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Difference between revisions of "2018-01-17 Talking Points"

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Latest revision as of 03:48, 18 January 2018

Talking Points
Date 2018/01/17
Location Lost Light - Command: Windblade's Office
Participants Rodimus, Windblade
Summary Rodimus crashes Windy's couch for gossip and planning.

As befits a diplomat and ambassador whose social efforts can turn a tense situation, this office boasts softer touches than many of those linked off the bridge. Facing the entrance and slightly offset to the right is a small, tidy desk before a wall-mounted painting of Caminus as he appears from a space view. This is where Windblade works, yes. But where most of her meetings occur is to the left, in the comfortably appointed sitting area ringing a low table perfectly sized to hold refreshments.

The circular nature of the chairs, couches and table mean that no one visitor is placed above any others. The light here is muted and gentle, the atmosphere serene. All that's missing are chimes and aromatherapy to make this office as much a meditative lounge as a place of duty and business.


Surely the sound the couch made when Rodimus collapsed upon it was a /happy sigh/. Reunited again! After so very long apart! The chair Windblade has opted for makes no such sound as she settles in. It's clear which of them is the better sitter. But what the Camien lacks in reclining flair, she makes up for in curiousity, on this occasion. The captain's barely had time to wriggle about to secure perfect comfort before she's making a small beckoning gesture and prompting him, "Did I mistake the comm, Rodimus? It was urgent we speak?"

Rodimus makes a small whining noise and buries himself deeper into the couch, so far as that's possible. His frame limits him, with its edges and angles and that sharp spoiler digging into the back. Finally, he flops, arranging himself not with dignity, but comfort, to face Windblade.

"Urgent is a strong word, but yeah, I totally wanted to talk to you. Sorry if I made it sound more important than it was. First off, I guess, I wanted to say thank you -- and to apologize. I realized, talking to Prowl," and here Rodimus studies WIndblade a little more closely, FOR SOME REASON, "that I maybe wasn't super fair taking you straight off that thing with Udunus and then running to Metroplex with me. I didn't even really check in to see how you were doing. I'm sorry. But thank you for doing that with me."

That's alright, Windblade has dignity in spades. It's like an allergic reaction: the more Rodimus squirms about, the more she collects elegance about herself-- one leg primly crossed over the other, the folded hands, the raised chin. And then he goes and punctures all of that effort. There's something startled in the way she holds her head just a little higher, with optics shuttering in a blink. "What did Prowl say?" is her first reflexive (unwise) question. It's chased hastily with, "No, no... really, it was... visiting Metroplex is as good as recharging for me. I was happy to help, and to... see you feeling better about it all. No thanks necessary, really."

Rodimus's grin is a little sly as she begins by asking after Prowl. "You know. Stuff. It sounds like he's been able to be a good friend to you. Anyway, if you don't want thanks, okay. But I still appreciate it. We talked about your upcoming trip to Unicron, too. You all set for it? Anything you need?"

Did he just...? Was that...? It sure sounded like it. And, after a moment spent considering the benefits of narrowed eyes and strict denial, Windblade instead says, "Accidentally more, yes. But we haven't put a name to it, and if you wanted to know, Rodimus, you could have just asked." So /there/. Please to ignore the uptick in heat registering from her cheeks.

Thank goodness for other questions, which she'll get to once she's finished moodswinging over towards more amused by the exchange. "We've got a solid team, the virus, a plan with back-ups... I think we're as ready as we'll get. You could promise not to let me come back the way Pipes and Lieutenant have."

<FS3> Rodimus rolls Deception: Failure. (2 6 2 5 5)

Rodimus rounds his eyes in a not-very-good expression of innocence. "What, he is? You are? I don't know what you mean. I had no idea until just now." Liar. "I'm -- glad, I think. I'll stay out of the way and resist advice or caution given my own obvious failures here."

"Are you serious about that? Lieutenant, Pipes?" Rodimus asks, letting play slide away. "Not wanting to be the same?"

These are two very different conversations and of both, Windblade would be hard-pressed to name which she's more uncomfortable with. It leads to the Cityspeaker shifting in the chair, recrossing her legs, and looking off to the side. "I didn't just hear what Unicron did to Udunus. I felt it. They're different, on the surface. But... if he called, I don't know that they'd be that different. The power there was... as strong as Vector Sigma but horrible." Right. Not fertile ground for playfulness, then.

Goodbye, playfulness. Rest in peace.

"Mm. They were the same, once," Rodimus says in a lower voice, all humor gone. "Unicron. Primus. Cybertron. And if Sunstreaker's right, in same way, they maybe still are. You -- might be right, to call it horrible. Can't say some of us aren't horrible. But don't you feel a little called to fix that?"

"Of course. While I can, as I can, as myself. As /myself/." Windblade's stress on the word is gentle but all important. "I'm not as strong as Soundwave, I don't want to suffer something else controlling me again." She pauses for a beat. "How do you mean they maybe still are?"

