Just on the outskirts of the city-state of Vos, Prowl and Jazz, the two commanding officers of the Autobot Intelligence Division, are searching the catacombs for a stockpile of sparks kept in frozen storage that is, according to the Senate's old records, supposed to be somewhere in the area. Also according to the files, there's an underground transport system that had once been used to clandestinely haul large payloads across long distances via the tunnels just below the surface. With the Autobots' hold on anywhere but Iacon and the surrounding areas being tenuous at best, it's been decided that these potential new soldiers need to be transported to a more secure location.
No one has been down here for a number of vorns, it seems...which should come as no surprise, given the nature of the escalating conflict. They should be close now, though...if the records were correct, the cryo container should be located in a storage vault at the end of the corridor they're now headed down. Hopefully, they've managed to stay away from prying optics. Hopefully, they haven't been -followed- down here...
Scouts are known for getting into places they're not wanted. In this particular case, Buzzsaw is following up on a few other...reports and incidents that have transpired in Vos, carefully gliding and hopping about to find something worth following up on.
Lo and behold, there is indeed. Optics almost instantly lock on Prowl, and he takes a moment to scout out a proper path to follow the hapless Autobot, skirting shadows and buildings as he activates supressive systems to keep his radar and thermal signatures low before occupying a spot to simply observe for the time being.
Jazz is strolling with a swagger in his step that makes him look as though he's not actually on a mission of great importance. Well, that's also kind of the way he walks around when he's working with Prowl. Prowl is so stiff that Jazz might as well be liquid with the way he flows.
"We've got another exit, right? I don't think I can stand going back up those stairs. So many stairs." Jazz is definitely turning up the fake complaining just to see if he can't get on Prowl's nerves. His footsteps shift and he turns, walking backwards alongside Prowl while his optics search for signs of possible followers of evil!
Prowl is definitely irritated by the way Jazz is walking. Yes, he knows Jazz is doing that just to annoy him. But he doesn't say anything about it because he knows Jazz is perfectly able to handle himself--swagger or no swagger. That's just the way he is. Instead he just gives him the 'slightly annoyed' look. "Yes, we'll be accompanying the transport. Propulsion systems might be rusty, so we'll need to make sure nothing's going to explode on us."
He comes up toward a heavily reinforced door at the end of the corridor, and pauses to enter a series of passcodes as well as to allow a scan for authorized entry. It's a good thing he was second in command even before...well before Zeta Prime went way too far. The door slides open to reveal a cold room, condensation seeping out of it. "You think Megatron's still out there?"
Buzzsaw is, in truth, thankful for the light prodding and taunting back and forth, as such distractions are simply that, and distractions are meant to be taken full advantage of. His optics scan the warehouse as recordings start, marking the two present in the file for later review.
Talk of a transport snaps his attention back to Prowl and Jazz, though, and he hops, rather than flies, from one vantage point to the next while studying them. Sure, the passcodes would be interesting and beneficial, but he's more working to get an angle to see what is inside. The hackers can always worry about passcodes later, should it come down to that.
"Ya' know that sayin'? Ya' can't keep a good mech down?" Jazz whirls back around and leans against the wall next to the door that opens up and releases all that condensation. There must be a reason why Jazz doesn't keep his optics on the prize. Maybe this is just the way he keeps tabs on anything and everything else. Y'know, just in case.
"I get th' feelin' that goes double for bad news like Megatron. His type never stays down." Jazz doesn't particularly sound like he's worried about the fact that Megatron's probably still alive. "But that's why we're here, right? To knock his aft back down. Over and over and over and..." Jazz grins. "You know where I'm goin' with this, right?"
Prowl's grim expression contrasts with Jazz's apparent nonchalance. "I know. I suspect he's still alive...a mech like him doesn't die that easily." he sighs. "Hopefully we -won't- have to knock him down that many times. Hopefully some time soon, he'll be knocked down for the -last- time. He may not be -dead-, but he's vulnerable. And if we can find him before he can get back to 100%, we may be able to end this war before it destroys us all."
Inside are a series of liquid coolant modules all around the walls, and in the center is a large sealed container that also requires codes to open.
"Watch the door." Prowl says to Jazz, before moving to enter said codes, and opens the case to reveal rows upon rows of frozen sparks, all embedded in photonic crystals. He pauses briefly, scanning them to check the inventory and ensure they are all accounted for.
