Title: An End, A Beginning
Date: 17 March 2015
NPCs: Bolts, Mender, Nut
Summary: One of Nyon's medic's passes, but not without a few words, first.
Nyon is safe. At least safer than it was the day before, which is enough for one old bot who had been tough enough to hold out for the good news.
Mender, once a doctor and then later in life when in stages of disrepair set up a free clinic in Nyon to assist those in greater need than herself - which at times was the majority of the city, no doubt. So as the need increased, Mender slipped more and more from her condition as fully functional bot to that more of the disposable caste she sought to serve. This, when the Special Crimes Unit came for her, there was little to take. Still, Mender's resolve was there, to stand up to those corrupt cops... until they shot her in the head and then crushed her.
The damage has proven to be too great in the end and Mender is away of what comes next. Before her spark gives she has asked for those willing to come see her. Hot Rod certainly as well specifically the disposables Bolts and Nut, and anyone else that might wish to join them.
The dents and scrapes of all Hot Rod's recent scraps have yet to be fully repaired. He looks a little rough around the edges -- roguishly, charmingly so, surely. The major repairs have been done, and while the welds have yet to smooth out, he's in pretty good shape, all things considered. He's positively bouncy in his drive through Nyon, buoyant and light as however many pounds of metal could possibly be -- until he gets the call. Until he gets the reminder.
He's fine, but there are many, many more who aren't, and a whole city besides that's lost the illusion of protection that Breach and his bots provided. So it's a start, but it's tenuous, and uncertain, and maybe a little scary, and Mender's word underscores all of that, leading to an unusually sober Hot Rod that joins her, brought to what's left the clinic where she did so much good work. He slips in with a, "Hey," that's warm and steady no matter what knocks around beneath the battered paint of his hood.
Paddles has no flashy wheels to get around town. Instead, his preferred form of locomotion on land is by the grace of his own two feet. It's better that way... exploration is so much easier when the scenery isn't zipping by at high speeds, or when the road doesn't allow for casual wandering down oft-ignored pathways and trails. Though, that's not what brings the mech to where he is now. Far from. Stories... it's always stories. Follow this one, look into that one, listen here and there...
Granted, the rumors of Nyon's poor state were not lost on him. It was just not often his feet managed to get him this far away from 'home' and in a spot to really verify things for his own optics. But, all the same, he managed to make it, and few bothered to question his current explorations through the clinic, taking in the sights and sounds of those less than fortunate when it came to the outcome of a fight, or attack, or battle...
He felt a soft growl rising and had to stifle it before it could surface. Thankfully, Hot Rod's flashy colors were enough to pique interest and catch his optics, as well as distract from everything else in his processor. Compelled by curiosity, the slow-gaited mech followed, peeking in dutifully, but nothing said. Not yet.
With Hot Rod is Arsenal, who has felt uneasy ever since the surrender of Breach. It clearly didn't go the way she would have liked and fortunately the challenges of what to do next have kept her busy from dwelling on it. Like Rod, she is yet to be repaired and upon looking at Mender, it's hard to think about justifying seeking them out any time soon. She keeps quiet, mostly out of respect, since it was her former squadmates that did this to Mender.
Not far behind are Bolts and Nut, who shuffle in together. They seem surprised to find themselves here and also to see Hot Rod... who they are far less afraid of now, all things considered. Bolts is still without arms and Nuts has little plating and no hands. They nod to Mender who smiles to see them there but they are quick to tuck themselves out of the way, least the giant one (Paddles) step on them.
From her bed, Mender grins a little as her requested guests arrive, expected and new-faced (Paddles again). "Hey yourself, upstart. Forgive me if I don't get up. I want you to know that I did not ask you here to bring you down. I know you have a great deal to tend to. I was born in this city, left for my studies but was so happy to return. What Nyon became, I felt responsible for. What it is now... I wanted to say thank you. Maybe now Nyon can be what it has not been since it was first built; free."
