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November 26, 2011, 4:07 PM

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Megatron Starscream Soundwave Shockwave Hookshot Stormfront Nova Black Ravage Vortex

(Throne Room, Polyhex)


Megatron watches the many Decepticons file into his throne room, optics glinting brightly in the dim room as they stare up at him expectantly. It has been a while since their last meeting and he knows that many of them have issues to bring before him. He also knows that those who want their turn will fight for it if he lets them, and that those who want to go unnoticed will do the exact opposite, hiding in any chaos he allows. He nods once to the assembly, his optics brightening in acknowledgment of their presence -- and of their concerns, should they prove worthy of him. Then he turns to Soundwave, knowing that Soundwave's measured example will set the tone he wants to others, and bids him give the first report.

"Lord Megatron. Projects progress. In summary: Crystal City retains neutrality. Undermining current political structure via infiltrators, in progress, currently successful. Fractures in relationship with Autobots and Crystal City Leadership: also progressing. Bulletins released from both regarding Crystal City defectors to Autobots and criminal charges in Crystal City." Soundwave's monotone voice could make even a scintillating report sound dull, and this one is far from being any sort of wonder. "Hookshot: should be commended for excellent work." His visor glints deep crimson. "Internal security report: mixed. Request permission to delay internal security report pending further investigation of a particular matter?"

Vortex sincerely hopes that has nothing to with him and Skywarp. He watches, staying quiet and as unobtrusive as a rotary can in a hall of mostly winged fliers.

Stormfront has, for many centuries, been the professional's professional as soldiery goes. He makes no effort to fight or squabble for place. The giant will have his say eventually. Despite that, he really can't go unnoticed, even if he wanted to. The booming footsteps echoing through the hall on the way to this meeting - showing up just early, of course, made sure of that. Aside from a few moments spent stretching to his full, towering height, once the titan makes his way into the expansive throne room, he's relatively quiet, letting the smaller cons gather around his feet while he surveys the gathering from above. Soundwave's first comments get his attention, the titan glancing down at the communications officer. "When you have opportunity, sir... I advised on a portion of some of the early infiltration missions. I would like to hear some greater detail on how that progresses, and if there is anything I could do to help?"

Ravage growls under his engine noises and trots to sit next to Soundwave. He sniffs and peers around at everyone before resting his head on Soundwave's knee.

Soundwave inclines his head towards Lord Megatron for permission before continuing. "Primary mission as stated. Resources needed to subdue Crystal City by arms: better used elsewhere. Political turmoil and current policies: can be turned to our advantage. Low ranking Decepticons active in Crystal City, covertly and overtly. Public opinion: may be influenced."

There is seldom a meeting that the glider is inclined to miss. The mech is standing amdisdst the crowd, preferring to stand near mechs and femmes larger than himself. Furthermore, he still sports a subdued, matte paintjob rather than his usually preferred shiny or sparkly ensemble. The mech's crimson optics light up at mention of his name, but he otherwise shows no outward reaction. Although, there may be some festive drinking to be had when this is over. For now, the glider's optics focus on Stormfront.

Starscream tends to get *really* bored with these meetings, and this is no exception, especially considering that just about every boring Decepticon in the faction happens to be crowded into this room. He has a report to give, though, and he doesn't want to hear it if he decides to just keep his mouth shut. Starscream's tones can be heard even toward the rear of the throne room. "My lord Megatron, the aerial forces have done well as of late, with the last major patrol-led by me-routing the Autobot forces into retreat. Other patrols report silence in the skies...unsurprising, really. In short, all is well." Starscream frowns, then- the report has no useful intel, but he hadn't received any, either.

Shockwave listens to Soundwave's report impassively while waiting to be called upon. He'd rather be in his laboratory getting some actual research done, but at least staff meetings are sufficiently spread out as to not be too much of a burden. In the back of his mind, he calculates the administrative cost of this meeting per astrosecond, and wonders why occasional progress reports would not be satisfactory.

Ravage's tail twitches as he turns to glare at Starscream. He grumbles and pats his paw on the floor.

Nova Black listens quietly, her wings twitching with pride when she hears Starscream mention that things are going well. She knows exactly what he's talking about. But she's not the one who gets to say it.

Stormfront nods in response to Soundwave's report. "Thank you, sir. I will review the mission reports on the ongoing destabilization efforts with interest. Meanwhile... as Commander Starscream reported, things have been quiet. Operations at the Flight Academy go well and without interruption. The usual problems with trainees continue to arise, but nothing unexpected. Slipstream has been proving a very capable assistant trainer when needed. Likewise, command escort team training has continued to progress within expectations. I've been quite pleased with the units assigned to me so far, and look forward to seeing them in more missions."

