2017-12-01 Religion & Ethics

From Transformers: Lost and Found

Religion & Ethics
Date 2017/12/01
Location Lost Light - Recreation -- Observation Deck
Participants Blast Off, Megatron, Pixel, Rodimus, Skystalker, Swivel, Trailbreaker, Waspinator
Summary Time for another meeting of the ethics committee! In today's edition of ethics: is it ethical to impose limits on religious belief on people?

Once again, the Observation Deck has been rearranged so the chairs are in a circle around a central holo-display. Once again there are snacks on a table, though this time it's savory and spicy solid Energon and Sodajex. The sign on the door this time reads 'Please No Proselityzing At Ethics Committee' with a little 'Coexist' sticker beneath it.

Trailbreaker finishes moving the last chair and huffs. His frame always feels so heavy. "That oughtta do it til everyone arrives. Thanks for the help, Swivel!" He gives her a thumbs-up and a grin. "We got some..."

He glances at the datapad in front of him. "Touchy topics today..."

Rodimus is here this time, with apologies to Trailbreaker, and a promise that he's here to observe, to listen, and not to interrupt or direct their conversation. He wants their honest opinions, after all. So he's leaning up against the wall with some extra spicy snacks as he contemplates the door.

Skystalker can't help but pause at the door when he sees the sticker and notice, puzzling over who it's for as he steps inside. He can smell the spicy snacks even before nearing them, lifting his chin to Rodimus as he passes. Hey, Captain.

Skystalker takes his time in getting a cup of something to drink, waving to Trailbreaker and Swivel as they are finishing up the chairs. "Good evening, guys."

There is a corner of the room which defies inspection-- literally. The eye just slides right away from it, because Pixel's got her stealth generator runnin', all of those tiny feathery plates doing their light-swallowing thing to render her practically invisible. Invisible but not idle, as she has her big lens fixed on the gathering, and several smaller ones moving freely to zoom in on various people as they speak or shift or just stare (hi captain). It's important to always collect b-roll.

Grinning, Swivel returns Trailbreaker's thumbs up and glances around at a job well done. She glances around at the chairs, the snacks, and the room in general as if looking to see if anything had been missed - and speaking of missing, naturally she doesn't notice Pixel. She then glances at Trailbreaker again as he mutters about the topics. "Are there non-touchy topics for ethics committee meetings?" She inquires, optic ridges raised.

Seeing Skystalker enter, Swivel greets him with a smile and a nod. She also keeps glancing at the snacks table - snacks which she dutifully did not munch on during set up.

Waspinator enters again as he did last time, without any fanfare and still seemingly unsure if he wishes to be here or not. He gives a weak wave to the others in a simple attempt to be somewhat confident or friendly but it falls flat as Waspinator once again picks a far away chair in the corner.

Progress is being made, though. He hesitantly took a snack this time! .. and.. ends up making a face when he realizes how spicy it is. That was a bad idea.

"Hey, everyone!" Trailbreaker offers Skystalker and Waspinator a wave. "C'mon, settle down, have a seat! Rodimus, you're free to sit if you wanna." He gestures towards empty chairs and thunks himself in one. "Thanks for comin' again. Before we get started on the main topic, anyone have anything they want us to bring up durin' the meeting?" He is wringing his palms a little, glancing back at the datapad.

"Today's meeting involves freedom of religion, by the way. So that's why the sign."

Rodimus holds up his lightly-spiced fingers in a gesture, warding off Trailbreaker's invitation. No, he's good back here.

Skystalker has a seat facing away from the door, looking on as Trailbreaker pulls up his own seat and gathers everyone around. He balances his drink in his fingers and crosses his legs at the knee, sitting back and giving Swivel a smile in return. Something to bring up? Nothing they didn't already cover, though Sky suspects they will touch on it again. "Freedom of religion?" He questions out loud, voice mirroring his bemusement.

Swivel gestures helpfully towards the sign in case somehow someone missed it. Thank you Vanna White. However, seeing that it's time to take seats as people trickle in, Swivel takes a brief detour to load up on refreshment. Swivel isn't shy about taking a sample of the variety of flavours with her to the circle of chairs. She lpunks herself down beside Skystalker, waiting for the meeting to get rolling.

