2015-04-26 War, Trade, and Philosophy
From Transformers: Lost and Found
|War, Trade, and Philosophy|
|Location||Lost Light - Recreation -- Observation Deck|
|Summary||Moonlight meets another Decepticon.|
Lost Light: Recreation -- Observation Deck
A hexagonal room that mimics the shape of the bridge two decks above, the Observation Deck likewise has two rows of windows that look out into the vast dark of space. Seating arranged casually throughout the room can be retracted into the deck or rearranged into rows for solemn ceremonies. If there's a big event, it's going to be held here.
The vacuum seems endless beyond the window, without even a glimpse of planet in amidst the vast and star-pocked emptiness to make it seem like anything other than nowhere. Hunkered low in one of the seats set in a random scatter across the broad stretch of the room, Breakdown occasionally glances up into the chill void with an abstracted frown on his face. Large and heavy, the seating is just sturdy enough not to creak and groan under his weight; solidly built on truckish lines, his mass makes him difficult to overlook even in a room this size. He's reading something on a slim, flat datapad of some kind, a narrow booklight clipped to the top of it, but it's apparently not holding his attention span all that well.
"Pretty, aren't they?" comes an off-handed comment from a feminine voice. Standing off to the side, Moonlight fires the question at the seated mech the next time he glances up into the vastness of space. Her body language is casual; she's leaning against a wall and grinning at the mech, optics glinting from beneath the brim of her hat.
"What." Breakdown looks up over the angle of the pad, lowering it with a faint scrape of his fingers against his back, and levels the overbright gleam of his eyes across the room to find her at the wall. He turns his gaze to the window again, and then looks back at her again. The furrow creases the browplate that weights over his optics, frown lingering at the edges of mouth and in the line of his jaw.
"The stars," Moonlight supplies, though she thinks the chances are good the what wasn't a question specific to her statement, but at the fact that she had spoken at all. After all, he's distinctly frowning and distinctly not looking confused. "But, maybe you've been out here long enough that it no longer has any pull on you?"
"Aesthetics ain't really my area." Breakdown lowers the pad the rest of the way, and with a flick of his thumb, turns off the spotted glare of the booklight. The pad, dimmed, rests loosely in the curl of his fingers, and he turns slightly in his seat, studying her in a sidelong look as a faint grindy sound of gears reflects the shift of weight through his heavy frame. "None of us been out here that long."
"I've been in space for most of my life, and I still enjoy watching them," Moonlight says. "I guess it's quite a different change of pace from being in a war, hm?" she asks, conversationally. She pushes off from the wall and approaches the mech, though stops at a generally comfortable distance.
Leaning back in his seat, Breakdown shifts and resettles until the weight of spare tire is leaned back against the edge of the chair and one massively heavy boot has slid outwards a ways in a posture that bespeaks relaxation. He watches Moonlight with slightly narrowed eyes. "I'd say so," he says. "Less gettin' shot at, for one thing. You're one of those that missed the whole party, are you?"
Moonlight taps her chest. "I'm from one of the colonies; never set foot on Cybertron before," she says. "Still, when you get down to it, we're all the same race, yes?" She tilts her head slightly to the side. "So, while it's true I never got involved, I didn't exactly run away from it either."
"Funny how much could bypass you. Felt like we fought everywhere, everytime. Felt like we fought always." Breakdown smiles, a slow slide of an expression as he shrugs into a deeper slouch. "This bucket ain't exactly like Cybertron, anyways. Can't say what it's like, tell you the truth. Nothing like I've been before."
"Well, I moved around a lot. Could just be luck. But being in the middle of a war zone isn't good for trade. Unless you're in the arms business, which I wasn't." Moonlight shrugs her shoulders. Finally she sticks out a hand. "I'm Moonlight, by the way."
"Breakdown," Breakdown self-identifies. He proffers one heavy palm in greeting. "We got to know a few bots in the arms business. Didn't have a lot of time for folks who weren't sellin' arms or straight up energon, though, mostly." He makes a snortish sort of noise with the slight shake of his head. "Anybody who wasn't selling weapons was pretty likely to get blown to scrap."
"Yeah, I would imagine so. War means an attitude of, 'if you're not with us, you're against us," yes?" Moonlight shakes her head. "No, we typically bounced around from place to place. I was from a mixed crew, see. There were only actually two of us on board who were big and metal. The rest were squishies."
Breakdown stares a little blankly at her. "What," he says. "You served /with/ them?"
Moonlight nods her head. "Yup," she says. "Beat staying in one place all the time," she adds. "We're not the most popular people in the galaxy, whether we're from Cybertron proper or not. A crew of all of us wouldn't have been very good at commerce." She shrugs her shoulders.
Breakdown grumbles low in his throat, a kind of generalized noise of disgust to punctuate the duck of his head and the scrape of his pointed fingers down the solid column of his neck. "Scrap," he says. "Ain't never cared if we were popular with a lot of gross sweaty stinking things."
