Difference between revisions of "04-10-18 Sleight of Hand"

From Transformers: Lost and Found

(Created page with "{{Log |logtitle=Sleight of Hand |logdate=2018/04/10 |location=Lost Light: Recreation -- Swerve's |participants=Prowl, Rodimus, |summary=The continuing adventures of Rodimus en...")
(No difference)

Latest revision as of 11:47, 12 April 2018

Sleight of Hand
Date 2018/04/10
Location Lost Light: Recreation -- Swerve's
Participants Prowl, Rodimus
Summary The continuing adventures of Rodimus encouraging Prowl to cheat.

Often referred to as the heart of the ship (by Swerve), the bar is rarely empty, rarely quiet. Central to the whole is the bar itself: just tall enough for a minibot to serve over the edge and lined with stools capable of accommodating bots of any height. Large, clear vessels stand behind the bar, containing the brews of the day. Behind the bar, an engex distillery assures there's always something new.

Round tables are scattered across the floor. Seats fold up from the floor beneath. Large booths along the sides of the room have room for a half-dozen or more, if they don't mind getting cozy, while monitors here and there find occasional use showing old vids.

A sign outside the door says:

       No Guns, No Swords, No Bombs

Underneath is written: I MEAN IT!! LOCK YOUR WEAPON SYSTEMS DOWN AND DUMP EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE BIN BY THE DOOR. It is signed with a little frowning Swerve face.

On the other side of the door is a SHAME LIST. No, really, that's what it says. It has the number of days that various people are banned from Swerve's and counts down at the start of the morning shift.

Prowl and Rodimus are but ten minutes into their card game at Swerve's when the speedster is caught attempting to cheat. Prowl bristles at first, but checks his instinct to berate. "If you're going to bend the rules," he begins, pointing with his cards, "You can't be intoxicated. Now beat me like the infuriating loose cannon you are. Come on. I'm buzzed here too, we're on equal footing. Only your footing weighs twice as much." He hides his smile in another fizzy sip of his drink.

"Drunk is the best way to cheat. Except we both gotta be drunk. Finish your drink." Rodimus half-rises from his seat to flag down the next round -- the next two rounds, actually, as his quick gesture of two fingers is repeated emphatically. Prowl's subjected to Rodimus's idea of a drink, which comes cheap and strong and which he takes obvious joy in inflicting on Prowl and seeing how he can handle it. He plays casually through the first round, but starts cheating again in the second, once he's judged Prowl's started to soften.

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Prowl=recon Vs Rodimus=reaction+reaction
<       Prowl: Good Success (8 3 1 4 2 4 8 3 2)          Rodimus: Success (1 5 5 7 3 3)
<               Net Result: Prowl wins - Marginal Victory

Prowl finishes his drink, and reaches for what Rodimus orders for him without really thinking. The sharpness that burns his intake is pretty clear in his face and through his choked growling. But he'll muscle through. He can handle ANYTHING. And he can still catch Rodimus on his SECOND ATTEMPT. This time Prowl snatches Rodimus' wrist, and wavers slightly at the angle. "You're just gonna' keep trying, aren't you."

The grasp is brief. Prowl sits back, thumbing through his cards. "So. You and Soundwave."

Rodimus grins at Prowl, fang-sharp, as he twists his wrist in his grasp: not to break it, just to measure the strength of it. To test it. "Don't worry, I've forgiven you for the boot after hitting you with that spray." He takes his next card -- the card he was definitely not trying to palm for later, whatever -- and taps his cards against his mouth as he consider what he will do now that he can't cheat this hand.

Rodimus' test concludes that Prowl is definitely growing more uncoordinated. "You owe an apology to Hound," Prowl grumbles. "Soundwave indulges you too much. That's my point. He favors you greatly. You realize this, right? And you know what it means... right? What it means, in the end?"

"To Hound?" Rodimus pauses to stare at Prowl in a total baffle. "Why do I owe an apology to Hound?" He nudges Prowl with his foot under the table. "Come on, your turn." He pauses. "To cheat, I mean. I wanna see your best attempt." He thumbs through his cards, finishing his turn, and then leans back. "It means maybe there's hope for us all to get past these--" He taps at his chest, which hasn't carried a badge for months. "--after all? That's what I like to think. Anyway, if anything, he doesn't indulge me enough. Not exactly Soundwave's thing, is it. Indulging. Big sweet ol' blue box."

