2018-12-09 Futuring

From Transformers: Lost and Found

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Date 2018/12/09
Location Lost Light
Participants Prowl, Rodimus

Prowl drags a wake of anger so fierce that it's felt in the electromagnetic field he trails when stalking towards the upper decks. He curses Minimus in retorts that he never got to spit, as he traverses the isolated hall that leads to the hull's roof hatches. They're difficult to see with nothing but the running lines barely illuminating the floor. Prowl resigns to kicking the wall. Once, then twice. A dent forms on both his toe and the bulkhead. He rears back to sling another kick, this time with a raging shout.

As Prowl draws back to slam his foot in another kick, he gets maybe an inch before he hits not the bulkhead, but the slide of a thickly armored leg, slipped suddenly behind his. "Whoa, whoa, hey: I paid for that. Okay, I didn't pay for that. Drift did. But I'm also pretty sure it didn't do anything to you. What's up, Prowl?" Rodimus asks, shifting in a slide of metal and armor to turn Prowl away from the wall and toward him by the pressure of his leg against Prowl's shin, knee, and thigh before he backs up a pace.

Prowl turns turned around, but not without protest. He squints at Rodimus for a few seconds, trying to see through the haze of his rage. "Minimus is insufferably stubborn and surprisingly irrational. Frag him. He can't just... intimidate me whenever we disagree on something!" If Rodimus doesn't stop him, Prowl will just turn to resume kicking the wall.

Rodimus crosses his leg with Prowl's again, turning him once more. "Prowl, so help me if you kick a hole in the side of the ship and get blown out into vacuum -- well, I'll go get you, but I won't like it. Come on, you want to go blow off steam and spar or something? Because I got bad news for you, that sounds like Minimus all over." Hesitating, he says, "Although he doesn't usually -- mm. What do you mean, intimidate you?" He looks faintly concerned. For Prowl.

Prowl is twisted around yet again, wobbling. "I don't- I don't want to spar, Rodimus. I want Minimus to remove his slagging badge. I don't know why this is so difficult. I understand that it's sentimental and related to his... issues. But. The bigger picture! Right?" ... "Right?" he repeats in a smaller voice.

"I don't understand your question," Prowl mumbles.

When Prowl wobbles, Rodimus hip-checks him into a lean, and then nudges him into a seat as he follows suit in a mirrored slide to sit on the ground in the quiet next to the dents shaped by Prowl's first kicks. Come sit with him, Prowl. "Okay, so you got a lot of stuff there, and we'll get to it, but why don't we start with your total confusion about my perfectly reasonable question. How's he intimidating you?"

Prowl submits to the guiding until he's on the ground, legs loosely folded. He looks over again, his anger having bled into misery. "Not physically. And I don't think that's his aim. It's more about... balance, and how I'm lucky to have him. I hate risking things with decisions I make. But this decision is important."

"Why are you doing this? Do you want to hear about how I'm struggling in this relationship? How you were probably better at this?"

"I'm asking because I care about you, you moron," Rodimus says. Caringly. "You're a friend. If it helps -- and it probably doesn't, but just so you know, I was terrible at it. It's only just started to scar over. So if it's not intimidation, it's that you're scared. I get that. I do. You wanna explain what's going on? What decision?"

Prowl ought to be ashamed of how Rodimus' admission actually helps. He'll feel ashamed later, but for now, it balms the singe. He's quiet for as long as Rodimus doesn't spur him, and finally answers. "We decided to abolish the Autobot insignia, on Cybertron and within the fleet. Minimus was outvoted. And he refused to remove his badge. Here..." He forwards Minimus' latest datanet. "He'd rather be jailed."

Eyes widening, Rodimus reaches for the datanet and thumbs through it. Ever so slightly, he winces. It takes him a while to read. Like -- noticeably. But eventually he hands it back, and before Prowl can quite get bored. "He won't be the only person. And if you forbid something -- that's a fight that we don't need. That you don't need. Maybe there's a middle path: strip it as an official emblem of the Autobots, but let people keep it as a personal badge. You're debadging, then? You and Hound, you both voted for it? Hound? I don't even know if that comes off, after twenty billion years."

"Twenty b-" Prowl breaks off and strangles a laugh, but it manifests in the way he stares up at the ceiling and scrubs his mouth. "Hound's not that old. He was reluctant, too. I feel like I should've earned some trust here. I'm confident that our soldiers aren't going to up and revolt. We're better than that." Better than Decepticons, CLEARLY. "I just think the Decepticons won't be sold on the whole idea of Autobots still technically existing."

