2017-11-15 Where In the Galaxy

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Where In the Galaxy
Date 2017/11/15
Location Lost Light - Recreation -- Observation Deck
Participants Arrow, Hound, Rodimus, Skystalker, Whisper, Bulkhead
Summary are Megatron and Optimus Prime?

A hexagonal room that mimics the shape of the bridge two decks above, the Observation Deck likewise has two rows of windows that look out into the vast dark of space. Seating arranged casually throughout the room can be retracted into the deck or rearranged into rows for solemn ceremonies. If there's a big event, it's going to be held here.

The rumors haven't been quite this thick in the air since -- well, probably since last week, actually, or the week before that, or the week before--.

Okay. The Lost Light is a gossipy little boat. But there's something about these rumors that put people particularly on edge. These aren't the fun little foibles of crewmates on display, but rather casually reopening the full rage and terror of four million years of war.

So. First things first: a shipwide announcement goes out, with it's guiding aim set by Rodimus, it's inspiring phrases penned by Drift, it's grammar meticulously crafted by Minimus Ambus, the often-overlooked sense-check coming through Hound, and Soundwave -- well, Soundwave's suggestion to add something in there about the blessings of the Guiding Hand never quite made it to the final draft. You know how it is. Revisions, cuts, things left on the floor of the editing room.

TL;DR: Yes, we think we found Optimus and Megatron. No, we don't know what state they are in. Yes, it's possible that they need rescue. And yes, we're going to rescue them.

Rodimus is now here to take questions, Observation Deck. There are refreshments. More than a few people have come in to grab a donut and leave.

Bulkhead may have grabbed a donut, but he hasn't left. While not one to follow the rumor mill too closely, even he can't miss an actual announcement from command, and this one he has particular interest in - well. Moreso than he would normally, considering announcements by command weren't to be taken lightly even on a normal day.

After coming in, Bulk's picked a spot as close to Rodimus as he can without being right next to the guy, working to get as good a 'seat' as possible. Optimus...they might've found Optimus Prime. He's conveniently ignoring the other half of the announcement, focusing primarily on the Autobot leader's state of affairs. Which he'll ask more about after he's consumed this donut in an attempt to chill some of his anxious jitters. They found Optimus Prime!

Maybe the Prime himself would help Wheeljack see reason.

There are ener-donuts here, and that's why Hound still is. Well, that and offering support, even though he's not exactly the one who made the discoveries (they have Soundwave to thank for that and the thought mostly doesn't make Hound bristle any more. He's doing okay). The panels on his helm are perked up and twitching occasionally as he looks around the room, checking in on the various members of the crew and taking occasional sidelong glances at Rodimus, checking in. He's been helping out with the evacuation, of course, but now that it's over, he can't help but feel like he's on probation, even if it's self-inflicted. It's like he's regressed to when he was on command for the first time, filling Ultra Magnus's impressive footsteps. Mostly, though, he's picking at the powdered treat in his hand, eating small bites at a time.

Skystalker fell quiet in his work in the lab when the announcement came over the airwaves. He had heard things, here and there. As much as the Lost Light murmurs, it was hard to miss. He absorbed the message, hearing the work of command in the bits and pieces, and the finished product. Then there was this session-- Skystalker knew he should go.

When he shows up, it's with a quiet step and an even quieter ventilation, the air still in his frame as he surveys things. At least he's not alone in wanting to know more, but the first thing he does as he finds a place to sit-- near the front-- is glance around for any other bare badge spaces.

In a low voice, Rodimus says to Hound, "Should I take it as a good sign or a bad that so many of them just grabbed something to eat and ran?" He's treated Hound exactly the same -- or well, with one small change. He spends enough time eying the panels to make it perfectly clear that he is using them to gauge Hound's mood and shameless about it. He tries to look a little extra approachable. "C'mon, you guys gotta have some kind of questions."

"How?" Bulkhead blurts immediately, then winces in guilt. Okay, maybe the donut didn't entirely help. "And where, mostly." He looks to Skystalker, for backup, maybe, and steps forward a few steps. "Guess it's still a lot to take in that we might've found him." Him. Not them. "Are we headed that way now? Are you taking a team?" He pulls himsef up after that, giving space for anyone else to get in a question.

The panels twitch a little as Hound manages a grin in response. "I'm going to say both," he says back, fine with the mobius of checking-in they've established here, though he straightens in his seat and tries to surrepticiously remove the powder from his fingers in a way that doesn't involve licking them clean. It's mostly a failure. "It's due to the efforts of... some of the crew," Hound supplies in answer to that first question, turning to nod to Bulkhead.

"Including Soundwave," Hound adds, slightly more reluctantly, "who spearheaded the effort as part of his already established search." For Megatron, it goes without saying.