Moonlight laughs. "Well, it wasn't so much that I cared what they thought," she says. "At least, not in an emotional sense. What I cared about is whether they were willing to trade or not."
"Hunh." Breakdown sets his datapad down with a light clatter and sets his elbow against his leg, turning slightly to eye her. "Don't they die in like ... as long as it takes to turn the ship around?"
"Okay, yeah, they do die rather quickly. But there's something to having a short life; most of them die before they even get close to violence. It's weird. They just get old, and then one day, pfft, that's it," Moonlight admits. "So, yeah, you get to see a lot of them go over time. Which is why I'd hate to live on a planet with them. The crew was pretty transient for the most part though, so it didn't matter as much."
"Spent some time on a planet full of 'em during the war. Never really got the point. The Autobots were into it. Protectin' them or whatever." Breakdown does not sound very interested in it as a concept. After a moment spent frowning thoughtfully to himself, he asks, "What all do you trade in common with squishies?"
"Well, the interesting thing about them, is they have a lot of needs that we don't. Or, a lot more variety in the same needs. Uh...something like that anyhow," Moonlight says with a faintly impatient gesture as she's not saying exactly what she means despite trying. "For example, we have our armor, and our paint, but we don't change it all that often. They need to change what they wear often. Many of them do it once a day. Can you imagine? And it's usually flimsy stuff, so they go through it pretty fast. Which means they buy a lot of textiles. Oh, and the food. I mean, sure, we have different grades of the stuff, and there's types of engex, but the dietary needs of the squishies, well...it would take hours just to cover what they eat on a single planet."
"They always seemed sort of delicate and pointless to me," Breakdown says. This time the seat does creak as he sits up, frown deep-grooved into his expression. "Don't know what they'd have that we'd need. Guess some of 'em might be technologically advanced enough to know an energy source when they step in it, but."
"Some stuff is pretty universal. Metal is metal, and if their planets have mines, well, that's a resources. Things can be converted. And the trick of it is to know who wants what. I mean, I could be on one planet that doesn't have a single thing I want, but they have something I know planet B wants, and planet B has something I want very much. So I trade for the thing from the first planet, and get what I want from someone else. That's what commerce is all about."
Breakdown considers this for a moment, and then snorts in a long 'ffft' sound. "Sounds like a fragging hassle," he says.
Moonlight shrugs her shoulders. "It might be. But I find it interesting. And a bit safer than, you know, shooting people and getting shot at." She looks him over. "Though, if you don't mind me saying, you look more like a 'jump in and pound with your fists' type rather than a sharp shooter." She grins. "Think of it as a game. Those who know what they're doing end up on top."
Breakdown grins back. He holds a fist, and then drags the pointed fingers of his other hand over the grooves and bumps of his knuckles. "'Bout right," he says. "I can do some mean scrap with a cannon, too." He lets both hands drop between the broad angled set of his knees, the humor fading slightly back towards the general frownish air that seems to linger about his scarlet faceplate. "I ain't great at the kind of games that don't involve being the muscle either."
"It's called diversity," Moonlight says simply. "Probably didn't get the chance to see much of it during the war. Just point and aim for the guys with the other color faces stuck on their chests; that's about it, yes?" She shrugs her shoulders. "Then again, to survive, your leaders would have to know who was talented at which things to command them properly, right?"
Breakdown laughs: a low, rusty sound, ground from the depths of his frame with the bullish dip of his head. "Yeah," he says, "funny to hear how simple it sounds for somebody who never fought. Tin soldiers standin' in rows, most like."
"Yeah, I guess the most fighting I've done is a scrap when things got heated or a bar room brawl. And in a lot of those I just stood around trying to figure out why they would bother throwing broken glass at someone large and metallic, but hey, I didn't say they were the smartest people out there." Moonlight shrugs her shoulders. "Though I'm pretty sure I'm eventually going to insult everyone here from my 'callous lack of understanding' war things. It's not my intention, but I can see it happening."
"Doesn't seem like you're particularly concerned about that," Breakdown observes in a tone that layers humor over something a little more edged, a little more bitter. His weighted set on the seat is still pretty relaxed. The overall impression is of a rhinocerous that might be scary if it got up and charged but seems at the moment unlikely to make the effort.
Moonlight holds up a pair of fingers. "Well, I have two options. I could put on my serious face and pretend that I know what you all went through, and talk about how terrible it must have been. Or I could just keep on being myself. The second seems far more genuine, even if it might irk people."
Breakdown's first reply to that is a wordless expulsion of breath, snortish, and made with the shake of his head. He turns the weight of his stare momentarily to the emptiness of all the window. "Nobody on this ship is interested in bein' sympathized at," he says, "not even the cuddliest of the Autobots aboard." (Whoever that would be.)
Moonlight nods. "Well, then I guess option number two it is," she says. "Because, frankly, I have no clue. I can't even pretend to have a clue, so it just makes me look foolish. Not only that, it makes me look dismissive. Now, if I put my odds of survival against a ship full of war-hardened veterans against little old me, well, it's not a pretty picture."
