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 Post subject: Mission #2: The Train of Consequences
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 8:29 pm 

Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 10:28 pm
Posts: 97
Ti Ion Shipping Interests Railyard
Dustball
Just Before Dawn


High technology was in low supply on Dustball. Most advanced devices either malfunctioned, or were so rare and expensive that they frankly tended to be more trouble than they worth. Dustball's low-tech nature affected anyone who chose to live and work there, and enterprising criminals were no exception. Twitch ruminated on this as he worked the bolt cutters into the bars of the thick padlock. His twin sister, Twist, stood beside him, watching expectantly. No night-vision goggles; no steel cables lowering them down from the ceiling; no electronic lockpicks that attach to a door, automatically undo all of its locks and disable all security measures, while emitting a pleasant beep and a faint odor of peppermint. Just a big old bolt cutter, a crowbar, the cover of darkness, and the native dust getting in all sorts of private places.

"We're a long way from Cybertron, sis." Twitch remarked bemusedly, giving the bolt cutter a firm wrench to the left and succeeding in dislodging the padlock from the gate. He pitched the ruined padlock into the brush where it lay obscured from sight, and took care to close the gate behind them.

"All the better to take these bumpkins for all they got, right? I mean, that's what you said earlier. I'm just here because you said it was a good idea." Twist said in a teasing voice, clearly poking fun at her brother's often callous tone.

"Yeah, well, don't go flinging the bumpkin thing around too carelessly- we've hired some of them." Twitch replied. He and his sister were, aside from the gender difference, nearly identical. Tall, lean Maximal rabbits, who had unusually visible features remaining from their beast mode even while in robot mode. That is to say, there's been plenty of rabbit beast warriors, but few who still had bunny-ears and cotton tails even in robot mode. This feature had invited wise-cracks from some, but those wise-cracks tended to dry up once the twins had succeeded in robbing them blind.

They moved quickly and surely through the railyard. The sky was just beginning to lighten, the darkness receding to reveal hovertrain containers either mounted on tracks or lying by themselves in the middle of the yard, or inside cavernous maintenance hangars. Most of the lines into or out of here were shut down for the time being, with only one showing its currently active status via the faint blue light glowing within the metal tracks. On this same track was mounted the train Twitch and Twist were looking for. Twist looked up with keen interest as they passed passenger cars and freight containers. Twitch seemed to know exactly what he was looking for, as he passed four freight containers without comment, before finally settling on an unmarked container. He tapped the '014' spray-painted on its side.

"Right here. This is where they're storing it. Which means we wait in..." Twitch pointed over to the next freight container back. "That one."

"Your tip better be good. Of the guys I'd like to spend a day locked in a boxcar with, you're not one of them." Twist smirked as she climbed up onto the side of the '015' freight container and gave Twitch a hand up.

"Well, if my tip's not good, I'll kick his ass and owe you a beer. Deal?" Twitch asked in a snappy business-like tone as he opened up the door into the freight container.

"Two beers."

"Two beers?! Now this tip really better be good." Twitch snickered. Laughing in unison, he and his sister shut the door tight, pocketing dangerous-looking handguns, and settled down to wait.

---------------------

Rotwood Sheriff's Office
Three Days Previous


Sunset and the bots she had rallied together to take down the Dead Batteries Gang had returned, but hardly as conquering heroes. Rather than being greeted by the Rotwood townspeoples' jubilant shouts, dancing, parades in their honor, they had instead hauled their rickety wagon full of bodies back through an eerie silence. The bots that watched this grim procession looked at them with curiosity, fear, and, in a few, a dour sense of justice having been served. Quake had trudged ahead, grunting and muttering to himself as he pulled the wagon. Oakscream and Agavus had aided in pushing it along, while Furral carried Versa and Fenrir carried Gatling. Sunset had walked a little ways behind the rest, seeming even more quiet and subdued than usual.

"You did it!" Sunrise greeted them, hobbling towards them from within the Hitching Post. She was limping heavily, still requiring more repairs, but she had insisted upon leaving the Heretic Fox coach guards in order to return to her bar. Now she met her returning posse in high spirits that few of them shared.

"Where's Gloom? I want my bounty for this." Fenrir grunted, her voice slightly muffled by the unconscious Gatling's side as she spoke up.

"Thought you said you could carry her?" Sunset glanced over at her.

"She's heavier than she looks." Fenrir snapped, switching the petite Gatling to her other shoulder.

"Haven't seen Gloom anywhere." Sunrise said, looking with awe at the wagon full of local thugs and the notorious Dead Batteries. "Look, pretty much everyone here is injured...you better come in. I can get those UCCA guys, those foxes, to come back and tend to everyone's injuries. We all need repairs, and rest, and copious amounts of booze."

"As eager as I am to get started on that last," Fenrir said, walking into the bar and plopping Gatling unceremoniously down on a table. Empty glasses clattered to the floor and the wood creaked. "This one's still alive. If you want to heal her, fine, but make sure she stays in stasis lock."

"Can do." Sunrise nodded. Hex stepped forward, looking over Gatling. His optics still bore signs of the damage he'd sustained. "Er...what happened after Fireplug took me out? I mean, what exactly happened?"

A couple of the posse members glanced at Sunset. She paused, and wordlessly walked by them. She prepared to ascend the stairs to the Hitching Post's second floor, glancing back at Sunrise.

"We did our jobs. That'll have to be enough." she said, and in saying so, seemed to be directing this at everyone. She continued walking up the stairs, and Digger watched her go, concern on his aged features.

It had been an uneventful couple of days. True to her word, Sunrise had contacted those bots from the UCCA stagecoach. Though Cruncher was not with them, undoubtedly happy to be far away from any more gunslingers, Recoil and Rimfire had returned willingly enough, and aided in repairing the members of the group over the next two days. Gatling remained in a state of deep unconsciousness, kept under watch in an upstairs room. Agavus advanced the theory more than once that this was one of the Hitching Post's 'escort lady' rooms, to Sunrise's furious glares. And on the morning of the third day following the Dead Batteries' defeat, Gloom was once again sighted prowling the dusty Rotwood streets. Fenrir wasted no time in contacting him- simply striding across the street to his office would do it- and Sunset and Quake followed.

They let themselves into his office, a small square room with a wooden floor and a reinforced jail cell off in one corner. There was a bulletin board plastered with fading bounty posters and UCCA notices, a weapons rack under lock and key, in the corner of which they could see a fearsome-looking ball and chain. The walls and floor were covered in nicks and scratches, byproducts of the excessively spiky Gloom simply walking this office. Gloom sat behind a heavy steel desk designed for his size, looking at them with a frown. Another 'bot they didn't recognize was leaning against his back in the corner, surveying them with interest. Fenrir had half-expected Dirty Deke to still be in the jail cell, remembering him all too well (especially his scent, which her heightened lupine senses recalled with disgust). To her surprise, the cell was empty of either Deke or his surviving henchmen.

"Where's-?" Fenrir started to ask, jerking a thumb toward the cell.

"We shipped Deke and his cronies off to Penitence Bay. There they'll await trial and I'm sure the judge'll waste no time in granting them one-way trip to Cocytus." Gloom said shortly. He sounded sour, no doubt thinking he'd have liked to exact his own punishment on Deke. But the dung beetle was just too much of a hazard to his senses to keep around. Easier to ship him off and let him stink up another cell. "We'll ship your captive to the Bay as well- yes, I've heard about her- we'll ship her as soon as I feel like going over there and putting the Wife and Kids on her."

As he said this last, he inclined his head towards the nasty-looking ball and chain.

"Just my little way of insuring cooperation." Gloom said, and smiled for the first time since they'd walked into his office.

"'Bout that...cooperation." Quake drawled. Without invitation, he plunked his hefty body down into the chair in front of Gloom's desk. He leaned forward, fixing his glowing red optics on Gloom. "I find I ain't capable o' much in the way of cooperatin' unless I am being well rewarded for my actions. Ain't seen much recompense, law-man."

"Ah- of course. The bounty. You haven't been paid yet." Gloom sneered. From his spot in the corner, the young handsome-looking Maximal surveyed the trio of gunslingers with interest- Quake in particular.

"We almost lost a couple of them. They deserve to be paid for what they put themselves through." Sunset said flatly.

"I agree! You're doing an excellent job so far, cleaning out those wastes. But let me just ask you brave heroes this: Does all this look like I have thousands of credits to give you?" Gloom asked irritably, spreading his palms to indicate the scuffed-up, threadbare office.

Fenrir looked at Gloom with curiosity. She knew Gloom was supposed to be a hardass, but he was also known to enjoy abusing people. This just didn't track- his answers were short and vague, like he wanted them out of his sight as soon as possible. She looked at the young Maximal, wondering whether he had anything to do with Gloom's attitude. The 'bot was still gazing at Quake, when he noticed Fenrir's optics upon him. He looked at her, and then gave her a bright, cheerful smile, before looking back at Gloom and Quake as though he were observing a particularly good holovid program.

"Of course you don't. But as a UCCA-appointed sheriff, you can sign a bounty acquisition slip." Sunset told him.

"What'd you think we were going to do, hold you upside down and shake out your pocket change?" Fenrir snorted.

"Man's a mite too heavy for that." Quake said, glaring up at Gloom from his seat.

Gloom drummed his fingers on the desk, before standing up and stomping over to a battered filing cabinet in the corner. It had a neglected look to it, like Gloom rarely had any use for it. He reached inside, pulling out a datapadd, and began to trace his signature into the screen. The screen fizzled slightly, common on Dustball, and he slapped the side of the datapadd once before finishing his signature. Then he passed the datapadd over to Fenrir. She reached out to take it, but before she could grab it Quake had snatched it from Gloom's hand. He scanned his optics over it and nodded once.

"Says here there's a bounty office in Gildtown'll pay the dues. If'n you're lookin' to get your share, you best hurry along, as I'm leavin' today." Quake said to Sunset, before lumbering out the door. Sunset and Fenrir exchanged a glance, and Fenrir followed him. Sunset went to leave, then paused, looking back at Gloom.

"Gatling- you won't harm her before they pick her up and bring her to trial."

"It's no fun messing with bots in stasis lock. I prefer them awake." Gloom replied with a malevolent smirk. "Don't worry- s'worth more than my job to mess with a high-profile bounty taken alive. Go get your money and be thankful I'm not forcing you to give me a cut."

Sunset didn't reply to this, simply turning on her heel and walking out the door. Gloom plopped back down behind his desk with an air of annoyance, while the young Maximal gazed after Sunset through his small round sunglasses.

Upon returning to the Hitching Post, Fenrir and Sunset had informed everyone of their new destination, a few days' ride north of Rotwood. There hadn't been much need for preparation- there were already a group of stout scalebacks hitched up to the post, and everyone was feeling the need for some extra credits. They saddled up and headed out for a long ride north through the desert.

----------------

Today

The gunslingers tread through the desert, some on foot, others riding scalebacks. Scalebacks could be finicky, and Rotwood certainly didn't have many to go around, so many of the bots that were riding where riding two to a scaleback. Pistonhoof had transformed to accomodate a couple of them as well. They'd kept mostly quiet, riding steadily, camping out on plateaus or in cozy caves each night. They didn't talk much- they weren't friends yet, most of them, and aside from big-mouths like Agavus or Quake, most of them weren't terribly social in the first place. Not friends, not co-workers, simply riding as one to collect their dues. But all of them were in agreement on some feelings of surprise as they crested a hill and came to look upon Gildtown.

Compared to the flat, dusty stretch of slums that comprised Rotwood, Gildtown could be called a bustling metropolis. The town was situated on a hill moving downward into a low flat valley with a curving ridge covered in train-tracks that moved off into the distance in both east and west directions. Well-kempt wooden and metal buildings were set into the side of the hill, and ringed the outskirts of the valley. They could faintly hear a raucous piano theme emanating from a combination bar and casino in the valley, and see many different bots and native species walking back and forth in the streets. As the visiting gunslingers moved down the hill, they noticed another surprising difference- as they walked, the rocky flatlands of Dustball gradually gave way to a cobbled street and wooden sidewalks.

