Title: Civilized Behavior

PCs: Swift Blade, Blast Off, Blurr, Exodus

Location: Nyon

Date: 29 December 2014

Summary: Blast Off and Swift Blade encounter each other again, leading the femme to ask the shuttle some questions after her meeting with Blurr. Who then makes an appearance, along with Exodus, and a revelation that challenges the Combaticon's claims of "civilized behavior".

++ Nyon ++

Lately Swift Blade has been given much to think about, and as such, she's been kind of preoccupied. On the bright side, she's learning things. Of course, this is tainted by the fact that much of what she is learning is not very promising. The home she longed for for millions of years was not what she envisioned. Instead it's a broken world filled with broken people and a broken system and she has not the power to fix it.

As she walks the streets of Nyon, her expression is pensive, and though her optics are alert, her mind is divided in its attention.

Blast Off could tell her all about those broken worlds and broken systems... and already has begun to. The Combaticon might count as one of the broken people, too, but if he is, he would never admit to it. Instead, despite everything he's been through, despite being a wanted mech with a bounty on his head and criminal charges he can never quite escape- he still holds his head high as he walks down the street. For he is also a shuttleformer, and of that he will be forever proud. They can take everything else, but he'll never allow them to take his dignity. Not if he can help it.

The Combaticon is currently still searching for anyone who saw anything about Shiftlock's disappearance, or any sign of Blurr. He also has work here, and currently spends time in both Kaon and Nyon.

Swift Blade has definitely seen Blurr recently, but can't say she's ever seen Shiftlock. Nor has she heard anything about her since she had been mentioned previously. Eventually, however, she sees Blast Off (he's kinda hard to miss?) and shifts her course towards him. She doesn't move quickly, giving him ample time to wave her away or change his own course if he doesn't wish to speak with her at this time.

Actually, given that Swift Blade is one of the few friendly faces he knows, Blast Off seems reasonably pleased to see the femme once he glances her way. His stride slows and he tilts his head, then after seeming to debate it a moment he moves towards her. He gives the femme a courteous nod. "We meet again." His cultured voice is calm and while not that warm, it's not unfriendly either.

Well, Swift Blade never saw Blast Off being warm to begin with, so it's not really that surprising. Seeing that he is not going to avoid her, she continues with her approach. Her optics are sad as she looks at him, but her lips curve slightly in a smile of greeting. "So we do," she agrees solemnly. "Are you well?" After all, the last she saw him he was being thrown through a ceiling.

That is a correct impression, too. The Combaticon is rather cold and aloof, after all. But there is something else under there, it just isn't always visible. What is visible, though, is that Blast Off prefers to carry himself like a gentlemech, and he continues to do so now. He notices that Swift Blade appears a little... sad? Though he's not sure- he's not the most adroit of social readers. "I am, considering." There's a slight sigh. "I am glad you appear not to have run into too much trouble with Blurr. My... apologies for my hasty departure." And undignified departure. "I hope you are well?"

"I have had very little trouble personally, but that doesn't seem to be true for most of the people on Cybertron," Swift Blade says. "As for Blurr, he gave me no hassle." She shrugs her shoulders a bit helplessly. "You do seem to be very deeply in trouble though," she adds with a sympathy that doesn't descend into pity.

Blast Off nods. "Good. He is the one who took my friend." His optics narrow slightly at the thought. "I really wanted to try to get some information from him, but... well, I didn't get the opportunity." At the rest of her comments he pauses, glancing off to the side. "Well... Blurr works for the corrupt system I was telling you about. I am not a turbo-sheep, and I know too much, and thus... some see me as a threat."

Swift Blade isn't going to say too much more out in the open like this. "He came across as quite ernest to me. And young." Obviously she had spent /some/ time talking to him other than the brief bit before Blast Off was thrown through the glass ceiling. "What had your friend done to warrent him taking her?"

Blast Off catches that, his optics flickering slightly as she sounds somewhat... acquainted with Blurr. "Oh? Young, yes... earnest... perhaps. You spoke with him, then?" Then those violet optics dim at her last question and again he glances away. "She worked for Senator Ratbat, doing his dirty work, even assassinations. She had her mind wiped several times. But she finally had enough of it and was able to escape. She... actually helped me once." Or several times. "But the Senate had been looking for her ever since, and Blurr seems to have finally caught up with her here." Oh, and she nearly killed Ratbat in the process, but he leaves that out for now. "Now I want to find out where she was taken."

Swift Blade doesn't know Ratbat, and thus doesn't care about him one way or another. "I did speak with him," she admits. "Every story has two sides." She shakes her head slightly, the sadness in her optics increasing. "So was she arrested because she followed orders...or because she tried to escape?" The explaination didn't make much sense to her.

"Because she escaped. She stopped following Ratbat's orders and fled, fighting and fleeing her bonds." Blast Off tilts his head. "And yes, I suppose it does." Looking around, he notices there is a small bar nearby that looks relatively quiet and out of the way. "Would... you care to join me? I believe we might have a little more privacy in there."

Swift Blade inclines her head quickly. It doesn't surprise her at all that he would want to be less out in the open. "It seems a sad thing that her only crime is not wanting to continue on as an assassin," she says with a bit of a sigh. "That hardly sounds like a threat to the general population that must be stopped at all costs." She turns and heads towards the bar mentioned.

Blast Off replies as they head in, "No, it's not. She wanted to be free, to make her own choices. They wanted an obedient little slave, and if she couldn't be controlled anymore then she was simply dangerous and knew too much." They soon find a seat in the back, towards a shadowly corner 9the sort the sniper tends towards anyways). After ordering a drink, he continues, "I worked for the Senate as well. I was an Elite Guard, and I was also expected to conduct some rather... shady business." Like assassinations- including of Shiftlock at one point. "I, too, finally saw enough."

Swift Blade sits down, perhaps a bit stiffly. She's not the most relaxed individual out there. "If people acted properly then they wouldn't have to hide their actions and therefor dispose of those who know about them," she says. "Simply knowing something shouldn't be a reason for punishment or execution." She sounds pretty adamant about this. "It does not sound as though those in power deserve their positions if they are so eager to abuse the efforts of their people."