"Hah," says Breakdown, not quite laughing. "Well, I don't have a clue about commerce either. 'Sides it involves money. Economics, like aesthetics, not really my area. So's I won't make assumptions about it."
"That sounds fair," Moonlight says with a grin. "Of course, a lot of people try to pass off knowing things they don't. It usually doesn't end well for them. At least, not that I've ever seen."
"I expect not," Breakdown says in a low, grinding rumble of a voice, edge of humor gone distinctly more dry and weighted in his words. "So. Are you here ... lookin' to sell Rodimus some business opportunity?"
Moonlight shakes her head. "Naw; he rescued me. My ship was attacked by pirates and we got scattered. Sometime later, the Captain fished my escape pod out of space. So here I am. Still deciding if I should stay or not. The last planet we were on didn't turn out to be the friendliest to stay on," she adds dryly.
"Hnf," Breakdown says, which is not a noise of disagreement. He scrapes at the floor with one boot, resettling his legs where he sits heavily in the seat. "Not for anybody, seems like. Council morons."
Moonlight shrugs. "I tended to avoid them even when I was running with the squishies," she says. "But, in a way, I can't blame them. They are awfully fragile in comparisson. We're bound to make them rather jumpy."
"They like to blame us for everythin' that was our fault and everythin' that wasn't," Breakdown says with the dip of a heavy pauldron in a partial shrug. "I ain't real interested in what they got to say, cause most ways they'd shoot down any of us as soon as look, if they thought they'd get away with it."
"A lot of them, yes. The ones in power, at any rate. But your average fleshies have enough of their own problems to worry about us unless we're stomping in their roofs or something," Moonlight says easily. "Some of them are downright decent, and a few are even interesting."
"I was talkin' bout the fools on the Council," Breakdown says with another snort, shaking his head. "As far as the garden variety biologicals? Not around long enough for me to care. Waste of effort learnin' about 'em."
"Ah. Well, then yes. Sorry for mistaking what you said. I haven't really met a single one that was likable," Moonlight says, going for the simple option of admitting she was mistaken rather than blustering to cover up the misunderstanding. "As for not caring about them, that's your prerogative. I mean, you're right, it probably makes the most sense, but I"m not always known for being the most sensible femme in the galaxy."
"That's fine by me," Breakdown says, and now the chuckle that grinds from his depths is just a smidge warmer; he says: "Common sense ain't so common anyway. Most people get stupid about one thing or another. Or somebody."
"Ah, very true," Moonlight agrees. "I guess if everyone was perfect, there'd be nothing left to do. Which means we're all flawed. Which means we all make mistakes. With all these people making all these mistakes, someone is bound to do something really stupid, hm?"
"Foregone conclusion," rumbles Breakdown, and then he adds wryly, "Specially round here."
"I'll have to keep that in mind," Moonlight says. "Though, hopefully, I'll get some small warning before things errupt into a massive shoot-out."
"Not gonna happen," Breakdown says firmly. "Bots love their precious honor too much, and Cons are here for Soundwave. We've got ... what's it. Detente." He nods to himself, and the seat creaks as he shifts slowly to his feet, rising in a fluid shift for a mech as big and clunky as he tends to be. "Not saying nothin' out here in space will try and blow us to smithereens, but it won't be each other."
"That's a relief, and probably not just to me," the femme states. "Though, I have to say, there's a fair bit of respect to people who were at war for so long and are able to exist together in a much smaller space after all that."
"Beats the alternatives," Breakdown says, gaze narrowing as he turns his head to look at the plated glass. "Though you'd have to ask the Autobots about that. This was our only opportunity. Don't have a clue what it means for them."
Moonlight nods her head. "So I've been told. It was mentioned to me, by one of your medics, that you guys were in pretty bad shape. I guess this means you didn't win the war," she says, actually softening her tone from it's usual brightness. "But if they're so keen on honor, it sounds like they have an awfully funny way of showing it."
"No," Breakdown says in a tone gone a little more distant. "We didn't win." He glances back at her again with the furrow resuming across his brow. "I ain't an expert," he says, "but I'm pretty sure it's about how they look to themselves, not to others."
Moonlight ahhhhs softly at this. "And you would all be outside that, being the historical enemy, even though it's all technically over?"
"It's over. We lost. But we're alive, yet, so we've got to move on." Breakdown shrugs, clanking in place as he resettles his weight on the heels of his heavy boots. "But we ain't Autobots, and they ain't gonna prove anything to any of us. So. Yeah."
"Still, that's a pretty non-bitter response, all things considered," Moonlight muses. "It was nice meeting you, but I should be getting going. I have a lot more people to meet before I can really make a decision on whether I want to stay about this flying adventure." She touches her hat as though to tip it, but doesn't actually lift the headgear. "I'll be seeing you around most likely."
"Most likely. See you," Breakdown answers agreeably enough, although there's a great deal of edged humor in the snorfling sound he makes next: "/Non/-bitter, huh. Don't hear that so often."