Title: History & Politics

PCs: Arcee, Hot Rod, Jazz, Swift Blade

Location: Nyon

Date: 05 January 2015

Summary: Jazz and Arcee are on patrol; Swift Blade has questions; Hot Rod is Hot Rod.

Ah, beautiful Nyon. There's nothing quite like the stench of decay to really add /layers/ to the bouquet of neglect. What a great place.

Away from the city center, the buildings may not be as old nor as grand, but they are a little less abandoned. Crowded tenements cluster around working services and establishments. Hot Rod's away from his base, but from his familiarity -- with the streets, with the people -- he can hardly be said to be out of his territory. What a homebody.

A few people break away from two mechs arguing at the side of the street. The departing grumble with disappointment that discussion has not erupted into a fight. BORING. With Hot Rod being one of the mechs, they really expected better. The person he's talking to has grease mech written all over him -- no, literally, there's grease all over him, possibly from his day job in Iacon -- that presents a stark contrast to Hot Rod's vibrant colors. "--just selfish of you to go. Nyon needs you more than Kaon does," Hot Rod insists, and gets only a rude gesture for his efforts before the other mech walks off.

One more for the cause, and one less for Nyon. Hot Rod should work on his persuasiveness.

It's strange that Swift Blade has been in Nyon so many times and has never seen Hot Rod before. Well, she sees him now, which isn't surprising because his paint really does make him stand out. She watches as the second mech walks by her. Not knowing either of them she has no particular reaction to what is going on.

Jazz is cruising through the streets in altmode, having invited his new Junior Woodchuck I MEAN PARTNER along with him for the drive. Part of the reason is to see how effective she is on four wheels, and part of it is to continue his own private analysis and evaluation of her as a whole. He needs to know how she thinks and how she moves in order to train and utilize her.

Arcee zooms along with Jazz, also in her altmode, and absolutely refusing to admit that she probably strains her engines a bit to keep up with him. She handles herself well, maneuvering around sharp turns and narrow byways as best she can. "<< Where are we going in such a hurry? >>" she asks.

"Oh, come on!" Hot Rod shouts after the departing mech, but that's not exactly a convincing argument, either. In the end, he's left with nothing but frustration, which he vents by kicking at the broken pavement. He glances up at Swift Blade with a general, all-purpose scowl. For all that he doesn't know her, he has zero problems addressing her with, "What, you running off to Kaon, too?"

"I'm not running anywhere," says Swift Blade with half a shrug. "For one, I just got here. Two, I have no reason to run there. Three, I already have duties in Vos." She tilts her head to the side. "You seem to be having a bad cycle." Brilliant observation Swift. As for the two vehicles, she is unaware of them at this moment.

Jazz slows himself down to keep up with Arcee at a more reasonable pace. "Oh, sorry about that 'Cee. Sometimes I run a little hotter than I realize. - You don't mind if I call you 'Cee' do you?" Following up on information passed along through enforcer channels, he's looking for Hot Rod's last known location. "We're gonna pay a visit to Mr. Flames himself, see how he's doin'."

"Oh, okay! No, I don't mind at all," Arcee says, deciding that someday she would petition to get a better engine put in. Maybe in the meantime, she could figure out a 'logical' way of explaining why she would need a race engine, and Prowl would totally approve it! She slows down a bit as they head into a more traffic-congested area. "I think he's up ahead...picking up his signal nearby."

Hot Rod laughs. It's not a particularly amused laugh. He doesn't really think she's funny. It's a little bitter, a little sharp, but it ends with a long vent rather than cruel words. "You have no idea," is regretful rather than thrown as an attack. He gives Swift Blade the brief twist of a smile, but can't hold it long. "Duties in Vos that bring you here, or--?" Tourism? Maybe she's a tourist.

Hot Rod's not particularly hard to spot -- ever, yes, but in particular he's been out and about in the more widely populated areas of Nyon lately, so his last known location is not only quickly available, but quite accurate.

Swift Blade wasn't trying to be funny. But Hot Rod wouldn't know that. However, her tone has been serious the whole time. "I am sorry to hear that," she says about the bad cycle. "No, I am here because I have a few acquaintances that either live here or frequent this city." She extends a polite hand. "My name is Swift Blade."

