2015-05-02 Plot Plot Scheme Scheme
From Transformers: Lost and Found
|Plot Plot Scheme Scheme|
|Participants||Knock Out, Breakdown|
|Summary||Everyone else is dead and now he, Starscream, leads the Decepticons|
Familiar technology displays an overview of lofty corporate offices certainly far fancier than the sterile, semi-abandoned building they now occupy. 'Baroc Co.' it says on the side of the building. It looks very expensive. There's a strange mental dissonance: there are so many familiar motifs and materials, rendered at unusual scales and designed for fleshlings who walk upright, always, on two legs. Nothing's designed for those who might fly or drive or otherwise get around, which makes thing look just a little -- weird.
But it's a nice building, anyway. What isn't clear is why Starscream -- Kazuhiro, when he's faking native -- is staring at it. Though much about him has changed, there's no mistaking the intentness of his study, nor the strict lines of his shoulders which suggest angled wings.
"Honestly, I'm both terribly shocked and entirely unsurprised that /you're/ the one left." Knock Out -- going by Rin for the moment -- has cobbled together the least disgusting fleshbag he could think of. The body is built on lean swimmer's lines, skin a pale olive in hue, with a sharp-angled face, dark auburn hair, and brilliantly amber eyes. Other humans would find it attractive. Knock Out finds it mostly intolerable. "Of /all/ the Cybertronians in the galaxy--"
Breakdown is still getting used to this.
He's managed to inhabit a body that, at least, owes something in its design to the heft and height he favors; tall, heavy, stockily muscled, with a thick tousle of dark waves salted very lightly with silver over the leanly angled lines of a face whose intensity is written largely in brightly skeptical eyes beneath the thick definition of his eyebrows. He moves more at a sidle than at a stride, solid combat boots scraping over the floor.
"Boss," he says in a voice of low, sardonic edge.
"Well, at least one of you manages something like proper respect." Starscream pivots to face them. He moves easily in his skin. He's had a little more time to get used to it. His smile carves bright against the dark of his skin. He's all edges. "Yes. I know the value of survival. It's something we could use, wouldn't you say?"
"Apologies. Have you, Starscream, taken leadership of the Decepticons?" Knock Out pauses a beat. "Or rather -- Decepticon?" His nose wrinkles at Starscream's comfort in his skin. "Ugh. How long have you had to do this? How do you /bear/ it?"
"That's somethin' a lot of people say about me," Breakdown states with bland equanimity. "Proper. Proper and respectful." His arms fold as a solid weight over his chest, his head lowering slightly as his nostrils flare with an expulsion of breath. "You absolutely sure survival is all that valuable in a universe where there's a whole race of squabblin' meatbags that worship /fragging Hot Rod/?"
Starscream gives Breakdown a quelling glance. Why? Well, because he's advancing on Knock Out to menace him, of course! A few swift strides close the distance between them. "Knock Out. You're under the impression I think you're funny. Let me clarify: you're not. There are ten -- /ten/," he repeats, somewhat shrill. (Well, Starscream.) "You will find that you can bear a great deal when it's a matter of extinction."
Settling back on his heels, Starscream hisses a vehement, "Yes," at Breakdown. "We are not /losing/ //everything// to a bunch of ///meatbags/// worshipping the ////King Idiot////!" Someone's just jealous they aren't worshiping him.
Knock Out's eyes narrow, his meat arms crossing over his meat chest. (/Ugh/.) "And you're under the impression that I find you intimidating, Starscream. /We're/ not the ones who let all of this happen. The near /extinction/ of the entire /species/."
"What ain't you lost already, boss?" Breakdown moves forward like a man who is not very concerned about the personal space of other people, shoulder forward as he plants his feet wide. There are areas where he is more easily quelled than others. "Apparently already let us die once, which I got to say fills me with confidence about this crazy ass plan. Which is what, anyway? What's with the Bar ... thing."
It's probably Breakdown's presence that keeps Starscream from pushing it -- or rather from pushing it any farther. He smiles again, tight and mocking. "Technically, of course, you did let this happen. And then you died. I'd say I've done rather better than two of you by most measures, hmm?" Answers later. Ego now.
"Or else we're not dying til here and now," Knock Out blands at him. "I'm sure there are all sorts of timeline implications, but that's not really my area."
"I'm not really interested in hearing how either of us died," Breakdown growls with a slight lift of his chin. "I'm sure you can gloat into infinity over the bodies up until the humans take your shiny aft for a trophy." His gaze flickers, eyeballing Starscream's baffling meatsuit, and he shakes his head as he lifts a broad, heavy hand to scrub across the prickly line of his jaw. "Scrap."
"You died because you didn't take the threat seriously," Starscream says -- a little less shitty, a little more sober. "Because despite the fact that they have done in a few thousand years what we couldn't do in a few million, /still/ it's a struggle to remember that these ridiculous little organic monsters present one of the greatest dangers we've encountered. So -- yes, be sarcastic, by all means. But understand that this isn't a game. It's not a joke. And it may be our last chance to save Cybertron."
"Anything that presents a clear and present danger to my safety is not a joke," Knock Out replies, his voice thin. "Anyways, why didn't /you/ just come back to stop the whole thing from happening? Wouldn't that make more sense?"
"So it's our last chance," Breakdown says, turning the full weight of his gaze on Starscream. He lets his arms fall, hands bracing at his hips across the wide sling of his belt. "'Cause everything's fragged. So what's it take?"
"Don't be ridiculous," Starscream says. "That's not how it works." Not that he clarifies how it /does/ work, mind you. Timeywimey. Et cetera. Turning back to the display, he gestures. "I think this is our best bet. Most Cybertron technology trickles through this company and they have full control over the weapons market. There's something not quite right about them. Their nominal head is as useless an empty figurehead as I've seen, but there's no clear sign who is pulling the strings. I've been working on plans to approach and get in, but they've required a larger team. Which is rather where you come in."
