Title: Invitation to the Lion's Den

PCs: Whirl, Blast Off, Megatron

Location: Nyon

Date: 26 April 2015

TP1: Autocracy

Summary: Blast Off meets Whirl at what's left of Nyon with an invitation- from Megatron.

-- Radio: D-Mission -- Megatron says, "Blast Off, respond."

-- Radio: D-Mission -- Blast Off says, " ....Yes?"

-- Radio: D-Mission -- Megatron is quick in his reply. "The luxuries we have enjoyed thus far are dwindling and shall only continue to do so in the coming days. Your indulgences... that shall be addressed. I require you to secure and bring to me two individuals. One is mechanic in Kalis, by the name of Digix. The other is Whirl. I believe you are aware of who this is.";

-- Radio: D-Mission -- Blast Off starts off sounding huffy. "...My...indulgences? What do you mean /my/ in-" *very looooong pause, then he continues, though his voice has lost the huffy tone now and sounds much quieter* ".....Bring you?""

-- Radio: D-Mission -- Megatron pauses. "Fully functional. Both of them."

-- Radio: D-Mission -- Blast Off says, " .........W-why me? Surely another Decepticon would be... well, better suited for such work. I'm a... I'm a sniper, I should be out shooting people from afar. Or... scouting. Or... *another pause* ...Or transporting cargo. I mean, take Whirl for instance, he's crazy- you saw him attack me at that debate! Tearing at me with those claws. Complete... a complete heathen."

-- Radio: D-Mission -- Megatron does not seem to be swayed by such 'reasoning'. "If not you, then I shall ask another. I cannot guarantee that another would be as polite in asking Whirl to speak with me. As you wish then. Perhaps Lugnut is available..." A pause. "Do you have similar concerns for Digix?"

-- Radio: D-Mission -- Blast Off says, " ....To "speak" with you? You plan on talking to him before you kill him? I mean, not that I care, but I'd... I would just think that there would be more effecient ways to get rid of the mech .... And I, uh... I do not know this Digix. But, well, I'm hardly a hired thug made to drag kicking and screaming people to their doom. Brawl would be better suited for such things."

-- Radio: D-Mission -- Thundercracker says, " Brawl sucks."

-- Radio: D-Mission -- Blast Off tchs. "Brawl is an accomplished warrior. He just.... is much better suited towards something like kidnapping people than *I* am. I am better suited for more... refined tasks.

-- Radio: D-Mission -- Megatron says, "I do not wish to kill Whirl. I wish to thank him. *Pasue* I believe I made no mention of dragging anybot, Blast Off. Perhaps some clarity is in order, least you attempt to put words in my vocalizer again. I wish for you to ask both to speak with me."

-- Radio: D-Mission -- Blast Off says, " .....Thank him?"

-- Radio: D-Mission -- Megatron says, "Understood. You are unwilling to comply. Lugnut, respond, in private if you will."

-- Radio: D-Mission -- Blast Off says, " ....Uh... wait, no, my uh... apologies, Megatron. *coughs* I simply wish to... understand what it is I am being asked to do. I am a completely loyal Decepticon who only desires to assist our cause. I just like to understand my ..orders."

-- Radio: D-Mission -- Megatron says, "Belay that Lugnut... Blast Off, my orders are simple. You are to extend an invitation to two bots I wish to speak with. I believed you to have a particular refinement and association that would make you uniquely qualified to convince both to speak with me."

-- Radio: D-Mission -- Blast Off says, " ...I... well, I *do*. I am the perfect mech if you seek refinement and class, after all. I have the /finest/ training and /impeccable/ manners. I... I will do that. But... what if they refuse to come with me?"

-- Radio: D-Mission -- Megatron says, "Then they have refused and you have failed."

-- Radio: D-Mission -- Blast Off says, " I... see. And when I do speak to them, what should I say? They might well doubt that you merely wish to talk to them. I certainly doubt Whirl will believe that, given your ... past. Is there some topic of discussion I can mention, or some assurance of good will?"

-- Radio: D-Mission -- Megatron says, "Perhaps their protected doubts are your own?"

-- Radio: D-Mission -- Blast Off says, "... What? N-no, of course not. Why do you say that? I am simply trying to arm myself with answers to their predictable questions. If an Autobot came up to me and told me that Prowl "merely wanted to talk to me"... I'd have absolutely no reason to argee to it, or to trust them. I would seek some assurance, or idea of WHY they wanted to speak to me- besides leading me into a trap. It's simply Cybertronian nature. I wish to succeed at this task, and I believe thoughtfulness and planning are vital to that success."

