Title: Twenty Questions; Not Nearly Enough Answers

PCs: Swift Blade,Exodus, Hot Rod, Blurr

Location: ++ Nyon ++

Date: 10 January 2015

Summary: What starts as a game of twenty questions quickly gets a lot more tense.

-Nyon should be spelled with a T R O U B L E instead. It just seems to attract it. Even so, Swift Blade finds herself here again. She's hoping to find Whirl and speak with the rather erratic mech. This is the only place she's ever found him, so it seems the logical place to begin her search.

-Exodus is doing the exact same thing. He heard the crazy mech ran away from the mental institute he took him to for the SECOND time. Guess he'll run into the unflappable femme again, while searching for the aforementioned mech to no avail.

-Alas that it's the wrong erratic mech that finds Swift Blade first: red and yellow and speedy, Hot Rod's zipping through Nyon like a mech on a mission. The fact that he whips back around and transforms to root mode to face Swift Blade sure makes it seem like it must not be a very /important/ or /time-sensitive/ mission. "Back again? Let me guess: you're really into history."

-Compared to Whirl, Hot Rod is positively sane. As Hot Rod zooms in front of her, transforms, and addresses her, she remains unruffled, though she does smile at the impulsive young (comparitively) mech. "Actually, I'm looking for someone in specific," she says evenly. She hasn't noticed Exodus as of yet seeing as he's not standing RIGHT in front of her at the moment.

-"Twenty questions?" Hot Rod suggests. He doesn't wait for her to answer before launching into his first. "Mech or femme? Hope you're not looking for the two from last time. You really don't see much of their type--" Read: law enforcement. "--around here." He accompanies with a broad gesture that sweeps all of Nyon. He seems perfectly happy to speak for the city. The city might have something to say about that.

-Swift Blade hasn't really heard of twenty questions before, but the name of the game is pretty self-explanitory. She smiles faintly. "No, not the two from before, though I'm not really trying to avoid them either." Pause. "And he's a mech."

-"No?" Hot Rod looks briefly surprised, for all that he was perfectly friendly with them. He doesn't seem to have the depth for deception, either, so it's unlikely the friendliness was a front. "Most people do. Especially around here." He stops to consider what question can follow. "Smaller than me, my size? Taller?" Whirl's chicken legs give him a marked height advantage over Hot Rod, who is otherwise kind of just average. (Don't tell him that.)

-There's no shame in being average. "Taller, a bit," Swift Blade says after a moment of thought. "But not necessarily bigger all around." She shrugs her shoulders. "Wouldn't it make more sense for me to just tell you?" she asks, not really knowing that this is a game. "As far as I know I haven't done anything illegal; why should I be worried about the law?"

-Uh, of course there is. Average is terrible. Hero all the way. "Taller?" Hot Rod sounds almost offended. He straightens. It doesn't help. "Well, I guess you could tell me, but that's not as fun, is it?" He gives her a /knowing look/ for the last -- or, well, he tries, anyway. It probably doesn't translate the way he wants.

-"I guess I don't know a lot about fun, but if you find this entertaining, then I won't stop the questions," says Swift Blade with a faint smile. "You have asked me two already, that leaves you eighteen more."

-Hot Rod gives Swift Blade a long look of deep pity. "What do you mean you don't know a lot about fun? Does the mech you're looking for know a lot about fun, or is he one of those--" He makes his Ultra Magnus face. It's a very good impersonation. "You know, a no-funner."

-Considering that Swift Blade has never SEEN Ultra Magnus, she just gets the impression of someone grim and stuffy. Which works. "I think his ideas of fun are....a bit unusual, but I would guess he still has them," she says. "As for myself, well, slaves don't have much time for fun, and I was only recently liberated and able to return to Cybertron."

-"Sounds to me like you've got a lot of catching up to do, then," says Hot Rod. Sympathy and pity both lack in his response, but his tone isn't cruel. Rather, it's sort of cheerfully thoughtless. (Oh, slavery, too bad. WELL NOW YOU ARE FREE, SO THAT'S COOL.) "When you say his ideas of fun are unusual, you mean...?"

-Swift Blade isn't insulted by this lack of pity or sympathy. She isn't the kind that needs to be treated as a delicate flower because she had some rough times. She merely wishes to let people know her frame of reference so they can come to their own conclusions about her personage. "It seems to boil down to drinking and violence as far as I can tell." Okay, so not so unusual for Cybertron, but for her, it seems strange.

