Title: Philosophical Disagreements
Date: 21 April 2015
Summary: Breakup? Kind of looks like a breakup.
Twenty thousand years. A lot can happen in that span of time... or a lot can remain the same. The latter might be said for Nyon, though the reality is that things have changed. They've changed - they have become worse. That fact has only really been witnessed by those that live there however, those in the trenches so to speak... such as Arsenal. She's spent an increasing less amount of time around the Acropolex as of late. In fact, she's hardly been around at all the last few days. Sometimes it is easier to avoid a problem than face it... until that is no longer an option.
In vehicle mode she rumbles back into the Acropolex, does a turn and then backs up to a stack of crates off to the side. Her rear hatch opens and a pair of bots unload themselves - not in cuffs, but rather looking around. Once they are unloaded Arsenal resumes her root mode, towering over the two of them. "Stay here," she commands to them with a point of her finger as she then looks up to see if her entrance has been noticed.
The distant rumble of Hot Rod's engine as he revs toward her suggests that while her entrance may have been noticed, it wasn't by him: someone else spotted her, let him know, and he's on his way to intercept. QUICK. HIDE. He slings around a corner to take the final stretch in a tumbling transformation of limbs to jog the last two paces to the door. "Arsenal! Hey, Arse! I wanted to-- someone here?" he notices, somewhat belated. She was talking and pointing at something behind those crates!
Arsenal could be sneaky... but she is not built for that. She sidesteps to reveal who it is that she brought in. There's no point in running from a fight she is eager to have.
Both figures are easily known, at least to those aware to the dealing in Nyon. One is a femme, a Seeker type by the name of Farcry. The other is a lean, quick speedster cycle named Fasttrack. Both of them are known because they have been around Nyon recruiting. For the Decepticons.
Frycry looks like she is about to speak but Arsenal heads that off. "Zeta has dispatched a number of goons into Nyon set to find this Swindle character, some kind of dangerous character... sound familiar?" How much dealings have they had with the con man anyway? "It'ls not safe out there for them right now, so... here they are. I brought them in blind so they don't know how they got here and we worked out a deal. They stay where I put them, or they get put out."
Hot Rod's features flash through a few expressions with utter transparency: surprise, first, then confusion, then anger, mingled with stubborn pride. The smile he forces at Farcry and Fasttrack is very much /forced/. It's thin, strained, much like his voice as he says, "Hey, guys. Stay put a second, okay? Easy to get lost in here. Arsenal, I wanted to talk to talk you. Come walk with me?"
Well, none of this is unexpected. "Like I said, *stay* *here*," she commands the two recruiters. Arse gives them the firm look, the one that says she means it. "The deal," she reminds them. And then? She *eagerly* steps forward to walk with Hot Rod. She's been patient for twenty thousand years - something she's sure he won't be appreciative of soon enough.
Arse takes a quick step forward and looks back (and down) to ensure Rod is actually coming with her. Her look? 'You ready for this?' "So, here's the part where you tell me I did the wrong thing, I point out how hypocritical that is and then you lapse into doing nothing about it and we keep moving forward as best we can. right?"
Hot Rod rocks back on his heels and gapes at Arsenal. It's not a good look for him. He snaps his jaw closed with a metallic click and then hastens to catch up to and push ahead of her. He's leading the way, thank you!! "Here's the point where I remind you that people are supposed to ask before bringing people in, yeah--" Ask him. Because it's his rules. "--to avoid any /problems/ and also /why/ are you bringing /those two/ in /particular/?" There's a lot of emphasis thrown around his words, pitched in the rise and fall of his tone and the sharp, quick gestures of his hands. "What's your problem?"
Her answer comes in the form of a stare. A glaring, angry, heated stare. She's given him twenty thousand years to ask that. Now that he does? It comes too late.
