2017-06-17 Diversifying

From Transformers: Lost and Found

Date 2017/06/17
Location Map Room - Science & Medical
Participants Rodimus, Blast Off
Summary Rodimus has a very forward-thinking request of Blast Off, who may still be stuck in the past.

The dark of the walls echoes the black of space, while focused lighting illuminates the pieced-together panels of metal that form the core of the Lost Light's Matrix map. A clever eye might note that those panels can be assembled to form a desk, which is a little strange, right down to the drawer-faces which have also been carved. Doodles cover every spare inch -- and not all of the doodles seem immediately map-oriented. The panels are arranged on stands at the center of the room.

The reproduction -- and it is a reproduction, the original still serving its function as desk -- has been filled in with holographic projections teased from the fading memories and lost minds of the metrotitans at each colony the Lost Light visits. An image of the galaxy can be projected down to match in a best possible fit, then adjusted to allow for navigators to study this sector or that in more detail. It's generally a dark, restful place.

The holograms that are projected to fill the space have been filled in with data from the colony's titan, and cover the lingering signs of damage in a fairly convincing illusion. It's here that it's easy to plot the next course, or compare the map against where they've been. And it's here that Rodimus comes to find Blast Off on shift after confirming his location, setting up an ambush: "Blast Off!" he calls ahead of him, his tone dreadfully enthusiastic. If it is an ambush, it's not a very secret ambush.

Blast Off is indeed busy working on various assignments. He's received conformation he wanted from Hound and everything is on schedule for the upcoming Unicron scouting mission. He'll get together a bunch of spacers and scouts and learn everything they can about Unicron and where he's gone... and impress various people, hopefully, in the process. Yes, everything's going according to plan, just the way Blast Off likes it. Peering down at a map, he flicks a finger from one location to a calculated projection beyond it when he hears Rodimus. Ah! The Captain must be here to commend him on a job well done! The shuttleformer straightens up and acknowledges the Autobot with a solemn, dignified nod. "Captain."

Partly true, in fact: Rodimus says, "Heard we're on the move on those scouting missions. Glad to hear it. Nice work." He accompanies this with a thumbs up as he falls in next to Blast Off, glancing at the map that's the focus of his attention. "Sooner we know what we're dealing with out there, the better. That thing took down our ship so fast I don't think any of us really processed it before we were grounded." He shakes his head, straightening and rocking back on his heels. A snap of tension squares his shoulders before he sheds it with effort, spoiler dipping. "Have a second?"

In some ways, praise is Blast Off's bread and butter, and he is quite pleased as Rodimus does indeed offer him some. There's a satisfied hum to his engines as he turns to face the Captain. "Thank you." His demeanor remains somber at the mention of the damage to the ship and he glances about before agreeing, "Indeed. I believe the more knowledge we have before we take this thing on, the better. Preparation is key." Like Onslaught would say! Blast Off then nods, "Certainly." Maybe it will be even more praise, who knows? He and Rodimus are getting along swimmingly here, this is going so much better than he'd have imagined before.

"Cool." Rodimus hitches into a lean against the nearest vertical surface -- actually a bit of debris, cloaked by the holographic map to look less like the trash it is, and give the sense that he is leaning against stars. "I was taking a look at your roster, now that you're settling in, and it occurred to me that navigation's gotten pretty--" He trails off. He searches for the right word, his gaze turned up.

Blast Off stares at Rodimus, alert and still rather pleased with himself and the situation. There's a silence before he offers, "...Amazing? We've got a great team, don't we?" Well, except maybe Quicksight...

"--functionized," Rodimus suggests instead, a grimace crossing his features. He wipes his hand down his face, and with it the expression, to look back up at Blast Off with an easy optimism. "But we're going to change that!"

Blast Off stops dead in his tracks- not that he was making any, but he's certainly not going to be now. That stare grows longer, harder... something more uncomfortable. Shoulders pull back and hands drop down to his sides, violet gaze still fixed on his Captain. "....What."

