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2018-03-14 Hole Punch

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Hole Punch
Date 2018/03/14
Location Lost Light: Recreation -- Practice Rooms
Participants Minimus Ambus, Rodimus
Summary Punches and words.

It has been a long morning.

It began with the installation of a new terminal. Then, a scouring of the floor for any shards of plastic that he missed in his hasty and exasperated cleanup the night before; then, necessarily, the careful shifting of his desk two centimeters to the left because of his absolute certainty that Prowl put the damn thing back WRONG.

And then. AND THEN.

Fifteen minutes after the first confused response to his correspondence, he is haranguing hapless security mechs and making their morning much, much worse.

Having broken two light pens in the process of vituperatively making his complaint, he reaches the conclusion that he needs to spend some of this excess rage, and so it is that -- despite his unfortunate ability to slam sliding doors open -- here is a diminutive figure storming into one of the practice rooms with Phase Sixer stomps heavy enough to make the decking tremble slightly under his weight.

Is there a better way to shake off the fog of a hangover than punching things? Actually, yes, probably. There are probably dozens, if not hundreds of better ways to find clarity. But Rodimus has chosen this one, so here he is, getting beaten up by a training program utilizing Hound-like holograms.

Rodimus cuts the program at the teeny tiny tromps, turning to look back over his shoulder as Minimus stomps by. He calls out, "You look like I feel," and rolls out of his own room and into Minimus's. Hello.

Minimus is in the midst of starting a program, fingertips tapping over keys, and stops and frowns. His shoulders slump a little and then turns in a weighted slide to stare up, and up, to Rodimus's face. His lips move for a moment. He says, "I can't spar with you. I'd break you. I broke through my own armor last night." His tone is somewhere between apologetic and deeply aggrieved, which is a little strange in combination.

"So pull your blows." Rodimus sidles on in, inviting himself over and giving the miniest of Minimuses a thoughtful look. It's a little unusually intense, even for Rodimus, as he marks the signs of life -- and patches of correct color. "You're going to have to learn to control it at some point, right? We'll go half-speed." With this air of casual assumption, he settles in and beckons Minimus closer to begin. "What were you doing when you busted your armor?"

"Yelling at Prowl." Minimus shakes his head at Rodimus, his arms folded in a tight cross across his chest. "I'm too riled, Rodimus. I don't want to hurt you." His jaw tics visibly as he decides he dislikes the frank candor of this and he bulls on with a scowl, "Someone decided to entertain themselves by abusing my typefaces."

Rodimus's grin at Prowl's expense makes his, "Come on, I can take it," easy, but then it goes tense. First, the fight not to laugh, to get his face under control as Minimus talks about typeface abuse. Then. Then. The tiniest hint of a possible--. Oh no. Is that familiar? A touch strangled, he asks, "Abused your typefaces?"

Minimus detects the smothered appallment in Rodimus’s voice — how not — and finds it, perhaps, surprising. His gaze narrows a little in its sweep of his features. He stalks a few paces across the practice floor, shaking loose some of the tension by main will — only to have it reform again. “Hacked my private security and set up some kind of protocol to translate everything into incomprehensible gibberish and… and those strange Earth symbols you think are communication,” he tells Rodimus, pricklingly tense.

Weakly, Rodimus says, "Oh."

His face says rather more strongly, Oh no.

Looking back at Minimus, Rodimus grapples with the sense of guilt, that tickle of recognition, and the vast blank blackness of imbibing way too much of way too strong a drink. And all of it paints across his features: guilt, recognition, confusion, guilt, guilt, GUILT. He resets his vocalizer in a crackle of static. "That might have -- I might. Maybe. I mean, with help. But. That might've been me." He pauses. He says, "It's funny."

Then he says, "I'm sorry."

Minimus Ambus stares at him. His hands drop to his sides. His scarlet eyes widen. He just stands there for a moment. His voice rasps in a break, fans kicking in with a sudden rush of air, as he repeats: “It’s ‘’funny’’?”

Uh oh. Rodimus backtracks — sidetracks? — in a hasty rush. “Just, you know. Fun-my, emphasis on fun, not on haha, you’re funny.” Scrambling, he adds, “I think we started with Ignition? Maybe? That sounds right.”

It does not appear that this explanation is reducing the temperature of boiling heat in the stare Minimus is giving Rodimus right now. He is reduced to a, “Wh—ff—” of gibbering strain as he scrambles to figure out how to best express what this information has wrought for his worldview. He at length comes out with, “You? ‘’You’’ did this?”