-- Radio: D-Mission -- Megatron says, "Then you doubt your own effectiveness to be convincing."

-- Radio: D-Mission -- Blast Off says, " No, but like during the debates, I must arm myself with facts. Simply saying "well I don't know why, but take my word for it and do it anyway" is not convincing. But if I have examples, if I have facts I can point to and provide actual substance, then my claims begin to take shape and hold meaning. ... If you simply want me to be a messenger and deliver one line: "Megatron would like to talk to you", I can do so. I just can already almost gaurantee you that they will have further questions afterward. And right now the only fact I can arm myself with is: Megatron is a thoughtful leader who likely seeks allies, advantages and resources- and he must have a reason to desire to speak to you. If they question beyond that? Well.... I would have no substance to go on."

-- Radio: D-Mission -- Megatron says, "I spoke of indulgences, Blast Off. This continues to illustrate my point. Your questions work in circles and your hesitations speak to your ... concerns. Doubt in your abilities might be understandable, but when it comes to my word, that is absolute. I did not misspeak nor hide my intent. If you are as skilled as your own boasting would lead me to believe, then this is a simple task for someone of your measure. You have said you would carry out this task, so my expectation is that it will be completed. If you are unable to have the wits to grant yourself your own ammunition for something as straight forward as this than I shall have to have a discussion with Onslaught in regards to my disappointment. I had hoped to find you a bot of your own substance, Blast Off, not a regurgitation of my own."

-- Radio: D-Mission -- Blast Off says, ".... Understood. If you will... have someone send me whatever information on Digix and Whirl's whereabouts you currently have I will get to work finding them."

-- Radio: D-Mission -- Megatron says, "Soundwave will be in contact. Megatron out."

++ Nyon <CON> ++

Nyon. It wasn't a great city, in fact it wasn't even a pretty-good city, but it was a place Whirl called home for a part of his life. A lot of memories happened here, good ones and bad ones, but no longer will memories be made in Nyon. Unless they involve burning bodies, mass destruction, and ash.

Whirl has come to what remains of Nyon to silently mourn the dead, or rather the people he believes to be dead. And why wouldn't he think that? They all lived in Nyon, could they have gotten out in time? These are the kinds of questions that run through Whirl's head as he walks through the burnt remains of what used to be a city.

Blast Off left what remains of Nyon not long ago, bringing a squad of Autobots back to the Decepticon base- for *repairs*. Normally, carrying a bunch of Autobots in his cargo bay would have the shuttle feeling rather squicked out and off balance... and indeed, he does feel that way. But not even so much because of that. No, far worse things are in the air. One being the ash and the stench... what's left of the city of Nyon. He, too, carries memories here and he is haunted by them as he makes his way back here to carry out a favor to Hot Rod and check for survivors.

He thinks of starlit rendezvous with Shiftlock, boisterous bars, secret bases and Hot Rod. But most of all, right now? He thinks of Whirl. He met the mech here and it began a wild and unexpected journey that's led him to love- love for an enemy. Love for the Decepticon's worst enemy, and a person subject to Megatron's worst hatred. For a reason. Now, if that weren't worrisome enough, he can add another concern to his list. He's been given an order- direct from Megatron himself- and he's not sure what to do about it. Can he do it? Should he? He feels almost as lost as many of those who had everything destroyed here today felt.

But first- there's another issue. When he saw the destruction here, he couldn't help but wonder if Whirl was here today. Was HE caught in it? He's almost been afraid to find out. Flying into the city, he finally radios the other mech, seeking an answer- one way or the other. << ...Whirl, are you there?>>

Whirl is under the impression that Orion Pax is dead, that's what Zeta told him anyway and he would know considering he was there for it and was most likely the one that snuffed his spark. He's also under the impression that Hot Rod is dead too, probably having perished during the assault due to his inability and unwillingness to abandon his city. He worries about the others he's met here, like Rewind and Arsenal. And Blast Off.

Blast Off. Was he in Nyon when all this went down? This is where he met him, where their relationship started, and he's been known to still frequent the city since then. What if he was running supplies at the time? Whirl doesn't want to think about it lest he fall into a pit of despair he can never escape from. Turns out there's no need to worry because he receives a radio message from the Combaticon himself.

