Title: The 'Right' Thing
Date: 22 September 2014
Summary: Prowl convinces Arcee to turn Kickback over to police custody.
++ Iacon ++
Gleaming gold, silver and blue as far as the eye can see: the capital of Cybertron itself can be breathtaking to behold. Architecture both old and modern reflect a sense of stately order as well as artistic beauty, with gentle arches, gilded domes and spiraling towers that rise into the skyline. Even the walkways and roads are copper and bronze, the maintenance workers here diligently tending to them to prevent any kind of rust and corrosion. The city itself almost seems alive, with glowing power conduits in circuit pathways running along the streets and buildings, powering external lights and glowing holomatter signs. Cyan-colored crystal and glass windows reflect the hue of the sky in day, or glow from internal lighting at night.
Populated mostly by high caste and above, Iacon is the seat of Cybertron's government, military and intellectual class. At the end of the main road into Iacon is Trion Square, which features an enormous video screen, every bit as big as a combiner, constantly flickering with news feeds, state-sponsored messages and advertisements. Translucentia Heights, the most elite residential area on Cybertron, is nestled into a corner of Iacon's living quarters. Energon refineries, technoversites, merchant plazas, a nurturing creche and even a nature preserve fall within the massive polity's boundaries, making Iacon one of the few completely self-sufficient cities on the planet.
Arcee is heading to meet with Prowl after last night's terifying ordeal in Rodion. She really hopes he doesn't badger her about the 'bug' situation because she's not in the mood for it, but he probably will. She's already called him and asked to meet him in the precinct in Iacon.
The station at Iacon is much larger than the one in Rodion, the giant Autobot sigil emblazoned on the top of the building glowing harshly, visible even through the brightest part of the solar cycle.
If Arcee is hoping Prowl won't badger her about the bug situation, she is sadly mistaken. In fact, he is hoping that she's meeting him to turn the bug -in- like a good, obedient citizen. She was obedient before, right, when he chastised her about wandering around bad parts of Vos.
Arcee steps inside the station, all by herself, of course. No bug accompanying her.
Prowl happens to be talking to an office clerk when Arcee arrives. He looks up at her, and nods. "Arcee." Hmm, no bug? He frowns.
"Look, we need to talk. This is getting bad. And no, this isn't about Kickback; you said I had a certain amount of time to turn him in, and that time is not yet up. Last night, I was shot at *inside* Maccadam's. He missed me, but there's property damage, and I was speaking to someone who actually spotted him briefly and was able to give me a partial description. There were two witnesses. Someone's trying to KILL ME."
Prowl nods. "So it seems you are being targeted as well? Was it Drift? The one who went after Blast Off?" he questions, glancing back at his workstation.
"Negative, and here's why...the witness who saw him making a run for it outside the place...she said that he was 'dark colored', which isn't a very clear description, but what she WAS able to remember quite clearly is that this mech had a hooklike utility attatchment in place of one of his hands," Arcee explains.
"Hmm." Prowl nods again. "So he shot at you from outside?" he asks. "Who else was with you? How do you know he was targeting you specifically?"
"Yes, there's a shot clean through the skylight at Maccadam's -- it didn't shatter the window completely but there *is* a shot hole in it -- and I happened to move at the exact moment of the shot, so had I not moved, it would have been a direct head shot. Instead, it caused damage to the wall directly behind me," Arcee explains, feeling a little bit better, like...perhaps her concerns are getting taken seriously now! "I was with Nautica and Brainstorm, they aren't close friends, I had just met them, but Nautica was the one who ran outside and got a look at the shooter."
"I see." Prowl takes note all of this information, filing it away in the data archives. "I will search the sky spy footage, see if I can identify him. It doesn't sound like Drift, but we can't be sure yet."
"In the meantime...what can I do?? I can't just live my entire life inside my habsuite, there's things I have to accomplish!" Arcee exclaims.
Prowl shakes his head. "I doubt even your hab suite is safe, unfortunately. Given Drift's reptuation, and the fact that someone else also made an attempt on your life, suggests that he isn't alone. It is highly likely that whoever shot at you this time was one of his accomplices."
"..." Arcee's shoulders slump. She's never felt more vulnerable. The only mechs who have actually made some sense out of this for her are who she needs to seek now, if she has any chance of survival at all. "Okay." Of course, none of it's okay.
Prowl arches an optic ridge at her. "Anything unusual happen to you, before the attempts on your life? Anything that you think might have given someone a reason to want you dead?" There has to be something. He knows she said she couldn't think of anything before, but is there something she isn't telling him? "Or perhaps it's because of your association with Blast Off?"
Arcee doesn't DARE speak of the thing Rung told her never to talk about. No way is she going to bring THAT up. That's such dangerous information, it could lead to everyone she knows being silenced or altered with Blurr-type 'treatments'. "Maybe it's someone who has a problem with me associating with Blast Off, but I really have no idea because I haven't even spoken to him in a few cycles."
There's definitely something she isn't telling him. "Are you sure about that?" Prowl asks evenly, his expression unreadable.
"I work for Senator Proteus. Maybe someone doesn't like *that*? I don't know," Arcee says in agitation. "I don't know what I could have done that's so bad, someone's trying to shoot me. Because I've always tried to do the right thing."
