[The roar of turbines can be heard in the very near background of a video feed that shows wastelands rushing by some distance below. Thundercracker's voice speaks over the noise.]
All right, everyone, listen up! Pretty sure I've found something, and I'll be a half-slagged Empty if it's not the cause of what's going on.[A ridged valley comes into view, one that no one will recognize. Thundercracker slows some, banking sharply to keep the new complex at its center in view as he circles it.]
This is southwest of Haven. Radiation's highest here than anywhere else to date. And if I have to spell out what I think of the party down there, you're best to stick to the temples. I'm reading some other kind of energy too, aside from the radiation. I don't recognize it.
So . . . who's up for some target practice?((ooc: Everyone's welcome to tag on the plot post or start our own posts. I'm just going to start a thread with TC for any fliers who want to bombard the CNPP. >D Maybe we can provide cover for a ground assault? Distract a majority of the zombies to one side at least, even if we can't get through the shield.))
[Thundercracker is crouched down on a knee out on the edges of Haven. The ground around him is littered with warped, twisted bits of metal and plastic. He has a piece pinched between his fingers, turning it this way and that. Letters of...some language or other can be made out across one scorched face of it.]
Well . . . whatever it was, it's completely unrecognizable now. The language looks like it might be Russian though...[Don't ask him how he knows that. He has no idea.
He STILL hasn't consciously learned about the gift from Alpha Trion, oops!][A moaning sound comes in from his left. Grimacing in distaste, he merely shifts to raise an arm, firing his shoulder rifle a few times. Wet
splorts of something organic being blasted apart can be heard. At least it stops the moaning?]
Brought something with it, though. Lots of somethings. Things that I'd guess died on impact . . . but didn't stay
dead. If I had to make a guess, I'd say they were human. Or were at one time.
[A heat haze surrounding a fiery glow
drifts into view from behind the camera, heading for Thundercracker. He's shifting stances into something he can better react/defend from as it closes on him. The video feed of the camera goes staticky as the heat haze increases, the glowing heart of the anomaly turning into a ball of fire that quickly fills the camera's view. There's a SNARL of pain from the Seeker before the video feed cuts out.]
[Wow, that is one seriously FRAGGED THE FUCK OFF-looking Seeker right there. So fragged off, in fact, that it takes him a moment before he can even form coherent words. When he finally does, they're short, sweet, and to the point.]
I will say this only once.
It. Never. Happened!
[He raises an arm, rifle leveled at his Link device. Yes, he really is that mad. But . . . he stops himself and just steps over to the thing, growling as he ends the transmission with a rough, almost violent gesture. It'll be several more minutes . . . but then he sends a few private messages.]
[Locked to Ventus]
...thanks. For . . . that . . .
[For not just putting up with him but trying to help]
[Locked to Ravage]
Are you all right?
[Locked to Megatron]
I'm willing to meet with you, if you still want me to, sir. And . . . if I can ask you to let me speak before shooting me.
[Not that . . . he'd try to stop you if you still decided to. >,>]
[Locked to The Spine]
You . . . took me seriously. Have you honestly run across such nonsense before?
[Sorry . . . he just...REALLY had to ask. Because seriously WTF DUDE?]
[and finally - Locked to Starscream]
You can let me out now.
[He appreciates it. Really, he does. But...]
[The Link comes on with a jostle and a flash of blue. Nope, not Thundercracker - or...well...technically, it kind of is, oops. It's the little one - the firelizard, that is.]
[The other one, the Seeker, can be seen across the room. He's . . . well . . . he's huddled in the center of his berth, knees drawn up, wings high and quivering softly, the other three firelizards - Screamer, Sky, and Numbers - clutched to his chest like he's trying to protect them. He's attempting to wave at the fourth, but he keeps snatching his hand back from reaching over the edge of the berth. He looks pretty freaked out, his voice a stressed whisper.]
Cracker! G-get over here! You don't want them to catch you, do you?
[He keeps darting glances around the berth like he's afraid there's a monster under it and it'll reach out to snatch at him any minute.]
((ooc: Guess who
got turned into TFA Skywarp! 8D found yellow energon crystals.))
Is that virus still running rampant, or did one of you sciency types finally figure something out?
You back on your feet yet, McCrane?
[Yeah, he's been worried about you. He'd have gone to check on you but figured your own looking after you was probably better.]
[The video comes on with a snap of power and a quick rocking motion, like the device was jostled into turning on. The blur of moving blue, yellow, and shades of brown across the view, too close to focus on, helps support that theory. Oh, and the hissing. Sounds like three or four creatures, actually, all hissing at each other.]
Knock it off, all of you! [The camera is madly adjusting, trying to focus on the too-close object, and manages just as black metal hands wrap around a smaller robotic body, pulling it away until it can be easily seen. It's a firelizard – Numbers, Thundercracker's pet. The Seeker settles the firelizard on his shoulder as he turns away, unaware that his comm is on. The view is of the room he shares with Four. Across from the table that the device is on, three more firelizards are perched on his berth.]
