Title: New Friends
Date: 25 February 2015
Hot Rod and his band of rebels have sure been making the news lately, and that's been attracting all sorts of attention. Not just of the authorities- but others have noticed as well. Other outcasts' audials have become tuned into the frequencies emanating from Nyon- and one in particular has a keen "ear". Soundwave has not only heard the news reports, but also word from Swivel, who agreed to tell him anytime she heard of injustices occurring. He's heard of goings-on at the IAA, Enforcers.... and again and again Hot Rod's name comes up.
Yes, it's time Soundwave paid Hot Rod a visit. For now, the city seems quiet. But a keen optic might catch sight of a small form flitting overhead- the birdlike shape of Laserbeak, on the search for his quarry. That particular quarry shouldn't be too hard to spot- not with those flames he wears.
With a warrant out for his arrest and a ~special task force~ put together to put an end to his little band of merry misfits, Hot Rod should be laying low and out of sight.
He isn't, of course.
A glimpse of red and yellow, orange and gold stands out in bright, vivid flash against the rust and dust of Nyon. He's just leaving one of Nyon's unlicensed clinics and, with a glance down the street and a look up above, headed down the street like he hasn't a care in the world.
How totally predictable (and helpful) of you, Hot Rod. Laserbeak's optics gleam as he catches sight of the target, transmitting a message to the outlier not too far away. Thus a few breems later, Hot Rod may notice a large, bulky blue mech standing at a street corner as he approaches. The mech's arms are crossed, leaning against a lightpost and watching the racer walk towards him. Soundwave is already reaching out with his mind, brushing across the surface of Hot Rod's thoughts and trying to get a sense for who he really is.
"You are Hot Rod." He states. Because, really, how could he be mistaken for anyone else?
Who he really is, huh? Hot Rod really is ... not as careless as he looks.
Mentally tracking what he knows of law enforcement patrols in the area -- which is reasonably accurate, thanks to recently made friends! -- Hot Rod's got an eye out for any changes to the posted schedules that might suggest changes they'll need to accommodate. He has a warm glow of satisfaction from seeing the clinic well-stocked with supplies acquired and delivered via less than legal means. He's wrapped in a sense of his own heroism, basking in the glow of good deeds done and righteous opposition to law enforcement villainy.
When Soundwave addresses him, Hot Rod considers first the possibility that he might be one of the latter, looking for Senate emblems, an Autobot insignia, or the mark of the Nyon Police Department. A second line of thought tracks the location of other rebels in the area and who might be able to get here in time if there is trouble, but his greeting to Soundwave is all easy warmth as he says, "Yep! And you're not." He patiently waits for an introduction.
The first impression is a promising one- and unlike most people, Soundwave's "impressions" are never wrong. Not when you can basically read people's minds. There is certainly "more than meets the eye" to Hot Rod, and the outlier recognizes the easy confidence coupled with an underlying intelligence as the marks of a promising leader. He's not fully there yet- but he has the makings of one. Soundwave also picks up the shared distaste of the government... and, it seems, a shared desire to help Cybertronians in need. Yes, they might have something in common.
"My name: Soundawave. I have been hearing many things about you lately. You are... a freedom fighter? You wish to see equality for all?"
It's an old reflex that is Hot Rod's first thought: play it cool and slip beneath the radar, don't get caught because then what happens to Nyon. Too late. Thanks to Patdown's crew, his only choice is to be bold. And so he is. "Yes," Hot Rod says, the word 'freedom' resonating spark-deep with the young -- and he is /definitely/ young -- mech. He squares up facing Soundwave, angling so that he can keep an eye on the street and the sky while he talks to him. He grins, just as bright as his finish. "Sounds like I should be thanking the NPD for the free publicity, huh?"
If Hot Rod were to look closely, he might notice an avian form perching high above, watching them... but otherwise it's fairly quiet right now. Soundwave considers the racer's words. "Are "thanks" truly what you would wish to extend to the law enforcement of this city? To the government of this city? They hold a position of authority and the lives of many individuals in their hands- yet they use that power to keep the status quo." The outlier glances about slowly, taking in some of the garbage littering the streets. "Which means a few benefit while many suffer."