Rodimus returns that gaze steadily: without flinch or waver. The optimism solidifies, becomes determined. "You know your people by now, right? Tell me what you think the percent is of your mechs that are there because of their alt-modes and not because of their interests. Look at Skystalker! He could be in under Perceptor, attached as he is to those dumb plants."

And the stare goes on. "But..." The Combaticon's optics flicker in confusion edging into consternation, optic ridges drawing down as Blast Off's face pinches in. "But Captain, Skystalker *is* a spacecraft, and spacecraft are simply naturally better at doing a job like this."

Rodimus looks -- confused. He's thrown off, puzzled, like he's not quite sure he heard that right. "What?" He waits patiently for Blast Off to explain.

Blast Off continues to gaze at his Captain with a flat look. Violet optics flick between Rodimus, the map, and back again as the formerly steady rythm of his engines stutters softly. "Well." Blast Off's head tilts slightly to the right as he draws his index digit and thumb to rub at his temple, "It's Navigation." The hand drops and he fixes the Autobot back in his gaze. "Some alt modes are simply going to have an advantage over others when dealing with the complexities and harsh requirements of space. You wouldn't expect a spacecraft to be as good at, say... I don't know, /mining/ as a miner tool would be, right? For Navigation, having a space alt is an advantage."

A hint of fire lights Rodimus's gaze -- metaphorically speaking; it's important to clarify -- as he looks back at Blast Off. "That's what ships are for, Blast Off. Shuttles. Scrap, exo-armor, I don't care. That's why Primus gave us hands and a processor and the willingness to use them."

Is that fire, and if so, why? Blast Off finds himself, not for the first time, wishing he was better at reading- and just flat out *dealing* with- people than he is. "Well, yes... I..." His cultured voice is broken with the stutter of uncertainty now. He lifts one hand, palm up, as he speaks. "I know. And I have taken stock of the Shuttle Bay, you'll see in that memo I sent you, in fact... we're moving on repairing the ones we can save already. I..." His hand drops down again and balls up a bit.

"Yes, I know people can do a lot if they set their minds to it, believe me. Look at Onslaught! Alt modes don't have to limit you; they *shouldn't* limit you!" Wait, now he may be confusing himself here. "I am a Decepticon, of course I know all that. I'm just saying..." He lets out the softest little huff as he looks around, searching for the words he wants to say. "Sometime an alt mode gives one an advantage that would be silly NOT to make use of! Since Navigation requires space flight, but... well look at our current state right now, with no non-sentient shuttles... it's now we need the sentient spacecraft the most, for instance!" THERE! Point!

<FS3> Rodimus rolls Command: Good Success. (8 4 5 6 5 6 3 8 6 3 4 6 1 4)

Rodimus pauses on the edge of arguing for the sake of arguing: ignoring anything of value in what Blast Off said for the pleasure of being RIGHT. And yet--. There is something of value. Rodimus stops. He pauses. He listens. And -- after a moment, he nods. "You're right. We do need that, now more than ever. But that doesn't mean that there aren't mechs in other departments who couldn't stand to learn more about navigation, regardless of whether they are spaceworthy or not. We might not have any shuttles space-worthy now, but that's not always going to be the case -- and there's plenty that they can do here, with a map and a computer, without ever once leaving the ship."

Sensing an arguement arising, the Combaticon's armor plates subconsciously ruffle as he braces for... what? Will this suddenly turn into something like him versus Quicksight? Why is everyone so *sensitive* about this stuff?? However, Rodimus' response is reasoned, calming the shuttle a bit and causing those plates to settle back down. Now he's back to feeling more confused than anything. Nor liking where this seems to be leading.

"Well. Yes, true, I suppose." He blinks before remembering to add, "Captain." The word seems to make something click in the post-military mech, and he draws back. His arms straighten, hanging from his side, and he attempts cool professionalism again. "What... what did you have in mind, Sir?"

"I wanted to hear your ideas for it," Rodimus says, regarding Blast Off with that same optimism still lingering, despite everything: stubborn as it is, it might better be called hope than optimism. Or faith. He knows Blast Off will get there eventually. "It's your department, they are your people, but I've let it become locked in the kind of patterns that I don't want to see anywhere on this ship." This ... grounded, broken ship. "How would you deal with the issue?"

