We are a literate, intermediate to advanced AU Transformers RPG Based off of the first season of TFP with dashes of other incarnations sprinkled here or there. Characters from any continuity are welcome however must be restyled to match the TFPrime universe.
Active, with ongoing plotlines, we are always willing to integrate new characters into storylines once incorporated into the setting.
"That'd be something yeh have to run by Cleaver," Layby replied with a rueful smile, which spoke of some unpleasant incident in the not-too-distant past involving inadvisable fuel supplements and the vicious helobot with a very big hose. "She's our medic, and she don't much care for self-inflicted harm like mice in yer upholstery or parafin in yer tank."
His holo gently took the spent drip out from the back of her hand and pressed the tape and cotton back down to her skin, holding it in place with his thumb. At the same time, Layby rubbed a hand across the back of his helm, as if remembering being clubbed by an arm-boom, then extended his palm out to Sarita. "Up yeh come, then, miss, an' I'll walk yeh out."
Once she was safely positioned and holding his bent thumb for support, Layby deactivated the avatar and began to make his way back out to the Atrium.
"I was a fire support soldier a long time ago, which is pretty much logistics and planning up until yeh make contact with the enemy," he replied in answer to her earlier question. "Then it's getting ammo where it's needed and firing interference. All good fun."
The sensation of being carried was not unlike being on a carnival ride — a feeling of vertigo, a sway that shouldn't be there, a quiet helplessness as she was lifted above the ground. She was grateful for the mech's thumb, steadying herself as he walked with a steady gait that reminded her of a horse. She'd gone riding, once or twice, when she was a teenager; up in the mountains of Oregon, someone had put her on an old carthorse with fluffy feet. The gentle giant's easy stride reminded her so much of Layby's.
"Thank you very much for the lift," said Sarita. She'd lost count of how many times she had thanked the mech already, but then again, one couldn't be too polite. She listened with interest as Layby spoke of his logistics job, nodding and smiling as he lumbered along.
"Were you in the military for many years?" asked Sarita. "Or does the military work different on places such as Cybertron? On Earth, many men stay until their fifties. There are a number of organizations for the retired veterans — I've spent some time at them myself. The gentlemen there always had such interesting things to talk about."
She wasn't going to press further on the details of Layby's job. War, without question, was a difficult and bloody business, and it was incredibly rude to pry about the experiences one had suffered. Hopefully asking about his service length wouldn't intrusively continue a common thread; if it was, she'd apologize.
The Medbay door slid aside to reveal a towering, irregularly shaped cavern several hundred meters long. At the far end of the long space, a natural crevice in the rock had been widened and twisted to lead outside to the mountainous terrain and desert beyond. Halfway along the bare-rock wall on their right was an open doorway and serving hatch that offered a glimpse of a warmly lit bar; on the opposite wall, the cavern pointed down into a tunnel closed off with solid doors.
Layby turned immediately right, taking them towards the casual leisure area and Cat's corner, and away from the groundbridge controls.
"I was sparked fer it," he replied. "Ah, born into it. Had every intention of staying for life, but I lost the spark for it when our kind's civil war turned real, real bad."
Layby sighed heavier than intended as he knelt to lower her to the floor, bringing her to stand just outside the tiled area of the human kitchen and dining space. He remained on bended knee, his optics darkening as his thoughts continued to circle that ugly period. "My squad got broken up, ordered to fire on folk we used to protect, an' ah left to look out for refugees."
Shaking his helm, Layby forced the gloom out of his field and features and rolled one hand out in apology. "But that's... millions of years of history. Too much for one conversation. We're a long-lived species compared to yours."
Sarita stared in wonder at the great, wide caverns and the oversized doors. The place gave the vibe of a safehouse or a bunker — a hideaway from the world's conflicts, nestled snugly in the beneath of the Earth. Churned dirt and wet stone drifted into her nose as scents, mingled with the everyday activities of cooking, cleaning and more. Her eyes were slightly wide with wonder, and she was...fascinated, for lack of a better word, with the situation she found herself in.
