Location: Combaticon Bunker
Date: 26 March 2015
Summary: Blast Off arrives at the new Combaticon Bunker with something to confess to Onslaught. Question is will he tell and who might already know.
"Something's missing. Why is something missing?"
Onslaught is in the weapon stacks right now. He's got a HoloBoard in his hand and he's skimming through lists within lists of weapon inventory. /Somebody/ has to actually do some work around here if they are going to actually make some shanix. Being a mercenary is harder than it looks and nobody ever wants to give credit to the Mastermind behind all of this. Still, though, Onslaught is focused on making sure that everything is in order. Except for whatever is missing. "Swindle." Onslaught's tone is both accusatory and proud. "I'm going to kill him." Mostly accusatory.
Onslaught is clearly in a mood.
Oh lovely. This is just the /perfect/ time for Blast Off to arrive for their pre-arranged meeting in private, where the shuttle has several things he needs to get off his chest to his Commander. ...Maybe. He's wiffle-waffling about it even now. He DID make the appointment though, so now is not the time to decide to drop it, or Onslaught would be in quite a mood.
The shuttleformer arrives at the given time and place, taking in the sight of this new bunker. Hmm. Well- he's not sure what to make of it, but at least there aren't a bunch of other Decepticons to deal with here. He then glances inside the doorway- and stops. Nope. This does not look good. He hesitates and nearly steps out the way he came, wing elevons twitching. But no... he has an appointment, he'd better keep it. The sniper straightens and looks as professional as possible. "Onslaught."
"... there's supposed to be a Triceraton Scatter Blaster on this shelf. Well, there is one. There should be two. He took the purple one. I liked the purple one." Onslaught sounds like he's getting angrier and angrier. "He better bring it back in one piece or he'll be leaving in a few pieces of his own." Onslaught swipes past that screen of inventory and throws a disc onto the shelf where the Scatter Blaster should be. A moment or two later the disc emits a small hologram of Swindle.
"Move." Onslaught says to Blast Off as he pushes out of the weapon stacks and moves off towards the next section. "Speak." It would seem as though Onslaught's method of appointment keeping involves him doing something asinine and something useful at the same time. It just works out better that way, really.
Blast Off is getting increasingly nervous as this goes on and more inclined to think that this might have been a really bad idea. He looks at the hologram of Swindle and wonders briefly if he's about to watch Onslaught plan out the best way to dismantle the conmech. The sniper then glances through the pile of weapons and tries to offer, "I see... there's a Semi-Automatic Laser Rifle over there on the shelf, it's uh... it's not quite as powerful as the Scatter Blaster but it has better range and accuracy." THERE. SO HELPFUL and KNOWLEGABLE. He's so USEFUL and IMPRESSIVE and AREN'T YOU SO GLAD HE'S A COMBATICON AGAIN, Onslaught?
When Onslaught says *move* he does so out of sheer military habit, striding further into the room even while trying not to look nervous. When Onslaught says *speak* he just stands there a moment. Then, oh, right. "....maybe this is a bad time. I could come back later?"
"Speak now or I will make sure your vocalization hardware is the only thing still functioning after I'm through with you." Onslaught still hasn't even looked in Blast Off's direction. He's focused on making sure that the information on the shelves are matching the information he has on his manifest. He's pretty good at this so he's able to skim fast. Which probably means that Blast Off is not going to have much more time to talk to him.
Onslaught purposefully ignores Blast Off's dropping of weapon knowledge because he's rude like that. He may or may not have made a mental note about it though.
This only makes the shuttle's wing elevon twitching worse, and he spends a moment sending staccatto clicking and clacking noises through the bunker. That eventually calms, though, and Blast Off regains a sense of /some/ decorum once more. There's another moment's pause, then he plunges in and hopes he stays afloat. SURELY he will. Right?
"Well, Onslaught, I needed to speak with you about a few... things. Things that as Combaticon Commander you should be made aware of, if you don't already know." He glances over towards the Swindle hologram, then continues. "For one... are you aware that I have been made the Decepticon's representative in an upcoming public debate that will pit me defending the Decepticons against the Autobot Whirl defending that faction?"
