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Setting the Stage

7/2/2001

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Nova Black Skywarp Blades Slipstream Shred

The actual punishment detail for Skywarp and Nova Black had been to assist Firebrand and her mechs with setting up the area at the Great Racetracks for her performance in a little overn orn- a fairly typical punishment for what really was a pretty minor infraction. However, Skywarp's interpretation of 'assist' was to 'sit on the packing crates and supervise', particularly given the lack of a superior officer on the scene to give him any sort of specific direction or incentive, and watching the ground 'mechs scurrying around setting up scenery and stocking concessions stands was at least slightly less boring than sitting around Polyhex watching the acid rain fall...

Nova Black sighs and trudges over to one of the many packing crates stacked around the room. She opens one, and bells, wing-adornments, and other shiny objects tumble out. Cursing, she reaches to pick them up. "Any idea where these... things go?"

Blades is poking around in an unused supply corridor, looking for the wrapped stacks of energon drinks he saw earlier. He picks up a slat from a broken pallet and stretches it behind him, scraping the end around the base of his rotor until the itchy, crawling feeling subsides. He tosses the slat away and rubs his shoulder before he starts making his way toward the open end of the passage, looking in doorways and blind corners for stashes of supplies.

A flashy green-yellow-and-white mech looks up from the crate he is digging through to give Nova a disgruntled look. "Look, we have a routine here, just stay out of our way. This is all /very/ carefully organized." For some definition of organized, anyway. "Why don't you go move those-" he points at a stack of boxes labeled ENERCIX FIZZ - MADE WITH REAL ENERGON' and bearing the name of a concessions company - "over to the concessions area?" He points at the door to a service hallway, propped open with another box.

Skywarp is stretched out on top of the crate that Nova Black just popped open. "Yeah, Nova. Don't get in their way." He grins, obviously not taking the punishment detail very seriously.

Nova Black glares over her shoulder at Mr. Flashy Wings. "Fine with me. But maybe *you* shoulda come by sooner and told *us* where to put this stuff?" She goes over to the soda boxes and glowers meaningfully at Skywarp. "And notice, I said *us.* Last I checked I wasn't the only one in that brawl, and last I checked I wasn't the only one who got in trouble for it. Get up." She takes the box over to the concession area, her wings twitching in mounting irritation.

Blades pumps his forearms back and forth as something tickles in his elbow joints as he gets closer to the open arena. He pokes his head out into the space and stares at the stack of pallets thirty yards away. He retreats with a hiss while he subsides back into the corridor to think on how to get his servos on the supplies currently propping up a Seeker. He growls.

"Fine, fine, fine," Skywarp rolls off the boxes and stands, picking up a carton from the pile bound for the concessions stand. "Where are we taking this stuff again?"

Nova Black says, "You might wanna ask that green guy." She chuckles. "Over there. Can't miss him unless your optics are off. Think he said over here someplace, though." She studies the concession stand amd starts taking out the drinks, which glow bright green and fizz in their cubes like they might overflow messily if cracked open, and laying them in a case. "Looks like this would be the best place for 'em, but Mr. Flashy might disagree." She laughs again. "Gonna pull rank on him if he tells you off too?""

Blades's optics glow brighter when Skywarp rolls off the stack of boxes. He's not paying attention to much of anything else as he twists around the door and hurries toward the pallet, where he looks for an opening in the wrapping.

Skywarp rolls his optics at Nova. "Don't need to. Freaking mouthy neutrals, no respect for anyone." He shoulders the box and walks away from the pallets, heading over to the concession stand to dump the box on the counter next to Nova. "Hey, give me one of those?" He asks.

Nova Black shrugs and stops midway through putting one of the drinks away. Smirking, she gives it a good shake before tossing it at Skywarp.

