2017-07-22 A Mountainside Discussion

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A Mountainside Discussion
Date 2017/07/22
Location Rigard - Great Mountain
Participants Moonlight, Pipes
Summary Moonlight and Horse Pipes discuss the current state of things during a cool evening on the Great Mountain.

The towers of the temple just barely rise as high as this perch on the Great Mountain. The air is cooler and crisper here, the trees thinner, the ground rockier. A winding stair ascends from the temple to an observation platform, offering a commanding view of the entire sprawl of the metrotitan's city, hazy during the day and glistening at night. Oftentimes a small bonfire is lit, lending warmth and light to those lingering in nearby seating areas.

Moonlight 's earlier attempt at scoping out the planet was a bit of a bust. Sort of. It had been amusing, but ultimately, she failed in her task, and that made her a little cranky. For about five seconds. Now she's giving the planet another go, this time staying away from the city and going out into the countryside. And at dusk it's nice out here. The haze hasn't completely dissipated, but it still affords a wonderful view. For the moment it's a view worth losing herself in.

After escorting Swivel and Adagio over to the Lost Light, Pipes felt a strange sort of second wind and went off for another gallop through the plains. It wasn't nearly as long as his earlier run, and he naturally drifted closer to the cool mountains north of the city. Finally, pretty much run out, Pipes climbed up the winding stair to this clearing. The wind caresses it just right for cooling off. Plus, the stars are coming out. After being out in the day for so long, his optics are having trouble adjusting to the fading light levels, so he isn't immediately sure if the shape he sees is somebot else, or just a shadow. "Hello?"

If it is a shadow, it's a remarkably talented one. "Hello," responds Moonlight in kind, turning to face the sound of the voice. Oh, it's a horse! She's been out here for a little longer, so her optics are more adjusted. Oddly enough she has more experience with organic equines than robotic ones. Tilting her head to one side, then the other, she regards Pipes for a few moments. "Nice night for a run?" she asks. That's what horses are known for, right? Running?

Pipes finally makes it to the top of the stairs, and even though he guessed it wasn't a shadow, his spark still jumps a little at the response. "Yeah! Well, I've been running all day, feels like, so hopefully it's a nice night for a rest." He casually approaches the talking shadow - yes, actually a mech - and flares his plates out a little bit to let in the mildly chilled air. That Is The Stuff.

Moonlight gives Pipes a rueful smile. "I've been running a fair bit today, but on two legs, not four," she says. "Trying to chase down a cheeky little fellow with a big attitude...and magnetic feet." She laughs softly to show she's not actually as put out as her words might make her sound. "So, are you native or one of the Lost Light folk?" she asks, not knowing if the locals have mecha-fauna that talk.

Sounds like Blackstorm, Pipes thinks, but he doesn't want to disparage him. "Lost Light folk! I'm Pipes, although because of the whole switcheroo thing lately, I'm in this body right now, Roughshod's. It's ... it's not bad." Truthfully, it's not, but Pipes has started to become a little nostalgic for his old frame. Running, well, it helps, and it feels oddly good. "Are you from the ship too? I feel like I should know you, but, well, it's such a big ship, it's easy to miss people for a long time!"

"I am from the ship. Sort of. It's a bit of a tale," Moonlight says. Not the kind of tail Pipes currently has though. "But don't feel bad for not recognizing me, I was in stasis for most of my time on the ship," she adds, just so Pipes doesn't come off feeling like a jerk. "My name's Moonlight." Appropriate for this time of day, isn't it? "Hopefully I'll actually be able to contribute this time before something takes me out again." She sounds pretty amiable, not at all as gloomy as her words alone might be.

"Oh, in stasis, huh? For that long, must've been serious. It's good you're up and about again." Moonlight does sound friendly, so Pipes finds himself wandering up closer, swishing his own tail back and forth. "What's your specialty? I'm combat, generally, although I guess I'd feel a mite bad getting into a tussle with Roughshod's body here. Not that it wouldn't hold up."

"Well, before the Captain fished my escape pod out of space, I was a trader," Moonlight says. "It's not really the most glorious job, but a ship has to get supplies somewhere," she notes. "So I'm not exactly a fierce warrior or anything. But I also never balk at picking up new skills, so if someone wants me to learn, I'll do my best. Other than that, I'd say I'm generally good with diplomacy. Dealing with people and cultures. Stuff like that."

