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Proving Grounds

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“Status report,” Elita One's melodiac voice called across the bridge.

“All readings currently holding steady just below critical,” Chromia answered, muttering under her breath as she continued working to bring things into proper condition, “I didn't sign up for this scrap,”

“Well I don't think that most of the 'Cons signed up for our fists in their faces,” Arcee called across the bridge.

“Both of you!” Red Alert snapped, stumbling slightly under the force of the impact they'd just suffered, “Focus!”

“Calm yourselves!” Elita called across the bridge, shaking everyone back into place at least for the moment, “We need to keep ourselves together through this, so please, just calm down already!” she herself wobbling slightly from the effort, “Everyone, please, just get us through this nightmare,” she was recovering herself, reaching behind herself for the arm of her seat.

The ship shook once again, sending nearly everyone there to the floor in various piles, sending the ship off course enough to send the rest of them into the beginnings of panic.

Everything was in disarray, the damage keeping everyone distracted from anything that could have been happening under cover.

 

“Master Nightbird wants this ship taken hours ago!” Strika snarled, waving her remaining arm around at the others that were working their way inside the hole that she'd made for them.

“You really should think about putting more distance between yourself and your explosives once you've set them,” Airachnid snorted, hopping down from the giant's shoulder and starting inside, “I'll save you something juicy,” she added, looking about the hall as the others scattered themselves about.

Her steps were careful as she made her way through the hallways, listening to the sound from the alarm and quickly canceling the sound inside her head before she went crazy from it. They were going to have the full extent of her skills when she found those operating the ship...

 

“Status report!” Elita called, pulling herself up from the floor, “What happened?”

“Decepticons!” came Nautica's panicked voice over her com. “They've breached the lower deck and have begun spilling into the ship!”

“I think now would be a very good time to put me back on my peds,” Elita said, giving an attempt to right herself.

Chromia could only roll her optics before placing her boss back upright and digging through her subspace after her battle-axe. Elita was quick in retrieving her sword and leading her friend through the corridors in the direction they thought the attack was taking place.

 

Moonracer took the corner along with Hot Rod right behind her, finding her fuel pump racing through her chassis as she realized that they were going to come face to face with actual Decepticons. It was enough to make her giddy all over the place. She was going to show Elita and the rest of them that she wasn't as useless as Strongarm insisted that she was. This was going to be wonderful once they got those monsters off our ship. Leave them to have the planet that they'd destroyed, they were going to find somewhere else that would allow them the chance to start over again.

“Hold up!” Hot Rod called, reaching after his friend's arm and trying desperately to pull her back away from the corner they were heading towards. Something was telling him that going that way was not what they wanted happening

“You alright?” Moonracer asked, looking back at her friend.

“Something's not right about this...” Hot Rod answered, feeling his tank churning as he watched the corner they were watching.

Something about it was making his plating crawl. He hadn't liked the way that explosion had come from no-where. He'd been sure that there hadn't been anything nearly large enough nearby that could have caused that reaction.

“Would you calm your pistons already? There's going to be a fight and we're going to get the chance to beat in some face-plates with everyone else. It's going to be great!”

“Shh,” Hot Rod hissed, pulling her backwards away from the corner right as Airrachnid came around to look for anyone that was there to attack, they were quick to hide themselves away from her sight, hoping that they hadn't been spotted already.

“How do you do that?” came Moonracer's harsh whisper.

“If I knew, don't you think that I would have been practicing it to get better at it?”

“Good point,” she whispered back, seeing Airrachnid drawing closer still to their hiding place, bringing them closer to their off-lining.

Moonracer felt her spark dropping as they were dreading what was coming next. Both nearly jumped out of their plating when Chromia burst through and struck the intruder across her torso with the blunt end of her battle-ax and sending her staggering backwards.

“The Pit are you two doing out here?” Chromia demanded, glaring over her shoulder at them, “Get to the hold already and hide!” she snapped, swinging once again.

“Still looking after the cannon-fodder? I'm surprised that you're still alive throughout everything that's happened,” Airrachnid laughed, grabbing this time at the ax and nearly knocking her to the floor in one motion.

“Never having anyone watching your back, the real surprise here is that you've made it this far functional,” Chromia barked back, swinging again.

 

Moonracer allowed herself to be dragged around through the corridors of the ship as they tried to get themselves somewhere that wasn't in the middle of Chromia's fight. They hadn't been as prepared as they thought they would have been in the situation they'd just escaped from.

“That didn't happen the way that I'd planned,” Moonracer muttered, looking around them as they slowed themselves in their escape.

“Did you even have a plan back there?” Hot Rod demanded, shaking her arm, “I'm surprised sometimes that you haven't gotten us off-lined yet!”

Moonracer felt her face-plates heating up after that dig.

“You used to be fun, you know that?” Moonracer hissed, glaring back at him, “I wonder when that changed...” she trailed off, staring behind Hot Rod as she started backing away.

Hot Rod felt static travel its way up his spinal-struts as he worked into the idea of turning around and looking at whatever was bringing that look to Moonracer's face-plates.

