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Crackshot helps bring up the prisoner to Vortex' 'studio'. The mech hung between him and the other, chained hand and foot with energon chains.

He was a black-grey mech all over, with small vestigial pointed wings unlike that of any jet or vehicle mode on his back. There was a strange lustre to his armor, and he had horns on his head. His optics were a bright red, and he had a long moustache and beard. The marking on his chest plate was in a dark sickly orange.. a circle within an oval, framed by two horns. It had never been seen yet by Vortex before.

"We were told to bring him to you sir." notes Crackshot respectfully to Vortex.

Vortex appreciates the deference. He isn't quite used to being referred to as 'sir' yet, but he's determined to enjoy it.

"Chain him," he says, gesturing to a clear section of wall. He takes in the mech's strange frame type and the odd insignia. "And tell me, where did you find him?"

Giving the coordinates, the two mechs move to put the prisoner up on the wall. He wriggles, squirming, but had been stunned previously to keep him quiet. Crackshot then adds "The location is just south of that Great Abyss up there. The Black Abyss. I tried chasing down the others but they knew the tunnels better."

The red optics blink further awake as the prisoner wriggled more, glancing up at one hand then the other... then glowering at Crackshot, hissing at him.

Vortex nods to Crackshot. Then he turns to the prisoner, standing close enough to be in most mech's personal space. "Can he talk?" he asks Crackshot, while staring directly and confrontationally into the mech's optics.

"They spoke before. he's been quiet since he woke up." reports Crackshot as he steps back, out of the way.

The mech smirks at Vortex from that point... lifting his head back until it touched the wall. But there was a guarded air to his stance. He knew he was alone, and at the mech's mercy. "I speak." he finally ends his silence "I just do not like to." his accent was of Crystal City's area, though rougher and without their air of elegance.

"That's a shame," Vortex replies. He rocks back on his heels, looking bored. "Because I like talking." He nods pleasantly to Crackshot. "You can leave," he says, and Primus he never gets tired of that.

He doesn't wait for Crackshot to leave, but leans forward again so that the prisoner will need to remain in his uncomfortable helm-against-the-wall position unless he wants to bump foreheads. "There's something I like more than talking," he continues. "And that's listening. Tell me about yourself."

The mech continues leaning back, his optics dimming a moment. He watches Crackshot leave, then turns to focus on Vortex once more, before stating "I fail to see how this can be important. I am Brother Celtix. I hail originally from Crystal City. I was an electrician there specializing in street lights."

He sniffed a little bit, as though disgusted at his former work. "I got a job offer I could not refuse."

"Job offer?" Vortex prompts. He thinks of the various crime bosses that might have used that kind of phrasing, but to his knowledge none of them have an insignia like the one Brother Celtix is wearing. And the 'Brother' part of his designation - perhaps it was something he had in Crystal City, but perhaps not. It sounds cultish to Vortex. But at least Celtix is talking; Vortex likes the talkative ones.

"Yeah. Something BIGGER. Something to save Cybertron." Then the red optics brighten; Celtix had just realized what Vortex had made him do. He smiles a little, nodding in approval "THIS plan though, will work. I suppose you want to hear how? Well, sadly, I do not know."

"No?" Vortex says. He moves around Celtix, and leans on the wall to Celtix's left side. Because of the angle the chains hold his prisoner, Vortex is also a little bit behind him, and only just in his peripheral vision. It's meant to make Celtix feel exposed, vulnerable, and all without a verbal threat. "What /do/ you know?"

Celtix was definitely tense as he watched Vortex move. He twisted his head, trying to keep the mech in sight, his optics narrowed. His systems revved a little bit under the hood as he replies "I am a lowly brother. I know very little. I work on the electrical parts they bring to me, under their directive," in a quiet, careful tone... words chosen after a moment of thought.

Vortex takes careful note of Celtix's body language, and moves a little closer; the mech's looking more and more like a crazy religious cultist by the astrosecond. "Who is 'they'?" he asks.

"The superior brothers." notes Celtix, beginning to shift a little bit as Vortex' closeness made it hard to keep him comfortably in sight " They bring me some plans, parts... I put them together. We all contribute like that to this great plan to save our world. I don’t know what it does yet... but it takes a lot of energy."

