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.
Haven's central cavern was deserted but for Layby, who stood sentry between the weapons safe embedded in the wall and the two stone bollards that demarcated where the groundbridge portal would open. Layby had buffed himself to a presentable degree of appearance, looking as he usually did but for the dark halos about his optics. He was only hosting these talks. He didn't want any attention on him.
The Neutrals living in the mine had been barred from the Atrium until the faction leaders were gone; given the option of leaving Haven entirely for the duration or remaining in their quarters. Sarita and Cat had been given the same instructions, but in a more serious tone stemmed in worry.
As safe and public a space as Haven was, these were exceptional circumstances. The next few hours held the potential to be the most dangerous in the DMZ's short history.
A courtesy ping reached the former soldier's receiver, and he acknowledged it and stood by. The first groundbridge opened seconds later, originating from the Nemesis. Layby watched two figures emerge in the green vortex: one broad and hulking, the other sleek and nimble.
He clenched his fists then spread his fingers, relaxing his hands. A deep ventilation in and out.
Megatron stepped into Haven as if he held dominion over it, optics bright and strides long. His silhouette against the vortex had been altered from that which haunted many a young bot's nightmares.
Leading by example, he had made an additional effort to appear unarmed in Haven for the ceasefire talks. A stasis clasp would have paralyzed the emergent elements of his canon and sword and rendered the weapon inert, but Megatron had instead had the massive weapon assembly removed entirely. Now a long patch of dull metal covered the area on Megatron's forearm where the canon had been surgically removed.
It was a significant gesture, and one that the Chief Medical Officer (though initially dubious at the total neutralisation of his commander's arsenal) had ultimately approved of. Knock Out seldom had the opportunity to conduct comprehensive maintenance with such total access to the weapon, and the canon was getting past its prime. A tune-up was definitely called for.
Megatron had no qualms with leaving a part that had been attached for millennia in the doctor's custody. He hardly needed the cannon and sword to hold his own in a fight should things turn sour.
He stopped a bare pace beyond the threshold to the groundbridge and took a long appraising look about the cavern. He'd seen the schematics and read the reports kept on the evolving colony, and he took a moment to match the information he had with the site itself.
Haven looked sparse but lived-in. There was a scattered array of battered Cybertronian furniture, much of it augmented and repaired with local human scrap. The floor was worn smooth and the mining lights suspended high above had been replaced with softer illumination to give a more homely ambiance. At one end of the Atrium, the doors to the medical bay were firmly closed. The entrance way to the bar was open and lit, and Megatron could see tables and chairs arranged inside.
"So this is where the magic happens." Megatron glanced down to Starscream, exchanging a brief look with the Seeker before regarding the cavern once more. "How quaint."
Layby stepped forward, making himself known. His head was raised and shoulders squared to regard the taller mech. He looked between them both but addressed the commander. "Lord Megatron, Commander Starscream - welcome to Haven."
Megatron turned to fully face the mech and now primary guardian of the DMZ. He took in the old battle marks and polite but stoically resolved expression with a critical optic. "Layby, isn't it? Good of you to accommodate us."
From behind Megatron's shoulder came an answering chuckle.
"Accommodating," said Starscream.
He came to a strolling halt at his place to one side of the warlord and took a moment to study the cavern, his amusement transparent beneath a thin veneer of contempt. His red-eyed gaze passed over the comfortable furniture, the gentle lighting, and lingered somewhere at the entrance of the medical bay before cutting back to Layby's face. Starscream's lip curled, but he folded his hands together behind his back and settled into an upright posture of politely restrained disdain, his wings swept back.
Though the Air Commander had read reports of Haven and its occupants, he had not once stepped foot in it himself. Not until today. It perhaps spoke of the weight of the matter at hand that it had finally dragged a dismissive Starscream from the Nemesis and into a place he clearly looked down upon.
Now, he arched a brow.
"Yes, how kind," he said. "Thank you for the - gracious welcome. I suppose we are the first to arrive?"
Post by Optimus Prime on Jun 28, 2015 14:11:40 GMT -5
As if on cue, once the Nemesis' Bridge closed, a new vortex of energy spiraled active in its place just after Starscream's words. The churning mass of green and blue lights may have looked identical to the one Megatron and his second in command had stepped out of moments prior, but it lead to a very different location, and a new pair of individuals exited from its midst.
Contrary to Megatron, Optimus' weaponry weren't exactly installed when jobs and times changed. He was upgraded through the Matrix in the midst of the war, and the rifle and swords were as much a part of his forearms, as the hands themselves. The two weapons joined together within his internals, and created the very struts that would support the limb during punches and blocks. To be a sword, the gun made his strut. To be a gun, the sword accommodated that. Point was he couldn't surgically remove them like Megatron had without severe fiddling with the internals on his forearms that, with no offense to Ratchet, may not be the easiest to reverse.
Settling on Stasis Clasps was an idea, but there was a certain... look to that which would not be very becoming of a Prime. It wasn't that Optimus was prideful, no. He did not carry himself with an air of superiority nor live by a concept of being better than others. This said, there was a certain way he believed he should be conveyed to RESPECT the title that was given to him. Having metal bands clapped about his forearms like a prisoner was not something he particularly felt inclined to do as long as there were other options.
It is because of this he had to settle for something in-between. Two welding lines etched up his forearms on either side over their tops, evidence of a minor less invasive surgery to the limbs in which Ratchet pulled apart a few connectors that carried power and commands from his T-Cog. It effectively disabled his ability to trigger the transformation in his limbs, and subsequently his ability to turn into his vehicle mode without crushing the forearms ((Which wouldn't want to comply with what the rest of his body was doing)). But... he had no plans to use such a form this afternoon, and he, like Megatron, knew he could hold his own in a fight without his blades and guns.
