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2018-11-15 Interesting

From Transformers: Lost and Found

Interesting
Date 2018/11/15
Location Cybertron - New Iacon
Participants Penchant
NPCs Shockwave, Metroplex
Scene GM Tez
Summary Shockwave is all too eager to poke at Penchant's head.

It's maybe a little infuriating to a mech of Penchant's pride that in the first minutes, hours, even days of his capture, his value is derived from the fact that he's a cassette.

From his frame. From his function. From the possibilities not in himself, but what he might represent to others.

There are other hits, in those first days, and then Lockdown's crew meets with someone that Penchant never quite gets a close enough look at, and he's ware of something that might soothe the sting to his pride: at least he was worth a bonus to the crew.

Transfer of control comes with the black of oblivion. It takes him chronometer some time to adjust when he finally fights his way free of the fog again. He's magnetized to a circuit slab, and his crushed leg is not responding to the pings of his systems. Either all relays have been cut, including those providing sensor feedback, or the entire limb has been removed. With his helm magnetized in place as well, he can't tell which is the case.

The lab is not familiar, but there is rather a lot of purple on the walls, and even with the field of his view limited, he spots a purple badge. For a moment, he might remember another lab, another awful series of experiments, and another purple badge -- but this one is angled, sharper. It's a Decepticon badge.

Penchant wakes, and immediately wishes he hadn't. He tests what he can move, which, so far, just amounts to his jaw and his optics. Diagnostics scroll across his HUD, but they don't tell him too much. He tracks the badge as it drifts in and out of his view, trying to work up the courage to speak. Or scream. Anxiety finally prompts the latter.

It's easy to howl when the pain of a filed-down harpoon grinds against raw metal and patched lines. His cry breaks off into choking static, and restarts with curses and threats. He projects a psychic net, trying to catch the consciousness of whoever is sharing this room with him.

Penchant's net catches on the shoals of a few medical drones on stand by, then: a fish. A big fish. Just on the edge of Penchant's range, he catches a hint of such extraordinarily cold, extraordinarily regimented thoughts that the chill precision almost burns. It's an order that threatens to become chaos, unnatural and maddening and blisteringly difficult to grasp, for all that it seems it should be simple. So simple.

Don't feel bad, Penchant: Soundwave can't read Shockwave's thoughts, either.

"What is the nature of your complaint?" Shockwave asks as he enters the lab. He is casually removing the gun attachment from his arm and replacing it with something far more terrible: a surgical multi-tool.

Penchant breaks away from that awful mind and struggles to shake the proverbial burn from his senses.

"Shockwave," he growls, trying to pull his fingers from the slab to ball his fists. "Complaint?! Decepticons destroyed my colony, murdered my friend and drove a harpoon through my chest! I have plenty of other complaints if you want me to start listing them! What's your aim here? I don't have anything for you!"

@yam rolled *2* Dice 1d20 Rolls 2

Penchant seems more likely to bring a finger than break the table's magnetic grip. Rage courses through him, but not power.

Shockwave leans over Penchant, his monocular face -- such as it is -- coming into clear view. He stares down at him. "On the contrary, someone of your abilities is extremely useful to me." Extremely. For someone whose affect is otherwise so flat, who prides himself on emotionless reason, Shockwave lets slip a bit of hunger there. Why, it practically humanizes him, blunting all his hard edges. He's just your friendly neighborhood nerd under it all, after all.

Shockwave half-turns, distracted a moment adjusting the controls on Penchant's bedside. A moment later, he can feel the edges of his net clipped short, and his entire awareness confined to this room.

Penchant wastes his energy on attempting to curl his fingers, which snap flat when Shockwave looms over with his lone optic. That... edge of hunger. Nope. Don't like that. Don't want that.

His field us abruptly boxed in. Cut off. Naturally, he panics, fumbling to try and map out the controls in each of the medical drones within the room. It's like scrambling to thread string through the eye of a needle, with all of his focus on the cold stare above him. "S-stay away! Soundwave-" Well. Would Soundwave come for him at this point?

@yam rolled *1* + *10* = *11* Dice 1d20 Rolls 1

The thread catches on the edge of the needle, bunches, and tangles in a snarl as Shockwave reaches to lay one cold hand on Penchant's head. He turns Penchant so that he can study him -- no, study his audials, the shape of his helm.

Shockwave lifts other hand. At the edge of Penchant's field of view, he can see the multi-tool flip-flip-flip to settle on the molten heat of a plasma cutter. It sparks like a star. "Yes, Soundwave. But not quite, correct? Outline the ways in which your abilities differ," he says as he brings that bright touch to bear on the side of Penchant's helm. It's almost too hot to hurt: it's a burn that sears straight past pain into a white-hot incandescence as he carves surgically neat holes in the armor of Penchant's helm.

Penchant stifles a whimper and goes back to fruitlessly straining against the overpowering pull of magnets. It may not hurt right away, but this does nothing for the frenzy in his pulsing spark and the terror that comes with something dipping into your helm. He doesn't outline anything, and now he's too terrified to sling insults. Fraying emotions clearly interfere with his ability to take hold of the drones, but he keeps trying, untangling his mess to start again. Soundwave didn't have lessons for this style of psychic control. Maybe if he just imagines Soundwave caving Shockwave's head in...

