping for her own re-entry.
Inwardly, Sweepcraft <Sunder> groans. Speeding up for re-entry isn't his cup of energon. That's more like Singe's style--since the Whacky Wingsib loved being on fire. He gave advice, but people were free to disregard it if they thought someone else was making more sense. He knew the angle he had to come in on, but he preferred to keep the friction to a minimum. Momentarily he detects his pack-sister Arachnae. <<What brings you all the way out here, Arachnae?>> he shortranges in curiosity.
<<Yes, yes, yes, I wouldn't be up here otherwise. Got them from the Palmdale raid ages ago. Scrapper was on the verge of, well, scrapping them to clear out space in the warehouse when the clearance came through for me to do this, so he got ah, creative with using them on me instead. And lemme tell you, I can't wait to... hmm. Speeding up, huh? She then swings herself back around, pointing her nose toward the planet, and considers the words a bit. Hmm. Just how serious was Blueshift? Did this actually work for him? Was it a ploy to get her to kill her so he could advance in ranks? Oh, the Byzantine intricacies of being a Decepticon. <<Easy, huh?>> she radios back to Blueshift, before she ignites her main thrusters in a magnesium bright flare, and hurtles toward the planet. The heightened speeds send her into the very upper reaches of the atmosphere -- where she gets a very sudden, very ugly, introduction to the aerospace concept known as atmospheric bounce. With a shuddering 'WHUMPH' of her frame striking the air, the angle and speed conspire to ricochet her off back into space, skipping her like a stone across water. <<Nyeeeeeeeearrrrrrgh!>> she squeals in dispmay as she shoots off in the direction of the moon.
Voidcraft (Arachnae) gets a transmission and a sensor ping at about the same time. Shifting her flight path to take her towards Sunder's location, she short ranges back <<What are you doing up here? Loitering?>>
<Decepticon> Mother Goose Fusillade says, "Ow, that /hurt/.� It's just effin' air!"
<Decepticon> Arachnae says, "Whoah.. Who was that?"
<Decepticon> Blueshift says, "Air is tiny, Galvatron's fist is MIGHTY, do not let it defeat you!"
<Decepticon> Arachnae says, "Air has a tendancy to feel denser the faster you're going.. Fusillade, was that you?"
<Decepticon> The Creepy One, Sunder says, "I was afraid that was going to happen"
<Decepticon> Mother Goose Fusillade says, "The ah, streak gaining altitude in the general area over the Indian Ocean? Maybe..."
<Decepticon> The Creepy One, Sunder says, "In the airlessness of space, hitting the atmosphere of a planet at the wrong angle is like hitting a brick wall."
<Decepticon> Abyss says, "If anyone needs trajectory calculations..."
Blueshift turns around and hurtles after Fusillade, then using his thrusters to slowly turn around in space. <<Do not let the planets natural defenses dissuade you sir, you need to speed up to punch through them. As SO>> With that, he puts his thrusters to full burn, a streak of blue heading straight towards the Earth, suddenly turning into a minature fireball as he hits the atmosphere. <<Bwahaha, is it not GLORIOUS!>> he radios. Either he has some really good heat shielding, or he just can't feel the pain. The blue dot vanishes over the horizon of the planet, until from the other side, Blueshift appears, shooting out of the orbit again at high velocity. He transforms and stretches, his wings glinting out. <<THAT is an entry>>
<<Just teaching Fusillade how to correctly re-enter the atmosphere from orbit,>> Sweepcraft <<Sunder>> replies. The idea of a Sweep "loitering" amuses him. Sweeps don't loiter. If it appears they aren't doing anything, they're simply waiting to ambush prey. Usually.
<Decepticon> Mother Goose Fusillade says, "Blueshift! You'd better not show your face on this planet, or I'll have your..." She trails off to watch the reckless display,� "Oh great, he's retarded, to boot."
<Decepticon> Blueshift says, "Hmm, what? Sorry sir, my head is on fire"
<Decepticon> Abyss says, "Don't worry; the fire won't hurt much."