The Prime stepped forth from the portal with an air of power and calm radiating about him, his shoulders pulled back and helm high. His battle mask, which was almost always clasped over the majority of his face in the presence of Decepticons, was disengaged for once, revealing his features that only fellow Autobot's tended to witness. It didn't really mean much on one hand, but was a small act that added to the fact he was indeed NOT here to start confrontation or a fight.
Stopping just past the threshold of the Ground Bridge, giving enough space for Ratchet to exit and end up at his side, Optimus regarded the two Decepticons momentarily. Something was wrong with Megatron, something wasn't right. It stood out like a blazing red beacon, yet was obscured through some sort of veil. It took only a moment, but he realized that the cannon was not just disabled, but GONE. The sight was surreal, and almost made the other look awkward, more akin to Megatronus than Megatron.
He didn't like it.
He would have preferred Megatron still had his canon. He would have expected him to brush off the idea of disabling such a long standing weapon of war as if being ABOVE such courtesies. It would have been familiar, anticipated, but instead Optimus was struck by this change and the implications about how serious Megatron was taking this cease fire.
Optimus' gaze then briefly settled upon Starscream, trying to see if his rockets were removed, or if the second in Command would deny humoring such a thing. After this, he nodded his helm down in a sign of acknowledgment to the two, before peering in Layby's direction.
He had never met the other mech. He knew of him, it was hard not to hear about everyone in Red Alert's reports of Haven, but he had never met him or seen him in person. Knowing who he was, and his role in Haven, and because of the fact Optimus didn't know what Starscream had said prior, he unknowingly mirrored the Decepticon's sentiments... though it probably wouldn't be a hard assumption to think Optimus' own were more heartfelt.
The Prime's softer words conveyed honesty and determination, grief laden, carrying the weight of loss that Layby experienced even though it was not one of his soldiers, nor did he know the individual personally. But knowing the deceased in person or not, does not mean he didn’t feel great loss to know when one of their kind had their sparks extinguished. It could have been avoided, if only MECH didn't find out about their species.
"Layby, I thank you for permitting us to use Haven for these negotiations. It is quite a generous act. You can rest assured if all goes well, that we will do all within our power to keep what happened to Cleaver, from occurring to any others. I offer my most sincere condolences for your loss."
The physical demonstrations of their disarming was a bold gesture, and more symbolic than practical in Layby's opinion. It served as a powerful sign of goodwill and respect for the DMZ (as obviously as Megatron and Starscream wore their disdain for Haven), and the former soldier was glad of it. Certainly it was reassuring to see, and more than most who came to the colony did to suppress their weapons.
It was less obvious a change on Optimus than on Megatron, but Layby immediately saw the weld marks. The Prime's visage was indeliably burned into his memory, and the lines stood out even more boldly than his many battle scars.
Layby had seen the Prime before from a distance, as one of many thousands of soldiers under the direction of the Cybertronian Defence Force to combat the Decepticon terrorists. The tall mech had been a sliver of colour at the front of the assembly, and he'd ended up just watching Optimus Prime speak on one of the two big screens erected to broadcast the speech. It had been a highlight of his time in service, back then - sharing in an audience with the vessel of the Matrix.
Now, the Prime stood not twenty feet from him and addressed him by name. Had things been different, if Cleaver were at his side, Layby would have been simultaneously elated and deeply humbled. As it was, his spark felt as if it had run the gauntlet of every possible emotion in absolute extremes and come out exhausted and numb.
There was still a prickle of awe in the familiar-foreign presence of the mech, but Layby was more struck by the sound of Cleaver's name in that rolling timbre than the living connection to the creator.
"Thank yeh, Prime. That's good t'hear."
His answer was deliberately short and respectful. Layby was not under any illusions that the faction leaders were here to see him, and he was looking forward to not being the center of attention.
He also had enough sense to know that demonstrating preferential bias towards an Autobot (particularly this Autobot) whilst a Decepticon was present (and particularly that Decepticon) was deeply, profoundly stupid.
Layby met Ratchet's level gaze and gave a short nod, trying to muster a reassuring expression and largely failing. Then, with everyone present and the initial greetings made, he motioned towards the doorway to the bar.
"There's a conference table set up for yeh," he said, making a point of looking at everyone equally as he spoke. "Ah'll be out here keepin' the space clear, an' close if yeh need anythin'."
Megatron inclined his helm in acknowledgement, then fixed his attention on the Autobots. One side of his mouth twitched up in a smile at the red and blue mech, his optics narrowing incrementally. "After you, Optimus."
The old medic prowled at Prime's heels. His boxy shoulders were squared off, his gaze hard. He levelled it at both Decepticons, but did not comment upon them further. Though he did not look happy about it, he at least seemed determined to endure the presence of his enemies with stoic resoluteness.
Layby's nod was answered with a curt one of his own.
"Thank you for arranging this, Layby," he said. "I shall take it upon myself to remain in radio contact with you for the duration of the discussions, should we - need anything. That will leave Optimus and Megatron free to - talk."
With the pleasantries and particulars thus dealt with, Megatron followed Optimus into the bar.
