Title: Weapon Therapy

PCs: Starchamber, Blast Off

Location: Warrior's Hall <Forge>

Date: 07 January 2015

Summary: The newly arrived Combaticon, Starchamber, continues trying to understand Blast Off and his numerous issues the morning after the shuttle got /very/ drunk.

++ Warrior's Hall <Forge> ++

Blast Off may be surprised where he wakes up.

In one of the new temporary 'barracks' set up far below the surface, beneath the arena, Starchamber is holding Blast Off affectionately, having reacharged next to him. His beercans are all over the floor, and there are suspicious marks all over the walls. Welcome to the morning after.

Blast Off slowly comes to, optics taking a moment to reboot. Without the light, his face will look oddly gray, but once online the optics cast a purple glow that differentuates them from the rest of his face. He still feels a little woozy, and has to reboot and calibrate his basic systems a few times, too. Wherever he is, he thinks it seems... cozy. Nice. He nestles in, enjoying the energy field coming from whatever that is he's nestled to. Optics dim once more contentedly.

And then they flare up, bright and near white, widening considerably. Wait, energy field? WHO's energy field? The shuttle turns his head to look- and there's Starchamber. He stares at her, then casts a glance towards the beer cans, and the walls...OH PRIMUS the WALLS.

His movements rouse her; so much for sneaking away! Starchamber smiles lazily. "Good morning, cohort~" she quietly greets. "Hope you're feeling rested. You had quite a night."

Blast Off turns his head to stare at her a moment longer... and then he YELPS. Arms and legs flailing, he jerks away from her grasp. His optics go pale white, losing all color, and he scrambles and scuttles backward in a panic. "Get OFF! Get off! Get OFF!" His back eventually slams against one of those walls, and he sort of reels there, optics flickering and looking dioriented... and still in quite a panic. "Quite... a... NIGHT?!"

Starchamber takes the squirming in stride. She smiles coyly. "Well yes. You discovered the unconscionable fate of our homeworld and then drank yourself into a complete stupor. I'd say that's quite a night."

Blast Off stands braced against the wall, palms splayed flat on either side of him and still trying to equilibrate. His head sways back and forth in a case of nerves and disorientation, then finally slows. Starchamber's words sink in. He looks at her like he hasn't ever seen her before, then he remembers. A trace of violet starts seeping back into his optics as he settles down a bit. "Oh." He looks at the cans. "Oh."

Then there's a blink, his optics ridges furrow down, and his hand starts heading towards his interface panel is if he wants to, er, *check* that everything's in place... but it stops before it reaches there and falls away again. It wouldn't be... polite... to handle... that right now. probably. Finally his gaze returns to her. "Oh. Yes... our homeworld." That's enough to make him glance at a beer can as if wishing there was still something to *drink*.

Starchamber chuckles. "Oh you can feel free to check yourself if you want, I /am/ a soldier, I'm used to seeing that." She sits up. "However! I did nothing untoward with you. Perhaps if your were some civilian peace officer I might have, but no; you are a Combaticon, you have earned my respect. YOu are not booty to be spoiled."

Optic ridges are still furrowed as the shuttleformer continues to stare a bit awkwardly at her. There's a glance downwards, and he's half tempted to check after all... but no. His face comes up and he straightens out a bit instead, still leaning against the wall but looking a little less like a turbo-deer in the headlights now. The shuttle's ventilation cycles blow out a gust of air, then normalize. Blast Off ponders how to respond to *that*. "Well... yes. I mean no. I mean, I AM a Combaticon, and... " Actually, he'll just let that drop. And hope it never comes up again. She was close, too close.

He looks at the beer can again and isn't sure if he wants to stay far, far away or drink himself silly again. "I'm... civilized. There are certain codes of conduct I strive to... maintain. I just seem to have... slipped." Then he glances towards her once more. "So you... you are really going to stay? Will you join our team? become a Combaticon?"

"Absolutely," Starchamber nods, answering that last question. She chuckles. "You were so incredibly drunk I thought perhaps it might not be good for your reputation if you stayed among everyone else. I simply made it appear as if you were going to score. The marks were already on the walls, in case you're wondering. I have no idea who left them."

