From Transformers: Lost and Found
|Summary||Lieutenant is angry, Tarn doesn't care, and Starstruck mediates|
There was hope this day would never come, but deep down, Lieutenant wanted it to. He tried his best to quell his anger by distracting himself, and his run in with Quicksight had assisted that in a sense. Not to mention the moving and the readjustment to space life. However, it was only a matter of time before he could put this meeting off.
With a message to Starstruck received and accepted, they made their way onto the Honeycomb Prison. Star was only needed for security reasons, but the actual 'mission' Lieutenant wanted to go alone. He approached a particular cell, glaring down into it. He should have tried to kill him when he had the chance. He should have tried to take him away. None of that happened so here the avian was, glaring at the leader of the Decepticon Justice Division, "Tarn."
Tarn's fingers twitch and dance, leading a composition only he can hear. Something, though, has spoiled the melody. The tank's hands tremble slightly, and he gives a quiet huff of impatience. The setting, the crowd, the song. It is all wrong. The tank's eyes skate across the empty cell. Thankfully, it is only a temporary setback. Soon enough he'll be back to do the job he does best, back with the DJD, back with his vintage innermost energon.
He ignore Lieutenant for the moment. Even if it is not the best of stages, the show must go on. Besides, he's just getting to the best part. He can imagine the swell of music in his helm, the crescendo, the crash. His digits continue to dance, composing the silent melody. He only cuts it off when it reaches its natural end. Then, and only then, does he pay attention to his guest.
Tarn's helm turns around, offering his guest a mocking bow before craning his helm upwards. This is where the applause should come in, but of course these cretins won't appreciate his expert touch. They've already robbed him of his gift. Reaching up, the tank's hand rests on his neck cables. That's the most Lieutenant is going to get. Without a functioning vocoder, the DJD leader cannot vocalize. He's been reduced to sending strings of text.
Teeth clench as he watches the monster's movements as he's ignored in favor of playing a song in the air. It only irks him more, his frame tense and ridged as he waits until Tarn turns around. The creature's show is over but for Lieutenant, it's only the opening act to a grotesque concert. Gold optics narrow intensely, as he tries to keep himself together.
"<< You deserved that. >>" Venomously Lieutenant comments at the touch to the injured neck cables. His EM field pulses gradual waves of fury as he wants to go down there, he wants to shoot the mech, but he gave up his weapons to Star for this. "<< Remember me? >>"
Tarn's optics dim at the other's question. Oh, this conversation again. How many times has he been asked that? It always ends the same. What ever happened to a little originality? ::Should I? I've had oh-so-many spectators over the cycles,:: he answers. This one doesn't strike him as particularly memorable. ::If you had any manners, you'd wait your turn like the rest of them. I have a schedule, you realize? A List I have to follow. I can put your name on the end if you like.::
If text packets could convey annoyance, Tarn's would have been dripping in it. The tremors in his hands are only getting worse. He hasn't had circuit speeders in... too long. His t-cog is starting to ache, which usually is a sign its due for replacing. It's all making him rather grouchy, if not a bit desperate. Not that he will let that on. A proper performer doesn't.
Originality be damned, he isn't here to make a statement. The fact that Tarn doesn't remember him strikes a cord in him and rings through his frame with boiling rage. He's been forgotten. So what if he is but what of the mech Tarn took? What about Tormentor? Was he too so forgettable that Tarn just dismiss him? "<< I am familiar with your list, >>" Lieutenant bites back, "<< Who are you to decide who lives or dies? You make a list to remember all the wrong but the moment they're gone you forget them? You dismiss them as though they were nothing, yet you making your whole, deranged lifespan remembering them. Killing them! Killing him! >>"
Once more, Lieutenant fails at being anything but predictable. While Tarn realizes his job is necessary, sometimes the little details of it can get so dull. Always the same reaction, always the same song, always the same ending. What happened to the challenge and the thrill? But that's the point of lackeys, isn't it? To help with the little jobs. If only one of the DJD were around to take care of this pest now.
.::You think shouting will jog my memory banks? How churlish.:: The edges of Tarn's optics crinkle as if he's smiling behind his mask, the light brightening with his first flicker of interest since this whole conversation started. ::So that's what this is about. Who was it? A friend, an amica, an endurae? Did they make you watch? Was Tesarus playing with his prey?:: A little mocking never hurt to pass the dreary hours.
