Title: Adventures In Kaon, Part 1
Date: January 26th 2015
NPCs: Senate Enforcers
Summary: Rung and Quickswitch sneak out to Kaon. A series of misadventures ensue, including Rung inadvertently running into Blast Off again.
++ Kaon ++
One of the largest energon mining centers on Cybertron, Kaon is part of a stretch of rough, difficult terrain known collectively as the Badlands. Bordered by the seemingly endless orange desert of the Sea of Rust to the east and south, this large, flat plain is almost sealed in by the rising red-purple peaks of the Manganese Mountains to the north and west. Kaon provides the central hub of activity and civilization in this area, while smaller polities such as Blaster City and Tesarus have arisen at its edges.
Dark gray and black metal, tough and resillient against wear, form the main colors of the city, its buildings in the shapes of domes, pyramids and jagged peaks. All of them are aerodynamically shaped so that their edges face the Sea of Rust, allowing the buildings to withstand the edges of any storms that blow in from the oxidized desert beyond. The area is noisy and dirty from the constant drumming of machinery: mining equipment, enormous energon transport haulers and low-flying ore shuttles fill the air with noise and lightly shake the ground as they pass. Heavy laborers, almost always low-caste, toil away here either at the surface, or below the ground, enjoying few comforts and fewer respites from their work. The slums of Wreckage Row are home to Kaon's work force, while the edge of the massive highway leading to nearby Kalis is guarded by the looming mushroom-shaped fortress of Kolkular. Somewhere near the edges of the ruins of Blaster City, an underground arena known as the 'Pits of Kaon' hosts illegal gladiator combat.
It's late. Very late. Most of the mechs and fems who work at the Decagon have gone home for the night, for it is long past the work cycle. The empty hallways lack light, and the troop quarters are quiet as the halls are dimly lit.
Who would be out at this hour? A tiny orange mech with massive eyebrows is skirting the shadows quietly, until he reaches the door of Quickswitch's room. "Quick switch..!" he whispers urgently, "...it's me, I-I'm here.."
The sixchanger has been pacing his habitation suite, a ball of static anxiety pulsing in time with his spark. What did Rung want to talk about? Quickswitch didn't know. The Autobot's steps help calm him somewhat, but then he pauses. He turns to the door and opens it a crack, "I'm here Rung. Come inside." He opens the door just enough for Rung to enter.
"No..." Rung says, looking around, his optics shifty. "You must go out. I need you to--" He steps towards from the six changer, placing a hand on his arm momentarily. "Meet me outside the Decagon. You must tell the Enforcers who usually accompany you that there is no need this time. You'll.. be back in five breems." He pauses again. "It may take me some time to get outside, so you'll have to wait a little..”
"Al-alright," Quickswitch isn't sure the Senate Enforcers will listen, but he'll try, "I'll be in robot mode.”
Quickswitch deftly goes to them, each in recharge cycle and informs them he'll be gone for 5 breems only and then right back. They looked at him suspiciously, but the six changer made his case. He needed to go out, he said, needed space, and how it loathed him to say so, that it was a lie, or perhaps, the truth, he felt a turn of mood coming on and just needed some outdoor space.
Rung nods. "Good luck, my friend.."
Quickswitch will indeed have to wait a little bit for Rung to come outside, but eventually, the tiny psychiatrist arrives. He is walking briskly, and motioning for Quickswitch to follow him. "Come," he says, looking around a little anxiously. "And try to be discreet." He is heading for the public transit platform, the one destined for Rodion.
Quickswitch doesn't transform. Such indiscretion would violate whatever trust the psychiatrist is placing in him. Quickswitch follows in robot mode. He watches the surroundings curiously, "What is this--aaah yes, the public transport system. But why take it? I can fly."
"Oh, you can?" Rung says, brows arch in surprise. "Well.. then. I wasn't aware what all of your modes were," the psychiatrist says, "by all means, you most certainly should fly us there. That is, if you can carry me. I will tell you where we're going once we're well under way. Just head southeast for now."
Quickswitch transforms into jet mode and waits for Rung to climb up on him. The jet is pretty massive so he could probably easily carry the psychiatrist.
Rung hastily climbs onto Quickswitch, glancing around nervously again. "Go..quickly," he says, his tone of voice rushed. "Like I said before, head southeast, as if you were going towards Blaster City.."
Quickswitch adds, with some authority, "I have a robot mode, a jet mode, a winged-puma mode, a drill-tank mode, a hovercraft mode, and a floating laser pistol mode. Anything you might require." He grins.
Quickswitch takes off and heads southeast.
Rung smiles, much more at ease once Quickswitch has taken off. He pats Quickswitch. "Impressive. You will be a fine member of the Elite Guard," he says softly.
After they've been flying for a bit, Quickswitch may notice that Rung is starting to look nervous. "I think I should tell you we're heading for Kaon," Rung says, sounding a little anxious. "I have never been there myself. But I believe it is of critical importance that we go there.."
"KAON?!" If the jet could have stopped dead right then, it would have. Quickswitch banks, "Why do we have to go there?" great concern floods his processor and he almost returns to the Decagon immediately.
Rung places a hand on Quickswitch softly. "Do you want to be the best member of the Elite Guard there ever was?" he says in a soothing tone of voice. "Then you must not be ignorant. You must see everything that happens on Cybertron, and decide for yourself, what you think of all of it."
Quickswitch flies in an indecisive corkscrew. "I do," he says, "I do!" decision coloring his voice, "So, where are we going from here. Shall I land?”
