2016-05-29 Crime and Punishment

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Crime and Punishment
Date 2016/05/29
Location Lost Light - Command: Rodimus's Office
Participants Knock Out, Rodimus
Summary There's a lot of whining and whistling and complaining in this log.

A small plaque outside the door reads 'Captain's Office -- Rodimus of Nyon'. There is a drawing printed out and taped to the door. It's hilarious and a little inappropriate.

The room is fairly regulation. Where flames once ringed the doorway and magenta colored the walls, the ship's normal coloring carries through.

Center of the public space is Rodimus's desk, which is covered with doodles and scraps of some ancient Cybertronian dialect. More often than not, it's covered by datapads he hasn't quite gotten to yet. The other furniture in the room is suitable for a bot of Ultra Magnus's class -- or, with some adjustment, a much, much smaller minibot.


Knock Out doesn't actually storm all that often; he prefers more sleek or subtle modes of transportation. But today he is storming. Today he is storming right through Rodimus's open office door in a sweep of red-hued fury, fingers clutching a datapad in such a way that it looks a little bit in threat of being crushed.

All in all, he's looking a little demanding.

Rodimus startles upright with knife in hand, pulling the blade from the desk. He's not currently carving anything. There's just something about having Knock Out come raging through his doors that makes him feel a little happier having a weapon in hand (in addition to the weapons ON his hands). After a moment, he sets the knife back down with a little 'let's just ignore that, okay?' dip of his shoulders and then gives Knock Out his full attention and a brilliant smile, as though he thinks that might defuse whatever bomb is currently ticking away. "Knock Out." Against all odds, it looks like he was working.

It doesn't. The bomb is still ticking away, but at the very least, it doesn't look like he's going to explode /Rodimus's/ office. Instead he drops the datapad onto Rodimus's desk with a clatter of metal; on its screen is a paused video file that looks to be the security feed from Knock Out's office in the medibay. "Is this," he seethes, "the sort of behavior you encourage from your /Autobots/?"

Rodimus considers the datapad. He doesn't start the video. For a moment, it looks like he's considering playing dumb -- 'Of course, Knock Out, I'd love it if Autobots had offices as nice as yours.' -- but, leaning back in the chair, he reaches out and taps the play button with one wary finger. Oh god. Let's see what he has to deal with.

Knock Out crosses his arms tight over his chest, the bomb ticktickticking with increasing speed as he hears the audio from the feed again as Rodimus watches First Aid manages to wrangle Mercy and then Tourniquet into painting his office. By the end, he looks even more about to explode.

Keeping one eye on Knock Out and one eye on the screen, Rodimus tries to cover the datapad with the angle of his hand, like that will decrease Knock Out's detonation radius. By the time the artists clear out of Knock Out's office and the video ends, Rodimus has a glazed, blank look on his features. He stares at the far wall. The camera lingers on the sunshine hills of Knock Out's office. "Okay. So."

"If they think this is so /funny/, I can think of some much better items to use as /paint/ for my /walls/," Knock Out hisses, his fingers tightening on his arms in their cross.

Rodimus makes a placating gesture. "Trust me, I've done the pink thing, it's great at first, you get tired of it." Rodimus clearly had his office painted the lurid magenta pink of fresh energon all that first year just to intimidate the Decepticons. Obviously. He rises, moving from behind the desk to stand next to Knock Out. He keys the door closed on his way, then gestures at the more Knock Out-ey sized chair so that he can climb into the big boy chair and face him from the same side of the desk. "Obviously the first thing they should do is restore your office to the way it was. Possibly with very tiny brushes, if my past experience is any measure. Did you have other thoughts?"

Knock Out glares at the chair. It's several moments before he can bring himself to sit. It just makes his whole seething aspect look even more seething as he tips his chin down and hunches his shoulders up. "First Aid," he says, "is a problem. He got demoted before he even came to us and has the audacity to be annoyed at /me/ for it. And now he's trading on the gullibility and outright stupidity of others that, for some reason I can't fathom, look up to him. Clearly if he can't mentor others without drawing them into his schemes, he can't be trusted to mentor or train /anyone/."

Rodimus opens his mouth -- probably to defend First Aid -- then makes a leaky kind of hissing sound as he subsides without saying anything. A moment later, he says, "Not exactly teaching the right kind of lessons, no," in somewhat weak agreement. "That's -- pretty fair." He grins. "Bad influence, right?" Stop grinning, Rodimus.

As Rodimus grins, Knock Out glowers even harder. "No," he says. "Not the right lessons at all." There's the low whine of a very slow vent through his plating. "As for /Mercy/," he continues. "She was clearly too gullible or stupid or /both/ to show any sort of sound judgment on the matter. I don't know why so many on this ship are dedicated to protecting her as if she's some sort of protoform, but I intend to treat her like a bot with responsibilities and reasonable expectation of intelligence. If she can't be trusted not to believe such an obvious lie, she can't be trusted as a doctor in my medibay."

