From Transformers: Lost and Found
|Summary||Prowl meets with Starscream to coordinate Tempo's rescue mission.|
"High Chancellor Starscream of the Refulgent Cybertronian Dynasty, Emperor Perpetua and Defender of the Realm" says the small nameplate next to one of the offices on Ignition's flagship. It's one of the nicer offices, too, which Starscream certainly didn't earn through charm, but rather was granted due to the Ignition's tight-knuckled grasp on lawful neutral principles. She might give him a nice office, but she doesn't have to be happy about it.
Inside, Rattrap is just giving Starscream another batch of datapads and then making his way out as the door opens for Prowl. He turns to watch Prowl as he enters, and gestures something at Starscream with the suggestion of offing Prowl if need be. Starscream waves Rattrap out wearily and then folds his arms on his desk and leans forward. After a moment, a little reluctantly, he stands to greet Prowl. "What did you want?" he asks, pleasant as ever and without the false play of his public persona.
Prowl probably spent way too long reciting calm, tempered lines in the mirror this morning, in preparation. He's not glowering when he enters, which is his first triumph, though there's still an urge to bounce Rattrap's head off the door frame when he passes. "We need to coordinate the distraction for Tempo's rescue mission. We need your air support," he says, as flatly as he can manage. Doors completely level. "I imagine Rodimus spoke with you at some point..."
Starscream makes a show of glancing at the piles of datapads on his desk and then back at Prowl. He gestures with the turn of his hand at one of the chairs opposite his desk. When seated, Prow will be a carefully calculated couple of feet shorter than Starscream, whose chair -- at closer inspection -- takes on the solidity of a throne. "I may have received a message from Hot Rod at some point--."
Rattrap, who hasn't quite left yet, helpfully reminds Starscream, "Actually, he swung by the ship. I have the notes from the meeting if you n--."
"THANK YOU, Rattrap, that will be all." Starscream's wings rattle wide and Rattrap flees. The door snaps shut very nearly on his tail, leaving Starscream facing Prowl and scrambling back after his dignity. "Air support, was it?"
Prowl has to tilt his helm up, and clearly doesn't like it. He tries to adjust his seat, which does not adjust, so he's awkwardly wrestling with the mechanisms for a few seconds before slumping and folding his arms. "It's Rodimus," he corrects. "And yes, support, in the air. So whoever you still have in your cabal that can fly. We'll need it for the assault on New Iacon, and Tempo's extraction. Can you provide?"
Starscream smirks at Prowl as he watches him struggle to raise his seat. "Is that too high for you? I can have them bring in another," he offers. Kindly. His nose wrinkles and he waves off the correction of Rodimus's name to consider the question. "You have details for your plan? Timing, forces?"
<FS3> Prowl rolls Foresight: Amazing Success. (7 5 6 4 1 8 2 3 6 7 1 2 7 7 7)
"It's fine," Prowl mutters. "Of course I have details. I've had a lot of time to think about this." His slight frown turns to a sly smile as he elaborates on something that accounts for at least ten types of failures for every stage. He employs a small hologram to better illustrate the branching possibilities, and points out where Starscream's fleet will be needed. There's percentages to go with everything, though Prowl admits that they might be off by a fraction or so, especially when it comes to handling Megatron. "It should be easy for you," he adds.
At first, Starscream seems -- taken aback. It's one thing to have faced Prowl across the battlefield for over four million years, and thus gained a sense of his capability, but it's another thing entirely to have it all laid out in front of you with holograms and percentages. At one point, he reluctantly parts with something that might even be a compliment as he says, "No wonder you were so hard to extinguish."
In the end, he makes a few suggestions and refinements to the plan based on his own perspective and experience, his familiarity with his forces, but there's little he can add to the whole of Prowl's plan. Starscream sits back, considering the percentages as they tick up a few points, and twists the holo with a flick of his fingers. "Do you expect we'll actually see Megatron in all of this?"
For all of Prowl's considerable processing power, it takes him a few extra seconds to parse that comment as a compliment. He eyes Starscream suspiciously, and prickles only a little bit when the seeker makes suggestions to his precious plan. "If we don't, it means he'll have gone to Tempo. But we have a titan-sized Fortress Maximus for a reason. Do you remember him in Simanzi? Scale it up a thousand times."
"Who?" Starscream says. He definitely knows who Fortress Maximus is, judging by the way his gaze tracks to him in the hologram. He's just being a shit. Reflexively. "I want to be told when you spot Megatron. I want to know when he shows his face."
"Fortr-" Prowl cuts himself off with a 'tch' and waves his hand. He shifts forward, palms flattening atop Starscream's desk. "We don't need a rogue agent. I make room for some soldiers that want to be heroes, but not the fleet commander. This is a rescue mission."
When Prowl shifts, Starscream rises. His wings are wide and their edges sharp. He bares fanged teeth in a snarl: "He stands between me and my planet, my people," he says, the second seeming a bit of an afterthought. "I want to know when you spot him so that I can see the look on his face when I take this from him."
Prowl stands to meet Starscream's stare, doors flaring in the same manner. He can't pull off a fangy snarl, though he postures as sharply as a grounder can. There's a short pause before one flattened hand curls into a fist that slowly rolls knuckles atop the desk. "You'll be notified. Can I count on you?"
Starscream holds Prowl's gaze just long enough to make some kind of a point, then drops back into a seat. He sneers: less edged, more contemptuous. "Don't insult me. I'll show you what a Seeker is truly capable of, so long as you don't repeat that fool's mistake of holding me back."
Prowl might've been satisfied with the answer. He pushes the hologram forward on the desk, and asks Starscream to name every key Autobot player. The only hint is the very simplified 3D rendering of each soldier.
Starscream stares at Prowl in disbelief, then grins, with another flash of fang. "Ah, this is just like those assassination flash cards." He settles almost complacently into the game: "Dog," Starscream says. "Tiniest Magnus."
Prowl realizes that he has exactly zero patience for his own test, and swipes away his hologram. "I know you know who they are, Starscream. I'll see you on the battlefield, bright and early. Autobot Command thanks you for your generous aid." No bowing, but... he had practiced a handshake, and it's for the best, right? Eugh. Slowly, grudgingly, he extends his hand.
Starscream takes Prowl's hand in his taloned grip and squeezes. He pulls Prowl forward, and off balance, so that he can catch him with a hand at his shoulder and hiss against the side of his helm: "I expect to hear from you the moment Megatron shows himself." Then he lets go, pushing Prowl back, and takes a seat to pick up a datapad and start back in on his work. Dismissed.
Prowl kills the biting instinct to draw his sidearm from subspace when Starscream's hand meets his shoulder. He lingers there, stiffly, under the whisper near his audial, and jerks away the moment Starscream releases him. His glare is fierce but probably unseen when the seeker gets back to work. If Rattrap happens to be in the way on Prowl's way out, he will get shoved aside.