2018-01-14 Build

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Date 2018/01/14
Location Metroplex's Brain Chamber
Participants Rodimus, Windblade
NPCs Metroplex
Scene GM Sao
Summary Rodimus apologizes; Windblade has a plan.

There are some things that, obviously, you have to do in person.

The thing about being a Cityspeaker is that there are few who will stand in your way when you plan to speak to a city. It's possible that, somewhere, Starscream is annoyed, but this is probably just a bonus; he gives Windblade a wide, wide berth, so that as Rodimus and Windblade approach the cortical chamber, it is in the quiet light of an unbroken morning, with Cybertron's life glittering beneath them, and basically, without check or stop past their initial bridged arrival and stated intention.

Rodimus isn't exactly dragging his feet: doing so would leave long gouges in Metroplex's floors, and isn't the point of this, after all, that he's done enough? But he's taking his time. He's limiting his pace to Windblade's, rather than racing on ahead, as he so often might in any other setting. He tells himself he's being respectful. "Who talks first? Do you talk? Do I talk? I mean he can hear us, right? Understand us? It's just he doesn't always -- talk like us. For whatever reason."

Turns out there /are/ advantages to having an evil double. Less facetime with Starscream falls within that category. Colour Windblade relieved, and thusly pleased, to not have to wrangle permission from the shrill one. "Normally I'd remember to send her a thank you card but I suppose it isn't appropriate in this situation," she murmurs as she strolls beside Rodimus. Does he respond well to joking? That, more than anything, offers an accurate gauge of how much he's dreading it.

Looks like we're at an eight on the ten scale. Cue reassurance, a sidelong smile and the tuck of her hands through his arm. "I'll greet him, he'll greet us. After that, you can just start explaining why we're here. He hears and understands, though I can help if he needs clarification on anything. I doubt he will though. He speaks differently, and has different priorities, but... he will focus on us, as long as he's able. It's going to be alright."

The cortical chamber is never entirely quiet, and the faint thrum of energy that is the power of an ancient city hums beneath their feet as they step across the threshhold. Their steps do not precisely echo, but there's a slight shift in the thrum with each impact of their weight, however gentle. Metroplex does not communicate in the same way that an ordinary Cybertronian does, but he is aware, immediately, of their entry, and there's something in the endless humming that suggests he is warming up.

"Ergh," Rodimus says. He covers her hands with his, reacing across to briefly press his hand in a gesture of thanks at odds with the unenthusiastic mumble of his words. "Okay." After a beat, quieter, he says, "Thanks." He's quiet then the rest of the way into Metroplex's brain center. He ... waves, but glances to the side at Windblade.

"You're welcome," is whispered out of the side of her mouth. Genuinely meant but... well, with this place opening to them, she wouldn't be Windblade if her attention weren't immediately consumed by looking up and around. It's a welfare check, and affectionate confirmation, and so much more, all in one sweeping glance. Rodimus' arm is given a last squeeze before she releases him-- though only to gesture at the mech, as she offers up that promised greeting. "Good morning, Metroplex! Primus, it's good to see you again," she beams. No nerves /here/. "We've come to say hello and maybe discuss some history, if you have a little time for us? Rodimus had something he wanted to tell you, too."

Language lights up across the cortical displays, bright flashes of color and hue. A City's brain always has so much going on that even his expressiveness runs on a multiplicity of tracks, but for Windblade, the first greeting he has is obvious delight:


Metroplex tracks through the channels and hallways of his body, reporting this minor inefficiency or that energy surplus-- Channel 47, redirect, energon surplus, situs 2498--

The distance of a star is frozen noise, but its presence brings us forth as dust in the twilight--

Flash, color, light and sound. Time, says one.

Yours, says another.

If Rodimus looks very closely, he may notice there's a certain darkening of shade centered in her cheeks. The paint prevents a complete blush-- thank Solus-- but... "You're looking very well, Metroplex. Thank you," she says, quieter now though still trusting the titan will hear. The Camien tucks her hands at the small of her hand, loosely clasped, and marshals herself to perform a good service: translation. So Metroplex will take on her voice, all of those separate impulses collected into something cohesive.

"His time is ours, Rodimus. Would you like to start?"

