Title: A Captain's Questions
Location: Rust Narrows
Date: 07 April 2015
Summary: Springer gets his eyes opened a little.
So. Mystery mech wants to meet with Hot Rod, huh? That's cool. That can happen. There's a certain amount of trust in Whirl implied in the fact that Hot Rod shows up, considering that: a) Whirl's an Autobot; b) the Senate is dead; c) Hot Rod had been arrested with the Decepticons; d) Hot Rod was spotted in Kaon as Sentinel's forces fought back against the Decepticons; e) he had been wanted before that point; f) probably something else worth listing here.
But he gives Whirl a place, a time, and there Hot Rod waits, to all appearances alone in the ruin of a theatre. He's center stage, of course, but there's no spotlight here. Only the cracked roof that sheds light at his feet, rather than properly highlighting the golden flames on his chest. He must've missed his mark.
There is the sound of a fliers engine, rotorblades outside that slowly draws closer. Right as they sound on top of the building they suddenly stop and transforming can be heard. After a couple of minutes a Green and Yellow mech cautiously walks into the wrecked theatre. Springer looks around and then notices the mech on the stage. He runs files through is internal viewer and confirms this is 'Hot Rod'. Slowly he walks toward the stage. "So you're Hot Rod?" he asks as he looks the mech up and down.
"Tell me the name doesn't fit," says Hot Rod with a stretch of his arms to display the flashy shading of his paint, the racer-built frame. He couldn't possibly have just been standing there waiting the whole time, but whatever it was he was doing before Springer arrived, it's a mystery. There's no sign of it, no hint of it. "And you're -- someone, I guess." He doesn't know important people. He's a hoodlum. He crosses to meet Springer. His body language suggests that he's trying to be guarded and cautious and all those very important and wise things, but the bright curiosity of his gaze pushes him forward into open inquiry. He's not quite friendly, not quite antagonistic. He hasn't decided. But he is decidedly not /distant/: he's very much engaged and open.
Springer is on his guard as Hot Rod steps toward him and takes a half step back. Not out of fear but prepardenes. As he steps back some light from the busted ceiling flash off his brand of belonging to the decagon and the senators. "Im Captain Springer, Commander of the Triorian Guard."
Oh, /there's/ the wary flash that Hot Rod rightly should've been sporting this whole time. He backs off a pace, mirroring Springer. He glances past him -- to the roof, the doors, the windows, as though Enforcers might come boiling out of the metalwork at any moment. "You try anything and I can have people before you even vent your next breath. You /don't/ try anything, and we can keep this friendly."
Springer narrows his optics, "I didnt come here to arrest you, pal. I came here to.... talk." there seems to be something on the triple changers mind, something serious. "Not unless you got mechs ready to try and take me down instead?" he gives a cool glance around.
If Hot Rod has rebels hiding behind the curtains, they are very well hidden. But it's clear to a soldier of Springer's standing that Hot Rod has positioned himself -- has positioned /them/ -- such that there /are/ places where someone could hide and watch. That he doesn't see anyone on first glance doesn't mean that they aren't there.
"Like I said: if you're friendly, we're friendly." Hot Rod makes a conscious effort to relax and adopts a somewhat insouciant stance, blatantly unconcerned with any threat Springer might pose. "I hate getting arrested. I really do. What'd you want to talk about?"
"What are you fighting for?" Springer asks bluntly conceding to himself that if there are mechs there in hiding he will just deal with it if it gets to that.
Hot Rod's answer is simple: "A better tomorrow." It's short, pithy, maybe even saccharine and naive, but one would be mistaken to dismiss it on that basis. His voice fairly thrums with vibrant passion, and a belief strong enough to brighten his gaze.
Springer looks annoyed, "Thats not a good enough answer. Look," he pauses for a moment before he says, "I was born into the system so to speak, the Senate and Prime, its all I know but...I thought they were right but..." he hates being like this. Hes not used to being undecisive like this but to realize the system youve looked up your whole life is a lie is pretty life changing. "Tell me hw the Senate and the Prime are in your optics." a strange reqest but he has to hear it from someone on the outside.