Blast Off leans forward, placing his arms on the table and looking intently at her. "But knowledge is power." there's a slight flicker as he's reminded of telling Shiftlock that not long ago, then he continues, "Thus knowledge is a threat to the corrupt status quo. If people know what is going on, they can much more easily DO something about it. If they remain ignorant, it is so much easier for those in power to lead them along like little turbo-sheep. Thus, people like Shiftlock and I- people who have seen the inside of this system and found it wanting- who have seen the truth- are a threat to the status quo. And the current status quo is determined to keep its power at all costs."

"I do not understand why anyone would want power just so they could keep it away from others. What is the good of power if you do not wish to achieve something great with it?" Swift Blade shakes her head. "There are too many things I just don't understand." She looks at Blast Off thoughtfully; there are certainly things about him she has yet to understand, but she isn't sure of how one diplomatically asks someone about murders committed. Most likely, there simply is no way.

"Greed." Blast Off thinks it's quite simple, actually. "If you have power and wealth you live a comfortable life. The more power you have, the more resources you obtain. For some, playing that social game and amassing wealth becomes a goal all of it's own. I'm High Caste, I know what it's like. I want it *back*. However, I never saw the point in subjugating others just to get it. As long as I was comfortable, I simply wished to be left alone. Well... I *still* wish to be left alone, but that hasn't happened." As for direct questions, the only way to find out... is to ask.

Swift Blade listens to this with a nod of her head. "Then why did you throw it away?" she asks plaintively. "I spent most of my life as a slave, so I don't know what it is like to you say, but I think it would be hard to endanger that position." She sighs at her undiplomatic words, but it just seemed to come out that way.

Blast Off blinks, leaning back as Swift Blade asks him that question. He seems a little pensive, considering his response. "I... did not want to. It simply got to a point that I had little... choice. I had seen too much, had too many... conflicts with the powers that be. I had to leave." If she doesn't know he's a wanted fugitive (with a bounty on his head no less), he doesn't want to volunteer the information.

Though now he has to wonder, if she talked to Blurr. "Blurr didn't give you that "other side of the story" you were talking about? I'm almost surprised." The bartender comes with drinks, and if she ordered any, hands one to Swift Blade and one to the Combation. He holds the glass and adds, "Comfort is... important. But you... as a slave... would you rather be in a comfortable, gilded cage, or would you accept freedom even if it came at the cost of comfort? For in some ways... freedom is *never* comfortable."

"He did," Swift Blade says frankly. "Including footage." She leans forward slightly. "Evidence only shows me whether you did something or not; it won't show my /why/ you did it," she continues on to say. She sighs slightly. "Having never been in a comfortable position, with or without the 'cage', I couldn't honestly tell you. But I would like to think that I would rather be free." She fits her fingertips together. "As a slave, I wasn't uncomfortable, exactly, but I was never the master of my own destiny."

Blast Off lifts the glass up to take a drink through a small hatch that opens up on his faceplate just as Swift Blade mentions "footage". This causes the Combaticon to just about spit out his drink. He has to cough a bit as some engex went down the wrong fuel line, then he turns to stare at her. "Footage?" Well. THIS doesn't sound good at all.

He puts the glass down, looking uncomfortable. "Well... yes... exactly, and that's what *I* want to be. The Master of my own destiny."

There isn't any indication of disgust on Swift Blade's face; whatever her opinion of the footage, it is not one of condemnation. Saddness, certainly. "There was an attack in space and you shot down someone. Then you killed a pair of officers. That is what the footage showed." She speaks in a very low voice, not wanting to draw attention to the pair of them. "You want to be the master of your own destiny, but those three, they no longer /have/ a destiny." She gives Blast Off a long and direct look. "But I wouldn't believe that you did this for no reason, or with the only reason being entertainment." She shakes her head.

He had no idea there was *footage* of this. Blast Off stares at her awkwardly, then looks around the bar as if suddenly wishing to be anywhere but here. The grip on his drink tightens, and suddenly he takes a rather large swallow. Placing that back down, he tries to think how to respond. Of course, he *could* try to say that that footage was altered. And who knows, maybe it was, he hasn't seen it. But what she describes *does* sound accurate. The Combaticon leans back into his chair as if wishing to shrink into it. Swift Blade's last word gets a sharp turn of his head, however.

"/Entertainment?!?/ What, is that what Blurr told you? What's so entertaining about fighting for your *life* when you're in the middle of planetary reentry?" He draws out a soft hufff, then continues, his voice low, "I don't know of this footage you speak of." There's a pause. "...But... Yes, I... killed three mechs that day." He looks her in the optics. "However, it was in *self defense*. At first, I had two professional hitmechs come at me when I was attempting to reenter the planet. And yes, I was in space illegally and I make no apologies for it, either." He feels annoyed, as always, by the thought of even having to justify doing what he was built for.

"There were two spacecraft, like me. They caused some damage, took out bits of my heat shield which I *need* for reentry... and just as I started one came in for the kill. I was a faster draw than he was, and, well... I am not sorry for killing someone who was trying to kill me." Then he adds, sounding just a little more weary now, "...the other two... yes, they were officers. They came at me right after the assassins did, and..." He pauses again and looks at her. "I know what happens to those who are arrested. I know that they do NOT receive justice. I could NOT allow them to take me prisoner. I... did not mean to kill them. I shot their aircraft and it exploded. It was... bad luck."

"He never said as much," Swift Blade says quickly. "I just meant that there must have been a compelling reason for you to take that step, and as such, he couldn't just denouce you as 'bad' so starkly." She waves a hand, almost dismissively, as he states he has no apologies for being in space illegally. "It might have been illegal, and you probably shouldn't have been there if it was, but it seems to be disproportionate to the crime to attack you for it," she says gravely. "And it is not unreasonable to fight in self defense; no one really wishes to die, do they?" Both of her hands are placed flatly on the table in front of her. "But was your desire to return to space so powerful that you risked going against the law to do so, even a law you believe to be corrupt and unfair? A law that would destroy you for your actions?" It isn't a judgement on his choice so much as her interest in understanding what happened.