Blades claws open the side of the pallet wrapping facing the door from which he darted to get to these... goodies? He blinks at the oddly shaped figures of formed energon drawn on the packages and shrugs his shoulders a few times... and a few times more, until the prickling stops. He jams his servos into one box and drags out a pouch, tearing it open with his denta and dumping the contents into his mouth... and freezes, his denta glued shut by something gummy that tastes very little like energon. He explores the rest of the pallet to look for something more edible.

Skywarp picks up the dicebag and rolls against his dexterity <catch the fizzy cube!>. Skywarp's roll succeeds!

Skywarp catches the glowing green cube that Nova threw at him. "Thanks, femme." He leers a little bit, and then looks down as he cracks it open- only to be hit directly in the face as it explodes from the container in a foamy, fizzy mess. He stands there, a bit stunned, while the foam quickly subsides. He licks it off one claw experimentally while it drips off his armor. "Oooh. Beryllium flavored." He grins. "Nice one, Nova."

Nova Black turns, hearing a loud clattering in the room she just left. "The slag was that?" she cries, flying back into the other room to find a wild-looking Neutral pawing through one of the crates, which has a fist-sized, jagged hole in it. "Hey!" she calls, but makes no other threatening move.

Blades draws back in surprise, a foil packet of something he hopes is energon in his servos. He tosses it to the side and grimaces before crouching slightly and spinning his rotors with a growl.

Slipstream arrives at the racetracks a bit late, but at least she's here to help out. "Slipstream reporting for duty." a pause as she cocks her head at something dripping off the mech, she covers her mouth to hold back the giggle that is trying to force its way out. Then the shout from Nova attracts her attention, the femme scanner the immediate area alertly now. Her optics narrow, "You." in a very accusatory tone, wings hitching up and back.

Skywarp turns around, still licking soda off his claws. "What is it?" He spots Blades, but doesn't move forward. "Oh- it's you. Hello." He nods in a sort-of-friendly manner to the red blade-y mech.

Seeing Blades' rotors spinning, Nova holds up her hands. "Hey now. I've got no problem with you unless you have a problem with me. And I don't really care too much if you want some of this slag. I don't see how sticky stuff and things that fizz like they came out of my old teammates' lab is fuel, so I don't give a scrap. Why don't you come out of there, before someone angrier gets a hold of you?"

Blades looks around at the Seekers and narrows his optics when he regards Slipstream. He brings his arm around and in front of him protectively... and scratches the edges of a plate hastily welded onto it. He works his glossa enough to clear the rest of the foul junk from his mouth and spits the mass out onto the floor. "If you don't care, just leave me to it," he says in a husky rasp.

Slipstream growls lowly, wings staying in that high and back position as she watches the neutral. The other two seem welcoming, or at least don't care. She's just waiting for him to make a stupid move.

Skywarp glances at Slipstream. "Now, don't do anything stupid-" That's directed equally at Slipstream. "In fact, if you're hungry, why don't you come back to Polyhex with us? We can always use more good fighters." Skywarp activates his comm.

<Decepticon> Skywarp says, "The red neutral that Slippy found the other day that was so bad-aft and stabby is at the race tracks. We'll bring him back to Polyhex, if we can."

Nova Black says, "It's a better idea than stayin' here," Nova says, nodding. "I'd know. I spent some time in Neutral settlements myself for a while. It's not fun, is it?" She moves carefully closer to Blades, turning half to the side to show she doesn't intend anything threatening. "Hardly any fuel, and what you get's what you get, even if it's -- whatever you got there. And you never know when the 'Cons might notice you, and..." She flicks her wings dismissively. "And most of us, sadly enough, would rather use mechs who ain't done nothing to them as targets rather than actually use their processors and figure out why everyone's runnin'."

"Who are you?" Blades grinds out as he steps away from where Slipstream is standing. He elbows away a tickle climbing up his side seam, then reaches over to rub the rusty band after elbowing just makes the sensation worse. "I'm no target," he hisses.

