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Characters: Cuffs Arcee Wheeljack Soundwave
Location: Vococent's Research Station - Deep Space
Date: 8/27/15
TP: Spotlight Imager TP
Summary: Cuffs searches for his last desperate solution for an alternative chance to save Eurythma. As the station breaks apart, he comes across someone he has his own history with...

Vococent's Research Station

The massive space construct barely qualifies as a ship. Nothing but a series of tubes, occasionally linking together at odd angles, some even temporally linked from outside normal space, Vococent's massive station, dubbed "Shryla-23" for reasons unknown, is no doubt on its last legs. Power seems to be intermittent throughout the station, damage on the outer hull, probably from meteorites, denotes that certain areas are simply unsafe. It will be both a maze and a tomb to the unwary...


The lone shuttle <<Resolute>> crests the gas giant's horizon finally. Given the eccentric nature of the neutral scientist/musical engineer, Vococent, if he wanted a reclusive site to do his studies, he certainly found an appropriate spot. Sensor readings note something orbiting the unnamed planet. Perhaps a sigh of relief is earned, there WAS a station here after all. Light from the nearby binary stars glint off of the decrepit, tube-like station as it appears before your visuals. While you can make out a few areas that still have power, that have possible docking stations, the station is in poor repair. With the place such as this, could the old codger still be alive at all?

Cuffs had been on edge all trip, barely saying anything and remaining strapped/magnetized to his seat as much as he could. As they approached, the mech looked even more doubtful. He tapped, opening a comm frequency on an older used band, in hopes someone may be listening "Attention, we seek the cybertronian known as Vococent. Do you hear us? This is the Autobot shuttle Resolute." he stops then, to listen

The long dead station flickers with power at a few points, though whether or not that is in response to the comms sent out is undetermined. An acceptable amount of time goes by to signify that either the inhabitants aboard are either not wanting to respond, or not able. A preliminary scan shows that several areas are not travel-worthy, unless you want to cling to the outside of the station, but at least a rudimentary map is completed, with the areas that still have power, marked for exploration.

Cuffs frowns anxiously once more, and gestures the pilot to take them in closer, to what appeared to be the most 'central' of the working airlocks. "Imager had better appreciate this." he mutters, waiting until the vehicle had come to a full stop as he finally turns off the comms.

The 'best', and that term is used loosely, airlock is approached and docked with. The old station giving a rather significant groan of stress as it seals up, but the doors do allow access. The path inside is dark, with only the occasionally flickering of an exposed circuit that still momentarily has power...


Wheeljack docks with the rust bucket looking station as carefully as he can, which is a term best used loosely. He's not too sure about this, "You sure you wanna dock with this thing? It looks like a haunted house meets a trash can meets what can loosely be described as a space station. Usually not a recipe for good times, ya know?"


The station shudders under Wheeljack's expert piloting/blundering.

"We're committed now, Wheeljack. I promised Elita One I'd look into this. We'll just be very careful." remarks Cuffs. Once the shuttle had stopped, he finally unbuckled. "In, talk to him, and then out again, hopefully WITH him."

Wheeljack shrugs, "All right. It's your show kid. Just remember....first thing that pops out and scream 'RED RUM!'...don't say I didn't warn ya, ya know? I've been to my fair share of relicy type places. Few ended well. So stay alert." he pats his different compartment. "And of course. I forgot Mr. Pointy."

"... I don't get that reference, but I have a feeling that's a good thing. We'll be careful. Who knows? He may not even own the station anymore." he taps his own taser-rifle and moves to the airlock. "Magnet boots will work, right?"

After the two enter the station, and the airlock door seals behind you, the darkness grows deeper, only warded off by the two mechs' lights. Wheeljack can surmise that something wrong, something 'science wrong' happened here at one point. While undoubtedly the station suffered several meteor impacts, the inventor notes certain bits of metal that seem much more fragile than they would generally appear to be.