Rodimus attempts to sound Calm and Reasonable but actually just sounds Hungover and Fuzzy as he says, "Okay, I can see you're upset by this, and I get that. Anyway, I think I did? Probably? It sounds right, anyway. I don't remember the details -- I don't remember a lot of details, I don't know what was in that bottle -- but I"m sorry."

Minimus trembles for a moment with suppressed fury. For a moment, it seems as though he is going to deal with this like a rational person. He is going to recognize that Rodimus is guilty and sorry about what he has done, and treat with him like a person who has been an adult for millions of years, who recognizes that mistakes were made—

Minimus turns suddenly and slams his unutrium-reinforced fist so hard into the wall that it does not only dent the wall but goes right through it into the bulkhead. Rent steel flowers around the points of impact that were his knuckles. His shoulders bow and he says, “I can’t believe that you of all people would ridicule me like this. You know how important—” He bites off the words partway through and his arm bends, elbow twisting as he leans on its brace and helm droops to thunk against the damaged wall.

For a moment, Rodimus just -- stands there. He watches Minimus and lets the awful sense of familiarity settle over him with a sour twist. The fist through the wall is new, but how many times has he come close anyway, denting it? He lifts his hand to his helm, rubbing his fingers over his cheek, down his neck, past his collar. Then he moves forward, kneeling next to Minimus. Or -- near him, maybe. Not quite so close as next to him.

"You're right. I do know that. But I wasn't thinking about it. I was being stupid, because I thought it was funny. Started with Ignition and just wasn't thinking when it came to you, too," Rodimus says. He keeps his hands to himself. There's a sort of resignation that weights the absolutely sincerity of his, "I'm sorry for that."

Minimus leans for a moment, and his lean tilts until his head actually rests against the wall. His eyes are dull and blank for a moment before they waken with fresh light and he pushes away from the wall and turns around, turning to face him. Finding him kneeling, he pauses again, and there’s a shifting set of his jaw as his throat works. His hands fall, and he says, “I’m being unfair,” in a slightly hoarse, choked voice before he clears it in a reset of vocalizer and says, more clearly but more quietly, “I’ve lost my— my balance, Rodimus. Everything is personal and I’m angry about all of it. Shockwave. Megatron. Everything.”

So it’s the fonts that put him over the edge, clearly.

Rodimus shifts, legs crossing in a slide as he sets himself. Expression rueful, he says, "Not that unfair. Classic Rodimus: do something stupid, think it's fun, hurt people in the process. It wasn't personal, but isn't that kind of worse?" Minimus graciously hands him an out and here Rodimus comes, waving it off and digging deeper. "At least that would've been about you. But all of this: you're just in the wrong place at the wrong time and everything goes wrong."

Minimus Ambus snorts. His lip curls back from his teeth and he says, with a prickling edge of snarl that suggests a not insignificant amount of salt, “No, why should it be personal? You abandoned any obligation you might have claimed, to think about my feelings.” He rubs his knuckles with his opposite thumb, looking down at his fist with a hard set of tension to his jaw, and says, “Never mind. I suppose now that I have discovered the culprit I can call off the investigation. Fortress Maximus will be relieved.”

Rodimus rests his elbow on his knee and his chin in his hand, fingers fanning over his face and not quite hiding the wince that Minimus's words provoke. "Like I said. Kind of worse." His gaze tracks to the side to the hole Minimus has punched in the wall. He reaches out, lighting touching the edge of the warped metal. "Shockwave, Megatron, and everything, huh? That's kind of a lot to carry."

There is nothing more unsatisfying than snapping and biting at someone only to have them basically agree with you, so Minimus gives Rodimus a weighted glare with his lips pressing thin against each other as he shakes his head. He looks aside for a moment, but his gaze draws back to the warp he created in the metal with a guilty shade of rue. He growls, “Yes. Well. I’m a load-bearer.” A beat, and then his fists close and he shakes his head a little more vehemently and says, “But this is … a load.” His lip curls away from his teeth again and he snaps, “I have gone from being the Duly Appointed Enforcer of the Tyrest Accord to being a Phase Sixer, and now Prowl has me ‘’taking orders’' from ‘’Megatron’’, and he had the ‘’gall’’--” The GALL. “--to upbraid me for not ‘’dancing for joy’' about it.”

