Title: To Rodion
Location: Dead End
Date: 28 September 2014
Summary: Arcee and Hot Rod talk on the way to Rodion.
Now that they are both carrying the informational equivalent of tactical nukes, Hot Rod doesn't spend a lot of time waiting in the Dead End. He sticks to root mode when the streets are too narrow and crowded to easily navigate with an admittedly flashy altmode. There's walking around with flames on your chest, and then there's driving a speeder with flames on its hood through the Dead End: unsubtle and UNSUBTLE.
With Jazz off to who knows where and Breakdown off to deliver his data to who knows who, Hot Rod falls in next to Arcee. "Getting back to Rodion sounds like a good idea. Orion Pax -- mech Jazz mentioned. You know him? I was thinking about him. I remember when he stood up against the Senate, but now he's working for them. Oh!" He pivots, turning to face her as he suddenly recalls, "And what was that when you popped in and said someone shot you? Don't think I forgot that!"
"I've met Orion Pax, yes...in fact, I reported the shooting you mentioned," Arcee says as she follows along with Hot Rod, also in root mode because she tends to attract even more attention in her vehicular mode. "What happened was I was sitting in Maccadam's, talking to an engineer from Caminus...and suddenly, someone shot THROUGH the skylight, and took out the wall behind where I was sitting. I was only missed because I leaned in toward the bar to get another drink, but that shot was for me. Not sure what follow-up's been done with that...the police were a little more interested in confiscating my poor pet than investigating the crime, so."
"Why would someone try to shoot you?" Hot Rod asks. He doesn't sound exactly outraged on her behalf; he sounds mystified, confused, bemused by what might make her a target. "You ... still work for the Senate or something, right?" He gives her a sidelong look, searching for hidden weaponry that might make her a threat. "Man -- you mean Kickback? They got Kickback?" He sounds a little more openly dismayed. "Do you know where they took him, what happened?"
"No..." Arcee bows her head sadly. "I didn't feel like I had a choice with Kickback. Prowl told me that if I didn't turn Kickback in to them within two cycles, he'd issue a warrant for my arrest, and...I didn't know what else to do. So I asked them to please rehome him, and a couple of officers came out and put Kickback in the back of a large transport. They didn't contact me back about where he went, but I keep hoping they will. I miss him terribly." She glances over toward Hot Rod. "I used to work for Senator Proteus, but I've recently accepted a new assignment with Elita One at the Embassy. Pretty much doing the same thing, but the boss is a lot nicer."
Arcee is silent for a short time, then she adds, "I think I'm on 'The List'...because I saw something I shouldn't have seen."
Hot Rod looks frankly relieved when Arcee says that she's moved out of the Senator's employ. "Oh -- the Camnian, right? Cool." Something like disappointment follows despite his relief, but it is brief, and soon thoughtful. "Have you ever gotten a hint of this when you worked in the offices, or does your clearance not go that high? What did you see? Any way that you could find out where they took Kickback?"
"To be really honest, I've been working for the Senate almost since my activation day, and I had really strict rules about interacting with anyone outside of the Senate," Arcee explains. "So...I never really noticed anything weird going on. Not until the cycle that Blurr went missing, and...and I went to Ibex to go look for him. That's when I came across the hidden rooms inside the IAA Headquarters. There's a hidden floor in that building. I know this sounds crazy but...I'm being 100% honest, here...I found them keeping Blurr in a detention cell, and doing things to his processor...messing it up..."
Ever so slightly, Hot Rod leeeans away from Arcee, like she might get Senate cooties on him. He settles as he listens, dropping into a scowling focus that seems ill-suited to his frame and features. "I believe you," he says without hesitation. "Does Blurr know anything about it? The whole thing is fragged. If Pax won't do anything -- the Senate hasn't messed with him, have they? Is he still the same mech who stood up to them?"
"I didn't recognize the mech who was altering Blurr, but...he was wearing Senatorial embellishments, and that's the moment I realized that everything I'd been programmed to accept as the truth may not be as it seems," Arcee admits. "Blurr couldn't remember afterward what was done to him, it probably wiped his processor of the memory completely. To this day, Blurr still thinks I'm kind of crazy. Crazy for saving him, I guess!" She shrugs in a 'what can you do' kind of gesture. "I don't know Orion Pax well enough to know if he's been altered."