"You are an idiot if you go through with it. We are only Decepticons because they are paying us to be. Let them fight their own battles." This is how Onslaught gives advice. He just tells his idiotic Combaticons (which is all of them) what to do. Still, the Combaticon Commander has yet to give any impression that he's actually paying attention to Blast Off. This could just be rehearsed answers or something. Onslaught is kind of a genius! He could've seen these questions coming from a mile away. "I'm sure you'll make the wrong decision, though. Next?"
Now it's Blast Off's turn to grumble, letting out a soft *hufff* as his head drops forward just slightly and his fists clench before opening again. "....I didn't GET a choice in the matter, Onslaught. Do you think I *want* to do this? Megatron himself decided that *I* was the one to represent him after he and Sky Lynx got into an arguement on Global Broadcast. They just sort of... volunteered Whirl and I for the job. In fact..." he takes a step forward now.
"Would you like to know where I just was? In Megatron's office, where he informed me of this and told me I better not disappoint him, or fail to represent him well. I have to learn *every last word* of his manifesto and then sound like I care about what it says!" There's a pause as he thinks back to this, and he looks somewhat uneasy. Even moreso than he already does. "He made it quite clear failure is *not* an option."
"Failure is never an option with Megatron. Yet? Starscream." Onslaught feels as though that statement is speaking enough for all intents and purposes. "But if you'd rather be a Decepticon than a Combaticon, I'm sure that can be arranged." Onslaught finally takes his optics off the HoloBoard and looks over to Blast Off. He doesn't say anything but the look explains just how hypocritical it would be for this to happen, considering what went down upon Onslaught's return to active action! He doesn't bring it up though. There is no need to. "I believe you said these were things I needed to know?" Onslaught is getting annoyed.
Blast Off HUFFs again. "I don't /want/ to be a Decepticon! Well- except I AM one, so are YOU, technically. My loyalty is here, though, but if I refused Megatron I'd probably get myself smelted and then YOU would be without your best sniper." Also his only one. "I'm just letting you know, since this is apparently a... a thing I have to do. Unless YOU wish to talk Megatron out of this? And it could be a trap for all I know. I don't trust the Autobots at all, and they're the ones setting this up- and determining the location!"
Onslaught finally looks at him, and that gives the shuttleformer some pause. He stares back. He seems to stare more these days than he used to, it's almost like he picked up a habit from somewhere- or someone- else. But finally, he speaks. "Um... well, that's... that's probably it." He almost sounds like he's not SURE that's really it, but is still debating the wisdom of bringing it up.
"Blast Off. You are an idiot. Of course it is a trap. You've just given yourself an entire pointless conversation's worth of reasons not to do this. Yet here you are, telling yourself, because I stopped listening the moment you started speaking, giving yourself reasons to do it. Your unimpressive mind was already made when you came here to bother me and waste my time. So. If you're done making a fool of yourself, do go and prepare for your assassination. Because the odds of surviving your 'debate' are less than the odds of you surviving WASTING MY TIME!"
Onslaught is now angry.
As Onslaught grows angrier, Blast Off goes through a number of reactions one after the other. Getting called an idiot results in a huffy righteous indignation, the shuttle straightening up once more to glare now instead of stare at his Commander. Then there is doubt as he Onslaught speaks of his assassination, and his gaze darts to the side and one of the blasters lying on a table... wondering just what weapon the Autobots will use to kill him with. Or will they find some other means?
And then there's more of that unease as the other Combaticon demands Blast off stop wasting his time, and he leans back a little as he grows quite still. His violet optics look in various places- anywhere BUT Onslaught, as a decision is reached. Then his gaze slowly lifts towards his commander. When he speaks, his voice is quiet and subdued and the shuttle looks as if he'd like to figure out how to shrink away under a rock. "......There is... there is something else you should know. The... reason Whirl was probably chosen to be my... debate partner. There are... well.... Whirl and I have been.... we've been fighting a lot. Talking on radio. We seem... we seem to run across each other... a lot."
Cue The Sonic Stun Gun.
That's right, Onslaught's weapon has been drawn and is now in Blast Off's faceplate. Onslaught doesn't even have his holoboard anymore. His entire focus is on the stupidity coming from Blast Off.