"Oh, a people person. Thank Primus." Pipes swishes his tail a little more vigorously. "I reckon we're a little short on diplomats, or else they get crowded out by everyone else. With all the different folks we meet, we need to learn better how to put our best hoof -- I mean, foot -- forward." Speaking of, he scrapes at the dirt and grass idly. Something in him wonders what the grass tastes like. "Trading, now there's something I like to do. Well, maybe more buying than trading, but I like shopping, finding good deals. Gotta be sharp to get good deals."

Moonlight nods her head. "Well, I'll find my niche, I'm sure. It helps that I didn't swap bodies, so at least I don't have that to overcome. Though my joints were a bit creaky after not moving for a couple years." She shrugs. When Pipes talks about deals, she grins broadly. "I know all about how that goes. You also have to learn to see the tells people have, decide if they're trying to con you, or cheat you. You also have to know about local and galactic price trends if you want to buy /and/ sell to make a profit," she says, eagerly. "But there's a lot of little things that you can't just use a chart to find out. Some of it is pure intuition."

"Wow." Pipes likes to think he's a savvy buyer, but even he knows he's usually as gullible as the next bot. "You're right. Maybe ... maybe you could teach me a thing or three about all ... that. I mean, I just buy Earth artifacts mostly, and other collectible things like 'at. Probably doesn't call for much sophistication, but I still want to pay a fair price." More scuffling of the turf. Cools his hooves, actually. "But anyway, don't get to shop much since the ship was grounded, and I don't reckon they'll let me bridge over to a system's mall. Maybe I'll get lucky and an artifact'll show up in one!" He snorts a small laugh out.

"Never been to Earth; where is it and what's it like?" asks Moonlight, always interested in other places and cultures, robotic or otherwise. Then something Pipes says catches her attention. "So these Earth artifacts are just things you pick up, but the other artifacts are more...specific?" she asks. The tone and context just seem to highlight the importance of one. Then she goes to pat the horse on the withers...but thinks twice about it. She isn't sure how to treat people with the body swaps. "But sure, I can try to teach you a few things. Especially since I have two years to catch up on."

"Oh, Earth. I didn't get to spend as much time there as I wanted to, but it was so ... so full of life. Like here, but, well, more." The inflection that's been creeping into Pipes's speech suddenly vanishes, and he sounds much like his normal small, blue self. "And I just love all the gadgets and things the humans create. They're just ... amazing." He misses the cargo bay, and his collection there. Oh, but she was talking out the artifact artifacts. "Oh, those other artifacts are ... um, well, the Knights of Cybertron left these things behind for us to find, apparently. In case Unicron returned, which, well, he did, right? So we go out to look for them, bring them back here for some reason. At least, that's what the hologram guy says to do." He doesn't shy away from a possible pat. "Sounds crazy, but, well, this Unicron thing kind of is, so what else can we do?" He stretches his neck and turns his head to Moonlight. "But yeah, any shopping tips you've got, I'd be grateful!"

"Are humans big, or little? Organic?" Since there was no shying away from a pat, she goes ahead; the femme isn't touch-shy. Moonlight is just as curious about them as she is the more serious sounding artifacts. "So a hologram sent you guys on a quest to collect these things? How do you know it's not a trick? Can you ask the hologram questions back?" This is very intriguing. "I also don't know anything about this Unicron, but from what I can tell, he's Bad News with capital letters!"

"Humans are little and organic. So small, they come up to your knee, maybe? Not even. Unicron, though ... well, I won't spoil this evening here talking too much about him, but you've got the idea." The Rigardian sun set some time ago, and Pipes can make out the ... oh, that's right. No stars over Rigard. There's wisps of cool colors that can barely be made out: the sunlight reflecting off the inner streaks of the nebula around the whole system. They're nice too. "The hologram ... well, he's a character. No way he's some sort of fake. He claims he's an AI, and as far as anybot can tell, that's the truth."