UH OH IT'S THE PO-PO HOT ROD. Jazz pulls up to the area in altmode, headlights on, with Arcee not far behind. He rolls out of altmode in a manuever that, four million years or so from now, on another planet, could be called 'break dancing'. He turns towards Arcee's position while calling out to Hot Rod, "Hey there mech! What's happenin'?"

Arcee rolls up to the curb, transforms, and smiles cheerfully at Hot Rod. Yes, she's arrived here *with* Jazz. They definitely showed up as a team. "Hey, it's been a while!" she says cheerfully. She glances over toward Swift Blade, and some of that initial cheer dissipates, mostly because she remembers what was going on the last time she saw Swift Blade and it was quite the regrettable situation.

"Hot Rod." Of course. /Of course/ that's his name with the whole red and the flames and the spoiler. He clasps Swift Blade's hand with an easier smile. "Yeah? Anyone I might know?" He just knows all kinds of people. Funny how that works, the same people running into each other.

Speaking of: Hot Rod's manner cools when he spots incoming maybe-trouble only to thaw as he makes out Jazz, and warm further on seeing Arcee. He remains a touch reserved -- you know, for Hot Rod -- when he greets them, which limits him to a broad, "Hey, you too! Both of you, actually." He certainly gives them a warmer welcome than many might in this oh-so-law-abiding city.

As the lead vehicle transforms Swift Blade turns some of her attention towards him, giving him a courteous nod. Then the pink car transforms as well and she recognizes Arcee from the other evening. They hadn't really had much time to gauge one another, as Arcee had left shortly after she arrived. "I was wondering if I would see you again," she notes to Arcee. Nothing in her tone indicates whether this is a good or a bad thing.

She turns back to Hot Rod with a faint smile. "Maybe. Though, I'm slowly learning by experience that it isn't always good, or appropriate, to be too free with information." She sighs deeply, as though this lesson is not one she cared to learn and regrets the need for it. "I mean no offense."

Jazz waves to Arcee for her to join him. The seeker is a new edition and she doesn't -quite- look as... seeker-y, as some. This gets his interest. "Came to see if you were doin' okay. Word around the undergrid has it that team trouble had a little shake-up." He doesn't say it in an accusatory, self-righteous way. There's concern and consolation in his body language and tone. He focuses on Swift Blade for a moment. "That's an interestin' accent you have."

Arcee hopes that Swift Blade's presence here is a good thing. There's a few things she wants to ask, but since she's officially 'field partnering' with Jazz, she allows him to ask the first questions.

"None taken. Hey, maybe your mystery friends might even appreciate it," Hot Rod says. He looks amused by Swift Blade's regretful caution. Aw, that's cute! "Sounds like you've got some interesting friends though." His humor freezes, then falls as he glances back at Jazz. There's a flicker of open anger in the curl of his lip before he remembers he /likes/ those two. No snarling. "Well, you should know." (Apparently sulking is still on the table.)

Swift Blade blinks once at Jazz; she had never thought of it much that way. Over time spent away from the planet, of course she wouldn't sound quite like those who had been on Cybertron all along. She inclines her head. "I have been offworld most of my life," she admits. Then again, she's never hidden this from anyone.

Swift Blade generally has a rather neutral presence. She means well, but she is also not interested in getting involved in politics. Yet. One never knows what the future might hold. However, she doesn't seem to view Arcee as any sort of threat, so her expression remains calm.

"I'm sure they may appreciate it in their own ways," Swift Blade concedes to Hot Rod. "These seem like very turbulent times, which makes me rather sad, but there doesn't seem to be much help for it."

Jazz can't help but notice that Hot Rod's emotions might as well be a giant glowing neon sign lighting up over his head. He raises his hands. "Hey now, don't look at me like I'm the one that nabbed her. I don't like it any more than you do! There's a reason I got out of racin' while the gettin't was good. Or even still possible." His hands return to his sides. "That's one of the reasons I came to find that big spoiler of yours - I wanted to let you know she's -safe-." He leaves Swift Blade and Arcee to ponder what he's talking about.

Arcee knows exactly who Jazz is talking about, now, or at least she has a good idea. She glances back toward Swift Blade, and decides she'd better bring this topic up while it's still fresh in her mind. "Have, um...have either of you seen Blast Off, recently?" she asks.

"You got a funny definition of safe." Hands on his hips, Hot Rod adds some flames to backdrop the giant neon sign of his mood. His stance bristles, but aggression remains merely at a simmer. "What do you know about her /reconditioning/?" He just ... totally ignores the question about Blast Off. For no reason.

