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2019-01-01 Catharsis

From Transformers: Lost and Found

2019-01-01 Catharsis
Date 2019/01/01
Location Cybertron - New Iacon - Courtroom
Participants Rodimus, Soundwave
NPCs Flashwing, Barrister
Scene GM Tez
Summary Soundwave's time at the podium is interrupted.

The third day of Soundwave's statements before the commission show a change in the faces found among the crowd. Many who sat for the first two days found themselves unable to sit through the last of it, and absent the third, while their ranks are filled -- and more -- by the press of the crowds outside. They are louder today, but a steady hand and combined Autobot and Decepticon forces keep things in order.

Inside the chamber, it is quiet. It is horribly, awfully quiet as Soundwave speaks and lays out the facts of Grindcore's atrocities, where his hand touched them. And he touched so much of it, in his role at Megatron's side.

The stillness that holds the room is a stillness made up of many parts of noise: shifting, restless bodies, squirming in discomfort; quiet, hushed voices, sharing words that even Soundwave would struggle to tease from the white noise background. All of it combines to surround and swallow his words, drowning them, melting them away just as bodies were smelted down to component elements.

There are representatives from the colonies, and among those colonies is Eukaris, and among the Eukarian is a once-familiar face who now goes by Flashwing. They are seated toward the back, near the grand doors -- and the smaller, side doors, less designed for the press's eye. Outside those doors the halls twist and turn in a maze that even doubles back around to the smaller side paths that allow assistants and attendants to run things up to those seated on the commission for their attention without making a great fuss dashing across the chamber. The halls are patrolled, but it is with an eye toward the brewing trouble outside.

It's day three, and Rodimus is still here, still seated with the cassettes as Soundwave speaks.

Flashwing of the Aerie, known to the Lost Light as Jumpstart of Kalis, is among the Eukarians seated towards the rear of the auditorium. It has been a long time since she left the ship to help Eukaris recover from Unicron's emergence. But there she sits, returned to her home at last, to watch the second greatest mass murderer known to the Cybertronian race stand behind a podium and drone on and on about atrocity after atrocity, as if speaking the crimes could expunge them. Flashwing has been here the entire time, but as the litany of crimes related to Grindcore emerge, she resolves to do what she came to the planet to do.

Feigning the discomfort that has driven other mechs from the room (her systems are in perfect order, she lived Grindcore, hearing about it in monotone doesn't bother her) Flashwing rises and leaves the main auditorium. She makes to leave, footsteps authoritative, but she soon slows. Glancing side to side, Flashwing steals down a side door. Once on the other side, she opens a compartment and removes the only thing she carried with her from Cybertron and the Lost Light: her Autobrand. Flashwing affixes the badge to its place of pride and then transforms. Her eagle mode soars along the ceiling of the corridors, angling for back stage.

Soundwave stands at the podium. He could elect to sit but he feels it would be rather disrespectful, so he stands. Just as in the last two days, but today its harder. He doesn't look any different, sound any different, but its in the ripple of his neck cables whenever he swallows hard before speaking of something particularly revoltings. When his visor flickers, optics flittering over to where Rodimus sits before looking ahead again. Making sure he's there.

Thankfully- ?- Soundwave knows his time on Grindcore is drawing to an end. He picks up the pace just a little, an almost indiscernable amount. Trying to hasten through the last of it just to get past it all and to-- Quite possibly the even worst Anti-Neutral Pogroms. Soundwave tries not to dwell on it as he continues.

It's not hard for Flashwing to find her way through the halls. They are helpfully labeled for all those unfamiliar to this building who need to be here for this, for all of these many weeks and months and years of statements and judgments that will come. Backstage, just this way.

The halls grow tight, close quarters for her wings, which could easily clip the edges if the stretched just a little farther. Then: the door, leading back out into the main, and a guard there, watching the proceedings on a datapad. The words from inside are too thin and muffled to be audible, and are clear only through the datapad's speakers.

For whatever it's worth as Soundwave races through the last of this particular set of crimes, Rodimus is still there.

Flashwing soars along the ceiling, deftly taking turns here and there. As part of the Eukarian delegation she's seen the space they put together for this event. It's not easy to navigate, but she arrives at that door and the guard. One advantage of her flight system is no engines, she drifts along on distorted gravity and perches above the guard, her talons digging into the wall. Flashwing's optics narrow as she considers her options. This guy doesn't deserve to die, and there's no guarantee she'd succeed. She's here for one purpose only. But...she can't do that if he's in the way. So there's only one thing to do.