<Decepticon> Nova Black says, "He'll come with us if he knows what's good for him. Life out there is... *staticky for a moment* Well... he'd be a slagging idiot if he didn't give it up when he could."

Slipstream narrows her optics at Skywarp, her wings doing a few twitches before she straightens them out and mutters. "Let's just finish this punishment and be done with it."

"I'm Skywarp." Skywarp says, focusing on the red mech. "Third in the Decepticon Command Trine for Lord Megatron." He holds out a servo. "You gotta name?"

Nova Black says, "My name is Nova Black." She twitches her wings. "I'm no one as important as 'Warp over there, but I just came to Polyhex. Used to live out in the middle of nowhere.""

Skywarp points at Slipstream. "The femme over there that you met the other day is Slippy. She doesn't like it when people stab her, but otherwise she's good to know, especially when you need a fight started or something."

Blades frowns. "I know," he says, glaring at Slipstream. He reaches out to take Skywarp's hand. "I'm Blades," he says.

Slipstream is stalking around, picking up stuff and moving it around so it looks like she's busy.

Skywarp shakes Blades' hand, getting some of the green fizzy soda on it. "So.. uh... nice to meet you." He drops Blades' hand in favor of picking up his mostly-empty cube of green energon-fizzy-drink off the counter and polishing it off. "So... you wanna help us finish up here so we can go back to Polyhex?"

Nova Black says, "Stab her?" Nova's optics widen. "You... stabbed Slippy?" She gives a high, metallic whistle. "I won't bother asking what that was about, but if you did that, you can fight. Why skulk around here drinking nearly unprocessable energon and risking someone finding you and kicking you out or beating you to scrap or doing even worse, when you could come back with us and live the life of a real warrior?""

Blades eyes the green fluid congealing on his servos and tastes it experimentally before spitting out the trace. "I don't get beaten," he says defensively. "All the time. What do I need to become a warrior for?" His knee twitches as an itchy prickle in the back of the joint calls for his attention.

Slipstream corrects harshly, "He attacked me and slashed my ankle with his blades. That is not stabbing." irritated wing flick, "Why are you both being so.. so.. NICE... to this slagger." she mutters.

"What else would you want to be?" Skywarp asks Blades with genuine puzzlement before grinning at Slippy. "Because other than me, not many people manage to land a blow on you? Well, Rogue zapped you, but I'm still not sure how she did that thing with the lightening." He shrugs.

<Decepticon> Skywarp says, "Also, we're supposed to recruit him, and we're supposed to be nice to people we want to recruit, right? You can always slag him up sparring later if we do."

<Decepticon> Nova Black says, "Like I told him, I have no problem with anyone who doesn't have a problem with me, long as he's not wearing a red insignia. Didn't know he'd attacked you, though. Still, he could be useful. And sounds like we have orders to do it anyway."

<Decepticon> Slipstream huffs, "I get first crack at the slagger if he decides to join us. Me, him, and a bout in the arena. We'll just see who's the better warrior."

<Decepticon> Nova Black says, "Fine with me. You just let us try and *get* him over there first."

<Decepticon> Skywarp says, "Starscream has a flow chart about how we're supposed to be nice to neutrals we want to recruit and can't slag them or spar with them unless we let them win until they've gotten their insignia and completed training."

<Decepticon> Shred has joined this channel.

Nova Black grins. "Think you misunderstood me, rotary. If you never get beaten, that's exactly why you *should* become a warrior. Because you're good at it! Fix you up, get some fuel in you, then you'd really be something." She flicks her wings. "Come on, what do you say?"

<Decepticon> Nova Black chuckles nastily. "A flow chart. Heh. Not sure which is sadder -- that he'd make one, or that you'd need it."

<Decepticon> Slipstream says, "I vote for equally sad."

<Decepticon> Shred 's radio crackles into life, "Testing?"

<Decepticon> Skywarp says, "Oh, go eat slag, both of you."