Swift Blade has heard a few things about people being nabbed or going missing. As to /who/ they are talking about, she has no real way of knowing. When Arcee speaks, she flicks a glance towards the femme and studies her face for a few long moments. "I have," she finally admits. "I've seen him quite a few times." She shrugs her shoulders easily. "Was there something you needed?"

She gives Hot Rod a speculative look. Is she smart enough to put all the pieces together? Perhaps, especially with the word 'reconditioning.' Either way, it's not technically any of her business, but she keeps her audials open.

Jazz looks remorseful and tired all at once. "That she -asked- for it," is his answer to Hot Rod. "I don't mean the official cover that they're gonna tell everyone that comes in contact with her: She -requested- a personality adjustment. After that, they handed her off to Banzaitron for some kinda specialized martial arts trainin'."

"I was just wondering if..." Yeah, Arcee, what WERE you wondering, she thinks to herself as she looks over at Swift Blade. "Umm...I wondered if you might know if he was still here in Nyon or if he's since moved on?" There's a few things the pink one still needs to learn, as she isn't yet gifted in the art of interrogating subjects.

Hot Rod recoils. "No way." His refusal to believe Jazz is flat, non-negotiable. He glances toward Arcee and Swift Blade, but totally and completely casually before he looks back at Jazz. "Blurr /arrested her/. She didn't go in willingly. She went in because he was /killing people/."

Swift Blade purses her lips together at the notion of anyone WANTING to have their personality or memories tampered with. It's the one thing that DIDN'T happen to her as a slave, and thus it was the one thing she had to hold on to for all those years. That someone would discard beyond her ability to understand. Still, she doesn't know the whole situation.

The seeker femme turns back to Arcee. "I don't know where he stays," she says slowly. "But as far as I can tell, he hasn't indicated that he will never return to this city." Pause. "Was there a message you wish to have relayed to him?" Since she doesn't know the situation in full, she doesn't know what information Arcee already has on Blast Off.

At the mention of Blurr, Swift Blade's face actually twitches. That is one subject that makes her head hurt. "This is obviously a very personal thing to you," she says to Hot Rod. "I can leave if you need me to."

"I /know/ what Blurr did," Jazz protests gently. "But it was all right there in the report - you know, the one I'm not technically supposed to be sharin' with you right now? - but there was no struggle, no fight, no nothin'. She just -asked- to be changed."

Arcee hmms. Ponders the all-too-familiar huffing, hurt, and outrage Blast Off would get if Swift Blade tried to give him a message -- from her. Possibly not the best idea, to say the least. "...No, that's...that's alright, but thank you for offering," she says.

"No," Hot Rod tells Swift Blade. "I see nothing wrong with others knowing that /good people/ are turning themselves in to avoid slaughter." BY GOVERNMENT AGENTS, PS. He smudges toward the line of dissing the Senate without quite crossing it ... at least not right in front of Jazz and Arcee.

The gentle protest punches past his outrage to redirect Hot Rod's attention. He looks openly wounded by the idea. Someone should really teach him to control his expression, but in the meantime--! "But why would she do that?" It's not an accusation, and his aggression has faded. He sounds distraught rather than angry. For now, anyway.

It can't be any worse than when Quantum got Swift Blade to deliver a message, but that's neither here nor there. Swift Blade nods her head to Arcee. "Very well then," she notes. "We did meet under very strange circumstances the first time," she adds. "But I do not wish that to necessarily color any future interactions."

She gives Jazz a long look. "You are an officer of the law then, I would gather by the conversation, yes?" It's more of a rhetorical question, as she keeps going. "Perhaps then you could clear up some things for me, if it is not too sensitive a matter."

She nods gravely to Hot Rod. "Slaughter is a very harsh word to use. Is it truly as serious as that?" Yeah, she's been off planet for a long time. And as much as those around her are wary of the law, she has seen no DIRECT evidence of its corruption.

"I dunno, Hot Rod. I can try to find out, but that's gonna require some fancy footwork if I'm gonna slip it past the ol' chevron," Jazz thinks aloud, using his nickname for Prowl. "Yeah - yeah I'm Security Forces. 'The man', if you ask flames over there," he adds with a wry note of humor. "Ask away, I got time to stay."

Arcee is quiet and attentive for the time being, because she feels she probably has a thing or two to learn about this situation and how to handle it.

