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 Post subject: A Joint Ice Runner / Jungle Collaboration
PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 11:59 pm 
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Ebon clung to piece of framework on the underbelly of the bridge. Her hands were beginning to shake from the effort but as long as these mysterious people searched the ground below and above her, holding on and staying cloaked was her number one priority. Luck, it seemed was on her side thus far.

Hopefully it would last the night...

The young dragon femme considered her options. Her family was gone. All gone. Mother, father, brother. Not contactable which meant she was alone. She hoped they weren't dead. A sob escapes her. Whoever these people were (and she didn't recognize them), they'd even managed to somehow sever her mental link with her twin. She shivered at the lack of connection.

Calm down girl and think. She told herself as she took a couple of deep breaths and forced herself to calm down, her mind to clear.

She could not search for them, much less rescue them on her own. She needed help. But as one who was hunted since the day of her birth, finding someone to help her who wouldn't just turn her over to these strangers for a bounty was going to be difficult.

Unbidden, it was her mother's voice that suddenly came into her mind, he was my best friend. He saved my life. He will help you. The stories that she'd heard as a child about Jungle, Big Cat, The Dark Warrior and all her parent's adventures with him before they'd gotten married unfolded in her mind.

Jungle... he could help her...

He had to be something impressive from all the stories. Heck, he'd taken on invincible foes and even taken her own dad out in a fight or two.

The Dark Warrior was her best option...she needed to find him.

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The Eleventh Hour

Written by: Ice Runner and Jungle.

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We find Jungle, The Dark Warrior, perched on a rooftop. It was a clear night. He felt the breeze against his frame. Body largely obstructed by the shadows, he is enjoying the serenity of the moment.

Which doesn’t last.

The change in wind had revealed a scent.

His body tenses, sensing he was now prey to a predator.

Sprinting, he leaps to the next rooftop, but not with the grace you might have expected.
He leaps again, but lacks the momentum to carry him to the next roof top. Having misjudged it, he falls short.

Bracing to meet the ground, he suddenly finds himself in the arms of another – the scent confirmed this to be his stalker.

The pair touches down at street level. Jungle was released prior to the touch down, several feet off the ground, and manages a semi graceful landing a few feet from the other who glides smoothly to the ground.

The light was better here, we can make them both out clearly.

Jungle stood with knees and shoulders slightly hunched. Patches of gray were found about his otherwise black frame. None of his panther beast mode features were present in his robot form, giving him a rather plain appearance. He also had a little bit of a gut. Two of his top front teeth were fanged and one of his bottom front teeth was fanged. Only one of his bottom teeth was fanged because the other was missing. Wrinkles and other lines covered Jungle’s face revealing the harshness of his lifestyle. His eyes were dark blue and presently narrowed. It could hardly be said that the grizzled veteran was in his prime.

Jungle's stalker on the other hand stood tall, and had turned out to be a strikingly attractive femme. She was young, barely an adult Jungle guessed. The beast mode parts visible on her frame in bot mode suggested a dragon of some kind. Her main coloring was black and with subtle threads of strategically placed silver. Jungle’s optics were drawn to her face and his breath hitched - it was a face he hadn't seen in a long time. But this femme's optics were different, bright green instead of burning copper, but there was no mistaking the resemblance…

This had to be Ebon, Icerunner and Pyre's daughter – Jungle concluded to himself. But why on Cybertron she would be here on this colony was beyond him.

There is a moment of silence as each takes in the other.

Ebon is the one who breaks it. "Sorry ol' man, I mistook you for someone...else..." Ebon pauses and takes a really good look at him. It was almost of look of disbelief that was on her face. "I'm looking for someone, maybe you can help me. An ex-slug, panther beast mode, goes by the name of Jungle." As she speaks she thinks to herself, Please Primus, don't let this be Jungle.

“Congratulations. You found him,” Jungle’s delayed response. He could have answered her in many different ways but he had decided to be direct – given her mannerisms thus far, it didn’t seem as though she intended him harm. In contrast to Ebon’s tone, his tone was flat and cold.

Crap, Ebon’s silent response. The femme capes her wings and stares at the panther-bot, as her optics narrow to slits of green. "You're really Jungle?"

Ebon smirks as she looks him over a third time. "You've got to be kidding me. Sorry ol' man, you don't match the stories I was told from my parents. From what I heard, you're supposed to be some super cool MSP rogue slash super bot or something. Not some old dude that trips over his own feet and falls off buildings. Did you really fight beings with unimaginable powers? I'm finding it hard to believe you even managed to hand Pyre his skid plate at the moment."

Jungle almost blinked but in the end, silence is all that she gets from the panther.

Upon hearing her curse something about ‘useless old people’ under her breath, Jungle begins to walk away – the final straw it seemed.

“Hey, wait!” Ebon blurts out.

But, Jungle continues on his way.

It suddenly occurred to Ebon that she hadn’t bothered to introduce herself – she had been too caught up in berating him from the shock of his appearance to explain anything.

He was almost out of view now.

A look of desperation was upon her face. “My mom… Icerunner… Little Cat she said you called her… she was abducted.” The desperation was in her voice as well. It could be said that from the start, things had not gone the way she had hoped with Jungle.

Hearing the word ‘abducted’, Jungle makes an abrupt halt.

“Pyre, my dad was abducted and so was Fyre, my brother,” Ebon follows up with, putting it all out there. Her voice steadied with each word. “My whole family is gone. I have no idea where they are, I have no idea who’s responsible and I have no one,” a pause, “besides you to turn to.” The pause was the unfortunate realization by Ebon that Jungle was truly all she had. She fought to hold back the sigh as to not risk driving him completely away.

Jungle turned to face Ebon. His eyes met hers. “Ebon…”

“What?” The dragon stated in her best tough girl voice, composure regained.

“Behind you.”

Green warp blades extending from her wrists, Ebon turned within the nick of time to deflect an incoming bullet.

She also deflected the second and third bullets fired at her with her warp blades.

In the midst of all this, Ebon managed a good look at her foe, “hey! You were after me before!” She recognized him as one of the same Cybertronians that was hunting her while she was taking refuge under that bridge earlier.

Unfortunately for Jungle, the attacker had chosen to flee rather than continue to fight. Ebon took off in immediate pursuit. The recognition of who her foe was made her instantly furious.

For a brief moment her hands crackled with energy.

She pushed herself off walls and whatever the background provided to add to her momentum - it was quite a sight really.

Converting to panther beast form, Jungle trailed. Four legs were better than two but still not enough. His lungs burned and he felt pain in his sides from the run – that’s why it was unfortunate for Jungle that the attacker had chosen to flee rather than continue to fight.

By the time he caught up, Ebon had already dispatched the attacker.

Converting back to robot form Jungle coughed and held his side as he made his way over to a crate.

"What's with you?" Ebon called to Jungle.

"Just need to sit down for a moment." Jungle replied.

"Seriously?" Ebon stated in disbelief.

