2018-03-25 Concern and Morale

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Concern and Morale
Date 2018/03/25
Location Lost Light: Recreation -- Swerve's
Participants Minimus Ambus, Rodimus
Summary Minimus was concerned, but everything's okay, so he and Rodimus go to improve morale

Often referred to as the heart of the ship (by Swerve), the bar is rarely empty, rarely quiet. Central to the whole is the bar itself: just tall enough for a minibot to serve over the edge and lined with stools capable of accommodating bots of any height. Large, clear vessels stand behind the bar, containing the brews of the day. Behind the bar, an engex distillery assures there's always something new.

Round tables are scattered across the floor. Seats fold up from the floor beneath. Large booths along the sides of the room have room for a half-dozen or more, if they don't mind getting cozy, while monitors here and there find occasional use showing old vids.

A sign outside the door says:

       No Guns, No Swords, No Bombs

Underneath is written: I MEAN IT!! LOCK YOUR WEAPON SYSTEMS DOWN AND DUMP EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE BIN BY THE DOOR. It is signed with a little frowning Swerve face.

On the other side of the door is a SHAME LIST. No, really, that's what it says. It has the number of days that various people are banned from Swerve's and counts down at the start of the morning shift.

When Minimus Ambus steps across the threshhold of Swerve's bar, it is with a slightly baleful expression, particularly when the announcement light show goes off. Good grief, does that still exist. He eyes the walls mistrustfully for their greenish flash. It's been a long time since he came down here, and he hesitated entirely when his check of the personnel database told him that Rodimus's locator signal was in here. Surely, if he is in Swerve's, he's totally fine and this checkin is entirely unnecessary.

Yet here Minimus is, sidling inside anyway, glowering at walls that never did him any harm, and there Rodimus is, over there at the bar. He begins to tromp towards him, though the skilled reader of his body language might suspect he wishes he were Maximus Ambus right now, armor against all the side-eyes being flicked in his direction.

The drink in Rodimus's hand is Minimus's own, and from the empty glass at his elbow, it's not the first. It's certainly possible that he hit the hard stuff first: as he turns back to look at Minimus, there's a slight glazed aspect to his expression. His smile is warm and easy, but he moves stiffly in the twist that follows the attention of others nearby. "Hey, Minimus. Look at you, fitting through doors and still turning heads. Heard about !Magnus. Nice work."

Minimus starts to look annoyed and visibly stops himself. He scrubs his hand at the back of his neck, frown self-conscious, and looks around the bar like someone entirely ill at ease. He looks at Rodimus. He looks at the other people looking at him. Somehow, he doesn't implode entirely into nothingness.

He says, "I heard about what you did, too. Reports of your doom appear to have been exaggerated."

Spreading his hand in a gesture, Rodimus says, "I carried, and I stood. Trust me, that part was easy. Bulkhead and Wheeljack did the hard work, and did it fast." He kicks his foot at the stool next to him, then wiggles the glass at swerve. Another? "I guess Prowl did something. I mean, he's gotta get a little credit for the whole thing overall, really. And he absolutely almost managed to very nearly sound kind of sincere."

Minimus Ambus looks at the stool, and looks at Rodimus. It apparently occurs to him that he will stick out like less of a sticky-out thing if he sits, because he does, but he also apparently has resolved to not enjoy it, because he fends off Swerve's attempt to sell him a drink with one lifted palm, and turns his frowning focus on Rodimus. "So you didn't do anything besides play box." His tone is forged entirely in doubt.

Rodimus ticks his finger against his glass. He doesn't immediately reply. Instead, he drinks, repeating his gesture at Swerve for another, but this time pointing to himself. After some minor grumbling about Rodimus doing the equivalent of going to a bar and ordering water, Swerve complies. Whatever the glazed look in Rodimus's expression is, then, it's not the result of strong engex. "Play box, and stand still. You're forgetting that one. Just as important. Think I need to talk to Optimus, though -- to Pax," he corrects himself.

"Standing still. Must have been hard." Minimus gives Rodimus a slow side-eye, and then lets his arm drop against the edge of the bar, tilting into a slight lean as he studies him. "You think so? He was remarkably cooperative the last time High Command made contact, even before the... patch."

"Yeah, well. You know me." Rodimus grins in response to Minimus's side-eye, and suppresses the urge to fidget. "Now that he's patched, I imagine you're going to want to make contact again," he says, glancing to Minimus for confirmation. "I want to be there. Or -- if not there, after. That thing he's carrying: it's not the Matrix. But he carried it, once."

"All right. I think we can arrange that." Minimus Ambus sits up very straight for a moment in his perch on the barstool. He watches him for a beat, a flicker of his gaze in and out in an uncertain blink. Then he tells Rodimus in a bland, conversational tone, "Megatron suggested to me that I would be best served murdering him on the battlefield."

