2016-06-23 Exceptionally Lucky

From Transformers: Lost and Found

Exceptionally Lucky
Date 2016/06/23
Location Lost Light - Command: Rodimus's Office
Participants Penchant, Rodimus
Summary Penchant gets promoted to division head, cheers! There's talk of other members of command, naturally, a little bit of Nyon and thoughts on troublesome outliers.

So, Rodimus has finally gone through his stacks of messages. Actually -- and more likely -- Hound has helped him go through them. Emphasis on Hound, rather than helped him. Hound did it, is what I'm trying to say. BUT. In those messages is one from Soundwave -- and one from Krok -- that leave Rodimus at his desk weighing in his hands. He sends a message to Penchant. It's nigh indecipherable. How did he ever charm Ultra Magnus when his messages look like:

got a msg from sw need 2 tlk 2 u

Penchant is not proficient in Rodimus' text talk yet. He's /seen/ it, naturally. He's witnessed Soundwave decipher it, with a very (subtle) unhappy visor tilt. This one wasn't... too bad. Only two numbers in it. Maybe Rodimus was in a hurry. Maybe Rodimus is getting better at it. "Captain," Penchant greets from the doorway, salute on his brow. "What's up?"

Tilting his datapad toward his face to rest against his nose, studying Penchant over the edge, Rodimus is only slightly muffled as he says, "Plotting mutiny with Soundwave, huh?" Although it's difficult to see -- datapad in his face -- the warmth of his voice suggests a smile. Maybe that's just the way he sounds, though. Maybe he's actually very unhappy about it. Who knows.

Penchant certainly wants to assume Rodimus is joking. But now he's annoyed Soundwave had used that damn coup terminology. "Heh! Ha..." Awkward neck rub. "Of course not. I quite /like/ our crew. I just have an interest in... efficiency. Not that Krok's doing a bad job!" He nears the desk, hands linked at his back. "You needn't pad your response, I've been denied positions before. I'd rather everyone be forward with me."

"Krok's actually interested in spending more time with his old crew -- Cranky, Spinguy, Misfire--" Of course he remembers that name. "--and Fulcrum." It's the chin that helps with the last. "So your interest? Might be well-timed." Rodimus bounces to his feet and studies Penchant. "Soundwave trusts you, and you've got a good record in Logistics. I'm not really looking for a reason to say no, here. But what'd you change?"

Penchant believes those are real names for real people for a solid three seconds before remembering this is Rodimus. "Oh...! That's good! And glad you asked." You'll regret being thorough, Rodimus. Penchant clicks something his palm at holographic charts pop up before him. "I've got a few different inventory naming systems I'd like to go over with Fulcrum and Ultra Magnus when Soundwave hasn't hijacked him. I want to assign the proper mechs to the temperature-controlled lockers and maintenance of perishables. I also want to sort the division a bit more since it's so broad, and give more attention to the technicians. The energon purifiers need to be repaired. The utility department's fuel quill casings need to be looked over for leaks - we just haven't had much time, we're gearing up for the supply pull from Velocitron." He goes on at length about division-specific suppliers, pointing here and there, underlining things several times.

A chart. Rodimus immediately tunes out, eyes glazing over, in reflexive defense. His attention sharpens when Penchant says 'Ultra Magnus', and he actually tries to listen from there. He mostly goes 'uh huh' and nods. "That all sounds pretty -- thorough. The quill thing, that's not related to the engine problem, is it? You feel confident you can handle this?"

Penchant has been pretty sure of himself up until Rodimus asks him squarely. It's easy to claim you'd fix a system when you're just shuffling boxes around and looking at checklists. "Yes," he says after a short beat. "I've done this sort of work before, albeit on a smaller scale. I'm a hotel luggage cart," he gestures vaguely. "And I've managed large groups of mechs during the war. As far as the fuel quills, I'm not sure... I don't know the details of the engine issue. If there was a notice somewhere, I may have missed it," he answers honestly. "Was there an update?"

"No idea," Rodimus says, just as honestly, if slightly terrifyingly so. WHO KNOWS. "I don't think so. They'd come tell me if it was important." Kicking back into a lean against his desk, he considers Penchant with a tilt of his head. "Large groups during the war? I thought you were out of it. What do you mean?"