"Freedom of Religion in a very specific, very weird case. See, uh, Rodimus gave me the lowdown." Trailbreaker coughs, bringing up information on the holodisplay.

"Sooo uh, Rodimus? Correct me if I got this wrong, I ain't a scientist. But you know how some folks aboard have been getting, uh, really religious and devout lately towards the Guiding Hand? All at once? Uh, well." He rubs the back of his helm, a nervous look crossing his face. Yes, he is thinking about Fireflight.

"Turns out...there's some kinda security hole in our sparks, and some...thing is reaching it if we pray to the Hand. Is that right?"

Megatron enters without announcement or fanfare. In fact, the tyrant still smells of the space bridge, as if he came directly from Cybertron itself. Megatron says nothing to announce his presence, he simply arrives. Red optics sweep the gathered mechs, and he moves to stand near where Rodimus is standing, so as to observe.

Waspinator might be busy trying to clear the spice from his mouth, but he does watch Trailbreaker's announcement about religion. He generally believes that so long as religion doesn't infringe on the rights of others one is allowed to believe what they wish (what? he can have a smart view on things or two!) but Trailbreaker's reveal has him worried. "Izz it dangerouzz?"

He hasn't noticed the entrance of the decepticon tyrant yet.

Rodimus makes a face when his name is called and steps forward, so that he almost misses Megatron shuffling along to copy him just to the side and behind. Almost. His voccalizer has onlined to answer Trailbreaker, but it fizzes a moment in a static of something very near to rage before he chokes it into a reset. "Yes. That's what I've been told. Nautica's lead a group including Perceptor and -- others," he pauses, editing quickly rather than mention Brainstorm and sparks in the same sentence. If that doesn't terrify people, it should. "--scanning different sparks. That's their current theory." He doesn't quite look away from Megatron. He watches him like he might at any moment start firing.

Blast Off has been here, too, quietly sitting in the corner and observing his first Ethics Meeting. He hasn't said anything yet, instead watching the others for now. And watching as Megatron walks in... oh ho ho, this ought to be interesting. As for himself, Megatron's appearance has the Combaticon straightening a bit, trying to look as spiff and sharp and military-ready as can be.

For his questioning the topic, Skystalker is rapt at attention as Trailbreaker clarifies it, amber optics trained on the other mech. "A security hole? In our sparks." He murmurs in repeat, holding a hand to his chest and rubbing fingertips idly over the curve of it. If they pray? Immediately his thoughts go back to the hot spot, wandering back to Alyon. Rodimus says it is a theory, but...maybe he should speak to Perceptor.

Sooner, rather than later. "So it's a... contagion?" Facing Trailbreaker, there is a distinct lack of noting anyone who enters once the meeting begins; Skystalker is engaged, to say the least.

"Something like that, yeah. A virus. We don't know what kind of risk the people who are already affected face, but at this rate it could spread to all of us. You mighta noticed it's all very, uh, sudden and complete, and even granted how converts tend to be at first...well, I don't gotta tell ya why it's unnerving to face why is Megatron here."

Sorry, Trailbreaker is not going to just ignore the elephant in the room. He is notably not LOOKING at Megatron, just suddenly standing very much in a nervous pose and with hands in forcefield-position JUST IN CASE.

"Trailbreaker. A promotion, I see." Megatron replies to the only one to have verbally acknowledge him, and perhaps the individual he takes to be the chair of the committee. "Captain." The Decepticon leader offers to Rodimus, though the twinge of a smirk at the edge of his mouth dispels any notions of respect the title may imply. "This all sounds very fascinating. Please, continue."

Where Blast Off rises, Waspinator sinks. Finally spotting Megatron over there, the bug sinks down into his chair to try and become invisible to their lord. Oh no, oh noooo, this isn't going to end well.

Either this new infection is going to end up taking him or he's going to get shot when the factions start squabbling again.