"I usually try to forget that about you, to be honest," Hot Rod tells Jazz. Glancing at Swift Blade, he says, "Slaughter's probably not harsh enough to the friends of those left behind. But these two are okay. They aren't the kind of law types you find involved in spark harvesting, brainwashing, memory alteration, vivisection, kidnapping, assassination, and stuff like that." And if they are -- well, he can just live with not knowing, right? Right.

Swift Blade smiles faintly. "Very well. I haven't been on Cybertron long, but it seems there is a great deal of sentiment against the ruling bodies, as well as talk of corruption. I haven't seen this myself, but I also believe that a lot of people are in earnest in these views. So, as an officer, do you concede there is any chance there might be something to back these...beliefs?" she questions. The whole planet seems to be drawn into an 'us versus them' mentality, but she hasn't heard a lot from the 'law' side.

Hot Rod's words make her point even more...pointy. She nods her head. "That does seem to be a lot of the cause of the planet's pain," she says softly. "Those who are dead no longer worry or aspire. But those left behind..." She shakes her head. "They will carry that pain with them a long time, yes?"

This is getting deeper than he wanted, but Jazz relents and goes with it. Swift Seeker needs Info badly, as it were. Shifting his weight to his right leg and rubbing his chin thoughtfully, he mulls over where to begin, and how much to say. "Problem comes down to none of us knowin' how to build a stable society. Not since the Age of Wrath, when society was pretty much built for us and shoved down our fuel lines," he muses. "We just kinda descended into barbarism and gathered into thirteen tribes based on what we looked like or what we did. There's a sayin' that nature abohors a vacuum, and I think that works when it comes to power, too - pretty soon we had a Prime and people tryin' to make sense out of the chaos, build somethin' out of the ashes; that's where we got the Functionist Council and the Senate. They were supposed to help us figure out what to do withourselves and how to live, but after awhile, it seemed like they all got too focused on sortin' things out into neat little boxes and makin' sure everybody had a place to fit in. Whenever someone didn't fit... well that's when the hammers came out to make that square peg fit in a round hole."

He lowers his hand and continues. "So now we got mech that have nothin' to lose, and they're callin' for change, and the ones holdin' the reigns don't wanna let go. You do something for millions of years and you think your way is the right way, you dig? That's the problem we got up top right now. I ain't one to call for total anarchy, you gotta have some kinda rule of law t' keep folks safe and keep the peace, but what's goin' on now is less a rule of law and more of a choke chain."

"It's not going to hold," Hot Rod says, and much too frankly, really. This is how he keeps ending up on LISTS. He's conspicuously silent on his opinion re: anarchy.

Swift Blade flinches slightly at the mention of the Age of Wrath. "I was not even through my schooling when I was taken by the Quintessons. I didn't know enough about society then to have anything to compare it to," she says softly. "I don't believe in anarchy myself. But, if those in power do not wish to consider the need to adapt their rule to the needs of the many, then it seems as though those who are clamouring for change have limited options." She shakes her head. "This is my homeworld, but it will be a long time before it is fully my home. I came here only to find my people are fragmented and in pain. I wish I could do something to help, but the wounds are more than what a single femme can heal." She sighs. "There must be some solution, but I'm afraid that by the time it is found, things will be shattered almost beyond repair."

Then Hot Rod only has a few words to say, which seems different than all his earlier exclaimations. "You believe this quite firmly then?" she asks him.

Arcee has been listening quietly this entire time. Now, she realizes why Swift Blade is out of the loop: she's been a Quintesson *slave*. She stares symathetically at the Seeker femme, and can't imagine how completely detatched and alien everything here must seem.

"It ain't. There's a miner in Kaon who's makin' a push to change things, but by tearin' everything down around us and tryin' to rebuild from scratch," Jazz says. "They call themselves "Decepticons" - actually that's just what the Senate called 'em, out of the words of Megatron's political writin's. 'You are being deceived'. There's some parts in there I agree with, but some I don't. I'm afraid I'm more in agreement with Orion Pax. He wants to do somethin' about the corruption, but by changin' it from within. Doin' it in a stable manner so we don't have a total collapse - that'd be bad." The next part he says loud enough that Hot Rod should be able to hear it -perfectly-. Prepare to be schooled, son. "See, if we just throw everyin' out - total anarchy - we'll be in worse shape than we are now. No order means the truly evil are gonna get away with whatever they want. Everyone doin' their own thing means they're lookin' out for themselves instead of others. Energon supplies would be disrupted, maintenance wouldn't get done, an' then everyone starts to panic - and with no one leadin', no one callin' for folks to work together, that leaves that vacuum I talked about. Someone who -wants- control, an' has the power to do it, will step up and take control. Then we'll all be livin' under the bootheel of pure, unrestrained tyranny."

