Log Title: Nightmare TP Finale
Date: November 10, 2016
Summary: Starscream uses Valour as bait to try to lure the dream entity known as Nemro into a trap.
As logged by Valour - Thursday, November 10, 2016, 8:04 PM
<<Decepticon>> Air Commander Starscream says, "Oh Valour?"
<<Decepticon>> Valour says, "Yes, Commander?"
<<Decepticon>> Air Commander Starscream says, "I have figured out how to eliminate Nemro. But I require bait that actually has a backbone. Are you game?"
<<Decepticon>> Aerospace XO Valour says, "Of course, Commander. Where do you need me?"
<<Decepticon>> Air Commander Starscream says, "Where is your usual rest area?"
<<Decepticon>> Air Commander Starscream says, "And are you ok with Hook having to replace your rest bed?"
<<Decepticon>> Aerospace XO Valour says, "I have quarters in Trypticon, sir, and that would be fine. Would you like me to meet you there?"
<<Decepticon>> Air Commander Starscream says, "Perfect. Give me a few to collect my tools."
<<Decepticon>> Aerospace XO Valour says, "On my way."
Officers' Quarters - Second Floor - Trypticon
- The doors along this short hallway bear the names of some of the most powerful and destructive entities in the galaxy. Armored, unadorned doorways lead to the offices of the Decepticon High Command. The passage is quiet and dust-free.
Valour stands outside his habquarters. Although he's waiting to be used as bait to try to lure in an unstoppable nightmare machine into his mind, he seems remarkably calm -- at least, remarkable to anyone who doesn't know him. His armour is polished, and he stands lightly on his feet, his wings making constant small micro-adjustments to keep him perfectly balanced at all times. He is alert as he waits for his commander to join him.
Loaded into a nearby wall terminal is Ratbat. Official records will show he's running diagnostics but, in actuality, the Vampire cassette needed some time away from his animalistic form. Shunting so much to the massive processing requirements required to sense fuel as well as he does doesn't leave much room for... well... anything else, intellectually speaking. Spotting someone on internal sensors Ratbat decides civil courtesy is the most amenable solution. "Sorry sir. These minor diagnostics will be completed shortly and I'll be out of your way. Sir." Ratbat says, via a speaker in the wall, to Valour.
Starscream walks into the area, a huge smirk on his face. He approaches Valour's quarters, "Ah. Valour. Are you prepared to face the largest challenge of your life? It is going to take me at least 20 decacycles to isolate Nemro's signal and then isolate him into your recharge bed. We can then get you out of the dream state and destroy your recharge bed...thereby destroying that blasted Quintesson. Understood...." he looks to the wall, "Ratbat." he says neutrally.
Valour looks over as a wall terminal talks to him, and nods. "Carry on, Ratbat. You aren't bothering me." When Starscream arrives, Valour pulls himself to attention, his body ramrod straight and so rigid his wings practically vibrate with tension. "Sir!" he replies to Starscream's question. "I am ready, sir!" He waits for acknowledgement before moving to open the door to his habsuite so Starscream can enter.
Starscream nods, "Good. Nemro is ruthless. He even managed to damage Lord Megatron. Of course, he wasn't wiley enough to damage me...but I'm a different breed. I found him amusing. I'd do this myself but only Shockwave and Soundwave have the knowledge necessary to isolate him other than myself and they are otherwise engaged. Prepare yourself. He will show you your worst fears and attempt to prey on them. Be strong. Remember, it is just a dream. But any damage you sustain during it is real...so be on your guard. Keep him elusive. Keep him at bay. And I will trap him and return you to reality. Shall we?"
"Lord Starscream." Ratbat acknowledges the generous attention paid to him by one so far above his meagre station. "If I may be so bold? The same pattern buffers used to locate sources of fuel or, indeed, transmissions, encrypted or otherwise, are available to me as a data drive. Even if loading into the system you suggest wouldn't provide a significant increase in performance... I could certainly act as a sceondary buffer to any potential feedback. Reducing the risk to Valour who, as one of those superior to myself... I am duty bound to assist. Wherever possible."
Starscream says, "Very well, Ratbat""
Valour listens carefully to the plan, and then nods crisply. "Yes, commander!" he replies with military enthusiasm, and breaks his stance to activate the door to this habsuite. He then steps aside, allowing his superior precede him, as well as the helpful fuel scout. Even with the warnings, Valour seems prepared. After all, this is just a dream, and if the attacker's ammunition is fear, who better to battle him than a mech named Valour?