Cracker, Sky, Screamer . . . I know
you can understand me. Well enough, anyway. Numbers, you too. You don't have to like each other, but you will
get along well enough at least to not tear up either each other or the room. Do you understand? [The tall Seeker glowers at the creatures, and all four cower down a little, submissive. He maintains the expression an astro-second longer, then nods.]
Good. I'll take you all out flying in a little bit. Now . . . !? [He had started to turn away for something, shifting to face the direction of the device, but then something, the device itself, catches his attention as he realizes it's on. He huffs. Well . . . might as well. He turns to face it fully, sitting on the berth next to the trio of firelizards, one hand dropping comfortably to the back of the nearest, the black-and-purple one, the other curling up over Numbers' back on his shoulder, the blue/yellow/brown firelizard nuzzling his cheekguard. Those who know the Seeker well enough might catch the faint grin at that – more in his optics than on his face.]
For those who don't know, this is Numbers. And these three . . . [His head turns to look at them as he introduces them.]
Starscream, Skywarp, and . . . and Thundercracker. [He touches their backs, petting their wings – possessive, protective, fond. He looks up at the camera.]
I'm sure I don't need to clarify which one's which. And no, I didn't ask for them or name them. They're . . . [He looks away, his expression clouding. His voice is quieter when he continues.]
Barricade did. They're a gift. [He looks back up at the camera, his expression a little harder.]
If anyone finds them out and about anywhere, return them to me. [And he realizes, or rather remembers . . . demands aren't as effective as requests… He's not one to beg, so "please" doesn't come out as much as he knows it probably should, but his expression loses its edge, going soft again, as he looks back down at the three new firelizards, now wrestling with each other all over the berth.]
I'd appreciate it if you would.
That is all. [He stands, crossing to the device, and the broadcast ends.] ((ooc: Back when Barricade first offered to build firelizards for people, I started a thread with TC to have him ask for one. I . . . I don't remember, must have gone on a hiatus and never finished the thread, and then have kept forgetting to do anything with it. People are free to recognize Numbers – he's shades of beige and brown with blue and yellow markings. Four's favorite colors. And no, TC's not creative when it comes to names. 9,9 He got Numbers with the intention of either sharing with Four or outright giving him to her. He's...grown rather attached to the thing himself, though. Now he's got a whole clutch of them. XD))
[At first, only static is heard. If anyone cares to pay attention and trace the signal, they'll realize that it's 1) originating from Thundercracker's Link, and 2) coming from some random location out on the wastelands. About the time these two things would be established, a voice is heard through the auditory "snow".]
N-no . . . no, p-please . . . I-I'm . . . I'm s-sorry, please, I-I . . . please d-don't . . . p-please . . .
[The voice is almost inaudibly soft, broken with unmistakable terror and despair, and though nearly unrecognizable compared to what people would be used to from the powerful Decepticon Seeker . . . undoubtedly belongs to Thundercracker.]
[The whimpering pleas will continue for a bit before something shifts, presumably knocking against the communicator, and the feed quits.]
Whatever the Pit that was the past few weeks - whoever that was - that wasn't me. That is all.
[The video shows a very whole, very un-beaten-to-crap Seeker, whose wings PERFECTLY MATCH THANK YOU VERY MUCH.]
[LOCKED to Blurr]
Blurr . . . sorry about the confusion. Are you all right? [He won't outright address it, but he remembers the "friend" comment - it means more to him than he can say]
[LOCKED to McCrane]
McCrane . . . thanks. For your assistance. Sorry about the confusion. I'm ready to return to active duty. [Unspoken: "if you'll still have me"]
[LOCKED to Skywarp]
Warp, where are you?
[LUCY, I'M HOOOOOOOME!]
I'm assuming you people are working on ways to "fix" what's happened and get the . . . the "us" who were here before returned.
So what happens to the "us" who are here now, assuming you're successful?
[He bristles, mismatched wings twitching.]
Because I am NOT. GOING. BACK.
[He starts to turn off the feed, but hesitates . . . and finally adds.]
Also . . . a medic willing to work on a Seeker. I need to find one. [Because he's still all beaten to crap like he was that first day.] That is all.
[Now he shuts off the feed.]
[The feed comes on with a clatter and a shaking of the video until the device settles - apparently, it had been dropped or tossed aside? Thundercracker is in the field of vision, and it looks like he's in the Junkpile somewhere. He looks like he's . . . not quite himself, too.]