Blast Off stops and listens to this. Slowly, his head tilts to the side and it almost seems a smirk is growing under that faceplate of his. "...Oh? What? Didn't he *tell* you why I was in space? Or did that part get conveniently left out?"

"All he said was that after the restrictions were placed, you started dealing with 'shady' characters and at the time of the altercation you were trying to keep something for yourself that you had been paid to retrieve and that is why they attacked you. But," Swift Blade says reflectively, "that seemed a very rash thing to do, and you came across as more...methodical and cautious than that." Then again, what does she know?

The Combaticon's optic ridge raises up. "Shady characters? Well... I guess you /could/ say that. For once he actually spoke the truth- in a way." He makes a soft huff that almost sounds like a chuckle. "The "shady character"... was HIM. Blurr hired me a couple of times to fly into space to retrieve a substance called Element Zero. It's a racing additive- makes you go faster, increases performance. It's extremely rare, found only off-planet, and extremely valuable. He even gave me a cloaking field so that the planetary patrol wouldn't spot me." He lifts his drink to imbibe once more. "The third time... *that* time.... I went on my own volition. I... hoped to get some of the substance to sell, and.... I wanted to go to space. I *missed* it still." He seems a little more somber.

"However, apparently there was some sort of tracking device on that cloaking field, and Blurr - or the people pulling his strings- didn't like that. So they sent their assassins to come meet me. And once I was damaged and the cloaking device disabled, the patrol picked me up. And... well... the rest is history, I suppose." He glances up at the end. There's another almost-amused huff. "You are correct. I prefer to think things out before I act. Space is a risky place, and errors can cause death. I like to take my time."

"So, you were set up?" Swift Blade asks. "Or was Blurr just careless and didn't want to admit his mistake?" This whole situation is not sitting well with Swift Blade at all. She doesn't want to admit it, but chances are someone, if not both parties, has lied to her. Unfortunately, she really had no way of telling which it was. "The two you came after you, the assassins, they were not actually officers of the law? But killing them in self-defense was illegal? Or were the officers on the ground coming after you simply for being in space?"

Blast Off shrugs. "Perhaps both. Blurr is a puppet. Ever heard of mind control programs? One of those is being used on him. His mind is not his own." He shifts in his seat just a bit, gazing out towards the entrance of the bar. "The assassins? No. They were hired hitmechs... possibly from the IAA, the racing association pulling Blurr's strings. One was named Sublight (the one who died) and one was named Quantum. Quantum swore revenge, in fact, and has tried to kill me several times since. They worked as hitmechs- bounty hunters. But the people who sent them are the ones in power, so it behooves them to make ME look like the one in the wrong."

"As for the others..." He pauses once more. "They were planetary patrol officers- the ones who enforce the no-space-flight rules and monitor the atmosphere." The shuttle's violet optics turn to look at the femme. "But they worked FOR that system. They had to know it's corrupt, and chose to ignore it." He leans in slightly. "I was once a Primal Vanguard. I worked for Cybertron, going on missions through space with my team. We served this planet well, and ... all we got was contempt for it. This planet's government has *always* been corrupt. And as a soldier, well... I am trained to FIGHT, not go out like a little lost turbo-sheep. I had one mech coming at me, then another, then another... I was under attack and I responded in kind."

Swift Blade shakes her head. "Not as such. My masters controlled me by pain stimulators and partial stasis. But I rarely gave them a reason to use these things; it was easier to listen and obey." Yes, it might sound like a turbo-sheep thing to do, but one must remember, she was entirely alone among strangers. "Blurr insisted on saying murder each time, but defending yourself doesn't equate to coldly planning someone's death and carrying it out," she says slowly. "I'm not sure what to think to be honest." She sighs deeply and finally takes a drink, which had been mostly ignored during her need to ask questions.

The Combaticon does wince just slightly at the mention of Swift Blade's treatment at the hands of her captors. "Shameful. Not you... them, for thinking they had any right to lay claim to "owning" a Cybertronian." He shakes his head, then takes another sip of his drink. "Oh, he did, did he? I do not see it as murder, I see it as self-defense, and I make no apologies for that."

As she admits not knowing what to think, he lets out a soft sigh. "...Do you know.. what they do to prisoners? Did Blurr mention.... that I *was* one?"

Swift Blade purses her lips together. "For the first case, I would agree, but the second, yes, that seems like bad luck and a little," she considers for a moment, "sorrow might be appropriate, if not guilt and remorse." She frowns. "I had asked about execution, and he said it was more likely that you would be sent to a penal colony," she says. "But he said nothing about the conditions of such." She sighs heavily. "But tell me truly, if the system had been a fair one, and if you could be assured of a fair trial, would you still have attacked those officers and fled?" she inquires.

Blast Off's gaze continues to be a bit distant and aloof at the mention of "sorrow". If he has sorrow, it doesn't show. However, the mention of "execution" does get a glance back to Swift Blade. He mulls her words, and her question. "I... don't know." The Combaticon lifts his drink, gazing into the swirling, oily, amber liquid. "I have... never met with a fair system. I have only run afoul of corrupt ones." His optics fix on her once more. "I am a Combaticon. A soldier. Surrender is... it's not in my *circuitry*. I was trained to fight, to be the best warrior I could be. However..." And once more his gaze returns to the engex.

"...I... do value civilized behavior. I believe certain codes of conduct are important, or else all is chaos. As a shuttle, I wish to carry myself with dignity and class. It is not.. always easy to walk those lines. I.. do not know."

He takes another swallow, then places the drink down. "But regardless, I WAS a prisoner, Swift Blade. And I know from personal experience there was no *justice*... only torture, manipulation... and..." He falters at the thought, "Spark isolation. They were going to extract my spark and *store* it. The individual who very nearly did that to me even admitted why, since he thought I was already lost. They didn't want me to *talk*, and get the word out, and thus I was NEVER going to see a trial." He leaves out the part where he was actually placed in spark isolation *before*, too, and spent half his existance rotting in a mental limbo in a white out cell. A never-ending torment he CANNOT EVER go back to. He'd rather die. "I ...very nearly met that fate, and have the Decepticons to thank for escaping it."