Hot Rod takes his time and chooses his words with more care than he usually shows: "Yeah, it's not going to hold. You have to work pretty hard to convince yourself of anything else. A lot of people are hurting. A lot more are going to be hurt if this continues. But when it breaks? I don't know. I don't know what that's going to look like." He looks a little stubborn (surprise) at Jazz's lesson: "You say that like there aren't good people who'd stand against the bad. Like people can't work together. Besides, that old mech at the archives--" Sorry, A3. "--said this whole thing has happened before and turned out just as bad. The real question is how we keep it from happening again. What kind of changes we can make that are truly /different/."

Sometimes Swift Blade seems so far OUT of the loop that she can't even see the thing. Doesn't stop her from trying to learn what she can though. And Jazz has a lot to say, so she is listening. "There are many different forms of government available," she says slowly. "I've seen several of them in my time as I was shifted from owner to owner. But, in every case, on every new planet I was sent to, there was always SOME form of leadership, some set of laws," she muses. "I believe civilization requires it to some degree." Point one for the law. "Yet, as a slave, I was always told what to do and who to be. That was not acceptible to me, but I had little choice. Between the two extremes has to exist some medium. Neither complete bounds nor a complete lack of boundaries is a good idea."

She turns to Hot Rod again. "Build a picture of your ideal world and work backwards until you find something that is realistic," she says. "Fix that in your mind and work towards it, but you have to know where you're going, not just that you WANT to do something. There are always...consequences." She sighs. "I knew I wanted to be free and return home, but when I got here I had no idea of what to do next."

"It's going to be worse this time, Hot Rod. It's already worse and it's about to get *much* worse," Arcee says worriedly. "Does Megatron make a lot of good points about the state of our society? Of course he does, but I'm not sure at all that his movement has much room for 'cooperation'."

"We'll figure something out, but until we do, it's better that we repair what we have before we tear it all down," Jazz suggests helpfully. Hopefully. "When Delta Magnus was runnin' things it wasn't too bad. You could switch your function if you were a bad fit for your job, an' the disposables had some rights. You can thank the engineers of this clampdown for our loss of freedom." Jazz personally benefited from Delta Magnus - he would never have gotten out of racing and away from the IAA if it hadn't been for the house of Magnus.

"Work backward? Nah. No way. If you start out saying we're never going to live up to it, you're right. We won't." Hot Rod warms to the topic with enthusiasm, eager to leave behind anger and sadness. "Working /toward/ it -- that's where we should be. All of us. I'm not saying we have to be unrealistic about where we are--" Of course he isn't! "--but I'm not going to mute my ideals because of it."

When he's not actually talking about the Senate (or the IAA, or their operatives) he sounds less like like a little wannabe anarchist. Or maybe it's just because Jazz mentioned Orion Pax a few moments ago, and the dreamy, starry-eyed internal sigh over the supercop has finally settled. Hot Rod says, "We need to build a lot more than we need to tear down, but how are you going to do that when there are people standing on top pulling blocks from those with the least so that they can just add it to their own pile?"

"There's a difference between muting your ideals and realizing that not everyone is going to share them, or that things are going to be immediately where you want them to be simply because you want it." Swift Blade shrugs her shoulders. "Knowing the end destination means you know what you are striving for. If you never fully reach it, there's no shame in that." She regards Hot Rod quietly for a few moments before adding the question of, "Do you believe that every single individual in power is unreasonable and motivated purely by greed?"

To Jazz she simply says, "Tell me more about Delta Magnus; I would like to hear it."

She smiles faintly to Arcee. "I've heard this Megatron mentioned several times. Have you actually met him before?" she is curious to know.

"I've not met him in person before, no," Arcee admits to Swift Blade, "Although I've heard that he can be quite charismatic and imposing. I have read his manifesto." She glances uncertainly toward Jazz; should she be encouraging anyone to read that thing? "If...if you would like a better idea of what has catapulted Megatron's popularity, you should read his manifesto."