-"Okay, so a mech taller than me who likes drinking and violence. That's only ... a lot." Hot Rod gets serious, narrowing it down to an important question: "Okay, is he blue, or red?" The fact that there are so, so many others in the world who come in other shades doesn't matter. Everyone knows it comes down to blue vs. red. And red wins.

-Exodus is wandering the area, strumming quietly on his stringed instrument and humming a catchy tune softly, when he happens upon the two Cybertronians playing twenty questions and lets out a low chuckle. He smiles broadly at them in greeting, "Hey, Swift, you seen that Whirl fellow around?" He arches his brow ridges at Hot Rod and bronods at him.

-"Blue," says Swift Blade definitively. It's a good thing that he came in one of those two colors or Swift Blade might have given Hot Rod a funny look. She turns slightly to look at Exodus, and for a brief moment she even looks amused. "Hello Exodus," she says. "No, I haven't. At least, not recently."

-Apparently there are a lot of people looking for a mech named Whirl these days. He sounds like someone who draws a lot of concern. As for Blurr, the racer is waltzing around with the typical fan-crowd around him, although he seems to dismiss them when he catches sight of familiar faces.

And quite abruptly, as is usual for the speedster, he's rushed up behind them, and can be found standing behind Hot Rod. "Who's Whirl?"

-"Blue? Wait--." Hot Rod glances at Exodus with a return nod that's markedly friendly, and then looks back to Swift Blade. "Is it Whirl? It's /Whirl/?" He pauses to reflect, then asks, "Is he really taller than me?" Here to ask the important questions, discuss the important issues: that's Hot Rod. His sense of play falters midway through a gesture at Exodus. Whatever words were supposed to accompany this fade as he startles at Blurr's approach. Tension snaps into place, and his manner is no longer quite so easy. He smiles, or maybe grimaces. "Eh, just a guy. Hey, Blurr."

-Exodus, as always, is at complete ease. He smiles at the speedster in a friendly fashion. "Nice to see you're feeling better," he says subspacing his instrument. "Eh, well, I guess I'll run into him eventually," he says to Swift Blade. He looks both relieved yet stressed at the same time. 

He nods at Hot Rod. "Hey, I scheduled the speech you said you'd give a cycle from now. Are you ready?"

-Swift Blade nods her head to Blurr in greeting, but definitely looks a bit wary. When Blurr is in his 'normal' mood, he's fairly friendly and easy to get along with, but he has this nasty habit of switching into /someone else/, and that someone else is less than friendly. "Good cycle," she greets him.

"Technically his legs are rather elongated," Swift Blade says in answer to Hot Rod's question about height. "But yes, the answer is Whirl and I have been looking for him," she says.

Looking between Exodus and Hot Rod she asks, "What sort of speech?"

-"Hey Hot Rod, long time." Blurr says, smiling in a friendly fashion. He also nods to Exodus and Swift Blade. "And you two. How've you all been?" he asks, looking at each of them in turn. And then Exodus mentions a speech. "Speech?" But then he nods, remembering. "Ohhh. Right, I remember that. You were going to have some kind of party, right?"

-Hot Rod glances to the side. Casually. "Oh, uh." No, there's no convenient escape waiting for him a step away. What a pity. He's left to address Exodus's question. "You scheduled that, huh? You know, I haven't really given that a test run or anything." He grimaces at Blurr's oh-so-friendly inquiry. "Maybe, maybe."

-Exodus nods slowly at Swift Blade and Blurr, his grin broadening. "Well....yeah, I guess, kind of like a party, but not really. If you weren't aware, Hot Rod is the leader of a political resistance movement which is gaining momentum quickly, and he is going to formally appear to a large number of my friends and their friends to solidify what exactly his movement is all about. You should come," he says to Swift Blade, "there'll be free drinks. And possibly dancing afterwards." 

He laughs at Hot Rod. "Three's a crowd. You wanna do a test run, right now? Drinks on me afterwards, I promise."

-Swift Blade doesn't know much about parties, so has little to say about the matter. "I don't have much to say about dancing at all," she says to Exodus, "And I only drink sparingly." She smiles faintly. "If showing up there requires any sort of committment then I will count myself out; I am still observing." She twitches slightly; a lot of pressure is coming from multiple sides to make a choice, something she is reluctant to do.