Penchant peers up at Rodimus with one brow slowly lifting. He hadn't meant to go off-topic, so his explanation is clipped, but his tone remains warm. "We stayed for a little, after the proper start of it all. Well, as long as we could. Crossfire stirred up a lot of civilians, and they wanted to help, so I gathered and organized a little team to help extract bots and send 'em off-planet. About eighty mechs, varied backgrounds. Nothing we did was notable enough for chroniclers but hey, saved a few lives." A small smile finally plays on his lips. "/Then/ we ran away," he adds, smile turned cheeky. May as well embrace the stereotype.

"Who's -- oh, right. Like. The factional crossfire." Rodimus fingerguns, then aims them at each other, lines of fire crossing. Look, names are confusing. There's probably someone out there named Crossfire. "Right?" His smile tilts and he says, "Maybe we wouldn't have such a bad reputation if our chronicles were more about saving people and less about--" He gestures. Murder. Genocide. Etc. "Tell you what, I'll sign off on this. Don't really have any objections here or anything. Just kind of wanted to see what you had to say about it."

"We're working on a better reputation every day," Penchant nods firmly. "Every minute we're not warring is a Primus-blessed triumph." He beams when Rodimus agrees on the promotion, and resists the urge to shake a fingergunning hand. Don't look like a tryhard. "Great. I won't disappoint you. Oh, also... is it true you knew Slinger?"

"Yeah, every -- day." Rodimus may have done a thing or two since the end of the war to further piss of the galactic community, but LET'S JUST MOVE ON, SHALL WE? Wait, no, abort. That's dangerous territory, too. The grin that was in place becomes fixed, stiff, when Penchant asks after Slinger. "I -- ah. Yeah," he says, smile dropping. "I knew Slinger."

"So you must've known him in Nyon, right? Was he a part of that insurgence?" Penchant doesn't quite pick up on the fading smile. He's suddenly very curious, fingers curling on the edge of the desk. "Do you... Do you know what happened to him? History likes to swallow up these neutral leaders a lot."

Rodimus knuckles his brow, then drops his hand to offer Penchant a faint smile. "Yeah, and yeah. He and I ran together for a few years. Skystalker, too. He didn't stay neutral. There aren't a lot of Nyon, uh, survivors who stayed neutral." After a beat, he says, "Many of them went Decepticon. It was hard to see -- well, never mind. Slinger was one of those that went 'Con." He hasn't quite gotten around to 'what happened to him'.

Penchant rocks back onto his heels, obviously displeased by Slinger's choice. "Considering the circumstances, I can't be too surprised. You're an exception, aren't you." He's back on his toes, leaning in again. "But where is he presently, would you know? Perhaps we can find him. I've got a few burning questions to ask."

"I usually am," says Rodimus's ego. HA HA just serious. "But honestly, I was lucky. I'm usually that, too." His tone is a little more rueful. He considers Penchant a moment, then starts with a blunt, "He's dead. Slinger. He died -- really early on." Quieter, he says, "He helped me--" Saved him. "--and they killed him for it. So."

So. Penchant blinks. And the brass railing of his alt mode clinks sadly as it droops against his armor. Grim news, but it's even grimmer for Rodimus, this much his finally notices. And winces. "Ah, slag. I'm sorry. Captain." Fidget. "He was valiant in the end then," he appends. "I should... read up a little more on Nyon. Skystalker was very tight-lipped about it."

"Nyon died because the Autobots still hoped that things weren't as bad as they were, and because Decepticons only cared for those who would fight for them," Rodimus says. That's fair, right? It's fairish. Autobots don't get out entirely, even if their sin is hope. "That's all that needs to be said about Nyon."

Penchant vaguely wonders if this blunt summary is another attempt to keep him from reading history logs. He bristles over the thought. Maybe bringing up Nyon wasn't the /best/ idea. Must end on a high note. "Fair enough," as far as he knew. "Wait. No flame spoiler? Drift was really excited about it."

Gosh, why would Rodimus possibly want to keep Penchant from poking into the history of Nyon. Seems unlikely.

That's a fair distraction: Rodimus immediately brightens into a beaming smile. "It's awesome, right? Got a couple of great upgrades from Velocitron, actually." Nothing that'll keep him from being such a chunky lil speeder, tho. "Haven't had the time to -- oh, hey, you saw it? It's great, right?"