"Do it in secret if you do. It's considered contraband," Jazz adds in quickly, before putting a hand to the side of his head. "--Gimme a minute, gotta report back in at regular intervals or Prowl gets cranky."

"Well, there was Senator Shockwave, but then they chopped his face off, so you tell me," Hot Rod says. Delicately. Tactfully. "Look, not everyone in power is terrible -- I mean, look at these two." He points his thumb at Jazz and Arcee. "You ask most people around here and they'll tell you that these guys are 'in power'. They certainly /have/ power. But they've got good sparks. Then you look at Orion Pax--" There go the starry eyes again. "--and how he stood up to the Senate. None of them are motivated by greed. But none of them are exactly running the show, are they?"

"I will look into it," Swift Blade says to Arcee. When Jazz mentions it is contraband, she raises her optic ridges, but says nothing about it as the mech busies himself with reporting. "I only asked because things /said/ about a person aren't always entirely accurate," she continues on to say to Arcee about Megatron. "The idea of him and the actual mech may be quite different."

Hot Rod's 'starry eyes' are noted. "Cut off his face?" she asks with a little shudder. "That sounds extremely drastic. What did he do to warrant that sort of punishment?" She taps her chest with a single finger. "I personally have had no trouble with the law, but I have not been here for very long nor have I made any attempt to subvert the law."

"Right, I understand. That's why I think you should...sneak a copy, somehow, and read it to make your own call." Arcee smiles helpfully. "Either way, it's becoming more and more dangerous to actually remain non-partisan. So be careful, whatever you do."

"Empurata. Don't know what he did but I've never met anyone who deserves it," Hot Rod says firmly. "Haven't met anyone who deserves a lot of what they're dealing out lately." Predictably, as the conversation veers back toward the Senate, he sounds a little more incendiary.

"I appreciate the concern," Swift Blade says to Arcee, "but as most of the people have a reason for taking one side, or another, I have my own reasons for not choosing. It is a matter of conscience, and perhaps those who joined a side for their own consciences will be able to respect that." She gives a little shrug as though to say she will not fret if they don't.

She frowns rather distinctly at the mention of Empurata. "I see. I have met one of those unfortunates. He seemed somewhat...unstable." By her tone she feels sorry for him more than condemning. "And they did this to one of their own as well." She shakes her head. Point against the law.

" aware if you let mechs know that, they may start trying to kidnap and kill you. Because that's what started happening with me. I tried to stay out of things, but in the end I just couldn't, it became impossible," Arcee warns Swift Blade. "I mean, I'm not telling you *what* to think, only that as time goes on, you will need to make choices. No one's going to be able to sit on the sidelines here, because even if you aren't guilty of any crimes, there's plenty who are willing to make you pay for crimes real and imagined."

"All right, done checkin' in. We're on a routine patrol through Nyon if anyone asks, Cee," Jazz asides to his Jr. Police Partner. "Well, all this talk about the Senate an' makin' choices reminds me, there's some news I thought I oughtta drop while I can: There's an ongoin' investigation into senatorial corruption, an' our ol' buddy Ratbat is straight in the cross hairs."

"Yeah. I've got a friend--" Hear that, Whirl? Hot Rod says you're his /friend/. Watch out or Whirl might be next on the brainwashed and amnesiac train. "--who they hit with it. Can't say if he was like that before, but he's pretty, uh, yeah. Unstable. Now." Drawing back, he gives Jazz a disbelieving look. "You're kidding. Want to make a bet how long he buys his way out of that one? Who's investigating?"

"If I join one side, or the other, simply out of fear, doesn't that dilute the cause that the side in question stands for?" Swift Blade asks Arcee.

"I don't envy the person who has to conduct such an investigation; I doubt it would be an easy one," she says solemnly to Jazz.

She gives Hot Rod a bit of a sad smile. "I'm sorry to hear that about your friend," she says. "It seems to be to be a procedure that goes beyond a matter of justice and descends into cruelty." She considers him for a moment. "You may not believe it will do any good, but at least there are still those who are trying while at the same time not fleeing the system entirely."

"The Prime himself is investigatin' this. And that ain't all. Looks like Halogen's gonna make a major push - I hope he doesn't just 'disappear' like other Senators with proposal he's gonna table," Jazz states. "He's actually gonna do it. He's gonna motion that the caste system be -abolished-'."