T w i t c h. Rodimus doesn't flinch when Megatron speaks, but he does snap tense. He half-turns, positioning himself between Megatron and the room, and asks -- in an undertone, but one that carries -- "When I said you guys had an open invitation, I was kind of being polite, and also I meant Optimus." He looks past Megatron into the hall and then back again. "Why are you pretending like you even know how to spell ethics?"

"You gave them a what." Trailbreaker gives Rodimus a Look.

What? Skystalker's already tense air condenses into a cloud of it when Trailbreaker cuts into something alarming. The starfighter rises from his seat and pivots partway, wings lifted and armor venting as he turns. He isn't certain what else he was expecting but the truth, and a sweeping heat that crawls up from his chest and along the curve of his neck to his face. The warm optics there harden with light when they look on to the sight of someone he's only ever seen in video and heard in word.

Please continue? As if it's his behest? Skystalker's brow darkens and his lips part to speak when Rodimus tries to only half-hide his words, effectively deterring a moment of lesser judgment. "Excuse me? After what you saw in here last time?" The armor's still puffed when he looks from Rodimus straight into Megatron.

"You do not belong here."

Swivel normally likes to keep an optic on who comes and goes, but for once, she's not. Her attention is mostly focused Trailbreaker's reveal about this perhaps troubling news. She tilts her head to one side and then the other, processing this. Her pinched brow and tucked in lower lip indicate a mix of consternation and confusion. "Wait, wait, I'm sorry, I'm already confused. There is a virus that infects sparks that makes people convert when they pray?" Swivel opens her mouth as if to ask something more, but abruptly goes quiet. There's some... obvious tension and Swivel briefly glances over to Rodimus and Megatron. A part of her wants to remind eithcs committees are to remain civil, but she's far too afraid to point that out to the Captain. So she just clamps up and goes very still and very silent - other than shuffling one chair away from Skystalker.

"Oh, Rodimus. Don't embarrass yourself." Megatron picks some piece of detritus he acquired from Cybertron off of his chassis. "I was writing volumes of ethics while you were just a twinkle in the silica of old Nyon." That finished, Megatron looks towards the assembled members of the ethics committee. "There are some faces I don't recognize. How interesting." He grins, as if making a note of every mech present. "If you must know why I'm here, and there really is no reason, Optimus thought it would be best if I...put some distance between myself and Starscream." His attention focuses on Skystalker. "Something about my presence making him nervous. In any event." Megatron moves around the circle of chairs, angling in a slow, steady arc. "Soundwave said something to me, on that outpost. That this ship of yours, this Lost Light, had somehow achieved in a few months what I had been working for my entire life." He stops and turns to face the committee full on. "So I thought I had best see its operation for myself. Please, continue. The femme's notion of a viral religion sounded far more intriguing than whatever any one of you, in those moments when you thought yourself brave, would say to Megatron if you ever met him face to face. I've heard them all. This, I haven't." Megatron gestures towards Swivel.

<FS3> Waspinator rolls Bravery: Success. (1 6 5 4 8 1)

"Okaaay okay okay, hold on." Trailbreaker holds his hands out and addresses the others. "There's nothing to fear." Ignore how alarmed and stressed he seems in his body language and how his biolights are flaring, honest. "If...if Megatron has an invitation, I guess, I'd rather stick to the topic because it distracts me from instinctive terror at the sound of his voice and also we still gotta talk about it." He slumps a little. "I kind of agree that you don't belong here, Megatron, but I need to keep the meeting on track." This is just...well, it could be worse. He's sure it could be worse.

"Okay. Everyone vent in, vent out. Deep vents. Matter of life and death at stake. Fireflight's caught up in it and-"

He covers his mouth. "Sorry. I meant to say, we all know someone caught up in this. And that's why we gotta bring up the question. Does the Captain have the right to order people not to pray to a specific deity for the sake of safety or security, at least until we know what this is?"

Rodimus looks like he might literally ignite. This is a real concern with him. His shoulders are scrunched up all unattractively as his face crumples in a scowl. He watches Megatron swan around the room as though he has every right to be there and just fumes. Every angle he considers goes poorly, so in the end, he just -- sorry, Rodimus, this is the proper word for it -- sulks.