Flashwing dives on her fellow Autobot. Talons outstretched, beak at the ready, she descends on him while he is distracted. Not to kill, but, if her talons can tear at his optics and her beak shred his voicebox, that should give her enough time.

There's a distant crackle of static at the edge of Soundwave's hearing as the guard's voice is lost beneath Flashwing's beak; a soft chink of breaking glass as she destroys his lenses. But the noises within the chamber are far greater as those soft whispers and stirs grow, as his crimes pile higher and higher.

Soundwave is able to finish off Grindcore with his complacency- his signature, even- of converting mechs brought to the POW camp into bombs. Which would then, in turn, take more lives or make the collecting of more enemy combatants all the easier. It all leaves a taste in his mouth he can't get rid of- that he might never be rid of.

Soundwave pauses, just a beat. A lurch of static in monotone. Right as Flashwing attacks the poor guard. Soundwave's fingers flex, his visor flickers and dims. He begins to lay out his atrocities against the neutrals, the noncombatants- as innocent as a Cybertronian got. And he ground his heel against them. He continues on, as always.

Flashwing transforms after she incapacitates the guard. A slender foot kicks the datapad anyway, in case he might try to trigger an alarm that way. "You didn't deserve that. I'm sorry." Her tone is flat and she's whispering. But she doesn't care if he can hear. That's not why she's here. Flashwing opens another compartment in her arm and removes a hilt. With a flick the blade extends. Now way to get an energy weapon in here, the only option is cold Eukarian steel. Flashwing considers the surface of the blade. She can see herself in it, and she has no expression. She's become very good at hiding the hurt over the long, long millennia. She flexes her fingers, tests her weight. In as good as repair as she can hope to be. Flashwing turns to the door and unfurls her wings. The tips of the feathers glow faintly as she prepares to move. It will all have to be done in one motion.

Flashwing coils like a spring, wings out, knees bent, sword held perpendicular to the ground. She rises up onto her toes, a dancer's grace keeping her upright. She cycles a vent, charges her wings, and then flings the door open. Her wings crash down against her body, propelling Flashwing forward like a silver missile. She cries out now; she can't help it. The catharsis of the attempt forcing all of that emotion out of her as she drives the tip of her sword towards Soundwave's spark.

<FS3> Soundwave rolls Reaction+reaction: Good Success. (5 7 7 1)

The quiet whisper of noise fades, draws back: true silence falls in the moment between the door opening and the strike of Flashwing's blade. Only her cry pierces it. Then: the clash, the sword's tip piercing through Soundwave's armor, even as he twists. Noise crashes back in over them.

Soundwave can feel the blade as it pierces him, the edge of it resting against, but not through, his spark. The blade trembles with the force of the blow.

There are guards in the chamber, Autobots and Decepticon, and there's the crowd and the commission too. But for an instant, just a sparkbeat, one and all remain frozen.

Soundwave's whole visor shutters, still for the half a second after the blade slips into his back. Then he collapses to one knee, body trembling gently. He's been run through with swords before. This one is just particularly close. A razor edge kissing his spark's corona.

Tentacles slide out of his sides, biolights pulsing, and they turn back and towards Flashwing. To twist around her wrists and pull her away. "Don't," Soundwave says quietly.

Flashwing's entire body shakes and rattles with the impact. Her anguished cry continues for a few moments after her blade lands home. She cannot seem to believe what she's done, but when Soundwave reacts her resolve returns. Her face screws up into an expression of pure hatred and hurt, blue optics blazing. "DIE, MONSTER!" Flashwing shouts. Her wrists are snared but she unfurls her wings again, plants her feet, and beats them at the same time she pushes off with her legs. A slender mech not possessed of much power, a dancer, not a warrior, Flashwing can only struggle this much.

<FS3> Opposed Roll -- Soundwave=unarmed Vs Flashwing=8
< Soundwave: Good Success (7 4 4 6 8 7 6 3 2 4 5 4 3 2) Flashwing: Good Success (3 5 8 8 6 8 5 2)
< Net Result: DRAW
<OOC> Rodimus flips a coin. It comes up TAILS.

In the end, it's not the spark that Flashwing's sword severs: it's the thick arterial energon lines.

It's one part Soundwave's attempts to pull her away, and one part Flashwing's struggle to push back, and all that twist of metal spearing through him. The sharp edge shears through the smaller of one of the two main lines diverting from Soundwave's tanks, and there's a sudden rush of energon that slicks down the blade to coat her hands.