-Blurr nods at Exodus's suggestion. "Yeah, this could be a good practice run." he watches Hot Rod expectantly, as if waiting for him to start pontificating or whatever. Well? Well?!

-Behold, the brave and daring leader of a political resistance movement looking like he wants to crawl under something. "Ha ha, yeah," Hot Rod says -- and it is very much says, not laughs. He shakes off the reflexive flash of something very like panic with a shrug that shivers to the tip of his spoiler. He adjusts his stance -- now cocky, supremely assured -- but the veneer wears thin over tension. "Maybe now's not the right time for it though, huh?"

-"Why not?" Blurr asks simply, an optic ridge raised slightly.

-"Ah, well neither do I, and I don't drink heavy either," Exodus says, "but those two things aren't the highlight of the night anyway. And by no means is this any kind of commitment. It's just an opportunity to hear Hot Rod out, that's all. See what it is that he believes in, and maybe your beliefs align with his. Can't hurt, can it?" He smiles. "Come on. I'd love to see you there." 

"Uh, getting cold feet, kid? It /is/ tomorrow, if you're not gonna practice now, when are you going to?" He's smiling a little in amusement. "Come on, I'm sure you have something in mind about what you want to say. Right?"

-"Perhaps he is not assured that everyone here shares his political vision and does not want to cause problems in an otherwise social gathering," Swift Blade suggests to Blurr, trying to be helpful. "After all, it seems to annoy a great many people that I am content with sitting on the fence and observing."

"No, I believe it cannot hurt," Swift Blade agrees with Exodus. "I only wanted to make sure so there were no misunderstandings."

She looks over Hot Rod. "You seem like more the type to speak from your spark than from a datapad prompt," she says softly. "Perhaps this is something you must do spontaneously?"

-There's a time for quiet reflection and measured responses and then there's a time for Hot Rod to flash into an outburst and go, "Because the last time I pointed you at some friends of mine people ended up dead and Shiftlock ended up--." But there, he falters, snapping settling into silence.

- "Well, isn't that part of the reason for the speech? So people know what it's about, so that they can then make a decision about whether they want to commit to it or not." Blurr suggests to Swiftblade in return. "Which is exactly what you need, right?"

      The racer sighs at Hot Rod's outburst. Oh, he'd had a feeling that would come up. "Hot Rod, look, I'm sorry that had to happen. I really am." Right. "But it was the only way to save her. Trust me, I tried talking sense into her, but she just didn't know what she needed. But now she -does-. She's in a better place now, and a lot happier than she used to be, honest!" he reassures, with a pat to the red mech's back.

-Exodus' expression suddenly becomes very concerned. He gives Blurr a sad glance before stepping over to Hot Rod, looking worried. "Hot Rod, are you okay?" he says. "I mean, if this really isn't a good time for you emotionally, I'll call it off, just say the word," he says gently.

-Swift Blade flinches slightly at the mention of Shiftlock. So many mechs looking for that one, and so much discussion about her, and yet she has never personally met the femme. But she has been curious about her for some time; who is this femme whose name seems to be on everyone's lips...or beneath their faceplates as the case may be?

She nods slightly to Blurr. "I don't know if I /need/ it exactly, but information is valuable," she agrees. And then more about Shiftlock. "I have never met this Shiftlock, but it seems as though a lot of people care about her. Deeply. Why would she wish to give that away, even for clarity?" she inquires, perhaps a bit sadly. She doesn't know the femme, but she knows people who know her, and they all seem to miss her.

She gives the smallest little smile and nod to Exodus; she almost always approves of the large mech's gentle ways.

-"Don't." Hot Rod rolls his shoulder away from Blurr's hand with a duck and a step to the side. The tension he has worn since Blurr's arrival frays at the edges to show the grief beneath. "Nuh uh, Blurr. You don't get to say that. And you especially don't get to ignore the people who died." He very nearly passive voices it to remove responsibility from Blurr -- still, despite everything.

In the face of Exodus's kindness, one might expect Hot Rod to take the easy out. So ... he does the opposite. "No. This is why it is so important to tell people. /This/ is why it's important to take a stand." ALSO COME ON HE ISN'T EMOTIONAL.

