Title: Set Us Up The Trap
Location: Rodion Black Market
Date: 28 March 2015
NPCs: Random Shop Mech
Summary: Pax sets himself up for a trap just so Moonlight has a purpose. Sounds like a totally Pax thing to do, right?
++ Rodion ++
Home largely to middle caste society, Rodion has the feel of both a burgeoning metropolis and a quiet little home town. Comfortable residential complexes rise high into the skyline alongside data processing offices, entertainment domes and various merchant complexes. Near one of last active hot spots, Rodion is also home to several Guild Assessment offices and Primary Programming schools, each capable of handling the nurturing of new sparks, as well as their education and placement in society. Rodion is also home to Maccadam's, one of the oldest and most well known bars on Cybertron.
Influenced by nearby Polyhex, the buildings and archeture have a distinct hexagonal, prismatic bias, though the color scheme leans mostly towards golds, bronzes and coppers, with roadways and pavement in silver-gray. The city enjoys a multi-level structure with dozens of roadways, paths and walkways in layers above the ground.
Sometimes it's better to have the home-field advantage somemech once said. It is that thought in mind that really causes Orion Pax to continue to use Rodion as his go-to location for supplies and information on the outside world while on exile or rather on the lamb from the Autobots under Sentinel Prime. Unfortunately, this mission is more for supplies than information as Windcharger has overloaded his unique power systems and fried his power system. It was too risky to send anyone else for the specialized parts that the minibot needed so Orion Pax himself is currently in a place he would normally be responsible for bringing under control - a black market that has thrived under the Clampdown by the Senate and controlled by Sentinel Prime.
The irony is not lost on the red and blue bot who is making his way along the marketplace with an air of caution and vigilance. He knows that he stands out - after all, he's the former police chief. But he also knows that these are the same mechs and femmes that view him as a vigilante that broke away from the system. And that earned him a few respect points that allows him to at least be here unaccosted.
Home-field advantage is something Moonlight does NOT have. What's more, she doesn't know Orion Pax, visually, from any other mech. But, nosing around for information is pretty much the same everywhere, once you learn the particulars of a planet. Well, provided one doesn't stand out too much as the tallest living being around, but that definitely isn't the case for the femme on Cybertron. Lucky her. What might be less lucky is that, as she's backing away from someone she's finishing a conversation with, she bumps into a particular red and blue mech, causing her hat to go flying. At which point, she makes a startled exclamation and bends down to pick up her lost article of 'clothing', mumbling the not-apology of, "I should probably learn to watch where I'm going." Her tone is faintly amused.
Having come to a stop in front of one particular vendor, Orion Pax is currently trying to haggle for a particular need. "I know it is a hard to find item, but it is one that is sorely needed. I require the electromagnetic power converter for a project that is being worked on. It would be really helpful."
The person behind the counter doesn't seem that interested in being part of the 'cause', "An item like that is rare and hard to find. In fact, I believe only Iacon carries them. You want one? It's going to cost you, Pax. One hundred fifty thousand shanix and I need half up front for operating costs."
Pax /frowns/ underneath his faceplate. "And I have your guarantee that you can provide the part."
"Whoah whoah, no guarantees, that just gets me prioritizing finding one for you." the salesmech offers.
"I could just take my business elsewh--whoops!" That is when Moonlight bumps into the mech and Pax makes a surprised noise. He wasn't prepared to have someone just bowl him over. As the 'hat' lands nearby, Prime bends as well to scoop it up, nearly bumping heads with the femme. "Alertness is probably dimmed just a little with this." he states as he holds the hat up for Moonlight to recover. "Are you okay there, miss?"
"The hat has it's benefits," says Moonlight with a somewhat cheeky grin. "Yeah, I'll be fine. I'd ask if you're okay, but you're bigger than me, so I don't think little old me could do much damage to a tall fella like yourself," she surmises, looking Pax up and down as she takes her hat. Putting it on her head, she makes sure it's tilted back enough so that both her optics are showing. "Hat or not, I don't have optics on the back of my head. Though, I'm wondering how well someone would function with that level of vision. Hmmmm."
Then she turns towards the salesmech and gives him a rather winning smile. "Smells like a negotiation going on. Hope you're on the up and up." Her tone is faintly ironic here.