"He has a sensitive nose." Prowl outlines with a wobbly swipe of his cards. There's a half-attempt to return the nudge, but he misses. "And yeah, hope and all that slag. I'd like to think that, too. Really." He studies his hand, then puts his cards into play, with maybe a little sleight of hand. "But I'm saying he's attached to you. You were out, when Soundwave was recovering at the safehouse. But the way he clutched you, when I reminded him of the reality of that Decepticon-flavored dimension... I think you're blind to something here."

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Prowl=deception Vs Rodimus=recon
<       Prowl: Success (1 3 3 5 7)          Rodimus: Success (4 8 1 6 5)
<               Net Result: DRAW

"Still seeing your lips move when you talk, Prowl," Rodimus says to his attempt to cheat, more or less at the right time. He knows that Prowl did something; he's not sure what he did. "C'mon, try again. You cheat, and I'll apologize to Hound, promise." He looks up from his cards to study Prowl, not blind, but definitely fuzzy. "No, but I definitely was blind, then." He pauses. "Get it? Because -- I was blind? Okay, it's not that funny, hurry up and play your cards. That place sucked slag. Wonder how they're doing now. You and Windy really did a number of Screamer, it looked like, all without firing a shot."

"Windblade did most of the work there," Prowl says, stacking his cards in his hands. The game doesn't continue. He just squints at Rodimus. "Soundwave is fond of you. Attached to you," he spells out. "Are you going to act on that? It has implications. Factors I have to plan around."

Rodimus squints at Prowl, fuzzier now. "What do you mean, act on that? What, slap on a 'Con badge? Pfft. Squish myself into a tape? Get real. Can you imagine the meltdown he'd have if he put the Matrix in his chest, even by proxy? Or -- oh. This is about your poetry." He smirks. Nudges Prowl with his foot again. "Nah, I'm leaving the poetry to you."

Prowl obviously struggles with touching on the details of what he considers intimacy. "Not- Urgh, not a tape. Not poetry. He may have fallen for you. In a romantic sense. Most of the crew is aware of this. You really... don't see it...?" The foot nudge does spur him to attempt again, ableit slowly.

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Prowl=deception Vs Rodimus=recon
<       Prowl: Good Success (3 8 5 8 5)          Rodimus: Failure (1 2 2 1 4)
<               Net Result: Prowl wins - Solid Victory

Rodimus stares at Prowl. His vents stutter in a hiccuping sound and then he laughs, first sounds unflatteringly snortish. (And if those are synthesized, what does that say about his programming, anyway, that his code would lead to something so ridiculous sounding?) "No, Prowl." He hesitates then, a little less sure as he repeats, "No." The humor fades from him as he stares at his hands -- not his cards, just his hands -- while Prowl makes good use of his distraction to tilt the odds in his own favor. "I'm pretty sure he's only even here until--" No, wait. Megatron's fixed. He hesitates. "Unicron's dealt with, I guess?" He sounds even less sure now, hands tightening. Then, with an effort, he relaxes. "I don't know. He believes in this big post-war experiment too, you know, but we all know who his first thought is and who his last thought is, no matter where he stands."

"I'm not so sure of that, Rodimus. Not after the siege. He holds some kind of hope, but it's clear there has been a change. He has ties here. Ties that clearly matter to him. To say nothing of your own actions. You spend a lot of your time in his office. Ask anyone on the bridge crew. If either of you get toasted in battle, you're both at each other's side in the medibay. Without fail. You're apparently teaching him how to do donuts, /indoors/. You take him racing." Prowl's serious stare grows sly. "I might be tempted to tell you to secure things in that regard, so we don't have to worry about him going back to Megatron."

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Prowl=deception Vs Rodimus=recon
<       Prowl: Failure (1 6 1 6 5)          Rodimus: Success (8 1 1 2 5)
<               Net Result: Rodimus wins - Marginal Victory

"No." Prowl's sly tease -- and it's absolutely a tease, right? -- clears the softness that fuzzes Rodimus's gaze, and he's sharp enough to catch him in his next attempt to skew the odds. He slaps Prowl's hand with his own cards, heedless of whether or not it flashes his hand at him. "I saw that. And no, Prowl, that's got to be one of the more fragged up things you've said to me. And you talked me into taking Overlord on board, as you pointed out, so you've got quite a list of scrap to compare to."