"Once we reach Kaon, yes. Land anywhere that seems suitable to you," the psychiatrist says quietly. "Good, good..." Rung says, and his optics widen a little as Kaon is now in their sights.
Quickswitch lands and comes to a slow stop, "There you go," he wonders just why they're here, "Now can you tell me why we're here?"
"Yes..." Rung motions for Quickswitch to follow him as he heads down an abandoned alleyway, "I want to show you--oh!" There's a legless Empty lying on the ground near to them, his optics dim as he leans feebly against a crumbling wall. When they approach, he holds out a small container that has a few shanix in it, his expression morose.
Quickswitch transforms into his beast mode and activates his stealth systems in this place. He chuffs beastily and looks around where Rung walks. The anxiety he felt earlier is back, pulsing in time with his spark and growing, growing, growing... It crescendos when it sees the legless Empty, "OMP! How can one live like that. That isn't living at all.."
The legless Empty stares blankly at Quickswitch. "It isn't," he says dully, "I am merely.. existing." He slumps down even further, his optics filled with sorrow.
Rung stares in horror at the Empty, kneeling so that he's at optic level with the mech. "What... what happened to you?" he says compassionately. The Empty sighs. "I used to work in the mines. But then the government automated the mine I worked at... so I was fired. And being jobless well... this where all jobless mechs end up. On the streets, as empties who are sold like slaves and have no legal rights whatsoever.."
Quickswitch takes a step back. Fired. Jobless. It has no meaning to the sixchanging mech, who, by his sheltering both prisoner and privileged, has never known these concepts, especially not in context, "J-Jobless..?" he whispers through fanged teeth, transforms to robot mode and covers his mouth, "I've only ever been a guest of the Senate and Functionist Council," that's a nice way of putting it, "This is awful.." No, it is the way of the world, Quickswitch reminds himself. There are haves and there are have nots.
Quickswitch takes a step back. Fired. Jobless. It has no meaning to the sixchanging mech, who, by his sheltering both prisoner and privileged, has never known these concepts, especially not in context, "J-Jobless..?" he whispers through fanged teeth, transforms to robot mode and covers his mouth, then slowly lowers his hand. "I've only ever been a guest of the Senate and Functionist Council," that's a nice way of putting it, "This is awful.." No, it is the way of the world, Quickswitch reminds himself. There are haves and there are have nots.
The legless Empty stares at Rung and Quickswitch dully. "Huh, guess you always had it good then," he says, his expression hardening a little. "Well let me tell you about life. I wasn't the only one, you know, who got fired. Everyone from my mining outpost ended up jobless. There were.. hundreds of us. We all got kicked out onto the streets eventually. And me, well I consider myself lucky. I saw.." His voice breaks a little. "One of the other miners got into trouble with some Autobot security mechs. He was starving, so he stole a liter of engex. When he wouldn't give it back.. they.. they killed him. I tried to save him. But... that's how I ended up like this." He shifts his leg stubs weakly. "....and.. the rest of the Empties.. they were so desperate, they fell on his spare parts like a pack.. of wild animals.."
Rung looks grieved. He helps the Empty up. "We must.. get you somewhere.." he mutters.
A look somewhere between compassion and hardened coldness to this reality wars on Quickswitch's face. He reaches for his face and pulls down on one lip, to stop what he might say, "...He was a thief. He got what was coming to him..." The sixchanger says coldly, "It is the reality of the situation..." Quickswitch takes another step back, looks absolutely horrified by what he just said. But, he knew, it was the truth, as he, at least, understood it.
"What am I saying," he complains bitterly to himself and Rung, "I don't understand enough of this to comment."
Not too far from where Rung is blowing Quickswitch's mind with how terrible and sad the real world is, sounds of a scuffle can be heard. There's some shouting, nothing out of the ordinary considering where they are, but the shouting quickly becomes one-sided and panicked before the sounds of shredding metal ring through the air. An Empty comes stumbling out from behind a dilapidated building, hand clutched to his shoulder to stem the flow of energon leaking out of it. Not too long after, Whirl appears, the instantly recognizable stain of energon on his claws.
"I told you not to mess with me," the cyclops growls, approaching the Empty; claws drawn to strike again. "I told you to just move along, but you didn't listen!" He swipes at the bleeding mech again, just barely missing and giving his unwilling opponent the chance to escape, running right past Quickswitch and Rung on the way.
The Empty stares bitterly and coldly at Quickswitch. "Slag you, for thinking it was all justified! He would have starved to death if he didn't steal it... Is /that/ what you think he deserved? For /stealing/? Do you know how many mechs I've seen get thrown around and beaten down by Autobot cadets for the pure hell of it?! Too damn many to count!" He tries to lunge at Quickswitch but Rung holds him back. "... Leave him, he doesn't know anything about the world," he says, sounding sad.
However, the Empty Rung is supporting manages to grab hold of Whirl's arm as he's running by. "Hey punk, leave him alone," he snarls, jerking hard on Whirl's arm.
Terrible or deserved, Quickswitch does not want to be here anymore than necessary. Then, something vague tugs at his data bank, a voice, nothing so easily placed though, somehow recent. "No! I didn't mean--" Quickswitch shakes his head and damns himself for his lack of mental congruity, "I also meant--" he sighs, flustered. The mech turns and /stares/, disbelieving, into a single, cyclopean optic, the kind found on only one kind of robot, "The empurata.." Quickswitch whispers.