Megatron nods to Soundwave. He hasn't yet been informed of all the details of the matter Soundwave has mentioned, but he knows enough to know that it's a delicate matter, and one that he doesn't want the entire faction to know the details of for the moment. "Understood."

He turns to Starscream, his mouthplates curving upward in a ghost of a grin. "Well done, then." He mulls over the report of silence -- on the one hand, it's unsurprising, but on the other, silence can mean the enemy is planning something.

He takes note of Shockwave waiting, and he knows that Shockwave has quite an important matter to discuss, but for now he wants to make sure that he knows all he needs to know about the Crystal City matter. "Hookshot. Soundwave tells me that you are to be commended for your work in Crystal City. Tell me -- how do things go there?"

Ravage snarls at Hookshot and rubs his ear on Soundwave's leg.

Soundwave taps Ravage on the head with a clank. Behave.

Ravage spits and growls more quietly and bats at Soundwave's hands.

Hookshot lifts his head, quickly masking the surprise he feels at being publicly addressed. First he bows very low, moving out from between two larger mechs since he was singled out anyhow. Hookshot opens his mouth to speak, there is a brief pause, and then he continues. "Steady progress, oh mighty leader. Political games take patience and perserverence, and this task is being handled delicately yet efficiently. On another side note, the business I have been using as cover is generating some handsome revenue, which an amount is being pooled into our treasury." Leave it up to the glider to mention finances. "Any further details can be read in various reports and indeces I have prepared and filed accordingly. I shan't bore the room with more than that... unless you have a specific question, my liege?"

Ravage works on rubbing the other ear on Soundwave's leg while he glares at Hookshot.

Soundwave looks downward, presumably comming the cat-shaped casseticon privately.

Megatron nods. His smile is gone now. "Very well. They will be examined carefully." He's pleased that things are apparently going well, but he also knows puffery when he hears it. Clearly dismissive, he turns to the other Decepticon he knows has a report to make. "Shockwave. Report."

Starscream snorts audibly at Hookshot's little speech. What a suck-up. Starscream himself was quite pleased, though- praise from Megatron is rare. "Thank you, my liege." he says, fighting desperately to keep the mocking tone out of his voice.

Shockwave steps forward so that he is clearly visible from his position. "Megatron, I am pleased to report that I have made some breakthroughs in my gestalt technology research. Key among these is that I now know how to keep a composite robot in a physically stable configuration; a crucial part of the solution involves synchronizing the energy frequencies utilized by the component members' electrical subsystems, including their laser cores, while simultaneously matching the harmonic frequencies of their locomotive subsystems (engines). Additionally, I have devised a personality component assessment test that should facilitate locating matched sets of Decepticons who have sufficiently cohesive personalities to form cooperative merged personalities. The test is somewhat invasive, but only mildly painful. Emperical evidence suggests the chance of critically damaging a personality under test to be less than seven point three percent. It should be noted that the logic and reasoning abilities of a super-robot's collective mind will be significantly impaired; but as long as they accept our orders, it should prove to be an acceptable risk given the potential advances in our military assets."

Nova Black's wings flutter. A *what* now? She's not sure she understands a quarter of that, but it certainly sounds impressive.

Stormfront follows the words enough to put together the basic idea from context. "Sir, if the personality assessment reports completed in basic and advanced training can be of use, they're available for that assessment. I have everything on file - and reviewed a number of them recently." he replies, still interested in hopefully hearing more from Hookshot on Crystal City... but currently obviously rather interested in Shockwave's project now.

Starscream listens to Shockwave's assessment, *quite* interested. "You can do *what* with the gestalt research? Have you identified potential subjects within our ranks? How many are required? Are aerial-capable gestalts possible?"

Megatron's optics brighten again and he gives the same small smile as before. "Excellent, Shockwave." He nods to Stormfront. "Agreed. Provide your personality assessments to Shockwave, then." He frowns at the comments about intellectual impairment, but perhaps Shockwave is right. That liability may even have an upside -- a superweapon capable of thinking of disloyalty could be quite a problem. "Did the research on the Autobot prisoner-prototype indicate that their combiner team has the same weakness when merged?" he asks, addressing anyone who might have looked it over or heard anything to that effect while gathering intelligence.

Hookshot nods again and takes a step back to his cover among taller mechs. Although there is definate pomp when it comes to Hookshot, he also knows the information he's gathered and influences he has started is solid. Hookshot is intrigued as Shockwave starts speaking. The technical terms go over his head, but he can assemble the gist of it... and take notes to decode into layman terms later. It's not his field, but Hookshot prefers to be in the 'know' of as many fields as possible. His only regret is that he was not part of gathering Intel on the gestalt project. He does speak up, though, seeming to not *QUITE* know his place just yet. "Do you have sufficient data from the prisoner that could be used to track down the remaining members of his team? And what would be the chance of making a mobile scanner to test potentials without taking them to Polyhex? Perhaps set up... clinics around Cybertron where people could be tested under the guise of something else? For there just *might* be a new clinic set up between Crystal City and Iacon which we might be able to influence."

