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2017-02-17 Paper Thin

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Paper Thin
Date 2017/02/17
Location Lost Light - Recreation -- Library
Participants Skystalker, Swoop
Summary Swoop gets ready for the fight of his life! And maybe does a little socializing.

Meant as a place for quiet study and public record, this storeroom is a repository of information. Whole collections of datapads fill shelves along all of the walls and the multiple diving partitions, giving the space a very 'full' feeling. While many of these pads contain a copy of Cybertronian knowledge and study, many still are empty, meant to be filled with what is discovered from the continuing exploits of the Lost Light. Both a library and record hall, this room shares what is known and means to add to it with what is found.

Inside the entrance is the main desk with a terminal there serves as a nexus to track what datapads have been checked out. It is accompanied by Decimal, a blue potted plant that acts as a silent greeter. From this entry, there are stairs down and up as there are two levels to this library, both a breezy light green color now. The lower level displaying a menagerie of bright colors. The central connecting space is open, allowing for those below to view who might be above and vice versa.


Swoop has been coming by the library much more often in recent days, settling into a seat before one of the many terminals that access the datanet for the ship and clicking through diagram upon diagram of...origami. He'd come here a few times to use the terminals before, of course - it's where he learned about the strange, but kind of okay, art of 'cuddling' - but not as frequently as now. He's been searching for the perfect pattern to use for his paper folding contest with Quicksight, but with each click, each pattern, each day, he grows more and more frustrated. All of them look complicated, and it had taken him forever just to get the stars down. He knows, even if he doesn't want to admit it, that with his talons, any of these that he chooses and starts out practicing at the same time as Quicksight (he's an asshole, not a cheater) will end up with him losing.

Which leads to our current situation, where he is sitting at his favored terminal, click-click-clicking with the tip of one talon, making extremely frustrated noises as he does. Lieutenant is probably around but Swoop doesn't care; he'll huff and hiss as loudly as he wants, thank you. Which makes it very difficult not to notice him hunched there, peering through narrowed amber optics at the screen before him.

Skystalker has been a quiet patron of the library of late, for reasons mostly between himself and Primus-- and maybe a little of Mirage and Lieutenant. He wants to learn, and friends are helpful-- but sometimes his scientific headspace seems to want some objective reading to go with it. In a delighted mood yet with a tired look, Skystalker decides to wear his mild hangover out at the library.

He has collected a datapad from the shelves when he first hears the steady clicking, curiosity drawing him in when he spies the tall frame there at the terminal. It's not long before Skystalker creeps up behind him to peer over the crook of his upper wing. It's a little bit of a playful thing, perhaps waiting to see if he notices..

<FS3> Swoop rolls Mind+mind: Failure. (6 5 1 4 1 4)

<FS3> Skystalker rolls Stealth: Amazing Success. (4 5 8 6 4 7 8 7 6 8 2 8 7 4 1 4)

Mouth in a gnarled slash of a scowl, Swoop continues to click click click. Frog - no. Diamond - no. Bull - no! With another irritable huff in a long string of irritable huff, Swoop stops for just a second, staring at the current pattern on his screen, one of a bear. It seems, apparently, that he isn't going to notice, instead too busy being irate with the instructions he's perusing. There are so many small folds, so much tucking, so much he knows his claws, which he's always been so proud of before, will be incapable of mastering before Quicksight. Wingtips slide in and out of their casings in his annoyance, and aloud, still not realizing someone is standing right behind him (Grimlock would have kicked his aft for paying so little attention) he grunts, "How'm I gonna beat that little squirt if all these patterns are so fraggin' hard?"

Skystalker holds the datapad of his own against the line of his frame as he peeks at the terminal, at first waiting for Swoop to react and then getting a little unsure when he doesn't. Now it feels like he is definitely eavesdropping! It is uncomfortable. So, best he out himself.

"Which little squirt are you beating?"