Arcee doesn't realize that the last time she came through Nyon, Whirl had beaten on her and shot her. If she knew Whirl was his name, she'd be a lot more angry about the discussion between Hot Rod and Jazz. But as she doesn't, she just nods and considers what Swift Blade has said. "Perhaps. Or...perhaps not. Plenty of people take sides for protection, that doesn't make it completely wrong."

Hot Rod whistles. How does he whistle? Don't question it. "You sure about that? Now /that's/ flirting with danger." He sounds admiring, although whether it is for Halogen's goals or his FOOLISH RECKLESS IDEALISM is certainly an open question. "There's got to be a way to make sure he actually gets heard. Even if it doesn't go anywhere, just that first step -- someone's willing to /think/ it." He's rather less impressed with Sentinel heading the investigation, as evidenced by the way he ignores it. w/e sentinel. No starry eyes there.

"I didn't say it was wrong," Swift Blade notes to Arcee, "just that it may take away some of the impact of the message." She shrugs her shoulders. Until she actually feels she has no choice but to pick a side, she's intending on stretching her neutrality as far as it will go.

Swift Blade seems to have little opinion on the Prime one way or another and she's never really heard of Halogen before. Still, she listens with interest even if she has nothing to contribute there.

She smiles faintly as Hot Rod whistles, but doesn't have much to add here either. In fact, she bows slightly. "It has been interesting to meet you two, and to see you again, but I should probably be heading home," she says. "You have all given me a lot to think about, and I appreciate the time you took to answer some of my questions."

"Very well...nice to see you again, Swift Blade, this time under better circumstances," Arcee says with a smile. "Stay *safe*. some research."

"You're welcome," Jazz says to Swift Blade, making a personal note to find her and chat with her later. He's certain she'll have great stories to tell about all the places she's been, and he's dying to know what's changed since he was last out there. "See you around."

Back to Hot Rod and Arcee. "Yeah well, that's where our ol' buddy Blurr's gonna get himself mixed in. Halogen's already named a senate-elect - I think he knows that this could end up with him goin' offline for keeps - but that new heir of his just so happens to be Blurr's significant other."

"She certainly has her hands full," Arcee notes. Definitely not referring to Swift Blade, there, but Feint.

"You too, Swift Blade!" Hot Rod says after her. "You have any other questions, look me up." Having offered himself as expert in all things ever, he glances back at Jazz. "Yeah, I guess Feint mentioned the guy. That sounds like a mess. I mean -- I wish Halogen the best, I really do, but I hope you guys are working on keeping him going."

"That's where things get touchy, Hot Rod. I think Halogen didn't just pick her because of her altmode. You an' I both know she was at the Institute. They know what she can do," Jazz says with a note of worry, signalling with his hands for Arcee and Hot Rod to get a little closer. This isn't something he wants to just blat out in the open.

Arcee's optics widen in curiosity, and she moves closer to huddle with the mechs.

Splitting the difference between curiosity and concern, Hot Rod moves closer. He tries to look discreet. He fails. At least he lowers his voice. "So? Doesn't that mean she could help keep him safe?"

Jazz tries to get Hot Rod to think this through. "How do you get several thousand mechs and femmes to agree to a proposal you know they won't agree to?"

Arcee frowns. She doesn't say anything, but she looks like she has *some* idea of where this is going, since she discovered what Feint did to Blast Off.

"Oh. Oh! Oh." Behold the various stages of comprehension: a blank 'oh' as Hot Rod first considers it; a happy 'oh!' as he clings to the idea it will then pass; a quieter 'oh' as he considers what that might mean for her. He ends looking a little uneasy. "You don't think--. I mean."

"Yeah. You take a wide-eyed femme straight out of the sticks who nearly got killed tryin' to keep Blurr from bein' reprogrammed, and you put her in a position where all that hope and frustration and good intentions gets aimed the direction you want it to go. I dunno if Halogen's gonna play it like that, but there's a good bet he might have her /persuade/ the Senate to go along with his idea," Jazz says lowly.

"She could do it, too," Arcee says quietly. "Blast Off himself told me what she's capable of doing. Lots of...persuasive...things." To put it nicely.

Hot Rod looks /more/ uneasy. "It's a good proposal, but pushing it like that is -- well, it's kind of what the whole Institute thing was /about/. And one on one, maybe, but that many people? And they know she can do it!"