- Valour's office is neat and orderly, although a bit sparse and Spartan. It consists of a desk, a hard-backed chair, a shorter chair for visitors, and a small built-in shelf, on which several meticulously detailed models of historical Decepticon warships are neatly displayed behind clearsteel. Aside from the entrance, two small doors lead to other rooms off the main office. The desk contains a lamp, a recessed computer monitor, and a small holoemitter. Aside from being meticulously dust-free, there is little evidence this office is ever used, judging my the lack of clutter and personal effects.
Starscream walks over to Valour's recharging station and plugs a datapad in. He makes several adjustments to the bed's programming and after a few moments nods in approval. "The time has come. It is ready. Valour...you were chosen for this task for your bravery in battle and cool head under pressure. Do not fail me. I have placed my trust in you. Should you fail and survive..." he laughs, "Who am I kidding. Either way, if you fail...you won't survive. Such is the Decepticon way. Am I clear?"
Valour gives his commander a short nod. "Of course, sir." Wasting no time, Valour lays back on the recharge bed in the small room off his main office. He stares at the ceiling, preparing himself for an unusual battle - one that will take place in the dreamscapes of his mind. Valour is known as a mech without fear, but that is not actually the case. Valour possesses fear -- he just chooses to overcome it. He resolves to do so in the dreamworld just as he does in the physical realm.
With an eject, transform, hop, flutter, flap, transform and load Ratbat's a cassette still loaded into a console. Just on the other side of the wall is all. Silently he integrates with the diverse digital data directed at him and leaves the conversation to the officers. When the time comes... he intends to be ready.
The scene changes for Valour. Suddenly he is in a field of battle against Autobots. Megatron lies dead. Starscream is wounded...mortally and dying. Shockwave and Soundwave are wrecked hulks. Many Decepticons lie dead on the field of battle and a red eyed Prime stands defiantly over Starscream, axe in hand. He is about to behead the aerial commander but slowly looks over to Valour and starts laughing maniacally. "How does it feel, Decepticon? To be helpless? To die? You're next. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Your reign is over. Our time is now. You have failed. How does that make you FEEL?"
In the dreamscape, Valour's crimson optics narrow. "Nemro, is it?" he asks, consulting his intelligence briefings. "You make a poor Prime. For one thing, the laugh is all wrong." Valour looks around. "I know what this is, and it won't work. I know Starscream is alive, as is Megatron. They're certainly too powerful for you to defeat. In fact, they find your threat so miniscule that they sent a minion to finish you off, as they frankly have better things to do." Valour steels himself, reminding himself this is just a dream -- none of it is real, right? It can't be. Megatron and Starscream would never be so easily defeated.
Prime chuckles a bit, "A dream, you say? Even if that were true, Valour. It may be your dream...but it's my rules! HAHAHAHAHAHA!" the Prime turns to Starscream, "You've always been a pest. A ruthless monster. And now...your reign is ended..." his optics suddenly turn blue. "You've left me no choice...." the axe swings and Starscream's head goes flying off. The mech falls to the ground, dead. Optimus turns to Valour, "You think this is fake? You think this is some kind of joke? Your kind has terrorized the galaxy for the last time, Decepticon. Look around you. The battle is lost. Surrender...or you'll leave me no choice. You will die."
In the dreamscape, Valour glances at Starscream's decapitated head. Even though Valour knows this is a dream, the sight is still unsettling. Still, Valour steels himself, trying not to give into to his despairing surroundings. "Then I will die," he says defiantly. "The Decepticons bring order and culture to the galaxy! We will bring peace and harmony to all we conquer. It is you who loses this day, Nemro. You're not fit to take the mantle of my respected enemy."
Prime shakes his head at the Decepticon, raising his axe to him. "I think you are confused, Decepticon. Nemro is gone. We Autobots defeated him. His nightmare is over." he nods to the battlefield, "This was our final battle after his defeat. Megatron is gone. Starscream is gone. Shockwave and Soundwave are gone. You are lost. You have no one. You are alone. Your seekers....dead. Defeated by me Aerialbots in a grand battle. Don't you remember?" Prime looks at him with a quirked optic ridge, "Nemro was defeated ages ago. You are alone now. I don't mean to harm your psyche....but you failed your friends. There is no reason to die for a lost cause. We've won Earth. We're currently rejuvenating Cybertron. Is resisting our victory really worth your life Valour?" He raises his axe defensively, ready to strike if Valour is cross.
Starscream works outside the dreamscape...working on isolating Nemro's signature. He smirks as he makes progress "Ratbat, amplify our signal. I think I almost have him." he chuckles as he continues working.