Audio about Megatron is filed under 'low threat, low probability', but this...veritable stash of sparks? Buzzsaw darts to a new vantage point as his optics zoom in to catch what they can before focus turns to Jazz, watching him for a moment to see just where he's looking. At this juncture, it would be poor form to be outright caught before properly understanding just why there's a stash of cryogenically frozen sparks in an Autobot controlled freezer.
Unless cannibalism is a thing.
...no, that goes into the 'unlikely' folder as well.
"Hit the accelerator in there, Prowl."
Jazz turns his back to the wall and crosses his arms over his chest. His visor activates another scanning session as he looks this way and that way to make sure that they weren't followed or anything like that. He's focused on making sure that nobody gets the drop on them. At least, that's the plan.
Jazz also activates internal sensors to track for sound and movement. Just to be on the safe side.
"Affirmative. All accounted for." Prowl confirms once he's scanned the full inventory and determined none are missing. He closes up the container and joins Jazz at the door.
They plan to move the container, so it is absolutely critical that no one else is down here with them, since as soon as the payload is out in the open, that's when it's the most vulnerable...
"Any movement?" He starts to scan the surroundings as well, searching for the slightest sign of another presence...
Buzzsaw can indeed mask himself from overzealous sensors, but movement is another thing. His optics narrow before he takes a moment of calculative assessment of the situation as it stands.
Risk assessed. Intel must get out, and the risk of being caught increases each moment he waits. His wings snap open and his beak clicks before he drops from his perch, engines engaging to launch him towards the exit as files are quickly stored, encrypted, and prepared for transmission. No hiding now...but, then again, that's hardly his concern.
Just like expeditious movement of the sparks themselves is not his concern.
"Scrap. I got it!"
Jazz is already drawing his weapon and taking off in a brisk run in the direction of Buzzsaw. He doesn't know exactly what he saw but he saw something and if anyone's going to stop it from getting out, it's Jazz.
"Just get those where they need to go!" is tossed back over his shoulder at Prowl. Jazz always cares about the mission. Even when he's abandoning the mission to stop potential shenanigans from happening as well.
Prowl curses as it seems they -were- being watched. By whom he's not exactly sure, but Jazz is already on it. "Slag it. At least identify the interloper, if you can't stop him from escaping." He could use a missile against the spy, but that would have been overkill. Especially down here in the catacombs.
Quickly, he moves to the transport, sitting idle where it had been for many years. Powering up the systems, four hauler drones deploy from the station, moving into the storage room to lift up the container full of sparks and start carrying to the cargo compartment.
Buzzsaw blinks, glancing back over his shoulder as shots are getting lined up. The transport engines are indeed a cause for concern, and he narrows his optics in thought. Are they truly getting ready to move them now?
That will not do...
He snaps briskly on one of his wings, putting his agility to the test and alters course to drive his way back towards the transport, engines flaring to life as suppressive systems are taken off line in favor of a nice boost.
Jazz is about to take a shot with his pistol but switches at the last minute to swing his other arm up and fires off his energy grapple. It gets launched off towards Buzzsaw's movements in an attempt to snag and smash.
"Get goin', Prowl!"
Jazz is certainly hoping that Prowl gets gone before this scuffle becomes something a bit more dangerous.
The hauler drones latch onto the container and carry it over to the cargo hold, the door opening as it is moved inside. Several more drones deploy and begin shuttling coolant modules onto the transport as well. The colder it is, the more likely none of the sparks would defrost prematurely should they get delayed.
Unfortunately, since it hasn't been used in so long, the doors move rather slowly. Buzzsaw -could- probably get in there himself and follow them to their destination, though it's bound to be mighty cold in there...and what will happen when they arrive? But maybe he can sabotage the propulsion systems from in there. Or perhaps, he'll settle for planting a tracker instead. Just how much risk is he willing to take?
Prowl hurries into the control compartment located near the front of the transport. << Jazz, get in here now! >> Who knows who else may be lurking around here? He's not going to leave Jazz to the chance that an ambush is waiting.
Buzzsaw glances back at Jazz, his beak clicking as the grapple is fired his way. He rolls, putting his back to the grapple and allowing it to snag his engine sled. He does see doors closing, and opportunity slipping... and alters trajectory before jettisoning the snagged sled, both to streamline his profile and, well, other reasons.
Just ignore that it's beeping and full of micro-mortar warheads.
Of course, that leaves him weaponless, to a large degree, but that doesn't mean his beak and wings aren't about to find themselves acquainted with the engines of the roughshod transport.
