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.
<<This is set maybe a few weeks after Shadow comes back, once things have settled down just a bit. Probably concurrent with Down on the Bayou.>>
Jazz sighed as the groundbridge collapsed behind him. It was ironic, he supposed, that the place where so much of the last few weeks' fallout had originated was the more peaceful of the two bases now. Quieter, at least. Though Jazz WAS rather sad that he'd missed whatever had left the hallways and random rooms paintsplattered in patterns that indicated a high-speed chase.
He'd pinged Cleaver that he'd be coming, with distinct overtones of "just comin' to chill out, ignore me if you're busy", so his first wander was over to the bar, where he liberated a cube of Sideswipe's rotgut in exchange for a cube of Ironhide's rotgut. It was a fair trade, he figured, perhaps moreso, since Ironhide's still was getting better all the time due to a certain cadre of engineers tinkering with it.
Jazz's second wander was medbay-wards. Booze, then cohort. A bit backwards, but then the cohort had settled...some...mostly...after The Megatronus Incident, and he felt fairly sure that he could relax his watchfulness just a tad without something imploding. Probably.
At the rear of the Medbay, Cleaver was having a similar thought. She’d come back from a two day flight feeding trace energon and energy signatures back to Steeljaw to a former mine splattered throughout with paint and infested with Pit Spawn that Google had identified as Furbies. The EMP blasts in the most remote tunnels (where there was no working tech to suffer) had perhaps been an overreaction, but the reverberating echoes of the little bastards wittering at each other had driven her to violence.
Cleaver didn’t care about the paint, skid marks, dents and scrapes that covered the entirety of the base with the exception of the Medbay. That zone was relatively unscathed due to Sunstreaker’s presence, unlike how she’d found her multicoloured and upended room. Her workplace had, however, been subject to the most malicious degree of Sideswipe’s childishness.
Furbies, programmed with proximity sensors as well as to go off at random intervals, were everywhere. In cupboards; in drawers; on the undersides of berths; in half-stripped parts; on the ceiling.
Glued. To the ceiling.
Four kliks after coming home to this scene she’d wished she carried a blaster. Or even knew how to use one.
There was no way she could eradicate the screaming furballs in the same manner as she had in the storage rooms and maze of tunnels. Even the Atrium had had only a few sensitive zones (the edge of the bar; the groundbridge; the comm. unit; the weapon’s locker and Cat’s Area) in the cavernous space to be careful around in the destruction of the things. The Medbay, unfortunately, was an entirely different pallet of oil.
She couldn’t get to the ceiling Furbies by herself (Sideswipe could only have stuck them up there using his jetpack, the slag-sucking glitch), and she wasn’t so desperate as to start throwing things at them (yet). This left the rest of the infestation, which was still plenty irritating and time-consuming.
It was a good, cathartic activity, the medic was finding. Audios dialed down, laser scalpel searing clean down the centre of the Furbie before taking it off at the feet, then pressing a rag of paint stripper to the lingering fluff and glue to dissolve the mess, and finally wiping the area off with cleanser and moving on. Methodical, satisfying, and a fair distraction from thinking and fretting over recent events. It was better now that she knew that Shadowrunner was back at the Autobot base, safe and with her cohort, though she only knew as much from Steeljaw.
On her back inside an emptied cupboard, Cleaver gritted her dentals as her thoughts strayed too close to the Autobots, bringing with it the familiar sickly unease and guilt over her grievous errors in judgement. She’d realised from Sideswipe’s verbal assault that the fault behind the series of frag-ups originated in a history of arrogant presumption, autonomy and ignorance; a history she’d thought left behind, and was disturbed to find still so deeply etched into her mesh. She didn’t know how to proceed, if to reach out an apology to the Autobots would be yet another presumptuous and intolerable act.
Because, as Sideswipe had so clearly spelled out, she didn’t even know how to apologise right.
If it had just been Barricade, things wouldn’t have gone so badly. She’d had no idea of the mech’s connection to Shadowrunner. He’d been a wreck left for dead that she’d salvaged and fixed, as she’d done dozens of times before. Ironhide had accepted that. She’d not betrayed him and his, though it was likely Shadowrunner would never forgive let alone trust her.
