From Transformers: Lost and Found
|Location||Rigard - Northern District|
|Participants||Trailbreaker, Prowl, Bulkhead|
|Summary||Trailbreaker stops Prowl and Bulkhead to talk about the Ethics Committee, and hears something a bit startling.|
Prowl coasts along the main drag of the nothern district in cruiser mode, with Bulkhead in tow. He'd invited Bulkhead along for three reasons: he was agreeable and patient enough to practice social cues on, he was useful in bouncing ideas off of, and he usually brought along Prowl's favorite pink-frosted ener-pastries. But they'd have to wait, because Prowl was hellbent on getting over to Lieutenant's dwelling in the city this morning.
Prowl had left a note on his office door in an effort to be more accessible and, of course, transparent.
Bulkhead probably had more work to do, as he is almost always doing some sort of work, yet he'd agreed to Prowl's invitation anyway. Had to get out and about sometimes or he risked running into the very problem Wheeljack had had initially, where he simply. Fell into work and didn't pay much attention to anything else. Which was Wheeljack's opposite problem these days, and a bit worrisome, aaaaand not something to concentrate on right now! Instead Bulkhead is tucking those quiet worries away and following along with Prowl, box of ener-pastries settled onto the passenger seat of his alt. He drives more carefully than necessary because of it - that pink frosting got everywhere if you didn't keep the donuts upright.
<<"Hope he's enjoyin' the city,">> Bulkhead comments, partially to himself, partially to fill the silence as they drive. Another worry that clenches at his spark is Lieutenant's condition ever since he'd suddenly resigned, and it's a large part of why he'd agreed to come. He wants to make sure the avian's doing alright out here on his own. <<"You've been talking to him, right?">>
Trailbreaker has kept Rodimus's milkshake-conversation on his mind for a while, and he's been meaning to seek out Prowl. It's just that, well, Trailbreaker's not always the best at doing things he's been meaning to do. There are always things that catch his attention instead, or he looks up and it's 3 AM and he's not really sure how long he's been partying at Swerve's. More importantly, he remembers he drunk-texted Prowl and is a little embarassed about this.
But he catches the familiar white and black cruiser along with the green form of Bulkhead and stands aside to let them pass, but waves as they do. "Hey, uh, hey! Prowl! Bulkhead! Hey guys!" He's a little hard to miss, being kinda shiny and orange and black.
<<"Trying to. He's fairly reserved, and it's hard for him to speak casually. At least to me. Work in progress.">> Prowl almost, /almost/ elects to just zoom on by Trailbreaker. A flash of his light bars would suffice as a wave. It's probably Bulkhead's presence that makes him pull off to the side of the quaint residential street. "What," he greets politely.
<<"I think that's a general difficulty with him.">> Bulkhead says it as gently as he can, but it doesn't make it any less true. Lieutenant isn't the best at casual conversation, especially with someone he sees as a superior. He's about to say more when he hears his name, and is already slowing down to greet Trailbreaker by the time Prowl starts pulling over. So that might've helped a little, too. "Hey, Teebs!" Transforming to root, Bulkhead emerges with the donut box neatly plopping onto his open palm, somehow. Robots! "How's it goin'?" A glance Prowl's way, teeth biting down on the inside of his cheek. It was polite, at least?
“Hey, Bulk!” Trailbreaker flashes a peace sign at the big scientist and Prowl as well, because hey, answering is good for Prowl, right? “Didn't mean to interrupt anything. Just meant to, uh,” he rubs the back of his neck and grins sheepishly. “Check up on a few things. And here ya both are! You wanna-”
He stops himself. Asking them to the bar really would interrupt their task. “Well, I don't wanna derail you, but...”
Prowl idles on his tires for a few more seconds before shifting back to root and moving onto the wide sidewalk. Time to stare blatantly at all of Trailbreaker's mannerisms. He's rubbing his neck, and his sentences don't quite finish. He's being apologetic. He's trying to be accommodating. "It's fine, Trailslicer. I'm not on a particularly strict schedule today. Check up on-?"
"Yeah, it's no problem, Trailbreaker." The emphasis is eeeeever so slight on that last word. Hint hint, Prowl. "What did you think needed checkin' up on?" Hearing Trailbreaker's accent has Bulkhead sliding back into the less scientific one he'd been known for, up until recently, before he'd tried to clean it up to sound Professional. Maybe no one will notice; he sure hasn't.
