Title: Reunion with the Good Doctor
Date: 3 May 2015
Summary: After 20,000 years and a new body, Overclock meets with Pharma again and makes a request. Poor Soundwave watches the whole thing. Don't worry, he's not jealous at all.
-- Radio: G: Pharma -- Overclock says, "Pharma, are you there?"
-- Radio: G: Pharma -- Pharma says, "Hm? Oh yes, what is it?"
-- Radio: G: Pharma -- Overclock says, "I've got somewhere we can meet. Have you got time?"
-- Radio: G: Pharma -- Pharma says, "I suppose I have a little. Where to?"
-- Radio: G: Pharma -- Overclock says, "Kalis. I'll send you the coordinates."
Off the tall and winding highway that dominates Kalis, the terrain quickly becomes rocky and treacherous. It's a challenge to navigate on two legs, much less wheels, and offers an injurious drop or even a fatal plummet if one falls from the wrong spot. Tucked off in one of the less accessible crags a grey beastformer climbs carefully over a ridge and ducks out of sight from the nearby roads. Her panels shift as she converts back to her root form and lays back against a rock while waiting for her company. It's not quite as secluded as their last venue, but it should do.
<Soundwave, are you in range?> she asks over a short-range radio. Repaying deceit in kind, this time the scienceformer-turned-Insecticon isn't alone; but then she never actually said she was.
There isn't a reply at first. Silence stretches across the vast landscape, punctuated only by the occasional whisper of wind. Then the reply comes in the form of a familiar blue and boxy shape. He's there somehow, looming, materializing out of the shadows. How such a large mech moves so quietly is perhaps a mystery, but Soundwave seems to have skill at these kind of entrances.
It's a good thing Pharma has wings, then. He easily makes his way between the rocky crags and lands flawlessly behind the ridge where Overclock has deposited herself. An optic ridge goes up at her...very different appearance. In fact, he recognizes that frame! "You were in the Dead End last megacycle." Yet she hadn't said anything to him. Well, he supposes it shouldn't come as a surprise.
"So were you," Overclock greets neutrally, her expression now concealed by a new facemask. The Insecticon-apparent doesn't bother to get up from her seat. "Saving lives seemed more important at the time." .oO(And you weren't worth trusting at the time...)
"As a doctor I'm sure this new body has you all kinds of interested... do you think you can keep your tools to yourself?"
Soundwave stays out of sight, monitoring from a distance. The big blue mech is here to observe, not directly interfere. Not unless required, that is. He doesn't trust Phara, of course. While he's here he runs a mental scan, trying to get an insight into the Autobot's intentions and state of mind.
Pharma nods. "Yes, yes. You're right, saving lives was of utmost importance. And still is." Actually, it would appear that Soundwave has no reason to mistrust the doctor right now. He is not lying, and he is not hiding anything. He just...honestly wants to see Overclock.
He nods at her request. "Well unless they somehow become necessary to save your spark."
"You sure you don't want to just cut me open for the sake of research?" Overclock snarks. "You never did finish that project, did you?"
Pharma chuckles. "No, there is barely time to save all who need it--research is hardly an option these days. Not to say that I've neglected it completely, but certainly no time for side projects like these."
Overclock nods to that. "Then it will be a relief for the hives to know you aren't vivisecting its members anymore."
Pharma nods and sits down on a relatively flat piece of terrain, making himself as comfortable as possible. "Yes, Bloodhound. I've changed, as you might have noticed. I wasn't going to contact you originally, thought you deserved better but with my skillset I decided I could seek to make amends."
Overclock is quiet at that, her mind processing for a moment as she tries to reign in her temper. As cathartic as it would be to throw all the damning facts she's learned in the last 20,000 years at the doctor's feet, as much as she wants to, it's not what she's here for.
"You know since you gave me those upgrades I think I've learned more about you than I ever wanted to know," she admits off-handed.
"Oh, and from whom?" Pharma asks, he's not all that surprised, honestly. Especially if she's been hanging around Soundwave. "Soundwave, right? Well, I'll tell you right here and now--it's all true. I know I was on a path that I allowed myself to continue on for far too long. I would apologize, but...I doubt it has any real merit."
"And others," Overclock adds sternly, but then sighs heavily. "And the worst thing is your logic makes it hard to fault - except for with me; with me you slagged up."
"Did you bring a cable?" The Insecticon asks. "If you mean that, then it counts for something at least."
"Oh, yes in fact I did." Pharma pulls it from a subspace compartment then. He sighs, shaking his head. "You must mean the optic implants. I considered telling you about them, but even if you'd agreed to cooperate, that still would have increased the likelihood that you'd tell someone else whether knowingly or not, and then the experiment would have been worthless. Perhaps it was a risk worth taking...but it doesn't matter any more, does it?" he asks, holding out the other hand of the cable to her.
