2018-12-28 Yet to Come

From Transformers: Lost and Found

Yet to Come
Date 2018/12/28
Location Cybertron
Participants Rodimus, Minimus Ambus
Summary The worst is yet to come, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

No longer frozen-featured, Rodimus sits with Soundwave’s cassettes to the left and a rotating cast of support to the right as his testimony moves forward. His features are as expressive as ever: open in an awful way, showing the twist of pain and discomfort. Sometimes, he can’t watch. He looks across the others, watching them as though he could extract a conclusion from their expressions.

Soundwave’s crimes have long passed the small crimes of revolution, passed the tasteful, understandable crimes of war. No more gun running, smuggling, data crimes and surveillance. As the first day ended, he shaded into the crimes against persons: surveillance to interrogation, torture to shadowplay. And the deathroll has begun, and shows no sign of slowing.

Restless, Rodimus breaks from his place and pushes out of the room, past a few optimistic news agents, and into the clear air.

Minimus has been seated, quiet and stern, through most of this morning. He has listened with half an ear while doing work remotely in on his datapad. It's all very familiar to him, after the extensive research and application of the law he did to create Soundwave's indictment. During some of the horrors, he looks up and listens with grave respect for the dead. Or the tortured. Or the lost and forgotten.

He watches Rodimus escape. He glances towards the panel, especially towards the Duly Appointed Enforcer trying so hard to remain earnest and attentive and not fidgeting at all. Then he vanishes the datapad, stands, and leaves without excuse.

He follows Rodimus without any pretense of doing otherwise. The only thing he offers to the news agent who attempts to accost him is a low booming growl of "No comment."

Catching the sound of Minimus’s voice, Rodimus turns back to him. He looks on the edge of transformation, caught mid-flight. His plating slicks back down, settles, and he moves to align his path with Minimus: still away, down quiet streets. “Hey.”

"Hey," Minimus returns, shedding the reporter like so much detritus. He moves to catch up with Rodimus and match his stride more or less, the medium frame's legs still shorter but still far more manageable than his irreduceable size. He doesn't immediately say anything else at first, hesitating on the verge of a number of different things he discards as platitudinous while his helm's edge creases with his lingering frown.

<< “I read it,” >> Rodimus says — less not trusting his voice, much more not trusting the gaggle of reporters left in their wake, << “but it’s not the same as hearing it. As hearing everything I skipped or glazed over. As hearing him say it. It gets worse, doesn’t it?” >>

Minimus starts to respond out loud as they walk, and then stops after a staccato stutter of his fans. He starts to answer vis transmission and then reaches out and folds his fingers around Rodimus's arm in a warm weight of pressure. << "It does. It gets significantly worse." >>

Resting his hand over Minimus’s, Rodimus squeezes — then releases, with an unusually self-conscious glance to the side and up. << “What’s the worst?” >>

Again Minimus hesitates, although this time it is to review the facts internally. He withdraws his hand out of vague sensitivity to how quickly Rodimus drew back, his hands folding in a prim clasp behind himself. << "The most aggravated war crimes were the anti-neutral pogroms, since they were universally directed as terrorism against noncombatants. Ultimately the acts of any war are acts of justified crime, but ... war crimes are those unjustifiable." >>

Quiet a moment, Rodimus says, << “I couldn’t believe Penchant could join him as a cassette because of that.” >> His hands open and close at his sides in a helpless flex as he struggles for words.

Minimus looks up at Rodimus beside him for a moment without saying anything. His gaze turns down to the ground ahead of them, tracking the dark asphalt as each step scrapes lightly against the ground before picking up. He searches for something, anything, he could say. << “When Prowl told me everything that he had done, and I mean I made him tell me everything,” >> he shares eventually, << “I was most angry at him not for who he had been, but for what it said about me. About the Autobots. About what I had been complicit with. Later, I realized that my feelings on the subject entirely selfish. That my moral outrage was unprincipled. It was… an unpleasant realization about myself. That my concern was not for the dead, for the deceived or the betrayed, but that hands, my hands, I thought were spotless were just as filthy as anyone’s.” >>

Rodimus gives a startled little grunt that suggests a hit: words well-aimed. << “You’re ready for Prowl, then? You’ll stand there—“ >> Okay, sit. That’s less dramatically satisfying though. << “—and reach for him after it’s all said same as you would have before?” >>

Minimus is silent. He stares ahead of him for a moment. << “I promised I would,” >> he says. He stops walking, though, and braces his hands at his hips, leaning backwards into nothing with his shoulders tilting back and his bright gaze angling up into the sky. << “None of our hands are clean. None of us can move on without the others. If we punish each, we must punish all. This is, in ways, a theater of horrors, but it’s also the most important moment in the history of Cybertronian law. That’s why I’m going to witness all of it.” >> Which doesn’t explain why he is out here talking to Rodimus instead of doing it, but then, there’s not really any need to explain that, is there.

