Summary: Airwolf investigates whether Galvatron is the real deal. But Galvatron isn't in the mood for doubters.
Inside this once-proud head, a larger chamber opens before you. It is dimly lit by violet-tinged starlight, with shadowed tunnels and crevices that lead to unknown regions. There is an almost expectant stillness in the air. Those with much to fear from Unicron might imagine a faraway voice carried upon the silence, whispering threats from beyond the grave. But those who had a different experience with the Chaos Bringer might hear a word of reassurance echoing in the dim chamber. Any tunnels that might lead beyond this chamber have been collapsed by the explosion that took Unicron's life. This quiet chamber of remembrance is all that is left of the mighty Unicron.
You receive a long-range radio message from Airwolf: Might I have a word with you, Lord Galvatron, concerning the current... mess?
Unicron's head. Once a place lurking with evil and malice. Now a place positively abuzz with evil and malice as it has become the nerve centre of Galvatron's new empire. The Decepticon lord himself is seated on a huge throne in the centre, that rotates, allowing him to view various monitors that technicians mill around
Having received an engraved invitation from Galvatron, consisting of his current location (no surprise, that), Airwolf heads for the orbiting wreckage-cum-base. She has a certain amount of faith in Galvatron, assuming that this person actually is Galvatron, so she brings no escort with her. Cutting thrust, she makes her approach at slow speeds, drifting to the party awaiting her inside. Strangely enough, she doesn't transform. Maybe she doesn't have quite *that* much faith in the mech after all.
Redshift lurks through the dim halls of Unicron's former cranium. He grips his guass rifle in his hands, his optics alert. Never before has he been welcome in these hallowed halls, and they still give him the creeps. Still, if ever there was a time for Redshift to claw his way up into power, this is it. He enters the throne chamber, appearing as confidant as ever.
Galvatron is slumped on his throne, goblet of energon in one hand as he stares at the various monitors. Slowly, he crushes the goblet, thick pink glowing energon flowing over his hand as he fuses it into a ruined ball of metal. "You!" he booms suddenly as he spies Redshift enter, snapping his fingers impatiently. "Bring Airwolf to me, let me discover what she wants. And make sure she is guarded /well/"
The paraoxysms of cackling come from one of the entry-ports, low at first but increasing in loudness as a shadow that befalls the floor of the grand chamber grows larger. Moments later, a robed sight comes trudging out of the darkness. Its 'arms,' which are hidden by its thick woolen sleeves, hang at its sides. Gripped by the faintest hint of ebon fingers are two lengths of metal connected to a low-flying hoverbed. As the robed figure comes closer, the contents of the hoverbed are soon uncovered by the light. The sight.. is grizzly.
Two pairs of legs, thick and boxy in the old style of plating, are first to appear. They had once gleamed brilliantly in the light, metal-flake encased in burnished gold that would have been the envy of all. Would have been, if they weren't mostly dimmed with grime and crusted mechanical fluid. The remains of treads cling to bogey wheels attached to the ankles, knees, and thighs. Just past the waist remains a chunk of broken torso, to which an exposed laser-core remains secured to. The laser-core strobes and pulses, erratic at best, as highly processed energon is funneled into it by feed-tubes connected to a life-support monitor. To its left, a scrap of hand and just above that, a length of weapon-barrel that might've once been a cannon. Worst of all, still attached to the laser-core and eliciting a few dangerous sparks is a head. An old-style bucket-design with frill, its Decepticon insignia half-burnt. This Transformer's optics are now black, and molten slag seems to have fused to its chin and cheek. It lives. Somehow. By some horrible neglect of Primus, it lives.. and it speaks!
"tHe HeRo CoMeZZZ... fRoM tHe PaZZZZt...heHaHEhAHAHAhahahHAHA.. aLl HaIl.. aLl HaIl!!!!!"
"Nnh.." The robed figure sighs as it closes the distance, pulling the hoverbed along as it comes before the spot of flooring where Galvatron's throne towers over. "As you requested, my Lord." The voice is hardly familiar, its pitch flat and distorted. "I bring you... Goldpaver!"
