2017-06-07 Sale and Tale

From Transformers: Lost and Found

Sale and Tale
Date 2017/06/07
Location Rigard - Western District
Participants Penchant, Rodimus
Summary Penchant has a sale, Rodimus has a tale!

The tallest towers in the city line the shore of the Great Lake and several blocks inward. During the day, the gleam off the buildings can be nearly blinding, while at night they twinkle as urban jewels. Here are the business offices and the research facilities of the colony. What this district lacks in area compared to the rest of the city it makes up for in height. The walk along the lakeshore hosts a couple of quieter entertainment venues which lead down to the more boisterous establishments further south.

After some serious preparation and help from good ol' S&E again, a good chunk of the Lost Light's junk is set up on pallets beside the lakeshore, near the industrial square. Rigardians are gathered around and sifting through to find the quaint novelties they're after. Some Lost Lighters are perched atop their old furniture and shouting its inflated value. Medical bots try and pretend that the really outdated tech they're offering to trade is cutting edge. There's some genuinely good artwork here and there, various souvenirs from the colonies they'd visited... and the last remaining meteorite from Rodimus' surfing. Penchant lingers with one of his inventory managers, and gazes out at the lake with a thousand-yard-stare.

"You'd think after getting stranded when Drift's credit got squeezed that one time that I'd be ready for this kind of thing. Braced for it, you know?" Rodimus draws up next to Penchant, looking past his head and over the hawking in progress. "But frag me if I didn't think the ship deserved better than to be sold as parts to a bunch of colonials." He says 'colonials' the way a city boy would say 'hicks', and he's exaggerating, anyway. It's not like Penchant has put the Lost Light up on stilts and started craving pieces off like a barbecue. "You think it's gonna help?"

Penchant shrugs. "We needed to be rid of this stuff anyway, honestly. Gotta' live lighter. Also saves on fuel!" He looks up, then looks back to the wares. "A little bit. I'm not sure what everyone else is reporting but... at least on my end, we've nearly got enough for /most/ of the major repairs, mostly thanks to Flame. So you can tell Drift to stop being a storm cloud."

"Flame?" Rodimus asks with an ... /appropriate/ amount of wariness. This is Flame, after all. "Yeah, it's really gotten Drift down. I'm glad everyone's throwing in to help out, though."

"I asked Flame to see what he could do about salvaging those worms for raw material. He knocked it out of the park." Penchant does a little fist-pump when someone trades the meteorite chunk for a vat of oxidizers. It had been a cursed stone in storage for months. "Yeah, I think everyone's pretty energized since we've made some break through with that map. That's the buzz I hear, anyhow. Are you... glad about that?"

Rodimus closes his eyes. HE GRIEVES. "A worm ship," he says, quietly and in a flat tone. "I'm going to have a worm ship." The lack of enthusiasm is a weight that drags at the edges of his spoiler. "Can we just -- sell the worm stuff? Now that we've got this space bridge, at least we can get stuff back here. Maybe not a lot of it all at once, but enough. I mean -- it's great. That space bridge. The map thing. Really great!" He tries to sound enthusiastic, but the strain of it shows at the edges of his words and in the quick falter of his smile.

Penchant pauses, looking back up. "We can... do anything you want to do, Captain," he answers, slowly. "I'll sell the sheets tomorrow. Should be easy. I think." Another sidelong glance, upwards. "Not looking forward to hunting down these artifacts, I guess?"

Shaking his head, Rodimus looks back Penchant with an enthusiasm that warms into a brief, genuine laugh: "Actually, that sounds cool! Disappointed by the Knights, I guess. Or the Knight. The AI thing. Whatever. After all this time, this is the closest we've come to them, and it's--." HMMM he doesn't say. After all, maybe the AI CAN HEAR HIM.

"Yeah, kinda' not great that that particular Knight is such a jerk. Hard not to take seriously though." Penchant rubs the back of his neck, apparently troubled by it too. "Nothing else to do but press on. I bet you're tired of hearing that. I bet Soundwave told you to cheer up or something. Oh, hey, way to steal my /best/ storage clerk."

"Oh, Soundwave--!" Rodimus scrambles to pull an egg-shaped datapad from a storage compartment and check on it, but he only taps on it a few times before slotting it away again. He is not a helicopter parent. (He is a chunkcar parent.) He continues on, casually, "Slagged up as everything is -- weird as whatever Unicron is -- people needed a stable face. A big, blue, stable face. They needed someone they can trust in Command, other than Hound."

Penchant blinks and tries to balance on a heel to get a glimpse of the datapad before it vanishes again. "Fair enough. I have a feeling Magnus was getting bored anyway. What's that datapad thing- Soundwave training you?" He perks up a bit. "Are you friends with him yet?" he asks abruptly, almost impatiently.

"I'm not -- Soundwave's not training me!!" Rodimus stares at Penchant. Everything else can wait. "What do you mean, training me?!"

Penchant tries not to laugh, and fails. "If that's what I think it is... You're not caring for some virtual pet for fun, are you? He's clearly training you to be more responsible. Y'know, he's not THAT hard to read." Tongue-click.

Rodimus recoils from Penchant and pulls the datapad from the compartment. He frowns at it. He looks, briefly, tempted to throw it on the pile of sale items. He looks over it at it. His hands tense. After a moment, he settles, and he says, "Well. I am responsible. And I'm taking great care of it. But I guess I'll give it back to him. He's probably wondering where it is by now. Anyway -- yeah, we're friends." He barely pauses before saying it, and he says it with enough confidence that he almost sells it.

Penchant almost buys it. He's not terribly sharp at the moment, a bit overworked and undercharged, and he's not about to peek into /that/ head. "One 'con friend. Cool. It's almost like there's no factions now," he says, dryly. "If only. I can return the pet for you, if you want. So you don't have to deal with him."

