2018-05-13 War, What is it Good For?

From Transformers: Lost and Found

War, What is it Good For?
Date 2018/05/13
Location Whisper and Trailbreaker's Habsuite
Participants Trailbreaker, Whisper
Summary Whisper and Trailbreaker discuss ancient history and the near future.

Trailbreaker is sprawled on his slab, one leg hanging over it, his fingers tap-tap-tapping at a datapad as he writes.

'As a result of our continued strife-'


'Our lives have all been shaped by war, which-'

Delete, delete delete.

Making a grunt of frustration, he takes a swig from the Enjex bottle next to his bed and tries to change positions to see if this makes the writing any easier. How did Megatron do this in a jail cell?

The doors to the room slide open and Whisper slips inside on light-footed pads of her steps. It's amazing how quiet something as massive and weighty as a jet can be when evincing some effort. Her ordinarily careful, clean polished frame in navy and white shows some scuffs and scrapes from drilling, and she is unslinging her heavy recurve and setting it down beside her slab as soon as she slips inside. Her yellow visor slips across Trailbreaker for a moment, acknowledgingly, but it's hard to say whether she has any reaction at all to the bottle. She has, throughout the course of their acquaintance, not been easy to read. But then, Whisper is remote to most everyone.

"Oh, hey Whisper." A distracted-sounding Trailbreaker holds his hand up to greet her even as his eyes remain locked on the essay he's completely failing to write. He shotguns another mouthful of strong enjex before realizing he's being a bit rude, and even if Whisper is distant, there's no need to be unfriendly to her.

He sets the bottle aside, next to an empty one, and grins. "How's the drills going? I pretty much exercised my forcefield as much as I could handle earlier." That might explain the enjex; then again, maybe it's just Sunday. "Now I'm just, uh, ya know. Writing. Stuff." He rubs the back of his neck. "How's your day going?"

Whisper ducks her head, even as she sits down on the edge of the slab to pull out a small polish kit so that she can start working on the more unsightly of the blemishes she has earned herself. Her frown is a slow, quiet thing. She tilts her head back up as she glances at Trailbreaker, and for a barely perceptible moment, her jaw tightens. Then she seems almost to shake free of the shade of a departed ghost, and she glances down again, shaking out a rag in one hand. "I am becoming less incompetent with the bow," is what she says.

"Oh! Uh, hey! That's good, right? I never used a bow. Mostly don't use a lot of weapons. Stun guns and non-lethal charges, maybe." Trailbreaker is absolutely rambling to fill in the space left by Whisper's taciturn-ness, and he knows it. He is channeling Swerve with every minute and he's not sure there's much he can do about it except hope he doesn't invoke Swerve's foot-in-intake-itis. "So, do you feel...ready? For, you know. Is it even possible to feel ready for this?"

Whisper hesitates for a moment, and then shakes her head, even as she runs the first slick of priming oil down the line of her scuffed arm. "Perhaps not," she says. "Many years ago, confidence was my specialty, earned or no. I am sure that Screamshock of old would have been sure she was ready." This is more words than she usually strings together, for all that they are pitched in a mild, quiet tone.

"Screamshock?" Trailbreaker blinks behind his visor and then shakes his head. "I mean, sorry, I don't wanna probe or anything. I get what you mean. Years ago I would have...never seen myself facin' Unicron," he admits with a little huff, "but even if I had, I might have taken it more lightly. Or just knew it would be alright because of who was leadin' us. Not that I don't trust our leaders now. It's just not really fair to go 'it'll be fine, Orion will take care of it.' Or Rodimus, or Ignition, or Minimus. Not fair to any of them. Not...sure I'm makin' sense...what I'm getting at is no, I don't feel ready at all."

"It was my name." Whisper doesn't actually expand beyond this. She continues to work with the polish kit, working delicately along the borders of a scuff at her frame. Her visored gaze is downcast, a bright gleam of yellow whose direction and intention is difficult to read. She opens her mouth to say something else, and then shakes her head, lips closing again as a low whirr of air whispers through the rotors of her jet engines. "...What is is what is," she says finally.

"...What is is what is. I like that," Trailbreaker says, smiling gently. "Worryin' my plate off isn't gonna change what's gonna happen. Just make it more stressful. I mean, still don't feel ready, but..." He shrugs. "You're probably right that if I was that'd be overconfident. Say, the spirit of that, you wanna share a drink? Kind of a toast to, I dunno. Still bein' here."

Whisper gives his bottle a wary look. The angle of her wings dips slightly as she straightens in her perch on the slab, and she cants her head. "What ... are you drinking?"

"It's, uh..." Trailbreaker actually has to look at the label. "Nightmare fuel. Kinda strong, has a little kick to it. Nice aftertaste if you ignore the hint of burning metal."

Whisper stares at Trailbreaker with a particularly blank expression on her face. She looks at the bottle. She looks at Trailbreaker. She asks, "Why are you voluntarily putting something in your frame that names itself after nightmares?"

"Because, uh..."

Trailbreaker holds up a hand, stops, ponders. "See, when you put it that way it sounds a little ill-advised, huh. I was just trying to loosen the words here and, uh, relax." He frowns. "S'not working."

He puts the bottle aside.

Whisper runs the cloth over her arm as she frowns a little, and then says, "Relaxing has never come easily to me."

