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2016-11-29 Beneath the Silence

From Transformers: Lost and Found

Beneath the Silence
Date 2016/11/29
Location Lost Light - Recreation -- Library
Participants Whisper, Penchant
Summary Penchant gets underneath Whisper's skin.

The library has become some type of shelter it seems. A decent number of bots are staked out in various nooks or aisles, if only to avoid each other or their own impulses. At least it's quiet.

Penchant thought he'd evaded this bizarre spell of unseen ticks. Or it came and went. And he was fine. He was fine yesterday! But something kicked into overdrive this morning and his mind hasn't stopped buzzing. So here he is, perched atop a step ladder in an aisle, pretending to read up on history.

On a ship thronged with chaos, Whisper's restraint is sometimes taxed. It is hard-earned and cast iron. If the invasion has impacted her, it is difficult to tell by her quiet step as she drifts into the library. Her mind is all sharp corners and hard walls, and when she focuses, she seems not so much like the bright glow of a star but the deep black of the space between. Now, grave and quiet, she paces along the aisles, pointed fingertips touching briefly against the opening of each. Her restlessness might not show to somebody not a telepath, but what she has observed in the past few days has definitely impacted her, at least, by driving her to seek isolation even more than usual. She pauses, warily, when her yellow visored gaze flashes across Penchant up on the ladder.

Penchant is quickly drawn up in the strange thought patterns of Whisper as she makes her way over. Had they met? Penchant can't recall. Might've seen her in the lounge once or twice. She was quiet.

The minibot steps off the ladder and slides the book back in place. "Here to find solace?" he asks, conversationally. And try as he might, he can't stop himself from peering further into her thoughts. Who is she exactly. They'd picked her up from that gladiator... situation. Right?

Whisper's thoughts are chill and tension, the borders of her self rarely if ever unguarded. The sucking hole of loss is what she guards against, walls as much built against the core of herself against the outside world. She lives in the narrow channels between, a delicate balanced pathway that makes her existence almost like a dance. The question almost seems to amuse her. Is there such a thing as solace? She cants her head, a hint of the tension leaving the wary frame as she settles on her heels. Her wingspan dips, just a little, in the acknowledging shiver of a response. "Perhaps."

Penchant makes a slight fool of himself, because for the next solid minute he just stands there, looking up at her features, well and truly captured by her mind. He's sampled plenty today, and many more before, all wonderfully varied and strange and beautiful and horrifying. But there's something unique here, he can't pin down. The faintest tickle of amusement jars him from 'staring' at that dark pit of loss. He looks around. "Manage to evade the affliction?" he asks, carefully, optics swimming back to hers.

"It appears so." The faint shiver that ripples down Whisper's spine is a ripple in the pool of her palm, her wings rippling in a lift and drop as she contemplates the terror of having all her control ripped away as she has seen happen to some of the others. In the arena, she lost herself in violence and rage and emptiness ... but while her self was buried, missing, she never lost the responsibility for her actions. Would they see it the same way? "Have you?"

Penchant struggles to distract her with words. He just wants to fall silent and study that loss. It's not like he hasn't seen the dark undercurrent of tragedy before. Most everyone aboard has this dull, constant sadness, some far more intense than others, granted. "I don't know," he answers honestly. "It's hard for me to tell. Which is actually sort of worrisome. Heh. There's 'bots out there that don't really hold much back as it is, but thankfully they're the sort that are just... well, kind. Nice. You know."

"It is interesting," Whisper says in a quiet, remote voice, "that so many manage to be grounded in simple compassion after millions of years of war." Yet the war itself was not what broke Whisper, was it? She tilts her head the other way, quizzically, as she ponders the possibility of not being able to /tell/ if one was without restraint.

"I imagine those that aren't grounded in compassion end up... well. Elsewhere. Probably not on this ship. It's a journey of hope, after all." What a dumb thing to say. Penchant ignores his stumbling and peruses Whisper's current thoughts, but it's not enough. Soundwave's lessons pay off a bit too well as he pulls up a solid chunk of history that he flashes right through. Not everything that makes Whisper who she is, but enough to know a name, and what the name meant. “Screamshock,” he murmurs without thinking.

<FS3> Whisper rolls Stillness: Great Success. (7 8 7 2 5 8 6 7 2 4 4 5 2)

Whisper freezes. Her pointed fingertips rest forgotten on the shelf before her. Her eyes flare up in a blaze of yellow behind her visor, but she does not move. The name brings with it a choking sensation and the silence that comes now when she tries to scream. She opens her mouth and no sound comes out: a hitched little whisper that has given her her new name. She closes her mouth again. She stands there.

"You're... you're an outlier!" Penchant's cautious smile broadens, and he steps closer. "But you've... It's gone?" How? Penchant sifts through scattered memories with little thought to order. It's all too complicated for him to pull off while in a conversation. If this is a conversation anymore. "I've never heard of anything like this happening..."

