“No, sorry. Just thinking out loud.” Maximus replied. He looked over to Honeycomb, who continued to follow the ring with her eyes. She had the biggest open smile on her face as she bent back, so enamored by the ring that she didn’t realize when she started losing her balance, and fell flat on her back.
“Woah!- oof… I’m alright!”
“Actually kid, you might be on to something.” Maximus replied. He turned his gaze to the infinite horizon. Using his optic lenses, he was able to get a closer and more detailed look than Honeycomb ever could. He followed the ring and tried to see if he could spot Liege’s island from where they were standing.
“Til all are one.” Axis said with an affirmative nod. With that settled she boarded her craft and took off, returning to the Excalibur II.
Niko waited outside the room, sitting in the hallway. His foot tapped and his ears twitched with nervous tension.
He trusted Nova. Or at the very least, he wanted to trust her. She was a lot of things, but a criminal? A thief? That couldn’t be right, could it? But when he really thought about it, he really didn’t know anything about her past. He knew that she lost both her parents when she was young, but… that was it. And when the doctor said all that stuff… Niko had seen Nova angry, he’d seen her be confident, he’d seen her cry, but he never saw her scared before. And she wasn’t just scared, she looked terrified!
He couldn’t help but think about something Nova had said to him that morning. ‘running away is the only thing I’ve ever been good at!’. What was she hiding? What has she done? Was Nova even her real name? Niko gripped the sides of his head and groaned in conflicted frustration.
He took a deep breath in, heald it for a few seconds, and let it out. No, Nova was his friend. He wasn’t going to start judging her until she had a chance to explain herself. But until then, all he could do is wait…
Once she was under, Hauler’s Narcethium worked quick. First, it unwrapped the room, and began to prepare the blood vessels. a localized coagulant was applied so as to not cause excess bleeding. Then, a nearly microscopic arm opened up the nerves.
He then, with his regular hand, carefully moved a large, nearly torus-shaped device, and laid it up against her thigh stump. A Narcetium arm plugged into the device, and several thousand tiny arms reached from the inside of the Torus device, and began connecting blood vessels, nerves, and other systems to the device. When finished, the arms retracted, and then ejected out of the center of the torus. A small door sealed itself shut over the hole, making it airtight.
With a sigh, he relaxed a bit. His diagnostics showed a successful integration of the prosthetic base, meaning the rest was just calibration. Still plugged in, the doctor reached for an ugly, but rugged prosthetic, used as a temporary option until a proper and more permanent option is ready.
As it calibrated and acclimated itself to her nervous system, the doctor leaned back, and let his narcethium do the heavy lifting.
He sighed “Primus below, my first proper human implantation and it’s already more complicated than any cybertronian or other implant.”
“Thank you, Doctor,” Razor replies. She had calmed down some, looking more at ease in the operating room, surrounded by the tools of her profession. On her way to her friends, she picks up Oreo’s tool, its dispenser mechanism flopping slightly from the motion.
“Thanks for grabbing that,” Oreo says. “I wondered where that went. Who knows, miss Nova may want some chocolate later on when she returns.”
He takes the tool from Razor, his arm opening to absorb the rectangular device.
“I think you should help Defender before doing anything else,” he continued, his voice dropping noticeably. “He got hit by some nanite stuff, and shot half his leg armor off to stop it from absorbing him. I gotta hand it to him, it’s impressive that he survived such damage without structural issue.”
Razor spun around to see Defender grinning at Oreo.
“I’m not so old that this would hurt much,” he said. “You forget I was in stasis lock for a few thousand years.”
“That’s still a rather extreme way to get rid of nanites,” Razor said. “You cracked at least three support plates in your ankle, and some of your hydraulic tubes will also need replacing. It shouldn’t hurt, but it’ll take a bit since I’ll need to shape some replacement armor for you until your sentio metallico does the rest.”
She took out a pair of human-scale pliers, and began pulling out a fragment of cracked armor from Defender’s leg, ignoring his protest that “it isn’t a painful wound!”
“If you leave this metal there, you will have an increased risk of severing more bits of your mechanics,” Razor said in reply. “Ah, there.”
She extracted a few more pieces of damaged armor, then paused, looking at the hydraulic tubes she’d mentioned earlier.
“Looks like the damage here isn’t noticeable,” she commented. “I can leave these alone.”
“Good,” Defender said. “I can’t stand feeling you prying about with those pliers anyhow.”
Within a few more minutes, Razor moved on to shaping the new armor, using the spare plating in her subspace storage. With some small additions to reinforce the Autobot’s structural integrity, his leg was repaired to an almost new condition.
“It’ll still be a few days until it is fully healed, but you can walk without pain now,” Razor said, replacing the pliers (and a few other tools) on a nearby table.