Rodimus lifts his glass the better to mutter behind it, "Well, he's not wrong," and then he finishes it, just in time for Swerve to slide another in place. He shifts -- slowly, stiffly -- to face Minimus. "You didn't, obviously. Too bad. Wouldn't that make you top Con? You could be Decepticon High Commmand and Autobot High Command. Do a better job of unifying people than I ever did. You were big enough. They'd follow."

Minimus's lip curls visibly. His eye flicks down Rodimus and then back up, and he says, "I wouldn't care for such a unity. You know I couldn't." He looks aside for a beat, and the tilt of his shoulders slowly, detectably, becomes a faint slump. "Size isn't everything."

Reaching over to drop his hand on Minimus's shoulder, Rodimus lets his fingers curl in a reassuring squeeze. His lips tilt smirkish. "Maybe not, but it's a start, especially smashing your way across a battlefield."

Minimus starts to answer, and then stops. He is quiet for a moment, his jaw set, his eyes looking at nothing in particular, as he sits there. His systems whirr in a soft whush of fans as he turns his scarlet gaze back to Rodimus. He says, "I can't complain about that." A beat passes. "So ... we're at Swerve's right now," he says.

Rodimus gives Minimus another little pat and then drops his elbows to the bar. He curls in, hunched ever so slightly as he braces himself in a forward lean. "Yep. Good job. And people said you didn't know how to find it. I always believed in you."

"I've been here before," Minimus Ambus bristles with inexplicable defensiveness. He adds, "You made me come at least once. I mean, you ... invited me."

Hesitating, Rodimus edges his (metaphorical, and thus much smaller) foot carefully onto the edge of an unexpected minefield: "Sure, I mean. I know. I remember. I was joking."

"Yes, I-- I figured." Minimus wilts his hackles back into place and knuckles a little at his brow beneath the edge of his helm. He scowls at Rodimus for a moment, and then the expression eases as he looks away, and he releases a little snort of consternation at himself. He says, "Never mind."

"I can't think of any two words that could possibly make me want to know what you were going to say more than 'never mind'," Rodimus says with a nudge of his less metaphorical foot to the side of Minimus's leg where he sits at the bar.

"It was stupid to bite your head off, that's all," Minimus Ambus says. "This place makes me nervous. And you make me nervous. And being nervous makes me annoyed." He flips his hand up in the air, showing his palm, and then lets it clatter lightly to the surface of the bar. "How dare you, and so on. No, Swerve, I do not want a drink," he says before Swerve can tell him what a cure for his nerves is, and his glare is sufficiently frigid to send Swerve scuttling off to help someone else who is less of a jerk. Minimus adds, in a rueful, quiet tone, "I really just ... wanted to see if you're all right."

"Nervous?" Rodimus repeats, somewhere between disbelieving and curious. He struggles with that curiosity for a moment, better nature warring with selfish nature--

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Rodimus=better Nature Vs Rodimus=selfish Nature
<       Rodimus: Success (8 5)          Rodimus: Failure (1 6)
<               Net Result: Rodimus wins - Marginal Victory

--and winning, somehow. Maybe it's the way his hand curls at his chest. His expression softens, and he watches Minimus with a closed, quick smile. "Yeah. I'm -- okay. I'm not exactly lining up for a third time on that fragging machine. Strongly recommending we melt it down to avoid the possibility."

Minimus Ambus returns Rodimus's look with a narrow-eyed glare like he is about to bristle again, but when Rodimus actually answers him on the side of his better angels, he once more soothes down his prickle and rubs his thumb along the line of the edge of his helm. He says, "Especially now that our science team has found a way to circuit its limits to impact the entire Cybertronian race at once, a suggestion with considerable forethought."

"That's me," Rodimus says, gesturing with splayed fingers. "Always forethoughtful. Bulk and Jackie made a good team, though. Still, I'd rather not see what Megatron's nerd squad could do if they got their hands on it."

Minimus's hand, against the surface of the bar, closes into a fist. He says, "No. You're right. Better to destroy it quickly." Though his tone does not really change, it is not hard to detect the shift across his expression that comes with the fisting of his digits.

Glancing over at Minimus, from his hand and then back to meet his eyes, Rodimus tilts his head in a canine sort of inquiry.

Minimus Ambus relaxes his hand forcibly, and looks at it for a moment. "Shockwave," he says. It's all he offers by way of explanation. His voice has edged the syllables as much with self-disgust as anything.

"Oh." In what might possibly be an attempt to cheer Minimus up, Rodimus says, "You know, Soundwave totally hates him too. I never would've guessed. Four million years and I always thought they were like BFF: creep and creepier." He fails to clarify which is which.

"Yes, well. I suspect that the source of our dislike is a little different, all things considered." Minimus smears his hand over his face, and then says to Rodimus, "But Soundwave and I agree on a number of things."