Valour falters with a frown. Prime isn't right, is he? This is still the mission, right? Valour looks around. It does seem very real... but it doesn't matter. Even if this is Prime, even if Valour is the last Decepticon standing, he can't give up. "As long as I'm alive, Optimus Prime, my cause lives with me. I will always stand up to Autobot tyranny -- we will not go back to the ways of stagnation and decay before Megatron started his revolution. I will stand against you alone, if necessary."
Unbeknownst to anyone Ratbat's in a world of his own. Signals, cyphers and datastreams are all he sees just now no matter the encryption... there's always a key. A weak spot to feed from... a mistake. A strip of numbers appear on Starscreams console. The starting strand of the string of connections leading to the source. Further committing the world not his own, Ratbat moves and acts freely, diverting the nearly unlimited resources at his mental command on the hunt. Towards his prey. He's so close it's making him thirsty... but, then again, Ratbat's always thirsty...
Starscream smirks at the display and nods, "Yes...Rabat. Decrypt the signal. Help me. This monster is too busy with Valour to notice. Heehehe."
Prime shakes his head at Valour, "You would give your life for a lost cause, Valour? Your eternal spark? I find that unlikely." he approaches the Decepticon with his axe raised and ready to strike, "Look around you. You have lost. You have failed. But you needn't die. There is a place for you in the new order. You were never evil. Just loyal. Why throw away your life? It is not I that is tyrannical. It was Megatron. I believe in open democracy. Freedom of choice. So choose Valour. I give this to you as a gift. Choose your fate."
In the face of Prime's choice, Valour falters. He is loyal, but if this is real, wouldn't he do more good alive than dead, within the new order? Valour had always imagined a life of politics after the war -- he has some administration experience in Polyhex. Maybe he could try to influence the Autobots from within -- make them more active, less stagnant -- convince them to grow, rather than die? No -- Valour steels himself, and straightens his spine. "I choose to stand, even if I am the last Decepticon. Do your worst, if you dare," Val commands, with only the slightest waver in his voice.
So sophisticated the method of subverting the senses... yet so simple. So... stupid. Sorely lacking in satisfaction. Ratbat follows one point, to the next node, then the next, finally finding the source. Ratbat prefers messing with the mind whilst the prey's awake. Face to... err... snout. As it were. With a ciphered sigh The display changes once again. "Target Locked. Datastream Acquired. Start Download? Y/N." followed by a blinking cursor. Ratbat wonders why he doesn't stay in the ethereal. It's... more conducive to his senses here. Or, to put it another way, He's approaching the point his systems are close to irrevokably being dedicated to being a data drive... the point where hey may be unable to return, regardless of his wishes.
Starscream hmmms and looks at the datastream "Are you certain we have him locked, Ratbat? It looks 85 from where I am standing. If you are certain. Lock the stream now...from his cyberwaves...Valour looks to be entering a crisis. We don't want that."
Optimus Prime approaches even closer to Valour with his axe at ready, "Are you sure, Valour? You don't sound sure to me....there's no need for violence my Cybertronian brother..." Nemro feeds off of things like this. He reaches out his hand "Just take my hand and shake in the traditional gesture. There is no need for violence. The war is over. We needn't be enemies. You can pursue your dreams. Free of fear of death if you fail. Free of tyranny. All it takes is a little trust."
Valour frowns, looking around, confused. He falters, looks at Prime's hand, and then back up at his face. He reaches for the hand... and then uses that at a feint to strike out at Prime's face, aiming for those maddening optics. "Never!" Valour yells as he leaps to attack. "I'll rip out your optics!" Valour doesn't know what's happening anymore, or where he is, but his fight-or-flight has overcome him, and Valour chooses FIGHT.
>> Valour misses Nemro with Smash. <<
There no rage against the machine. More rather within it. Ratbat curses in private memory aside from anything and anyone. i.e. to himself.
<<ENCRYPTED PRIV-MEM>> What does he think he is? A flaxing organic crop?!?!?! Tell you what... lets strip your systems down 'til all fits on one cassette, give you an animal mode instead of one capable of conversation and see if you can stalk in cyberspace even the most minute of fractions as well as he can! <<ENCRYPTED PRIV-MEM>>
"Yes. Lord Starscream. I am certain. Error margin is unable to compensate for ghosting. I shall attempt to reinforce Valour's neural integrity now. The download is ready to launch on your command."
<<ENCRYPTED PRIV-MEM>>You self important over-glorified photocopier...<<ENCRYPTED PRIV-MEM>>
Prime shakes his head at Valour as he dodges the attack. Suddenly his axe transforms into a giant 4 clawed hand. "If that's the way you want it Valour....then welcome to my playground! HAHAHAHHAAHAHAHAHAH!" Suddenly the ground falls our and dead Decepticons are around Valour left and right. The creature standing before Valour is no longer Prime but a giant robot with HUUUUUUUGE claws. He falls with Valour, "HAHAHAHAHAHAH! You think you can beat my brain games, Valour? Try this on for size!" He slashes at Valour with his massive claws and then tries to throw him further into the pit of despair.