-Blurr shrugs. "I don't know, maybe it has something to do with the fact that -none- of you understood her." He accuses, folding his arms. "She went willingly. Because she was confused, and scared, and alone. This was the only way she was ever going to get the answers she wanted -and- the chance to see her full potential realized."

      "I'm not ignoring the people who died." the speedster insists. "In fact, maybe if -you- hadn't been filling her head with false hope and lofty expectations then none of that would have been necessary." he says flatly.

-Exodus' expression softens, and he looks even more concerned now. He steps forward, giving Blurr an apologetic look. "Blurr, please," he says in a soothing voice, pushing him backwards very gently. "This isn't the time." 

"Are you sure?" he says to Hot Rod. "I mean, if you're not ready mentally that's fine. I don't want to stress you out unnecessarily--I want what's best for you." 

"I never met her," he says to Swift Blade. "Information is valuable, but what's even more valuable is what you do with it.

-Swift Blade looks a little confused and peers between Hot Rod and Blurr. "Who died when and what does that have to do with Shiftlock?" she asks since she doens't have anything close to the 'whole' story.

She nods a bit to Exodus. "That is true, but until one /has/ the information, one can't very well decide what to do with it." She give a helpless little shrug.

-"She went because you were killing people," says Hot Rod with the absolute conviction of someone who has no idea how it went down and, let's face it, wouldn't care anyway. "She wasn't alone. None of us are alone. But people put a lot of effort into making us feel like we are." He tears his gaze away from Blurr somewhat reluctantly to answer the others: "Yes, I'm sure. Besides, I'm at my best when I don't plan ahead. Just limits your options." That's how it works, right? "Maybe /he/ can tell you why they died."

-"Yeah, according to -you-. But according to -her-, that's how she felt." Blurr points out, ignoring Exodus' gentle shoving. He just darts out of the way, and brushes past him. "Maybe you need to admit to yourself that you didn't know her as well as you thought you did." He doesn't tell answer Swiftblade's question. "Look, I just want what's best for her. She's happier now than she -ever- was. She -wanted- this. Do -you- want what's best for her, or do you just want what -you- think is right for her?"

-"Hey," Exodus says a little more firmly this time, "calm down, both of you." He sighs, looking drained. Why is that he always ends up playing mediator? First Blast Off and Quantum, then Blurr and Blast Off, and now, Blurr and Hot Rod. 

"Hot Rod, just let me know if you decide otherwise. Maybe the timing of this event isn't so great after all." 

"That's why I'm telling you," he says, "you should come. Then you can decide what you believe. You can't on the fence forever, because eventually, that fence is going to get torn down." 

"Blurr, please. You're just hurting him." He glances over at Hot Rod. "There's no use arguing about the past. What happened, happened. You can only affect the present, so you might as well focus on the here and now."

-"Can /she/ be said to be happier if she isn't herself anymore?" is Swift Blade's rather philosophical question to Blurr. "The body alone is not the self," she further muses.

She gives Hot Rod a long look. "You were saying that Blurr was killing people, and this led to Shiftlock going with him? What is the connection?" This whole situation is rather baffling to the femme. But, at one point, she did say she'd keep her audials open.

Swift Blade gives Exodus a wry smile. "Then, perhaps, I should get very good at rebuilding fences," she notes dryly. "If I join a cause because I believe it, then that is good and right. If I join simply because I am being pressed into an either or situation, I do not find that to my liking." She frowns. "One way or another, at this point, if I join a side, I will alienate people that I find esteemable. I do not look forward to that moment."

-"People /died/." Hot Rod fairly thrums with the effort of staying in place, in not moving. The desire to act -- /somehow/, to /fix things/ -- is an impossible itch. He looks like he might say more, but he breaks off to look at Exodus and answer him instead. "You're right. And here, now I'm not putting more people in the way of his guns. He's not explaining. I bet he can't explain. All I know is I told him where he could go if he needed a place to get away. He shows up and starts killing people there, and Shiftlock goes without any real fight. You tell me how much that sounds like her choice," he tells Swift Blade, heat lingering in his voice.