"If'n we ain't in the lap o' luxury now." Quake remarked. They walked down into the valley and glanced around. There was the bar/casino, which had a flashing neon sign of a pair of dice that turned into bombs. The marquee titled this place as the Loaded Dice Casino. They could hear piano tunes, clinking drinks, and low conversation and laughter within. There was a brothel, and not one terribly concerned with hiding its identity, next door- several extremely good-looking femmebots called to the males of the posse as they passed. There was also a couple of male bot workers, and even a Cactili. They walked past an alley where several merchandise stands had been erected- the vendors called out to the newcomers as they passed.

"You there! Miss! You look like you'd appreciate a fine new set of stainless steel never-rust, never-break hunting knives!" one vendor called to Ataraxes, from inside a booth laden with various types of knives and swords.

"I modify your weapons for a pittance! Surely no heroic bounty hunter can say nay to collapsible stocks, 600-yard telescoping sights, and improved ammunition capacity!" another vendor shouted at Digger.

"Make love, not war! A fine assortment of wines and spices from Le Marais, and nanite-laced aphrodisiacs in case you're a mech who fancies not having to pay for his dates!" a particularly bold vendor said to Agavus.

"Let's move on." Sunset said to Agavus, who looked like he wanted to retort. "We can come back and buy things after we've gotten our shares of the bounty."

They walked past an inn and a hill that led away from the merchants' area to a residential neighborhood. There, up near the ridge that moved out of the valley, was a hovertrain station. The station was a long covered platform with a corrugated tin roof, broad glass windows showing benches and turnstiles within, and a ticket-taker drone near the front. On the other side of the hovertrain tracks, where the tracks optionally switched off and curved away from the main path, was a maintenace shed with a series of dormant hand-carts sitting on the tracks. There was a map of the train route on the wall of the subway platform near the ticket taker booth, along with a massive holographic poster of Governor Truncheon giving an impassioned re-election speech on repeat. The moving two-dimensional image of Truncheon gave the impression of a big game hunter gone slightly to seed- rambunctious, daring, easy to like, if a little pompous and over the top. Sunset watched this poster for a moment before Fenrir, nudging her arm, pointed out the Gildtown sheriff's office and holding cell, next to which was a bounty office.

The gunslingers lingered outside looking around at all the locals walking back and forth, drinking mugs of steaming energon coffee outside one of the restaurants, having heated haggling arguments with vendors, making romantic overtures to winking courtesans hanging around the brothel. Sunset and Fenrir walked into the bounty office, a small room with one wall entirely covered in bounty posters. An alert, attentive-looking Predacon stood in a sealed room behind a thick glass window. There was a desk behind him with a UCCA computer terminal and a heavy safe. The insectile Predacon smirked, clacking his mandibles together, as Fenrir and Sunset entered. The rest of their party waited either close outside or in the office, able to hear every word that was said and look around.

"Alright, let's hear it. Purse-snatcher? Dune rover rustler? Who've you saved the world from?" he asked Sunset. The insect had the feel of someone who'd been approached by many bounty hunters looking for good payoffs at just about any justification.

"I don't know about saving the world, but we did take out the Dead Batteries Gang. That should be worth something." Sunset said calmly, sliding Gloom's bounty slip under the window. The Predacon clerk took a look at it skeptically, and then, reading it closer, suddenly changed his manner completely.

"Then it is true! I thought the morning-shift guy was BSing me when he took that poster down! Alright, yeah, let me just go authorize this at the computer...five dead, one alive, that'll be, hmm, let me go do the math..." he moved over to sit down at the terminal and started typing away rapidly.

As they waited to receive their payment, Sunset and a few of the others looked over the wall of bounty posters. There was, indeed, a conspicuous large blank space that, they assumed, the Dead Batteries Gang's poster had once occupied. Near the top of the wall, covering many other smaller posters, was a large one for the wanted terrorist and mass murderer, Disaster. There was no picture or hologram of him, simply an artist's sketch- and yt the crude, vague drawing of Disaster managed to still convey a sense of menace as the hulking, shrouded figure glared down at them on the poster, above a long list of criminal offenses and a massive 500,000 cred bounty, larger than any other inhabitant of the wall. Sunset gazed at the poster of Disaster in particular. Looking over the wall of posters, Fenrir saw one for a pair of Maximal rabbits named Twitch and Twist. The list of criminal offenses was notably absent of anything violent- no assault, no murder- but had a long list of larceny, fraud, and grand theft accusations. The poster had them marked down at 3000 creds each dead, and 12,000 creds each alive. She made a little impressed noise in her throat. Twist was actually fairly cute.

"You're good for thirty thousand credits total." the clerk spoke up, and started counting out thin chip-like pieces of plastic from within the safe. These he slid under the window to Fenrir, who wasted no time in grabbing her share. Sunset started dividing up the money, passing bills to the others, not bothering to accept any for herself right away.

"Okay- dues are paid. I guess I owe you guys my thanks for sticking with me this far. I figure Fen and I'll be catching a train out of here soon. You can come with us, unless any of you got specific plans for your money." Sunset said, glancing around at the group.


(Welcome to the start of our second mission! We'll be getting into some action soon- right now is a good time for interaction and exploration of Gildtown, if you feel so inclined. My next mod post will begin activity for the player criminal characters, as soon as I've received a couple more player submissions to go on. Hoping you all enjoy yourselves.)


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 Post subject: Re: Mission #2: The Train of Consequences
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 11:35 pm 

Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2009 3:34 am
Posts: 44
[Enjoying it? Of course. Running roughshod all over the Wild Westworld, and you need to ask if I'm enjoying it? Certainly.]

Quake grunted. “Money? Ha. Ever’body knows s’good fer nothin’ ‘cept keepin’ score,” he muttered, but took his share, shuffled around on the spot, showing his back and grabbing what privacy there was, and began to count the chips over again, holding them close to his chest.

The Pred’s face wasn’t made to express anything so human as emotion, but you could almost hear the mental gears a-turning as Quake stared at the wall of bounties. Maybe he stared a little too long at the big one, and maybe he didn’t-- Disaster’s bug-ugly shadow on the horizon made an impression no matter what.

Or maybe it was just the 500 large. Either way, Quake gave a derisive snort, shuffling back around so as to face the door and the others. He held out his credit chips where everyone could see them, flicked open a wrist compartment just above the exposed edge of one of his retracted blades, and let them clatter inside. “Pleasure,” he said, without emphasis, and stalked forward through the gathered others without so much as a fare-thee-well, out onto the hustling, bustling streets.

Propped up against the wall, fresh welding on one leg, Digger didn’t watch Quake go so much as listen and wait for his footsteps to fade into the crowd. “That man was all kinds’ve sour,” he said to himself, shaking his head. Someone cleared their throat, and Digger looked left, where it seemed Sunset had been waiting for him with a palm loaded with creds.

Digger smiled a faint smile, but spoke solemnly. “Beg pardon, ma’am, but I think I’ve already said. I didn’t do it for any of those reasons you got there. You all can just split that up amongst yourselves. Sorry to’ve put you to the trouble of counting again.”

And doubly sorry that that big lout of a Predacon had already gone away without his. Shame, Digger thought, and he had to smile a little harder at that.


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 Post subject: Re: Mission #2: The Train of Consequences
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 6:39 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 5:56 pm
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Gildtown was certainly different from Rotwood. Populated, noisy, and fairly well-off economy-wise. Ataraxes decided that she didn't like it. She rationalized that her dislike stemmed from the fact that she was dusty and hot and grumpy from the two-day journey over from Rotwood, but mostly, it was because she was dusty.

The femme quietly retrieved her share of the sizable bounty from Sunset, pale blue optics racing over the fresh weld-marks on her arms as she dropped the credits into her wrist compartment without counting them as Big 'Un (that was her given identifier for Quake) stalked off. Cranky fella'... She nodded to Sunset in thanks before retreating to allow someone else to get their share. Disdainful optics were turned back down to her black forearms, laced with contrasting silver welds. Damn, girl, that's ugly... her inner-voice piped up. The red and black femme's jaw clenched and she resisted the urge to roll her optics skyward, as it would most likely draw unwanted attention from someone else. Atarxes once again pulled her worn and much-loved duster from her largest subspace pocket and shook it out before slinging it on, uncomfortable with so many welds visible on her form.

Ax stepped farther away from the dwindling group of gunslingers and briefly considered heading back for Rotwood before quickly banishing the thought. There was absolutely nothing there that she was attached to in any way, shape, or form, and she didn't particularly care for the po-dunk nowhere town either. She'd glimpsed a wall half-filled with wanted posters inside the bounty office, maybe she could round up one of the lesser-knowns just for something to do...?

As much as she hated to admit it to herself, over the vorns Ataraxes had come to appreciate the idea of working with others, and as much as she wanted to tell herself that the only reason was because there were others to watch one's back, she also had to ruefully admit that she...enjoyed...the companionship that often came with the package. This thought prompted a hard glare from the femme, and she directed it at a passing mech whose optics wandered a little too freely in her direction.


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 Post subject: Re: Mission #2: The Train of Consequences
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 3:02 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 12:35 pm
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For the first time in a while, Fenrir had a genuine smile on her face. Like everyone else, she'd double-checked her count, especially after Digger had waved off his own share. Sunset hadn't been too pleased about that, of course, given that in her estimation everyone that had pulled their own weight deserved their own reward. To be fair, Fenrir was of a similar disposition, but she wasn't going to argue the fact as hard. After making a quick plan to meet up with Sunset later at one of the many drinking etablishments in the city, the wolf-femme headed out, pausing a brief moment at Ataraxes' withering glare, and then chuckling. When the femme seemed more than willing to turn it on her, she just held up her hands in mock-surrender.

"Easy there. I'm sure whatever he did to deserve that was truly heinous," she said, and chuckled, before heading out, and letting out something between a pleased sigh and a sound of relief. She was in a good mood here. Fenrir had always been a city girl; raised on Cybertron, not a colony world, and now that she was finally in something closer to home turf, she had some plans. First on that list was a nice warm solvent shower to get all the grim and grit out, and off.

A half-megacycle later and she was back amongst the barkers and sellers, but this time away from much of the brighter lights and upstanding folk in the merchant district. Well, as upstanding as anyone got on the biggest, brightest city on Dustball. No, Fenrir made her way to its seedier counterpart. It took some work of course, to find the underground. Mostly because it was in fact underground; back before the glitz and glam had arrived, like many cities Gildtown had been a mining town. Most of those tunnels had been widened, and converted, at what was probably no mean cost, either. Another nice advantage, Fenrir mused as she made her way down one of the access points after greasing the palms of the thugs looking 'low profile' at the entrance, was that the tunnels weren't made for the largest of Transformers, either. Another foot and she would have been ducking her head.

On her way down she bumped shoulders with a rather ominous looking figure. Shorter than she was, but strangely dressed; a tattered black leather duster, a weird black scarf. His gaze fixed at hers and his optics blazed a hot crimson. Fenrir met his stare for a moment then just shook her head. "Not gonna let you ruin my good mood. Just keep walking." The other kept his glare on her a second longer, then moved up and past her. She watched him walk, shaking her head. "Nutbars and their human clothing."

The tunnels were fairly well light, at least for a Transformer, it was plenty bright. She began threading her way through the crowd, even at three in the afternoon the place was pretty active. She had to wonder how much the local law had to be bought to keep their prying optics away from the underground. Then again, she mused, eyeing one of the market guards, distinguished by an additional red symbol, opposite their faction one, maybe they're just smart. The guard was almost as wide as he was tall, some kind of triple horned rhino. He didn't look bright, but he looked strong, and downhere when there was no room to run? Fenrir suddenly broke into a grin, imagining the mech in black she'd bumped into being run down and trampled. Morbid, but funny as all hell.

Finally, she reached her destination. One of her old 'friends' that had somehow ended up on the colonies, but not Dustball, had told her to drop into this paticular 'establishment' if she was ever around, and drop her name. She pushed open the door, and entered a surprisingly well apointed entry chamber. A few couches, a bar, some stools and tables. It looked like any other bar. One fellow appeared to be asleep, slumped into the couch, but there was the glint of a gun under one of his tucked arms, and he seemed just not asleep enough that he wasn't fooling anyone. But that was the point, really. He was supposed to keep trouble away, not jump on it when it sprung. Fenrir moved up to the bar, and took a seat. The bartender was a cute little thing, reminded her of that rabbit on the wanted poster, although her beast mode holdovers were a pale, but uniform grey.

