From Transformers: Lost and Found
|Location||Minimus Ambus' Office|
|Participants||Soundwave, Minimus Ambus|
|Summary||Soundwave unloads an unwanted burden. The walls do not survive.|
Soundwave's habsuite is cleared out. Most of his cassettes are either finishing up their last shifts or waiting for him. He's completed all his assignments and has delegated the forseeable future to those capable. Everything is arranged and set.
He just has one last thing to do.
Soundwave steps into Minimus's office before quickly shutting it behind it. He tries to lock it as well. Then he scans the room, synthetic voice ringing out: "Minimus Ambus. Are you on duty? I require your audience."
The office is unusually quiet. Ordinarily the low hum of music is ongoing, but when Soundwave steps inside, all is a hush but for the quiet scratch of a light pen on a datapad.
Reduced to his smallest frame, Minimus is sitting on the slab with it in his lap. His medium frame stands an empty husk, looming over the entryway between office and private quarters. His frown is abstracted and distant. He doesn't immediately look up when Soundwave comes in, but answers in a conversational tone, pen not pausing on the surface. "No. I am not on duty. I have been relieved."
Soundwave pauses, head ticking to the side. Minimus not being on duty was a possibility he did not consider. But he accepts it and steps further into the office. "I apologize for the intrusion in that case," he says evenly. "But I still require your audience."
Minimus slides the datapad off his lap. His hand flips out, something listless in the permissive turn of his arm. His helm lifts, jaw hardening with the lowering shift of his shoulders. He has been off duty for several days now and there's something about his slump on the slab that suggests an ordinarily aggressively spruced up officer who has permitted himself to go to seed. Robots can't rumple, exactly, and he can't grow a five o clock shadow or glower in a hungover way, but his general aspect is just somehow missing its spit and polish.
Soundwave quietly observes, taking in the roughed appearance of the smallest Phase Sixer in existence. He can commiserate with foregoing personal upkeep in the wake of what has happened. He cycles a vent, chassis starting to hum with internal workings. "I am unsure if you noticed but I was absent for several... Days after the conflict," he informs Minimus dutifully.
Even if Minimus was on duty, he would not have known this. Soundwave never reported where he was or... What he was doing. "I went to retrieve Rodimus's body."
Minimus starts like he has been slapped, a cold chemical wash freezing through him. His light pen crumples in his hand, the delicate circuitry shattering instantly. He looks up at Soundwave and rasps, "And?"
Soundwave can't keep his optics on Minimus. He looks down, examining the floor. "Nothing. Nothing left." He doesn't elaborate on the ash or smear he saw on the ground. All that was left of any of them. Minimus did not need to know that.
But his answer isn't good enough. Its unsatisfactory. And it makes his chassis uncomfortable. So he sighs and quietly corrects, "Almost nothing."
Minimus's reaction is complex. It's hard to imagine a more tightly wound tiny spring of a body. He's not sure when in this recitation from Soundwave that he leapt to his feet, but he is definitely standing when Soundwave adds that almost, because he surges forward, small feet charging over the decking. Some inner voice is already screaming in a tantrum about how he doesn't want to hear this, doesn't want to know this. He strangles it. "What do you mean," he says in a dead level voice. (edited)
Soundwave's head angles, as if apologizing to that little voice he can hear. No one here wants to know. But they need to.
Checking over his shoulder, briefly, and then he quickly scans the room. His deck locks ker-clunk. Slowly. Warily. Unwantingly, Soundwave opens his chassis. Sitting inside, held mostly in place by the little arm mechanisms, is the Matrix of Leadership. It is perfectly unscathed.
Minimus stares at it uncomprehendingly for a moment. He has already destroyed his pen; he has nothing else to crush. He tries to reject the information and fails; he remembers the thrumming purr of the Matrix in Rodimus's chest the last time he saw it, and turns away, his arms tightening across his chest.
"I see." His voice cracks.
Soundwave reaches into himself and takes the Matrix. His optics narrow at it as he holds it, chassis shutting once more. Stupid thing. Stupid, stupid, stupid idiot...
Soundwave holds it out. "You should have it."
Minimus scoffs. He smears both his hands over his face and then clutches at the curve of his helm. "I am no leader, Soundwave," he rumbles, half tense anguish and half almost laughter. Bitter. Sharp.
"Rodimus died like a hero. I have no desire to disrespect that."
"I am not asking you to lead. I would prefer this... Trinket not to be tied to leadership." Soundwave still holds out the Matrix to Minimus. He's had a longer time to think about this- and in part, some time to debate with the Matrix over this decision- so he is patient with Minimus.
"Rodimus once told me a part of him was within this," Soundwave explains. "And if that is true, then there is no other I would trust with its care. We do not disrespect his... His death. We honor his life." He extends his reach further. "Please. Take it. I can no longer keep it."
Very quietly, Minimus says in a voice of heartache, "He rejected my keeping when he was alive."
His fingers flex and then his hands stop, caught in a twist of broken reluctance. He shakes his head. "Why?" This demand is sharper, blame bitten off across the syllable. Why is Soundwave making him deal with this. Does he look like he is dealing with anything right now?
Soundwave's grip on the Matrix tightens. Just take it. "Minimus--" His jaw tightens. This wasn't how he wanted to tell him but it would seem he has no choice.