-"Oh, she's herself all right." Blurr insists, almost laughing a little. "You haven't seen her, -I- have. I talked to her, actually. And I had to take hostages because she wouldn't have gone otherwise--it was hard for her to see the truth, which is obviously because she hung around people like -you- all the time. But Exodus is right. What's done is done. She's happy right where she is, around other people who understand her for who she is, so you'd better just -accept- it."

-"True, you could get good at rebuilding fences, but what's the point if they'll always just be torn down again? One day, you will have to decide what you believe is right and good, and join a side. Or leave. Because Cybertron is nearly at the dawn of war. Everyone will either have to know exactly what they believe is wrong and right, leave the planet, or end up a puppet of someone else who knows what they believe," he says to Swift Blade. 

"It may have been Shiftlock's choice, it may not have been. The world isn't black and white. Maybe she thought that no one understood her because she didn't understand herself--I mean, how can a person who doesn't have their own belief system understand themselves? No one can expect to find anyone who truly understands them unless they fully understand themselves first." Exodus places a reassuring hand on Hot Rod's shoulder. "I'm sorry for your loss. But what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

-"Maybe," Swift Blade says slowly to Hot Rod, "it was not her choice to go with him, but it was her choice to have the...alterations...made to her mind once she was there. Unfortunately it's rather convienient that we cannot ever truly know the truth of the matter because that has been wiped from her mind, from my understanding, and everything else is hear-say, yes?" She's not sure if she's assessing this correctly or not.

Tilting her head towards Blurr, she expression is thoughtful. "If they could /see/ that she is safe and happy, and not just rely on the words of others that it is so, then perhaps they could be on their way to healing. Just because something is in the past doesn't mean it doesn't still have an effect. It seems as though many people cared for her, and they don't stop just on your say so."

"Because one day that fence might stand because it has been reinforced better," Swift Blade says to Exodus. "What /I/ decide is right and good may not be what any given 'side' believes is right and good. Thus, joining with one or the other would not be following my beliefs. And, at the moment, leaving the planet does not seem to be an option. So I will stand this way until I find something, or some/one/ I wish to believe in." She offers a thin smile. "What doesn't kill you may make you stronger, but it doesn't hurt any less because of it." Pause. "I should know."

-Hot Rod makes a deeply skeptical, more than slightly frustrated noise. Does this look like the face of a guy who just /accepts/ things? Yeah ... no, not so much. Stepping away from the others, he says, "Yeah. Thanks, I guess, Ex. But I better get going. Find me, we'll work out a time. I mean it." Swift Blade and Blurr receive a general nod, although the former might get more warmth than the latter. His gaze brushes past Blurr, briefly pained, then he ducks his head and moves off.

-Blurr shakes his head at Swiftblade. "Her mind wasn't wiped, no. There's no question about it, if you were to ask her right now she'd say that she definitely did encourage it. She knew she needed it." he insists. "If I could let you talk to her, I would. But her supervising officer won't let her out of the Decagon yet. It won't last forever though, you'll get to see her again, I promise." He smiles again, even as Hot Rod leaves with a pained gaze.

      A nod is directed at Exodus' comments. "See, he gets it. She didn't understand herself, and none of her 'friends' were giving her the kind of answers she needed. So you can't exactly blame her for going searching for them somewhere -else-." He remains sort of detached from it, even though the same is likely true of himself.

-Exodus frowns. "For now. But Cybertron is about to divide. And when it does, you will have to choose. Or, you will be forced to leave, which I would hate to see. I wish you all the best in finding the view which suits your best," he says with a quiet nod. 

"Hey, take it easy, alright?" he says to Hot Rod. "Yeah..? I thought we were gonna do it tomorrow?" But Hot Rod is already leaving. He laughs a little and shakes his helm. "...nevermind." 

Exodus peers at Blurr. ".... do you? I mean, do you know exactly why you did what you did?"

-"If her mind wasn't wiped, then what exactly was altered?" Swift Blade doesn't know a lot about such things. "And if this is the case, perhaps even a recorded message would help those who miss her if waiting is too onerous a thing."

"Perhaps, if I do not believe in either side enough to join then it would be better to leave after all," Swift Blade says slowly. "Why offer my support if it is hollow? Why build up a string of ideas I have no faith in?" She shakes her head gravely. "If I am not convinced, I will take my chances alone, even if that shortens my life considerably. I did not find freedom just to give it away again."