"It also would have helped me avoid situations where it would have been detected," Overclock argues. "My cooperation would have been more valuable than that 'optic experiment' and you know it." Trying as she is to be civil, there are some things the ex-scienceformer can't hold her tongue about. Taking her end of the cable, she reaches behind her neck and unceremoniously shoves the end... against a solid panel. Overclock pauses and frowns beneath her facemask as she reflexively bumps plug to metal a couple more times then reaches behind herself with her other hand. The beastformer lets out a frustrated growl as she gropes around. "Even my interface port has moved?..."
"Ah, found it!" The interface cable finds a new purchase in a slot just behind the femme's left audial.
"Perhaps you're right." Pharma nods. "But that was my reasoning at the time." The connection is established, and immediately Overclock will find that everything Pharma has been saying is actually true. He isn't hiding anything this time. It is true that he has missed her, and she is the reason for him wanting to change his behavior. In fact, he's thinking of joining Pax...if Pax will accept him.
Overclock's connection, for once, is guarded in exchange. While she's not hiding herself behind any great mental walls there are sections of the Insecticon's mind, especially anything recent, that are firmly closed off. Her mind itself is also... different. It's been warped in perceptible ways in a mirror of her body. Bloodhound is still there, no doubt, but there's an added weight on her shoulders. Rather than being cured by the new frame she has, the ex-beastformer's nagging emptiness, the feeling of being wrong and incomplete that chewed at her spark has evolved - and gotten worse. There's also, in back of her mind, a feeling of tremendous depth like some small part of the being 'Bloodhound' now belongs to a far larger whole.
Enforcing discipline on her emotions, the femme reaches out to touch Pharma's mind with her own. There's distrust, even some anger now, but she hasn't given up entirely on the good doctor. His honestly comes as a genuine surprise and one that catches Overclock flat-footed. "You're ready to leave Zeta?" She asks in surprise. That was one of the first things she meant encourage and now, it seems, she doesn't need to. Why join Orion? You'll do more good with Megatron, he's the one fighting. A dichotomy of beings, Overclock's conceptions of the two leaders are completely opposed. Megatron was once warily distrusted as Pit-bent on blind revenge but has risen to the status of a good and surprisingly frank leader, while Orion has fallen from a peaceful idealist to a weak-sparked reactionary.
As Pharma detects her feelings of emptiness, he immediately responds with compassion and a desire to help her fill that hole as much as he can. He expected the anger, and the distrust, so that doesn't really throw him for a loop. Though he admits, "Well, maybe not yet, but I am considering it."
Megatron? Heh. He'd never accept me. I'm even doubtful that Pax will. But he seems to be a bit more forgiving of sorts like myself--after all he was one himself not too long ago. Besides that Megatron may be a good leader, but he has let his rage blind him to his own depravity--a depravity that has slowly grown over the vorns.
The compassion from Pharma keeps Overclock mentally off balance but not in an entirely bad way. The Insecticon is still a little baffled but it's also a promising change. Emotions are a more reliable motive than whims of logic; emotions she can trust. Megatron would be quicker to hoist you on a pike, but the Decepticons are desperate right now. With enough voices in your favor... Identities come to mind beyond the femme's own but whose she tries to keep secret. And he's not as bad as the media paints him, she defends. There's a similar honesty to her thoughts here; while originally in the same camp as Pharma, Overclock's opinion has improved over the passing vorns. She's found new evidence to the contrary that, whether dangerous or not in the long-term, Megatron is the right way forward today, tomorrow, and until Cybertron's current government if fully abolished. Afterwards it may be someone else's battle but right now they need a revolutionary not a Prime.
Yep...I'm pretty sure he'd kill me the first chance he gets. Maybe justly so, but even so I would rather keep my head where it is. Pharma comments wryly. Whether or not Megatron is as bad as the media makes him out to be, there's no doubt that he'd have some serious problems with allowing Pharma to join him, whether he'd claimed to have changed or not. And what voices are going to be in my favor, besides yours?
A few, Overclock dismisses, brushing aside the thought. Somehow one of the Insecticons you experimented on has forgiven you for *taking him apart while he was still conscious*... but as long as you're willing to help for now that's all that matters. The femme's emotions swing wildly again in what may be their new norm, exposing a biting anger before they're forced back down to a more neutral level. Her mind spins itself in circles as she tries to back away from the subject least she distance Pharma too much. Overclock's attention falls back to the emptiness in her spark and the doctor's offer to help. I know you evaded my question about mnemosurgery too. You *erased Shiftlock's mind and left hooks in it for reprogramming*, she adds, bitterness still simmering behind another small outburst. Being wired directly into the Insecticon's mind means her facemask can tone can no longer hide the extent of her feelings, and there are conflicting desires to throw everything into Pharma's face but also keep his cooperation. The empty - hollow in deeper ways than the jet's passenger-ready frame - has a way she wants him to help.