Rodimus is much too self-centered for that: his gaze tracks across Metroplex, looking for something that might reflect on himself, rather than looking to see how Metroplex reflects in Windblade's expression. He looks back at her when she calls him forward, and he steps a pace forward. "Hey, Metroplex." He pauses a beat, visibly second-guessing himself: too casual? HOW DO YOU BE NICE TO A TITAN? He ends up following Windblade's lead, treating him with simple courtesy. "Thanks for giving us the time. I -- uh. I don't know if you remember me. I don't know if you remember Nyon. You slept through so much."

Light and shimmer, and a chiming, almost watery music, a sound that trickles and dances through their audials -- somewhere between windchimes and the repetitive singing of a cricket. Dark. Depths. Dream.

The sound cuts off with a hiss. Memory brings color, and this one is red and yellow and pink: the color of flame, the color of fire.

Wind-voice, flashes another screen. Well. Good. But remember.

The glow of light that is the text of the poem has shrunken, as though Metroplex is only whispering it: Stand in the gilded auorora of another morning's dawn, forgetting all but the light--




All yesterdays past. Past tense, break, breaking, broken. Child of Nyon.

With Rodimus stepping forward, Windblade withdraws a step. It's a token withdrawal, meant to cast spotlight on the captain and the city-titan. Their conversation. And as she centers herself into the role of translator, her speech patterns shift, from her own to /his/. Even as the poem scrolls by, smaller, and softer, she keeps her eyes away from it, lest she be distracted and become herself.

"I do remember," she says under the shimmering light. "I remember all of my yesterdays, Child of Nyon, and those memories are of pain. Fire. Even when I was dark with dreaming, I remember. They were filled with breaking, I was broken. Now I'm well. Now is good."

Rodimus looks over at Windblade, almost surprised, although he really shouldn't be. He studies her as she translates, then -- faintly -- smiles. He sobers soon enough. He looks around at Metroplex's inner chambers, whole and vibrant with life, as he weighs out his next words. His voccalizer click-clicks with two false starts and then he says, "I'm -- sorry." His voice crackles and then steadies. "I'm sorry for the pain that I caused you. I'm sorry for the death of your city."

For a moment the color flares: red, and yellow, and orange, and pink, a riot of hue, a conflagration of color across all the screens of the cortical chamber, all around them, and there's a deep rumbling in the sound -- at first too low for their audio range to pick up, a basal creeping tension that mostly reflects in the back of the head, the neck, and then rising to an octave that they can hear, and it booms, and echoes.



Without voice.

The tiny text of the poem scrolls smaller and smaller, whispering into nothingness: warm and quiet, distilled in memory, never lost or spent but held, forever; this is the end of night.

Past tense broken. Past tense fixed. Never forgotten. Hurt. Stolen. Dead. Misery. Lost. Lost. Lost. All of them lost.

Nyon is gone. Fragile--

The word lives is here, but it is interspersed by repetition after repetition of the word (--fragments--) in tiny, tiny, shrunken characters.

--still gone. Still gone. Sorrow. Child of Nyon. Child of me.

More felt than heard, Windblade is compelled-- after an uneasy and pained shift of weight upon her heels-- to put out a hand and press it against the nearest panel. There's no blocking out the wild array that licks up around them, playing havok with their own painted shades. Contact, and presence, through unshrinking touch.

The part of her which aches for Metroplex is set aside, however, separate of what her hand is doing. Her eyes, fixed on Rodimus, don't waver. "It's done, what was done, all in the past. I was broken, I was fixed. I won't forget. All of the pain we felt, all of those who were lost forever. They were pieces of me, Child of Nyon, and they're gone. What we feel doesn't change what was. It's done. It doesn't change that you are also a piece of me. Child of me."

Rodimus shrinks from the flare of color and the subsonic rumble that shakes his core. His hands shift, almost as if to clasp on the side of his helm, but he stills them to curl his fingers to form fists. "I'm sorry I couldn't save more. Skystalker, Swivel, and Bulkhead still live. Others too, not on my crew. But few enough. Maybe they can visit, if you like."

The color cools and quiets, fading now: all that is left is a soft, blue-purple glow that filters and shimmers from screen to screen.


Tiny glows begin to light up the screens, until the world around them is a shimmering starscape, glows of mostly pure blue, occasional dots of brilliant green. It's almost possible to pick out constellations in the false starlight.