Blast Off loses himself in a moment of joy as well. << Yes! I was.. concerned you were there. In.. Nyon. I... was reluctant to radio you and find out. I ma relieved you are alright. >> He adjusts course, coming in to the city now. Whirl's signal is VERY strong. Could he be?... Yes he gets confirmation soon afterward. He's releived... and a little worried. If he sees Whirl, there's no reason to avoid carrying out his orders. Still- if he's here anyway, he wants to see the other mech. << ....I can understand. I was here earlier, Whirl. I saw it as it burned. As *Zeta* led to its destruction. Hold on, I am flying in right now.>>

The shuttle has soon landed and transformed near the cyclops. Standing on two legs, Blast Off strides towards Whirl, two living sparks in a sea of nothing stetching all around them. "...It is good to see you."

Whirl turns his attention towards the sky and he spots Blast Off in the distance. The feeling that follows is one of relief and joy, the cyclops pleased that Blast Off managed to stay out of harms way. There's also sadness and pain as he thinks about the good times, like that night he smuggled Blast Off into the Acropolex and Hot Rod's reaction the morning after, and how there will never be another good time in Nyon.

He regards Blast Off with a blank stare as he lands and transforms but he quickly meets the shuttleformer's strides with his own, meeting him halfway and throwing his arms around him. There are no words for a long time, Whirl just clinging to the other mech in silence, silently rejoicing in his safety while at the same time grieving all that has happened here.

"..I know about Zeta's involvement," he finally says, his embrace tightening. "He's a monster. He deceived us all... I feel guilty just by association."

As Whirl walks up and throws his arms around him, Blast Off does the same. The 'copter is almost always the first to initiate hugs like this, as the shuttleformer is not the most demonstrative of individuals but he's grown much more accustomed to displaying affection than he ever had been before. At least in private where no one can see and betray them. "...He is a monster, yes." Blast Off *almost* corrects Whirl about "deceiving us all" (he had never trusted the mech, certainly) but he holds his tongue. Now is not the time. He just basks in Whirl's presence and the fact that he is in one piece.

He finally pulls away enough to look up at the other mech's one optic. "...It is not your fault. You're being played like a puppet by a corrupt regime." He lets out a small, sighing huff. "...I do so wish you did not have to be... one of them." Then he stops and stares as the thought occurs to him- given Megatron's orders, given what happaned here today.... he is suddenly not sure if that is still the case. What if... Megatron really DID mean what he said?

"Whirl, we need to talk."

Whirl laughs weakly at the part about him being a puppet to a corrupt regime. Is that not the story of his entire life? Sometimes he feels like that's all he is, a puppet to be manuevered and manipulated by others. He really shouldn't laugh about it but if he didn't then maybe he would just cry instead.

As soon as Blast Off tells him they need to talk, Whirl is immediately on edge. His optic flickers and his entire body tenses, claws flexing against the shuttleformer's body. "About what? About.. this?" He looks around the city, oops- it's not a city anymore, is it? Debris would be more appropriate. "I.. don't want to talk about this. Not yet." A pause as he considers other possibilties. "...Is it about us? Did someone say something? Did you get caught? Or is it something else? Something worse?"

Blast Off hears the laugh and instantly regrets calling Whirl a puppet... that was probably not what the other mech needed to hear right now. It was probably even a bit uncouth and Whirl has enough to deal with as is. But the shuttle's soon focused on other things, as those claws flex and the cyclops starts asking questions. Blast Off tries to hold up a hand to soothe the other mech, eventually resting it on his shoulder. "...Nothing... of immediate importance. I... think." Doubt filters through at the end there.

He glances away, scorched gray ashes still sifting through the air near his optics. "Well, first off... there *is* something you should know about this place- something I think you will be pleased about. Hot Rod is alive and safe." His gaze returns to Whirl. "I transported him- and several others who were with him- safely out of this place earlier."

The hand Blast Off places on his shoulder is a small and simple gesture but it means a lot to Whirl and he feels slightly comforted by it. He sighs and leans in, bonking his forehead, or what counts as it, against Blast Off's with a quiet 'clang.' He's a little concerned by the doubt that lingers in the shuttleformer's words but that concern disappears as soon as he spills the beans about Hot Rod.

"What!? For real?!" Normally Whirl would be embarrassed to admit he cares about anyone besides himself but considering present company, there's really no point in hiding how he really feels. "Ugh, I was so worried about that stupid idiot. I was convinced I was going to stumble across his charred remains here." There's another laugh, this one genuine. "Hahaha, oh slag, that is such a relief! Too bad about uh.. everything else."

