Title: Welcome Back, Moonlight!

PCs: Hot Rod, Moonlight

Location: Kolkular

Date: 25 April 2015

TP1: Autocracy

Summary: Moonlight returns to find Nyon Nygone.

-- Radio: Nyon -- Moonlight's voice comes in with a great deal of concern and some amount of alarm. "Hot Rod? Are you there?"

-- Radio: Nyon -- Hot Rod says, "Oh. Moonlight." He sounds a little flat. "Right. We're in Kaon."

-- Radio: Nyon -- Moonlight says, "I'm sure this is a redundant statement....but Nyon's...gone."

-- Radio: Nyon -- Hot Rod says, "Yeah. We're ... in Kaon." He's repeating himself. "Everyone but Arse."

-- Radio: Nyon -- Moonlight doesn't answer right away; when she does her tone is quite subdued. "Alright. I'll be there shortly; make sure no one tries to shoot me or anything."

-- Radio: Nyon -- Hot Rod says, "Stay clear of Autobot territory. Zeta's not messing around anymore. I'll be waiting outside what used to be SecF HQ."

Sometime later Moonlight shows up. She's by herself and treading carefully. After all, being out in space has kept her out of the loop, and one doesn't get by as a smuggler without being cautious, despite the air of nonchalance she prefers to show everybody. Naturally she's keeping an optic open for that brilliant paint job which makes tracking Hot Rod down so easy.

At least something is still the same: Hot Rod's paint job is as bright as ever. He stands outside the towers that were once SecF HQ amid the shattered splinters of the red face symbol that once decorated the tower. Rather that look for Moonlight's approach, he's staring up at the Decepticon sigil painted on the building.

Moonlight approaches Hot Rod, making a soft sound to announce herself before getting too close; she doesn't want to sneak up on someone. Her optics scan his face, assessing his mood quickly before really saying anything at all.

One rarely needs more than a glance to read Hot Rod's mood. He wears it written bold on his features, clear in his stance, and obvious in his movements. But not today. Today's he's closed off and difficult to read, but when he glances to Moonlight, the relief in seeing her alive and well is clear in his eyes. "Moonlight. Good. You're okay."

Moonlight considers for just a moment before reaching out to put a hand on the mech's shoulders, slowly enough that he can move or otherwise discourage the contact. "Hot Rod," she says gently, "what happened?" Her tone isn't pressing; she wants him to take his time.

Hot Rod's shoulder twitches in a tight shrug, but he doesn't quite shrug out from beneath her touch. After a moment, he even relaxes. A little. A tiny, tiny little bit. "Zeta," he says. His voice is low and fierce. He tears into the name like it's a curse, savaging it. "Zeta happened. He came after Nyon with these -- these weapons. They didn't just kill people, but drained them. Bled them dry. All to power the weapons in the first place! And he started it right under our nose, bleeding out the disposables and empties that we were stretched too thin to see."

Moonlight shakes her head at this. "That doesn't explain the city itself in ruins..." she murmurs. "But that is an awful thing to do. If you /have/ to kill someone, at least make it clean, neat, and quick. "That mech is a /leech/!" She sighs. "Does this mean you're joining up with..." and she gestures towards the symbol he was looking at when she approached.

Hot Rod looks back up at the purple paint. It seriously clashes with the red, orange, and yellow he wears. Hesitating, he says, "I don't know. I just don't know. The only thing I ever wanted to do was to save my city. Protect my people. I didn't care about all this! But now--." He breaks off. "Orion Pax is here, too. Zeta just about offlined him. I was trying to show him -- him, and the other Autobots -- what Zeta was capable of when he attacked. They certainly saw that."

"Don't rush it," Moonlight says gently. She used to be much more brazen, but that has been tempered over time. Cybertron has shown her a lot about suffering. She's not exactly the same femme she was when she arrived here. It was initially Backdrop's plight, when he was still a YX unit, that opened her optics, but she's had many chances to grow and change since that moment. "You were genuinely devoted to your cause; taking up another too soon wouldn't be fair to yourself."

"I think Backdrop might. Arsenal always wanted to." Hot Rod breaks off with a twitch of his shoulders. Glancing back at her, he says, "The Decepticons promised to search for survivors. And I'm sure Blast Off will. But they don't know the city like we do. If you get a chance--?"

Moonlight nods her head. "Sure," she says readily. Whether it's futile or not doesn't matter if it will give the mech some peace of mind. Still, she looks rather surprised. "That's strange; I got the impression that Arsenal was quite devoted to /you/ for some time," she notes, perhaps a bit tactlessly.

Hot Rod doesn't even pretend not to know what she's talking about, but he does -- just slightly -- wince. "We've had a lot of, uhm, disagreements. Lately." He looks down, then back up at Moonlight. "Mostly about the Decepticons, actually." He pauses a moment, then says, "You've always been free to go your own way. Whatever you do now, we'll still be friends, I hope."

"You're not getting rid of me that easily," Moonlight says with a cheeky grin, trying to add a little levity. "When I signed up with you, I meant to stick it out. Whatever you choose to do, I'll support you, even if I don't outright join the side you pick. If you pick one at all." The last bit is all serious however.

With a flash of anger, Hot Rod says, "This is it, Moonlight!" He throws his hands wide and then gestures in the vague faraway direction of Nyon. "City's gone! There's nothing left! There's nothing to stick out, and nothing to support." His hands fall, and with it, the temper that drove his words. He shakes his head. More quietly, he says, "Just -- make your own choices."

"I'd need more information for that. Never considered joining anyone else before now," Moonlight says. "So I'm not really in a hurry." She tilts her head to the side. "You'll find a place again, Hot Rod. You're still young enough..." She sighs and shakes her head. "But as a last decision, what do you want me to do with the supplies I brought back?" she asks, hoping that something to focus on will be a good thing rather than the opposite.

Hot Rod's shoulders round and slump. "Give them to the survivors, I guess. Slinger -- I don't know if you've met him. He used to work a bar by us. He's doing a lot of organizing. Talk to him. He'll take care of it." Reacting to responsibility rather like a cat to water, he dodges.

It was more important to make the offer and not go over his head than it was for Hot Rod to actually /do/ anything. "Alright," Moonlight says slowly. "If that is what you think is best." She pauses. "But how are /you/ doing? Yourself. Not in relation to anything, or anyone, else."

"I don't even know how to answer that question." Hot Rod opens his hands, looks down at them, and then closes them to form fists. "Look, I get why you're asking, but I really don't--." He breaks off again and shakes his head. "I don't know. Ask me in a week, maybe I'll have figured out an answer. But I'm glad you're back. It's good to see you're okay."

"Time. They say it heals all things," Moonlight says slowly. "I'm not sure about that. What I do know is that if you need something, or just want to talk about it, then I'm here for you." Her expression is resolute. "And I would say I'm glad to be back, but that's not really true. I am glad that you are in one piece. We'll see about 'okay' in the future."

Hot Rod dips his head in a tight, close nod. "Yeah." It is a pretty long way from okay for them all, isn't it. "Thanks. Just--." But whatever else he might say, instead he shakes his head. He lapses back into silence and folds his arms tight across the flames on his chest. "Come on, I'll show you where to find Slinger and you guys can decide what to do with your supplies."

Moonlight nods her head. "Well, if the Decepticons are on the up and up, then I'll see you again. For now I'm going to stick with my ship; it gives me more mobility. You'll know how to get ahold of me," she adds gently. "Whatever happened there, as long as there's at least on survivor, then Nyon will be remembered. Keep that in mind." She tries to give an encouraging smile to Hot Rod, but this really isn't her forte, even though she means well. "Keep in touch."