2018-02-11 Load of Scrap

From Transformers: Lost and Found

Load of Scrap
Date 2018/02/11
Location Lost Light - Command: Guest Office
Participants Rodimus, Prowl
Summary Prowl gets Rodimus to explain his datanet message, before attempting to pin down the apparent sentience in the Matrix casing.

Rodimus is a little late. He's actually verging on a lot late. You'd think that the fact that his schedule is relatively clear now would mean that he'd pay more attention to those few demands on his time, but you'd be a fool to think that. He barely notices them, and there's no one to remind him, and anyway he's visiting someone he'd rather talk to, so when he comes scrambling out of Soundwave's office to throw himself into Prowl's at the third late warning on his HUD, he looks a little prickly-irritated, and already on the defensive. "Sorry, got caught up," he says before throwing himself down in the chair opposite Prowl's desk in an aggressive slouch like his earliest days as a raw recruit.

Prowl is bent over his desk in the opposite of a slouch. He pushes the datapad over, and turns it neatly. Minimus' response is collapsed, but above is a rainbow of emojis from Rodimus' note. "I can't believe I'm asking this now but - do you actually know how to write? Standard Neocybex?"

Rodimus looks just a touch flustered. "Of course I know how to write!" He leans forward, snatching the datapad off the desk and then tossing it back to Prowl once he's parsed it. "See if I apologize to you ever again."

Prowl fumbles and catches it to squint at. "Apologize?" He lets the awkward silence stretch, and finally sets the datapad back down, frowning deeply. "Well... Thanks. I was out of line there too. So. Sorry about that." Another pause, this time thoughtful. "It's alright if you can't write, you know. It can be taught."

"Yes, apologize. You were totally out of line, but I provoked it, so I guess we're both sorry, and it's all squared away." The prickle of irritation crawling over Rodimus's lines settles in an arms-crossed slouch. "I can write. I got through academy fine. Just don't care about taking the time to do it right sometimes and anyway, you -- mostly knew what I meant. Eventually."

"All squared away," Prowl agrees. He shifts in a slight sideways lean that leaves his chin in his hand, propped against the desk. He seems amused. "Okay. Keep your glyphs. Just expect to have to meet with /me/ after every note. I've clearly interrupted some good vibes. Second point of order..." He points to Rodimus' chest with his stylus. "Open up?"

Rodimus settles, tension melting away as Prowl fails to call him out for being late and further lets the subject of his terrible writing drop. He even relaxes enough to throw him a quick smile: "Well, now you know why I usually skipped straight to dropping in on people." He covers his chest with his hand, more baffled by the point than insulted. "Sorry, literally or metaphorically? I didn't think we were at the confessional stage of our friendship."

"This is an acquaintanceship at best," Prowl quickly points out, gaze narrowing. He shifts back against his seat, stylus held between both hands as he softens in more thought. "I mean literally. I want to see the matrix case. We've already studied it but... I'm still curious about a few things." He smirks, "Want me to turn around lest you get anxiety again?"

"Harsh," Rodimus says, the spread of his hand curling in at the edges, fingers biting to cover the pain of Prowl's brutal rejection of their friendship. The smooth edges of his teasing sharpen at the last again and he says, "I'm not fragging well anxious." That it annoys him suggests a hit. The locks on his chest release in two muted click-clicks, and the plates transform out of the way so that he can withdraw the casing. Through the hollow in the center, his spark casing is just visible. "Still there. You afraid it's gonna rust away?"

"No," Prowl begins, chewing his lip. His stare lingers on Rodimus' hands, even as his chest plates unfold. There's the slighest wilt in his doors. Alright, maybe he's being a bit of a jerk here. So he tries to make up for it, tailoring softer words like Windblade taught him. "I'd like to see if we can pin down why there's some sort of sentience tethered to the casing, or at least something that seems like it. Has it 'said' anything new to you? Since the last time you attempted?"

"Not really. Feelings, nothing more. Never been as clear as Windblade -- or Soundwave," Rodimus adds, "seems to have heard. But maybe there's not as much call for it to try, anyway. It has no problem making its wishes understood." His armor clicks back into place, transforming closed as he lets the casing rest in his hands.

Prowl reaches, knuckles against his desk. It's up to Rodimus if he wants to hand it over. "Then I think I should take it to Soundwave or Windblade again. Maybe we can... gently probe it more. Soundwave's artifact has a shiny new function, right? I just want to... make sure we're truly doing the right thing here." He looks up. "What sort of feelings, specifically? Is it just content to be away from the Quintessons?"

Rodimus -- hesitates, then relinquishes the casing somewhat grudgingly into Prowl's hand. He looks like he's thinking of taking it back as soon as Prowl speaks. The idea that the casing might better respond to one of the others -- strikes a carving blow, one that barely seems to leave a mark as it cuts past his armor, but then curves in and bites deep beneath. "I guess I don't know. I don't think poking it is the right answer, though," he says, his manner crisping, growing more firm, "given how much it wanted to get away from that kind of thing at Quintesson hands."

Prowl keeps it cradled there in the middle of the desk. "Good point. Ask it something. Ask it it's name. Ask who it is. Historically it'd be channeling the widsom of past Primes, if it were... charged. But I'm not sure that's what's happening here."

"Wisdom of the past Primes: what a load of scrap. Where are you even getting that?" Rodimus asks as he watches Prowl's hands. His own fingers curl in his lap to suppress an itchy twitch. "Not to bring up bad memories, but do you remember the myth of the Guiding Hand and the Matrix?"