Hey he just didn't know you were there, though now that Swoop does, he gives a squawk of surprise and whips around to see - oh. Skystalker. Faceplates shifting back into his usual frown, Swoop returns to his hunch and clicks to the next pattern. "No one." Click click click. The screen shifts between images, before stopping on one for a rabbit. Lips turning more into a pout than anything, Swoop amends, in a more subdued tone, "Quicksight. We're having a paper folding contest." He normally wouldn't have admitted this, but. It's Skystalker, and even if Swoop doesn't understand why Sky hangs out with the squirt in question, something Swoop himself DEFINITELY DOES NOT DO, he can't lie to the starfighter when it involves his friend.

If Skystalker ever said he didn't like seeing the faces of people surprised by him, he'd be lying just a twee bit. Sometimes he can get a kick out of it. He smiles back before Swoop hunches back over his terminal. Rather than lurk, Skystalker sits down on the stool at the next one, leaning over to watch. The dinobot hasn't shooed him away, so--

"A paper folding contest? I didn't know either of you knew how." Skystalker braces his forearms on his knees, glancing up to the other flier's face. His pout.

"He wouldn't if I hadn't shown him," Swoop says automatically, pout disappearing into a smirk. "I made some paper stars for Orbi--someone, and Quicksight was there while I was making them." Swoop leans back in his seat, arms crossing over chassis. "He acted all high and mighty about me using paper, but when I challenged him to try he gave in real quick." Swoop snickers a little at his own unintentional joke. Heh. Quick. Quicksight. "The other day he told me he could make this stuff better than me, so I told him to bring it on, and now - " He cuts himself off, looking back to the screen. The frown returns once again. "I'm looking for a pattern for us to compete with. Haven't found it yet."

Oh? Shown him? Skystalker hides a smile at this. Play it cool. The story behind it doesn't help, however, and before long he is grinning while Swoop tells it. The amended 'someone' isn't surprising, but there are only so many people on board that start with 'Orbi', and Skystalker is one of the few spacers. Still, he lets it slide.

"It was nice of him to help, even if you tricked him into it." Amber optics narrow in a laugh, and Skystalker glances at the terminal again. "So you need something that both of you can do. I see." In other words, a nicer way of saying 'claw friendly'.

Swoop notices the grin, once he's done boasting, and he squints a bit. What's he laughing at? "I didn't trick him," he says, almost offended. "I challenged him. There's a difference." Challenging was the surefire way to get a Dinobot to do things, and in Quicksight's case, it had worked just as well. Which absolutely hadn't lessened Swoop's hostility toward Quicksight at all, no sir. Suspicious squint remaining, Swoop nods as he watches Skystalker. "Yeah. I've been trying to find something easy enough that he's got a fair chance." At least he hasn't completely lost his ability to lie to Skystalker.

"I get it, don't worry. I'm just teasing." Skystalker lifts his hand to touch Swoop at his elbow, reassuring in his friendliness. "Ah, I see. Because he's new at it?" Despite the squinting, Skystalker now knows better than to second guess Swoop on this. "Maybe something with big folds? Or maybe a bigger piece of paper?" It might not be about the design-- "It could be better with a bigger scale?"

Before, Swoop would have shook off the touch and hissed in irritation. Now, it's like he doesn't even notice it, so immediate is his acceptance of Skystalker's hand on his elbow. "Hrn," is his very reassuring response, even if it doesn't have the bite the same sound from Grimlock would. "Yeah, he doesn't have the practice I've got. And I figured I should take it easy on him, you know, it is his first time." The smirk has returned, heralding that safe territory has also. He goes quiet for a moment at this suggestion, mulling it over, the talons of one claw giving a few thoughtful tinks against the surface of the table where the terminal he's using sits. "Huh...I didn't think of that. Maybe it would be easier on a bigger scale. Don't know if we've got the size of paper we need, though, might have to order off ship..." He's mostly thinking aloud to himself, now, staring off at a point to the left of the terminal.