But it had been Megatron, and she had a terminal glitch when it came to that mech. Cleaver had fucked up, betrayed cohort and her cohort’s kin, and received a rude awakening about how much of a Towers mecha she really was. The fallout would come as it would, deserved, but for now the femme was working to maintain a low profile, disturbing as few as she could, and clean house.
She'd replied to Jazz's comm. in the same spirit, inviting him to make himself at home and leaving it at that. Keeping quiet. Cleaning house.
Which, she groused internally as she rested on one elbow inside the next cupboard, would be a lot easier if she could get the Furbies off the damn ceiling.
Jazz paused in the medbay entrance, looking up at a strange noise and just...continuing to look. Then he looked down, taking in the extent of the infestation.
Well. That was something you didn't see every day.
Jazz cracked open the seal on his cube, because, really, it just seemed called for.
"So," he said to Cleaver's legs where they poked out of a cupboard, "Sideswipe." No other explanation seemed sufficient or even possible.
Jazz's face spread in a slow smile. "You should save some. Because I can think of MANY ways we can keep this going. I'm thinkin', y'know, furbies in a circle around Sunstreaker's berth, warbling hymns to the golden one, little offerings of paint at their feet...."
Inside the confines of the acetone-soaked cupboard, Cleaver smiled a little at the remark. Ordinarily that would be something Cat would jump at the chance to get in on. Ordinarily Sideswipe would have gotten a kick out of it before retaliating through ever-more imaginative means. Furbie warfare could go on for vorns with such snipes at each other, affectionate and murderously exasperating, respectively.
Nothing about now was 'ordinary' though.
Well. Fixing her medbay after Sideswipe threw a tantrum was familiar, at least.
"You wanna make a little shrine to sleeping beauty, go right ahead. But it'll be silent and I'll have no part in it," Cleaver replied, spraying a mist of cleanser into the dissolved glue and beginning to scrub with a heavy cloth. She didn't add the very clear thought that she was actively trying not to torque off Sideswipe any more than she already had. Or do anything to break the queasy peace.
The metal panel cleaned and the crushed remains of the Furby that had occupied it pulped in her hand, Cleaver slid back out to kneel on the floor. She flared her rotors, aching from all the crawling around, and dumped the furry remains into the slowly-filling bin.
Jazz was still smiling, half cocked and friendly, and her own expression eased a little. She nodded to the ceiling. "I know there's no weapons in the DMZ, but extenuating circumstances... Couldn't pop those things off for me, could you?"
Jazz looked up at the Furbies in question, mumbling to themselves all unawares of their imminent demises. His optics darted from side to side, judging heights and angles and eyeing the stone of the wall. His calculations came out favorable, and he gave Cleaver a lopsided grin. "Oh, far be it from me to break the ceasefire zone." He swept into a bow. "Allow me...."
With that, he hopped up on one of the sturdiest cabinets, then up onto a taller one, then leapt, twisting in the air to face the wall and dig talons in. He hung there for a moment, testing whether the stone would bear his weight on talontips, and judged that it wouldn't forever but would for the time required for clean-up duty.
Satisfied, Jazz climbed, supplementing his talon-grip with more conventional hand- and foot-holds when he could. When he couldn't, he hung from the ceiling, never staying in one place for long and several times having to scramble for better holds as gravity threatened to dump him back down into the medbay. Still, one by one the Furbies came off via talon-swipes that took them off at the roots. One final survivor made Jazz approach it from several different angles before a precisely-aimed kick took out the Furby and the glue holding it to the ceiling by crushing the rock it was attached to.
Jazz scrambled back over and down the wall, finally vaulting to land in a clear part of the medbay floor with a showman's flourish and a grin.
Cleaver watched the acrobatic eradication with appreciative optics, equal amounts impressed and grateful. She was very aware of how nimble the silver mech was, but she'd not seen him execute any of the skills that no doubt made him a deadly force. And slaying Furbies...
"My hero," Cleaver praised dryly before moving off to fetch the requested broom. The stiff bristles were thick with filaments, shavings of metal and scales of paint; she knocked the edge of it against the lip of the bucket to shed the worst of it onto the Furbies before handing it to Jazz.