The next hatch starts to open automatically when Cuffs and Wheeljack get near it, as they look for what can only be considered a hub of the station. Wind and debris immediately start to flood out of the area you're at now, as the next compartment must be in vacuum. The doors don't open too far, which means that nobody gets sucked out into the nothingness of space, but it will take some consideration on how to progress forward.
On the other side of the half-open hatch, a good chunk of the flooring and one wall are simply gone. To traverse such a spot may be tricky...

GAME: Cuffs PASSES a COURAGE roll of Average difficulty.

Cuffs groans softly at what he sees, and looks at Wheeljack "Does your jetpack work in a vacuum?" he asks the Scientist, bracing himself against the wind, waiting for to eventually, he hopes, equalize.

Wheeljack shrugs as his optics light up. "Sure. But given that it is a vacuum? Well, I don't have much in the way of brakes. I'd just keep goin without reverse thrust. Which I could rig in a pinch...but why not just use the good ole fashioned mag boots?"

Cuffs is quiet a long moment, then facepalms "Right. That's easier, definitely. " he agrees and reaches up gingerly, to try and pry the door open further. "Gimme a hand here...

The door opens in protest, and it's a good thing Autobots have had eons of experience out in space, otherwise this could've been a challenge. Of COURSE they have their magboots on. The pair of Autobots have to walk onto the wall, and then ceiling of the next, partially ruined section as the station makes some rude noises at their transgression. Off in the distance, Cuffs can see a section of the station just...snap off. It slowly, slowly, slowly, goes off on its own, embarking on its own grand adventure.

Another service hatch is forced open, again air rushes out of it. Then again, why is there air out here anyway? Perhaps the next room has an answer, as it seems to have power. Given the lack of too much juice in the system, the bots could find out some useful info if they wanted, but they'll have to decide on what they want to find...

Wheeljack helps get the door open and switches to internal radio. No sound in space. No matter what Star Wars and Star Trek and every other sci-fi pretends. "All right. Here goes nothin'. Move slow...but steady. This think isn't exactly sturdy..." as he says that the piece goes flying off into space and he watches it, "We don't want to become that thing."

Cuffs nods and follows Wheeljack carefully, making sure each boot was secure before lifting the other one. "Can we not TALK About 'that thing?'" He requested, voice tense over the internal radio. Again, he waited until the air rushing out had stopped, watching the last few crystals of frozen molecules drift away. Once they were aground again, he looks about, then at the power there "... can we link a PADD to this and talk to it you think?"

Wheeljack takes a closer look and pulls out his padd. He does a few scans of it for safety. He's not hooking anything up to a strange computer or system without checking it out first. "In theory...yes. But let's not be hasty. I'm running some basic scans for safety or overt bugs of the less pleasant nature. You know...boom boom? That sort of thing?"

Cautious Wheeljack is Cautious. It's old code, but it checks out. However since it's not Space Linux, there's always a chance for bugs or viruses.

Cuffs nods and steps back out of Wheeljacks' way. "Do what you have to then. " he keeps his back to space, and instead inspects the next door without moving to activate it. Unless it does automatically...

Wheeljack nods and determines it's safe. He carefully hooks his PADD in and starts the interface process up. "It's safe. Linking up now. What do you want to check out on the system? We should be able to get pretty good access. It's an antiquated system."

Cuffs thinks, then states "Can we tell when the last time it was accessed by... anyone was, and in which section of the station? "

Up until about 30 years ago, the station was still having regular access. There was no ID associated with it, but considering this is the lair of a hermit, that shouldn't be too surprising. What IS surprising is that another 'outside login' has connected recently, only a few hours before you two showed up! Wheeljack can supply the location of the login, and together you can extrapolate how to get there.

You also learn a few of the key areas that were regularly monitored, but they are labelled by numbers, or containers, not their actual contents.

Wheeljack shows the PADD to Cuffs, "Place hasn't been regularly used in 30 mega-cycles. No solid ID on the access codes. What is odd? Someone was here. Recently. Just a few thousand astroseconds ago." he taps a few buttons on the pad and brings up the location, "From here."