Swift Blade twitches slightly. "I had been seperated from my own kind as a slave, surrounded by beings who were not at all like myself. But I was rarely completely alone, and I always had myself. Losing that...." she shakes her head, unable to really express that. "I don't believe I could put myself in the hands of a system that would do that to me, or anyone." She narrows her optics in thought. "So you do not so much believe yourself above the concept of law, but that you will not bend to accomodate a law that has failed its people?" she asks slowly.

Blast Off nods. "Exactly, and neither could I." He ponders her question a moment. "No. I am not above the law, if it is... reasonable. There does need to be *some* law, order, a... chain of command. I come from a military background, after all." He looks down at his drink. "For instance, I have a Commander. We don't always see optic to optic, of course, but I follow his orders. Even... accept discipline, though of course *I* am the one reasonable individual there and *I* never need it as much as... well, pretty much ALL of the rest of my teammates. I do not like it, of course, but I understand he is the Commander and thus he should be listened to. But I listen to him because... well, I know he is usually right. Enough so, that even when he is wrong, and he just won't listen to REASON- (*there's a haughty, annoyed huff*) - it's still worth associating with him. This goverment- I do not trust at all. And yes... Cybertron HAS failed its people. I hold not so much the *law* in contempt, as I do the the people enacting, dictating and enforcing those laws."

Though truth be told, he also just *really* doesn't like being told what to do.

Swift Blade can't really argue any of those points. She also doesn't have the best frame of reference. For a few moments she looks a bit guilty. "Again, I don't blame you. But I'm also not quite ready to fight the law either," she says with some hesitation. "I wouldn't ever tell them where you are or give information or anything like that, but..." she looks down at her hands, "I have to see more before I'm convinced that the whole of the law is corrupt and not just some of it." Her shoulders hunch slightly, as though preparing herself for the mech's disappointment to rain on her head.

Blast Off is a little disappointed, but not as much as she might think. There is no rain. He's used to this. The shuttleformer lifts his glass up for another drink. "It is understandable. It took time before I fully believed the system was corrupted beyond repair. All I can ask is that you consider both sides, keep your optics open, and continue asking questions. But you come from slavery... it makes sense you are hesitant to bring trouble in on yourself." He pauses and gives her a hard look. "Just be sure you don't sign yourself into a *new* form of slavery while trying to avoid the old one."

It is quite likely that, if Swift Blade ever had complete confidence that the law was hopelessly lost, she would fight it. However, she has not actually /seen/ effects of the corruption being wide spread, and fighting the 'good' members of the law is something she is not willing to do. "I am keeping both optics open and alert," Swift Blade says. "And I do no doubt that you fully believe what you are saying about the government. But I have to see for myself." That is not terribly unreasonable. It is not fear that is holding her back, merely a quest for information. "So far no one has impeded me," she says gently. "And I wish things had turned out differently for you," she says with sincerity. "Because I do not believe you are a bad mech at all."

"As you wish." Blast Off's voice is calm. "Just... be especially careful around Blurr. If... I can ever find Shiftlock again, I would think you might find her story rather enlightening." His optics darken at the thought. He must find her, he just doesn't know where to look. They then flicker and look over at Swift Blade as she says he's not a "bad mech". He gazes at the femme a long moment, then glances away. "I... do not know if I am anymore. Mostly I just... wish to be left with the freedom to *choose* once again." He glances to her. "...But... thank you."

Blurr enters from Iacon.

"What does Shiftlock look like?" Swift Blade asks. "Just so I know what to look for." As to the last thing, she looks a little uncomfortable perhaps. She's not used to being thanked; she's used to being taken for granted. Leaning forward even more, she admits, "Not only do I think you're not bad, but I hope that you are never caught." There's not much else she can say about it.

Blast Off stiffens a little, then leans back and looks slightly up as he tries picturing Shiftlock in his mind. It is somewhat.. depressing. "She's a black and orange femme, car alt... sort of an... underground racer with wheels that find purchase on... odd surfaces, I believe." He goes on to describe her the best he can and... and... why didn't he ever get a picture of her? *Sigh* No point crying about it now. "If you find out anything, let me know." Black hands come up to rest on the table as a melancholy mood hits him, heat shields bumping against the brown surface.

Her uncomfortable look is noticed, and he begins to wonder if he said something wrong. But then she leans forward and says that. Taking that in, he gives her a small nod. "...Thank you. I.. do too." Then he looks a bit more grim and determined. "And I will NOT allow it. Not again."

The shuttle takes another drink before looking up at Swift Blade again. "So... what will you do? Are you still touring around? Have you settled in to your assigned task?"

"At this point, it's best to complete my training," Swift Blade says. "Then, whatever happens and however the planet changes, I'll at least have the rudimentary knowledge I missed in my younger years." Yup, she didn't even make it through Primary Programming school apparently. "By then I should have a better idea of the world around me and where I want to fit within it." She shrugs her shoulders, leaning back in an attempt to at least look somewhat relaxed, the moment of dangerous talk ebbing for now. "Really, it seems the only reasonable thing I can do."

Blast Off seems to be relaxing a little bit as well, at least for HIM. He shifts in his seat, drawing the engex up for another draught before down it goes again. He nods. "That would be wise. It is always wise to be prepared, and know how to defend oneself." Then it seems something has struck him. "You... never finished your Primary programing?" That causes a strange, almost painful twinge somewhere in his psyche. The only other person he knows like that is... Shiftlock.

"I was very young when the Quintessons took me away," Swift Blade says sadly. "Which is why I know so very little about my own people." She takes a thoughtful sip of her drink; no chugging for this femme. "To be honest, I didn't know what to expect at all." Her fingers curl lightly under her chin. "Compared to the people I worked for, I was nearly invincible. They are small and fragile, but they were given the technology, with my purchase, to disable me when I didn't comply. Because I was so different from them, it was easy for them to see me as a non person." She waves her other hand to indicate the rest of Cybertron. "Here it is different, and with all the troubles, adjusting isn't easy."