"A little of both, yes." Skystalker hums, glancing over his shoulder to where the table of refreshments sits, adjusting his seat and glancing to those behind him, perched in various groups and spaced somewhat irregularly. Bulkhead gets them off to a good start, at least. Sky sits up and gives his attention readily. "Are they together? Wherever they are?" The answer to this may or may not be concerning.

"Soundwave's been on this since we launched," Rodimus confirms with a nod at Hound. "He'd found Megatron's armor recently, then his cannon -- and Optimus's gun. It was a nasty surprise." His tone is open, frank as he admits that, his hands widening before coming back in, his body language drawing determined. "They followed that to the source and found Primalists again, emBer, a fringe worshipper of the Guiding Hand -- who had seen them both, being rebuilt by the Hand. We don't know how they ended up in their control, but they need to be rescued. We weren't clear of the nature of the traps, because--." He breaks off, his expression profoundly sheepish. "Uh. Visions were involved. So obviously we're going in expecting a trap. We've been told that the Guiding Hand wants them to fight Unicron, which -- makes a lot of sense. Could've been Harbingers that have trapped them."

Bulkhead tries to keep the twist of a grimace subtle. Soundwave, and Megatron. That's not what he wants to know, and neither does he care. He's quiet a moment anyway, chewing on all of this new information. "Prime's gun? I can imagine. He'd never leave that behind." Bulkhead pops the remainder of his donut into his mouth to chew more literally and give himself even more time to think about this. It's a lot! "You learned about this through visions? What sort of visions? Have you tried to trace their source?" Does Perceptor know? Perceptor probably knows. Again, Bulk forces himself to pull back, to not get carried away in his questions, and slowly finishes, "So we're goin' into a trap to pull 'em out. Alright. Anything else we should know before we do?"

Arrow's plan to sneak in and quietly grab an armful of enerdonuts to eat instead of refueling with proper rations is thwarted by the lingering bodies near said snack table. He's here for the snacks, really, but there's no subtle way to take that many snacks when there's autobots and decepticons milling nearby. He's heard the announcement, everyone has, and he's about to dismiss the Q&A as not worth bothering with- faction stuff is faction stuff and Arrow hasn't bothered with trying to keep up with the war since he left home- when emBer's name gets brought up. That gets his attention easily enough.

emBer, the visions, Primalists, this sounds like everything Arrow's been poking at for the past few weeks to see what snaps back. Looks like he's found his reason to stick around he takes a bite of a powdery pastry and then starts to talk, like a horrifically rude gremlin. "Like if we're fighting weird tentacled Quintessons or something? That'd be nice to know- that, and how these Visions are even happening?"

"They're in the same situation," Hound answers Skystalker more directly, "But we won't know if they're together other than what those visions have supposedly revealed." He's still skeptical here, unlike some members of command, at least. "We're going into a lot of unknowns but it's a risk we'll have to take in this situation." His panels are lying more flat now, but aside from some slightly tense posture Hound is managing to keep his professionalism together and not growl or anything.

"Comms and the science team are working on it," Rodimus says with a nod at Bulkhead. He flicks his eyes up and then back down in a barely perceptible roll that the lensed brightness mostly hides: "Their purported source is the Guiding Hand, and those who experience them certainly seem to find them spark-altering." His tone is dry enough to evaporate an ocean.

"The -- uh, Quintessons," Rodimus says, repeating the name carefully, as one might any strange word, "are also supposed to be Servants of the Guiding Hand working alongside Cybertronians calling themselves Knights of the Guiding Hand." He spreads his hands in a 'yay'. "So fighting with, not against, if you get me. I guess. If there are even more than two of them in the universe. Not confirmed, mind you. Hound's right that there are a lot of unknowns -- but considering who we're talking about, it's mostly either go into it with our eyes open or sit here and watch half the crew cash in all of their vacation time at once."

They don't get vacation time.

The information that Skystalker gets directly from Rodimus' mouth give him some context for the behaviors he has heard about of late; of course, he does not mention them here, but there is definitely a personalized sort of glimmer of interest in those eyes.

Visions. More of them. A troubled expression sits firm on Skystalker as the details come. The Hand. Or... Whatever they might be, now? Primalists. But they have both of them, and that bodes ill for everything. "We've flown into traps before." Muffled sounds have him glancing over to the table again, amber optics alighting on Arrow and his terrible manners. Bulkhead voices some questions on the nature of visions, and Hound draws his audials and gaze when he gets some more answers. "It sounds like it..."

Skystalker looks somewhat guilty when Rodimus talks about visions. He didn't have one like that, but, he was still at the sparkfield and had -something- happen. Maybe it's related.

