From Transformers: Lost and Found
|Location||Lost Light: Recreation -- Swerve's|
|Participants||Rodimus, Breakdown, Hustle|
|Summary||It's movie night at Swerve's, and some people aren't watching Nosferatu.|
Lost Light: Recreation -- Swerve's
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 boots 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.
With the ship wandering gently off its marked path in pursuit of distraction, word has spread from the science deck and outward helped in no small part by the fact that someone happened to mention something near Swerve fairly early on. The Lost Light Insider acquired a scan of the planet which, from a distance, shows only a pair of craters on the northern hemisphere and a tunnel at the pole that digs right down to the hollow core.
Autobots (and Decepticons) with experience on Earth are left explaining the captain's favorite theory, about some kind of space-based, planet-eating vampire monster wandering the dark places in the galaxy. These explanations come with more or less eyerolling, depending on who is doing the telling, but by the time it gets to Rewind -- well, then it's movie night!
The tables and chairs have been arranged to face the far wall where Rewind projects the image of an old black and white film. A fascinated few in front listen with rapt attention to the audio that plays more clearly there, while others gather in back to socialize. Everyone drinks. It's a bar. Of course they drink.
Rodimus is somewhere in the middle, although at the moment he's talking in a low voice to Swerve. It's a short conversation, that ends when the bartender has to go tend bar.
Seated at the bar with one heavy boot planted hard against the floor and an arm braced along the counter, trunk of his body angled outward to view the crowd at large more than the screen, Breakdown has paid mostly only cursory attention to the film. This makes a certain amount of sense, as his time on Earth is not a time of great nostalgia for him for reasons, with a few limited but intense exceptions.
Taking up the drink that he has only now gotten refreshed, he stretches out his other foot to the extension of his leg as he shifts in a clanky scrape of metal against the surface behind him, rolling a look from the returning bartender to his moments-ago monopolist with a weighty frown.
Hustle is pointedly avoiding movie night, the bar, conversation, and other individuals in general. Oh she's polite enough if anyone comes to talk to her but she's got her nose in the books, so to speak, catching up on datalink after datalink about Cybertron, the war, and everything that she's missed being stuck on her miserable backwater homeworld (her opinion of it, anyways). She's been very quiet as of late, keeping out of the public eye as she explores and familiarizes herself with the ship -- what she can access anyways.... and a few places that maybe she wasn't supposed to access. No harm, no foul, right?
Meeting Breakdown's look with an easy grin, Rodimus tips his glass in an acknowledging gesture of greeting, then rolls his gaze off to the side where Hustle's doing her studying. "What're you doing, background research?" he asks. He weights the word 'research' with something almost like a laugh. Whatever respect he might have for Perceptor (and Brainstorm, obviously!), he's more jock than nerd. And research is for nerds. He glances back toward Breakdown and asks, "Did you guys pay much attention to Earth stuff, or just kind of -- you know, hit it and quit it?"
"I wasn't very interested in finding tiny squishy flesh people to hug and put in my cab if that's what you mean," Breakdown says with bland implication in the words. He smiles back at Rodimus in a way that is less easy and more dry, a sliver of a sardonic expression that is not so much unfriendly in specific as it is in /general/. He does not go out of his way to insult his superior officer directly, but he's hardly shy about grumpy implications.
He follows Rodimus's glance toward the Camien with a crease waking in the plating of his brow, this being the first notice he has taken of her, and he takes a sip of his drink. "That why the little small guy doing this? Show off your ... Earth bits? For the new ones?" (There's really no need to refer to Rewind as both little /and/ small, and yet.)
"Kinda-sorta. I need to know my environment if I'm gonna operate at peak efficiency. It helps if I know a bit more about what the rest of you went through back on Cybertron that I missed." Hustle sits back in her chair, still looking at the datapad, though she drop it to at least table level, giving it break from the hole her optics were practically burning in it. Rodimus' jock-ularity blows completely over her head as she thumbs towards the movie. "That looked like a tremendous waste of time and a lot of unwanted elbow-rubbing."
Hustle doesn't respond to Breakdown as of yet, though his presence is registered in a slight tilting of her armor towards him, as if listening.
"There are a lot of Autobots who never made it to Earth, actually," says Rodimus with a smugness that as much as says he was among the rare and special few. "So it's not just for the new ones, it's for everyone. I actually didn't spend that much time down there, but there's kind of a disproportionate interest in the stuff they came up with on our side. Curious if it was the same for you guys." He glances back at Hustle and, after a once over, makes certain assumptions: "You're used to working on your own, yeah?"