The robed entity snorts. "..Or what remains of him."
On the outside, Redshift's demeanor is calm and collected. Professional. Inside, he's wary of Galvatron's actions and nervous about being here, and it takes him a second to grasp what has been said. "O- Of course, Galvatron. No harm shall befall her." Or Redshift will be on the first ship off the planet. Redshift's burning orange-red optics watch the bizarre procession enter, culminated by the presentation of 'Goldpaver', whoever that is... Redshift ducks back into the dark corridor, in search of Airwolf. Heeeere wolfie woflie wolfie!
Jet Helicopter finds that gravity has been restored, which makes it difficult to move in her helicopter mode. Hmmmm. No one's shot at her yet, so maybe it's safe enough. She transforms quickly and steps further inside this hellish place, crimson eyes wary. If there were air in here, her footsteps, light as they are, would echo. Good thing she doesn't see the ghastly awfulness that is Ramjet, or she would rethink her presence here and conduct her business over the radio. As her weapons are mostly internal, she seems to be unarmed except for a small pistol.
Galvatron leans back in his chair, steepling his fingers as the cloaked Ramjet wheels in the remains of Goldpaver. "Excellent, excellent..." he sneers, his gaze alighting on the poor, charred remains of his former guard. "Soon Goldpaver, soon we will have a talk. We will talk about the Black Book of Primus, and why Cyclonus was so keen to silence you. For I do not appreciate being kept in the dark." A black smile crosses his face, and the monitor screens flicker to show Redshift's journey to meet Airwolf. "No trooper..." he mutters, stroking his chin. "No harm shall befall her, save that which *I* order."
After hearing a transformation, followed by footsteps, Redshift assumes the source is Airwolf. "Airwolf?" Redshift calls out down the dim, echoing corridors. "Are you there? Wouldn't want to keep Galvatron waiting..." He adds, slowly making his way towards the source of the sounds.
The robed figure takes a step back and bows to Galvatron with a sweep of its right, sleeved arm. As it comes to stand straight, it turns for one of the many technicians that continue to work on Unicron's head. From under that sleeve, ebon-plated fingers reach out and curl in, beckoning technicians to it. "Place Goldpaver to the side and link him into the systems. His life-support rig will need to be recharged." Slipping the exposed hand under the sleeve, the robed figure takes several steps back to stand on Galvatron's right. Sleeved limbs fold over themselves, resting on an expanse of covered chest in wait. Its only 'tell' are a pair of red optics that glow under the obscurity of the hood. At least, most likely, it is a Decepticon!
Technicians stride by, taking control of the hoverbed that the remains of Goldpaver rest upon. He is pushed to the side, laid next to a console, and has his life-support system linked into power feeds.
The chunk of Goldpaver's hand rings out a tap-tap-tap against the hoverbed with his three remaining digits. Tap-tap-tap. Tap-tap-tap. Tap-tap-tap. "BeWaRe. BeWaRe. BeWaRe ThE faLzzzE OnE. ThE PrEtEnDeR. He WhO iZZZ mOrE tHaN mEeTzzzz ThE EyE wIlL DeZZtRoY tHe HeRo!!! HeHeeHaHAaAhA!!!" Goldpaver buzzes in reply to Galvatron.
Airwolf receives a close range transmission and uses her advanced communications equipment to home in on it. "Here," she transmits promptly in return. She quickens her steps, since she realizes that Galvatron indeed dislikes being kept waiting. Turning a sharp corner, she finally comes into sight of the mech, one she has seen before but not often. "Rather dramatic," she comments quietly to him, gesturing widely towards the somber surroundings as she waits for him to lead her to one of the two claimants to Decepticon leadership.
Galvatron drums his fingers loudly on the arm of his thone as he is kept waiting, his arm cannon audiably humming with slowly building energy as his optics flare with firey passion. He glares down at the remains of Goldpaver. "Nnn I ABHOR riddles Goldpaver, as well you know. Thunderwing is lost and Prime has returned, is that what you speak of? You are WRONG! *I* will be the one to destroy Prime, and force him to watch as I slowly crush the Matrix before his optics." He snaps his head up to Ramjet. "Air Commander. I want everything Goldpaver knows, extracted from his very core if necessary."