There's the flicker of a smile over his faceplates, Arrow's antics drawing Bulkhead back from the sourness in his mood. He oh-so-subtly slides over toward the small jet, a cloth appearing from a hip compartment to be held in Arrow's direction. Wipe your damn mouth. "But we're working on it," Bulkhead echoes, turning his attention back to Rodimus and Hound. Science team, in fact, which means he can sidle in on that, when he's not poking at the remains of the Matrix. Probably why he hadn't heard anything about it yet. "Well, guess I can't say I expected to get better odds than that when it came to finding Optimus. If the Quintessons are involved, I wouldn't mind running into them, anyway. Maybe they could give us a few answers to another mystery." His optics flick between the two command members. "When do we leave?"

Arrow blinks as the cloth is nudged into his field of view. What- ugh, fine, he wipes his face and takes away a good portion of the sticky-sweet mess of enerdonut powder. Good enough, right? He shuts his mouth and just listens to the back and forth, trying to take it all in. Hard to get fired up when he doesn't have a... what's the earth term? Horse in the race?

"Into and out of," Rodimus says with a double fingergun at Skystalker. He gives Bulkhead a rueful look, and says, "Soon as we make sure it's not just a giant bomb ready to go off when we approach. Nav's scouting out the location, working off a star map that Soundwave provided. Couple of likely spots. Just figuring out which one."

Whisper has not taken a donut. Her hands are braced against the back of one of the seats, her wingspan spread wide, her feet planted. She has been watching, silent, this whole time; there's very little notable about that, as she is usually silent and her gaze rarely wavers. The pinch of her frown lingers in the plating above the bright glare of her visor and in the downward turn of her mouth.

"It's not a trap if we know it's a trap," Hound says wryly. He's quoting, of course. "That's the theory, anyway. We're preparing already for something to go wrong we just need to be sure we're taking care of the most likely problems." He has to shrug a little, because there are so many that they can't really do all of it.

"Yes. Into and out of." Skystalker can't hide a smile in the face of double fingerguns, the expression a little weary but at the same time accepting of the levity. Ah, good ol' fingerguns. "So, saying we actually are able to help them and get out... what's next? What ...happens then?" What happens to all of this?

"That's fair." Bulkhead gives a bit of a crooked grin in return. "Can't prepare for everything, but it's good to have an idea of what we're gonna be up against before we charge in." Even if he would very, very much like to charge in, contrary to how he usually is. Side-glancing at Arrow, he can't help but try to rub a little more donut powder off of his face, glancing to Skystalker. He's very much interested in the answer to that question, too.

Arrow takes one step away as Bulkhead goes for the face. He's not an invalid! "And we should be prepped for the reactions on Cybertron, and on the ship especially, when both of the big dudes of the war come back." Just because he doesn't have a horse in the race doesn't mean no one else does. Then a slightly more silly thought comes to the fore. "If they're still them, I mean, with body doubles running around maybe they're not gonna be them..."

"I don't know. This gets tricky," Rodimus admits after a slow pause, "as both sides have, since the wars end, called for the other side's leader to be put on trial. Starscream is aware of this -- and his media team is racing to get ahead of our next transmission to Cybertron. Right now, no one's calling for a trial. The fact that Cybertron was infiltrated by a Harbinger at the highest level has brought the threat home for him, and the colonies have been all-in for a while. So first we take care of Unicron, and we're bringing back two of our biggest guns, here."

This is where Hound crosses his arms over his chassis, shifting in his seat as Rodimus answers and frowning. "As long as we continue to work together, Rodimus is right that Unicron is the biggest threat," he agrees. "And if they're doubles... I think we'll find out pretty quickly."

Skystalker is patient for the answer to this, knowing it's a lingering issue and that the others must be wondering too. The answer itself sounds like a lot of politics-- which isn't far from the truth. They do need to handle Unicron first. Running like this, fighting like this-- it's not doing a lot. "I'm just...concerned. About the impact that their rescue will have on the crew." As a neutral, it's unrsurprising. As Skystalker, even moreso. He wants to believe that they have been a crew long enough. He looks to Hound, giving the other commander a thin smile. "Truth."

"If they make it as far as the ship, we have the scanners that will single them out, too." Bulkhead gives Arrow a very pointed look before tucking the cloth away again. Alright, you're not an invalid, but he and his wipes are gonna be here just in case anyway. "So we'll be shelving the issue until Unicron's taken care of, and dealing with it then." He's fine with that, considering he's fairly certain Megatron will be the one on said trial. "Gives us time to discuss our options." His attention slides back to Skystalker, his knee-jerk reaction being to shout that particular concern down - how could he question the good of having Optimus Prime back? He swallows that, and says instead, "We've come a long way to keep this crew together. Skystalker' a point. Having them back could change that balance."

"So am I. But leave them isn't an option," Rodimus says, turning his hands down in a quelling gesture. "We bring them home, we make sure they're safe, and we work the rest out from there. The council's still deciding whether or not to save a seat for them at the table. One part war crimes, one part war leaders." He weighs his hands. "The question's not up to us -- and it's not even up to me. I know people have opinions, and you'll want to raise them in the right directions: Autobot High Command, Decepticon High Command, or the leaders of your colonies." He pauses. "Or Starscream."

