Title: A Femme of Integrity
Date: 23 January 2015
Summary: Swivel tries to report a 'crime' to the police, but finds out that it wasn't even a crime to begin with...
++ Nyon ++
Nyon was the capital of Cybertron during the Golden Age, the rule of Nova
Prime, when energon was plentiful and the planet's population was at peace.
Now, with nearby Iacon the capital of the planet, Nyon has become a ghetto,
and a shell of its former self.
Temples, libraries, energon refineries and places of culture have been all
but abandoned, left to corrode and rot away as their patrons moved to the
newer, better capital city to the east. Left behind were the low caste and
disposable laborers, who commute to Iacon to maintain and keep it, while
being denied the privilege of its living quarters. Poverty and crime are
rife here, with only minimal police presence to keep it at bay, making it a
fertile breeding ground for rebellion and dissent.
It had been somewhat a harrowing time for Swivel, fighting with herself. Some of it came out as incoherent mmbles, but for the most part, the war was waged in her head. She doesn't like breaking promises, but she felt that if she didn't make some sort of promise not to tell, she'd be in danger. She's naive, not obtuse. Any conversations the femme had had up to this point were short, casual, and really, the sort of things that could not derrive any worthwhile intel from. But now. Now the femme is pacing outside of the office stationed in Nyon where one can contat enforcers. She did not trust radio contact. No, this had to be in person. She walked up to the entrance and then pauses, only to pivot on her heel and quickly hurry away. Then halfway down the street she mills around, and heads back to the station. "Okay Swivel, okay... what is more important? Promises or lives? Just..." She stands in front of the entrance. Finally, the small femme operates the door and enters.
Swivel almost runs right back out the door when she looks at the crowded reception inside. But she finally walks up to the imposing counter, trying to catch the attention of whoever is one duty...
The security HQ at Nyon is busy as ever, with citizens lined up or milling about waiting for someone to talk to, or perhaps documents to sign, or something. There are officers coming and going, and clerks running the administrative stuff.
Today, though, the staff seem to be extra attentive, making it a point to -always- look busy no matter what. No slacking! They've even made sure the place was cleaner than ever, because the chief of security himself, Prowl, was on site for an inspection and to give a few training seminars on some updated protocols for new standard-issue weaponry.
As Swivel enters, a nervous looking receptionist greets her. "Can I help you?" She asks, peering at the courier.
Arcee happens to be here at the security center as well. She's been attending as many academy seminars as possible in recent cycles, as if her learning curve had kicked into overdrive. The truth behind her eagerness is...a bit more complicated, as if she remains busy, there's less of a chance she'll encounter Rung again. And she doesn't want to do that if she can possibly help it. She makes sure her weapon is in safety mode, because that's an absolute must when in class.
Realising her fingers are twitching a bit, Swivel quickly hides them behind her back. Then realising this is suspicious behaviour, she forecfully places them at her sides, fists clenched. "I, er, I wanner report a... a crime?"
The receptionist nods, and pulls up a form. "Alright, describe the scene, then." She says evenly.
Meanwhile, in one of the lecture rooms, a seminar has just gotten finished. Those in attendance file out in an orderly fashion, and the presenter, Prowl lingers for a few moments longer to gather up the materials and make sure the room was left in the same condition as it was when entered. He peers at Arcee, whom he's certainly noticed in the audience time and again. "You've been busy." he comments.
There is a moment of hesitance before Swivel nods to herself. "I's in ther tunnels 'neath Nyon...." Swivel pauses, and then fills in more specific locations. "I use 'em coz mos dun... less traffic, yanno... less muggers." Swivel shrugs. "Enways.... summon... summon was setting 'splosives! It'd bring down ther tunnels an' blast 'enone in ther process...."
Arcee smiles slightly. Naturally, Prowl wouldn't miss that she's been attending all of these courses. And it isn't just Prowl she's come to see, either; she's actually gone to the Magnus lectures, as well, and those are notorious for being...just a little bit on the DULL side. "It's an interesting line of work," she admits. "Not sure if I really have what it takes to make it, but being willing to try is a decent starting point. Then if it turns out that I wasn't really cut out for it...no harm done, I can just apply what I've learned to something else." Yes, Arcee decides, that's a very watertight reason.