The mention of Soundwave and his punch card for frequent brainwashing shadows Rodimus's expression. He looks away, only for her to recall his attention with the question. He laughs, a touch forced, and leans forward with an, "Oh boy." He pauses, thinking over his approach, then says, "You've got split sparks on Caminus, right? A single spark that, for whatever reason, splits into two? They're pretty rare on Cybertron. One of the colonies is covered with them. Vector Sigma isn't entirely unlike a spark. What if it's a split spark, and Unicron holds the other half?"

"I've never met one," is still confirmation enough. Windblade thinks this over and while her brow is incapable of furrowing, she still gives the impression thereof. And it's a /deep/ furrow. "An artificially split spark, broken by the Quintesson experiments... but if Sunstreaker is right, it then follows we'll be destroying Cybertron when we activate Tempo's weapon against Unicron." Another pause. "There should be someone at Vector Sigma, when we infiltrate Unicron. To see if there are any echoes while we're there."

"Could be naturally split," Rodimus says, and laces his hands together, "and they were meant to work together. The Quints did something that Unicron didn't like, though: splitting them, or changing something. He sure went after them." He doesn't sound too sad about that.

His eyes widen as she suggests posting someone at Vector Sigma: "Oh, yeah, that's obvious, isn't it? Good call. I'll be there. Maybe with Chimera. Probably better get the nerds to dig back into the weapon. We sure think we know how it works, but I feel like a lot of what we think we know, we don't."

Windblade offlines her optics and bows her head, fingertips rubbing at the bridge of her nose as she thinks. "And I can try speaking with Tempo about the weapon. Maybe it's intended more to incapacitate him? He's rarely ever clear, though. Or... well. Metroplex didn't remember a lot. Not clearly. I don't know how much we could get from him about this." Blue light washes over her cheeks again as she straightens up to look at Rodimus again. All somber like. "Every time I've tried to speak to the Quintessons, they've been too adept at diversion. Short of having someone trick them into bragging about what exactly they did, I don't think we'll have any luck with that avenue."

Rodimus can't quite smother a near-cackle: "Tricking them into bragging. That sounds like a genius move." He quiets, then asks, "We've thought they are behind the Hand stuff for a while, but what do you think their play is? With this, with Megatron, with Op-- Orion?"

"Mmm," buys her a little time. Not much. Windblade works through a sigh before she says, "Most of what I think about them is conjecture. That said... I think they, as a race, have a combination of god complex and the sort of ..."what if" urges we see in our brightest scientists. I think their marketing us as tools, and toys, was a happy side effect which funds their research. And I have a /very/ bad feeling that, if they are responsible for the Shattering, for Unicron, for spark experiments and code manipulation... most of our known history has had their touch on it. Manipulation at the deepest levels. And that could mean all of it leads back to them. Megatron, Orion Pax, the Primes, the Hand, all of the wars, all of those lost lives, every legend and myth we have...

"Because they wanted to see what happens. And have been, for long enough, that how do we stop that? Everything we've done, everything we're hated for out there, what if it /is/ their manipulation?"

"Then we expose them. We expose all of it. Where they bring lies, we bright truth," Rodimus says, "and we keep shouting it, even if the rest of the galaxy doesn't want to hear it, until they start to listen. They have to listen." The urgency of his words fades, banked rather than extinguished, in a heat that will continue long past the current moment. "Gotta put what we got from Metroplex together with something. Make some kind of -- statement. About the Hand. About Primes. I could use your help putting it together."

Windblade dips her head towards him. "It's just... every time I let myself think about it, it gets bigger. If nothing we know is right, how do we /ever/ fix that? But starting with exposing them for what they are... yes. Of course. And if I come across anything that might give some idea as to their end game, beyond just "what will happen if we do this", I'll share it. I'd like to know." Finally, she quirks a smile at him. "Maybe this is how the scientists feel, that tug of /needing/ to know. But one thing at a time, and putting together that statement... we could start on it now, if you'd like?"

"We find a piece, some corner of truth to hang on to, and we build from that." Rodimus reaches across to clasp Windblade's arm in a brief press before his hand falls away. "It's huge. You're not wrong. Bigger than you, or me, or any one of us together. But you're right that we can start with one thing. And you'd be surprised how often crazy mad scientist types start to unravel just because you thwart them on a little thing."

Kind as that gesture is, appreciated though it is, Windblade can't quite let go of it yet. The corners she's aiming for are wholly inappropriate for constructive building. "I think what bothers me most is... maybe they did rebuild Orion and Megatron to fight Unicron, because Unicron threatens their research pool. But... maybe they also wanted to see what would happen in a post-war landscape, to reintroduce the warlords. If we win, their research goes on. If we follow the warlords again, they have control over us again. The only way /we/ win is to defeat Unicron /and/ defy those whose leadership spanned millions of years... and even that provides them data, as we adapt and evolve."

Frustrating. It leads to her rotors cycling through a gust of air, and Windblade reaching for Rodimus' hand, to give it a grateful press. "You're right too. A corner of truth. This is enough for a start. Maybe that's how you can open. This is bigger than any one of us together. And it's time to build from what we do know. Metroplex would like that."

