Summary: The Autobots and Decepticons discover an ancient ship drifting in space.
<Earth> Through galactic fog and stellar static comes a signal... an ancient signal that might stir memories... for in the Rainbow Climbs a distress beacon has suddenly appeared as if from nowhere. A beacon that purports to come from an Autobot ship, the Vanderdecken, and which says only one word again and again: "Help us!"
<Decepticon> Blueshift says, "We're getting something on the scanners guys"
Inside the Vanderdecken are signs of battle, scorch marks pit every wall of this derelict, broken ship, panels and computers lie unmaintained, doors refuse to open. Yet still it flies through the eternity of space
Drifting through space... a derelict, the Vanderdecken, its hull scorched from over a thousand years of journeying, drifting and emitting the same distress signal again and again. Perhaps you have heard of it, appearing for a time, and then vanishing just to reappear. Or perhaps not. But it is here, all the same
Responding to the distress signal is the Autobot Shuttle HMS Red Alert. The shuttle, a new construct, was named after Red Alert mostly due to a clerical error. In the pilot's seat is the illustrious and very crimson Cliffjumper, designated driver for the crack recovery team of whoever happens to be sitting in the shuttle and is an Autobot or a Junkion or a human or whatever.
Jetfire steps carefully into the ship, holding up a tricorder like scanning device. Ironically, it doesn't really provide much more data than the average transformer's standard built in sensors would. But Jetfire likes some of the other features such as the ability to hand it to another scientist to share data in the field, it's tough and highly redundant memory systems, and the way it's come in useful on a few occasions when he's had to chuck it at an enemy's head.
Monstereo is busily sitting. He is so busy he looks idle. What he is really doing, in fact, is checking the integrity of his chains, link by link, while playing music at a low soothing volume that could be ignored if one wished it. Distress signal, interesting times we live in. The Junkion always likes getting out and doing good deeds.
Blueshift's idea of boarding a ship is pretty different to most. As a space-faring transformer, he is able to easily slam his head against the bulkhead, cutting his way inside as he makes his way through the deserted corridors, waving his sword. "I DEMAND THE SALVAG!" he shouts, his calls echoing down the corridor. "VICTORY IS MINE!"
As Blueshift enters the shuttle, he comes upon a room of lonely robots, with sad optics, mostly naked save for roguish strips of armor arranged in the manner of cavalier pirates. They are Transformers, and wear their Autobot insignia proudly, even if they have peg legs, hooks for hands, et al. Most of them are maintaining a jerry-rigged communications array -- clearly, the source of the signal. "Er, hello," one of them says to the Decepticon invader.
Meanwhile, the HMS Red Alert pulls up into a docking position, boarding tube extending to the airlock and other metaphors for deep-space intercourse. "Awright," Cliffjumper says, "Get ready, we don't know what we're gonna find on this boat."
Monstereo reels in his last chain and puts it away as he gets up and cuts the music. "Lets hope we find love, exciting and newwwwww." He falls in step behind the Autobots.
Markdown scowls as he mans sensors. "Hm... checking out this distress signal... it's extremely degraded. Lots of data corruption. But it would take a long time to do that..." He looks apprehensive. "A really long time." Once the ship docks, Markdown unstraps himself and stands, stretching his arms. "Well, if my hunch is right, Cliffjumper, we may have to boot the crew up, if they managed to go into stasis, that is...."
Jetfire enters the room from another entrance a few moments after Blueshift. "Technically, 'Salvage' is only possible if a vessel has been disabled or abandoned. Since there are apparently still passengers on board, 'booty' might be more appropriate." He turns to one of the robots. "Hello...I'm Jetfire, a fellow Autobot. Am I correct that this is the Autobot spacecraft Vanderdecken?"
Find love? Monstereo, Cliffjumper and Markdown will find... something. As they enter the ship, a group of Autobots, all looking rather damaged and worn down, come their way. These guys look like they've been through hell and back, dead, almost lifeless optics staring at them, one raising a hand in warning. "Welcome..." he chokes. "To the ship of the damned!"
Blueshift shakes his fist at the Autobots that he encounters. "Nnnn curs, this is now my ship now, my...!" he turns around as he sees Jetfire enter. "Surrounded! So, this entire thing was all a trick to trap me, the Decepticon's greatest warrior!"