"Get back here you jerk! I'm not done stabbing you yet!" Whirl takes off after the Empty only to find himself stopped by a hand wrapped around his arm. There's a moment of confusion as Whirl starts to take in the world around him; so wrapped up in beating this guy up for a poorly built hovel in the nearby alleyway, he didn't even notice the other mechs. Wait, that big mech there...
Whirl jerks his arm away from the empty, now using it to gesture rudely at the six-changer. "You! You and I have a SERIOUS problem right now! I hope you're ready to get your face ripped off, you psychotic freak!"
Rung makes a face, shaking his helm at Quickswitch. "Yes.. unfortunately the government seems to think removal of the hands and face is a fitting punishment for some criminals.."
The Empty glares at Whirl and nearly punches him right in the optic, but Rung once again restrains him. "Please.. No more violence." He reaches out and touches Whirl on the arm softly. "Don't," he says in a soothing voice akin to the one Exodus speaks to him, "he doesn't know much of the world. It won't change anything."
"Rung," Quickswitch speaks warning to the psychiatrist, "Run, /hide./ I think the empurata is serious," The six changer stands up to his full height, "Are you threatenin' me?" he demands to know.
Whirl can't help but tense up when Rung touches him and talking to him in that tone of voice so reminiscent of that Exodus guy. OH..Oh Primus no, is this guy going to start singing to him too? Whirl jerks away from the mech's hand, glaring at him with his single optic. "You better listen to the freak and get out of here RIGHT NOW if you want to live."
He turns to face Quickswitch, giving him the nastiest glare he can physically give him. "Yeah I'm threatening you. You know what you did." Whirl steps in closer, not at all intimidated by the other mech's much larger stature. "You shot a very good friend of mine in the head. That's not okay, not at all. There's two ways this can go. The easy way, you apologize and I kill you, or the hard way, you don't apologize and I kill you. Either way, you're going to be dead, is what I'm getting at."
"Rung," Quickswitch speaks warning to the psychiatrist, "Run, /hide./ I think the empurata is serious," The six changer stands up to his full height, "Are you threatenin' me?" he demands to know.
Whirl can't help but tense up when Rung touches him and talking to him in that tone of voice so reminiscent of that Exodus guy. OH..Oh Primus no, is this guy going to start singing to him too? Whirl jerks away from the mech's hand, glaring at him with his single optic. "You better listen to the freak and get out of here RIGHT NOW if you want to live." He turns to face Quickswitch, giving him the nastiest glare he can physically give him. "Yeah I'm threatening you. You know what you did." Whirl steps in closer, not at all intimidated by the other mech's much larger stature. "You shot a very good friend of mine in the head. That's not okay, not at all. There's two ways this can go. The easy way, you apologize and I kill you, or the hard way, you don't apologize and I kill you. Either way, you're going to be dead, is what I'm getting at."
Rung isn't at all phased. He frowns in a parental fashion at Whirl, and takes his arm gently. "No, he isn't serious, and no one is getting into any fights," Rung says gently with just the right amount of authority. "My friend, you are simply suffering from the pain of watching a loved one get injured. Anger and bitterness are both natural feelings to have, but deep down, ask yourself this, why are you hurt? Is it because you can't quite seem to figure out who you are, or what you want out of life, so you seek consolation by harming others or harming yourself? A loss of identity is nothing to be ashamed of. We all want to be loved, and unconditionally accepted, but we will all differ in how we want to receive these two qualities. You are bleeding on the inside, friend. And outward violence will not stop the inner wound that you are suffering from. Please, let me help you," he says calmly, totally undaunted by Whirl's violent demeanor.
Quickswitch's optics blink as the assault mech hears Rung speak, "Rung. Rung!" he loudly whispers, "Get out of here!" The big sixchanger glares right back at Whirl, but the mech's words and voice are as suddenly incongruous as Rung trying to talk Whirl down, with Quickswitch and Whirl nearly at each others' throats, "I have no quarrel with you, empurata," he calmly replies to the disfigured mech, "Was just simply doing my duty, taking out a Decepticon. No need for rancor. Your friend is still alive." And somewhere inside Quickswitch are warring doubt and puzzlement and affront and rage at this, "Please. Let's both go our separate ways."
Whirl isn't too pleased at Rung's continued efforts to touch him, /glaring/ at the other mech when he takes his arm. This friggin' guy.. he's one of those 'I have to help everyone' types of guys, isn't he?
Wait.. did he say loved one?
Whirl sputters and tries to yank his arm away yet again. "W-whatever, mech! You don't know me! You don't know what you're talking about! You're wasting your time!" His attention shifts back to Quickswitch, optic burning bright with intensity. "Shut up and spare me the crap, freak! Look, you wanna go around and shoot people in the head, fine! I know it's fun, trust me, and I have no problem with that. I DO have a problem with you shooting people I know in the head. That's NOT COOL and I'm pretty PISSED OFF about it!"
Rung lets go of him. "Fine," he says tiredly, "but there will be no fight where the opposing side doesn't engage," the psychiatrist says, "you can be angry all you want, but it changes nothing. Come, Quickswitch, you can fly, so let us depart and leave him if he won't be calmed. He is not your enemy, simply a very hurt individual hoping to remedy his pain by creating violence." He pats Quickswitch gently, hoping the six changer will stay calm.
"I remember you that night in the bar. If I shot your friend in the head it was entirely coincidental. Seek retribution elsewhere," he gives Whirl a patronizing smile, "This 'freak' is an altmode-exempt Elite and you don't know just what you're getting yourself into. Look, as far as I know, you're not a Decepticon. I won't kill you. Fight me, and I will leave you badly hurt, but not dead. Killing random mechs, even an empurata like yourself, isn't part of my programming," Quickswitch feels the gentle pat and looks down at Rung, "Honor demands I fight him..." Another of those strange, strange turns.