"We've had millions of years to grow -- to adapt, evolve, and get better, and sure, a lot of that was getting better at killing things, but if I were them, I'd take that as a warning," Rodimus reassures(??) her.

Turning his hand beneath hers, Rodimus squeezes Windblade's fingers before letting them go. "We have to build. Every building starts with a single sheet of metal. Every circuit with a single line. Okay, so this thing about spreading the word about the Hand and maybe about the Primes and all of it: where do we even begin in getting that truth out?"

"That's their weakness. They're too arrogant to see the threat behind a legitimate warning," Windblade answers, tone shading dry. Silly Quintessons, flaunting all that weakness. She sinks back into the chair and lets her hand drop to her leg. Her fingers drum a loose, thoughtful rhythm. "Video, I think. You're engaging when you're just talking, and your writing isn't up to the task."

Oof, honesty.

"And that way you can splice it in with clips from Metroplex's archives. Tentacles discarding the casing, the shattering, the advertisements featuring the tribes... start from the beginning. Go back to it. Every piece of our history, the Quintessons were there. This happened, Quintessons. That happened, Quintessons. Where we don't have facts, you can imply... say things like "we don't know for /sure/ that they were involved in guiding the wars but we do know, by their own admission, they rebuilt our leaders and made them loyal... to the Quintessons." That sort of thing. It's called 'spinning'."

"My writing's fine! The content's all there, totally the same as when I'm talking. I don't get why the grammar's such a big deal. And emojis help convey tone!" Rodimus insists. He doesn't take offense, exactly, but he sure doesn't seem to get the point. This is why Minimus broke up with him.

(That's not what happened.)

"I mean -- yeah, you're right, we need the clips." Rodimus hesitates, then says, "How do we do this in a way that doesn't, uh, totally disrespectfully torch everyone's actual religious beliefs?"

Windblade has an answer for that, oh yes she does. It's almost as if touches on her personal interests. "Stress that many of us have found our better selves, have /become/ better, through our genuine faith. The ones who twisted and warped that were the Quintessons. Not us. They've sought to leash us through our beliefs and so it's on us to throw those efforts off by no longer allowing them control over the faith we hold dear. Which links back into it being so very important we teach ourselves to recognize their influence, so we can avoid it. Building, for ourselves, becomes an imperative."

Dragging his hands down his face, Rodimus says, "What did I do before you. Oh, wait: I know. Bumbled around offending people all the time. Which I still do. Just -- less. When I listen to you. Of course, that's -- frag, that makes me feel better and I'm not one of the ones being told my gods are all lies."

SPEAKING OF BUMBLING AROUND OFFENDING PEOPLE.

Rodimus moves on, hopefully less offensively: "Can you, uh -- I mean, Drift used to write my speeches for me. Can you help with this one? I never sound that good."

Their association has been long enough that Windblade's able to summon a little smile here. She doesn't laugh as easily as she might have, once, before, but clearly the smile proves that everything is alright. "The danger of me writing the entire thing is that it's going to sound scripted instead of you talking /with/ the people listening. You're authentic. You're charming... you can be charming. Do you really want to sound like me, reading off of a page?"

Rodimus starts to say one thing -- stops. He begins another -- grimaces. Finally, with just a faint, crooked smile, he teases, "Hey, you must be doing something right, famous as you are."

"Don't think that's a blessing," Windblade is quick to counter. "When people start saying 'they say' about you, it means life's about to take a turn for the unpleasant. Apparently I'm going to kill Unicron and all of the Harbingers, single handedly. Gods talk to me. I'm tall." She hikes a hand up, miming someone with a taller stature. There's some humour in the gesture, this isn't /all/ griping. "Really, Rodimus, I think you're best being yourself. We can do a list of talking points but... this should come from you."

Rodimus lifts his hands to his face and drags his palms all over and around and over his helm with a skrr-skrr-scrape of metal on metal. He sings back against the couch and looks at Windblade hopefully: "Talking points with drinks?" He adds -- unnecessarily, out of an awkward abundance of caution, "Friend drinks."

Windblade's turn to lean forward and set hand to arm. Poor Rodimus. Having to /talk/. "Talking points with drinks. Maybe we can find some natural points to insert a backflip or two." Here, a pause just long enough that-- if he buys it-- there might be some hope. Only to be crushed when she says, "But not really. Backflips are just going to distract from the message. But we'll practice it. Talking points, practice, and then as many takes while you're filming as you need."

There is hope: it's there, painted bright across his features in the brilliance of his blue gaze. And then Windblade ruthlessly extinguishes it. Rodimus crumples, fragile as aluminum foil in the iron grip of her logic and reason and facts. "Ugh, fine. I guess it's not really -- backflip material." He sits up straight, very consciously drawing himself upright, and then gives her a nod. "Let's go." After a beat, he grins: "And thanks again."

That's worth a grin. It really is. Windblade adopts one too and reaches out again, clinking knuckles against Rodimus' shoulder. "You've got this. Or you will, once we're done. I promise. Come on." The polite thing to do would be to say you're welcome. Instead, the Camien is shaking her head at him as she leads the way to get the door. "You're worth it, and this is worth it too."

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