"You're going to save our world by spending energy?" Vortex says in a tone which implies he can't see the logic in this. He can, but he wants to draw Celtix out. "That sounds… illogical."

"It’s an investment." Explains Celtix, his lip curling up in a little bit of a sneer himself "It’s like if you think there's energy on a nearby planet, you have to use energon to send a rocket there, in hopes it will collect more energon than it uses during the trip."

"So where's all this new energy going to come from?" Vortex asks. He leans in, and flicks a piece of dirt from the small of Celtix's back. "It has to come from somewhere…"

"I imagine we've collected it and hoarded it. Maybe a little stolen." notes Celtix "Same as you, or the Autobots, or Crystal City. I just handle the electrical part of the plan."

Vortex laughs softly and chases after an imaginary mote of dirt on the edge of one of Celtix's transformation seams, hoping it will make him a little more uncomfortable. "Not the energy you already have," he says. "The energy you plan to gather with this… great scheme to save the world."

"Maybe... Maybe not." he fidgeted a little bit, his red optics narrowing at the touch of Vortex "Stop doing that if you want me to give you accurate answers." he hisses, growing somewhat more agitated. “I don’t know how much energon we've collected, but I know it’s nearly finished."

Grinning under his mask, Vortex stills his hand, but holds it close enough for the warmth of his active systems to register against Celtix's plating. "How many brothers are there?" he asks.

"In all? I really don't know. They keep us in the dark about a lot of it," admits Celtix. He pauses though, having some partial answer, but obviously reluctant to give it to Vortex.

"Why don't you take a guess?" Vortex prompts.

A sigh from the mech, and he turns to stare, as best he can, at Vortex' close hand pointedly.

"Take a guess," Vortex says "and I'll move."

"A few h... hundred I will guess. From what I've seen “finally blurts Celtix. He twisted his hands in the cuffs "Aren’t' you done yet? I don't know enough to be valuable to you."

Vortex duly moves his hand, and comes around again to stand in front of Celtix. "Why don't you let me be the judge of that?" he says, and his optics brighten for just a moment. "Who do you report to?"

The prisoner relaxed as Vortex stepped more clearly into view. his optics had dimmed now, his lips set in a thin line as he stared at the Decepticon "I-I probably shouldn't tell you that. I've been forbidden to. " he states after a moment of thought, perhaps starting to realize that this COULD be useful.

"Oh," Vortex says in a kind voice. "That's a real shame. Because you know what?" He looms again, leaning in close. "Whatever your superiors could do to you for telling me… it's nothing like what I'll do to you if you don't."

A shudder came from the mech as his optics dimmed, shutting off all the way as Vortex loomed over him. He hunkers down, as though able to sink into the wall and his engine revs again in anxiety as he murmurs "I've seen what they can do... although I don't really want to know if you COULD do worse... "

That moment of fear has Vortex highly intrigued. "It wouldn't be your fault though, would it?" he says. "It's a difficult situation, standing face to face with a mech who could easily hardwire your pain relays directly into your perception centre, and turn all received input to maximum. I'd only need to waft a gentle breeze over you and it'd be agony. I'd hardly need to touch you at all."

Another shiver at the interrogator's words, and Celtix swallows hard "They wouldn't care." he states flatly. "They're a lot like Decepticons in that matter I guess. Considering our recruits I wouldn't be surprised. We have people from all over." He was talking, although not giving the specific information requested.

"In that case," Vortex says, "think of it like this: you're here with me now. I doubt there's a rescue party coming to get you, and even if there was, they wouldn't have a petrobunny's hope in the smelter of getting to you. Ever. But you… you're all alone with me, and we've got all the time in the world for you to hold out on me, and maybe for me to swap a few of your wires around, to reroute certain signals. I might even crack open some of my specialist tools." He tilts his head slightly, as though sizing Celtix up. "Or you could talk to me, and spare yourself the world of pain. I have a job to do, but on a personal note, I'd be pleased with either outcome."

Celtix looks up to watch Vortex again at that, his optics flickering as he took in the information. IT was... partially true. But still he seemed reluctant. "If I told you it all... what I think and stuff… you'll probably try to stop it or take over it for yourselves though, knowing the Decepticons. For the good of Cybertron, we need to succeed."