"No!" Rung cries, jumping in front of Quickswitch. "Do /not/ fight him. You want to be the best member of the Elite Guard that ever was, and ever will be? You must do what is /right/, not what honor dictates. You are above this. An upstanding citizen does not fight simply because the other demands it. You are caving to his will! Do you /want/ to let him have what he wants?!"
Now Whirl isn't sure who he's angrier at, Rung for just dismissing him like that, or Quickswitch for his general terribleness. "Ha! You think I'm scared of you!? You think I should be afraid of you just because you're some big freak of nature? You're nothing more than the Senate's turbodog! A freak hound they keep on a short leash, feeding you lie after lie to keep you loyal." Whirl knows all about this kind of thing. "Blast Off isn't just a Decepticon. He's my friend. A really.." Momentary pause as he thinks about how to proceed. "....A really good friend, okay!? Anyway, if you don't want to fight right now that's fine.."
He lunges towards Rung who so helpfully put himself in arm's reach with his attempts at pacifying the situation, claws snapping as their swung towards the mech to cut and slice through his delicate armor. "I have ways to make you want to fight me!"
[Combat:] Whirl misses Rung!
The sixchanger stands there. A hand is raised to his chin and he looks downward as his brow furrows with the sudden crush of emotions tumbling within him. DAMMIT! Rung is right about fightin' this guy. I don't even know his name! He muses continuously, the struggle evident on his face. Not that it matters. And what he's saying about the Senate, about ME. His brows knit together with fierce anger--true?--The big mech just stands there, confused by his own emotions and hating Whirl for his words, and hating Rung, and despising, well, everyone at the moment. The mech reaches up to grab at his helm. He utters a soft, pained noise, then screams, "DAMMIT! DON'T HURT RUNG!" He pushes Rung out of the way and takes the blow to the arm, "Still won't.. fight you.."
Rung reaches forwards and attempts to cover Whirl's optic with his hand, shaking his helm sadly. "I know Blast Off," Rung says softly, his expression pained. "Please.. give him my regards. As well as this message--that Arcee was the undercover agent who arranged his arrest. He .. deserves to know the truth, even after all he's done," the psychiatrist says bitterly.
He looks up at the six changer, proud of him for controlling himself. He places his other hand on Quickswitch, hushing him. "Yes.. don't. You are better than this..”
[Combat:] You miss Whirl!
Yesssss, Quickswitch getting angry is exactly what Whirl wants. The angrier he gets, the more likely he is to retaliate, then they can have their big fight, get slagged, and maybe then Whirl can get over all of this stuff. He finds taking a beating (or giving one) sometimes helps.
Whirl stares at Rung as he tells him all this stuff about Arcee and Blast Off. He barely knows who Arcee is (wasn't she that Senate femme he tried to stab?) and barely knows anything about the situation between her and Blast Off (the Combaticon is really cagey about a lot of subjects so it never came up) so he's more confused than anything.
"Shut up! You're just like the rest of them! Spoiled and sheltered! You think you're a good, upstanding guy for showing the freak how cruel the real world is? It's hardly a good deed to gawk at the less fortunate and then go back to the little bubble of privilege you call home? Screw you!" He takes another swipe at Rung.
[Combat:] Whirl hits Rung!
Quickswitch moves to block the empurata from attacking the small Autobot, "You have no honor! Attacking an innocent mech!" he bellows accusation at Whirl but remains unbalanced between Whirl's aggression, his words, Rung's gentle approach and words, and his own confused musings. He clenches his blasterless hands and smoke begins to rise from his torso, "Go. Now. Please." he forces each word out, but it seems the empurata won't listen, won't heed Quickswitch's warning and plea to just leave them be and continue on.
"I am /not/ a good person. I am indeed spoiled and sheltered. But I haven't always been that way. And I can only help those who want my help." Rung says, "Would you rather him never see it then? He knows nothing of it! I want him to see it so hopefully, he will do something to change it. I will not fight you." He allows Whirl to strike him, and cringes when he does, but he turns to leave anyhow. "Quick switch, come, there is no need to fight him. He is misled." He begins ushering the six changer out of the alleyway, and out into the open street where they are much more visible.
A certain medic femme is on her way to Kaon for a short while, taking a route through Kalis. Sounds of a commotion snag her attention and she gets closer to the alley way. What she sees is three mechs, ranging from the small, to the medium, to the rather large. Of the three, she recognized Whirl for certain, and Quickswitch she had met briefly that one time in Vos. Rung she almosts misses, and she'd never seen him before. "What's going on here?" she wants to know, folding her arms across her chest and looking less than impressed.
If Rung thinks making their little confrontation more public is going to deter him, he is in for a rude awakening. Whirl thrives off the excitement of an audience (he's kind of a voyeur that way) so having people watch him beat the slag out of some random shmucks is only going to encourage him to be even more brutal than he originally intended. Gotta put on a show, right?
"Don't deny me this confrontation, Quickswitch! You lost the right to walk away as soon as you fired that bullet into Blast Off's head!" He reaches out to grab Rung by the arm, pulling him close against his body and holding him there. "You give me the fight I want or I'll cut open your friends throat and you can watch him die!"
Oh, hello Panacea. What a great time for you to drop in! "...Nothing's happening."
