2018-01-13 Boff, James Boff

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Boff, James Boff
Date 2018/01/13
Location Hound's Office
Participants Blast Off, Hound, Deathsaurus
Summary Wilderness of mirrors so easy to deceive

My precious sense of rightness is sometimes so naive

So that which I imagine is that which I believe

Hound's office is blocked off into three sections. The first, at the back, is cordoned off by a sliding screen, beyond which one might see a berth and a small footlocker. That area is otherwise spartan, and most of the room is taken up by the other two sections.

The right side from the door has been filled with plants. Some hang from the ceiling in baskets, others rest on the floor or the tables in pots and planters. The corner is filled with a small stack of mech-sized gardening tools.

On the left, the room is dominated by a large desk, set up facing the door. The surface is half-covered in stacks of datapads, but a few scuffs show on the surface here and there, despite someone's attempts to paint them over. A few chairs are arranged in front of the desk to give visitors a place to sit.

There's a time to think, to plan, to sort one's thoughts out. To search your spark and decide where you really stand on an issue and what you're willing to do to achieve your goals or obtain the future you desire. To decide how important the past is to you and whether it will lead to the future you want- for yourself and others. Blast Off has been doing all of these things ever since he returned from Cybertron- and his unexpected meeting with Megatron. He has done all these things, but now, he has decided, it is time for action. He's talked to his friends, seen Lieutenant's situation, even got drunk in a bout of nervous guilt, and now it's time to face the music, whatever that brings for him.

So. Blast Off sends a message, requesting a meeting with Hound and Deathsaurus at the same time. The Combaticon arrives at the scheduled time and place, his armor polished, standing neat and tall and as dignified as possible, entering Hound's office and trying not to twitch wing elevons or show other signs of nervousness. Times like this he's grateful to wear a faceplate that obscures his expressions.

Hound is of course in his office by the time Blast Off enters. It's no different from the usual look of his office, really-- the plants are in their corners, though the stack of datapads on his desk has been slightly lessened compared to previous heights. The most major thing Blast Off might notice is that there are a few extra chairs set up around Hound's desk, where he's sitting. His audials perk up as Blast Off comes in, and he straightens, nodding to the mech. "Blast Off. There's something you wanted to talk about?"

Deathsaurus and Blast Off had spoken at length a while ago, about Megatron and the future of the Decepticons and leadership and all of those fun topics. Honestly, the Decepticon commander enjoys those kind of talks, since he gets to expand on his own views of those topics, so different from Megatronic dogma. He could easily tell that Blast Off was torn about something, and assumed it was over whether he was going to remain on the Lost Light or flock to Megatron. Requesting a meeting with him and Hound leads him to expect, unfortunately, that it's the latter, so he enters Hound's office under a cloud. And having to tuck his wings a little. The office decor is interesting, and he takes it in for a quick moment before speaking. "Hound. Blast Off. Thank you for inviting me." He nonchalantly selects a chair and has a seat. It is, as always, just a little too small for him, and he's not sure what to do with his legs initially.

Blast Off comes to stand in front of Hound's desk, clasping his hands behind his back as he stands straight and militarily stanced. "Yes, Sir." As Deathsaurus enters, the Combaticon gives the Decepticon leader a respectful nod. "Thank you for coming, Sir." His entire manner remains quite military and proper. He waits for Deathsaurus to take a seat, before drawing in a vent of air as if bracing himself.

There's a slight pause, perhaps a mustering of courage, before he speaks. "I... I will get straight to the point. You may know I visited an old comrade on Cybertron recently. What I..." Here he seems to inwardly flinch again before continuing, "What I failed to mention upon my return is that I..." Swallow. "I was contacted there by Megatron." The last few words are pushed out fast as if to get them out there before he loses his nerve. He thinks to add on, "Unexpectedly... contacted. By Megatron."

Hound catches Deathsaurus looking around the office, but aside from some brief bristling that he forces down again, he doesn't react to it. He knows by now that the organics that he keeps are unusual to most Cybertronians, especially the Decepticons on the ship. But his office isn't the important thing here, nor is whatever opinion Deathsaurus may have of it. The important part is what Blast Off has to say.