"You're doing just fine," Prowl says dismissively. "You have nothing to worry about as far as not being cut out for this sort of work. Speaking of work, I had better get back to it. Feel free to join me." He finishes, gathering up the session materials and heading out of the room and into the busy corridors. Heh, leave it up to Prowl to mean 'get back to work' when he says 'feel free to join me'.
Meanwhile, the receptionist takes down the coordinates and landmarks Swivel is describing, and frowns. "Someone? Any idea who it was? Huh... Well, actually I can't seem to find that particular junction on the map. Are you sure that's where it was?" The display is projected onto the wall so that Swivel can see it. Well sure enough it seems that the spot she was talking about isn't even on their map? There's just...a blank spot on the screen there. No tunnel, just solid terrain.
Swivel is about to protest that her directions must have been misheard, but when she sees the lack of a tunnel on the map, she stares at it for a moment or two. Swivel stammers a few times and keeps squinting at the map. "Uh... does this thinger auto-update? Cos if it DID blow... maybe it wun show up anymore? 'Coz I /know/ I's down there."
Arcee ponders. Could she possibly have a future in law enforcement? Here, she was thinking she was much too 'soft' for it, at least as far as feelings were concerned. But maybe Prowl was right about this. He wasn't right about everything, but in her estimation, he came pretty close to it at times. With a nod, she accompanies Prowl out of the room and out into the corridor.
The receptionist shakes her head. "Yes, it does, based on readings from the sky spy network. If there had been an explosion in the catacombs, we would have known about it. There would have been seismic readings, at least." She seems to doubt the validity of Swivel's claims. She looks like a low-caste type, so maybe she's just hoping to get some kind of compensation for reporting something important. "Look, I'm sorry but I can't file a report about something that doesn't -exist-."
Prowl walks with Arcee back out into the busy lobby, briefly scanning the crowds of both staff and citizenry. "Well I hope you've found the sessions useful if not always all that fascinating." Yes, even he admits that Magnus' lectures are boring as slag. He notices Swivel, in particular, and his gaze lingers on her for a moment.
Caught somewhere between bursting into tears or throwing a tantrum, Swivel's body language displays a great deal of agitation. She shifts her weight, grips and ungrips her hands into fists, and is hunching forward ever so slightly. "Bu' it DOES exist!" SWivel insists adamantly. Whilst she doesn't shout or raise her voice terribly, she puts a certain vehemence in her tone. "I been there 'fore more 'en once. Ya sure ya got it all down right?" Swivel asks and then proceeds to repeat the location, speaking very slowly and clearly, unlike her usual lazy speech.
"Oh, absolutely. Although I'll be honest, the best training is the weapons training. The rulebook lectures are not quite as engaging. But it's all useful." Arcee glances over at the agitated mini-femme, and she can completely understand that frustration of running up against a bureaucratic wall and not making much leeway. Despite her Senatorial background, she knows what it's like to be misunderstood, so she feels compelled to listen to what this one's trying to explain. "Were you hurt? Did you get robbed?" Arcee asks Swivel.
Swivel's body language is a clear indicator of her agitation, and it draws Prowl's attention as well as Arcee's. Thus, the receptions is visibly exasperated by the time they come over. "Yes, ma'am, this map is based on sky spy data, and not on any manual input. I'm sorry," she repeats. "But I literally -can't- report something that doesn't exist. There's not even a way to do it even if I wanted to, alright?"
Finally the chief of security intervenes. "Alright alright, what seems to be the problem, here?" he asks, fixing Swivel with an expectant look.
At first she doesn't realise that the pink and white femme is speaking to her. She goes on to say "Well, if ya can't do sumtin', 'en ya can't. Sorry I wasted yer time..." But by the time the gentle femme finishes her sentences Swivel had turned to look and realised that she was the subject of her questions. "Eh?" Flicker. Unclench fists. Blink. "Ah! No, nuttin' li'that." She gives a side glance to the receptionist and then looks to Prowl, her optics lighting up just a bit. "Mebbe I otter get me navigations checked, coz 'tween meself an' 'er," the jabs a thumb in the direction of the receptionist, "sumtin' ain't addin' up. Coz I's been in ther tunnels right there," Swivel points to where the map indicates there is nothing where there is something. "'En I ain't lyin'. I'd sooner be crazy 'fore I'd be lyin' ter ther law. An if I sane 'nuff ta question me sanity, I 'ent crazy."