... lives ...

And then they begin to wink out, one by one and then in rows, in swathes, until only fragile strings of light remains, too thin and flimsy a web for a spider to catch anything.

Gone, gone, gone.

Hurt. Mine, not mine. Deaths, hurts. Grief. Regret. Shame. Not all Nyon. Not all me. All dead. All lost.

Wind-voice, voice for me.


Wind ... blade...

Golden yellow flowers around a thread of text and it says, Nyon-child. Voice for dead?

Tiny purple text begins to marquee over the bottom of one frame. I walked beside the path of graves, and saw their sins were taken. I walked beside the lives of slaves, and saw their grief awaken.

A few other messages drift around the edges, as the concentration of the cortex is not, cannot, solely be for old pain and newconversation. Rerouting, pathway 378 to 47--

--overcharge in radial pattern, drone team restoring lesser function...

Elevator jam in pathway 12--

Windblade's voice shrinks to a murmur, timed to the winking out of each tiny fragile scrap of illumination. "Sparks, lives. Gone, gone, gone. Every death hurts, every death brings regret and shame. It isn't just Nyon. It isn't just me and mine. All that are dead, all that are lost, those multitudes gone and so few left. Windblade is my voice. Will you, Nyon's child, be the voice for the dead?"

She pauses for a beat. Purple. The purple draws the eye and it's her own tone which whispers an addendum to Rodimus: "He's very fond of poetry. Part of him is reciting one. 'I walked beside the path of graves, and saw their sins were taken. I walked beside the lives of slaves, and saw their grief awaken.' Someone needs to speak for them."

"I don't know how to do that," Rodimus tells Windblade in a quiet aside that Metroplex can hear just fine. He raises his voice and says louder, "The only way I know to speak for the dead is to build for the living. And I'm trying to do that. Is that enough?" He answer his own question, saying, "Maybe not. I don't know you can buy a future worth that price, but at least I can try to make it not such a waste."

He looks over at Windblade, trying to guage the right pace for a segue: "We need your help with that. With making certain that Cybertron's future is not controlled by the Quintessons."

Don't know how--

to do--



Tremorous bars of sound. FORTISSIMO. Then pianissimo.

The light fades, slowly; the deep blue and purple fading altogether to black. Maintenance reports, the idle business of the city, flit back and forth in muted hues across a couple of the cortical screens, dancing between brief glances of Metroplex's attention.

The purple spins into silver text, marqueeing away.I walked beside the end of days, and saw the future broken. I knelt upon the precipice, but what I saw could not be spoken.

Red: Help?

Yellow: Query. Future tense. Help. Query. Query. Query. Query.

Pink: Alien things. Stay away. Keep back.

Blue: What.Green:


"Don't know how to do that," shades thoughtful in tone. An echo, though /which/ of them Windblade is playing echo to is impossible to say. When Rodimus glances at her, she's looking up and around, frowning attention flitting over every display, every mote of fading light. Something is nagging at the Cityspeaker and leaving her expression-- so composed in translation-- now troubled.

"The alien things, the Quintessons. You must stay away from them, you must keep your distance," she finally ventures to say, and only then do her eyes move to find Rodimus'. "What do you need?" A pause, for her own voice to return. "I walked beside the end of days, and saw the future broken. I knelt upon the precipice, but what I saw could not be spoken. More poetry."

Much as Rodimus would like to chase his question, the troubled expression on Windblade's features pulls him back: "What's wrong?"

Metroplex would like to know too: Wind-voice?

"I'm alright, Metroplex. I'm sorry. It's alright, really." Translating is /so/ much easier than offering her own opinion. Not everyone would agree, but... Windblade shifts on her feet again and steals a peek at the darkened displays. There is a dip to her wings, uncertainty or reluctance. "He... felt very strongly. About the ones we've lost. All of that colour, and when... when you said you didn't know how to speak for them, and it seemed a refusal, all the colour left. I think... I think it's fair, to try to do what he's asked of you, Rodimus, in return for him helping with what we need to."

She tucks her chin and skates a glance at the captain. "You did come partly to make ammends."