Waspinator tenses even more as Skystalker, always calm and kind Skystalker, suddenly jumps up and begins to bristle like an angry cat former. He's angry at Megatron. The guy with the Giant Fusion Cannon on his arm. He... he needs to try and make sure his friend will be ok!

Hurriedly glancing between the three, Waspinator risks getting himself noticed by tentatively reaching to try and grasp the spacer's arm. Its ... its ok?

Ok its not but Waspinator's worried you are going to get shot, Sky.

The hand is quickly retracted as Waspinator pulls in on himself once Megatron starts moving around the room, making himself a smaller target on instinct. But.. But Trailbreaker is right! They need to focus on the issues. He's straightening a bit in his seat, still hunkered down don't get too proud of him, but straightening a bit nonetheless.

Blast Off tenses as the tension elsewhere in the room mounts. He frowns a bit at the reaction some people (Rodimus, Skystalker) have, but he can understand why they'd be uncomfortable. He'd speak up but he decides to let megatron speak for himself. And boy, does he ever. Ok then. Blast off feels the Autobot's and Nuetral's prejudice is showing, but... again, he'd feel uneasy with Optimus prime staring over his shoulder, too. As for Trailbreaker's question, Blast Off finally speaks up. "I'm for *freedom*. Freedom of choice is important. However," He adds, "Why not just tell people what is going on? Warn them? Or would that be a security risk?"

This presence is making Skystalker more irritated than nervous-- his wings arch high behind him and his biolights run a hot ember orange as he tracks Megatron as the mech moves and circles their meeting. "We've achieved that, and perhaps even more than you'd know." Skystalker's response is a simmering word. "You mistake my anger for fear. I've held no such daydreams--" His words are cut off with a snap when he feels the weight of a hand on his arm. Waspinator can feel the difference in his frame, heat shields making him toasty to the touch.

Luckily for Wasp, Skystalker is briefly drawn away from his notions of gnashing his teeth and back down to where his friend is shrinking there by his side. He is silent a moment more, before turning his back on Megatron; instead, Skystalker leans down to draw his palm over Waspinator's shoulder.

"We can't stop anyone from prayer. But we can advise them of the dangers and continue limiting communications." He speaks without facing Trailbreaker, more intent on showing Waspinator his working at being calm.

A small sound barely audible is caught in Swivel's throat when she is even gestured towards. Megatron for a long time had been a distant entity, although a prominent name in Cybertronian history. Suddenly, he's a real, actual, tangible person and in the room. Even though they discussed the impact of his arrival, a part of her had imagined she'd witness the aftershocks and byproduct of his presence, feeling it through other members on the ship. She did not expect to see or be seen by him directly.

Swivel clears her throat, deciding to take a nice long drink of sodagex. Waspinator's reaching and retracting is caught in her periphery and she briefly glances over for a moment. SHe also glances at Skystalker briefly. But then her thoughts are interrupted by a certain refined accent and Swivel's optics dart over to Blast Off. Well. Now she's very determined not to say anything and risk embarrassing herself in front of her boss. But.... then that'd be the opposite of what that self-esteem workshop was all about, wouldn't it? Swivel exvents sharply, then forces out the courage to speak up. "Tell folks the risks, let them decide. And if being converted causes them to do something that DOES break the rules, punish them accordingly for the action." So... she essneitally is agreeing with her boss. Go freedom to screw up!

"Hmm." Megatron replies to Skystalker. "I don't know you. But I expect you to show me." When Rodimus retreats into sulking, Megaton smirks, just enough so that he can see it. Then he moves past. "Well said, Blast Off. Freedom has ever been at the heart of the Decepticon ideology." While he might be helping Trailbreaker keep things on track, it does not seem that the tyrant is one to fade into the background. "But I recall some mention of a...vulnerability in the spark. Perhaps we should elaborate on that, before reaching for our ideological precepts." Megatron looks to Swivel, then Rodimus. "Or did I mishear something?"

