Title: Increasing Doubts
Location: ++ Tagan Heights ++
Date: 09 March 2015
Summary: While practicing her shooting, Swift Blade shares more of her doubts with Blast Off.
-Someone has been practicing. There's a few piles of things set up to be shot. From looking at them, the accuracy still has much to be desired, at least, if the one looking is a sniper. Still, from the amount of things with holes and scorch marks on them, at least the one practicing has been tenacious.
At the moment, however, Swift Blade is not shooting. Instead she has a gun in her hands and she's just staring at it. No, it's not the sort of stare one has when they are contemplating turning a gun on oneself. Rather she is contemplating the object as it is, turning it over and over as she examines the individual parts of it.
-Blast Off has been watching this practice all the time, giving Swift Blade pointers and step by step instruction on shooting and handling various weaponry. He nods his head ocassionally, provides examples of the importance of determining trajectory and wind direction and bullet grain or laser battery power, but he notices the Seeker seems slightly distracted.
Given the conversation on the radio earlier, he thinks he might know why. He's not sure if he should poke his nose into her business or not, but a distracted shooter is an unsafe shooter, so... perhaps he should. "...Is something wrong?"
-"This was one of the guns we liberated that one time," Swift Blade says, flicking the safety on as it comes to conversation. "The moment where I made that decision." She looks around, optics scanning to see if anyone else is around. "I warned him that this might happen. He brushed it aside, insisting he was strong enough." She sighs deeply. "Apparently he wasn't."
-Blast Off looks down at the gun. "Ah, you mean when Blurr tried to stop us? When you..." He tilts his head a little, looking thoughtful and a little pleased, "...realized you were with me." He glances about after she does... no, they seem to be alone out here.
-"Megatron." Swift Blade's tone sounds a little hollow as she says the name. "He's fallen hard and fast." Then she smiles faintly. "Yes, that time with Blurr, when I saw him board the shuttle you were on. I doubt he'll ever forgive me for that moment." Then the smile is gone. "It sounds dangerously like he's only interested in a vendetta now; not freedom."
-That's who he thought she meant. Blast Off glances about once again, despite having just done so. This could be a... dangerous sort of conversation- one they wouldn't want getting back to the Decepticon leader. Then his focus is on Swift Blade. "...Yes."
The Combaticon clasps his hands behind his back and takes a step so he is standing side by side the femme. Gazing out towards the targets she had been shooting, he reminiscences, "I've seen this before. Not /exactly/ this, but when you're Primal Vanguard and a Combaticon, you see a lot of planets, a lot of people and a lot of how power and anger corrupts even the best of intentions. I am not yet certain which path Megatron will ultimately choose, but should he decide to pursue the path of vengeance- he would not be the first person leading a rebellion to lose his way to shadow."
-"You've had more of a chance to be around our kind than I have, save for the past little while." Less than a year really, compared to the nine million she had been 'alive' for. "So perhaps this is less surprising for you. I had just hoped that...it wouldn't have come to this."
Swift Blade gives Blast Off a long look. "I wonder if those who arranged this /know/ what they've unleashed," she says softly. "And how they will settle it with their consciouses. Assuming any of them still possess such a thing." She sighs. "As it is, I'm not sure how well my own will hold up."
-Blast Off nods. "Yes, I've been from one end of the galaxy and back again... or so it felt like. You see some of the same patterns happen again and again." The shuttleformer returns Swift Blade's look. "Given that they engage in brainwashing, empurata and other tortures? I doubt they do." At her sigh, he gives her a thoughtful, slightly questioning look. "What do you mean?"
-"At this point, no matter what I do, there will be something wrong with it. Mass executing people, is a problem. Betrayal, is a problem. Hiding, is a problem." Swift Blade shakes her head. "I don't wish to do any of those things, but I must do at least one, yes?"
-The shuttleformer considers this, his gaze still fixed on Swift Blade. "...Most likely." He frowns a little under his faceplate, turning to gaze back to the targets. "...Fighting- of any kind- will lead to unforeseen casualties. It would be nice if this were not so, but combat tends to break things... and sometimes it breaks things, or people, you didn't intend."
