That good news isn't much consolation to Swerve; he isn't too much shorter than an average car-moded Autobot, but he's short enough that the waist-deep water reaches to the lamps on his chest. He's less angry about things with his ventral assembly submerged than he could be, which still isn't saying very much. His engine still growls and he still curses with every step, especially when putting his weight on his stiff leg sets off painful jolts.
What'd I do to it? Diagnostics didn't tell me anything…. He glances up from the water and fires a dirty look at Kup, pointedly taking another cautious step before he answers. "No," he snaps, "I don't need help! I can walk fine on my own!"
And then he sets his foot down on something and he feels the ping travelling up his leg; he feels the seepage after that, too, and scowls. He forces himself through the next step anyway, then a second, more unsteady. Then his leg locks up.
"Question now is starting to be, 'Can you swim?'" Kup answers as he shrugs and forges forward. Then, something causes him to look off to their right, and he holds up a hand as though to shush Swerve, not aware, yet, of the other's movement problems.
He crouches, then hisses, softer, "Hnh. Sounds like there might be something out there."
It's at this point that he finally looks towards Swerve and can see that Swerve is several feet behind where he's expected to be - and seems to be having trouble moving. Kup frowns. "Something wrong, lad?" he asks, voice still hushed.
"Far as I can tell," Swerve fires back, "there's always something out there on this fraggin' planet!" Miserable, sticky, wet, overgrown dump that it is. "Giant leaping things in the sand… little brown balls o' fuzz from the trees… Decepticons behind the rocks–!" He grabs his thigh with both hands and pulls on his leg in hopes of jarring loose all the gummed-up parts and get it moving properly. Three solid tugs finally get his hip to budge, but no such luck with anything below that.
It takes a lot of his self-control – crippled as it already is – to stop himself from just bellowing curses at the mud, the water, the trees, his leg, Kup, and everything else he can't immediately think of for no other reason but to vent. Maybe the only reason that kicks in is because he isn't too far gone to realise Kup is keeping low. Swerve manages to bite back the tirade, but just barely; his jaw audibly grinds and he can't stifle his snarling engine.
"Wrong?" Swerve's glare flashes brighter for a split second. "You're the one ramblin' about something bein' out there!"
"Yeah, which is why I'm worried that you look like you're havin' trouble moving," Kup answers. There is a splash nearby, and Kup turns his head to stare in that direction before approaching Swerve. "Come on, we gotta get out of here. You're in no shape to fight."
He reaches over to pick Swerve up. He probably won't be dissuaded easily.
Swerve staggers back, off-balance, in reflex when Kup stretches an arm for him, frown unusually tight.
"I can shoot even if I can't walk!" he snaps. Then he twitches and spits out a string of curses because his leg twists oddly, painfully, and because he hadn't meant to say that. It's more because he's been manoeuvred into admitting the problem that the heat rises, engine shifting up.
"Yeah, but if you can't walk, and you can't roll, we can't get out of here 'less I carry you, y'diode-blown nitwit," Kup snaps as he reaches over and, whether Swerve wills it or not, steadies the off-balance racer. Then, without a word, before Swerve can argue further, he lifts the other up and swings him across his back, so that Swerve remains upright, but Kup can more easily carry him.
"And it's a good thing you can still shoot, 'cos looks like my arms are gonna be busy," he notes as he starts trudging back forward. Every now and again he stops, and yet... it sounds like the splashing continues a moment longer than it should each time.
Swerve stiffens in outrage and pain – more the former – jaw clenched as he finds himself made a backpack, locked leg being hike dup and sticking out at a painful angle. The only thing stopping him from smashing both fists into the back of Kup's head is that the oldtimer seems so worried about a fight kicking up, and barely that. The look of rage he fixes on Kup is wasted but he doesn't care.
"What're you spooked about?" he demands furiously, trying to lean back so he isn't mashed front to back with Kup. "One of those things from before? We ran that sack o' sludge off! Why's another gonna be any different?!"
"We don't know what the slag it is," Kup snaps, letting himself get angry in return. "There could be worse things than that thing running about these swamps, y'know. Stranger things have happ- woah!"