Rodimus whines faintly. Since there's nothing wrong, he must be whining at the idea of agreeing with Knock Out again: "Yeah. Look, I'm not one of the defense squad here. You're right. I'm pretty sure if it had been his office, Ratchet would have her hands." Is that insensitive. "But with Mercy and First Aid both -- what you're talking about? Reasonable. Restrict First Aid from teaching, remove Mercy's authority. But." He holds up his hand before Knock Out can object: "You need to work with them both on plans for what they can do to restore that."

There's the faintest, high-pitched sound that's something like a tea kettle starting to go off. "I don't see," Knock Out says, "any reason why that should be necessary."

Rodimus struggles to find words: his fingers open and close on formless gestures. "You don't just -- well, no, actually, plenty of people will just go off on people because of one little mistake--" This sounds awful personal, here. "--without ever giving them a chance to explain or to make things better, and anyway it's not all about punishment, it's about rebuilding, and moving forward. You're still going to be on this ship, and you're still going to be working together. They need to learn to respect you, instead of resenting you, and punishing them without giving them anything to work on is just gonna make them mad." There. He nods firmly.

"This was /not/," Knock Out hisses, "some little /mistake/. Not on First Aid's part. This was pointed and purposeful. Some things /are/ about punishment, because some bots do things that /warrant punishing/."

"And punish them!" Rodimus says, leaning forward. He looks earnest. He should know by now that doesn't work on Knock Out. "But it can't stop there. This has to change, and they have to know what to change, which means you can't just punish them without talking about it."

"Fine. So they lose privileges and authority and work scut for a few decades and then I'll reconsider," Knock Out says, flicking his fingers.

"Well, you're at least in the same galactic sector as reasonable." Rodimus frames a galaxy in the span of his hands and narrows it to a wedge that centers on Knock Out. "You good to talk to them? It definitely needs to be you, probably with Ratchet at your side. You guys definitely need to stand together on this."

"And you." Knock Out narrows his gaze on the captain. "You will publicly support the results. I'm not putting up with half the ship whining about Decepticon cruelty."

"No." Rodimus sounds a little resigned about it, but as he goes on, he meets Knock Out's gaze with half a smile: "You shouldn't have to put up with that. You're right, and you've got my support. I mean, honestly -- I'm a little annoyed about it." He leans back and gestures at the doors. "From the past couple of weeks, months, Decepticons are kind of showing the Autobots up in terms of willingness to make this work."

For a moment, Knock Out's gaze turns suspicious, like he possibly doesn't trust Rodimus's agreement. But then he settles back more fully in his chair with the barest hint of satisfaction. "Good," he says. "Fine."

It probably doesn't help that when Knock Out looks suspicious, Rodimus's grin only widens. "You want me to talk to First Aid? He was definitely the ring leader there. Don't want to undercut your authority or anything, but -- well. This whole Autobot and Decepticon thing. It's important. And I'd like him to understand that."

Another hiss vents. "I do not need you to speak to First Aid," Knock Out says, all snappish.

Rodimus makes a face when Knock Out snaps, but stifles his first impulse by humming through his first retort. "Look, it's not really for you. Maybe I should be asking if you mind if I talk to him, instead of if you want me to. It's not for you, it's for me. It's for the ship, the crew, and this whole big picture thing where we work together."

"Well I can't exactly stop you," Knock Out grouches. "You are, after all, the captain."

Rodimus finger-guns at Knock Out. "I am. Thank you for remembering that. But here's the thing: if you think it's a bad idea, if you think it'd undercut you right now, I won't do it. That's why I am asking."

Knock Out glares at the finger-guns. Why do you exist, finger-guns. "If you have a need to speak to your crew about faction divides I won't stop you," he finally says.

To be rad. TO BE RAD. Rodimus retracts the heavy weaponry to fold his hands behind his head. He grins at Knock Out. "I don't know who else will without making a lot of loud whining noises about it, so -- yeah, I guess it's me. I'll talk to him, then. You good?"

Knock Out narrows his optics, considering. Then he says, "Good is not precisely the word I would use, but I am satisfied with this conversation, yes."

"Then we're good." Rodimus obviously thinks that by repeating it, he can make it so. "Thanks for telling me about it. Not exactly what I wanted to hear, you know, but it sounds like you've got some good ideas for dealing with it on your end, and I'll take care of mine."

Knock Out vents another low, dissatisfied whine that comes of being in agreement with Rodimus. "Fine," he says, standing. "Then I'm going to go verbally thrash my staff."

Rodimus can't bring himself to thumbs-up that, but he does manage a nicely cheerful, "You have fun with that!" as he makes a big show of sitting back to not do that.

"Oh, I will," Knock Out says darkly on his way out.

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