"Go frag yourself 'nothing's happening'!" Quickswitch snarls and gapes at the same time as Rung is taken hostage! OMP! Empurata really are terrible.. Quickswitch lowers his head, baffled as to what it means that the psychiatrist's welfare means something to him. He pensively responds, gruff, begrudging, "I could agree and you'd still slit his throat. Put him down."
He notices Panacea, "Hey, I remember you from Vos!" he sounds almost, oddly, cheerful, "This guy, the empurata, wants to kill me."
Rung is so proud of Quickswitch. He is smiling and nodding encouragingly at him, though that may be to his detriment. "Ah," Rung says, looking relieved at Panacea's arrival, "perhaps you could help remedy this situation?"
But it would appear that Rung has his own ideas. "...Blast Off? Blast Off!" he shouts deceivingly, "Won't you help an old friend of yours...!"
"Then 'nothing' has gotten a lot louder since I last checked," Panacea retorts to Whirl. "If your problem is with the big fella here, then why not let the smaller one go?" She's not trying to demean the mech; she just doesn't know his name. Then something he said sinks in. "Wait, Blast Off got shot in the head? Is he....okay?" While not terribly close to Blast Off, she knows him, and she never likes hearing about anyone she knows getting hurt. Or anyone she doesn't know, for that matter.
"Yes, I remember you," Panacea says. "As ironic as the situation is, I can't entirely fault Whirl for being mad if you shot Blast Off." Pause. "Why would you do that in the first place?" she asks reproachfully.
She smiles wryly at Rung. "Well, I /am/ a medic, so fixing things is my job. However, I haven't had much luck in fixing people's impulses towards violence."
Looking back at Whirl she puts on her best 'bedside manner' voice. "Whirl, let him come over here to me," she coaxes.
On the contrary, Quickswitch! Whirl doesn't really WANT to kill Rung, he just feels like he has no choice. He NEEDS to fight Quickswitch. It's the only way for him to get over this whole 'Blast Off almost dying' thing. "I have a name, you racist jerk! Stop calling me empurata!"
His grip on Rung tightens and he brings a set of claws close against the mech's throat, threatening to pierce it and let all that sweet sweet energon come flowing out. Rung's shouting for Blast Off only serves to anger the cyclops further as he believes Rung is trying to manipulate him and that he doesn't actually know who Blast Off is. "Shut up!"
He sends a glare Panacea's way. Yes, he's glad to see her again (he has some things to thank her for) but right now is just a really bad time. "No way! He's my hostage and he'll remain my hostage until I get what I want and what I want is THAT freak's energon!"
Quickswitch's mouth opens, then closes, then opens again at Panacaea's reproach, "Well I--He--I am an Autobot tasked with dealing with Decepticons. Blast Off is a known Decepticon, and I attempted to deal with him. It was a matter of duty," Quickswitch adds, staring again at that blackness and single yellow optic and claws and disfigurement and the rage alive behind it, and those claws, so close to Rung's throat--"You poor, poor mech.." Quickswitch shakes his head, looks morose and pitying, "Maybe it's death you're after, but not mine.. Is death better than living as an..an empurata?" He stops dead, head tilting slowly, glacial curiousity slowly settling into his mind, "What -is- your name?"
Rung struggles weakly, and gives Panacea a grieved look. "<Quickswitch. Do not attack him. But you must lead him on to think that you are going to. If you pretend that you are going to strike him, he will release me, and hopefully we can make our getaway. There are great many other things I need to show you>" Rung radios the six changer.
"How you suffer," he says to Whirl, "if you only let me help you..."
"You're treading on dangerous ground Whirl," Panacea says quietly. "I'm sure you can get what you want without threatening someone who's never hurt you before." She pauses. "He hasn't hurt you, has he?" The little guy doesn't look dangerous, but you never know.
Frowning, she hisses softly at Quickswitch. "Death isn't better than anything," she says, her voice tight and her optics flashing. "Death is an end and nothing more."
"You might want to make that offer when he's calmer," she suggests to Rung.
"OH PUH-LEASE!" Whirl snaps at Quickswitch when he suddenly decides to be a regular person trying to have a regular conversation with him. "Don't act like you suddenly care about who I am or what my name is! It's too late for that." As for death and empurata.. well, empurata is the least of Whirl's problems considering all the terrible stuff he's done and the terrible things he's caused to happedn. But Quickswitch doesn't get the privilege of knowing that.
"You can't help me," the cyclops hisses to the mech trapped in his grasp. "No one can. It's pointless to even try." There's a faint flicker of his optic as he continues. "I'm far too broken to be fixed, don't waste your time."
There's a look at Panacea as she goes and gives his name outloud for everyone to hear. Well, guess Quickswitch knows what his name is now! "No, he didn't hurt me. It's just... I just..." Whirl is practically shaking at this point. He feels like it's too late to turn back now, that he's done too much damage to just let go and say 'just kidding, we cool right?'
Speaking of Blast Off, funny they should bring him up. That very mech is currently walking down the street- not even that far away, what a small world this is! He's patched up from his earlier encounter with Quickswitch, and now after two seperate repairs he's finally starting to feel in one piece again. There is one patch of medical mesh still attached to his face, but otherwise he looks more like his usual self.
He rounds a corner- and comes across this little scene. Wait, what? There's Whirl! Cooling fans- don't you dare turn on right now. There's Quickswitch! There's a quick touch to his face. There's Panacea! He wonders if Exodus is nearby? And there's.... the Combaticon just stops and staaares at Rung. It's like seeing a ghost. Dumbfounded, he stands in silence.