Blast Off nods, and seems mildy pleased that she will stay. Despite his... issues, he's glad to see another Combatronian. A *nice* looking one, and a space alt no less! "Good." the rest of her explaination gets another awkward glance around and a few wing elevon twitches. "Oh. I... see." He sounds like he's not sure if he's happy or sad about that.

Now leaning away from the walls, he looks back where he was. "Ugh. Yes... slag knows *what* goes on down here." Now a little of his pride and fussiness is showing through... He shakes his arms and rolls his shoulders as if trying to shake off the grime and "cooties" he might have picked up. "This is.... disgusting." There's a HUFF. "I *never* used to have to wake up in places like *this*."

"It could be much worse. You learn to make due on a desolated homeworld," Star suggests. She stands and walks over to Blast Off. "I -did- avail myself of your proximity... Perhaps you're comfortable being completely alone, but I've had enough of it myself. Just being able to lie next to you was satisfying in and of itself, so... forgive me, and thank you."

That takes a little wind out of his sails. "...Yes... I suppose this pales in comparison to... what you woke up to. I am... sorry. For you, for our planet... for everything."

Blast Off's somber mood turns towards a hint of tension as Starchamber walks over to him. By the time she gets to 'availing" herself, the shuttleformer's optics have averted away again. He's *doesn't* like being alone, but he's made such a show of liking it to hide the fact that he's actually lonely it's become rather a built-in reflex by now. And, of course, there's that great fear he has. Fear brought on by several situations with femmes lately, including that very real terror of getting /close/ to anyone, brought on by Feint. "I.. it's... well, I DO like being alone. Like I said, it's what I'm built for." He won't look at her while he says that. "But I suppose even a space alt gets... lonely sometimes. Well, *besides* me, I mean."

Starchamber can tell that he's lying. It piques curiosity and pity both. She decides to test him a little further. "I had the opportunity to have anyone I wanted. Millions of years of missing my cohort, feeling the ache of empty gates, living with the fragments of dead mechs in my head, knowing I'd never hear them, see them, touch them again - and I could have soothed it, even a little, with any of the gladiators there. I gave that up to wait on you... I think you're worth it."

Blast Off keeps staring anywhere BUT at her as she describes her own aching loneliness... and he finds he can certainly understand it. His situation wasn't exactly the same: but he was all alone for millenia too, also cut off from his team, kept company only by memories that after awhile he wasn't even sure HAD ever happened, or how long ago they were if they had. By the end, hasn't even sure if he was REAL or someone's computer program trying to gain sentience. Waking up had been so... disjarring. Elating- and yet so... sorrowful, too.

The shuttle keeps looking elsewhere until Starchamber's last sentence. Optic ridges furrow down and his head lifts slowly to face hers with a conflicted expression. Determination to remain aloof and unaffected contrasts with some real sorrow- and surprise. When he speaks, his voice is hushed. "...Why?"

"You're a combaticon. You're a spacecraft. Shouldn't I be patient to wait for the best?" she asks gently.

Blast Off continues to gaze at her. Ok, that certainly is a stroke to the ego, and there is NO doubt Blast off LIKES strokes to the ego. Some of the doubt falls away, and he straightens a bit. "Oh. Well... yes! That makes sense." He glances over at the wall again, then upwards towards the ceiling. "We deserve... better than we've gotten. Always on the run, scraping by on scraps and rust and... and /beer/," his distaste filters through for a moment, "...or clinging to life and ...haunted memories on a dying planet.... we BOTH deserve better."

"So why don't we take it? This planet is stiffling with corruption - while you were, ah, 'resting', I took time to read the little book that is so popular with this Decepticon movement. It has merit. I'm a soldier - I fight as I am commanded to fight, and I'm ready to engage in the coming war. If nothing else, Blast Off, why don't we claim our own territory, run it correctly, and enjoy the return of our labor and conquest? I've worked as a mercenary, tracker, bounty hunter - I'm no Sandorian Gold Maiden, but I have money in my name, and the GCU trades high against the shanix now - Who says we need to live in a hovel forever?"