Aliens existed. One was carrying her like a gentleman to get something to eat. Another had threatened her, and then fixed her car — and there were others like them. She was half-listening to Layby as he spoke, eyes darting around and taking in her environment like a computer took information.
"...My squad got broken up, ordered to fire on folk we used to protect, an' ah left to look out for refugees."
Sarita turned her head to look at Layby, giving him a surprised look. "Wait, what?" she said, a little stunned by the sudden admission.
"But that's... millions of years of history. Too much for one conversation. We're a long-lived species compared to yours."
"No, no, it's all right!" Sarita said, waving off the apology with a free hand. "Please, Mr. L — er, Layby, I don't mind if you want to talk about it. Only if you're comfortable, of course, but i you need to just...talk, please feel free. I might seem a bit on the slow side right now, but I am listening, I promise."
She opened her mouth to say something, then gave a look of realization.
"...Did you just say you're millions of years old? As in, Cretaceous-period old?"
She tilted her head to the side a little, blinking and then rubbing at her eyes with a fist.
Layby barked a laugh. "Yeah, but ah've got plenty a'life left in me, don't you fret. Not many of us left in the 'verse, but safe ta bet that I'm a far shot off the oldest."
He drew his hands into his lap, and locked the hydraulics in his legs so that he would remain kneeling without straining anything into discomfort. Though he was claiming some youthful vigor, in honesty, Layby was starting to feel the years. To elaborate for Sarita's benefit, he added: "Not bein' organic, with good maintenance an' a constant supply of fuel and replacement parts, we can potentially live longer than most species'll be around."
Sarita rubbed her eyes, and Layby's optics cycling tight in thought was an audible whirr.
Eye rubbing. From what he had gathered about humans, that was either: shielding crying; cutting onions; an 'itch' (like having a spot of rust that needed treating, he figured); a gesture of astonishment; or a sign of tiredness. Sarita's tear ducts weren't leaking; there were no onions; she didn't seem frustrated with any misbehaving nerve endings; there was plenty for her to be astonished about, though he thought that the worst of it -'kidnapped by giant alien'- had about passed; so that left tiredness.
Given her internal energy stores and fatigued movements as well, it was the logical conclusion.
Sarita needed calorie intake and rest. Fortunately, from watching Cat eat in the middle of the night, Layby had an idea about that. He was pretty sure they were out of ice cream and cookies, but there were fluid beverages that Cat claimed were also a kind of food. 'Comfort food', she called it. Perfect.
"Yeh like hot chocolate?" he offered, pointing one blunt finger towards the cupboard that contained packets of the powder. "That's what Cat goes for when she finally agrees with her body ta git some sleep. Glitched caffeine-monkey worries me sometimes."
A wry smile, and he motioned her to go ahead. "Yeh look like yeh need to eat, hydrate and sleep all at the same time. Only got a limited knowledge of how your esophagus works, but I reckon yeh should be doing those separately, in roughly that order. 'fraid I ain't got a cot ta offer, but there's blankets and a sofa."
"Hot chocolate sounds f — sounds amazing," said Sarita, catching herself before she spoke too rudely. "It's like it's been an eternity since I had it. I would very much enjoy getting some."
Once pointed in the direction of said hot chocolate, Sarita was all too eager to indulge. She scurried over to the cabinets like a squirrel, her usual grace and dignity lost to the impulses of hunger. She shuffled through the cupboard for said packets, moving everything aside like she was digging to bury nuts; a moment later, everything was swiftly (and neatly) put back in its place. There would be no further response to Layby as Sarita hyperfocused on getting the hot chocolate, her stomach rumbling audibly as she rushed to nourish herself.
Once there was water boiling in a nearby teapot, however, the singer would turn to look at Layby. With a face of one who just realized they'd been addressed, Sarita said, "Er...yes, I suppose I look a tad dreadful; sleep, food and drinks would probably fix that."
Understatement of the year.
"...I apologize if I seem inattentive. I really, really haven't eaten much in a while, and I...haven't had access to a kitchen, either. I think I thanked you before, but if I didn't, I...I thank you again."
She blushed, looking away from Layby. The dusty floor was suddenly very interesting.