His fists clench, wings spread, as he slams his casted foot against the ground. If Tarn were only within reach Lieutenant would try to grab him. He aches to plant just one good punch on whatever hideous face lies behind that mask. "<< You tortured ME! >>" He shouts over his comm, pounding the forcefield. Lights intensifying in his optics as he growls, "<< You made him watch while your pets tore me apart! He demanded you stop, but when you did it was only to mock. >>" How he wanted to ruin Tarn's life right at that moment, make him feel the way he did when he had to watch Tarn talk Tormentor to death. To witness that fire go out and collapse lifelessly on the ground. "<< He never did anything to you! He was allowed to make his own choices and you took that away from him, and you took him away from me! >>"
.::What did I just say about inside voices?:: Tarn asks. This one is almost as bad as Tesarus and Helex! It's a good thing that Tarn is used to keeping unruly hooligans in line. All they need is a little structure and discipline. ::If you will not speak to me as a civilized mecha, I see no reason to continue this at all.::
The shouting is already giving him a helmache. Or that could just be another symptom of his withdrawal, but either way the tank doesn't want this mecha's voice ringing in his audials for the rest of the night. The screaming isn't nearly as melodious when it doesn't end with their death or humiliation. ::Let's start off with the simple details. Is this about you or him? Whoever he is. You've not been polite enough to give me either of your designations.::
Lieutenant is just another instrument in Tarn's hands. He punches his fist against the forcefield once more, letting the pain drive through his systems. He wants Tarn talking, he wants this conversation because he needs it. A snarl, and he backs down, "<< This about your delirious slaughtering of my Conjunx Endurae, >>" He fumes between gritted teeth, "<< Commander Tormentor of Tyrest. >>"
Tarn shutters his optics as Lieutenant's fist slams against the forcefield, imagining himself doing the same. He would so love that opportunity. They think they've got him trapped like a little songbird, but do they really know? Reaching out, Tarn slides his hand across the slick surface of the cell. One touch could unravel it all, if he could only get to the right components. The forcefield wouldn't stand a chance. He does not relish the pain that would come with it, part of the reason why he had trained himself to disrupt mechanical signals with his voice instead of his touch, but he would survive. Its no worse than a burnt-out t-cog in the end.
He's letting himself get distracted, though. Slowly but surely, the tank opens his optics once more. ::Ah, him. I could tell you his number on the list and his crimes,:: he answers. Those are things the tank meticulously memorizes. He can do so for every single person on the List. ::I would be lying if I said I remembered his face. They all look the same in the final moments. Is that what you wished to hear? Will knowing I remember something make it better?::
Tarn knows it doesn't, but it's so easy to mock this mecha's useless need to confront him. They both know this conversation won't fix the thing haunting him.
Lieutenant's vents cycle, trembling with anger. His optics shutter, trying to keep his gaze of Tarn, but deep in him he knows none of this will make things better. Nothing will reverse what happened. "Indigo, lilac, and orange were the colors of his helm," He seethes, a tremor of sorrow threatening to take over his tone, "black was his visor, just like your wretched spark. A smirk, always on the right side of his face. The the same as the last one he gave the moment you took him." His fingers try to dig into the field, wanting to rip it off. If only he could. "You could have ignored him, it is not as though your fucking list helps your cause!"
.::No,:: Tarn answers without a moment of hesitation. ::He's rusting, faded to grey, the light drained from his optics. He's dead. That's what he looks like.:: That's what he means when he says they all look the same in the end. How he had looked no longer matters.
The tank's frame starts to tremble with inaudible laughter. ::You think you loved him so dearly. Let me tell you a secret. This isn't about him. This is about you. You know who I am, correct? And my reputation? Yet you came all this way for a little chat, knowing what I am capable of, that you might not walk away.:: He pauses, letting that sink in. ::The simple fact of the matter is that you want to die, and yet you're too cowardly to admit it or see it done properly. It's never about the dead. It's always the living wanting to put on one final, self-sacrificing show.::
<FS3> Lieutenant rolls Unarmed: Failure. (2 1 5 1 3 3 1 6 5 5 6)
Lieutenant's optics widen at the motion of laughter. The words, even without his voice Tarn still manages to touch his spark. It infuriates the avian as he tries to break the field to break. His fists come down on the field with all his enraged might but only to send him falling back at the impact. He can only cry out in pain for a moment on the floor as he moves to pick himself up. "YOU," He screams, scrambling back over to glare at Tarn, with lights streaming down his face with such wrath. Fruitlessly he continues to pound at the forcefield, "WOULDN'T LET ME FOLLOW HIM!" He hiccups, trembling as each punch starts to weaken. "YOU! IT IS ALL YOUR FAULT!"
Tarn stills, watching the poor cretin throw himself against the forcefield. Part of him wishes that they would succeed; the moment that forcefield went down, he would find a way out. On the other hand, he does not wish to owe his escape to such a pathetic mess. He'll find a way out with or without them. ::As I said, you must wait your turn. I change my schedule for no one,:: the tank presses on. Right now, his target is Soundwave, Deathasarus, and the real traitors, the real challenge. Those accused of Cowardice are always the dullest of the dull cases. ::Enough. This conversation is done. I told you I would not tolerate your petty shrieking, and yet you insist upon this pathetic display. Go. Wait for me to get around to you, or finish the job yourself. I don't care.::
The Tank starts to turn his back strut towards his guest.
