First Aid had run into a rescue party sent down to get them, and was now arriving with the party at the other side of the rubble.
Swivel had been assisting in any way she could. Whether it was moving as much (which was quite diminutive) rubble away from the cave in, fetching something, shining light on tools, or just being optimistic, Swivel was enthusiastic to serve, and never seemed to tire even amidst the heat. Every once in a while she'd knock on Deet and ask if the ship had any ideas.
Ratchet doesn't have much on him in the way of excavation tools, and really his energy has been going to running his fans and observing the other Transformers trapped. He sighs, relaxing against the cave-in.
Clearing the passage from the outside was slow work, and would have qualified as miserable even without the excessive heat from the nearby smelting pits. First Aid isn't really designed for this kind of search and rescue work, but took a turn manning a shovel before handing it over gratefully to a larger and better equipped mech and is now occupying himself handing out cubes of energon and coolant top-offs to the rescue party.
Every time Swivel knocked, the ship patiently replied that no, she had no ideas.
Until now "I do have an idea." she announced simply, her radio message even reaching First Aid outside.
Lift Off is certainly doing plenty lifting himself, taking the larger sections of debris and moving them aside. "This must have been a big cave in." he comments.
After a few moments, the Ship continued "I can attempt to use my engines to crush the debris smaller, allowing it to disperse and be more easily moved."
Ratchet narrows his optics. "Just how selective is that pulverization of yours, Deet?" he asks.
Swivel glances over to the ship when Deet finally had an idea. She clapped, and was about to jump at the plan, when Ratchet interceded with logic. She glances over at Ratchet. "Oh... righ'. Guesser worried 'bout jus' makin' it all fall on us, eh?"
"That would not happen. For me to activate my engines, I would have to allow you into my cabin to clear the way." explains the ship "There, you would be safe."
Lift Off frowns at that suggestion, "It could also cook our circuits if she did it too long." then a pause as the ship continues, "No offense, but I'm too large to be getting inside you."
"My engines produce very little heat. There would be no concerns about that." notes the Ship with a near audible sniff "If you refuse then, then I am uncertain how to break free."
First Aid broadcasts on his own radio. "Deet, if you're going to fire up your engines, give us a warning first so we can clear the tunnel out here."
"You have no worries." broadcasts the ship back "I cannot with the others standing in front of me and they cannot fit. I am considering alternative ideas, such as a minimal power up to weaken the rubble without full power. "
Lift Off considers that and looks to the others, "Perhaps we can try it her way. You can all get into her and I'll get as far out of the way as I can with my thicker armor facing toward the heat."
Ratchet sighs and nods. "It's possible, of course," he says as he gets to his feet, "but I'd be questioning any engine force in an echo chamber like this. It won't take much to give your insides problems, and I hate to tell you this, but your internals are a lot weaker than this slag," he states while pointing to the wall. "We're without many choices."
"My engines will be fine. I am familiar with their work and maintenance." the ship reassures Ratchet. Her facing underbelly shimmers, starting to 'melt' and reform into a boarding ramp "It may be a little bit short for the tallest. " she notes.
Swivel crosses her arms over her chest, staring at Lift-off, her mouth puckered and her optic ridges furrowed into a peculiar little expression. After a while she shakes her head. "I dunno... le's jus keep thinkin' up udder ideas." Swivel says. "If you canna fit, I dun like ther idea of us all bein' safe while ya take a risk..." she trails off when Ratchet, again, brings down the logic upon them. Swivel glances over at Deet's inviting ramp. "Hrrrmmmm...."
Lift Off glances at the size of the doorway, "Perhaps I could try my own engines in my current form." he suggests, "That way the heat is closer to the debris."
Deet buzzes a little "My engines do not produce heat, nor backwash or vibrations." she sounds almost insulted. "I will very carefully bring the power up and monitor it to ensure our safety."
"Um, Deet, if there's no heat or vibration, how are they going to effect the rocks? We're digging you all out as fast as we can." First Aid says. Listening to half a conversation is always frustrating.
