2017-12-12 Believers

From Transformers: Lost and Found

Date 2017/12/12
Location Lost Light - Command: Rodimus's Office
Participants Rodimus, Whisper
Summary But not like Hand-believers. I realize i need to clarify.

A small plaque outside the scrupulously, regulation-clean door reads 'Captain's Office -- Rodimus of Nyon'.

The room is fairly regulation. On the wall opposite the desk, where Rodimus can see it -- if he ever sat there -- is a framed Autobot badge that's hug just slightly askew in the frame. A new desk has replaced the doodle-covered desk that carried the Matrix map. More often than not, the desk is covered by datapads he hasn't quite gotten to yet. There's another, smaller desk near the door that's partitioned to make almost it's own space. Closer to the main desk sits furniture suitable for a bot of Ultra Magnus's class -- or, with some adjustment, a much, much smaller minibot.

The Captain's office.

Whisper stands before it for a long moment, studying the plaque with her head canted to one side, her hands clasped tightly behind her back. Her wingspan is stretched taut, drawn out behind her, with a faint frown tucked into the corners of her mouth. She reaches her hand up--

Finally, she shakes her head, scowls, and raps sharply on the doorframe before striding right in. He doesn't get that much of an alert, for all her delay.

She's just lucky he's actually here.

Rodimus has been spending a lot of time in his office lately. He's even been spending a lot of the time actually working. The fact that he has been in here so much means that Fritz's work to keep the place clean are running a little ragged: there are empty cubes stacked on the desk, datapads on the floor where he is currently sprawled out, working. She strides in and very nearly onto him, with his legs stretched back toward the door. Rodimus rolls over from his stomach to twist and look back at her, aiming for charming and ending nearer awkward in his smile: "Er, hey." His smile ticks warmer as he adds, "What's up? Grab a seat." He pats the floor. Seat.

Whisper stops, her determined stride arrested in a slightly awkward angled slide of her feet. She looks down at him. She looks up at the desk, and then down at the floor. She shifts her weight, resettling her stance into a firmer, weightier brace. She folds her hands behind her back and her gaze narrows behind the yellow edge of her visor. Her mouth parts and then she closes her lips again. Her wingspan quivers in a lifted ripple of tension. Whatever she was preparing the first words from her mouth in this meeting to be, it is not these:

"...You are on the floor."

"You're just lucky I'm not hanging from the ceiling. I hear Brainstorm does that." Rodimus rolls onto his back to consider his ceiling, which lacks wedges large enough for his feet to fit. Regretfully, he sets the idea to the side and sits up. He scrapes the datapads from their scatter to pile around him like a dragon with a hoard, then -- eventualy -- drags to his feet. "Okay, I'm not on the floor."

Whisper looks up at the ceiling when he does, and then looks back at him. She stands still and awkward for a long moment following this pronouncement, and then she straightens, knight opposing this new risen dragon, wings lifting like a banner, and says, "I apologize for the interruption, Captain."

"You're good. I'm in here to be interrupted. It's why the door opened," Rodimus says, his stance and manner aggressively casual. "So why're you not-interrupting?"

The focus of Whisper's glance marks that body language with a familiar study. Her lips part, and then a little whisper of breath stirs fans forged to cool a jet engine. Then she says, "I spoke with Megatron." Her eyes are a bright blaze of yellow behind the visor, steady upon Rodimus's features. "I have been a Decepticon since ... the beginning. He was the voice of the revolution. The only voice that could drown me out." Her head cants slightly to one side, and then she tells him gravely, "He was definitely never ... on the floor."

Rodimus's casual expression freezes when Whisper brings up Megatron, then his eyes widen as she studies him to break down to the piles on the floor. Slightly, he winces, and drags his hand over his face to conceal the better pat of a grimace. He shifts, stepping to the side to lean against the desk. He draws a datapad from the desk and begins thumbing through it. "Given the number of times he and Optimus punched each other nearly -- not not completely -- offline, I bet that's not actually true about him never being on the floor. But I take your point."

Whisper watches him. "I do not know that you do," she says in a slow, thoughtful placement of each word. Her hands tight behind her back, she stands very still, frowning, and fails to explain.

Pausing mid-tik-taka at the datapad, Rodimus tucks it against his chest and looks back at Whisper. "Uhm. Okay, maybe not," he admits, just a touch bewildered. He looks down at his datapad and then back at her. "Would writing it be easier for you?"

Whisper's gaze widens, and she smiles. It's almost strange on her features, the slow warmth that slides over her lips, and it comes with a shift of her weight, a melting of tension from the line of her shoulders. "Yes," she says. "But life isn't easy." Her chin lifts, and then she says, "Captain, what do you believe the next step is? For the Decepticons?"

Rodimus starts to say one thing, stops, starts to say another, and stops that one two. The third time, he gets an answer -- sort of. "I don't know. And it's not my question to answer, either, is it? I think the next step for all Cybertronians is to turn our attention to stopping Unicron."

Whisper shakes her head at him, her lips thinning; the smile was fleeting, replaced by the tense pressure of this expression. "Is it not?" she says. "It is my question. You are my captain."