There's a hint of surprise in Pharma's reaction to that. Really? One of them forgave me? Incredible. He shakes his head in disbelief. Well I'm not a mnemosurgeon. That much is true. Yes, I did erase her memory, or at least assist in the process. I do regret it, but she actually begged for it to be done. She was lost, confused...hurting. Still, no lies. There are images of her, on a circuit slab, though she seems perfectly content and cooperative. I don't blame her, either. Those she thought were friends, namely the Decepticons, ostracized her and even threatened her simply because she interfaced an enforcer. She just wanted everything to be clear, and that's exactly what we offered. It's the truth, all of it. No lies, no facades this time.
Overclock's optics flicker as if she's been struck in the head. Once again the Insecticon's mind plays catchup and in disbelief it digs further into Pharma's memories of Shiftlock. Finding the the doctor is somehow right, she goes outwardly silent, folding the new thoughts into her mind and trying to form a new cohesive picture from it.
Poor Shiftlock... That's a wound that strikes the ex-beastformer a little too deeply and more than a couple memories of betrayal, confusion, and loneliness intrude upon her thoughts. Pharma's own deceit is absent this time or at least very feint; she's not sure how to feel about that anymore. Borrowing some measure of Pharma's calm to settle herself again, Overclock pulls her attention back to the here and now, and the doctor before her.
You did that for her... and if you want to help, I'd like you to do something similar for me, she explains, unlocking a new segment of her memories as she opens her plan to view. It is, in short, making a new Spectrum. Take a donor body with spark intact, erase the brain casing, and interface herself with the shell. The well-known hazard of interfacing a weak mind with a strong one is the risk of an overwrite and it's the reason juvenile interfacing is an inexcusable taboo. The femme's idea is the same, but with no mind at all on the other side it's both a complete overwrite - a 'clone' ideally - and ostensibly victimless. Pharma's help is needed, requested, in finding a suitable spark and brain casing with less concern for the frame itself, but there's also a wariness for the doctor's old methods. Overclock wants to recycle, perhaps from a relinquishment center, not steal the life of a Cybertronian who still wants theirs.
Hmm... Pharma considers the idea, and starts sifting through how he could do that, but there are problems--it's not easy to get a hold of a spark that doesn't already have a brain already associated with it, especially these days with the rarity of hotspots. It's relatively easy to get a hold of an empty frame, but one with a living spark? The Senate usually reserves such things for its more lucrative research projects, and attempting to steal one for personal purposes would be rather difficult. Not to mention the fact that if he were to be caught trying to help a Decepticon...the consequences would be dire.
Overclock frowns beneath her facemask, not having an easy answer. Instead she offers what she can: a little... lenience. Preferably dead in medical terms, comatose or otherwise unrecoverable if Pharma can find it but if not... suicides are alright if there's a way to intercept them. The Insecticon has no intention of stopping a relinquishment center from granting a peaceful death to a world-weary Cybertronian. Otherwise, more cautiously, Overclock concedes some lives she could fathom taking. Some sects of drug dealers and enforcers, people who've paved their road to the All-Spark but haven't yet been sent on their way. There are sure to be plenty of corpses in the battle with Zeta and in the empty's long life she's developed some appreciation for whom she can and can't kill with bearable (or no) remorse. To that end, her desire for completeness is stronger than her desire to keep her hands spotless. The femme never claimed to be a saint.
Well, Pharma could try to search for something for her, but there was no guarantee he'd find what she needs. He gives her a sort of mental nudge though, perhaps she could try to move on? Find completeness in someone new, someone who doesn't need to be ressurrected in one way or another? Spectrum will always be with her, but maybe he doesn't need to be the only one.
The very thought earns Pharma a mild glare. It's not one Overclock is willing to consider and there's a feeling of separation from the idea, of disconnect between their minds. The femme recalls a brief series of memories in a short but sharp burst, all doubled from containing both Spectrum's and Bloodhound's perspectives at the same points in time. She isn't just missing a friend or partner, she's missing part of herself; living two lives at once with two minds in sync and two sets of senses - being in effect two people now reduced to one. It's the strongest driving force that wells from her spark and before any other, not a matter she feels open to debate.
Giving Pharma a moment to process the new memories, she admonishes the thought and then requests again, asking for help with her plan. She wants the body as soon as possible but if time is what it takes, Overclock is willing to wait.