"I will kill you." Onslaught narrows his optics as if he's attempting to make the threat even more real. "The fact that you are even entertaining the idea of wasting my time in an attempt to explain to me what I'm sure you already know that I know, is what is making me want to blow your head clean off your body. However, I'm going to allow you a chance to rethink this conversation and the path that it is heading down. I'm going to give you another shot to make this about something relevant. You do that, right now, and I will not make you into a glorified transport shuttle for scraplets."
Blast Off is taken by surprise. The shuttle suddenly finds himself with a gun drawn and pointed at his face, and everything just sort of stops. He blinks once, then stares down the barrel... kind of like Arcee was staring down the barrel of HIS gun not long ago. For a moment, that is the sole focus of his world. Then the world expands to Onslaught standing there pointing the weapon and threatening him. Out of sheer neccessity, the nervous fumbling slows as well and Blast Off makes no wastful moves. His demeanor settles down... but it chills a little as well.
"I.... will stop wasting your time then." His cultured voice sounds flat now- each word deliberated. "My loyalty has ...always been to the Combaticons. That's... all I wanted to say. That's... all I /will/ say. I assure you," His optics narrow a little and a smattering of ice appears, though his tone remains even. "....I will not bother you with personal concerns again." He finishes by gazing evenly down that gun barrel as if daring Onslaught to shoot.
See? Was that so hard?"
Onslaught actually smiles before pulling the Sonic Stun Gun back and throwing it back into his subspace. "By the way, it's a Sonic Stun Gun. It wouldn't have killed you. You really should do something about cracking under pressure. You are likely to be grilled after they arrest you at the Debate. I'm sure giving up Decepticon secrets will also anger Megatron." Onslaught actually sounds happy about that possibility. "Your loyalty is the only thing that matters, Blast Off. When the time comes, I'll ask you to do something that will likely involve your... issues." Onslaught can't even say it either. Cuz, uh, no. Just no. "At that moment, your loyalty will be tested. Not a moment before. It is then that I will know what is most important to you. Until that moment, I think even a prissy space shuttle such as yourself is allowed to have a bit of fun."
Blast Off stands there, facing his Commander and thinking this was the worst idea he ever had, and admittedly- he's had some doozies. But first and foremost, more than anything else, Blast off wants to know he can /trust/ his team. Being a Combaticon is an important part of his identity, even if he doesn't always feel like he fits in very well. And he /wanted/ to know he could trust Onslaught. He wanted to know his team- and his Commander espcially- had his back. And for a minute there, it was not looking good. For a minute there, he was thinking he'd never attempt honesty again. And then- that moment passes.
Blinking, the shuttleformer stands there, taking this new information in. "...Wait, you /knew/??!!" He sounds genuinely surprised. Slaaag, maybe Whirl was right and people really /are/ catching on. Or then again, maybe it's just Onslaught and the way he always seems to KNOW EVERYTHING ANYWAY. The shuttle's shoulders relax finally and he rolls his neck once in the release of tension. Then he mutters, "I am NOT "prissy"..." then thinks to add, "...but thank you."
Thinking another moment, he adds, "Onslaught... /Commander/. My loyalty will always be to this team. We have always had each other's backs, and regardless of other... concerns, I have no intentions of /ever/ betraying this team. And as far as the Decepticons go, well... the Combaticons will /always/ come before the Decepticons. However, for now... I have to at least act like a loyal Decepticon."
"Then I believe there's nothing more to say, Blast Off." Onslaught doesn't need to pay attention anymore. He's got his HoloBoard scooped back up and he's focused, once more, on the fact that there's inventory to do. Because he's got to get this stuff done.
Three Days Ago...
HER: Be nice to him.
Onslaught: Don't Slaughtikins me. He's interfacing with the enemy.
HER: Stop. Think. You can use this.
Onslaught: ... Oh. Oh this is going to be good.
Blast Off blinks again. Oh. Right. The shuttleformer feels some small sense of relief. Small. He's still in a world of trouble should his secret come out, and he's not exactly sure what Onslaught meant by "testing him when the time comes". But for now- right now? Onslaught's basically told him it's Ok- and he's not going to press his luck. "Ah. Yes, I understand." He gives his Commander a nod. "I have several sections scanned, as you ordered, and have left you a copy of the data. I'm still making deliveries for Swindle in Nyon, and have encountered the Autobot Arcee there. She is doing.. charitable work there, or so she says." His optics narrow at the memory. Ah well.