"If they remained out there they would be illed. Slain in the streets. I thought that we were not about that happening. I thought we were about *saving* bots. Unless... you get to be the sole judge on what bots are worth saving. You become an expert on that when I wasn't looking? " Arsenal does her best to keep her volume under control, but it's not easy. These two fighting in the open is bound to draw attention. "Who do *you* ask when you bring in whoever you want, hrm? You get to be the only one to decide what problems we have to face? Remember when you ran off to Kaon. How well did you screen all of those bots that you sent here, bots that got a fair share of our rations. I'm guessing none of them. How many of those became problems for us? Farcry and Fasttrack are good bots. I vouch for them. Or is that not *good enough*?"
"We're here to save our people, Arsenal, not the Decepticons!" Hot Rod's voice hisses as they move away from the pair. "The citizens! The people caught between!" He waves his arms in a broad, exasperated gesture. "I'm not saying that we leave them out there to get killed," he adds, "but we can help them get out, or get to some other shelter without bringing them /here/."
Hot Rod folds his arms over his chest. "I /never/ just /ran off/ to Kaon. Those deals and connections I made there are what've kept us going this far. Stop trying to hold that over me because I was the only one smart enough to get help." Whereas Arsenal, obviously, is only good for her gun show. "Nuatica screens /everyone/ who comes this deep into the Acropolex. Did she scan them? Or did you decide you were mad, so you were right, and it doesn't matter that we still have people to protect here? Or is that your real plan -- get everyone else here to leave, join up? I know what those two do here. I know they're not just /distributing energon/. They are /recruiters/."
"You mean they're *not Autobots*."
It feels good to have finally said it. It also feels terrible to have *that* out there.
Arsenal shakes her head. "It doesn't matter if Nautica scanned them or not. She didn't. But we both know it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter how much trouble they were in. They weren't in the right kind of trouble.... Yes, Hot Rod. I'm mad. I've *been* mad for a long time. Primus, you just... you..." She bows her head. She squints. She pinches the bridge of her nose, right where that crack splits her face in half now. "I am not holding Kaon over you head. Why? Because it's just one example in a long list of things. You run off to do what *you* think is best - hint, it rarely is - and then the rest of us have to make it work. So, this?" Arse motions back towards Farcry and Fasttrack. "You're going to have to make it work for you." She pauses there because... she doesn't say it, not that. "You *have* to," she stresses.
"Some of us *want* them here."
"Do you see me hiding any Autobots in crates around here?" Hot Rod asks with rising anger. He flings his arms wide to encompass the whole of the Acropolex. Never mind that he let Pax and his crew stay with them once upon a time, in better times. "I /mean/ they're not /us/." He looks briefly hesitant as uncertainty undercuts anger. Right? They aren't Decepticons? ARSENAL?
"Of course I do what I think is best," says Hot Rod with heat. "Who else's judgment am I supposed to use?" When she tells him that he /has/ to do something, his instinct is: "No. They'll stay here for now, sure, but as soon as the streets are clear we're moving them somewhere else. We are /not/ Decepticons. I don't want them /recruiting/ the others."
"No, I just see Autobots parading around in plain sight."
Arsenal doesn't take her optics off Hot Rod for a *loooooong* moment.
"They *could* be us. Or we could be them," she states rather plainly. Clearly this is something she has thought about. Maybe even talked about with Farcry or Fasttrack, maybe both. She listens to his rant, Primus, she *lets* him rant. Once he's done she just... shrugs.
"What if they already have? You going to start kicking bots out?" She's asking for a friend. (Honestly)
"The only side we're taking is the side of those without anyone else to defend them," Hot Rod says right back at her. "I don't have a problem with the Decepticons. Obviously. I might even be registered as one, for all I know -- but they run right over the people down here, the people we're trying to help. Or do you think it has /been helpful/, the way Nyon's lost so many to the Decepticons? The way we've become nothing but another front in Megatron's war? If someone wants to leave us and go join the Decepticons, that's their choice. Better choice than joining the Autobots, anyway." WHIRL. "But that's a choice. That's walking away. From us. From Nyon." FROM HIM.
