Log Title: Bartering Time
Location: Yukon Territory, Canada
Date: June 10, 2013
Northern Canada/Alaska - North America
Welcome to the lands of the frozen north. Here the Canadian provinces of the Yukon and Northwestern Territories butt up against the state of Alaska, USA. This area of both nations is known for wide, open wilderness with very little in the way of human habitation and some of the wildest areas remaining in both countries. Nunavut, an Inuit homeland, broke away from Canada in 1999 and can be found in this region.
Perched onto of an abandoned Industrial Building, Plunder sits perched like a gargoyle. Seeker-esque fingers may be seen moving between buildings.
Plunder is not the only one perched. Buzzsaw has, in all his statuesque glory, been here for days now. Ever since speaking with Starscream regarding current events. Of course, he has the added benefit of being able to suppress his own signature and systems to maintain stealth. As such, he's had optics locked on Plunder, just watching.
Carly wants to find out why she keeps getting rogue/ghost signals from this area whenever she studies the map on Teletraan. Nothing is ever solidly *there*, but she gets strange hints of energy signatures that she thinks might be useful for her current fuel research.
Finally, once she managed to get a day where she could travel and investigate this phenomenon herself, she took a flight out to the nearest city, then suited up and got on an all-terrain vehicle to investigate the site a little closer. With her, she's taken a cache of monitors and meters, along with a tool to gather soil samples to test for radiation remnants or other pollution.
This facility has been abandoned for almost a decade, though even where the weather has worn away, there are still the marks of devastation. At one time, it was a self contained airfield, construction center and collection of warehouses set in the open north, away from most civilization. The sign that hangs over the main entrance reads a very shoddy 'Blake Aerospace Industries' that has been filled with bulletholes, and worn away by time's ravages. The warehouses, what's left of them, are burnt out and destroyed, and the only evidence of what used to be an airstrip is simply a long, flat area of pockmarked pavement that hasn't seen any sort of refurbishing in the last nine years. Truly there must be nothing left in this abandoned complex...
Peering near Buzzsaw, but not at him, Plunder lets out a sigh as he shifts his weight on his perch. He absently looks down at his claws, and then his armor, fixed, but not painted.
New movement registers and optical sensors flicker towards Carly. Internally, systems are processing and churning data to dig up files on the human...and there's almost a smug sense of appeasement when the database flashes up the meatbag's identity. Still, he retains his position, looking towards Plunder as the sweep begins to move. This day may prove entertaining after all...
"Wow, what a blight," Carly remarks to herself, regarding the ancient industrial plant with a frown. "Don't these companies ever clean up after themselves? I suppose they don't." She parks the ATV a good distance from the entrance, and kills the engine. Then, she opens up her cache and begins setting up the monitors. A few of them register instant power level readings. "...How weird," she remarks as she studies the meter's fluctuating numbers.
Grabbing some loose metal next to him, Plunder looks down at his new found scrap. He weighs it in his hand before flinging it out into the distance, watching it fly...and then land harmlessly back on the ground.
Buzzsaw gives the flung piece of metal a passing glance. It's time to become a fair bit more active... But there's a nuissance that must be dealt with first. Buzzsaw steps back off his perch and glides a distance before engines engage, carrying him low and fast towards the human arrival. Relying on her attention being focused on equipment and readouts, and his own stealth-supression systems, he angles for the most convenient perch there is: her ATV, settling atop it lightly as a pencil-thin laser designator belonging to one of his mortar cannons flickers on, the red dot tracing along her back, almost waiting expectantly for her to turn to fetch something else from her vehicle. Oh...what a fun surprise.
Carly gives the sky in front of her a thousand-year stare and a contemplative frown, as if trying very hard to understand why the numbers on the meter are so weird. Buzzsaw's shields and suppressors are having definite effects on the sensitive equipment, not allowing Carly to pinpoint the energy surges to a particular coordinate. "OK, let's rule out a few things," she murmurs to herself, quietly. "This isn't a fracking zone. Confirmed. No volcanic, seismic, natural phenomenon. Now why would the rad-count be *low*, if the fuel ratio is so high? That's like the opposite of Chernobyl readings..." It takes a while, but *finally*, Carly reaches for her cache to pull out some more equipment and get it set up.