Rodimus smirks at Minimus, a smirk that tips to a smile, then a grin. "Bet you never thought you'd say that one."

"There are a great many things I have said since starting this journey that I never thought I would say," Minimus Ambus states firmly, and he turns the full lift of his brow with his gaze upon Rodimus, adding, "The tentacles are still pretty unsettling, though. At least my shield just acts like a shield. And a ... some kind of energy weapon."

"Aw, I think they're--." No, no. Rodimus can't bring himself to say it. He pauses. Then he says ,"--not that bad." That's better. "They're probably still mopping things up out there, right? What's even left of the Harbingers at this point, after you energy-weaponed them into pieces?"

"There's still some mop-up, but we took out a sizeable portion of their main force, and their leadership is shattered." Minimus lets his hand fall again, shake of his head slight. "At this point, there's little enough threat that they have left."

Rodimus thinks about that a long and careful moment: long, for the slog of the fight; careful, for how he edges around the parts currently lurking in their brig that he doesn't want to think about. "Weird," he finally says.

"Very," Minimus Ambus agrees. His shoulders draw back. That is awkward and uncomfortable for an entirely different set of reasons. He lifts his feet, setting them against the rungs of the stool, and tilts his chin, returning his glance over Rodimus. For a moment, he studies his features, and then looks away.

When Minimus looks away, Rodimus turns toward him. His gaze sweeps over his features, lingering on the stretch of green and the brightness of the white. How very much not !Minimus he is. Then he looks away. "Well, at least there's still Unicron, so we won't get bored."

"Apparently in motion again," Minimus Ambus says, ducking his head to run his fingertips back over the curve of his helm. "So. We changed the universe, I suppose. And Megatron's not even in charge of this one."

"Ha." Rodimus finishes his drink and pushes back, concealing most of a wince in standing. "Let's just keep it that way. Take out or stop the massive elder god on its way to do who knows what, and keep Megatron from making a throne of our bodies. That's not too much to ask."

"It's important to have goals." Minimus Ambus rises. There's a hint of hesitation to him as he does so, but he never even pretended to be here for any other reason, so. "I'm glad you're all right, anyway. I was ... worried." He hesitates over the admission as though it carries more meaning than it should, and then ducks his head as though by avoiding looking at Rodimus he can pretend that didn't happen.

"Look at this, Minimus," Rodimus says with a stretch of his hands that would be more convincing if he wasn't so clearly stiff as he straightens. "Totally good. Worry not. I didn't even get to smash my way through the battlefield. I'm gonna head up to the medibay, check in on people who weren't so lucky. You wanna come?"

Minimus says, "Yes, good idea," because if he goes with Rodimus to the medibay, he can privately ensure that Rodimus is actually going to the medibay and maybe sneakily ensure that Rodimus gets himself looked at while he's there.

Well, that's definitely not going to happen. The last part: Rodimus is going to medibay, is actually going to medibay, and is absolutely avoiding coming under medical inspection. There's plenty of people in worse shape, and a little visit there will make that perfectly clear. "Okay, but don't look so grim. This is a morale visit. You gotta be good for morale."

Facts aren't going to stand in the way of Minimus being a worrywort, however, as this is instrinsic. He chuffs a little. "Do you think I should go put my armor on?" he asks Rodimus gravely.

Rodimus grins over at Minimus. "Absolutely." And then they will get immediately thrown out due to the amount of room that Minimus takes up in the space, but yeah. Totally do that. Anyway, he doesn't really make room for that on their path there, so he probably doesn't mean it. "You'll be good for morale either way, though."

"You have strange ideas about morale," Minimus Ambus tells Rodimus as he keeps pace with him. He does have to lengthen his stride a little to track along with the taller Rodimus, since he is medium at the moment, but at least he isn't miniest. He makes no move to change course to go get his armor, so he probably wasn't serious about that either. "But I will attempt to restrict my frowning to normal parameters."

Adjusting his stride by reflex, Minimus will find that he doesn't need to lengthen it by much; it's easy for Rodimus to fall into old habits, and among those are keeping pace with Minimus. "I'm great at morale. Anyway, morale's like -- my sacred duty," he says, very seriously. Or not?? Actually it's kind of hard to tell, even if he's grinning. "Normal parameters is good enough."

Hands a loose clasp behind him, Minimus narrows his gaze and looks thoughtfully off into the middle distance. "Perhaps we should promote you to morale officer." The staid way in which he says this and the musing tone are plain signs that he is not serious. "You could be required by regulation to throw a minimum number of parties per annum."

Leaning to the side, Rodimus says, "Watch out. Galactic council will be on your aft for promoting me to a position of authority and responsibility, something something, I don't know."

"Ignition can handle it," Minimus says ruthlessly. "Anyway, I am certain the Galactic council won't be invited to your parties."

"You are absolutely right about that." Rodimus punches the lift button a little viciously, and the doors close to take them on their morale adventure.

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