Hot Rod's grin settles askew, hooked in a crooked curve. "Nah, mech." Thanks is far from his thoughts where law enforcement and government is concerned, but perhaps for in deepest sarcasm. "You don't need to tell me how they've abused and exploited the lower classes. I see it every day, in big ways and little ways." Thoughts of the Institute, of Cipher and his loyalty programming, the treatment of the Insecticons and other beast-mode Cybertronians, the plight of the disposables -- it's all there, all simmering in outraged idealism -- the smaller strangleholds, the laws and rules and regulations, the absent disregard and the abuses that are taken for granted. Big and little, large and small: every way that the government has failed Nyon, Hot Rod holds in a tight, hot core of rebellion.
Soundwave picks up all these things, the thought about beast-modes carrying a special resonance with the mech. "Affirmative. I see it too. My friends and I have experienced it ourselves. I am classified: disposable. I came from the streets, and it was only good fortune and certain skill sets that enabled me to crawl from the gutter. Now I seek a Cybertron where all are equal. I seek to help those who most need it."
His red visor turns to fix onto Hot Rod, "I hear you do too. There are rumors. Rumors of disposables being abducted... sparks taken from their bodies. Does this sound familiar to you?" He watches Hot Rod, listens to both words and mind for his reaction.
Hot Rod's expression warms as Soundwave speaks. His eyes light with the enthusiasm of shared ideals: Equality! Help those in need! Yes! Then Soundwave shifts to rumors, and the warmth fades into something a touched more guarded. Hot Rod's thoughts mirror his expression. He is fairly transparent in the shift of his moods, which play out across his features with little guile to hide them.
"Yeah. The rumors are true." Hot Rod spares maybe half a second to consider the possibility that Soundwave is from the IAA, and as such keeps his words a little more general. "It's not the Institute," he says, with his own role in taking that down rising in his thoughts with a glow of self-righteous heroism. "But it's not far from it, either." Grief and guilt are as clear in his thoughts as in the downward tip of his head as he considers the death of one he sent to investigate -- but his shoulders firm and his chin lifts. One loss isn't enough to stop him, when so many others are being targeted for the mad scientist experiments.
"No, it is not. I hear... more rumors that the actions originate in Ibex." Soundwave tilts his head. "I have some friends who have seen things. Things that concern me, and I wish to learn more." He leans back up, pushing away from the lightpost, and straightens to stand. "But you do not know who I am, or if I am trustworthy." There's a pause, then he asks, "Tell me, what do you think of the Decepticons?"
"You're well-informed." Frank curiosity colors Hot Rod's gaze as he considers Soundwave. He smiles, tilting his head to acknowledge the point about trust, then blinks into surprise. "What do I think--?" He breaks off in order /to/ think, to firm up an answer before he speaks it. Soundwave being Soundwave, he's privy to the flurry of (brief) consideration that precedes Hot Rod's fast words. He lacks any immediate negative associations with the Decepticons. Indeed, his first thought is approval, colored by friendships. (OF COURSE IF HE KNEW ABOUT SHIFTLOCK'S WARM WELCOME, THAT WOULD CHANGE.) The only souring note comes when he considers Starscream. Ugh. That guy.
"I think the Decepticons have a lot of good ideas," Hot Rod says. Why not? In for a penny--. "Senate paints them as terrorists, but -- hey! I just got upgraded to terrorist too. I don't buy it. The Senate would call truth terror to stop people from listening."
Actually, Soundwave shares many of the same perceptions. He respects Starscream's skills, but he does not trust the Seeker- and is in fact already watching him. As far as Shiftlock goes, the outlier tried to show compassion towards her during her stay, making Hook back down at first. But his orders were overridden by Megatron himself, and... well, what can one do then? Soundwave wasn't pleased to hear what happened to her.
"I make it my business to be well-informed. It is... my specialty, you could say. I have many friends, as I said..." He gestures with one broad hand up towards a nearby rooftop, and if Hot Rod looks he will see Laserbeak perched up there, watching them. "They are my optics and audials." He listens as Rod speaks. "They DO consider truth to be terror- terror for them. You speak wisely. An informed public has power... power to say no, we do not approve. No, we want change. And change is what terrifies the Senate. They do everything they can to crush the ability of the people to learn and speak... but we /are/ finding each other."