<Decepticon> Shred says, ".. What's going on?"

<Decepticon> Robustus says, "I will insist upon decontamination if you get the neutral to come with you three."

<Decepticon> Skywarp says, "What?"

Slipstream smirks at Skywarp, "Rather bite you, be more fun." she notes, wing flicker. Wait.. did Slippy just.. flirt? Hrmmmm.

<Decepticon> Nova Black says, "We're at the racetracks. Hopin' to recruit a Neutral who apparently did some fancy fighting a while ago."

<Decepticon> Robustus says, "You don't know where the neutral has been."

<Decepticon> Shred says, "... Fancy fighting? Slip? Just who is this neutral?"

"You all... fight?" Blades asks querulously, looking at the Seekers in turn. He rubs his neck cables and shrugs his shoulders a few times.

<Decepticon> Slipstream says, "The slagger that attacked me that got me.. you know."

<Decepticon> Shred says, "I see. Just be careful, ok?"

Skywarp nods enthusiastically. "Well, yeah. Except when we've got stuff like this to do. Punishment detail /for/ fighting. Not a bad one, though, right Slippy, Nova? I mean, no one got cannoned or anything."

<Decepticon> Slipstream says, "Always Shred."

Nova Black shakes her head hearing 'Warp prattle on about fighting. "Yes... we fight. When we're ordered to. And sometimes we spar with each other, but if you don't want to do that, you can just keep quiet. Most 'Cons won't start slag with you if you don't start it with them first." She frowns, thinking of a recent exception.

<Decepticon> Nova Black says, "Got you what, Slip?"

Blades blinks, then rocks his rotors as they start to feel crawly again. "What do you mean, 'cannoned?'" he asks slowly.

Slipstream looks over at Skywarp as he misses her comment then nods, "YEs, let's finish this first." she agrees.

<Decepticon> Slipstream says, "Pardon?"

<Decepticon> Nova Black says, "Oh, wasn't sure if you were saying something more about what happened before."

"Cannoning? Oh, that doesn't happen much, unless you really screw up Lord Megatron's plans. Or mouth off at him. Or are Scream, although that's usually both right there." Skywarp says, picking up another box to move to the counter.

Nova Black winces. "Look... Blades. What 'Warp is talking about now... well, it only happens if the Emperor himself notices you. And that's not gonna happen, at least not right away. Look... we'll help you. Show you how to get around, and how to stay out of trouble."

Slipstream oddly enough keeps mute now, her opinions on cannoning kept to herself. She just moves stuff from one location to another.

"You... know the Emperor. He'd notice me with you," Blades says cagily, backing toward the door to the corridor from which he came. He reaches a few servos to scrabble under the opposing arm.

Skywarp shrugs. "Well, like I said, it doesn't happen that much. You just have to not screw up, and you'll be fine. Here, pick up one of those boxes and help. Sooner we're done with this, the sooner we can go back."

Nova Black winces again. "Yes... he'd know you'd come back with us. But he'd be pleased to see a new recruit. And he'd have no reason to bother with you unless you torqued him off somehow." She joins

Skywarp over at the boxes, her wings drooping. "C'mon, help us out with this. We'll make sure no one gives you any slag for takin' some."

Slipstream continues to work wordlessly.

Skywarp holds out a box for the smaller red mech. "Here-" He shoves it into Blades arms, eying the rotors on his back. "Those work?" He asks idly. Rotory fliers are unusual.

"Sometimes," Blades allows, although he fails to mention the malfunctions they've had recently. He shifts the box in his arms, letting the edges rub the seams on his chest. "Where... where should it go?" he asks in confusion at being drafted.

Nova Black's dark faceplates shift into a smile. "They go right over here. Or at least I think that's what that ugly green slagger said." She sets a box down surprisingly gently as an example.

Slipstream is imagining bad things happening to those blades on the mech as she works.

