Title: Sense and Insensitivities
Date: 05 February 2015
Summary: Swivel mentions Shiftlock.
Ahh, Nyon. Such a great city. Haha, just kidding, it's terrible and awful and absolutely perfect for Whirl. It's ghetto and dangerous but not enough for Whirl to actually worry about getting beat to death or anything like that. Currently he stands outside one of Nyon's many, many dirty, dingy bars. He's not allowed inside this one anymore but there's no rule against loitering around the building so he does so, just to spite the owners inside who put the ban on him.
Although delivering information is Swivel's main vocation, she also enjoys gathering it for her own use. And lately, some of that information has been what bars Whirl has been seen in or around, and which one's he's still allowed into. Swivel rarely sees Whirl without a bottle or flask of something, so bars have been a fairly reliable resource in tracking the mech down.
Swivel is walking along the narrow walk, and upon turning a corner, spies the unmistakable shape of Whirl. She had actually been on her way to a different hub of hard beverages, but lo and behold, there he was. Loitering. Which he pretty much was doing when she first met him and slipped on the bottle he so carelessly tossed aside.
Swivel approaches the vagrant mech. "'Ello thar, Whirrrl," Swivel says in a slightly lower voice, pronouncing her R's deep in her throat.
Whirl wasn't expecting to see, well, anyone but certainly not Swivel. She always seems to pop up at random times though, usually with some interesting tidbit of information so while uncommon, her appearance has usually resulted in Whirl learning beneficial things.
"Ah, Swivel! Long time no see, eh?" He pushes away from the wall he was leaning against to greet her properly. "Been keeping out of trouble?"
"I a'ways /try/ t'keep outter trouble... ah but seems t'find me off'enough," Swivel responds, wearing a big showy grin for the mech that she pities. She hasn't quite clued in that pity is something at times repulsive to others. She puts her hands behind her back as she paces in front of Whirl with a straight posture and a sprightly stride. "'Eard y'on th'band. Yanno. Broadband." She lets that comment hang there, trying to gauge a reaction before continuing on.
"Haha, yeah, that's how it is with trouble isn't it? Always gets you when you're least expecting it," Whirl says, his tone suggesting he's in a good humor. Unfortunately, that doesn't last long as he becomes sullen and quiet at the mention of the public broadband channel. He retreats back to the wall, leaning against it and crossing his arms. "I bet a lot of people did, it's not exactly a private frequency. So?"
From behind her back and to the front come Swivel's arms. She clasps her hands together and begins to twiddle her thumbs. Sullen. Not a good start. "Weller, is jus' th'ole business with thiis... er... Shiftlock person, yeah?" There. She said the name. Once again she pauses to watch Whirl carefully.
There's a quick flash of Whirl's optic at the name, the only outwardly visible sign of his distress at the subject. His unnervingly intense stare levels upon Swivel, but other than that slight turn of his head he remains completely motionless. "What about her?" His tone is flat and hard to read but there's a ninety-nine point nine percent chance he isn't too happy right now.
And Swivel knows better than to gamble on that zero point one percent. Of course, she expected unhappiness. His comments on the Broadband already painted a bit of a picture for the femme. She frowns a bit, wondering if she should drop the topic. But now that the name has been mentioned, it didn't seem like she could turn back now. "Wellum... she... uh... sounded like, uh, she was in otter pain. O'Rod said she's... uh... physic'ly safe 'ere she is, o'er-wise I mighta mounted a 'il expedition t'find 'er. N'like I know 'er... but th'dea tha' sumone was 'urtin' an' might not b'able t'call fer 'elp... but 'en O'Rod told me some stuff... and.... uh... the point really is, yer th'one 'oo seems to, uh, set off these, uh, 'ead whammies." Swivel tenses and recoils just a little bit, as if she expects a violent reaction directed at her. It's not so much about Whirl, but she has gotten used to doing this when mentioning things people don't want to hear. And she often has to relay messages people don't want to hear. In fact, people who shoot the messenger are one of the risks of her job.
Whirl just stares at Swivel as she talks. Just a cold, emotionless, unwavering stare that burns into her very soul. Not really, but it's still really unsettling. There's absolutely no reaction from the cyclops at all.. until the femme implies that he's the one triggering Shiftlock's pain, at which point he breaks his stare and looks away.
"What did Hot Rod tell you?"
Uncomfortable territory. Swivel usually doesn't pry this much into other people's lives... but... there is this mech that keeps talking about doing the right thing because it's right. Problem is, the right thing is rather subjective. Swivel blinks a few times and tentatively stops bracing herself. "Uh... she knew stuff.... an wa'taken b'the gov an' got 'er mind rewrit 'en 'at 'e dunno 'enone that kin, or will, undo wot's been done... an' she's wi'a mech named Orion Pax.... which's a good thing, I think? Oh 'an she attacked 'im coz o' what they did t'er. An' fer some reason, when she 'ears ya... yeah.... pain."
Orion Pax. Whirl's sure Hot Rod said all sorts of amazing things about Orion Pax, he's got some creepy hero worship thing going on. Whirl is not a fan of the guy, in fact, he actually blames the guy for a lot of things. Still, if Shiftlock was going to be under anyone's supervision right now, Pax is the best guy for the job. Hopefully.
"She's too far gone," Whirl finally says after a long pause. "She's not the same person she was when I knew her, they really messed up her head. It's awful and I hate it but.." He turns to look at his reflection in the bar window. On the other side of the glass, a bar keep frowns and shakes his head at him.