-"He's right, you know." Blurr folds his arms. "You're going to have to figure out whose beliefs most closely align with yours sooner or later, that is unless you'd like to be a one-mech army." But apparently that's what Swiftblade would rather do. Well some people are just crazy, I guess.

      The racer nods at Exodus' question. "Of course I do." he answers simply. "I just explained myself."

-"I understand where you're coming from," Exodus says generously, "and if that's you think is best, then I wish you all the best with it. However, I'd really love to see you stay here, and find your identity among people like me and Hot Rod." Note, he does not include Blurr. 

"No," the miner continues, "I mean, why do you believe what you believe?"

-There's a difference between being crazy and being resolute. But sometimes it takes a little bit of crazy to /stay/ resolute. "Everyone says I should choose a side, but I'm sure they always mean the side they are on. Would you honestly rather see me as a possible enemy than standing on my own?" She shakes her head. "Because, as I said before, whatever side I join, there will be those on the others that I do not wish to see as an enemy. It isn't just a matter of ideology, it is a matter of losing individuals to a cause, of perhaps having to fight them myself and kill or be killed. Should I take such a thing lightly?" She pauses. "I believe not."

She turns her red gaze towards Exodus. "I believe we are all individuals. Some of us are good, some of us are evil, but most of us are just struggling to get by as best we can. Polarizing ourselves into 'sides' just means we take individuals out of the question. We fight because of what the other side represents, not because there is a reason to kill each person. Will we even know who we are fighting other than by the side they are on?" She gives her head a solemn shake. "Again, I believe not."

-"Of course. I'd love to see you choose the 'side' I am on, if you want to call it that. But if what I believe doesn't align with what you believe, then you should choose what you think is right for yourself. And yeah, I get that. There will always be a loss, no matter what you choose. There will be those who I think have chosen the wrong side. Does that mean they aren't still individuals? No, of course they still are, and I will treat them as such. It all depends on how you see people. Perhaps some will make immediate assumptions about others simply because of the badge they wear. But the cause they support does not devalue them as an person. And if I didn't have to choose, I wouldn't. But because of where Cybertron is going politically, I must. Either choose, leave, or watch everyone suffer. Where there is good, there is always evil. The good may triumph without your help, but at the same time it may not. And if it doesn't, wouldn't you rather not be guilty of allowing the evil to overcome that which you believe is right? 

But Exodus isn't confused. And he isn't deterred by Blurr's question. "Why do you believe what you're doing working as an Autobot is right? Do you think that such actions make your life more meaningful? What constitutes meaningful for you? What does the word 'right' even mean to you? Do you know what your purpose in life is?"

-Swift Blade juts her chin out the slightest bit. "If both sides are so determined to kill anyone that doesn't agree with them, then I will not be eager to join them," she says to Blurr. "Being /threatened/ into joining a side doesn't mean my spark is in it, it simply means that I have been bullied. That is a poor way to win someone's allegience." She leans towards Blurr. "If any of those individuals fight me while I have no side, then that is THEIR choice, not mine, and it will not be on my conscience." She relaxes back into her usual, unruffled stance. "Maybe I am delusional, but I would not wager that everyone on both sides are thinking with complete clarity and acuity."

She bobs her head to Exodus. "Unfortunately, I do not believe the sides will be wholly 'good' and 'evil'. No, that would be too simple. And if it was that simple, I certainly wouldn't be struggling with it. If one side was completely without merit, then it would only make sense to join the single side that does. But, that is not what I am seeing here. I believe all sides are making their own...mistakes." She smiles to soften the difficult conversation. "Even mine."

-"Neither do I, and I never said making a choice would be easy. Like I said before, nothing is black and white. All sides will have flaws. But ultimately, you will have to weigh your options and choose what you believe is best and suits your belief system most accurately." 

Exodus gives Blurr a blank look. "You didn't answer the other questions. The one about what is right. What does the word right mean to you? Why is the law the way it is? How do you find purpose in life and judge whether something is right or wrong? Or do you simply accept it, because that is what comes easiest? These are all things you should think extensively about Blurr." He turns and starts walking away, strumming quietly on his stringed instrument again, the same tune he'd played when Blurr was in the hospital. "I'm sorry to have to excuse myself, but I'm working the night shift at work this cycle, I'll see you all around some other time," he says, smiling at Swift Blade and nodding at Blurr as he leaves.

