Skies Above the Southeast Pacific
The sky is filled with racing clouds that partially obscure the ground below. Up above the lower layers of the atmosphere, everything you see seems sharper and more distinct. Surveying the land below you, you can see various things moving and spy the layout of the terrain in detail.
Experimental F-15 glides along low -- probably no more than a couple hundred feet -- and fast, keeping pace with the VTOL as it follows the other jet out of Con territory and into neutral airspace...
VTOL Harrier Jet glides along surveying the area for no reason other then to look. It goes along then it banks to the east just to get lower, into the light clouds drifting along.
Experimental F-15 slowly begins to gain altitude, opening up the throttle a little more. There's a distinctive radio crackle (snap and pop, too..) on the local broadband frequencies (largely unused this far out in the middle of the ocean). A low, raspy, nigh-emotionless voice cuts in over the general static. "Greetings, Autobot, so far from your home. What has lured you here alone, in the night..?"
VTOL Harrier Jet is little less then surprised at the Decepticon hailing frequency, "Less then you suspect Con.. I'm just out for a night flight, is that so bad?" The jet pushes down on the throttle a little more.
Experimental F-15 opens up his throttle and ascends sharply, levelling out closer to Slingshot's altitude. The mournful wail of his engines can probably now be heard, creeping across the distance like a swarm of some terrible, gnawing insect. A dry, empty laugh follows the cacophonous whine, the sound of dry leaves scraping on pavement mixing with the organ tuner's terrible mistake. "Yes, Autobot... for you, it may be."
VTOL Harrier Jet would shake its head if it could, noticing the Cons blatant encroaching behavior. "You want to play hard ball Con? I'm game", he says to himself. He throws back on his throttle and initiates his VTOL engines rocketing straight up into the air and over the blazing Decepticon jet. Up and up he goes till he envelopes in a slow moving cloud formation.
Experimental F-15 blows right past, much like the MiG from that scene in Top Gun. Dirge quickly notes the change in situation, pulling straight up to compensate, rolling as he passes vertically through the cloud layer. Following the high-gee maneuver with another equally sickening one, he banks 90-degrees hard left and pulls around in a tight circle, around where he lost the Harrier in the clouds...
VTOL Harrier Jet understands his opponent in this conflict is no stranger to high speed dogfights. Using a tactic he picked up from his brother Air Raid, he sets into his afterburners and bursts through the cloud boundaries and into a high pitched barrel roll. He watches as the F-15 makes another fly by giving credit to his techniques. He quickly checks his weapons just in case push comes to shove.
Experimental F-15 kicks a hard right rudder, and coming off the last turn as he just did induces something of a flat spin. His course, however, was timed nicely, and he rotates past the Harrier. Just before his engines burn out and he starts to lose altitude, however, he transforms, halting his spin and 'standing' on the cloud layer.
The experimental F-15's nose folds forward, exposing a pitch black head with yellow optics. Arms and legs fold out and extend. What was formerly a jet is now the imposing Decepticon Seeker, Dirge.
Dirge hisses loudly, "Come now, Autobot.. do you really believe your subversive maneuverance will stave off my icy hands?"
VTOL Harrier Jet catches the Decepticon's transformation out of the corner of his visual range. So he banks around and burns after the Cold,calculating,seeker. He increases altitude just to make an entrance so he transforms while diving back down.
The Harrier dives towards the ground, its nose cone lifts upwards and slides down the middle of the jets back. The engine and bottom half of the jet extend and divide into two individual modules which serve as the Aerialbot's legs. Two large and strong arms split from either side of the chest part of the robot. The wings fold to stationary positions behind his back. Now there stands the white,Tall and Proud Aerialbot Slingshot.
Slingshot crosses his arms, "No, I did not expect to keep away from you forever.. I have no reason to run from you Con." He glares across the expanse of sky at the blue seeker.+
Slingshot grins, "Its all a matter of maneuverability and-," he taps the side of his head,"- smarts."
Dirge's optics flicker and a frown finds this Seeker's face. "Both of which you seem to sorely lack, Autobot. All the better, I suppose... less time wasted upon the destruction of your kind."
Slingshot sneers, "You would do better to watch what you say Con. The time I spend diverting your attenion keeps my kind, as you put it, from having to worry about no-account Decepticons like you, and makes them able to waste their time on the real Cons that are and if any threat to anyone."