The Combaticon stands there, otpics flickering occasionally from side to side as he just kind of... digests all that is happening. As well as how he should deal with this. "Well, I..." His fingers flex, balling up as he considers, then loosening once more. At least he's not getting totally blamed here, whatever he thinks of the state of this department, it was like this before he was placed in charge! Yet, Blast Off struggles to figure out what's actually wrong with it now. Quicksight would surely let him have an audial-full.

"If I must, I'd... well I suppose I could look around, offer Navigation job interviews to those who show some aptitude or interest in this division?" Or get some other poor schmuck to do it, maybe he can get someone else who's better at /dealing/ with people to do this.

Rodimus grins at Blast Off, warmth and approval at 100%. "Sure," he says, "that sounds like a good place to start. What do you want to do about the people with the interest, but who haven't had the training?"

Rodimus is smiling, that must be good. Yet the feel-good train Blast Off was on earlier has come to a crashing, smouldering halt and he stands there, stiff and awkward. Fingers curls halfway as he is still trying to wrap his cerebro-cortex on this one. His gaze shifts to the floor off to the right somewhere. "I... could... uhhh."

Primus, what should he do? The only thing he can think of is something that sounds very much UNfun to him. "I could... hold a..." Aw frag he doesn't want to suggest this, but Rodimus is looking at him so expectantly and it's the only thing in his mind. "Hold an... Open House, offer some basic training and introduction to what Navigation is." And seriously get a lot of help for it, there's got to be people-persons in Navigation somewhere. If not, that's the first person he's hiring!

Rodimus perhaps takes pity on Blast Off, because even as he nods again, pleased with the idea, he says, "That sounds great. Might even be fun! Maybe we could get everyone to do something like that. Might help to find out who in your command has skill with teaching, too. There's gotta be someone who spent time running training sessions before." BEFORE. "Think there's anyone in your group that might want to cross-train elsewhere?"

Blast Off can't help but immediately say, voice just a little hushed, a little not-serious and yet quite serious, "...Quicksight?" Just gonna throw that out there, Rod. And yes, fun, right, look at Blast Off's flat expression and see the fun there, Captain. "I... suppose I could ask, send a memo to the division." Though his spark hiccups at that, he doesn't *want* to lose people like Skystalker. He doesn't want to lose his fellow space alts, his *people*, the only ones he tends to feel comfortable with outside the Combaticons. Or even lose someone like Skydive (hey, there's a non space alt)! Next thing he knows people will expect him to make *friends* in order to socialize with people!

Flat as Blast Off's expression is, Rodimus is caught off-guard by the suggestion, taking it more seriously than not: "Uh ... Quicksight can teach?" He says that as though it is the most unlikely thing he has ever heard in his life. Like the only thing crazier would be Megatron wearing an Autobot badge.

Blast Off blinks. "What." Then he springs to life, raising his hands and shaking them in the air as if to dispell such thoughts. "No, what? No, I meant he could go..." His hands makes a shooing motion towards the door, "...Away. I-I mean (!) could go train elsewhere, perhaps he'd be happier elsewhere. I..." His face scrunches up under that faceplate, "Quicksight... as a teacher." Hands swing back up in front of his face, palms flat forward in *stop*. "NO. Ha," He vents what's almost a chuckle but far more nervous, "No." What a disaster that would be.

"No," Blast Off repeats, bringing his hand down to the map again to give him something to do. "I- I mean, I guess he could but I doubt it would be his... his forte." Primus forbid an Autobot showed up for the lesson, either.

"Oh, thank Primus." Rodimus pauses a moment to imagine it and can't quite help a wince. It's almost a full-bodied thing, drawing his spoiler high. "Maybe he might be happier elsewhere. He definitely has the attitude for Combat. But as far as I know he's never looked twice at anything else. The rest of it is a good idea, though. Couldn't hurt for all of us to be a little sharper, a little more focused, a little better with whatever it is exactly that we're facing here."