As Blast Off is sitting there, talking to Swift Blade, he might notice a familiar blue figure sitting in a booth behind her. Yep, that's surely Blurr sitting there, but this time it seems he's alone. Perhaps it is surprising, but this place is smaller and rather quiet this time of the solar cycle. He looks...rather dejected.

The mention of Quintessons draws a dark flicker across Blast Off's optics. He knows what they are, and what they did. And the thought of anyone forcing a Cybertronian into slavery is unforgiveable. "That is ... difficult to imagine. Being alone and forced to obey... were they *organics*?" The way he says that word implies disdain. "They had no right. I believe in *choice*. It's... crucial. And for some offworlder organic to impose their will on a Cybertronian makes me *ill* to think of it. I've met many organics, many offworlders, and they were usually rather primitive, hostile creatures." His look softens just slightly. "Well.. that makes you the second person I've met who never made it through Primary school. Shiftlock was also taken away by Senator Ratbat's goons before she could learn, and... well, they made her go to work for them without the benefit of an education. One of their MANY crimes."

Suddenly he *freezes. Is that... Blurr over there? How the SLAG did Blurr get there? He thought he was keeping an optic out, staying alert, everything?! The shuttle's demeanor changes and he tenses, hand suddenly dropping down as he prepares to bring a weapon out. Very quietly he hisses, ".... What is HE doing here?" Blast Off looks at Swift Blade. "You didn't bring him..." He stops. No, he doesn't *think* she did, but... how the slag did he get there? "Blurr is right there. Careful." He looks out towards the door, judging how fast it would take to get to it.

"Most of them were," Swift Blade says shortly. She doesn't dislike them because they were organics; she dislikes them because they continued to endorse her slavery. At the mention of Shiftlock also not going through PPS, she looks rather thoughtful. The two of them have a few things in common it would seem. Perhaps it is a slight testiment to the errors in the current school system. Perhaps not. "There were many things I was told I did not need to know to perform my jobs," she says sadly. "Maybe that's why I'm hesitant to give up my learning now."

Swift Blade seems about to say more, but then Blast Off's demeanor changes and he alerts her to the presence of Blurr. If her physiology allowed her to go pale she likely would have. As it is she utters a low groan and looks on the verge of distress. "I never would have," she says quietly, though she tries not to look hurt that he would even /begin/ to suggest it. She knows he has to be careful, and in reality, she had done nothing to really earn his trust, just as she had done nothing to lose it.

Blurr doesn't appear to make any hostile moves, however. He seems to be in a...different mood tonight. He's just staring down at his drink, looking depressed. Swiftblade might have an idea why, too. But is he just faking it so that Blast Off will drop his guard? Maybe.

Blast Off does manage to reply, "No, of course you "didn't need to know" to perform your job.... they wanted an obedient, ignorant slave. And that isn't really all that different here now, either. As I said before, knowledge is power. Never stop seeking knowledge." Then he's back to focusing on Blurr, though he gives her a small nod. And yes, Blurr looks all sad and depressed, but so did Quantum, and he was *obviously* faking that too! Right? Blast off has no reason to trust or approach Blurr, so he continues calculating escape routes. Or... hmm... he'd almost like to try *shooting* at Blurr to try and grill some information about Shiftlock out of him, but with Swift Blade here that would probably not... look good. Even if it WAS justified.

As much as Swift Blade believes in Blast Off and wouldn't want him harmed, she also feels bad for Blurr. Unlike the two mechs, who see each other as THE ENEMY and thus WRONG, she sees them through a much more balanced persepctive. And even though she's socially awkward in some ways, even she knows it would be INCREDIBLY tacky to get up from Blast Off's table to offer Blurr a kind word.

This is not easy.

Swift Blade shifts in her seat slightly, feeling the tensions in the room go up a lot. She hopes, against hope, that nothing is going to happen. "You are completely correct about that; they didn't need intelligence, they needed someone who could fight in their arenas, or fly them around on a whim." She hated it, but she's not exactly bitter. Her perserverance won out in the end, even though the prize of returning to Cybertron has brought it's own set of troubles her way. Will it ever end? Unlikely.

An audible sigh from Blurr can be heard as air cycles through his systems, and he slumps a little bit, still staring downward. There are a few empty glasses in front of him, thought not many. He moves to get up, but stumbles, and then flops down off of his seat and onto the floor where he lies in a heap. Oh my, it seems he wasn't faking it...he's completely overcharged. If Blast Off wants answers, or to take advantage of this slip-up and eliminate his foe once and for all, now is the time...

Just then a familiar face will walk into the bar, just having gotten off work. The bartender offers him a friendly wave, and Exodus smiles broadly at him and returns the wave.

His optics light up at little when he sees Blast Off and Swiftblade at the counter. "Hey," he says, "mind if I pay for your drinks?" he says with a grin.

Then he notices that Blurr has passed out on the floor and gives the speedster a grieved look. And then he does the unthinkable, and heaves Blurr to his feet, shaking him a little to see if he'll wake up. "Hey..." he says softly.

Blast Off nods to Swift Blade but his main focus is, of neccessity, on Blurr. Who then... flops down, dead drunk? What? The Combaticon stares. He realizes this may well be a trap. maybe Blurr's faking it. But the temptation is too hard to resist. He WANTS to know everything Blurr does about Shiftlock's whereabouts. That's it. While he doesn't bring his weapon out, his hand is ready to at a moment's notice. He begins to get up, meaning to advance on the racer when... Exodus shows up. He stares at the big mech as he walks in and.... *picks Blurr up and tries to WAKE HIM*? "Wh- what are you DOING? Stop that!" the Combaticon takes another few steps forward. "Don't wake him UP! Not... yet. Do you want a repeat of... the other cycle?!"

Swift Blade flinches as Blurr stumbles and passes out. Oh, this can't be good. Fate seems to be just HANDING him to Blast Off in a hand basket. And while she wants to believe that Blast Off isn't a bad mech, she also realizes that fear and hate can make people do some crazy things. Then Exodus comes in and tries to wake Blurr up. That's not good EITHER. When she sees Blast Off stand, she does so as well, keeping just a little behind the shuttleformer. The tension is almost tangible, and she doesn't really know what's going to happen, which makes her a little on edge. But she's not even thinking of her weapons right now. "Blast Off," she says in a whisper, just to remind him that she's back there. As for Exodus, she simply shakes her head right now, as though to say, 'Now isn't the time.'