"I've spent a lot of time with organics. Don't think any were from Earth though," says Moonlight thoughtfully. "In fact, most of my crew were organics of varying size and culture." Since Unicron is not a welcome topic, she lets it slide. She is a people person after all. "Ah, if it's an AI then it's less likely a plant or distracting message. I mean, it's possible. Also, if what you guys have already found pans out, then it's at least telling the truth. But it could be lying about why...." Not that she believes it, but she likes to verbally run through these various thoughts. "Oh, don't mind me," she says with a laugh.

"Oh, it's fine! I think we're all wondering what's going on, and, like, whether finding these artifacts is really a good idea. But, well, we don't have any other ideas. And the Rigardians here support all of it. Oh, and the titan!" Pipes looks out over the city, now shimmering with points of light, the brightest in the center. "Their titan actually can talk, or something. It actually gave me the warm fuzzies when we got here. So, I guess it's all ... it's all legitimate. Oh, and folks have found artifacts, so at least those are real." Only now does Pipes notice the patting, and how his armor plates shifted to accommodate it. He's a little surprised, but then, he doesn't mind it either.

"I just woke up, so I really don't know anything. I just know that sometimes, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Now, if it's dangerous to find these artifacts, then that makes it more legit as well," she notes. When the Titan is mentioned, she rubs her chin. "I don't have much experience with Titans, but at least I know what they are." Stretching for a moment, she takes a seat. "So, have you been through much of the city yet? What are the natives like?"

"Oh, yeah. It's plenty dangerous to get 'em." Pipes has swung by medical once in a while, even after his last mission, and seen the staff there with their hands full. "The Rigardians? Oh, they're pretty much like any Cybertronian. Or colonist, I guess. Probably more relaxed and, I dunno, focused though. They've been watching things for a long time, as if they were getting ready for ... this Unicron thing. I've seen some of the city, and it's pretty great. The south side has a lot of good bars, I think that's my favorite spot. Well, the gardens are nice too. And the beach. And, well, now here too."

"I wonder about their economy. If there's a good city, that points to it being at least good," Moonlight will venture to guess. When Pipes mentions bars, she claps her hands. "Maybe another time you can show me your favorite watering hole," she suggests. "Seems a bit late now," she notes, craning her head back to look at the starless sky.

Mention of lateness prods a yawn from Pipes. It's not pretty. Teeth sticking out, looks painful. Good thing it's pretty dark now. "Oh yeah. I'm way too tired anyhow. In fact ..." He looks back, and there's a small fire lit about a hundred yards away. "I think I'll go have a sit over yonder. I don't know if they have recharge cables around, but if not, it'll be nice before trekking back to the ship." A shake ripples down his frame. "Care to join me?"

"Sure," Moonlight says quickly enough, willing to follow the horse. "Maybe sometime you'll show me your collection too," she suggests as they head over to the fire. And either she's a really good actress, or she's genuinely interested. It wasn't just a throw away line for politeness.

"Really?" It's almost enough to make Pipes trip over his own hooves. "Most bots find it a little ... weird, but some don't. But yeah, sure, happy to. Hopefully once I'm back in my old body again." He looks down at his hooves, stamping dents into the soil. He dare not touch his collection like this. "Earth gadgets are kinda delicate."

"I can imagine. Actually, I don't have to. Organics can be pretty delicate." Moonlight stretches again, but this time she winces. "Oooo, it's time for me to hit the recharge I think." Bending her legs over and over, she looks like she is uncomfortable now. "Anyhow, it's a deal. When you have your regular body, show me your best pieces, and I'll tell you about a few odds and ends I've seen in my time."

Now this sounds like a win-win for Pipes. "Deal! I'd shake but," he lifts a hoof, "and you probably don't want to wait for me to transform. Still not used to that with this body. Anyhow, have a good recharge and see you around!" Pipes finds a spot not too close to the fire to be warm, but not too far to be out of its flicker. Soft tuft of grasses, couple of trees, quiet mountainside. This might not recharge his energon levels, but it helps recharge his spirit.

Moonlight gives the horse (not horse) a wave and a smile and starts her way down the cliff. She was tempted to transform and fly back, but decided against it. Transforming for her was easy; it was her original body. Still, the sound of her humming can be heard as she moves away.

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