Very quietly, a bare vibration of the comm frequency, Rodimus says, << “I don’t know if I can.” >>

<< “Witness, or forgive?” >> Minimus asks him.

Rodimus hesitates. << “I don’t know. Maybe it’s selfish: I keep thinking me, me, me. What this makes me. A fool, an idiot, or a traitor.” >>

Minimus stands there frowning at him for a moment. “A traitor to what?” he asks out loud.

<< “Uhm.” >> Rodimus waits for a good answer to come to him.

Running the points of his fingertips back over the curve of his helm, Minimus comms back gently, << “You knew who he was when you started this. You let yourself forget. You let yourself set it aside. But you knew. We both knew who he was when we accepted his word and let him aboard the Lost Light. We share that responsibility, Rodimus. If we hadn’t done that, would any of this be possible? >> He stands straight. << “Yet restoration is what comes when the work is finished, not when it is begun,” >> he says. << “This is the start of a long, long labor that he will do. You don’t have to accept any of what he did, Rodimus. It was evil. It was horror and terror, toxic ugliness. The kind of darkness that permanently scars a spark. You don’t have to love any of that.” >>

Minimus stands there with his hands dropped to his sides, a frown of consternation writing itself across his expression. “Am I helping?” he asks warily. “Should I stop talking?”

Rodimus’s expression, conflicted, breaks into a reluctant smile as Minimus speaks out loud. He reaches for him, hand to arm, to slide and squeeze his shoulder. “Please, don’t stop. I missed talking to you. I missed your mind and spark. Thank you.”

Minimus chuffs a slightly self-conscious little snort, shaking his head. “Well, you’re welcome,” he says, somewhat nettled. The impression is of vaguely ruffled feathers. “You remember you had to persuade me that this idea was even acceptable,” he points out a beat later.

Grinning, Rodimus squeezes his shoulder, then drops his hand. “I’m glad you’re capable of listening to reason sometimes.” His path tacks back toward the hall, and the hungry swarms of media, the thus-far quiet and contained protests. “It’s gonna be a big work, isn’t it. As a whole. All of us, everything.”

“Sometimes,” Minimus says, between wry humor and a grumpy noise — an amalgam of both, maybe. After a beat, as their path turns about, he lets the gust of his fans cycle through his systems. “Even without the committee and all our crimes,” he says softly, “we have a whole world to rebuild. A whole… people, whose lives have been nothing but war, trying to make a peace. We’re going to need to change so much, Rodimus. Retraining. Schools without military drills. Arts as a calling instead of a … damned… safety valve. Ways to … to be a people who do something besides killing each other.”

”You’re going to do incredible things,” Rodimus says with absolute confidence as he looks to Minimus. The curve of his smile is almost proud. “You got a plan? Timelines? Presentation?”

Minimus looks at him in consternation, and then he almost, almost laughs: a cycling chuff of a sound, snortish. “No,” he says. A little shyly, though, he concedes: “I have… an idea. It isn’t a plan. There’s not a timeline yet.” He considers, and then admits after a pause, “…There will probably be a presentation.”

“I can’t wait to see it.” Rodimus brightens, warming with an unexpected brightness to that scant laugh, as though it were more. “I’m glad you’re here. Our future will be better for your ideas.”

“I’ll make you sit through the whole thing,” Minimus warns him in tones of dire threat.

“I’ll take notes,” Rodimus promises perhaps optimistically.

Minimus gives him a sidelong look of skepticism, but not without a certain… hint of gratification for the support. Even though what he says is, “Hmph.”

Reaching to rub the top of Minimus’s helm, Rodimus adds nothing further. They duck back through the media battle lines and into the fray of Soundwave’s steady testimony.

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