"She doesn't remember me. She doesn't remember what happened between us and all the horrible stuff it caused. Maybe in some messed up way, it's for the best."
Listening attentively, Swivel nods as Whirl speaks, occasionally grimacing sympathetically. Swivel allows there to be a respectful silence before proceeding with a "...they really've made a mess o' thins..." Swivel approaches, but then stops when she seesher reflection offset to Whirl's. It's a painful juxtoposition, someone young, fresh, with an actual face compared to the empurata's single optic. "An... mebbe for the best 'n all... so... why d'ya keep talkin' 'en ya know she's list'nin, an' know yer 'urtin' er? Are you tryin' ta, I dunno, punish whoever she is now 'cause she's not the Shiftlock you 'member? 'Cos.... I dun like t'ear 'er in pain... an' I guess I wanted t'ask ya to, I dunno... not talk on the broadband 'en she's obviously on it. Kinner seems insens'tive now 'en I say it..."
Whirl is silent for a long while though his body begins shaking with barely contained rage. He knows he shouldn't be tuning in and trying to talk to her, he knows all it does is confuse and hurt her, he knows he's only making things worse for the both of them. So why does he do it? Perhaps he just misses the sound of her voice, or maybe he's trying to freak her out and that combined with her mental pain will keep her away. Maybe there's a slim flicker of hope inside of him, hope that if she hears his voice enough maybe, just maybe, she'll break through. Whirl lifts his arms and slams them against the window, the bar keep that was eyeing him before now pointing at him and yelling.
"I don't see how it's any of your business what I do or don't do." He turns around to face Swivel, that optic watching her with a new intensity. "Blast Off's voice gives her these headaches too, are you going to track him down and ask him to do the same thing?"
The shaking is hardly missed on Swivel. Although she spends a fair amount of the time seeing amost vacant, she has some skills in observation. And this observation causes her to back away and give the mech some space. Whirl can see her flinch in the window's reflection when he slams against it. "Yes," Swivel answers plainly. "I also gunna talk ta Blast Off. I jus' found ya first." Swivel has the sense that she is in way over her head, but then again, since that incident in the Forge, she's had that feeling constantly. "An' it 'ent m'bus'ness. I know 'at. I knew 'it 'fore I came lookin'... but I'm startin' ta try an' na jus' turn m'optic from sufferin', an' I'm startin' small." Swivel pauses and things for a moment. "I dun really know what t'do. I just.... felt real bad 'earin' her in so much pain. And feel bad seein' you in it too."
Whirl feels a little better after hearing that Blast Off is also going to get this incredibly awkward and painful conversation but it's not enough to make a noticeable difference in his overall mood. "Oh, and you don't think /I/ feel bad hearing her like that? You don't think it cuts me every time I hear her voice? Do you think I'm doing it on purpose?" He slowly lurches towards Swivel, gradually closing the space she put between them. "You know nothing, Swivel."
Lurching closer only makes Swivel begin to shuffle back. There is no hiding the fact that she is now finding the cyclops very intimidating. "Ignorance seems t'be oner me flaws, heh heh... but surely curable, yeah?" Swivel's voice trembles and she lets out a partial giggle that is quite obviously more of a nervous response than an expression of amusement. "I jus' wanted t'know why... an' now I 'ave me answers, so, uh, mebbe I, uh, will leave ya be, yeah?"
Swivel isn't exactly looking behind her, and she doesn't realize she had backed away far enough to where the walkway ends and the street begins. One more foot step back, and the ground isn't at the elevation she was expecting. With very little grace, the femme lets out a yelp, flailing her arms as she falls backwards. Luckily, due to her tires, she's well padded. Although she looks almost as helpless as a turtle on its back, her legs kicking out in the air.
Swivel's nervousness does not go unnoticed, it actually pleases Whirl because he WANTS her to be afraid of him. He's dangerous and even the people closest to him have to keep this is mind during all of their interactions together; even something as innocuous as a conversation could result in someone taking a claw to the gut. Swivel is nosy, there are some things about him she shouldn't learn and if he lets her get too close he might let his guard down and things could slip out. Best to keep her at bay with fear.
When the femme falls backwards, he makes no attempt to help her. Instead he stands over her, feet on either side of her body. He leans down, that bright, yellow optic shining right in her face as he draws close. "It would be in your best interest to keep out of certain things, Swivel. This is one of them. You will never understand why I do the things I do, but I do them for very good reasons. Don't question it and you wont get hurt."
He steps over her and begins walking down the street.
As Swivel is devoured in Whirl's shadow, and eventually, comes face-to-optic with him, had she responsive pigmentation, she would have gone sheet white. She realizes the situation she is in is extremely compromising and that voice in the back of her head that warns her against pursuing her impetuous curiosity is ringing out a loud 'WHY DO YOU NEVER LISTEN!?'. It's odd how a moment can seem an eternity just by the sheer volume and velocity of thoughts going through one's mind, especially those one projecting all the unpleasant outcomes of your actions in as gruesome detail as one can imagine. Luckily, her imagination isn't really that great. And then at the climax of these fears... he steps over had nad begins to walk away.
Swivel remains there, still for a while, as if moving an inch just might set the mech off and bring him back. When she feels like it is safe to, she rocks on her tires back as far as she can and then kicks her legs forward, hopping to her feet. She gives one more glance around just to be sure, and then, with a rather quick shuffle and constantly looking over her shoulder, Swivel heads off in the opposite direction she heard Whirl move off to.
Now to find Blast Off. Surely she could have learned from this experience.... but sometimes people just need to be taught a lesson more than once. Proving that their first lesson isn't fatal.