Transformers Universe MUX
Log Title: A Prime to Trust

Characters: Starlock, Dawnfire, Optimus Prime

Location: Autobot Command Center

Date: 10/2/2020

TP: New Harmonex TP / Combaticons TP / ???

Summary: Starlock goes to talk to Optimus Prime about what happened with the 
Combaticons, and her punishment for it, Dawnfire comes along to help give Starlock 
some support.

As logged by Starlock

Autobot Command Center <ACC> - Iacon

The Autobot Command Center tends to be a rather busy place, even at the best of times. Right now... it's about par for the course, with several Autobots moving about between stations, filing reports and the like. While Optimus isn't in the midst of all this hoopla, a quick question will guide them to Optimus's office, adjacent to the Command Center in much the same way a captain's ready room is to the main bridge on a Federation starship in Star Trek.

The interior is sparse, some might even say spartan. Not many decorations at all adorn the walls or desk; perhaps the most notable is a holo-image of Orion Pax, Ariel and Dion -- happier times, before everything changed.

Seated behind the desk is Optimus, studying a datapad intently, and apparently comparing it to a holo-screen readout.

And just outside the door is Starlock who's glaring at the door as she silently, mentally, trying to psych herself up and prepare herself, knowing what she was going to do, her fists balling lightly as she tenses them up then relaxed them. 

"...Come on Stars.. you can do this.. Just remember what Ratchet told you, rather honesty and people come to him." She'd murmur softly, trying to calm herself, but at the sametime she was still mentally preparing walls.

And just behind Starlock is her faithful escort. Dawnfire is glaring at the door too, though he's not trying to psych himself up. He's trying to keep himself calm, oddly enough. Although he's not entirely up-to-date on what's going on, he has a vague idea that something important enough to warrant a meeting with the Prime has to be bad news in some way or another. 

"He probably doesn't bite, you know," Dawnfire comments quietly - hopefully quietly enough that his voice doesn't travel through the door. "If he does, I'll bite him for you."

That was enough to break mounting her anxiety for a moment to gain a chuckle from Starlock, even a smile as she talks lowly. "Thanks.. you know you don't have to come with me, I know i've.. kind of gotten a lot of people in trouble." She'd say, even if it is a comfort, she didn't want Dawnfire getting in trouble with her.

Dawnfire waves a hand in a dismissive gesture. "I'm free right now. Might as well make myself useful." He drops his tone furtively, a mischievous gleam in his optics. "Besides... it's not every day you get to see the Prime in person."

Starlock squints up at him, just what was /that/ supposed to mean? She'd shake the thought off before She'd look at the door once more, taking a deep vent. "Right... alright.." Here goes.. And with that, she'd reaches her hand out to knock on the door after a hesitant moment. 

There was a moment of silence before she glances back to Dawnfire and gives a soft smile as that anxiety started building once more. "Thanks.." she adds softly.

"Come," Optimus's voice can be heard, and the doorway slides apart to reveal Optimus and his office. He glances up, his blue optics brightening. "Starlock. Dawnfire. Come in."

Starlock flinches as it opens immediately, but once more she takes a vent and steels herself, trying to build that mask of a wall she'd been mentally, quickly as she could.. She wasn't hiding from punishment, and she didn't want anyone to think that, honestly she'd just been waiting this whole time in the open, but nothing came, so.. best to to go straight to him, least that was her line of thinking when she decided this after her talk with Ratchet. 

She'd step into the office, and glanced around, and gave a salute in proper greeting.

Dawnfire stiffens as the door slides open. As standoffish and grumpy as Dawnfire appears... or rather, tries to appear, he still gives a respectful dip of his head to the Prime. Seems he respects the leader of the Autobots, regardless of how much he acts like he's a lone wolf. 

He quietly follows Starlock into the office, and copies her salute.

Optimus Prime leans back, setting the datapad aside on his desk and the holo-screen goes dark. "Salutes aren't necessary. Have a seat." He gestures to the chairs sitting across from him, even as the doors slide to a close behind the pair. "What can I help you with?"

"They never hurt, though," Dawnfire quips dryly from where he stands lurking behind Starlock's left shoulder. He's still got that mischievous look about him, though. 

He eases himself down onto one of the chairs, settling back in a mostly-relaxed position. Though a good look at him would reveal that he's ready to leap to his feet and probably draw a weapon, should trouble rear its head.

Starlock nods and takes a seat, looking uncomfortable as she crosses her arms, her finials drooping downward, and she huffs, trying to keep her tone even despite knowing it was wanting to strain and crack from fear. 

"...I've.. come to talk about what 'happened' with the combaticons with you." She'd glance over, watching his body posture. "I know Hot Rods posted a report, he's been jumping on me any chance he can, so, i'd be surprised if he didn't." She says holding a finger out, her tone a bit dry. "I've given Ironhide a full report." She adds, holding out another finger. "And i've.. not exactly been hiding or avoiding consequence given what I did so.." She'd and glanced over. "Figured.. just address it head on."

Optimus Prime's expression remains neutral as Starlock begins to speak, listening silently. "I am aware of Hot Rod's report," he finally says quietly. "Ironhide's report, however, has yet to grace my desk. The only other source I've heard this from is Incognito." He pauses for a moment. "Regardless of how this plays out, Starlock, I'd suggest you might want to steer clear of Tyger Pax and out of Incognito's path. He's not very happy at all with the fact that Decepticon Intelligence has already paid him a visit over this."

He leans back in his chair, regarding Starlock. "I had seriously hoped that this would not be the case. The incident with Sideswipe and Sunstreaker was bad enough, even though now we have proof that something unduly influenced them. Now, this."