Waspinator instinctively raises a hand to brush against Skystalker's as the spacer tries to calm him down. That attempt at calming someone else for once kind of backfired. Ok. He can do this, he can be a real confident mecha for once!

Thoroughly lying to himself, Waspinator nervously speaks up, "If mechzz at rizzk from zzparkzz they zzhould be warned... Wazzpinator agreezz with otherzz. Warn but can't zztop, punizzh if they do bad thingzz." They deserve the freedom to make their own choice regarding their religious choices.

<FS3> Rodimus rolls Presence+presence: Success. (4 7 3 1 3 1 6 1 6 3)

"Ya know, that's a good point y'all brought up." Trailbreaker does not want to think about the fact that 'y'all' in this case includes Megatron, who he is doing his best to avert eye contact from as much as possible. Sorry, Megs, despite all his moderator qualities, you still make him nervous. "Folks have a right to know when a risk is out there, and that knowledge being spread could seriously undercut the whole evangelism going around. Sorry, Windblade," he adds under his breath before he continues. "Of course, we do that and we gotta consider that we're also telling people, implicitly, that a bunch of their friends, loved ones and teammates are compromised, and could in turn compromise them. Could cause a paranoid reaction, so we gotta be careful, right?"

He's on Sodajex #3 at this point because he NEEDS a drink but has sworn not to Drink-drink during meetings.

Rodimus -- holds it together. Barely.

But he holds it together in the face of Megatron's smirk. It hits as it was meant to, as sure a punch as any thrown in the gladiator pits, and leaves Rodimus too bruised to strike back. He steadies himself, squaring up in an overtly casual lean against one of the empty chairs. "There's a flaw in the code of our sparks: a flaw that dates back over ten million years, if what Metroplex told us is true. We think that Vector Sigma can ... patch it, for lack of any better way to put it. We're putting it to a test tomorrow. And until it's patched, someone is able to pretend to be the Guiding Hand and exploit it. My intent is to make worship of the Guiding Hand against ship's regs, and praying to them an offense that will get you brigged." --which is a sentence he winces at, once spoken. A little lamely, he adds, "It's not like it's real prayer or anything."

"I'm okay." Skystalker whispers to Waspinator, vents puffing lightly as he sits back down, this time beside the Decepticon. See? Okay.

When he sits back this time, Skystalker's leg crosses with a more sharp sweep and his chin is set as he settles in. He gives Megatron only cursory glances, stilling his anger to stay under the surface. For later.

Ten 'million'? Skystalker looks to Rodimus in earnest, optics stirred away from his company. "So it would allow something to impersonate them-- but how would we possibly enforce something as subjective as religion? Why not a quarantine of those affected, rather than brig time? It's not their fault." He looks away from Rodimus, this time to Swivel and the others.

"Aaaaaah.... Mega...tron has a point. Making a decision without all the facts can be sorta... bad." Okay. She's lost that calm composure she'd barely managed to hold up and begins to dwindle into awkward pauses and a little bit of mumbling. And then Rodimus fills them in. WHich.... goes over Swivel's head mostly. "Wait... I misunderstood. I thought that there was a virus folk could catch, and if they had that virus, then praying made them go weird." Swivel tilts her head to one side. "But... if it's that old... maybe it's supposed to be there?" Swivel winces a little at this suggestion. She then glances at SKystalker a bit apprehensively, then looks down at her lap waiting for people's incredulity at her remark.

Waspinator frowns, now unsure with Trailbreaker's reveal, "... But if not told, what if it getzz worzze?" If they don't get awareness out there what if it ends up spreading even further? Who knows what could happen! Suddenly Waspinator is kind of glad he's never been religious (Primus hasn't exactly done him any favors in the past), "Can't juzzt zztop mechzz from praying." Even he knows that much. He isn't sure he agrees with Swivel's question, it doesn't seem like something they want to keep if there's a chance to be ... spirit hacked? Even if it IS supposed to be there.