And does he have something to say. Hound finds himself sitting up at his desk, looking at Blast Off with new concern as he goes into detail on what happened. His questions about what old comrade it is die rather quickly, as he gives Blast Off a searching look. "You don't sound particularly thrilled by that," he notes.

Ugh is the very first thought in Deathsaurus's mind. His own rendezvous with Megatron essentially shattered him, left him feeling unsure, unworthy, defeated without so much as a shot fired. The commander's cloud thickens, therefore, but he carries on, also not particularly thrilled about things. "What did you discuss."

Now one of Blast Off's wing elevons twitches despite his efforts as he glances to Hound. "Er. Well. Sir. It was *Megatron*. I'm not Starscream; I'm not Soundwave. It was certainly ...unexpected to have 'Lord Megatron' himself want an audience with... just... me. Especially now." He glances to Deathsaurus as he speaks. The shuttleformer again draws in a vent of air before continuing, his optics staring to shift downwards towards various plants or objects as he talks. "Again I'll get... straight to the point. Megatron wants me to spy on the Lost Light. To keep him informed on what is going on here. He said he has agents who will be in contact with me. I... don't know who. Yet."

Hound can't help his skeptical look. From the sound of it, his meeting with Megatron was hardly an audience. Maybe more of a lecture from the claimed leader of the Decepticons. The skepticism only grows considering how nervous the topic seems to be making Blast Off. He stays silent as he watches, unsure if support from an Autobot would encourage the spacer or only make him less willing to speak. The quiet only lasts until Blast Off finishes explaining, though, as Hound goes tense at the new revelation. "You're telling us this now, so I'm assuming that your answer to that is no."

Typical. So typical. Megatron continues to shove his loyal minions into harm's way. Certainly there was an "or else" clause to his "command", putting Blast Off into a similar position as himself, but without the leverage of an army behind him. Frustration is apparent in Deathsaurus's gritted dentae, but it may not be superficially clear where it's aimed. He shifts in his chair. "Well, Megatron's 'request' will not work out now, but what exactly did you tell Megatron?"

Hound's skeptical look isn't helping Blast Off's nervousness, no, but the shuttle can't really blame the Autobot, especially given how long it took Blast Off to actually *tell* them this. "No!" His words come flustered at first, violet optics meeting Hound's. "I mean...yes, my answer is 'no'. My.. my loyalty is to this ship." He swallows again, then turns to Deathsaurus. "Nothing important. I... don't believe. He did ask if I had..." His face seems to pinch slightly under that faceplate, "If I had lost command of Navigation and the Camien, Windblade, was now the new Intel Division head. I told him yes. I- I didn't tell him anything important, though. He asked if I still consider myself a Decepticon; he asked what the Decepticons on the Lost Light wanted. I told him we were seeking our future, that we want equality, that we are willing to work for that future."

Hound's armor flattens down as he listens, a concerned frown growing across his faceplate. Considering who Megatron is to the Decepticons, and how he is to them, this is probably the best possible result any of them could have hoped for in this situation, but it's still troubling. Is Blast Off the only one Megatron has done this to? Would the others even come forward? He feels out of his depth on this. This seems like the sort of job for Jazz, or for Soundwave. Not for him, when he's been a soldier and a scout for so long. Illusions and holograms he can do. Subterfuge isn't his forte. "Did he ask you to sabotage anything?" he asks, shoulders tense as he watches Blast Off.

"You misunderstand my question, Blast Off. I shall clarify." Deathsaurus remains calmer, internally, than Hound. Surely there are other Decepticons they don't know about who have been approached for this task, others who they may never know about. That's the nature of espionage. But they know about Blast Off. "He asked you to spy for him. You say your answer is 'no', but what was the answer you spoke to Megatron? I have a guess, judging on the lack of a hole in your chest, but I do hope it's wrong."

Blast Off meets Hound's gaze. "No. He said he'd have some of his agents contact me. He... He said he had means of communication that Soundwave cannot detect." Megatron vs. Soundwave, and here Blast Off finds himself in the middle of it. "I... I don't know the extent of his plans. I suppose if I gave him good information I might be asked to do more."

