Title: Stand With Us
Date: 03 November 2014
Summary: Prowl does what he can to convince Arcee to see things his way.
++ 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 nuturing 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, 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.
Arcee might not be very keen on seeing Prowl again, even if their more recent encounters were less...stressful. But this time, he hasn't even called her to his office, in fact, he's asked her to meet him at a small specialty engex joint in Rodion. So, maybe, she won't be stuck with yet another lecture. Maybe.
So here he is, sitting at a small table near the door, his face behind a datapad working while he waits for her, of course. The place is nearly empty save for a few other patrons, so it's very quiet.
Arcee is very relieved for the change in venues, but...she doesn't anticipate that Prowl's going to be much different than his typical self. Things she can tick down on her checklist are: progress (if any) on Blast Off's 'hunt'; the ways in which she is screwing up said 'hunt'; progress (if any) on locating Drift; and the ways she screwed up the entire situation on that day as well.
She's already admitted to Hot Rod that she's fairly sure she's going to wash out of this organization. Even so, just like being signed up for a race that's impossible to win, Arcee intends on giving this a more concerted effort, and see it through all the way to the end.
Right on time, Arcee pops in the place, locates Prowl, and joins him at the table. "Hello..."
Prowl puts the datapad away and turns to Arcee as she arrives. "Arcee. I'm glad you were willing to join me this cycle." He replies, greeting her with a nod, though his tone is flat as per usual.
Surprinsgly, he doesn't bring up Blast Off's arrest just yet, though it probably -will- be brought up at some point. There's a pause, before he finally says, "I wanted to reiterate to you that I--that -we- would never assign you to something simply for the sake of making you suffer. We have punishment policies in place, yes, but none of it implies any form of sadism. That is against the very principles that we operate on."
"...Look, if I said that at some point, which...which I probably did, it was said out of anger and it wasn't intentional," Arcee says. "I'm pretty sure that's not what this organization is about. There's a lot of confusion and unrest out there, and someone has to keep the peace or else there's going to be a lot of trouble."
"I couldn't agree more." Prowl nods in response to her explanation. "I'm glad you understand. Now I don't want you to think of this as an interrogation or even questioning, but I want you to answer truthfully. What exactly were you so angry about that made you say that? You said you were friends with Blast Off, and I would like to know what it was about him that you found attractive. How close were you?"
"I would say that we had a close friendship," Arcee answers. "We didn't discuss politics very much, and he didn't elaborate on exactly what sort of background he had that would cause him to be in trouble, but I would visit him a lot when he still resided in Vos...before he went on the run."
Prowl nods, listening and taking note of it on the datapad that comes out once again. "And what was it about him that made you like him so much? How did you get so close?"
"He seemed to care about you?"
Arcee is cooperating with some mild reluctance, but nothing like the brick wall she put up when she was in that situation with Prowl and Magnus back at the Decagon. Setting and approach might have much to do with it. "I liked him because he was very knowledgeable, he came across as very approachable, he was willing to teach me things like fighting tactics and...heck, just how to think for myself, basically. And he had ties to Senator Proteus, too, and I was working for him at the time. He's helped me out a number of times. He never came across to me as a criminal...in fact, in the beginning I couldn't even understand why he was wanted at all."
Prowl nods again, sighing. "Yes, people certainly have ways of appearing very innocent to those they want on their side. You'll find that to be true time and again, the longer you serve with us." He puts the datapad down on the table in front of him, and fixes her with a grave yet concerned look.
"Look, I know Magnus and I may have not made the best first impression on you, but I'm not spouting any rustwash when I say that we want what is best for you. You may be in need of improvement--which we all are--but you have a lot of potential, Arcee. Even the progress you've made thus far, given that you've only just signed on recently, is impressive in comparison to most. Additionally, you can appeal to people in ways that I can't--and that is of paramount importance in keeping the peace both within the ranks and without. Even if Blast Off was manipulating you...it's likely that you affected him in ways you didn't expect."