Lift Off vents softly, shaking his head. "Fine. We'll try it your way." he mutters, making a gesture toward the others, "You should go ahead of me, I'll stand on the ramp itself as close to the door as I can."
"Under the ramp should be fine. Just not right in front of me." notes the ship "I promise I will not blow us up. "
Ratchet carefully picks his way up the ramp, then turns and raises his voice and radio. "All right. Deet, let's try to get this over with as quickly and carefully as possible," he says, pretending that he has any control over the nature of his return to the Land of Continuous Airflow. He vents in anticipation.
Swivel offers up a little shrug and then resumes smiling. She walks over to the ramp, a but curious as to the insides of Deet. "I am peeeeeeeerfectly conferdint that all'll be well!" Swivel peeps optimistically as she heads up the rap, peering in.
First Aid moves back up the passage on the outside of the cave in with the rest of the excavation party. "Everybody is clear on this side, Deet." Yer NPCs, I stealz them!
Lift Off takes his turn at the ramp, going up it as far as he can. "I'm all set here. I'll keep an optic out for any further cave in issues."
"Very well. " The insides were the same sleek, organic curves of the silver exterior. It was indeed a tight squeeze, and she had to keep the gate open as there's a silence from the ship, then a click.
The feeling of the air pressure beginning signals some sort of change, as what looks like a distortion begins in the rocks, that start to crumble - collapsing in o themselves' like the middle ones just vanished, and there was a gentle 'pull' towards that point. And a sudden burst of X-rays from that spot.
First Aid says "Well, -something- is happening out here," First Aid watches from the top of the passage. "But I can't tell if it's working or not."
Swivel tentatively puts her hand on one of the smooth, organically curved walls of the interior, having a more through look around. However, once Deet begins the light show she glances out, finding something to stand on to peer over the shoulder of the other mechs and out the ramp. "Ooooooooh."
Lift Off watches on, looking for any sign of further debris coming down. "Looking good so far, keep it up." he offers to Deet.
The pile continued to crumble, the rocks 'stretching' to a point too far to seen. Xrays blast out powerfully as it seems like reality is warping...
And then it stops, the pile still there but much smaller "I cannot maintain a constant low output it seems. It would have been exponential." she explains
Ratchet raises an optic ridge. "So now what?" he asks.
"well, I suppose keep digging." admits the ship
"Well wotter we waitin' fer? Le's get back ter it, snap to!" Swivel chimes in, pushing past the other mechs to get back to work on digging with renewed enthusiasm.
Lift Off steps off the ramp to check if the way has been cleared enough to allow all of them to exit. "Indeed." he agrees, starting up on debris clearing again.
Lift Off picks up the dicebag and rolls against his intelligence. Lift Off's roll succeeds!
First Aid says "We'll keep digging on this side, Deet."
Ratchet eyes Swivel for a moment and steps back down into the enclosed space before tugging on some loose debris. He steps aside as a boulder topples toward his leg and begins muttering about pikes and echo cables. After several minutes, he asks, "So just why are we down here, in the first place?"
Swivel straightens up and glances over her shoulder as Ratchet asks a question. She has a thoughtful look as she wipes some small debris off of her hands. "Hum....... I dunno.... well, I know WHY I'm down 'ere, but I dunno 'bout ya 'Bots."
Lift Off shakes his head as there's an odd sensation in the area he's standing. "Let's get through this as quickly as possible." he tells the others, working faster to clear debris.
"When we get out of here, I'm going to have a long talk with Prime," Ratchet says as another hunk gives way. "I mean, there's not much use for -- Deet," he starts, turning to face the ship.
"Yes? " asks the ship simply as she remains where she was
First Aid returns to the rock fall on the outside to continue helping.
Swivel tilts her head to the side at Ratchet. "Wai... ya jus' can go up ter yer leader and tell 'im what fer?"
Lift Off peers over at the medic a moment, "Excuse me but I think there would be use for Deet. I certainly wouldn't mind someone helping me with passenger and cargo trips off planet." he notes.
