Title: One Step Closer

PCs: Swift Blade, Soundwave

Location: ++ The Arena <Forge> ++

Date: 31 January 2015

Summary: Soundwave instills even more drive in Swift Blade to join the Decepticons while he gets a read on her.

-Since speaking with Megatron last, Swift Blade has been spending even more time here than usual. At the moment she is sitting at what passes for the bar. In her hands is a datapad, which she is reading over rather intently. Her expression is thoughtful if anyone is paying attention. Which, in this area, she might not get a lot of since she hasn't been in the fights as of yet.

-Someone is *always* paying attention. That someone's name is Soundwave, and he's heard about the possible new recruit and the assistance she's already given to the Decepticon Blast Off. He spends a lot of time here, watching, scanning- and picking up the thoughts and emotions of others. It is his outlier gift: telepathic perception. He notices Swift Blade reading the datapad and moves closer in that way unique to him: one minute he doesn't seem to be there, and the next he'll be standing nearby. Just... /there/.

-Being rather intent on her reading, Swift Blade doesn't immediately notice the blue mech. Despite outward appearances, she isn't so calm on the inside as she pretends to be. With Swift Blade emotions run deep and it was only through millions of years of not being 'allowed' to show emotion that she is able to keep them concealed so well. At this point she doesn't even think about it; it's just part of who she is. But the outlier will notice that she is quite stirred by what she is reading, though that sensation is coupled by a sense of trepidation. It's not quite fear, and it's not quite anxiety, but it's a negative feeling somewhat related to the two.

-Soundwave indeed picks up on these things and even has a guess as to what that datapad might contain. While he could simply try scanning her mind further, he instead comes to stand not far from the femme at the edge of the bar. Soundwave doesn't drink a lot, though he tries to be social and ingest some engex from time to time. But too much interferes with his telepathy, so he usually abstains while on the job. He doesn't order a drink. "Swift Blade, correct?" His tone is polite, though slightly monotone.

-Swift Blade looks up, surprised but not startled, as she is addressed. She'd never seen Soundwave before, so doesn't know that he is someone that has Megatron's audials. "Yes, that's me," she says with a polite incline of her head and a faint smile. He will feel some small bit of her is pleased at being recognized, though there's nothing arrogant about it. "Can I help you?" He will also pick up that her words are in earnest, not a mere polite formality.

-Soundwave appreciates such things, too. He is earnest as well, in his own way. "Confession: I hope to help you, actually. I hear you are interested in joining the Decepticons. I may be able to see to that." He lets that sink in, leaning against the bar and glancing up at the rafters where Laserbeak is perched, watching the scene. Then he looks to her datapad. "What are you reading?" Again, he sounds polite in that strange sort of flat and yet harmonic voice of his.

-"I am interested," Swift Blade says with a faint smile. Unlike the outlier, she wears no faceplate. She has had to do so in the past at times, so now she greatly prefers to not have one. "Or, rather, I came to the conclusion that it is really the only thing for me to do at this point in time," she amends her statement. And his ability will pick up that she believes herself to be telling the truth, which is about as honest as a person can be. Gesturing to the datapad she answers, "Just reading over Megatron's work again." She has read it a few times already, but wants to get the most out of it.

-Soundwave nods and had suspected as much. He picked up those feelings of inspiration and... well, given Megatron's book's popularity, it's not surprising. But still, there were... doubts there? Or something akin to doubts.... The outlier tilts his head. "Why is that the only thing for you now?" He then looks to her datapad. "Yes, most of us have read that. What do you think of that?"

-"Well, I made a decision that I couldn't fight against someone. With the people of Cybertron polarizing for war, it seems the only thing to do is to choose a side." Swift Blade folds her arms on the table. "It would be dangerous to go it alone, especially after I interceded for this person against the law." When she speaks of this individual, her expression and tone are calm, reasonable. But the outlier will know better: there is a certain sense of affection there for this person. Enough so that she's willing to risk her own metalic hide at any rate.

Then she presses her lips into a thin line. "From what I can tell, the law here is not a forgiving entity." Anger and sorrow flicker through her emotions now. Whatever her doubts are, they aren't because she has a fondness for the current government.