"But we'd still have to pick the right pattern." Swoop zeroes back in on Skystalker, and, with great effort, asks, "Do you know of any?"

"You could ask logistics if they have any spare sheet metals? Would that be the same?" Skystalker puts one leg over the other, bootheel bobbing when he thinks of something more. "Or just go into recycling and smelt some, I suppose." They have enough trash around here, right? When Swoop's gaze zeroes back on him, Skystalker's brow knits and he gives a sheepish roll of shoulder. "I've only seen this done a little bit-- so I don't, really. Sorry. I think Drift knows how, but it's not something I've asked about."

Swoop shakes his head. "Nah, it's gotta be paper. That'll show the li--Quicksight that making stuff out of paper isn't stupid." His wingtips give an agitated little flick out of their casings, though not because of Skystalker; it's a general movement, brought on by the consideration of more options that only lead to more dead ends. At least he's drawn out of it momentarily by the mention of Drift, which, after a moment's contemplation to remember who that is, brings a derisive snort. "Like I'd ask him," he sneers, turning back to the terminal. "No, I'll find it out myself -" Click click cli-- Swoop cuts himself off, both in words and clicking, as a new pattern appears on the screen, this one of a pelican. He stares at it for a bit before tapping the screen with a talon tip and looking to Skystalker. "What about this one?"

"He knows a lot more than me~." Skystalker muses with a song in his tone, leaning on the terminal desk with an elbow, putting his head against the heel of his hand. "That one? Looks like a bird. What's wrong with its beak?" Skystalker angles his head to look at the paper pelican more closely. It's supposed to be a bird, right? Wings, long neck, and all?

Swoop's wing casings shift in a gesture not unlike a rolling of the eyes, but he doesn't comment. For once. "Frag if I know. It's an Earth bird, I think - this whole paper folding thing is from Earth, and Earth animals always looked slaggin' weird." Says the guy who turns into one. "That's probably why the beak is big like that...or, wait, I think there was another one - " Instead of the rapid clicking, Swoop slowly, painstakingly, taps at the keyboard for the terminal, using the pointer talon from each claw, and up comes a pattern of a different bird, a crane. "There it is. We could make this bird." Amber optics fixate again on Skystalker, waiting for his opinion.

"Huh. I wonder why. I wish I could see Earth sometimes, it sounds interesting. Hey-- I've seen that one somewhere..." Skystalker seems drawn to it as he waits patiently for Swoop to bring it up. He's very used to waiting for the dinobot to take his time in writing or typing-- comes with the teaching territory. "I like that one more. It reminds me of Madrigal, actually." Sky laughs into the edge of his hand, optics bright.

"Interesting sure is a word for it," Swoop mutters under his breath. Having spent a few million years trapped in its surface, only to emerge and have humans use him as a mindless machine, then find out Grimlock had tried to kill them all, didn't make him overly attached to the place. No matter how many curse words and lewd images he learned there. "You'd like the jungles, though. And the redwood forests - flew over one of those, once. Trees taller and wider'n Magnus." The lack of comment on his lack of typing ability is quietly appreciated, though Swoop being Swoop, of course, says nothing on the matter.

"No idea who that is." Swoop expands the image on the screen so they can see it better. "Yeah. Yeah, this could work. That other one did have a weird beak, but this one looks okay." Now to just download the pattern...as he reaches to do so, though, Swoop stalls, glancing at his own claws, remembering how much longer it took him to make even a recognizable paper star when Quicksight caught on a lot faster. For a moment he forgets who he's with as he hisses, mostly to himself, "I'm gonna beat him, I'll show him I'm not stupid."

Skystalker's optics widen at Swoop's description of the tallest trees, and for a moment his head falters and hovers away from its perch on his hand. "No way. Bigger than Magnus? In forests?" At first it seems like the dinobot has accidentally derailed him completely, but wait-- not so. "Oh, ah, he's a Circle mech like Drift and Whetstone... he's-- a bird type alt, very graceful. And with beautiful plumage!"