When Whirl leans in for a headbonk, Blast Off happily returns the gesture and enjoys the closeness. It's something he rarely enjoys with almost anyone else, but Whirl is different by now. Then he grins a little under his faceplate as Whirl expresses his relief about Hot Rod. "Yes... I thought you might be. I am too. I... we owe him. For a number of things. I was pleased to be able to help him. In fact..." He looks around, "I returned here to search some places for him- places he thought survivors might possibly have tried to hide." He leaves out the fact that the odds of actually *finding* anyone alive is slim to none. Still- even being here, searching, will be meaningful.

"But yes... the rest of this day will go down in infamy, I am certain. Perhaps now the citizens of Cybertron will finally wake up and see just how *bad* things really are." Shaking his head, Blast Off turns once more to Whirl, his hand still on the mech's shoulder. "...But that's not all of what I need to discuss." His optics cloud over and his hand drops away. An awkward silence falls as he tries to decide where to begin. "...I was given... some orders last cycle. Just before this all happened."

"...Orders from Megatron."

"Survivors?" Whirl sounds skeptical, he REALLY doubts Blast Off is going to find anything but ash and death here but he has a feeling that he knows that already and is just doing this out of respect for Hot Rod. "You have your work cut out for you, good luck." The rest of Blast Off's words cause an uneasiness that only grows more intense when that hand falls away and Whirl sees the conflict in his optics.

Then he says it.

"Megatron?" Whirl's optic flickers erratically and he withdraws his arms, starting to slowly back away from the shuttleformer. Of course the first thing that goes through his mind is that Megatron has finally caught on to them and ordered Blast Off to murder him and even though they've talked about this multiple times and he's sort of come to accept it, it still freaks him out. "What.. kind of orders?" he asks nervously, unsure if he even wants to know.

The way Whirl grows ever more uneasy, then finally withdraws entirely is like a knife stabbing at the shuttleformer's chest. It cuts Blast Off to his circuits the way the mention of Megatron causes that instant distrust and fear between the two. And yet he can't blame Whirl a bit. He doesn't try to follow, but his hands come up, palms flat and facing the cyclops. See? Unarmed.

"Whirl... please calm yourself. He didn't order me to shoot you. It's... not /that/ bad." Apparently it's not *good* either. "But... well..." Now he's back to wondering how best to say this, one hand reaching behind his helmet to scratch there as he glances off again. "...He wanted me to... well, you see.... He ordered me to..." There's more awkward silence as his processor just tries to comprehend this all again. He *hates* this. He'd like to pretend it never happened, but he can't. "I'm not sure if..." The hand comes down to start fiddling with the heat shield on his arm instead. "I... Well...."

Finally, the Combaticon decides there's only one way to get this out. Just get it over with. Before he can angst further about it, he just blurts it out quickly. "...He told me to tell you that he wants to talk to you."

To push Blast Off away and put any kind of distance between them pains Whirl to his very core. He trusts him, he really does, but he knows that being a Decepticon means following orders that may or may not be in his best interest; kind of like being an Autobot, except the guy who runs the Autobots doesn't despise him. He also knows that Blast Off has no choice but to follow those orders lest he be severely punished.

Whirl keeps his distance for now, no longer backpedaling but at the same time making no effort to approach the Combaticon again. He's still uneasy and the way Blast Off hesitates and nervously picks at his heat shields (something Whirl hasn't seem him do in a LONG time) only makes it worse. Finally, the truth comes out and.. yeah, no, Whirl still isn't convinced.

"And you believe him!?" Whirl snaps, a hint of fear in his voice. "The last time I saw him he was punching me in the head repeatedly, stopping only when MULTIPLE guards restrained him. Do you honestly expect me to believe that all he wants to do is have a conversation?"

The more Whirl retreats, the more Blast Off wants to rush towards him, draw him into an embrace and tell him everything is Ok. But... it's not, and so he remains standing there and gazing at the other mech from what seems like a huge distance- though it's not. His expression betrays a little of the conflict and the pain of seeing the person he loves suddenly so fearful- of him. Of what he might have to do. What orders he might have. And he's not sure exactly what he can say to make it better- but he can and will do one thing. Tell the truth as he sees it.

"...No." His gaze shifts down to a charred piece of metal lying by his feet. "....No, I don't. I think it's probably a trap. I think he probably just wants you to walk right into a trap, where he'll have an easier time gloating before he kills you." The Combaticon's violet optics meet Whirl's once again, his demeanor somber and serious. "He hates you; I have no reason to believe he's changed his mind." And yet....