"And if there's anything I've fought for, it's for everyone to be able to answer that question for themselves: Decepticons, Autobots, Cybertronians. You said it's your question. And as long as you are part of the Lost Light, I'll do what I can to help you find your answer," Rodimus says, just as serious, just as solemn as Whisper, yet far more easy in it. "But I can't answer it for you."

Whisper starts to answer, and then looks annoyed. Her wingspan drops, wings angled backward as her hands fall to her hips. She ducks her head and says, "I asked Megatron."

"Well, he's -- basically the guy. For Decepticon next steps. I mean four point five million years of telling people what to do through a dragging, interminable war that nearly brought us to the edge of extincion can't be wrong." Rodimus pauses. "Don't worry, I give Optimus credit for that too. A little. I mean -- I probably shouldn't have said that." He scrubs his face with his hands. "Sorry."

Whisper touches the badge that centers her chest, and then reaches out across the distance between them. Her pointed fingertips ghost against the empty space at the front of Rodimus's chest. Her visor is a bright glare of yellow. Her mouth is thoughtful. She hesitates for a long moment without saying anything.

Rodimus follows her gesture, touching his chest with the tips of his fingers, curled over his spark. "I can't give you the answer to yours," he says again, "but yeah, I have my own hopes. I wear them -- or don't wear them -- pretty openly. We fought our war. I'd like to see it really end."

"He said that I am not worthy to follow him," Whisper shares, her tone remote, yet almost conversational.

"That's a load of slag," Rodimus says, bristling immediately -- if illogically -- in Whisper's defense only to catch in a puzzled stall. "Was he trying to goad you into something?"

"Yes," Whisper acknowledges. Her wings quiver and she rolls her head with her shoulders in a fluid shrug that seems to shake some of the tension from her stance. "He believed that he could goad me into being Screamshock. Perhaps he once would have been right." Her head cants, her visor's angle slanted as she studies Rodimus again. "Captain, with permission to speak freely?" she asks, as though he would ever deny anyone that.

Rodimus glances to Whisper's throat and the voccoder within before rising against to meet the angle of her visor. He shifts, restless, with a gesture of open permission. Like he'd deny that. "For what it's worth, I'm the one one who hasn't always been worthy of my crew. But I'm grateful you've been part of it."

"When I met you, I hated you," Whisper says simply, and for a long beat's silence it seems like she will end there, awkwardly-- but then she charges on, wings dipping and jet engine beginning to grind into living heat inside her. "Not because you were an Autobot, although there was that, but because you had hope, and I did not. I do not know what worth you have. I do not judge it. But I have witnessed that hope, and perhaps even learned from it."

She turns aside for a moment, surging into sudden motion as she paces away from him. "The Lost Light has taught me that there is more to this remnant of what was than the war she fought," she says as she moves. "Honor without blood. Future without war. I don't know if I can believe in these things. But I do not think it is I, who is unworthy to follow Megatron." Facing away from him, her wings trembling for a moment, she digs her fingers hard into her chest in a sliding scrape of metal. It does not quite scream as it tears, but it is an audible wrench as she applies her manual strength to rip the badge free. Turning back to Rodimus on her heel, she steps forward again in her returning paces, and holds the (slightly dented, mangled) Decepticon badge out to him in her hand.

<OOC> Rodimus says, "if i record this and forward it to megatron does that make me petty"
<OOC> Rodimus :thonk:
<OOC> Whisper says, "lol"
<OOC> Whisper says, "would it be a petty thing to do"
<OOC> Whisper says, "yes"
<OOC> Whisper says, "but you have been petty for years this wouldn't MAKE you"
<OOC> Rodimus says, ">:("
<OOC> Whisper says, "i mean am i wrong"

Rodimus is saved from his first, flippant response by the fact that she picks up after that silence before he can break in. The world is better for it, and he's forced to listen instead.

At the end, what else is there for him to do but hold his hands out to take the badge from her? Rodimus's expression is -- awed, actually, might be the closest. Humbled. Inevitably, watching her, even hopeful. "You might not be sure if you believe in those things, but I think you're learning to embrace them anyway. Sometimes the only way you can make things real enough to believe is to do it anyway."

So, fake it til you make it, he's saying.

Whisper scrubs at the blank, dented space across the sheen of her navy paint, frowning as though testing a phantom limb. It's been millions of years. She is visibly unsettled in the lack. But still, the badge is gone, and now it is in Rodimus's hand. "Is that what you do?" she asks him levelly.

"Every day," Rodimus frankly admits. His fingers curl over the badge in his hand, and he studies her, fairly visibly trying to figure out if he should offer it back. He even makes a little aborted reach. Yes? No? Awkward.

Whisper folds her hands primly behind her back, signaling that she has Made her Dramatic Gesture and it's his now. Hot potato? "I will have to try," she says faintly, "sir."

Rodimus folds his hands behind his back -- less primly -- as he draws upright and squares his shoulders. His gaze is brighter as he gives her a nod, one faker to the next: "I believe you'll manage better than you think." Quieter, he adds, "And thank you. I meant it: that I'm grateful you have and continue to be part of the crew."

"Thank you," Whisper tells him in somber earnest. Her glance flicks down to the floor, and then she looks back up at Rodimus, and gives him a single nod, before turning to go.

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