Their fields overlapped in a wash of reassuring warmth, longwave coming off the Autobot easy, though Cleaver knew enough snippets to understand that Jazz was a creature of fractured layers. His affable nature was genuine, but a cold ugliness was still only ever a spark-pulse away. Doubtless it had served him well.
Cleaver wondered, now that Shadowrunner was back and the cohort at Omega One had had a chance to reconnect, how close the ugly was right here.
The femme moved away as soon as Jazz had taken the metal pole of the broom, retreating to the stout cupboard of various strengths of cleansers and taking one of the spray canisters and a large, shallow tray. On the closest berth, she lay her forearm across the metal, flared and extended every component and then sprayed the area liberally. There was a fizzing sound as the glue and synthetic fur began to come away, and she flexed her fingers as she waited for the cleanser to penetrate and clear the remnants of her labours out from her plates.
Her optics tracked back to Jazz. "Did you really just come here to 'chill out'," she asked, quiet and sincerely wanting the truth. However much that had been cutting, lately.
Jazz tilted a hand off his broom as he swept up. "Mostly, yeah. Base is kinda heavy lately. Crowded, too. I'm a social mech, but s'nice to have a bit of downtime now and then, y'know?" He leaned down to get a bit of Furby that had rolled under one of the berths and tapped it back into the neat pile he was amassing.
"So yeah, here for the quiet." He looked up at Cleaver, pausing and leaning on his broom. "Here to see how you're doing, too. Those're the top two. And, when you feel up to it.... I know you and 'Hide talked a bit about what happened with Megatron, before it all blew up, but it sounded like we could do more." He shrugged, glyphs fond and patient. "I just want to make sure that you're all right and that we're all on the same page. Not talking things out seems like it kinda backfired on us this time. No one's fault, just miscommunication and bad luck. But maybe putting all the expectations out on the table, ours AND yours, would help for next time. What do you think?"
"Think that not talking has done more harm than good," Cleaver agreed, a dry sort of resignation to her faults bubbling beneath her tone like the cleanser beneath her plates.
She turned the split blade over, watching the dirty foam reside sluice into the tray. Amidst the greasy streaks of dissolved glue, grains of organic dirt and dried energon from pinprick leaks, a colourful multitude of fur began to gather in sodden clumps. Another liberal application of cleanser and she fidgeted the components, flexing out various tools, micro-siphons and tessellating microplates.
Cleaver watched the internals of her bristling arm come up clean beneath the foam, noting that Jazz had not gone back to politely sweeping up the Furbie remains. His optics on her were calm and inquiring, without any of the frustrated confusion that Ironhide had been rattling with when they'd talked on this topic.
She'd agreed to change, admitted that her way of living didn't work, and that she would make the effort for the sparkling's future if nothing else.
This seemed like a damn good time to start.
"Barricade was a genuine mistake, but Megatron..." Cleaver stopped, frowning, not knowing where the hell that statement had been going. Where to start what would doubtless be more of a damning series of admissions than a stabilizing confession. How to contextualize this latest grievous error in judgement against a history of responsibility...
She collapsed the parts of her arm back together, the dripping blade immediately transforming into a forearm and a hand. It closed into a fist, drawn tight to her chassis. Cleaver shook her helm a little, frustrated by the words that would not come and, somehow, with Jazz's ongoing patience as the silence dragged out. What finally came out wasn't right, didn't explain anything, but it was a start.
"I've always tried to work with good intentions - preserving life, first and foremost - but it seems more and more like good intentions alone, no matter the conviction and energy put into them, is never enough. Just, blind."
The medic thought back to the crash in the Iacon and the dead she had stripped to save the dying. The malpractice cases that had followed and the reassignment to Kaon. The dying sparkling she'd let die because she'd already faced charges for breaking the rules before and was trying to keep her treads clean. The miner who left without the body, the frame confiscated for dismantling and redistribution. The guilt when she was commended for setting a proper example, and the assurances of a return to good grace. The gladiator who didn't recognize the half-starved, self-stripped medic come to the Arenas to take a wage and seek recompense. The pride she'd taken in keeping a revolutionist fighting for equality alive and strong. The horror when he'd revealed his army when he'd failed at the first political hurdle. The compulsion to follow in his wake, triaging at battlefields and siphoning fuel from the dead to save anyone and move on again.