Trailbreaker beams. “Trailbreaker,” he corrects as politely as he can. “Uh, it's about the Ethics Committee? I'm glad you're here, Bulkhead, cuz I was gonna talk to you too. But first...”
He looks at Prowl and frowns, though not with disapproval. “You alright? You kinda pulled out fast and I wanted to make sure it wasn't anything I said.”
Prowl looks genuinely confused for a minute, then gives his head a small shake. "Trailbreaker," he corrects. "No, nothing you said. This was something I had decided on early on. I... I approve of the concept of your committee. I like the idea that these matters are going to be debated. I plan to look at the transcripts. But..." Hnn. Stupid vulnerability. "I have a... reputation - ?" He looks at Bulkhead for help. As if Bulkhead is somehow on the same page.
"Me?" Bulkhead sounds bewildered, tilting his helm as his optics widen a hair. "About the Ethics Committee?" He has to clarify that, because surely Trailbreaker means something else. Bulkhead hasn't asked to be on a committee in, well. A very long time. The confusion takes a moment to clear, Prowl's look pulling him back to the present. "Could be why he wants you," he offers, attempting helpful. "An Ethics Committee won't get very far if everyone's thinkin' the same thing."
"Uh, actually, Bulkhead, I was gonna see if you wanted to join too. Sorry, kinda spur of the moment, but I know you've got a lot of experience workin' with Earth and organics. A good perspective for it." Trailbreaker opts not to add that he's hoping for this perspective to counter the, erm, Decepticons, and some of the neutrals who are not fond of their organic brethren. "But don't feel pressured, okay? I know ya got a lot on your plate..."
And then there's the matter of Prowl's reputation. He gives Bulkhead a little nod and turns to Prowl. "You got a reputation for being hard-nosed and, uh, the one who does things when they need to get done. Sometimes a little too easily, but it isn't as if I have a rep for being efficient...also I do kinda owe you a milkshake," he adds.
Prowl mulls over the right words. "I don't doubt that there will be mechs there that posit opposing views," he says, carefully. Benefit of the doubt. People /like/ having the benefit of the doubt. "What are you going to do about Quicksight, when he throws a ridiculous fit the moment I walk in? Or Blast Off, when he refuses to see a point if I'm the one making it?"
Prowl pauses, and looks at Bulkhead. "Grats."
Bulkhead rubs at the back of his neck, caught between Prowl and Trailbreaker. "Guess it wouldn't hurt," he gives finally, sheepishly, lips curling at the corner in a crooked smile. "Once Percy gets back, I'll have the time for it, don't worry." He doesn't mention that the only organics he really worked with closely enough to matter were three Earth kids who thought they were tougher and smarter than was really good for them. Dealing with Miko alone should count enough for this, honestly.
"Ethics Committee ain't there for makin' friends," Bulk adds, turning more to Prowl. "If they can't handle your presence, then they shouldn't be there, simple as that."
Trailbreaker grins and offers a fist-bump to Bulkhead when his invitation is accepted. Hooray, finally another cool-head! And another Autobot cool-head, though he won't say that aloud either. Besides, Prowl is kind of already cutting to the point. Oof.
The truck knows Primus I don't know I don't even know what I think I'm doing this is hubris this is the hubris we studied in old Cybertronian plays except for real and starring me somehow instead of a high class flier and Rodimus thinks I can do things and I don't know why would not fly or be an acceptable answer. He intakes. "I'm gonna let Quicksight know ahead of time that you're there, and he doesn't have to stay if it bugs him, but also that maybe this is a chance to have his voice heard. And also that we're here to listen, even to people we don't like. I'm gonna...moderate...somehow." He holds his head with one hand. "Somehow..."
Prowl smirks faintly. "Alright, Bulkhead, let's see you actually tell someone that. Seems simple, right? Obvious. But there's... other emotions at work there, apparently. That's what Windblade said." As Trailbreaker speaks, Prowl watches each gesture with a keen optic, folding his arms. Trailbreaker seems weary but genuine. And being genuine, Prowl has come to learn, is no small thing. "Alright. We'll give it a try. I just want progress to be made. As for your milkshake offer, again, I appreciate it, but I favor these things." He pops open the lid of the box that Bulkhead is holding and holds up an ener-donut, with glowing cyan sprinkles.