[The first thing people would likely note? His right wing isn't the customary blue with red stripe like his left one is. It's black with a purple stripe. Wait a minute . . . isn't that Skywarp's color scheme?? There's a tight-fitting collar around his throat too, segmented metal with a few active indicator lights blinking or glowing softly, and some small receptors and access ports as well. He looks like he's been in hard battle for a month straight with no reprieve, too - he's scuffed and dirty, his paint badly worn, his body gouged and dented. His shoulder rifles are gone, open holes left in his upper arms where the couplings would hook in. The Decepticon brands are missing from his wings - not as if removed but as if they were never there. About the ONLY things that look "normal" on him are the Glyph on his left shoulder and the sheriff badge mounted on his right. He's worn it proudly since McCrane gave it to him a few months ago, but now he plucks it off and looks at it, turning it over in his hands as if he's never seen it before and has no idea what it is or what it does. He starts to toss it away as well, but . . . something stops him. He regards it for another instant, then remounts it on his shoulder with a shrug before looking around as if to assess his situation.]
[Those who have known Thundercracker since he first arrived might remember how guarded and stoic he'd been - he's actually come a long way! The look in his optics now, however? Makes that Thundercracker seem like he'd been a warm and outgoing guy from the start. There's a chill in this mech's demeanor, a wounded and angry, closed guardedness far beyond even what he'd been before.]
Hmn. Should find some fuel, I guess. And a weapon. That was too easy, getting out of there. Has to be a trap of some kind. [He scowls darkly.] If Master's playing games again...
[With a rough snort, he turns to head deeper into the Junkpile, inadvertently giving the camera a good view of his back . . . which from his shoulders vents down over his pelvic unit and across both wings is covered in long, scorched furrows from electro-whips.]
((ooc: Uh, TC MAYYYYYYY or may not come back to answer comm responses. Actionspam, OTOH, is totally welcome! Initially, TC will try to run - he thinks you're there to recapture him =[ - but he can't fly, he has no weapons, his mods are disabled, and he's injured, so it'll be pretty easy to catch up and corner him if need be.))
((ooc: aka - HEY I didn't beat the crap out of him this time to explain a hiatus! 8D...........orz))
[Locked to IDW Megatron]
Lord Megatron, I've returned from the scouting mission and am ready to make my report. Do you wish to see me, sir, or should I go straight to Shockwave?
[Locked to Alpha Trion - yeah, pretty much same thing, but they asked him separately, so...]
Alpha Trion, sir, I'm back from the scouting mission and ready to make my report. When you have a moment.
[Locked to Four]
Hey, little one. I'm back. I'm sorry . . . I meant to leave a note, but then there wasn't time.
[Locked to Skywarp]
Warp . . . you're not still sitting in that damned throne, are you?
[That's TC-speak for "hey, bro, where are you?" Because he really should have told his wingmate he was going to be out of town too. Oy.]
[And . . . okay, now that those are taken care of...]
[Pinging the police frequency, though the video itself is public]
Apologies for my absence. I was asked to undertake a scouting mission. I've returned and am ready for duty. Can someone apprise me of the current situation? [Namely Tarn . . . but he'll take anything at this point . . . ]
[Oh . . . no, wait . . . one more order of business, something that bothered him the whole time he was out]
[Locked to Blurr]
Hey. Are you- [conscious? alive? . . . you better be "back" by now, you glitch!] . . . how are you doing? [You'd also better answer him, fraggit...
he's been worried!]
[He'll...yeah, he'll just leave it at that.]
All right, I know others have had this happen . . . so . . .
[He steps back and shifts a bit to make sure his shoulder is visible to the camera. The black outline hasn't changed
thankfully, at least in his opinion but the magenta Glyph itself has increased by a good third.]
It's bigger. Did that mean anything for anyone else?
[Video – Locked to Smokescreen]
– (After this conversation
Do you have some time? Rose suggested I contact you.
Do NOT tell Tarn that I have called. [End][Video – Locked to Blurr and SG!Megatron]
– (After this conversation
and this post (aka "frag it all to the Pit, there's TWO OF THEM!?")
Do you remember saying you'd have my back if a positive-polarity Megatron showed up demanding the Decepticons gather under him? [End][ Video – Locked to Four]
(Right after the previous video)
We need to talk. Where are you?
[He managed to keep his stoic façade for Blurr and SG!Megs (or so he hopes), but it slips a little here, the uneasiness peeking through.] [End] [ Video – Locked to Alpha Trion]
(A few minutes after Four's video, a bit of an afterthought)
Sir . . . a moment of your time? [He won't outright say "now please", but there is a faint urgency to his tone as he's not sure how quickly things may progress, if they do, and how they'll go exactly.]
((ooc: The first video is backdated to…last weekend, though the convo got as far as it is now maybe two days ago IRL? – the other three would have gone up maybe yesterday or so. I didn't want to spam the comm with separate posts, though, so . . . here we go. =3 Also, I'll catch up tags probably tomorrow evening. 9,9 Meant to put these up last night and just didn't get the chance.))