"You know what it's like, don't you?" Cleaver asked, watching the faint flickers of light across the Autobot's visor. His faceplates were utterly unreadable when he wished them to be, his field the same. There was a chill in her lines from where the cleanser was evaporating, a distant sensation she barely noticed. "Doing things you're not proud of because, at the time, you thought it was somehow right."
Jazz chuckled, dryly and without much humor, helm shaking. "Oh, femme, do I ever."
Jazz had hacked, murdered, tortured, sparkraped, mindwiped, and/or utterly broken more mecha than he wanted to admit to. He had done it willingly, in the name of causes as immediate as his own survival and as abstract as "justice" or "for the future". He hadn't enjoyed it. But when the leader of the cause he'd believed in had asked it of him, when circumstances meant do it or those he cared for would suffer, Jazz had done it, and done it well. Because it had been...not right, maybe, but NECESSARY to contribute to the end that Jazz was working toward.
Which was exactly the reason that Jazz couldn't judge Cleaver for her choices. They'd both done what they thought was right at the time, and preserving life was a lot higher a calling than Jazz had ever aspired to. And as for the cohort...Cleaver wasn't stupid. She wasn't cruel. She was a Neutral, eternally vulnerable, and she was coming out of a long period of being very alone. Without anyone telling her to the contrary, with her cohort not even LIVING WITH HER, Jazz wasn't surprised that she'd just carried on like normal, falling back on old habits.
It hadn't been the best choice. It had hurt Ironhide and Shadow and had almost led to a fight that could have ended very, very badly. But though the ACTION had been harmful, Jazz wasn't willing to punish Cleaver any more than he was willing to punish Shadow for disappearing. Cleaver knew it'd been harmful. She was already beating herself up about it. She had said she'd try harder next time, and that was all that Jazz wanted: that willingness to learn and change and promote harmony. Jazz grinding the mistake in her faceplates again wouldn't gain them anything more.
One more swipe of the broom moved the pile of furbybits out of the way, and Jazz moved a step closer, broom set to lean against the berth. "I'm not in the business of judging anyone. And I'm not...I don't come from the same place that 'Hide and Shadow do. They started in cohorts, have ingrained ideas about what they should be, how cohort should act. Me? I FOUND my cohort, came at it from the outside. I know how hard it is to pick up on all the rules that everyone else already knows."
Jazz sent a pulse of understanding through his field. "So I understand. And m'here if you want to talk."
<<In case it's not clear, Jazz hasn't yet put together that she has a past with Megatron, even with what she said in the previous post. His field and body language will act accordingly. >>
The word was small - too small for the glyphs of need/encouragement/assurance that wreathed it. 'Want' was equally insubstantial. They, the cohort, needed to talk. There was just no choice in the matter if Cleaver wanted any of them to remain in her life.
The old femme simply didn't know where to begin, and for once the beginning was not the easiest place to start from. Indeed, the origin of this clusterfrag was the most horrific part.
Primus did she want another drinking session with the silver mech.
"Appreciate your candidness, Jazz," she replied, relief and a comforted kind of gratitude clear in her field towards the smaller mech. "And... I think I owe a better explanation of what happened than what I've been giving."
She transformed her blades, ran one hand across her face with clenched denta and shuttered optics, and finally found her resolve. A nod towards the doorway behind Jazz, and Haven in general. "But not here."
Jazz radiated encouraging approval, and was silently patient as she set aside the cleaning materials and led the way out into the Atrium and to the groundbridge controls. She sent off a text to Cat's phone, Moonshot and Sideswipe that she was leaving the base, not expecting a reply from any of them, and dialed up one of the most recent sets of co-ordinates.
They stepped out of the vortex in a small clearing in a jungle environment, the air filled with a cacophony of sound as dusk encroached. Cleaver stopped, hesitant and vaguely nauseous.
It would have been easier to cable up with Jazz - hardline their processors and transmit every memory file from the meeting here up until this moment within nanokliks. Some mecha preferred that kind of impersonal transmission, devoid of inflection and the abstraction that otherwise came with conveying subjective experience.