Megatron actually seems to be listening. His arms fold and one finger curls around his chin. "It's an exploit." Megatron explains for Swivel's benefit. "Not a virus, no, but contagious nonetheless. Communicable, if not real and tangible. A key, for a lock you didn't know you were carrying to a place you never thought accessible." The tyrant begins to scowl. "Be that as it may, any entity with that has known us for ten million years...why, they must be the knights, or the Hand. There is nothing else." Megatron starts to pace again. "But even *Waspinator* knows you can't keep a Cybertronian from praying. His existence is a miracle, unique and adrift in a sea of organic life. Do you really have the resolve, Rodimus, to enforce your will on your own crew, to tell them what is and is not appropriate to contemplate?" That smirk returns, the question unasked: do you have the will to be like me?

"It's kinda like, hmm. Any one of us is vulnerable, and as far as I can tell 'believers' encourage others to pray. Fireflight tried to do that for me." Once again, Trailbreaker briefly works through a spell of the Sads. Gotta be professional. "And, uh, Captain, I get what you mean, but...that might not be the best path. See, cuz..."

Primus, he hates that Megatron is right but Megatron is Right and the after party for the committee meeting is going to be very long and alcoholic. "Well..." How's he supposed to follow that up? "Plus that sorta criminalizes the victims. Why can't we just warn people about the risks while we work on patching it up? And Sky's idea of a quarantine is interesting. Kinda lets 'em, uh, worship together..."

He stops and catches on something Megatron said. "The Knights? Why would they do that? And I guess it might really be the Hand, but I don't think we can rule out something else that's known us that long without lettin' us find out about it. I mean, after Unicron? I'm keepin' my mind open to any possibility," he says with a serious frown.

Blast Off listens as Swivel speaks, head tilting slightly as she speaks up. He simply stares at her a moment, a long moment, then, slowly, he nods to her in acknowledgement. Then Megatron speaks and Blast Off lifts his chin slightly, Megatron agreed with him! "Isn't it prayer to them, though?", he asks Rodimus. If you don't offer a very good explanation you'll have people thinking they are experiencing suppression of their free will."

Every intention that Rodimus had to hold himself at a remove and let the committee discuss without him has been steadily and ruthlessly dismantled as question after question and tyrant after tyrant demands response. His faux-casual lean tightens into a stiff brace against the chair as he holds Megatron's gaze with a flat, unamused gaze, and then looks back to Trailbreaker. "It doesn't--." He snaps his teeth closed on his words, dissolving into a grumble of static as he thinks through the angles. He'll get back to you.

Instead, Rodimus addresses Swivel and Megatron: "Just because something is old doesn't mean something is right. Windblade and Perceptor spoke to Metroplex, and they think something happened millions of years ago -- that someone changed Cybertron, maybe changed us, and that's what made Unicron form. It could be this. Even Metroplex's memories were barely there, and as for the rest: it's blurred. We don't really know what happened. What we now know is that people are being changed drastically, personalities entirely overwritten, and that it looks like Vector Sigma has been working for millions of years to fix it -- and has recently figured out how. Now we need to get those updates to people, and in the meantime I need my crew to not turn into a lunatic religious cult." That's probably insensitive. "Warning others isn't going to stop those already changed."

"So a quarantine is a viable option? It would be correctly classified as a sickness. Especially if you ask Ratchet, I suspect. Tempo can house them for a time, couldn't he? ...Away from his module, of course." Skystalker amends with the last, knowing how vulnerable a place it is.

Of course, Swivel is listening patiently to Rodimus, although her face occasionally shows signs of mild confusion. "Are the people who are altered a danger to themselves or others?" Swivel timidly asks.

"If Rodimus is correct, it won't matter what explanation you give. Their beliefs will be set." Megatron notes, half in response to Blast Off and half in consideration of his own thoughts. "The femme sitting outside the space bridge is afflicted, isn't she? Those facial markings, she could only be the member of a cult." Says the guy who has another guy who wears a symbol for a face. "For your sake, Rodimus, I hope that you are correct about Vector Sigma. Otherwise, you will have serious choices to make." The smirk returns. "It is often when we realize that the divine has no special powers that we realize our own strength, here and now. That is the true ethic."