"It's... sharp! I was with him when he discovered it. He was trying to smooth things over with me. I got a mental zap of his memories as Deadlock, when Soundwave was uh, reading him. Made it hard to look at Drift for a while. But fraggit, Drift has a thing about him. I don't know. He's endearing." Penchant pauses, chewing his lip. "I share some of Soundwave's ability," he clarifies. He'll go ahead and assume Rodimus doesn't keep tabs on that sort of thing. "That's why I was there. I was shadowing him. Speaking of, things okay between you and Soundwave? I guess they must be, you put him in Command."

'Reading', Rodimus repeats, mouthing the words with an expression of profound skepticism that hop-skips into an uneasy baffle as he eyes Penchant. Good guess that Rodimus had no idea. "Wait, how many? You say some. Are they different? So you're an outlier? And -- oh, wow." He pauses. "So you like -- the whole Deadlock thing. You experienced it?" He sucks a long vent that steadies as it hisses through his frame. "I'm glad you guys have patched things up. Drift's worked pretty hard to put that behind him. To try, anyway. A lot of people have trouble forgetting. Anyway, yeah, Soundwave and I are doing okay. You know, as long as he keeps up the reformed Decepticon thing, and doesn't go attacking anyone again. If you're -- learning from him. From Soundwave. Don't learn that."

"You have a surprising number of outliers on your ship!" Penchant grins. "I'd never met so many in my life up until this point." The happy burn of his optics dies a little when asked to elaborate. Soundwave has been giving him a rotten reputation lately. Pench tries to choose his words carefully. "I cannot /harm/ anyone with this." Tap-tap against his helm. "I don't hear constantly. I don't hear multiple. I have to focus on one mind at a time. Soundwave has better range." He rubs the side of his face uneasily, peeking through digits. "I made my displeasure with him clear when he attacked Rupture that way. Don't worry about me. I'm a NAIL, I don't mean to start another war." Trying to prevent it actually! Shakeshake. "Anyway! Drift's good. We're all about moving on here, aren't we. Anything I need to sign?"

Rodimus says, "Si--ign?" He glances at his desk. He looks back at Penchant. "Uh -- I'll check with ... no, I mean you check with Soundwave. Yeah. That's like your first. Official task. Hey -- what would you do to keep someone else, some other outlier -- not you, not Soundwave -- from coming in and attacking someone like Rupture, anyway?"

Penchant slumps. A little. Does Rodimus truly want to hear his own solution coming from Penchant? At least, Penchant assumes this is what's happening here. "I was wrong," he mumbles. "Treating outlier abilities as if they were just upgrades, like you said, is the most fair and just way to handle those situations. If there's a way to inhibit them, inhibit them. Though I'd... urge you to not assume the worst. Soundwave... Well. He..." Okay, Penchant's out of excuses. "He's doing a lot better!"

"Wait, really?" Obvious in his surprise, Rodimus says, "Okay, but do you think other outliers would agree with that one? It's definitely something that security needs to think about, but -- well, is it fair? Who decides what's fair?"

Oh. Hm. Penchant hooks his thumbs on his hip kibble, optics skyward in thought. "I'd ask the outliers to consider an entire ship filled with mechs with their own ability. And hope that they'd see reason. Then again, I don't know that someone like Skywarp would care. Or even Swindle. It's a complex question to be sure. Did someone ask you about this?"

"Uh." Rodimus draws out a loooong, thoughtful noise that makes PERFECTLY CLEAR that yes, the point has been raised. "Anyway, it's definitely a complex question, so when it comes up, I'd like outliers to be involved in discussing it. You up for it? Who else would you suggest? Soundwave, for sure." Not Skywarp.

Penchant stares at Rodimus, or more accurately his chevron. He wants to know who! IT WOULD BE SO EASY. But no such mental tugging comes. Penchant just makes a sad, short grunt in response. It means someone is fearful. It must. "Sure. Uhm. Skids! Possibly Skydive. They'd be glad to be included, I'm sure. It's cool that you're asking, Captain."

"It's because I'm cool," Rodimus says, like a cool person. (No, not really cool.) The fingerguns don't help. "I'll keep the names in mind, thanks. Sounds like you've got a division to get in order then, huh?"

"Yes!" Penchant decides to perform one fingergun instead of a salute. It's a bad idea and he immediately regrets it. "I'd invite you to the supply pull planet-side. You might find more spoilers. Maybe some that are less dangerous. Night!" Off he darts, probably to stay up and write work plans.

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