Monstereo pauses in step as they encounter the unlively party. He steps out from behind the Autobots a bit, perks his chin forward and asks in a Brittish accent, "The what?"
Markdown enters the ship, illuminating the path before him with a flashlight held over his shoulder. He winces as it reveals the Autobots--in the pale light, they look almost like ghouls to him! "Ah... ah... the ship of the damned? Look, um, we're uh, here to rescue you, see? Um. So. Could you... hop on board the ship..." He hooks a thumb over his other shoulder. "...thatta way? Er, uh, we--can't be late, and all."
The pirate Autobots look from Jetfire to Blueshift. One pirate raises a gun at Blueshift, and another at Jetfire -- until a third slaps the weapon down. "Don't you see his Autobot symbol, you fool?!" he harshly whispers to the one who pointed a gun at Jetfire.
The one with his gun trained on Blueshift advances. "You, sir, can stay where you are. My Autobot friend, please... hear our plea. For vorns upon vorns have we, but humble sailors, been trapped on this craft. Sentenced to only enter this dimensional frequency once every one hundred 'years,' to cite the primitive, ah, form of measurement that we found to become so... prevalent. We carry a cargo so important that it cannot be trusted to any passing aid -- and so we have sentenced ourselves to a life of solitude and toil, rather than let it fall into... the wrong hands. Will you help us, friend Autobot? Will you set us free?"
Meanwhile, Cliffjumper points a gun at the zombies -- or whatever they are -- as they advance. "I shoulda known this wasn't gonna be easy," he whines, as Markdown tries diplomacy. "I dunno if these are the kinda guys we're lookin' for, Markdown..."
Quickswitch arrives, bringing up the rear with his large and blocky body. He gazes far over the heads of the others to the derelict crew of the derelict ship. He braces a heavy hand against the side of the decaying ship's interior hull. Those poor wretches... Quickswitch looks compassionately on them, his optics flickering in a low, quiet color. It was like this at the prison... "I am Quickswitch," he introduces calmly, keeping the pity out of his voice as best he can, "Autobot Assault Warrior. We picked up your distress signal. How long have you been out here?" he asks the question, phrases it delicately."
Jetfire glances at Blueshift again. "Decepticon's greatest warrior...?" After a moment he shrugs and points his tricorder in Blueshift's direction to run a quick scan. "Interesting. Perhaps you're using the term in some new manner I'm not familiar with. But I can assure you this is not a trap. I've never met these Autobots before." He turns back to the Autobots. "But it's clear that you are Autobots, and this is an Autobot vessel. I'll help in any way that I can. Can you explain more about your cargo? Maybe you'd permit me to run a few scans...?"
One of the ragged looking bunch that confronts Cliffjumper's party steps forward. Once he might have transformed into a hovercar of some kind, now rust and corrison has permeated his body, and there is a sort of shimmer, and crackle of energy about him. "How long?" he croaks horsely. "How long... I was the captain of this unfortunate vessel. We departed from the docks of the outer ring of Mutter's Spiral over ten thousand years ago, and through cosmic storm and infernal chaos we steered our vehicle, vowing that we would reach Cybertron with our precious cargo should it take us forever...
...and it HAS!"
Blueshift starts to shuffle away from Jetfire, clearly outclassed by the larger, stronger, all-round /better/ Autobot as he gives a snarl. "Pfft. If you have been here for vorns upon vorns then.. then you will not know that the Decepticon empire is now peaceful and will gladly protect your precious treasure from the evil Autobots!"
Markdown holds out a hand to Cliffjumper. "No, they're Autobots, Cliffjumper. Even if we don't recognize them straight off the bat, we have to help them." Clearing his vocalizer, he speaks loudly, "We can help you deliver your cargo, sure, that's not a problem. But you all need medical attention. It looks like ages since you've seen a proper technician." He chuckles, but it's a nervous laugh. "So, ah, why don't we... make our way... over to our shuttle?"
The 'captain' lets out a laugh, but it is a terrible laugh. "Leave? LEAVE?" His optics boggle at the thought. "We cannot leave. We are cursed by the very devil that lurks at the bottom of the Pit itself to sail in this craft. He dwells in the darkness." The captain bunches a fist, moving closer to the team of Autobots. "He lies within the cargo, we took his evil into ourselves but his masters, they banished us. We cannot leave the ship for when it is dragged back into the underbelly of the universe, its wake pulls us back!"