Indeed. Blast Off is happy to agree, "Yes." This would solve his problem entirely if Quicksight would go somewhere else, but... ugh. From Rodimus, sounds like he may not, and Blast Off can't actively push him out, either. Though giving that little scraplet a few really *unpleasant* chores is still on the table if he gives the shuttle too much sass. ANYWAY.

"Agreed. I suppose it won't hurt to let the other divisions know what we do, challenges and resources required, that sort of thing, and vice versa." Ok, that sounds reasonable enough. "But the Unicron mission comes first, correct? Have you seen the memos I've sent? I'm preparing even now." Even Quicksight is probably coming on that one, Primus help him- help them all.

"Yes." Rodimus is unwavering on this, reassuring Blast Off without hesitation, "Even all of this needs to be done for that purpose: for defeating Unicron. Right now, it sounds like that's our number one priority. Knights could send us invite to a party and if it pulled us away from that, we still won't follow. Finding the Knights might be important for our future -- but let's make sure we have one, huh? So what're you prepping, then?"

That sounds like a plan to Blast Off. His body starts to relax a little, frame shifting and leaning in a bit towards the map as his fingers start tracing the route he was calculating. The tailfin on his back even shifts a little to the side. "Yes, agreed." He looks up to gaze right at the Captain. "Good. That is exactly the focus we need to take. I..." Now he's back to feeling somewhat comfortable again. Somewhat. "We need to pull our resoruces and talent into this mission, then with that knowledge, the defeat of this... thing." His fists clench as they spread on the map, and his jaw slants down, face tight. "We'll do our job, and... I know I'm not in Combat, but I am a Combaticon, and I will be glad to lend a hand there to help hwever needed in the end."

The shuttleformer pulls the map closer, showing Rodimus some of the calculations scribbled on it, and pointing to some possible routes in various colors he's made, all starting from a green dot that appears to be Earth. "I've been informing people to get ready for this mission, gathering scouts to come with our spaceships.." He casts a glance to Rod, "Including Hound, if his duties allow." See? He's not a total functionist, despite what Quicksight might say! "And calculating our possible flight paths pursuing Unicron depending on radiation, solar bursts, asteroid fields, or other possible obstructions."

"Hound! Good idea," Rodimus says, the pleased surprise at the choice obvious in his voice. It warms through his voice, settles in his expression and his stance: he holds himself with a relaxed ease that's granted thanks to his confidence in Blast Off. "Looks like you've hit everything we need to get out there, then. We know that Unicron didn't hit Earth, at least, but no idea of where he's gone from there. Good thing it's such a backwater out that way. Still, we'll need to know how fast he cam move, too. Good start. Get them out there," he says, slapping Blast Off's shoulder with an approving clasp. "We need everything you can give us."

Oh, there's the praise again, praise is good. "Thank you, Captain, we-" Erk. Said Captain slaps him on the shoulder, causing the standoffish shuttle to stiffen at the physical contact. His frame tenses, though he decides to say nothing. "...We will do our best." His gaze shifts down, optic ridges furrowing, as if there's something he wants to say, but isn't sure he should.

"I know." Rodimus's hand falls after the brief clasp, as easy as ever, and without drawing further attention to Blast Off's discomfort. He shifts, rocking on his foot and straightening to turn for the door. "Anything else before I leave you to your maps?" He jerks his chin at the displays around them. There's just a slight touch of 'to your boredom' in how he pitches the tone of his words. MAPS. BoRING.

There is something else, but Blast Off isn't sure he should say it. The shuttleformer's hands remains balled up on the map as he stares down at various lines of color. Finally, he draws up, frame straightening, shifting his hip to turn and face the Captain, arms clasped behind his back. Chin lifts up in a prim, professional manner. "Permission to speak freely, Captain."

Rodimus pauses to make sure the room is clear, first, then to casually signal the door closed that leads to the map room. He seems to assume less that it is something he won't want to hear and more that it is something he doesn't want others to hear. Or -- well. Maybe he just expects the first. It's the second that's dangerous to the crew. "Okay, you've got it," he says, giving Blast Off an encouraging nod.