The Combaticon's gaze returns to the Seeker. "But even so, sometimes fighting is what must be done for an ultimate good. Would you prefer the Senate simply keep slaughtering or enslaving the populace?"
-"Certainly not. Especially since it seems they created this situation. Perhaps as a means to rally the people back on their side. Perhaps because they simply like to torment their enemies." Swift Blade runs a finger along the gun she's holding. "You're a sniper. Which means you make carefully thought out shots. It's a matter of precision. I use blades up close, I know where they're going most of the time because they're connected to me and don't leave my hands. Incidental damage is low in both cases." She leans forward. "But what is going to happen now is not going to be precise."
-"No, it isn't." Blast Off mulls this over, hands shifting but still clasped together. "You and I are careful, but not everyone will be. Even my own team revels in destruction at times. It is not perfect- but then again, war never is." He pauses, head tilting again. "And I think that's where we're headed, if Megatron's orders are any indication. There will be war, and it will force everyone to choose a side- and stick with it."
-"Megatron's anger...he's going to turn his back on all of us. He doesn't seem to be in a position to be rational. Not that I blame him if he's suffered a great loss, which is the impression I'm getting. He should be angry, hurt. But he should not be leading us with that mind set," Swift Blade says. "Unfortunately I think he will be the last one to realize this, and those who turn a blind optic..." She shakes her head. "I don't know what to think."
-"Possibly so. It is noticeable that the loss of Ruiner was immediately accompanied by his orders to destroy all Autobots." Blast Off sighs. "Like it or not, Megatron IS the leader of the movement. For now, the most logical thing to do is simply follow orders, and observe. And see what path he takes."
-Swift Blade shifts slightly so she's facing Blast Off more directly. "What about yourself?" she asks in a very quiet tone. "His wrath was going to be fiercesome enough before..." She lowers her optics. "You can't keep taking those risks, at least, not until some time has passed." She says this with difficulty.
-Blast Off gives Swift Blade a sideways glance of his optics, looking a bit uneasy now. "...What risks?" He has a suspicion, but he asks anyway.
-"Blast Off...you need to keep away from Whirl for now. Even being subtle is too dangerous right now. Megatron's anger will swallow us all whole if we give him the slightest reason to let it." Swift Blade sighs. "Don't forget how long I've been observing you, observing Whirl. Don't forget that I was there at Dead End when he seemed so desperate to find an end...and don't forget what made him give in."
-That's what he was afraid she'd say, and what he doesn't want to hear. The shuttleformer lets out a sharp huff at that, turning away and glaring off into the distance. His thoughts turn to Whirl and the watch the cyclops just gave him- a very special one. "I.... I know." He sounds a little pained, though he tries to mask it. "I... it is difficult. But... I know I should stop. I will." Really. ....Maybe.
-"I'll be honest with you; this is me being selfish," Swift Blade says, letting him turn away and not intruding back into his line of vision. "I'm not sure I'll be able to deal with what is going on if something happens to you," she admits. "It takes a lot to get me really upset, or angry, but I'm pretty sure this won't last. And I need to know there's someone here I can actually trust."
-Blast Off stops huffing and fidgeting and slowly turns to look back over his shoulder at Swift Blade at her admittance. He stares at her a long moment, taking that in. "... You have always been there. At my side, watching my back, even..." He looks down at his hand and flexes it. "Even giving me one of your swords when I was nearly killed."
Looking back at the femme, he adds, "I trust you too. Which makes you one of the very few that I *do* trust." His optics narrow just a bit in thoughtfulness. "...But why me?"
-"I've thought about it a few times," Swift Blade says. "From a purely logical stand point, it probably doesn't make any sense. But we're not beings of pure logic, now are we? If we were, we wouldn't be in this sort of war. Everyone would see things the same way; true logic is supposed to be impartial." She smiles faintly. "But think back. You were the first person I ever met on Cybertron after returning. You set a precedent by which I could compare everyone else to. And despite all your troubles...no, because of the troubles I've seen you go through and still try to hold onto your values, I saw you as a person of value."