Horror and shock tinge Quickswitch's face, his vocalizer, and when it emerges, it is barely level, "Yes. Despair no longer, Autobots..." Quickswitch watched them, would have believed it that they were of one faction to his core, "Don't be afraid," his usual caution, admonition.
When Blueshift speaks, the activity of the pirate Autobots working to maintain the communications array stops -- stone dead, on a dime. They all turn and look at him in confusion and, apparently, disgust. The leader, meanwhile, advances sufficiently to attempt to pistol-whip the Decepticon with the butt of his flintlock death-ray. "Your attempts to baffle us will not succeed, Decepticon, try as you might," he says, after a long, grim pause. "My Autobot friend, I am Sternhammer and these are my crew, the Alpha Dogs. We have been charged with possession of no greater a treasure -- and no greater a danger -- than the /Apocalypse Box/. Come. We must secure it quickly -- before the Phantomcons that infest this shuttle make their move."
Meanwhile, Cliffjumper shuffles a step back at Markdown's signal, but keeps his gun out. "I really got a bad feelin' about this, Markdown," he murmurs from one side of his mouth.
Monstereo gives a slight bow. "Captain... are you saying you're to be repossesed?"
The huge Sixchanger clears his vocorder, "Uh... What are we gonna do about this?" Quickswitch shook his heavy-helmed head, doubt, "What /can/ we do about this?" he directs his question to the Captain.
Jetfire watches clinically as the leader advances on Blueshift. The actions makes him turns towards Blueshift, and at the same time, when nobody's really paying attention, Jetfire takes a small step back and to the side. Now he's closer to the other Autobots, ever so subtly giving the impression that he's standing with them, and together they now form one unified front facing the lone Decepticon. "Yes, let's go to the cargo and secure it against these...Phantomcons. I'll keep an eye on Blueshift. I assure you, I'll keep him from causing any trouble."
Markdown says, "Relax, Cliffjumper--" He glances back at Monstereo and Quickswitch. "--there's enough of us here to handle them if they turn out to be crazy." He leans in a bit and mutters at the minibot, "Well, REALLY crazy, I mean." Finally, Markdown claps his hands together and smiles at the zombie-like Autobots. "Sure you can leave! All you have to do is step on our shuttle--it's not far--and we'll be off! How about it, huh? Don't you want to see how Cybertron's doing since you've been gone?" He doesn't address the ramblings about supernatural activities--yet.
The captain nods at Monstereo's words. "Repossessed.. in a way, yes. We took the box from an ancient world, it was the cause of much pain and suffering, but also great energy. We must get it to Cybertron, before those that would take it for their own use." He shakes his fist again. "Like the Decepticons! They too boarded this craft the last time it escaped into normal space. They are here now and... and we must stop them!" He starts to run off, towards the room where Blueshift and Jetfire are, motioning to everyone else to follow him
Monstereo optic-bulb dim-blinks a few times and then runs after the captain and crew. "Oh this I gotta see."
Blueshift gets pistol-whipped by a flintlock, his neck snapping slightly as he gives a whelping noise. "Nnn, Phamtomcons? Pathetic, there is no such thing. You just want this glorious treasure for yourself! I knew it all along, all Autobots lust after is money and power, just like all sane mechanoids!"
"The Phantomcons are insidious," Sternhammer warns Jetfire. "They fight a losing battle against us, but nonetheless will not quit. Their methods are unconscionable -- they disguise themselves as noble heroes who they themselves have killed, and claim their very identities... some say, their /sparks/." Clearly, Sternhammer is enough of a spiritual sort to believe in Transformers having 'sparks' despite the lack of any empirical evidence. "They roam the halls of this ship, posing as the crippled and the dead, begging for help... and that is how they sucker those who attempt to aid this craft into an early grave." He ignores Blueshift's comments, seemingly.
Cliffjumper grunts. "Awright, make that a /really/ bad feelin' about this."
Markdown sighs, "Yeah. Well... better follow him. Maybe then we can talk him into boarding the shuttle!" He hustles after the mysterious, creepy robot.