The movements from Buzzsaw, trigger Plunder's enhance senses and infrared sensors to detect some movement, listless the Sweep merely cocks his head in that direction as he spreads his wings up and out. He makes no other movement other than to watch.
|**Perhaps,** the electronic voice synthesizer kicks in as the condor pointedly puts himself right where her hand is reaching, **the area is quarantined and not suitable for human traffic. Safety issues, after all, are so much more an exaggerated concern for you meatbags than they are to us. Not that we turn away a free toy.**
"Oh. I should've known," Carly says flatly, freezing in mid-reach and not daring to turn her head for fear of it getting blown off. "But I didn't. And the reason I didn't isn't important, but I'm going to tell you anyway. You all did a half-assed job of covering up your energon residue tracks. Well enough that I wasn't able to determine it to be energon residue signatures, but not...QUITE good enough to escape notice. You still can't hide your filthy deeds completely, no matter how hard you try." She juts her jaw out defiantly.
Tracking Buzzsaw towards the Human, Plunder slowly begins to rise to his feet, staring off towards where the action is happening. Giving it long thought, Plunder launches into the air, gliding down towards the pair, landing with a thud. Keeping his wings spread wide, Plunder just smiles at Carly. "Nice vehicle..." Plunder offers..."And Jacket."
Buzzsaw shakes his head. **I assure you, it was not my signature you were following. Right now, I do believe I am the least of your concerns.** This, of course, comes just as Plunder lands, and immediately a second laser directs itself towards the Sweep. **I hope you can behave this time.**
A cobalt blue Sweep with all of the traditional trim and colors. A faint smile seems to tug on the corners of his mouth and it might be an optical illusion, but he looks ever so slightly smaller than the other sweeps. His long pink claws glint in almost any kind of light. His large bat-shaped wings are swept back behind his back.
"Whatever sickening things you have planned, I have no intention of cooperating with you," Carly says defiantly. "And it doesn't matter if YOU were the one I picked up on scanner, now, does it? The point is, I was able to tell all the way from my remote office that *something* was going on up here. Probably something bad. And I'll bet I'm not even wrong." She nods to Plunder. "They belong to Symultech," she admits.
Holding up a finger at Buzzsaw, "The adults are speaking..." Plunder states absently, forgetting that he was just beaten to death because of Buzzsaw. Looking at Carly. "Yes...yes. Symutech. I want your jacket and your vehicle. What would you like in return?" Plunder's voice is quiet and gravelly as he speaks to the human.
Is it really this easy? Carly doubts it. She very much doubts it. "I want you all to let me go, and none of you to pursue me," she tries. What's she got to lose?
Ignoring Plunder's remark, Buzzsaw looks the Sweep and Human over respectively. **The equipment stays as well. After all, I am not bound to honor any deal Plunder puts forth on the table. I represent other interests.** The laser trained on Plunder shifts to Carly, who is now the proud owner of two red dots.
"Hmmm, if I take your vehicle that seems to be a problem for you..." Plunder strokes his beard. "I will take the jacket...and something else...and I find your terms acceptable." Plunder waves at Buzzsaw. "True. We are not the same Decepticons...you must deal with both of us."
Slugfest is still maglocked to Buzzsaw. A soft snoring noise is coming from the purply-pink/yellowish rectangle!
"Well, what kind of 'deal' is that?" Carly laughs bitterly. "You can hardly call that a deal, or even a barter. Might as well just be called what it is...'theft'."
"You do get to keep your life...and say good night to your kids, Mrs. Witwicky." Plunder states. "Seems fair to me."
Buzzsaw clicks his beak. **Your life is worth less than your equipment? I could just destroy it now, and then what would you have left to bargain with?** He glances back... a tape? How did he get a tape?