The shuttleformer turns his focus back to the Decepticon Commander. Again he vents in, bracing himself for what he might be getting himself into. Standing straight and military enough to make Onslaught proud, Blast Off answers, "...I simply told him, 'Understood'. I... I didn't tell him 'no' to his face. As far as I know, he'll be sending those agents to contact me sometime soon, believing I am a spy. For him."

Hound darts a look in Deathsaurus's direction. He thinks he can tell where this line of questioning is going, but it doesn't seem like a good one to him. "That's probably for the best," he says quickly. "This way we can actually control what Megatron gets out of us. If he decides Blast Off isn't saying enough, he might demand someone else spy... but we have former spies and spymasters on this ship. They know what to do about... feeding misinformation. Hiding the truth. That kind of thing."

Deathsaurus smiles, grimly. "A sliver. The thinnest sliver. I applaud your attempt, but it doesn't seem to matter for the here and now, because Megatron heard 'yes', so you're forced into his game. If he'd heard 'no', you may not be alive right now, so I cannot fault you for your strategy." Hound's suggestions are met with agreement. "I'm happy to assign some of my staff to assisting in the counterespionage mission. However, Soundwave and his minions are more than capable, despite Megatron's claim of being able to sneak communications around him. That won't last." The Decepticon commander leans forward, rear legs of his chair lifting precariously. "The question now, Blast Off, is how long and how deeply you're willing to play this game." He could ask more questions about his loyalties, but Blast Off's demeanor gives him enough information to pass on them for now.

Blast Off looks from one to the other, his optics glancing down as Deathsaurus comments on how a *no* could well have introduced a giant fusion-cannon-shaped hole in his chest. He's right, and that fact hadn't escaped the Combaticon at the time. Though the entire reason was more complex than just that. He looks up, nodding slowly as they speak. At the final question his chin lifts and Blast Off's violet optics take on a somewhat brighter, deeper color.

He swallows again, then answers very clearly. "As long and deeply as it takes to see that future I want. That... *we* want. I.." The shuttleformer's head tilts slightly as he deliberates on how to express himself best, then levels, as does his optic contact with the Decepticon Commander. "I listened to you when we met recently, Deathsaurus. Commander. I thought about it and I... *believe* in your vision for the Decepticons, and for all of us," he adds, sweeping his hand to include Hound. "I... don't see that future happening with Megatron in charge. He..." The shuttleformer's hand brushes against his badge momentarily, "He began the Decepticons but I... I think you are it's future. I *want* that future and, as a Decepticon, as a /Combaticon/, and..." he glances again to Hound, "...As a member of the Lost Light, I am not afraid to fight for it."

"As a member of this crew, we won't put you at more risk than you need to be in, doing this," Hound says. Earnestly, even though he may not be speaking for all of the members of the ship's command here. He meets Blast Off's visor and says it with conviction anyway. "We'll all work with you, if you're going through with this. The best thing we can do is make sure everyone's working from the same page here." Then he smiles. "Thank you for bringing this to us, Blast Off."

This could be the point where Deathsaurus talks about how Megatron may not be in his right mind, and once he's cured or treated he'll be back to a better version of himself, but that won't help things right now, will it. Besides, that has nothing to do with Blast Off's agreeing with his principles, and the commander's smile this time is genuinely bright. "I appreciate your support, Blast Off, and I continue to work to earn it. Since the game is to be played on the Lost Light, I leave it to you and Hound and others here on the ship to formulate plans. Again, call on my intel personnel as needed. If you need refuge at any time, Blast Off, you can seek it with me, or through Windblade on some colony, but you know as well as I, there's no absolute guarantee for your safety. Oh, and, yes. Thank you for your honesty."

This is actually going better than Blast Off had thought it might. he wasn't really entirely sure how it would go, but he'd had visions of possible brig time or at least rivet duty or... well he's not even exactly sure. This, though. This leaves the Combaticon looking from one mech to the other, nodding with a spark of hope in his chest. "Thank you, Sir." Nod. "Sir."