The tilt of his head as he listens shows that he does hold some interest in what Starchamber is saying. He looks upwards thoughtfully. "Yes, I've read it too, and while I do not agree with it all, as you stated it does have merit. The Decepticons seem to actually want to *do* something against all this corruption, and not simply bow down to the status quo like it's some sacred petro-cow. It's why..." He looks down and rubs a spot of his chest plate, revealing a purple Decepticon badge hidden there among the purple paint. "I have this. All the Combaticons have this." There's a pause. "I guess it seems to you, too, that war is inevitable, then?"

Blast Off looks up again. He raises a optic ridge as she says she has *money*... there's still a part of him that's immediately drawn to something like that. "I... would like that." His look darkens a little in doubt as he adds, "Though I am not sure I want to actually *run* something. Dealing with... people is not my... thing. Not to THAT level, at least. I like a job, and then I want to go home and have quiet and relaxation and not be...*bothered*."

His head then tilts the other way. "You must have some stories to tell. I... am a bit envious. While I've spent so long stuck here, you... were out THERE, living up to your name and roaming the galaxy as you were built to."

"It's not as grand as it may seem. Often it was simply waiting and hoping to find a contract before a part gave out or my fuel tanks rusted shut," Starchamber sighs. "And often it was some petty organic crime lord who wanted his competition reduced to irradiated ash. Oh yes /quite/ the glory." That said dripping with sarcasm.

Blast Off winces a little at that. "Ugh. I never DID like organics. Petty, emotional, back-stabbing little creatures who tend to have really big attitudes for such a usually short-lived species."

He shakes his head. "Yes... it would have been better to have... backup, at least." The shuttle sighs, "Though unfortunately, like I said before... our kind is considered obsolete enough now that finding spare parts is a lot more difficult."

"Now that may not be as much of a problem as you think. You can be upgraded, and I can smuggle in parts from other mechanical races," Starchamber offers. She reaches her right hand out to Blast Off. "May I have your hand for a moment?"

Blast Off freezes. "...Why?" he seems to find himself asking her that a lot.

"Have you heard of something called 'desensitizing'?" Starchamber asks.

Blast Off's optic ridges furrow down. "...No."

He adds, "Well.. I know the *word* and its meaning, but... beyond that, no."

"On Combatron we would sometimes have soldiers who were physically fine but mentally broken - exposed to some terror tactic or torture, or simply collapsing due to prolongued combat. We developed techniques to repair their psyches as well as their frames. You show all the signs of having experienced trauma-- now don't feel that's something to be ashamed of, it isn't!-- and I wanted to help you begin to overcome what's hurt you. Psychological warfare is just as injurous as any bullet - it's just another form of combat - and I'd like to help you remove the slug that still lodged in your mental mesh."

She continues to offer her hand. "Desensitization is the slow and controlled exposure of a subject to the thing they fear, done in regular intervals, with the intent to help them mitigate that fear. I've noticed you keep flinching from me and trying to distance yourself as if I'm some kind of monster. I'd like to help you begin to overcome that fear."

Well, slag. He's been caught. The shuttleformer ever so slowly starts leaning away and eventually braces against the wall. His gaze averts, then darts from random spot to random spot. Part of him is, in fact, ready to flee now... to protest loudly that he has other things to be doing and simply MUST go. But instead Blast Off remains and listens, looking uncomfortable as he does so.

He thinks back to his recent encounter with deadlock and how the mech stumbled on what has become a true weakness on his part- the fact that physical contact is enough to panic him now. He doesn't want that. He won't survive combat if that remains a true Achille's Heel. Still... "I'm NOT broken! They TRIED to break me, but here I stand ANYWAY." He glances towards her, trying to look angry and outraged... but looking awkward instead. "I don't know why you... even..." Voice trailing off, his face casts down before seeming to gain a more determined expression. "It's not like I... like I have a problem with..." His hand ever-so-slowly raising up towards hers, though it's obviously not easy. "...doing this..."

Starchamber doesn't force a thing. "I want you to think of a time when you were happy. Content. A wonderful experience that you treasure. Don't say it, just think it," she encourages softly. "I want you to think of it while touching my hand, all right? Just feel the surface of my hand and think of that happy time, that wonderful experience, and hold onto it as long as you can."