Jetfire tsks softly at Blueshift. "Tsk. You're obviously projecting some of your own characteristics on Autobots. A quite common practice. I for instance, originally thought you to posess a highly trained intellect." He pauses for a beat, then goes on. "Now come along quietly, or else accept responsibility for whatever happens next." Jetfire moves over to stand behind Blueshift, ready to prod him along with one of his forearm cannons. Then he gives Sternhammer a brief 'it's under control now' nod. "Now, if you please...?"
You sense: Jetfire whispers softly, "Something's not right here. Keep your wits about you if you want to get out of this in one piece. But whatever you do, keep -quiet-."
Blueshift lunges for Jetfire as the Autobot whispers to him. "WHAT? WHAT DID YOU SAY? You try to trick ME, the finest enemy the Autobots have? I have many wits about me. Just as an expensive painting is so full of price it is priceless, I am so full of wits that I am /witless!"
Where does the spooky captain lead Cliffjumper and Monstereo to? The same place the other deziens of the ship lead Jetfire and Blueshift to. It is a storeroom, empty apart from a table in the centre, upon which stands an ancient box, with images of demons and tentacled octopus creatures upon it. "Take it!" the captain croaks. "Take it, then we will be free of the terrible curse!"
Monstereo stops just inside the doorway and stares at it silently for a moment. He then takes out a small disposable camera and snaps off a shot of the box before putting the camera away.
Jetfire grapples with Blueshift, not trying to seriously injure him but instead attempting to grab the Decepticon by one wrist, twist the arm behind him and pin it there in an immobilizing arm-lock. "I'm warning you...this is not...going to...go easy on you...unless you..." he trails off as he notices the ancient box. "Hmm, that's not what I was expecting." He's distracted enough that Blueshift could probably free himself easily.
As Sternhammer leads Jetfire and Blueshift into the storeroom, he points his flintlock death-ray at the crowd of dessicated robots. "PHANTOMCONS!" he calls, and the crew lets out an intimidating roar. Sternhammer fires at the brutally degraded 'captain,' hollering, "PROTECT THE APOCALYPSE BOX -- AT /ANY COST/!"
Markdown skids to a halt on his feet as he enters the room with the box and stares at it. "I... um..." He looks dumbfounded at the evil looking object. "Well, it's ah, very pretty. Bet it would fetch a pretty high price on the open market, don't you think, Monstereo? Anyway. So... let's... get you on board our shuttle?..." No, he's not giving up so easily!
"Oh, hi, Jetfire," the economist says upon noticing the scientist. "And I see you've got a prisoner--wha?" Unprepared for combat, Markdown just gazes around, stupefied as one group of robots starts shooting at the other.
The Captain points a raggedy finger at Sternhammer. "Decepticons!" he snarls loudly as he staggers backwards, some of the laser bolts rending holes in his frame, others simply fizzing through him. "Kill them!" he urges, taking out his own blaster and shooting at Sternhammer's face. "No-one attacks the Captain and gets away with it!" He then fixes Monstereo with an imploring glare. "The box, take the box for us, rescue us!"
Blueshift's reaction to Jetfire is to be thrown to the floor in an arm-lock, feeling his internal pistons strain and break at the strength of the Autobot scientist. "Pathetic!" he cries, hissing as he sees the other Autobots enter the room. "You fight amongst yourselves. It would almost be the intelligent, sane thing to do, if you weren't all so /stupid!/"
Monstereo optic-glow blinkity blinks as all heck breaks loose. More ragged dudes appeared and fighting ensues. Apocalypse box? Monstereo gives a shrug and half-nod to the 'Captain', intending to try to do something about this dreadful curse. He bobs and weaves and ducks and crawls about towards the box to get a closer look at it. Wrap his brain around this thing.
What does everyone see when they look at the box? To Jetfire, the scientist, it appears to be very very old indeed, made of a metal that defies scanning, and transmitting an /intense/ amount of energy, though it is obvious that this energy is contained inside the box. There seems to be no obvious way to open it, no locks electronic or otherwise. To Markdown the economist, the box looks /very/ expensive, inlaid with precious metals, which seems to have been added later, as some form of worship. And to Monstereo, the... Junkion, it looks pretty interesting, the outside covered with carvings, of a horned, winged demon-like creature standing atop a circle, surrounded by octopuses
Markdown holds up his hands and waves them around as laser fire crisscrosses through the room. "STOP! SHOOTING! PLEASE! Or I will be very cross with all of you!"
