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2016-12-07 Helpful and Hopeless

From Transformers: Lost and Found

Helpful and Hopeless
Date 2016/12/07
Location Lost Light: Recreation -- Swerve's
Participants Swerve, Skids
Summary Swerve has a talk with skids that's reminiscent of his talk with Astrotrain, only this time Swerve pretends everything is OK.

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 booths 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.

A sign outside the door says:

                        No Guns, No Swords, No Bombs                         

Underneath is written: I MEAN IT!! LOCK YOUR WEAPON SYSTEMS DOWN AND DUMP EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE BIN BY THE DOOR. It is signed with a little frowning Swerve face.

On the other side of the door is a SHAME LIST. No, really, that's what it says. It has the number of days that various people are banned from Swerve's and counts down at the start of the morning shift.


Skids slides into the bar... sideways. Not out of control, more the big finish from a dance number bringing him ever closer to the bar. He only stops humming happily to say cheerily, "Swerve! Looking good! You just had a respray? Hope you're not working yourself too hard there. Need me to take over and serve instead for a change... I'm your mech." Skids thumbs at himself, grin gleaming brightly, by means of emphasis. "So, what's the gossip? How you doing buddy?"

Swerve has admittedly been watching Skids dance. He can't help it, Skids is easy on the optics. The bartender lets out a laugh "The flattery is appreciated but sadly it would seem the gossip has dried up. Last we spoke you were a bit broody, something good must have happened to you, yes?" The candy-cane mech asks curiously.

Skids was ex-diplomatic corps. Worked for Prowl on special operations. Was well trained. Before he promptly forgot all of it by means unknown... and uncared about by the superlearner. Instead of lying he chuckles a bit, pauses and leans happily against the bar.

"Two minor corrections old friend. Better than good and not something. Broody? Come on now... why be down when things are so good? Hmm?" He does order a coolant, high grade free, but it doesn't matter what he gets. Right now an empty glass'd seem overfilled to him.

Swerve serves him the coolant with a smirk "tell that to past Skids, I don't like seeing you so down. Not much I can do about that." Especially since Swerve has decided the best course of action is to keep his feelings to himself. A herculean feat, for the motormouthed bartender. "I'm glad you're feeling better though, I really am." There's a glimmer of real, soft sincerity there before the wry grin is back on his faceplates.

"Greatly appreciated." Skids says, taking the drink and having a good sip before calling down the corridor, "Past me... yeah... it's me now. Cheer up. Trust me... there's plenty to be thankful for!" Yes. That was a full skit from him. Humor at his own expense too. Turning back to Swerve he says, smile sparkling, "Don't you worry. Like when the internal gravity's on the blink... I might be down one minute... but I'll be straight back up again."

Swerve is thankful that the bar is slow right now, he's thankful that he has some time to spend with someone he cares about without having to split it with any other patrons. He's happy that right now, he can exist purely for himself and skids. "Forgive me if that roller coaster of emotion doesn’t instill much confidence in me" Swerve teases back, tracing the rim of his own drink that he's poured for himself.

Skids looks mock hurt, slapping the flat of his hand against his forehead, adding to the silliness of the acting, "Swerve, I'm shocked. Me? Dramatic?! Never!!" He then laughs. "So I feel the strain sometimes. Just reminds me I can take it... and still have plenty left over for the next one." He takes another sip of the coolant, "All in all I'm sure I can bolster your confidence. Just watch this space."

The joke slips out before Swerve can stop himself "You've got to at least buy me dinner first." Shoot. Shit. Frag. While his faceplates don't falter, inside of Swerve's processor is a torrent of overanalyzing and internal cringing.

Taking the joke in nothing but good humour Skids laughs. He takes another sip of his drink and says, "Enough about you, how's the bar doing?" Skids nearly reaches the cardboard pack of cygars but finds restraint. There'll be a better time. Plus is the bar a smoking zone? Who knows.

"The bar is as fine as a bar can be when it's trashed every other night and half the clientele moved to the swankier spot." Swerve can't help feeling bitterness over Visages. The minibot always thought he had his niche on the ship and then Mirage shot that between the eyes. "I still haven't found a bouncer but I don't want someone who's going to trash the bar just as much as the drunks." The minibot shrugged "thankfully it doesn't cost me anything to run the place, besides the enegex costs, I mean."

Skids thinks at the rate that only the superlearning can. Which is him. "Well, the main couple of things are that could help. This is the 'honeymoon' period for Visages. People haven't broke the furniture there a few times yet. So, give it a little time."

