The crowd orders rounds of cheap enerbeer and go for their winnings or give up their loss as the gladiators assist in setting up the stage for the performance. This gives time for medical intermission as well for the two combatants. Robustus has them up and ready to go as the stage is finished being set up and the crowd is regaining their seats.
There's a brief pause, and then all the lights went out in the dome, in a pattern of sets, until the area was pitch black save for the thousands of pairs of optics surrounding the inky black stage -curiously, it was polished flint rock and sections of steel.
A soft flash of light that slowly fades away, backlighting about a dozen mixed Decepticons walking out slowly over the floor, before they are dropped into darkness once more.
And then, a jet's engine is heard... droning out of the silence slowly... and then it starts to change pitch, the seeker 'playing' his engine like a flute... haunting and slow.
Megatron turns his steely red optics towards the stage as the show begins. This will be the first show he's seen Firedance in, and he's anxiously awaiting to see what his Decepticon can do. Megatron steeples his fingers in front of his gaze, and settles in his front-row throne.
Robustus shifts his attention from the medical area as the lights go down, "Best get a good seat." he notes to the combatants and heads to get close himself. Naturally the crowd has quieted a bit to listen and watch on.
As the 'whistling' slows to a still, it holds the last note as the light flashes again, the seekers moving forwards as the beat starts to pick up.
And then as one, they crack a heel against the ground - sending up a long X shape of colored sparks all at once. The music has more instruments join, and as one they moved, cracking the other heel against it. A few more times, and then on every beat they did - becoming a flickering, rainbow image of that X drawn out on the sands by their dots and positions.
Robustus gets his seat and watches on quietly.
Megatron watches on as the show begins. He's looking for Firedance in particular, and is waiting to place her under his scrutinizing gaze.
It was hard to pick any particular seeker out at this time as they start to move... the X forming an O, then various other symbols, becoming more complicated. By off-setting their sparks, the pictures become animated - lines darting back and forth as they go faster and faster, and even forming a Decepticon symbol - which got many cheers and whistles from the crowd.
Then the lights come on, illuminating the seekers as the beat drops and they march forwards four, then turn in to one another and interweave, marching sideways until the two sides had reversed position, and then back out again, the center of the stage boiling up in a fog.
And then a jet launches straight up, its' mirror like form like a disco ball that reflected the lights of every seeker. To the sound of a long battle horn it hung in midair, then started to tumble - free falling. A blurr of spinning and transformation as it disappeared again into the rising cloud from below.
As it does so, a crash of drums as fireworks sets off, and out of it leapt the reflective Firedance, to the cheer of many as she twirled out of the cloud with perfect timing, clicking heels sending up fiery red sparks in her weight as low walls of flame surrounded the stage.
Robustus watches on raptly, "Impressive."
Megatron calmly watches on as Firedance begins the show. It appears as though the Emperor is not taking this time to relax as he should, instead focusing on something else. Megatron's gaze remains fixed on the presentation though.
Moving around in a circle to the cheers, Firedance kept on a stern, soldier-like face. She stopped every eighth beat, glancing this way and that dramatically - definitely playing the part of a high-borne general perhaps, every movement static - not stiff, but definitely more military than her performance in the El Sleazo so long ago. She finally took center stage, twirling around in a flurry of sparks that surrounded her entirely from the speed before stopping again.
Then she twisted, puffing a little from the exertions as she did another round, three jets now diving in overhead and swirling after her - followers behind the shining leader. Those on the ground were kneeling, banging fists against the floor to make a very much FELT rhythm that reverberated thurough the arena.
Robustus is starting to understand those mods he saw on the scanner now. "Nice."
Megatron picks up on the subtlety of Firedance's performance as the surrounding dancers kneel to her. He'll leave his interpretation of the performance until the curtain falls though. For now, Megatron simply watches on, feeling the reverberation of the beat through his metal throne.
Indeed they were, for no standard seeker - military or civilian - could have survived that twisting entrance without help. One NEEDED to flex to pull that off as she finishes her round, having moved back to the pillar of smoke.
She turns - and comes face to face with Wash, a military seeker who could not be a warrior. He looked quite impressive - decked out with faux weapons that shone and bristled in bright red, purple and silver now.
the music went dead silent as the two faced off.
Robustus can feel that beat as well, then it goes quiet as she seems ready to square off against a mech dancer. "Huh."
A battle. This should prove interesting. Megatron's interest seems piqued as Firedance appears to be facing off against Wash, as he leans forward in his metal throne.
The beat started up slowly again, the kneeling 'warriors' joined in by those in the crowd now as they set up a beat. The two stared themselves off - the femme quite a bit shorter and slighter than the military seeker before them. She steps back - he steps forwards, their feet moving together to the beat as she moves backwards, the two starting to circle slowly, steps always in time to each other, never on each other's toes.
Robustus straightens a bit, watching intently, wondering if this is going to be an obvious 'winner' or a surprise.
Megatron awaits the start of the battle, his red optics looking on. Megatron's red optics dart to take in the entire scene, before focusing again on Firedance's performance.
They continued to move around and circle... orbiting each other now as they went faster and faster... A battle, or dance? It was hard to tell as they moved through the rehearsed motions, never once stepping out of place as the steps grew more complicated and intricate. Finally they split up, then charged together... crossing each one like two jets playing chicken, to the cheer of many. She whirled into a high kick, a loud CRACK ringing out as his head whipped back... although there was no actual damage done, it almost looked like she really did hit him.