"Minimus, do not make me return to Megatron with the Matrix. Just take it."
That absolutely arrests Minimus's attention. The cobwebs of a week's worth of inward misery are seared away in an instant. He rounds on Soundwave like a bull, in miniature, about to charge. "What do you mean, return to Megatron?"
The Matrix is the only thing between Minimus and Soundwave. To some that might be comforting. For Soundwave, it's like waving around a stapler in front of a honey badger- not helping at all. He tenses, feet shifting beneath him. "I am to turn in my official letter of resignation today. I will be leaving the Lost Light with my cassettes."
Eyes glittering in a bright blaze of scarlet, the intensity with which Minimus stares across this brief distance now bears all of the power that he was working real hard on pretending he never bore throughout the course of this past extremely mopey week. Shoulders thrown back, chin lifted, eyes blazing, he snarls, “How dare you. After what we’ve seen. After what ‘’you’' have ‘’witnessed’’.”
"I witnessed a world not our own," Soundwave responds, voice chilled against Minimus's heat. "Do not lecture me on what I dare not do. Not while you have holed yourself up here. Rodimus hated stagnation, I am moving on." He says it forcefully. Like stating it will make it a fact.
With a little shake of his head, Soundwave straightens his shoulders and thrusts out the Matrix once more. "Now take this so you can return to your wallowing. I must go."
<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Minimus Ambus=unarmed Vs Soundwave=reaction + Reaction < Minimus_ambus: Good Success (1 6 8 4 2 8 5 6 8 5 2 4) Soundwave: Failure (4 1 6 3) < Net Result: Minimus_ambus wins - Solid Victory
Minimus Ambus, incandescent with fury, does not take the Matrix from Soundwave’s outthrust hands. Instead, he slams his foot down on Soundwave’s instep, twists inside his reach, and slams him backward with the full force of all his might. Unfortunately for Soundwave at this point, this might is powered by a reinforced skeleton as well as the (self-)righteous fury of the tiny paladin it bears, and Minimus snarls, “How DARE YOU,” as he bears him back into the wall with enough force to smash a giant Soundwave-shaped concavity into the plated bulkhead. Metal screams and buckles with the impact and sparks shower over them both. (edited)
<FS3> Soundwave rolls Fortitude: Great Success. (7 1 3 3 4 2 7 7 4 7 5)
Soundwave knew it was coming. He's a telepath, afterall. A slow telepath. Who completely underestimated Minimus at his small size despite knowing EXACTLY what he is and knowing EXACTLY what Phase Sixers are capable of. Yet, here we are.
Soundwave's armor groans against the bulkhead, keeping its integrity for for the most part. Stuck between the wall and Minimus, Soundwave's tentacles roll out of his sides. For some reason, he still holds onto the Matrix. "Minimus..." he rumbles a warning.
Minimus is past warning at this point. His emotional state is raw as hamburger, like a handful of bleeding meat seeping all over everything. His feet braced, he might as well be an instrument of captivity, forcing Soundwave against the wall with pinpoint sharpness to his palms dug deep into the grooves of his armor. He might even be at risk of leaving handprints that would be very difficult to explain.
“I can’t believe you would dishonor his friendship like this,” Minimus hisses in breathy outrage. His hands grind against Soundwave’s armor with sinister strength. “His spark is barely gone out and already you are choosing to just throw away everything that he was. The freedom he stood for. The compassion he died with. How dare you. HOW DARE YOU. This … this weakness. You ‘’disgrace’' yourself and you ‘’dare’' to call me out for ‘’my’' weakness? Because I’m in ‘’pain’’?” His volume rises to about as high as he can roar as he shouts in Soundwave’s-- well, probably his crotch, to be honest. He’s really not very tall right now. “--you’re PATHETIC.”
Soundwave is in no position to fight back- literally. He can't get his feet arranged to push back. His arms are preoccupied. And Minimus is too heavy for his cords to try lifting. He's in a real pickle right now.
"Minimus," he says once more. Like he can threaten in his position once more. And Soundwave isn't going to talk himself out of this. In fact, he looks away. But his cables slink closer to Minimus, their ends cycling open to let the feelers snake out. Its about the only threat he can make to get him to back off.
Minimus’s palms grate against Soundwave, biting deep with the crinkling threat of a crunch. Finally he growls in a low, basal sound, sneerish and dark, “I don’t know why I ever thought better of you.”
He gives one final, vicious shove of his strength, with a grinding creak of the bones of the larger mech’s frame. Then he takes the Matrix out of his hands, and though his eyes are still hot with fury and threaten to spill a brighter glow yet, the delicacy of his grasp as he takes this into his hands is as light and careful as though this thing didn’t just survive, like, … incinerating heat and pressure and death and chaos.
“Of course, Rodimus did.” His fingers tremble on the casing. “Of course.”
It takes a moment for Soundwave to move himself out of the him-shaped hole in the wall. He stumbles a bit as he frees himself, definitely looking more crumpled and fractured than when he arrived.
He keeps his optics on the ground, shoulders bowing and cords receding. Perhaps if Rodimus hadn't, he wouldn't be gone now. "As I said, you deserve that," he says quietly with a quick glance to the Matrix. The last of Rodimus.
Then Soundwave turns and shuffles to the door without another word. No goodbyes, Minimus knows where to find him.