"Hiya," she said, smiling warmly. "What can I get you?"

Fenrir just smirked.

Another few hours and she left the 'bar', a touch less in the money, but feeling infinitely better. With that in mind, she headed out for her second mission of the day. The same 'friend' had dropped another name, after more than a few drinks; Gamble, someone that dealt in black market shell changes, repairs, and the like. Fenrir was going to find out if he was as good as her contact said.


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 Post subject: Re: Mission #2: The Train of Consequences
PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 12:55 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 10:58 am
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[Co Post By Psycko and I]

One lone Cactilian walked into the hugely known Cybertronian saloon. His vacant eyes scanned around noting several of his prior team, headed by Sunset and Fenrir. As he turned and focused on heading to the bar, the lead femme Sunset was waiting for drinks. Once he was close, enough he took a stool close to them nodding at them once.

"Day to ya. Any new on new outlaws? I'm itching for a new round-up. I even have my med skills upgraded consider'in last time.”

Sunset leaned against the bar, gazing down at her drink as she rattled it slightly. Ice cubes; this place was indeed fancy. She had, like Digger, not bothered to take much of the bounty money. She never collected for killing. Lost in her thoughts, she glanced over at Hex as he spoke and took a moment to respond.

"That's good. If you are sticking around, we can use a medic. I don't any marks in mind right now; aside from the big one I've been hunting for a long while."

"That one's slippery. It’s not much but my Headquarters’ is here. I've got a modest data base of most of the marks around. They more frequent ones closer to the front. Just the basic trends in their targets and their general description nothing real fancy. Place ain't far from here and everyone in the posse are welcome if they need a break." Hex looked at nothing for a moment and then recalled a little bit of information. "I know it's not much and probably not even going after but there are a lot of up-an-comin outlaws with modest bounties on their heads. Nothing as exciting as the Dead Batteries but you can take a look. I keep pretty up to date on most them bounties in the local office."

Sunset drained her drink, then set it back down on the counter along with a couple of creds for the fee. "Alright," she said, turning to face Hex. "I'll take a look."

It was only a short hobble across the street to reach the building Hex occupied. It was in truth pretty beat up looking. Hex flipped on a light switch to allow the ill-lit flickering light to show his office was open. His holo-reception came online with a wink to Hex.

"It'll be fine. Just keep an eye out front Doris." Hex transformed stretching a bit once finished and went to the door at the back of the office. He placed his hand on the keypad as it scanned. "Like I said it ain't much but it does what I need it too. Course it allows me to move about better without the eye of the UCCA..."
He sighed shaking his head, several bad memories surfacing.

"I know you don't want to hear my story but I have my reasons for being so against them."

The doors slid open half-way with a metalic grunt and then stopped. Hex groaned slightly and then slammed his fist into the door. "Shoty Discount Hydrolic Kit..." It slid the rest of the way open and allowed them entry. Hex waited a moment for Sunset to enter.

Sunset walked in, looking around with some curiosity. She hadn't known that Hex had his own office. It made her wonder whether all of the bots who had chosen to throw in with her had homes and workplaces of their own to return to, or whether they were all just drifters like her.

"If I were here more I might care to make it more shiny...but I'm usually keeping myself busy. It just helps me keep my bounty business organized."

"These your bounties? Saw a few of these posters at the office." Sunset asked, pointing out a few dusty posters, curling at the edges, that Hex had tacked to one wall.

"I've been around the block a few times but my trophy room of fallen bounties is downstairs. If you're ready that's where the computer is. I just finished adding my newest trophy to the room. I'm kinda picky about who I add to the wall though...but I have records on all the bounties I've brought in."

"You keep trophies?" Sunset asked as she followed Hex downstairs.

Once inside the elavator he hit the side twice and let the door shut to lower them down. It would not take to long but Hex looked back at her.

"Of course I do. When I find a worthy foe. Don't you?" Stopping for a second to think about it. "It helps me remember those who need to be remembered and helps me continue to pay my debt for my crimes towards the spirits and Primus for taking a brother's life...even if they lost the way."

"There's no such thing as worthy foes." Sunset said flatly. "Just bots who want to kill you. I understand you wantin' to atone, but keeping things from the dead doesn't seem to me like it'll help the process."

The doors hissed open better this time, not needing to be hit. Once down to the lower level, the intact but non-fuctional UCCA shuttle could be seen. His computer mainframe was humming lowly beside it and off to the other wall was a magnetic wall with his trophies, old UCCS lawman uniform, and his body of captured and offlined bounties.

"I don't tell many but I've been here since we first started trying to colonize Dustball. I owe the Cactili… a lot. It help's me not to forget them Ms. Sunset. Elder might have been ...bad but he did what he did for his makeshift family. I don't agree with his lifestyle but I can understand the bonds of family. It's why Elder is the only one to actually make the wall. " His optics blinked as his thought swapped slightly. “One day Gattling will come after all of us too. She'll want to pay us all back for taking her family. Don't know when. Don't know how. Just know it'll happen. Course what'dda I know?"
"You nailed their bodies to the wall..." Sunset trailed off, looking at Hex's trophy room. She sounded faintly sick. "Is that atonement? Or gloating?"

"They are droid bodies Ms. Sunset. Made to resemble the less ....memorable. Elder is the only one I will honor with his weapon in a slot and not his fabricated body or any of the other Dead Batteries. I've already cleaned his gun, repaired it, and added each member’s name from the gang that is deceased engraved into the side. I can only atone for his mistakes by using his own weapon in times of need to right the wrongs of other outlaws. My hope in some small way is that my action will also help redeem his spark in some small way." Hex really didn’t care if Sunset approved or not, his ideas had been jaded ever since the UCCA betrayed him.

Sunset looked like she wanted to retort, but bit it back. Hex had helped her in the past. Still, her gaze lingered on the droid bodies a while longer before she spoke to him in a somewhat rougher tone: "The bounties. You said you had them on computer."

"You can speak freely with me Sunset, I'll still help you. I don't expect you to accept it. Computer access current Bounty Records and associated trends with each." The computer powered up and complied. It took a few cycles to compile everything but what she needed would be there. "The UCCA uniform was mine if you were wondering. Can I ask you why you're after the biggest bounty on the UCCA charter?"

"It's got nothing to do with the size of his bounty. He needs to pay for what he's done." Sunset said simply.

"I figured as much. Something real personal. Like the one I'm after. The one I'll never get a chance at. The one I'm after basically took my place. Took everything I had from me...for what reason I'm not completely sure. Disaster did horrible things. I always said if I found someone who was after him for the right reasons...I'd help them out."

"I'm still looking for a lead on Disaster. Haven't had a good scent for a while now. But I think he's still on Dustball. I think he likes it here- much as he's capable of liking anything." Sunset said, sounding a little calmer.

"I wouldn't doubt it. I haven't heard from him in over two dozen solar cycles...but I haven't been tracking either. All I know is that anyone who goes directly looking for him ends off scrap. Everyone I've ever met wanted him for the money." His optics scrolled the screen. "Oh...here we are. Twist and Twitch. They're becoming the new up and coming team since Hitch and Hoist. Dun know if you'd remember them. But anyway...that's what stats I have on them..."

He rested his hand on his chin looking over all of the data. "Trains...train robberies. Small scale...but...erratic hits. None...in any pattern. Course they're rabbits so they hop around."
Hex chuckled to himself some at the bad joke.

"Think I heard a little about them. They're not killers, they're bandits. Thrill of the chase, that kind of thing." Sunset replied, nodding a little.

"They seem like the most active individuals besides, well...anyone. Have you heard any rumors about anyone else on the railyard crimes?"

"Railyard crimes?" Sunset repeated.

"A couple of other train hits in recent weeks. Says here they pulled a big heist in Westbrook a few months ago, now they've probably gone small scale again." Hex replied.

"Hmm. Maybe they've gotten some new help to go with their new locale." Sunset theorized. "That's about all I know."

"Doesn't seem like they would have to many people involved for small scale stuff. Of course it's always better to have more on board than to few, that way if there is a surprise we can deal with it. It's a small bounty but I'm set with my bounty from last time. I'll forfeit my share to someone else if we're only dealing with the rabbits. Does anything else look appeasing to you?"

"Not just at the moment, tho I'll keep my options open..." Sunset had walked around the desk to look at Hex's screen, and paused. "Huh. Look at that."

She pointed out the list of bounties no longer considered active or priority by the UCCA. There was Digger's picture, along with an different name. Before she could process the other name it disappeared, only holding the image there.

"Wonder what that could've been?" Sunset mused quietly. The record had been wiped clean, with no details as to what he'd done to get on the list.


"Must of been a misunderstandin...UCCA does that a lot. Course I wonder how Gloom ever got to be a Sheriff. Take your time lookin over the list. When you're ready we can go and get ready for which ever task we take." He placed a dusty bottle down on the desk in front of Sunset. "Don't get to much traffic but since I did take you from the bar, here's a vintage bottle of Energon Burbon. I don't have much use for it now. My system's don't handle it well with the shrub in me."


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 Post subject: Re: Mission #2: The Train of Consequences
PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 4:26 pm 
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Location: in the Gulag, with a drillbit to my chest
Gildtown
"You c'n have my share," Sunset told Oakscream, "You did help. You're welcome to keep helpin' or not; it makes no diff'rence really.."

"I've been talking with the others about you," Oakscream told Sunset as he stared at the credits for a moment, "I know about your sense of justice. I have done horrible, unspeakable things. I have served my time. I cannot even hold an object long as a weapon because of a pain chip they implanted me with as punishment."

"Only need t'know one thing. You still that same person willing to do horrible things?" Sunset asked.

"No, just living for a few more good fights," Oakscream told her.

"Nuff for me. Served your time; as far as I see it, justice has been served," Sunset told him,"Are you going to take the creds or not?"

"I should," Oakscream told her as he took the creds, "I am flat broke, and I don't really see it being any easier to get any other sort of job for me."

"I'll let you know when we are ready to head off," Sunset told Oakscream before the others distracted her and took her elsewhere.

Agavus grabbed Oakscream suddenly with his two arms closest to Oakscream, enthusiastic about his new credits. Pulling Oakscream over to Digger. Agavus punched Digger in the shoulder with one of his other two free arms. "Yo, how 'bout us guys go find us a place to drink and waste our creds on some second rate femmes that are easy and trying to pay for kids or a lousy husband. Come on! Digger, you gotta know some place like dat 'round here. Lemme know. Time for some R&R before we go galavanting around the desert again."


Last edited by Pterascream on Mon Aug 31, 2009 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mission #2: The Train of Consequences
PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 4:48 pm 
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Location: in the Gulag, with a drillbit to my chest
Rotwood Sheriff's Office
Gloom was more agitated than usual pacing around his office for a short while. Gattling was secure, and he was waiting for her pickup.

Gloom grabbed a communication padd that had been charging on the windowsil all morning long. He checked up on happenings on Dustball before he went into something else. A figure came on the screen. "Seems like somebody's definitely been snooping up on your involvement on the UCCA in Gildtown," the figured told Gloom."

"An' what they see?" Gloom as he plopped onto his battered chair.

"Not much. I've already protected most of your past. They won't see much," the figure answered, "How's Gattling? We won't be long to pick her up."

"Fine, I haven't abused her if thats what yer wonderin'. Charge is getting low. I'll wait for your next message. Try not to bother me too soon."

The figure dissapeared from the padd without so much as a goodbye. Gloom muttered to himself, "Not everytihing is even n'record. Wish I gotta name. I wouldn't mind silencing someone."

Gloom pounded on his desk and announced, "BOY!"

The young maximal quickly ran into Gloom's office. "Boy, start telling the others," Gloom informed the terrified maximal,"I'ma coming collecting today. I'll be there wheneva I feel like it. I want my taxes and bribes ready when I get to each place."

The maximal ran off in a hour.

"Miserable, piece of slag backwash desert alley. Sometimes I miss Sootsburgh," Gloom said to himself.