Cuffs sighs "That's not good I think." he remarks "Or very good. Maybe it was just a friend visiting. Can we point the way? " he looks finally at the doors behind him, considering if they can now be closed, to avoid depressurizing the entire station.

The door behind you can and does close, so the station doesn't decompress entirely. That's a plus. The two Autobots venture forward a few more zones into one of the few areas that actually has more than one exit. Already depressurized, and with the Autobots expecting such tactics, it was just another issue to deal with. This area seems to have been damaged greatly, the metal seems even more fragile here, and that's not just due to the gaping hole in the hull. The broken lab equipment suggests this may've been one of those hotspots of 'check in time' that Wheeljack found out, and power does still work here. The path to the left is the way to that checkpoint data you noted, but even a ginger look around the area suggests that the station is so fragile here that you could step through the floor at any moment...and then maybe everything'd break apart and be lost forever.

GAME: Cuffs PASSES an INTELLIGENCE roll of Average difficulty.

Cuffs examines the scene as best he can, and while he may not be a top forensic specialist, his long years as serving on the force serve him well. Having been present at the Tarn riots so many eons ago, Cuffs can note that the situation is very similar to when glass gas bombs were used in that assault back then. There was an explosion of some sort, and it'd explain the weakening of the flooring. It's not QUITE right, some of the data doesn't seem to match up but its of a similar issue.

Cuffs shifts a little uneasily at this. He ensures he had his rifle secure, and powered up. "Can't go that way. I guess we'll have to go around the other way." he states to Wheeljack, looking at him for his opinion.

Wheeljack examines carefully, being all sciency does has its perks. He takes some scans as well and then nods in agreement, "Yeah. That way is bad juju. Agreed." he nods in the other way, "Think that way would be better?"

Arcee is, at the moment, inside a crawl space near the top of the station, examining the area thoroughly for signs of recent intrusion. The crawl space seems to her like a vulnerable access point, so she didn't see any harm in checking it out.

Cuffs remarks, "We have no choice. Let's go." he stands still a moment, then turns to take the lead.

Deeming the situation with prudence, Cuffs and Wheeljack take the long road around. However they do have their destination in mind, one of the end capsules in this long wiry station. Even as Arcee rejoins the two, another section of the station breaks off, trailing off into the unknown. The entire station shudders again as more cracks start to announce their presence, as it just seems to start disintegrating before your eyes.

The room of the remote access comes before you, sealed shut as everything else has been. It opens just as easily.

The room inside is fully powered, a computer bank humming as it performs operations. Most importantly of all, it shows a large blue figure with his back turned to you as you enter.

Soundwave

Soundwave

Soundwave turns his head towards the party, raising his concussion blaster in anticipation of combat, though he doesn't fire. Behind him, the old grayed form of a wizened mech lies sitting at his desk. Vococent, Cuffs can identify him from his profile picture. The old mech lays dead...

Wheeljack would arc an optic ridge if he could. His shoulder blaster immediately turns to Soundwave, "Well I'll be Sharkticon's bastard cousin. Look who it is. And look what he did. I wouldn't fire that blaster chuckles...unless you want us all to float into oblivion. At least I got some recourse with a jetpack. Anti-grav don't work in space. No gravity....so don't think I'm not willing to fire. What in the blue shade of unicron's left cheek are you doing here?"

"...Okay, this whole situation just started making a lot more sense," Arcee remarks with disgust as she sees Soundwave and the old mech he dispatched in order to take over the station. Wheeljack has seniority in this situation, so she keeps her laser-pistol prepped for use.

Cuffs seizes upon seeing Soundwave, and lifts his own gun as well, taking a step to one side so as to split the targets of the three mechs, and dropping to a knee. Immediately, his combat visor drops into place and his optics scan for sign of the tapecons, his face darkening.

And then he fires, the small barbed points of his taser-rifle flying across the room right at the Big Blue Bot.