Before he could finish the motion, he felt something make contact with his shoulder and sent him crashing to the floor. His head was spinning, the rest of the ship seemed to be going along for the ride while he was down there. He couldn't take in everything happening over-head, just the sound of Moonracer's voice calling after him from overhead. There were the sounds of a fight happening, Moonracer was trying desperately to drag him away from everything happening over-head. Another set of battle-cries echoed through the hall, disorienting them further.

Moonracer watched their security chief, Strongarm, beating into one of the cons that had broken through the outer walls of the ship. They watched a moment longer before taking off and running through the ship, hoping that someplace would finally be safe from this madness.

 

Watching as Nickle and Vanquish finished repairing Strika's hands, Nightbird thought to her current task. This would prove to be disgustingly easy to take over for themselves. How these pesky Autobots were able to construct something this sophisticated without having to resort to stealing from her own faction, she didn't know. Elita was an accomplished leader, but a great leaders couldn't hope to lead incompitant engineers to compitantcy.

Strika picked herself up once the repairs were complete, stepping through the opening that she'd made for everyone of their faction that remained and started looking around for something or someone that she could smash to test out the new repairs. The faster they disposed of the Autobots, the faster they could get on with reforming Cybertron under her leader's command.

She felt the pings from the defense systems' weapons, more annoying then anything at this point. Strika continued through as though there was nothing happening around her, still looking for something that she could entertain herself with.

 

 

“Well, this isn't as smooth as we were promised,” Red Alert grumbled, trying desperately to keep everything in her cabinet from ending up on the floor.

“Are things ever?” Minerva asked, steadying a shelf before it could collapse.

“Would be nice if things could work for once,” Red grumbled, balancing another shelf against the first.

Minerva smiled, hoping that this wasn't going to become even worse then they were already. They were at their limits for what they could handle.

“Would certainly be nice if things calmed themselves down after we've cleared the system,” Minerva offered right before hearing something crashing shortly outside the door to the med-bay.

Both nearly jumped out of their plating at the sound, fearing whomever might come crashing through the doors. Quickly attempting to arm themselves, they watched the door as the sounds continued drawing closer. They watched the dent forming in the door, waiting for the cons to break their way through after them and the patients...

Soon they were listening to sounds of battle outside the room, calming one moment, terrifying the next. They remained ready incase they started back on their attacks into the room.

They continued waiting, hoping that there was going to be something helpful working its way into their direction. Slowly, the doors were pried open showing them their chief of security looking through at them.

“Glad to see the rest of you functioning in here,” Strongarm greeted, looking around the room, “Mind giving me a servo over here?” she asked, continuing to push at the doors.

Red Alert and Minerva moved quickly to the door, attempting to help with the door as they wondered what was happening with the rest of the crew.

 

 

Nightbird stepped through the doorway, looking about for those that were waiting there for her forces. She soon found herself watching Elita moving in closer. The two of them watched one another, neither willing to move and waiting for the other to attack.

“It's been a long time since we last saw one another,” Elita greeted, pulling her baton out.

Nightbird clicked her battle-mask into place, nodding lightly at the other female.

“It's going to continue like this, isn't it?” she asked, watching Nightbird readying herself for battle.

Elita could only shake her head, readying herself for battle-proper. If this could finally end this pointless fighting, she would be willing to stain her hands somewhat for the sake of her people...

Nightbird was the first to move, knowing full well that her counter-part would never go forward with the idea of spilling energon across the floor. Out came her blade, aiming for the other's throat as she all but flew at the larger one. This was going to be over quickly, thankfully. It was always unpleasant to lose a worthy opponent and she had never encountered a more worthy opponent then this giant before her...

Elita dodged away without effort, parrying the strike with a grace that always surprised Nightbird when she witnessed this happening. Both continued moving around one another, neither allowing the other to get terribly close but still within reach to at least try for themselves.

Watching Nightbird moving about, Elita was in wonder over her. She moved with the same ease as the solar winds moved through the orbits of planets. Delicate at first glance but incredibly powerful when directly encountered. If one wasn't careful, they could find themselves sliced to pieces before they even realized that she was even there. She was dark-matter itself...

Catching herself before the cables in her neck had been sliced through, Elita ducked away from the other as gracefully as her size would allow in the space she had available. Nightbird was growing bold already, forcing Elita to move faster then she preferred as she worked out how she needed to handle the problem currently at hand.

Another strike aimed at her neck area, startling her out of her thoughts as she continued attempting to figure out how she was supposed to stop this individual from causing harm to herself and the rest of crew.

Bringing her baton around after the smaller femme, Elita missed with great unpleasantness when she took out part of her seat. She wouldn't be sitting there anytime soon. There was another slice at her neck, shocking her out of her thoughts as she continued attempting to subdue her opponent before something else was damaged from their fight.

“Megatron isn't here, more then likely, he isn't even functioning any longer!” hoping that she might return to reason, “We can't hope to survive if we continue like this!”

Regrettably, Elita's words didn't have the desired effect, making the acting Decepticon leader become completely enraged and began slashing about wildly. Now she wasn't even aiming at anything other then the mass of pink that made up Elita's torso. It was taking everything she had to avoid getting her insides spilled across the instruments there.

A moment later, she was moving out of the way of that blade once again, only to watch it bury itself in the instrument panel deep enough that it didn't readily remove itself from the surface.

“That can't be good,” Elita muttered.

“You think?” Nightbird managed out before the panel exploded and sent them flying across the room.