Jungle shot her a glare in response as he leaned back, now fully seated. As if that wasn't enough, Ebon was really about to lose it as she watched as the cat light a cigar.

"You have got to be kidding me!" Ebon blurted out.

Her fingers twitched as she imagined snatching the cigar from his fingers...a glow growl built up in her throat as she threw her arms into the air.

She ranted, "How am I supposed to even rescue them with you!?! Gyah!” She swore and snarled so much, a bot with delicate audios might have taken offence...if one had been around.

It is then that their previous attacker’s partner reveals himself.

Jungle sat off to the side smoking the cigar while Ebon was in the midst of a fierce melee.

The dragon was yet unable to gain the advantage as she deflected her opponent's energy cannon blasts with her warp blades. She had rushed head long, hoping to deal a killing stroke before her opponent could make use of his ranged weapons.

The gamble hadn't paid off.

Despite a few attempts, she was unable to close the remaining gap as the rate of fire was too fast. One thing was certain; she couldn’t keep this up much longer. It was a hell of a situation that she had gotten herself into.

"I could use a little help," Ebon lashed to Jungle.

"But I'm just an old dude," Jungle retorted, in-between puffs – a call back to their earlier conversation. His voice was steady, demeanor calm.

Ebon, preoccupied with her opponent, wasn't in much of a position to continue the argument. But a low growl expressed her displeasure.

But the battle came to an abrupt halt as Ebon's opponent unexpectedly collapsed.

She stood perplexed. First she zeroed in on the smoldering blast mark on the back of her unconscious opponent's head. In rapid secession, she noticed a handgun of sorts just floating, seemingly by itself, in the air.

Her body still tensed, she watched as it moved toward and into Jungle's storage compartment.

The pieces in her mind fell into place; the old panther obviously shared a neurological connection with the weapon. He wasn't doing nothing after all. He had been… watching, picking the best moment to strike. Not that she would admit it out loud but there was a thing or two she could learn from him it seemed.

“You used a known alias of yours when you got to this planet, didn’t you?” Jungle spoke up with.

Her stomach sank, though she tries her best to hide it as she knew where Jungle was going with this. That’s how these guys, the same guys from the beginning of all this, found her here – rookie mistake.

Her silence was all the confirmation that Jungle needed.

Jungle stood up. “Whelp, we’d best get off this rock.”

To Ebon’s surprise, he didn’t seem to be upset with her at all. She also took that to mean that Jungle officially agreed to help – for better or for worse. Nonetheless, she had no one else.

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

When you’re on the run and need a spaceship, where do you go exactly? The answer in this case is here…

We find Jungle and Ebon across town on the sleazy end. They enter one of the few buildings that is not either boarded up or burned out – a bar of sorts.

Almost upon entry, Ebon and Jungle find themselves at blaster point in the bar. Their assailant is a tall, burley looking bot with a grizzly beast form. He had 'thug' written all over him.

"Come quietly or this'll get nasty," the ‘thug’ spoke up with.

Ebon swore under her breath as they both stood – every bounty hunter in the galaxy was coming out of the woodwork it seemed.

The thug quickly shook his head in Jungle's direction, clearly not recognizing the Dark Warrior. "Not you grandpa. The one with the bounty. The femme! Get over here." He motioned Ebon towards him with the weapon.

Sighing heavily, shooting Jungle a 'let me handle this' look, the dragon complied. She walked towards the thug with carefully measured steps, hips gently swaying.

Jungle blinked. In a split second, the 'I don't care/go slag yourself/emo wanna be' femme had turned on her charms, strutting toward the bot like a Cybertronian sex goddess.

A wicked smile formed upon Ebon’s face as she spoke. "Don't get bent out of shape big boy. You can collect your bounty now that you've found me, right?"

"Uh...bounty...yeah..." The thug looked slightly dazed as he let his optics roam over her curves.

"Why don't we find somewhere quiet and talk this through, hmm sugar?" She gave him a winning smile.

The thug looked like all his paychecks had come at once.

"Be back soon 'grandpa'. Don’t break a hip." Ebon stated as she smiled over at Jungle and waved. She started moving off toward one of the bar's private rooms. The thug ran to catch up with her, slinging an arm around her shoulder but quickly moving south with his hand.

Jungle caught a glimpse of a split second of sheer disgust as it crossed her pretty features before the mask reappeared and the door closed behind them both.

Jungle waited, more than curious.

Not two minutes later, the door slid open again, revealing the scowling femme who held the thug’s smoking blaster which she tossed to the bar's baffled looking owner. Stalking over to where Jungle had seated himself, she sat herself in the seat as if nothing had happened.

The thug did not reappear.

The owner slipped into the room, obviously expecting the worst. A moment later, he reappeared looking even more confused…

Ebon sighed, clearly annoyed at the whole situation. In other words, back to normal for her. "When you've been dodging bounty hunters since the day you were born, you get good at it."

Of course, this was the first time doing it alone… though she always acted older then her age, she was still young and in need of her family.

Glancing innocently around the room Ebon continued, "We should probably get moving. Are you driving 'grandpa' or am I?"

Flashing the Dark Warrior a mischievous half grin, Ebon held up a set of keys with fluffy dice attached to them – she had lifted the keys off of that thug.

Without hesitation, Jungle snatched the keys from her hand.

Things hadn’t quite gone the way Jungle had expected here. Her actions had caused far too much attention to be drawn to them. But nonetheless, he couldn’t argue with the results.

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

We focus in on a rag tag transport vessel moving through red space…

Ebon stood from where she'd been sitting on the ground and moved to where the panther sat at the table. She pulled up a chair, sat down and produced a large bottle of amber colored liquid from a subspace pocket and two shot glasses. Pushing one toward Jungle, she sighed and rubbed her free hand over her face.

Jungle slid the glass back without taking so much as a sip.

Ebon wondered if she should be insulted.

Jungle picked up on that. "Nothing personal, darl'n. Just gave it up years ago. Used to calm me, now it makes my hands shake, something I can't afford." He relied on timing more than ever these days, that and being underestimated.

Ebon eyed the golden liquid as if it had suddenly become a suspect to some weird crime then mumbled, "none of the stories I was told mentioned Jungle joining an AA group..."

Still, she couldn't drink while he didn't. Pulling a small pink bottle out of a different subspace pocket with her free hand, she inspected the label a moment, shrugged, then slid it over to the panther-bot. Jungle eyed it curiously.

"Fruit juice. Non-alcoholic variety." The dragon stated as she leaned back in the chair and swirled her glass once more, optics never leaving Jungle.

Jungle lifted the glass in a mock toast and took a sip.

“So, whatever happened between you and my mom anyway?” The youth asked. Ice had always made it a point to say that Jungle ‘was’ her best friend instead of ‘is’.

Jungle eyes met hers before looking away.