Robustus jerks a bit at the 'contact' sound and realistic head snap back. "Very impressive." Almost fooled a medic there.
Staged. Well-staged, but still staged. As he has pristine seats, Megatron doesn't miss a single detail. Megatron supposes it does have to be staged, with Firedance's troupe having many shows. He continues to watch on as the fight continues.
That and they WERE performers, not warriors at all as the fight continued... the mech 'holding back' nothing as he returned the favor with a favorite of mechs against femmes - a backhand. Again that crack and a dramatic whipping of the head before they went back into that spinning - reminiscent of two fighters circling. Back and forth they went, first one now dancing, then the other, as though trying to prove which one was the faster, the better dancer as well as fighter.
Robustus grimaces, "Please let that not be a fore bearer for things to come." thinking of Chimera in the prison below Polyhex.
Megatron watches on as the performance plays on, continuing to evaluate. It appears the troupe can't catch a break from Megatron's steely gaze. And probably against Robustus' wishes, the backhand will likely be quite the foreshadowing of things to come.
IT was hard to tell as the two continue to duke it out... each one accompanied by a crack. She became a little saucy even, always moving out of his reach. At one point they transformed, joining in an aerial ballet as they twirled, played chicken before descending to the ground before.
During all of this, the beat continued, and the dance gradually changed... the exact moment was hard to tell, but their opposing dances started to complement each other... starting to become one dance together.
the music ever so gradually slowed as they now moved not in unison but a dancing pair instead, twirling, with the mech leading and the womech following, and then vice versa, not yet touching each other still as an occasional attack was still thrown, though it seemed more as though practice than true battle, like two friends may shadowbox.
Robustus hmms, "Intriguing." he murmurs, rubbing at his beard.
Megatron watches on as the pair appear as if they are practicing, now dancing together. The troupe is well-rehearsed, at least.
The dance continues, becoming slowly more intimate, his hand now around her waist as they moved across the floor, sending up sparks of red and blue - mixing together for purple, as finally the music winds up, and he dips her over backwards gracefully, in a 'bow' of sorts in the direction of Megatron.
Robustus cocks his head a bit, "Simulated spark merge?" he asks. Shaking his head, "Nah."
Megatron isn't sure if that is the end of the show or not. Thinking it is, Megatron begins the applause for the troupe, prompting the ensembled crowd to also applause. Though he is clapping, Megatron's face remains fixed in his normal gaze.
The pair straighten, and share a 'moment' before they turn and bow to the crowd, the others joining in as well as it seems, the show was indeed over, and to quite the approval.
Firedance was watching Megatron out of the corner of her optics, not quite seeing Robustus.
Robustus stands and applauds with the rest of the crowd. "Well.. back to work." he sighs, moving off toward the make shift medical area he set up.
Megatron ceases his applause, though the crowd continues. They approve, but Megatron's mug might say otherwise about his approval. Megatron has been evaluating the performance this entire time, and will dole out his judgment in a less public setting.
Firedance swallows ever so faintly as she turns to walk off stage, perhaps now not as certain about this idea.
Megatron rises from his throne, and steps off from his raised central platform. Megatron is on his way to attain backstage access, and won't take no for an answer. The heavy footsteps of the Emperor get closer....
Robustus is meanwhile tending to any injuries attained by the performers or by anyone in the crowd.
Firedance is back there, removing a few bits of costume with the others. Wash steps away with a reassuring look, and they all tense as they hear the footsteps. she inhales and looks towards the door as they near it.
The door to backstage opens, revealing the tall, silvery form of Megatron. He closes the door behind him. "Firedance. Your performance was evaluated. I cannot deny that your form of entertainment to be beneficial to the morale of my Army." Megatron rasps, swiftly delivering his evaluation.
Firedance tenses immediately, and then drops to a knee before him. She sighs in relief, quietly and looks up "Thank you my lord! I am glad I... WE were such an inspiration again!" she notes, offering a faint smile.
Megatron nods and rasps, "Listen to your audience outside." Megatron displays an open palm to the stage, the cheers continuing to be audible. "Good morale is one of the keys to a well-functioning military."
Firedance smiles as she rises, a little bit wearily, hearing the cheers "Indeed it is sir. And I hoped to boost it by showing a different side of the Empire. The side that your fine warriors defend."
Megatron's red optics narrow at Firedance as he rasps, "My warriors do more than defend. Lest you forget, all of Cybertron will be under my rule." Megatron rasps, his goal of absolute rule set in his mind. He will accomplish this, and he doesn't mind who he needs to squash along the way.
She tensed at the optics, and she responds quickly "Forgive me my lord, I meant no slight to the might of the Decepticon army. You do much more than defend." she lowers her head quickly as she remained kneeling, just in case.
Megatron leans back up, and rasps, "I will have to less subjectively view your performance again sometime as I was not watching for my entertainment during this one." Megatron opens the door, as if he's ready to leave.
"Of course, we can provide to you data tapes of all the different feeds available. We often compile them for a good performance and sell them." she notes "I can of course, have one sent to you complimentary."
"I must prepare for the next Game." Megatron rasps, as he nods in response to Firedance before exiting the backstage area. He doesn't wait for any goodbyes, nor does he stay around for anything the Troupe might be doing.