He turns to go, pausing to add one thing, "I... have no intentions of... cracking under pressure. Nor in getting arrested. I will fight my way out of there, if I have to."
It's no secret that someone else is making their way into the Combaticon's current base, as Vortex does nothing to conceal his entry. After all, he belongs there. The gray mech struts into the bunker proper, pausing to glance around at the stock piles, the facilities, and really, the bunker as a whole. And of course, his comrades. "Fighting our way out of things, are we?"
Blast Off is beginning to head away when he encounters Vortex heading in. The shuttleformer stops, feeling a little... what is it? Guilty? About trying to tell Onslaught about Whirl but not admitting anything to Vortex. Then again... he's still not sure what Vortex would DO with that information. He looks around the bunker after the rotary's comment, optic ridge lifting. "....Well, we ARE Combaticons, I suppose."
"You /suppose/" Vortex parrots with an arched optic ridge, causing his visor to look uneven. Vortex crosses his arms over his chest.
Blast Off huffs a little at that, giving Vortex a deadpan look. "Alright, fine. We ARE Combaticons. Period, end of sentence. COMBAT is what we do. It wouldn't do for us to suddenly find ourselves under enemy attack caught unawares and without weapons. What would anyone think? We have /appearances/ to maintain, after all. Also...COMBAT."
Vortex nods his head slowly. "But you said /I/ will fight my way, not /we/ will fight our way. I know, I know, it takes time to adapt to the group mentality, but consider myself an aid to your reintegration to help you curb those sorts of thoughts." Vortex chuckles as he glances about at the mostly organised inventory.
Now the shuttleformer is the one to cross his arms as he studies the helicopter. "Why not /both/, Vortex? You keep wanting me to think more... groupthink. I'm a /shuttle/. We don't exactly travel in /herds/. And while I am a Combaticon and therefore a team player (and I DO have only the best interests of this team at spark).... I value my independence as well. I will never simply mindlessly follow the herd."
Then he tilts his head slightly to the right, bringing up a hand as he explains himself. "And when I was speaking about *I* not *we* I was talking about this blasted debate I have to go do against Whirl and the Autobots at Megatron's insistance. Were you planning on joining me there? It may just turn out to be a trap for all I know."
"That... is amazingly brilliant, I must say. Keep the sniper in the limelight rather than any other member, so that you, the sniper, can't cover them." Vortex tone suggest more than his face, and is tone is grudging admiration. "I imagine if I were there it would somehow be a violation... but I would walk into an obvious trap with you just to have your back - despite teh GLARING tactical error it would be." Vortex scratches his optic rdge as he glances around. "But somehow I don't think you believe a word I say."
"As for mindlessly following a herd, if you make choices just to assert your independence, you are still letting them influence you into an action you may not have previously taken. So you're still mindlessly following them - just counter clock-wise," Vortex adds.
"Yes." Blast Off's optic ridges furrow down a little. "That is... something that makes me uncomfortable. I AM a sniper- I want to be off in the shadows somewhere, not have a giant spotlight shone down upon me. It's... off-putting. I'm NOT a diplomat, nor an inspirational speaker.... I'm a sniper and I'd rather be up somewhere high, ready to quietly squeeze off a shot and call it a day." He expells some air through his vents, then pauses to look thoughtfully at his teammate. After a moment, he admits, "I... do believe you, Vortex. I... know that you have my back. I am just getting used to... well, being that team-player again, like you said."
He has to think about the rest of that for a minute, beginning to puff up with an immediate contrary reaction. "That is NOT the case at all. I just..." He slows as, unfortunately, those words DO wind up making some sense after all. "Well... it's just that... Well, no. I mean, yes, IF one did it ONLY to demonstrate independence. But I DON'T. I do what I *want*, regardless of anyone else. Well- besides orders, or common sense, or other reasons, that is."