"So it's a risk," Hot Rod says, sounding not even /slightly/ daunted by that fact, "but it's one worth taking." He looks up and off into the distance. He is probably imagining how heroic they will be if they get it to him.
As they clear the smaller streets and move into better-tended, wider ones, he transforms into a showy speeder. They have some distance to eat between here and there. "I was thinking media, too. Anonymous drop or something. Blaster." Because who else in the media is even worthy of mention? "You have any useful Senate connections there?"
Arcee also transforms. Alas, she has no pink flames, but she is (predictably) pink in her Cybertronian Car mode. She's able to keep up with Rod fairly easily, and she also keeps one scanner trained in back of them to pick up any followers. "I wasn't high up enough to meet many Senators, but, I know a lot of envoys and emissaries -- the lower-ranked Senate workers. I could probably contact one of them," she mentions. "If you think it might be useful."
Between the flames and a really-it's-aerodynamic spoiler, Hot Rod's not hard to miss. He paces himself to her, although he makes sure they both stretch in fuel-eating speed. "No. Not unless it was someone you really trusted. Not just with your life, but your memories, your -- self. With everything you are. Because if they can change that--." A shudder running through his frame does not cause his speed to falter. "I don't know what Pax can do, but people will listen to him."
"Well, I think my new boss has a better insight into what motivates him..." Arcee is /fairly/ sure that Elita and Orion are probably seeing each other, but she doesn't want to mention that without getting some kind of confirmation from Elita herself at some point. "So I can just ask her if you'd like. She's really easy to talk to. I kind of wish I had her as a boss this whole time instead of Proteus. Ugh."
Hot Rod considers it, but then says, "No. I think it's more important to get the information to him as quickly as possible. Although she should probably get a copy of it, too. Everyone deserves to know what is really going on." After a moment, he asks, "What's she like? What's she make of the Clampdown and ... everything going on? I've met that Camnian engineer a couple of times. She seems pretty clueless." Sorry, Nautica: you know way, WAY more about quantums than he does, and Hot Rod calling anyone clueless on any subject is pretty questionable in the first place.
"I'll have to ask her! I think I've only had a chance to talk to her once, when she hired me. She's out on assignment a lot. But she's definitely not in the same mindset as Proteus and a few of those others. And ugh, Air Commander Starscream. Don't get me started about him, or some of those other mechs running Vos. That place is so corrupt..." She pauses, then adds, "Hey, good news, we're not being followed."
"That we know of," Hot Rod answers with a somewhat fatalistic cheer. "I bet that place can afford great mods." No, he doesn't sound envious. Yes, they are terrible people. No, not even a little envious!! (Okay, maybe a little. If only that power was in the hands of the GOOD guys.) "I only met that guy once, but he /really/ leaves an impression, you know?" From his tone, it is not a favorable one. He also sounds a little bit jealous. "Seems like the more power you get, the more you forget the people in the streets. Doesn't matter where: Vos, Iacon. They're all the same." This is how he ends up on LISTS: he lacks the wisdom to shut his mouth.
"...I like how you think," Arcee says suddenly. She feels like she's found a kindred spark of sorts, even if he is kind of a complainer. She can't help but agree with him. "Look, there's safety in numbers, right? We can't be the only ones fighting the good fight out there."
What? Complaints! No, it's PASSION. For the PLIGHT OF THE EVERYMECH. "Maybe. Jazz seemed to have the right idea, too. And maybe Feint will bring Blurr around." Then of course there are all those other rabble-rousers, the Decepticons, but for whatever reason, Hot Rod doesn't bring them up. He does, however, mention, "Breakdown, I guess. And--" But rather than list off a bunch more people, he breaks off. "Yeah, they are out there. And I bet we can find more."
"Alright, well...we're nearing Rodion, I'm going to go and try to locate Elita," Arcee says. "I'll...see you around, I guess. Call me if you need any more help with these creeps, okay? We should meet up...uh, I'm not sure if I'm going back to Maccadam's for obvious reasons, but don't be a stranger, okay?"
"Yeah. Don't get shot again. If you hear anything, let me know." Hot Rod banks his speed as they approach the city, letting Arcee pull ahead. "I'll keep you in mind. You helped us get out more than I thought we would. Including us." With that, they part.