-Blast Off nods, "Insightful, as always." His head slows, then stops as she goes on. He looks at her as time ticks on, leaning back eventually and glancing away as if almost uncomfortable. He's not used to someone saying that sort of thing. His voice drops down in tone. "....You shoudl have seen me as I was before. Before all those... /things/ happened. I wish you could have seen me back in Vos, back in my Highrise, back when I had a *life*. It was so much better than I've become. Now... everything is just a struggle, day to day." He looks off at a random spot, feeling wistful, feeling the loss of a great deal many things. "But still... thank you."
-"Provided we both survive, perhaps I will get that chance. Still, you will never completely go back to the way you were. You may become better, or you may become worse, but your experiences will keep shaping you. The important part is what you do when you reach that level of comfort again. Will you still remember the lessons you learned from your fall?" Swift Blade asks earnestly. "If you hadn't been struggling, I might not have been able to understand you at all, since I had always struggled."
-"Yes, we are a culmination of our experiences and our reactions to them." Blast Off looks down as he starts idly picking at a heat shield tile- not enough to dislodge it or anything, but just something to do with his fingers. "...I believe so. I have changed in some ways... I would never have given a person like, say...I don't know, *Rumble*... a second look, much less second thought before. And I've found that even a crude little groundpounder like *him* can also have dreams and some... value. You have probably seen all sorts, too, and been face to face with much suffering and turmoil."
His head comes back up. "But beyond that... I have always... struggled in some ways. I'm a Combaticon- we never seem to have an easy path." He looks throughtful again. "Do you know where I was before I was working in Vos as a scientist? I'm not sure if you know?"
-"There are many things about you I don't know," Swift Blade says. "You are not someone who trusts easily and you are not free with how you feel or your past." She shrugs her shoulders. "And I feel no need to press you. If you ever feel I should know something, or you want me to know something, then you will tell it to me."
-Blast Off nods again. "That is true. I see no point in blabbering on about my personal life. It is best to keep things guarded until one is certain a person may be trusted."
He looks at Swift Blade, expression neutral. "Do you want to know?"
-"I believe I do," Swift Blade says, nodding her head. "As for myself, I didn't have much to hide; most things I experienced were so far away from here, I didn't think anyone would have a use for it."
-The shuttleformer's neutral gaze remains locked on the femme, his hands still clasped behind his back. "Then I will tell you. You might as well know. It's become far more public knowledge than I would prefer, anyway." He sounds to be almost grinding his dentae together a few times before continuing. "I came from Combatron, one of the colony worlds. The other four Combaticons and I came to Cybertron and worked as liaisons between the two worlds. We even took the role of Primal Vanguards and worked for Cybertron, bringing order to the galaxy. I enjoyed that work- with my teammates and exploring the stars. We always had each other's backs. Combaticons... most of them, at least, are loyal. At least the five of us were. And when Cybertron and Combatron came to poltical disagreement and tensions rose- we sided with our homeworld."
There's a pause, and Blast Off's optics darken. "The givernment of Cybertron did not like that. They ...took us prisoner. More than that..." Now his hands unclasp and are drawn in front of him to start picking at the heat shield again. "...They destroyed us, Swift Blade. At least... they destroyed my body. They took my spark and placed him in spark isolation for countless millenia."
-Swift Blade nods her head slowly. "Which is why you are so very determined to not be captured again," she says softly. "Through all that I went through, at least I had my body and my mind, if nothing else." She tilts her head to the side. "What was the source of the disagreement between the two worlds?" she is curious to know.
-Blast Off nods, mood somber. "Yes. I went through that once. I do NOT want to go through it again." He glances down at himself. "I was /forged/, Swift Blade. /Forged/. And they destroyed that. My spark, my T-cog.... those arestill my original, but my body..." He swings his arms down sharply in a bit of disgust. "This isn't what I was made with." Those fists clench. "This is why I resent the Senate- the government, and I will NOT allow them to do this to me again."