@yam rolled *18* + *5* = *23* Dice 1d20 Rolls 18

It's not hard for Penchant to VIVIDLY imagine. As he focuses on the violence, clawing his way toward control, it's not actually the drones that he first bumps up against. Whatever Shockwave did, it limited Penchant's senses to this room.

But what if this room is a part of something bigger?

What if this room is single room in a sprawling complex, a room rich in sensors and terminals, in memory and in history, at the heart of one of the most storied titans on Cybertron?

What if the mind that Penchant touches isn't a drone's mind, but Metroplex's?

For a moment, Penchant is swallowed into a vastness almost more terrifying that the quiet burn at the side of his helm as Shockwave works, but that is now very far, and very distant. It is quiet here, and Metroplex mourns.

Penchant's lips part in a silent gasp when he almost trips into the vast mind that is Metroplex. Oh.

Oh.

That confirms Penchant's location, though he's not surprised to learn where he is. He is surprised to find himself within the mind of a titan, and it is terrifying. His consciousness is aimless as it staggers around, reaching, clawing for something to cling to, to avoid falling. It's unpleasant to settle on Metroplex's sadness, but it's better than focusing on what's happening to his audials. "They're c-coming to save you," he grates, back in the real world, with no other way to communicate.

Distantly, ever so distantly, Shockwave says, "That would be an unusually foolish mistake, even for Trailbreaker."

But Metroplex understands Penchant. He reaches out to pluck Penchant from the unrooted dark, where he risks become lost and washed into nothing by the streams of the titans thought. He allows him to rest on the quiet, steady pulse of his spark. Its power has swelled beyond all bounds, though the waves that travel across it are subtle now, in the manner of waves deep at sea.

From his perch, Penchant can sense the galaxy-spanning network of the spacebridges as island shores far distant, and sense the wane of the energy drawn from them, as the tide pulls back before a tsunami.

Metroplex mourns, but not for himself: he mourns those titans, those colonies far-distant. And it's tied to a profound, unthinkable sense of shame.

Penchant's features twist in response to Shockwave's comment. Oh right. They were trying to help- Wait, it was Penchant's who planted that seed of hope in Trailbreaker. Good job, Penchant. His bitterness is clear on his lips, though his optics stare straight up at the ceiling, unfocused.

It's hard to be sharp and perceptive here in the vastness, but Penchant tries to follow along. watching the energy tug away. That doesn't look good. "What- What are you d-doing to Metroplex," he says through his teeth, bolstered by the massive presence at his back. "What are y-you forcing Metroplex to do?"

Is it possible for a single eye to look surprised? Certainly, Shockwave's hand stills. His head tilts. He reaches to turn Penchant's head so that it is facing him again, no longer peering intently at the mechanisms of his helm. "Interesting. You are still able to make contact with Metroplex? And extract data from him?" There's a pause, then a delicate scratch along the inside of Penchant's helm as Shockwave extends a probe up the interior of his helm. There's an awful, strange itch where there shouldn't ever be an itch -- and then, quiet. Penchant's thrown to the harsh, barren shores, and Metroplex is a distant nothing. He has no choice now but to focus on Shockwave above him. He is entirely deaf.

Penchant can't even shiver at the itch. He blinks, drawn back to awful reality. There's no sound. No quiet signals to pick up on. Dread fills his spark. He tries frantically to project his psychic tendril again, to reach, to grasp desperately at those drones again. The vibrations of his vox are felt but not heard as he screams. Then he starts to plead, promising he'll cooperate if Shockwave fixes this, please Primus please. There's the sick grind of a T-cog catching and failing to make any part of him budge.

Shockwave just watches Penchant. The moment stretches with an uncomfortable sense of unreality. He's unable to move or to hear himself, unable to sense any sort of impact that he is having on the world. It could be a moment; it could be an hour. Shockwave watches him, unmoving.

Then: movement, a slick, hot shock piercing Penchant's processor, and his sense are restored. "Ah, I failed to calibrate for the differences. There. That should be better."

Penchant nearly sobs in relief when sound returns to him. And no, he doesn't behave. He immediately reaches out with his mind, raking claws against drones, driven by that terrifying moment (hour?) to act in this instant, act now, act quickly. Thread this damn needle, stab in into Shockwave's eye.

@yam rolled *5* + *50* = *55* Dice 1d20 Rolls 5

Shockwave is distracted by a fascinating blip of data as Penchant reaches out and claws for control of the drones. It's time enough. It's more than time enough. The drone lasers, meant to aid in surgery, excise the diseased armor noted right in the center of Shockwave's angled face. The fact that the armor just happens to surround and include the single optic receptor is ... unfortunate.

Their lasers carve through Shockwave's features as surely as he carved into Penchant's helm. Penchant's left weakened in his victory as Shockwave blats a static noise of shock and pain, stumbling back. He overturns a table, tools clattering to the floor, and stumbles, blind, to the door. One hand bloodied, the other whirling through various tools, he focuses his blinded gaze on the floor and says--

"Interesting."

Penchant sinks his psychic teeth into the primitive minds of the drones and endures a heady rush of thrill with a dash of power when he feels their surgical lasers bite deep into Shockwave's face. But it's all he can muster. Took everything he had. His clenched jaw slackens, and he prays it's enough to just knock him offline again. It probably isn't.

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