Log Title: Mistakes Were Made
Location: Autobot City
Date: August 22, 2013
Summary: Spike feels responsible for a dangerous communications breakdown between the Autobots and G.I. Joe.
As logged by Crosscut - Thursday, August 22, 2013, 8:48 PM
Command Center - Ground Floor - Autobot City
- Once you enter this gigantic room, the first thing you notice is the huge mainframe sitting against the far wall. Looking a bit like an updated version Teletraan I, the main computer of Metroplex runs constant checks on the perimeter defenses of Autobot City, keeping the network current. The gigantic viewer takes up most of the wall, and currently displays the area outside Metroplex's gates. Several smaller monitors bear different images, some a satellite-uplinked view of Earth, others of complex data readouts. From here, Earth's situation can be ascertained almost instantaneously.
- Along the other walls are assorted computer terminals, linked to Teletraan II, that are used by individual Autobots for data processing and accessing information from the main computer core. On the north wall is a large portrait of Cybertron, apparently the artist's conception of the fabled Golden Age.
Spike just finished repairing Grimlock. He's about to go to the refugee camp, but can't help but listening to the horrible reports. The Flagg - destroyed. The Autobots and the Joes were a mess of confusion. And HE is an instrumental figure in EDC. How the hell did he forget something so fundamentally basic as exchanging vehicle and alt mode information?!
Crosscut is in the command center, looking over reports as well, doing process analysis. His face, as always, is unreadable, but his posture doesn't exude happiness for sure.
Crosscut is small by Autobot standards, standing at barely 16' tall. His armor is resplendent silver, seeming more for show than actual protection in battle. Amber optics glow intelligently from a face predominantly hidden by an angular silver mask, preventing most observers from reading his emotions unless he desires it. His crimson helmet is outfitted with an array of communications and translations gear in a stylish but functional package. Crosscut's body is compact and lean, with few embellishments besides the small blue and silver door-wings on his shoulders. His narrow forearms are packed with analytical and defensive equipment which he can activate and de-activate as needed. Crosscut is almost always polite to a fault, and seems built more for talking than fighting. When he speaks, his accent and language seems to naturally adjust to fit whomever he is addressing, which can be comforting one-on-one but a bit jarring when he's speaking to several individuals at once in the round.
Spike can barely look at Crosscut. He feels sick as he actually hears about casualties and how that could have been prevented if better planning was put in place. He gulps and looks over. "What do you want me to do?"
Crosscut looks over and down at Spike, as if he'd forgotten the lead Friend of Doroth - er, the Autobots - was here. Crosscut says evenly, "Well, obviously, we need to have a look at where communications between the Autobots and G.I. Joe continue to break down. I have Marissa on that already. I might have Prowl launch a full investigation. A lot of lives were lost, as well as one of our allies' major tactical assets."
Spike looks up and nods. "I'm so sorry..." He sighs "I know it's too late, but I assembled a full database of all Autobot alt modes on a server for the Joes to easily access. I'll ..." He then listens.
Crosscut nods. "It's a start. I know some time was lost because Jetfire didn't recognize the Flagg."
Spike lets that sink like a stone. At his desk, he tries to get back to work - he succeeds for a few minutes, but then buries his face in his hands and starts crying. This was something he KNEW should have been taken care of - but it inevitably took a back seat to everything else. Still... the consequences couldn't be more plainly laid out in front of him.
Crosscut turns from his work. He stops, shuts everything down, and crouches down by Spike.
Spike gulps, trying to pull things together. "I'm sorry...just give me a sec."
Crosscut says evenly, "This isn't your fault, Spike. I'm sorry if I implied it was. This is process-wide... you're not responsible for everything."
Spike nods, taking his dad's advice - not to go emo on the whole damn situation. He nods, sniffing, and coughing. "I just... something that I'm PARTIALLY responsible for - and failed cost lives..." He looks up at Crosscut, "How do you deal with that? DO you deal with that? Does it get any easier?"
Crosscut takes a second to consider his response, which to him is a long long time.
Spike mutters under his breath "It's a lot easier in the repair bay when I can actually CONTROL stuff."