After another sip he adds, "Events. Mirage has been running them at a rate of knots lately. Have a few theme nights, do something special here and there. I was gonna try and get a poker night going sometime. Maybe something like that?"

Swerve nods, and is able to reel his errant thoughts back in by focusing on his own enegex. "I was going to have a half-price drink night. Maybe I could find a way to hire a band?" He gives a short sigh out of his vents. Suddenly he feels a little deflated, and a little emptier. He wishes he could just close the bar down sometimes. There are nights were Swerve thinks that maybe giving up metallurgy was a mistake. Sure he was the best in his field, and sure he left because of his dream with Blurr but.

There's a nagging sensation that no matter what he does, there will always be the titters of mechs that he is assuming are talking behind his back, fair-weather friends who don't really laugh at his jokes because they are funny; and worst of all, without Ironfist, the fear that he was totally alone, and always will be.

This is all hidden by the smile Swerve wears now, a reflex to juxtapose the thoughts he buries, to keep everyone at arm's length. It's surprisingly easy to do when you're an obnoxious motormouth normally, and a grinning jokester in the off-days.

Skids spots the sigh and says, "Hey now. We all have moments of stress." He shrugs in admission, "Okay. Some more than others. Point is... that doubt. That confusion. Yeah, it's real, it's powerful... but it passes. When it does... what you do from there's the really important bit."

Skids waves around the bar, "You done something here. Had a direction... and followed through. More than I could say." Skids admits seriously. "So, we'll come up with a few things, have a few specials, remind people this is the place to be. Don't worry about it... I got this."

Swerve loves the idea that the stress ends, that the confusion and doubt pass like rainclouds. Skids could probably sell Swerve his own aft plating if he wanted, and not just because of Swerve's tightly kept secret crush. It's nice to think that one day he might wake up and the ache that tugged at his spark might not be there.

"Specials aren't a problem." Swerve rubs the back of his helm bashfully, regarding Skids with an embarrassed look. "I shouldn't be worrying you with this. I mean I've already talked to Astro-turf about it." The minibot chuckles at his own nickname for the triple-changer. "It's up to be to deal with it."

"Uh... huh. I'm sure he's had fun. Parties almost as much as Prowl I bet." Skids says jokingly, "I don't doubt you can do it but... two things. First. Don't be afraid to ask for help. As it's there and ready to roll at a moment. All you gotta do is say."

"The other's one I use when the superlearning's hitting me hard. Stop. Just for a little bit. Do something else. Take a walk... whatever. Instant enthusiasm, confidence and inspiration. A break makes even the impossible impossibly easy." Skids winks and adds, "Trust me. I'm a theoretician."

It takes a lot of effort not to blush at the wink. Swerve is pretty sure he's failed at that. Instead he turns and grabs more enegex for himself, to give himself a moment. "I could use more bartenders. I haven't seen Getty or Chromia in a while. A long while." Not that he has seen much of them in the first place. "You'd probably be tops at it, since you're here and usually sit at the bar. Could learn it in your sleep. Omlette du fromage and all that." He cringes internally at the Earth-cartoon reference as he downs some enegex straight from the bottle.

Skids thinks... "I mean I could pull a shift here and there, sure, it's not like I can't do astronavigation duties too." Skids grins wickedly, "Means I wouldn't have to be first response on the sensor alerts either." People are supposed to leave them alone. They never do. If Skids weren't a navigation officer... he'd do it too. Skids holds his hand out to shake. "You got it. I'll also see if I can't think of something fun to do." After a moment he internally corrects himself. Something fun for the crew. He's worked out how to have plenty of fun for himself lately.

Swerve stares at the servo for a moment, almost unsure he wants to take it. His body response before his processor can tell him not to though, and shakes Skids' servo with a grin. "Sounds good, welcome to the crew, Skids." If Swerve could wink he would, so for now his visor just flickers brightly. "We're happy to have you." And he plans on never washing that servo if he can help it. Is he imagining the little sparks he feels dancing along his frame? Either he is or the bartender is sadly overdue for repairs.

After shaking Swerve's hand Skids says, in a semi soldier speak, "Glad to be aboard sir! Assistant Bartender Skids ready for duty sir!" And follows the routine up with a precision salute. Some things you never forget. Apparently. "Seriously though, I'll pull a few shifts as and when I can. Happy to."

Swerve beams warmly "Just show me your schedule and I'll make sure I don't overwork you." He promises. "I also have to spend time training you, though I'm sure it won't be long before you're running the place better than I am." He jokes. Mostly.

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