Rodimus's fingers curl to form fists, containing a twitch at the edge when they begin to reach for Minimus. Nope. Hands to yourself, Rodimus! "You're not really a Phase Sixer," is what he says through all of that. "Don't let them call you one. The war's over. Phase one through seven, eight, nine and ten are done and over with. Let's start there. As for Prowl--." He breaks off with a grimace. "I can't believe I'm about to try and -- defend him. But. I think it's been hard for him, too. It's not like he can be happy with this."

The distance between them isn’t much in the scheme of things. They are both near the warped metal where Minimus struck through the wall. Yet what distance there is remains, a wary distance where once, Minimus might have reached back. “I don’t know what I am anymore,” he says in a low growl, and draws back in a scraping slide of his feet, arms folding in a tighter cross over his chest as he turns away. “No. Of course it has,” he says in a dour, heavy voice. Like he is sulking about it.

As Minimus sulks -- he'd never call it that, of course -- Rodimus watches him with an easing of his expression. It's been unpleasant, and there's been snapping, and there's a hole in the wall, and despite all of that it eases something in him, visibly, just to see Minimus looking grumpy. "I bet you can start with some certainties."

Minimus looks back at Rodimus, and he says, “Can I?” in a voice gone a little thinner than usual. He shakes his head and says, “I don’t know.”

"Tell me one," Rodimus says, earnest. "Start with one."

Minimus considers for a long moment. It’s easy to see what his first instinct is, as his thumb slides over the badge on his chest. But instead of saying it, he turns out his hand, palm up: slim digits, small palm. The hand that just smashed through the wall, mind. What he says is, “I am … certainly here.”

"That's one thing." Rodimus looks at Minimus's hand, his own flat against his thighs, and then gives him an encouraging sort of smile. "You can build on that."

Minimus closes his hand and drops it. He tilts into a backward lean, letting his shoulders set against the wall. He asks Rodimus suddenly, “You’re all right with this?”

Rodimus steadies the ventilation of his systems and then flashes a sudden, sharp smile. "No, it's a pile of scrap, and I fragging hate it. But we gotta do it, Minimus. It's not just that the Harbingers have the moon, it's what's on it, this thing. Tyrest's -- machine. What it can do to cut out the Hand."

Minimus’s scarlet gaze lingers in consideration of Rodimus’s smile, of his words. He looks, for a moment, faintly queasy, and he reaches up with his hand to slide his fingers along the line of his helm, above his gaze. “It’s not that I don’t understand the logic,” he says, softly.

"You just hate it," Rodimus says, sympathetic. "We all do. Pour everything you can into taking credit, then. Steal his victory out from under him."

Minimus flexes his fingers and says in a low voice, “Show up his entire army, huh?” He doesn’t smile, but there is the barest suggestion, the threat of it in his tone as he shakes his head. “What a very Rodimus suggestion.”

Rodimus spreads his hands wide and gestures a 'tada'. "I don't know what else you'd expect. I'd sure hope my suggestions are Rodimus suggestions. If there are ever Megatron suggestions, kill me. We can't beat his army, so let's beat his press."

Straightening away from the wall with a slight roll of his shoulders, Minimus stands to his full height (such as it is). Fans kicking back on a gusting whhhshh, he says, “I lack your flair, but … I believe my plans will make an impression.”

"You don't need flair. You are Autobot High Command, though." Rodimus straightens, upnodding at Minimus. "Use it."

Shoulders straightening, Minimus’s jaw firms and he returns the glance. He nods. He looks around the practice room, and then says, “… did you still want to spar?”

Rodimus laughs, taking a step back and beckoning Minimus forward. "Yeah, I did. Just -- you know. Don't drop me on my head, please." It's still tender.

Minimus Ambus sweeps a measuring glance up Rodimus and lifts his hands as he moves into an obvious ready stance, loosening his frame as he prepares to move in. “I can’t even reach your head,” he says. “But I’ll try not to break anything.”

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Rodimus=unarmed Vs Minimus Ambus=unarmed
<       Rodimus: Good Success (7 8 2 6 2 5 3 2 3)          Minimus_ambus: Great Success (7 1 7 5 1 8 3 2 6 6 6 :sunglasses:
<               Net Result: Minimus_ambus wins - Solid Victory

Good enough." Rodimus beckons Minimus forward with unwarranted confidence: if not confidence in his abilities, at least confidence in Minimus's. He'll lose -- but he was always gonna. At least Minimus doesn't put any holes in him.

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