"You are completely correct to distrust him. However...." And now he's back to picking at his heat shields. "...There's more you should know. Well.... besides the fact that he claims he only wants to talk to you. For one thing..." His head tilts slightly, as if just a bit confused, though still rather doubtful. "He said he does not wish to kill you. He said he wants to... *thank* you." Another pause. "And two.... well, the one who ordered me to assist Hot Rod and the others out of Nyon today was none other than Megatron himself."

Yet another pause, then he looks steadily at Whirl. "....Some of those "others" I mentioned? ....They were Autobots."

The truth is harsh and as Blast Off tells Whirl his unfiltered opinion, how even he thinks it's a trap that will end with a very dead Whirl, it only serves to make the cyclops more fearful. His cooling fans kick in with a loud *whirrrrr* and not for the reason they usually do when he's around the shuttleform, he's stressing the hell out at the moment and his systems are running hot as a result.

Megatron is probably going to kill him but it's clear now that he has no reason to fear Blast Off, just the mech he works for. Whirl allows himself to relax juuuuuust a little bit. He's still jumpy and he's still freaked out but at least he doesn't have to worry about Blast Off whipping out a gun and putting a bullet into his brain module.

"He wants to.. thank me?" OH Primus, that's not good. What does that even mean? Thank him for what? And then it comes out that Megatron helped the Autobots but it still doesn't convince him that Megatron's intentions doesn't involve his untimely death. "...I'm not like the other Autobots, none of the others have the kind of history with him like I do. Just because he didn't brutally murder a couple of Autobots doesn't mean I'm safe."

Blast Off has been trying really hard to give Whirl some space, but as the mech starts getting even more obviously stressed the Combaticon feels compelled to step forward. He does it slowly, hands lifted up a little before him. "Whirl... please. Calm yourself." He speaks, then takes another step. "..I know. Like I said, I don't expect you to believe him. *I* certainly wouldn't, in your situation." He stops to look off to the side once more. "...That said, he really surprised me today. He had no reason to risk his neck to save those Autobots- he even fought Zeta Prime himself, Whirl. And yet he did. He stepped in and helped individuals who *were* our enemies and now may become our allies." Funny world.

"And now the world has seen what happened here. Maybe *this* changes things." He sweeps an arm out across the desolate landscape. "THIS may have changed /everything/. I just... I don't know." Now some of the frustration he feels trickles in, and his arms drop down with a *huff* of his vents. "I..just don't *know*. It's... possible he is seeking allies, and how better to show his goodwill towards that end than to make peace with /you/?"

"...Then again..." Blast Off looks a bit... lost once more, staring at the other mech. "...Maybe he hasn't changed a bit, and you'd be walking to your death." His optic ridges furrow down, and he takes another step closer. "....And I don't think I could live with that."

Blast Off tells him to calm down but it's easier said than done. Whirl's mind is racing, all sorts of ideas and scenarios springing into his head. The Combaticon's attempts at quelling his fears, speaking of Megatron's actions in Nyon and the possibility of an alliance, only intensifies his nervousness. Sure, MAYBE Megatron is willing to work with Orion Pax and his Autobots, but that doesn't change anything regarding his and Megatron's history.

As the Combaticon approaches him with that lost look in his optics, Whirl can't help but sigh. He knows this can't be easy for the poor guy, to have to ask the mech he cares about most to walk into the proverbial lion's den with the assumption that an attempt on his life is more than likely. He also knows that if it's come to this, to the point where Blast Off even dares to suggest he see Megatron, than Blast Off doesn't really have a choice.

Another sigh, this one far more dramatic and huffier, and Whirl closes the gap between them, claws coming up to grab either side of Blast Off's head and draw him in close. "I don't think you could either. Admit it, you'd be a wreck without me. Your life would fall apart and you'd end up shooting yourself." He tilts his head to the side just a bit. "Maybe. Let's not think about that right now, right now I want to talk about YOU. What happens to YOU when you go back to Megatron empty-handed and tell him you failed to complete his orders?"

The fact that Whirl returns his gesture and even comes up to draw him back into an embrace is reassuring, and Blast Off brings his hands up and over Whirl's shoulders. He lets out a soft *huff*, a bittersweet smile on his face now. It's not easy to admit to such things- he's proud and even arrogant, so admitting he *needs* someone does not come naturally to him. But... he does. "...Something like that." A hand reaches up to caress the side of Whirl's head, too. "If I helped lead you to your death I... it would haunt me forever. I would never forgive myself. It just..." He lets his voice trail off, not wanting to continue that train of thought either.

