Title: No Rest For the Wicked
Date: 31 January 2015
Summary: Nautica has some choice words for Quantum.
++ Iacon ++
Gleaming gold, silver and blue as far as the eye can see: the capital of
Cybertron itself can be breathtaking to behold. Architecture both old and
modern reflect a sense of stately order as well as artistic beauty, with
gentle arches, gilded domes and spiraling towers that rise into the
skyline. Even the walkpaths and roads are copper and bronze, the
maintenance workers here diligently tending to them to prevent any kind of
rust and corrosion. The city itself almost seems alive, with glowing power
conduits in circuit pathways running along the streets and buildings,
powering external lights and glowing holomatter signs. Cyan-colored crystal
and glass windows reflect the hue of the sky in day, or glow from internal
lighting at night.
Populated mostly by high caste and above, Iacon is the seat of Cybertron's
government, military and intellectual class. At the end of the main road
into Iacon is Trion Square, which features an enormous video screen, every
bit as big as a combiner, constantly flickering with news feeds,
state-sponsored messages and advertisements. Translucentia Heights, the
most elite residential area on Cybertron, is nestled into a corner of
Iacon's living quarters. Energon refineries, technoversites, merchant
plazas, a nurturing creche and even a nature preserve fall within the
massive polity's boundaries, making Iacon one of the few completely
self-sufficient cities on the planet.
Quantum is on the hunt again, perched outside of a window overlooking the streets of an area on the outskirts of Iacon. Periodically he sweeps the area below, searching for his target, and the perfect opportunity to take a shot. There are a lot of things on his mind, like the fact that Blast Off is STILL ALIVE, but he tries to stay focused as much as possible.
Below, Nautica makes her way out of Wheeljack's workshop, stopping just outside to shade her eyes with one hand and look up at the sky. The Camien engineer looks a bit less chipper than she has in the past; perhaps her good nature is being slowly ground down by the circumstances of her unwilling exile here. Or perhaps she's simply finding herself staring at the fact that some problems can't be easily solved -- not even by science.
Quantum spots Nautica looking up at the sky from above, and finds himself getting distracted from his job. He sighs. No, he can't do this, not right now...
But somehow, he finds himself climbing down from his perch. He'd been up there for several cycles already, if his target was going to pass by here he would have already. "Nautica." he nods in greeting toward the Camien. "You looking for something?"
"Hrm? No, just think...ing..." Nautica trails off as she takes in who exactly is talking to her, and her expression changes to an exasperated one. "You! I've wanted to have some words with you for a bit, Quantum; that bomb that Blast Off brought into Nyon -- the one that nearly flattened the /city/ -- was /yours/, wasn't it?"
Quantum's hands go up defensively. "Wait, he almost set it off in -Nyon-?" He suddenly looks equally exasperated. "Good Primus he's an idiot." The mech shakes his head, then clenches his fists. "One of these cycles, I'm gonna make him -pay-." he seethes.
"I had to try to disarm it, and that wasn't enough. Luckily, I was able to convince him to fly off and jettison it up in the atmosphere where it wouldn't do any damage... though I gather he got hurt doing so." Nautica steps forward, glaring at Quantum as she taps him firmly on the chestplate with one finger. "I have given up on stopping the two of you from killing each other -- even though I think Cybertron is going to need every competent space-capable bot when the Clampdown is lifted. But you really /have/ to keep from dragging everyone else in!"
After a moment, she lets her hand drop, and offers more quietly, "If Nyon had been blown up -- if /I/ had been killed there, since I was trying to disarm the thing -- Chromia would have chased you with just as much determination as /you/ are chasing Blast Off! Not to mention anyone /else/ who might have lost someone. Quantum..." She trails off.
Quantum groans. "Look, I wasn't -trying- to blow up Nyon, I just want -revenge- of the mech who killed my partner." And only best friend. "It's the -least- I could do in honor of his memory, and it's not MY fault that Combati-brat tried to get you to disarm the thing in the fragging MIDDLE OF THE CITY." he says defensively. He seems -sort- of satisfied that the blast at least caused Blast Off -some- pain. Still, it wasn't enough...
He fixes Nautica with a fierce expression, and his voice drops to a lower tone. "Let me ask you something then, Nautica. It sounds like this Chromia you're talking about would do the exact same thing to -me- if she were in the same situation, is that right? And you care deeply for her, don't you? What if you were forced to watch while someone murdered her? How would you feel about that? Maybe you don't know, because you've never had to experience it. You don't -know- what it feels like."
"I actually understand /why/ you're upset. I don't blame you for /that/." Nautica's tone has shaded towards sadness now, as she regards the other mech. "I've /seen/ how Chromia acted when I was held by that lunatic who wanted to st... force me to help him in his experiments. I know perfectly well that if I died, she'd be furious, and relentless, and she wouldn't stop until she'd made someone pay. But you know what else I know, Quantum?"
And now the Camien engineer shakes her head, grimly. "It wouldn't change anything; I'd still be dead, and she and Windblade would both still feel empty. And if someone /else/ got killed along the way -- a bystander, or even the person responsible -- then someone /else/ might hold Chromia responsible and pursue her the same way. And then they chase her, and try to take her out, and it just... never... /ends/. And /that's/ what bothers me about this path of vengeance you're on. You're better than that." Which is perhaps an odd thing to say.