"Yeah. And if you wanna add another bolt to that restraint? They got Blurr where they want him, and she knows it," Jazz states, keeping his cool despite feeling the same kind of frustration and anger that Hot Rod so openly displays. "All this and the Forge just changed hands. Megatron made his move. Clench is dead, and Megatron's runnin' the show."

Arcee has...nothing to add to this grim assessment, other than to nod in agreement and look over to see what Hot Rod thinks.

"So what you're saying is things are going to settle down for a bit," Hot Rod summarizes. Despite the sarcasm, his gaze tracks to the side, thoughtful.

"What I'm sayin' is keep your head down and off the radar. You and all your friends here. I do -not- want to have Prowl come to my desk with orders to bring you in," Jazz points out. "I got some lattitude bein' a cultural investigator - they let me go where I want and talk to who I want, but even I have limits. You got a good spark, mech. Ain't enough of that to go around."

Arcee doesn't want Prowl to arrest Hot Rod, either. But she knows he tends to get defensive when told what to do, so she just offers him a kind smile.

Predictably, Hot Rod gets defensive: "We're totally off the radar! Prowl can just take his orders and shove them--" The rest of his suggestion is improbable on a number of counts. Also? Rude. "Yeah, yeah, I get it. But I'm not going to stop doing what /I/ think is right, no matter what the law says."

"Totally off the radar," Jazz notes with a big smirk and a level tablespoon of sarcasm. "That's why it took me so long to find you out here, right?"

"Hot Rod, please...just...think about the situation for a while. Not us, not mechs telling you what to do, just...the *situation*," Arcee insists. "Ask yourself. How long can you hold out here?? Maintaining perfect neutrality?"

Hot Rod meets Jazz's smirk with a sunny smile. "Hey, it's not my fault I'm so eye-catching." His smile fades to something a little quieter as he looks at Arcee, but it lingers. "You want to know what I'm thinking about? It's not the situation--" Obviously. "--or even the people telling me what to do. Even if it's you guys. It's the people here. That's it. It's that simple." (Also his future biography and how it will detail his origin story and meteoric ascent to HEROISM but some things you just don't say out loud.)

"Uh-huh," Jazz agrees without actually agreeing. "Well, just get yourselves ready - get this -place- ready, if you can, because I'll bet you shanix to energon goodies that there's gonna be open hostilities and Kaon, and once that happens it's gonna provoke a reaction just as bad from Sentinel. Once that happens, all bets are off. He'll probably try to arrest everyone that ain't got their badge at right-angles." Somewhere Ultra Magnus' audials might be righting.

Arcee sighs, feeling a little bit stressed. *Why* did Hot Rod have to be so difficult about everything, especially a warning as blatant as this one? It's as if he were laughing in the path of cosmic disaster, (Oh, that comet will swing wide at the last minute!)

"I'd like to see him try," says Hot Rod with a confidence that suggests he's on his way already to, uhm, getting ready. Or he's just, ah, laughing in the path of cosmic disaster. The truth lies somewhere between the two. What looks like an idle boast to someone less tuned in to people reads fairly easily of preparations already begun to Jazz, at least. And to Arcee? Well, it certainly wouldn't be a surprise. But then again, neither would the laughing.

Jazz stands up a little straighter. "One last thing before I gotta go back on patrol: You want me to tell Shiftlock anything? Find out anything about what's goin' on and tell you later?"

Arcee really can't believe just how overconfident Hot Rod is. She's almost certain he's going to die, now. It's not like someone sensible like Jazz can talk any sense into him. He has to have his own 'last stand', just the way he wants it. Even if it's the stupidest decision ever made, it's the one he wants to make.

The reminder punctures Hot Rod's bravado, and for a moment, he grows pensive. "Tell her she's not forgotten, would you? It might not mean anything, but she should know. And anything -- anything you can find out -- about her, about Blurr, about straightening out /any/ of this mess. Whatever! Yeah." And if that puts him in Jazz's debt ... well, he'll figure that out later.

Jazz puts it on his future tab. "I will. You need anything else?" he asks out of a sort of big-brother concern for what is obviously an overconfident, ignorant kid-who-would-be-king.

"We're good. Tell Prowl I said hi," Hot Rod further tempts fate. (Oh, Lord, don't tell Prowl he said hi.)

"Will do. Catcha on the flipside, mech!" Jazz calls out, signalling for Arcee to transform and follow him out of Nyon.

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