“Thanks, doc,” Defender said. “I think I’ll go find out about our next move while you’re busy here. Thanks again for the repair!”
He strode out into the halls of the Excalibur, his steps sounding distantly as he rounded the corner.
With a flash of light, the three are instantly transported to the shining city of Meridiem. Aralysa, Roadgrind, and even Stonefist glance around in awe at the astounding architecture, none of the Transformers present having visited the planet before. Roadgrind was the first to speak up.
“Incredible. Just when you think you’ve seen it all…”
On the truck transformer’s left, Stonefist shook his head, but it was clear the old bot was smiling. On Roadgrind’s right, Aralysa was likewise amazed, but was also scanning a nearby spaceport for a mode of transport.
“Can’t get everywhere in our alternate modes, after all,” she thought aloud.
“What was that?” Stonefist questioned, turning towards the blue bot.
“I said we can’t get everywhere in our alternate modes,” Aralya replied, “we’ve got to find some way to meet up with the rest of the group.”
Stonefist nodded in agreement. “Good thinking. We can-”
The rocky bot was cut off as Roadgrind interjected, “Found one!”
He pointed a dark metallic finger at an odd, rectangular ship which clearly stood out among the gilded craft in Meridiem’s nexus.
“There we go. How’s that?”
“It… stands out, that’s for sure.” Aralysa replied with more than a bit of uncertainty. To her left, Stonefist looked over at the slightly dingy, somewhat battered craft with a wry grin of approval.
“Works for me.” he said, heading off towards the ship. “Let’s go see who its skipper is.”
Aralysa shifted nervously. “Ok, if you’re sure…”
Stonefist just grunted in reply and began to make his way towards where it was moored. With little more than a glance and a shrug passing between them, Aralysa and Roadgrind followed the rocky bot on into the spaceport.
With his magnified vision, Maximus can just make out Liege Maximo’s island further up the ring. A black smudge hovers above it, likely Excalibur II
As the trio approach Quickdraw’s ship, they can see Maximus, Honeycomb, and another Eukarian woman disembark. The captain and first mate then appear to refuel their vessel and pay the required fees for docking at the spaceport. None yet notice Aralysa, Stonefist, and their new companion as they draw near (@Rukah )
Apart from the installation of Nova’s new leg, the rest of the happenings in the embassy’s medical ward were rather ordinary. Human visitors to Astrum and other cybertronian worlds relied on facilities such as these to receive care for whatever maladies might befall them. Hypochondriacs fretted over the unlikely possibility of contracting Cybonic Plague, an overeager hiker was being treated for a sprained ankle, and an Astran nurse muttered a string of curses to herself as she struggled through the unwieldy conversions between human and cybertronian measurement systems, to name a few of the scenes that Niko might be observing as he waits.
“Human bodies are difficult to modify, yes,” Suture agrees as she works alongside Hauler. “But you’re doing rather well, regardless.”
Elsewhere in the medical bay, the prisoners that our heroes have taken offer no resistance and Moreyn and his staff mend their wounds, though the conscious ones nonetheless look uncomfortable with their situation. It’s almost as if they didn’t expect such treatment from their captors.
Meanwhile, on the bridge, Redshift patches the incoming transmission from Amity through, and a hologram of Chancellor Nirali Patel materializes over the window.
“Good evening, Chancellor,” Captain Gravastar greets her, mindful of the local time in New Plymouth, Amity’s capital city. “To what do we owe this pleasure?”
“I’ve been told that Relic Hunters have boarded your ship, Captain,” Chancellor Patel explains. “I’ve been meaning to reach them regarding some information I’ve uncovered per their request, which may be of use to them in their mission.”
“Good news! I found the island. Now its just a matter of getting there.” Maximus replied enthusiastically. “Flying is kinda out of the question. Ring worlds are always wierd to fly around. Get too high off the ground and gravity gets screwy. Always makes me nautious. Oh! I could radio for a ground-bridge. That’ll get us over in no time.”
Maximus activated his comms and tried to reach Axis.
The Prime had just landed as a call came in. She breathed a sigh of relief as she recognized the signal.
“Maximus! Darling, its so nice to hear from you. If you’re calling me over direct comlink, then you must be somewhere here on Astrum. Did your trip to Eukaris go well?”
“It went alright. There’s some stuff I gotta fill you in on. Speaking of which, could you drum us up a ground bridge? I’d fly over to Liege’s island myself but, ya’know, ring world.”
“Don’t worry, I understand. I’ll prepare a bridge for you right away.” Axis stepped away from her personal craft and approached the ground bridge terminal. “All I need are your coordinates and I’ll be able to open a bridge.”
“Right! Location. Our location.” Maximus paused and looked around for a moment. “We are in a space port… somewhere.”
Axis sighed. There was a long pause…
“Let me see if I can trace your call signal, and I’ll see what I can do.”