Blast Off thinks about this. And it takes quite a bit OF thinking, as "happiness" hasn't exactly been at the forefront of his emotions lately. There WAS that night at the opera with THAT was a pleasurable evening, back when he could still remember what feeling "normal" was like. But then his optic darken and flicker... Arcee is with THEM still. Willingly, it seems, and.... no.

And then... there's that night with Shiftlock. Actually, BOTH of them.... back in Vos AND their date at the cafe... But the happiness of those moments is immediately shattered with a flood of worry and the feeling that he FAILED her. Horribly. The shuttleformer's hand falters and pulls away.

He stands there... still not looking at Starchamber. There must be *something* though. Somehow. And then it hits him... the one thing, funny enoug, he still carries no regrets from. When he soared back up into the sky... back up THERE, in *space*. Slag everything else- the freedom, the sense of "rightness", the cosmic view... now that IS a happy memory. Slowly his hand lifts up again, and eventually a finger brushes against her hand.

"I wanted to show you something," she murmurs lowly, "until I realized this was uncomfortable for you. I wanted to show you why my name is Starchamber."

Blast Off 's head tilts slightly, and he dares to look at her through the side of his optics. "Why is... your name Starchamber?"

A line forms vertically beneath the interior of her cockpit, widening like the slitted pupil of a cat. It glow a little a first, then brighter and brighter as the aperture opens. Inside, contained withing a magnetic field jar, is what looks like a minature -sun-.

"Because within my breast pulses the intense fusion reaction of a star."

Blast Off stares at this, and for a moment his sense of awe and curiosity overwhelms his caution and his fear. The shuttleformer finds himself leaning in for a closer examination, despite himself. "That.... is beautiful." And it is. "..../How?/"

"It's simply how I was forged. They said my spark wasn't the same color as the others, and when I finished protoforming, they found I had a fusion reactor in my core. I suppose it's the will of primus - how else could I travel faster than light? The energy draw is enormous, I'd devour my own energon supplies trying to fly that fast for very long," Starchamber explains.

"I... I imagine so."For now, he hasn't pulled away. Not yet. "Spacecraft are a special breed, but.... it appears you have a... shining light all your own. ...Literally. Is that... uncomfortable? What is it... like? And the fuel... yes, if *I* had trouble with fuel at times, I can only imagine..."

His optics flicker just a bit as a thought strikes. And his hand reaches up again, not quite touching her hand now but looking as if he'd like it to. "It must be... such a wonderful thing, having your ...original body. No one ever got to take it away, not if you still.... have that.""

Blast Off 's optic ridges twitch at that news. "Different...color?" That has some rather interesting implications. "Are you... a point one percenter?" Of course, that would explain how she was one of the survivors of Combatron....

"I... I imagine so."For now, he hasn't pulled away. Not yet. "Spacecraft are a special breed, but.... it appears you have a... shining light all your own. ...Literally. Is that... uncomfortable? What is it... like? And the fuel... yes, if *I* had trouble with fuel at times, I can only imagine..."

His optics flicker just a bit as a thought strikes. And his hand reaches up again, not quite touching her hand now but looking as if he'd like it to. "It must be... such a wonderful thing, having your ...original body. No one ever got to take it away, not if you still.... have that."

Starchamber carefully guides Blast Off's hand to the surface of her cockpit, if he allows it. "You might have a chance to reclaim your body. Your spark still has your CNA. It would be a tremendous risk but the -potential- to regenerate your body exists."

Blast Off flinches as she reaches for his hand, but he focuses on that glorious core of hers, steadies himself, and allows her to guide it towards her cockpit. This is furthered along by simply *forgeting* his fears and his resistance when she tells him THAT. His optics widen. "...What? You think it's... /possible/?"

"I do. I've seen other mechanical species do it, and we were experimenting with such recovery using CR chambers on Combatron. Unfortunately the bombs went off before we had our results, but it's medically sound in theory. In the hands of a good scientist or frame engineer... I would not give up hope," says Starchamber.

Blast Off stares at her... but it's a good sort of stare. It's the first piece of good news for the shuttleformer in a very long time. Besides meeting another of his homeworld, at least. "That... is good news, then." His gaze drifts down to that shimmering, magnificent core again. "The first in a long time. We haven't had an easy time, but then again.... we Combaticons rarely do get one." He lets her continue to guide his hand if she chooses- otherwise his hand will start drifting towards that core... not touching, of course, but ...fascinated. Distracted.