-"This someone is a Decepticon." It is almost more a statement than a question, though it doesn't even take a mind-reader to make that guess. Soundwave listens to the rest, then glances off towards Laserbeak. "Affirmative. It is ...exceedingly difficult to survive alone in today's world. I tried.... and failed." He is quiet for a while, then continues. "It was when I found friends that I was able to go on, to survive- to succeed again. It is wise to seek friends." 

He picks up those feelings towards the government, too. "No. There are many things about the government that need to change. And it will take more extreme measures than subtle ones. For the corruption has taken hold and fights cleansing. Fights the will of the people."

-"I don't know that I even sought friends. They just sort of happened," Swift Blade says with a smile. "I didn't have any for millions of years, so I guess I didn't know to even look for them." She nods her head slowly. "For most of my time here I wouldn't let myself believe that it was the only measure. But seeing the types of manipulations that the law promotes I can't uphold that sort of law, though I do believe in law as an idea." No chaos for this femme, thank you very much. "As I've told everyone else though, it is the innocent people who get caught in the crossfire that I worry about. However, it is becoming more clear that they're already suffering. I just don't like to make serious decisions too quickly." Her emotions are pretty consistent through all this, matching her words.

-Soundwave smiles a little under his faceplate. "Friends sometimes show up when you least expect them. And sometimes those are the most significant ones." He nods, "It can be difficult. Change is difficult. Most people resist change. It is Cybertronian nature. But there comes a point that so much has gone wrong that people can longer ignore it, and are forced to act. One way or another."

There's a pause, and he folds his hands together thoughtfully. "Yes, the innocents are already suffering. And it is possible that some may suffer due to Decepticon actions in the future. I do not wish for it to be so. I want to HELP everyone... especially the innocent, especially the dowbntrodden. I wish for all to be equal again. But during times of conflict it can be... inevitable for innocents to get caught in the crossfire." He looks to swift Blade. "Could you live with that, should it happen?"

-"Being caught in the crossfire is one thing, and I would have to live with it one way or another. What I've learned over millions of years is that a person can 'live' through a great many things. However, being told to attack the innocents directly," Swift Blade shakes her head, "that would be an entirely different matter. I can fight, and I will fight, but I have no love of violence." She sighs softly. "It would be self-defeating if we were to unseat the current order just to become as feared and reviled as they are now," she says. "And with those who have joined for a love of violence, I worry about how things will turn out. But, in a way, that is one of the other reasons why I wish to be a part of this. There needs to be a balance, yes?"

-Soundwave nods. "It is understandable. I myself am not keen on violence, though I believe it is useful as a tool. I do not enjoy fighting, however. Some of my friends do, and I do not judge them. For you are correct- there needs to be balance. Each individual brings a different skill set and a different... "spark" to the table. The more violent individuals have their place- when brute strength is needed to survive, they are the ones to look to. But we also need people like you, to remind us of what we are ultimately trying to achive."

-Swift Blade smiles faintly at this, and he'll feel a sense of kinship there, that she is recognizing him as having traits similar to her own. "I spent a lot of time in battle arenas, though they followed a different set of rules and protocols than the one here," she says, gesturing to mean the Forge. Then she taps the datapad. "Megatron writes of conscience, of hopes and dreams." Leaning forward slightly, she lowers her voice. "I fear that one day the spark this came from will slowly be extinguished under the things that happen here." She means it figuratively, not literally. She doesn't think Megatron will fall physically, at least not easily.

-That sense of kinship is felt and it is reassuring. There are a good deal many thugs and hooligans who have shown up to join the Decepticons, and Soundwave meant what he said. they do have a place. But he's not a fool. He knows that they aren't seeking the same things he is- equality and a true brighter future for the oppressed and downtrodden. But he can sense swift Blade is genuinely concerned about such things. "I am pleased that you care for such things. When we wipe the corruption from Cybertron's government, we will need level heads. Compassionate ones." 

Though her concern about Megatron gives him pause. "You are afraid that Megatron will lose his way?" He frowns under the faceplate. "No. No, he is the one with the vision. I have *seen* it, *felt* it.... it burns bright. It is genuine. They are not just words to him, they are his true convictions. They are who he is." 

And obviously Megatron could never change, or stray!