"That's -- I didn't mean it as a refusal," Rodimus says, turning to the bank of Metroplex's many screens. He turns his hands up and out. "I meant I was trying. I'm going to keep trying. If there's something you'd ask, some way to make ammends -- I'll try it. Whatever it is."

Metroplex answers with more color and life: a waking surge of color, yellow and gold and pale pink, at the bottom of his nearest screens. I don't know how to do this, he echoes once more, text tiny and red.

Larger text glows bright yellow with a flare of music that thrums awake around them, keyboardish and varied. Me. You. All. Building, beginning. Past tense. Build. Future tense. Build. Build. Rebuild. Anew. Again. Beyond.

White text: Query.

"I don't know how to do this," Windblade repeats yet again, tugged back into speaking for. Her focus chases the swell of light and sound. The signs of her own apology fade, set aside for now. "All of us have built and are building, rebuilding, moving forward. That was how it was then then and how it is now and how it will be again. Ask, what help do you need?"

Rodimus looks to Windblade now, not as translator, but diplomat: "Okay, well, this might actually be the part where I pass it over to Windblade, because she's better at this. We want to tell people the truth about the Quints and our history with them, but we need to know it, to be able to share it, so that we can warn them. We can't stay away from them. They may have Op-- Orion and Megatron, and through them a whole bunch of others."

Bubbles of color float across various of Metroplex's screens. Some are transluscent, some are opaque. They obscure over and around several threads of his ongoing internal mechanics. He asks: Wind-voice. Query?

Metroplex is, apparently, puzzled.

"You're fine at this," Windblade says, back to herself again and able to find a small smile for Rodimus when she glances at them. "We know we need to stay away from the Quintessons, Metroplex. We do. But while we do that, they're... they have plans within plans, manipulating the course of events. They've brought back Orion Pax and Megatron, remade them not just to fight against Unicron but also to be utterly, and unknowingly loyal to the Quintessons. And while our focus has to be on Unicron right now... we also need to make sure that when we beat him, the smoke doesn't clear to the Quintessons positioned to enslave all of us again."

She rolls one shoulder back, wing shifting. "So we thought... if you and Rodimus were to release a joint statement, something you craft together. With the details you shared with us of the Quintessons' meddling with our history. So much of what the Galactic Council hates us for can be traced to them. With your voice, yours and Rodimus' both, people might listen, and be... prepared. It might do us some good."

"The history of the Quintessons has passed out of the memory of even the oldest among us -- but not you." Rodimus presses his hand against the nearest wall at his back, a fond touch. Good ol' Metroplex. "Windblade's right: we know we have to fight Unicron, but nothing says we have to let ourselves be chained to do so."

There is something a little more frenetic and unsettled about the flashes of color that dance and weave between the screens of the cortical interface now. Metroplex's words balloon from all over the place, difficult to track his sentences.





--no war--



--with my--




--Wind-voice, speak--

--for me--

--with me--





--build. Build. Build.

"He's upset," may not need to be relayed. Just look at those screens: it's probably obvious, even to the unintiated, and Windblade is hard-pressed to keep up with all of them as the impulses careen through the chamber. "He wants us to protect them, to build. We will, Metroplex! I will, I promise. I'm not going anywhere, we're here. I can speak for you, I can put your words down for them to hear and know that we need to build, and keep ourselves safe. No more war, no more destruction. And we want you to be with us for that. Your name too. You matter too, Metroplex."

See this bundle of draping cables over here? She's inched closer to them and is finally near enough to hook an arm around them. He's too big for proper hugs so she'll just hold this little piece.

Rodimus takes an actual step back, briefly overwhelmed by the flicker of light. He attempts to track it all only to end up bewildered, confused, and turns his attention to Windblade. He lifts his hand from Metroplex, a little bit guilty. He didn't do that, right? When Windblade goes in for a hug, Rodimus slowly -- slowly! -- put his hand back down in a pat. "I will. I will, I promise. All of us, with you."

The bubbles begin to settle, and it is almost as though now some of them float like soap-bubbles, glistening on the surface of a roseate ocean.

Thank you. Wind-voice. Nyon-child.

There's a piccolo whistling sound, high and clear, and a new marquee of text walking along the base of one of the screens: Hand in hand, we walk together, and what I saw, you see; hand in hand, we greet the world, and what we are, will be.

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