2018-09-12 Looking Glass Logic
From Transformers: Lost and Found
|Looking Glass Logic|
|Location||Lost Light - Docks and Storage - The Brig|
|Summary||Trailbreaker wants to show Shockwave his other selves in an attempt to empathize with him. It doesn't work.|
It's time. Trailbreaker went through the proper channels and has come down with a glassy object, the same artifact that lets one see into other universes and once accidentally sent people to a very, very bad one. At least it seems unlikely to do that again. What he's hoping is that it'll settle one last, crucial debate with his former teacher.
"Thanks for comin'," he adds quietly to Rung as he approaches Shockwave's cell. He isn't sure he'd be able to do it alone. Rung doesn't have the personal ties to Shockwave he does, and after what happened with Soundwave, it's best to have someone else along. With that he holds his head high as he can, and calls out the name.
Shockwave's routine has not changed since the last time Trailbreaker visited. He moves only to take his supplied rations, consume them, and return to his silent calculations. The most movement recordings have seen out of him was when Soundwave made his escape, and even then he turned and stared, helm tilted, lone optic following Soundwave until the latter was out of sight.
Now, when Trailbreaker and his companion arrive, Shockwave is silent and unmoving; until he hears his name. Then his attention is not on Trailbreaker, but what Trailbreaker is holding.
"Yes," he says.
Rung simply lays a hand on Trailbreaker's arm, soft smile his response before it fades to something more solemn. The former Therapist isn't sure how this will go, or even if it would be wise. Shockwave is capable of many things and has the mind to achieve them... The best tactic seems like it would be to avoid the empurata'd mech. Yet this is something Trailbeaker has to do, and its something Rung will assist with as best he can (even if thats only keeping Trailbreaker from being swindled).
Shockwave speaks.... Does it feel like the temperature of the room has suddenly dropped? Maybe its just the chill that went up Rung's spinal strut.
Trailbreaker manages not to shiver this time. "So I haven't looked myself," he notes. "And I'm not entirely sure how it works, though they gave me a little explanation. But this will let us look into other universese. There's billions of them-okay, I probably don't have to tell you that. I bet you knew somehow." And was dying to get ahold of something like this, which is why Trailbreaker's hands are very tightly around it and why, obviously, the cell barrier is still up. "And we can talk about it! Have debate over it, right, Rung? In the name of--of science. And justice," he adds, a little more determined.
He holds it up and it starts to project a flickering, blurry roulette of images at first. And there's one of Shockwave in a cell. And then another. And then with some Quintessons. And then alongside Megatron. Thus far, they're still all Empuratae.
Shockwave watches Trailbreaker approach; he hasn't seemed to notice Rung's presence at all. He stands, walking toward the cell barrier and stopping within a foot of it, helm tilted as he takes in the flickering images. "What was the explanation you were given?" he asks. "Understanding how it works will make our conversation fruitful."
He catches sight of himself, several times, looking as he does now. Shockwave does not seem surprised. Then again, of course he doesn't.
Rung is rather glad he is ignored this time. he is fully willing to let Shockwave overlook his short frame instead of have the cyclopian mech's gaze on him. Putting on a tight smile, Rung agrees, "Yes, we can debate over it."
"Uh, well, it was way too technical for me." Trailbreaker isn't lying. "Just sort of...it's a window. Not a door, mind. You just look, don't touch, so to speak?" There's a very weak attempt at a chuckle at his own joke that dies off right away.
A Shockwave has tentacles. A Shockwave is dead. A Shockwave is dead. A Shockwave is in prison, but there's a beastformer in front of him instead; all the other mechs there are beastformers except for him. A Shockwave is standing over Megatron's body. A Shockwave has turned Megatron into a space bridge?
"But you're always...altered here. I don't get it..."
"A window." There is the distinct sense that Shockwave is filing this information away, though - when isn't he.
Dead Shockwaves. Altered Shockwaves. He sees all this, and more. "There are infinite possibilities," he explains, in that way that is so very close to the Shockwave he used to be. What's missing is the face, the expressions, the gentle smile; what remains is the intent. "Infinite realities that I may or may not exist in. From what we are witnessing, results are favorable in most dimensions that I will be as I am now."
Rung watches the images flick past, fascinated by the changing images that flash away. He's never seen the object at work but its just as strange and ethereal as he may have imagined. In each one Shockwave seems to be as he is now.
"Because you were Shadowplayed!" Trailbreaker bursts out. Not entirely true; Empurata doesn't necessarily mean shadowplay. But they're inseparable in Trailbreaker's mind when it comes to Shockwave. "We...or someone else, we altered you. That's what I'm trying to find. One where you're still...where you remained as you were. You know?" He's starting to look a little frantic, glaring down at the mirror artifact.
There's a universe that's entirely empty. One where Shockwave speaks to other mechs who are all Empuratae. One that recreates the scene the three are in, almost entirely and perfectly, except that instead of being humanoid mechs they're all cat-shaped robots with cat proportions.
There he is. "Stop, stop," he commands rapidly, as if it'll make a difference, as the image settles on Shockwave with a face, with a head.
With a Decepticon emblem.
Shockwave watches the image settle on what he used to look like, on the badge he wears in that universe. "I told you before," he says, optic on the image of himself with his original head, his original frame. "I would have reached the same conclusions, despite being Shadowplayed."