Starchamber doesn't stop him, letting him become comfortable with her, her presence, and with physical contact. "If you ever want to feel close to a star, just ask. I'll be happy to oblige."

The shuttleformer turns his head up, his optics meeting hers as his hand hesitates a moment. Then he gazes back towards that core, and his black fingers reach gently towards it once more... towards the edges of the cockpit and the metal that gleams and shimmers with the core's light. "I..."

His fingers touch the metal's edge- and that's when it seems something touches him, too. Something unpleasant, for Blast Off jerks back immediately, stepping away and shaking his head with a startled huff. Bringing his hand to his face, he struggles to keep his sudden panic at bay as his ventilation systems cycle heavily.

Star steps back and gives him his space for a moment, being quiet, giving Blast Off peace. She waits for him to reach a state of calm, before speaking. "Are you all right?"

Blast Off keeps that hand on his face, rubbing it slightly as he tries stepping away. He winds up near the wall again and the other hand braces up against that. Armor plates bristle, then fall as the ventilation cycles work to slow themselves.

"I... I don't /know/." He finally breaks down and admits. "I... was a prisoner not once, Starchamber, but... twice. I ...just got out, just was... BROKEN out, and.... I... /saw/ things in there. They... DID things."

"If you want to talk about it, I'll listen, but it will be when you are ready and not before," Star offers compassionately.

Blast Off continues standing there, though the hand over his face comes down so that both now brace against the wall. The shuttle looks exhausted again and there's a slight tremble in his frame, though he brings it under control fairly soon. His head hangs down as he lets out a sigh. "I just... don't know. There was this... this *femme*, and she put... thoughts in my head, made me... SEE things that weren't actually there, and now if a femme gets close, I just..." He has to stop again as he supresses a shudder.

Starchamber puts two and two together. "Hallucenations. Megatronus, that's devious! It's no wonder you've had such trouble." She wants very much to just hug him and help him feel better but that is the one thing that probably would harm more than heal.

She opts to say it instead. "... I wish I could hold you until you felt better."

The shuttleformer's head lifts back up, and this time he stares at the wall right before him as he regains some control. Blast Off's shoulders drop a little as he relaxes just a smidgeon. When she speaks, his gaze turns upwards a moment before he turns around completely, leans his back against the wall, and slowly lets himself slide down. Strange marks on the wall or not. At this point he's too tired to care. Coming to sit down, back against the wall and hands hanging from where they rest against his knees, he looks up at her. He... kind of wishes she could, too. But he's not sure how to say that, or if he'd just freak out again.

"I... I don't know." It's becoming his go-to, catch-all phrase. And he /doesn't/ know. He doesn't know how to say, yes, I'm lonely and I'd like some company. Yes, I am scared and I'd like someone to help me. Yes, Please stay. He doesn't know. And he doesn't know how they can help him, anyway. He may be BEYOND help, given everything he's gone through. Besides, he's a warrior, he's /supposed/ to be strong, right?

Starchamber has a seat on the floor. The door's closed, they're all alone in the underground bunker, only the ceiling light, recharge station and basic table and chairs are present. The floor takes on a warm golden glow from the light given off by Star's unshuttered core.

"Cool your engines, sit down, turn off your optics. Listen to the silence, or whatever quiet noise is here. It's just us, and I want to help you. There's no one here to fear, no one to look down on you, and I swear upon our homeland if you want me never to repeat what is said here, I will be silent."

"Just say the first thing that comes to your mind. Let it all out."

This is something Blast Off has never experienced. Someone willing to actually sit down and *listen* to him, help him, and NOT judge. Someone he's in a position to actually trust enough to actually SAY some of what is on his mind to, at least. She's a Combaticon, like him, and his faith in his team is the one thing- the ONLY thing- in his long life that has never been betrayed. They always looked out for each other, and he finds that he believes her when she says she wants to help. That's a rare thing already.

Still, the wariness is so entrenched in him that he has to look at her, cast in that golden glow, optics flickering with uncertainty before he finally lets go and does as she says. "Don't... repeat this. To anyone." His optics dim, and his face looks gray again. He rests his head against the wall, cycling air through his vents slowly. There's a twitch of his optic ridges as the first word hits him- and the first word is: lonely. But no.... that won't do. He just can't admit that. Not now.