Arcee seems a little surprised. She was expecting...well, quite a number of possible things to happen, here, but receiving praise wasn't one of those things. "...Really? I really thought you and Ultra Magnus thought I was terrible, because I hadn't caught Blast Off. Truth is, I'm not even sure where to begin looking for him. He's been out of radio range for a very long time -- or, he's changed that frequency and no longer monitors it, I'm not sure which. He and I had a common friend in Rung, and we also knew Blurr, so at the time we would meet, it was typically in terms of meeting up with one of the others. Now, Rung is gone, Blurr is probably in Ibex somewhere, and I haven't heard from Blast Off in quite some time. The last time I heard anything at all from him was when we attended an opera."
"No, you are not terrible. Far from it, in fact." Prowl stands up, and faces the window, holding his hands behind his back. "Blast Off was last spotted in Kaon, I suggest you start looking there. Especially since it has been somewhat of a criminal refuge, given the recent unrest."
"I don't know a lot about that place, but I'll start looking," Arcee says. "If I manage to trap him somewhere, which is probably what I'll need to do because I can't overpower him...how do you want me to proceed from there? Can I call like I did with Drift?"
"Oh, you might be surprised at what you can do." Prowl assures her, turning around to face her. "Don't underestimate yourself, but don't overestimate yourself, either. He might still trust you--you need to take advantage of that." He pauses thoughtfully, then sits back down across from her.
"On a different topic, you wanted to know where Kickback ended up, is that right?"
"I...yes, I do," Arcee states, probably still troubled about using 'trust' as leverage against a friend. "I'd like to know where he is."
"Well I'm going to be completely transparent with you on that. Kickback was taken to a lab for research purposes. I'm sure you're aware that Cybertron is in the midst of an energon shortage--a crisis that cannot be ignored. I'm sure you're also aware that Insecticons have managed to flourish thanks to their internal ability to process almost anything into useable fuel. If we could reproduce that system outside of their bodies, make it work for us? That could be our salvation, Arcee. This shortage is the -reason- fuel is being rationed, the reason disposables are being deprived. Problem is, most of them are hostile and dangerous, requiring brute force to be used and resulting in physical injury to both subject and researcher."
"But Kickback? He's different. He's intelligent; he can actually be -reasoned- with. You must realize that a cooperative Insecticon test subject is extremely invaluable. That way, tests can be run without the necessity for the use of force--the lack of a struggle makes it much less likely that the subject or anyone working with him will be harmed. The more he can give, the smaller the chances are of a less cooperative subject being forced to suffer. Do you see what I'm saying?"
Arcee has an expression of ever-growing concern on her features as she listens. "Yes, but...can I see him again??" she asks worriedly. She pictures him strapped to a metal table, covered in painful probes.
"I'll be honest with you--I don't know. It's outside of my jurisdiction. I can't guarantee that he hasn't been in any sort of pain, but rest assured that he'll be kept alive as far as it is within our power to do so."
Prowl sighs, shaking his head slightly. "Look, I know you're concerned about his well-being. But you have to understand that this is necessary. Millions are suffering and will continue to suffer until we find a solution to this mess. Kickback could -be- that solution. And the way you've taught him, he's willing to give what he can in order to make that happen. Unlike the others, he cares about people other than himself and his own."
Arcee can definitely see where Prowl's coming from on that, but she tends to side more with Hot Rod on the ethical points of keeping mechs in such a state for experimentation to benefit the 'greater good'. In Blast Off's absence, she's befriended Hot Rod, and has gotten to understand his struggles a bit better. For now, just to keep the peace, she nods. He doesn't need to know that one way or another, she IS getting her bug back. "I appreciate you letting me know he's still alive," she says. "Listen...I wanted to know if you heard about my addendum to the incident in Altihex. I reported back but you weren't in, so I spoke to Magnus."
"If it were up to me, I would let you see him." Prowl shrugs. "But unfortunately it isn't. I may be in charge of security but much of our research operations aren't under my jurisdiction. The only thing I can think of is if you're still in Proteus' good graces you might be able to talk him into allowing you to visit Kickback."
