Title: A Small Confession
Location: Hall of Records, Iacon
Date: 18 May 2015
NPCs: Vehicons (OC)
Summary: Overclock seeks out Megatron to make a confession and get some guidance. He takes it better than she expected.
Oh all the places in Iacon, this was the first that Megatron was sure to secure. Not so much from the Autobots but rather his own Decepticons. Some of the biggest enforcers he has patrol the exterior and only the most trust-worthy of his followers are permitted inside the Hall of Records. Megatron himself has spent little time here, and so far, he's kept it closed to as many as possible. It's still kept operational just... very secure.
When Overclock is brought in he sits at a lonely table with a single data pad in his hand, lost in his reading to notice her approach.
An audience with the highest de-facto authority in the land. An honour for most and for Overclock, one that fans several old habits. The Insecticon is waiting beyond the enforcers until her apportioned time, several minutes early with her armour in better repair. She's not quite as thoroughly scrubbed as when she spoke at the memorial service, but the road dust has been wiped off at least.
The claws of her feet clatter against the gray-white floor panels as distinctive accents to the otherwise weighty thuds of her steps as the femme approaches and her visor spots Megatron engrossed in his reading. Flanking her on either side are a pair of muscle car alt-modes with matching paint, if only by coincidence. Overclock brought friends.
Coming to a stop before Megatron's table, the femme clicks her rear claws and snaps a salute while the Vehicons beside her mimic the gesture.
... And let the waiting begin.
Megatron finishes what he was reviewing, calmly sets it down and then looks up to see who is before him. He is not surprised - but then why should he be? Protocol has arranged all of this for him. He gestures to the seat across from him, and the two beside it, should his visitors wish to sit. He might be the highest authority but Megatron still has it in his head that he is an equal to any of the bots that serve him - a lapse of judgment that has not yet dawned on him.
"You seem far more 'together' than the last time we spoke, Overclock."
"Thank you, sir, and sorry again for that. You - *ahem* - caught me with my thorax down after my long search in Nyon." Overclock replies, still sounding a little awkward about the encounter as she takes the seat and 'her' Vehicons sit in the ones beside her. Scorn might have been given authority over the Vehicons as a whole but her daughter has borrowed two for her own purposes. She might have asked first.
"It was not the first time I have seen someone down to their struts, nor will it be the last. We are all the same under our plating - gears and wires. Yet different too, for what flows between our circuits define us. There's nothing to be ashamed of in that, especially where you are concerned. That is, if all I have heard is true. Plating is plating. I am far more concerned with what lies beneath."
A statement that, were he aware of what has become of his friend, could mean so much more than intended.
Megatron reclines, taking a very casual approach to this meeting. "This time, I believe it is you that wish to see me?"
"I do," Overclock affirms with a nod. "I have some... questions to ask," she starts cautiously, though Megatron's choice of words draws the Insecticon's attention and her antennas perk with curiosity. "What have you heard about me?"
Megatron decides to give permission by not denying it. He has never turned away one of his followers for their questions. If they are bold enought o ask, he shall honor them with answers. The choice to ask them is Overclock's to make.
"That you are a being of ambition - a commodity that I respect, and seek to reward. There are too many on Cybertron that are unwilling to seek what they desire and thus need to have what they deserved delivered unto them. I respect those, such as yourself, that are willing to claim what they need."
"Oh, okay," Overclock replies, perhaps having expected a different answer. "Speaking of ambition, I received my first order from Shockwave recently." Here the femme pauses again to find a delicate way to word her thoughts on the emotionless mech. Her engine rumbles as it idles, and then she fails. "Are you expecting me to restrain him?"
There is not a way for Megatron to disguise it - thet flash of irrtation across his features. He himself micromanages yet to be bothered with the potential for doing that for somebot else... already this is a part of why Starscream has angered him so much. If Overclock is going to come to him with every little thing then perhaps Shockwave is no-... oh, no worries. It's an intelligent question she asks.
"More the opposite," he answers honestly. "Shockwave is a *fortunate* product of his own curiousity yet he remains inhibited by his own restraints. Though he feels no emotion - or so he expresses - there are still limitations he places on himself. Traditional safeguards, perhaps, or out-dated scientific philosophies he has yet to transcend beyond. No, Overclock, I had hoped you would inspire him. That your ambition might ignite his own. That you could provide a path to free him from the shackles he holds onto. He is a bot of limitless potential." which, if Megatron stops to think about it, is very dangerous yet... he would rather face that challenge than to see it denied.
The flicker is noticed through Overclock's red-tinted visor and beneath her facemask the femme cringes slightly. There's a very bad outcome to this conversation that she's considered the chance of and it's part of why there's a Vehicon on both sides of her. But recalling where she is and the size of the guards outside the door, the hatchling realizes she might have overestimated her preparations. Even so as the former-miner, now-leader continues, it fans a surge in her naturally impulsive spark.