To Vortex, this seems like a plea: reassure me that you're not evil, and I'll use that as my justification for telling you, so that I save myself the pain.

"You've got a warped idea of our cause," Vortex says. "Cybertron is /ours/, our home, our heritage. /We/ want to save Cybertron." He pauses, giving Celtix a chance to speak.

"Would you prevent others from ensuring its survival?" asks Celtix. That was indeed, his line of thought. He would not give up information it seems, if he thought the Decepticons would stop his own cult from doing so "That is what WE want to do. You can have Cybertron. We just want to keep it from dying."

"No," Vortex says, "we wouldn't. /I/ wouldn't. Tell me."

Celtix stares hard at Vortex, not really believing him. But he sighs, and states "My immediate supervisor is Brother Snikkit. He brings me diagrams and the parts needed to be assembled. I don't know exactly WHAT they are building... but it looks like a giant engine or booster."

"Can you reproduce those diagrams?" Vortex asks.

Celtix frowns at that, shifting against the wall uncomfortably "m.. Maybe? My memory circuits are hardly perfect." he states reluctantly "Some weren't all that accurate either. I had to do modifications... someone knew enough to be DANGEROUS."

Vortex adjusts the chains so that Celtix has limited freedom of movement with his arms. He brings over a data pad. "Whatever you remember," he says. "And what do you mean, dangerous?"

"It’s like someone who knows some repairs, but then tries to go and do something more than he's trained, and kills someone. It’s a technician's joke." explains Celtix, sighing in relief as his arms were released, somewhat. He took the pad, slowly again. Obviously still reluctant. He then looks up "... After I do all this, what will happen to me?

Vortex laughs softly at the explanation; he can see the joke. He retracts his mask and gives Celtix a sincere smile. "I'll do what I can for you," he says, and his smile stays sincere and friendly even with his next words. "Starting with refraining from rewiring your sensor net."

A weak smile from Celtix as he shifts, finding the chains somewhat of an irritant. He flinches at the comment, nodding "I... I guess that will do." he states uneasily. "If they find out, I won’t be going back though." he carefully works the data pad, starting to fill out the first diagram carefully, furrowing his brow in concentration "I've never reproduced anything from memory like this..." he confesses uncertainly, definitely shaken now and complacent.

"They won't find out," Vortex says. "Just try your best." Because anything less than his best will not go down well.

Celtix nods a little bit again as he types more, carefully. Muttering on occasion. He frowns and rubs his forehead with a sigh at one point, grimacing in pain.

"Is it hot in here? " he asks all of a sudden, the temperature having remained unchanged entirely.

"No," Vortex says. "Are you suffering a malfunction?" He prepares to hit the comm for med support, just in case. Who knows what internal damage the lugs who caught Celtix could have done to him when they caught him.

"I didn't have any reports. My... my head hurts." Celtix rubs his forehead again with a grimace, then suddenly stiffens. His optics widen in sudden realization.. and fear "My God... my lord is angry with me... he knows..." A pained swallow, and he starts to type, blurringly fast on the data pad quickly while his engine started to rev alarmingly high, going faster and faster-

  • BANG*

His torso expands outwards as something blows up inside. He drops the data pad, staring at Vortex for a long moment, before his optics go black and he slumps.

Vortex leaps back, his gaze caught and held by those wide-open optics. Then Celtix slumps, and Vortex darts forward, grabbing the data pad. He hits the comm for med support, but it's obviously too late. Quickly, he makes a backup of the contents of the data pad into his own memory, but he doesn't approach the corpse. He just stands in the centre of the floor, and tries to work out what the scrap just happened.

The medical team arrives fast, but indeed, there's nothing they can do. With permission they will let Celtix down to lie on his back, prying his hood off. The team lead blinks "His core just... exploded." he notes, somewhat shocked "He was checked for explosives when he was brought in... did he say or make any noises?"

"He complained of a headache," Vortex says, still looking confused. "Elevated temperature… Said his lord was angry with him, it was a punishment for talking to me."

"We'll do an autopsy and see if any data remains in his CPU." promises the team lead to Vortex with a nod "Sounds very strange though. We'll let you know."