Crosscut says evenly, "You get used to it, in a sense, but it never really gets easier." Crosscut . o 0 ( This is got to be easier than in the repair bay, when you're faced with death right before your optics. )
Spike thinks without knowing what Crosscut is thinking . o O (Even if someone dies in the repair bay, I can make the last moments of someone's life peaceful, now like this where you just gunk things up and send people to a death trap.) Spike looks at Crosscut, "Anything I can do now?" He adds "The file's sent."
Crosscut says evenly, "Now? I have another mission for you. Maybe it will help you take your mind off things. There is some danger involved."
Spike arches a brow, but he can't seem to be fully engaged. "Oh?" Probably some mission where he flies and he gets in danger of getting shot down.
Crosscut says evenly, "It involves the Quintessons, and I think we would benefit from your personal involvement."
Crosscut's evenness lulls Spike into complacency. "OK - what is it? "
Crosscut continues his calm delivery, noting its desired effect. "There is a Quintesson I want you to approach, alone."
Spike coughs, and coughs and looks up at Crosscut. "Huh? Like... in their headquarters?!"
Crosscut says evenly, "No. This one is a loner, and I think, a spy."
Spike says, "Ok..." Spike says calmly. "Where is he? And what makes you think he's a spy?"
Crosscut says evenly, "He's located on a space station orbiting Earth. He's been here for quite some time. I've always questioned him motives, but lacked proof. With the invasion, however..."
Spike says, "OK... " He looks around."
Crosscut says evenly, "I'd like to see what you can get from him."
<<Autobot>> Encore says, "ENC-55, radio check"
<<Autobot>> The college dropout, Spike says, "Loud and clear"
<<Autobot>> Encore says, "Copy."
<<Autobot>> Commander Grimlock says, "Me Grimlock here lots of chatter, no substance"
Spike says, "I can ... fly...up there." He adds "I mean... well..." He rubs the back of his neck. "OK, I haven't flown SOLO - but... I have like... 2,000 hours under my belt."
<<Autobot>> Jetfire says, "Transporting the wounded - I'll be on radio if anyone needs my assistance."
<<Autobot>> Encore says, "Copy Do. you need assistance?"
<<Autobot>> Broadside says, "Travel safely, Jetfire. I'll let the Joes know you're bringing in some of their wounded."
<<Autobot>> Jetfire says, "Acknowledged and appreciated"
<<Autobot>> Encore says, "Repeat do you need escort? I am an AC130 gunship"
Prowl walks into the command center.
Spike listens intensely to Crosscut, but jumps slightly as he sees Prowl walk in.
Crosscut says evenly, "Well, if you like, I can fly up there with you, if you want to take a shuttle."
Crosscut is talking to Spike in the Command Center.
Jetfire walks in like he's flown halfway across the world in only 30 minutes.
Spike grins, relieved. "I'd like that - thanks - gives me a chance to prep." He looks at his outfit - he has some body armor on, but the majority of the outfit is diplomatic professional.
Crosscut nods. "I'd be happy to." He looks up as other Autobots arrive in the Command Center.
Spike waves to Prowl and nods. "Heyah..." He then leaves pretty quickly.
Prowl strides into the Command Center, intent upon getting an update from the other members of Autobot CoC, as well as updating them on his current plans. He nods upon seeing Crosscut and Spike, swiftly coming over to join them at a conference table with a holographic projector in the center of it.
"Crosscut--excellent." He nods, getting down to business immediately. "I have been meaning to speak with you. I received your transmission regarding the situation surrounding the USS Flagg. I need you and Jetfire to fill me in on the exact details of the communication failure."
(Radio) Crosscut transmits, "Prep the shuttle - I'll catch up in a moment, Spike." to Spike.
Grimlock tromps in, the Dinobot CO looking around as he enters and approaching the group that seems to be forming.
Crosscut nods to Prowl, and then gives Grimlock a nod in greeting as well.