Rodimus's expression twists and his eyes slide to the side. "I was bad enough to Minimus and Drift without layering it in awful motives. I'm just -- I've got too many holes in myself to try to go around cramming other people in them." He shrugs, one-handed. This is why he leaves poetry (and metaphors) to Minimus. "I could've tried to sabotaged Soundwave a dozen times, a hundred times in his search for Megatron, but I helped him. I will help him. I've failed enough of my friends. I'm trying to do the right things. He'll go where he goes, and I'll do whatever I can to help him."

Prowl chuffs at the mild slap and draws his hand away, hunching over his cards. "Old me," he defends with the slightest pout. "I wouldn't do that /now/." Definitely not. Absolutely not.

But Prowl backs off when Rodimus reveals some of his burden. Mostly. "Alright, well." ... "Well." ...

"...I thought I was being dramatic with Chromedome. Look, you date, it doesn't work out, you move on. It doesn't have to be so serious," Prowl mutters into his cards.

"You aft." Rodimus throws his cards in Prowl's face, then scrambles to grab them as they flutter to the table, revealing everything he had. "You weren't even here for all of it. You didn't see me and Minimus and Drift--. Just circling the same things, over and over, picking at it, at them, making them miserable, making me miserable. You better fraggin' be serious about Minimus. He doesn't do things by halves. I'm serious about the happiness of people I care about -- including my friends, like Soundwave."

Prowl fails to shield against the cards. One gets caught in his grille. He sobers, as much as he's able with his considerable buzz, because Rodimus seems genuine here, and these topics were heavily guarded once. Plus, the little threat makes his spark swirl in strange ways. "Okay. Fair enough," he cedes. "I'm serious. And..." He regards Rodimus' scattered cards. "I cheated at least once. So you apologize to Hound."

"I already said I'd apologize," Rodimus says in a grumble as he drags his cards into a pile. He folds his arms on top of them and rests his head on top. He doesn't bother picking them up again. Expression faintly troubled, he asks, "This isn't causing trouble for Soundwave, is it?"

"I'm just giving you scrap. No, Soundwave's fine. If comedy is what gets you two through the cycle, so be it." Prowl watches Rodimus over his second, empty glass. "What's the matter? You're supposed to be a happy drunk. Right?"

Rodimus relaxes, but not quite entirely. "Maybe it's the company," he mutters, the drags his hands over his face and straightens. "No, actually, that's it, right there: me blaming other people for my own scrap. That's what it is, and the reminder of it, and that I messed things up with two really great mechs. Even if you were on to something -- which you aren't, but if you were -- I don't think I could face that again. Still a chance Unicron might kill us all and we won't have to worry about it, though."

Prowl spends a moment adjusting to the odd and unexpected splash of sympathy that somehow settles in his jaw. It clenches. "You know yourself best. That was my attempt to keep you from dwelling. I obviously can't talk about overreacting. I didn't bother with relationships for a long, long time. You're astonishingly hard on yourself, which is something I'd normally praise, but..." He grunts. "Unicron's not killing us. If I have to face this universe, you do too."

Lips crooking, Rodimus says, "That's right. We're taking Tempo to Cybertron and question mark question mark question mark question mark, profit." It's an old meme, but it still checks out, right?

"Heh, yeah. Profit. We can continue to flourish, as we do, in our own awful Cybertronian way." Prowl slides out of the booth, and braces on the table, clearly wobbling. "It'll work out. Always... works out." He makes the OK symbol, teeters to the side, and slaps his palm back on the table.

"You're a tragedy," Rodimus tells Prowl, notably failing to rise. After a second teeter from Prowl, though, he slides on out after, bracing himself on those overlarge feet of his. Big feet: not just for show. The wider base keeps him steadier than Prowl, despite the fact that he's knocked back more drinks. "C'mon, I'll get you pointed in the right direction. You go and get yourself cited for drunk and disorderly after hanging out with me and people really will talk."

"Let them imagine, and get all bothered. Insider will have something decent in its articles for once," Prowl tips Bluestreak by dumping a fistful of shanix on the bar as he passes. Every coin rolls off. And he sure tries to walk on his own, but Rodimus may need to corral him through doors.

blog comments powered by Disqus