Prowl's optics turn downward momentarily, as he shifts datapads and slugs around on his desk absently. "Perhaps it's not so much what you've done, but what you -know-."
"So tell me, Arcee." he says, looking back up at her calmly. "Have you seen or heard about anything unusual, lately?"
"Unusual, like...how?" Arcee concedes just a little. If Prowl has had anyone else report...those kinds of incidents to him, then perhaps she might let on something, but otherwise, she's just going to be treated as crazy and hysterical -- because really, what she encountered defies logical explanation, and she realizes this.
"Unusual in any way at all." Prowl says with a shrug. "Something you don't typically see on the streets of Iacon. Perhaps you witnessed a crime? Or perhaps you were given sensitive information."
"Well, I *did* see Cloudkicker exchanging bribes...but this is pretty overkill for noticing bribe-taking," Arcee points out.
Prowl shakes his head. "I doubt that was the cause of this." He rifles through some more documents, and after a pause he looks back up at her again. "Arcee, I need to ask you a few questions. You are acquainted with Rung, yes?"
"I know who he is, yes," Arcee says evenly.
"Do you know anything about his attitudes toward the Senate? Specifically, toward Senator Ratbat?" Prowl asks. Ah, yes. Ratbat, the one who was beaten senseless recently. What exactly is he insinuating, here?
"No, I've never spoken with him about Senator Ratbat at any time," Arcee insists. "He's never told me his opinion of him one way or the other." She isn't sure what Prowl is getting at, but Rung doesn't seem to be capable of such a thing, at least in Arcee's estimation.
"And what about the Senate in general?" Prowl prods further. "Functionism?"
"I've only met him a couple of times. He has his own practice...far as I can tell, he just does research, he isn't into any of the political things going on," Arcee mentions.
"Hm." Prowl nods. "I see. Well perhaps the next time you see him, you would care to ask him what his opinions are." There's another pause, as he brings up another file on the workstation.
"Arcee, where are you keeping your Insecticon pet?"
Arcee sighs. "I really WANT to," she says, "But what I want has been removed from this situation. I still have time before I have to turn him in."
"Yes, but given the situation, don't you agree that he is no longer safe with you? You're in enough trouble as it is." Prowl counters. The officer levels a pointed gaze at her. "Sometimes doing what you know is best for everyone can be difficult, but it's a decision that must be made."
"But how is he going to be safe if I surrender him to you? How do I know for sure he won't be experimented upon, or used in live vivisection, or just outright killed?" Arcee asks.
Prowl shrugs. "You don't. And I don't, either. But we can't live by what we don't know, can we? We simply have to go on according to what we -do- know. And what we do know, is that he is -certainly- not safe with you, nor is he safe alone and free to wander where he pleases."
"Therefore, the only chance he has at -any- sort of security, is in the custody of the city-state of Iacon."
Arcee looks distant, as if already on the run in her own mind...trying desperately to find a safe place for herself and the ones who depend upon her the most. Any thought of doing the right thing, in this instance, feels exactly like betrayal. Which is making it exceedingly difficult to commit to any one action. Having no immediate rejoinder for Prowl, she says nothing.
She has no retort for Prowl because, well...Prowl is right. His logic is sound, as always. According to him, at any rate. "Look, it may not -feel- right to you, but it is. It's the best you can do for him." As he's just very clearly pointed out. "We can never be sure of everything, so we must simply do what we can to avoid that which we can be at least reasonably certain will present the greatest hazard to our well-being and to the well-being of others."
Arcee begins to wonder if she's said too much. Maybe the police are watching her, now. On top of the mysterious assassins. What was she going to do? Maybe Prowl was right...Kickback was going to be in a lot of danger if he remained with Arcee. Maybe she could find some way of getting him back in the future. "Well, I'd better get things ready, then. Was there anything else?"
Ready for what? But Prowl doesn't ask. "You still haven't answered my question regarding the Insecticon's whereabouts." he points out. "Of course, you do realize that if you fail to turn him over to us within the specified time frame, we -will- be collecting him ourselves, and if you resist, you may face criminal charges?"
"I understand, and...he's no longer my *pet*. I don't know exactly where he is because he has free will and he makes his own decisions. He doesn't always stay right with me -- sometimes he leaves to go do other things. Far as I know, he isn't bothering anyone, he just likes watching and learning from others," Arcee says. "If I summon him, though, he'll make an effort to show up."
"But he still resides with you in your hab suite?" Prowl asks as he takes down the information said.
"Negative, he never has. When he was tiny, he resided in an enclosure in Senator Proteus' office. But when he began evolving...Proteus requested that I re-home him. So he lived in Blast Off's lab for a few evolutions, then got too big for that place...last time I saw him being moved someplace else, he was with Rung," Arcee admits.
Prowl nods, and makes sure all of that is properly recorded. "Thank you for your cooperation. I'm glad you have the responsibility to to do the right thing, even if that means making a sacrifice on your part."
Arcee nods sadly. "I'll do what I can...I believe very much in doing the right thing." Prowl's given her a lot of ideas for consideration. At this point, now that she's been shot at in public, she's beginning to think Kickback might be safest somewhere else. She wouldn't be able to live with herself if he got shot. She might actually prefer sending him into an uncertain future than a terminal fate.