Clearly she wasn’t going to get any kind of verbal answer from him – thus she mumbled something about this being the most boring red space journey ever. She did however notice the pain he was trying to hide which in itself provided some answers…

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

At last Jungle and Ebon’s ship drops out of red space, their destination reached…

In order to get clues and direction for their search, Ebon took Jungle to one of her parent's haunts/hideouts.

It was ten stories underground, and although it wouldn't seem like a place to raise children, it had been an on/off home to the femme for several years of her early life.

Bedrooms, kitchen, family room, med centre, gym, computer room, lab - each room lit up in a familiar yellow glow as Ebon placed her hand on the recognition pad by the elevator door.

Jungle followed her into the family room.

The fine layer of dust coating the room hadn't been disturbed in a while so it was probably safe to assume whoever their enemy was, they didn't know about this particular place.

"I'm going to look for leads ol' man. Take a breather if you want to. This could take a little while."

She headed over to the computer lab. Now, the dragon wasn't a computer geek but if there was one thing Ebon could guarantee about her mother, it was that she had tapped security camera feeds all over their various homes. She used to tease the snow leopard for being paranoid but now she was kind of grateful. Her mother's scent was strongest in this room. It was kind of comforting. Not that she would admit it though. Sitting at the main desk, she booted up the system and logged into it.

Back with Jungle in the main room, the old timer couldn't help but take note of the photographs displayed.

He picked up a picture of the old Maximus crew. Jungle was in it and so were Ice and Pyre.

Jungle was taken aback by how young he looked in contrast to the present. His present reflection could be seen in the glass of the picture frame. He sighed. 35 years was a long time.

There were others in the picture as well.

There was Squirrely, who had a shorter fuse than anyone else the cat had ever met. Squirrely had become a politician of all things, a moderately successful one at that. Briefly Jungle was head of his security detail.

There was also Jennifer Scott, a humanoid with amazing energy manipulation power. He had bumped into her a few years back by pure coincidence. She was off to a dust bowl of a world seeking either someone or something – he couldn’t exactly recall.

That took care of those who were still around - not everyone in the photograph was.

Such as Temperance, another humanoid. He was the last of an ancient race and wore a wicked battle suit. The details of his death were classified, but he gave his life in the line of duty. A noble end.

And Guyver, the team leader. Jungle was never sure what to make of him but he gave his life saving a Maximal Colony during the Greater Force-Carbation War. He proved his worth in the end.

Next, Jungle focused on a picture of a young Ebon and Fyre.

Jungle couldn't help but smile at it…

He recalled a certain day when the twins were roughly three years old...Ebon had gotten away from her mother and had wondered into the street. A vehicle nearly struck her down.

Jungle knew that because he was there, silently cloaked.

From time to time he would check in on Ice and her family. He was just careful to make sure they never knew.

Jungle had managed to grab Ebon and pull her out of the vehicle's path. The little femme's green optics had been wide with fright but she hadn't cried out. Not even when he'd re-cloaked, leaving the little one by herself again, safe on the side of the road.

He still remembered Ebon’s child voice when a very upset Icerunner had located her lost daughter; "Mama, don't cry. I'm safe. Mr. Cat-bot saved me."


The cat was abruptly pulled away from his memories by the same voice, only grown up now. "Taking a trip down memory lane or something ol' man?"

The dragon stood across from him wearing a bemused expression as he stood there admiring the photos. She probably didn't realize it but it was the same expression he had seen Icerunner make at him countless times in the past.

Ebon continued. "You might wanna take a look at this. I found some footage of the dudes when they took my mom but I don't recognize anything about them, not even the faction symbol on their frames. You...um...might have more luck on this than me."

She handed Jungle a data pad containing a screen capture of the individuals. The resolution wasn't the best but one individual stood out in particular as his old data tracks processed the information – there was just no mistaking the triceratops head on the figure’s chest. A low growl echoed in his throat as he spoke. "Tiron."

"Tiron?" The femme echoed curiously. "So...this Tiron's pulling the strings?"

Jungle homed in on the 'this' part of Ebon's statement. "Hardly, he's Cage's lethal enforcer."

Jungle was met with another curious look.

He sighed. "The Megatron of my generation."

Jungle noticed the wheels turning in her mind. He noticed a certain spark of understanding beginning to form in her optics. Her mind was recalling some stories she heard from her parents when she was younger in reference to Cage's over the top schemes.

She was getting ready to ask another question and Jungle sensed that, but he speaks before she has a chance too. Anticipating her question Jungle states, “I know of an asteroid belt that conceals a haven for old time outlaws.”

Ebon blinked, “a super villain retirement community?”

“Something like that. Nonetheless, it’s a perfect fortress for Cage.” Jungle stated.

Ebon cracked her knuckles. “Awesome. Let’s go.”

Jungle turned away from her. “I’m going. You’re not.”

“Did you just lose whatever marbles you had left ol’ man?” A rather taken back Ebon blurted out.

Jungle's voice deepened as he turned back to face Ebon. "You don't have the skills or experience."

She was about to lash back with something nasty, but pride aside, he was right. "And you don't have the strength or speed."

He shook his head, after taking a pause to take in her words. "Neither of us can do it alone."

"Together then." A slight pause. "For as long as I can remember, I've been told the Dark Warrior would be able to help me." The femme took a calming breath. "I...I'm going to trust you ol' man. I'll follow your lead and do the legwork. Just tell me what I need to do."

He nodded – a bargain had been struck.

The ‘Dark Warrior’ part of Ebon’s statement made him recall a certain night…

He was a few years younger than now.

It all started when Jungle had heard a woman scream. Not able to ignore it, he intervened. Jungle’s distraction was enough for the victim to escape… the rest didn’t go so well…

Jungle threw his knife at the two bit assailant – unfortunately the knife was caught by his intended target and to add insult to injury, it was thrown back.

Jungle catches it… in his abdomen that is.

Ignoring the wound, Jungle lunged and swung – but his fist found the wall as his opponent had evaded his strike.

Now behind the Dark Warrior, Jungle’s opponent proceeds to slam Jungle’s head repeatedly into the wall.

Lacking the strength to break free, Jungle was helpless.

The sound of nearby police sirens was enough to give Jungle’s opponent pause, who elected to cease the beating and take off into the night.

Alone, Jungle collapsed against the wall – his breath was heavy and his body ached.

The night had finally come… he wasn’t ‘The Dark Warrior’ anymore.


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We catch up to Ebon and Jungle, onboard their previously commandeered vessel, en route to the asteroid belt…

It was the night cycle but in red space, everything looks the same regardless of the time of day. Unable to sleep and missing her link with her family more than she would ever admit (even at gunpoint), Ebon had taken to exploring their recently acquired ship and had stumbled across a small yet functional gym complete with weights and punching bag.

Taping extra weight to each hand, she started taking her frustration out on the poor punching bag. It felt good to work her body and the strain of added weight somehow cleared her mind...for a little while at least.

On and on she pushed herself (time passes) until her body began to hurt. She didn't have Pyre's stamina but she could outlast a lot of people. Two more vicious uppercuts and she stumbled forwards to her knees, the extra weight finally becoming too much and her hands hit the floor. It was as she reached to un-strap her hands that she realized she was not alone.