(Radio) Spike sends Crosscut a radio transmission, 'Acknowledged'
Crosscut looks up at Jetfire, allowing him to speak first
Jetfire clears his throat, "Well, we moved to intercept what looked to be the area where we spotted Quintisson activity." He looks over at Crosscut, then at Prowl. "I saw a vehicle which was what humans refer to as an aircraft carrier. I assumed it was from another country - I brought the shuttle lower to inform them of the danger and vacate." He ends by saying plainly "After several minutes of back-and-forth communication, we were able to confirm it was the USS Flagg" He adds "Typhoon recognized the vehicle, however, I wanted to make sure it was in fact the Joes..."
Crosscut listens silently but intently.
Grimlock listens to the explaination, optic visor visibly dimming as if grumpy. Grimlock of course was being rebuilt in the repairbay when this happened. Or he wouldn't have.
Prowl raises a brow ridge at Jetfire's explanation, then frowns. "The humans were not forthcoming in their communications regarding their allegiance? Were they reluctant to identify themselves? What about your evacuation orders? Did they appear to be compliant?"
The warfare strategist then turns to Grimlock as the Dinobot arrives. "Grimlock, thank you for attending. I need a field SITREP, stat."
Jetfire says, "No... they stated they were there for another reason - they were conducting anti-terrorism initiatives against COBRA - I told them this was more pressing, and they expressed their desire to help under the new EDC agreement between the Joes and the Autobots.""
Jetfire says, "This added more minutes of general confusion between us."
Grimlock takes a moment to collect his thoughts. Looking down to the floor of the commander center before lifting his head and beginning to speak. "Me Grimlock took command of Refugee camp outside L.A. Defense part working well, no fish-cons get in, keeps our wounded safe, keeps humans that run away from fish-cons safe.." His voice grows louder and angry "But no can keep Quints from expanding. Me Grimlock lead two assaults on Quint forces, first time me Grimlock smash them hard, test them response. It weak response. Second Time me Grimlock go with G.I. Joe rescue humans... Snarl and Grimlock take heavy damage, me Grimlock just recover from fight. Some 'Cepticons help us. Starscream apparently in control, him abandon earth, only save him warriors then leave. Him War Crinimal."
Grimlock says, "If us have any chance to succeed. must destroy or cripple Fish-cons, so no can merge."
Crosscut nods, looking from officer to officer as he listens carefully.
"Hrm." Prowl listens to Jetfire, then to Grimlock. Addressing the scientist first, he folds his arms. "So they refused to evacuate, and the vessel was destroyed by the Quintessons?" he inquires further. "I suggest we communicate with the EDC to establish void zones that we have determined are unsafe for human entry, due to Quintesson activity."
Turning to Grimlock, he nods. "I'm glad the refugees are safe, but I'm afraid the settlement won't be a permanent solution if we can't put a permanent damper in the Quintesson's plans..." he trails off momentarily, thinking. "We need to go on the offensive--send a recon team to search out the nearest base of operations and appropriate as much intel from it as possible before destroying it. Then based upon the information obtained, we will begin to strategically eliminate any and every outpost they have established on Earth, and beyond if necessary.
"As for Starscream...we'll leave him be for now. If he wants to assist us in our efforts, let him but don't ever trust a word he says. If the Seacons harass us, we'll do what we can to stave them off, but the primary objective is to find and destroy any Quintesson establishments...if there even are any. It's likely they are simply operating out of their ships..."
"But it doesn't matter. Wherever they are, we will find them and, and we will destroy them."
Crosscut politely awaits his return to report.
Crosscut nods, listening to all the other commanders before adding his piece. Crosscut says evenly, "I believe the main problem with the Flagg situation is the lack of communication between us and our allies. Our operative in Los Angeles, Benin-Jeri, was able to ascertain the Seacons' target before they even left our West Coast. However, that information wasn't relayed to the Joes until after the Seacons arrived, shortly before the attack. While we had no way of knowing the Joes had a craft in the area, the Joes would have known and had time to prepare. The EDC is working well when it comes to threat response, but we're still inadequate when it comes to getting intel into the hands of our allies before it's too late." Crosscut lapses back into polite silence.
Grimlock says, "Me Grimlock got report from Junkion.. Me grimlock told him me was confined to repair bay. Him broadcast to other Autobots.. Me Grimlock take blame for break in communications."