Blurr doesn't wake up, even as Exodus picks him off of the floor. And as he does so, something rather horrific is revealed. The drinks aren't the only reason why he's stasis locked; the speedster's midsection has been slashed open in several places, and his arms are covered in his own fuel. It hadn't been obvious from afar when he was sitting behind the table or when he'd passed out on the floor, but now it's quite clear. It is Blast Off's perefect if only he could get Exodus to let go of him...

But getting Exodus to let go of Blurr will be like trying to pull a rug out from under an elephant. Exodus frowns at Blast Off, ignoring his protests. "He's hurt," is all he says, taking note of Blurr's wounds. "He needs a medic," he says, pushing past Swift Blade and also ignoring her comment, as he heads for the exit of the bar. "I'll be back to pay for the drinks," he says, sparing them a backwards glance.

The Combaticon wants to take advantage of this golden opportunity- if it's real. Blast Off has to work at hiding his frustration as one thing after another seems to get in his way- the primary one being /Exodus/. Swift Blade's calling of his name gets a distracted glance. "What? Don't interfere... I want to find out where Shiftlock is! He arrested her... *kidnapped* her, and they're doing slag-knows-WHAT to her right now!" His hands ball up into fists. The wounds on Blurr only make him even MORE convinced this might be that opportunity he seeks.

And then Exodus *absconds* with his prize! The shuttle nearly *erks*, starting after Exodus. "Stop! No he doesn't need to see a medic! He needs to answer for his... his... *crimes*!"

Swift Blade makes a shocked sound when it's revealed that Blurr isn't just drunk but injured as well. She's pretty sure it wasn't Blast Off for two reasons. One, he's not the kind to use slashing, up close weaponry. Two, he seemed legitimately surprised to see Blurr there and worried. But that does raise the question, who DID the deed?

Exodus seems to be quite worried about Blurr as well. "It's the right thing to do," she says to Exodus. "But be careful." In fact, she should probably follow him...just in case.

She isn't sure what Blast Off is going to do, but she's not his keeper. "Come with us then," she says to Blast Off. "If he's badly injured enough, no one will be getting anything from him. There are medics that do not work for the government, yes?" Swift Blade, so reasonble usually.

"And you don't?" Exodus shakes his helm. "It doesn't matter. He needs help. And I never say no to someone in need, not when they're like... /this/." He scoops Blurr up gently with one arm, he's lightweight due to his frametype being built for speed.

He smiles at Swiftblade. "Thank you for your concern," he says, "There are, I believe there's a free clinic in Rodion."

"..." Blurr kind of wavers in and out of consciousness. Though his optics widen he realizes he's being carried. "...whatwholetgoofme...." he struggles weakly but is unable to put up much of a fight.

Blast Off notices how concerned Swift Blade seems to be about Blurr, and his armor plating sort of bristles. He *thinks* she's being truthful with him,, but given everything he's been through.... he's never sure anymore. He huffs a little. "Come with you where? To a medic? Why..." Another, louder, more annoyed hufff. "WHY are you in such a rsh to help him? How close ARE you, anyway?"

Exodus' first comment stops the Combaticon cold. He stares, stunned into silence for a moment. Then he asks icily, "if you think *that*, then why didn't you just let Blurr arrest me the other cycle?" His optics glare at the big mech. He follows along- for now, not looking particularly happy about it. He sees Blurr waking up and dashing in to be near him but not directly in his line of sight. "Blurr... this is your... superior speaking. Where did you take Shiftlock?" Maybe if Blurr's still half awake he's actually believe this and respond.

"What are the chances of being reported at a free clinic?" Swift Blade asks Exodus. She wants Blurr to get his help, but not at the cost of Blast Off being carted off like...well a criminal. Even if he /is/ one.

With Blurr's mumbling, she moves a little closer. "You're being taken care of," she says soothingly to him. "Don't fight; it will make your wounds worse."

She turns her head slightly to look at Blast Off. "Close?" She shakes her head. "I've only met him twice. But he has done /me/ no harm. I understand why you don't want him helped, and I don't blame you, but I have to do things according to my own beliefs." She sighs. "This isn't easy, but I can't ignore it either."

"Exactly what I was said," Exodus says, "if you don't have to answer for yours, then neither should he. Someone has to stop this vicious cycle of revenge, otherwise one day, we'll just be a pile of ashes. And if no one else does, then I will."

"And also, because I care about you," Exodus finishes, "if that didn't occur to you already," he adds quietly, sounding somewhat pained.

To Swiftblade, he says, "Better than our chances getting caught at one owned by the government."

Blast Off's idea is somewhat clever. Yes, Blurr's mind is in somewhat of a haze, although if he's delirious enough not to recognize the Combaticon's voice, exactly how reliable could any information he gives at the moment be anyway?

Well, at least Exodus won't have any trouble carrying him, he is indeed very light, and to someone that large he weighs almost nothing. "...n-nn...whereareyoutakingme..." he mumbles. "Shiftlock...IaconItookhertoIacon..."

Blast Off glares a little at Swift Blade, but... gah. He can *sort* of understand where she's coming from, but this is the sort of thing that if he were a more demonstrative individual he'd be facepalming and gesturing to the sky by now. "TWICE?" He only knew the one time. "....Fine," He mutters, "But I have to do them according to MINE, as well." There is a split second he considers drawing his weapon and aiming it at Exodus, but.... the mech has helped him (quite a bit that last time). It would be... uncouth to repay him like that. So he keeps hurrying along instead, still trying to work out how to get information from Blurr without causing a huge scene.

And then... his plan seems to WORK. He blinks, then stares and stops a moment in stunned exaltation. IT WORKED. Well, maybe. It's a clue, at least. Collecting himself, he strides forward to catch up again. "What's her status?" he asks Blurr.