Without even looking up, she knew Jungle was standing just inside the room watching her...

Ebon was a little bit younger than Ice was when he first met her. She had many of the same mannerisms as her mother making the resemblance between them here and now amazing. For a moment he saw Ice there instead of Ebon.

Before he could say anything, not that he intended to, she blurted out:

"Jungle, you're probably the closest thing I have to an uncle and for all I know, you might be all the family I have left in the world." It was the first time she'd addressed him by his name and not ol' man. There was no trace in her voice of her former contempt for the world or him. "How do you deal with loss?”

He hadn't known his scouting position was compromised. Her tone gave him pause. But he couldn't help but smirk at her question as he stepped more fully in the room.

"You fight like a bad Pyre impersonator," the grizzled veteran spoke up with.

"Excuse me?" Ebon's quick reply. She couldn't believe it. Not only had he totally ignored what she had just said, but he was dishing out insults while she was at her most emotionally vulnerable.

He made a full circle around her, sizing her up all the while. "You're not your father so stop pretending to be."

Ebon has had just about enough of him, it showed in her face.

He finally settled on standing directly opposite of her on the other end of the room. "You hold back, as if you're afraid of what would happen if you didn't.”

If he said just one more thing...

“You’re a chicken shit," the old panther lashed out.

That did it.

Warp blades extended she charged at him. In her emotional state her swings were wild. He didn't have much trouble evading them.

Activating his cloak field the old panther vanished from view.

She scanned her surroundings only for her stomach to be met with his fist. Jungle wasn't a TM2 but the TM2 armor wrapped around his hands as knuckle guards increased the impact of his punch.

She staggered.

She was very upset that an old man could get in under her guard.

Her hands began to crackle with energy.

She was upset to the point that she was fuming.

In that moment Ebon unleashed the energy.

Jungle finds himself slammed into the wall which cracks around him.

Ebon stood there in disbelief. She look at her smoking hands and then at Jungle. She had no idea...

Jungle's torso was smoldering but the damage was largely cosmetic. Most surprisingly of all to her was the smile that was present on his face. That might very well be the first time she had seen him smile.

She didn't know what to do at the moment. She didn't even know whether to apologize or not. After all, he seemed to be pleased with her. Questions fill her mind; Did he want what just happened to happen? Did he deliberately provoke her? Had he sensed such power in her?

Cigar at the ready, Jungle headed for the nearest seat. He was walking as though he had strained a muscle or two. It was more of a hobble then a walk.

"You haven't lost anything yet," he stated as he plopped himself down. His words were a draw back to her prior remarks. "So if you're done acting like a damn child, maybe we can get to work bringing out that power you just displayed so that maybe we'll have at least a snowball’s chance in hell."

She scowled at him for the 'acting like a child' insult but decided against giving him a piece of her mind...for once. There were more important things to worry about. What did the old panther know about this?

"Do you know how this energy thing (insert random waving of hands) works then?"

Jungle exhaled some cigar smoke. “I’m familiar with such power, yes. That… ‘feeling’ you felt is the trigger.”

“Wanting to rip your head off?” She asked, liking the sound of it.

Jungle slowly shook his head back and forth. “Not exactly. But it is tied to your emotions. You have to learn to control them so that you can access that ‘feeling’ at will.”

“… Okay, so what do I have to do?”

The amused look which appeared on Jungle’s face at the conclusion of her statement frightened her...


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 Post subject: Re: A Joint Ice Runner / Jungle Collaboration
PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 12:01 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 6:12 pm
Posts: 84
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

A bit later…

Ebon wiped the sweat from her brow. "Why do you hate my father?"

Jungle looked at her for a moment. "What?"

"Come on. Whenever you say his name it's as if you smelled shit." Ebon's reply.

"I don't hate Pyre." Jungle's quick words.

"You did it just now, see? I know Dad's not perfect but he's a pretty good guy. I mean, he saved all of Cybertron from the Crisis Beast. I read all about it."

Jungle chuckled. "And I saved the entire Universe from the Greater Force, but unlike your Father's accomplishment, you won't find mine recorded anywhere." He paused and sighed. "I used to wonder what punishment the universe would give to me for my years of sin. Now I know. By all rights I should of gone out in a blaze of glory years ago. Instead I continue to live. Live to see my body turn decrepit, to see my legacy crumble."

Ebon spoiled the moment by muttering "And I have the privilege of hauling your grumpy brooding loner ass across the galaxy. Yay me..."

"What?" He snapped.

"Nothing." She faked innocence and settled back into a loose fighting stance, getting ready to summon an energy ball again - pretending she hadn't said anything.

"Oh, and by the way Jungle..." A new spark flashed to life between the femme's outstretched hands. "...I already know the stories about you and the Greater Force dudes..." The spark grew and expanded as she concentrated, brow furrowed and beaded with sweat again. "...was one of the reasons I came looking for you in the first place ol' man."

With an unladylike grunt, she threw the energy at their makeshift target. Wiping the sweat from her optics, she smirked at Jungle over her shoulder.

"And I still think you hate my Dad."

Shaking his head, Jungle walked away.

The femme chuckled.

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It turned out that their best ticket for getting into the ‘super villain retirement community’ was to play the part.

Cuffed, bound, visibly damaged and doing her best to look surly, Ebon strode down the ship’s access ramp onto the landing pad, with Jungle’s gun muzzle in her back. The femme growled her displeasure as the gun dug painfully into her back again.

Ebon was the prisoner, and Jungle was the lucky 'bounty hunter' that had managed to catch her. At least, that was the story they’d decided to go with. There was always the risk that someone might recognize Jungle as the Dark Warrior but given how much he had changed over the last 25 years, it was a less likely scenario.

Armed guards moved up to meet them as the pair moved towards the base’s access portal...

Tiron, Cage’s before mentioned lethal enforcer, makes his way out. With the beast form of a triceratops, he was built like a tank.

Following the instructions that Tiron gave with his hand motions, the guards grab Ebon from both sides and carry her off. Jungle, playing his part, doesn’t interfere.

Tiron’s eyes fixed upon Jungle – the triceratops was clearly not impressed. “Beat it old timer.”

“What about the bounty?” Jungle spoke up with.

“Consider your life to be payment in full,” Tiron’s reply.

Jungle eyed the weapons now trained at him. Sighing, he made his way back up the ramp of the ship. A few moments later, it takes off.

Lifting his arm, Tiron spoke into a communication devise. “Destroy it.”

We watch as autoguns rise up from positions outside the asteroid complex. Jungle’s ship absorbs several direct hits before a brilliant explosion ensues.

Satisfied, Tiron and his men head off – the best way to make sure that the scope of the operations here remained secret was to never let anyone that came, leave.