Finally, there is a very small release of air through Soundwave's ventilation systems, an /almost/ amused sound. "Then we are both terrorists, Hot Rod." He rubs a spot on his chest, revealing a hidden Decepticon badge. "We are both thorns in their wheels. And I propose that we both help each other."
Following Soundwave's gesture, Hot Rod scans the roof before spotting Laserbeak. He lifts his hand in a wave. Knowing that Soundwave has sneaks and spies around, rather than causing him to tense up, seems to relax him. He's not the only one keeping an eye out for THE MAN.
Hot Rod looks back at Soundwave, studies the badge, then lifts his gaze with a quick grin. "To terrorism," he says like someone who has /zero/ inclination to /actually/ engage in terrorism. It's obvious he's uneasy with violence, and rather than embrace the label, he distances himself through playful sarcasm. He's far more sincere when he says, "To truth."
A half-dozen ideas rise and fall a brief pause before Hot Rod asks, "How're you thinking we can help?"
Soundwave picks up on that, too. And not being particularly fond of terrorism is Ok. Soundwave sees it as a tool, something useful in the fight for a better tomorrow. But he isn't all that keen on the mindless violence it can stir up. And truth? Soundwave is all about truth... his truth, at least. Towards a truth he believes that all Cybertronians can share. He nods. "Towards equality."
At the final question, the outlier leans back and considers that. "I believe that for one, we can serve as optics and audials for each other. We can exchange information, perhaps even work as allies from time to time. For instance, I have an interest in finding out more about the IAA situation. I believe you may be looking into that situation as well?"
"That sounds good." Hot Rod nods -- once, twice, then grins. "I think we've already worked together, even if I never actually saw you guys. Institute in Nova Cronum," he explains. "Getting information out is one of my highest priorities right now," he says, falling back into a more thoughtful manner. "Not just finding out what's going on, but letting people /know/ about it. Anything you can tell us, I'd like to let people know. I want more information about the IAA facility, too. I know where it is, but we don't have the people to get in and get evidence. We're not exactly, uh, subtle."
And I am subtle..." Soundwave replies softly, glancing back up to Laserbeak. "....Or at least my friends are." He nods. "Yes. The Institute was only the beginning. I want to learn more, and I can work to find out. I am also willing to work with you on setting up some communication networks. Keep radio communication open. If you encounter problems and require assistance, we may be able to do so. And vice versa."
"We're setting up an alternative datanet to the Senate-controlled media." Hot Rod's full of enthusiasm for it, caught up in the idea that if people just /knew/, they would of /course/ stop supporting the Senate. /Of course/. "Distributed, redundant. They can't take it down. Not all of it. They've already tried." He smiles, wolfish. Turbofoxish? Whatever. If the Senate's trying to blow it up, then they are /obviously doing something right/. "It only covers part of Nyon, but I can put you in touch with our engineer if you're interested. At the very least, it'd definitely be a good idea to have a shared frequency."
Soundwave would agree, for truly, how can any person with a spark worth its energy or a mind worth its storage ever support this Senate? He remains perfectly calm as he states, "I am. I have some skills with the radio as well. Perhaps we can set up something in Kaon that connects with Nyon? A communication network between Decepticons and Nyon rebels."
That said, the outlier glances once again at Laserbeak, who takes one look and lifts up and away, soon soaring out of sight. Soundwave takes a step out in the street. "I should be going. However," He sends Hot Rod a radio frequency so that the mech may contact him, "I /would/ like to keep in touch."
"That sounds like a good idea." Pax would be so proud of Hot Rod, right? Making contact, making friends, making plans, all in the name of freedom and equality. THIS CAN'T POSSIBLY BE A BAD IDEA IN ANY WAY. Hot Rod watches as Laserbeak takes off and nods to Soundwave. "Sure. And here--" Frequency for frequency, he trades. "You guys are doing good stuff. Keep it up, and good luck."
Soundwave nods. "I wish the same to you. Keep doing what you are doing, too- keep the law enforcement on their feet. Keep helping the empties and outcasts. We will make a difference, one person and one place at a time." Accepting the frequency, the outlier steps away, soon disappearing around the corner.