"Ah, but that's not even a term of your 'barter', is it, because if you take my coat and my bike, then Buzzsaw here -- " Carly glances to Buzzsaw, then back to Plunder, "He just SAID that he's not obligated in any way to honor the terms of the barter. So if I try to walk away, I'm going to get killed -- and you take my stuff. How does that even stand up to anything remotely resembling a deal?"
"Hmmmm, I shall return you your bike...in exchange for...your Id Card..." Plunder offers. "You give me the jacket and id. Buzzsaw your equipment. And you keep your life." Plunder shrugs, "Three way negotiations are always difficult..."
Buzzsaw ahs. **Intelligence is shown. Perhaps you are not like most. But as Plunder states, that would be the ideal trade here.** Buzzsaw hops his way towards the equipment set up, perching nearby it but keeping his weapons trained on the human. **After all, it is only information I seek. I've already had my fun with a human, it will...hold me over for now.**
The little yellowish rectangle continues to snore.
"So then, that's going to work for you? You guys...divvy up what I've got here, and I'll just go on my way? Is that the 'deal'? From both of you?" Carly knows she isn't quite as cool-headed as Spike on these sorts of negotiations, but she's dealt with Decepticons for nearly as long as her diplomat husband, and perhaps learned a few things along the way from him. She isn't too worried about Symultech's equipment; they can write it off as a loss at the end of the year. She, on the other hand, would rather NOT be written off as a loss, and she still has to worry about getting out of here in one piece.
"Buzzsaw and I have other business and you are an annoyance." Plunder offers her a flick of his finger, "I will require my full resources to deal with him, therefore, I am not inclined to kill you, first. But I will if necessary." Plunder laughs. "You simply are just beneath Buzzsaw. This will be your best offer...and my patience is fading..."
Buzzsaw looks squarely at Plunder. **So, you will not behave...** He looks at Carly. **Tell you what...leave the equipment, but stay. You may be granted a chance to see a very interesting show.** He hesitates. **Do me a favor, detach Slugfest, place him with the equipment. This is not his fight, after all, Sweep. At least have some honor about you to do that much.**
"I do not intend to Fight you Buzzsaw." Plunder states.
Carly blinks. What sort of craziness is *this*? A personal grudge? She is fascinated by just how petty the Decepticons can be amongst themselves and their 'pecking order'. For now, she doesn't move, because she could still very easily get tagged should this grudge match get put on the back burner. To show her cooperation, she begins taking off her coat, but she's still looking between Buzzsaw and Plunder...hoping they'll continue with whatever beef they have between them.
Holding out his hand for the Jacket, Plunder looks at Carly. "And your id card..." He then looks at Buzzsaw. "I know you have talked to the King of the Seekers...I am prepared to listen."
Carly complies, handing her badge and coat over to Plunder (and quietly hoping to herself that Buzzsaw will occupy him enough that she can make a grab for them later).
|**You are, are you?** Buzzsaw straightens up. **It is as I told Starscream. The true Lord Megatron has returned. Those who departed left the Decepticon circles as well, as far as we are concerned. However, I am of the mind that most of this is simple misunderstanding. To lose a combat force the size of that which Starscream demands the respect of is...less than ideal, and illogical. Likewise, those who departed us will no longer have the logistical support required to operate at full capacity. Also illogical. The only true logical step is to reconcile and return to the fold, but understand that Lord Megatron leads once more.**
"I do not see what that has to do with our business." Plunder states towards Buzzsaw. He closes his hand around the items and brings in front of his face. Plunder takes a single talon off his other hand and slices off the logo off the jacket, which he keeps. He then discards the still useable jacket on to the ground. He then pockets the logo and the id card as he points a finger at Buzzsaw. "You insulted my honor, and have not returned to me that which I seek."