At her question, some of Blast Off's anger subsides, replaced by a more dismissive, annoyed demeanor. "Oh, just political posturing. Cybertron tried to flex its political arms on Combatrons, and well... my planet is the planet of *war*. They didn't take kindly to that."
He shakes his head, "Not that that matters anymore. Combatron /killed itself off/, thanks to all that warmongering. I did find that out from Starchamber- my people commited genocide against themselves." He lets out a frustrated huff. "And do you wonder why I don't always get along with my kind?"
-"The same thing will happen here if we're not careful. It's the only reason I asked. Having the whole population fight to the death is a terrible tragedy, but the tragedy is doubled if no one learns from it," Swift Blade says. "Still, after all this, you could have given up, and you haven't. Which is why I didn't give up on you, didn't believe that things were as black and white as people tried to convince me they were." She reaches over to lightly touch the back of Blast Off's hand. "It wasn't always easy, but it felt right."
-Blast Off sighs. "...Yes, and I wonder if we will. Don't get me wrong, Swift Blade. I *am* a Combaticon. Even if most of my kin drive me up the wall sometimes, I do not shy from battle. But I see it as something to be used with care, with reason, not something to engage in for the sake of itself. And Cybertron could well be on that same path."
Then Swift Blade recahes over to touch his hand. He looks up, a little surprised at that. But he doesn't flinch this time. Instead, he turns his hand over so that he can lightly grasp hers, if she allows it. "...Thank you."
-The grasp is allowed. Swift Blade is less shy about contact, though she is still quite reserved in giving it out. "Again, fighting as an action is not what bothers me; it's the consequences of any given fight that does," she clarifies. "Fighting for the cause is well and good. Fighting because someone is enraged with grief? That is much more troublesome." She gives his hand a light squeeze. "Quantum sought revenge for the loss of his partner, and we deemed it wrong, but he was a lone agent. Megatron has many more followers."
-"You are correct. And what you say is completely logical. However...." His free hand comes up to point a finger skywards. "People are rarely logical. And when they get wrapped up in emotions, even less so. Mistakes will be made. ...Possibly very costly ones."
-"The problem is that, Megatron is right, and he is wrong. If we try to cut away the wrong, we lose the ability to follow the part that is right. But in following both right and wrong, many lives will be lost that are innocent of causing his suffering. He will only be able to see things through the lens of his loss. And while my spark goes out to him for that loss, it doesn't mean I am blind to what will happen if he continues on this path." Swift Blade is so very serious. "On the other hand, I have never been that close to anyone, so I don't know that I would do much better under such loss. Still, I have not proclaimed myself the leader of anyone."
-Blast Off listens to this as he looks back out to the target range. "I... do not have an answer for you, Swift Blade. I haven't either, and I do not know what to do, if anything, concerning Megatron right now besides wait and observe. Then, if things get /too/ out of hand, then..." He shrugs. "I'll deal with that then. For now I must simply act like the good soldier. I have the other Combaticons again, did I tell you? Onslaught gathered us all together, gave us orders. I will soon by flying and scouting for the Decepticons." And more importantly- for Onslaught, though he doesn't add that.
-"I wish you luck in fufilling your orders then," Swift Blade says. "While I do not really approve of your Commander's methods, he seems to have done you some good regardless." She sighs. "At least you have your commrade in arms that you have known for so long. That has to be some comfort to you." She doesn't need to say it, but Swift Blade certainly doesn't have that connection with...anyone really. "I will find a way to get through this. Sometimes just being able to verbalize what I'm thinking...it helps."
-Blast Off smiles a little under his faceplate. "Onslaught is... harsh sometimes, but he has our best interests at spark. If he didn't, we'd all be slagged by now. He's been there for me, he just expects me to behave like a Combaticon." He nods, "And yes, my team has always been there. I had ...forgotten it recently, but they were, and will be again. And they need me." He listens to the rest, then gives the femme a slight squeeze of the hand. "I am glad you trust me enough to verbalize these things with me. Any time you need to do that, I will be here."