But that subjectivity was important, perhaps even moreso than what was being said. The choice of phrasing, where emphasis was placed, the frequency and nature of pauses - all vital to meaningful communication. Why they still possessed vocalisers to supplement their comm.s and body language.
Cleaver waited until the ground bridge had closed to speak.
"This is where Megatronus, Megatron comm.ed me from." She lead Jazz forward to where the churned-up vegetation and sharp furrows in the mossy ground could still be seen, leaning a blade into the ground to stand where she had stood before. In front of her, though less obvious now that nature had pushed back in undeterred, lay the sharp angles and dipped planes of where the warlord had knelt to be disarmed.
"His memory core was shot to slag, put back to when I was his medic in the Arenas." Cleaver's gaze remained fixed on the spot, her processor supplying a ghostly image of his frame. The hot press of his field, anxious and trusting. "He... didn't know who else to call. And I couldn't leave him."
"When you were...." Oh. Jazz's processor flailed and frantically broke and reconnected threads, the entirety of his assumptions tossed into the air and coming down as something ENTIRELY NEW.
...OH. Well, that would explain some of the heretofore-unexplained, now wouldn't it?
It was certainly nothing new. Millions of years of civil war, you ran into a lot of people who'd been someone in the past. It was one reason that Cybertronians had become so wary of each other, why defectors and Neutrals were looked on with such suspicion by both sides: you never knew who someone had BEEN. It was just a fact of life.
Jazz didn't overmuch care, though, who someone had been, just who they were NOW. The humans had a saying about that...something about stones and glass houses.
And to be honest, it was a bit better than Jazz's worst-case-scenario. There had been, of course, a not-inconsiderable chance that Cleaver had been compromised by threats of force or blackmail into working for the 'Cons. That was still a possibility, of course, (though really, if that had been the case, Jazz would have expected to come back to a lot worse than he had) but that she just had PERSONAL HISTORY was...less alarming.
"...Okay." The glyph was marked with modifiers for surprise, but also ones for acceptance-of-fact. Jazz flapped a hand at Cleaver in a wordless s'okay, go on, I'm still listening way.
The femme glanced back at Jazz at the wave of encouragement, absorbing the warmth of his support and patience. He'd held this same steady composure in his field when they'd first met in the entrance to the mine, with Airachnid scuttling overhead and a sentient and disgruntled Eradicon leading the way. The harmonics between them had become more complex since then, interwoven with signifiers of cohort and love.
Cleaver looked back to the shallow marks in the ground with a flash of guilt, though without really seeing. Her mind had gone back to those vorns, so different to those first terrifying few down near the gutter where everyone snarled close and hard and she'd had to be half-starved to get past the fear. The sSort of place where the med-techs would find 'volunteers' to work out the bugs in the latest advancements. Fifty shanx to a mecha willing to risk their sensor net being permanently hypersensitised, and they did. Would do it for less.
She'd slowly carved out a workshop close to the arenas, hot and cluttered and casually violent. She'd nurtured her temper there, a short fuse somehow making a medic seem more trustworthy. Steady stream of patients coming through before Megatronus began to see her exclusively.
"I was proud of what I was doing, then," Cleaver admitted quietly when she felt Jazz move to her side, encouraging after the long silence. "For the first time in a long while. Keeping this revolutionist alive and strong. Keeping him fighting in the pits and at his rallies."
She knelt as her blades fractured and contracted into hands, sat when one was a fist against her chassis and the other held her bent knee. It put her more completely into Jazz's field, greedy for it. Her systems hurt with the strain of manufacturing without tangible access to a Sire, throbbing despite the defrag cycles because Haven didn't feel safe.
It made sense for what she had done. Was deserved for the betrayal that hadn't been intended but in hindsight had been inevitable. For her arrogance.
"Nearly all of my biggest mistakes are connected with that mech." Cleaver dragged a hand across her helm, then found she couldn't bring her fingers down from squeezing her temporal plates and covering her optics. "Got a terminal glitch for doing the wrong thing."
