2018-01-12 Oops

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Date 2018/01/12
Location Lost Light - Command: Soundwave's Office
Participants Rodimus, Soundwave
Summary So, about that cool artifact trick Soundwave can do--.

"Hold still. Soundwave, tell him to hold still or I'll stick somthing I shouldn't," Glit says, smacking a paw against Rodimus's arm and attempting to hold it down.

Soundwave looks over at Rodimus from where he's connecting monitors into the big terminal in his office. Glit is connected the monitors to Rodimus. Rumble is punching a chair on the other side of the room. "Rodimus, be still. These precautions for your own safety."

"I'm holding still!" Rodimus insists even as he squirms to try to get comfortable again. He is not holding still. He looks toward Rumble for sympathy where Glit and Soundwave have none. Come on, Rumble, back him up: holding still sucks.

The paw on his arm is enough for Glit to hold Rodimus's arm at least kind of still, even if the rest of him re-angles to try to get a look at the screen of Soundwave's terminal. "This is really complicated."

Rodimus looks to Rumble says, "Need me to hold him down, Glit?" He sounds way too eager to rough house the Captain.

Glit gets the last monitor attached at last and hops down with a flick of his tail. He looks to be delighted to be done with that. "These will monitor vitals and the terminal with record the data for later review. It is important that we take every measure to make sure nothing goes wrong," Soundwave tells Rodimus, leaving the terminals to sit across from him. His cords unspool, connecting his own monitors to himself. "You still want to do this, Rodimus?"

Rodimus hisses and then says, "Traitor," as Rumble takes Glit's side. He contains his sulk to a momentary twitch of his spoiler back and down.

Watching Soundwave as he takes the same precautions, Rodimus sighs himself into a slouch. "I get it, I do, this is just taking a while and I'm starting to get a little freaked out by it," he admits, starting with honesty. He looks from Soundwave's cords to meet the blank gaze of his screen and summon a smile: halved, a little wry, but genuine. "I still want to do it, though. What do I need to do?"

"Apologies," Soundwave says. "Not attempting to 'freak you out.' This is unusual and unconventional..." Having hooked himself up, the cords lift to let him better view the ends. One hovers over by Rodimus. "The Quintesson and I simply connected... Appendages. I'm unsure how to proceed with a Cybertronian... Do you have any connector ports? I have several along my arms, legs, torso, neck, and helm."

"I know you're not. Doesn't mean I'm not still freaked out anyway." Rodimus watches as one of the cords slithers over in his direction; he reaches out -- not quite touching it, but clearly, wordlessly asking if he can. "Yeah, sure." He glances at Soundwave, doing a poor job of trying to disguise his attempts to find where the ports must be on Soundwave's frame, even as he turns up his arm and transforms back a segment of the armor high on the inside of his lower arm. "I'm not sure calling them appendages makes it any better. I'm not sure anything makes it any better."

Soundwave can empathize. Urkelex freaked him out right before ticking him off. The tentacle slides forward, into Rodimus's touch, and tries curling around his wrist. "I have come to that conclusion already. Which is why I refer to them as appendages," he informs Rodimus. The other cord slithers over to hover around the connection Rodimus offers, biolights rippling. But he hesitates. "Rodimus, ready?"

"Dunno," Rodimus admits, then gives Soundwave a wide grin. "Not like that's ever stopped me." He reaches with his other hand to take the end of the cord in hand and help guide it into place with all the certainty of a ground frame who looks at a meteor falling out of the sky and says, 'That looks fun'. Who cares if it's dangerous and he's not sure what'll happen and it might be a really terrible idea in the first place? LET'S GO.

"Rodimus, that is not necessary," Soundwave intones, not needing the guidance but he doesn't particularly fight it either. He cycles a tense vent, fingers curling with the cord so close. From end of the cable comes half a dozen smaller sensory feelers that sink into Rodimus's connector before tugging and- The connection completes and Soundwave steps into Rodimus's mind.

It might be necessary for Rodimus, though. He gives Soundwave a last smile, then, as the connection is made, goes blank with distraction as his focus turns elsewhere. Here's hoping Rumble doesn't take advantage of this to paint rude things on him anywhere. Anything but a mustache.

There's an expected sense of chaos as Soundwave connects. What else would Rodimus's thoughts be but disordered? But it's not quite a messy chaos: it's the chaos of life, not ruin.