Matching dry for dry, Rodimus says, "I've got a few more than that. Gotta rotate through them, you know. Make sure they wear evenly. I've been thinking about taking off my badge, though. This thing -- if it's what they say it is. It's a lot bigger than Autobot and Decepticon." He passes his hand over the compartment, giving it a pat. "Passing it off to someone else wouldn't feel right. Wouldn't be the responsible thing to do."

Penchant arches a brow, possibly surprised by some wisdom. He shouldn't be. "I wish I had known you before the badge. Dunno' why. Guess I wonder if you're the same mech you were then. When everything was falling apart." He lingers in grim silence for moment, then looks around uneasily. A decent amount of their junk is gone now, cheers! "Heh, okay, keep your dang pet."

"Soundwave's pet." Rodimus just ... checks on it again real fast and makes sure it has everything it needs. IT'S FINE. He's fine. He can ignore it for a while again. "You know, I was gonna say -- sure, yeah, I'm that guy, I'm the same mech who stood in Nyon four million years ago and said Zeta was wrong. And maybe that's a little true. But it's a lot more wrong, because if I didn't learn anything in four million years and I can't do it better this time, then there's a lot of people that've bleed and died that I'd be letting down. You don't still want to be the same as you were then, do you?"

"No," Penchant answers too quickly, "I mean- I..." It's always mildly jarring when folk intercept his less-than-subtle attempts to glean info. Granted, he's speaking pretty freely to the captain here. Rodimus has always proven to be mostly chill, to Pench. "I'd like to think I've retained the important stuff. Morals and goals and all that crap. You're right though, of course we should come away as a better version of ourselves. Guess I'm just kinda' curious how you clashed with Optimus, back then."

Rodimus is totally chill all of the time except when he is literally on fire because he's not. He laughs at the question, sets his hands on his hips, and looks down at Penchant with eyes bright. "That's -- actually a pretty great story. Have you ever heard how I met Optimus?"

Penchant suddenly looks sheepish. "Is it... well-documented somewhere? All I know of... that stuff," he waves vaguely, "is what little I know about Slinger."

His sense of self-importance warring with his sense of reality, Rodimus eventually says, "Well ... maybe not all of it." After a beat, he adds, "It was before Optimus was Optimus, anyway, and that part gets left out of a lot," in a gentle concession to the fact that the documents are really all about the big guy and not the medium sized guy. "He was Orion Pax, a cop, and the first time we met, Zeta had sent him to arrest me. I'd caught the wrong kind of attention causing too much trouble for him in Nyon. It was a pretty long four million years from that, to him giving me half of the Matrix."

"Arrest you," Penchant repeats, smile slowly spreading. "Seriously?" This obviously tickles him greatly. "I guess he let you off the hook or something...? Well, obviously. But why? Hang on-" He gets ahead of himself. "What kinda' crime were you up to...?"

Although tragedy looms overhead in this story, this is the part where Rodimus allows himself to relax, allows his smile to widen. These are the good ol' days, when a young hothead could rebel against authority and know -- truly and deeply -- that he was on the right side. "Oh, you know, the usual: smuggling, gun running; a little light vandalism; some heavier vandalism. Stole government property and used it to fuel a revolution." He is overselling himself. A little. "You could ask Swindle, actually. He was one of my best contacts back then. I worked out of the ruins of the Acropolex, mostly, and that was a problem for Zeta, because that's where he'd buried some of his darkest secrets." He pauses. Dramatically.

"No wonder you were arrested! Primus!" Penchant stares, incredulous, but obviously amused. "/Swindle/." He rubs his jaw, thinking back. "Okay, what happened afterwards? I mean... after the tragedy. The flames." He winces for a split-second, rubbing his temple. "I remember vague things from... what happened then. That creature on the derelict gave me a little piece of your mind. I didn't really wanna' tell you about that, but I guess while we're on the topic... Anyway, after all that- Opti- Orion recruited you?"

"I actually wasn't arrested." Rodimus hesitates over the correction, given that gaping conversational pit that Penchant just left for him to find his way around. The one with flames shooting out of it. There's a long pause before he says it, but he got to it in the end, with a faint, chagrinned wince. This damages his bad boy cool. "I showed Optimus -- Orion -- I showed him what Zeta was really doing. After that, he was on my side. And Zeta flipped what tiny shred of lid he had left, and then -- that." He waves his hand. The Tragedy. He elides it rather hastily and then -- again -- is forced to shake his head. "Orion didn't really try to recruit me. Megatron did, funny enough. But even then, they were brutal, and Zeta'd shown me where that led. After that, Optimus was stuck with me."

Penchant falls silent, mulling everything over. After a lengthy pause, "Then you've always been a mover and shaker. That's wild. Now I'm actually kinda' curious about how you met Drift, or Magnus. Another time, maybe? I should wrap this slag up, lest we get fined for littering." He gestures to the remaining junk, and slumps wearily.

Rodimus looks bemused -- clearly not thinking of his early self in quite those terms -- but vain (or insecure) enough to agree, "Yeah, that's me." Following Penchant's gesture to the junk, he drops his hand on his shoulder and squeezes. "I am definitely not letting them fine you. Here, I can help you grab the rest. Want me to call in a few more hands?"

"Actually, yeah, I'm /done/ with everyone's /items/ until that reception, or whenever you want us to trek through the spacebridge. There's gotta' be oil baths around here." Penchant pat-pats the hand on his shoulder, before twisting away, apparently leaving Rodimus to everything. "Enlightening talk," he calls over his shoulder. "You're cooler than I thought."

Rodimus is so pleased by the compliment that Penchant manages to get clean away before Rodimus realizes the clean up has been left entirely in his care. "--frag."

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