2018-11-01 Utilitarianism Two-Step Blues

From Transformers: Lost and Found

Utilitarianism Two-Step Blues
Date 2018/11/01
Location Minimus Ambus's Office
Participants Minimus Ambus, Soundwave
Summary Soundwave has a proposal.

Soundwave is officially out of quarantine. Thank. God. He makes short work of getting his business in order, including getting errant cassettes into their hab, before setting off on the most important point of order. Okay, second based on a few red scuffs.

Soundwave knocks on Minimus's office door politely. "I request permission for entry."

Minimus Ambus is not in quarantine and has not been in quarantine and that honestly is high on the list of situations he’d probably be happy to rectify. He collected assessments from every department and then closeted himself in his office with them at the beginning of this working shift, and the only times he has not been in here since have been when he was actually on the Lost Light bridge, issuing actual commands like an actual command level officer.

“…Permission granted,” comes at a wary remove, but as the doors slide open to admit Soundwave, there’s nothing really unusual about Minimus’s office. Everything is neat and put away. His desk is orderly. The only aberration is that there is a small stuffed M propped neatly against the bottom corner of his terminal screen, in case anyone were to have any doubt as to whose desk it is. Well, that and the fact that he is wearing gloves of translucent plastic as he clutches a datapad and frowns over it.

Soundwave steps in and is not, in fact, tracking anything squishy and organic. Maybe. Probably. Hard to tell, there could be hair he didn't see. He pauses in his approach when he spots the gloves. Ah. "Minimus, would be better off wearing bio-hazard suit than gloves," he states. "How was your... ... ..." Its a very obvious pause as he searches for synonyms. "Outing with Prowl?"

Minimus sets his gloved fingers against each other. “Stores does not have one in my size,” he states. “In any event, I am not personally heading the cleanup efforts.” He glances dourly at the terminal screen, on which lines of glowing text blazon various people’s excuses for not handling this already — most of which being that there are way more important priorities than mop and bucket — and adds, “…yet.”

He leans back slightly in the chair and drops his hands to his lap, frowning at Soundwave in a slightly puzzled way. “It was fine,” he says, in a tone that says ‘why are you asking me this’.

"You're not that big," Soundwave says, wondering what stores Minimus is looking in. Off-brand probably. "I could find one your size if you change your mind about the clean up. I'm afraid I could not help in that effort. Busy with personal matters. And quarantine." He doesn't sound too broken up about it.

Soundwave takes a chair to sit in across from Minimus at his own desk. "I'm glad to hear. No Quintesson troubles at the convention?"

Minimus stares at Soundwave in mild consternation. He says, “I’m--.” He cuts off and then shakes his head. “I see. No, there were no Quintessons that I observed. I can hardly see how the expo would be a high priority target. There were only about 2000 life forms.” Soundwave almost feels the urge to shrug. He's learning bad habits from someone.

"Quintessons, seem to be everywhere," is the explanation he gives. "It is good to have you back on this ship, though. I'm sure many feel the same way."

“I will definitely not be excusing myself from duty again anytime soon,” Minimus says with a grim certitude. “Hound is a capable officer but what I walked back into--. Never mind. Now that you are out of quarantine, I take that to mean you are…” He studies Soundwave for a moment, word-searching, and comes out with, “…recovered?”

"Affirmative. Though, I was never ill to begin with. Ratchet wanted Quintesson technologies quartered off-- And I have some in my frame." Those most definitely the whole story. That's all, promise. "Ratchet is a part of why I wish to speak with you-- but... Do you believe you absence resulted in all this nonsense?"

Minimus hesitates over the question, and then says, his helm pulling down in a particularly dour, exasperated frown: “I’m familiar with the difference between causation and correlation, but it is difficult not to feel responsible for the extent of a situation I was not present to defend.”

Soundwave nods, slowly at first and then firmly. "Understandable. Relatable. But there's nothing to be done of this situation than to solve it now and be grateful you did not arrive later. I am glad you got some time at the convention before this... Nonesense. How Prowl is managing to plan an attack now of all times-- Will you be partaking in that mission?"

“Inaction makes Prowl twitch.” Minimus laces his hands together again, but there has been a subtle easing to his posture as he says so, as though the constancy of Prowl’s approach here is a shade of blessed normalcy in a chaotic universe. “I am uncertain how he plans to utilize me at this point. The Maximus armor is useful for large scale assault, but may be better held in reserve.”

"That might be for the best," Soundwave agrees, sitting up straighter in his chair with his hands in his lap. "It's still not known how much of your phase-sixer qualities Megatron knows about or not. Keeping that a surprise could be the key to our victory, when the time comes." His fingers tap against his leg as he thinks.

Minimus makes a noise: a kind of snort, chuffed through his systems in a burst of fans. He says, “You would certainly know better than I what Megatron knows or does not. My last appearance on Cybertron was not especially subtle.”

"Even with my capabilities, I could not tell you what he does or doesn't know," Soundwave says, clasping his hands together. His gaze drops to stare at Minimus's badge- his perfectly even badge. "If he were to know-- I might have what you need to give you the advantage."

Minimus looks at Soundwave a little blankly, but adjusts his chair slightly so that it more fully frames against the desk. He sets aside the datapad, turns off the terminal screen, and turns the bright glint of his scarlet eyes to weight upon Soundwave’s helm, granting him at least the measure of his full attention. “You know,” he says, “at one point, near the close of the fight against Unicron, Megatron offered me what I believe is colloquially known as a ‘free shot’. I was in the Maximus armor, so the superiority of my firepower at the time could hardly be argued.”