"Well, there's other ways to do it. Wanna watch some TV? Listen to some nice music? Maybe just...enjoy some quiet, if I'm disturbin' you? I really don't mind takin' a walk," Trailbreaker says. "If what you need to relax is just some space."

Whisper shakes her head with some vehemence. "Please. No. This is your space. I do not need the silence of others merely because--" She tips her hand outward, and then back towards herself again, a hint of oil smear gleaming across her pointed digits. Her wings droop as she lifts her head, and then she asks, "What ... are you working on?"

"Aw, alright! But if you ever need it, just ask. I can't promise anything save that I won't be offended, honest. Oh, this?" Trailbreaker holds up the datapad. "Just...trying to write something. Thought at least I could get a page or two down, for posterity. Kinda get my thoughts in order. I'm trying to figure out if-or uh, how we can keep ourselves from fallin' back into old habits. Keep another war from happenin'. Sort of a philsophical exercise. It gets easier if I pretend it's homework from the old Academy." He hands it to Whisper if she wants to look.

So far all he's managed not to delete is the sentence, War is terrible.

<FS3> Whisper rolls Composure: Good Success. (5 8 8 6 6 6 4 6 3)

Whisper looks at it. Her face retains almost perfect stillness as she does. Never play poker with this bot. "Perhaps," she says with this perfect blandness to her expression, "if you structure this as a conversation. Teaching the future generations about what we have lived, so that they will understand." She angles the datapad towards him and asks, "Why should we not fight, Trailbreaker? Have we not been wronged?"

"I don't-I didn't mean it like that. We have been wronged, I mean you have...we all have, I guess. I'm just worried, with Megatron amassing forces again, Orion having followers, that it's gonna happen all over again someday. I want those future generations to have lives that aren't centered around war." Trailbreaker's shoulders sink. "Just, there's gotta be another way to change things. Improve things. And I dunno what it is yet. I-I dunno, I'm a simple pacifist. I don't want anyone else to die. I know that's naive."

Whisper gives him a slow, patient nod. "I was giving you an example of a question you can answer in your pages," she says. Her mouth lifts at the corners very slightly, the ghostly shade of a wider smile; she says, "I don't dispute your thesis. You just seem to be ... struggling. Somewhat."

"Oh! Yeah, I getcha now! Phrase it like a conversation with myself, or with a theoretical audience. Of course! Shockw-my old teacher used to suggest that. Guess I've..." Trailbreaker glances down at the enjex. "Forgotten it," he notes with a little mumble. "Thanks for the suggestion, Whisper. I'll mull over that for a bit."

This time he lets the enjex bottle lie.

Following his glance down to the bottle, Whisper tilts her head slightly in the other direction, and then ducks her glance away as she begins to work on another of the scuffs to her armor. "You worked with Shockwave."

Suddenly Trailbreaker's full attention is back on his datapad. Ignore how he isn't typing a thing. "When he was Senator Shockwave, yeah. He was-he was different back then. Just as brilliant, though. That part, that part never changed."

"His fascination with outliers has also been a constant." Whisper's voice is quiet. Neutral. She doesn't challenge Trailbreaker otherwise. As she works on her armor, she frowns with thoughtful concentration that surely has everything to do with ensuring she gets herself back to spic and span in short order.

"...It has?" Trailbreaker looks up, visor flickering with a golden-orange glint. "I mean, I never thought of it that way with us. He helped us. 'Fascination' makes it sound like, like he was collectin' us or something..." He draws his mouth into a line. Of course, the Shockwave Whisper might have known, as a Decepticon, was a very different person. He has to remember that. "...If he harmed you, or someone you know, I...I'm sorry. I know it doesn't mean anything coming from me. Just, in general."

Whisper snorts. "No. I worked for Shockwave. He never harmed me." A beat pauses in silence as she works on herself, and then she says in an identically neutral tone, as though there is no moral weight to her words whatsoever: "I was his instrument in causing harm to others. From time to time."

Trailbreaker stares, shifting in his seat and putting the datapad away. "I'm sorry," he repeats, voice hoarse. "That's...I'd still count that as harming you, if he used you like that. A great, brilliant mech with a conscience can do a lot for everyone. A great, brilliant mech unfettered by a conscience, well. You met him." Somehow he's picked up the bottle again, and he can't say it's for creativity this time.

Whisper turns the weight of her yellow gaze upon Trailbreaker, her expression remotely thoughtful in so far as it can be read at all. The shielding of the visor makes her eyes, especially, all the more inscrutable. "I would not have thanked you for that compassion... at the time," she says at length.

"Eh, doesn't really need thanks." Trailbreaker rubs the back of his neck struts, managing a smile for his own sake if not for Whisper's. "I feel selfish mopin' about it, feeling guilty on his behalf when the worst thing Shockwave ever did to me was go away. But uh. Whisper? Thanks for...tellin' me about that."

The shift of Whisper's wings is like a shrug: a little dip, and then they lift again. Her gaze dropped once more, she is working on touching up a paintless scorch on one hip, and it requires focused attention. "You're welcome."

Trailbreaker nods, letting the quiet settle on both of them again. Momentarily he pulls the datapad out, takes a swig of the bottle, and starts to write. This time, he doesn't hit delete.

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