So his mind sifts through more, and hits upon, "Dignity." He sighs. "I'm supposed to be better than this. I AM better than this. But... I can't get that out of my mind. I'm a Combaticon, and I am supposed to be strong... and this is making me... weaker." His hand twitches. "I...*try* and I... fail. Ever since I got out of prison the *first* time, there's been so... much to deal with. And I fight, and I keep my *dignity*. Smelt them to the /PIT/, but I'm going to keep my *dignity*." He growls those last words. "But... the second time.... they did everything they could to take even *that* away from me." He growls a little once more. "Not that they succeeded." ...He hopes. Primus, he hopes that's true.

"Dignity is worth pursuing. Everybot deserve a modicum of dignity - even a worthy enemy," Starchamber agrees. "I will not repeat what you've said here; it is in confidence. I am acting as a medium by which you may process what has happened to you, understand it, pass through it, and move on."

"Do you know what you are feeling as you recall all this? Can you name the emotions you feel most strongly?"

This still seems so.... odd to Blast Off. He spends most of his time covering up feelings and denying they exist. Perhaps because of his warrior training. Perhaps because he's been hurt in the past when he's allowed himself to be vulnerable. His optics flcker, but he's in this deep now.... might as well continue. Primus, he wants this nightmare to stop.

"... Anger. Frustration. These... insipid, greedy, grasping buffoons who have cost me nearly *everything*... ever since I came here to Cybertron. Who are STILL taking things away. Taking my job, my high society status, my... friends... even trying to take my sanity and my body once more. Who presume to order me around and dictate to me where I can go and what I can do. And persecute me and those around me when we DARE disagree. And yet..." His fist clenches. "It's been so... difficult fighting back. I...I think things are changing, but... they won't change soon enough."

There are other emotions, too... but he's not sure he's comfortable saying them. Anger, frustration... those are good *warrior* feelings. Grief, worry, a sense of...inadequacy... those are much harder to admit to. And then there's... the fear.

Starchamber listens and lets Blast Off speak his peace, as intense or as quiet as he likes. It gives her insight into her comrades' struggles, and gives Blast Off the ability to expose, confront and examine anything he may be trying to ignore or bottle up inside, unresolved and festering.

"You have a right to be angry. Your self, your life, your body, was violated by those who had to right to do so. Anger comes when injustice has been done and not recompensed. Frustration comes from unattained or stiffled desires," she explains. "Both of these emotions can be used as fuel and mental energy to accomplish things; unfocused and undirected anger is like an uncontained fire or an explosion - it produces nothing but destruction, to yourself or to others."

"I would suggest that you find something that you -can- do, or some preparation you can make for the future, and when you feel angry and frustrated, direct that energy into something you can do physically or mentally - physically would be best. Target practice, combat disciplines, any kind of physical exertion that will allow you to drain away the anger and frustration, at least until such time as the wrongs done to you are repayed."

"I can talk with you about this, and listen to you, but like the sight on a rifle, all I can do is help you focus on your target. It is you who must act on and process through your feelings productively, just as it is you who would have to pull the trigger."

Blast Off grabs hold of that anger. It's an 'acceptible" emotion somehow, far moreso than things like "love", "grief", or anything else that could be seen as "weak". The "cultured" and "classy" Combaticon tends to have enough issues being seen that way as is, especially by the macho, posturing and often dim-witted soldiers and gladiators he finds himself accompanied with now.

He lets out a bitter *huff*. "You're right. You know, it's funny... I have tried so hard to "do the right thing", to keep that semblence of sophistication and manners. And what do I get for it? I'm still hunted down like a criminal. I show someone mercy? They repay me by abducting and brainwashing a friend. I show *another* person some mercy? He repays that by nearly killing another friend. I've been a.... fool." The shuttle's optics glow with a cold fire.