WHAT. IT'S A GREAT ANSWER. Hot Rod looks annoyed right back. "It's an honest answer," he retorts with a heat thats less studied than his vibrant HEROism. He simmers on the edge of a sulk as he considers Springer, then he jerks his head toward the door. "You want an answer? Walk with me. And put that stupid insignia away because I'm /not/ getting between you and trouble." That's a lie. He totally would. In order to protect anyone who tried anything, not to protect Springer.
Springer stares at him for a moment and then yanks the brand off. First time he can recall hes never bore the mark of the triorian guard. "This better be worth it, pal." he warns as he turns for the door.
Hot Rod just kind of grunts in answer. He does not immediately say anything else. He leads the way out of the theatre and onto the streets. The rust of the Rust Narrows swirls at their feet: flakes of corrosion turned to dust in the wind. He transforms, and idles a moment as he waits for Springer to do the same. Once he has, Hot Rod sets off down the streets.
Hot Rod sets a more than reasonable pace. One might get the feeling he's holding back, unwilling to show his top speed around a Senate soldier. As the mechs drive, the streets get narrower. As the streets narrow, the population grows. Skivs, leakers, addicts; empties and disposables: all of Nyon's best crowd the streets, huddled in abandoned ruins. Hot Rod turns onto a side street that curves around to a broken overpass. Although the street has long since worn away, it gives them a good overview of the street below.
Springer follows Hot Rod out and transfrms into mode when Hot Rod does. He follows the mech through the streets and desnt seem to impressed for want of a better word until the streets narrow and more and more citizens are seen.
As they drive deeper into this section of Nyon, the Triple Changer slows down and just looks at the mechs as they go by, "Why are there so many of these....unfortunates?" he asks finally. Oh he knows of addicts and empties and the disposibles but what hes seeing and the conditions of them doesnt match what hes always been told and led to beleive.
"It's a good question." Hot Rod takes a seat on the edge with his legs swinging down carelessly over the side. It's a fall that -- at the very least -- would batter his armor as well as bruising his pride, but he's foolishly fearless about it. Maybe he's secretly also a triplechanger!!! (He's not.) "You'll get a lot of answers to that from a lot of different people. Me, I say it comes down to greed."
Hot Rod looks down on the crowded streets with a shadowed expression. "A lot of them down there don't have jobs." Neither does he, but let's not point that out, eh? "The Senate's automated a lot of what they used to do, and the Functionists locked down their functions so that they couldn't learn new skills, couldn't do something else. When you're locked into one job for life, but then someone goes and takes your job away -- what are you supposed to do?"
Springer stands next to Hot Rod and looks down at the mechs below. "That makes no senes. The Senate doing one thing and the Functionists doing somethign else. Its as if it was done on purpose to get rid of these mechs." And now the act that Prime wasnt making a contigency for the innocents left in Kaon before he attacked is making more sense. He clenches his fists, "Some of us hae been blinded too all of this you know that?"
Expression darkening, Hot Rod says, "Almost as if, isn't it." He looks thoughtful. "Some people say there's an energon shortage, you know. So the people who have enough, they want to make sure they'll /always/ have enough. High castes. Higher. So they squeeze. They'll squeeze every last drop of work out of them, then they'll drop them, discard them, like they aren't people. If they could, they'd squeeze the energon out of their lines, too." He shakes his head. Anger lingers in his voice as he says, "I know. I know you're not all bad, and I know plenty of you /are/ willing to look, if you open your eyes. But it's so much easier to keep them closed, isn't it. Especially when you're cared for. You have a place. /They/ don't."
Springer stares at all those on the street below as Hot Rod speaks. He thinks back to what the Miner turned rebel leader had said in his writtings and recalls some of what he overheard in the hallways of the senate building about Megatron, about those 'sucking society' but never why they were like that. But now hes finding out why; because of the senate. "These are the ones Megatron and his army are fighting for? What about you? Ive read reports of you, are you fighting for them a well?"