"Let's not be hasty. We don't know what that badge means in this universe. Remember there were our evil doubles who were definitely Autobots?" Okay, Trailbreaker knows it sounds desperate. He looks to Rung momentarily for support, because he feels like he's losing, and that still hurts to see no matter what.
Shockwave, the Shockwave with a face and a Decepticon badge, certainly looks like the old one minus the paint job, and what's a few paint job changes? He's standing in front of an audience of interested mechs who also bear the purple badge, giving some kind of lecture. He gestures for a laboratory assistant to bring something out. A demonstration?
Shockwave says nothing. He's very intent on the image being shown to him, in his. Kind-of-like-a-moving-statue sort of way.
Rung doesn't know what he can say to help Trailbreaker's struggles. Without the ability to see more of this universe... there's simply no way to prove his grasping theory. "That is true. It could mean something else." Rung vaguely not quite agrees.
Trailbreaker gives Rung a briefly thankful look, and then turns back to the projection. His hands are shaking a little. Thankfully this does not affect the visual quality.
The Shockwave of that universe says a few positive words to the audience, thanking them for coming over, for following him into a greater future for the Decepticons and for Cybertron as a whole. Mentions that he wants to examine a new way of addressing the energy crisis. The lab assistant wheels in a platform.
On it is an Autobot, an unrecognizable one. They are hooked to a machine, struggling, clearly in pain. Still alive. At the moment.
Before anything else can happen Trailbreaker has dimmed the image, and slumped, going silent.
When the image dims, Shockwave lifts his cyclopean optic to Trailbreaker's face. "This is not what you wanted me to see," he observes. "That must be painful for you." He says it the way one would comment on the weather. "Yet it isn't any different from how science has progressed here, and now, is it. Autobots changed me. Decepticons changed Autobots. We've learned much from such experiments. That's how we progress, Trailbreaker."
His gaze remains steady, locked onto Trailbreaker's visor. "The further we progress, the closer we are to returning your abilities."
"I...no. I can't imagine that's what science is for. Not without compassion. Not with suffering. That isn't..." But Trailbreaker can't argue that isn't him, can he? Shockwave has proven to be Shockwave. The best of all possible Shockwaves. Oh sure, he could keep looking, but what would be the use? He's seen how Shockwave is unaltered. What he ends up doing. What he would have done.
He clenches his empty hand and blinks his visor. "I'm not sure I'd want them back at the cost you'd charge," he says, though not with a lot of resolve.
That Autobot... Rung's hand flies to his face, cupping around his mouth in chin at the disturbing imagery. That is definitely not what Trailbreaker wanted to show. Looking away, Rung can hear the pain in Trailbreaker's voice and the lack of resolve as he argues. Looking up, he rests a hand on Trailbreaker's-- pushing down in a gentle nudge to lower the mirror. Rung's voice is soft against the cold logic of the room, "Trailbreaker... I think we should go. There's not much else we can do here." The mirror has proven his hopes wrong.
"Perhaps that was a criminal," Shockwave presents, logically. "A murderer. You don't know what circumstances in which they found themselves under my supervision. Science will always have a cost. You can't receive without giving something first. And if it helps the remaining population, is the cost really as high as you think?"
"It's a life, they're a person..." Trailbraker pleads, his voice breaking. He stops and feels Rung's hand on him, looking down at the smaller Autobot and nodding very slowly. "Yeah, we should...just a sec."
He vents in. "This was a-a fruitful experiment. Thanks for participatin' in it, Shockwave." Not that he had much of a choice. It's more of a formality. "Goodbye."
There's a strange finality to the way he rises to his feet, holding the mirror close to his chest, not quite able to look Rung in the eyes.
Rung cant say anything before Trailbreaker rises to his feet, resolved with at least some sort of decision. As he walks away Rung falters a second, glancing back to the caged decepticon. Hidden blue meets glaring red as he stares the other mech directly in the optics, but as soon as the look started it is over. Rung turns around and walks after his friend. Once they are far enough away, he asks in a whisper, "Are you ok?"
"I am very sorry you became an Autobot, Trailbreaker," Shockwave says, without sounding sorry at all. "They never seem to see the bigger picture. Orion's influence, I suspect." And then Trailbreaker and Rung are leaving, and Rung's stare is, as he'd been the rest of the time, ignored. Shockwave returns to his bench, and there he sits. Silent. Deep in thought.
"Uh...not really," Trailbreaker admits in a low voice, still clutching the mirror to his chestplate. "I'm sure I will be, but just in case...uh, listen. This sounds corny but my first real instinct is to put this up and then run to Swerve's. And I shouldn't do that. Can you give me something to do? Tonight? After I file the reports? Maybe you need some help organizin' the office? Or we can just...have enertea and uh, like, talk?"
"Well," Rung considers, gaze locked straight ahead, "I was meaning to repair a few of my model ships. And I do have some enertea in my habsuite if you would wish to join me." Not exactly oganization, but there is plenty of tea and talk. He looks up to Trailbreaker, sporting a gentle smile, "You are perfectly welcome to join me for as long as you want."
"...That sounds great," Trailbreaker says, and he manages a genuine smile right back. Though it doesn't last as they walk out of the lonely, dark brig.