Last Edit: Mar 25, 2013 17:41:08 GMT -5 by Deleted
Jazz stepped closer, field meshing with Cleaver's in the way that she so obviously needed. He could feel it rippling along his own field, the static of uncertainty and regret and loss. It felt so familiar, brought back memories he'd...well, not tried to bury, but tried to put behind him.
He vented a sigh, resting his hands on Cleaver's shoulder and knee. "You are so not the only mecha here that Megatronus drew in and then changed the rules on. Seriously. I remember him, back then. I admired him, thought he was just what Cybertron needed. I tried--" He leaned his helm in to lean against hers. "--I tried." Tried my best. Tried to be the voice of reason. Tried to keep sane. Tried to be a better mech than I've ended up.
Jazz nudged Cleaver's helm with his own, whispering like it was a secret, because like Pit he could say anything like this to an Autobot. "So yeah. I know the feeling. And be honest? Megatronus...the real Megatronus?...walked up to me...might try and help him, too. Because damn, don't we all want that mech back? I know I do."
Understanding-sorrow-lost!chances flickered through his field, chased by encouragement that she continue.
Dropping her hand to loop an arm around Jazz's waist, Cleaver pulled him flush and tucked her face into the juncture of his neck and shoulder assemblies. "Wish you'd been there," she murmured, as quiet as his confession had been and scratched through with a tremble of static.
Though, she wondered, would Jazz being there have changed anything?. With a bitter clench at the honesty in the stupidity, she decided it wouldn't have. She have still tried to contain the warlord, bury him like she'd tried to bury their ugly history, and with as much success. Grimacing into Jazz's plates, clinging to the smaller mech like an anchoring point in a violent storm, Cleaver admitted to herself that she'd still have endangered everyone in Haven out of fear and arrogance even if a cohort-mate who could see in shades of grey had been near.
Jazz had been a Decepticon. He had, no doubt, hurt people, and redeemed himself enough to the Autobots to be accepted. More importantly, right now, he also had no over-zealous Guardian programming that could swamp him.
Cleaver genuinely tried to pull away a little, to meet his optical visor, but ended up just holding him tighter. "Know I've hurt everyone. Put them in danger." Her jaw clenched to the point of pain. "Betrayed you all. Got no right to call anyone cohort. But I need you. Need Ironhide. The sparkling needs... But if Shadowrunner..." She trailed off, lost, spark throbbing with guilt and grief.
Me too, Jazz almost replied. Almost. Because, when he'd returned and finally understood what had gone down while he'd been off on vacation, Jazz had wished he'd been there...but not for Cleaver or the rest of the cohort. For himself.
Jazz had long-ago separated the two: there had been Megatronus and then Megatron. Where one had become the other, Jazz had never quite pinned down, but they were not one and the same. And here, on Earth, NOW, for a cycle or two, had been Megatronus. A mech that Jazz had followed, trusted, admired, and loved with a fierce loyalty that had made Megatron's long, slow betrayal of Megatronus' (and Jazz's) ideals all the more painful.
It would have been spark-searingly painful, to know that Megatronus would likely not recognize him, to know that it could not last, to see before him all the things that had not and could never again be...but Jazz would have taken the chance to see that mech in a sparkspin. Just...to talk with him. To reassure Jazz that he had existed, once.
Jazz shoved all that away, though, at Cleaver's distress. "Wait, wait, wait...oh, Cleaver, hon, is that what you're worrying about?"
Jazz pulled back, reaching up to take Cleaver's helm in his hands and touch his helm to hers. "You are cohort, femme. I swear, you'n Shadow're more alike than you know. Have to keep telling HER the same thing, too." He repeated the glyphs, with more temporal markers for "now" and "always" in them. Ironhide's markers that he always pulled out when Shadow needed the reassurance. "You. Are. Ours. We're not gonna leave you, not over this, not ever. No matter what happens. 'Hide's not MAD at you, love, said so himself. He's just confused and locked down and fighting some of his own glitches right now. Biggest ones right now're about Prime, not about you."
Jazz nudged her helm with his own, arms going around her chassis and snuggling in to kiss the plating over her chamber. "Don't you worry about bein' cohort or the bitlet havin' a family, because that is a done deal. Whatever happens. Couldn't get rid of us if you TRIED."