Whirl's question causes him to get even more lost in thought, but he eventually stirs back into answering, "...I do not know what would happen. I think he mentioned something about speaking to Onslaught." Actually, Megatron said he'd be *disappointed* and that didn't sound good, but Blast Off doesn't want Whirl to worry. He shrugs. "It wouldn't be a big deal. I'll handle it, whatever it is." Then another thought occurs to him, and his optic ridges furrow down. What if he sends someone else then?

Whirl leans into Blast Off's touch, optic dimming and engines rumbling. For a moment he forgets the troubling scenario he finds himself in. He forgets about Megatron and his request to 'thank him.' He forgets about the charred remains of Nyon all arounf them. He forgets about the horror that transpired here and threatens to happen again. For this moment, this split second of a moment, there is only Blast Off and the warmth of his touch.

That moment is quickly ruined at the mention of Onslaught. Whirl's optic brightens and he straightens up to properly loom over the Combaticon and stare him down. "Onslaught? Your Commander? The one that /knows/ about us? I'm sure that will go over well." He shakes his head. "Megatron sent you after me for a reason. He has a whole league of Decepticons he could've used instead but he chose YOU. To come for ME. What does that tell you, Blast Off?"

Blast Off loves the closeness, too, and when Whirl starts rumbling his engines his own stir to life as well. He flares his electrical field while enjoying the heat from Whirl's frame. But then there's the mention of Onslaught- and Whirl's reaction- and the shuttle finds himself staring up at a looming cyclops. He blinks, suddenly taken aback. His hands slip down and he nearly steps back, feeling suddenly off balance again.

What he hears doesn't inspire confidence, either. Whirl has a point, unfortunately, and it only adds to that sense of vertigo. His armor plates- and shoulders- sink at the thought. Blast Off glances away. "He... well, I'm sure it's nothing!" He protests, "There's no way he actually *knows*, or..." Suddenly his fuel tank just sinks. "...Or he'd... no, he can't know. He *can't*. It was because I did a good job in our Debate. Because I'm sophisticated and eloquent! He sent me simply because he knew I can be thoughtful and persuasive, that's all!" Yeah, that's it!

"Blast Off."

Whirl rests his claws on the shuttleformer's shoulders, still staring deep into his violet optics with his single yellow one. "I don't want to think about it either. I don't even want to fathom the thought of Megatron knowing about us but.." He stare falters and he looks away for a moment. "..He's not stupid. Not to doubt your linguistics skills or whatever, but I really don't think that's why he sent /you./ Let's work on the assumption that he DOES know and, for whatever reason, hasn't confronted you about it, whatever that may entail. IF he knows and sent you after me because of that, then what do you think will happen when you come back to him in failure? Do you think you can bluff your way out of that?"

Clawtips trail up the Combaticon's neck to rest on either side of his face, Whirl then leaning in to bonk his forehead against Blast Off's. "I'm not going to let you get killed for my sake. Tell Megatron I will see him."

Blast Off stares up at Whirl, ventilation systems starting to cycle through a little faster as he's forced to consider that Megatron might *know*. He starts shaking his head just a little, not wanting to believe, until Whirl mentions having to try and bluff against a skeptical Megatron... which brings all that to a frozen halt. A slightly haunted expression ghosts across his face as he resumes just helplessly staring up at Whirl, feeling like things are crashing down all around him. If he knows, and he's bringing Whirl in... no no no, Whirl can't go anywhere *near* Megatron, it would be his end. It's a trap, it HAS to be and...

Then Whirl brings him close and says exactly what Blast Off doesn't want to hear. "NO." He blurts out again, his hands coming up to grasp at the other's claws and try leaning back to look the mech in the optic once more. His wing elevons twitch in agitiation as he insists, "You *can't*. You *mustn't!* I'll... I'll just tell him I tried, and we fought, and you refused. In fact here, we can fight." He starts trying to guide Whirl's claws towards his torso. "Tear off some armor, and I'll, I'll punch you, and we can make sure there's enough dents and scorches for it to be convincing. We'll just put on a show...maybe we can radio each other so everyone can hear us! Yes! And then fight. It'll work!" His gaze darts around and he balls up a fist as he tries to convince himself that this plan will make everything Ok.

Yeah, that went about as well as Whirl expected it would. No way would Blast Off be okay with him talking to Megatron face to face when the miner-turned-revolutionary has so many reasons to want to kill him. Still, there was a part of him that desperately hoped that Blast Off would understand why it has to be this way. They can't bluff and/or deny their way out of this one, not when Megatron himself is involved.