"Go away, Moonlight." the salesmech grumbles, waving his hands at her. "I'm in negotiation here with the /former/ police chief..." the mech makes sure to stress that former part directly at Pax. "And he was getting ready to settle on the only price I can offer him for the part he needs."
Pax offers a chagrined smile. "Perhaps I shouldn't be such a large obstacle then. Or at least apply a warning flasher or two." he comments in jest before his attention swivels back to the salesmech. "I haven't agreed to anything yet, friend. I still have yet to hear your guarantee that you can provide me with the part I require."
"And I was telling you there's no such thing as a guarantee down here on the streets, Pax. Tell you what though. One hundred thousand shanix, I have a broken one in the back I'll let you have. You can take it to the clinic and have them fix it up or I'm sure you can find someone that can handle it."
Pax frowns again. "When they're new, they only cost ten thousand shanix." he protests, a look of frustration in his optics. "This can be your chance to help affect change and give the normal mech a chance to do their part for a better Cyber--"
He doesn't finish as the salesmech cuts him off with a cruel laugh. "Oh Pax, it ian't that simple down here. If hopes and dreams drove the lowest castes, Cybertron would never be without. But down here, in reality, only one thing talks. And you better have a lot more than five thousand dreams and hopes."
Moonlight holds up a pair of fingers. "Actually, two things talk," she says. "Probably three actually," she corrects herself, adding another finger. "If you want to be literal, that is." She looks the salesmech up and down.
She turns to Pax directly. "What is it you're after?" She hadn't bumped into him yet when he had made the request in the first place. "Because a hundred thousand shan sounds like a big number for someone who is a 'former' anything."
Pax rubs his hand over his faceplate. Even in the old days when he could just bust this mech's chops and take what he wanted, he was more of the type to allow such places as the market to exist because it helped when he felt his hands were tied. Though he made sure they were mostly fair with their negotiation. Now, without the power that was once there, some have taken advantage of the fall of the former police chief. Orion glances over to Moonlight. "Moonlight, he said your name was?" Pax did catch that part. "I'm Orion Pax." he at least wants to make sure the femme knows who she's working with. Not in the boastful 'do you know who I am' way, but more, 'if Sentinel hears you helped me, he'll have you reprogrammed into a streetsweeper' type cautionary way.
"As for what I was seeking, it is an electromagnetic to power converter. There's someone that I am assisting that could really use the project." In short, Windcharger fried himself and Pax is trying to get the parts to fix him.
"And as I was sayin'-" the salesmech interupts, "-they're hard to find. Almost impossible. But I got a broken one you can have for a cool one hundred thousand."
Ah! Moonlight /has/ heard the mech's name before. "So, you're Pax? Interesting. You seem to be quite a celebrity in some mech's eyes." Notably Hot Rod's. "Somehow I thought you'd be whiter." She shrugs as though that's not terribly important; after all, looks aren't everything. She purses her lips for a moment as she listens to what the mech wants. "Hmmmmm. What sort of things usually use them? I'm not really the most tech savvy femme out there, but sometimes you can find things in the most unusual places." She looks over to the salesmech pointedly. "Ones that /work/ even."
"Generally, they are used in construction work - the heavy cranes use them to haul up large beams for building.." Pax starts to explain and then chuckles self-deprecitingly. "I'm no celebrity, Moonlight. Just another mech that is trying to figure out how to help who he can when he can." After selling himself short, Pax returns his attention to the salesmech. "And I know that you have to have a few because I recently went to the contruction sites around Rodion to find one and they were all /removed/, along with most anything else that could be useful."
"Pax? You? Scavenging. Oh, that's rich. I can't wait to tell all my friends about it!" the salesmech says with a haughty laugh, intent on taking advantage of having the current upper hand over the former police chief. "Ninety thousand for the broken one. Take it or leave it." he offers to Pax before he looks towards Moonlight.
"And you, you know the rules of the deal." he scolds. "Once a pair of mechs are in negotiation, you can't come galavanting in here acting like some busyfemme that is trying to get in a piece of the action." the salesmech chides the femme throughly while trying to shoo her off so he can finish cleaning out Pax.