Sometimes, being considered 'beneath importance' is a considerable advantage. Carly learned all about this in her conversations with Arcee. While Carly's more of a scientist and adventurer than she is a warrior, the wisdom still rings true. These Decepticons don't even think twice about discussing such private matters in front of her. She listens intently, and keeps looking back at Slugfest -- is he actually sleeping? If he is, maybe she could make a grab for her equipment, too. When the timing's *just* right. She has a narrow window of opportunity here, so she concentrates on learning as much as she can, as well as seeking the right moment to make a break for it.
Buzzsaw narrows his optics. **I did send information regarding the final words with Windshear. Did he not share them with you? Unless it is something else you seek. Speak clearly, Sweep. State what it is you wish and it will be done. I do not enjoy playing these silly games.**
"Windshear did not pass the message to me." Plunder looks at Buzzsaw, his optics narrowing. "The words...now." He states. "I would ask for an apology, but I know you will not give that."
Carly tries to very subtly retrieve the damaged jacket while the pair have their heated discussion...
- GAME: Carly PASSES a DEXTERITY roll of High difficulty.
- GAME: Buzzsaw PASSES an INTELLIGENCE roll of Very High difficulty.
Buzzsaw sets the data slug down. **It is decrypted. I suggest you listen to it specifically, as the message bears more relevance to you than it does to myself. However, he is very specific in stating his Destiny shall not be denied. There were trace undertones of other messages hidden in layers, but the encryption is very specific, almost like another language. I assume you will have more knowledge of that and I extracted them so you may listen to them isolated from the other noise.** He turns to deposit Slugfest by the equipment. **Wake up, Slugfest, I need you to interface with something.**
Slugfest eees and wakes up as he's dropped. "Okay!" he says, "What me interface wif?"
Buzzsaw looks at Slugfest. **The equipment you are currently beside. I want the data stored on it.**
With great reverence, Plunder slowly makes his way towards the data slug. The Sweep falls to his knees as he delicately scoops up the data slug staring at it for a very long moment. "My master...I have not failed..." He whispers to the data slug. "Destiny...M'Lord..." Plunder continues to stare at the data slug, no longer paying any attention to anything else.
The little stegotape hops into the slot and starts recording.
Carly's torn. This is the PERFECT time to get gone. But what's on that tape?? Biting her lip, she scoots very gradually over to her bike, and very gradually pulls the equipment cache's zipper closed. It wouldn't do for all the equipment to fly out if she had to make a quick exit. While she can't get her ID card back, she doesn't think it will bother Symultech too terribly much to issue her a new one, not after all the trouble she's been through.
Buzzsaw leaves Slugfest to do his thing, watching Plunder all the while. **Does that meet your requirements, Plunder? I will never have it be said I backed down on something I told another I would do.**
Staring at the Dataslug, Plunder seems almost lost in prayer...after a long moment, he pockets the slug and stands to face Buzzsaw. "What...Yes, yes...whatever you want." He says absently.
Carly palms the keys in her hand, wondering if she'll even have time to start up the ATV. What if she doesn't get it going on the first try? She supposes it won't matter by then; Buzzsaw's just too damned fast to out-maneuver, and she'll probably be dead. But she has to take the chance. Keys in hand? Check. Equipment cache? Check. Coat so you don't freeze to death if you have to hide out in a culvert somewhere? Check.
Buzzsaw is amused. to a degree. But he's swiftly growing bored with Plunder's display of reverence towards the data slug. Shaking his head, he turns his attention back towards Slugfest and the equipment. **Well then, Slugfest! What have you found if-** His optics narrow as he spies an...empty field table?
Did Carly accidentally toss Sluggers into her equipment cache? Well, she didn't really have time to think this over very well, so she might have done it. It's a bit late to worry about it *now*, as she turns the ATV key, and the motor revs up. Time to exit stage left! Off she roars, at full tilt, back towards the main road.
Plunder continues to ignore the human as once again his thoughts drift towards Unicron, nothing else seems to concern him.