Whirl's optic flickers when the shuttleformer guides his claws towards his chest and asks to be hurt, desperate for a way out of this predicament. Normally such a request would excite the cyclops and it would result in the two of them engaging in yet another one of their late-night trists but not this time, not when Blast Off is begging him in a desperate attempt to delay the inevitable. "I'm sorry, Blast Off. That's not going to cut it. I wish it would, you know how much I love our little roleplays, but it's not going to work this time."

The cyclops draws the Combaticon in for a hug, wrapping his arms tight around his body and holding him close. "There's no other option, this is how it has to be. I care about you WAY too much to let you risk your life for my sake. Just let it happen, okay? I was just joking about you killing yourself if I die, I know you'll be fine. You'll.. move on."

Blast Off puts a lot of stock in his ability to remain aloof and unaffected by things. In appearing calm, confident and poised- and not the flailing mess he feels like right now. His armor plates bristle and wing elevons twitch with agitation as he continues on, "No, you can't... that would be insane, we just have to..." Then he's drawn into a tight hug and it stills both his movements and his excuses. The Combaticon's violet optics are the only thing that moves, widening as he listens to Whirl insist on following through what is likely to be a suicide mission. And the only sound he makes is the rapid wheeze of a distressed ventilation system. Eventually, though, locked in that warm embrace, the shuttleformer slowly relaxes. Allows himself to succumb to both the reassurance -and the risk.

"....I will not be "fine"." He tilts his head up to take in the warm yellow glow of the other's optic, and reaches a hand to caress the side of his head. "I don't want to lose you. But, if you insist on this...." He pauses again, gaze sidetracking for a moment as he tries to collect his wits, "...Then let's do this smart. Bring backup. Or hide some weapons on yourself, just in case. Choose the location you meet him in, if you can."

The thought of facing Megatron again after all this time terrifies Whirl, but what terrifies him even more is the thought of Blast Off being beaten to death because he was foolish enough to fall in love with such a trainwreck of a person. His life is completely worthless and his death would probably benefit more people than his existence ever will so death is not so bad. Living with the knowledge that Blast Off is gone forever because he tried to protect that worthless life? So bad. So so bad.

"Of course I'm going to bring weapons! Who do you think I am? Someone who /wouldn't/ bring weapons?" Whirl says, his tone far more light-hearted than it should be. "I'm expecting Megatron to try something during our 'conversation' and I'm going to prepare accordingly. Even then I might not survive but you can bet your sweet aft that I'm going to make him work for it."

If Blast Off knew all this, he'd be extremely touched, as well as quick to try to convince Whirl his life is *not* completely worthless. Certainly not to him. As it is, though, he has the nagging suspicion that something like that is at play here. That- and perhaps... who knows? Maybe Whirl is ready for this showdown to come. For it is probably inevitable that Whirl and Megatron *will* have a face to face, with no outside forces to intervene. Sometimes you just get tired of running and want to face your destiny, whatever it may be.

He tries to smile as Whirl takes a lighter tone. His spark feels heavy, but he forces himself to chuckle. "Yes... yes, how silly of me. I know that's one way you'll be quite prepared. Heh... bring something that'll knock his helmet off, should he try something." The shuttleformer drops his hand from Whirl's face to wrap around his neck and lean in. "One thing that *anyone*, no matter who they are, HAS to admit.... you are certainly *memorable*, and you'd never go out with a whimper, you'd go out with a bang. Preferably a loud succession of them."

He's silent for a moment afterwards, then adds, "....But I... I hope that maybe it won't come to that." Hope. Swivel would've been proud. "I hope... that maybe he really is ready to make allies instead of enemies. Maybe he's ready to let bygones be bygones, make peace with you once and for all and maybe..." Dare he hope this? "...What if he offered to let you be a... Decepticon?"

It's nice to hear Blast Off laugh, even if it is forced. It helps create the allusion that everything is okay and Whirl doesn't have to worry about his inevitable death at the hands of the very mech he tried and failed to kill. "I /am/ pretty memorable, aren't I? I'm sure not having a face and hands helps a lot. Certainly made an impression on you."

The banter between them is nice and it lightens his spirits but the what-if Blast Off poses makes him stop dead in his tracks. It's ridiculous to even suggest that Megatron would ever extend to him an invitation to join his flock, he's the whole reason Megatron's movement became a revolution. He's why all those people chose to become a Decepticon, he's the very embodiment of everything they fight against.