<Decepticon> The Creepy One, Sunder says, "Blueshift, am I going to have to start calling you Singe?"
Geist has arrived.
<Decepticon> Arachnae says, "I'm not repairing that."
Despite the doubts Fusillade had about her reading and studies at Crystal City's Academe, what she saw with Blueshift /just/. /Ain't/. /Right/. The space-going aircraft shudders from the unceremonious slash with the atmosphere, and then fires maneuvering thrusters to point her nosecone AWAY from the moon, and back to Earth. <<I am NOT going to do THAT,>> she affirms, before firing main boosters to draw her up to Sunder, and thusly, Arachnae. Would Sweeps also have ulterior motives? Should one attribute to malice what could be explained by idiocy? She continues mulling, before adding, <<Heyya, Arachnae.>>
Voidcraft (Arachnae) slows herself by judicious use of forward vents, meeting and matching the little groups velocity. <<Ahh...>> in short range to sunder before the medic-turned hunter focuses attention on Fusillade <<Different than athmo isn't it?>> rolling so her topside faces the planet <<Hey Fusillade. Takes quite a bit to get used to if you wern't created for it, doesn't it?>>
The blue spaceship decscends to ground level, becoming almost vertical and legs and arms twist from it. Finally a head emerges from between the wings
Blueshift folds his arms, smirking widely, glinting blue against the light bouncing off the moon. "Beautiful, isn't it. To be able to punch through a planet's atmosphere as if it is just tissue paper. And that is what our armies will do to the Autobots. If only we had more commanders as /wonderful/ as you, Fusillade" This might be a subtle hint from Mr Blue, bless his cotton socks. "Do not listen to the sweeps, they wish only to hold you back. Listen to pure Decepticons such as I!""
Someone, well Geist, has nicely followed Blueshift as he came back round the planet. Well the little stunt was a little showy, enough that a nice invisible Sweep craft is now happily flying somewhere behind Mr. Blue. He remains silent for now, watching Fusillade in a new environment, at least for her it seems.
Sweepcraft <Sunder> really hasn't got any ulterior motives, not that he'd let the bomber know that. Well, at least his advice won't get Fusillade vaporized or worse. However, he cares not whether Blueshift is believed or not. Although, recent actions have led him to believe that Fusillade probably knows better than to trust what Blueshift is telling her.
Fusillade slips past the others, and returns to the intial orientation that she had, before all the other opinions started flying about like rogue asteroids! The Lancer grunts a bit at Arachnae's radio, first impulse to take umbrage at the inducted Sweep's comment, before recalling that yes, she actually was in a similar position ages ago. <<Yes. But excelling in several specialized functions is preferable to having only one niche.>> At Blueshift's radio, she responds, this time using some of her own leverage, <<After your failed /assassination/ attempt, Blueshift, you will have to work extra hard to earn any kind of favor at all.>> Ha ha, that was showing him! She tailslides back into aft-backward, upside down position, the motions of Arachnae's reaffirming what she's already read up on. At that point, the hundred and fifty foot long craft fires her main thrusters against her orbital intertia. The tips of the thruster flames bend backward against the momentum, but over a period of several minutes, her velocity slows to the point that Earth's gravity finally clutches her.
Voidcraft (Arachnae) chuckles softly to herself, matching Fusillades movements as if the two were performing a delicate ballet. <<My thoughts exactly. Diving headlong into the planet, while flashy, should only be done under dire emergencies for most of us.>> She fires her thrusters, slowing down gradually. <<Don't forget the flip and switch as you dip into the leading edge. You're going to want to be nose up so your underside takes the brunt of the heat friction. And don't forget the s-turns, helps prevent overheating.>> Calmly spoken. <<If you need to do a slaved-in re-entry first to feel how one handles, let me know.>>
Sweepcraft <Sunder> hadn't ever seen a craft have to try to go aftbackwards upside down into the atmosphere, but seeing that it's obviously a unique modification, he refrains from commenting on it. Eh, whatever works. Although, the basics of his advice are confirmed by Arachnae. Slow and easy was the way to re-entry. Unless you're Blueshift or Singe.