Whisper bows her head slightly, a deepening frown's aspect to her expression. Her visor flicks across in Skystalker's direction, and then she turns her gaze back to Rodimus. Her thumb slides thoughtfully over the lines of her badge that mark her on her chest as one of Megatron's. "So Deathsaurus is aware of our mission?" she asks.

"I suppose for me that means Starscream." Skystalker can't help but laugh, lifting a hand to hold his forehead a moment. Sigh. He seems eased somewhat by Rodimus' answer. This is effectively his home, and, well-- he doesn't want it torn apart. Unicron is bad enough, but what if they win and have to deal with the war all over? "Thank you for your answer, Rodimus." Skystalker makes sure to voice his feeling just for its recipient. Even captains need some bolstering, such as it is.

Placing his hands together in a gesture of apology, Rodimud dips his head to Skystalker in an almost bow. Laughter gleams in his eyes as he lifts them from beneath the brow of his helm. "I'm so sorry." The laughter fades to a more serious look as he nods to Whisper. "Deathsaurus was the first person I informed." Small text: before Starscream.

"Understood." Time to talk to Prowl, for him, then. Bulkhead's sure Prowl already is well aware of this, and likely coming up with plans for infiltrating and rescuing Optimus as they spoke. ...Maybe he oughta bring the guy some enercoffee, after he leaves. "Yeah, Rod. Thanks for the Q&A." He'll go quiet again for a bit, to watch this little interaction between Rodimus and Whisper.

Arrow can feel his spark trying to strangle itself at the idea of bringing anything up to Starscream. Lanarq has no representative- not unless it's him, and there's no way he's taking up responsibility for that place. There's no way he's talking to the legendary second in command of the decepticons. Not a fragging chance. He scowls his way through another enerdonut instead. Pastries will console him.

Tilting her head thoughtfully, Whisper stands there for an extended moment. She continues to rub at her badge as though something about it bothers her, and then her hand closes into a fist and drops to her side. Her chin lifts. "The Decepticon Justice Division declared us all traitors for being here, even Soundwave for leading us," she says quietly, factually. It is more words than most people have heard her speak at once, really. Her visored gaze is steady upon Rodimus as she asks, "What will you do if Megatron does the same?"

"That," Hound says, looking at Whisper, "is probably a question you should approach Deathsaurus and Soundwave with first, since they're more likely to know about... his reaction." Saying Megatron's name is too much for Hound, apparently, as his helm panels already flatten down at saying it. "Considering how we've already dealt with the DJD's claims, though, I can't imagine we'll be handing others over."

"Punch him," Rodimus says immediately, before his brain has time to provide any input on the question.

Bulkhead makes an harsh noise that might be a sneeze. Or it might be a loud, explosive laugh that he's just attempted to stifle with the hand now clapped over his mouth. Either or.

Whisper turns a look upon Hound that is difficult to read; a canted head, a tightening of her mouth. She tilts it forward, and the settles her weight back. Her glance flicks back to Rodimus, head lifting with a banner's flagging rise. Her wings lift, fans coursing to life in a little rush of air. The tightness of her mouth eases. She looks thoughtful. She says nothing.

Skystalker doesn't accept the apology for the neutral leader being Starscream. It's too much. They really need someone on the ground. He stands from his seat to move to Hound's side in silence, putting a hand out to the green mech's arm just as Rodimus answers. Bulkhead laughs, but Skystalker just snorts.

Skystalker's hand on Hound's arm earns him a brief smile from Hound, who relaxes somewhat from the contact. His teeth aren't grinding any more, at least, and the panels on his helm aren't pressed as flat as he briefly puts his hand over Skystalker's in a gesture of thanks. Still, he'll fall silent for the rest of the meeting, out of a combination of a lack of information to share and a desire to rein himself in before he growls something regretful.

Rodimus might regret his answer shortly after speaking, but no one immediately mutinies, so he relaxes. He moves for the snacks table with a clasp of Whisper's shoulder as he passes, and calls back over his shoulder, "Any other questions, you guys know where to find me. We're making sure on this one. It's important. And I know it's important to you." Then, with a fingergun, he loses himself to donuts.

Skystalker is more than happy to offer Hound and his new, angrier emotions something to grip onto; he's aware of this new role of his more and more, and often just a moment of touch can help. Hound is too nice to deserve those angry feelings! He'll remain there while the meeting wraps up and people polish off the munchies while casually discussing the future of things.

Whisper looks up at Rodimus in a slight startle as he touches her, her wings wiggling in a little controlled startle. Then she turns her head, returning her thoughtful glance along the others present. It seems that if she has any other questions, she is content to let others speak for the rest of the night. Not shocking.

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