Blast Off waits for the door to close before continuing. His chest puffs out a bit as he draws in a vent of air. The Combaticon's words are kept quiet, slow, and considered. "I will do as you order, naturally, Captain." There's a pause as he puckers the corner of his mouth, mulling something over, then goes on. "I also have no problem introducing others to Navigation and finding fits where I can. I just... this makes me fear that we are pursuing political correctness over what fits best. Is that..." He optics gaze searchingly into the Autobot's. "Would that be a justified fear?"

The question strikes Rodimus as almost funny as he looks back at Blast Off, his stance settling and a hand resting on his hip. He tilts his head, features quirking in an arched-brow sort of humor. "Hang on, let me get this straight: you, a Decepticon, are asking me--" Slight pause. "--an Autobot, if we're pursuing the politically correct course in encouraging people to look at roles on this ship based on their interests, and not their alt-mode, right?"

"I- NO!" Blast Off immediately protests, "No, no, not at all, I..." The Combaticon stops, caught red-handed in contridiction he barely knows he has. His optics pale towards more of a gray. "I..well...Yes, I mean... No." Now his face is noticably pinched, even masked under a faceplate, and his hands swing to his sides and flex, balling up and down as he tries to process this. One comes up to gesture, palm facing towards the ceiling, as he attempts to explain. The other comes to rest breifly on the purple badge he still wears on his chest.

"That's... not what I mean at all. I *am* a Decepticon and I believe in the right of everyone to choose their own path. It was /wrong/ that mining tools were forced to only follow *that* path, of mining, of course it was! This badge is proof I didn't agree with that, that I believe /choice/ is one of the most important rights of any Cybertronian!" In his fluster, Blast Off accidentally slips into spark-felt honesty. "But I just..." Now he draws back a little, hands slipping to his sides, fingers still flexing as he adds, "I also believe that sometimes we are built for something, that we have natural skills and talents for something... like a space alt. We just *are* more..." What's the word?

Rodimus waits Blast Off out as he fumbles through his contradictions, that touch of humor fading into something more sober, even focused. "Yes, Blast Off. Some mechs were built for something. The cold-constructed were created with a purpose and denied any choice, and we carried that practice right through on both sides in the war, bringing soldiers online and throwing them into a battle before they'd thawed. So you're right. Absolutely right. Sometimes we're built for something." He dashes his hand to the side, and he says, "And that's wrong. All of it's wrong. Forged or constructed, flight-frame or racer-alt, what matters is the drive of your spark, and the one thing that both sides ever agreed on was that freedom was the most important prize we could ever claim. Or the greatest gift we could give."

When Rodimus begins speaking, the shuttleformer nods at first to what he says, but that quickly shifts into an awkward silence that only grows more tense. Blast Off stares at the Captain, wing elevons twitching occasionally, hands still rooted at his sides. Byt the time Rodimus gets to *Wrong*, Blast Off can't maintain the eye contact and it breaks away towards some random spot to his side. The shuttle was raised on how *special* he and his kind are, and even embracing the Decepticon ideals, he's always carried some of that with him (see his constant gushing over space shuttles). Being told you're not *special* anymore isn't the easiest thing to hear.

When Blast Off does speak, some of the fire has faded, his voice less certain now. "That's... not the same. Being built as.. as say, a shuttle, and being cold-constructed. Or MTO. What happened with the MTOs was..." He swallows and glances to another random spot, now bringing a hand over to start picking at the heat shield on the other arm, "Was wrong, yes. Was terribly wrong. I just meant... sometimes... space alts are best at space travel."

After a moment, he risks a glance towards Rodimus. "I... don't mean to criticize freedom, or choice. Those are things I hold dear. Again, just look at Onslaught. He's a *truck*, he was a /nobody/ in the caste system. But he had a brilliant mind and he wouldn't let being a truck stop him from becoming the leader of one of the most elite fighting teams in the war. Someone *I* followed, gladly." One hand lifts in supplication before lowering to rest on the map. "I'm not some ...Functionist." Despite what Quicksight would say. "I am just... proud of my ' type ' and what we can do. Is that so wrong?"