It was not only a gesture of geniality that he knew would ruffle the Prime's plates; having him walk through first afforded him an opportunity to study the mech relatively unobserved. Through millennia of combat following a close friendship terminated by betrayal, he and Optimus were beyond familiar with each other. They knew one another's stances and pedesteps; could predict a blow from the rhythm of a ventilation or the angle of a single pede. There were times when they'd read the fight in each other before it started, and Megatron would not miss an opportunity to read him now.
The retracted battle mask had been a surprise. It had been a long time since Megatron had seen the Prime's bare face, though there was little to read in the features. Optimus's real mask was that of control: over his tone, his expression, the very aura he projected - all becoming of a Prime. Like the physical mask, though, the control could be cracked.
It just took the appropriate application of force at the right moment.
There was a cleared area in the bar where a clutter of smaller tables and chairs had previously been arranged, judging from the patterns of bolt holes on the floor. Now here was only one large table: a wide rectangle with two chairs positioned on either side facing one another. To the right of each pair, four standard fuel cubes had been stacked. There were no datapads, no recording devices - they would have to provide such things for themselves.
Layby remained at the threshold to observe them, quiet and unobtrusive.
Megatron waited for Optimus and Ratchet to sit down before taking his own seat. They were proportioned for mecha his size, meaning that Starscream would be dwarfed in such a way that his wings were afforded room.
"To business, then," he said, resting his gauntlets against the edge of the table. His hands were curled in loose fists in front of him, tucking his claws into his palms. "I suspect you have questions."
Post by Optimus Prime on Jul 1, 2015 12:05:46 GMT -5
Optimus moved forward into the main room without further word nor any protest, only a polite nod at Layby of appreciation. He was not blind to what was going on, he was observant enough and could read Megatron just as the Warlord could read him. He knew that what had been done was possibly a tactic to judge him, read his body language and preemptively plot a direction of attack via his mood, or to attempt to make him feel vulnerable by turning his back to him where a sucker-punch could cripple him. It could also simply be done to grate at his nerves by playing polite, when both of them were well aware there were no pleasantries left between them.
Or all of the above.
But while that particular moment could have held one or multiple different reasoning's behind it, what came next was painfully transparent. Megatron refusing to sit down until he did was a rather blatant power play as far as Optimus was concerned, for it was the obligation of all those who served under a 'king' to be lower than them. But attempt or not, truth or false, Optimus didn't let it outwardly affect him as he sat down into his chair, and in fact motioned a hand out politely for Megatron to take a seat. He made it appear as if he was host and Megatron was simply a guest here by the calm way he gestured to the chair, to try to cut away the other's tactic with sickening courtesy he knew could be so infuriating.
He probably shouldn’t play this game considering a cease fire was being proposed, but it was hard to be completely... pleasant. Sure he could fake it. To those who didn’t witness the way Megatron and himself have interacted for millennia may view Optimus as being completely at ease and civil, and that was the point. Because a Prime wouldn't belittle himself to such pointless games, and said 'jabs' in return were subtle enough that it could be written off as the Warlord being paranoid.
Optimus repeated, lifting his own forearms to rest upon the table. He did not have claws to hide like the other, and so his hands remained loosely opened, squared off fingertips resting against the table below. This also permitted the welting lines to be visible, so that there would be no question whatsoever about the fact he was playing by the rules up to this point.
"There is much I can ask Megatron-"
He seemed contemplative. He could start this multiple ways, such as asking what he knows of MECH, or why the demise of a Neutral would push his hand. He could ask of recent... occurrences... to confirm if they were Decepticon in origin or not, or could try to press for information on what the proposed plan would be...
"-but frankly, only one question truly matters."
He framed this up with calm calculation, mulling over his words and the thousands of different questions that could be flung at him. In the end though, this all came down to a need to figure out if he could temporarily trust the other, and for that to be even remotely possible during this cease fire, he needed to know what he had over the Warlord.
"Why is it you want, or need, our assistance?"
It was a grim question, one that was said with a slight lower tone of voice, trying to drive the point home. Decepticons can do so much with the resources and technology they have. They have the ability to accomplish horrendous things with brutal force. If Megatron truly wanted, could he not rip asunder large chunks of the planet to try to eliminate MECH? He certainly wouldn't avoid such tactics simply to respect Optimus. No, the slight against the Prime could be incentive to do it even if it was inefficient. There had to be something else in play, likely a mix of resource hoarding and wanting to only do calculated strikes with information bled from Fowler and the human military.
It had been millions of years since the two faction leaders had been relaxed in each other's company. Whilst understandable given their history, it remained a stark contrast to the ease with which they had held themselves in one another's company at an earlier point in their lives.
Now that they were sat painstakingly disarmed either side of a negotiating table, Megatron thought that Optimus could bear to look a little happier.
After all, peace -however temporary- had been the Prime's most vocal desire since the start. It was Autobots like the grizzly medic sat at his heel whom specifically wanted the Decepticon leader's head on a pike first and peace second.
Megatron sat back in the chair as if it had been built for him, arranging one powerful leg over the other. it was an easy pose that exuded a relaxed confidence. The warlord was nothing if not self-assured, and he made a point of highlighting that to the mech who had once been a painfully nervous data clerk.
"Because of the human element. Unlike you, the Decepticons have not... cultivated a rapport with any of the native populous." His distaste for the idea was clear in the slant of his mouth, and curling undertone of his voice.
It truly eluded Megatron (and most of the Decepticons) how anyone could tolerate having an organic inside them as the younglings Optimus had appointed guardians to often did. The thought of them fidgeting against his internals, shedding their skin and hair cells and likely flakes of foodstuffs made his mesh crawl. That Optimus was wasting the time and energy of his warriors shepherding them around was another kind of affront.