"So here we are, at the end of the world. Following another of Starscream's plans." Knock Out sounds resigned more than anything else. What else is there to do? His shoulder brushes against Breakdown's as he moves closer to the screen. "What /is/ the plan, precisely?"
"Well, it ain't a plan to knock down the door and drive through the walls," Breakdown says in a low tone that borders a growl with general moroseness. "How in the hell are we supposed to fight like this, anyway?"
"Carefully." Thanks, Starscream. That was helpful. "Listen, first, then ask questions when I am done." Leaning forward, he activates the display to run through the plans. He wasn't made Megatron's second purely on the basis of his charm and good looks. It's a tight plan. It's also a vague plan, though, and we'll just leave it there, okay?
NO I'M GOING TO MAKE YOU EXPLICATE EVERY DETAIL. Just kidding. "Mm," is Knock Out's final reaction to the whole thing. "I guess that's reasonable enough."
Okay. As Breakdown listens, he half watches Starscream's presentation and half works his thumb over his knuckles, testing the skin and the similarities and differences of the shape and weight of his fists. "Guess," he says finally, "I just don't really ... understand ... how it came down to this. How they took so /many/ of us."
"And that is /how/ we're down to so few of us." Starscream thumbs off the display and turns with a stretch. He twitches his shoulders in a shrug that settles nothing but his imagination. No wings, here. "If it helps, we had a hand in it. They hit us when we were weak, doing what what we do best: killing each other."
"They're a /quarter/ of our size," Knock Out says, agreeing insistently with Breakdown. "And maybe a /sixteenth/ of our natural defenses."
"Mmmnn." Breakdown is not disagreeing, but he is repulsed. Appalled. He rubs at the back of his human neck and stares up at the image of the Baroc building. "Never liked 'em," he says.
"Yes, yes, and they are clever and nasty enough to make up for it," says Starscream with the wave of a hand at Knock Out. He gives Breakdown a thin smile. "No. Neither did I."
"I'll bet they're all descended from that -- /Witwicky/ insect." Is it possible for Knock Out to hate him more than Breakdown? He tries. "They breed like scraplets."
"Rrf." Breakdown inhales, and tips his head, with the beginnings of a sour smile pulling at his human lips. "Hunh," he says. "Funny that the Lost Light survived. Of all things."
Starscream glances from Knock Out to Breakdown and then back again. /Oh/. Right. "Actually, Witwicky was heavily involved in the incidents that lead to where we are now." Tilting his head, he says, "Actually, it makes sense, from a certain perspective, when you consider just how unlikely it is that it would be the last functioning Cybertronian ship and how the quantum engines work. That very impossibility has allowed it to stay a step ahead of capture." Because quantum.
"Kind of makes you want to kick it, doesn't it." Or is that just Knock Out? "Blasted thing. I hope we found something that smelled less like Autobots before we died."
"Walking, talking million to one chance," Breakdown mutters. He hooks his hands back against his belt again. "Ridiculous," he sighs, "but. At least it makes nonsense."
"I thought you didn't want to know." Smile sly, Starscream says, "At least it's an /interesting/ ship." He swans off with a, "Try to behave yourselves until we're off." He leaves Breakdown and Knock Out to themselves. Don't break anything.
Knock Out huffs a particularly aggravated snort, glancing sharply at Starscream as he swans off. Turning his attention back to his conjunx, he sighs. "You look terrible," he tells him sadly. Then, in a self-pitying, forlorn sort of voice, he finishes, "Almost as bad as me."
"Sorry," Breakdown rumbles, his voice gone distinctly wry. He lifts a hand to thump Knock Out across the blade of his shoulder, where neither wheel nor spoiler is there to take the impact. "Comparison's never kind to me anyways."
"Nonsense," Knock Out says with a certain fierceness, the kind of one whose vanity nevertheless cannot stand for his partner to be compared unfavorably to him. "I'll dissect anyone who tries to say as much."
"Not in these bodies you won't." Breakdown's chuckle warms low in his throat, breath huffing past the slight curve at his lips as he shakes his head.
"Only because these fleshy hands are clumsy and useless." Knock Out lifts said hands to inspect; there's actually nothing objectionable about them, but he glares at them nonetheless.
"The meatbags are tool users," Breakdown points out. He catches one of Knock Out's human hands in his own, turns it over, and runs a fingertip over his skin (fuckin weird), tracing along the shape of his fingers with measured deliberation and an almost stern-appearing frown. "I expect your hands to do damn fine."
"They have the strangest receptors." Knock Out frowns down at his hand in Breakdown's, color and texture so strange and alien, the sensation similar but dramatically different. "They may know how to do a few things," he concedes, "but there's no hands like mine."
"Still yours," Breakdown says with the drop of his shoulder in a partial shrug. He turns his glance, frowning more deeply at the building again. He says: "Starscream," like the word says everything.
Knock Out turns his hand to twist it experimentally in Breakdown's, until his focus is somewhat interrupted by his partner's interjection. He sighs and agrees, "Starscream."
"Scrap." Breakdown ducks his head and returns his glance to Knock Out. He studies him for a moment, teeth clamping with the set of his jaw. "Let's go find the others. Make sure nobody's gotten butchered for parts yet."
"Just our luck." Knock Out clicks his tongue, then looks absolutely startled that he did so. "Ugh," he says. "/Ugh/. Let's go and find them and finish this mission and /get out of this meatsuit/." He grabs Breakdown's hand more firmly to tug along to that purpose.