Crosscut looks at Grimlock. "We're all to blame. Even with the disruptions of communications, any of us could have tried harder, but without a system in place, each of us assumed someone else was taking care of the problem. This is why I asked for a process review, sir," he addresses to Prowl.
Jetfire nods to Prowl. "Acknowledged, They can still play a pivotal role, but it would be advantageous for us to focus solely on the Quintisson threat and not be in rescue mode." He nods to Crosscut, "With all due respect."
Crosscut looks at Jetfire. "The respect is mutual. I have another line of query, however..."
Jetfire nods at Crosscut, "Please..."
Crosscut says evenly, "There is a Quintesson tradesman that has been working in our vicinity for several local years now. I have long suspected he is a spy, and the recent invasion, in my mind at least, confirms it. I would like to send Spike to interview him -- maybe see what we can learn from this 'neutral party'."
Jetfire shakes his head. "Spike's a human - there's no reason one of us can't interview him." Jetfire nods to Prowl, hoping to get his confirmation on this purely scientific belief. Jetfire says, "Besides, we know far more about the Quintissons than humans - even if your knowledge is... limited at best."
Crosscut says evenly, "I believe if he is a spy he's more likely to be cagey with an actual Cybertronian."
Prowl grumbles. These blame games were ridiculous and pointless. "It does not matter whose fault this was, damn it. Only what we will do to rectify the situation. Which is to establish void zones for the humans--both EDC and G.I. Joe."
He listens to Crosscut's suspicions regarding the tradesman. "Excellent--we have a lead then. Bring him here, and we will interrogate him. If he has nothing to hide, then he will have nothing to worry about. Even if his knowledge of his colleagues is limited, he may be able to obtain information regarding their operations more easily than ourselves or any of our allies."
Jetfire doesn't budge. Yes, he's happy Prowl took his side (did he? Spike could still interview him - please have Spike interview him :) ). Still, Crosscut's approach is rather unique, if not a bit unconventional.
Crosscut oohs. "Bold. I like it. If he complies, we have him on our turf. If he refuses, it only confirms my suspicions. However, I still believe our human ambassador should make the invitation. These Quintessons seem to know more about us than we do them, but humans seem to have piqued their curiosity."
Grimlock sounds eager, he tires of the delays and failures "Bring spy. Grimlock make sure him talk. He never stop, talk forever."
Crosscut glances warily at Grimlock.
Jetfire mumbles "Perhaps... if we...extended an invite - instead of an apprehension, he'd be more willing to help us?"
"Spike may be a valued asset in the interrogation. If you prefer he were present, you may request such." Prowl nods to Jetfire. "But I want him brought here, in the case that detaining him is beneficial. If he does not have any useful information, I am certain we will be able to...convince him to get useful information."
Crosscut says evenly, "I will not have any abuse of detainees, Prowl." Crosscut's voice suddenly exhibits a hint of steel.
Jetfire looks over at Crosscut and clears his throat. "I concur - most of the times those methods yield incorrect information anyway - and who knows, he may be in the mood to cooperate."
Crosscut looks up at Jetfire. "Quite," he agrees.
Grimlock looks between the other three, voicing his opinion even though no one asked "If him spy has information that save other life then him Prowl, me Grimlock, and rest of Autobots are responsible to get information to save others. Spy made choice, help quints, give up safety."
Crosscut looks at Grimlock. "This isn't 24. Torturing a prisoner will only make him lie, setting us back. I will not be party to any manhandling of detainees, even those as loathed as the Quintessons."
Jetfire says calmly "Let's...see what we can glean using our universal rules of interrogation, shall we?" Jetfire looks at Crosscut "24 what?"
Crosscut looks at Jetfire. "An Earth media reference. My apologizes."
(Radio) Spike sends Crosscut a radio transmission, 'Uh... we still doing this?'
(Radio) Crosscut transmits, "Yes, but with a twist. We're extending an invitation to Autobot City." to Spike.
(Radio) Spike sends Crosscut a radio transmission, '...okay.'
Grimlock looks to Prowl. Grimlock isn't sure where the final word lies with Prime indisposed. Everyone knows Grimlock will take what power is left to grab, and then tug a few more miles worth to boot. But he nows his opinion isn't the only one that matters... yet.