Redshift inclines his head respectfully, not wanting to upset anyone who has been invited by Galvatron. He gestures with his free hand, rifle still gripped tightly in the other. "Right this way, Airwolf. After you." He says, a slight smirk playing across his face. He doesn't know what the great purple guy wants with airwofl, or what the crazy half-dead guy is here for, but it will be interesting.
From under the hood, the optics of the robed figure shift into a sort of 'huh-wha?' expression. "Uhm.." Advanced technical manipulation has never been its forte. In fact, -basic- technical manipulation has never been its forte. It is a wonder how it manages to even transform or fire a weapon sometimes! "By your command, my Lord!" The right sleeve of the robed figure retracts, revealing those ebon-plated fingers. They snap in the direction of the technicians. "You heard Lord Galvatron. Hack that wretch's head and decode his memory engrams. Rip the answers out of his lasercore, if you must!"
The technician snaps to an arm-to-shoulder salute and begins work on attaching leads to Goldpaver's neck-stump.
Goldpaver falls silent for now. His lasercore's pulsing slows and the strobing light dims considerably. The rap-tap-tap of his hand-chunk becomes an occasional thump of thumb. No more mysteries for now.
Airwolf precedes Redshift in the direction he indicated, hopefully reaching Galvatron *sometime* this cycle. Eventually, she reaches the entrance to the room with all the dark and deadly activity and stops dead in the entranceway, appalled. Red optics urgently scan the room and zero in on poor Goldpaver, widening at the horrific sight. Only then does she look to Galvatron on his throne. Gathering her composure and her courage, she resumes moving forward, coming to a stop before the mech. A graceful bow follows. "Greetings, Lord Galvatron."
Galvatron keeps his gaze on the dessicated form of Goldpaver as Airwolf enters, ignoring the new arrival for a few moments, until he slowly meets her gaze. "Very well, Airwolf!" he booms, raising a hand to beckon her closer. "But be warned. NONE may summon Galvatron, and even fewer will live to tell the tale. If you have not come to this place to pledge yourself, you will find me in a sore mood indeed."
Redshift follows quickly behind Airwolf, his own orangey-red optics alert and ready. He's already seen Galvatron's new throneroom, and Goldpaver(whoever the slag /that/ is), so he's not shocked by the contents of the room. "I await further orders, My Lord." Redshift says calmly from behind the governor. His still grips his gauss rifle, and he has a feeling he might be needing it, depending on what Airwolf has to say.
The robed figure stands in wait, its sleeved arms folded over its chest again. It says nothing, preferring to watch the dynamic between the Governor and the Emperor v2.0. Occasionally, its attention shifts over to Redshift before returning to Airwolf again.
Airwolf sighs, putting aside the pain she feels from poor Goldpaver. "Thank you," she says quietly to Redshift and then returns her attention to the Decepticon lord. "Then I must apologize, Lord Galvatron, for that is not why I've come here. As with the Autobot/Decepticon civil war, I am neutral. My purpose here this time is, strangely enough, on behalf of the Empire itself. This... internal civil war is a terrible thing for the Empire, and I beg that the two claimants to Lordship of the Empire solve the issue as has been the custom for generations: by combat to the death between them." She absently drums clawed fingertips against her side in lieu of her normal fidgeting, trying to stand as still as possible and not doing too well. "The Autobots are likely rejoicing at this inner conflict, and for the Empire to battle amongst themselves is handing them a great advantage. You know this, Lord Galvatron."
The robed figure's eyes widen at Airwolf's advice. 'Such is our way!' is a frequently exclaimed phrase it makes when it isn't hiding around in robes! By Weapon and Will, the robed figure is continually reminded. By Weapon and Will. It remains attenative. Perhaps Galvatron will say something that will make the robed figure think differently. Or perhaps he will not.