It's in that same moment that they register movement: behind them, and to the sides, and in front of them, as Rodimus vaults the barrier, with a press of the crowd up against it behind him. There aren't many quite foolish enough to jump the barrier and dash for the conflict, but Rodimus is absolutely that stupid, and followed by Soundwave's cassettes. Somewhere farther back, Knock Out is not quite struggling to push through the crowd so much as he is making Breakdown do that, while he follows behind.

Soundwave's vents stutter and gasps as his line is cut. Smaller of the two, it might be, but it still bleeds an awful lot. He can feel it coating his internals as his energon leaks out of gaps in his armor- but most through the sword wound. His cords both loose their grip on Flashwing, flopping against the floor. Limp.

Soundwave tries not to move, tries not to aggravate the damage. But that doesn't stop him from reaching out- he knows Rodimus and his cassettes are coming. He can feel them, so warm. His fingers feel cold. "Don't," he says once again, this time static crackling along the end.

Flashwing's optics blaze and shimmer with the struggle, even as pink energon runs down the length of the sword and over her hands, running in rivulets across her armor. "You deserve this and worse." Flashwing says, almost whispering. "I was there." Softly. Not pushing on the sword anymore she draws it out, letting the energon gush even more. "I was there, you monster! This is for everyone...everyone dead and whose lives you ruined!" Flashwing holds the sword aloft, meaning to decapitate Soundwave in one stroke. Maybe she could have done it, but she hesitates, frame rattling and trembling as the energon drips off her upraised arms and onto her helm and face. "Die. Just...die..."

That moment's hesitation is enough: Rodimus hits, tackling Flashwing and pushing her back and out of the way before the sword can fall. Others fall in behind him, even Knock Out, although he's not in a particular hurry to get there. Glit's the first one at Soundwave's side, and doing far more with far less to staunch the flow of energon.

"Jumpstart," Rodimus says, because he recognizes her, even if he's giving her the wrong name, "stop. Just -- stop." He's distracted enough twisting to look back at Soundwave that it's possible she could slip free, only there's more, too: the guards, previously too slow to respond, now falling in line around them.

Soundwave turns his head enough to look up at Flashwing, as slumped over as he is. "Not you," he says quietly. He only catches a glimpse of magenta and gold before his head falls forward, heavy. The room is spinning. But he's aware there's people here, helping him. He recognizes Glit's deft paws and Frenzy is shouldering him up into a better sitting position. He waves a hand for Rodimus, where he landed with Flashwing.

"Rodimus..." Soundwave's visor dims. Hnn, dizzy. He's fine though. Medics are here! He probably won't bleed out... And he's not sure that's a good thing. "Rodimus, don't. She can go. Let her go."

Flashwing goes down easy. She's not a terribly substantial mech to begin with, and the fight was out of her before Rodimus tackled her to the ground. Her sword clatters away, and is soon kicked well out of reach by a guard. There's no need to tell her to stop, she's not struggling. She's not trying to get away. She's looking at Soundwave, watching the energon pour out of him. At long last she turns to Rodimus. "Flashwing." She tells him. "He deserves it. You know he deserves it. All those people..." A shudder goes through her frame. "...I just wanted justice."

Her name awkward in his mouth, Rodimus says, "Flashwing." His shoulders twitch in the first convulsion of a shudder he struggles to suppress. He doesn't -- quite argue with her. And he can't look back at Soundwave. As requested, he lets her go, and he steps back. The guards take his place, and draw her from the ground and into custody. Rodimus has to set his feet before he's swept aside, but fortunately they are very big feet. "I know. And you'll have it," he says, like it's a promise, like he can promise that, "but not like this. It's never just a single death, and we already have so much to rebuild."

Soundwave leans heavily against his cassettes, the rush of energon from his stiffled enough that his fuel levels have a few minutes instead of seconds before he's locked into stasis and worse. He's going to need to be removed for proper repairs. "R-" But the name dies in his throat. Soundwave falls silent where he sits under the eye and deft servo- and paw- of Knock Out and Glit.

Flashwing doesn't say anything back to Rodimus before she's pulled away by the guards. She doesn't fight it. Her optics remain locked on Soundwave, and when it seems he will survive her expression returns to its neutral cast.

"We need to clear the hall, we're shut down until tomorrow." Barrister tells the assembled group. He's getting information that has not yet reached Rodimus. News of the attempt on Soundwave's life is already spreading throughout Iacon, and a group of Decepticons is at the door, ready to burst in and defend one of their remaining leaders. "Take the prisoner out the back way, to the Citadel. Undisclosed location unless you want a riot on your hands there too." He steps around the pool of Soundwave's energon. "...We're going to need more security."

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