Monstereo scratches his helmet horn studying what he sees. "Well this *must* be a naughty thing..." He sighs and rises. The thing might as well have a nice big red shiney button. He reaches to pick it up. "Merry Christmas!"
Sternhammer seemingly ignores Markdowns words as he starts to shoot towards the decrepid-looking Autobots again. "Nno, keep firing, keep... ah Primus, my face!" He goes down quickly, clutching his face as it steams from laser fire and making little sobbing noises.
As Monstereo lifts the box, he will find it to be... rather light in weight
Monstereo seems surprised. He squats low to the floor for cover as he looks the thing over from all sides and gives the thing a gentle shake and listening to. "Are you sure this isn't a knock off?"
Cliffjumper looks to Markdown, his pistol in one hand, and the other hand having converted into a 'handy' glass gas nozzle. "I see Blueshift with that other side, Markdown! They musta taken Jetfire hostage! An' they're wearin' Autobot symbols -- not on my watch, you fakers!" Cliffjumper charges Blueshift, firing wildly.
Okay, not that much silence since there's all sorts of whatever going on in this room at this moment. Specifically the sounds of whatever just may be happening. But for all intents and purposes, the non-silence is about to broken in the most wacky way...
"OHHHHHHHHH YEEEEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHH!" The vocal impression of the historically annoying Kool-Aid Man happens as one of the walls is broken, shattered into chunks! Bursting through, fist first, is something that could only be described as: HOLLYWOOD!
Markdown sighs, hands on his hips as more laser blasts scorch the air past him, hitting Sternhammer. "Ok, fine. I asked you nicely. Now I'm going to MAKE you stop fighting!" He reaches for the crazed captain, intending to lift him and spin him around in mid-air. "You want down? Then put your gun down and CHILL!" He'd stop Monstereo if he knew what the Junkion was doing, but alas, he is too busy with the captain.
"Wha?" Markdown says. "Those other guys really are Decepticons, Cliffjumper? But... dammit, I'm so confused!"
Blueshift turns to face Cliffjumper, ready for the fight as... *SMASH*! He staggers backwards, a large section of wall falling on top of him as Hollywood makes his entrance. "There's Autobots... everywhere!" he croaks as he tries to dust himself off.
Autobots... everywhere? From the fallen form of Sternhammer falls a broken /fake/ Autobot insignia, revealing the dreaded Decepticon logo instead! The Captain, now at the mercy of Markdown, stutters. "Look look!" he cries through his ruined face. "I was telling the truth! They were trying to trick you!"
And Monstereo... Monstereo will not hear anything rattling in the box, just the throbbing of immense power
As Sternhammer smokes, clutching his face, he throws one hand down to support himself. Head tilted downward, he reaches his other hand into subspace, withdrawing a long staff with a blunt, chipped hammer at the end. His hand closes around it tightly.
One of the laser blasts hit Sternhammer's chest -- an Autobot insignia clatters to the floor. He slowly looks up at Markdown, exposing the true face hidden underneath the one that was shot off, with eyes as red as the devil. On his chest, under that Autobot logo, a proud Decepticon insignia gleams. As he rises, so too does his hammer, in a brutal upswing. "Your little red friend knows more than he lets on, it seems," Sternhammer laughs as he attacks the wheeling and dealing Autobot. "PHANTOMCONS, TAKE NO PRISONERS!" he calls to his crew, and they raise their weapons in a loud cheer, casting off their fake Autobot sigils and exposing their true allegiance!
Monstereo is an uber smart brainy science guy. What he is doing is far too complicated for the average mind to understand. "This thing feels so naughty! Geesh. I guess being stuck on a ship with decrepid space sailors will do that." He sniffs at the box. He thinks about the ship appearing only every hundred years. He licks the box. He ponders the weight and the feeling of throbbing of immense power. He says to the box, "I don't suppose you are a thinking thing that can communicate Bah weep grah nah weep nini bong?" He looks around from the apparently lying captain to the strange 'other' crew that they battle with.