Buzzsaw turns his attention towards the revving ATV and reacts about as swiftly as a condor on the ground can. Levelling his cannons at the vehicle, he opts against mortars...no sense damaging the equipment. Wait, equipment? He scans quickly for Slugfest as a loud CRACK of a high-powered rifle-shot fills the air. Carly's lucky he's sadistic... He's not after her. He's after the ATV. A squealing fleshbag is so much more fun when they start out undamaged... Of course, she's enough of a lead that he'll really have to hunt if he takes up pursuit.
Hearing the the shot, Plunder pivots pulling out his rifle, scanning for a target...his rifle drifts over towards Buzzsaw, first...quickly he realizes that Buzzsaw wasn't shooting at him. Letting out a sigh, Plunder states, "Buzzsaw, we made a deal with the Earther. Let her go, I am sure she will just mail you your Christmas Invitation."
Carly zooms away hurriedly, trying to get on her commlink to call for help. No way is she going to do it while in the immediate presence of those psychopaths! Little does she know, inside her equipment cache, a sluggy tape lurks.
"Eeee! No gotted all data! Why take out so soon?" the little Stegotape calls out.
(Autobot) Carly says, "*faintly* Air support, I need air if it's possible...following coordinates...if anyone's available please copy."
Buzzsaw scans again. **She violated the deal, Plunder. She took the equipment.** He pauses for a moment. **Slugfest was with the equipment.** He fires up his engines to give pursuit, firing off another shot at the ATV. It's wide, but getting closer.
"It isn't really my fault, she negotiated better than you did." Plunder chuckles. "I got what I wanted..." Plunder frowns, "Slugfest?" Plunder looks around, then off at the ATV...Plunder launches into the air, gliding after Buzzsaw.
After glancing over her shoulder, Carly hears a voice. "Huh?? Oh NO! Are you in my equipment cache??" Her stomach sinks as she sees Buzzsaw gaining. "Tell me you're not in there!" She pleads to the weird disembodied voice.
"Wait, this isn't my problem..." Plunder veers around, ducking back into the building from which he came.
Roaring in from the south, Skydive pushes his engines to their limit as he begins to track towards Carly. "Carly! This is Skydive, please respond!"
(Autobot) Skydive says, "I am in the area!"
|**Of course it's not your problem!** Buzzsaw is less than surprised when Plunder breaks pursuit, firing another shot at the ATV's engine from behind. **Halt, human! I swear, I will not hesitate to make you stop by force if required to do so!** He hears the engines and curses inwardly, sending additional energon reserves to his engines. Time is, apparently, running out.
"Skydive, I'm on an intercept course to the coordinates I'm sending you..." Carly grits her teeth as she has to take one hand off the maxxed-out ATV's handlebars to go rummaging through her bag for the little sluggytape. "Get out of my bag, you silly thing! Get out, hurry up!"
The little stegotape transforms upon hearing a message from Buzzsaw! Inside the bag....
Receiving the coordinates, Skydive banks and prepares to go on a strafing room at the Decepticon chasing at Carly. The aerialbot emits loudly, "Are you hurt, Carly?"
Slugfest bursts out and expands into his mecha-stegosaurus mode, ready for a rumble!
A mecha-stegosaurus about the size of a panther, Slugfest has orangish heavy metal plates that adorn his backframe that can scissor themselves like a chainsaw to cut through some of the strongest of materials (on the rare occasions he can hit them). On his flanks are his large vibe-cannons which he uses to blast relentlessly at his foes, real, imagined, and allied with. His body is a more faded coloration of green. He shuffles along on his stumpy orange legs, matching his spikes. His tail is short and stubby, without the normal spikings along it. His optics blaze with fury as he trundles along, seeking out aggression directed at himself at any and all terms.
"No, not at all, but this tape got in my bag, and now he-e---e-eeeeEEE!!!" Carly screams as her bag explodes with an emerging tape-stego. "Go *home*, you crazy Decepticon! Off the bike! Offoffoff! Getgetget!"
Buzzsaw turns his attention towards Skydive. Well, this should prove interesting... He's not about to give up pursuit, though, not ith Slugfest on board the ATV.
"Have you tried throwing something for him to chase?" Skydive emits as he tries to gain a bead on Buzzsaw, who is trying to gain a bead on him. It is a Dogfight!