There's a slight resistance that gives way, allowing Soundwave forward. It's clear -- and he may want to make a note -- that it would definitely not be this easy if someone was actively resisting him. Rather than resisting, Rodimus is reaching out to draw Soundwave forward until they stand opposite each other watching the moment before Rodimus arrived, just minutes ago. Rodimus stands outside the door to Soundwave's office and hesitates.

Watching himself, Rodimus laughs: "Oh, awkward. Not like you didn't know I was there, anyway."

Soundwave is too busy looking around to really note the 'awkward' Rodimus mentions. Its quieter here, everything from before now muted. Like he's sub-merged. He moves his limbs experimentally. It feels like he has a body here. But he doesn't. Very odd, very unusual. "This is not like the Quintesson," he observes before the screen of his face turns to... The other Rodimus. Memory Rodimus. "Query: why are we viewing this memory? Are you thinking of this memory currently? Can you change it?" Beat. "Would you wish to try and change it?"

"Way cooler than the Quint, right?" Rodimus watches himself square his shoulders and push forward, spoiler angled with a determinedly upbeat confidence. The fresh memory replays with the near-crystal clarity of recent reality. "I dunno. I guess I was thinking about not being sure. Uhm. Yeah, let me just--."

The scene breaks up around them before Rodimus and Rumble's first rude exchange: not maliciously so, but they both tend to play rough. The shuttle bay slots in as Soundwave's office fades away, filling in pieces and chunks as various bit of memory activate and different datablocks load. Windblade and Soundwave's shuttle has just landed, and Rodimus is dashing his way in. The memory's tagged heavily with emotion: doubt, regret, breaking into relief as the two exit. Concern that sharpens as Rodimus takes in the anger of Soundwave's body language. There's another memory cross-referenced with this one, tagged with Penchant.

"Far more enjoyable," Soundwave confirms, moving closer to the memory Rodimus. Hmmm... Then he watches everything change. So smoothly, like they're in a transforming room. It expands and bridge details melt into shuttles. Amazing. He looks to Rodimus before walking to this memory Rodimus. He reaches out to experimentally try touching that spoiler.

"The setting changes based on your recollection," Soundwave muses out loud, watching everything with sharp focus. He looks over himself- so angry- when he detects the cross-reference. "I am about to test something," he warns before attempting to pull up the memory tagged with Penchant, curious if he's able to manipulate this enviroment.

<FS3> Soundwave rolls Telepathy: Good Success. (3 6 6 8 3 5 1 8 8 1 4 2 6 6 3 6)

As Soundwave reaches for the memory of Rodimus, he passes through with no more than a ripple in reality: light bends, just as it might with water, hitting a different refractory index. Behind, watching them, the true Rodimus has to still a twitch of his spoiler into a slight shiver. There's no true transfer of sensation, but he can certainly imagine it. While there's no haptic feedback in the touch, Soundwave gets a more detailed glimpse of Rodimus's thoughts at the time and the emotional context for it. Doubt in his calls as a leader, regret he sent them in to danger -- had to send them into danger? even now, he still believes that, and relief that they are back.

As Soundwave reaches for the memory of Penchant, Rodimus starts forward with a, "Test wha--." The sound clips off as the image around them ripples away into one where Rodimus's spoiler, that same spoiler Soundwave just tried to touch, being bent forward by a Legislator before he's shaken. Penchant stands angry at the Legislator's feet, accusing Rodimus of sending Soundwave on a suicide mission, an accusation that Rodimus naturally denies. By the time the memory solidifies, the Legislator is face-planting Rodimus into the deck, and the real Rodimus groans: "Oh, frag, this is embarrasing."

Watch, as Rodimus gets his ass kicked by one of Soundwave's cassettes.

The emotional context for this memory is much more volatile, rapidly shifting from surprise to anger as his movements are constricted in the memory.

Soundwave takes a step back, shoulder cannon readying at the sight of the Legislator despite how it wouldn't do much of anything. He has to pause at the realization that Penchant is doing this. To the Captain. He glances at Rodimus and then back. "I did not know this had happened..." He's been busy though. He moves back to Rodimus's side as he watched his past self get totally wrekt'd.