At least Hot Rod's colors are good for something! He's /definitely/ pretty attached to them by this point. He glances over at Paddles, Bolts, and Nut, with recognition only for the latter pair. He tips his head, then takes a place near Mender, leaning up against the wall. He adopts an aggressively casual stance, all loose-limbed and confident. He grins. "Upstart, huh? I suppose that's not the worst thing I've been called this week. You're welcome, I guess -- I mean, you're definitely welcome. But you did a lot, too. We've relied on you, and other medics like you. I can't tell what it's meant to have people who /care/, who didn't immediately pack up and run to Kaon, but stayed here."
Paddles remains motionless as the two, Nuts and Bolts wander near his feet, lest he step on one (or both) accidentally. Likewise, he moves out of the way for the others entering the room to simply give them all space, side-stepping into the entryway...or, well, as 'out of the way' as he can get. Mender gets a polite, almost respectful nod in way of a return greeting, Hot Rod as well, before he simply resumes his state of watching as he pieces together things.
Arsenal fidgets near the door, fighting the urge to flee... she stays however, yet feels more uncomfortable by the moment.
"That is what I wanted to hear actually - that Nyon is in good hands. I already believe it but..." She fades for a moment, her optics dimming. She comes back though, but there is a flicker to her light. What frame she has left is mangled and dented, but she doesn't seem to mind. "I asked you here to hear what Nyon means to you. I've heard what has been said but all of that speaks about the need for those in suffering. Helping them. I have learned in all my years that no deed is truly selfless. Even my own lifetime of dedication here has given me something. Nyon has meant prosperity to me. Where the rest of Cybetron might of looked and seen trash," her head rolls to settle her gaze on Nut and Bolts, "I have witnessed survival. And such kindness. Others were fools to have fled," she coughs.
Glancing past Mender to Arsenal, Hot Rod gives his fellow rebel a slightly puzzled smile. Silently, the tip of his head asks after her discomfort, but he doesn't press the issue. His gaze slips back to Mender. "Nyon's home, you know?
"It's right where it should be: in the hands of its citizens." While it might /sound/ like Hot Rod is hot potatoing responsibility as hard and as fast as he can, his tone is more thoughtful than his words suggest. "Some people are going to see what happened and think we're weak: Autobots, gangs, criminals, other thugs." Because Autobots definitely belong in the same breath as gangs and criminals. "So we're going to have to protect people from that. Do what the cops were supposed to do, but never did."
Paddles turns his optics to Hot Rod thoughtfully before his gaze shifts to behind him. Not with intent to leave, no, but more in quiet contemplation over something in his processors as he mulls over everything he's hearing. The mention of the policing force falling short is not missed, either.
"Nyon has meant happiness," Nut braves as he steps forward to share. His voice sounds hollow as his cheeks lack plating. Much of his internal wiring is showing. "I was cast here. I was found in Kalis but kicked to here, after it started to fall apart. That's when I I met Bolts. He took me in. He even sold his arms to scrap to support us. And me..." He holds up his arms, which are handless. "I'd gladly pay more for what I have found here."
Bolts speaks now too, though he looks up nervously to the silent Paddles. "Nyon has always been home but since Nut.. it has been a place to belong." He looks over to Hot Rod. "What you wanted to do was dangerous, reckless... too daring to get behind. I... we're sorry. Losing him," he looks to Nut, "As nothing but collateral damage to your personal crusade... well, that's how it seemed."
Arsenal knits her brow, which is a little lopsided now that her face is still split with that crack across it. "Nyon has meant many things to me," she says, soft at first. "Hope, after birth and training. Shame. Deep, ever lasting shame for what I did here. Then hope again." She looks up here, flicking a glance to Hot Rod. She averts her optics quickly. "Now it means work. Hopefully the work, the duty, that I should have done in the first place.";
Oooh, Bolts managed to get Paddles' attention. Or, rather, turn his attention towards Hot Rod. It's a cautiously scrutinizing look at that. But, another glance goes towards Mender, and the situation and circumstance of everything takes precedence over whatever thoughts he has. The gaze softens...a little. Moreso as he offers a genuinely pleasant smile to the little Bolts in response to the nervous glances sent his way.