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 Post subject: Re: Mission #2: The Train of Consequences
PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 3:33 am 

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Ti Ion Shipping Interests Railyard
UCCA Colonial Express #2
Container D14
Early Morning, Several Hours Ago


Card-scanners were iffy at best on Dustball, so it was that, feeling rather like a Luddite, the UCCA shipping agent slid a long metal key into the padlock on the freight container. A series of clicks emitted from the lock as tumblers hurried to get out of the rotating key's way, and the padlock came undone. He pocketed it and stepped aside as two towering G1-era Autobots, aged but tough, heaved a massive steel crate into the container with many grunts of exertion and whirs of stressed servos.

"I think half o' the weight o' this is in the damn box!" one grunted as they slid it inside the container, the metal screeching as it scraped across the freight container's floor. The two of them had to duck their heads and crouch a little just to fit inside the container.

"This ain't some kinda super-bomb or nothin', why not just store it as is?" the other agreed as they settled it into place, then secured it with bolts to the floor. The shipping agent, a bureaucratic Maximal who was tiny by comparison, clambered up into the freight container and punched a series of numbers and letters into a pad on the side of the container.

"UCCA regulations on the storage and transportation of necessary resources are quite clear, I'm afraid." he said. You two know the code?"

"All up here." one Autobot said, tapping the side of his head, and the other nodded.

"The driver has been similarly informed. This train is making civilian stops, so try not to disturb the passengers. Well! Good day to you." the shipping agent said brightly. He hopped back out of the container and slid the door shut behind him. The Autobot guards looked at each other with wry expressions, settling down to wait in front of the container.

"I swear he's a Minicon. These Maxis and Preds keep gettin' tinier." one Autobot said. His olive drab color and thick armor attested to his armored personnel carrier vehicle mode.

"Can't hardly go anywhere without bumping my head on everything. I ain't going near the passenger cars, ain't worth stepping on bots' feet everywhere." the other nodded- he was white and clean, with wings folded up in the back, a show of his airplane vehicle mode.

"Not even for a tall, bubbly pitcher of motor oil?"

"Maybe for that."

They settled down to wait. After another half hour or so, in which the two highly focused guards did little more than shift from foot to foot as they stood in front of the container, the front of the train let off a high-pitched whistle and a long series of clanks and shudders signified the railyard front gate sliding open. The train, belching sparks and steam, lifted itself off the hover-tracks and, with a low reverberating hum, began to make its way at a leisurely pace out of the railyard.

As the train started to wind its way out of the yard, destined for a long course through the canyons before coming upon its first civilian stop in Fissionton, with later stops in One-Horse and Gildtown, Twitch and Twist leaned up and gazed alertly out of the door from D15, where they lurked, and into D14, where the container was stored. Freight containers lacked windows, and featured just one secured emergency exit on the roof, so they had no way to see where on the train's route they were. They simply sensed the vibrations in their feet, and listened to the hum of the anti-grav conductors with their large, floppy rabbit ears.

Twist slowly slid open the door by a mere inch or two, and peered through the crack. She could see the backs of the two gigantic Autobots, and between them, a tall riveted steel container, bolted to the floor. She grimaced, and then moved out of the way for Twitch to take a look. He winced, and shut the door quietly.

"I wasn't expecting Autobots! Will these work on them?" he whispered, indicating the pair of injectors Twist had gripped in one hand.

"They should! We just have to, you know, find a seam. Somewhere we can hit the mechfluid lines and send it right to the pump." she hissed back.

"We paid good money for this tech, if it doesn't work we'll be squashed into so much scrap metal and I'll personally demand a refund." Twitch muttered, before sliding the door back open and inching his way towards one of the guards. Twist followed, moving on tiptoes, with the adamantium-tipped injector gripped firmly in one hand. Before her brother could, she had swiftly hopped onto the plane Autobot's back, climbing up over his wings.

"What the SLAG-?!" he exclaimed, before she had driven the injector between the armor plating of his back and neck, finding a pumping mechfluid cable in his throat. His optics immediately started to spark, glossing over with static, and before the APC Autobot could turn to assist him, Twitch had vaulted up onto the freight container, using it as a platform to launch himself onto the APC's shoulders and plunge the other injector into his neck as well. His entire body crackling with electricity, the APC warbled and gave a few random swings before collapsing face-first into the wall. There was a loud bang from the impact, but as no passengers had been picked up yet, it went unnoticed. Twitch jumped back as soon as he could, fearing reprisal, but Twist gleefully rode her Autobot's back as he sagged to the floor, and patted him a couple of times as he blacked out.

"Money well spent." Twitch nodded, prodding the APC Autobot with his foot.

"See? The bigger they are, the harder they succumb to bodily shutdown via nanites travelling through the mechfluid stream." Twist giggled. "They're gonna be so mad when they wake up."

"In about...?" Twitch waved his hand for her to go on.

"Sixteen hours? Twenty, tops." Twist replied.

"Plenty of time!" Twitch turned, businesslike, to the heavy-duty UCCA shipping container. "We might not even need the Hover Yard Boys to come in and secure the rest of the train, the way we've got this one. Er. Hrm. That's right, the code."

"Code?" Twist repeated, getting to her feet and moving to near where her brother stood.

"Sure, a UCCA security code. No problem, we can just get it off one of the...two guards...that we just knocked out for the next sixteen to twenty hours." Twitch trailed off, and they both looked down with dawning realization at the two slumbering Autobots.

"We're going to have to get the code from the driver now. All the way at the front of the train." Twist said. Before Twitch could reply, they heard the train slowly vibrating to a halt, and the hiss of doors opening for the first round of Fissionton passengers to begin boarding.

"Crap." Twitch stated.

----------------------

Rotwood Sheriff's Office

Gloom, feeling thoroughly bad-tempered as usual, got up from his desk and walked across the office, his crystalline feet cutting small nicks and grooves into the wooden floorboards. He left the door, glancing at the furrow in the middle of the street where the bank vault's door had been violently driven during Dirty Deke's attempted robbery. Then, sensing a presence nearby, he turned to see Errant leaning against the wall, looking with cheerful interest at him.

"I saw that kid you hired go running out of here in terror. Collector, I take it? Herald of debts soon to be collected? All of that probably won't be necessary today, Mr. Gloom. Can I just call you Gloom?" Errant asked him, his smile widening.

"Boy, unless you want to be even more scared of me than he is-"

"Oh, I am scared of you! Terrified! The long arm of the law, bent in a crushing grip around the throats of the unjust." Errant assured him. Gloom was starting to get the feeling that Errant was play-acting around him, keeping his motives hidden, massaging his ego. "And, having such a respect for your brand of keeping the peace, I also would like to respect your itinerary. But, sorry to say, I'm very new to Dustball and have a very long list of moves to make before things become truly entertaining."

Gloom glared down at the young Maximal for a moment, opening his mouth to speak, but before he could, Errant had opened up a metal satchel that lay at his hip and was depositing a wealth of creds into his palm. He did it freely, not bothering to count.

"What's all this for?" Gloom asked suspiciously, looking down at the creds piled into his hand.

"It's an estimation of the due amount of creds you'd have received from the usual round of taxation and bribery. And then some!" Errant assured him. Gloom took a moment to count it out, finding that it was more than he expected, and pocketed it.

"I need a strong, sturdy lawman like yourself, preferably of malleable loyalty, to come with me to meet some friends of mine. At least, I'd like to think they'll be friends of mine. I intend to handsomely reward you for the time you spend indulging my little power plays. What do you say? Are we a team?" Errant asked, looking closely at Gloom.

"I got a lot of things to do 'round here. What if I say no?"

"Then you say no! You always have a choice. All I can hope will motivate you to accompany me for a little while longer is to say that it will be extremely profitable and extremely interesting." Errant said, and with a grin and nod of his head, turned to walk off. As he walked, he called back: "Do you know the way to Undertown?"

"Undertown?" Gloom repeated, the name stirring something in his memory. He blinked, and with a resolution to not trust this guy further than he could throw him, followed.

-----------------

Gildtown
Valley Town Square
Ten After Noon


Blazing hot as ever, the sun rose higher into the sky over the bustling valley of the glitziest place on the dunes, Gildtown. Well, maybe not as glitzy as some of the finer establishments somewhere fancy, like Westbrook, but you took what you could get. A big metal clock hung low over the entrance to the hovertrain station announced the time with archaic turning number dials, and a few would-be traingoers glanced up at it as they ambled their way along the cobbled streets. It'd still be some time yet before the #2 floated by, but fortunately, there were plenty of ways to kill time in Gildtown.

Fenrir emerged from a tin-roof concrete block of a building with a sign that marked it as 'Darcee's No Questions Clinic and Body Shop'. A plump-faced bot with grease-stained fingers waved cheerfully after her as she departed. As Fenrir walked, she swung one of her arms from side to side experimentally. On a whim, she bent down and picked one of the cobblestones up, and with a grimace of exertion, crushed it into powder. Not too bad bad for a fairly podunk body shop, she concluded.

Sunset and Hex were walking out of Hex's office, a battered building across the street and a little ways down the hill. Fenrir and Sunset nodded in greeting at one another as the trio converged. Agavus was trying to steer Oakscream and Digger towards the Loaded Dice bar and casino, looking markedly more enthusiastic than either of them did at the prospect of boozing and whoring with him, when a sudden shout rang out from the front door of the casino.

"Get that thing out of here!"

The assorted gunslingers, along with many other bots and cactili browsing the marketplace, looked up to see a modeless 'bot of indeterminate faction step out of the open doorway of the casino. A heavily muscled, no-necked Maximal with a bulldog beast mode glared down at the modeless bot, who showed no fear nor emotion as it gazed back at him.

"I told him if I saw one of these things in my casino again, I'd pound it to pieces!" the bulldog said, pointing a finger at the modeless bot, who just goggled at him with dull optics. Hex stepped closer, his mouth opening to phrase a question, which halted when he got a good look at the offending robot.

A robot was all it was- this was no Cybertronian work. Its body looked like it had been hammered and knocked together from scavenged scrap metal, much of its inner motorisms and circuitry exposed to the elements. There was an ugliness, a sense of neglect, in the way its bolts jutted out at odd angles. It was thin and short, less than six feet tall, and had a number of sliding compartments built into its torso, along with a big hinged pack on his back- rather resembling a crude, wind-up robot packmule. The robot glanced at Hex, who saw its optics were primitive, its face a rough approximate of human facial features, but vague and with little attention to detail.

"I- APOLOGIZE. THERE HAS BEEN-- A MISUNDER-STANDING." it said, and its voice was genderless, a flat buzzing rasp from an ancient sound chip.

"Damn straight there has!" a human spoke up as he pushed his way through a small knot of bots, arms laden with a paper bag full of scrap parts, making his way to the entrance of the casino. The bulldog turned to look at him, and if the Maximal was managing an expression of dislike, then the human had it seen and matched about ten times over.

Human colonists were rare but not entirely unheard of on Dustball, though they by and large preferred to stay out of the Cybertronians' way. Though he was at least a head shorter than most of the Maximals and Predacons milling around, this particular human showed no fear, only mounting aggression as he shouldered up next to the crude automaton and glared up at the casino owner.

Ataraxes, who was passing by at the time, glanced over the human briefly. He was powerfully built, and, she mused, might have what human women considered a handsome face- square-jawed, with piercing blue eyes, a slightly bent nose, and very close-cropped dark hair. He was wearing old, dinged-up body armor that, when she looked more closely, seemed to be high-tech stuff; kinetic absorption. Made sense- one good punch from a 'bot would crush bones and rupture organs, normally, but that gear looked like it enabled the wearer to take some hits and keep coming. There were a few layers of metal gathered up around his neck- they looked like they extended to form some kind of metallic helmet. A pair of dog tags hung around the human's neck, and a few different types of guns were slung over his back. All of them looked jury-rigged, like something he'd made himself.

"This is where you wandered off to?! I thought I gave you a list of things to take care of!" the human said, glaring at the automaton servant.