With anyone else, Skystalker might be a little nervous with words of challenge towards his 'little brother', but with Swoop-- he knows how Swoop can sometimes see himself. It's just as important for the other mech to prove himself to himself as it is for Quicksight to learn about others. "I don't suppose you need an official?" To mediate. A Referee?

Shoulda derailed him, Skystalker, though now Swoop will have an inkling of what to show you next. If only the ship could handle a 350 ft tall tree, he could get one for the lab...anyway. Swoop doesn't get a chance to answer in the affirmative, or comment on this - what was the mech's name again? Whatever, doesn't matter, they've moved on.

"An offi--oh, frag, 'course we do!" Swoop grins broadly, almost straightening completely out of his slouch, wingtips vibrating. "I almost forgot, we need someone to watch and judge who's best. You wanna do it? As long as you don't play favorites, I know you -" Like him better, would be the tiny voice in Swoop's mind, if he had one. Or cared. Which he doesn't. "- and him are close, but you have to judge fair, got it?"

One day. One day he'll see giant trees. Swoop's grin is mirrored with a sparkle. "Of course I'll do it. And hey-- You're both my friends-- picking a favorite would be like choosing a favorite finger." Skystalker blatantly and playfully waggles his set of five in Swoop's face, at the last second placing his pointer finger oh-so gently up against the dinobot's nose.

Boop.

"Couldn't do it. But if you want someone else, I won't hold it against you."

At that, something in Swoop seems to loosen. He doesn't know what it is, he just knows it's a better feeling than the tightness that had been there a moment before. The grin remains as he says, "Good. Then we'll have a fair contest and the one who's actually good at this will wi--" For the second time he cuts himself off as that finger boops his nose. If Swoop had pupils, it would be obvious he's going cross-eyed watching it happen, and is still cross-eyed as he attempts to stare at the tip of his nose where that finger made contact. "What." is his extremely intelligent follow up to this, after a long moment of staring. He recovers fairly quickly after that, finishing the download of the pattern before switching back to the search feature.

"How about I show you those trees I talked about," Swoop gives, not flustered at all, nope, not even a little, as he aggressively (and still slowly) taps out the words into the search bar.

Skystalker can only muster a sweet laugh in reply to the subtle cross of optics and demanding yet plain response he gets from the touch. Now he knows the weakness of a true dino-- confusion. Mechs beware.

"Oh, oh, please?" Skystalker, for now, has forgotten about his own datapad that he's placed onto the terminal desk, instead tugging his seat closer to Swoop in an effort to see the screen better.

Confusion and Orbitalls, or at least those are the weaknesses of this particular Dinobot. Or they would be if he had any, because weakness implies feelings, which he CERTAINLY DOES NOT POSSESS. Anyway.

Once he's done typing, Swoop clicks again and the library's database on redwood trees appears, an almost Wikipedia-esque page of information, complete with a gallery of images downloaded from Earth's 'Internet'. Swoop skips straight to the gallery - Skystalker already knows he can barely read, even if he's been improving, and he doesn't want to struggle in front of the mech. The first picture is one showing a car parked inside of a redwood, the trunk hollowed out in the middle to permit a road, a human standing beside it and smiling. Swoop leans back, moving on to smug. "See? Told you. They're huge."

Skystalker never expected to see a human or a vehicle mode inside one of the trees, either. He leans in to look, not quite invading Swoop's personal space. Getting there. His wings perk up, splayed out behind him in a curious sweep. "My goodness, you weren't kidding. Look at those! It reminds me a little of how parts of Eukaris were. Plants left to themselves, you know? And look at the colors of them. I've heard of planets where the organics are gigantic and the ecosystems are too-- but humans are so small..."