-Swift Blade folds her arms across her chest. "I sense a failure to communicate here," she says to Blurr. "I was simply making the point that I am not interested in starting a fight, nor in labeling people as my enemy. Obviously the place was beyond the point of sitting down together and conferencing about the issues at hand long before I touched down on the surface." Her tone is a bit stiff. "There was no joy or satisfaction in learning the fate of the planet I was taken from against my will. Sometimes I think, perhaps, I would have been better off remaining a slave; at least then I wouldn't be faced with the 'necessity' of fighting my own people." And that might be why she is struggling. These were supposed to be HER people, and all they want to do is fight amongst themselves. This is a sorrow to her.

"Good cycle Exodus. I hope to see you again." She means it sincerely, even if the conversation has not been entirely pleasant.

-Blurr shrugs. "Enemy, not enemy, whatever. I wasn't talking about labeling people. I'm just telling you the straight up truth, Swiftblade. I didn't say you had to like it. In fact, I didn't think you would. But it's just a fact of life here on Cybertron. Whether you think of them as enemies or not, if you don't join -someone's- team you're just going to find yourself on a team of one. And when you're on a team of one, you're more likely to find yourself being forced to fight against people from -every- other team there is, whereas if you join a team, at least you won't have to fight the other people on -that- team. If you're by yourself, you don't -have- anyone on the same team as you who are guaranteed to support you and at least agree with on the important stuff. You catch my drift?" Trust him, Swift, Nautica tried to do the not picking a side thing didn't work out so well for her. At least not for long.

      The racer doesn't answer Exodus' questions, since the larger mech just decides to walk away. He watches him go, and shrugs. Blurr? Think extensively about one thing? Not likely.

-"Then I will have to see how each person takes my stance. That may be a deciding factor. And you're right, I DON'T like it; there's no sense in pretending that I do. But perhaps there aren't so few of us that it truly will become necessary. Perhaps I just have to find others who are not interested in taking sides and together find a place to weather the storm, so to speak." Swift Blade shakes her head. "Or, perhaps I will simply decide who I could never turn a hand against and join the side of that person regardless of ideology." She sighs, not liking that conclusion either, but at least it would be an honest one, if not particularly wise.

-"Either of those options -is- joining a side." Blurr points out. "Because you're teaming up with someone, in either case. Heh." He scoffs at the final idea. "You'll never find -anyone- like that. Not around here, anyway. And I doubt anyone is going to take your stance very well, so long as you're choosing not to help their cause by joining forces with them. Because as far as they're concerned your lack of action might as well be the same thing as taking action -against- them. Let's go back to something you said before. You said that you wouldn't stop the authorities from arresting Blast Off, right? If he were with you and law enforcement showed up to take him in, and you just stood there and didn't help him because you didn't want to take sides? You think he's gonna see that as just being neutral and not taking sides? Uhm, -no-, he's going to see that as letting the authorities cart him off to whatever horrors he thinks await him. I don't care if you told him that already and he seemed okay with it, he's -not-. If it were to actually happen, I don't think he'd take it lightly. Or even if you saw him committing a crime and didn't report it to the police. I'd definitely say that's not just being neutral, that's assisting a criminal. See, there are situations were you -can't- just stay neutral. And you can't just -avoid- them forever, unless you plan on isolating yourself again."

-"That would be between Blast Off and myself. Yes, he /is/ a criminal. But that doesn't shape every thought and every action he has ever had," Swift Blade says. "He's not 'fine' with it exactly. I'm sure the notion is disappointing to say the least, but I don't believe he has counted me as an enemy because of it either." She's fairly sure of this. She presses her lips into a thin line. "You do not think there are horrors in store for him if he gets captured?" she asks softly. Part of her mind is scanning backwards. Has she ever actually witnessed him committing a crime? Other than simply existing, which everyone seems to think, in his case, /is/ a crime? "I think it's pretty evident by now that we are not going to convince each other," she says with a sigh of resignation.

-"Well, what would you do in that situation?" Blurr asks. "What if you did see him doing something illegal? Would you report it, or would you keep quiet? He might not count you as an enemy yet, but just you wait until it actually -happens-."