Even as he recognizes Cuffs, recognizes the personal enmity the cop bot bears for him, Soundwave doesn't return fire. He intones, "RAVAGE. LASERBE..." His call for alarm doesn't get much further as Cuffs tases the scrap out of him immediately. Soundwave convulses from the stunning attack, dropping his concussion blaster. At least temporarily, Soundwave collapses atop the computer bank, his falling knocking the old dead mech out of his chair, and him into it. It'd be comical if there wasn't a dead body next to him...

Wheeljack would narrow his optics at Soundwave and nods at Cuffs, "Well, that's one way to skin a cat, I spose. I really really really want to shoot him. Right in the spark. But I imagine you want to interrogate him. Don't be gentle. They call me nuts? You should see the slag he and Shockwave do."

"We taking him in?" Arcee asks Cuffs, standing by for...well, when Soundwave is involved, one has to be prepared for just about any dirty business in the book. She holds her gun at the ready.

When Soundwave awakes, groggy and secured from the stunning blast, the Intel Commander seems oddly subdued. If one didn't know better, they may think he wanted this. "I CHOSE TO COME HERE, ALONE." He pauses, noting the group before him. "I LEARNED ABOUT THE LAST NOTE AS DID YOU. BUZZSAW AND LASERBEAK WERE KEEPING WATCH ON YOUR EURYTHMEN...ENOUGH SO THAT I CAME TO A SIMILAR CONCLUSION AS YOU DID."

Soundwave's impassive stare at Wheeljack betrays nothing. It's all true of course, "IF YOU KILL ME, I WILL ENSURE ALL THE DATA I JUST COLLECTED WILL NEVER ASSIST YOUR PET CAUSE. EURYTHMA WILL SHAKE ITSELF INTO OBLIVION."

Cuffs folds his arms "What would you care about Eurythma? You killed him after all." he gestured to the body. HIs combat mask was still down, but his optics were brightly alert underneath. "What purpose did you REALLY have here then?" He nods at Arcee... but it was a bit hesitant.

Wheeljack chuckles, "Yeah yeah yeah. Bait and switch. I know the routine Soundwave. I suggest you answer Cuffs questions. He's the cop. Me?" he gives a dark chuckle. If you didn't know him better, you'd think he was serious. A buzzsaw comes out and replaces his hand, "I prefer just show ya why they call me mad? But it's the kids show. Consider yourself lucky...unless he decides to let me loose on ya." It's all a bluff, but Soundwave doesn't know that. There are stories that Wheeljack is crazy.

Soundwave responds, "VOCOCENT DIED 30 MEGACYCLES AGO. HIS EXPERIMENT, HAVING CAPTURED AND TESTED A PIECE OF THE LAST NOTE, FLED ITS CONTAINMENT FIELD, SHATTERING THE STATION IN THE PROCESS." Cuffs main question leads Soundwave to give pause. Several moments go by, enough that it becomes obvious that perhaps he's a bit nervous even.

"THERE ARE SOME THINGS, SOME SOUNDS THAT CANNOT BE CONTROLLED; THEY MUST BE DESTROYED."

Again he looks towards Wheeljack, eyeing him and Arcee. The Autobots were away from the Prime, and were left to their own devices. He responds with an engineer's question. "HYPERMODULATING ENERGY TRANSFERELS."

To Cuffs and Arcee perhaps, the phrase meant nothing. To Wheeljack, it meant a way to assault sound itself. For a sapient being like the Lost Note, it could be the way to kill it...if he had the right encryption protocol.

Arcee looks decidedly unconvinced. Soundwave is a notorious liar. They were out of their element out here on this space station, and she didn't much like this situation, despite it /apparently/ being in their favor.

<<Autobot>> Arcee says, "What is he even talking about? He's probably making this up."

Cuffs frowns, and of course, turns to Wheeljack, and then Arcee, then back to Soundwave "I suppose if we agree to let you go, you'll share this information with us then, as well as about this 'experiment.'. " he remarks. He then lowers his head, falling silent as he calculates, staring at Soundwave as he thought.