But that questionable investment had yielded some benefits for the Autobots, which in turn had brought them to this table. Megatron rubbed the sharp underside of his thumb against his talons, optics narrowing. Much as he disliked having to disclose any kind of shortcoming to the enemy, it was a necessary admission.
He and Optimus would both need to leave this table reasonably assured of one another's motivations and intentions if this ceasefire was to function, let alone be adequately enforced.
"Direct assaults on MECH bases have thus far proven ineffective, in part because of their cellular nature. We cannot know if we are striking coordinates of value beforehand, and we have only a limited knowledge of how sprawling their organization is. Clearly they are recruiting and acquiring equipment from some more authorized sources."
Megatron inclined his head to the Autobot.
"Whilst the Decepticons possess the ability to wipe MECH out as we find them, it would appear that a more informed, precise and delicate touch is required. With your human military contacts, you have easy access to intelligence that we do not."
Post by Optimus Prime on Jul 13, 2015 16:12:26 GMT -5
Optimus may have been happier if this was brought on by other terms. This was definitely a bitter sweet situation, and he knew that whatever was put together this day, would be but a blip of a second in the grand scheme of the war before everything went back to normal. One fleeting moment of peace, did not make a very satisfying moment. But one never truly knew what could happen. Perhaps this would pan out better; perhaps something good will be birthed of this. Maybe MECH was the catalyst needed to form a true truce between the factions. Who is to say what could happen, and as unlikely as it was, he still found himself clutching onto the hope and ideal... but he also knew it was unlikely.
While Megatron leaned back and took on a relaxed posture, Optimus' own was far more subtle and formal. He remained sitting upright, with his shoulders back and forearms resting upon the table's edge, while both feet were flat on the ground before him. It was a stance that could look ridged and overly proper, but the fact of the matter was that even Orion would sit in such a manner often, and it was just a natural state for him.
When Megatron spoke, Optimus was not particularly surprised at what came out. The human element was a variable one that had supplied a lot of grief and headache, but it had also brought on quite a few boons as well. It was a give and take sort of situation, and at times like these all of the frustration the children and Fowler could bring him was washed away as a valid cost.
"So it is a truce founded upon the exchange of intelligence and a means to execute said plans."
Saying this aloud caused his tank to churn in nauseous protest for a moment. There was a hauntingly sinking feeling when this arrangement was laid down as just its skeletal formation. Intelligence and information garnered by the humans and his own team, meshing with the physical power and numbers that Megatron had to offer to make quick work of any tasks that needed to be done. It held a disgusting parallel to long ago. A Data Clerk offering intelligence, in order to assist and push a Gladiator in the right direction on where to lay political blows.
No. He was being foolish. He needed to focus in.
Optimus' weight shifted forward a bit, breaking through the tension he was experiencing, to now push forward his own thoughts on the matter. This said, instead of just starting into a speech of what he expected, or trying to word out what he wanted exactly ((which would be far more words than he wanted to make this evening)) he retrieved a datapad, and placed it down upon the tabletop.
Looking at the datapad alone would say much. It was not a particularly thin or disposable one used to jot down notes and make quick edits to documents. Instead it was rather husky with the ability to hold a great mass of information that can be edited and changed on the fly. It was this datapad that was turned about to face Megatron, before Optimus pushed it forward, leaning in his chair in order to slide the device over to the Warlord with one careful shove.
"I have devised terms in which I desire this ceasefire to follow. I anticipate you will have augmentations you wish to make."
A cease of hostilities is a given and the most prominent thing listed, it being rather a mute point. The only reason it was readily added to this proposal was just to be thorough and cover all bases... which... was a haunting idea of just how in depth the rest of the document would be. As long as this negotiation is in play, there would be no aggression permitted. No weapons drawn against either team, and no brawls that could end in a casualty. Optimus knew there would be arguments, but the fact was that an escalation of said arguments would be dealt with abruptly by either faction.
This agreement was to cover every Autobot that carried the icon of their faction, as well as all humans except for those under the organization MECH. This was done not only to protect his people, but also the innocent natives that did not play a role in MECH. He didn’t put it past Megatron to use hostilities against Fowler's forces to try to strangle out corrupted personnel from their ranks. While it could be effective, it was simply not how they were to conduct themselves. In addition to this, as much as it grieved him to do so, it was done to protect himself from anything Fortress Maximus may do. Last Megatron knew, ((as far as he was aware)) the tank was a part of the Autobot faction. Optimus knew Fortress would not abide by the cease fire, and he didn’t need an unintentional clash where Megatron thought he had sanctioned an attack. As such, all of his Autobots needed to have their emblems displayed prominently.
The use of lethal force against humans is not to be accepted if there is a viable alternative to it. If a MECH soldier can be captured ((in which it is to be delivered to Fowler)) than a capture is far more prudent an action than simple execution. It was presented in a tactical means, that the individual was more valuable alive than dead, but it would be foolish to assume that was Optimus' only reasoning. He was a bleeding heart when it came to loss of life. As such senseless murder outside of self defense is not tolerable in any way shape or form.
The geographical range of the Ceasefire was a rather important line that needed to be drawn, and it was one that Optimus was not sure he could win on. The truth was that it would likely only extend to the outer atmosphere of the Earth at most, while the rest of the universe was still at arms. He could not imagine Megatron laying out a command for all of his forces across the galaxy to halt current operations, especially the Decepticon Justice Division which would throw a psychotic fit of some kind likely. This said, in the datapad the terms were set for a widespread ceasefire across all excising stations that may or may not be still functioning. The only exception to this was a strict line drawn before the Omega Outpost and the Nemesis. If any were to breach one of those lines uninvited somehow, than it would be an act of war.