Swoop shrugs, not really knowing or caring about organic planets other than the knowledge that he could fly freely around them. "These are the biggest ones I've seen, I wasn't on the ship when we stopped at Eukaris." Even if some mechs aboard assumed that was where he was from because of his unfortunate alt mode. "Earth is weird like that too, you've got these huge trees and these jungles, but all the organic life is so different. There's a lot of variety I didn't expect." As if he'd expected anything, frankly, when the whole reason he went was to kill Shockwave and then everything else happened. He clicks through the pictures, each one showing different angles of the trees and forests, before clicking back to the article itself. "Too bad we couldn't get one of these for the ship, huh?" he says, echoing that earlier thought.

"Oh, I wish I could see them..." Skystalker says in a hush as Swoop scrolls through the photographs, wistful and hoping. The commentary does get a laugh, then another wistful sound. "Yeah, it's too bad. They are magnificent, though. And so hardy..." Skystalker can't help but skim some of the article. "It says they live thousands of years and can withstand very cold temperatures. No wonder they are so gigantic."

"Maybe we'll swing by Earth again, and I'll show you." Even if Swoop doubts that'll ever happen, and even if it did, he doubts they'd be allowed back on the surface. The humans hadn't exactly been happy with them, last time. "Guess that is pretty impressive, for an organic." Half the height of Metroplex...yes, impressive indeed. Sitting there as Skystalker reads the article, Swoop remembers something else he'd said to Quicksight, and slides a side glance at the starfighter beside him.

"So..." Swoop has to sit there a few seconds, wings twitching, before he continues. Small talk does not come easy to him. "How're things?"

"Hm. It is." Skystalker sighs through his vents, looking even more engrossed as he reads over what he sees. It actually gives him some ideas... some definitely good ideas, not the half-baked ones.

While he's sitting there he has no idea Swoop is considering small talk and fidgeting until he says something. Skystalker looks up with a gentle arch of browline, sitting straighter. "Things?" Small talk, Swoop? Skystalker's mouth twists up in a crook. "Things are good. Some nice things happening with the lab, some nice things happening in general-- I can't complain about the last few cycles, anyway. I must not catch you if you still stop by the lab-- how are you doing?"

Swoop goes back to huffiness at Skystalker's smile regarding his question. Hey, come on, he's trying! "Yeah, things." His wing casings continue twitching, though in a different way, and his arms tighten in their cross over his chest. They loosen back up a bit as Sky talks, at least. "I do stop by the lab," he confirms. "I don't see you, though. They changed my schedule for combat drills, that's probably why." Exactly what he'd told Quicksight. Swoop wonders if Quicksight even bothered to say anything to Skystalker, then decides it doesn't matter. As for the question of how he's doing...Swoop thinks of the paper folding contest, when he gave Orbitall the paper stars, the altercation with Brigade. "Fine," he answers neutrally. "Doing fine."

Skystalker makes a sound that seems to indicate his disappointment that he does miss Swoop after all. "I see. That's too bad. Maybe we should meet up more by comm. Or I could come check out drills." There's a smile at the thought, but it's also possible he isn't entirely joking. He knows how to fight too. "So why did you get into the paper folding? You said you made some for someone already?"

Swoop eyes him for a moment, wondering at the sincerity of that, before he decides Skystalker isn't the type to mock him the way Quicksight would with such a statement. "Yeah. That'd work. We'll figure it out." Swoop, making friend plans...next we know, Grimlock will be following suit. What is the world coming to.

Swoop can't quite look Skystalker in the face when he shrugs this time. "I did. He likes stars, and I was looking at some stuff here in the library and found the instructions to make them." He'd been looking up more star-themed things to share, more like, and had stumbled upon the concept. "The stars are - if you take paper strips and fold them into stars, and put them in a jar, they're lucky. I thought he'd like them, and he did. Quicksight helped, I guess."

Skystalker has never been to drills, so maybe it would be a learning experience. For all that the other mech has a hard time looking to him when he explains the stars, there's unsurprisingly no judgment from the starfighter, and he acknowledges Quicksight's 'help' with a chuckle. "Lucky stars? That's a really thoughtful gift, Swoop. I'm glad he liked them. You think you could show me how to make them?" Something engaging. Something to bond with, right? He's all for that.