If they were paying more attention however, they might have noted the sound of an extra set of footsteps in their formation…

Having placed the ship on autopilot and ducked out, cloaked, before takeoff, Jungle covertly makes his way through the complex. His cloak was outdated technology… he had to move slow and keep his internal mech fluid pleasure down… otherwise he risked detection from the facility’s internal sensors.

This place had started out as a small outpost on the surface of this asteroid. It had now grown into a virtual war world. Even now the sounds of tunnels being blasted and the smell of new construction was about. This place wasn’t a secret… it just wasn’t worth the trouble of the Maximal Military to take this place out. But given what was transpiring here now, the threat level was in desperate need of an update – Cage was gearing up for something big.

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

Speaking of Cage…

Cage was one of the last of the brutes, one of the last of the villainous masterminds who led from the field. It was the norm for modern day ones to conduct operations from behind desks, light years away. You almost had to respect Cage. He was what remained of a dying breed. Heck, would anyone else nowadays go through the effort of constructing a virtual war world?

Ebon's optics widened as she took in sight of the bot that had caused her so much grief. He was, she had to admit, impressive. She had expected a softer, older looking bot...something more of a pushover. Even though he was 'old', the powerful TM2 werewolf-bot striding towards her looked strong, menacing and determined.

Cage’s eyes are a blood red color and his plating and armor was primarily gray and black. His werewolf beast mode head is split and laid across his shoulders. His legs were gargoyle like.

She shivered at the look in his optics as they met hers. Not good. This dude was deadly serious. And obviously more than happy to have her handcuffed and kneeling before him thanks to her escorts.

Calm down and breathe girl. Talk to him and buy time.

She raised her chin defiantly, optics smoldering green slits in her pretty face. "You must be Cage, the sneaky bastard that took my family."

“Guilty.” Cage couldn’t help but laugh – a rather cold and unnerving one. It was sort of what you would expect from a villainous mastermind.

“Are you for real dude? I mean you have got to be the most cliché villain, like ever.” Ebon’s tone sounded mocking but it was merely a mask. The fact is that she was afraid… but she had to hold it together… everything depended upon it.

Converting to his werewolf beast form, Cage slapped her hard in the face with the back of his hand. “And you’re just pathetic,” Cage lashed out with.

The slap had knocked Ebon onto her back - that provided her the opportunity to begin to work on her restraints.

“I’m doubting if you’re actually Pyre’s daughter.” Cage’s follow up statement. “Your brother had ‘fire’ in his eyes. Where’s your fire?”

“It’s in my fists,” Ebon blurted as she rolled backwards.

Free of her restraints, Ebon managed an energy blast from her palms.

Cage looked to be in disbelief as it struck him.

He saw stars for a moment.

Smiling, Cage caught a glimpse of Ebon as she ran off with his guards in pursuit.

Alarms rang out.

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

Meanwhile…

As the sound of the alarms continue to ring out, we peer into a room labeled, ‘Auxiliary Damage Control’. There we find Jungle along with a Cybertronian, who is obviously a non-combatant.

Notably Jungle had the barrel of a blaster against the back of the non-combatant’s head.

Displayed on the monitor in front of the pair are the specifications to the entire facility.

Download complete, Jungle pulls the flash drive out of the computer terminal’s access port and punches the non-combatant in the side of the head – Jungle’s TM2 knuckle guard leaves quite a mark as the non-combatant collapses from the blow.

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

Presently…

Cage laughed as his arm mounted energy shields absorb Ebon’s continued energy blasts. He looked demonic in his TM2 werewolf form. The years had been kind. The wrinkles in his face only added to his fierce persona.

Cage’s personnel, many of whom where non-combatants, were seen fleeing their stations in the background. Their personal well being obviously took priority over monitoring the power core, at least from their point of view.

Speaking of point of view, to Cage he had the upper hand. "Maybe I overestimated your power," he stated with a hint of disappointment.

A slight smile appears on Ebon’s face as she notices Jungle’s neurologically linked handgun hovering in the air behind Cage; something which Cage fails to notice. But he certainly feels the weapon’s impact as he cries out having just taken several quick hits from it in the back.

When Cage turns to see what had just happened, Ebon unleashes a hellacious energy blast from her palms which completely floors the werewolf. She had picked her moment well - perhaps her time with Jungle was well spent.

Cage struggles back to his feet, plating melted and burned in some places. Missing in others. His arm energy shields flickered before going off completely.

Jungle phases into view, having disengaged his cloak field, and tosses Ebon the before mentioned flash drive.

“Go. I got this,” Jungle commanded to the dragon.

Ebon hesitates, not being quite so sure. But complies upon studying the look on Jungle’s face… she recalled his monologue about how he should of gone out in a blaze of glory years ago - he needed this.

Jungle and Cage charge at each other.

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

We catch up with Ebon…

Ebon’s jaw dropped upon spotting her family – they were offline, hooked up to various machines with an assortment of wires and tubes running into various parts of their bodies.

Suddenly she felt herself struggling to breathe.

She tries to move closer to her mother, only to find she can’t. She couldn’t move period.

“You look delicious,” a voice called to her from behind. “You’re Pyre’s daughter no doubt. We go way back him and I.” The owner of the voice was now in Ebon’s view. “It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m Jadestone.”

Jadestone, a TM2 with a beaver secondary form, had aged quite well. Her body wasn’t as firm as it used to be but she was still a knockout by anyone’s standards. Examine her well defined curves and ‘other’ such features and there will be no doubt in your mind as to why the above is true. Her frame was a mixture of green and black. Her bushy beaver tail was a carryover into her robot form.

Jade was about a head shorter then Ebon, but she ‘floats’ herself into the air until their eyes meet. Jade then runs her hands down Ebon’s chest. She squeezed. She moans in the process. Ebon let out a snarled sound of disgust as she struggles to break Jadestone’s telekinetic hold.

“I can’t wait till you join us…” Stated the TM2 beaver. “The thought of ‘having’ both you and your brother at the same time makes me tingle all over.”

“You’re a psychotic bitch,” Ebon managed despite her shortness of breath.

Jade smiled at those words as she floated in the air.

“I’m getting my family out of here!” Ebon followed up with, still struggling.

“Sorry… that’s not going to happen.” Jade’s voice was soft and seductive. “Cage spent years setting all this up. Your parents are going to breed him an unstoppable army. You and your twin brother are to be his generals… you and I are going to be together for a long, long time. It would be easier on you if you just accepted it… of course the hard way is fun too.” A wicked smile formed upon Jade’s face.

Jade leans in and plants a kiss upon Ebon’s lips.

Ebon wanted nothing more than to squeal in disgust. But no – she had to focus.

She could sense the lapse in Jadestone’s concentration as the beaver kissed her – the telekinetic hold upon her had weakened.

Ebon’s hand broke free and formed into a fist.

Jade suddenly gasps and fluid drips from her lips.

Looking down, Jade finds Ebon’s fist through her torso.

It had ‘phased’ into her body.

Ebon looks as surprised as Jade does.

Capitalizing, Ebon manages an energy strike with her fist still inside Jade’s torso.