"Your neutrality, Airwolf, as your position" Galvatron glowers, "is entirely at my WHIM. Do not forget that!" His optics burn a deep red again, shadows covering his face. "The only way out of the Decepticons is through the Pit itself, and even sometimes, that is not enough." He gestures to Goldpaver. "There. An example of my infinite mercy. Be warned you to not fall afoul of it."
"Nevertheless" Galvatron continues, a smile spreading across his face. "I am a wise and just Lord. Troopers, fetch my /guest/ some refreshments and a seat. And remind her that I FELLED the imposter before being traitorously struck from behind by the Constructicons."
An exposed wire in Goldpaver's neck-stump sparks errantly in emphasis. *fzzt!*
Redshift mentally notes they already tried fighting, and Galvatron WON. Although it was on a crowded battlefield, not single combat. Redshift, not yet too eager to fall into his old role of the eager-to-please suck-up, waits where he is, still taking his previous orders of looking after Airwolf to heart. Alert, tense, he keeps his weapon handy, and his optics open.
In Airwolf's peripheral, another Decepticon appears. This one is just like the others -- typical Seeker design, with a lavender color-scheme that denotes its low-ranking in the hierarchy. The only thing that sets it apart is the arrow-shaped rocket adorning its smoothly curved helmet and automatic crossbows attached to its arms. Must be that Decepticon who publically pledged its support for Galvatron -- Sagittarion! In his hands is an energon cube which he gently offers to Airwolf. "Such is why we chose Galvatron over the impostor, Megatron! It was he who took advantage of Megatron! He who fell Megatron! Truly he must be the strongest!"
"..ZZZtReNgTh FaIlZZZ.. tHe HeRo MuZZZZt PeRzzzErVeRe!!" Goldpaver suddenly buzzes.
Airwolf assumes a seat has also been provided, and so she sits down, also accepting the energon. "Thank you," she murmurs softly to Sagittarion. As she takes a small, cautious sip, she thinks about her situation, and it is a dire one. This mech is a lunatic who brutally tortures his own people, he has tried to rescind the charter of Crystal City, making his word worthless, and she cannot lie. Silence is the only chance she has, because if she speaks what she truly thinks, she will die. Her red optics are dimmer than normal, and that is the only indication of her feelings. Despite the many accusations she's heard that she is an Autobot, she is Decepticon enough to show no weakness.
Sagittarion bows with outspread hands. He turns to Galvatron and bows again -- far more richly than he offered to Airwolf. "My Lord," he says aloud, his voice warm with pride. "Your serving your Will is our Victory. Your Triumphs our Greatest Rewards!" Still bent, Saggitarion takes several steps back in retreat before he can turn away to leave.
Galvatron takes a fresh goblet of energon and slowly sips from it, staring at Airwolf, sparing the slightest glance down at Goldpaver. "Thunderwing requested governership of a Cybertronian City as boon for his service, Airwolf. Should he be recovered from deep space, which do you think would suit him? Darkmount? Nightseige? Crystal City?" His face remains the mask of impassiveness that it once was. "Perhaps a change IS in order. Tell me Airwolf, why do you dare to have even the /slightest/. flicker of doubt in your mind as to my identity. Tell me what you know of the Constructicons plans, and the true identity of the one that DARES to call himself 'Megatron'."
The optics of the robed individual rise again. Beneath the sleeves, fingers re-tighten into fists. This is what it waits to hear! Some inkling of the truth! The Transformer beneath those thick, woolen layers may despise Airwolf's neutrality, but craves to know whatever information she can provide. For the good of the Empire.. and perhaps, for the good of the Transformer concealed.
That one, she can answer without any worries. "Nothing I have not heard over broadband or read in a report, Lord Galvatron." Airwolf's gaze is still demurely lowered, fixed upon the energon cube from which she slowly sips, but her attention is on her surroundings. She replays the path by which she came in several times over, she marks the locations of every person in the room, and she even tries to gauge the possibility of any security systems that may be in place. "Surely you know that I would make a very, very poor spy," she points out as evenly as she can. The slightest hint of a tremor in her fingers causes a delicate ripple in her energon.
The robed figure would look disappointed if its face were exposed!
