Title: Seeker Slapfights
Date: 04 October 2014
Summary: Skywarp and Thundercracker drop by Starscream's place. SOMEONE GETS PUNCHED.
It may be difficult to believe that the towering geometric spire reaching far above many of the buildings in Vos is actually a house. But it is. And it belongs to the governing entity of the city, Starscream.
Consequently, the aforementioned individual is more than meets the optic. Despite his prestigious and honorable government position, the ruler of Vos has a side that few know about. Furthermore, when no one suspects it, he engages in supporting the Decepticon movement that threatens to overthrow the Senate.
Which may explain why the two other seekers are currently approaching his luxurious abode--clearly they are middle caste and don't belong in high end of town. All around them, high caste individuals (mainly government workers, politicians, and a few Autobots) give them surly and suspicious looks.
Responding to surly and suspicious with the condescension of one who holds himself master of the air, Thundercracker passes untouched through the high caste throng. He flicks his wings as though to shed the snobbery all but smothering them as they carve through the air toward that one towering geometric spire. He flies easily at Skywarp's side with the skill of long practice. Approaching the landing platform, he neatly backwings to transform to root mode as he alights to land. He comms ahead a knock: "I believe your neighbors may think we are trying to break in, Air Commander." The title is included as formal courtesy; at least one of the arriving pair can be polite.
In a crowd such as this, Skywarp's tricks and stunts are kept to a bare minimum, only the slight loop under Thundercracker at one point. He can't help the dive into land even before he transforms into his own root mode, everything seeming timed to result in a horrible crash and yet it's only his heels that skid against the stone outside of Starscream's home, leaving a streak of purple color there. Oops. "Aren't we?" he jokes. Not very politely.
"<Don't worry about what my neighbors think. But don't let that be an excuse for you to do whatever you like>" the other seeker responds airily via their private communication channel. "<Oh, and Skywarp, I assume you're going to take full responsibility for the vandalism you've caused, right? Excellent. I'll put the repair bill your name>"
The crystal gates slide open, allowing the seekers entry to the grandiose abode.
Vandalism?! But they just got here! Thundercracker glances over at Skywarp with an expression of blank dismay. Looking down, he marks the scuff of purple left behind with a deeply resigned sort of sigh. "No, we aren't," he answers repressively. No robbery, Skywarp!!
Entering through the gates, Thundercracker seems impressed despite himself: he twists to take in the luxurious sprawl. His body language gentles as they move inside and away from the prying eyes of snobbish neighbors. His wings settle in a low cant, though his militarily firm upright posture never slackens.
"You'd think someone living in a house like this could deal with a few little scuff marks," mutters Skywarp towards his companion rather than over the comm chanel, doing his own scan over the place even as he falls in beside the other seeker. He also adds, /over/ the comm, a cheeky, "I'm changing my name, so." Go ahead, Starscream.
As they approach the mansion, the front door slides open, revealing Starscream himself. He spreads his arms in a deceptively welcoming fashion, smirking. "Well, well, well. Long time no see. You look good for having chosen to stay at that low paying patrol job at the Air Force," the other seeker quips.
He motions for them to come inside. "However, it doesn't seem to have done you any favors intellectually. Hm? Oh, well you'll have to ask them to dismiss the bill then, I already put it through."
Thundercracker rumbles something low and sympathetic to Skywarp's point about the scuffs. Crystal gates, mansion: "You've done well for yourself," he agrees, complimentary rather than rising to the bait of Starscream's pride. "Was it the science or the politics that agreed with you?" He is easy about their own choices, saying, "The anonymity of patrol had its uses." Particularly for outliers. /Especially particularly for outliers who cause trouble a lot named Skywarp/.
"Heeeeeey," drawls Skywarp defensively at the word 'intellectually', but then Thundercracker is stepping in for the defense, and Skywarp may not really know what exactly he is offended at anyways except that Starscream said 'intellectually'.
Starscream huffs. "Don't state the obvious," he says, waving hand dismissively at the Thundercracker. He arches a brow at the other seeker. "What do you /think/?" He leads them down a hallway with a high vaulted ceiling decked out with iridescent chandeliers, expensive furniture, and many, many self portraits that probably cost about double whatever they pay to reside wherever they currently reside.
At the end of the hallway is a large conference room with a fancy, legless table. It's one of those really pricey ones that rely on antigravs to keep it above the ground. The walls of the room are also transparent, giving whoever is in the room a beautiful view of Vos itself.
It takes a certain kind of mech to be able to take both Skywarp's ... Skywarpness and Starscream's ... Starscreaminess in stride. Thundercracker is that kind of mech. Defensive drawl, dismissive huff: neither disturbs the equanimity of his reserve. "It's magnificent," he states the obvious. "With the resources at your command, I'm sure you're able to do much for Vos." Like get a bunch of portraits made. For Vos. Have a conference room with a super shiny special table. For Vos.
"I think you'll never forget what you look like," Skywarp offers, but it seems that the seeker will take the question as /permission/, and that permission allows him to poke around in the hallway that Starscream leads them though, following slightly behind Thundercracker as if to put him between himself and the leader of Vos. He pulls at the frame of one portrait to peer behind it, tests the weight of one chair there, before finally lifting one little expensive bauble from a side table. It is tossed for a moment before it starts to disappear into a compartment.
"Don't touch anything," Starscream huffs, "And you'd do well to leave that where it is. Otherwise I will be filing a burglary report to the Rodion Police Department very shortly. He gives Skywarp the stink optic.
"I just asked you not to do that," Starscream sighs dramatically at Thundercracker, sounding annoyed. "Please," he snaps, "save the fake pleasantries. Your apparent jealousy is as plain as a bright red paint job with flames."