"Strange as it seems," Breakdown says with a low seep of growl in his voice that actually seems shaded with a hint of amusement as he waggles his drink at the captain, "many who wear the badge have different personalities and interests." He knocks back the rest of it, slams down the glass, looks for Swerve, and then rolls his eyes as he stands up, angling toward the other two in a shifting drag of his solid blue boots.
"It was a war. Mostly there was shooting and dying a lot, and finding different ways to shoot and die a lot. And breaking stuff." Brightening slightly as he references the destruction of property, Breakdown tilts his head slightly as he rubs the glide of metal thumb across the knuckles of his opposite fist, glancing down as he says, "And hating each other. We got really good at hating each other." Breakdown considers Rodimus in the narrowed sweep of glow-bright eyes. He says: "Fraggin' experts."
Hustle swipes her finger across the datapad, turning a page. "Yep. People are unwanted and unpredictable variables in my line of work." Case in point: The big blue mountain whose attention has been drawn this way. With all the red, blue, and school bus yellow focused on each other, it's gotten downright primary in here.
Setting down the datapad so as not to be rude, she leans an elbow over the back of her chair. Casually she asks, "So, are you two going to start fighting or making out?"
"A long war," Rodimus adds. He tips his glass on its edge and then sets it flat again. "A long, long war." He does not disagree with Breakdown regarding hate and skill, but neither does he return the glance or words with anything but a slight shake of his head. While his questions thus far might certainly be deemed /insensitive/ (especially considering Breakdown's time on Earth), neither his tone nor his manner suggests antagonism.
Rodimus's answer of, "Neither," to Hustle, then, is made easy. He grins at her over his drink. "Problem is that you just keep running into people."
"I ain't a mutineer," Breakdown says. He doesn't comment on the other thing, but he does smile, the shift of his browplates upwards slight but detectable. Apparently, mutiny is more of a concern to him. Then again, considering the occasional state of the Decepticon chain of command, it's probably the kind of thing he's more prepared to defend against. (He also might consider his relationship status a foregone conclusion.)
"It's a big ship, I'm bound to run into a few people now and again, though I -have- managed to keep off your radar for awhile now," Hustle points out casually, grinning a little and feeling like being a complete gearstick. "So we have Autobots and Decepticons on the same ship trying to pretend they get along after a millions-of-years-long war, looking for mythological figures that may not even exist. Am I getting the full picture here so far?"
Rodimus gives Breakdown a level look. "/You/ might not be a mutineer." While that's all that he says, enough is implied that Breakdown can probably pick through his silence. Breakdown may not be Perceptor-brilliant, but neither is Rodimus Jazz-subtle.
"That about covers it. Although we've got good reason to think there's truth behind the myths. There's truth behind any story, and we've got a map, and Drift's friends made a study out of preserving that part of our past. As for the pretending to get along though -- well, maybe a little less pretending to be friendly, maybe a little more not shooting each other. Although I guess that is /relatively/ friendly."
"'S a few aboard who didn't fight," Breakdown says. "Nails. Few who didn't care so much who they fought for." He scowls. It is a deep-grooved expression, shifting into familiar lines and edges about the hard angles of his scarlet-plated face. He stands a little wider as his arms fall, folding weighted across his broad and heavy chest. Clank.
"You got some of our people you don't trust at your back, even with Soundwave passin' the orders down?" He gives Rodimus a look of deep skepticism, and then turns his glance back toward Hustle, the edges of his expression fading back to a more thoughtful neutral than the brittleness of a moment ago. "Reasons to be aboard even if you don't believe -- or care -- about the whole legend thing. Reasons not to be home."
"'Not being home' is the main reason I ended up on this ship. Home sucks, I hate it, I hate the other people /from/ it, and I was hoping Cybertron would be better. Turns out I was in for one hell of a disappointment." Hustle shrugs. "But that's just life."
Spoiler dipping with an exaggeratedly careless shrug, Rodimus says, "Soundwave or not, this is important enough that it's worth extending that trust. Just sometimes it gets a little hard to keep up the sunny optimism that it'll work out, though." He smiles, answering skepticism with sardonicism, and lifts his glass to toy with his drink. Glancing at Hustle, he says, "It's a big galaxy out there. What is it that you're looking for?"