It was something to be negotiated and likely lost. Ammunition.
When it came to field tasks, at least one Autobot and one Decepticon must be present at any given MECH mission in order to monitor the other faction's actions. If there is a huge disproportional number between the two, such as a mass amount of vehicons, than an appropriate number of Autobots will be deployed to compensate. This is also true in reverse, but is far more unlikely due to Autobot's smaller numbers.
The construction or further development of weaponry or chemical warfare are to be ceased immediately once the truce is put into play. The only exception to this is tools and armaments needed in order to properly counter MECH the most effectively. This was listed to put an immediate stop to whatever horrors Megatron may be brewing up in the Nemesis. He didn’t need another Cosmic Rust or Cybonic Plague situation.
He had enough of that latter one for a lifetime and a half.
In addition to all of this, there was a proposed hierarchy of power listed that blended Autobot and Decepticons together in a way that joint missions have a clear understanding of who can make judgment calls in the moment. This was a bit of a risky endeavor to propose, but Optimus knew if there was a situation in which one of his soldiers and one of Megatron's right hand commanders were on the field, and a snap decision had to be made to pursue or disengage from a threat, than the commander who holds military power would be able to recall said Autobot or Decepticon to keep a unified force against MECH with no... issues. This would extend outward so that vehicons and miners would be able to be instructed by Autobot forces as well.
When it comes to information obtained on MECH or their activities, it is to be shared to either side as soon as it is obtained. A joint 'account' of sorts what both factions can access whenever they need to. This is to include discoveries on methods used by the humans, as well as victim's accounts and what they have witnessed in order to aid in the mission while still respecting their privacy. Those who WERE subjected to MECH's tortures, will receive any and all care possible from either side to attempt to rectify traumas obtained. Optimus' own medics, and information gained will as such be available to assist Megatron's own, and vice versa.
He quietly hoped it would pass and Air Raid could get additional aid.
There would be a free movement of goods, people, and aid law enacted. This would permit mining operations to go uncontested, and for either side to continue their harvesting of Energon without fear of being raided. This would be beneficial particularly for the Autobots, who otherwise had to keep low key about anything they did find, less Decepticon numbers alone would run them out of the area. Optimus did have plans to try to stockpile as much Energon as he could within reason during this time so long as it did not detract from attempting to deconstruct MECH.
A smaller section was slipped in about prisoners of war that was tagged on near the end. Optimus didn't know if Megatron had intercepted any Autobots during their progression to Earth, and he was not going to let them remain hidden away if possible. The agreement would mean that all prisoners would need to be relinquished to their appropriate factions.
There were also some clauses about augmentation of the agreement, that anything not outwardly addressed could be discussed in a neutral environment, just as it was now, while some codes of conduct were also slapped on. There was so much more slipped in here or there, covering quite a bit. Really the entire document was painfully clear on what was, and was not going to be acceptable terms in his opinion. There would be no room for misunderstanding, and most if not all loopholes had been systematically cut so that finding a means around an issue would be near impossible. Optimus had one thing going for him, and that was as a Data Clerk beforehand, and with how intelligent he was, he could write a mean contract.
The Prime simply sat back upright after passing this over, and idly laced his fingertips together in a resting stance. He knew he had handed over a lot, and it would take time to mull over, but he was a patient soul. He would wait as long as was needed for Megatron to try to sift through it.
Megatron's expression shifted from genially confident to dubious as Optimus slid the datapad over. He halted its momentum beneath a single talon-like finger, then spun it to see the screen. His features hardened further when he saw the density of text on the sreeen, the aching formality of the language, and just how many pages there were to scroll through.
The warlord was far from unintelligent, and had a sturdy grasp on language and linguistics. However, his mind was not inclined to this kind of dry political thinking, which so differed from grand schemes, individual manipulations and incremental planning and preparation for long-term goals.
Just skimming over the text he could see what Optimus was doing: pinning down and stifling opportunities for (mis)interpretation, misunderstandings and the exploitation of minor loopholes. The Iacon Archives had been full of repressive legal slag just like this, and Orion had processed massive chunks of it - ironically, often contributing points from such documents to aid Megatronus's political campaign.
Throughout the course of the war, ceasefires had occurred sporadically under various circumstances, often on a small scale such as this one. The Decepticon Generals were authorised to initiate or consent to them under the caveat that: it be nothing short of exceptional circumstances to warrant laying down arms; and that if the Decepticon agenda was put at risk, that the ceasefire be nullified with or without the Autobot's knowledge and appropriate action be taken immediately.
Megatron had heard about the misery of a ceasefire treatise co-written by Ultra Magnus and Prowl (some commanders had taken to using its recital as a punishment for minor misdemeanors), but he himself had never seen one so bullishly comprehensive before.
Refusing to seem daunted by the monstrous document, Megatron settled one forearm atop the table and produced a stylus from his subspace. He left Starscream to position himself so that he may join in the initial reading, though it was customary for him to pass on documents like this to his Second in Command once he was done with them.
Megatron did not rush. Optimus Prime and that smug-serene patient air he was exuding could damn well wait.
It was quite outside of his notice that he fidgeted after the first laborious paragraph. His frame was unconsciously restless and primed for battle by the Autobot leader's presence alone.