Jade cries out as her insides are blasted apart – limp, her body hits the floor.

With the beaver out of action, Ebon suddenly finds herself free of her invisible grip. Scowling at what’s left of the beaver and wiping her mouth with the back of her clean hand to rid herself of such a horrid experience, she makes her way over to her family and starts trying to figure out how to disconnect them from their morbid positions.

A few cycles later, the young femme flicked a final switch, releasing all three of her family members from the wires and tubing that connected to them to Cage’s computer systems.

Each of them immediately came back online and fought their way out of their various confines. Her father and brother started systematically destroying their bonds.

Icerunner plucked hers off, face a picture of sheer disgust. Her expression changed to one of astonishment and happiness as soon as she spotted her daughter. Ice’s copper eyes lightened.

“Ebon Flame! How did you...?”

Her words were cut off as the young femme rushed over to hug her mother, a rare event, not even bothering to berate her mother about using her ‘full name’ rather than just ‘Ebon’. Ice hugged her back.

"I found Jungle and he helped," Ebon spoke up with.

“Where is he?” Ice’s voice had been a mixture of things, but above all, concern.

"He's off having a self sacrifice brooding loner moment," Ebon responded, jerking her head back in the direction she’d come from.

Ice cursed as she took off to find him, looking anything but pleased.

Pyre's optics followed her departure but he stayed where he was for the moment, focused on the task at hand.

Fyre had a look of excitement on his face. "Cool! I want to have a self sacrificing brooding moment too!" He exclaimed, dropping the dark act for a moment.

A low growl echoed from Pyre's throat as the console he was destroying exploded in a shower of sparks. "Not till you are much older."

"Oh, man!" Fyre retorted in utter disappointment.

‘Stay focused bro.’ Ebon’s words flitted into his mind. ‘Once Mom and I find Jungle, we need to get off this rock. Go with Dad and find us a ride.’

Safe to say the twin’s psychic link was back up again.

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

Back to the brawl…

Jungle was on the ground. His frame was absorbing punch after punch. His opponent Cage, still in his werewolf form, seemed to be overly delighted while administering the brutal beating. The wind had been knocked from Jungle's lungs. His arms were limp. He was exhausted and had nothing left.

Well, not quite.

An unexpected head butt courtesy of Jungle when Cage leaned in too close was enough to tip the scale.

Back to his feet, Jungle managed a volley from his neurologically linked handgun.

Jungle rubbed his head and coughed up fluid - the maneuver had hurt him almost as much as the werewolf. Dazed, Jungle staggered over to the wall to brace himself as he caught his breath. No, he wasn't the Dark Warrior anymore but he still could manage.

Cloak field activated, he vanished from view just as Cage regained his senses.

“Your parlor tricks can’t save you old man!” Cage lashed out with as he converted to robot mode and unleashed a fierce volley from his chest chain guns. Forgetting his proximity to the facility’s power core, his goal was to lay waste to every part of the room, figuring he had to deal Jungle a blow in the process.

Computer terminals explode as he aimed to hit everything including the power core. However, the core's thick wall of outer shielding prevented the possibility of any catastrophic damage from Cage's tirade. The core itself was inset several feet behind the transparent shielding which formed a floor to ceiling circle around the core, save for an access door made from the same material as the shielding itself.

Jungle reappears slumped against the transparent core shielding. He had taken more than a few hits courtesy of Cage.

The old panther’s neurologically connected handgun hovers near Cage. It shoots off a few blasts, which is an irritation to Cage, but a volley from the werewolf’s chest chain guns destroys the weapon.

Cage then puts his attention back on Jungle who was staggering through the doorway of the core shielding to get to the core itself. Cage cursed under his breath. Ebon was his priority, not this old man.

He watched as the old man slumped over against the core.

“Jungle?” Cage asked as he finally recognized the elder. “That can’t really be you can it?” Cage laughed as he knew it to be true.

Jungle was leaking fluid pretty heavily.

No longer sensing any threat, Cage made his way over to where Jungle was to get a better look. Having been bested by Jungle in the past he found the present circumstances amusing.

It was at this point that Icerunner arrived, being trailed by her daughter. The top halves of their bodies were in view. Their lower halves were obstructed by camo mode. They were several yards away and unnoticed as the area had been cleared out. Instinctively Ice makes her way for Jungle, but Ebon grabs her by the wrist.

Ice shoots her daughter a Jungle like glare.

“Mom, no. Jungle has to do this.”

Ice attempts to break free, but Ebon tightens her grip.

Meanwhile, Cage happens to just avoid the blade end of a knife thrown by Jungle - seemed as though the cat had a little life left in him.

Cage ceased being amused.

In response, at point blank range, Cage fires off a burst from his chest chain guns at the cat.

However, Cage only managed off a couple rounds. Not a full burst as it seems all this fighting had depleted his ammunition but it seemed to be enough as Jungle is knocked the rest of the way down.

Satisfied, the werewolf turns to leave the core area, only to realize he can’t. Jungle’s before mentioned knife had struck the door controls.

Cursing, Cage banged against the core shielding and attempted to pry the door open with this claws. But to no avail.

Done with playing possum, Jungle quickly sits upright and fires off an extended volley from his own set of chest chain guns. Jungle had managed to manipulate events such that Cage used up all this ammunition in the fight while Jungle used none of his.

With Cage trapped in this confined area it was like shooting a duck in a barrel as Jungle unloaded every round he had. Cage's TM2 armor was already damaged thanks to Ebon’s previous attack thus Jungle’s rounds easily penetrate.

Cage was effectively pinned to the wall by the continuous volley.

Stasis lock for the werewolf commences.

Jungle lays back down.

The old panther reaches for a cigar only to find he had none left. "Damn," he mumbled.

He could feel his nonessential systems begin to shut down.

Jungle eyed Cage one more time. The werewolf was still out of it.

Setting his head back down the old cat closed his eyes.

Jungle felt satisfaction.

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

With Pyre and Fyre...

Following Ebon's instructions, Pyre turned to his son, intending to get him to access a computer terminal and figure them a way off this doomed rock. However, there was no sign of the young bot…

Tuning his audios, Pyre quickly pinpointed the sound of fingers typing a hundred miles an hour on a keyboard. Obviously, Fyre was a step ahead of him.

Pyre wasn't surprised.

Not even bothered for that matter. Although Pyre's young son was his father's mirror in looks, skills, mannerisms and sometimes even temperament, he had inherited his mother's curiosity, affinity for technology and was already a first rate hacker.

Rounding a corner, Pyre found his son crouched down and wedged into what looked like a cleaner's broom cupboard (how such a tall youngling managed to fit in such tiny areas, he would never know). With the computer access port open, the screen flickered softly as Fyre sorted through mountains of information.

"Well?" Pyre asked.

Fyre sighed and glanced quickly up at his father. "I dunno Dad. I'm just searching to see if there's..."

