They may have escaped damage from the superheated avalanche of rocks and gas, but by the time they finally emerged from where they’d taken shelter, they were right beneath the ash cloud – and the ashfall was increasing by the second.
The eruption had melted the glacier at the top of the mountain and turned the lower slopes into a churning river of mud.
Starscream lurked warily in the shelter doorway, away from the worst of the whirling ash. “Fantastic.” He glared back at his wingmates. “I told you we should have left it to the Autobots and got out while we still could, but oh no, we have to be the exact same shade of altruistic moron as Prime’s band, and now we’re trapped.”
Thundercracker shot him a look, dismayed. “Perhaps it would have been better if you voiced the opinion back then, when we could have actually acted on it?"
Skywarp pushed past them. “Well we’re just gonna have to walk, aren’t we?” He had torn off a great strip of fabric, and tied it as best he could around his chassis, protecting his torso venting from the deadly ash. “Sooner we go, the sooner we’re safe.”
He pointed the tip of one foot into the mud, measuring the flow, and grimaced, but stepped carefully into it. The force of the flow pushed him off balance, but he managed to stay standing.
He was already knee-deep in the mud before Skywarp turned to face his wingmates; they’d at least emerged from the shelter, but were still dithering at the edge of the flow.
“Come on, guys,” he chivvied. “You can’t stay up there forever. We’ve gotta get out before it hits us with another one of those pyroclastic things.”
“You’re going to clog your turbines,” Starscream pointed out. “Not to mention, you’re getting covered in ash.”
“It’s mud!” Skywarp scooped up a handful and threw it at him. “It’s not red hot lava.”
A solitary figure emerged from the gloom, walking slowly but steadily – at first barely recognisable, a homogenously bland grey and brown seeker. As he got closer, it finally resolved into Skywarp – filthy but unharmed, and … you know, not actually looking all that bothered, really? Even though his stygian plating had almost disappeared under a thick layer of ash and mud. The ghoul raised a hand and waved, smiling.
Jazz went out to meet him. “Did you walk all this way?”
The seeker shrugged one shoulder. -Wasn’t gonna fly. Have you seen what ash does to flight turbines?-
Skywarp stood with his arms spread, grimacing but otherwise patiently allowing Inferno to hose him down.
“I hope someone’s getting this committed to video,” Jazz quipped. “Skywarp, bathing.”
“Hey, I’ll bath when I have to.” Skywarp sneered at him. “I just have better things to do with my time, thanks.”
“Where’s your wingmates?”
Skywarp flapped a hand. “Pit knows. Busy avoiding the mud.”
Jazz gave the statement a few seconds to parse, not sure he heard right. “They, uh… do know it’s a volcano erupting, right?”
“Well, sure, but there’s mud in the way, yanno?” The teleport backed into the buffer and flared his wings against it with a little grunt of badly-disguised pleasure. “Primus forbid someone gets a scuffed finish.”
Looking rather more the worse for wear, the remainder of Skywarp’s trine finally emerged from the darkness long after night had fallen.
Skywarp twirled the nozzle of the fire-hose in one hand, smugly watching them approach. “You know they’re not gonna let you in unless you’re clean, right?”
“Don’t you even say anything.” Starscream – or was it Thundercracker? Hard to tell, with the amount of filth caking their fuselage – waved a threatening finger.
NB: LJ, why is it SO DIFFICULT to set this to "friends only"?