<FS3> Starstruck rolls Unarmed: Good Success. (7 4 4 7 2 4 3 7 3 3)
Starstruck has been here, we swear! Watching this whole exchange, trying not to hover or fret too much. This is Lieutenant's thing, and while Starstruck doesn't exactly understand why Lieutenant's doing this, if it's all been approved of then he'll do his job and keep an eye on things and step in when it gets out of hand. Because Lieutenant probably has a good reason for being here, right? Not some personal out of control grudge or anything?
And then Lieutenant slams himself against the forcefield and starts screaming about 'him' and Starstruck maybe begins to put some pieces together. "Hey, hey, Lieu!" Time to step in, by coming forward and wrapping his arms around Lieutenant's midsection, attempting to lift the avian off his feet and pull him back. "Come on, you gotta calm down or I'll have to take you out of here!" He's trying to keep his voice professional and not let any of the fear leak in. Fear for Lieutenant, because of what he'd said about following.
Tarn may be done, but Lieutenant isn't. The dismissal only makes the avian snap. He repeatedly starts trying to dig his spiked knuckles through the forcefield in an attempt to rip it apart. Instead he only succeeds in damaging his hands while he shrieks, "YOU ALREADY KILLED ME," Lieutenant cries out, "THE MOMENT YOU TOOK HIM--!"
He's not through with his outburst when he finds himself being picked up. Out of reaction, he starts clawing at Starstruck's arm with blunt, bloody fingers. "RELEASE ME!" Cries out the avian, kicking and flailing to try getting closer to Tarn's cell. "HE NEEDS TO DIE! I HAVE TO KILL HIM!"
Tarn gives a dismissive wave of his hand, almost as if he was telling a servant to leave the room. His back strut is already turned to the struggling pair. :: Go,:: he repeats. :: Or finally, do what you've desired for so long. Are you strong enough for that? I don't think so.:: There is no way this mecha is taking down the forcefield, as helpful as that would be. It doesn't hurt to plant the idea, but he doesn't wish to depend upon it.
.:: I'd say this has been a pleasure, but it hasn't. Please don't come again. Also, give Soundwave and Deathasaurus my regards for missing our appointment. I do not plan to allow that to happen a second time. After all, those two are at least worth my precious time.::
No, not good. Starstruck tightens his grip, resulting in the appearance of him giving Lieutenant a very aggressive Heimlich maneuver as he backs further away from the forcefield. His armor, easily thick enough to withstand Lieutenant's scrabbling fingers, nonetheless clenches against his frame with worry. "Lieu, you can't," he says, raising his voice above Lieutenant's desperate, angry cries. "You can't kill him, and he's not gonna kill you! He can't get you anymore, can't hurt you, so c'mon, please calm down!" There's a pair of cuffs in a hip compartment, where he always keeps them, and he could probably reach to grab them and use them on Lieutenant. He doesn't, not yet. He'd rather not handcuff his friend if he can help it. "Killing him won't bring your conjunx back, Lieutenant, you have to calm down."
Lieutenant doesn't stop trying to escape, but it devolves into a weaker attempt. He still kicks and claws as he becomes more hysteric with the lights streaming from his optics become uncontrollable. "He's gone," Lieutenant voice shakes, vents shuttering as he continues to struggle, "and all I have left is to accept it!" He did accept it, he had no other choice. Twelve years to realize fighting to get Tormentor back was in vain.
Starstruck slowly lowers Lieutenant to the ground, his vice, subduing grip becoming more of a tight hug from behind. He even turns them so that Lieutenant's facing away from the forcefield and Tarn, with Star's back to the DJD leader. "That's all you can do, Lieu," he says, more softly. This doesn't feel like a conversation Tarn should be privy to, especially since Lieutenant's pain is Tarn's fault in the first place. Starstruck feels a surge of anger, enough to rev his engine, and he has to take a moment to bring himself back under control. "I know it sucks, it really fucking sucks, but chasing revenge isn't gonna make it any better. It's not gonna bring him back." He talks like he knows from experience, because, well. He does.
Star finally manages to bring the fighting avian to calm down a bit. Still worked up, but physically he stops trying to fight his friend. He vents rapidly as he tries to cover his optics. Lieutenant knows Starstruck is right - Tormentor is gone for good. Nothing will bring him back. "..it still hurts." Lieutenant muffles into Star, "It always will, won't it?"
Starstruck slowly turns Lieutenant, pulls him in for a real hug. "Yeah, it will. No matter how much time passes, the hurt doesn't go away. Wish I could tell you it did." He pulls back enough to start nudging Lieutenant toward the exit. Time to get him out of here, away from Tarn, where he can collect himself and grieve in peace. "The best you can do is remember the good things about them, and try not to think about how much you wish you could have them back. It only makes it harder."