>> Nemro strikes Valour with Choke Slam. <<
Starscream nods at Ratbat, ignoring what Ratbat thinks he can't see...for now. "Then do it. Isolate the signal. Valour is in trouble. Neural net activity is high. Let's kill this bastard."
Valour is slashed open in the dreamscape, and in the physical world his body shakes, shudders, and spasms as massive claw marks appear etched deeply across his body. In the dreamworld, Valour is thrown body into a literal pit of despair... and collapses into it. "I can't," he stammers, as the darkness swallows him. "I've failed -- I'm sorry; I'm sorry," he repeats. "I've failed." Valour folds up into a winged ball and allows hopelessness to overtake him.
Starscream growls as he sees Valour slashed open "Ratbat...signal 67292...now!" before Ratbat can react he singles in on it and isolates it. He will reward Ratbat for good service later. He isolates the signal and shuts down the net on the bed...and pulls the plug on Valour being out. This should wake Valour up and isolate Nemro to the bed.
Nemro laughs. "Valour. Such a little priss. Always wanting to please. Now you exist to please me! I'm going to rip out your energon pump and eat it you pathetic little whelp!" He screams towards Valour and suddenly Valour disappears "NO! NOOOOO! HE'S MINE! MINE MINE MINE!"
Valour thrashes on the bed, flailing wildly as his optics flash back on and he opens his mouth to scream. He grips the edge of the bed and flips over onto his side, staring with wide, unseeing optics. His limbs twitch, and he nearly falls off the recharge bed, seeming unaware of where he is or what is happening. His wings spread open and then contract, flashing open again spasmodically. Valour's vocalizer burns out as he tries to scream but can't.
Starscream pulls Valour off of the bed and throws him to the floor rather forcefully. He then looks to the energon bed, his optics glowing brightly as his arm cannons crackle with dark energy. He grins widely. "Goodbye, you tentacled son of a bitch. I wanted to face you personally. But my XO did it. See...I had more dangerous things to do. Like rearranging my vid drawer. Let's see how you like THIS!" both Null Cannons discharge and completely destroy the charging station, leaving nothing to chance. Starscream turns to Valour. "AWAKE! Wake up you brave son of a mech! Awake!"
Valour lands on the floor, hard, and at first continues to shake. But at the sound of his commander's words, Valour immediately strives to pull himself together. He curls up slightly, covering his slashed chest with his hands while his wings continue to shudder. He tries to speak through his burned-out vocalizer, but finds it impossible -- probably for the best, because he wouldn't be proud later of what he'd admit in this condition. Instead he powers down his optics and flexes his hands as he tries to return his mind to reality... and sanity.
Starscream leans down and picks Valour up. Tossing him on the non-recharging bed in the chambers. He pulls out his tool kit...but not before spitting on the recharging station where you hear a slight "NOOOOOO. I'lllll be baaaaack!" coming from. He immediately starts to work on Valour and repairs the breach and then sends a shock through his systems "Wake up Valour. You have succeeded"
>> Starscream finishes the repairs on Valour. <<
Valour finally stops shaking, and lays still as Starscream repairs his wounds, including his overtaxed vocalizer. Val takes a moment to calm himself and to reset his bearings, and then he powers back on his optics. "Is Nemro... destroyed?" he asks, sounding completely drained and exhausted. Val turns his head slightly, gazing at his destroyed recharge bed. Oh, well. He doesn't spend much time in it anyway. He looks back at Starscream, and tries harder to pull himself back together and present an appropriate level of confidence.
Starscream nods at Valour, "Yes. He is gone. I blew his aft to Unicron. He is done, my....friend." He uses that word carefully as he doesn't really have friends, "You did well. Rest now. You are repaired. He is gone. We are victorious.":
Valour is quiet a moment. Did Starscream just call him... friend? What a weird, wild ride tonight has been. At the claim of victory, however, Valour nods tiredly. "I am pleased to have served, Commander," he says formally, and then lays his head back again. Emotions roil beneath the surface, but for now they are contained. Victory was won. That is all that matters. The rest he can unpack and figure out in time.
Starscream looks down on Valour. Perhaps he did make the right choice in choosing him over his brother. His brother would be dead right now. He almost pats Valour but then stops, "Rest now, Valour. You are victorious. The spoils shall be yours. Your repairs will set in soon and we will have large obstacles to tackle. I know you will be ready."
"I will, sir," Valour promises sincerely, and then shuts down to repair.