Crosscut nods. "It's settled then. Jetfire, would you like to accompany Spike, or shall I?"
Jetfire nods to Crosscut "You seem to have a rapport with him that I lack, so it'd be advantageous if you went, Crosscut."
"If he does cooperate, then excellent, but we must be wary of any intel he gives us." Prowl says sternly, nodding to Grimlock. "Grimlock is right. We have a responsibility to the rest of the galaxy. 'Helping people' sometimes means healing them or giving them free supplies. But sometimes, it means injuring or executing the ones who are dangerous."
He stands up. "You have your orders. Communicate with the EDC to establish void zones for the humans where the likelihood of Quintesson activity is highest. Make sure they are enforced. Deploy recon teams to search for Quintesson outposts or locate their ships, and finally, bring this tradesman in for an interrogation. We will take subsequent action based upon his disposition toward us, any intel he may give us, and his willingness to cooperate. That is all."
Crosscut nods. Crosscut says evenly, "I will... pass the zone order on to Spike to negotiate with the Joes." Crosscut bows, and heads out.
Jetfire nods and leaves for his post. "Acknowledged."
Autobot Shuttle <Federation>
Crosscut hurries to the shuttle to meet Spike.
Spike turns around. The ship is fueled and ready go to. Spike looks almost competent in the craft of shuttle flight. He looks up at Crosscut, "OK...I think we're set." He looks over at Crosscut, "Anything I should know about this guy before I talk to him? Why he had a fall-out with the Quintissons? Anything I should avoid?"
Crosscut says evenly, "Theoretically he's a simple merchant no longer affiliated with the Quintesson empire. However, he's been strangely absent from his shop since the Quintesson assault. I'm hoping we can catch him unaware."
Spike nods, putting on the space travel gear. "And how do you know him?"
Crosscut says evenly, "Personally, I do not. But I have optics on his space station, as I do everywhere." Crosscut remote-transmits a dossier of Dealiticus to the shuttle's console, projecting it for Spike to peruse.
The shuttle flies onward to...
Skies Above the US/Mexico - North America
- The air around is always changing, with clouds and winds constantly building, drifting and dispersing. The occasional aircraft may pass by, but aside from that and the formulating weather, there's not much to see.
Spike blinks and can't help but grin widely as he successfully navigates safely out of Autobot City. He looks up at Crosscut, grinning, but he quickly recovers since...you know... this is no big thing.
Crosscut says evenly, "Continue into orbit."
Crosscut takes the command chair. It's a little too big for him, and he has to adjust it. Crosscut says evenly, "Steady as she goes. You're doing excellently. The hard part will be matching the velocity and trajectory of the space station, but I've reviewed your sim logs... I have every faith in you."
Spike grins, "Thanks...appreciated." He then continues to fly upwards.
The shuttle flies onward to...
Near Orbit - Earth
- Starting at around 43 miles and extending to 310 miles is the Ionosphere, the layer so called because it consists of ionized particles that help reflect harmful uv radiation. This layer, and expanding outward to the moon, is where most objects orbit the earth. There's no real air to speak of up here, which makes breathing a problem. This is also a travellers first real view of space, or their first view of the Earth.
- Looking up you'll see the black tapestry of space, dotted with millions of sparkling stars and distant worlds. Beneath you, the Earth is a peaceful collage of green and blue.
- Autobot Shuttle <Federation>
- Derelict Starship
- Neutral Station <Vilnacron>
Neutral Station <Vilnacron>
- This large, open star dock contains ships of various types and pedigrees, ostentatiously guarded by small knots of robotic guards.
Spike blinks, looking sheepishly at Crosscut, "Sorry, missed that arc trajectory a bit." Spike sighs and bites his lower lip.
Spike gulps and breathes out. Nerves.
Crosscut says evenly, "You got it. We're here."
The shuttle unseals, with a slight hiss of pressure equalization.
Spike nods, if only he can believe that.
Spike nods and breaths out "OK, let's do this."
Outside, a freakin' lizard man comes out to greet the shuttle.
Spike disembarks from the Federation.
- Your standard tall, Optimus Prime-sized giant lizardman.