"Ratchet says the best medics are forged, too," Rodimus says, head titled just slightly back, to the side. He smiles, quick and rueful, then says, "Even I'm not dumb enough to try telling Knock Out that, though." The faintest touch of humor -- dry and distant as it is -- softens the intensity of his previous words.

Rodimus considers Blast Off, then adds, "Sure, there are definite advantages to a space alt when it comes to space travel: you have a lot of those navigation and sensor systems built in. But anyone can get an upgrade. Even a rebuild, if they need it," he says, his tone firming. "You're incredibly lucky to have an alt-mode so close to your spark. A lot of others out there weren't that lucky."

Blast Off isn't quite yet ready to give up the whole *space shuttles are special* thing, speaking of 'close to his spark'. Ratchet's comment has the shuttle perking up, oh? Then yes, there are some who understand what he's trying to say... probably. He offers a small nod at that, and several points that follow. At the final point, Blast Off finds something he can agree with whole-heartedly. The Combaticon's violet optics flicker with pride before softening as he meets Rod's gaze again. "I know. I'm... extremely well aware of that fact. I was quite privileged and I knew it." His farthest shoulder shifts forward as he addresses his Captain, "Don't get me wrong, Rodim- Sir. I've met some of the unlucky ones, and I've wanted them to know the same freedom I had." He lets out a small sigh, shoulder relaxing as he settles more. "I even worked for it in some cases. And joined the cause. Lost my own freedom and privilege. And..."

The Combaticon rubs his face, suddenly feeling a bit tired. "...Anyway. Yes, I... I find it's a fine line. I want to be a part of that freedom to choose, of course I do. I want to do what makes sense, too, though." He's still not sure how to reconcile the two ideas in his head- they don't gel there yet. Not always, at least. Maybe he should start working on that.

"Knock Out wasn't forged or built to be a medic," Rodimus points out again, holding him up as a shining ideal. (Somewhere, Knock Out feels deeply irritated without knowing why.) "But he became one strong enough to stand next to Ratchet as chief medical officer. Think about that. Think about what Knock Outs might be out there, with similar aptitude for navigation, who never got the chance. And think about how we can give them that chance."

This surprises the shuttle and his widened stare may hint at that fact. He didn't know that about Knock Out. "Really?" Then again, come to think of it, isn't Vortex likely a cold-construct, too? That's what he seemed to hint at that one time, at least.... Anyway, Blast Off will let Vortex keep that to himself. As Rod speaks, Blast Off listens, face solemn as he considers this information. "I... didn't know that." His shoulders sag a little, tension lifting towards a calmer state of being. A more receptive one.

The Combaticon looks up at the other mech thoughtfully. "That... makes sense." His gaze drops down, considering, before raising up to meet Rodimus again. "I can do that. For the Knocks Outs...." and Onslaughts, and some other people he's met along the way, "...out there."

Rodimus starts to lift his hand to clasp Blast Off on the shoulder again but pauses, and instead offers his hand to be taken in a clasp: for Blast Off to meet him halfway, rather than it all being Rodimus being grabby. "Thanks, Blast Off. Glad to hear it. Open eyes are the only way we move forward without tripping over the past, right? Anything else you want to add?"

"Uh," Blast Off stares at the proffered hand before it dawns on him that *oh RIGHT*- he's supposed to take it, this is a social thing that is done. The shuttleformer reaches his hand out and accepts, giving Rodimus a somewhat inexperienced, brief, but sincere handshake. Taking his hand back, both come to rest on his hips as he looks around the map room, then the Captain. His frame straightens once again, donning his most professional and crisp manner, and he answers, "No, that is all. Thank you, Captain. I will ...move forward with the things we discussed, while keeping my optic on the prize... learning Unicron's secrets." And maybe learning more about this whole *dealing with people successfully* thing.

"Looking forward to waht your scouts find." Rodimus grins, then turns to leave -- having probably given Blast Off enough of an ache in the processor for one day. He'll figure something out for next week.

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