He grimaces slightly at Deathsaurus's comment, bringing a hand to rub briefly at the back of his helmet. "And ...quite understood, Commander. I am...well aware that people who betray Megatron do not tend to have... long life expectancies. Unless their name happens to be Starscream, perhaps, but mine is not." The hand comes down and a look of concentration returns. "I'll do whatever I need to do for this ship and crew. And... Uh. Megatron hinted that if I should betray him, it would not only be me, but my team. The Combaticons. He hinted they might suffer for my... transgressions. I just ask, whatever happens to me, just make sure my team is alright. Any refuge or protection you give me, I ...would ask for them."

Hound falls silent, but to nod in return to Blast Off's thanks. This part seems to be between the Decepticons in the room, more than it involves him. He's never not had to consider Megatron an enemy, after all, even through Soundwave's insistence on searching for him. Even with these unconventional Decepticons, he can't imagine it isn't unsettling for him. At the end, though, he pipes up firmly. "We're going to take care of our crew, on this ship," Hound says firmly. "We're not going to put you in any more risk than we have to, here."

Deathsaurus chuckles. The timing might be bad, but he attempts to make up for it. "Knowing the Combaticons, I think they can take care of themselves. But, your bond with your team is highly admirable. Of course, every protection. If it comes to that, though, I wonder what it will take for you to switch from a defensive posture to ... well, something else." He'd push so much harder, but loyalties to Megatron run deep even when he threatens you and your kin, so just a hint, a nudge to consider the situation differently.

Blast Off feels his smile returning as assurances are given. He knows most of this already, but sometime you need to hear it. The Combaticon turns to Deathsaurus, chest puffing out. "Oh, definitely, Commander. We weren't frontliners for no reason. And... well." He glances from Deathsaurus to Hound and back, "If it comes to us versus Megatron, we will *never* run from a fight. We like to *win* them. We're good at them. It's in our name." A little Combaticon pride coming out here, not unexpected from the sniper.

And so Blast Off smiles even more broadly, feeling much more confident with this situation. Sure, he's inviting near-certain death by betraying Megatron, but he won't live in fear! He smiles... and then realizes the two mechs who have smiled at him cannot see him smiling in return. Blast Off pauses, head jerking back softly at the realization. Thinking. Hesitating. But... no fear, right?

Suddenly the Combaticon's mask *snicks* back to reveal his rarely seen dark face, violet optics shining in bright contrast. He's a little self-conscious about it, but he smiles- and it grows wider as he says, "Thank you. I'll let my team know and I'll work with whoever I need to to decide our next move."

Hound's grin broadens for a moment, when he sees Blast Off reveal his face. His helm dips slightly in a nod in response to that openness, before fading as he transitions back to business. He knows it won't be easy, but... Blast Off certainly seems prepared for it, and Deathsaurus determined to make him so. "That will probably be Soundwave," he tells the Combaticon. "But you're welcome to check in with either of us, I'm sure. Especially if you do find out anything more about the agents Megatron will be using to contact you."

And so a fire is lit, as Blast Off reveals his face! No small thing for a sniper. Deathsaurus stands up vigorously. "Decepticon spirit! That is what will see us through!" A bigger laugh this time and a flare of wings, how rude to do in an Autobot's office. He avoids knocking any plants over, at least. "Of course, all of that. I look forward to unraveling this web with you both. Thank you for hosting us, Hound. Ha ha." With a bow to both of the others, the commander takes his leave, tucking wings in again to fit through the door. He lingers for a moment outside, in case Blast Off is interested in a celebratory beverage. Desu's treat.

"Understood," Blast Off nods to Hound... then thinks to add a little more so this doesn't sound like his conversation with Megatron. "I will let you know once I know." To Deathsaurus he exclaims, "Yes!" The Combaticon feels an odd sense of relief about all this, though the knot in his fuel tank reminds him of the dangers most likely ahead. "Thank you, Sir. I should probably be going, unless there is anything else?" Otherwise, the Combaticon will make his way out of Hound's office and be a little surprised, but happy, to take Deathsaurus up on his offer.

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