The big mech had been quietly content to be ignored, watching Sarita like some timid woodland creature as she explored the kitchen and its contents, foraged out what she wanted and tidily dismissed the rest.
She moved differently to Cat - there was a distracted grace to her limbs, where his human cohort-kin straight owned the space her body was in. Sarita... seemed to have an in-built anxiety about disturbing air molecules, which gelled up with the constant apologies and thanks.
Layby's engine purred a warm rumble when she blushed, instinctively pitched to be reassuring towards a youngling. "Yer welcome, darlin'."
He pushed up to his feet, the hydraulics in his knees whining and clunking. It was late, and there were inbound due in the morning. Much as he didn't mind pulling long nights, Layby more than appreciated the need to be awake and alert in a newly founded, not-entirely-stable-yet DMZ. More than that, Sarita needed to rest, and he highly doubted she'd be doing anything of the sort if he was around to talk to and ask questions of.
Tough love, but usually that's what was needed.
"I need to cycle down for a few hours, an' you need ta sleep," he said, pointing a mock-stern finger down at her. "So, don' worry 'bout a thing tonight. Use whatever yeh want ta get full, comfortable and relaxed, and get some sleep. Ah'm just through that tunnel over there, first door on the right. One big knock an' I'll be up if yeh need anything."
Already bringing up his internal comm. and composing a note, Layby added, "Ah'll leave a message for the others so yeh don't startle anyone."
Sarita gave a tiny nod. "I will. I won't be long in here, promise."
And so, it came to pass that a former Energon mine in Africa, now a sanctuary for the weary, the hungry and the homeless, became Sarita's place as well. She managed to climb onto the great, metal-mesh couch with some effort, but not enough that she needed Layby's assistance. The singer did not find sleep straight away, but stared at the earthen ceiling for God knew how long, waiting for the last traces of anxiety to slip away.
There was stillness in the cavern. She was not used to it. Even sleeping in Sheila, she'd been aware of the constant motion of things, of the hum of cars outside hers and potential thieves sneaking up on her. Like a deer, she had become sensitive and wary of every little movement and sound, very aware of bigger predators that could be around every bend. "Inside" was a concept that, in only about half a decade, had become as foreign to her as the idea of life on other planets.
Both had come crashing down on her as soon as she woke up on that berth. Her fear of Layby had diminished greatly, however, in the wake of his kindness and warmth; the other fear still stayed. That fear of strangeness, of being out of her element and unable to think on the fly, and in a position so horribly vulnerable with no way out. How could you say you're vulnerable, though, if Layby's offered to help you?
She was so tired. Tired, and unused to the idea of being helped. She had been a sheltered, stupid girl from a stupid and greedy family, and once thrown into nothing, she had sank. She had flailed her way to the surface again and again, only to dip beneath the waves she suddenly found herself against. People had helped her, and then they had hurt her — being held at knifepoint after being given a ride out of Portland. Being offered a place to sleep if she weeded a garden, only to be chased off the property when she insisted she get what she was due. Trying to fall asleep at a homeless shelter, and then waking up to see someone raiding her wallet and backpack. Being lost and thirsty in a Californian resort town, only to be given "Gatorade" by some passing strangers that had been...something much fouler. Those were only a few of many, many instances where she'd learned how sheltered and blessed she'd been, and how she'd become an abandoned little bastard with nothing.
She turned away to the side, away from the door; her head disappeared from the blankets. Did she dare trust again? Was there a point to accepting anything else from those she didn't know? Layby was a giant alien robot, too — for all she knew, he had something else in plan for her. Her fingers clenched at the sudden wave of anxiety, and she curled in on herself a little.
Sleep on it, a voice in her head said. Just sleep on it. You can find a way out if he tries to hurt you. You've done it before, and you can do it again.
If she was fine in the morning, that would be the first step. She could talk to Layby later, maybe thank him before heading on. Yes, Haven would become a home for the wandering singer, but she didn't know that; she thought, like many things in life, it would go as soon as it had come. She had learned to neither hope nor trust for the best, and as she tried to drift off to sleep, a knot in her stomach did and undid itself.
At least, for the first time in a while, it wasn't as tight a knot.