-"Thank /you/ Blast Off. Though I sure hope that your Commander won't have issues with me because I was willing to stand up to him," she muses. "I've never been part of a team before. It was always just me and whoever was in charge of me at the time." She holds onto her own arms. "But I spend a lot of time wondering, now, what would have happened if I had come home a million years earlier, or later. Would it have been any better at all? Would I have been able to do something?"
-"I don't think he will. Showing some struts isn't a bad thing- especially to a Combaticon. Just... don't outright question his orders." He knows this from experience. "A team...is a strange thing sometimes. I like working alone, so dealing with the likes of Brawl and Vortex gets to be annoying at times. But you learn that there's a push and pull, a dynamic, and once you get the hang of it it's easier to deal with."
He gives her hand a final, little squeeze then drops it back to his side. "That goes into the realm of *what if*... and one can never really know. There's no point in dweeling on what-ifs for too long. Even if..." He gazes skyward, towards the stars, "...Sometimes *what-ifs* are rather pleasant."
-"It doesn't do to get upset about them, but it can give a person perspective. The more we know about how things work, what patterns develop, the better chance we have of making good choices," Swift Blade says. "The questions can be useful. What went wrong? How do I avoid doing it again? And the reverses of course."
She looks back to the gun she is holding. "I think some of the reason I struggle with guns is that, once fired, the projectile is no longer connected to me," she says, changing subjects.
-Blast Off nods. "Yes, examining the outcomes of one's actions is always useful. Self-reflection seperates us from less civilized creatures... including the less civilized of our own race. I do believe that's something you pssess in spades- the capacity for such thoughtfulness." Her change of subject gets a tilts of the head. "Oh? But your aim, your skill, and your steadiness all connect together to produce the same end result."
-"I can't /feel/ it anymore though," Swift Blade says. "When I swing a sword, I feel it as it moves, as it either hits or connects. Once I fire a gun, I'm not feeling anything anymore," she points out. "I guess it seems like I don't have the same amount of control." Then she smiles. "I've had a lot of time to think; it comes naturally to me."
-"Yes... that makes sense. For one trained in swordfighting, a rifle might seem... impersonal. And, in a way, I suppose it is. I never need get close to my targets. But," He shrugs, "I like it that way. I simply want to do my job and be done with it. One shot? All the better." Then he nods. "Yes, you have. As did I, in a way..." He *was* semi-aware during that long imprisonment in limbo...
The shuttle glances down at her weapons. "Speaking of which, if you continue practicing, you will feel a closer... connection to your gun. You trained long cycles with your sword- you are only just getting to know the power of ranged weaponry."
-"Yes, but once I start to realize where my obstacles are, then I can over come them," Swift Blade says. "I have to think about it in a new way to improve my use with it." She smiles faintly. "But I think I am liking this one because it means something as well as having a function."
-"Then that is good." Blast Off gives her a polite nod. "Training invokes discipline, and discipline brings self-improvement in many areas of life." The shuttleformer picks up a rifle. "This is but one path towards perfection. Which most of us will never quite achieve, but the journey is worthwhile."
-"I don't need perfection; I just need to keep improving," Swift Blade says. She looks towards her targets again and pulls the safety off. After several moments of intense conversation she fires, hitting her mark. "I think everyone would have a different idea of what true perfection is. But if there was such a thing as true perfection, we would all be looking for the same thing. So I can't believe in it." She smiles. "But I can easily believe in the mastery of a skill, any skill."
-Blast Off thinks about this, then adds quietly, "I *do* believe in perfection. I'm a space shuttle, after all, we are taught that we are near perfection. We are expected to pursue perfection in all things. ...At leat I always did." He is now the one looking thoughtfully at the rifle before breaking away again.
"...Anyway, shall we continue? Keep shooting, and you will get closer to that mastery of a skill you desire."