"He's ordered me to capture outliers for 'study and indoctrination' and I have no reason to believe he won't do that more ethically than vivisection and reprogramming," Overclock blurts, laying her concern on the table. "He seems like a brilliant mind but does he have any oversight? Without emotion... he has no loyalty except as far as working together serves his purpose and no morals except in proportion to the risk that unethical behavior will embitter someone against him."
"You believe he should be sheltered from such ... embitterment? That he should be safeguarded from retribution?"
Megatron does not move from his casual lounging state.
"Void of emotion or not, Shockwave is free to make his own choices. There are consequences for any choice that a bot shall make, be it him, you or even myself. For too long Cybertron has endured the shielding of those who make the worst decisions and who has paid the price for that? All of us. No, if Shockwave does something terrible then he does so with the full awareness that he need take ownership for it. Just as any of us should.
"So, my question to you Overclock, is what are *you* going to do about Shockwave's decisions?"
Overclock vents air from her frame as she sighs and drops her head again in thought. For as much as she's rehearsed this conversation, it went much easier in her mind. When her head lifts again, there's a glow of determination in her optics. "I'm going ot tell him, and you, that I cannot follow that order and humbly suggest, for what little my voice is worth, that anyone who acts like Zeta or Sentinel not wear your badge or operate with your consent. The will of the majority isn't in Shockwave's thought process and even if no one discovers anything he does, the way to a better world is not by following the same path they did and just hiding it better. There are morals for a reason, there's a right way to do things, and I'm worried that if someone isn't ensuring that's how the Decepticons operate then all the work you've already done to win the war against the Primes will flounder in peace time."
"I wouldn't have come to you if there was anyone else above his helmet and my voice alone is never gone to influence him." The Insecticon stretches back in her own chair as she tries to check any natural aggression and continue her frank tirade more gently. "Help me, Megatron. I'm just a hatchling, I'm still learning the Decepticon ways and scrap, all of Cybertron's. Where are the limits? What aren't we willing to do in the name of uniting this planet and bringing it the equal peace it's supposed to have?"
"You believe that Shockwave listens to me?"
That is, in truth, a wholly honest question. If that is the perception, then it is a reality that Megatron is not aware of. "Overclock, we were all hatchlings once - still are. I am a miner from Tarn. Yet, you made the choice to stand with me. There are consequences for that choice as well," he reminds her.
"What is it you wish to hear, Overclock? That I hve all the answers? Or perhaps you wish to paint me as the monster that some do. That I am aware of everything... I wish I had such power. Yet we know now that such a power never existed. The Matrix of Leadership was a lie. So, we are left with intentions. Mineis to see Cybertron united and treated fairly. That no one bot is allowed to place themself over another - never again. So, what is it with Shockwave you wish for me to do, without knowing his full intention? These outliers he has tasked you to collect - did he provide the reason for it, or describe the methods he would use?" He is not-so-subtly suggesting that he is not so quick to judge.
"I asked and he rejected the question as unnecessary for me to carry out the order. In short he didn't trust me enough to say," Overclock replies. "You're not a monster," she asserts firmly, holding an honest though not blind hope for the mech in front of her. Even she has heard a few rumors. "You're a revolutionary. I've only learned a little of what the Primes were supporting and I only wish I'd been hatched sooner so I could have helped earlier than now."
Little shows through her posture but the Vehicons at the femme's sides glance inwards at the agitation in her EMF. This isn't a position the Insecticon wanted to be in and she's taught them at least enough Wavespeech to recognize that. "But I need some kind of guidance for dealing with Shockwave. You could kill me if you chose to, so could he, and I've had enough being the black butterflycon of the flock for three lifetimes. What I want to hear is what are our limits? What's unacceptable and what can I trust not to happen? If Shockwave is willing to do things I can't abide, you won't resist him, and I stand to die getting in his way, then clearly I'm not where I belong serving him and I need to be helping somewhere else."
"There where do you wish to be assigned? I will not resist him because I am not aware of what he is doing is wrong. I will not act out of speculation or exact justice that is blind. That era is behind us - must be behind us. I will not condemn a fellow bot without just cause. There is no proof to act on." Here Megatron shifts, leaning forward. "I have asked Soundwave to inform me of things of this nature. Who better to know what another bot is thinking than Soundwave. You trust him, don't you?"
Yes, he knows who is asking that to.
"You have taken a fancy to following in Scorn's footsteps," Megatron notesa she finally now looks to the two Vehicons. "Would you feel more comfortable being of assistance to her?"