"You might want to consider asking Nautica to build you a calculator, on that can tally up who has stepped on the bots here more; Decepticon or Autobot. I know who I would bet on having the MUCH higher number." Maybe Arsenal is keenly away of what happened before Zeta since she was a part of things under Sentinel, or at least, she tends to assume that is where the order flowed down from. "If you think the Cons are the only ones recruiting... maybe they're just more overt about it. More *honest*." Her brow knits as she thinks about Orion Pax and what influence he continues to have on Hot Rod.
Arsenal frowns as she looks down to Hot Rod. She knows that is what it means - which is exactly why she *hasn't* walked out. Yet. That choice gets harder every day though. "Getting by isn't enough. Holding the line is *not* *enough*. we can't keep this up, Hot Rod. We're going to have to fight for what we deserve, what Nyon needs. If not for a side then against them."
Hot Rod laughs. It's probably not the response she wants. "You think Autobots are going to go recruiting in Nyon and find /anyone/ who's not going to /shoot first/?" He has this funny mental disconnect where certain Autobots are concerned.
"Of course the Autobots have killed here. Of /course/. I don't need a calculator to know that, but the Decepticons aren't stopping to pick up the injured. /We are/." Hot Rod's expression flashes, fierce. "We're fighting for Nyon. That's out side. What's wrong with that?"
"We're not fighting enough. Not if the recruiters can barge in, on either side," she holds firm on that. The Con ones might be on the street corners but they are in plain sight. She likes things she can lay her optics on. The stuff from the shadows, or secret meetings, or little bro-bot trips running around in other cities... "If we've made a stand then no one knows it. We're... coasting. Getting by with what's 'enough' and that isn't enough. Nyon needs ... I was going to say help but it needs everything. So... we should get it," she shrugs.
"From the Decepticons," Hot Rod says, sounding a little cynical and a lot resigned.
"From anybot! Anywhere!" Arsenal just LOOKS at Hot Rod. "Iacon won't give us what we deserve..." She puts it out there for him to connects the dots. "Tarn steals out energon, well, we know where it is..." Does he need her to put it together for him? "Even if we don't know where we stand we need to make them, ALL OF THEM, aware of where they can. Until yo-... until *we* do that then Farcry is going to convince more to her side. The more Orion Pax will show up and do whatever the scrap he wants."
"They won't give it to us, so we've /been/ taking it," Hot Rod says. "As much as we can. But everyone we might recruit, we've lost to the Decepticons, and they don't care about Nyon. Not really. They're happy to leave us the way we are. Help just enough. More new recruits for the cause. And they can't really afford to help any more, right? Because we aren't /them/. What exactly do you want us to do, Arsenal? What step do you think that we should be making that we aren't?" Frustration bleeds through his words and emerges in quick, sharp gestures.
"I don't know!" She's frustrated too. She throws up her arms because of it just... looks away, stewing. She *does* know but it's kind of hard to put it out there. she sighs, a quick venting of that internal heat that's been brewing. "We have..." Scrap it. She says it. "We have to give them something to stay for."
Arse shakes her head. "No more handouts. No more picking bots up until they're well enough only to have them ship themselves off. No more *pity*." She's shocked a bit to say it but... it feels right. She's beyond tired. She's angry. This isn't what she wanted and it's not what she ever signed up for. "Guidance and not blind compassion. We give *structure*. We expect it. Primus, we *enforce* it. Help or get out. Make Nyon yours by *helping* and not feeding off of it."
"No more handouts? No more pity? What, exactly, do you expect us to do? Not everyone can fight, Arsenal. What do with them?" asks Hot Rod. "The people we're helping -- they /are/ Nyon. They aren't /feeding/ off it. They /are/ helping."
"We make them." The answer comes easily. "They are Nyon, then they fight for it." It's that simple to her now. "Unless they are giving back they are feeding off it. They are, Hot Rod. Can you seriously tell me that you're not exhausted? When's the last time you had a full ration of energon? When in the past twenty thousand years have you had even half a day to yourself to just do whatever you wanted? When's the last time you've gone a day without thinking 'I just wish someone would do something more'?"