"No, you haven't been a fool - you've become accustomed to thinking like a civilian. Civilians offer trust without forethought. They do not think tactically or with the long term in mind, very often," Starchamber lightly admonishes, her inner star continuing to paint the room with a golden hue. "I know you're feeling emotions besides anger and frustration, but if you are not yet ready to name and face them, that is well. You need time to regain mental strength, to prepare to battle -inside- as well as out. Remember that emotions serve as as indicators of danger and safety, gain and loss, and that none of them should be dismissed, ignored or left untouched. They are tools of the sensors, and can help us grasp subtle things that our conscious perception may not immediately be aware of. The greatest warrior is one who has not uselessly or pointlessly crippled himself by refusing to take advantage of all of his feelings."

The shuttle's fists remain clenched as Blast Off listens to Starchamber. "You... you are probably right. I tried fitting in Cybertron High Society, but... a Combaticon just never IS going to fit into this world, are they? We're treated like criminals... perhaps it's time I started thinking more like one, too." His engines growl softly. That growl gets cut a bit short as the femme mentions his denial of certain... other emotions, and he glances away. The shuttle doesn't say anything though, and perhaps THAT speaks volumes right there. "Yes, but... emotions get in the way, too." Like that time he couldn't shoot straight because he was too upset.

"Only if you have no control over them," Starchamber corrects. "What happens to a skill that falls into disuse? A weapon you have not held in thousands of years? You can no longer use it with proficiency. Such is the case with emotions. The neglected and hidden emotions can become a means by which others may gain an advantage of you. Their disuse becomes weakness, not strength."

"Am I sad for the loss of Combatron? Does the war there that cost us everything break my spark, leave me bewildered for its futility?" she asks. Looking Blast Off firmly in the optics she continues. "/Yes/. I am rocked to the core of my frame by it."

Blast Off hufffs, shaking his head. "No... I am NOT going to be some whimpering mamby pamby lamenting all about his "emotions" and crying over split energon over things that either cannot be fixed, or are better ignored anyway. I think what you said earlier is right: just focus on physcial activity." His hand twitches. "Going out, shooting my rifle and taking a shot that no one else could make... now THAT IS therapy. The BEST kind." Yes, denial is still his friend.

Then he gives Starchamber a dubious glare. "I... believe that it greatly grieves you, yes. As well it should. But... you particpated IN it for so long. You even told me you considered it a "victory" because there were at least survivors. So... hearing you ALSO say you are sorrowful, or rocked to your core.... those are a bit... dischordant. Something... doesn't make sense there."

"Should I show everyone that might see or hear my true feelings on any given matter? Prudence dictates otherwise," Starchamber offers simply.

Blast Off maintains the dubious look. "Then what ARE your true feelings?"

Starchamber sighs softly through her vents, looking aside to the wall. "It was a waste. There was very little I could do about it - I could not stop the neutronium bombs or the wars without being courtmartialled or executed for treason. I could only survive and try to bring the war to an end as fast as I could, but what can one femme do against millions of other soldiers? I wallowed in grief and loneliness as I searched for any survivor I might find. I searched -every last klik- of Combatron to find others. If there were other survivors, they left before I could find them or they were stasis locked so deep there was no hope of recovery."

She looks back at the other spacecraft. "But would I say that in front of others, ruin the pride and glory of our colony? Would I denounce them all as fools and besmirch the name of our Metrotitan and Prime? No. I would rather announce that I am the winner of the war by survival alone, and carry the banner of Combatron alone for the rest of eternity, if only to save our kindred's pride.

That softens some of Blast Off's snarkiness, and his glare turns into something a bit more... sympathetic, despite all his talk about "no emotions". He turns his head to rest the back of his helmet on the wall once more. "...That would be... a difficult situation. And yes, I suppose I understand. Combatronians are a proud people, as they should..." He pauses, awkwardly, "As they... were? Are? What do I say now?"

Another sigh, and he slumps against the wall, looking tired. "Of course, with Onslaught I feel more... free to speak my mind when I disagree with him. Though of course as the Commander, he gets the last word, but I rarely hold back if I feel it's important. But that may be the natural result of working alone with a small team, and the five of you are all you have. And, of course, I kowtow to NO one. I act by choice, not by command. Well, again, except under Onslaught's orders. But even THAT is a choice."

He shakes his head once, slowly. "I have never liked being told what to do. Which makes being... military a ...challenge sometimes."