Skywarp nods, "Yeah, over there somewhere-" He waves vaguely at the concession stand which is rapidly being surrounded by boxes. "hey, what's in this one?" He pulls open the top of the crate he just put down. "Ooh. Rust sticks!"

Nova Black glares at 'Warp. "Snack later. Work now."

Blades walks the box over to the indicated site and drops it in place, then turns around. He twitches his forearms again as his elbows tickle and looks at Nova Black. "I... I'd rather go my own way now," he says. For one thing, getting away would give him the chance to try settling his rotor. Again. He sighs.

Slipstream shakes her head at Skywarp. "Mechs." she vents.

"But Nooooovaaaaa-" Skywarp whines. "I /like/ rust sticks." He glances at the red mech. "Awww, but you gotta come back to Polyhex with us. You'll like it."

Nova Black's optics flare as she glares at Skywarp, amused that the superior officer is doing what *she* tells *him*. "Nope. Not until all this slag is put away." She turns to Blades and frowns. "Thought so. But as far as I'm concerned, it's like I told you: I don't see any reason to mess with someone who hasn't made up his mind. Long as you stay out of our way and stay away from those pieces of scrap --" she nods in the direction of Iacon -- "I don't give a slag. And maybe once you think it over you'll realize what the right decision is." She clicks her wings. "Because I can tell you right now... there's only one."

Slipstream says, "Maybe if you are good Skywarp we can grab a rust stick on the way back to base.""

Nova Black snickers.

Blades nods understanding and eyes the Seekers critically before hustling back to his hallway... and that Primus-blessed pallet slat, which he starts applying to his rotor with enthusiasm, glad not to be observed.

Skywarp gives Slipstream- and Nova, for that matter- dirty looks, before returning his attention to Blades, who is hurrying out of the room. "Hey, don't go running off now-" He heads back to the pallet, following the other mech out.

Slipstream says, "Glad he's gone to be honest, he's making me feel itchy."

Blades hears Skywarp's voice and starts in alarm, racing down the corridor away from the Seeker with the pallet slat held extended from his servos.

Skywarp watches as the mech takes off running. "Hey, come back here!"

Nova Black turns toward Skywarp. "Let him go. If we convinced him, he'll be back. If not --" her black mouth sets in a grim line -- "then he gets whatever he gets out here, and it's not our problem."

Slipstream smiles a bit, "I think I could like you." this said toward Nova Black.

"Yeah, I guess. Oh well. Where'd that box of rust sticks go?" Skywarp says.

Nova Black smirks. "That depends. Did you put all the boxes away?"

"What did I do to deserve bossy femmes?" Skywarp asks. It may or may not be a rhetorical question. Skywarp can definitely not spell rhetorical.

Nova Black chuckles. "In that case, they're right over here." She opens one of the crates and pushes it toward Skywarp.

Slipstream hms and offers toward Skywarp, "Crossed Primus perhaps?" smirk.

Skywarp rolls his eyes and takes a hefty handful of rust sticks, unwrapping one and popping it in his mouth.

Nova Black turns toward Slipstream. "So ya like me now, huh?" Her wings twitch. "'Bout time I made an ally around here."

Slipstream nods toward Nova. "Lot more personable than Shadowstar anyway. She's a bit stuck on her looks." the femme makes a face, wings sweeping back in a amused sort of expression.

Skywarp pouts. "Hey, I like you! Don't I count?"

Nova Black laughs, her scarred optics widening. "Don't think I'm gonna be winning any beauty contests any time soon."

Slipstream snorts at Skywarp, "Stop leering at us femmes and maybe you'll count.. eventually." she pauses a moment and shrugs at Nova Black, "More to a femme than her looks."

Skywarp leers some more. "But why?" He munches on another rust stick. "These are pretty good."

Nova Black twitches her wings and ignores 'Warp.

Slipstream shakes her head at the mech, "I think we can head back to Polyhex, we are done here." this said to the other femme.

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