When she mentions the addendum, he watches her intently. He's probably seen it, yes. But he wants to hear it from her vocal synth. "Speak your piece."
"When I stayed behind to assist with the medevac, I came across a miner...an individual Drift was speaking to inside the bar prior to the violence erupting. The miner was helpful during the aftermath and expressed concern about the violence, but that's not really why I wanted to bring him to your attention," Arcee says. "He had an exchange with Drift inside the bar which proved that Drift *was* the one who bombed Rung's clinic. It was never Blast Off, it was Drift."
"Hm, are you talking about the one we encountered afterward?" Prowl inquires. "He mentioned that you had been eavesdropping, and he assisted you with medevac?"
"Right, that one," Arcee clarifies.
Prowl nods. "It doesn't surprise me. He would be capable of such a thing. He's certainly a dangerous mech, and we are doing everything we can to track him down and make sure he is apprehended."
"But believe me when I say that Blast Off was -a- suspect but certainly not the prime suspect in that. His arrest is primarily warranted by the murder of those three mechs, and the breach of space travel restrictions."
"Would you like me to locate this miner? Magnus thought it might be important," Arcee says. "I think that whoever killed Rung needs to be brought to justive. And maybe Blast Off's done some terrible things, but if he didn't kill Rung, then he shouln't be held accountable for that crime."
"If Magnus believed he might be useful to question, then by all means, bring him in for questioning if at all possible." Prowl nods. "Blast Off won't be held accountable for killing Rung if he was not in fact involved in that murder. However, he -was- the perpetrator of the other murders I mentioned to you before and he will be held accountable for those."
"Right, if he's behind other crimes and there's evidence to support that, then he certainly needs to be brought to justice, I agree. I just don't think he was behind Rung's killing because Rung was a mutual friend...and now I have a possible witness. I'll continue to look for him...this miner, I mean...he had distinctive markings and I think surveillance cameras would yield a decent image for an ID," Arcee says.
"Oh, there's evidence. If you'd like me to show it to you, I would be glad to." Prowl reminds her of his previous assertion. "Of course, with these criminals it's difficult tell who is really a 'friend' to them, but again he was not a prime suspect in the incident. The clinic was attacked from the -outside-, and Blast Off was -inside- when the first explosion went off."
He pauses, then moves on. "I hope this has helped you understand why we do the things we do, Arcee. It is important that you stand with us on these vital issues. That's why I want you to know these things. Blast Off used to work for us, I'm sure you know. But he defected. Went rogue, because he -didn't- understand what I'm trying to explain to you. He didn't stand with us on these important tenets. And now he's a criminal--hunted around every corner." He leans in a bit closer, his optics staring straight into hers. "I -don't- want that to happen to you." The officer straights back up again. "Now, do you have any further questions? Regarding Drift, or Blast Off? Or Kickback? I want you to know that I'm not trying to hide anything from you."
"Oh, I understand. Just because Blast Off and I were friends does not mean I was in agreement with a lot of his ideas," Arcee points out. "Matter of fact, I see *now* why he didn't really want to dicuss politics with me. Especially since I worked for Senator Proteus. So no, I'm not going to do the same things he did. I think he's had those ideas in his processor for a very, very long time, and circumstances just made him act upon those ideas. Anyhow...no, I'll just continue trying to find out more. I'll check in or call on the radio if something comes up, alright?"
Prowl nods. "Good. Well I hope you're right. But I am reasonably confident that you are. You listen to reason, for one thing." He stands up. "Let me know if you think of any other questions, of course. We'll be in touch."
"Okay, thank you. Hopefully next time I give you a call, I'll have something for you. That's the plan, anyhow," Arcee says. Then she, too, heads off...privately, she's feeling a lot happier now that she knows Kickback is out there. She's definitely going to find him again. But...first things first.
"It's a good plan." Prowl replies with a final nod, before he takes his leave, returning to Iacon.