The warlord highlighted the document as he went, annotating the text with his own comments, ticks as crosses as the content itself was locking from editing.
Megatron stated, in sharp glyphs, that non-lethal use of weaponry would be permitted if in self-defense. He would not have his soldiers restricted if Optimus couldn't keep his own in line.
The protection of humans outside of MECH was rankling. Megatron had no particular interest in the humans, and it was policy to remain in hiding from them as much as possible. However if there was evidence to indicate that a human belonged to MECH, or was involved in the dismemberment and trade of Cybertronian parts, he would have them treated as hostile. MECH agents were not going to wear their badge of allegiance on their chests. He would, however, concede to sharing suspicions about a potential MECH agent with the Autobots before engaging.
No lethal force against humans, including MECH, was fine. Fairwinds had been quite enlightening on the merits of destroyed kneecaps - a great deal of damage and agonising pain, but without the immediate risk of killing the woefully-delicate target.
The range of the ceasefire as proposed by the Prime was laughably optimistic, and made absolutely no military sense to agree to. Whatever Optimus had to barter with to have his forces set down arms mid-operation across the galaxy, it wasn't enough. The ceasefire would be restricted to Earth's atmosphere as it was here that MECH, the sole reason for maintaining a ceasefire, resided. Megatron was pleased to see some sense in the proviso that neither faction could cross over onto the Nemesis or into the Omega Outpost. It would have been advantageous to have pinned down the location of the Autobot's static base whilst his remained mobile, but Optimus was not so stupid as to offer that opportunity. They would have to collaborate digitally or in a third location - likely the DMZ, given its traditional purpose.
The proportional numbering of Decepticons to Autobots when it came to the Eradicons was idealistic at best, though it made sense to match numbers when it came to ranked officers. Megatron did not particularly wish to go down the route of equating individual Autobots with a specific number of 'balancing' Eradicons based on power and strength. Optimus likely would. He'd probably even enjoy picking at such minutia. Megatron thought to propose that it be left to Prime's soldiers to say when they were feeling intimidated by the number of Eradicons, and they would withdraw a unit from that.
He would query the demand for the cessation of weapons development whilst the ceasefire was in action, if only because Megatron did not see how Optimus would even know about such activities - let alone be able to monitor them. The truce would ensure that weapons -existing, experimental and biochemical- would not be used. That ought to be sufficient. He did not anticipate the ceasefire to last long, and such a pause would not overly hinder the destructive projects in Shockwave's lab. The scientist could focus on making his soldiers immortal, instead.
The proposed hierarchy made sense, distasteful as he found the notion. He ran a military army, and his soldiers would follow orders. He noted that there would need to be a clearly established hierarchy communicated before each team-up, with Autobots and Decepticons named, and that seniority would still carry responsibility - if there was an incident within the group, then the ranking officer -Autobot or Decepticon- would be held accountable.
When it came to directly sharing information about MECH and their activities, Megatron proposed that Layby be approached about using a space in the DMZ as collaborative operations room. The computer would be accessible to both factions, and be updated with all intelligence gathered, whilst also including detailed personal accounts from those whom had already been subjected to MECH's attentions.
After noting that they were not currently holding any Autobot or non-aligned Cybertronians on the Nemesis or within his proposed geographical scope of the ceasefire, Megatron slid the datapad back as it had been passed to him some minutes before.
"A most impressive document, Optimus." He smiled. "Certainly something we can work with."
He subspaced the stylus and sat back in the chair, tracking the progress of Optimus's flickering optics.
Post by Optimus Prime on Aug 7, 2015 17:07:44 GMT -5
Optimus was confident that his patience would far outlast Megatron's own. He knew he was a tolerant soul in general, and if he did start to grow restless, he need only imagine how frustrating his prolonged neutrality could be to the other individual in the room. It could offer childish complacency to continue remaining dormant. At one point, he did glance down to Ratchet however, to make sure he didn't need to say anything as of yet, before peering back up to watch Megatron and Starscream fiddle and work over the document.
Eventually it seemed all that needed to be done was completed, and Optimus reached his hand up to gingerly place down atop the datapad before it could even consider trying to slide off the edge of the table when it was passed. He didn’t immediately lift it, instead looking ahead at Megatron as the Warlord spoke out about it being something they could work with.
"I would hope as much. We would be having quite a lengthy discussion if you rejected all of it."
His reply was simple, bland, not seeming to hold any barb behind it though that was always up to personal interpretation. It was with this he broke eye contact and pulled the datapad up and around so he could properly view it.
Being a Data Clerk in his prior occupation, even if his frame had undergone tremendous upgrades and modifications since those days, has left some wayward perks behind that he could readily exploit if the opportunity presented itself. While he was not particularly inclined to hurry along these edits for Megatron's sake, he did feel the need to keep things going in a timely manner. With his luck a particularly barbed debate point could surface in which neither side would budge and he wanted to get started on any such issues right away.
It is because of this he harked back to his Data Clerk days, and instead of pulling out a stylus, or using his fingertips to type and make edits, he used his free hand to pull an innocuous wire lead from his wrist that was hardwired for raw data transfer only. It was relic from the Iacon Halls to permit himself to sift and tear through the vast pools of information as if walking through it instead of typing in commands to bring up only pieces and fragments at a time. A monitor could only show so much at once. It is because of this he connected the wire to the side of the datapad, and near instantly saw and knew everything Megatron had changed to the proposed idea.