It's at this point that Kup's leg is yanked out from under him, and then above him, flipping the old timer over and holding him upside down. The thing doing the yanking appears to be some sort of leafy tentacle of some sort, but at the moment it's hard to tell what it's attached to.
Even so, it would seem that Botanica is not the only mobile plant on this world!
It's instinct for Swerve to try pushing himself clear of Kup when the oldtimer gets upended, but Kup has too good a hold on him. He's caught in the proverbial pileup, which is a perfect reason for Kup to have just left him be. His gearbox grinds as he shifts up rapidly in shock and rage, engine roaring. He zeroes in on the vine and spits curses as he hauls out his cannon.
"Cyber Key Power!" That's all the warning Kup gets before Swerve takes aim on the thing about halfway down and opens fire.
Kup's actually in the process of trying to let Swerve down as gently as he can when he hears the shout. "Dammit!" he grumbles and shifts, so that by the time the shot is fired, he's able to twist, and by the time the plant's vine is blasted off, he's in a position to make sure he, not Swerve, is the one to hit bottom in the swamp, Swerve landing on top of him.
Kup sputters as the murky water goes over his head, and flounders for a moment before emerging once more. Then, without another word, without asking or giving warning, he grabs Swerve up once more with one hand, his other hand calling his rifle from subspace. He's still trying his best to get the racer back on Kup's back even as the oldtimer begins running, full tilt, in the direction they'd been going already.
"Can't be sure that took care of it," he points out to Swerve, "but plants, even mobile ones, tend to have pretty small territorial zones, Botanica being an exception."
OOC: All manhandling of Swerve done with player permission.
Suddenly being partially submerged again doesn't help Swerve's mood at all. While Kup's trying to pick him up and get moving, Swerve's trying to draw a bead on what's left of the vine so he can shoot it some more and he only gives up when he nearly winds up inverted on Kup's back with all his twisting. He frantically grabs Kup's shoulder with his free hand; he doesn't want to dangle with his head underwater. It's bad enough he's being carried.
"So what?" he demands, looking from one side to the other. "There's more of that thing?"
Kup continues to book it as best he can through waist deep water.
Splash splash splash splash!
"Y'ever notice that tress have more than one branch, Swerve?" he asks. Then it's, "Woah!" as something splashes up ahead, another vine stirring. This time Kup spots it in time and is able to change directions, darting around and past the grabbing vine.
Swerve doesn't really care that trees have more than one branch. Or didn't before now. But the metaphor makes the situation very clear even to him and it really drives home when he has to tighten his grip on Kup's shoulder as the veteran abruptly weaves around that second vine. Frustration and rage make the racer's engine gear up and he snarls at the surrounding marshland, opening fire on whatever plant that moves.
"Really?" Kup answers as he splashes along. "'Cos it seems to loooooove you." He pulls up sharp, forced to change directions thanks to another vine.
"Seems to love both of us a bit too much, actually," the veteran grumbles, irritated.
It seems like forever, but really, it's only a few frantic minutes spent running, dodging vines, watching them get blasted by the over-hot racer on his back.
True to Kup's word, this doesn't last much longer - look's like that thing's territory really isn't that large. However, there's still more swamp to travel with, and the sun is getting higher and higher. It blasts down on them, and in the moist area, just makes the whole trip that much more humid, that much more miserable.
"Phew!" Kup pants at one point, still carrying Swerve on his back, "this is getting to be like being outside the steam pools of Tal-Epsi-Nine!"
Swerve doesn't relent – not the cannon fire or the cursing at everything, Kup included – and put away his weapon until he's dead sure that plant thing is long behind them. As if he needed another reason to despise green, growing things. He may never quite look straight at his division's second-in-command again.
Eventually, his engine settles again, but he can't really cool down. He's still keyed up, aggravated over the blasted plants and his leg and having to be carried and the smelting sun. The sun. And the air, too thick in his filters and too heavy on his plating and his hoses. And fragging Kup's too slow; they might as well be crawling. Maybe if he'd stop running his mouth so much they could get somewhere, even get out of the swamp. The thoughts keep looping and Swerve just winds up tighter and tighter.
"I don't," he growls, voice turned gravelly, "care about Primus-fragged Tall Epsilon or the steam ponds!"