Swift Blade gives Exodus a rather flat look. "I gathered /that/ much already," she says. Yes, she's new to the planet, but she's not stupid. "But I agree that things do not need to be made worse around here." She regards him with curiosity for a moment. Care. Does /she/ actually /care/ about anyone? She doesn't know the answer to that.

She looks mildly surprised as Blurr accepts Blast Off's words and burbles out something. But she continues to speak gently to him. "We are taking you to someone who can get a look at those injuries." Pause. "What happened to you?"

She gives Blast Off a sad little smile. "Of course you do. I'm not going to tell you that what you are doing is wrong, or outright stop you, but I wouldn't be myself if I ignored the fact that he's injured," she says. And she's also not objecting to him getting information from Blurr at all. She just doesn't want to see him 'bleed' out.

"Well I can't just leave him here. I /have/ to take him somewhere to get repairs. Even if that means incriminating myself," Exodus says, sounding grieved. "Whether or not I get caught is not my concern. You and Blast Off can leave if you think you're in danger. But I must take care of him."

"Don't worry," Exodus says in that really soothing tone of voice again, "we're gonna get you somewhere safe where you'll get patched up." To Blast Off, he says. "And I respect that. I'm not forcing you to do anything. You can shoot me if you want. That won't stop me from helping him, or being your friend." They're approaching the free clinic now, and Exodus hastens his pace, entering the facility.

"Well I can't just leave him here. I /have/ to take him somewhere to get repairs. Even if that means incriminating myself," Exodus says, sounding grieved. "Whether or not I get caught is not my concern. You and Blast Off can leave if you think you're in danger. But must take care of him."

"Don't worry," Exodus says in that really soothing tone of voice again, "we're gonna get you somewhere safe where you'll get patched up." To Blast Off, he says. "And I respect that. I'm not forcing you to do anything. You can shoot me if you want. That won't stop me from helping him, or being your friend." They're approaching the free clinic now, and Exodus hastens his pace, entering the facility.

"...Idon'tknow...she'sintraining...shewasreconditioned..." Blurr replies vaguely. It's not quite clear who exactly he is answering. But the 'reconditioned' part might be fairly obvious. Suddenly he stiffens, seeming to snap out of it a bit. He stares at Blast Off. "WhatwhatisHEdoingherewhyishewithyouputmedownputmedown!!" he exclaims, and struggles more, flailing uselessly against the larger mech. "Exodus?! Whatareyoudoingtomeletgoofmenow!!"

Blast Off also blinks, looking up at Exodus. He takes all that in, optics flickering in some confusion... then perhaps an uneasy acceptance. "But... " There's another huff and he shakes his head. "Just know that he /took/ someone... and I mean to *find* them." The talk of revenge goes over his head, for the most part. He doesn't seek out trouble, but he has no problem /finishing/ it, especially for a cause. Looking over at Swift Blade, he comments, "...Your choice. Pray that you *keep* that privilege in the coming days, with mechs like *him* around." Then he sighs, deciding to drop it. All his griping isn't going to change her mind. It will take learning who Blurr is... from personal experience. "...But follow what seems... civilized to you."

He glares a bit at Exodus. "I'm not shooting you... for *I* am civilized, too." He thinks to himself, Not that you're making it *easy* for me to BE such... As for the rest, "I... I... don't get that." This mech makes little sense to him in general.

Then his fuel lines run *cold* as Blurr says Shiftlock's been.... reconditioned. He stops, frozen in his tracks, and his usually more aloof demeanor falls for a moment as horror flickers through his expression (or what can be seen of it). Then it's gone again, replaced with a cold gaze- then a slight sneer as Blurr snaps out of it. The Combaticon's hand slips down, and his blaster appears by his side. "You... will pay for that, Blurr." Then slag /everything/. Optics burning with cold fire, he raises his gun and fires right at Blurr. He's spent so much time trying to do the right thing, give things time.... and it always costs him. And now it's cost Shiftock *everything*. He failed her. He won't fail her revenge. With Blurr he's learning you must strike fast- or he'll strike you. "I will make you /PAY/."

[Combat:] Blurr partially blocks your attack and takes less damage.

"No!" Exodus cries, now cradling Blurr like a baby with both arms and turning aside quickly so that Blast Off's shot strikes him mostly but only grazes Blurr slightly. He winces slightly. "Please, Blast Off, your desire for revenge is blinding you--did you forget we're in a hospital? Please, put away your weapon.." He turns his back to the Combaticon, making a beeline for the more cush berths near the back of the clinic.

"You are in more danger than I am," Swift Blade says gently to Exodus. "But I respect your decision. However, if you want to leave when he has arrived safely at a medic, I would not blame you either." And then she follows him inside.

When Blurr starts to struggle, she reaches to put a hand on him, not really to restrain him exactly, but simply to create the impression of another boundary. "Calm down; you're going to do more damage to yourself this way." Hopefully a medic will come by soon at this rate.

And then Blast Off attacks Blurr. A startled sound comes from her vocalizers that turns into a sound of dismay. She had really hoped that he would not be brought to this, but it seems as though this faith was somewhat misplaced. On the other hand, given his response to Blurr's words, it isn't too surprising. "That's enough," she says, firmly but gently. "As Exodus said, this is a hosptial. I believe one of those important things about civilization is keeping the healing places for healing. Even the flesh people recognize this...for the most part." She sighs. "I know you're angry, but this isn't the place for it." Still, it doesn't seem as though she's turning against HIM, just his methods.

"Letmegoletmegolet--" Blast Off's shot strikes Exodus, though it manages to hit Blurr as well. Normally it wouldn't have been too much of a concern, but with the injuries he already has, it just tears a fresh one even larger than the existing wounds and causes him to leak even more profusely. The impact of the blast knocks him out of Exodus' grasp and onto the floor, where he struggles to get back up but fails miserably, his servos shaking.

" for what? We did her a -favor-, Blast Off. She -welcomed- it..." he says weakly. "...she was so I one had answers...but not any more..." He knows all of this thanks to Cipher, who performed the brainwashing procedure himself and designed its programming.

"...she can see everything clearly now. No more more confusion..."