"His name is Whirl?" Quickswitch taps his chin, smoke still rising faintly from his torso. He dismisses whatever else Panacaea said about death, and WHirl's own dismissal of him. Quickswitch frowns deeply. He meant the inquiry and responds bitterly, "Whirl. I guess now we're aquainted and--" he stops, dead, absolutely -dead- silent. The /Decepticon!/ Shock runs through his circuits. Too much. Too much at once. Rung hostage. Whirl picking a fight. Panacaea's reproach, and now Blast Off, that Decepticon. OMP What do I do now...what do I do...
Rung stares at Blast Off has he arrives, his expression filled with pain. He crumples a little in Whirl's grip, slumping miserably. How he had feared yet anticipated this moment. He stares at the ground, shaking his helm."
"Quickswitch," he says very softly, "do not harm anyone. They are all innocent."
"Even if you won't let me fix you.. well, at least let us be broken together.. " Rung says to Whirl, sounding shattered. He glances briefly over at Panacea, his expression mournful.
It's never too late until someone's dead as far as Panacea's concerned. "Look, Whirl, I've already fixed you up once, so I really wouldn't want to see anything bad happen to you." Her expression softens a great deal. "Feuds never end well; I know, it's what tore apart my mining community." She presses her lips tightly together, but it looks like they were starting to tremble. "Now almost none of them are left. And that's going to happen to everyone if we don't stop all this revenge business."
She doesn't see Blast Off, and since he hasn't said anything yet, she doesn't know he's back there right away.
"Yes, his name is Whirl. And it's a perfectly good name," Panacea says, perhaps a bit shortly because she's still trying to keep her lips from trembling. If she picks up on his distress, she doesn't make any mention of it.
Rung gets a long look. "Innocent is relative," she says. "But everyone on Cybertron is at least a little bit broken; it's just a matter of degree."
Whirl isn't sure how to react to Rung's words. They make him feel lots of different things all at once, but it's mostly guilt and shame he's feeling. This isn't how he wanted this cycle to go down, all he wanted to do was bum around some slums for a bit before returning to Nyon and MAYBE cutting Quickswitch's face off should he happen to run into him on the way. Taking someone who only wanted to help him hostage to encourage a mentally unstable mech to fight him because he has complicated feelings for some haughty nerd shuttle? Yeah, no, that's not what he was planning on happening. Not at all.
Oh, and who's that coming around the corner? Why, it's none other than the aformentioned haughty nerd shuttle! What awesome timing! Whirl's claws twitch a few times before releasing their hold on Rung, allowing him the freedom to run away unscathed. He lowers his head and steps back into some conveniently placed alleyway shadows, too embarassed to be seen by Blast Off right now.
Blast Off tenses as he sees that Quickswitch has spotted him and his hand reaches down, ready to draw out his blaster from subspace if needed. But he doesn't bring it out just yet. Rung retains most of his attention. So he IS alive. He'd heard Rung was alive... it was true. He keeps staring at him like he's seen a ghost. "You... are alive." His gaze goes to Whirl next- who suddenly releases the other mech and runs off into the shadows. "Wait...!" Wait, why's he even telling Whirl to wait? He doesn't have something to *say* to him, does he? No, no, of course not! ...Does he? Now he stands, confused, still uncertain if he needs to fight, flee... or what.
As soon as Whirl releases Rung, the tiny psychiatrist runs towards Blast Off, placing both hands on his shoulders. "Blast Off! What.. what have you become? Murder? Joining the Decepticons? Presumably participating in the pit fights?" He shakes the Combaticon, his optics wide and mournful. "I..." His shoulders slump. "I'm ashamed to kn-know you..." he says, his voice breaking. "As you may know, I had to join the Autobots. And Arcee... she is the undercover agent who arranged for your arrest. You have a right to know, after all, even after all the crimes you've committed..." The psychiatrist covers his face with his hands, and turns away, distraught. "Quickswitch.. we... should go.." he says, his voice hoarse.
Quickswitch is similarly confused, dark smoke rising from his torso and cooling fans unable to keep up. His arms are held rigid. Suddenly his blasters appear in his hands, but they remain pointed to the ground, "Rung," this seems to break him out of his shock and confusion momentarily, "You're all right!" he gives a huge grin to the smaller mech--and tries to ignore the Decepticon Rung is talking to. WHirl? Bah. The empurata is better off alive.
Sometimes Panacea is glad she isn't prone to feeling shame; it just seems to lead to a lot of misery. Still, she looks quite relieved when Whirl releases Rung. She would really hate to meet someone only to watch them expire, and she would also really hate to watch someone she had fixed up cause someone else to expire. When Whirl retreats into the shadows she calls, "Whirl," softly, but doesn't move to go after him. If he feels a need to hide, well, that's his business.
Hearing Blast Off speak, she turns to look at him. "Your timing is excellent," she says dryly. Looking him over she sees the bit of mesh left on his face. Apparently whoever fixed him knew what they were doing; she approves.
Then Rung has an awful lot to say to Blast Off. Wow; that was some heavy stuff to take in. She just shakes her head. "By the way, I'm Panacea," she says to Rung. "Sorry to have met you under such uncomfortable circumstances." There's really nothing she can do or say about the sheer amount of information tumbling out of the small mech's vocoder.
She actually gives Quickswitch the smallest hint of a smile. "Maybe one of these days we'll meet when there isn't a catastrophere waiting to happen."
