Dumpsterfire walked into the New Kaon Heights Clubhouse, his circuits abuzz and his frame all but trembling with excitement.
A Turbofox hunt. An actual Turbofox hunt. It had been aeons.
The refugees at Ultrex Haven had done well for themselves, well enough to establish a social club of this caliber and to be able to put on such an event.
Dumpsterfire had spent the previous day adjusting and cleaning his rifle, and then cleaning and touching up and oiling himself. He'd never look as he once did long ago, back when he'd lived the good life on a sixtieth floor with a matchless view over Kaon's glorious sprawl and the mountains beyond, but he was at least passable. And he did make sure that the Deceptibrand on his chest was nice and glossy. That would speak volumes for his present appearance.
“Excuse me, sir. May I be of some assistance?” called a femme with a datapad as he moved beyond the foyer into the main room of the clubhouse. “ Are you lost?”
Looking about, he could see polished mechs sipping high-grade around a bar, pretty femmes and fancy boyfriends hanging on their arms. The hallmarks of nobility and money were everywhere upon them. Jewels. Expensive inlays. Family crests and insignia. Polite laughter. At the side of the room, a brace of turbofoxes huddled together in a sturdy cage. Trophy banners draped the walls attesting to sporting achievements. The scents in the room—primarily high-end polish and exotic oils—were those he'd not encountered since joining the Decepticons.
“Oh no. I'm right where I belong,” Dumpsterfire answered happily.
“I beg your pardon?” the femme asked.
“I'm here for the hunt.” He reached back over his shoulder to tap the rifle holstered on his back. And then he indicated the datapad in her hands. “Deltalight of Kaon Riverside.”
She consulted the list. “Well, yes, there is a Deltalight of Kaon Riverside listed here...” She looked him up and down for the third time. “Excuse me a moment, please.” She moved off into the crowd at the bar.
Dumpsterfire smirked. He'd expected this. Already some of the others were staring at his unnerving color combination of dull orange and sky blue, and all too obviously trying not to stare at the equally unnerving flame-thrower welded to his shoulder. But he'd prove himself soon enough. He walked over to the bar and picked up a thin silver goblet containing some house variety of high-grade. It was never a hunt without refreshments preceding. Drink in hand, he drifted over to the fox cage.
They were genuine turbofoxes, as opposed to the poorly disguised or even reformatted creatures that had started showing up at the end of the Golden Age when the native populations of turbofoxes had thinned. He sipped his energon and decided that the blue-tipped one would be the real prize. And he had a good chance at it as well. While the war had taken away almost everything he'd known and loved, the Decepticons had given him a rather impressive sensor-suite to assist in his new job. If he could find a dead cassetticon in his alt-mode beneath a crumbled high-rise, locating a turbofox would be a piece of oil-cake.
“Excuse me,” called a haughty voice from behind him. “May I beg a word with you?”
Dumpsterfire smirked again. That accent. Distinctly that of the Kaonian elite. Yes, he was definitely where he belonged.
“Of course, sir. How may I be of service?” Dumpsterfire asked, turning and giving a respectful nod to whomever had spoken.
“My good sir. You seem to be signed up for our little event, which most certainly seems to be a mistake.” The speaker looked exactly as Dumpsterfire had pictured. Tall. Polished. Handsome. The femme with the datapad stood beside him. Apparently the chief of the natives had been sent out to deal with the interloper.
“No mistake, sir.” Dumpsterfire held out his hand in greeting. “Deltalight of Kaon Riverside reporting in.”
The confronter only glanced at his hand. “You're a Decepticon.”
“Your observation is most astute, sir,” Dumpsterfire responded with a courteousness that bordered on mocking. Only a blind mech could have missed the distinctive purple sigil on his chest. He withdrew his hand.
“And what would a Decepticon presume to be doing here?”
Raised brow-ridges were one thing, but that was plain rude. But he pressed on. “To hunt these magnificent turbofoxes you have acquired, and to make the acquaintance of those in this most esteemed group while I am stationed here at Ultrex Haven.”
The mech crossed his arms over his chest. “You're not welcome here, 'Con.”
“I beg your pardon?”
The others were moving in around their leader. “You heard me. 'Cons aren't welcome.”
Holding his ground, Dumpsterfire sipped again at the high-grade—the best he'd had in ages. “If your problem is my faction, I can easily cover my markings. That shouldn't be an issue between us now, should it?”
“His problem is with you,” snarled the pale green mech that had taken a place at the chief's elbow. “You might have enjoyed certain privileges once, but look at you now. His white-enameled hand gestured about Dumpsterfire's industrial frame and less than noble color-scheme. The singed nozzle of the flame-thrower was an affront to everything they stood for.
The chief spoke again. “Please leave before I have you removed.” He waved toward the door where Dumpsterfire had entered.
“Fine. Fine.” Dumpsterfire downed the rest of his engex and thrust the goblet into the green mech's hands. “If you would just return the not-insubstantial number of shanix I paid to participate in your elitist little event, I shall be on my way.”
The chief looked at the femme with the datapad, who then shook her head. He turned back to Dumpsterfire. “I'm afraid that's not possible, sir.”
“Not possible? I beg your pardon.”
The femme made a slight coughing sound. “The money has already been spent. Licenses. Procuring the foxes. Administrative costs. Refreshments. Club upkeep. Advertisements.”
Dumpsterfire crossed his arms over his chest. “Well then, since I have irreversibly paid for a fox hunt, I expect the satisfaction of participating in a fox hunt.”
More of the club's members and guests had gathered around, curious as to the outcome of the confrontation as well as to back up their leader.
“Leave, 'Con,” he growled.
“Not without recompense. A Decepticon's salary isn't exactly generous.”
“I said, leave now.” The tone was more threatening.
Dumpsterfire gave a snort. “Certainly, if you put it that way.” He turned, presumably to go, but mid-turn he snapped out his pistol, aimed it at the cage, whipped the power setting to full, and fired.
In an instant the three foxes were obliterated, along with the cage and a good portion of the wall behind them.
As the screams of panic faded and the dust began to settle, Dumpsterfire spun his pistol on his trigger finger and tucked it back into its holster. “Ooh! Good shot!” he praised himself sarcastically. “I seem to have bagged all three!” He faced his audience, the lot still gasping in shock at what had just happened. “Excellent hunt,” he said smugly. “I look forward to joining you all again.”
The smug smile remaining on his face, Dumpsterfire sauntered out.