"That would never happen," Whirl says flatly. "That would never happen and we both know why. I'm the reason Megatron is the way he is, there's no way in hell he would ever do that. Even if he did for WHATEVER CAZY REASON like maybe he had brain damage and accidently recruited me, do you really think the other Decepticons would be okay with that? What about Barricade? You and I both know he wants to cut off my head and mount it on a wall, and we both know WHY. Speaking of the WHY, what about Pursuit? I'm sure she's fine with having the mech who violated her wandering around and caling himself her ally."

At the mention of impressions, Blast Off gives Whirl's neck another little affectionate squeeze as he remains draped about his shoulders. "Indeed it did." His mood becomes somber quickly as Whirl continues, and the shuttleformer just sinks his head onto one of those shoulders as he listens. Letting out a sigh, he lifts his head to look up again. "But if Megatron *ordered* the others to accept you as a Decepticon, they'd have no choice but to comply! He's a persuasive speaker, too... have you ever heard him? If he believed you should be allowed to join, then you *could* join!"

The mention of Pursuit stops him cold, though. ".... She doesn't remember, though. Nobody knows the truth, and they don't have to!" Now Blast Off is the one trying to avoid the consequences after trying so hard to get Whirl to face them. "Just avoid her, don't push things and...." This brings him to another complete stop. Yeah. Don't push things. Whirl's so good at that, after all. They both know that's not true. The Combaticon usually *likes* that side of Whirl, too.... but not in this particular case.

He finds himself sighing again, head tilting up as he glances up at the other mech. "....I guess you have a point." Blast Off tries not to look disappointed. "...I suppose it never will happen. I just... I would be so... delighted to have you on the same side. Not have to wonder, not have to hide, not have to pretend all the time." Then he straightens and brings both hands up to either side of the cyclops' head, trying to give him one of their soft headbonks. "Probably a pipe dream. But someday, Whirl... someday this conflict will end. And I want *both* of us there to see it- together."

Whirl doesn't say anymore regarding Pursuit. He doesn't like thinking about what happened, he still finds it really hard to move past it all. As for no one knowing the truth? They do. Everyone does and he knows they do, he can feel their judging stares on him when he walks through the hallways, he can hear their whispers and see the disgust in their optics... and he deserves it all and more.

There's a quiet huff when Blast Off finally relents and accepts the fact that Whirl will never ever be a Decepticon for as long as he lives, and then a soft rumbling of his engines once those hands come up to grasp his head, pulling him into an affectionate headbonk. "I would like that. A lot." Claws come down to rest upon the shuttleformer's hips. "If.. /when/-" Look, he's trying to be hopeful. "-this conflict ends, I would like for use to live our lives together. Maybe we could get a nice hugh-rise like the one you used to have, or maybe we could just disappear into space."

Blast Off leans in as Whirl places those claws on his hips, enjoying the close proximity. He's really usually much more standoffish. But the two of them get such short times together it's often all he can do not to just pounce on the mech sometimes when he *does* see him alone. He lets the worries slip away for a moment and loses himself in the now... until Whirl mentions the future. The shuttleformer draws his head back to look up and stare at that singular optic. ....Live together? ...Like... A real couple. Like.... conjunx endura would. Blast Off feels the vertigo returning... but this time instead of a chaotic horror it's the warm rush of romance... it's something incredibly meaningful and beautiful and ...and *hopeful*.

He gazes into the other mech's optic before lunging into a passionate embrace. "...Yes. I... yes." The immediate future holds the promise of dread and doubt, but right now? At this moment, even the Primus-forsaken, ash-crusted hellhole that surrounds them can't dampen his spirits. His hope that someday, even among darkness and destruction like this, the sun will rise again.

Cojunx endura. That's a scary term, at least it is to Whirl. Sure, it encapsulates the kind of relationship he wants with Blast Off (in a perfect world that will never exist) but it just sounds so... official. Still, it's a nice thought.

Whirl 'oofs' as he's suddenly embraced with a fierce passion that makes his engines rumble just a bit louder but he quickly returns the action, arms squeezing the shuttleformer tight. The burnt ashes of what used to be Nyon is probably the most inappropriate spot to be having this little moment considering the extremely fragged up thing that happened here, but at the same time it's incredibly appropriate because this is where they first met. Or rather, it used to be where they first met. It's going to be tough refering to Nyon in the past tense.

Nevertheless, inappropriate or not, Whirl allows himself to enjoy this time with Blast Off. He'll be seeing Megatron soon and soon he could be dead.

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