"I believe you," Arcee insists. "Maybe there's a glitch in the map. Maybe there's another explanation. But I believe you were wronged. It takes courage to report a crime." Of course, she's not the one to convince, but Arcee's already made up her mind about Swivel. She has no idea whether or not the other femme is right in the processor, but *something* happened to her, or else she wouldn't be here.
"Hrm." Prowl listens to Swivel, then glances at the map. Oh, right. He knows why that blank is there. "Well, if Arcee seems to think your claim is at least worth looking into, then perhaps it is." he nods toward the gravlift. "We'll talk in one of the conference rooms. If you'd like."
"Well... I wunna wronged s'much as..." Swivel trails off. "Uh... thanks fer believin' me," Swivel says quietly and lowers her head a bit. She then looks over at Prowl curiously as he indicates her towards the gravlift. And in a moment, she has a somewhat surprised look. She glances about looking a bit tense, but then she just nods her head to Prowl and heads towards the lift.
Arcee accompanies them into the lift, and she gives Prowl a curious glance. Does he know something she doesn't? She looks back toward Swivel quizically.
Oh, Prowl knows a -lot- of things Arcee doesn't. Shouldn't she expect as much? After all, she knows the kind of position he's in. He doesn't say anything as the three of them stand in silence in the elevator, until there's a a soft blip and the doors slide open into an office area. He motions for them to follow him into a small conference room with a table and four seats around it. There's also a projector in the middle, with a communicube and computer for briefings, probably.
THe silence is contagious, and Swivel remains very silent in the lift. She is constantly glancing at Prowl and then quickly looking away, straight in front of her, as if she somehow felt that if she were caught staring she'd be in some sort of trouble. Her glances to Arcee are a lot less guarded, and the quizzical looks was caught. But Swivel doesn't communicate much at the moment. Not intentionally.
When the doors slide open, Swivel walks into the room rather slowly, looking uneasy as she glances about the room. She moves in small dainty steps with her arms out slightly, as if she feels any careless moves might break something.
Arcee remains near Swivel, probably to make her feel a little less nervous because she already knows what sort of psychological influence Prowl has on regular civilians (whether he's actually trying for that effect, or not). She isn't entirely sure if Swivel was in a prohibited area, or WHAT the deal is, so she doesn't want to promise anything she can't deliver. But she *does* want regular civilians to feel like the mechs sworn to 'serve and protect' them are approachable. "So what happened?" she asks, her curiosity finally getting the better of her.
Prowl takes a seat at the table, and gestures for the others to do the same. "Alright then," he begins, giving Swivel a pointed look as he gets out a datapad. "Why don't you start by telling us a little bit about yourself. Your name, function, and what sector you're from, assuming you live here in Nyon."
Very carefully, Swivel goes to sit down. Due to her tires, she is mostly sitting on the edge of the seat. Her posture is very straight, almost unnaturally rigid as she tentatively places her hands, palms down, on the table. She glances at Arcee's question, but then looks to Prowl. "I..." she begins to answer, "...am a scout class courier named Swivel." Swivel is speaking very clearly and slowly, keeping her optics level with Prowl more or less. She does not make direct optic contact, but she refrains from looking away. She settles for just staring at his nose as she informs him of her sector of origin. "I live in Nyon presently... I go where the work is." Swivel pauses and waits to be asked more questions.
Arcee might be the good cop. MIGHT. Except...she isn't a cop, she's just a security cadet. So technically, Prowl is both the good cop, AND the bad cop in the room. Swivel might need to be extra careful. Since she's just there for moral support and/or training purposes, she actively listens to Swivel, turned toward her attentively.
Prowl nods, taking all of this down on the datapad he's holding, and perhaps recording her as well, who knows. "Now then Swivel, tell me what happened down there. Try to be as specific as possible."
With a nod, Swivel begins to think carefully before she begins, leaving a pause after Prowl instructs her to continue. After some time she wears a very serious expression which is impeded by her large optics and snubby nose. "I was traveling in the tunnels. I was taking a route I began ta favour 'coz it not only avoids traffic, not a lotter people know about it. Less muggers... and easier ter shake tails. It means a lot ter some customers that we be discrete. So I was 'eading through the old route B17, I mean, what used ter be... anyway I... well someone got there 'fore me. Just on ther spot I was indicating that yer maps claim 'ent there, there were explosives all 'round, set to blow. And it could, and no doubt was meant, to 'urt a LOT of people, and take down a real value of a route, even if not many use it these days."