"Dissolve the command structure and return to civilian life and order," Rodimus says, spreading his hands wide, "and please know that my saying that is a transparent power grab to get you all under my fist as Matrix bearer." He clenches his fist. See? Power grab. Then, opening his hand, he eases it. "They aren't going to up and revolt, but enough pockets of them will be Minimus-level unhappy that they will seethe and it could fester. It's a matter of where you're spending your time and energy. The Decepticons still think I'm an Autobot half the time. Fragging Soundwave still thinks of me as an Autobot sometimes. It's more than the badge, and removing the badge only just starts to get at it. It's a step. But you can't drag people kicking and screaming into the future. Or -- well, you can. But."

Prowl gives Rodimus a wry look. There's not enough humor left over to boost him into a smirk. "The intent was to dissolve Command entirely and leave it back to the elections. Raptorion didn't like that. She was worried about Starscream getting re-elected. Seemed convinced that he'd kill her."

"Of course, none of this will matter if we retrieve Orion. Which is no reason to abandon him," Prowl adds hastily. (edited)

Rodimus barks a sharp laugh. "Starscream will never get elected. Ignition might get elected if she doesn't dance fast enough out of the way. I don't know how that'll go. It'll be interesting. The Newsparks and their education is going to be crazy to try to track." Tilting his head, he asks, "Why won't it matter?"

"Everyone loves Orion," Prowl says through a defeated sigh.

"And? Prowl, Orion would never -- like, literally never, ever -- stand up in any election to be counted, not unless the Quints had fifty tentacles jammed into his access ports to override his controls," Rodimus graphically reassures.

Prowl makes a face. "Eugh. Was that necessary? I didn't need to picture that." He gives Rodimus' angular shoulder a little shove. Just a little one. "He doesn't need an election. That's the point. If Orion told the Autobots they could wear their badges again, none of our authority would matter."

"So just to be clear, you, along with Minimus, think I've made the wrong decision here?" Prowl asks.

"Nah," Rodimus says. "I think there's a good idea in there. Stripping the badge, dismantling the machinery. Ordering it stricken from ships and all. I think there's a middle ground there, that your big picture galaxy brain--" It's 2018. He can know memes. "--is forgetting. Something with the little guys. The little, green guys. Something where they can follow you. You're not giving the rest of them enough credit to think that they will follow you, Prowl, if you make that first step. Minimus might not be ready now, and he's not the only one, but if you take the first step just maybe a little softer and don't actual arrest them--. They'll follow. One day. And the Decepticons will see you're trying."

Waving back, Rodimus waves his hands in a broad gesture and says, "And I bet Orion knows that if he did come back and say that, that it wouldn't matter, and that's why he wouldn't. Before the Quints, he renounced all that. Freely."

Prowl stares out at the wall across the hall, unblinking, presumably thinking. He ends up wiggling the dented tip of his foot.

"You probably should've been invited to that meeting. It did, essentially, involve neutrals. I'll revise the decision, and you're probably right about the whole kicking and screaming thing, but I'm going to continue worrying. I hope we're tired enough of warring, as a race." He taps his insignia. "I'll get this scraped off too. What should I do about Minimus?"

"Frag if I know." Rodimus bumps his sharp lil shoulder back against Prowl. JUST A LITTLE. It's revenge for the shove. "Prowl, I got bad news for you: you are now the local Minimus expert. Give him space, let him know you took him seriously, that you are reconsidering -- not your vision, not your belief, but maybe your approach. Because this future is too important to give up on, but you want to walk into it with him at your side."

Prowl grumbles at this GOOD ADVICE. "I wasn't finished being angry with him. Rodimus, he'd really rather get locked up than work through this!" He's back to muttering. "Let me scowl in the dark for another hour. Don't send anyone up. Divert everything to Hound."

"You telling me you'd rather scowl in the dark for an hour than work through being mad?" Rodimus teases.

Prowl narrows his gaze on Rodimus. Then, after a lengthy sigh through his vents, "Thanks for... being a nosy, caring punk." Rodimus gets something between a pat and a slap on his back, right in the center of his Matrix scarring.

Rodimus jolts forward, although he strangles any outburst of noise. The way he reacts to the touch is outsized, obvious, and he peels away from any curious follow-ups with a quick twist and scramble away and up to his feet. "Good luck," he says after a moment to steady his vents and quiet back down again. "You're headed in the right direction."

Prowl is curious, and leans to see what he'd agitated, but Rodimus is too quick on his big stupid hooves. "Hnf," is the lone response. He's still going to sit here and brood in the dark. Maybe for a little less than an hour, at least.

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