"Hey now, Windblade's facial markings are part of her...uh, previous religion and calling. She's a Cityspeaker." Trailbreaker feels a need to defend Windblade, seeing as he's making decisions that affect her and she's not here. Maybe it is guilt. "Not every religion's a cult, Megatron. You saw the sign on the door." He scowls for half a second before retreating into an instinctive please-don't-kill-me flinch.

It only lasts for a second at least. He's not waving that cannon around. It's just, that was a lot of war, guys. A lot of war.

"So, uh, we can warn the people who ain't affected yet, but the ones already affected...well, we still need to look out for them. They're still crewmembers. And at the same time they might not only be at risk themselves but be putting us at risk. So, if we quarantine them, yeah, they can practice on their own, but..." He huffs. "Look. They're victims. We have to respect their dignity as mechs. No matter what we do. Okay?"

"You weren't wrong to call it a virus: those who caught the Hand-bug pass it on to others -- just by asking them to open their sparks. That makes them a danger," Rodimus answers Swivel. "Victims--" He glances away to Trailbreaker and then back, "--but dangerous. Your current recommendation is to let everyone know what's up and quarantine people as their have outbreaks of religion, then?"

Rodimus starts to defend Windblade only for Trailbreaker to get to it first, so instead he just ignores it. YEAH. SO THERE.

Blast Off doesn't really have a lot to say that hasn't already been said. "I agree- warning, perhaps quarantine, yes. If these people have been somehow brainwashed then we need to be keeping an optic on them."

Waspinator nods in agreement, really having nothing else to add. Warn and quarantine sounds good to him.

"Are we in consensus, then?" Trailbreaker addresses the group. Yep, the whole group. You're here too, Megatron. Apparently.

"Quarantine people first. Then an announcement. The order is important-- it prevents their word from moving on." Skystalker adds quietly, sitting straight and keeping one hand on the seat between himself and Waspinator. "At least... until the next attempt." But one should hope the crew wouldn't be that foolish on purpose.

Swivel gives Megatron a brief skeptical glance about his last statement. It would have been a long long but she doesn't want him to notice, so she quickly diverts her gaze elsewhere. Swivel shakes her head. "I just find it odd...." Swivel begins to say, her head picking over the details. "....If this, uh, exploit as it was called makes it so folk who pray to the Guiding Hand are altered, why is this only happening now? Surely people have been praying for ten million years."

Swivel pauses and then glances at Trailbreaker, lifting an optic ridge. "Dignity's fine and all but if this thing is temporary I don't think any friends you have that've been effected will thank you for worrying about their dignity when you might've let them bring you harm. So. I am for warning and a quaratine."

"Zzafety of crew comezz firzzt, even more if they are danger to zzelves. Dignity can wait, zzo quarantine and warning.." Waspinator has never really had this thing called dignity before so he might also not be the best judge for this. Either way his opinion on the consensus is given.

Megatron listens to the recommendations fly around the room, an amused sort of smirk on his features. He doesn't weigh in. It's not hsi committee. He catches Swivel's glance but doesn't linger on it. Still, something she says makes him laugh. "As if the deficiencies of our species were only a recent revelation. We may be more advanced than all the organic species crowding every corner of the cosmos, but let us not pretend that the Cybertronian pathologies are only now emerging." Having done a full circuit around the committee, taking in faces for later, Megatron turns to the door. "This has been a fascinating exercise in self-governance. I should check on Optimus, make sure Starscream hasn't put a shiv through his spark. Do let me know how your expedition goes, Rodimus. The threat is too great for the Hand's message to be coopted without our knowledge."

"It's a good question," Rodimus admits to Swivel, "and we don't know. There've been a few instances apparently in the past, but it's -- gone up pretty drastically." He's about to go on, but Megatron is dramatically swanning off -- and with a briefly conflicted expression, Rodimus starts after him. "Wait, Megatron--." Please don't make him run. That would be sooo embarrassing. "It's about Soundwave."