Pride pricked by Bolt's words, Hot Rod's gaze flashes defiance. It's obvious just how hard he works to /not/ snap, and he turns his head away. "Any ... /crusade/ has only ever been about /Nyon/," he says. Although he manages to leash the snap, his words are a low growl. "About people being treated like things that you can just use up and throw away. No one should have to sell themselves for the fuel to see another day. I know that not everyone can, or even wants to fight. But you don't have to. You /shouldn't/ have to. And people like me and Arse -- we'll fight for you. Fight for change. Fight for hope."
"We might seem weak because we have yet to take our first steps, as a city," Mender answers to Hot Rod. "They shall see. So shall you," she smiles with confidence. "Thank you for that opportunity. A restart," she smiles. She reaches up here to touch Hot Rod's arm.
And the exertion nearly kills her. She flickers and loses power once again, but sputters back to life again. For the moment. In that panicked second, Nut moves to her and Bolts is right behind. Bolts looks to Paddle, mostly so he doesn't have to look at Hot Rod. Nut however looks to the dented rebel fighter. "We know that *now*, which is... well, why we are sorry Hot Rod. For being too scared to fight. Or help. Mender did and..." He looks to her. For what it is worth, the couple are sorry for their lack of courage or support.
"Then the time is now," she smiles to the small plateless bot, weakly. "You are in good hands," she says, her voice softening. She is fading. She pats Rod's arm before she lets her hand fall. "Speaking of hands, Bolts... my arms are yours. Nut, my feet can easily be repurposed to hands for you and the plating... have all you need." She spares a glance up to Hot Rod. Even dented he looks every bit the bot she always took him for. "I won't be needing them any more."
Mender's optics fade for the last time.
"It's okay," Hot Rod says to Nut and Bolts. His indignation runs up against the wall of Mender's gentle touch, and he leans toward her. His hand covers hers in a protective gesture that's far, far too late to truly help. "I'll make sure there's a medic to help with that," he promises her as she gives of herself right to the end. He makes a quiet, dismayed noise when her gaze darkens, then straightens again. His expression darkens, and it takes him a measure of rare silence to work through it. He turns a stormy glance at Arsenal: maybe she was right, after all.
Paddles looks from Mender, to Bolts, who gets a sympathetic look in turn, and then finally to Hot Rod. When things finally do 'end', he's torn between simply leaving, or staying for...well, he's not sure why, and it shows. He simply resolves himself to straighten up in the doorway, certainly mindful of that look in Hot Rod's own optics before stepping just outside the threshold to survey the rest of the clinic... or, whatever there is of it, at any rate. Chances are, this is not the only room that is turning itself into a temporary crypt for the deceased. There is a momentary pause on his part, though, and he looks back at the door curiously, scanning for a name-plate, a data-pad, a placard...anything that might have the current occupant's name for his own records and recollection, simultaneously replaying everything witnessed in his own mind to see if it was mentioned in passing.
Arsenal hits a wall. So hard that something breaks. Then she punches it again so that it breaks more. "Excuse me," she states as she quickly steps out. This is the femme that took the risk of taking her in when she defected. The femme that gave her the paint that is worn on her shoulders. arsenal can't escape that but she can get out of this room.
As Mender goes dark, Nut looks to Bolts and vice versa. Hot Rod knew Mender but so did they, for years and this - along with what she gave to them... they literally have no hands to hold up in protest. Perhaps to echo the sentiment that many in their position in Nyon must share, they unite when they say, "Whatever you need of us, Hot Rod. We are there." For him - not, *not* for Hot Rod. For Nyon, for which Rod stands for.
This is a moment of sadness but also one of promise. There is work to be done, protection to be given, and once they are fully functional once more then Bolts and Nut, like so many that had been disregarded or stepped on, shall prove that they are not crushed. That they can help to make Nyon safe once more, if not... maybe also great.