Hot Rod hesitates. "I don't know," he admits. "I'm not sure what the Decepticons are fighting for. I thought they--" And it's a casual 'they', where he could stand to be pointed. He's all but stamped a Decepticon badge on his chest in the eyes of the Senate. A known sympathizer, rounded up in Kaon, released unharmed when the Decepticons broke out -- oh yeah. /Sure/ he's not a Decepticon. RIGHT. "--were fighting for these guys. Pax doesn't think so. But sometimes he forgets how bad we have it down here." As for himself, he shrugs. "I didn't want to fight, actually. You know what got me labeled a terrorist? Taking down the Institute. Supplying unlicensed clinics. Helping disposables evade the Functionist limits, get new frames, start new lives. Teaching people to defend themselves. Speaking out." Also larceny, theft of government property, and vandalism, but, uh, he doesn't ... mention ... that. The reports and records of his activities are fairly light on violence ... or at least they should be, if they are accurate. "What am I fighting for? Them, yeah. /Everyone/."
"You are basically trying to do what our government should have been doing." Springer says, "helping the average mech -- who is Pax?"
"Yes." Hot Rod answers swift and fierce to that. "The government wasn't doing any of that. I don't even know what to make about everything that's happened to the Senate and now Sentinel. I don't. But I can't mourn them. Not really. Not as an institution. I'm sorry for the individuals. I know -- I know some of them were good," he says, hanging suddenly and losing some of his harshness. "And they died, too." After a beat, he says, "Pax. Orion Pax. Rodion cop, now renegade. Stood up to the Senate. Asked them three questions. Three /good/ questions. They didn't answer, of course."
Springer asks in the same beat, "What were those questions?"
No one tell Hot Rod, but the three questions he speaks are actually Megatron's words, through Orion Pax's mouth: "One: in whose interests do you exercise your power. I think it was pretty clear that the Senate wasn't acting for those guys." He gestures down. "Two: to whom are you accountable? The Institute showed that they were accountable to no one, no one but outlaws and rebels willing to stand up to them. Three: how can we get rid of you? And I guess it turned out that the answer was -- well. We just saw it, didn't we?"
Springeris silent for a few moments as he thinks on what Hot Rod has just said. Words that make the world he knew finish crashing down around him. "I need time to think." he says suddenly which must seem like a strange responce to wht Hot Rod just said. "I need time..."
"Luckily for you, you have time," Hot Rod says. He sounds just a touch cynical, but his gaze is not entirely without sympathy as he studies Springer. He jerks his chin back at the low caste criminal scum of Nyon and says, "Not all of them do."
Springer looks from hot rod to the mechs below, "What do they need to give them more time?" hes pretty sure he knows the answer but still.
"Fuel. Repairs. Hope," Hot Rod offers in three-part answer. All seem equally unlikely.
"And this is what you and this Orion Pax are trying to give them? Where are you getting the energon and supplies from?" Springer says.
At this, Hot Rod looks decidedly shifty. "Uh, you know. Around."
Springer says,"I can just imagine." It might be a crime but as the triple changer looks down below he knows its for the best reasons, "What is the general onsensus from them regarding the Decepticons and what theyve done
It's totally crime. It's absolutely, 100% crime. Yet Hot Rod shows no guilt. To Springer's first words, he offers only a daredevil's grin. The smile fades as he continues, and he shakes his head. "There's no such thing as a general consensus. Enough people support them, though, that I've had a lot of trouble keeping good people in Nyon. They went to Kaon, because they thought they could fix things. And that was before this. It's only going to get worse. These people are hurt. They think with the Decepticons, they aren't only going to start hurting, they're going to be able to get revenge on the people who hurt them."
"Ive seen enough for now." Springer says suddenly, "I appreciate your time, Hot Rod. Ive been made aware of things I didnt know..existed." he turns to leave. "May I contact you again or do you want me to go through Whirl?"
Hot Rod turns after Springer and offers his hand. "No, you can contact me. Glad you're opening your eyes, Springer." He cuts the title off Springer's name, of course, but who would expect anything else. "Hope you do something to help."
Springer looks at the hand and then shakes it firmly, "I just might, Hot Rod."