Whirl is merely watching from the shadows like a creep and it's super obvious because his big yellow optic is plainly visible in the darkness. He may not have gotten a chance to murder Quickswitch, but surely there will be another chance. Another time, when Rung isn't with him. He listens as closely as he can to the Combaticon's conversation with the mech and realizes that Rung actually DID know him at one point. Damn, had he known..
Blast Off blinks as Rung rushes up and starts streaming all THAT at him. The shuttleformer springs back, arms flailing to knock Rung away. "Get OFF!" Well, whatever else has happened, Blast Off still needs that *personal space*. He steps back once more, staring at the psychiatrist. "...What? What are you...." He takes this all in, then lets out a loud HUFFFFFFFF! "And you? So quick to believe it all? What happened to our so-called friendship?" The mention of Autobots gets a scornful look, and he steps back further. "If you've joined the Autobots, then..." Visions of brainwashing flood through his head. "....I can't believe anything you tell me anyway." The news about Arcee gets a flicker of optics, and he's not sure how to take that- or to believe it.
Panacea gets a distracted glance. "I... I guess so... what the slag is going on here?" He then notices Whirl's optics shining in the shadows over there. He thinks about radioing him- and.... oh, yeah... he doesn't actually have Whirl's frequency. ..../Not that he really NEEDS it, or ANYTHING/. So he settles for staring at Whirl's lone yellow light over there with a *what the slag?* expression.
The sixchanger follows that single glowing optic, moth to a very bitter flame, "Farewell Whirl.." he whispers softly, probably not loud enough to hear. His hands tremble invisibly around his blasters as he gives Panacea and even Blast Off a curt nod.
Rung just looks so distraught. He takes Quickswitch's hand for comfort. "I don't know Blast Off. I don't know. I wish we could go back in time, to better days. None of us are who we once were, and I can't change that," he says. "I joined because there was nothing left for me to do. I couldn't keep running, Primus knew it would only be so long before I ended up jailed again. And jail was no better, I couldn't bear watching all my cellmates being dragged away for spark extraction.. it was too much to bear. I'm sorry. What's done is done.."
Every so often Panacea flicks a glance towards that single, glowing, yellow optic, and while the situation was tense, somewhere in her mind she is relieved to see that he finally got it replaced.
"I really don't know the full story. I got here late," Panacea says to Blast Off. "Far as I can tell, Whirl wanted to have a go at the big guy and was holding the small one hostage to get his way." She frowns, not liking the story she's telling.
She looks over at Rung. "Sounds like a fair bit of history there," she muses. At the mention of spark extraction she shudders. As a medical procedure sometimes it has to be done, but as punishment? Unacceptable.
Whirl does not hear Quickswitch which is probably a good thing because it would just set him off again. As it is now, Whirl waits for the six-changer and the mech he was with to take their leave before coming out of the shadows, managing to look sheepish despite his featureless face.
"He deserved something for what he did to you," Whirl says, adding some insight to the story Panacea is telling. "But he.. wouldn't fight me." He sounds a little sad at that, like he wasn't even worth Quickswitch's time. "I was trying to persuade him to take a swing at me but it didn't work."
Blast Off's fists clench as he stares at Rung and his violet optics flash cold fire. Spark extraction? Blast Off is ALL too familiar with it. "Well *I* was imprisoned, too. But *I* never SOLD OUT, as YOU seem to have! I remained true to my principles..... I never gave in to the Autobot's threats- and I assure you that they DID threaten me spark extraction, and nearly carried OUT that threat, too. I barely escaped in one piece. But *I* have nothing to be ashamed of, for I have stood tall and fast against the corruption that is the Senate /and/ the Autobots."
His gaze turns to Panacea once again. There's a glance to Quickswitch. "Why did he want to have a go....ooh." The Combaticon blinks as it all clicks. He told Whirl who shot him in the head back in the medbay. Ahhh. Whirl steps back into the light then. Blast Off just looks throughtfully at Whirl as he admits to his reasons. "I... see." He glances away. Hmm. So Whuirl really was going to FIGHT for him? That's... not something Blast off encounters very often.
He stares at a random spot for awhile, then looks back to Whirl. "Well..." He says quietly, watching the retreating six-changer. "He's an Autobot. They're full of hot air- but cowards in the end. Have to rely on brainwashing and ...." he looks to the empurata victim- no, SURVIVOR, "...Other means to try to force others to their will. It... won't work in the end, though."
Panacea shakes her head to Whirl. "It's the mentality that anyone deserves to be hurt that causes a lot of these problems in the first place," she says. Still, she's not yelling at him, that has to count for something, right? She sounds more sad than anything else.
She watches the sixchanger go with a sigh.
"As I was telling someone else the other cycle, not everyone is equally strong," she admonishes Blast Off. Besides, Rung is /so/ little. "Just because /you/ can stand firm doesn't mean that everyone can, and some of us end up selling out. It's unfortunate, but it happens." Yes, she did say 'us'.
Sadly she watches Rung go. She doesn't know him, but during this whole thing he seemed so miserable that she can't help but feel a bit for the guy. Actually, she feels for a lot of these mechs. Acute misery is the lot of so many Cybertronians, and this reaffirms her desire to have nothing to do with the merciless machine that is war.