Ratchet picks up the dicebag and rolls against his intelligence. Ratchet's roll fails!
"I can, and I frequently do," Ratchet replies drily to Swivel. "It's not as though there wouldn't be a use, but there's the more immediate question of what Prime wanted me here for," he says. "Deet, are you having a power failure?"
"No. Why? " asks the ship, puzzled as they work. Soon the passageway was almost clear.
Ratchet picks up the dicebag and rolls against his awareness. Ratchet's roll succeeds!
Swivel stares at Ratchet with a wide-eyed expression. "Reeally?" she asks incredulously and then turns and pulls at some more debris and lets it tumble down to her feet, moving them ever so slightly to not get them buried. As she works she goes on to say, "Ya mus' be quite impertant ter get away with tha' sorter thin'.... unless yer Leader ain't ther type ter really care much 'bout respect." Dig dig dig. "But, comer think o' it, I guess one kin 'ave words with someone o' authority respectfully 'n all... fact it takes respect ter try an' correct summun... tha's what I tell myself when I get criticized; it's because summun cares."
Lift Off calls over to the mechs on the other side of the pile of debris, "Hope you have a crane mech with you and the willingness to pull someone out of a tight spot." another glance at Ratchet, "Perhaps your Prime knows more than he lets on hm?"
Ratchet snorts at Swivel. "I don't much give a flying frag what Prime thinks of what I tell him, and he knows it. It's a certain... freedom in the working relationship," he says. He turns to Lift Off and Deet and says, "Well, something... doesn't quite make sense," Ratchet says. "I'm having some trouble pinning it down, but something's off."
"I do not know this prime. I am undamaged, I know that. I just know I have to find Psyke."
Swivel brings a dirtied hand up to her mouth, surprise written plainly across her features at Ratchet's snarky response to her comments. "Huh...... freedom, yeah, I guess ya kin call it that..." she murmurs. She once again tries to wipes her hands off on her thighs to little avail. She stops and jerks one of her shoulders suddenly, a very subtle twitch under one of her optics after Deet speaks. She quickly recovers and puts on a faint smile. "Dun worry, Deet, soon we'll be free o' here and then ya kin find yer pilot."
Lift Off inclines his head, "So you feel it too. Thought maybe it was just me." he notes, "I felt a sensation as if there was a black hole nearby when I approached the pile after Deet shrunk it down." a pause as Deek speaks, "Still looking for them with no luck? Are you even sure he's on this planet?"
Swivel picks up the dicebag and rolls against her awareness <Now that ya mention it...>. Swivel's roll fails!
First Aid continues helping dig!
"A black hole?" Ratchet asks. "What do you mean, a black hole? Those don't tend to stay localized," he says as he peers through the space in the fallen slag.
"Well, it felt like that because' that’s what it was." notes the ship, in normal 'this is normal' tones. "I think I can fit through the opening now."
Lift Off nods to Ratchet, "Yes a black hole." then Deet confirms it. "But it seems to not be sucking any of us into it, if it's still there, so let's focus on our next task by getting Deet here out of her tight spot."
"I turned it off." explains Deet simply.
Swivel is halted again as she listens to Ratchet, Lift-Off, and Deet. "Black.. hole? Ain't those things dangerous?" Swivel asks with a hint of a frown. She shakes her head and smiles. "Eeeeh not gunner worry 'bout it! I'm jus 'appy ter see ther end o' all this diggin'!" Swivel says brightly. She calls through to the other side. "Oy, thanks fer yer help! But ya migh wanner back-up! Deet'll be comin' through!"
"Coming through, sure," Ratchet says. He looks around the passage for someplace to shelter Transformers from the moving craft and shakes his head. "Where are we supposed to go while you plough through here?"
"I can wait until you depart the area and then leave." notes the Ship "That would suffice?"
First Aid says "If Deet's coming through, we should probably clear out entirely. Why was she down here, anyway?" First Aid looks mystified.
Lift Off nods to Deet and gets past the debris pile to get out of the way, "Looking for someone." he tells the young medic.