Nova Black fights to keep her engines from rumbling too loudly, understanding better than before now that someone a little less steeped in scientific vocabulary is talking. A combiner? A real one? Here and now? Her systems thrill with excitement. Then she ponders the personality assessment part and frowns. Even being part of a trine didn't work for her, not really. The thought of merging consciousness -- of joining with others that deeply, and of *losing her intelligence* temporarily into the bargain -- makes her twitch, and her tanks roil. No thanks. But she certainly would love to see a titan like that in action...

Her engines sputter at Megatron's next words. The Autobots have a prototype? Oh, *slag*.

Ravage grumbles up at Soundwave and his immediate neighbors, then trots off to explore the audience. He sniffs up at Starscream.

Shockwave says, "The degree of impairment is likely minimized when a set of personalities are created simultaneously for the express purpose of forming a compartmentalized gestalt mind; however, with refinement of the gestalt consciousness code which I reverse-engineered, I may be able to mitigate the problem to some degree. I caution that it is inevitable that some mental deficiencies will accompany our prototype combiner squads, but with time, such problems will be overcome." Shockwave thinks to add, "It is inconclusive whether the Autobot prototype demonstrates the deficiency I have outlined. Emperical data is required."

Stormfront nods once, when Shockwave finishes answering, trying not to interrupt. "I will submit the reports to him. I have not studied the prisoner's reports at all, or anything else to do with the gestalt technology, as of yet, but with experience in forming cohesive squads already, I would be happy to lend any assistance I can. I would imagine that finding a group with some connections already, or all with suitable military discipline under a strong personality would help the response times. As for assessing any type of Autobot combiner... I imagine that given a suitable type of threat, they would be as quick to want to test a new technology as we are."

The air around Megatron crackles with ozone as power feeds to his cannon, a tangible sign of his irritation. "Empirical data that we do not *have* because the prisoner escaped with the help of the traitors," he rasps, glaring at the assembly in lieu of those he's really angry at.

Vortex's sulky mood returns. That was his prisoner, and he isn't letting go of his grudge any time soon.

Soundwave shifts his weight, almost imperceptibly. The Intelligence center, where the prisoner escaped from, was his domain, and it still galls to realize that a traitorous medic was able to get past both the security system and the operatives inside.

Shockwave regards those around him who posed questions. To Hookshot: "The personality test could conceivably be refactored into a portable, laser core diagnostic tool." To Stormfront: "The data you have gathered may be used as a sieve to filter out candidate personalities, depending upon the level of detail to which they were collected."

Nova Black's optics widen and her engine stalls, entirely too loudly, as she sees Vortex slump in response to Megatron's words. *That* was Vortex's prisoner? An Autobot prototype for a *combiner*? She half-stutters and half-snarls some indistinguishable curse.

Stormfront nods to Shockwave. "I try to be meticulous, Sir. I have extensive reports on every trainee who goes through the flight academy, including their scores on teamwork, reactions to taking orders, leadership styles they respond best to... I will hope they will be sufficient. If not, I would be quite happy to run training sessions on possible candidates to gather more information and test teamwork prior to the combining. As for the Autobot gestalt... if more data is needed, Sir... I might be able to help, if we know they have such a thing."

Starscream pipes up, "I suppose we could try and recapture it. The Autobot, I mean."

And to Starscream, Shockwave answers, "I see no reason an already-extant arial squadron could not be retrofitted into a gestalt squadron; however, the chance that they already have compatible personality components would marginal. Preliminary rough estimates suggest the chance of two randomly-selected Transformers being compatible is perhaps one in sixty. For a five-member team, then, the probability distribution is not favorable."

Starscream frowns. *He'd* never merge anything with anybody, but others..."Five is required, then?"

Hookshot smirks, satisfied with the answer that a laser core scanner might be made somewhat more portable. Already he is thinking of ways of using it....

Megatron is still quite displeased, not at all happy to remember the loss of the prisoner. He fixes Nova Black with a withering glare for her outburst and then turns back to Stormfront. "Do so, then."

He turns to Starscream, still scowling. "We could, yes. But now that First Aid has been restored to their ranks, they've surely guessed that we know at least something about his unusual nature. They will no doubt expend great investments of resources and time into protecting him and his 'brothers.' If we are to recapture him or any of the rest of his team, we must be prepared to get past those defenses."

Shockwave says, "From a purely mechanical standpoint, five or six would seem to be a reasonable minimum; each additional member would decrease the stability of the shared mind. The number of communication pathways in an n-member team increases as n times n minus 1, the quantity over 2; thus with limited bandwidth, member-to-member communication would quickly become bottlenecked...""

