2015-02-25 Chain of Command

From Transformers: Lost and Found

Chain of Command
Date 2015/02/25
Location Lost Light: Elevator
Participants Rodimus, Ultra Magnus
Summary Ultra Magnus ambushes Rodimus in the elevator on the way to the Bridge.

Lost Light: Elevator -- Elevator

This is one of several elevators that core the ship, running from top to bottom. The doors are solid with access panels above and below in case of emergencies. Not that there'd be an emergency, right?

Having made his escape, Rodimus wastes it: he stops by Science, having previously been kicked out Medical, because what good are reports when he can just go in person? It's important to keep that personal touch and not just stand a remote and untouchable icon. That's just the kind of leader he is. Never too important to mix with the crew.

(This is what he tells himself. In reality, he spends far too much time hanging in and getting updates and being friends when he should be distancing himself, prioritizing, and being a /leader/, but hey. He tries. Sort of.)

When Rodimus gets on the elevator rising from Engineering and finds Ultra Magnus already waiting, he very nearly turns around and walks out. Only with a breath to steel himself does he enter. "Hey, Magnus."

"Rodimus." Ultra Magnus's voice is very mild, because he has had ample time to compose himself in the wake of an admittedly somewhat unsettling and potentially expensive conversation with Nautica.

Standing solid in the wide plant of his feet, he punches in the control to suggest the elevator door glide shut, and then folds his massive hands in a clasp behind his back. "Is there a reason you feel the need to undermine my authority in a mass communique?"

"Uhhh." Rodimus doesn't even get as far as innocence. He sticks, blank.

"Do you not understand," Ultra Magnus intones, speaking with measured weight, "that my authority is a reflection of your own? That if you disempower your own second in command, you are effectively undermining yourself?"

Confusion overtakes the blank look. Voice touched with a protest of defensive innocence, Rodimus says, "I wasn't undermining you!"

This is, perhaps, slightly disingenuous. Rodimus looks away, and then glances back at Ultra Magnus and more honestly says, "I wasn't trying to. I just figured, you know -- you put the ban on fun."

Letting out a long hiss of breath in a grinding mechanical shift, Ultra Magnus looks up and stares at the closed doors of the elevator for passing seconds. He says: "The next time you wish to make an adjustment to one of my orders, I strongly suggest you speak to me before belaying them publicly. You may find that countermanding your XO in front of the /entire/ crew is something that may potentially have /unforeseen consequences/. I trust I am clear enough this is not about the shopping excursion in question, however ridiculous I may personally find it to be."

Somewhat unusually, Rodimus stands silent next to Ultra Magnus. The elevator arrives at the bridge, but he hits the hold button in the midst of his silence rather than allow the doors to open. (Don't worry: there's more than one car. He hasn't doomed the entire ship to grind to a halt while he thinks, because then they'd be here forever.) His silence does not have the particular qualities that would suggest a sulk, but his expression is not immediately forthcoming with his thoughts.

For once, Rodimus's quiet outlasts Ultra Magnus's patience; at first seeming to intend to leave that stand, he speaks again at length, saying, "The crew of the Lost Light places considerable trust in your judgment, Rodimus. If you decide that I am to be made light of, so will they."

After a beat, he adds, "I place considerable trust in you, Rodimus. I know that the reverse is true as well. I am familiar with your ... I suppose you refer to it as your sense of humor." The shift of Ultra Magnus's brow suggests that he does not so identify it himself, but he continues, "But whatever occurs on the command deck, you and I, and even Drift," -- even Drift -- "must appear as /the command deck/."

"You're right." One might expect the words to sound as though dragged from Rodimus with jagged hooks or stripped from his tongue with a flensing knife, but in fact he delivers them as fact. He looks up at Ultra Magnus with a slight smile and tips his head. "Next time, I'll talk to you, okay?" There's a note of entreaty in his voice that's easy to miss in light of the way his smile habitually settles smirkish.

With this victory, Ultra Magnus pushes no further, without regard to whatever insouciance might be read (or ignored) in the gradations of his commanding officer's expression. He holds out his hand to grip Rodimus by the forearm in a clasp, and says only, "Good."

Rodimus's smile brightens to a grin. He meets the reach of Ultra Magnus's hand with a clasp warmly returned.

Releasing the hold button as he releases his grip, Rodimus faces forward. The doors slide open to reveal a bridge crew perfectly aware that the elevator had been on hold. He squares his shoulders, lifts his chin, and steps onto the bridge with a sure stride. Ultra Magnus at his back, Rodimus addresses navigation in a bright tone: "So, are we there yet?"

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