Friends. Quickswitch has never had those. Knows what they are, but has simply never experienced it, outside of the mentor/student relationship he had with Sixshot, and that was quite different. Sixshot had been like a father to him. He radioes back, still terse and saying nothing, <...I only understand that he is a Decepticon..> his tone brims with sadness and regret, <And we walked away...>
Whirl is still a firm believer that some people definitely do deserve to get hurt, sometimes very badly, but he doesn't bother arguing with her about it. "Damn Autobots.." If he was capable of spitting, he would do so everytime he spoke that word. Autobots are pretty awful people, in his opinion. Everyone he's met so far has been a total jerk who either brainwashes people, or kidnap people, or send them to jail, or hold people hostage-
Ah yes, and there comes that guilt and embarassment again. Who is Whirl to pass judgement on the Autobots for the very things he's done and continues to do? The hypocrisy is almost painful and Whirl visibly tenses as he replays the events of what happened over and over again in his head. "Hnn.. what a mess."
Blast Off never did give up on Rung. Slag, he was the one who tried to save him from the rubble! But now, he feels it's been confirmed- Rung has given up on HIM. Just as Arcee may have. All his old friends fall away, leaving him with.... he turns to Whirl and Panacea. Panacea's comment about *us* gets a sharp glance. "Well, I suppose. I am a Combaticon and a soldier. I am built and trained to be ...strong." But he has to ask, "...Selling out?"
Blast off, for now, simply stands in solidarity with Whirl. "Yes." he sighs. "All of it." Then he lifts an optic ridge, eying the mech up and down. "You... are alright then?" NOT THAT HE CARES.
"I know you're mad, Whirl, but you would have felt a lot worse if you had hurt that mech with misdirected anger," Panacea says softly to the cyclops. SHe moves to pat him on the shoulder if he will allow it.
Then she turns to Blast Off. "Yes. I've been accused of being a sell out because I've switched locations. I'm not working out of Kaon anymore." She sighs and looks around a bit apprehensively. "The IAA got its hooks in me."
Whirl just /stares/ at Blast Off. Is he alright? No, he's never alright; he's a messed up kind of guy. "Yeah, I'm fine." Whirl scoffs and looks away, suddenly finding a random spot on the horizon reeaallyy interesting. "..No, not really. I'm not, I'm kind of upset at myself for the whole thing, but mostly I'm pissed because even after all of that, I still didn't get to sink my claws into that six-changing freak." He looks down at his claws, imagining them soaked in Quickswitch's energon. "I really wanted to slag him for shooting you, figured he needed to learn a lesson."
There's a sigh at Panacea's words and although he doesn't admit it, she's absolutely right. He would've felt awful aboutn straight up murdering a guy just to get someone else angry. That's the kind of messed up stuff the Autobots do.
Blast Off blinks and suddenly looks at Panacea as if she just sprouted a pair of horns. "....What? You work for the IAA now?!?" STAND BACK she's probably BRAINWASHED TOO! He glances to Whirl while still keeping an optic on Panacea. "Well... Whirl... some other time, then? The way things are going I suspect there will be MORE fighting, not less. especially against people like THAT.”
"Whirl, if you hold a grudge everytime an Autobot shoots a Decepticon you know, or vice versa, then you're going to be in a lot more trouble than you already are," Panacea tries to reason with the cyclops. "I mean, if anyone has a reason to be mad at the system, it's you. But I didn't fix you up so you could go and get yourself killed."
Panacea certainly has NOT been brainwashed. Probably because she 'came quietly' instead of fighting. No warrior's spirit burns deep in her spark. "It's a long story," she says with a sigh. "And I already got a lecture from Hot Rod about it." Then she actually grins. "He was a lot more mellow after a couple drinks though," she muses. "It's not ideal, but at least I'll have a good opportunity to improve in my field. In the long run I hope to be able to fix more people, save more lives."
"Tch! I don't really care if Autobots shoot Decepticons. Decepticons are terrible too!" Or at least that's what Whirl tells himself to help him recharge at night. "It's different when an Autobot shoots a Decepticon you happen to care about. A friend that is inconveniently a Decepticon."
"Anyway, I've already had the whole 'war is coming and friends die' talk already and I don't want to have it again." Whirl tucks his claws into a gap in his armour on his hips, looking like a really cool guy as he saunters away, back into the darkness of the alleyways.
Blast Off raises an optic ridge at Panacea, especially at the comment on Hot Rod. heh, well- Hot Rod does seem to have the right ideas. Even if he IS SO TOTALLY ANNOYING. "Well, Hot Rod would be right." (Don't tell him Blast Off said that.) "You need to be careful. They are not to be trusted. If you meet *Blurr*, he is *especially* not to be trusted!" He doesn't know that, yes, she HAS indeed already met Blurr. "They mess with people's minds."
Then Whirl speaks and Blast Off looks at him, huffing a bit at the comment on Cons, but softening a little at the *friends* part. Then the mech starts walking away, and Blast Off finds himself saying (again), "...Wait!" But Whirl is gone. The Combaticon stares in the direction he left, realizing he wanted to... say something. Tell him something. Maybe... answer something. But with a glance around- Quickswitch and Rung are in the area somewhere, Panacea might be some IAA SPY for all he knows... no, maybe it can wait. He steps back, gives Panacea a polite nod, and turns to leave. "Good day."
And Whirl takes off into the shadows. Panacea feels a great deal of anger towards those medics who betrayed their profession to do such horrible things to people, although Whirl is the only Empurata survivor she's personally met. Really she has no way of knowing what he was like before.
"I have met Blurr. I guess you could say it's kind of his fault that all this happened, and kind of mine," she tells Blast Off with a sigh. Thank Primus she's NOT a spy, but Blast Off would have no way of knowing this for sure. "Good cycle," she returns. "And, I might have moved locations, but if you ever need a quick patching up, feel free to give me a shout." Pause. "That goes for Whirl too if he's still listening," she adds with half a smile. Then she turns to go her own way.