Spike walks out of the shuttle and calmly approaches the freakin' lizard man.
Galor looks down at Spike and.... well, he's doing something with his face. You hope the expression is welcoming, not hunger. He looks like he can swallow Spike whole.
Spike steels his spine, but doesn't puff out his chest ala Sal in another window.
The lizardman hisses, "Welcome to Vilnacron Sstation."
Spike looks up at Galor, "Hello... I thought a formal invite was in order... on behalf of the citizens of my planet, welcome to Earth."
Spike so wants to back up and hide behind the reassuring presence of Crosscut, much like he did with Prime and Bumblebee in the past, but he reamins out and alone.
The lizardman looks... well, it's hard to tell.
Spike adds "And also, I want to thank you for refraining from attacking us - unlike your other collegues."
"Well, thank you," the lizardman responds "However, I have no violent collegues. You must be misinformed."
Spike looks back at Crosscut,then at the lizardman. "Then what would you describe the beings that are currently enslaving one of our largest cities?"
The lizardman sounds chagrinned. "Ah. Them. Yess. Most unfortunate. Bad for businesss."
Spike wants to look at Crosscut for validation. Goddamn he wants to look at Crosscut for validation, but he remains locked on the lizardman. Spike nods "To put it mildly - in short - it's hard to have customers when they keep dying on you."
Galor hisses, "I agree, 100%. It'ss a tragedy. I wish I could help. Do you need defenssive armour or weaponry, Sspike Witwicky?"
<<Autobot>> Prowl says, "And by 'waste no time', I mean that I don't want to see -any- dallying about, is that clear?"
<<Autobot>> Commander Grimlock says, "Me grimlock second."
Spike 's face falls slightly. He forgot to introduce himself, but he kne.."How did you..."
<<Autobot>> Prowl chuckles. "Grimlock, I trust that you will be lacking in nothing when it comes to enforcing this."
Crosscut says evenly, "You must be Galor, Dealiticus's assistant." Two can play at this game.
Spike clears his throat, "We were hoping for something more tactical - like knowledge of why the Quintissons are here - what they intend to do..." He adds "Perhaps with that gesture, we can begin to establish some trade routes with you... and you alone - "
<<Autobot>> Commander Grimlock says, "Me grimlock said in meeting. Quint ships will burn. Me Grimlock know of two, one Me grimlock seen self. Other me Grimlock heard rumors but know where send recon. Me Grimlock problem is no one come when Grimlock call. Maybe jhim Prowl now giving order makes difference."
<<Autobot>> Prowl says, "I certainly hope so."
Spike adds "We have information - the biggest bit of information is that we know they're not going to stop with just one city."
Galor nods. "You are well-known throughout the galaxy, Sspike Witwicky, friend of the Autobotss. And I know my employer would be anxsiouss to help in any way he can to end this ssenselesss bloodshed."
Spike nods, not quite believing Galor's talk. He looks back at Crosscut, then at Galor. "We have some diplomatic quarters in Autobot City - that would be probably a better place to further discuss a mutally-agreed upon solution to this.... situation."
Galor says, "I will call him. Would you like to ssettle in until he arrives?"
Spike nods "Thank you - " Spike looks up at Crosscut, hoping to get ANY gauge of what's happening right now.
Crosscut nods. "That would be very helpful."
Galor glances around at the many accomodations of the Vilnacron Station. "If you sseek refreshment, you are welcome to wait in the bar... the drinkss will be on uss. If you need resst, we have full hotel sservices for any sspecies. And if you'd like to peruse our wares..." He gestures tantalizingly to Deal's Weapons Emporium.
Spike grins weakly "That won't be necessary."
Crosscut looks down at Spike. "Would you like to wait in the shuttle?" He once again defers to Spike in front of others, building up Spike's authority in their alien segmented eyes.
Spike shakes his head and says flatly "No...let's... let's check this place out." Spike walks with Crosscut, checking the place out like he'd check out a brand new pub.
Crosscut says evenly, "Where shall we start?"
Spike shrugs and says brazenly "Let's be social... "
Crosscut says evenly, "The bar, then?"
Crosscut heads to the bar, enjoying the prospect of field work for a change.