-Swift Blade stands very still at that point. What /would/ she do? The femme has no quick answer. For all that she often has quite a lot to say, the silence is rather telling. Her mind is running various scenarios, trying to gauge what her responses would be. Would it depend on the crime? The circumstances? Or would it simply being any crime at all be sufficient? And somewhere she is coming to the uncomfortable conclusion that perhaps it is a mark against her that she is even struggling with the issue. What does it say about her? On the other hand, laws can support slavery, which is flatly wrong. This means the laws CAN be wrong, and should a wrong law be upheld? It seems as though Blurr isn't the only one evading answers.

-Blurr smirks. "Yeah, didn't think you'd have an answer for that one. But maybe you should think about it, I mean it's pretty important. After all you never know when it could come up. Always the worst when you're unprepared for that kind of situation--where doing nothing is actually doing -something-."

-Swift Blade holds up her hands. "I can hardly predict the future," she says slowly. "What I guess I might do now might not actually happen when confronted with the situation." Her optics narrow just slightly. "Doing nothing may be a choice, but at least it won't be a choice prompted by malice or goaded by fear," she says. "You have to understand that I didn't have to make such choices for /millions/ of years. You've barely been alive for a tiny fraction of that."

-"Yeah, exactly. I'm a tiny fraction of how old you are but at least I -know- what I'd do." Blurr folds his arms defiantly. "It doesn't matter what prompted the decision. The fact is that if you don't report it and don't do anything you're -helping- a criminal. End of story."

-"It's easier to know what you'd do when you're life experience is short and your world view is somewhat narrow," Swift Blade says gently. "I've seen many different life forms and many different societies. People do many strange things for strange reasons; it isn't all black and white, cut and dry," she continues on to say. "Your faith in the system is strong, but have you ever considered that, perhaps, it may be misplaced?" She shakes her head. "If I could talk to the heads of either side, perhaps I could be persuaded one way or another. But I doubt that I register as important enough to speak to by either." She sighs. "Only getting to the core of the matter would give me anything resembling a peace of mind."

-Somewhat narrow?? What?! Blurr doesn't have...well, okay. Maybe he does. Actually he -really- does, but of course he'd never admit it. "Look, just because I'm young doesn't mean I'm stupid." he huffs. "I -know- what I believe, and I -know- why I'm doing this. And it's because I -know- it's right. Maybe the system isn't perfect, but it's not as if any of us would be capable of doing a better job. No place is perfect. The sooner we accept that, the better off we'll be. And -you- had better figure out what -you- know is right, because one of these cycles you're going to find yourself caught in a situation where you just don't know what to do. Like the one I just mentioned." It's kind of ironic that he's saying all this, actually, because it is -he- who doesn't know what to do in these...difficult situations. In fact, it's the very reason why he's allowed himself to be subjected to Cipher's brainwashing experiments. It's the reason he succumbs to it all. 

      "I just don't want you to end up getting yourself into a mess, like the one Blast Off is in..." He sighs. Is he...shaking? Ever so slightly?

-"I have never said you were stupid, nor do I believe it," Swift Blade says. "I'm simply saying that your point of view is going to be limited by your years and your rather fixed position." Gently she moves to put a hand on his shoulder, which will never happen if he doesn't allow it; she simply can't compete with his speed. "If I get into a mess, it will be my own fault; you have already done your best in your own optics, and that is all anyone can ask of you. And I respect your position, even if I do not agree with it as of yet." Her tone is kind at this point.

-"Well one thing is for sure, one cycle you're going to have choose. And it's either going to be the wrong side of the law, or the right side of the law." Blurr reminds her. "And I just don't want to have to end up chasing down -another- former friend." He doesn't move away from her hand, at least not right away. But she'll feel something wet under her palm, and if she looks she'll find fuel on her hand. Not a lot, but maybe a spot or two.

-"By that point there might not be a stable law left," Swift Blade points out the possibility. "But I have no intentions of snubbing the law simply to snub the law." She runs a finger along the back of her hand where the moisture is. "Following your path isn't any easier because you believe it's right, is it?" she asks him.

-"Maybe...but when you know they used to be a friend it's harder." Blurr notices the leak and shies away from her hand. "I should get going." he says suddenly, a pained look on his face.

-"There is no shame in caring," Swift Blade says. "And perhaps if I hadn't felt alone for so long, I would care as much. Sparks don't change so easily on their own." She inclines her head politely. "Be well Blurr."

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