"I HAVE TAKEN CARE OF THINGS. AS ORDERED-- IN FULL, SIR." the robot replied. Now that more bots were seeing it, and hearing its voice, many of them were eyeing it with distaste. Cybertronians, whether Maximal or Predacon, tended not to like AIs, androids, and robots built by organic species. They liked even less the idea of a human building robots to do his manual labor.

"I know what he was in here doing! He was going to gamble, my damn fool dealers were going to let him gamble, and try to rip off my casino again after you got banned-" the bulldog Maximal interrupted hotly, only to have the armored human interrupt him right back in even louder tones.

"He's here to do my shopping! I don't want to set foot in your casino, you Godforsaken bucket of bolts, and I got better ways to make money than send my robots in to cheat-"

"He was in here before, counting cards!" the bulldog declared to the small crowd around the casino entrance, many of whom watching the argument with interest or amusement. Very rarely was a human this ballsy around a big pissed-off Cybertronian.

"If he was," the human said with emphasis on 'if', "Then I don't see how you could call him out on it when every jumped-up robot in this place does it! What a joke, a Cybertronian casino, every last freakin' one of you counts cards! Supercomputers for brains that know about ten thousand different algorithms for cheating honest humans and honest cactili out of their money-"

"This time I found that robot lurking in the back, probably looking for the safe! I see you, or those mockeries of Cybertronian life, back in Gildtown again, I'll see to it the sheriff lands you in a cell and makes a bounty stick, for once! How's that grab you?" the bulldog shouted at him.

"I have a right to trade and pursue business opportunities here, or anywhere else! You soulless machines just take planet after planet, and now you're gonna quibble over cards! Gildtown is a dump, everywhere else on this rock is a dump, and I'm-"

"Just-" the bulldog spread his hands, for it was clear that this human had a fiery temper, and would keep going if provoked. "Just keep yourself, and your toys out of my casino. If you're just going to shop and trade around Gildtown, that's fine."

The human paused, letting out his breath. He shoved his bag of scrap parts into the robot's arms, which it accepted readily.

"Deal. I won't come anywhere near your casino." he said, and waving for the ramshackle robot to follow him, turned to walk back. As he walked, he brushed past Fenrir and his armor bumped her hard, causing her to actually stumble a step. The human glanced up at her briefly, spat "One side, tincans." and continued on his way, leading his servant robot.

"I didn't like the way he emphasized that 'anywhere near', did you?" Ataraxes asked her.

"Question is, what was a human-built bot like that doing back in the casino if not playing the games?" Sunset asked, glancing over at the Loaded Dice curiously.


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 Post subject: Re: Mission #2: The Train of Consequences
PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 5:40 pm 
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Exitting Rotwood Sheriff's Office

Gloom followed Errant. He smirked with a thought; he was going to just let Collector keep informing people to keep them fear ridden and distracted. He didn't have any intention on collecting today; he finally found some amusement.

Gloom stared at Errant, picturing the life drain out as he strangled him to death. Not yet, no-he was only thinking about it. There was just too much he needed to know about this Errant, and he definitely wanted more credits and excitement. Probably just another protection gig-was what he thought this was going to be. He hoped otherwise. Rotwood was growing offly fierce on him.

"This better be worth it. I have been known to extract worth outta hides of people that don't make my time worth a cred," Gloom told Errant.

Outside Loaded Bar and Dice Casino

"Hey," Agavus yelled to the bulldog-guard attracting attention that Digger and Oakscream both did not want, "Aren't we jist here for the fun. How 'bout you leave the fleshy one and the toaster alone. I much prefer to enter a place uninterrupted wit a pleasant smile and nod from tha bouncer, of couse. Tis not like they're any threat anyhow."

Oakscream looked over to Digger to say, "I don't like this. I am not much for getting involved with organic creatures that can think. There is always trouble involved with them."

"Agavus," Oakscream piped up, "Just shut up will you and walk around. I am in no mood."

Oakscream turned to the bulldog Maximal, "I appologize for my err.. acquaintence. His processor was built for speaking, not recognizing the words before he speaks them


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 Post subject: Re: Mission #2: The Train of Consequences
PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 11:12 pm 

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Hex was the one most confused by the whole scene. He tilted his head watching the human walk off with his junkbox friend. He then looked to the bulldog cocking his cactus head to the otherside. Hex finally broke his own silence.

"What exactly was that droid doing? If I can ask." Hex shifted slightly towards the man in charge for the moment. He held his hand out to firmly shake the Bot's hand. "Can I help you take care of the problem? My name's Hex."


Hex at the moment was focused about Twist and Twitch. This disagreement caught him off guard and he was trying to figure out exactly what happened. He took a breath and weighed what little he knew. The Casino always had a time of cheaters. This human was one of them but what was the tie with the droid. The was the confusing part but there was definately no loveloss between the other two. Were there more than one droid?

"Is this an existing or new problem?"


=====================================================================================================


Sunrise stared out one of the windows of her saloon as Gloom began his departure from Rotwood. This might be something to file away for later. Sunrise wasn't familar with the bot with them but Errant's physical form, vehicle, and crew would be remembered along with who they removed. Everything thing had a value and this might be of use one day. She turned back to the patrons and began humming to herself.


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 Post subject: Re: Mission #2: The Train of Consequences
PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2009 6:12 am 

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[Atch’lly, Digger learned the ropes at boozin’ and whorin’ with the galaxy’s best, and he ain’t no slouch at either one’ve ‘em. Aheh.]

Digger smiled amiably as the human passed him by, which got him ignored, which is what he’d expected, and even why he’d done it. You had to know the type. Fella like this human fella was just a-cruising, and if trouble got in his way, Digger would wager, it’d regret it.

Folks were talking. “Aw, heck, now, Oakscream-- nothing against organics myself. Personally, I’ve got me a soft spot, deep down, for folks with soft spots. Galaxy’s a hard place,” Digger shrugged at Oakscream, chuckling down his snout. “’Sides which, if you think on it, we’ve all got a little organic inside us, or outside of us, depending on the mode.”

He set a scratched gauntlet over the other bot’s shoulder. “’Gavus? Say there, no need to provoke anything more. I think the earthling’s had his piece, so let’s not heat the air any further.”

He smiled easily for the casino dog’s benefit. “Ay, amigo. We were just about to partake of casino hospitality-- can I persuade you to join us or a round, set your day back on track? Good karma before my date with Lady Luck. Every bit helps, right?”

------------

Elsewhere

The drone sat at the terminal behind the desk, shifting uneasily.

“Er... Good day...”

“Howdy.”

“Can I...help you, sir?”

“Ain’t here fer ‘help’. Just needs me th’ use of one fancypants eff-tee-ell satellite communications array. Jes' fer a short spell is all.”

“...Sir?”

“Gonna make me a call. Usin’ an array like that ‘un behind y’all, there in th' yard. Yup. That there’d do me jes’ fine, I‘m thinkin’.”

“The UCCA Satcom Array?” The drone’s tone was disbelieveing. “Sir, you... You are aware of how much that would cost, aren’t you, sir? The average dustki-- ah, colonist of planet Dustball--”

A heavy silence descended, for what seemed like a long time. Then, “What, I look like an average t’ you, peon?”

“Er...” Another pause. “No, no, sir. But... Sir, the distances involved, with your-- I mean, our colony’s limited resources-- sir, you clearly don’t understand the sheer costs--”

“Don’t I, then? Huh. That obvious t’ ya, is it?” A pause again. Notes of rising dread underlying the silence, perhaps. “Y’know, could happen some innocent li’l remark like that gets construed as a insult one day, and y’all’re made to answer it on th’ field’ve honour. Y’don’t want that. Do ya.” Quake leaned into the other bot’s personal bubble, making it a statement, and a statement of cold hard fact, at that.

“...’Fore y’go digging th’ ditch yer in any deeper, lemme disillusion ya some.” He reached out and took the digital slate from the clerical drone’s unresisting fingers, and dunked a credit chip in the reader slot. The screen flickered for several seconds. Quake spun it around, and the drone’s optics lit up at the long line of numbers, his rigid posture going slack.

Quake glared. “As y’see, I c’n count real high up, me. Them digits gonna do the trick?”


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 Post subject: Re: Mission #2: The Train of Consequences
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 3:09 am 

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Versa would have normally traveled the dust planet beneath the loose sand; bursting outward near an unexpecting drifter often amused her. Today was not a normal day for her; she had not arrived with the other bounty hunters due to her injuries. Sunset told her that her credits would be on hold for her when she arrived. Versa did not allow painkillers when the doc fixed her up; she didn't want any of Agavus' goup on her or inside of her. Some pain still lingered, but she was repaired. Versa rode into Guildtown on a mechanical, skeleton horse. Versa was much faster than the horse; she was just taking it easy.

The horse stopped short of the bounty office in front of the scaleback hitching post. Versa dropped down and patted the horse on the skull, "Should I tie you up? I don't want you getting yourself stolen."

"That will not be necessary," the horse said as he transformed.

Versa laughed as the horse became a mechanical horse-humanoid skeleton robot. "It may not be necessary," Versa said as the Maximal's dark, rusty, tattered shroud expanded and covered his chasis similar to the embodiment of death, "but it should be fun."

"Just get your credits already," he told Versa, "I want to meet this Sunset. She seems to have the up and up on the worst criminals."

"Ghost," she called him and continued,"You are all work and no play."

Ghost mechanically snickered as Versa entered the bounty office and collected her withheld payment. She saw Agavus drag Digger and Oakscream toward the Loaded Bar and Casino.

Versa came back out and tossed some credits to Ghost, "for tha ride."

"I don't want this," Ghost told her as he caught the credits out of reflex.

"I know," she told him, "Use it to buy some extra ammo when we need it."

She saw Sunset walk toward the Loaded Bar and Casino shortly followed by the commotion and Agavus making an ass of himself. She facepalmed for the sake of Agavus.

Versa pointed at Sunset for Ghost, "That's the one you want to talk to; she has probably heard of your reputation already. You may want to wait til the assinine behavior has subsided."


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 Post subject: Re: Mission #2: The Train of Consequences
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 1:52 pm 
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Location: in the Gulag, with a drillbit to my chest
Much Earlier - Loaded Bar and Casino

Thorno's sharp tooth grin crept from one side of the face to the other. "Come on, give me a seven," he told his rigged dice that he casually replaced with the casino's dice,"Papa Thorno needs a new pair of hookers."

Thorno never lost when it came to craps. The floozies began to circle him as the waitresses began to be sick of his thorny grab-ass.

"If you can find the reason I shouldn't live life this way," Thorno told a floozie before stroking her check with his forked mechanical tongue, "let me know because I am having the time of my life."

The floozie giggled, but she was disgusted. Then again, she had put up with worse for credits. It was only a few short rounds before the bulldog came walking by. "Thorno, I suggest you take your chips and go. I am letting you go peacefully," the bulldog growled, "Don't make me suggest twice."

"Welp, girls," Thorno told the floozies, "Looks like the party is over. Time to move to the next gambling joint"

A smoother, silkier Maximal floozie leaned over and whispered to Thorno as he exchanged his chips for credits. "Second, thought," Thorno told the other floozies, "Bug off, Silky and I have business to attend to."

All of the other floozies narrowed their optics. Their tempers were already high from taking all of Thorno's sexist torment to share some of his credits; they did not like getting their spotlights taken away. They certainly would be gunning for Silky later. Thorno and Silky went to the brothel; Silky was bringing Thorno to her room.

Present Time - Outside the Brothel Near the Loaded Bar and Casino

The gunslingers and the bulldog bouncer stopped and turned. There was a long scream of pain. The scream would most bot's mechanical fluid thick. It was definitely a femme, and the scream was definitely from inside of the brothel.

The Madame of the Brothel and her Fellow, a quiet-confident leopard bot, were barely able to shove Thorno out of the doors. "You're never gonna harm 'nother one of m'girls," the Madame told Thorno, "I'ma calling tha sheriff!"

Fellow was caught off guard; Thorno swung his spiked club to the side of Fellow's face. Fellow fell as most of his face and the side of his head was damaged. Fellow tried to scratch through Thorno's reinforced, scaley, thorned armor. There weren't really any soft, weaker spots on Thorno; he was short and stubby for a Predacon. Thorno proceeded to pummel Fellow offline; mechanical fluid splattered every and onto Madame to her horror. Madame was frozen in place; she paralyzed with fear knowing she was next. Madame would have been next, but a fist struck the side of Thorno's face disorienting him.