The fist bump is happily completed! Bulkhead's grin is easier with the gesture, even as it fades when the topic turns back to serious. "Yeah, it ain't as easy as it sounds, you're right. But you gotta remember you can't - and they can't - let their emotions run away with 'em. Consider them, acknowledge them, but don't let 'em control the conversation." Which is how he tries to do things. Key word 'tries'.
The ghost of his smile returns, Bulkhead plucking another donut from the box and offering it to Trailbreaker. "Try one. They're no milkshake, but I wouldn't shake a milk-stick at 'em anyway." He laughs. What a terrible dad joke.
Trailbreaker prepares himself for a dressing-down from Prowl for such a weak answer. He prepares himself so much that he seems to look up in surprise when Prowl accepts, and then breaks out in a smile. "Aw, I thought I could talk it out with ya! It'll just be kind of a challenge for all of us, right? But Rodimus, uh, he seems to think you'd be really good for it. He's got faith in you, and...in me, so..." He kicks the ground with those big pedes, still smiling.
And the smile brightens when he sees the donuts. "I was thinkin' one step to keeping harmony was bringing enerdonuts to meetings! And enerice cream for people who don't have mouths. Haha, thanks, Bulk." He takes the offered donut and pops it in his mouth. He doesn't wince too hard at the terrible dad joke.
Okay, now it's officially to sweet and charming and also there's terrible corny jokes and Prowl can only endure it so much of it. "Bulkhead, that was terrible," he says. But there's the smallest smile tugging at one corner of his mouth. "Just tell me when and where, Trailbreaker. I promise I won't go out of my way to rile anyone up. I don't often /try/ to but... Well." He reaches to close the box. Trailbreaker only gets ONE. "It's hard to pin Rodimus' motives. He said you were the Autobot posterboy."
"As he should, Teebs. You're a good choice for this," Bulkhead adds, recovering from that guff. He doesn't miss that hint of a smile on Prowl's face, though, and it only has his growing ever so slightly, despite the COMPLETELY UNTRUE (completely true) insult to his joke. "I'm interested in seein' how this plays out. And hey, remember you're not the only one here that wants to keep things from getting out of hand. You won't be alone in trying to keep the peace." Plucking a donut for himself out of the box before Prowl can close it, Bulkhead takes a bite. "Food's a good idea, keeps hands busy, too." Exhibit A being himself. He goes quiet, then, letting Trailbreaker answer to this posterboy accusation.
"Wh-uh, he did?" Trailbreaker has to take a moment to ponder what Prowl just said. "Haha, that Rodimus, always a joker." Though even as he tries to pass it off, he's kind of reeling. Him? Rodimus thought of him as a posterboy Autobot? That guy really is a creative radical with out-there ideas! There may be a pinkish blush on his face. A little.
"But yeah, we're all about listening and being heard. Or we should be. S'what I want, anyway, and-and I'm willing to work for it." He braces himself with a more serious look. "If anyone wants to yell, they can yell at me. I can take it."
He pauses. "...Really? He-he said me? Not Orion or Springer or Thunderclash or even Drift...?"
"Right, well. Thanks for taking the time, Trailbreaker. Even if it all goes south, I won't forget the gesture." Prowl takes a few steps back and folds into his alt, bouncing on shocks. "And yes, /you/. Why would /Drift/ be- Hnn. Come on Bulkhead." He speeds off - under the speed limit, of course - and flashes his light bars from afar, beckoning.
Bulkhead barely has time to push the rest of his donut into his mouth - how did Prowl eat his so fast, he didn't even see it - before giving Trailbreaker a hasty wave goodbye. "There's no reason for him to lie!" is Bulk's last comment as he follows suit, giving himself more than a few steps of space to shift into his own much larger alt. We'll just leave you with that to chew on, Trailbreaker, and get back to business.
"Well, I mean he likes Drift a whole lot, aren't they-oh, right, uh, seeya!" A bewildered Trailbreaker gives a wave as the cruiser and truck head off, and then just...sits down on a bench. Poster Autobot. Poster Autobot Trailbreaker? Him? Trailbreaker...?
So where was his Rodimus Star already...!?