<<Autobot>> Cuffs says, "Wheeljack?"

<<Autobot>> Herr Doktor Wheeljack says, "It's a way to manipulate sound. Essentially assault it. It's not good. Very very not good. Think the Flash Pak...for sonics."

<<Autobot>> Cuffs says, "I...I think I get it."

GAME: Cuffs FAILS a COURAGE roll of High difficulty.

<<Autobot>> Arcee says, "Maybe it's a real thing, but he could very well be bluffing."

Wheeljack looks at Soundwave in disbelief, "You have got to be kiddin me. That's all theoretical science. Mechs been playing with it for eons and never came up with anything concrete. Most knew best to leave well enough alone. Even I don't dabble in that kind of smeg. How do I know you ain't pulling the sheet metal over our optics?

Cuffs actually starts to shake faintly, and looks away from Soundwave. He lets Wheeljack ask the questions now, and instead turns his shoulders to face Arcee, watching her for some reason.


"VOCOCENT BELIEVED IN THE POWER OF THE EURYTHMEN SONGS GREATLY AFTER THEY HEALED HIS CONGENITAL SPARK DEFECTS, ENOUGH SO THAT HE DEVOTED HIS LIFE TO SOLVING THEIR HARMONIC ISSUES IN GRATITUDE. SOMEHOW HE MANAGED TO ABSORB PART OF THE LAST NOTE, EXTRACTING IT FROM THE VERY PLANET, AND BROUGHT IT HERE FOR STUDY. HE GOT CARELESS, KNOWING THAT IT WAS BOUND TO RE-EMERGE SHORTLY. HE EXPOSED HIMSELF TO IT IN ACCIDENT, REVERSING THE HEALING EFFECT. IN DOING SO, HE HAD HIS EPIPHANY, THE FREQUENCY NEEDED TO DESTROY THE NOTE. IN ESSENCE, HE DIED FOR HIS KNOWLEDGE."

Soundwave's level gaze adds, "AND I HAVE IT NOW."

Before, Soundwave had his curiosity. But now the mech had his full attention. The officer looks back up and stared now fully at Soundwave right now, a bit of... doubt showing on his face. His optics narrowed suspiciously. Did Soundwave know? A hand half lifts to his chestplate then drops. "You have an extra copy then? Also; why the Decepticon interest? Wanting a new weapon?"

Soundwave simply repeats himself, "THERE ARE SOME THINGS THAT CANNOT BE CONTROLLED; THERE ARE SOME THINGS THAT ONLY CAN BE DESTROYED."

"Even if the /base/ of what you're saying is true, I really think you're embellishing this discovery," Arcee tells Soundwave. "Because if you wielded the kind of power you claim, you would have destroyed all three of us by now."

Cuffs nods at Soundwave "That doesn't answer my second question. Data." he also lifts a hand to take it, expecting a physical form.


Wheeljack nods and continues to speak, "Why don't you let me verify your information? You know I'm more than capable. And why would you even care about any of this? What do you care about that planet? Last I checked other societies or even their former homes isn't real high on the con to-do list. I'm thinking...you want a weapon."

Soundwave responds to Arcee, "YOU ARE NOT A SAPIENT SOUND CONSTRUCT. WITH THE LAST NOTE IN PLAY, EVEN THE GREAT SONGS OF EURYTHMA ARE FLAWED AND USELESS, TO COLLECT THEM WHILE IT LIVES...." He lets his hand show a bit, apparently the Autobots were doubting his altruism. Soundwave considers his options a bit further, "I HAVE THE *ONLY* COPY. IF IT IS TO BECOME A WEAPON, IT WILL BE ONE USED BY YOURSELFS AS WELL, FOR IT IS YOUR ONLY CHANCE AT DESTROYING THIS CREATURE." His glare seems to steady on Cuffs, "THAT IS WHAT YOU WANT, IS IT NOT?"