Hot Rod's features shift with the play of emotion: anger, first, but it's swiftly pushed to the side by a reluctant agreement that's hit hard after with guilt. "Of course I'm tired of it, Arensal! I'm tired of arguing the same questions, too, of giving the same answers about why we're standing alone. I don't know what more we can do, but Nyon's slipping a little farther every day and now Zeta--" He breaks off and shakes his head, voice thickening with disgust. Hate. "Zeta's latest. I wanted to make sure you were aware of it. Since you've been out. Busy. Playing with the Decepticons." Low blow. "Playing soldier." Lower. "Zeta's been taking people right under our noses. Bleeding them dry."
Yes, those are low blows. Despite everything Hot Rod has done she's never wanted to punch him before.
Something else has changed, she realizes.
She takes a moment. Arsenal lingers in silence, looming as she glares down at Hot Rod. It's be easy to lash out. She wants to.
An answer to a lot of things she is thinking now hinges on what he will say next. So, Arsenal asks, "What are you going to do about it?"
"I'm going to tell Pax," says Hot Rod, low and intent. "I'm going to tell Arcee, and Jazz, and Springer, and Whirl -- and every Autobot who thought that they were doing the right thing. I'm going to show them what Zeta's /really/ capable of. I'm going to ask them to make a choice."
Well, she got her answer.
Arsenal looks... so disappointed. "I see." For a long moment that's all she says. That's it. Just that. It's very clearly not the answer she had hoped for. And until he can come up with the answer that he should have given...
"You do that. You *ask*." she turns a shoulder, preparing to go but she stops herself. Arse looks at Hot Rod.
"There was a time..."
She looks away. No. She shuts herself down. "I guess we all have things we are playing at."
Hot Rod mostly looks confused in the wake of Arsenal's disappointment, but there's a crack, there are the edge. Beneath the confusion, past the distancing posturing, there's a wild, raw /need/ for something that she's taking away from him. So he lashes out: "And there was a time I thought you were better than stepping on the little guys in the name of waging your wars, Arsenal! When you turned away from the SCU! You were better than then, you're better than this, now. Don't forget why we started all this. Don't forget them."
Arsenal is a big girlbot. She clunky and awkward - have you seen her dance? She likes to do that, you know. When she's alone, or listening to music. She has dreams of going to clubs, of just having a night out. To dance. She's not good at it, but she likes it. Hot Rod never learned that about her. He never cared to. Did he learn how fast she could be?
Her hand comes quick as she means to grab him and pin him to a wall. She's big and should only need one hand to do the job. Maybe he'll get away. But Arsenal is also eager to point a thick finger right in his face with that other hand. "You, of all bots!" She's shaking. Not because she's cold, or angry. She's tough and buried under a literal ton of armor, yet right now she quivers because that hurt. Her optics leak and her finger it holds still, pointing, pointing...
"I don't even have to close my optics to see them," she hisses, closing her eyes for emphasis which squeezes streams of fluid down her cheeks. "The ones that... I..." she shakes her head. "And all of the ones that still have their hands out. I haven't forget; I can't forget."
She ... backs off there. Stepping back. "I know who I am fighting for, and it's not myself."
Pinned by surprise as much as by her hand (okay, her hand might have a little more to do with it), Hot Rod can only stare back at Arsenal. He seems surprised -- again! -- that his barb struck, but whatever flicker of guilt averts his gaze, it's not enough for him to take his words back.
"Okay." Hot Rod straightens as she steps back and rolls his shoulders. "Okay, then. As long as we remember that." Then everything will be fine.
No, none of this will be fine. It's far from it.
Arsenal shrugs. Just... a shrug. If that's all he needs, all that he wants...She brings a hand to her face. After a long moment she straightens herself and looks to Hot Rod. Within the Acropolex she's tended to be more relaxed and when in the field, she very much has a face... like the one she's sporting now. "I should make sure my guests are staying put."
Hot Rod narrows his eyes at Arsenal. "For now," he says. "But we're moving them later. Somewhere they'll be safe. Just -- not here."
"I hear," she nods. "Don't worry. I'm a good soldier. I got my orders," she nods. There's really nothing else to say after that, so she turns to get right to it.