Title: Prologue to Edge of my Life
Date: 14 December 2014
Summary: Pharma arrives at Blast Off's prison cell to inform him that his greatest nightmare is coming all too soon.
Blast Off sits in his cell in the fortress of Kolkular and tries not to let the maelstrom of his own worries, neurosis, and phobias suck him down and drown him- but he's already in over his head. He's floundering, struggling to "breathe". He's struggling to feel at all. It's cold in here... but cold is okay. It's something.
The Combaticon shuttle has spent his time putting up protective walls since he got out of Garrus-1 not that long ago. Out of that mind-prison- the white-out cell where he spent millions of years as a disembodied mind, trapped only with his own hazy, lonely thoughts. Nothing to see, feel, touch, or do. All alone. Lesser mechs would have gone insane long ago. It that is his greatest fear sicne he found himself back here- back in prison once more. He would rather face death, or maybe even empurata... anything except that despair of sheer *nothingness* he had to endure for so long. He just couldn't take that again. It just might... break him.
So far, so good. Sort of. He's had several visitors, some less pleasant than others. He will probably *never* forget his time with Feint and the ghastly illusions she made him see- and experience. The fine wine bottle she left in his cell as an "apology" afterwards remains sitting there, unopened. Somehow- he just doesn't have the stomach for wine anymore. It's what got him into this mess to begin with. So now... he simply stares straight ahead, shut down, silent and still- and trying to let the cold come in.
Blast Off has another visitor today. A particularly unpleasant one. Actually, Pharma could be very pleasant if he wanted to be. But this particular cycle is not a time for pleasantries, unfortunately.
It would appear to the Combaticon that a doctor has come to see him. "You must be Blast Off, is that right?"
Blast Off hears the announcements to stand, put your hands in the circles, yada yada yada.... and the weary shuttle does as told. Again- there's a time to fight and a time to just try and blend in. So he is standing when this new visitor arrives. The shuttle looks at him warily. Great, who is it now? He considers some sort of snarky or sharp nswer... but he's tired and withdrawn. Whatever this is, he hopes it's done with quickly. His voice is quiet. "...Yes."
"Good." Pharma smirks. "I'll just be running some quick tests on you, in preparation for a procedure." He takes out some scanning equipment. "Now if you'll just hold still a moment."
Blast Off tenses and steps back. "Tests?" He doesn't like the sound of that one bit.
Pharma laughs. "Oh, don't worry, very non-invasive, for today. Just a few scans." There's a click, and the scans start. "I just have to get some specific technical aspects to speed the next cycle's...operation along appropriately."
Blast Off shifts his head very minutely to look at Pharma almost from the corner of his optics. "...For today?" The scans start, and once again he steps back- though it's cramped and there isn't really anywhere to go. The Combaticon feels a little pinprick of fear starting to travel up the back of his neck. "...Operation?"
"Yes," Pharma grins. "You see, some legal issues have arisen due to your previous involvement with the Primal Vanguard and your citizenship to Combatron. Therefore the deliberation over your particular case has become vastly more complicated and thus the trial has been suspended until further notice. And unfortunately, with all the trouble in Kaon these cycles the penal facilities just don't have the space to keep -everyone-."
Blast Off feels that pinprick of fear spreading, reaching throughout his systems as it pervades into every circuit. It's a bit like a wave of nausea. His head shifts slightly again, because he really needs to hear this. Carefully. He doesn't dare miss anything. "...What... do you mean?" His knee servos feel like they could buckle out from under him any moment. But no... no... this must be a misunderstanding. He /must/ have misheard. Yes, that's it. It /must/ be his audios starting to glitch from the strain of being down here. He has to work hard to keep his voice calm, instead of crackling or breaking.
"Oh, I'm sure you're familiar with it." Pharma says, still grinning as if he is enjoying Blast Off's horrified expression. He examines the data from the scans. "Perfect." Then he looks back up at the Combaticon. "Right, you should be familiar with it. In fact, I think you had it done the -last- time you were in prison."
Blast Off's world comes to a screeching halt. The Combaticon freezes, violet optics going pale as he stares at the medic grinning at him. Everything- every system- seems to turn to ice. The cold has come- and then some- shattering every system like glass. Now it's taking everything he has to even stand. The spark extraction. The mind prison. He can't... he just can't.
And he stands there for a long moment as his mind processes that. replays it several times just to be sure he heard that right. Then several more times as he tries to think of a response. It's like he's searching for words, but there are none. But finally, some come to him. He remains very still, working to keep himself as calm as possible and not lose control. "I was... I was told I was getting a trial." Not that he believed he ever would... he's been waiting for this "shoe to drop" since he got here. But yet- it's still impossible to truly prepare for the moment of truth.
"Oh, you will." Pharma encourages, though his tone is hardly encouraging. "You'll just need to be a little patient with the system, there are always so many laws and legal things, as you know." he pats him on the shoulder, and turns to exit the cell. "But you're familiar with spark extraction, right? So you know what to expect. After all, it's fear of the unknown that's the worst."