"...Yeah, you're right. About the dignity thing," Trailbreaker admits with a mumble, looking at Waspinator and Swivel. They're both awfully brave, speaking out like this in front of Megatron and the Captain. Everyone is. He's a little awed. Here he is this close to falling apart and everyone else is just keeping their heads on straight.

"Huh, I wonder why it did start now...does that mean whatever has made contact with us didn't know about the weakness until recently? Which would suggest we made contact with it before..." It's all a big puzzle. "But that's kind of out of our area. We're an Ethics Committee, not a research one. So, Captain, you have our reccomendation and..."

And Trailbreaker stops to listen to Megatron and then Rodimus. And feels like he should say something really deep and smart.

"You know you don't gotta be smug all the time!" he calls out to Megatron.

Nailed it.

Skystalker quiets as they seem to collectively settle on a thought, and as Megatron speaks he puts those amber optics back on the gray mech, and those red eyes. It's a discerning threat, at least in that glare of his. That's right, you've had your fun. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

It's still fascinating... fascinating and uncomfortable... to watch the other non-Decepticons react to Megatron, Boff thinks as he observes Skystalker. Trailbreaker causes a twitch to the Combaticon's fingers, but he doesn't say anything. He thinks about it, but with the Captain here and so many non-Decepticons... maybe better to stay quiet. About that, at least. He notes that Swivel is pretty astute. "I agree, we should study why /now/, see what we can learn. Also, if we do quarantine, keep in mind it may not be something devotees of the 'faith' will go along willingly. It could /look/ bad to outsiders, too."

Megatron stops. Not because Trailbreaker calls him out, no. He's heard worse. Megatron's head turns, red optics looking over his hsoulder at Rodimus. "What about Soundwave?" His voice is low, fist clenched.

"You're right. Of course, you're right," Swivel quickly says. "It's for the research team to answer. We can only make a decision with the information we have... and as new stuff comes up..." Swivel pauses as mention of devotees not going willingly. "Hrmmm... I guess the next question is how ethical it would be to invent some lie to get them to cooperate. But I REALLY don't like using lies to control folk because when it comes down trust gets shattered and when you DO try to tell the truth suddenly no one listens and then bad things happen and... you sit there and just watch with a 'why didn't you listen to me' moment of sadness but you know the answer and it's double sad." Swivel looks down for a moment. "Um... anyway.... uh...." She's losing steam and confidence.

"He caught the religion bug. He's got it pretty hard, actually." Rodimus's voice is low, and this time, it's not pitched to carry. The words are quiet, and he's caught up enough in what he says to be oblivious to the clenched fist. He leaves further discussions to the committee for the moment, focusing on this. "If this works tomorrow, I'm going to make sure he gets the upgrade, too. You might want to think about containing him, or sending him back so that we can. He's still a member of this crew." Technically. He's just -- on extended vacation. Mega-cation.

<FS3> Trailbreaker rolls Gloom: Good Success. (8 5 3 5 3 1 8)

"...Yeah, we shouldn't lie," Trailbreaker decides, leaving Rodimus and Megatron now that he's said his piece there. "There's no undoing that kind of breach of trust. If Command goes ahead with this, it has to be made as clear as possible that we're not doing this as some kind of punishment or trap, that we still...still love and care about them, and..."

Oh slag. This is the second time he's had to make a hard decision that affects close friends and it's starting to get to him. He stares into his empty cube. "...No lying. There's probably no happy solution. I...ugh, I hope this isn't really the Hand. It's so cruel of Them to do this if it is..."

Megatron regards Rodimus for a long moment, not quite facing him. For the first time all night, it seems that the tyrant is thinking of what to say. It comes to him, along with a creeping smile. "A member of your crew?" Megatron laughs, low enough that only Rodimus can hear. Just a chuckle. Only for him. "I hold out hope that one day, Hot Rod, you will recognize for yourself what countless mechs have seen when they look at you: a means to an end." Megatron turns away and walks into the corridor, his voice returning to his normal imperiousness. "Leave Soundwave to me. I will address anything that need correcting."

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