"... This would explain why he had returned filthy the other night." Soundwave vents. He'll... Talk to Penchant about this later. He's got Fatherly Disappointment. "But now we know I can pull up memory files even if you do not... All of these files, detailed. Query, can you bring up an older file? Perhaps there's physical signs of decay... Perhaps on Cybertron?" He looks to Rodimus, almost eagerly. This is fun, right?

"It's fine. I dealt with it. Punishment duty," Rodimus says, his words clipped as he watches himself totally fail to escape the Legislator's grasp.

Rodimus scrambles to pull up something, anything else. Old, Cybertron: Nyon.

The scene with Penchant cuts just as those first markers of doubt begin to appear, Penchant's words driving home with far more force than the Legislator's hands: maybe Rodimus agreed too readily, maybe his reasons for agreeing weren't the best, maybe his judgment is bad, maybe he was failing as a leader.

Then it's gone, and the muted, worn hues of the Rust Narrows spread to the horizon. It smears with watercolor softness, lacking the crispness of the more recent memories. Rodimus relaxes into the comfort of a home long-gone. The memory has been revisited often enough to accumulate a wealth of newer emotional data tags, layering in complex shadings of bittersweet memory. It's more a memory of setting, of place, than of any event in particular. Rodimus doesn't seem to be aware of it, but as he revisits the memory, the frame of his mental self alters to the older form. He looks over at Soundwave (and up a little farther than he's used to) and accuses without heat, "You're enjoying this, aren't you?" Ignore Rodimus's smile.

Soundwave almost chuckles, looking at Rodimus. "Perhaps a bit, Hot Rod," he says, tone flat but... But maybe, just maybe. He's teasing Rodimus. He places a hand on Rodimus's far less spikey helm as he looks around. "This is Nyon? Your home?" He never really got to see Cybertron, too busy being a prisoner of the system and a Senator. "I remember being here in the early war. Zeta was still Prime... You remember it well for so long ago." Even with the fuzzing. Hmm, he wonders if he can... He mentally reaches out, trying to see if he can manipulate the memory enough to delete a wall.

<FS3> Soundwave rolls Telepathy: Great Success. (4 8 3 7 3 5 3 5 5 7 4 3 7 3 2 6)

RODIMUS, not HOT ROD, starts to prickle at being called by the WRONG NAME, but the hand on his head stills him. He's so easily placated by touch. He still glares, mind you, but at least he doesn't tantrum. "Yeah. This is the Rust Narrows, one of the major streets in Nyon -- which probably tells you about everything you need to know about the city." Rust Narrows isn't exactly a name that suggests grandeur or luxury.

Rodimus is studying the blurred hints of movement, a suggestion of the lives that once lived here, when the wall winks out. He goes stiff suddenly under Soundwave's hand: aware that something has changed, but unable to tell quite what. What wall? There was never a wall there. He doesn't remember it. But something changed. Anger and fear swirl a sudden, volatile combustion, and Soundwave's name is a demand for an explanation: "Soundwave?"

"Nyon, more lively than Dead End," Soundwave notes. But its like comparing a rusted bolt and some literal garbage- not much to compare really. His shoulders lift in accomplishment when the wall disappears. He remembers it being there. And now it is gone. He only, very briefly, considers the novel idea of being able to delete memories and not just tear them apart. It disappears quickly with the sudden wave of heat. Anger.

Soundwave's hand draws away and he looks to Rodimus in the guise of Hot Rod for a lengthy moment. "All is well, Rodimus. It was a small edit. Unimportant detail." He attempts to change the Nyon around them to one at a later date, perhaps to distract from what he did.

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Sw=telepathy Vs Rodimus=presence+presence
<       Sw: Good Success (1 8 6 6 6 5 8 6 6 8 1 3 1 6 5 6)          Rodimus: Failure (4 1 3 6 4 6 6 3 4 6)
<               Net Result: Sw wins - Solid Victory

Shaken by the sense of wrongness, Rodimus entirely fails to stop Soundwave. Soundwave's able to pull them forward through the years as the streets empty and the lights dim. Zeta's taken the citizens off the streets to turn them into little more than batteries, quite literally bleeding the poor dry, and they can only watch as Hot Rod and his rebels fight to get people out, to strike back. They plant bombs through the city, turning even their own home into a weapon.

Rodimus isn't so easily manipulated. He's deeply, profoundly unnerved, and he grabs hold of the heat of anger over cold fear: "What did you do?"