"Yeah? You don't just spontaneously generate it? Leak sunshine everywhere you go like some kind of damned ... faucet?" This is not a very good analogy, Breakdown. He shakes his head. He pronounces: "Scrap," in a fairly general way, and settles back, weight balanced on his heels where he stands.
"I spent a long damn life hatin' everything," Breakdown says in a tone of measured wisdom, and then snorts. "Everything, everyone. Still do, some days. Well, not /everyone/." After a beat he suggests: "Try breakin' stuff."
Hustle looks at Breakdown, and then at Rodimus. After scrutinizing their expressions, she turns off the datapad and frowns, closing her optics and trying to gather her thoughts.
"Why do either of you care?" Her plating turns up, pointed and unwelcoming, though her voice balances between forced neutrality and simmering frustration. "What do you think you're going to get from me?" The question is it own statement.
Rodimus gestures at his chest. "Not real flames," he tells Breakdown. Just in case he was confused. "Also, flames aren't the same thing as sunshine."
Having clarified that, Rodimus glances at Hustle with half a smile. "I was thinking I'd get conversation. And as long as you're on this ship, you're crew. Same as him." He hooks his thumb at Breakdown. He nods at the rest of the bar. "Same as them." His smile fades. "You're my crew. And that's important to me." His smile blazes back sunshine-bright, cheerful to distract from the serious weight of his words. "Of course, there are a lot of you."
Breakdown considers. After a beat, he says: "I /don't/ care, really. You want to stew, ain't my concern. You gonna stew in the bar round a bunch of bots, gonna get eyes on you. People ain't /that/ hard to predict."
He rolls his glance back to Rodimus and gives him an edged smile, although it's not /that/ edged. His prickle is fairly restrained, all told. There's a blunting of his edge that suggests it's kind of the jerk side of banter, but still--. "Here I was figurin' it came out your aft," he says.
Something about what Rodimus says just makes Hustle ball up into a little ball of pure rage inside. She has the good sense not to let it out, but try as she might, some venting is bound to occur. "I'm not -your- crew. I will never be -your- crew. You give me orders and I'll do it because I'm not stupid enough to cause a problem for everyone else on this ship with a temper tantrum or refusing to be responsible, but could you please stop pretending like you care about me? I don't like you, I am never -going- to like you. Let's keep this professional. Like you said, there's a whole lot of us around here so you can afford to lose me in a crowd."
She stands up and gets her book. "I was in here reading, -alone- until you two decided to make my business yours. But hey, when you're right, you're right." She tosses Breakdown a half-salute. "See ya."
Although Rodimus does not argue with Hustle -- especially not since she's leaving, and that would leave him shouting after her back -- he does manage a certain knowing glance that's just ... obnoxious. He gestures at her in a placation that's easily read as a little dismissive. "Enjoy your book."
As she heads out, Rodimus glances over at Breakdown and asks, "How's that for sunshine?”
"See ya," Breakdown agrees equably as he watches her go with a slight tilt of his head. He then makes a chuff of a noise, a snorfling kind of laugh ground out of the depths of his frame. He eyes Rodimus sidelong and says, "I don't really like you either," but his tone is pretty mild; he sounds almost amiable, as if 'I don't like you' is actually one of the more friendly things that exists in his repertoire of social interaction.
(I.e., it isn't 'pounding of the face'.)
"You're still crew." Rodimus finishes off his drink and then pushes it across the bar. He waves Swerve off when he glances over. "Sorry," he adds in off-hand and not really apologetic fashion to Breakdown.
"If I weren't your crew, Autobot, I'd be chipped," Breakdown points out, "and sitting on Cybertron probably gettin' yelled at or stuff thrown at me or something, and anyway, you've got my medic." He leans back on his heels again, drumming heavy metal fingertips on the surface of the bar with a narrow-eyed smile. "Don't expect /liking/ comes into it much for you either. 'Sfine. Ain't on the boat to make friends."
Rodimus looks just a little puzzled, but then he clearly comes to some explanation that makes sense to himself. The confusion clears into understanding and he nods. "Don't have to like you," he agrees, pushing to his feet. He glances in the direction of the movie still playing, then back at Breakdown. He grins. "And I won't insist you like the movies, either. Keep up the good work not shooting people," he says in encouragement, then drifts over with a bright, "Rewind! What's up next, anyway?"