But then? Calculative error, a drop in velocity without his engines that was unaccounted for, intervenes. The weapon sled's self-destruct hits far too soon, and the explosion is close enough to send the bird off-course and careening to instead punch through part of the transport's softer skin that is pointedly not a vital engine or otherwise as a few damaged pieces of one wing and their internal components are left behind.
Jazz is already unhooking the energy wire when the explosion goes off. He's in the air when the explosion happens and his body ends up colliding with the ground and there's a combination of soot and scratches that comes from him sliding in the general direction of the transport.
"... Remind me to put that in his file. Didn't know about that feature." Jazz is up on his feet and gives a shake of his head before he jumps into the transport with Prowl.
"I'll find the pest. You get this thing movin'." Jazz draws his weapon once again and starts making his way through the compartments and in the general direction of where he figures Buzzsaw might've landed after all that crashing through.
"Here psychotic self-destructive crazy mech! Here mech!"
"On it." Prowl nods and fires up the propulsion systems, the engines groaning to life as if reluctant to get up again after so many years of inactivity. "Come -on-, come on..." he mutters, as power levels fluctuate.
Finally, the transport starts moving down its track. Slowly, but surely, it starts to gain speed. Buzzsaw will find himself in a pitch dark space inside the vehicle. He'll need some infared in order to figure out where he is.
Buzzsaw pushes himself up to assess damage. It's not terrible, but the wing will need repairs. He peers at the skin he bashed through and drills a quick hole between inner and outter hull plates to deposit a small, inert tracker before scrambling to get out of the proverbial hole he's gotten himself into, half-fluttering and half-hopping his way through the dark space back towards the hole he drilled his way into.
There's little point in fighting, but... He pauses, glancing at the interior of the shuttle. Without a thought, he plants another tracker, this one less than ideally hidden, and active, before making use of his good wing and beak to just start ripping through whatever he can get ahold of. Lines, wires? If it looks important, feels important, or otherwise intrudes, he's tearing through it all to dig back out of the transport.
Jazz's sensor array is on high alert and is scanning for all sorts of anything. Not to mention he's attempting to get a bead on Buzzsaw visually. Every time he takes a couple of steps he swings out with this weapon to make sure that there's nothing in front of him or coming in his direction.
"Hey, Prowl! You might wanna' make this thing move faster! I got no signs of Beak of the Week."
Jazz gets a bead on his sensors when it comes to one of those tracker's. The easy one. So he's headed in that direction now.
Prowl groans slightly. "I'm -trying- to." And then a bunch of alerts start going off on the display. "Damn it," he mutters. That wasn't there before. "Jazz, something's tearing through the port side engines. I'm picking up on a homing signal from the same sector."
Sparks fly as Buzzsaw tears through circuitry in his attempts to get the slag out of there. He might be treading on dangerous territory though...not knowing -what- he's ripping through. In fact he might have just torn up the wiring for one of the fuel injection modulators...
Buzzsaw looks back as he spies Jazz, optics narrowing before he finishes carving his way through to drop out and properly retreat, a remote signal going to the inert tracker to activate on a delayed timer once the transport's speed hits zero.
He'll worry about a proper landing later, instead opting to simply freefall for as long as needed to keep out of the sights of a blaster or two. In fact, in a fit of...perhaps taunting cockiness? He even rolls to pop a quick, mocking salute back towards the ship before attempting to make a chaotic landing, turning to look back at the transport to assess his work.
Jazz rounds whatever corner is separating him from the port side sector. "He's ghostin' on us, Prowl. Can you keep this thing rollin'? I don't know what he did down here but I'm gonna' check it out."
Jazz's weapon gets put away in exchange for some glowing VISOR so that he can take a scanning gander at what's going on through the holes that Buzzsaw has made.
"... why 'Cons always gotta' leave such a mess?"
A mess indeed. Buzzsaw finds himself flying out over a large chasm as the transport passes over a bridge. "Far from optimal, but it'll be enough. Don't suppose you think you could grapple him with that hook of yours?"
Suddenly, one of the port side engines explodes, sending a jet of flame and debris outward. The transport rocks dangerously on its tracks, but manages not to fall. Buzzsaw had better fly fast if he wants to avoid getting scorched!
Buzzsaw has one damaged wing and cannot properly fly, but he can certainly fall in style. Wings, good and bad, fold in against his body as he settles into a dive to peel away from the damaged shuttle. After all, he's done everything he realistically could in the situation.
He'll sort a landing out when it's needed. First order of business -or at least current order of business- is getting away from the threats.