"Thorno!" Oakscream roared in a raspy manner, "They would dare let you out of Cocytus!"

Thorno took a good look at Oakscream. "Pterascream old buddy," Thorno said as spat out a sharp mechanical tooth, "Or should I say Oakscream, now. I never really remember. I guess I owe you that one; let's not make anything of this. I don't think you want this to get physical."

Oakscream swung again. This time Thorno was prepared and swung his club. The club hit Pterascream in the gut; Pterascream flew backward. Pterascream landed properly with some acrobatics, and began to pull some of the club's thorns out of his gut. Thorno leveled one of his two revolvers filled with thorn bullets. Versa body-checked Thorno before he could fire using her immense speed. Thorno fell to a knee a few yards off.

Versa hissed as she pulled some thorns out of her side. The rest of the gunslingers in vicinity were beginning to move toward Thorno. Agavus readied his revolvers and the others did likewise. "Buddy, I think you picked the wrong day to piss us off," Agavus told Thorno.


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 Post subject: Re: Mission #2: The Train of Consequences
PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:51 pm 
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Outside the Loaded Dice Bar and Casino
Pistonhoof ambled up behind Sunset and Digger just then. "Mm, what's this about?" he wondered.

Things were about to get a lot uglier, when something metal and greenish fell on Thorno. "What the?!" Thorno yelled out. On top of him was a spindly insect Predacon. "Watch it, buddy, you don't know who you're messing with," he warned the 'con, but he just got a blank, lightless stare back. The Pred was clearly out cold. Thorno hefted it off of him and rose to face the bounty hunters as quick as he could.

Up above, from the second story of the casino, a female voice groaned. "Auuwww, who's all fighting in my loading area?" Bots who looked up would see her head poked out of the window. She had scraggly rabbit ears, a young but worn face, and the wobbly, dazed demeanor of somebody who'd had too many.

"Welp! Clear a path, next one's comin'!" Alice warned. Already she was trying to leverage a bottom-heavy antbot over the windowsill.


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 Post subject: Re: Mission #2: The Train of Consequences
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:36 pm 
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Location: in the Gulag, with a drillbit to my chest
Outside the Loaded Dice Bar and Casino
Thorno remained distracted by another falling body thanks to Alice; a second body was less of a shock but still distracting. Versa was still the first to react despite the thorns she was plucking out of her side. Thorno was struck by Versa's throwing daggers; his armor took the daggers with cuts but nothing serious. The daggers were only to keep him distracted.

A bulb bomb courtesy of Agavus blew up right in front of Thorno's face. Thorno was knocked back as Agavus' thorns hardly penetrated Thorno's armor. Agavus was already laughing and behind Thorno before Thorno could react. Using all four arms, he grabbed both of Thorno's arms ignoring the pain of the armor's thorns and nodded toward Digger. Digger immediately drew his ballistic pistol. Digger took a few more moments than usual to compensate for Agavus. The high caliber armor piercing round impacted with great force. What remained of the round was imbedded into Thorno's gut; both Agavus and Thorno laid on their backs on the ground.

Agavus was laughing at the excitement as he slowly got up. "What a rush man!" he exclaimed. This was until a few moments passed and he touched the thorns imbedded onto his skin; Agavus danced around saying, "ow ow ow."

There was some surprise to see Thorno get up from that. Thorno was quickly knocked off guard once again. This time, Sunset had drew her dual revolvers. She took her time and waited til he stood up and gained his bearings. "We have a sudden annoyance," Sunset told Pistonhoof to remotely bring him up to speed.

Fenrir and Ataraxes came in true fashion of the femme fatales that they could be when focussed. Both took turns physically assaulting the murderer of women. Versa was quick to take advantage once Thorno, beaten, struggled away from the two, Fenrir and Ataraxes. Turning to face Versa, Versa thrusted her jackal dagger to the gut where Digger had weakened Thorno's armor. "Undeserving filth," Versa called Thorno.

Versa pulled out the dagger, and Oakscream stopped her from finishing Thorno off. Oakscream took the pleasure of knocking Thorno out, himself, with a strong shot to the jaw. Versa tangled Thorno with her bola as Thorno fell over.

Pistonhoof came over and secured Thorno with carbon nanotube rope just to be sure. Sunset had made a point to tell Pistonhoof it was a good idea. Sunset looked up to Alice and back toward Pistonhoof and Thorno.

Ghost had stayed back, since he knew the others may not be sure where he stood among them during a fight. Slowly approaching the group, Ghost noticed another figure heading over.

{corrections have been made to this post}


Last edited by Pterascream on Thu Sep 17, 2009 12:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mission #2: The Train of Consequences
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 7:24 am 
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(( Slight character correction: Since Pistonhoof just arrived, he didn't see the start of the fight, nor what happened before. He's also the sort who tries not to assume too much about what's going on. So he wouldn't have fired the first shot, unless maybe someone stopped to catch him up on things, and probably not even then (just because there's plenty of itchier trigger fingers in the group who wouldn't wait for the exposition). He would have helped with tying Thorno up, assuming he was asked or he could see help was needed and Sunset was on board with it. ))


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 Post subject: Re: Mission #2: The Train of Consequences
PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2009 12:12 am 

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UCCA Colonial Express #2
Currently in motion between Fissionton and One-Horse


Silk walked down the aisles of the passenger cars until she found her seat. Just receiving a ticket with your seat's number wouldn't do; considering the varying sizes of Transformers, and what the average Cactili's thorns would do to any upholstery, train seats tended to come in varying sizes and be composed of sturdy needle-repelling plasticine. Silk settled down into a small seat, while a few other 'bots having arrived from Fissionton navigated their way to size-appropriate seats as well, some still gossiping about some kind of a shootout that took place in Fissionton not that long ago. Silk paid them no mind, staring out the window at the red mesas and dusty valleys as they passed. Some bots saw this place as backwater and dull- she, with her background in archaeology, found it fascinating. The terrain had its own harsh beauty, and who knew how many years of history lay beneath and around it?

Thinking of history led her to thinking of her cargo. She hadn't brought it aboard with her, but she intended to leave with it. Silk craned her head over the edge of her seat to look back at the end of the passenger car, with its door leading to the freight containers. The door slid open and two Maximals got out, walking quickly up the aisle. As they passed Silk, she took a good look at them, raising her optics curiously. One, a rabbit male, was wearing a human-sized gray duster pulled tightly around himself and a gray fedora down over his head. His ears seemed to be bundled up under the hat, but she could see his cream-colored fur and his cotton tail creating a bulge in the back of the duster. The other, a femmebot, had a human longcoat on, along with a dust-protecting scarf wrapped twice around her face, along with a ski cap. Her long, floppy ears were pushed down by the cap, trailing down the back of her head. The lapine duo walked quickly, glancing around at the passengers, as if sizing them up, and hurried to the end of the passenger car before opening the connecting airlock to the next passenger car. Silk frowned thoughtfully, and started fishing around in the pocket of the seat in front of her for something to read.

-------------

Twitch and Twist moved rapidly along the next car's passenger aisle, occasionally jostling a bot's elbow or bumping into some luggage stored on an overhead rack. The train was moving along at a steady pace, the hover coils humming and causing the floor to vibrate faintly. Before long, the train would be in One-Horse. Twist quickened her pace, urging her brother along with light pushes on his back. They briefly got stuck entering the next airlock, resulting in a brief pushing match, and finally squeezed through into the driver's car. There was a sign warning all passengers against entering this car without authorization posted on the door. The rabbits, of course, paid it no mind as they each reached into the coats they'd pulled from a couple of suitcases and drew their guns. This part of the car was simply a sterile gray corridor with metal floor, a locked door keeping them from the engines and the driver's cockpit. Twitch shut the door to the airlock firmly and nodded at his sister- in unison, they slammed their feet into the locked door and it banged open.

"What in Primus's hard drive-?!" the driver spun around in his chair, his optics widening and his hand reaching for a gun at his side. Twist leveled her pistol at his head.

"Mommpha moof, or me dumph oo ow onna drags!" she told him, voice obscured by the heavily wrapped scarf.

"What?!" he asked, hands raised at his side. Twist made a strained noise of impatience, and whipped off her scarf and ski cap.

"I said, not a move or we dump you out on the tracks!"

Twitch ripped off his fedora, allowing his ears to spring free. He cocked his revolver, keeping it trained on the conductor as he glanced around the car. The driver had been sitting in front of an advanced navigational console that seemed to guide the train along the tracks and, using radio emitters, signal track changes well in advance of arriving at any fork in the rails. There was a windshield showing the way ahead, and in front of it, a public address intercom and a wire that was pulled in order to sound off the train's horn. Twitch looked around long enough to see that there were no other guards or easily accessed weapons, and looked back at the driver.

"You're them thieves, right? Twitch and Twist?" the driver asked.

"Hell, so much for the human disguises." Twitch said, shrugging out of his stolen gray duster.

"I really thought we might have fooled them." Twist smirked, pulling off her longcoat. The driver's hand started to stray towards his gun, and Twist quickly reached over, pulled it out by the handle, and pocketed it herself. The driver cursed lowly and kept glaring at them.

"Here's what's going to happen in order to insure that we all have a safe and mostly uneventful trip." Twitch said. "You're going to pick up your fares in One-Horse as planned, and continue on route. Then, about five miles from One-Horse, you'll announce a brief repair stop and pull over at Cyclepath's Drop to let on a few unscheduled passengers. At that time, depending on how cooperative you are, we might also have to make a change of engines."

"Change of engines?" the driver repeated. "You want the train?"

"We want what you guys are hauling." Twist informed him, prodding him in the temple with her pistol.

"There's about eight thousand creds in a safe in the first freight container. It's UCCA funds for a bounty office in Gildtown! Take it and leave!" the driver told them, wincing as he felt the pistol dig into his temple. Twist smirked. She and her brother weren't killers, but he apparently didn't know them well enough to know that.

"Eight thousand creds, huh?" Twitch made a show of considering it, rubbing his chin. "Well, that'll do for divying it up among the hire-ons...but I have to say, as a catch it's not inspiring. Here's what is interesting to us: The better than two tons of energon locked up in that crate in the back.."

The driver's shoulders slumped. He'd had a feeling that that was what they were here to steal. He started to get up from his seat, but Twist pushed him back down.

"Nope, we still need you to make your stop and pick up your passengers as planned, okay?" she asked him. "Just the code to open the crate will do. C'mon, clock's ticking. Spill it!"

"That energon is to be delivered to a post office for distribution among-"

"Oh, we're gonna distribute it!" Twist assured him. "At a price determined by us, after a nice laundering procedure overseen by a mutual friend of ours. That's One-Horse now, isn't it? Pull over just like normal."

The driver turned around in his seat, and with a grudging look, applied the brake gently so the train could roll into One-Horse's station. The mostly automated ticket-taking process, overseen by a drone at the station, saw about a dozen more passengers board the train, and after an oddly stilted address from the driver that they would hit Gildtown in an hour or so, the train took off down the tracks heading east.

------------------

Gildtown

"Can't very well keep your prickly hands to yourself, can you?" the sheriff asked Thorno as he ambled over. The immediate impression one received of the Gildtown sheriff was that this was nobody to mess with. He was an aged stag Maximal whose antlers moved downward upon transforming to form Road Warrior-like spikes from his shoulder plating. He had a long double-barreled shotgun held in his arms, trained on Thorno, and his grizzled, lined metal face gave the impression of having seen a lot of shit like this, and even worse.

"Just wantin' everyone to have a good time, Sheriff!" Thorno replied, struggling against Pistonhoof's nanotube ropes.

"Everyone'd have a good time watchin' me shoot you right here in the street." the sheriff replied. As he walked closer, he stepped easily over one of the groaning, insensate bodies that Alice had dumped down from the nearby building. He picked up Thorno, pulling him by the rope bonds.