Jetfire tears hismelf away from his tricorder, which he has been pointing at the box for the last few minutes even as gunfire exploded all around. He takes a few steps back to get some distance from the crossfire, then looks at Sternhammer. "It seems your story about the Phantomcons was even more literal than I thought." He takes a few steps towards the now-revealed Decepticon.
Markdown stares up at the captain, then follows his gaze over at the fake Autobots! "Ah, geeze, they really were Decepticons--HWURGH!" He grunts as the hammer catches him in the gut, and slams him up against a wall. Obviously this forces him to drop the captain as well.
Despite being attacked by a merciless, duplicitous Decepticon, Markdown, is still an Autobot at his core. "Look," he grunts. "We can get YOU off of this ship, too! You don't have to fight! And besides, I'm willing to bet I can hit you a lot harder than you just hit me!"
Monstereo, licking the box will feel it tingly, like licking a battery (which is a national sport on Junk). The Captain drops to the ground as Markdown lets him go. He staggers backwards, servos and parts falling off him. "Deceivers!" he cries, pointing at the now-revealed Decepticons. "Do not help them, they have /tormented/ us during our imprisonment." He turns to Monstereo pleadingly. "And bring the box, take it to Cybertron and Optimus Prime, he alone will know what to do with it!"
Cliffjumper charges Blueshift as the Decepticon dusts himself, clobbering him with a tiny but potent fist. "You thought you could fool me, Decepticreep, but your days are numbered!"
Just then, another wall explodes outward, the metal collapsing on Blueshift and Cliffjumper, seeming to crush the two beneath the bulk of its rubble. Two familiar silhouettes stand in the hole. "Your days are numbered, indeed," one states, bearing the unmistakable shape of... a Sweep?!
Blueshift gives another cry as having stood up, he is smashed to the ground again by the weight of the rubble. And as he tries to pick himself up...
He is crushed under the gigantic, bulky, unmistakable boot of GUILTOR
Markdown looks down at the captain for a moment as he explains to him, "I'm afraid that... ah... Optimus Prime is..." THUMP! As Guiltor arrives, Markdown's face turns to one of pure horror. "He's... he's... he's.... I... gigigigiguhhhh!"
As Markdown attempts to reason with Sternhammer, the duplicitous Phantomcon leader will hear none of it. "That sounds downright reasonable," he scoffs, dismissively. "But I rather like the notion of crippling you and leaving in your ship, so you can feel the pain that /I/ have in this hell-cruise." He swings the hammer again, a much fiercer overhand attempt to smash the Autobot.
Meanwhile, Geist walks out alongside Guiltor, laughing. He bares his pink claws, a smirk between his angular mustache and goatee. "Hands off that box, Junkion," the Sweep growls. "I'll have you know I've been feeling a bit... /feral/ lately."
"HE IS HERE!" booms the voice of Guiltor, behind his horrific visage that mockingly bears resemblance to the Autobot's fallen leader, the smoke around him and his companion slowly revealing them. "The box, it belongs to my masters. It is too dangerous for your feeble, weak intellects to handle." One gauntleted hand extends in a grasping, clawlike motion. "Return it and you /may/ live. Broken, but alive"
"I'd listen to him," Geist says, still smirking.
Jetfire goes from advancing on Sternhammer to suddenly backpedalling from Guiltor. He raises his weapons. "Monstereo, watch out! Keep that box away from them! Markdown, Cliffjumper, cover him!"
"DOOFTTT--" Markdown is so shocked at seeing Guiltor that he fails to notice the hammer coming down--at least, not until it impacts with his shoulder, putting a huge dent in it and sending him to his knees. "ARGH! Listen to me, Burnhammer, or whatever... that new guy... we have to stop him, or he'll deliver it right into the hands of the Quintessons!"
Cliffjumper's arm, with the glass gas nozzle in place of a hand, hangs limply out of the rubble, unresponsive to Jetfire's orders.
Jetfire fires a few quick laser blasts towards Guiltor. Then he notices nobody else has joined him. "Markdown...? Cliffjumper?!" He looks around and notices seemingly for the first time the predicaments they're both in.
Monstereo narrows his optics. Some sweep and the strange seacon companion Guiltor. This voyage really does seem damned. "The only thing left to do... is surrender." His chains appear in his hands and expertly work to bundle up the box in a secure chain netting sack. "Noooot!" He 'junk dives' into the crowd of Autobot and Decepticon crew members.