"Depends on who you ask," Moonlight says with a laugh. "Everyone sees every situation a little differently. For example, I see a mech who isn't used to dirty negotiating," she adds. "Hmmm, construction work. No, I don't really have anything to do with construction. I'm a mover, not a builder."
She pfffts at the salesmech. "Rules exist to be broken." Which probably isn't the kind of thing Pax wants to hear, but oh well. Them's the brakes. "I'm pretty sure you're breaking some yourself," she points out. After all, if this place is black market, well, it's very existence is thumbing its nose at rules, even if it has its own internal rules.
Those are some very squeaky brakes. Probably need to be changed. In fact, Pax is trying to change them himself. "I'm going to have to leave it." he finally says. As much as he wants to help his friend, he's not able to bankrupt his entire operation just to help one. Or is he? "Unless you are willing to negotiate a trade that we can barter for?" the mech finally asks.
The salesmech lifts his nose at Moonlight. "My cards and programs are legit, femme. So unless you're here to buy something, make like a nut, and bolt." he tells her.
With that, the salesmech turns his attention to Pax. "Tell you what. I'll take the five thousand. And if I find one, you can tell me where to find you so that I can have it delivered."
Pax is perfectly aware of the large price he probably is carrying on his head because of Sentinel Prime. And he can sense the trap for what it is. But he has to make this work, somehow. Glancing to Moonlight, the mech reflects on something she said earlier. She knows Hot Rod. He can still make this work somehow. "Is that your final offer?" the former police chief asks the salesmech. The salesmech gets a greedy smile. "Prime's honor, Pax."
Moonlight tucks her hands behind her back and puts on her demure face. Not that she's expecting anyone to buy it. Tilting her head to the side, she just watches to see how this will all play out. She's not caught in the hero worship that Hot Rod is. However, she actually respects (or what passes as respect from Moonlight) the hot headed rebel. Okay, maybe she doesn't respect him, but she likes him, and that carries more weight in her books.
Pax offers a frown underneath his faceplate. However, the mech knows what this is. This is no longer about fleecing him. It's about getting a bounty. However, the large mech seems to heave in a sigh. "Very well. I shall transmit the coordinates when you have procured the item." with that, Pax pulls out a datapad to handle the transfer of the funds from his account to the salesmech.
Once the transaction is complete, the mech smiles widely, showing off his gold-plated dentures. "Pleasure doing business with you, Pax. Give me a few cycles and I'll have it all set up for you." he says and grins winningly at Moonlight, in that 'ha, I got it anyway'.
Once the transaction is complete, Pax turns to head out of the black market, a subtle gesture is given towards Moonlight for her to follow, should she choose. Otherwise, he'll find another way.
Moonlight gives the salesmech a finger wiggling wave and simplys says, "Ta," before turning to follow Pax. She probably has to quicken her pace to keep up with the taller figure, but she doesn't mind in the least bit. Though at this point it's sheer curiosity that's prompting her choice to follow.
Pax seems to be taking a casual stroll as he leaves the marketplace. He's not sure how much he can trust Moonlight at this point. But there is a time where he has taken a leap of faith with everymech or femme he knows. This is one of those times. "You said that you know Hot Rod?" he asks her casually as they walk. "How well do you know him?" In other words, are you one of his rebels or just a fanfemme?
How much can anyone trust the smuggler? Well, it really depends. Moonlight follows her own code. When Pax asks about Hot Rod, she grins. "Very good; I never said Hot Rod's name. Or even mentioned the flames," she says with approval. "How well do I know him? Well, if there was a secret hand shake, I'd have it, but I haven't known him for very long. Let's just say I'm inside his tree house that says club members only." Okay, so Pax might not get the organic reference, but that's just how Moonlight talks.
"I was taking a stab in the dark," Pax admits with a chagrined laugh. "Hot Rod mentioned a femme that works with him that wears a hat. I don't know many of them, so I figured it was worth a shot." And it paid off.
"I know that was a trap. Way too obvious and he was far too willing to drop his price to my level." he admits as they walk. "So, here is my question for you. I need you to get a message to Hot Rod that I would like to speak with him about what you just observed. Give him as much detail as you wish. However, I need you to stress that I realize that this is most likely a setup to try to sell me out to either bounty hunters or to Sentinel Prime. And that I would like for him to be prepared for either contingency. Do you understand?" he asks her as they continue to walk, his voice low so that noone can interlope with their conversation.