-"I don't doubt the mech himself," Swift Blade says. "But depending on the balance he might not be able to stand against a tide of those who are hungry for violence." She inclines her head towards Soundwave. "You seem very level though, and I'm sure that if there are even a few of us, that things may turn out okay. I just hope we are able to move quick enough before too many more people suffer." She sighs. "Things that should be untouchable are routinely tampered with from what I can tell."

-Soundwave can't believe that Megatron would ever stumble or fail like that. No, no, it couldn't happen. The purity of Megatron's beliefs, his conviction, his wisdom.... it provides a focus for the outlier he craves. He *needs*. He can't imagine failing. Doesn't want to. So- yes, Soundwave is level-headed on many things... but it's possible Megatron is NOT one of them. 

"Yes. I see it myself. I work in a... government position, I see what goes on. I've lived as an empty, struggled on the streets. I know what it is like." Again he glances up to Laserbeak. "I know that deceit and selfishness are king among many in power. That is why acting quickly is required- we must move before they can mobilize further against us. For they have no scruples, and will use the full force of the government of Cybertron against any who oppose them."

-Just as Swift Blade is usually pretty level headed, though perhaps not where certain individuals are concerned. "So you have seen both sides of the situation?" she asks; he will sense her intrigue from there. "I have only been a slave, that is, until recently. I returned home as soon as I was free, only to find my own people subjugating each other. We are fractured, broken. And this is a great source of sorrow to me." She is as sincere in her sorrow as she is in all else. In fact, Soundwave will note that she is very much Starscream's opposite despite the fact they share a frame type, even down to the shapes of their helmets.

-Oh, Soundwave has definitely seen both sides. "Affirmative: I struggled for a very long time as an empty. I wandered the streets, confused and alone." He pauses, then decides to share more of his story. "I have a... unique gift. I can... sense emotions. And... other things. It left me very confused. I did not know how to control my ability, and it nearly drove me mad. But then one day, I met some ...friends. Friends who taught me how to focus and freed me from chaos." He pauses, and at that moment Laserbeak soars down and lands on Soundwave's shoulder, who then reaches up to pat the bird. "Including Laserbeak here. Tell me, what do you see when you see him?" Laserbeak turns his head to stare at Swift Blade, red optics indicating an intelligence if only one looks deep enough.

-"I see someone that looks like a bird," Swift Blade says. She'd seen many organic birds in the fancy menageries of her owners. Beautiful specimens of bright plumage. To the bird she inclines her head. "Pleased to meet you." She doesn't know for a fact that he is, or is not, intelligent, but it is better to treat a 'simple' bird as intelligent than it would be to insult a sentient being by treating it as a dumb beast. "That ability would be very strenuous to have," she says finally. "Especially on a planet with so much suffering." Her own empathy causes pain now and then, but to actually be able to fully read emotions...she looks at Soundwave with a profound respect.

-She gives the right answer. Laserbeak gives her a short, polite nod before turning away to begin "preening" at the plates on his back. Soundwave replies, "You see well. So many see only a beast. They call them disposable, treat them accordingly. When they are Cybertronians the same as you or I." Bird still on his shoulder, he folds his hands together once more. "It is. I have much better control of it now than I did, but there are still times it... is a challenge. You are correct; the suffering on this planet is immense and... overwhelming at times. Yet another reason I desire for it to be replaced by more pleasant emotions." 

He tilts his head a little. "However, one does not need my ability in order to be able to... empathize, and it appears that you possess that inclination. I think one such as yourself would be a positive addition to Decepticons forces. One caution: empathizing, and feeling TOO much can bring great pain. There are times one must learn to protect oneself by shutting at least a *little* of that pain out. To keep one's ...sanity."

-"When I was a slave, I served organics. Because I was metal, most couldn't comprehend that I had feelings and original thought. So I know what it's like to be judged on what others see," Swift Blade says. "That you have not gone made means you are a person of great mettle, and I respect that." She nods her head. "I hope I am up to the challenge of retaining my feelings without them ruling over me and shutting me down." Of course, it was emotion, not cool logic that brought her here in the first place. In fact, most people joining the Decepticons are likely ruled by one emotion or another, whether it's a sense of righteous indignation or lust for battle or whatnot.