Starchamber smiles. "A wise commander knows how to let such independent sparks flourish without crushing their spirit and will."

Blast Off nods. "Yes." He sits in silence, still pondering exactly what all this means to his people... Combatronians, Combaticons, whoever is... left? "Is it just... six of us left in the galaxy then?"

"I don't know. I've heard rumors of an army of them still roaming the spaceways, but I have never been able to find them," Starchamber says. She looks down. "When I met you, the first of my kin in so long, I did not want to simply tell you that we had been a race of fools. I told you we were glorious warriors down to the bitter end, even against each other. How could I do any less for one of my own kin, than to let them hold onto their pride? I sought to preserve your dignity."

Well, that is something Blast Off can understand. The shuttle is all *about* pride and dignity, after all. It's the one thing he can keep a hold of. "They may take everything else from us, Starchamber, but our pride is the one thing they can NEVER take. I am determined to see that remain true." He glances to her. "You... did the right thing."

"How could I not? You're one of my kind," she smiles.

Blast Off nods, his gaze drifting down to Starchamber's core once more. Its golden light is a complimentary contrast to his darker purples and browns. "I am... pleased that not only did a fellow Combatronian survive and return to us, but... she is a space alt. You and I were rare to begin with... and now look at us. Even rarer than ever... but also the survivors. It just proves our natural superiority as spacecraft. We're a... special breed.."

Starchamber softly laughs, trying not to. "It's becoming harder and harder to wait for you, Blast Off. I'm sorry, I certainly don't want to cause you any discomfort, but the more I talk to you... the more I want you, too."

Blast Off freezes at that, mind almost clouding over in a panic... but also a very great *need* of his own. He's not immune to this... situation, despite trying to act like he is. The part of him that's lonely battles with the damaged part that's suddenly terrified of contact and the anxiety it brings. His head finally ducks down slightly in a defensive sort of huddle and his fists clench.

But he doesn't give in to that crazy urge to run, and slowly his fists relax some. "I..." His voice is almost hushed. "I... would that. I... I just don't know how... I'd /do/." His black hand comes up to rub at his face once more. "I don't know what I'd.... /see/."

"Which is why I am not pressing you," Starchamber soothes. "I wouldn't care how you did, and I would try to flood you with so much joy it wouldn't be -possible- to feel anything wrong."

The hand comes down and he looks at her. And Primus, this is getting hard to resist. Blast Off may be aloof and standoffish but he's also lonely and most certainly NOT immune to a femme's charms. And Starchamber is like... a call from home. A home he hasn't had contact with in a very, very long time. A home that he misses, despite all the problems he had fitting in there.

There's a long silent momnent as his optics gaze into hers. Then, slowly, that hand comes down to rest... not touching her, but near her. "I... I could try."

"When you're ready. I don't want to push you too soon and trigger something that would ruin the experience. Just... know that you are very, very desirable," Starchamber murmurs.

Blast Off looks down at his hand. "We could... start just by holding hands." That takes far more courage to say than it *should*, but he IS rather messed up right now.

She offers him her hand, black as his own. "I'd be honored."

The shuttle stares at that a moment, his inner conflict flickering across his face, and then ... very slowly he takes her hand. There's a small wince at the contact, and his optics dim, but then it seems to pass and he relaxes once again.

"You have strong hands," Starchamber notes. "Dextrous. Fine. You may not like the body you have been given, but your hands are excellent."

And again with the ego stroking. That's one area you can NEVER go wrong with on Blast Off. A faint smirk curls the corner of his mouth (under that faceplate) and he brushes one finger along hers. "As a sniper, I... have /excellent/ optic/hand... coordination."

"Someday, if we go to war? I want you to hold me and fire me," Starchamber comments, half flirting, half serious.

Actually... somehow, that's easier to think of... holding her in *weapon* form. There's nothing there to remind him of Feint, no "dead" faces threatening to bang into his, and as a sniper... well, he has that love of guns anyway. The grin grows. "I... would enjoy that." And it's apparent Blast Off means that, too. His gaze falls upon the muzzle from her rifle mode, and he's half-tempted to reach for that. To caress that as only a highly skilled /sniper/ can. "I don't think I'd have any problems with that all."

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