Dirge seems... amused. Vaguely. "Believe what you will, Autobot. There is only one universal law regarding ignorance -- it is punishable by death, sentence to be carried out with all due haste. The executioner's hand seems stayed for those like you. A temporary flaw, easily rectified..."
Slingshot frowns, "Rarely do the executioners invite their victims to the block Con, even you should know that." He adds with a cruel smile, "Even Rarer do the flies come to the spiders, if you get my analogies...
Dirge laughs, hollowly now, expression flat. "Oh, but the flies do come to the spiders. Not out of intent, but out of misfortune and blind, ignorant faith that the space ahead is clear of danger..."
Slingshot joins the emotionless mirth, "Wherein lies your folly Con. The webs flies are drawn into, be they blind nor ignorant, are vague indeed. The speakers of vague words, wield the vague webs, but you. You make clear your intentions, therefore you make your web clearer then most. Even the most ignorant 'flies' would be wary of you and your influence." Shakes his head, "You seem to know so much, and yet you truly know so little."
Dirge tsks. "I speak not of myself, and I liken myself not to a spider, as surely as you liken yourself not to a fly..."
Slingshot holds his hands out, "We are all guilty of wielding webs of influence..." He raises his head, "Tis but the weak and the ignorant who fall prey to webs of distraught and darkness, as you so nicely put yourself."
Dirge simply shakes his head, slowly. "No.. the weak and ignorant die, Autobot. Webs of deceit are simply not an issue. The weak must perish that the fit survive."
Slingshot smiles, "I think you are wrong Con, the weak are not meant to be fodder for the fit.... the weak always serve a purpose, not just the continuation of the fit's existence. Everyone has the right to live, weak or strong." Shrugs, "Sometimes it naturally works like that... the weak may lose their lives and the fit may succeed, but the next generation of the weak will learn from their brethrens' mistakes. Are they then, not the fit?"
Dirge sighs hollowly. "You simply do not have the capacity to understand, Autobot. Life is not an inalienable right, nor is freedom the right of all sentient beings." He frowns. "Murder is the path of all living things. Your survival comes at a cost to others. Simply put, war is a natural state. I ask you this: how many have died that you might live?"
Slingshot growls and shakes his head, "AArgh! Enough of this Con, we both know that we will never see nor respect each others' morals, or in your case, lack thereof. I will never understand your cold heartedness and your quest for domination, just as you will never understand my compassion. So why waste time and words on each other?, tell me that."
Dirge's optics seem to dull as he looks balefully upon the Aerialbot. "Your beliefs are a distorted view on reality, Autobot. From time to time it is necessary to remind you of that. You seek peace where peace cannot exist."
Slingshot's optics flare dangerously, "Yes, that may be, but I do have Hope. Hope is all that matters...", he takes a threatening step forward. "Hope makes all things possible!", he growls out the last words.
Dirge snaps, hissing harshly, "Naught but rhetoric! What sparks you now to violence? The truth of my statements? The concept that the way of the universe is infinitely crueler than your mind can accept?" His gaze intensifies, yellow optics flaring fiercely. "Does it drive you now to fight? To kill? Can you accept the consequences of even such -thoughts-, that by the admission of your own actions I may be -right-?" His voice loses its intensity, and he states lowly, calmly, "Can you accept the consequences of murder when you have yet to realize that Death is the one true certainty of life?"
Slingshot narrows his flaring optics, "Yes.. it does. It drives me to fight, my hope drives me to fight, I keep hope at all times, it keeps the knowledge of the cruelty that is life at bay." He lifts a hand and points it at Dirge, "Fighting people like you makes my hope brighter and easier to believe." He clenches the outstretched hand into a tight metal fist, "Death is not the only certainty of life, you must include life itself, something I mean to better by defeating you!"
Dirge's optics darken considerably as the Seeker shakes his head... sadly? No, not quite.. perhaps at.. loss? "That is why you and your kind must die." He suddenly cuts his jets, dropping swiftly through the cloud cover and into the night. Breaking the sudden void of silence caused by the cessation of his engines, a voice whispers, "But not tonight." Far below is the sound of transformation and of Dirge's engines yet again, but they rapidly fade off in another direction.