This... Was not the memory he was wanting. This is more difficult to control that he first thought. Soundwave bristles at the reminder of the destruction a Prime brings about but again Rodimus gets his attention. Easily so. He shifts on his cloven feet to face the flame decal'd mech. "It was just a wall. An unimportant wall. I wanted to delete it and... Succeeded." Beat. "I should have asked. I wasn't sure I would succeed- it was only a wall. A single wall. Nothing more, Rodimus."

Rodimus steps back as Soundwave turns. With Rodimus crammed into Hot Rod's slighter frame, Soundwave ... looms. He's taller than expected, and all of that danger that Rodimus has so casually dismissed as familiarity becomes friendship becomes fondness comes rushing back. Rodimus's memory throws flags of a dozen, a hundred times he's faced down a larger threat. Often foolishly. One memory, particularly strong, fights its way to the top of the queue past the memories of Omega Destructors, which play out around them.

The Destructors tear into Nyon, their weapons powered by its citizens. Buildings fall, and dusty and smoke ash the air.

"I don't know," Rodimus says, fighting to keep his voice level. "How can I know you're telling the truth about that? You didn't ask!" The angles of his frame begin to shift, less boxy, sharper, hinting toward a Hot Rod of Earth-based alt-mode. "You don't get to decide what's important to me!"

Soundwave looks towards their changing enviroment but not long. It's impossible to ignore Rodimus and his bristle makes the larger Con pull back. Uncertainty curves the angle of his shoulder and he brings up his servos, fingers spreading. Trying to calm, reassure. Placate. "Rodimus, I would not decieve you. This experience new to me as well, I didn't-- I should have asked. I will ask, I apologize."

Rodimus would really like to believe that. He searches Soundwave's features -- such as they are -- looking for something he can trust. Around them, the city detonates. The light of the explosion washes everything out into a white nothingness, while the sound deafens anything that Rodimus might have said. Death, the memory is tagged. Death, death, death.

As awarenes settles back in again, the quiet, dark surroundings are -- at first -- hard to place. It's a Decepticon base. Soundwave knows this base. He even knows it well, from those lean, hard years, as Megatron was rebuilt and the Decepticons turned in on themselves, desperate to survive under Starscream's Matrix-addled leadership.

Just a few steps away stands Megatron opposite Hot Rod, no farther apart than Soundwave and Rodimus now. Hot Rod holds the Matrix up, swirling with light, in the frozen moment moment before Megatron blasts Hot Rod straight through a wall and into space.

Then, silence. Then, nothing.

Again, still impossible to look away from Rodimus. Nothing could draw him away. Nothing could pull him from the throes of trying to assure Rodimus and gain some meager forgiveness. Nothing-- except Megatron. And there he is. The dark frame he had designed with Shockwave. Built so slowly from the last of the materials. No Hand or Quintesson manipulating him. Just Megatron... And Rodimus. He knows this, he- oh no.

It's a memory but it feels so real. He peels away from his Rodimus, jerking towards the younger, smaller Rod. But it's too late, by several years, and he stiffens as Megatron... As Rodimus... Soundwave rocks on his feet, distressed. No, no. He tries to hijack control again, change the memory. Change it to something different! Change it, get rid of it! Something! Anything!

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Sw=telepathy Vs Rodimus=presence+presence
<       Sw: Amazing Success (7 4 7 7 3 8 3 8 7 5 7 2 6 7 8 7)          Rodimus: Great Success (2 1 8 1 8 5 3 7 8 1)
<               Net Result: Sw wins - Crushing Victory

Rodimus fights Soundwave this time, grabbing hold if the memory with two metaphorical hands and trying to freeze the moment -- but even here, in his own mind, Soundwave wins.

The memory tears around them, and in place of stark silence is left gentler quiet and a hint of ash in the air. The cold ruins of Nyon stand around them. Not quite a memory, so much as root, grounding identity.

This place is... It's nothing and its better. Much better. Soundwave relaxes, clenching and unclenching his servos. He cycles a vent- a mental heave- and turns back to Rodimus. Relief. "I can push that back," he offers. "As I did with Drift. You shouldn't think about it." Rodimus does not look relieved. He looks restless, and angry because it's easier than being scared. He's solidly back in his current frame, at least, memory-shadows of identity fallen away. There's a growl in his voice that calls thunder to the far edges of the sky: "Push what back, exactly? I shouldn't think about it?"