"That you would Airwolf, that you would" muses Galvatron, fingering his goblet thoughtfully. "The thought occurs to me how useful you can be to your master at all. How shrewd can a politician be, who has no silver tongue." Slightly, almost imperceptably, he gives a nod to Ramjet and Redshift. "Know this Airwolf. *I* am Galvatron, I am the true master of all Decepticons. And if you use your addled mind, you might think... WHO is that who sits in the throne at New Crystal City. What plans does he have and WHY does he dare to follow through with this pathetic decepticon!"
Galvatron's anger starts to boil over, and it looks as if he is about to rise. But then he simply sits back again. "But here Airwolf, you are amongst friends. Tell me, what have you done with the Data Card of Straxus that I so /generously/ entrusted to your care."
Goldpaver yelps, "HaIl OuR oNcE aNd FuTuRe hERo!!!!!!!"
Among friends? She would feel more comfortable among Quintessons. Well, maybe Airwolf wouldn't go quite that far. Not Quintessons. Sharkticons, yes. The question about the data card finally startles her into looking up. She's instantly sorry she did, as it makes the chaotic insanity more apparent to her steady crimson gaze. "I have it safe, Lord Galvatron," she answers simply, hoping he's not insane enough to take it from her. Once again, without seeming to look, she checks the positions of everyone in the room relative to herself and to the way out. Enhanced vision has its uses.
Galvatron's glare meets Airwolf, and it is the glare of the fires of the Pit itself. "I warn you Airwolf, do not attempt to think for yourself. Rarely is it that a servant may second-guess their master. All I require is blind obedience and surrender of the self. Nothing more." He sweeps out a hand to indicate the body of Goldpaver. "I expect you even believe you know what happened to Goldpaver. Tell me, what do you suspect? What do you know about him?"
The robed figure wonders just what it is that Galvatron is asking about! It then wonders just what would happen if it had to shoot Airwolf dead. Well, it reckons, it would make visiting the library of Crystal City all the more easier. Depending on if Omega Supreme felt charitable. Omega Supreme never feels charitable.
Redshift has been here the whole time, of course... Biting his tongue and listening intently. Some information is reveiled that he did not already know, and Redshift wonders what Thunderwing's involvement is. His face turns bitter at the thought of that traitorious scum, and why Galvatron would welcome such a betrayor. And what is this data card of Straxus?
Airwolf flicks a brief glance at the unfortunate mech. "I know his pain. I know that he has not either been repaired or killed to end his suffering." She teeters on the edge of transforming. With her speed, she can be out the door and out of range of a cannon blast in a second or two. Or, if she coordinates with someone else, she can take the blast, which will drain Galvatron's own energon but allow for a counterattack against a drained Galvatron from whoever is left with some sanity. Primus, when did she start thinking so strategically?
Galvatron rises from his chair, letting the strobing lights from the ceiling play over his body as he steps down to circle the remains of Goldpaver. "A loyal subject, Airwolf. Loyal but ultimately weak when he let himself be felled by a fellow officer. But I, in my /infinite/ mercy, had him restored. You see, even on the verge of annihilation, those loyal will always serve me." He rests his hands on the side of Goldpaver's table.
"You do not understand. Nature is not kind, she is a savage monster. Only the strong survive, and the weak must fall by the wayside, and it is by their falling that the strong become stronger. That is the Decepticon way. That has ALWAYS been the Decepticon way." He starts to stalk towards Airwolf, fixing his optics on her. "Be amongst the strong Airwolf, do not pass meekly into that cold night. Tell me where the data card is safely kept, do not let me think you weak."
Goldpaver's half-slagged lips part and he giggles madly in reply, "HeHeeHeHaHhAhAhAhAHahAhAhAAA..."
"you might as well tell him what he wants to know." Redshift says calmly, as he idly plays with the trigger guard on his rifle. "He has a way of getting what he wants, one way or another. You don't want to look like our good friend Goldie over there." Redshift says, indicating with a tip of his head, a slight smirk tugging at the side of his mouth.
"OnE oF tHe BrOtHeRzzzz ZZZZhIfT mUzzzzT dIeeeeeeee!!!!!!" Goldpaver blurts out.