Lowering the device slightly, so Ratchet could view the information and wording changing and editing in real time, Optimus sifted through and made phrasing tweaks in order to give his thoughts on the matter. Many of the changes were just those to make the document more cohesive and worded in the proper legal formatting without actually altering Megatron's point of view. Call it a bit nitpicky, but his inner Orion didn’t appreciate a formal contract changing 'tone of voice' mid way through and he had to fix it.
Self defense was self defense, and Optimus had no qualms with making it even clearer in the document. Having everything cleanly cut out and worded would only make the treaty stronger. However, it would also make the document excessively long, but... they had already reached that point already on the first step, so it wasn't really a concern to worry about any longer.
When it came to the rejection of protection of non MECH affiliated humans that sold and used Cybertronian parts, Optimus took it with a grain of salt. He didn’t like the wording of the alterations, and how open ended it left it for the Decepticons to share concerns, only to judge the human an issue and deal with it with their brand of justice. As such Optimus edited the formatting and phrasing.
The change would deem that any humans that were not affiliated with MECH, but were still trading and dealing with their remains were to be taken on a case by case basis. If this were to pass, it meant that if someone was dealing directly with MECH and knew damn well what they were dealing with, they were possible targets to use to track down the real threats. But this said, Optimus would be DAMNED if he let Megatron harass a true innocent, just because down the pipeline they bought some high end technology and didn't realize where it may have come from. He would not subject someone to this sort of plight just because of ignorance.
The Prime completely expected the nix of the range of the truce. He knew he was reaching high with that one, and the concept was laughable. But it was a strategic thing, for it then made the rest of the document seem far more reasonable. It possibly could have kept Megatron from protesting some smaller slights, when he had one huge one to contend with first... maybe. The only thing that Optimus contested with it, was extending it past Earth's atmosphere by a marginal amount simply in the VERY UNLIKELY chance an Autobot was pulled onto the Nemesis, and it went into the outer orbit of Earth ((as he had a hunch the ship did from time to time)).
Even if the ceasefire wouldn't really stop any weapon projects for long, and there was no way to truly monitor it, the implementation of this request could ideally be a limp in the development long enough to buy them some time. Idealistic hoping. Trust being offered where it was not owed. It was all he could do.
When it came to mentioning the proposed neutral location being used to facilitate information sharing, Optimus gave his support on the idea given Layby was approving of it. Haven would give them the location, and security needed without having to opt to build or carve a new location out on this earth and outfit it with Cybertronian technology. It would save them days, possibly weeks of hard labor and work that was going to be only a temporary thing. Optimus may have added on a tiny bit at the end however, that if Layby approves of said arrangement, that all technology that may be installed such as new consoles or tools would then be donated to the refugees after the fact as thank you.
Hey, try to get them something out of this right?
Optimus didn't seem to really show any reactions or acknowledgment through the purge and edits of data and information, but upon completion his helm tilted down to peer at the devise for the first time since he plugged into its side. There was a final cursory scan of the entire document, one that would take a normal individual minutes to read, now only taking a fluttering few moments, before he retracted the wire and placed the datapad down upon the tables surface once more. With a casual shove it was offered back to the Warlord.
"I have made edits to phrasing, but most requests were left intact. I don't foresee you having any significant qualms."
Megatron took his time reviewing the edited document. His mouth twitched at the borderline-pedantic proposal to the fractionally broadened range of the treaty, and he deigned to the concession with an over-stated glyph. Let Prime have his few extra miles of peaceful airspace.
They passed the datapad back and forth three more times over the course of two hours fine-tuning phrasing, sub-clauses and stipulations that included a ban on inter-faction fraternization throughout the range and duration of the treaty. It was unnecessary, in Megatron's mind, but they'd covered everything else in such processor-numbing detail that it just made sense to include offenses for which the penalty was a personal 'interrogation' with the Decepticon Commander himself or marked as 'disposable' and given to the scientists. Perpetrator's choice.
More than once, Megatron got the impression that Optimus was enjoying this far too much. It wasn't pleasure he read in the mech's tone, posture and field (all of which he was well-schooled in reading after all these years), but rather a deeply-rooted sense of satisfaction, purpose and calm. He saw parts of Orion again across the table, plugged in and processing with all the efficiency of a mech sparked to the role, and it made his claws tighten around the cube.
When they were finally done with the last semi-colons, it was a relief. Megatron felt an undeniable sense of accomplishment, and presumed that it was only a fraction of what Optimus was feeling. The Autobot Leader had always sought to end hostilities with words over a snuffed spark and grey frame. Temporary as it was, there would be peace on the front line around the faction leaders for the first time since Cybertron fell apart.
Optimus had his time of peace; the Neutrals would get their room of equipment and some energon at the end; and MECH would be gone so attention could be refocused wholly on eliminating the Autobots.
Megatron placed his hands flat on the table and rose to his full height, subtly stretching out his cables. He rarely sat for such extended periods.
"It would seem that we have a working treaty," he announced, motioning to the innocuous device in the middle of the table. "Would you rather us issue the order to stand down to our forces here and now, or will you trust me to do so from the Nemesis?"
Post by Optimus Prime on Sept 11, 2015 17:54:35 GMT -5
Though this was in all likelihood a temporary truce that would not see itself last longer than a human year ((if that)), the sense of relief when it was all said and done was... immeasurable.
It was hard to explain the weight of stress that the war brought with it, but equating it to the heaviest burdens of lead and stone on the Prime's shoulders was a good start. The weight had just always been there, a constant presence to a point he didn't really notice it in his day to day actions past fleeting moments, but now that the truce was set in place and most of the immediate threat to his Autobots was gone? Well... it wrenched everything off in one solid motion and left a confused numbness behind of the familiarity being taken from him.