Guiltor stands amongst the rubble impassively, hand still thrust forward. "Very well!" he intones, his dark optics flashing brighter, cruelly, turning to Jetfire first. "Schopenhauer was right, wouldn't you say? Life without pain has no meaning. Jetfire, I intend to give your life MEANING!" From his hand blasts a wave of dark energy, eating away at the very air around the Autobot.
Guiltor misses Jetfire with his Dark Strike attack.
As Markdown speaks, Sternhammer stops to listen, hammer raised above his head to deliver a killing blow. He seems to hesitate, perhaps considering the Autobot's words... and finally lowers his hammer. "Perhaps that's a good change of plan," he says, grinning, face covered in the viscera of the false metal face he wore over his true identity. "PHANTOMCONS! Leave the box! We go!" He turns and strides away from Markdown, the Phantomcons following, leaving the battlefield with only what covering fire is needed to keep the Autobots at bay.
Later, one of the HMS Red Alert's escape pods will be discovered to be missing.
In the now, however, Geist marches up behind Markdown, his headcannon glowing. "Not so fast, Autobot. Out of the frying pan, as they say..." He fires, the beam shooting out of his skull-mounted laser.
Snaptrap misses Markdown with his Laser attack.
As the Decepticons escape, the Autobots left stagger about listlessly, as Monstereo dives amongst their damaged, withered forms, all of them grabbing for the Junkion and the box. "Bring it here!" cries the Captain, weakly from the floor
Monstereo brings it, slithering and crawling and leap-rolling towards the Autobot Captain. "Hither! Hither! Oh captain my captain!" He then adds as an undertone, "That bossy guy looking like Optimus Prime there is an impostor. Seriously dude. You have experience with fakes. Don't disappoint me. I'll cry. Then I'll have to punch you for making me cry."
Jetfire watches the wave of dark energy approach with great interest. Out of reflex he starts to raise his tricorder to scan it...but then he seems to come to his senses and dives out of the way just before it makes contact with him. His head lasers swivel down and unleash another quick blast at Guiltor as he comes back to his feet, but it's more to hopefully keep his attention on Jetfire than a real attack.
Guiltor's optics flash darkly again at his blast misses Jetfire. "A scientist who surrenders his morals for war. Throwing down the test tube for the taser. A mechanoid who abandons his friends and clouds his loyalties. If you surrender your identity, then what do you have left? NOTHING! A hollow SHELL!" Another energy bolt crackles from his fist, arcing towards the scientist. "THE BOX!"
Guiltor misses Jetfire with his electricity attack.
Markdown lets Sternhammer go. At least he isn't trying to murder him anymore. He is forced to pay attention to more pressing concerns as Geist's blast scorches the bulkhead behind him. Setting his jaw grimly, he charges at the feral Sweep. "Monstereo--listen to me, we can't let that box fall into Quintesson hands! We'll hold them off as long as we can. Just get out of here!!!" He screams as he tries to slam his shoulder into Geist, and smash him against the pedestal that the box once rested on.
Markdown strikes Geist with Shoulder Check.
Jetfire draws himself up to his full height and crosses both forearms in front of Guiltor's latest attack. The 'X' that of his arm-guards seems to deflect the energy bolts.
The Captain slowly stands, looking towards Monstereo and the box, and then towards Guiltor, rubbing his head. "Its all been so long, I..." Sudden steely resolve appears in his optics. "The box, that's the important thing, Forget us, we're Autobots! Saving the world's what we do!"
As he speaks, the ships computerised voice rumbles over the loudspeakers: "WARNING WARNING, 3 BREEMS TILL WARP ELIPSE"
Monstereo narrows his optics. No humor at all. "Lives are more importantant than power... Whatever this is... it can't be more important than all your lives. Perhaps it's time to be rid of it for good? What is your choice? I will heed your wishes, Captain."
"GET THE BOX, GUILTOR," Geist growls at his ally. "I'll keep these idiots occupied-- OOF!" Markdown smashes into him, and the Sweep staggers backward, chest a bit dented. "You troll," the Sweep says with a sinister smile. "Let me show you why that was a mistake!"
Snaptrap strikes Markdown with Wingsib Bladefrenzy.