"..." Exodus doesn't say anything. There's a hole in his armor, and energon is leaking profusely out of it. Yet, he pays it no heed. Instead he crouches and picks Blurr up again gently, once again cradling him. He looks at Blurr, and if Blurr meets his gaze, he will find the miner's expression unlike any other he has possibly experienced.

He is gazing down at Blurr with complete and sincere compassion, but it is tinged heavily with grief. Perhaps akin to the way Feint looks at him, but completely devoid of any kind of admiration. Only concern, sadness, and mercy... it may remind him of how he and Rung used to be...

Blast Off is temporarily forgetting all about being "civilized" as the desire for revenge strikes him hard. Of course, he doesn't know if any of it is actually true, but it certainly *sounds* like something the government would do. And Blurr has taken a lot from him- it's only fair he gets to take something /back/ now. But Exodus circumvents his attack, and the shot strikes the big mech as much as it does Blurr. "Slag it all..." He mutters, still striding forward, "Didn't you *hear him*? They've.. reconditioned her? If that... if that is true..." He is still considering flying forward and trying to shoot again when Swift Blade speaks. Even speaks of "civilization", as the Combaticon shuttle so often does. His optics blaze that cold, purple fire at her and his hand twitches as it grips the gun.

After several heavy ventilation cycles, Blast Off is able to speak in return. His voice is rigidly controlled to contain his anger. "He has... broought harm to her... taken HER choice away, and you expect me to...." He stands stiffly, torn between conflicting desires.

As Blurr speaks, the Combaticon's head snaps back up and the fire returns. His arm raises once more, and for a second he looks ready to fire. Then... he looks around. They ARE in a hospital. He'd... barely even noticed that before. It... isn't the place. There WILL be a place, rest assured, but... not here, now, with the two of them trying to stop him and medical assistants ready to call the police should he keep firing away. He stares as Blurr. "....You expect me to believe *anything* you say? You speak of *favors*? What favor is taking someone's MIND from them? Taking away their choice to think and reason and... be..." his voice trails off a bit, "Who they are." The arm lowers down, though his grip on his gun remains tight. "LIFE is confusing... difficult, but without the freedom to make decisions and THINK it's /worthless/."

"Confusion is natural, and ignorance is only countered by learning," Swift Blade says to Blurr. She looks as though she's about to say more, but then decides against it; now is not the time. Looking around she hopes to signal a medic over here already. Maybe they're too afraid to come out now, but she'll make one of them if she has to. Exodus is also hurting now.

She gives Blast Off a long look. "Destroying him won't stop the mindwiping," she says slowly. "Blurr is so very young; I doubt he has the capability to perform such a thing. Or a real understanding of what it means." She had no choices for most of her life, but she also never had her mind tampered with either. Such things are abhorrent to her. And perhaps she would be harder on Blurr if she hadn't heard how very VERY young he is. "It doesn't make what happened to your friend right in any sense, but Blurr is not the ROOT of the problem," she reiterates. "Focus your anger on them."

"..." Blurr stares up at Exodus, but the thought of Rung prompts him to turn away. It's too's tearing him up inside. He shakes his head. "Justleavemehere....I'llbefine..." He mutters, pushing the larger mech away.

The racer just shrugs weakly at Blast Off. "Fine, don't believe me...if it makes you feel better. But next time you see her, why don't you ask her -yourself-." It is true...whether the Combaticon wants to believe it or not. After all, what purpose is there in lying about it anyway?

By now, however, Blurr has lost so much energon that he has gone back into stasis lock, and his body goes limp in Exodus' arms.

Blurr's attempt to push Exodus away is futile, the larger mech carries him all the way to the berths in the back of the hospital and places him carefully on one of them. Then he places a thermal blanket over the speedster carefully.

"Blast Off, I know life is hard and confusing sometimes, but we just have to do our best to make the right decisions. Take it from someone who's own brother tried to murder him, and because of that ended up blind for a good vorn or two." He pauses, shaking his elm. "Swift Blade is right. Killing Blurr won't change anything. We can't solve our problems with the same line of thinking used to create them. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to work. My break is over." With a sigh, he turns and exits the hospital, before Swift Blade can protest.

Blast Off turns to stare at Swift Blade, and slowly he comes to realize that what she says does actually make some sense to him. He's the one who went on and on about how young Shiftlock was. Blurr's even younger and a mindwipe victim too. He's only spouted off what he's programmed to. Not that Blast off has any sort of warm or sypathetic feelings towards the racer. He is still perfectly happy shooting him. The Combaticon's gaze eventually lowers and he looks towards the ground, fists clenched but laying at his sides. "...I...I suppose you are... correct." It is difficult to settle down, but he takes a few more long vents and finds that... calmer spot inside.

He's still ice to Blurr though, as the racer speaks to him. "Ask her? I wouldn't be asking *her*, don't you see? I'd be asking a pre-scripted *program* for a teleprompt." His own voice betrays a hint of sadness. By the time Exodus speaks, the Combaticon has finally begun to... stand down. His bristling armor plates have smoothed out again and he has his more normal aloof, somewhat guarded air. "I should... be going as well. I do not want to be seen here for long, after..." He looks down at his gun.

Heading towards the door, he looks back at Swift Blade. "I... am sorry things turned out like this."

Swift Blade looks mildly horrified. Exodus' brother tried to murder him! This planet seems to get worse and worse, and she's starting to think her future her is going to be rather bleak indeed. But before she can ask him about it, he leaves.

To Blast Off she gives a sad smile, optics lowering slightly. "Don't apologize to me; I can see where you are coming from, and to be able to calm down at all after everything shows remarkable restraint," she says. "You haven't wronged me at all. If you need to apologize to anyone, it is your friend Exodus," she says gravely. "I don't think any less of you." She inclines her head. "But you are right; it would be wise for you to go. I will stay here."

Blast Off also raised an optic ridge at Exodus' revelation, but that news will have to wait until later. He nods to Swift Blade, finding he's glad he hasn't just alienated one of the few sane people he knows. He glances as Exodus leaves, "I... don't understand him. But... yes, perhaps. And... we'll see." With that, he leaves the building.

Swift Blade quietly waits until Blurr wakes up, a medic asks her to leave, or she's needed back at Vos.

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