Fyre cut himself off in response to the light bulb that had just gone off in his mind. He punched in a new command, focusing on the small screen. Very slowly, a grin started to spread across his face.

Pyre leaned down, trying to catch a glimpse of whatever was on the screen. Fyre typed in another command and hit enter. The screen changed and he suddenly began to laugh.

"Mind sharing the joke?" Pyre's voice was gruff. Obviously raising two teenagers could try the toughest nerves at times.

"Oh, it's no joke Dad."

The young bot had already packed up his access cabling and logged off. Carefully, he dislodged himself from the cupboard and stretched. "I found us a ship. I think you'll like this one too. It's a bit of a walk though and it's back in the other direction."

Pyre shrugged. "Doesn't bother me. You need the target practice anyway."

Fyre pretended to look offended as he pulled his gun out but that quickly faded to his game face. You know, the dark broody loner one. "So we're playing the 'better killer' game again Dad?"

Pyre's warp blades flashed to life, bathing the area in a blood red color. "Do you even need to ask?"

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

Back at the core…

Hearing a banging sound against the core's shielding Jungle tilts his head enough to find the source - it was someone he hadn't laid eyes on in a long time: Icerunner.

A surprised look formed upon his face. Still on the floor, Jungle crawls over to her. The core shielding, was as mentioned, transparent. Thus, he could see her perfectly.

He presses his hand against the shielding.

She presses her hand on the same spot.

The shielding was six inches thick so they were sixes inches apart.

They both smile, both at a loss for words.

But the smile on Jungle's face is soon replaced by a rather stern look as he eyed Ebon. "You were supposed to get your family out here."

Ebon was about to respond but Jungle doesn't allow her.

"Complete the mission," he lashes out with. "I'm going to self destruct to implode the power core. You all need to be long gone before then."

Ice looks rather horrified. "JJ!" She cries out as she bangs against the shielding attempting to crack it. She then tries the door but it won't open on this side either.

All eyes are off Ebon whose body had become distorted upon her touching the core's shielding.

Ebon's hand 'phases' through it. So far she had managed to duplicate what she had done while battling Jadestone. So far so good - she deepens her concentration… stepping forward, her entire body ‘phases’ through the shielding…

Ebon now stood over Jungle.

She kicks him squarely in the gut. "That's for upsetting my Mom. I'm also done humoring you. There will be no self sacrificing brooding loner antics on my watch, got it?"

Not giving Jungle a chance to retort, she lifts him up off the ground.

Both of their bodies become distorted as she pushes Jungle through the shielding.

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

Back with Pyre and Fyre…

The pair emerged from a corridor into an internal hanger. Fyre had been right. There was a ship left. And not just any ship.

Pyre whistled and slapped his son's shoulder as he realized just what this ship was and who it belonged to. "Nice work boyo. Now help me find some keys."

The ship in question was none other than Cage's own personal, fully decked out and equipped, flagship. State of the art everything, all it was missing was a hood ornament.

'Hey sis, we've got a ship and I think you'll like it.'

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

And back at the reactor core...

Ebon was half phased through the core's shielding with Jungle when her brother's message came through.

Stifling a spike of elation at the fact that they were mentally connected again, she instead concentrated on getting herself and Jungle safely through the thick shielding.

It was harder than it looked.

She knew her Mom would kill her if anything happened to her 'Big Cat'. For a moment she wondered if Jungle was experiencing the same 'uncomfortable' feeling she was...that's if he was even conscious at this point. Brooding loaner moments were so annoying and melodramatic!!! She made a mental note to give him another piece of her mind later.

Finally, they were through and she could breathe again.

"Mom, Fyre says he and Dad have found us a ride. We need to-” Feeling fluid running down from her nose, she paused to rub it. “Oh.” She managed before stumbling as a lightheaded feeling overtook her.

Ebon quite literally dumped Jungle onto Ice to keep herself from completely tumbling over. Phasing had definitely taken a toll upon her.

Icerunner staggered for a moment under the sudden addition of Jungle's weight. Ebon had opened up a whole can of awkwardness when she just tossed Jungle onto to her like that. Feelings that hadn't surfaced for a very long time arose once more.

But right now, Ice was more focused on her daughter. “Are you alright?”

Ebon had braced herself against the core shielding. “I’m good.” She stated attempting to sound strong and composed. But the truth was she was exhausted.

Ice saw through to that but she shifted her attention to her other patient.

Leaning Jungle against the core shielding she retrieved a med patch or two from a side compartment and attached them to the worst of Jungle's wounds. She needed to check his level of consciousness so she tried their old line...if a little hesitantly.

"Are...are you...with me..Big Cat?"

Springing to life, Jungle proceeds to shove Icerunner, knocking her into Ebon who is knocked down. The old domino effect.

Not what Ice was expecting.

But the reason behind Jungle’s action becomes clear as his frame absorbs a nasty explosive impact.

The grizzled veteran collapsed to the ground.

Ice, the only one of the trio still on her feet, zeros in on the cause of all this… standing across from them was Tiron who held an oversized tri-barreled missile launcher.

The triceratops’s stiff face was in stark contrast to Ice’s look of fiery.

A missile spun into firing position.

“MOM!” Ebon cries out as she struggles in vain to get to her feet, strength having left her.

Ice hits the deck, narrowly avoiding the impact. The missile instead strikes the core shielding thereby causing large cracks to form in it.

Desperation showed on the snow leopard’s face…

A creature of logic, usually, Ice considered her options as another missile spun into firing position.

Clutching a pair of small silver spheres in her hand, Ice tossed them in her opponent’s direction.

Tiron saw them coming however being built like a tank means you move like a turtle.

But by using his missile launcher as a shield of sorts, the weapon absorbs the impact of the spheres… sparing his superstructure.

The missile launcher was now frozen in a chunk of ice.

Discarding it, Tiron converted into his triceratops beast form and charged.

Eyes wide, Ice was unsure of what to do. Sure, she could save herself, but what of Jungle? He was in full fledged status lock. And Ebon? She wasn’t looking too good right now either.

The young dragon may have been down, but not quite out; having finally found a second wind, Ebon reached out and latched onto her mother…

…the pair began to phase through the floor….

…Ice in turn grabbed onto Jungle and the three of them dropped down through the floor…

… just as Tiron completed his charge.

With a rather loud ‘thud’ his triceratops head met the core shielding which shattered around him.

Un-effected, Tiron converted back to robot mode and proceeded to examine Cage’s condition.

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

At the hanger…

Ebon and Ice along with a propped up Jungle stagger in. The pair of ladies was carrying Jungle over their shoulders and it was only by sheer will that Ebon was even conscious herself. Perhaps it was more spite then will… teenagers.

Fyre runs over and relieves the burden of the unconscious Jungle’s weight from them.

Pyre and Ice embrace.

Pyre’s eyes narrow as they shift to Jungle. His body stiffens.

In the background, the sound of troops rushing toward their position can be heard.

“Time to go,” Ice speaks up. They were directed at the group but she spoke while looking at Pyre.