“Thanks hon! You’re the best.” Maximus said cheerfully.
Axis ran a mental program to trace her conjux’s call signal. Once she felt she had gotten close enough, she inputted the coordinates and activated the bridge, hoping for the best.
Niko looked around the busy hall around him and tried to see if he could spot any other mikesu. He knew it wasn’t likely. Most others didn’t travel off world as much as he did. But it wasn’t impossible. He didn’t often feel homesick, but as stressed out as he was at the moment, it would be nice to see a familiar pair of ears somewhere in the crowd.
Defender arrived at the bridge just as the Chancellor finished speaking. He didn’t see the hologram at first, instead looking around for Axis Prime.
“Excuse me, Captain,” he said to Gravastar. “Where may I find the Prime? I just got out of the medical bay and thought it best to report for duty.”
It was at that moment he saw the Chancellor.
“My apologies, Chancellor,” Defender said. “I shouldn’t be interrupting this meeting. Please pardon my interference.”
“Easy for you to say.” Kitai snapped.
“At least you knew what’s real and what’s not. I don’t know what even is the foundation of real.
I’m chasing phantoms, boogymen in the night, trying to convince myself I’m not one of them.”
As Defender exited the scene, Oreo sat back, his mind temporarily empty of all thoughts as Razor packed up her tools.
“I wonder what we’ll do with those combiner guys,” he said after a pause. “I guess they’ll be in the brig for the rest of the trip…”
He toyed with the chain in his hands, watching it swing back and forth slowly.
“Feels weird winning a fight like that,” he finally commented. “I look back at what I did there and I see all the ways I was being crazy. I mean, we could have stuck together and knocked out both that Knight and the combiner. And now we have our hybrid friend mad because we didn’t go blast the baddies apart…”
“I wouldn’t think Kitai’s gonna be mad at you over that,” Razor replied. She stood up, a wheel in one hand, looking at Oreo’s looming body. “I’m the one who was mad at him to begin with. He’s scared, like anyone would be who has to fight Quintessons. It’s not something you do for fun.”
“Are you going to need me around here, or should I go find something else to do?”
Oreo grinned slightly. “I don’t have any idea how to fix bodies, but I’ve got to get some of that food from the spaceport stowed away before I get charged for overcrowding my subspace storage.”
Razor glanced at him quizzically, wondering briefly if he was all right after all. Then she remembered: Oreo had had a bunch of snack foods with him for the festival. He had, in fact been planning on selling them to tourists to get some money using his vending machine mode.
“Oh right, yes, those need to be stored. I’m sure our quarters can hold them.”
“Choosing to not become that is the first step to not going down that path these guys went down. And dark and I fell through time and space in the void, we saw some trippy stuff and it was a very strange feeling being back in this universe because we didn’t know if we were gonna resume falling at some point.” Firestorm says.
Seraphicon gives a moment of silence for the fallen trooper, making a mental note to say a few words at their funeral/memorial service.
“Look, there’s Maximus!” Aralsya cried, taking off towards the Eukarians.
“Maxi-who now?” Roadgrind replied, a bit stunned by the sudden interjection and subsequent rush. Nearby, Stonefist grunted.
“You’ll meet him later.” The rocky bot smiled, then clapped the truck-bot on the shoulder. “Good work kid. Looks like ya guessed right.”
With that, Stonefist began making his way to the beast-formers, Aralysa already having covered at least half the distance between the two groups. He was followed by a very confused Roadgrind.
OOC: happy new year, everyone! Sorry I haven’t posted a whole lot recently- hopefully, though, that will change going forward.
A ground bridge portal opens in front of Maximus, Honeycomb, and Lunawing, its shimmering vortex beckoning our heroes to step through aboard Excalibur II
Unfortunately, for Niko, no other Mikesu are to be found in the medical ward. Any Mikesu on Astrum would be more likely to visit their species’ own embassy on the planet, which is only a block away. Much of the district that Niko, Hauler, and Nova are in has been repurposed to make space for embassies representing the various spacefaring species and nations in the galaxy, and similar districts have been established in prominent cities on almost every cybertronian world.
At Hauler’s direction, Suture slowly rouses Nova to consciousness. The young woman might feel some momentary discomfort as her new leg synchronizes with her nervous system, but the sensations are no doubt trivial compared to the agony of being mauled by an enraged quintesson.
“No apology is necessary, Defender,” Chancellor Patel says. “Actually, I’m glad you’re hear. I’m following up on the request you made during the council meeting: I’ve done some digging on the usage of the name ‘Gabriel’ as an alias in recent criminal activity, to see if anything connects to our mystery man. I’ll send my findings to Excalibur II now.”