"Well, yes, that's what she was doing the other day, too. But underground?" First Aid says.
"Waiting." explains the ship "I got chased, and I did not wish to attract more attention."
"Chased?" Ratchet asks. "You travel how fast and you were chased into a smelting pit?" He clambers over the debris and stands next to First Aid.
Swivel crawls out of the debris quite easily, being a smaller femme. Once free she starts flicking and thwacking various parts of herself to try and loosen dirt and grime that collected to her armor. "Now who'd wanner chase ya?" She pauses again. "An... should we be worried?" She glances over at First Aid and gives him an especially large grin. "WEllum, canna seem ter see ya 'less i'm in some kinner trouble!"
First Aid smiles back at Swivel. "You mean you're sometimes not in trouble? Why-" he shakes his head, deciding he doesn't want to know.
Lift Off checks and says to Deet, "All clear. Try to free yourself."
The ship slides forwards - the few inches on either side allowing her clearance as she floats out effortlessly "no, not really." she replies, mostly to Swivel.
Ratchet's mouth hangs open while he watches the movement.
Swivel throws out her arms in an expression of exaggerated exasperation. "Ya think I'm always in trouble?" she booms at First Aid as if angry. However, she is quickly smiling and laughing again, letting her arms fall to her sides, swinging a little from the momentum of the drop. "Ha ha ha, sum time we should grab a drink tergether an' I kin show you just how much NOT trouble I kin get inter." Swivel moves back a little more as she sees Deet get out. Her optics flicker a few times. "Wish I could move like that..." she murmurs.
First Aid gives Swivel a doubtful look before returning his focus to Deet.
Lift Off watches on in silence, taking in the movement of the ship as well. Then he breaks his quiet to say, "As a fellow flier Deet, I would suggest not coming down here again without someone to guide you. You may not be as lucky if this happens again."
"... I was not the one who was stuck." notes Deet simply to Lift Off.
Ratchet smiles lopsidedly at the assertion, then turns his attention to First Aid and Swivel. He watches Swivel keenly.
Swivel picks up the dicebag and rolls against her awareness <Prying eyes>. Swivel's roll fails!
Swivel raises her optics ridges at First Aid's expression. She moves closer to him, her face the epitome of curiosity at this moment. She is quiet for a moment, then finally asks "Wot? Why'd ya gimme tha' look?" She inquires, gradually invading First Aid's personal space, seeming oblivious to Ratchet's prying optics. Well, not so much prying as just... doing what otpics do and looking.
First Aid is still looking at the ship. "You're still looking for your pilot, then?"
"Yes, Yes I am. " a pause "I... do not want to give up. I cannot give up. But I must somehow accept the possibility."
Lift Off vents at that comment and shakes his head, "Well I need to head off to my original path before I got detoured." he states to the others, "Have a good cycle."
"First Aid," Ratchet asks, still watching Swivel while taking a step back from the ship's somewhat muted liftoff. "You know this individual?" The question has an odd quirk in tone.
First Aid glances at Ratchet. "Just from the other day outside of Crystal City. How did you all end up trapped down here, anyway?"
Swivel edges even closer to First Aid, her optics ridges drawing together, her face gradually turning into a pout as he seems to be ignoring her. She goes on her tippy toes to try and be even more noticeable, without grabbing First Aid and shaking him, although the temptation does whisper to her.
Lift Off heads off since they are all doing their own thing.
"Eon and I got a dispatch from Prime," Ratchet says. "Apparently he knew about Deet being down here, which is... interesting," he notes. "How she ended up here," he points to Swivel, "Or how he got here," he points to where Lift Off has departed, "I have no idea. This isn't exactly a place for civilians, so what gives?" he asks.
Swivel spins on her heel to look over at Ratchet, finally tearing her attention away from First Aid. "Oy... I came 'ere 'coz I was... coz I was drawn 'ere!' She holds out her hands, wiggling her phalanges, saying the words 'drawn' in a drawn out fashion. She then smiles and shrugs her shoulders. "That an' I had some incremental sticky evidence ter 'spose of!"