Vortex nods his head, and perhaps looks a bit grim. But then, with a facial configuration like his, grim is easy. "I know it is disconcerting. You ought to demand to know what security precautions there will be and demand the right to bring your own security. Or you could always get yourself torn apart by that she-beast again so that they have to send someone else in your stead." Vortex makes a claw motion with his hand, swiping playfully at Blast Off. "Tell me more about this debate. And don't think it is a coincidence that the two of you were chosen. The way you two go at it..." Vortex pauses meaningfully, "..on the radio guarantees it to be a rather /heated/ affair."
Blast Off nods. "That is a good idea. I will demand to know that basic security is being met." The mention of getting torn apart causes the shuttle to look at Vortex with that deadpan expression again. "That will HARDLY be neccessary. Nor do I plan on running like a coward. I WILL face this like a mech, and I will WIN it, too." As the rotary "claws" at him he leans back with that same nonplussed expression, though his annoyance is mild. At least it is until Vortex presses further, and the shuttle quiets and stills. His voice becomes almost too calm. "....And there you go again. I'd almost think you're trying to /imply/ something, Vortex... but that would just be ridiculous, wouldn't it?"
With a jovial tone, Vortex spreads out his hands and says, "It wouldn't be rediculous at all, Blast Off. But, people do not often pick up on implications if there isn't something they were guarded about. So you accusing me of implying something is almost a confession, albeit vague."
Blast Off's optics narrow even further now as he gazes at Vortex. The shuttle's armor plates bristle slightly before smoothing again. "Or sometimes they simply get an idea in their head and insist on finding meaning where there is none." He stares at the rotary for a moment before adding with a quick roll of his shoulders, "And besides, it's not like I haven't been dealing with outlandish accusations since... well since I reawakened here, really. This is just one of a succession. Besides..." He turns to look at Vortex and gives him a hard stare, "What would /you/ do if there *was* a confession?"
"I would try to help you navigate a tricky situation," Vortex responds with a small shrug. "But, I concede your point, once someone has an idea in their head about something or someone, they do fabricate evidence where there is none. I'm impressed."
Blast Off listens to this, his earlier annoyance fading towards a more thoughtful attitude. LIke he's sizing Vortex up and deliberating something. He still seems a bit undecided though, as he replies, "I... see. Well, yes. You are not the only student of psychology, you know. I may not have your skill as an interrogator, but nor am I a niave fool. And as a sniper... well, I suppose that means I do a lot of watching and observing sometimes.. including of people. Even though I generally find them rather annoying overall."
The shuttleformer glances back towards where Onslaught is still sorting weapons, then back to Vortex. "...I should probably be going. I have this debate to get prepared for." He takes a step away, then pauses to look halfway back. "While we're speaking of purely /hypothetical/ situations, I will say this. Even if I /did/ actually have something to ...admit to, I would... need to know that that sharing of information wouldn't create a whole /new /set of problems for me."
Vortex also glances towards the inventory being straightened out, then back to Blast Off. "Oh, that new set of problems is already in effect, Blast Off... because frankly, I know about you and Whirl. I just wanted to give you the opportunity to confide in me so that you didn't appear too transparent, as I know you HATE that." Vortex shrugs as if this were no big deal. "But we'll talk more about that later. How about I help you practice for the debate? That should be our primary focus, that other stuff can wait - but knowing about Whirl, I think, will help me coach you in dealing with the obvious distraction they are using him as. How about it?"
And then Vortex has to go and say THAT. The floor sort of drops out from under Blast Off's feet and a sinking sensation threatens to overtake him. That is, if the shock didn't sort of numb it all to begin with, at least. So the shuttleformer just stands there and stares and PRIMUS does EVERYONE KNOW??!! He can't even find words for a bit. Eventually, though, he manages a nod. "...I... uh..." Blink. "...Alright." All the denial has been knocked out of his system for now.
"Perfect, let's head to somewhere we won't be interrupted. I'll pour the wine, and we can begin spilling over the debate material. I've never done debating in front of people, but I've watched them and observed what can make or break a debate. I would suggest we start by familiarising ourselves with..." blah blah blah... Vortex talks about what they are GOING to talk about while guiding Blast Off to somewhere a litle more private - to where they can discuss the things he discussed about them discussing.