Moonlight nods her head. See, that hat does have benefits. "Gotcha. Yeah, I can get him a message. And I kinda figured the guy was doing something sneaky. Haggling simply doesn't work that way, not with that sort of drop in price." She pauses. "At least not with threats, and you don't seem the type." Moonlight keeps her voice equally low, keeping just the right timbre to be heard by Pax and very unlikely to be heard by others; she has practice with this. "Anything else I can do for you?"
"Not at the moment, Moonlight. Thank you for your assistance - or rather, persistence. I'm sure the salesmech probably wouldn't have pushed so hard if you weren't there." Orion admits with a chuckle and a chagrined smile. "I assume that there may be a price or somesuch that could come with your service?" he asks as he glances towards her again.
"When it has to do with Hot Rod, I don't consider myself working for my own good," Moonlight says with a lopsided grin. "I'm sure he'd never forgive me if I charged for for it." She laughs softly. "It's in my best interests to stay on his good side. Besides, I kinda like the guy." She shrugs her shoulders.
Orion chuckles anew. "He's an easy one to like." Pax admits as he continues to walk out of the market. "And he has plenty of potential for doing the right thing with the right one."
Moonlight nods her head at this. "Well, as a newcomer to Cybertron, I find this place pretty backwards in many ways. He's a lot more like people I've met out there than most I've met around here," and she waves towards the sky to mean space before pointing to the ground. "I didn't really intend to get involved with the political mess of this place."
"It is quite the mess, isn't it." Orion finds himself having to admit. "But there are the ones that are like Hot Rod. That want to make change. I think that is part of wishing to grow and becoming individual is to find the very right of freedom. The Senate feels that that they should be the ones that control the growth, and that just is not the way it can be done. It has to be allowed to prosper and grow from within. To try to control and destroy it - it is not the way to go about it." the large mech admits.
"Hence, there are those that have chosen to go about bring about change with as much force as possible, even if it tears the population asunder, and those that are trying to make change in other ways. While I do not agree with everything that Hot Rod may be doing at times, I know his spark's in the right place. And I just have to follow the path that has been lain before me. As for the charger I was asking after?" he comments. "One of my refugees. Honestly? All of my refugees I am harboring are outliers. Hot Rod could tell you that. One of them, Windcharger, has burned out some of the parts of his abilities and I was trying to replace those parts. So, that is why I was willing to take on this course." he tells her, laying the cards out on the table.
Moonlight nods her head at this. "I don't know much about that particular part. I have a space ship, but although I know how to fly it, I don't know how it is made," she admits with a shrug. "Can't say I know much about outliers either; I've spent most of my time out in space with other people. There were only three of our race on my crew, and none of them were outliers," she says. "But it's good that you take care of those in your care." She smiles at this. "But yeah, Hot Rod really does mean well, he just doesn't have much of an idea of /how/ to get things done, just that they /need/ to be done."
"Outlier. Imagine for a moment..." Orion tries to find a way to explain it the best way you can. "Cybertronians have many abilities, right? Now imagine having ability that noone else has. That noone can even consider replicating. Be it reading a mind. Or creating a forcefield. Or learning things on the fly with immaculate memory. And it is these things that make you unique. But it is also these things that make the Senate fear you. And they fear you enough that they would rather order you arrested and dissected than try to accept you for your abilities." Orion explains.
"And that is what this is really all about. Acceptance. No matter the caste. No matter what you transform into. You should be allowed to determine your own worth, not have it determined for you on creation, Moonlight. That is what needs to be changed. I had hope to effect that change from within - but now that I am also wanted - I must continue my quest to make it right from the outside. But this is the path I chose. As we must all chose at some point. I hope you will find your own path, Moonlight. The one that pleases you best. It sounds as though you already have. And I hope that you are allowed to continue on it unharried." the large bot offers before tipping his head in a mild salute to the femme. "Now if you will pardon me, I need to travel back to my comrades and have them prepare in case this situation goes south."