There is lingering warmth to the metal under Prowl's hands, a warmth that seems to linger, pooling under his fingers. But in terms of a concrete, clear answer -- temperature seems to be what he mainly receives. The prickle of it feels vaguely familiar in a way that is difficult to source.

Prowl can't hide the upward tug of his lips. Load of scrap. "Yes. What are you getting at? This," he lifts the casing lightly, "Was supposed to be a part of a crystal prison for Solomus. Created by Mortilus. A connection to Vector Sigma. Ask it... I don't know, its goal. It's warming a little." He frowns, shoulders slumping. "Ask it if it's Solomus. This is ridiculous."

Rodimus shrugs his empty hands. "You ask it," he says. "You're holding it. I guess that makes you the Matrix bearer." His tone might be a little petulant: some edge undercutting an attempted joke.

It's hard to say what the steady heat of the casing in Prowl's hands might mean. It doesn't seem to be changing much as he voices his questions. Rodimus can remember the energy drawing out images or echoes of his own memory, but it's hard to say whether that is coming from without or within.

"It favored /you/, if I'm reading reports correctly," Prowl argues, but draws the matrix against his chest, slowly. "Alright - who are you? Are you the deity Solomus? Are you channeling Vector Sigma? We just... need some guidance here. Can you communicate as you had with Soundwave and Windblade? Do you need something to be clearer?"

Rodimus watches Prowl, the grip of his hand, as his expression tilts wistful. "I don't know," he says, but quietly, aware that it's not his answers that Prowl is looking for.

Again, it is hard to say. Even though Rodimus is not the one holding the casing close against his chest, he gets a clear sense-memory of the last time he stood before Vector Sigma, of a fuddled moment of confusion as he, Chimera and Whetstone attempted to communicate with the world spark but lacked the clarity of immediacy. Prowl feels a faint ripple of warmth through the metal, a faint echo, a sense in the back of his mind. Just a general quizzical air.

Prowl's grip tightens on the ornate bracket. It's hard to stifle the mounting frustration. He looks up at Rodimus, a little helpless, working his jaw as he thinks. "Well. Perhaps after we use Tempo's weapon, we can extract that photonic crystal and use it here. It seems to be the real deal. Maybe it can help it communicate. The Matrix is supposed to be able to... rebuild. Like it had with you. Which should be useful /somewhere/, if we're looking at the state of the galaxy."

"I think--." Rodimus is uncertain, but his tone firms as he says, "I think I'm still getting stuff from it. Thinking about when I went to Vector Sigma. Not -- super helpful. What crystal are you talking about?"

As Rodimus speaks his thought claiming the memory, the certainty warms him from the center outward. Meanwhile, the casing Prowl holds still isn't communicating with him that clearly, but the steady warmth and vague familiarity seem to linger.

"Tempo's weapon holds a photonic crystal that's different than the Quintesson crystals. It holds an immense amount of charge." Prowl slides an absent thumb against the center of the case, the sphere. "Vector Sigma implied that we have everything we need, in our artifacts. So far we've seen our artifacts damage Harbingers and cleanse the the influence of Unicron, in Lieutenant at least. Temporarily. Their charge is already being used in Tempo's weapon..."

Rodimus's twitchy fingers unfurl and he reeeaches across the desk like he'll take it back. Or that he wants to, at least. He does not grab it from Prowl. BUT HE'S TEMPTED. "I'd like to take the casing to the crystal, then. Maybe see if it -- says something. Does something."

The case lacks self-determination and can't actually turn in Prowl's hands of its own will, but there's something about the way he is holding it that makes it easy for it to shift in his fingers, angling towards Rodimus's reaching, twitchy fingers. Otherwise, the heat continues steadily, lingering against his metal skin.

"Worth a shot." Prowl stares at the case and it's subtle tilt. He hands it back without complaint, and folds his hands under his grille. "One more thing, then I'll let you go. If it's giving you memories..." He addresses the case again. "Should Unicron be rejoined with Cybertron?"

Prowl spends 1 luck points on Guidance.

Rodimus takes the case back into his hands, relaxing once he has it in hand. He cradles it, drawing it to his chest, and as Prowl asks the question -- he frames it in the language he's received, imagining Cybertron as it was in Metroplex's oldest memories. "I don't know how to ask a should, Prowl," he mutters.

For a moment, as Rodimus holds the casing close, nothing happens. Then Rodimus remembers ... things he has never thought before. He has a sense of the split, and the circle of the globe cracking like an egg, and there's a moment where it seems half the world is swathed in a dark, slithering ugliness, swarming like insects. Rodimus remembers ... opening the matrix, and blasting the whole world with a cannon of energy from his core, and bathing it in light. The light eats into the dark swathe and the curving half of the planet is left behind to slowly drift back towards the other half.

All of these things Rodimus relays to Prowl -- but faltering, uncertain, and a lot less eloquently as he finishes in summary: "I think maybe if we blasted Unicron with the Matrix it could have -- done something? I don't know." But he also passed the rest along.

Prowl waits patiently, watching Rodimus' face too closely. Filled in, his hands unthread and splay flat on his desk as he contemplates. "Alright. Think we got something here. Thanks for your time, Rodimus. Hold off on that weapon visit, I'll probably have some mechs accompany you."

The casing warms in restoration as Rodimus snugs it against his chest, but the infusion of memory retreats, leaving behind only the warmth.

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