Well it isn't that Pharma isn't willing to help, he's just not sure how feasible it is, with them on opposite sides of the conflict and all that. Either of them getting caught cooperating with the enemy would certainly earn them dire consequences, and perhaps to her it is worth the risk, but to him--it just isn't.
Soundwave has been here watching this whole time (what a creeper). But then again, that's what he does- he observes silently from a distance, gathering information. And there is certainly been some..... *interesting* information obtained here this cycle. It's been strange watching Overclock interface with someone else, but Soundwave has spent thousands of years gaining insight inot all kinds of people's heads, and he's seen all kinds of things, so.... it's hard to phase him. Still, is that just the *faintest* twinge of jelaousy he experienced? No, couldn't be. He pushes that aside and focuses back on task. He doesn't break radio silence or interrupt in any way, he is simply here should she need it.
Some of Overclock's temper begins to resurface again at the thought of rejection before she strikes it back down. Then wait until Zeta's gone - wait until he's a *smoking corpse*, then. There's a thought of bargaining for the doctor's cooperation but recalling again her last round of upgrades from him, she knocks it aside. You could have gotten me killed, Pharma, it's dumb luck that you didn't. You want to help me and you want to change; are you willing to risk anything for that or will it just be wishful thinking? Despite the sharpness of her thoughts, she hasn't given up completely. There's still hope waiting for her firecracker temper to subside again, for him and for her. The compassion she glimpsed was more inspiring than she might like to admit and there's a desperation creeping at the back of her thoughts. It's not something she means to voice as well, but it's still there.
Maybe. But I doubt Pax would take kindly to it, either. He already doesn't approve of me, as you know...and I doubt his cooperation with Megatron will last. Knowing him...knowing -both- of them... Pharma sighs. I just think you're chasing after something that might not be worth chasing after...it could really drag you down. Keep you from your maximum potential....but let's just say it works. And what if your new 'Spectrum' isn't what you expect him to be? What if he decides he doesn't agree with you? It's a very real possibility that this could end in more hurt than anything else.
He won't. If it's done right we'll be the same person, Overclock asserts strongly. I am going to fix this, Pharma. I'm not going to be incomplete forever... and I want your help.
Please. I'll live with the consequences. Don't you owe me that much?
Pharma sighs again and leans back a bit, into the rough metal behind him. 'If it's done right'. That's the contingency, isn't it? These things are not easy, Overclock. I'm a doctor, I know. There's no guarantee that everything will go smoothly. There's a very real chance that some of the code will be corrupted during the transfer. And Pharma isn't just trying to deter her from her goal or whatever, he is being quite genuine this time. It's true, there were many risks even in just the process itself. Who knows what damaged code could produce?
You say that you're willing to live with whatever the consequences are right now, but I doubt you know the full range of possibility there. I just...haven't you been through enough already?
Overclock slowly pushes herself off her back as Pharma leans away and sets a clawed hand on his shoulder, looking optics-to-optics through the red screen of her visor. "I need this, Pharma," she answers, giving voice to the weight of her thoughts. "I'm willing to try. I know it's risky but..." Here the empty's words fail her, punctuated by a clear note of desperation and a touch of fear. She can't let go of hope yet.
Overclock sighs. "Just do what you can for me, please."
Pharma sighs again, though he does not look away. He puts a hand gently over her clawed one on his shoulder. "I'm just afraid this will only make matters worse for you..." He shakes his head, and pulls the cable out of the socket, severing the connection. "I'd best be going. There are other matters I must attend to. But I'll see what I can do. Don't get your hopes up, however."
Overclock unplugs her own end with her free hand. It is his cable after all. She offers a somber but once again invisible smile. "Too late," she admits. "I'll try not to pin all my hopes on you, but you are Mr. Magic after all."
"If I find a better way, I'll let you know."
Pharma smirks slightly. "Mr. Magic, eh? You're still taken to calling me that?" he laughs a little, and leans in closer, giving her hand a small squeez before gently pulling it off of him to hold it in between the two of them. "I never thought you'd even consider asking for my help again. Given what you must have found out...yet here you are."
There's a quiet moment shared, then he finally lets go, stepping away. "It was good seeing you...Bloodhound. I hope we meet again soon." The doctor then transforms and flies off, disappearing behind the rocky outcroppings.
"I don't trust words but what I saw in your head? That was a start," Overclock replies. "Keep doing well by me and I'll let you keep hearing that nickname. As much as it surprises me to say it, it was good seeing you too." No mention as to the name. If she's 'Bloodhound' to Pharma, that's fine by her.
"Good luck!" She offers with a wave as the jet disappears.