"No!" Quantum says fiercely. He seems offended that she's even insinuating that she understands what he's going through. "You -don't- get to say that. Because you can only -imagine- what it would be like, but no matter how much you run all those hypothetical scenarios with your friends through your head, you -still- don't know what it's -actually- like. You can talk about how it would start this terrible cycle all you want, but you'll never truly know how it feels, not until you've -experienced- it. Until you've actually -been- there."
He makes an exasperated noise. "Pfff, better than that? Ha! Okay, I'm flattered, but it's -not- true. I'm -not- better than 'that'. I don't give a slag what other are gonna do as a result of this, or whatever 'cycle of revenge' is gonna start or whatever, as if that isn't already happening everywhere already. I have to finish what we started, and that's the only way I can finally rest."
"You /are/ better than that. I remember when you were still injured, recovering from whatever sent you crashing into the middle of our workshop," Nautica points out firmly. "And you were ready to help others. Eager, even. You wanted to know if you could join in, could help /fix/ what's wrong with this planet. And now... now you sound like you don't care how many die on the way, as long as you get what you want. And I don't believe that. Because isn't that the way /Blast Off/ thought? That as long as he got to get back out to space again -- as long as he got what he wanted -- it didn't matter who suffered."
Finally, though, she shakes her head. "And no, I don't understand -- not really -- how you feel. But I can understand /why/ you would be upset. So if you insist on doing this, then please... keep it between you. Don't take out others along the way. Don't do something that could blow up an entire /city/ just to settle the score with one mech." Maybe she figures that's all she can say to sway Quantum, because she seems prepared to turn and leave, adding only, "I /do/ hope you find some kind of peace."
"Maybe I was, once." Quantum allows. "But not any more. And I never claimed I was better than Blast Off, either. Like I said before though, I wasn't -trying- to take out an entire city. It was -supposed- to be just -him-."
He sighs as she starts to turn away. "Look, I'm sorry that happened, all right? I didn't intend for it to go down that way. I didn't think he'd be that -stupid-. Besides, it wouldn't have destroyed the entire city, it wasn't -that- powerful. I'm glad you...convinced Blast Off to make sure no one innocent got caught in the crossfire."
"He's kind of a self-centered coward," Nautica admits with a rueful smile, pausing long enough to glance back at Quantum. "But he /can/ be convinced to do the right thing, occasionally." The smile falters slightly. "Very, very occasionally. And I know that you weren't /trying/ to take out Nyon. But I think sometimes you're /so/ focused on taking him out, you're blind to any other consequences."
Heh, -kind- of a self-centered coward? Isn't that the understatement of the vorn. Quantum shakes his head, because he bets she just gave him a bunch of reasons that benefited -him- somehow in order to convince him to do the 'right thing'.
He looks pensive for a moment. "Maybe you're right, killing him won't bring me any lasting satisfaction. And Sublight would still be dead." The spacer sighs ruefully.
"Vengeance doesn't really bring anyone back," Nautica remarks, quietly. "I mean, that would require time travel, and that's impractical." Not impossible, apparently... just 'impractical'. The engineer must live in a very odd mental space at times.
What? Nothing is -impossible-, is it? But Quantum doesn't really think too hard about that. "I know. Nothing will bring him back..." His fist clenches again. "And killing Blast Off will only bring temporary satisfaction. But I can make him lose what I lost; I can make him -suffer- the same way he's made me suffer--for the rest of his -life-." Yes, this is -much- better than just ending his life, he decides. "I'll make him regret what he did!"
There's a moment where Nautica seems to consider whether or not she should try to intercede, but finally she just decides to hold off. It's an improvement over accidentally blowing up Nyon as collateral damage, after all. And it's not as if she has a /working/ time machine to snatch Sublight's spark core away, out of those last moments, and save him. (We'll ignore the three half-built ones; those are only side projects.) So instead, she just nods in answer.
Quantum sighs. "I'm sorry you had to get pulled into this." He shakes his head. "Just...the next time Blast Off asks you to help him with something dangerous like that, -don't-. Well I'd say don't help him with -anything-, but I know you're not the type to make that kind of promise." he smiles...just a little.
"It's a compulsion," Nautica remarks, with a slightly self-deprecating laugh. "Someone shows up bleeding out quantum foam, or carrying a bomb that's going to level us all, I probably try to deal with it. Someday, it'll probably get me in over my head." The humor becomes slightly strained, as she seems to realize that perhaps it already did once. Maybe that time she mentioned, with Chromia so angry.
"Well maybe you need to quell that compulsion. It might get you killed one of these times. Or, at least...if someone has a bomb, you could think to take it somewhere more remote than the middle of a city...err, somewhere with less people around." Quantum points out. "Then maybe you wouldn't have been in so much of a panic." The smile fades. He sighs again. "I guess I'd better get back to it."
"For everyone's sake, I'm not going to ask what 'it' is," Nautica remarks. "Just.. try not to get yourself killed, alright? If nothing else, I still want to figure out how your jump drive works." The way she offers a farewell smile as she says this suggests she's mostly joking. (Though she /wouldn't/ mind that, of course.)
"Right, of course. I promised you that, at least." Quantum replies. "I mean, it's the least I can do...anyway." He turns to leave, to get back to 'it' which indeed is probably better left unspecified. Oh, he definitely won't try to get himself killed, after all it's his job to kill -other- people, not himself!