"And you had enough sense not to take it." Soundwave leans forward a little. "And now he know of the Maximus armor. And he could know of your further upgrades. Megatron never needed my assistance to come up with a way to effectively combat an enemy. If he hasn't thought of a way to counter your armor, he will soon. Sooner than we are able to forwardly attack him. Which is why I am offering you this advantage."

The shake of Minimus’s head is slight. He says, “He knew I wouldn’t take it.” His gaze is steady, focused. His tone is thoughtful, but a little remote; when he says, “What advantage,” it’s a little flat, like he forgot to put the question mark on the end.

"He does that," Soundwave says of Megatron. And then his gaze drops, considering the many avenues of how to present this to Minimus. He settles on one after a minute. "I'm sure you're aware of the mission Hound and I had been on not long ago. The one that went... Awry. But, while on Cybertron, I was able to retrieve something very valuable. I've asked Ratchet to examine it for safety but-- It's super fuel. Very rare. Very potent."

Minimus looks at Soundwave with a particularly blank expression. “I am aware of the mission and its consequences,” he says, in a tone of remarkable mildness. He doesn’t comment on the fuel one way or the other. He watches Soundwave uncertainly.

"I am sure you are, as am I." Soundwave matches Minimus's level gaze, his red visor unyielding to the red optics. "I retrieved that fuel specifically for you," he explains further. "I want Cybertron back in one fell swoop. And the path that leads with the least casualties coupled with success-- is the one where you use the fuel. You'd be beyond a juggernaut. You could easily contain and arrest Megatron. I have no doubts." (edited)

Minimus Ambus stares at him in silence for an extended moment. He doesn’t say anything at all. It is clear that he is thinking, though: it is not a blank wash of emotion, not raw and unthought. The building tension reflects in the ticking grumble of his engine, the tightening of his struts. He says nothing. His lips press tight.

"You can wait for Ratchet's full analysis before making any decisions," Soundwave says, already standing. "I wanted to tell you as soon as I could, to give you the time to think... But you should know its the best option we have for a clean sweep. Ask Prowl to run the numbers. He might snap his neck with how much of a turn around or success rate in facing Megatron in the near future would be."

“Soundwave,” Minimus rumbles, like a tiny stormcloud rumbling in his seat. “I suspect I know what Prowl would advise me to do. But I already know what my answer is. I think you already do, too. I think you knew it before you ever came in here.”

Soundwave stands there, looking down at Minimus. "I was told what you might say," he says, slowly. "And I ask you to reconsider."

Minimus doesn’t stand. For one thing, it might match the drama of the moment, but his chair is too highly elevated, and he’d have to crank it down to the floor. He does, however, turn over his hand, showing his palm. “I invite you to tell me what I am neglecting to consider,” he says. “I have never resorted to such a method before.”

"Just because there was never a need before does not mean there is not need now," Soundwave says tersely. "Perhaps you can be so flippant in this decision- to reject our greatest chance of stopping him- but I cannot. I've seen Cybertron. Those he has under his control-- and the newsparks. He deceives them, uses them. And you're not willing to look into this option."

Minimus’s engine growls in a rising snarl of the frustration and anger he restrains, but he remains seated, stiff, and still. His hands tighten in their clasp together. “What I do reflects who I am. My choices reflect what I will become, and what my legacy will be,” he says. His eyes burn, fierce with contained rage. “I will remain myself. If I fail, I will fail on my own terms, and if I die, I am on record that I would like to be buried in my armor.”

Soundwave makes a sound that almost sounds like 'tch' but comes out rather garbled due to his synthesize. Just a single short, flat note. "You think you would be the only one to die if you were to fail? He has Prowl and Rodimus on his short list. Do you believe you could stop him before he kills anyone else- them? Because if you have any doubt... The fuel isn't a crutch- it will assist you."

Minimus considers the proposed and painful angle for a moment, and accepts it unflinchingly, whole-heartedly, without looking away. “I’m glad that you appreciate the magnitude of the threat your old master represents to everyone you now hold dear, Soundwave,” is what he says. “But for me, nothing has changed.”

Soundwave's jaw sets. "That's always been the problem- never changing. Perhaps you should." He cycles a vent, low and slow. "I simply ask you hold off on any hasty decisions regarding the fuel until Ratchet's analysis is complete. I won't ask you to take something dangerous. But something harmless, that would help... You upgrade your armor, why not the fuel it will run on. Will your sudden pride to the Ambus legacy allow for that at the very least, Minimus?"

“You are missing the point entirely,” Minimus tells him. “And I don’t think you know what ‘harmless’ means.” His chin lifts, nostrils flaring with the narrow of his gaze. He stares at Soundwave for a moment, thinking hard about how to get through to him. Then he shakes his head, wordless.

"I fail to see how I am missing any point that does not include the high probability of saving lives and minimizing damage," Soundwave says, not dignifying the 'harmless' taunt with a reply. He could almost be a walking dictionary, of course he knows what it means. Soundwave cuts a hand through the air, waving it at Minimus, as he turns back to the door. "Just think on it longer than less than a few minutes."

Minimus says nothing at all to answer him. Perhaps he thinks he already has.

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