"Good strong material. Do you mind if I borrow these until this waste is in proper irons?" he asked Pistonhoof, who nodded. "Thanky. Think I seen you in town a while back, givin' bots rides for fares? I'm the sheriff of this burg. Call me Arcturus. If you'll pardon me a spell-"

He craned his neck up at Alice, and called up to her somewhat jovially:

"These clowns'll be worth a few creds for you, I reckon! C'mon down here and bring 'em to my office, girl, I ain't a street-sweeper!"

With that, Arcturus started to drag Thorno in a bound, stumbling gait towards his office. As he 'helped' Thorno along, Sunset walked briefly in pace alongside him. She spoke lowly, seeming to feel a little ill at ease with so many bots milling around the spot of action that'd just occurred, but her words were picked up readily enough by the other gunslingers in the vicinity, as was the sheriff's response.

"There was a human arguing with the casino owner a while ago. He had a robot with him, looks like he built it himself. Do you know him?"

"Castor Owens. Not many human settlers 'round Gildtown, I pick up names quick. He's got a hatred for Cybertronians somethin' fierce ever since he was a kid during the Pioneers' War, but he ain't -too- vicious if you let him keep to himself."

"Castor Owens?" Hex repeated, catching up to them. "He's been on the UCCA bounty list three times, but his name was always withdrawn! Either no evidence of lawbreaking could stick or he'd get caught and post his own bail."

"He is a slippery Terran, at that." Arcturus acknowledged, grunting a little with the effort of pulling Thorno along. He seemed less concerned with human squabbles than with just getting Thorno back under lock and key. He opened up the door to his office and threw Thorno bodily into the holding cell before slamming it shut. He turned back towards Hex and Sunset, and nodded once.

"A thousand pardons- I'll be needin' to help young Alice drag in some company for him. See yourselves out, and mind you don't get into any more scrapes while you're here."

With that, he strode out into the street to help collect the others that Alice had dumped.

------------------------

The bulldog casino owner, who'd identified himself by the simple name Punch (most likely an alias) shook his head ponderously and then glanced down at Digger. Pistonhoof and Agavus were walking back over to join them.

"Come on in, then. Spend some creds, have some drinks, and don't make trouble." he cautioned them in a rumbly baritone, and moved back towards the bar. The gunslingers walked onto the casino floor, glancing around. There were bots seated around tables playing cards- some had basic metal decks, others had fancier holographic display decks. A drone standing at one end of a craps table rattled a pair of golden dice in his hand before sending them tumbling along the table, to the cheers and/or sorrow of the gamblers clustered around it. Cactili stood in front of a row of slot machines, methodically pulling the handles, watching the little batteries and bullets spin up, then pulling the levers again. Most 'bots tended to find the slots boring, but the average laconic Cactili, used to standing still for hours, considered them stimulating. One big, bulky Autobot with a slot machine alternate mode occasionally glanced at the chronometer at his wrist as a Cactili pulled his lever and checked his reels at regular intervals.

"C'mon, pal, I can tell you myself I ain't paying out anytime soon." the slot-bot grumbled, and the Cactili just smiled serenely and kept pulling his lever.

"Gents! Water yourselves with my fine imbibables!" the bartender called out to Digger, Pistonhoof, and Agavus. He spread his hand in front of a row of drinks behind him like a game-show valet showing off the array of prizes, and leaned forward on his elbows. "What'll it be? Even our cheapest hooch tastes richer than anything you can get anywhere else!"

As the gunslingers considered their orders, and Ghost looked doubtfully in through the entrance to the casino, another bartender pronounced a keg of energon ale empty, and picked it up easily. As he walked towards the back to grab another one from storage, he passed by a slot machine pronounced 'out of order' without a second glance. Crammed deep up inside the dusty cred-drop slot, its beeping just faintly audible underneath the hubbub of the casino, a jury-rigged device with a flashing blue light and a digital time readout waited.

------------------

Somewhere outside town limits, Castor Owens moved rapidly, glancing back over his shoulder from time to time. His robot, unaffectionately nicknamed 'Bucket', was blundering over the rocky trail behind him, carrying his paper bag filled with scrap parts. As they ascended the trail, they reached the bottom low mountain range where a dusty khaki tarp was stretched across a pair of sharp rocks. Owens reached up for the tarp and yanked it away, exposing a giant battered flatbed truck. Its windshield was cracked and shot through, the grimy-green sides of the truck were aged and battered, and the tires had had to be reinforced against the harsh terrain- but it would run. Castor Owens would see to that.

"Give me that alternator." he said, popping the hood and peering at the old engine underneath. Bucket paused, looking back at Gildtown, and Owens looked irritably in his direction.

"What, is your processor lagging? I said, alternator!"

"MY APOL-OGIES." Bucket held out the part from the bag of scrap. Owens snatched it away, setting it by his side, and started to tinker at the hood. As he worked, another makeshift robot marched its way towards them from the back of the truck- apparently, it'd been standing deactivated in wait until its motion sensors had picked up the tarp being pulled away. This robot was larger, a good seven feet tall, and with each whirr-thump of its steps, dust shook underneath it. It had a flat, boxy head with crudely constructed narrow optics and a mouth like an intercom loudspeaker. Its chest was a thick metal barrel, and one of its arms ended in a gatling gun- the other arm ended in a three-fingered hand. The fingers were uneven lengths, just enough to grasp objects. Jutting from the new robot's back was a missile launcher, one-fire only, and a missile had been crammed into it just in case. This new robot bore all the same signs of careless, rush-job construction, far from being any labor of love. Just another servant, although with a different function.

"DO YOUzzt WISHshz TO ENGAGE, SIR?" it blared in a buzzing monotone.

"You're not shooting anyone right now." Castor said, still absorbed in repairing the flatbed's engine. "You'll come in handy enough if some machine noses their way over here, but you're mainly to wait til the bomb's gone off, then help me load everyone onto the truck. Half of 'em'll go for scrap and new workers, the others I mind-wipe and send to my mining contact on Castor's Anvil. We move quick once it goes off, do you heaps compute that?!"

"SIR! YES, SzSIR!" the soldier robot said, banging its metal hand off of its boxy forehead. Bucket looked back at Gildtown again for a moment, unnoticed by the other two, and went back to handing Owens any repair parts he requested.


Undertown

It was a popular theory among students of geology that Dustball had once been a much more verdant planet, millions of years before climatic changes had dried it up into the sandy hellhole it was today. Aside from isolated forests and the occasional oasis that were said to exist here and there, much of Dustball's water had receded further and further beneath the ground over the millennia, resulting in subterranean pools and streams for those who cared to mine deep enough.

One such pool of hidden water was situated deep beneath Gildtown. There were many bots who'd lived in Gildtown all their lives, running businesses, who had no idea of its existence. There was supposedly no direct route to Undertown from within Gildtown's limits- to get there, you had to find an abandoned mineshaft several miles away from Gildtown, follow its winding and treacherous tunnels down and down and down, hop down through a holographic display at the end of the tunnel that looked like a bottomless chasm, and you would land on the outskirts of Undertown- home and meeting place for some of Dustball's least lawful citizens.

Gloom had heard tell of the place, but had never actually seen it with his own optics. As he and Errant had descended the winding mines, Gloom had wisely decided to stow away any outward identifications of himself as an officer of the law, however corrupt he was. They didn't take kindly to lawmen in Undertown. Errant walked quickly and confidently, a beaming smile ever present on his face.

The strains of warbly jukebox rock met their audio receptors as they passed under an arch laden with stalactites, and into the town round. Town square wasn't an accurate description- in this case, Undertown's buildings (stone-and-mortar houses, huts, and small towers built into the cavern walls or assembled on stone plateaus) were set on winding paths around the subterranean pool, some fifty feet deep. The pollution and excess of Undertown had corrupted the pool- once fairly clear and pristine, it now ran brown with grime and oil. Occasionally a disembodied hand or head would float to the top of the filthy pool, before dipping back down into the depths, rocked back and forth by an ever-pumping hydroelectric generator that drew the town's power off of turbines set at the bottom of the pool. Errant fished in his pocket for a one-cred chip as he and Gloom passed the south bank of the pool, and tossed it into the muck with a chuckle.

"Good luck." he explained, glancing back over his shoulder at Gloom.

They proceeded around the west edge of the pool along a rising path, to where a three-story stone building, not unlike a very small castle, was erected, towering over the rest of the town. The music was coming from here, raucous and fairly modern, but the place seemed to have an intentionally archaic look. There were stripped Cybertronian skulls set on spikes at the top of the building, and torches set in sconces were visible from outside the open-air windows. A faded corrugated tin sign was nailed above the swinging double doors; the sign had been lettered in old, flaking red paint 'Freedom Keep'. Errant glanced up at the sign, then at Gloom.

"I understand that regulars mainly just call it the Keep." he explained, and then pushed open the swinging metal doors with a dramatic bang, upon a very spacious bar with stone steps ascending up to the second level and metal tables of varying shapes and sizes set around the room. There were some old, faded swords and shields set along the stone walls, along with a number of antique weaponry. Bandits, murderers, whores, highwaymen, and con artists all looked up as Errant walked in with Gloom. Both faces were unfamiliar around Undertown, and so a number of guns, knives, and other weapons were either drawn openly or held at the ready under coats or tables. Errant spoke loudly and surely:

"I have a great amount of money that I would like to spend on hiring robots to help me do crime!" he announced.

Announcing your richness in Undertown was a fair-decent way to get yourself shot. Yet this new arrival, the young fresh-faced Maximal with the brilliant smile and the confident airs, projected no fear- only a sense of excitement around himself, like he was genuinely enthused to be here. Some of the weapon-wielding clientele of the Keep looked at each other, then suspiciously at Errant, and waited for him to talk further. Taking advantage of the silence, and easily projecting his voice over the din of the jukebox, Errant started to walk down a small set of wide steps onto the ground floor of the bar. Gloom stood near the door, arms folded, sizing this place up and wondering how many of these scumbags he could kill if he had to.

"My name is Errant, and all of you are about to hear a very interesting proposition." he said calmly, amiably, his arms clasped together at the small of his back. As he walked, they could see a fencing sword set into a scabbard at his hip, and a very rich-looking pistol at his other hip. Errant passed by a smiling insectile courtesan, favoring her with a little wink, and gave a grin to a robotic shark seated at one of the tables in the corner. He looked around the room and continued:

"I'm a new arrival on Dustball, and I have to say, nothing on this planet is so fascinating as the bots that inhabit it. So many divergent personalities, so much mysterious history, and a wellspring, a wellspring of greed and violence beneath the crust of the earth, waiting for an entrepeneur to tap into it and make gold of that crude! I've brought along my very best shovel, and will dig and dig until I find a small but capable group of assistants."

"Assistants for what?" a voice spoke up near the back- a surly Vehicon with bolts emerging from the back of his head and shoulders.

"I have been hard at work forging links and meeting admirable individuals since I got here." Errant said, turning to face the questioner. "One of these individuals is a Cactili arms dealer by the name of Thirsty Joe. I'm sure a few of you have heard of him?"

There were some nods and murmurs of confirmation. Thirsty Joe was not among the big movers and shakers of Dustball's burgeoning criminal underworld, but he was a reliable source of artillery who always paid well for water that he could sell to his Cactili 'brothers'. Unfortunately, no organic could sustain themselves on Undertown's water.

"I would find it to my immense personal advantage to form an alliance with Joe as soon as possible." Errant continued, strolling leisurely back and forth amidst the tables. "He's got a very simple task for me to prove that I've got potential as a long-term ally. One of Joe's closest confidantes is doing a 5-to-10 at Penitence Bay. You've heard of that, too? Without twisting the knife too vigorously into any old wounds, I would guess a few of you have served time there."

There were nods and agreements to this as well, though those came more grudgingly.

"For those who are as new to Dustball as myself, Penitence Bay is a combination courthouse and jail in one of the canyons of Dustball's southern hemisphere." Errant explained. "There evildoers are taken to await trial and sentencing- those that aren't felled by a more local justice or those roaming bounty hunters. Then, upon the judge's verdict, they are either shipped to Cocytus or serve out a more short-term prison term in the Bay. I'm to assist in a jailbreak, by any means necessary, but I have to admit that even my prodigious funds won't pay for a full-on siege. At least...not yet. You see, aside from a jailbreak, I would also like very much to have an item from the courthouse."