Do the memories come with the flash of sensation? Whisper's loss of her voice came so brutally. Crazy Eight ripped her voice production from her frame in a fraying crack of metal and wire and fluid and crushed it into the arena. She thought herself dead and came awake to a world with no voice. She had no voice at all until Knock Out gave her one, after years of standing silent, communicating in nothing by sign and violence. She stares at Penchant, her eyes a still blaze of yellow-gold behind her visor. For a moment it seems as though she has been shocked back into those years of silence. She can think of no words. She can't remember how she learned to speak. Her lips move, beginning to form the shape of sounds that don't come. I'm not, she doesn't say. I'm nothing, she doesn't say. How are you learning this? she doesn't ask. She stands there, frozen.

Penchant's excitement is evident. Secret outliers, man. But everyone has a reason for hiding, or had. Penchant certainly did. Though here, now, he doesn't understand. There's no more persecution. Well, Rodimus did mention Perceptor's concerns. But nothing came of that! ...

The pied mech seems oblivious to Whisper's... stillness. She hasn't run away. Her questions drift by like any other thought, and it takes him a moment to realize they're directed at him. "I, er." He doesn't want to explain, so he waves his hand dismissively. "I hear thoughts. I wonder if it could be restored. Gosh. But you have a working vocalizer now," he muses, palm finding his chin.

The first freeze of shock flashes into something white hot, a core of rage for the assumption, for the breach of her privacy, for -- who knows? For forcing her to remember callow, laughing Screamshock and everything that she was to the Decepticons before she murdered her own crew. Her eyes blaze. Her fingers close into fists. She otherwise does not move. Her voice very quiet, she says: "It is gone."

"It can't just be /gone/," Penchant presses. If he's aware of her flash of rage, he doesn't react to it. All he can think of his chasing this thread. "These... powers, whatever they are, don't just disappear. Dampened, maybe. But you can't just lose what you were forged with." The sorrow of it all seems to be lost on him.

<FS3> Whisper rolls Chill: Success. (3 1 8 5)

For a moment, it seems as though the flash of rage might resolve into the kind of violence that once was all Whisper experienced on a daily basis. Her fists are closed so hard that she cuts grooves into her own servos with the points of her fingers. Her wings quiver with suppressed tension. Somehow, she holds her temper despite its riot in her frame. "I did not lose it," she says in a voice as tight and sharp as the cut of a blade. "It was destroyed. Screamshock was destroyed."

<FS3> Penchant rolls Telepathy: Great Success. (8 7 8 7 5 4 5 7 1 3 1 5 5 5)

Penchant is definitely uninhibited now. Focused solely on Whisper, the aisles disappear, and so do any reservations over peeling apart another mind. No nagging disapproval from his peers. Whisper's entire life is his to sift through, and he turns page after proverbial page, searching for what went wrong. What exactly happened. He could see the memory she refers to, clear as day. "No outlier ability is tied to some... persona. You just haven't tried hard enough," he murmurs, staring into nothingness.

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Whisper=unarmed Vs Penchant=reaction+reaction

< Whisper: Good Success (8 7 4 5 6 7 3) Penchant: Success (5 1 8 1)

< Net Result: Whisper wins - Solid Victory

Whisper is suddenly in motion. She hurtles into Penchant's much smaller frame, lightning fast as she smashes her full strength behind her grappling lunge. She lifts him off his feet and slams him into the bookcase. Datapads scatter under the sudden impact, spilling out of order and raining to the floor. The sound that whines through her frame is the roar of an jet engine lifting off under great strain. Her visor is centimeters from his face. Energon slicks from the slices she cut into her own palms, dripping bright and hot down his frame.

She tries to roar in his face. What would have once been a blast of sonic energy high and loud enough to shatter audials and send a bot into blackout is now only a high, hoarse, scratchy thin sound.

"Stop."

Penchant is lifted pretty easily, flung from his stolen front row seat to her life, thrust back against the bookshelf. The world quickly swirls back into focus. Library. Energon. Angry jet-type 'con. Right, the one that murdered her whole team. "Wh-!" All he can do is flinch, even at her raspy voice. "I'll st-stop, I'll stop, please put me down, Whisper," he grates, clinging to her arm. "I hadn't intended-"

Whisper does not immediately comply. She stands there very stiff and still, holding Penchant braced against the bookcase. She stares at him with hard fury in her expression. Her voice now is a hiss, barely given more voice than a whisper: "What did you intend?"

Penchant stares. He hadn't felt fear quite like this in a long while. She could actually kill him. She would. Wouldn't she? Other bots peer warily through the shelves, and quickly disperse when they realize what's going on. "It... it got away from me. All of it. I-I'm sorry, I just wanted to know. I always want to... know," he adds with a small note of self reflection."

With a slow inward vent, he levels his optics on her, heels still bumped against the shelf. "I should not have done that. Something came over me. Please put me down, and you wont have to hear of me again," he promises, voice far from steady.

Whisper's wings droop suddenly at the terror she sees in his face. She is neither telepath nor empath to sense it in anything but his voice, his features. But it still hits her with full force. She steps back and, very slowly, very gently, replaces Penchant on his feet. Her lips move again like she would say something, but she doesn't. She turns away and stalks from the library in a retreat hot with deep held shame, leaving the disastrous mess of scattered datapads all over the floor in her wake.

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