"No, not yet! Thanks for distracting Buzzsaw -- let me see what I can find! I just hope he doesn't bring it back to me," Carly says to Skydive tensely, continuing to drive the bike at full throttle because she DOESN'T DARE STOP.
"Give back quipment!" the little stegosaur snaps, "Then me go home!"
Carly smirks, and digs into her bag, getting ahold of one of the cheaper energy meters. "OK, I got it! You want quipment?? Goooo get it!" She flings the meter off the bike, hoping and praying that the stegotape gives chase.
"Try something shiny, maybe jewelry or something?" Skydive emits to Carly as he tries to corkscrew out of Buzzsaw's laser range.
"I threw a meter. I think part of it is kinda shiny!" Carly says to Skydive hopefully.
Buzzsaw ignores Skydive. He's after something, and he's going to pursue it doggedly. There's a loud ka-KRAK of gunfire again. Carly would probably hear it whine past her head. Seems his patience has started to run out.
Slugfest sees the meter go clattering. "That no is quipment! Quipment has slot for tapes!"
"OH NO YOU DON'T!" Skydive emits as he starts to fire his own warning shots at Buzzsaw. "Pick on someone who can fight back, Decepti-Creep!"
Carly swerves to avoid getting blasted. Clearly, she doesn't have time to go fishing through the bag for the 'Quipment'. And she absolutely doesn't want Skydive getting hurt because of her own obstinance. "OK, take my bag. The quipment's in the bag. Go ahead!" (Come on, you idiot metal pooch, just take the damn bag,) her thoughts scream.
The little stegosaur grabs the bag and hops off the ATV! He starts pelting little feets in a beeline for Buzzsaw.
Buzzsaw folds his wings to roll, looking at Skydive. **My fight is not with you, Autobot. I merely want back what is mine.** He levels out again, engines kicking into overdrive as he rolls towards Slugfest... Well, now that he's got his fellow cassette back, he brakes sharply, letting Carly depart without further harassment.
As Buzzsaw breaks off the attack, Skydive swoops down and flies wingmate for Carly, as he approaches, he emits, "Carly, are you still ok? Do you require additional assistance...Oh dear...oh dear..."
"Oh dear is right, Skydive...I lost some equipment, but thank Primus nothing else was compromised. The equipment belonged to my employer, anyhow. I'm going to go return the ATV, then I could use a lift back. Sorry about the chaos there at the end -- I didn't realize I had a stowaway in my bag. I must've shoved him inside the bag in tape mode when I was trying to escape."
Buzzsaw clicks his beak as he reclaims the gear bag. **Thank you, Slugfest. I will be tearing into this for any possible intel that can be gleaned. I can offer you a ride back to Trypticon if you require it.**
"The Decepticons are sneaky like that!" Skydive emits, "It would be my pleasure to fly you back to Autobot City. I so rarely get passengers!" Skydive scans the area, "There is a clearing half a click to the north west, I can land there."
"OK! See you there!" Carly parks the ATV in a Symultech equipment lot, with a small 'Sorry :(' note attatched to it because it sustained a bit of damage. Then, she heads to the rendezvous point to meet with Skydive.
Gliding in for a landing, Skydive hits the ground with a bump, bump, then glides to a stop, popping his canopy and extending a small ladder for Carly to climb up. "All aboard! You are very brave to take on the Decepticons by yourself...you know we would help you right?"
"Yay, ride! Yus!" Slugfest says, wagging his tail excitedly. The little stegosaur seems no the worse off for being stegonapped.
"Oh, of course, but I really, really wasn't looking for trouble this time, I was only doing an energy survey for Symultech...very strange readings out here. And naturally, it ends up being Decepticons...Oh, I'll just need to file a report. It started as science, though, I swear it did," Carly frets as she boards Skydive.
"Oh! That makes sense!" Skydive emits as he seals in Carly and begins rumbling down the clearing and blasting off, making the trek back to Autobot City!