"Explosives?" Arcee echoes, looking very much surprised. She has nothing more to add to that, she just wants to know 1) why that area doesn't exist on a map, and 2) why this civvy claims the area in question is rigged with bombs.
Prowl listens to Swivel's story quietly, his nose behind the datapad. Finally, he looks back up at her. "I see. And you think this individual planted charges in the tunnels? Well, I suppose I don't have to remind you that that particular passage is no longer in use; that's why it isn't on the map." Well that isn't the -entire- truth but at least part of it. "At least not for anything -legal-."
The femme narrows her optics a little bit and opens her mouth as if to argue something, but then stops herself. She exvents for a long time. "But it's not illegal ter use the old routes. They're sturdier then people give 'em credit for," Swivel insists. She glances at Arcee almost curiously, but quickly returns to staring at Prowl and his datapad. "I'm not an expert on explosives, so I don't know that they wouldn't cause collapse on the structures above them. Fact is, if it en't legal to be there, and yanno lack of signs and crew, it wunt a demolition. Not a legal one, anyway. People could get 'urt. There's nothing I could do about it... so that's why I came 'ere."
Arcee nods slowly. She probably would have done the exact same thing, if she made such a find. "Any small charge could set off a chain-reaction demolition, and it certainly could compromise structures on top," she agrees. She's kind of hoping Prowl will overlook the smaller infraction to address the larger problem of the dangerous situation existing in the first place, but that isn't her call.
"I didn't say it wasn't legal to -be- down there, I just said hardly anyone uses them for any legal -purpose- any more." Prowl clarifies. "Hence, the charges. Blurr was sent to place them in strategic positions so that the tunnel would collapse and trap the offenders with minimal damage to any surface structures. He's the most agile among the ranks, so he was the least likely to accidentally set them off on himself, and most likely to get the timing just right."
There was a long silence. A very long silence. Swivel is dumbfounded and just stares at Prowl.
Arcee can't help but smile. That was just...too...genius. Provided they were to be used *soon*, of course. The longer those charges were down there, active and armed, the more risky they became.
The silence seems to permeate the room, as Prowl doesn't make a reply, either. He glances at Arcee, noticing her smiling. He almost smiles back. -Almost-.
After a long while, Swivel comes out of her stupor. She stares quizzically, and perhaps a little hurt, at Arcee's smiling, and then looks back at Prowl. "Ya mean... 'e works for you? I thought 'e was.... uh... a dissident just talking big..." Swivel looks like she is about ready for the surgical procedure of removing a foot from one's mouth.
Prowl nods. "Yes, he joined security forces not too long ago." he confirms. Oh, Blurr is -far- from a dissident. "With his...abilities, he is certainly a great asset to us." he pauses, giving Swivel a more pointed look. "You didn't tell anyone else about this, did you? If the targeted offenders receive warning, they will steer clear of the trap, leaving it to be sprung by another unsuspecting, and perhaps innocent party such as yourself."
Arcee's comm suddenly goes off. "Whoops. Excuse me," she says apologetically, as she steps out into the hallway.
Swivel shakes her head most vehemently. "I din't tell anyone else. I promised I wunt tell anyone Blurr planted explosives in the tunnel.... which is why I din't actually mention 'im. I try to be a femme of integrity, see." Swivel looks down at her lap for a long moment. She almost doesn't react as her only moral support whisks out of the room. "I did... maybe... kinna... block the way to where the explosives are... but I din't want anyone 'urt. I know a few civillians who use the routes to avoid muggings and stuff.... an I cunna bare them to get 'urt. I din't know it was actually..."
"Well then, you might want to warn your friends not to go down there, but of course without telling them what the actual danger is. Presumably since they are your friends, they'll trust you, right?" Prowl asks, looking a bit stern, before sighing. "I suppose I'll have to send someone to remove the blockade then." He pauses a moment, perhaps to make the assignment somewhere in the system. "Now would there be anything else?"
Swivel listens to Prowl, her expression becoming more and more sullen and her look most and more distant. When he inquires if there is anything else she shakes her head, adding a quiet, "no." Swivel stands up and looks to Prowl, waiting for confirmation to know that she is dismissed.
Prowl stands to leave. "Right then, it was good to meet you, Swivel. I hope your questions have been answered to your satisfaction." He then strides out of the room, leaving the fembot to herself.
Swivel stands a bit surprised to be left alone in a place like that. She quickly scurries out, not wanting to mill about the building any longer than she has to.