Skywarp grumbles something that seems to reverberate somewhere deep within his jet engine, but he only tosses the bauble back to where he got it from. Hopefully it isn't a very /delicate/ expensive bauble, but at least he isn't stealing it. He's quick to snap defensively again, though, "Hey, those are real fake pleasantries. He likes his pleasantries and we're not /jealous/.
Wings flicking up in surprise, Thundercracker meets Starscream's annoyance with bland confusion. After a moment, he says, "That sounds ... very obvious. Glaringly obvious." But also tremendously excellent and what a GREAT PAINT JOB IT MUST SIGNIFY EXCELLENT TASTE.
...moving on. "Pleasantries aside," Thundercracker soldiers forward, giving Skywarp a look of mingled gratitude and irritation, "perhaps we should get to the matter hand. We can talk freely?"
"Yeah, /real/ fake," Starscream quips at Skywarp, glaring him down icily as the expensive bauble falls to the floor and shatters. "Hmph. I know, right? I could /tell/," he says sarcastically.
"You're annoying me," he says to Thundercracker. "If we couldn't talk freely I wouldn't have brought you here."
Skywarp's attention slides to Thundercracker, but it only seems to be paired with a roll of his eyes and a roll of his wings and shoulders. He drops into one of those chairs around that table, and then proceeds to kick his feet up onto that fancy table. "Let's get on with it, then. Talking freely, and all that," he offers. MOVING ON.
Very seriously, Thundercracker says, "It's important to be sure," to Starscream. VERY SERIOUSLY. Skywarp's relative good behavior earns him a pleased glance as he takes a seat nearby. Notably, his feet stay on the FLOOR. Both of them. He doesn't even tip the chair back, not even a little. "There is more support among the ranks for the Decepticon cause than I would have expected given the relative stability of our city. Hopes of greater independence from the Senate, it seems."
Starscream gives Thundercracker an exasperated look and Skywarp another icy glare. He adjusts the table so that it's now too far away from him to prop his feet up on it. "Right," he says derisively. "You think I haven't noticed? It appears the Megatron is better at recruiting people to our cause than I would have expected. However, we can't just recruit anyone. The Decepticons should have the best and the brightest. I have been investigating certain projects at the Institute."
Starscream, if you do that you're just going to earn worse behavior and it comes without surprise where Skywarp blinks away and reappears sitting /on/ the table instead, in that so casual pose of the type of robots that sit on top of tables instead of in chairs. "Why wouldn't we want to recruit everyone? The more the merrier," he suggests, as if he didn't just teleport himself a foot.
Thundercracker takes on the gelled, frozen look of a mech dreading a war of obnoxiousness. "What does the Institute have to offer?" he asks somewhat stiffly.
The red and white seeker clenches a fist, and his wingtips twitch angrily. He waves a hand and the table disappears, and the chairs fold up and sink into the floor. He walks over to the glass wall paneling, gazing out at the city. "There is a project in question, or so I've heard, that one of the medics there has taken the liberty to experiment on. I was able to pull some strings and access information on this... project. His ability to learn quickly will come in handy. I will attempt to extract him from the Institute due in time."
Skywarp doesn't fall; he glides to the floor with the help of his own propulsions that catch him. Perhaps he was expecting this, since he doesn't seem surprised. He slides a Look towards Thundercracker, but at least he doesn't seem to be pursuing his bad behavior more than sulking silently. If Starscream now wants him to speak, well, he's not.
Rising with more or less ease as the chairs /fold up and vanish/, Thundercracker comports himself with the wearied dignity of a battle-worn soldier: one more skirmish in the obnoxiousness wars. He allows only a hint of displeasure to rumble low, subsonic. "A flier?" he asks, because obviously the only projects worth their time are Seeker-types.
"Of course he can fly," Starscream says disdainfully. "If he couldn't, he wouldn't be worth my time," he says blandly. "I've also recruited a scientist from the Institute to work on a project involving intelligent weaponry. It will serve the Decepticons well if successful."
"Of course he can fly," mimics Skywarp, maturely. But other than that, really still not talking. Still sulking.
Thundercracker draws a breath. "Of course." He mimics no one. He just agrees, which is kind of what he does a lot. (Until he doesn't. BUT FOR NOW!) "While you continue your designs with the Institute, is there any particular direction you would ask us to focus? If you want to limit recruitment." He barely glances toward Skywarp-of-the-disagreeing-opinion to see if he is going to disagree again.
Skywarp is a nanometer away from snapping Starscream's composed demeanor. He shoots the other seeker a warning glare that may have read, 'I am going to punch you after this.' "There may be others like the project I have mentioned who is currently housed at the Institute. I would like to investigate if there are and their whereabouts."
"You can /try/," emphasizes Skywarp, with his own warning glare back to Starscream. His arms cross his chest with his own annoyance, but he doesn't speak up about opinions on recruitment. This is still him not talking.
All of this tension!! Thundercracker looks a bit twitchy about it, frowning at them both like he can stern them into getting along. Spoiler: it doesn't work. "I'm sure there are," he says, sounding somewhat resigned. Institute bad; projects useful. "It would be good to solidify your power base in Vos, too."
Starscream clenches his fists, his anger starting to boil over. He can't really punch Skywarp, he knows that. "My power base is already solidified!" he explodes. Apparently, since he can't punch Skywarp, he'll just punch Thundercracker instead. So Thundercracker might be a little surprised when Starscream clocks him the face.
The red and white seeker then proceeds to exit the room dramatically, seething.
There is a low growl from somewhere within Skywarp's jet engine as Starscream punches Thundercracker, for all that he might find it funny if it was physical violence in the name of a prank. But, he only offers a, "This is why you should never bother with pleasantries," to his friend.