The words are enough to get the Dark One’s attention.

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

We focus on Cage’s commandeered flagship successfully exiting the proximity of the asteroid complex despite being under fire.

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

Onboard Cage’s commandeered flagship, we focus in on CR-Tank. Floating inside of it is Jungle…

…the grizzled veteran’s mind had taken him somewhere else…

Jungle looked to be about 20 - 30 years younger than now.

Finishing his shot, he slammed the glass down on the table.

Across from him was a strikingly attractive femme. Slender and graceful in appearance, most of her snow leopard beast mode features are folded away and concealed. Her coloration is silver and white with blue highlights. Her eyes burned of copper. She was Icerunner - the eyes were a dead giveaway.

Ice swallows the vile liquid in her glass, almost coughing it up.

Jungle laughs.

She tosses the glass in his direction.

He deflects it with his hand.

There was a playful undertone to all this.

“I can’t believe he’s really gone,” Ice spoke up with… sounding rather delighted.

“I double checked the body,” Jungle retorted.

“Me too,” Ice stated with a smile. “I can’t begin to describe how relieved I am not to have to worry about him anymore. Spending the last 15 years constantly looking over my shoulder… getting a new identity… all because he put a hit on me for witnessing that covert op.”

Jungle’s face went blank.

“What?” Ice asked. The mood in the room suddenly changed from one of celebration to one of somber.

“He was a complete bastard and the Universe is better off without him. Still… I was brought online as an MSP agent so as the slug boss he was like a father to me… in a twisted sort of way.”

Shaking her head back and forth as she took in his words, Ice retrieves another shot glass and pours them both another round. She lifts her glass. “If I hadn’t witnessed that covert op I would have never met you. So, here’s to Stopper.”

Jungle lifts his. “To Stopper.”

Both take a hard swallow, downing the entire contents of their respective glass.

The next morning arrives.

Icerunner’s movements were very slow as she cautiously sat up, head feeling more than a little fuzzy…

...she remembered...

Her breath caught as her coppery optics focused on the peacefully sleeping bot next to her...

...Jungle...

As fuzzy images from the night before flooded her memory, the femme turned ten shades of red. She looked at the sleeping panther again then glanced around the room. How had they ended up like this?

The only thing she was certain of was that this should never have happened in the first place… they were best friends for Primus’s sake.

She had to leave.

Immediately.

The femme engaged her camo mode and quietly slipped out bed, gathering up her things. A few moments later, the main door slid silently open and closed as she passed through, the fresh breeze filling the room with rain scented air.

Yes, fresh air was what she needed right now...

…Jungle sat up.

Instantly he knew he was alone.

Staggering about the panther sifts through the bottles on the ground looking for one with a few drops left in it.

Success.

He sighs deeply as he focuses in on the now empty bed.


“Repair cycle complete,” the computer’s voice chimes.

Jungle rises out of the CR-Tank.

Rubbing his eyes he notices Ice standing there.

“Thank you,” Icerunner speaks up with, breaking the silence. “For keeping my daughter safe.” Her voice started off as uneasy but steadied with each word.

“It was more like the other way around,” Jungle replied after a noticeable pause. “But, you’re welcome.”

“I was scared when I woke up,” Ice blurted out.

A quizzical look appears on the panther’s face as he searches for the context.

“That morning,” Ice follows up with. The emphasis was on ‘that’.

Ah. Jungle got it. He stared at the ground while the words formed in his mind. He could feel the emotions surging through him... he slowly looked up, eyes meeting hers. “You ended up where you were supposed to be.” His voice had been somewhat garbled and rough.

“What?” She asked.

“Pyre, he’s good for you.” His voice steadied. “You got yourself a family. You’ve done a lot of good.” His usual tone was returning. “You ended up where you were supposed to be.”

Smile forming on her face, she embraces him.

He embraces her back.

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

Eyeing the setting sun, Jungle prepared to make his departure.

However a sudden presence gave him pause - he turns and finds Ebon standing there.

The dragon seemed 'older' to him now - she had grown a lot these past few days.

"You know, there's something that's been bothering me this whole time," Ebon states. "When I met you in that alley... I never told you my name. I was too busy sticking it to you... but you knew it anyway..."

Jungle put his back to her.

However she walked around to meet his eyes again. "According to Mom, and I double checked, she hadn't seen you in 25 years, and that was seven years before I was born... yet you knew me."

Jungle stood stern.

Ebon continued, optics never leaving his face. "Then I remembered something, something that happened to me when I was three. I had run out into the street and was nearly struck by a car. I say nearly because I was saved by a mysterious cat-bot... you."

Jungle's eyes widened and his jaw hung. A moment later, he smirked, making no effort to re-establish his composure. "Alright, I'll admit it. That was me."

Ebon smiled, "My very own guardian Dark Warrior."

"I ain't the Dark Warrior no more, darl'n. As far as I'm concerned that torch has been passed to you."

Ebon levels a serious look at him. "That's touching but Jungle, you're always going to be the Dark Warrior, regardless of what you may think. And I'll do my best to make sure your 'legacy' never fades."

The serious moment lingers a second longer before Ebon comes to her senses and realizes what she just said. "Crap! I'm starting to sound old and sentimental like Mom!"

“Appreciate it,” Jungle spoke up with.

“Where are you going anyway?” Ebon asked, fighting back the feeling she was never going to see Jungle again.

“Outer colonies. Pretty wild west out there. Who knows, I might be able to do some good out there.”

“So long as you don’t break a hip,” she responded trying to break up all the serious / somber undertones.

Jungle laughed. “I’ll manage.” He paused. “Be careful… Cage doesn’t easily give up.”

“We’ll manage,” Ebon retorted with a smile.

Smirking, Jungle walked past her.

Ebon watched as he walked off into the sunset. She mumbled something about melodramatic brooding loners…

… fin.


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 Post subject: Re: A Joint Ice Runner / Jungle Collaboration
PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 1:26 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 12:35 pm
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(Old School. Literally, it seems. Jungle should look into getting himself a new protoform body, I think. Or at least an upgrade, heh. I like the fact that he already assumed at the end of the story that Cage survived despite the beatdown and being trapped on the exploding war world. I guess when you fight enough villains you get used to them coming back. Interesting that Ebon's packing a mix of Icerunner's and Pyre's abilities...Icerunner could phase, couldn't she? Or maybe that's just when she was Endless-possessed? Big trip down memory lane. Glad to read it.)


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 Post subject: Re: A Joint Ice Runner / Jungle Collaboration
PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:32 pm 
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Posts: 84
(I'll have to double check with Ice about the 'phase' thing. I believe it was meant to be a variation of Pyre's shadow teleportation ability. The War World didn't actually explode... rriginally that was the plan but I thought I'd leave the door open for a possible sequel... you never know. I've been playing around with the idea of an 'aged' Jungle for a while in my head... when Ice contacted me about a joint venture, it was the perfect opportunity to explore it.)


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