Blast Off has always strived to keep his dignity, no matter what else is going on around him. And he usually does to at least some degree in any circumstance. His pride demands he always be a proper space shuttle- civilized, sophisticated, aristocratic and regal. It is the only thing that keeps him from dropping to his knees and begging this medic for mercy now. He is still frozen, just twitching ever so slightly as Pharma pats his shoulder- too stunned to react to the touch.
As Pharma turns to leave and outright says those two horrible words: "spark extraction", Blast Off almost feels dizzy, his knees nearly buckling this time before he catches himself. His mouth is forming words under his faceplate that he can't quite seem to say. Eventually he finds his voice again, rasping out, "You... you can't DO that. I can't... I just got this body. I just got it *repaired*! I..." His mind is racing now, searching for delays and excuses, but in such a fog of fear it's hard to articulate anything. "Combatron will.. will want me intact! I...I demand to see a.. representative! Senator Halogen! Someone with... authority!"
"I'm afraid those in authority have already spoken, Blast Off." Pharma informs him. "You're fooling yourself if you think I was the one who made the decision. That isn't my area of expertise. I'm just the messenger. And the executor, of course. You should consider yourself fortunate, it's certainly better than rotting away in Garrus-9."
Blast Off knows this is the logical end of his story, now that he's been taken prisoner by this corrupt government system. It's why he fought so hard NOT to be captured, after all. He knew it would never end well for him. And he's a Combaticon, a renegade, and well... things never DO end well for someone like him. This planet seems dead set against that. Still, he keeps trying to knock some sense- some reason- some *mercy* into the medic, beacuse it's the only thing he CAN do now besides simply give up.
He takes a step forward, still working to form words clearly and not let the panic that is rising in him shatter his voice. And he's starting to pay attention to every sensation- even the fear, the cold- everything... because soon there may be nothing to feel at all.
"I...I can go to Garrus-9! I...don't mind! It's simply that... it's getting so hard to find shuttle-capable bodies and parts... what will happen to THIS one? It would be better to keep me intact, that way I can... I can serve my intended *function* when I get my trial...and serve my time, if..if there is any. And what if there isn't? I..I could even work for the Senate again. I have *skills*!" Right now he's reaching for straws, looking for ANY excuse not to have his mind wrenched from his body and locked in limbo for who knows how long this time.
Pharma is about to walk away, though he sighs and turns back to the begging prisoner. "I'm sorry Blast Off but I don't have the authority to change that decision. Heh. You say that about Garrrus-9 without ever having -been- there, or witnessed its horrors." he shakes his head, and doesn't go on about that. "I'm sure they would have taken you back if they trusted you to remain loyal to them, but given your current track record I can't say I blame them for not wanting to trust you any more."
Blast Off doesn't know everything about Garrus-9, but he knows staying ALIVE is preferable to ANYTHING... and a white-out cel on Garrus-1 is not his idea of being *alive*. If he's intact, then he still has a chance. But torn apart... he's going to go mad if they stick him back in that excrutiatingly lonely limbo. That never-ending hell. "I'll take my chances. It simply... it makes sense. Spark extraction takes time, right? Costs shanix? Expends resources?" (Like keeping him around and transporting him places wouldn't.)
He leans back as Pharma mentions loyalty, and... Blast Off can't think of anything to say to that. For he has never been that loyal. But then again, he's never been given reason TO be. "I... I could... very well, perhaps so but there may have just been misunderstandings." he's starting to babble and he hates it, but it seems to keeo Pharma sticking around so he keeps doing it. "What if they... need information? I can't talk if I'm in white-out cell!" Of course, then he thinks to himself... that's really the point. That's WHY they're doing this in the first place. That stops him cold.
Pharma chuckles at his final point. "Exactly!" he laughs. "You're a smart one. Well you can talk at me all you want, and even if you convince me that you should just be sent to rot in prison instead, it won't do much unfortunately. The decision has already been made."
Blast Off 's already had his world come shattering down, his defensive walls fell, and he didn't think there was anything else left to lose. And yet... there is still the sense of losing something. It just might be his sanity, he's not sure... but Pharma's response whallops the shuttle and this time his knees /do/ buckle. He has to catch himself against the wall before trying to straighten himself once more. All that's left is for him to to stare at the medic. And... remain on his feet. He can do that much. While Pharma is here... he'll remain standing tall and proud.... while he still can.
"Well, I'll be seeing you soon!" Pharma says with a cheerful grin, and he makes his way out of the cell and disappears around a corner down the corridor.
Blast Off stands there, staring, feeling a bit nauseous and unsteady but standing his ground until Pharma leaves. The cold, aloof shuttle maintains his usual mask for a moment longer, and then in a surge of rare demonstrative anger, he suddenly swings his fists and lunges at the cell bars. "GET SMELTED!!!" Of course, the energy bars just crackle and knock him back immediately... and his burst of anger is gone as quickly as it arrived.
Stumbling back onto the bench, aching, his head slowly slumps against the wall behind him as he processes this and fights a fresh wave of panic that has him wanting to try scrambling up the walls in a mad bid for escape. But he knows there is none... so instead he turns and looks down at his hands. The miracle of his hands. He moves a finger, staring as it arcs back and forth... because soon he won't even be able to do that simple act.