Overclock hesitates for a moment, then nods in admission. "Yes, I trust him more than any other Decepticon. More than... most of my hive." More than all of it actually, but some things Megatron doesn't have to know. "I'm not asking you to punish him, just steer so he doesn't do something unwittingly. His intelligence is liberated from emotions but he also has none to warn him. But if Soundwave is watching him... then I do feel better," she concludes as her shoulders sink in relief. It doesn't fix everything, but it's what she needed to hear.
Then there's the matter of herself. "I'm an Insecticon," she states simply as she reaches out to rest her claws on the shoulders of both drones. "And more than that, we're alike." There's a simple, pure-spark joy as the femme says those words. "These two have names by the way, Roll-up and Roll-out. They don't talk much, but they also don't have to." Each Vehicon is tapped in turn as she names them, briefly distracted from the matter at hand by showing off her new hive.
"I think I would," she concedes, thinking once again of her progenitor. "She is my mom after all and I have been thinking... you need energon, don't you?"
"I am not want to 'steer' anybot, Overclock. I am not a Prime, nor will I ever be."
Megatron leans back once more and lays out what is as close to law as he can. "Whatever Shockwave does will define him. His actions will have consequences that he will answer for. That is a standard I hold all to; including myself."
Megatron's brow twitches at one word in there. 'Mom'. Such a thing is so foreign to him that he can't wrap his processor around it. Parentage is such a bizarre concept, one that he is not want to see in his Cybertron but... he moves past it. "Explain."
"Oh right, forging not hatching," Overclock recalls as Megatron's reaction reminds her of the differences in their society. It seems, also, to ease the femme back to her natural casual tone as the conversation turns somewhere familiar. "Okay, when a queen likes her hive and wants to make more drones..." On second thought, the beetrons and butterflycons might be starting too far back. The Insecticon tries again. "Er, it's kind of like a mentor I think. She made me, we share some CNA and spark, and her and our hive taught me everything I know about everything up until about when I joined you."
"I'm not a drone though, I can make my own decisions." Unlike the ones at her sides.
"You have made yourself." Sorry, Megatron can't keep his mouth shut. "Whaetver she has lent to the process, the end result is of your own making. Your choices, your decisions. You are not some puppet of her. I concede that there might be some expectations or loyalty there, for the effort involved but your life... hatchling, forged or anything else, it is of your own making. Your ambition speaks to that." Again, he can't wrap his processor around such a notion.
"You mentioned my need for energon?"
"Well there's not... that much loyalty sometimes. We don't agree on everything," Overclock notes. "Thundercracker said the Seekers need energon in Vos and are willing to make room for a hive there to produce it," she says, turning back to business. "You've got our cooperation and Queen Zephyr might have done an aerial loop at the thought. But what about all the mining back in Kaon? A hive would do that labor happily and might do it better, you'd just need another queen to coordinate it." The femme's antennas twitch again. If they could form an arrow pointing downwards, they would.
"Yes, I suggested this to TThundercracker. How better to prove that all bots, no matter their origin, deserve to live side-by-side? Vos is a city of opulance. There is no reason an Insecticon need avoid it.. Since Insecticons produce their own energy, then it would make for an easy price to pay." He nods.
"Well," Megatron smiles, "Were a queen available to do so then I would indeed consider sanctioning it."
"If I'm not filling orders for Shockwave, I would be available," Overclock supplies, perhaps not discretely omitting her runt status among Insecticon Self-Awares.
"Were you a queen then, yes, you would be." This whole 'mom' thing Megatron does not yet, yet he fully understands the concept of one generation replacing the next. Even by voice if need be. "Achieve that status for yourself and consider the mines under Kaon yours."
"I can lead a hive," Overclock insists smartly. While it's not a point she can dispute, few statements could rile the pseudo-Insecticon faster.
"Then ... do so. Once you have your hive, then we can speak about it again." Megatron is not sure if Overclock is suggesting that he should grant her one. That is not within his power, or style, to do so. Yet, it's an action he would be sure to reward.
The ready permission causes a stumble in the rhythm of Overclock's engine as it checks her temper before it can get going - lucky that. The femme is left to reorient herself for a moment, then she nods firmly. "Alright, I will. Until then, I'm with mom again?"
"Once you inform Shockwave of your decision... of course." Considering it decided, Megatron lifts the datapad he had set down before to resume his own research. Unless there was anything else...
"Of course," Overclock agrees. It's not a conversation she's looking forward to but it's one she told even the purple empurata himself she would have. Seeing Megatron turning back to his work she lingers for a moment, debating another topic behind the blessed inscrutability of her facemask. With how much of the femme already shows through posture and voice, she'd likely be an open book with a face.
"Thank you, Megatron. I'll try to do this mark proud," she offers in quiet gratitude as she stands up and salutes again, mirrored by the Vehicons, before turning and heading for the exit.
Once she thinks she's out of earshot, the femme mutters to the muscle car twins. "Moving in with mom again? Scrap, my life is moving backwards to go forwards..."