Jetfire raises his own weapons at Guiltor. "I-I never surrendered my morals, Guiltor. War is terrible, but I've devoted myself and my Science to limit the destruction as much as possible." He fires a series of small discs from his cannons, resembling a series of magnetic limpet mines, each with a tiny blinking LED. But instead of exploding, these each function as an energy-dampening mine that inhibits the function of mechanical beings.
Jetfire misses Guiltor with his special attack.
Energy waves rush over the form of Guiltor as his head snaps around, sensors locking onto Monstereo and he strides towards the Junkion, looking to push anyone in his path out of the way. "You. ALL of you. Weak, pathetic, fighting a pointless war, killing innocents, adding to the circle of pain that YOU create." With a crash of lightning, he brings his hands together and then apart quickly, a sphere of pure energy lancing out at everyone nearby. "I am your nightmare Autobots, for I can see your very /souls/"
Guiltor unleashes his area_melee attack on Markdown, Jetfire and Monstereo, striking Monstereo and Markdown.
Markdown screams as he staggers away from the Sweep's vicious slashes, his armor sliced open in numerous locations. As if that wasn't bad enough, the sphere of energy strikes him and throws him to the ground. "Kaff... Monstereo... go... The ship is going to warp soon..." He grunts as he rolls over into a kneeling position. "And... Guiltor is too powerful! But..." He glances at the crew of the cursed ship. "Look, you guys--help us stop them, I'm begging you! That isn't really Optimus Prime! He just... vaguely looks like him!"
Weakly, his hand trembles as he raises his laser pistol up and aims it at the Sweep. "But I think you knew that..."
Markdown strikes Geist with laser.
The crewmembers weaker than the new arrivals, many of them fall instantly at Guiltor's blast as it arcs outward. But as if possessed by some unearthly energy, unable to die whilst the ship is still affected by the state of flux, they stand again. The Captain looks towards his 'rescuers', and then back towards Guiltor. "Ah heck" he mutters. "What's another hundred years between friends. GO GET HIM!" And as one, the remains of the crew surge forward to pin Guiltor down, under the weight of bodies rather than anything else.
Jetfire fires his foot thrusters and flings himself backwards from the energy sphere, just managing to keep out of it's range. When he's about to collide with the far wall he flips over backwards and fires his thrusters again, bringing himself to a stop in mid-air. He quickly processes this latest shift in the battle. "Markdown, Monstereo...we can't do anything more here. It took massive amounts of firepower just to slow him down!" Jetfire flares his engines one more time, sending himself towards the rubble where Cliffjumper lies buried. Jetfire starts to quickly dig the minibot out. "Everybody get ready to head for the shuttle! We have to make the most of the time they're buying us!"
The suspiciously Quintesson-friendly Sweep is shot by the laser -- and tumbles backward, through a convenient hole in the hull of the ship! "NOOOOOOOOO!" he calls, even though... shouldn't he be able to turn into a spacefaring craft? He tumbles out into the emptiness of space.
"TWO BREEMS UNTIL WARP ELLIPSE," the computer beeps, as the undead Autobots swarm Guiltor. Monstereo has presumably absconded with the box by now.
"Go!" the Captain exhorts. "Go, lest you suffer our fate!"
Markdown watches grimly as the undead Autobots, appropriately enough, swarm the equally abominable Guiltor. He stops for a moment to salute them, then rushes for the Autobot shuttle as fast as his bulky legs can take him there.
Jetfire finally pulls Cliffjumper free of the rubble. When he sees Markdown and Monstereo make their exit, Jetfire transforms, the minibot safely inside of his passenger space. Jetfire's large spacecraft mode makes the room feel a little cramped, until he fires a horde of small missiles at the hole in the wall, blasting out out the entire section of the hull so that he can fly through.
As Markdown makes it to the spacecraft and Jetfire flees into open space, the signal goes off. "ONE BREEM UNTIL WARP ELLIPSE."
The Autobots escape as, in their rear view mirrors, the Vanderdecken disappears.
Guiltor says, "NO! Not the pit! It BURNS!"
As the Autobots escape they may be able to hear Guiltor's cry of rage as he and the ship are sucked back into the warp ellipse, the ancient vessel buckling and creaking as it phases until once more, it is as if nothing was ever there...