"What item is that?" Gloom asked, speaking for the first time since they'd set foot into the Keep. Errant looked at him over his shoulder, smiling widely.

"A fair question! I understand that the Judge who works at the Bay is in possession of a Pioneer's War-era Graycoat bolt-action repeater. Perfect condition, inlaid with fine Grussite aniphant ivory, able to send a bot's optic spiraling out of the hole in the back of his head from six hundred yards. A collector's item of extraordinary value."

"You'll be wantin' that fancy alien rifle for yourself?" Gloom surmised.

"No, I'm not much of a gun connoisseur." Errant replied, his lips twitching as though he were holding back laughter. He spoke as if he had a hilarious anecdote he couldn't wait to impart.

"How'll we be getting to Penitence Bay? It's miles and miles from here. Long trip for a wagon, three times as long for a scaleback." Gloom asked him, seeming impatient to point out holes in Errant's plan, as though this would deflate the young Maximal's mirth.

"I have a spacious and well-armored shuttle parked in a mineshaft near the entrance to Undertown." Errant said, then turned back to the group at large. "Anyone who chooses to help me with the jailbreak will be very well paid, and paid even more well for choosing to help me acquire the Grussite repeater.

"Any volunteers?"


(Okay, the criminal PC side is now up and running. Anyone who has characters in the pipeline, feel free to reply and we can work out their submission on unapproved as well. As for the good guys' side, yes, there is totally a bomb in that casino. Whoever wants their character to discover it, go ahead. Do we have any characters who know how to defuse a home-made non-nuclear EMP bomb?)


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 Post subject: Re: Mission #2: The Train of Consequences
PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 6:45 pm 
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Outside the Loaded Dice


Alice had a third bounty to get out the window, actually. This one was conscious, but pacified. He was a giant blue beetle, well armored but a softie at spark, and, unfortunately for him, also a softie in the exposed machinery behind his joints. Alice ushered him with her pistol, as he slowly and sorely hefted himself through the window. He crawled out painfully over the awning, and then rolled off on to the ground below. A poof of dust went up around him.

But starting at that moment, it was a different story about big blue being pacified. See, he had this thing called Beast Mode. Alice slapped her forehead. "Aw, gahdammit! Why didn't I snap off those little insect legs?" She already knew the answer to that: six shots of Dinobot Sludge and six beer chasers. "Get back here!" she yelled, meanwhile reaching into a compartment and grabbing two grenades in one hand. She'd just pulled the pins out with her teeth when she saw some other bots running towards the beetle. It was those two that were with the sheriff, cactus bot and the femme in the duster who looked like the ringleader of that gang who beat down Thorno. Now this was the last damned thing she needed.

"Hey! HEY!" Alice yelled. She leaned out the window, right arm outstretched and holding a loaded pistol, "You poachers stay away from my bounty!" She fired a warning shot at the two of them. Well at least she meant to. The recoil made her lose her balance. The shot went into the air, and she went tumbling down off the ledge, off the awning, and flat on her face in the dust.

Somewhere in there, those two grenades she'd forgotten about went flying. Lucky some bystander had a sharp optic. A cry went out, "LOOK OUT! GRENADES!" and the crowd in the square panicked. The two bombs were on a high, wobbly arc of a trajectory, hard to tell where they'd land. Not that most of the crowd even saw them. They just knew to scramble for cover, and scramble every which way they did.

The blue beetle skittered in between the running pedestrians and swerving wagons. This way was blocked, now that way was blocked, his whole hope of a clean quiet getaway down an alley was being shattered. He picked an open lane and went with it. Then something plopped down on the ground in front of him. Seems that lane was open for a reason. "Oh. Slag." He 180'd and ran as fast as his six little legs would take him. In retrospect, he should've stopped to see where the other grenade had landed. Two big booms, and then an overturned, soot stained beetle with one leg still writhing uselessly in the air.

Alice picked herself out of the dirt, and before she was halfway up was waving her pistol towards the toasted beetle. "Mine! Not yours! Mine!"


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 Post subject: Re: Mission #2: The Train of Consequences
PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 11:00 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 12:35 pm
Posts: 44
Fenrir, through all of this commotion, with the human, Thorny and his swift defeat and subsequent beating, the casino owner inviting the various folks in to lose their credits, the dumping of bodies and subsequent explosions, had stood quite motionless. As she brushed the dust and dirt that had spattered her freshly cleaned and shined shell off, she scowled.

"This planet doesn't need bounty hunters. It needs orbital bombardment."


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 Post subject: Re: Mission #2: The Train of Consequences
PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:35 pm 
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"Fuck yeah!" Alice agreed with the stranger. She was up on two wobbly feet now, dusting herself off with her free hand. Well really, she pantomimed dusting herself off by slapping her thigh once with either side of her hand. Not much actual dust was dusted. "Wait," she said, as she started to stumble towards the beetle. He'd played possum once, she wasn't gonna let him do it twice. "You're with them, ain'tcha? Buzz off then!"


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 Post subject: Re: Mission #2: The Train of Consequences
PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:36 am 

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Undertown
Errant was quick to look upward. Creeper casually descended as not to stir anyone. A few of his swarm, a mechanical fusion of bugs and gears, crawled randomly along his body. Creeper was suspended via his grappling hooks to a large stone protrusion of the cave wall. Orienting his head and arms at a bent angle toward Errant, he arrived at Errant's level still suspended. He glared at Gloom for a moment with his mechanical optics present in beast mode; he recalled paying off a similar fellow to leave him alone, but that was so long ago and the details were fuzzy.

Creeper did not have the same bitter demeanor as many of the others; he spoke in a refined manner of one schooled quite well. "If you have the credits, my explosives are at your service. I require a steep fee," Creeper told Errant in a manner that put emphasis on the credits, "yet my results have rarely been called into question."

"Don't worry about the credits," Errant told Creeper with suprising smirk, "I do believe I have enough to make a deal with everyone here."

Gloom made a sly smirk knowing that he already had most of his cut. Creeper's reputation had definitely reached Gloom by now. "Maybe you count before you plan to make a deal with that one," Gloom told Errant.

"If you know my prices, sir," Creeper told Gloom more sternly, "you know of my results. If I say I can make an entrance and/or exit for you at any given time, I will make it happen. If you want to get into Penitence, others may be able to get you in. No one will make you an exit needed to get out quite like I can. I am not fond of combat, but I can surely make anything come apart. Of course, I will need additional credits for that sort of equipment...up front; quality does not come cheap."

Creeper nudged closer to Errant, "You do seem like a gentleman that appreciates quality. Are you not?"
Outside Loaded Dice
Versa stood at a feminine tilt once the thorn removal was complete. Versa didn't much like the thought of another femme with a twisted attitude. She stood next to Fenrir sizing Alice up more out of ego and pride than anything else; even if she was worried, which she was not, there was no way she would show it. "Maybe miss little bunny shouldn't be telling anyone of us to buzz off," Versa scolded Alice, "If ya stake claim, maybe ya should'n be letting bounties freefall and dash 'round like jack rabbits."

Yes, Versa's pun was intentional.
Inside Loaded Dice

Agavus suprised Ghost all of the sudden. Cursing himself for being able to be recognized, Ghost groaned as Agavus dragged him into the casino. "You gotta drink that depressing attitude away, Ghosty!" Agavus told Ghost. Agavus was one of the few that Ghost did not appreciate being around in Rotwood; Agavus always tried to be more social than Ghost was comfortable with. Ghost told the bartender, "Just crude, no energon in it. I'll be over there; send a waitress."

Ghost pointed to an empty section of the casino at a seat next to an old, dusty slot machine. "No offense Agavus," Ghost said staring Agavus down through his hood, "I am really not in the mood after the long haul I just rode."

"Mood killer!" Agavus yelled out as Ghost walked on over.

Ghost sat down and noticed the slot machine beep. The out of order sign caused him to think it was just that. "Beep's suprisingly loud, I'll let the waitress know when she comes over," Ghost told himself.


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 Post subject: Re: Mission #2: The Train of Consequences
PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:25 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 10:58 am
Posts: 22
Hex groaned and slumped into the Loaded Dice. He followed after Ghost knowing that the waitress would bring him his usual. It had been a good number of Stellar Cycles since Hex had seen this Bounty Hunter. He nodded to him and sat down across from him after converting to robot form. Hex pulled his hat slightly over his optics as he rests his chair back against one slot machine.

"I still owe you one you know. I still hear of your dealings and everything but I reck'in I owe you at least one for saving me back then. Never had the chance to thank ya properly and all but you saved my excuse for a life so I owe you the same one day. 'Least I can do."


The waitress did as Hex expexted, handing Ghost his crude and him his own water. He slipped several creds on the tray for her.

"Thanks." His head nodded as he barely moved to do this. Finally he spoke back to Ghost. "What brings you 'round these parts?"


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 Post subject: Re: Mission #2: The Train of Consequences
PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:32 pm 

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There was a beep on Errant comm pad. It was a small message from one of his many connections on Dustball. The messanger was assuring him that plans were moving forward and that the Conductor was definately in place with the Hoveryard Boys. Though the Conductor seemed irritable and impatient. He kept mumbling about 'those rabbits this' and 'being on time' and 'having to set idle'. The messanger also commented on the horrible smell of sulpur in his intake processor while being at such a close range to the Conductor.


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 Post subject: Re: Mission #2: The Train of Consequences
PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 3:46 am 
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Posts: 91
Location: in the Gulag, with a drillbit to my chest
Inside Loaded Dice Bar and Casino
"Look at those guys!" Agavus told Digger while pointing at Hex and Ghost, "Now that is what I call a grade A buzzkill!"

"I need something to get my mind off of buzzkillingtown," Agavus said with a fist to the bar, "Bartender! the strongest stuff you have! and for my band of merry men." Agavus pointed to both Pistonhoof and Digger.

The waitress walked by and told the bartender about Ghost being annoyed by the beeps of the out of order slot machine.

"But that machine isn't even plugged in?" the bartender asked the waitress out loud.

Agavus picked up on the conversation because he has no patience when he waits for drinks. "You Diggs?" Agavus referred to Digger, "Ever heard of a slot machine making loud beeps when it isn't even plugged in?"

Outside Loaded Dice Bar and Casino
Oakscream had followed along making sure Thorno was taken care of. Oakscream walked to Arcturus' side afterword to help with the bodies. Arcturus took one, and Oakscream grabbed the other body. "I got this one for you sheriff," Oakscream told Arcturus, "Thorno should never been allowed to complete a sentence at Cocytus. I can't believe he is causing trouble in your town, now."

Undertown
Doggone was sitting on a rock when Errant came by. Doggone was chewing on some jerky made from the flesh of organic components of Maximal beast modes. He was using a robot mode tooth as a tooth pick for his own teeth.

"Aye bloke," Doggone blurted out interrupting Creeper, "I'll trak yer gun. Ain't no jent, more a bitzer myself. I'll do though, ain't so bodgy I say 'bout myself. I ain't conch either, I'll be enjoying myself out there. "

Errant looked confused. "The mutt, Doggone," Creeper explained to Errant, "probably says that he is willing to track the gun for you and have fun at the same time."

"Only that?" Errant asked. Creeper was not very social to my knowledge, but everyone that was from around these parts probably got the point of what Doggone said at this point.

"Something about not being a gentleman, " Creeper answered, "and not believing himself to be worthless."

"Fair dinkum!" Doggone announced, "Gobful dun yerselfs now."

Errant raised a mechanical eyebrow and Creeper added, "He usually says that when people are tell the truth; at least, that is what we think around here. I think he added that we can continue our conversation."


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 Post subject: Re: Mission #2: The Train of Consequences
PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 10:30 pm 
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Alice looked at Versa, stretched her processor for a snappy comeback, then tilted her head sideways. "Don't I know you? V-something?" She stumbled over to the beetle, and leaned up on it for support, then pressed her ear up against it's shell to make sure it was in stasis but still running. "I just can't remember, was it the Beast Horde that killed you? Or Cage's pirate horde? Oh! No, all the way at the end, the rearguard against Cage's GF enhanced Beast Pirate horde."


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