Ravage growls at Starscream and resumes the ear-rubbing on the Air Commander's leg. He holds the leg in place with one clawed paw and purrs.

Megatron's frame rumbles as he ponders. "Five Decepticons with compatible personalities. Discovering them will likely be a challenge in itself." His optics flare. "But it must be done, if we are to make use of this technology." His optics brighten dangerously. "And I do not intend to let it go unused."

Nova Black winces as Megatron glares at her and falls immediately silent, remembering all too well what happened the last time she got too vocal in a meeting...

Starscream looks down at Ravage and strongly considers kicking the cassette. "Go away." he hisses.

Stormfront nods, venturing a suggestion. "I will get the reports to Shockwave... and if other possibilities come up, I will gladly free up some time to run additional training sessions for candidates. As for testing an Autobot gestalt... if they complete the process before we do, I will volunteer to engage if desired... a direct contact might give us more data for comparison and seeing if there is any kind of noticible delayed reaction time and the like. Until they field a combiner of their own, the data will be difficult... but I should be able to withstand such a confrontation, sir."

Megatron nods gravely. "Well reasoned, Stormfront. But should you encounter this gestalt, take care. I am certain it has been some time since you have faced a foe of comparable size and endurance to yourself."

Ravage snarls at Starscream and lifts a hind leg to scratch his neck, dropping metal filings and shavings onto the floor... and onto Starscream's foot. He grumbles at the Seeker and resumes his rubbing, fangs exposed.

Stormfront nods once. "Yes, sir. Aside from the Guardians, there are no combatants of my size... and none in the direct Autobot ranks that I'm aware of. I will exercise caution... and have no intent of overstaying if ordered out of a fight. But should an Autobot of that scale take the field, I will be happy to act as test subject for you and Shockwave, in addition to helping with finding our own units." he replies, direct, not fawning, but as always, looking for any ways he might aid the cause.

Starscream snorts. Though overgrown mechs fighting it out could be amusing...and tactically relevant.

Hookshot begins to pad quietly, for a giant metal space robot that is, between other Decepticons, pausing whenever someone looks directly at him. Perhaps he is trying to get a better view, or hide or... something. His direction certainly is not towards the forefront nor the exit.

Megatron nods. "Very well." As usual, he is impressed with Stormfront's direct, unassuming loyalty and willingness to put himself on the line for the cause. That's rare in a faction made up of the ambitious, the opportunistic, and the brutal. Then he hears Starscream snicker. "Do you have something to say, Starscream?" he asks, smirking.

Ravage purrs deeply from his engine mounts as he works his face around Starscream's knee. His optics tick up and he manages a snarl before he goes back to marking... and stretches out a paw for the leading edge of a wing.

Hookshot finally comes to a stop comfortably within Vortex' peripheral vision, and then stands there silently.

That is /enough/. "Ravage, return." Soundwave grates out. "/Now/."

"Other than that Soundwave ought to have better control over his pets, no."

Vortex notices Hookshot, but keeps his optics on Megatron.

Megatron snickers softly at Starscream before addressing the assembly. "Then it seems we are finished here, unless anyone has anything more to report or to suggest."

Ravage hisses angrily and picks up onto his haunches long enough to get in a proper nip on Starscream's wing, then peels away to gallop across the room.

Starscream lets out an undignified "Eep!!" at this treatment. "Slagging drone!" he hisses.

Hookshot offers nothing more to the meeting. Anything he has to say will be to someone who appreciates him: namely Soundwave. Or at least, in his distorted perception. He offers only a sideglance to Vortex and a brief smile, but otherwise remains standing there. Menacingly. Somehow.

"Quiet yourself, Starscream," Megatron warns, his cannon glowing brightly. He smirks in amusement as Ravage scampers off.

Starscream eyes the powered up cannon and opens his mouth, then wisely closes it, silently fuming.

Stormfront adds nothing further, and pays little attention to the antics of the smaller cons around his feet, waiting for dismissal or further request.

Vortex huffs at Hookshot and slinks off to sulk somewhere in private.

Megatron grins as Starscream quiets down, still obviously telegraphing his displeasure. He turns back to the assembly, his silver faceplates smoothing into impassivity again. "You are all dismissed, then."

With a formal dismissal issued, Hookshot slinks out of the throne room to attend to some of his business. Personal or professional... well, the glider often blurs the lines there when it comes to his business.

Stormfront waits for some room to form down around his feet before moving, to make sure he doesn't accidentally step on anyone, always in issue with tight quarters and gatherings. When he deems the amount of room sufficient, the giant turns, starting to lumber out of the room on booming footsteps.