"What we just saw- what you just remembered," Soundwave replies, voice forever even. He moves closer, lifting a palm. "You shouldn't have to relive that. I can bury it. To help."

Rodimus's lips split, teeth bared -- and blunted. Where Soundwave steps delicately around naming it, he strikes ruthlessly: "Don't touch my memory of the moment Megatron killed me."

Soundwave's foot slides back with the strike... And then raises himself up in retaliation. "I would not change it! But why- it pains you! You-- I can just tug it down." Make it less fresh than how it feels now. It'd be easy... Maybe he won't even notice.

"A lot of things pain me, Soundwave." Rodimus throws a gesture at the landscape around them: "You think this makes me happy?" He steps forward, closing the distance between them aggressively. "It would be simpler, wouldn't it, if you could just -- tug it down a little. Blunt the edges. Trim it back, here and there. Soften it. Make sure maybe I'm not so angry about it, that I won't stand in your way the next time you go to him. Nothing malicious, of course. Just simpler. Better." He lifts his head as he stares up at Soundwave. "I bet you'd have done good work in the Institute."

Soundwave stands straighter as Rodimus approaches, armor flaring with every word. "You think- You believe I would do any of that to you? After everything I've been subjected to... What we have done together- and you..." He draws back sharply. "You think I'd shadowplay you? That is an Autobot trick. Autobot from any universe. But you do not see me trying to stop you from going to Optimus despite that. Despite how he nearly killed me! Would you like to see that? Or perhaps any instance of my own suffering and try not to think of ways to help something that has already happened." He has no teeth to gnash but his voice snaps like an autotuned crack of the whip.

"You already did, Soundwave! You reached out and you changed my memories because you could, because you wanted to see what would happen. You didn't ask." Rodimus breaks off, then pushes forward again, even angrier as he says, "I would have let you!" He moves forward until there's barely any space between them. The ground shifts beneath Rodimus's feet with his movements, rising where he steps, lifting him to hold Soundwave's gaze from a more level footing.

"I didn't-!" Soundwave flinches back and away when Rodimus thrusts himself forward, even in his face. He takes a moment to settle and slowly stand again. "... It was a mistake. I was excited and did not think- Rodimus, I'm sorry. I wouldn't do that... Not on purpose. Not like they would have."

The anger drains from Rodimus, but in its wake he's left wounded, spark-sick and spark-sore. "Disconnect us."

Soundwave looks away and doesn't say anything as everything around him begings to fade and then goes to black as he disconnects. His head lifts as he comes back to, the feelers receeding back into his tentacle... Which has really looped around Rodimus. The other one too. A tangle of tentacles.

Rumble tromps over. "What happened? Was it cool? You two aren't processor damaged now right?" He plays it off as a joke but sounds concerned. Glit watches from the terminal, white tail flicking.

When Rodimus's eyes brighten to see the looping coil of Soundwave's tentacles wrapped around him, he laughs. Once. It's an empty sound. He stands, and waits with the expectation that they will withdraw. He moves stiffly, still settling back into his frame.

"We're good. It was fine. Super enlightening. I learned a lot." There's an edge beneath his words, and it would be easy for Rumble to read it as an edge turned on Soundwave. Attuned as he is to the sound of Rodimus's thoughts, the tight wind of Soundwave's cords allowing him to hear that much more clearly, it's obvious to Soundwave, at least, that Rodimus saves most of the blame for himself. For forgetting. Maybe for trusting. Definitely for being stupid.

Soundwave doesn't answer Rumble, carefully detangling his tentacles while the Cassette bounces from foot to food. Its not until the full length of cord is back under his armor that he reaches out to place a servo on Rumble. He's okay, calm down. Glit struts over and starts disconnecting them from monitors.

"... Rodimus, I am not..." Soundwave's vocalizer fizzles, struggling for a word. "Don't do this, it was one mistake."

In his impatience to get free, Rodimus moves to help Glit, reaching to disconnect the leads and hand them over. Mostly without ruining anything! "Thanks," he says in a low voice as Glit helps. He looks back over at Soundwave, studying him, and he's struggling for any words, at a loss. Finally, he just says, "I'll talk to you tomorrow."

Soundwave stares for a long, drawn out minute... And then looks away. "Yes, Captain," he intones, gathering Glit into his lap. He signals the door open for Rodimus and says nothing else.

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