Even in the safest of havens of the Omega Outpost, there was that constant worry of being found or caught. Their base couldn't move, it couldn't relocate with ease, and if they were found? They were as good as dead. The only salvation is that Optimus was rather certain Megatron would make his actions well known beforehand to try to make a show of power and superiority rather than just spontaneously nuke the location from orbit. A surprise bomb like that could take all of them out before they even knew what hit them.
Now the threat was gone.
Even if Megatron had found them, he could do nothing while retaining the treaty terms. Granted, the Warlord could break that, but Optimus hoped he would at least honor this simplistic truce at its core level. He had to offer even this most basic amounts of trust and ideal hope that there is some sliver of decency still there in the miasma of deception, trickery, and ruthless savagery that seems to have corrupted his past friend. It was a corruption as vile as the Dark Energon that tainted his spark. But... it was the least Optimus could do, while also being the only thing he could do.
As Megatron stood, Optimus remained seated for a moment. He was still mindful of the push and pull between them, the subtle game of power that would likely continue despite this arrangement. If he rose to his feet right after Megatron, it could look like he was in a hurry to not be 'below' him, betraying some insecurity that was not there. By taking his time, it seemed far more on his terms and on his level, rising up to his feet. But while he did keep mindful of such nuances, he did have some relief around him.
Optimus kept his field throttled at all times. He knew it could be powerful, he could project it out for others with strength appropriate for a Prime, but he didn’t favor this power and emotional transparency. It is because of this it was left even, almost a strong humming flat background 'noise' that didn’t fluctuate past the faintest of flicks. So while there was no perceivable change of relief, it could still almost be sensed in the way he carried himself and in the expression on his features.
"It is not a matter of trust-"
The Prime started his words carefully, knowing they were now meant to be on even terms. Any sign of mistrust started now could be compounded and grow worse given time. He did not wish to plant this seed, and as such flowed into the rest of his words smoothly.
"-but I believe it best we issue statements as soon as possible. Scouting parties are out, and an unfortunate clashing due to lack of information could be problematic for either side."
A simple request. For all they know something was occurring right now that was a blatant break of their agreement simply because the individuals involved were ignorant to what had happened. It would be just his luck, and that meant that the chances were rather high. If everything transitioned smoothly? He would start looking for what DIDN'T.
Things don't just transition smoothly...
Reaching forward, Optimus picked up the datapad that had been finalized. The information coded within it had been locked down so that even if he had wanted to change anything, he could not without voiding their individual imprints that validated the agreement. All that could be done to it now was simply copying the information to distribute out for others to review and learn. It went unsaid that he would get right on sending a copy to the Nemesis so that it could be handed out however Megatron deemed fit.
"I will be making my announcement."
He didn’t really wait for Megatron's acknowledgment on this, for he didn't need his 'permission' in order to break off from conversation to accomplish the important task. It is with this, the Prime stepped off to the side so the others could still speak if desired without being interrupted in any way. After this courtesy distance was granted, he lifted his hand to the side of his helm, connecting to the base and obtaining a link in order to relay the new events to his entire team in one solid sweep. Once this connection was established he spoke decisively.
::Contacting all Autobots. From this point onward, till deemed otherwise, a truce has been garnered between Autobot and Deception kind. MECH is an undeniable threat whose abhorrent actions are an act of war against our kind and we must set aside our grievances to address it as such. To act united against this foe is necessary, on behalf those who have suffered, and for those who may still suffer as we speak::
What he had to say was not up for argument and it showed in his voice. This was something that WAS going to happen, and whether or not others thought it was a good idea or not did not play a role. If someone had a true grievance or concern, he would listen, of course he would, but if it was fueled of vengeance and ire than there was no place for it here. They had to unite against a common enemy, and any strays from this path could hurt them all.
The remark was murmured low, seemingly directed for the benefit of Starscream's smirking audial, but uttered loud enough for the Autobots to hear.
Optimus's speech delivering news of the truce was exactly what Megatron had expected: speaking of Decepticons and Autobots as 'our kind', as if they were not culturally distinct as well as functioning as opposing armies; saturated with yearning poetics, and with a negotiating plea underscoring the justification for the ceasefire. Hardly a speech for soldiers, he felt.
But then, Optimus had never gotten comfortable with being a military leader.
Stood off to one side, Megatron opened his own connection and spoke as if his army were before him. His powerful form was poised and immovable, optics bright with high-intensity focus.
"Decepticons. Our war against the Autobots has been long and costly, yet every loss has been but one along the road towards our inevitable victory. Until now our path has been unobstructed, but the native organisation MECH has stolen precious time, resources and sparks from our war effort. Furthermore, the desecration of our kind to further advance a race of organics will not be tolerated.
As such, I have negotiated a truce with the Autobots stationed on this planet - until such time as MECH are no longer a threat. The... minutia of the treaty will follow, but for now: all hostilities are suspended, and our forces will combine and turn upon our mutual enemy - the humans whom would dissect and destroy us."
The warlord's optics narrowed, emotions ever-taut and close to the surface of his mesh. "Heed my command, Decepticons. The consequences for disobeying this order of ceasefire will be delivered by me. Personally.::
Megatron severed the connection after assigning the appropriate glyphs, trusting that Soundwave would document the short speech for their records. Shoulders shifting downwards into a fractionally more relaxed pose, the large mech turned to regard Optimus with a single raised optic.