More shrugging. "I told you, he likes stars. And he's my - friend." Still felt weird to say the word out loud, even if he'd said it to the mech in question a while ago. "Yeah, me too. He liked the other thing I gave him, too. Little ball with lights in it, when you turned it on it made a star map. He's about as easy to read as a brick wall, but I know he liked it." Swoop realizes how much he's talked and stops abruptly, giving a sound that's almost like a cough through his vents. "Yeah, I can show you. We'll have to get more paper strips, though, I used up all mine. The stars are small, it took a lot to fill that jar."

"He is. In a good way." Brick walls have emotions sometimes too! It's subtle enough of a response that maybe it can show Swoop that Sky knows which mech he means without actually pointing it out and making it weird for him. "Okay. You can show me sometime... maybe I can't fill a jar but maybe I can decorate the boring part of the lab a little?"

<FS3> Swoop rolls Mind+mind: Good Success. (5 1 1 6 8 7)

"Heh, yeah," Swoop agrees, almost fondly. Almost. "I can tell by now, since...wait." He shifts to scan Skystalker's face, optics narrowed, gaze suspicious, processor churning. Sky knows, he realizes. And he knows that Sky knows, even if it doesn't matter, obviously, because who cares, it's not a thing that needs caring about, just like his friendship with Skystalker isn't a thing that needs caring about, and - Swoop shakes his helm. "Sounds good," he says distantly, before adding, more like himself, "And once I beat Quicksight at this paper folding contest, I can show you how to make this bird thing, too."

Skystalker seems to feel that scrutiny for what he's picked up on, but he only smiles and shutters his optics in a blink of innocence. It's fine, see? "Perfect. Can't wait." Maybe they can have a sit down and make a cool bird mobile or something. "We could even try the metal thing! With the sheets? That would be cool, right?"

Suspicions are not gone! But Swoop lets it slide, for now. It'd be worse to bring it up any further. Instead, he latches onto that, now that it's not going to affect his contest with Quicksight. "That gives us more options for patterns, too, if we're using the sheets." Also not gonna mention that it's easier on a larger scale when it comes to his claws, which Skystalker had already guessed. The slow typing resumes as Swoop heads back to the archive he'd been using for looking up origami patterns, and then it's back to the click-click-clicking as he moves through them. "We can pick a bunch to use for that, too." An optic lands on the datapad Sky set down. "Unless you're busy."

Skystalker is already leaning onto the terminal desk with his elbows once more, chin in his hands when Swoop reminds him of the datapad he'd had. "Oh, that? I was just going to check it out anyway... and I haven't gotten to hang out with you in a little while, so I think I'd rather look at paper folding." Chin back in hands, Skystalker grins up to Swoop.

At first Swoop is confused by that phrase. 'Hang out'? They weren't hanging anywhere, they were - and then what Skystalker is really talking about hits him. "...Sure, then we'll just go through them. You pick the ones you like, I'll download 'em, and then we can get some of those sheets to make the ones we picked and put them up in the botany lab." He doesn't ask if Skystalker is fine with this, already turning back to the terminal they're using. He may have the pattern he's going to send to Quicksight, now, but he can stay here a while longer with Skystalker doing this...not like he has anything else to do. Only reason.

That sounds nice. Just some quiet time in the library looking at things, nothing troublesome. Skystalker gently nods along to the plan. "There are so many people that go in there just to see it, or even have a sit down, so why not make things look a little less plain in the lab part? Let's see if we can find some flower ones? I've heard about an Earth plant called a 'lotus', what about that one?" And in true Skystalker fashion, his first request is not at all shocking and is the beginning of an adventure into origami. It gives the two mechs some time to talk and visit, and by the end of it all-- something new to get together for.

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