-Soundwave nods. "It is a balance, as you said. The struggle means that you haven't simply given in. The fact that you must fight, even yourself, shows your spark is still strong."

-"I didn't wait millions of years for freedom just to give up now," Swift Blade says stoutly. "There were many times I was tempted."

-"Indeed" Soundwave says softly. "You understand. I am sorry for your suffering at the hands of the organics. You do know what Laserbeak, and those like him, go through. How they are looked down as lesser and inferior by the ignorant. And while they were not slaves, they were treated almost as badly. You both were... disposable." He sighs, patting the bird who peeps and then flies up to the rafters again. The carrier's attention reverts back to Swift Blade. "Then will you use that strength of will, that fight, to topple this corrupt government so that people like you, and like Laserbeak, and like so many others can finally taste freedom, and choice, and respect?"

-"The only reason I wasn't quite 'disposable' was because I was expensive. A giant toy, or combatant, or meanas of transportation. I was well maintained because it would be hard to get a replacement. But that doesn't remove the sting from the situation." Swift Blade frowns for a moment, remembering her masters; each one's face is imprinted on her memory. "I am willing to do so. That another race treated me as such was abominable. That there are those among us that treat their own race the same way is inexcusable." Yes, there is no excuse in her mind for what the Senate does.

-Soundwave does look genuinely horrified at what she went through (as much as he can with that faceplate and optic visor, at least)... and he IS horrified. "That should never have happened to one of us. Should not have happened to anyone. But yes... sometimes one species may treat another poorly out of simple ignorance. Language barriers, misunderstandings. But for one's own kind... there can be no excuse. We are all we have in this universe. We should look out for each other." 

The outlier straightens, pushing up from the bar to gaze at Swift Blade fully. "I believe you belong here, with the Decepticons. For we are going to change the world- we are going to *transform* it into something better, brighter and more equal for all. It will not be easy, but worthwhile things rarely are."

-"The Quintessons were terrible. I would have thought, once they were removed from the planet, it would have taught people a few things. Evidently that lesson wasn't learned well enough," says Swift Blade, sounding more sad than angry. "Agreed. Those who have it easy, there is so much they fail to understand." Again, there is more sadness here than blame. "People need a reason to live; they need hope. The current government crushes these things into dust. If we can give people back that hope then I will consider it time well spent."

-Soundwave sighs. "Yes. You remember the Quintessons?" He shakes his head. "Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it. And we HAVE forgotten. We have forgotten a great deal many things." But her words ring true, and he nods. "Affirmative. Hope is a powerful thing. So many have lost it, and that is why they despair. That is why we shall GIVE them hope again. And it will be time well spent. I KNOW it." Said like the believer he is.

-"They're the reason I was taken from Cybertron," Swift Blade says. "So yes, I remember them." Usually Swift Blade is not prone to hate, but speaking about them, well, Soundwave will detect that they are one of the few things that brings up that emotion. It surges, flickers, and then ebbs away, but it was THERE. "I already told Megatron that when he is satisfied that he wants me, then I will join. I wouldn't presume to know his will." She's not an outlier after all. Just someone with a steady spark.

-That hate is a bit... out of place with the rest of Swift Blade's mental state. But given that this is the Quintessons, it is probably understandable. "I will speak to Megatron, put... a good word in for you." Soundwave turns to leave, but looks back. "The ulitmate decision is up to Megatron- and you."

-"I'm the one joining; he's the leader. If he has any reason to not want me here, then that is his call; I've alreayd signaled my willingness." She doesn't say anything more about that. By now the hate has completely been submerged again. She's not hateful by nature, but she can't forgive the Quintessons for what they did.

-Soundwave can understand that. Though- in his case, he still carries some of the resentment about what happened to him. AND what happened to his friends. But he tries to focus now on looking ahead- and the brighter future he is certain MUST come. "True. I shall speak with him, and we will let you know of his decision." With that, he begisn to head away.

-"Thank you," Swift Blade says, inclining her head. Ah, so polite. Many Decepticons are NOT. "It was nice meeting you," she says, "and Laserbeak." Although she didn't really have a conversation with the latter, they had been introduced. With Soundwave heading off, she returns to her datapad.

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