Blueshift clutches his fist and shakes it. "NNn I have done so much for the Empire, is that all you can say? *I* who captured the Prince. *I* who fought Prime to a standstill. *I* who killed their precious scientist! One day I will be at the right hand of Galvatron, and will smite anyone who gets in my master's way." He continues to hover, ranting slightly. "And Cons who have done far less get far more than me, something is not right!"
Even Geist can't help but make a comment over his radio at Blueshifts posturing, and so he broadcasts to those nearby (including Blueshift). <<Most likely with your mental functions Blueshift. Only Cyclonus and Scourge stand at Galvatrons side.>>
By this time, Arachnae and Fusillade have left poor Blueshift to his fantasies, where he is king of the Decepticon world. <<I shan't be bothering you further, Blueshift, about your /twine/. I suggest that you lodge a complaint with my commanders if you feel my own service has been lacking.>> At that point, she rotates as described by Arachnae, rolling up over her tailfins before she settles at a slightly wobbly forty degree angle. <<That shouldn't be necessary, now that I'm sure that I had the right instruction in the first place, Arachnae. I'm watching you, and it looks--SSsskrrzzzt.>> Her voice fades as the friction of re-entry finally sheathes her shielded belly in plasma, the super-heated material interfering with radio transmissions. The Pacific Ocean swings below underneath, the coast of California coming up rapidly. She mulls over the S-Curves as the first one comes up, and instead focuses on the here and now. From outside, it looks tranquil enough, but inside, Fusillade leans heavily on her EMUX system to swing her around to each of the trajectory targets that will guide her safely into normal atmosphere.
Voidcraft (Arachnae) rolls and rotates in tandem with Fusillade, wings having shifted and locked outwards into an athmospheric position. <<Stow it, Blueshift before you find yourself waking up as a waste reclaimation unit one cycle.>> Nosing up now, <<I'll tandem you down in anycase, Fusi--->> Plasma rims the craft as the athmosphere heats up around her, shutting off radio comms for these brief few minutes.
Sweepcraft <Sunder> stays aloft in orbit, observing the two femmes in re-entry. He'll be ready to jump in if something goes horribly horribly wrong. <<Well said, my brother,>> he shortranges to Geist, on putting Blueshift in his place.
Jump through the hoops, and survive. It was a relatively simple, and practical, premise for the day to day lives of Decepticons. Fusillade usually excelled at coiling about those hoops, setting them on fire, and then rolling them down the hill and countryside, right into the pipemaker's tinderbox. There was a time and place, however, when even she behaved, and this was one of them. A million creaks inside from pressure and heat sealed lines adjusting to the descent, sounds that she had never heard before, concern her. However, still ablaze, several of the slowing, sinuous curves bleed off the bulk of her re-entry speed, and soon, the thermosphere, ionosphere, and mesosphere soon giving way to more familiar stratosphere. With hull still glowing, Fusillade mentally stretches, reaching, waiting for the time that she can engage normal systems. Was it time now, yet? So many things to check! Speed, angle, temperature on thousands of sensitive points...
Sweepcraft <Sunder> eventually decides to follow after them. He does his usual careful re-entry, nose up, heat shield taking the brunt of the friction, with small retro-boosters on his underside slowing him down. He doesn't want to get too heated up and stress his armor excessively.
The chilly upper atmosphere doesn't sap away heat like the void of space, but after several minutes, enough of the plasma's ferocity has been sapped, turning into mere vapor streams. Re-inserting herself about twenty miles above America's midwest, two sonic booms echo out, one made from her nosecone, the second from her wingtips peeking out of the first shockwave cone. "Smeltin' Pit, thank Primus I'm back in here... although that wasn't too bad." She pings out a few times to reorient herself, and identify Arachnae's position. <<Much better than it could have been. You have my gratitude, Arachnae.>>