"Hnnh.." the robed figure murmurs aloud. From under the darkness of the hood, red eyes flicker in thought. Redshift has this in hand, it decides. So it continues to stand, wait, and listen. And hide its being creeped out by the remains of Goldpaver. Oh Primus why wouldn't he just stay dead.
Airwolf whirls and transforms abruptly. She's well, well, well aware that she is no warrior and has always been considered as "weak". He's leading her on, and she knows it. Nor does she want something as important as the data card to fall into this madmech's hands. In a rare rude action, she fires her thrusters (rotor blades won't work in here), and accelerates for the exit without saying goodbye to either Galvatron or Redshift. On the way out, she tries to radio a warning to Omega Supreme to seal the city and bring the defenses online. She'll find her own hiding place or jump into FTL to lose them.
Galvatron is not used to being let down. And so the warlord stops in his tracks as Airwolf transforms. "Pathetic!" he growls loudly. "The cowards way out, I should have expected little else from you Airwolf. Run then, run and HIDE in your little City, run and let the Decepticon Empire be run by traitors and imposters and fools!" He clenches a fist, and his cannon blasts out a plume of plasma that shoots perilously close. "Run and do not return unless it is on your KNEES!"
Jet Helicopter evades your Light Shot attack.
Redshift's left optics twitches at the prophetic mention of his name... Or his blue brother's. "Of course Blue will have to die, you half-melted moron! He picked the wrong mech to side with... I'll take great pleasure in 'enlightening' him as to who- HEY!" Redshift is distracted, until Airwolf has already transformed and headed for the exit. Redshift nearly heads to follow, but a blast from Galvatron's cannon sends a bolt of plasma down the corridor, cutting off his pursuit. He frowns, and looks to Galvatron. "I guess we'll have to find that data card the hard way. What's so important about it, anyway?"
"RuN..." Goldpaver shouts at Airwolf. "RuN! RuN aNd JuMp AnD HiDe. HE cOmEzzz FoR aLl Of PrImUzz'zzz ChIlDrEn, To ZZZtEaL tHe LiGhT fRoM oUr EyEzzzz AnD pLuNgE uZZZ iNtO eTeRnAL dArKnEzzz.." From his neck stump, bare wires spark so brilliantly and loudly that it causes the technician tending to him to fall back. "RuN. RuN aNd JuMp AnD hIdE!!!! ZZZZeeK HiM, tHe HeRo Of PaZZZZt And PrEzzzzEnT. PrOtEcToR Of PrImUZZZ'zzz ChIldReN. tHe One CalLeD dEcEptOrr!!! AAAAAAAAA--hEEEhAAAAhEEEhooooo!!!"
<Decepticon> Airwolf says, "Some things are more important than my life or my reputation. Whoever you are, you are NOT the Galvatron I knew. You are not the Lord I respected."
The robed figure flickers its optics. What a day!
<Decepticon> Galvatron says, "Strong words for a dead mech, Airwolf"
<Decepticon> Redshift says, "And you're too much of an AUTOBOT to be welcome here anyway."
<Decepticon> Collateral says, "Oh snap."
<Decepticon> Goldpaver buzzes, "RuN!! RuN!!! RuN!!!"
<Decepticon> Arachnae clicks on with a "NYAAARGH" then clicks off.
<Decepticon> Fulcrum says, "We should not be tearing the Decepticons apart about this. Surely it can be resolved by a brutal fight to the death. Perhaps in some sort of dome structure."
<Decepticon> Collateral says, "That's what I've been saying all along! When do we get our ente-erm. Our fight-to-the-death-to-find-out-who's-the-real-boss?"
<Decepticon> Redshift says, "Galvatron and Megatron already fought. Did you forget who was the last mech standing?"
<Decepticon> Fulcrum says, "Two mechs enter, one mech leaves."
<Decepticon> Galvatron says, "Enough Goldpaver. You are my toy, do not share your heretical words with those foolish enough to misinterpret"
<Decepticon> D-56 Ramjet says, "Two mechs enter! One mech leaves!"