Beside the hologram of the elderly woman, an array of screens materialize to display dossiers of various ne’er-do-wells and criminal organizations. Such unsavory characters include:
Gabriel-01: head of Egregore, a transhumanist cult. Presently at large: activities limited to trafficking of illegal cybernetics and biologic augmentations.
Gabriel’s Horn: superluminal weapon commandeered by nebulon dissidents objecting to renegotiated borders between UHP and Nebulon Republics. Destroyed by NEST in Operation CALAMITY 6. After-action report filed by Gunnery Sergeant Jethro Darby.
Gabriel: name assigned to anonymous datanet personality prophesying the coming of vengeful gods from beyond the Milky Way. Rhetoric has galvanized occult groups monitored by Allied Species’ Task Force Canary.
APOSTLE: anti-government group active in the Sol System. An entity codenamed “Gabriel” is responsible for spreading the group’s incoherent “revelations” across niche datanet forums. Designated Priority-9 (Minimal-Threat) by SolCon Counter-Terror Bureau.
Gabriel Brewer: Senior Administrator of Symultech Industries’ Medical R&D Division. Currently imprisoned for tax fraud.
“Ah, Oreo! A moment, if you will,” Moreyn calls to the man-made Transformer. He holds out the cube-shaped device that had fallen off Oreo before the fight- “I kept this safe for you, as requested,” he says.
Firestorm receives a transmission from Astrum’s garrison of Knights, containing the flight recorder data that the analysts on Hecate had been able to extract from the wreckage of the human mercenaries’ ship back on Cybertron.
I was advised to pass this to you, a short message included in the transmission reads. I hope that it will serve you and yours well. - Knight-Captain Noricum
Nova groaned as she was gradually brought back to consciousness.
“Ughh. I really hope that’s the last time I have to do that today.” She moved to sit up, instinctively moving her new leg to accommodate her. It felt strange, and would definitely take some getting used to, but it was definitely better than nothing.
Nova then looked down at the new appendage. She was practically horrified by the crude thing that she found attached to her thigh.
“What in the- What the hel is this supposed to be?! You trying to rip me off or something?” She shouted up at Hauler.
The boy sighed. He couldn’t help but feel a little isolated in a way. But he also wasn’t all too surprised.
Around that time is when he heard Nova from the room across the hall. Taking that as his que, he got up and re-entered the recovery ward.
“Niko!” Nova exclaimed enthusiastically. “Man am I glad to see you. Look at what they’re trying to pass me off with! I’d be embarrassed to scrap this thing for parts, let alone use it as an actual leg. This is ridiculous!”
Niko looked at the leg in question, and very much agreed that the thing wasn’t pretty.
“Oh, wow. Yeah that thing sure isn’t great. Though its probably just a temporary one. Something to hold you over while you’re real prosthetic is being worked on.” Niko replied casually.
“Oh! That uh… yeah, no that definitely makes sense.” Nova replied, visibly embarrassed by her earlier outburst. She then looked back to the towering mechanical medical professional that was helping her.
“So, am I good to get up? I’ve been stuck in this bed all fricken day. I’d really like to be able to stretch my legs- er, leg…”
“Oh, hey! Its uh… you guys!” Maximus greeted them cheerfully.
Honeycomb’s wings quickly buzzed, and she lifted herself up to hover a couple meters off the ground, enough so that she was at eye level with Maximus.
“Do you actually know these people?” She asked quietly.
“Nope! Not even a little bit. I think one of them looks a little familiar, but I can’t be sure. Really just going with my gut on this one.” Maximus replied.
“Interesting,” Defender said, pulling up the holograms of APOSTLE and “Gabriel”.
“These two seem as though they could be the same person. And if they were in league with the Quintessons, as the people we just arrested were, their threats of ‘angry gods’ could easily be believed.”
He looked back to Chancellor Patel, his expression suddenly worried.
“What threats have these entities made? And what are their aims? While APOSTLE is designated as a low-level threat, this Gabriel person has successfully instigated the formation of groups your government considers worthy of surveillance. He can’t just be an ordinary prophet of doom, trying to gain notoriety or fame, not if these people are apparently capable of acting on his words.”
Hauler waited for her top finish her outburst. “Hardly.” He said flatly “This is a temporary prosthetic until I can complete yours. Craftmanship takes time, especially if you intend to use it for the long term. It will feel better, move smoother, and last longer. However, in the short term you need mobility, and I need to test calibration.”
Kitai looks at Firestorm as he receives the message, and start moving to the ship. This situation is awful. We have nothing to stop them, all we have is a bunch of ramblings from an insane man, and worst part is, you’re going to die. Before you can start to recover, before anything, you will die, alone, and cold. Welcome to war. There is no glory, there is no loyalty, only blood and destruction. This always will be your life. Kitai thinks to himself as he walk to the entrance of the ship. @Chromeharpoon