<<Autobot>> Herr Doktor Wheeljack says, "I know he can hear every word that I say on this channel, but I'd say it to his faceplate anyway. This is smells of Sharkticon dung."

Cuffs looks at Arcee, and then Wheeljack. Then back once more as he states "That is the intent of this mission - to save that planet from destruction. It is the ONLY reason we came here in the first place." He remarks. The mech knew the doubts of his comrades, but this mech at least, seemed committed - more so than he was only ten minutes ago.

<<Autobot>> Cuffs says, "I know but... it may be the only way if Imager can't pull it together. We need a plan B, or at least a Plausible B."

<<Autobot>> Arcee says, "Taking it is really our only option, because it's either going to be worthless to us or worth something..."

<<Autobot>> Herr Doktor Wheeljack says, "Fine fine fine. This isn't my show kid. I'm just along for the ride. You want to trust him...trust him. I'd just as soon shoot him as look at him. Some of the things he, Starscream and Shockwave created on Cybertron....but I digress."

<<Autobot>> Herr Doktor Wheeljack says, "Plus, Prime'd probably be upset if I shot him. You know how Prime gets when he's upset."

Arcee hates feeling like Soundwave has them over a barrel, but that's how this seems. What's the worst that can happen if the drive doesn't contain what's promised? Planetary death, for one. Possibly worse.

<<Autobot>> Cuffs says, "I'm not 'kid'.... But do agree with you on all accounts. Believe me."

Cuffs remarks "Give us the copy then, and we'll turn around and return to Cybertron with it. Right now." he wouldn't say he would let Soundwave go entirely. He couldn't say it aloud. But he had implied it.

Wheeljack sighs, "It's up to the kid, chuckles. But just know this....he leans in closer to Soundwave, his voice taking on a serious edge. You don't usually see this side of Wheeljack. He's the zany, loud mouthed and strange analogy makin' semi-mad scientist. Not a stone cold killer. But behind every faceplate...there hides another side. A darker one. Even in Prime. "If I find out you're lyin'...and that poor planet dies...or you make some atrocity out of the data even if it is legitimate?" he chuckles bitterly, "I'm gonna turn you into something horrible. Worse than those experiments you all ran at Darkmount during the height of the war. Much much worse. And Prime? He don't ever have to know about it."

<<Autobot>> Herr Doktor Wheeljack says, "It's just an expression."

And so it was decided, perhaps a bit more uncomfortable than Soundwave had planned. The encrypted data is handed off to the Autobots with more than a few precautions attached to it, such as if he gets off-lined, that it'd wipe the drive. The Tape Commander seems oddly subdued in his trickery as well, assuring the team that 'even that buffoon Blaster can decrypt this data and put it to use'.

Soundwave leans back in against Wheeljack, optics to visor. Clearly unfazed by the mad scientist, the Intel Commander responds, almost quipping. "I'm gonna turn you into something horrible. Worse than those experiments you all ran at Darkmount during the height of the war. Much much worse. And Prime? He don't ever have to know about it."

With that, the two sides part ways, as the clock counts down on a planet, leading to a DUEL ON A VANISHING PLANET. (next time)


Arcee blinks in surprise at Wheeljack's threat. The mech creeps her out sometimes, but...a much meaner side of her wants to know the details

Cuffs manages to maintain composure, but his optics flash at Soundwave's RESPONSE to Wheeljack, looking a little confused. He was accustomed to 'Good cop, bad cop' at least. He glances at Arcee, and then Wheeljack, and holds up the drive "Let's get home and see if this is Fools' gold or not." he remarks to them, tiredly.

Wheeljack would wink at Soundwave if he could, "See ya, chuckles. Count yourself lucky the kid was in charge. The scientific community owes you a great debt..." he's unphased by the recording. "And it's one that I'll collect. Some day." he backs off but never turns his back on Soundwave. You'd be a fool to do so until you were out of weapons or sonic range. He says offhandedly to the others. "Or...Pandora's box. Depending what's there."

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