He glances over at Dawnfire for a moment, then back to Starlock, letting out a quiet sigh and shaking his head. "Starlock... what am I going to do with you? You do realize that Megatron isn't going to take this sitting down. That said... I want the details of what's been done."

Starlock just needed to remind herself, despite all this, so many people, so many /bots/ have told her she did the right thing.. Blast off thanking her, even if he didn't remember their past together... "Figured as much, Ghost's smart, she was bound to figure it out." She'd huff and listened to Prime. 

"..I don't know, and I know, I know what kind of target I've put on myself." She says with a nod, more than aware of the target on her back that's been growing since she blasted him off the roof, giving him the proverbial, verbal, and physical middle finger. 

"...As for what happened... how and all.." She'd think and glanced back to Dawnfire, remembering what he said.. Don't be a 'hero'... "I hope this doesn't get those that helped me in trouble."

"With all due respect," Dawnfire speaks up, "all we really can do is ... well, accept what's happened, and plan for the worst. Lamenting what's happened won't change the past. I've already promised that I'd watch Starlock's back." 

He turns his attention to the femme, fixing her with a steely, calculating stare. "Honestly? No matter what you do - or what you don't do, you'll get into trouble eventually. Every action or inaction has a result. Best thing to do, if you ask me, is to make sure that you get into trouble for doing the right thing. Just... don't ask me what the 'right thing' is. Sure as hell don't know."

"Indeed." Optimus straightens up in his chair, leaning forward a little. "I can imagine what the Ethics Committee would say, if this were to go before Chief Justice Tyrest like it did with Sideswipe and Sunstreaker. So perhaps it's a good thing that the Chief Justice is attending to other matters that might well take him several vorn to accomplish... even if it does mean that it leaves the decision to me."

He glances between the pair, before focusing on Starlock. "This is not the first time something like this has been attempted, you realize," he says. "We tried it once before on the Constructicons, and failed. Like with the Combaticons, the Constructicons were reprogrammed into what they are now. You should hear Omega Supreme's stories of how well they got along at Crystal City... before Megatron and his Robo-Smasher device turned the Constructicons to his cause."

He leans back again. "My words are quoted so often now: freedom is the right of all sentient beings. And it is a statement I hold near to my spark. But sometimes, Starlock, there is a high cost to freedom; sometimes, that cost can be deemed too great."

Starlock can't help but blink, but give something of a soft smile at Dawnfire, breaking that mask of hers again. He did have a point, it did give her a bit more confidence in what she was doing, before nodding at Prime. "I know..." She'd huff as she listened, taking her lumps... So where to start? 

She'd think, and think, before speaking. "I'd learned it was different from the constructicons.. given the circumstances, thus there was hope for them, vs what had happened to the constructicons." Starlock says.

"We thought there was hope as well. It's one thing to be hopeful and optimistic, but there has to be some objectivity and realistic thinking as well." Optimus sighs. "These situations are more alike than you realize. Had you approached us with this plan... I admit, I would have said no, but not for the reasons you might believe."

He stands up, pacing a little behind his desk. "Freedom is the right of all sentient beings. I would be remiss if I said otherwise. And that goes for everyone: not just Autobots and Neutrals, but Decepticons as well. It goes for any sentient species. The biggest difference between what we tried to do with the Constructicons, as opposed to what you've done with the Combaticons, is that we didn't fully realize the dangers involved. Not for us, certainly not for them. But now, there's a number of lives at risk: yours, the Combaticons, those who aided you... even those to whom you spoke only once about this matter are, as the humans put it, 'feeling the heat' from this situation. You've all become targets -- and if there's one thing I know about Onslaught and the Combaticons, they will swear allegiance to Megatron again, if only for the sake of self-preservation. You, and those who aided you, are not likely to be nearly so fortunate. You've placed a very large target on yourself, and on those who helped you with this."

He moves to retake his seat. "The fact that you've finally come to discuss this with us is commendable. Later than I'd like, certainly, but as Spike's told several of us on various occasions, 'better late than never.'"

Starlock nods, listening and watching, before she vents out, once Prime is done, she speaks. "I waited because I was expecting to be called, but as days past.. nothing happened, so.. After talking with Ratchet, here I am." She'd vent out, optics dimming. "..I didn't approach originally because.. given what happened in Harmonex.. I didn't want outside forces sabotaging things.." She admits somberly, and showing just how badly her trust had been broken.

"That's one of the reasons I didn't come to anyone right away... " She'd add with a sigh. "Less people that knew, the better and the safer.. but I couldn't do it alone..I'm a doctor and mechanic, not a brain or programing specialist."

"And here, I thought the problem was the fact that you didn't trust me, or trust Autobot Command, given how things ended with Harmonex and all." Optimus's own voice echoes that somber tone. "Speaking of which, don't be surprised if Jazz comes to debrief you about this -- mostly because I think he's going to have plenty of issues over how Autobot Intelligence missed all of this for as long as they did. I know one data archivist, at least, has been kicking himself because he thinks he should have seen it." A brief pause. "We won't even discuss Red Alert's reaction." That last was... an attempt at humor? From Prime?

He leans back. "I think several Autobots would be the first to say to cut our losses. However... I'm thinking of something different, though some might say what I plan to do is actually worse." He looks at Starlock. "Will you accept my decision on this matter?"

"Its fine, none of Decepticon intelligence knew ether, I strategically used the internet private messaging system to avoid any mention of over radios where Soundwave or Blaster would hear, that and speaking in private." starlock says, explaining just how she did /that/. She does smile at the attempt at humor, only cause she can relate to Red alert. 

Starlock shrugs. "Dunno till i know it, I've not been avoiding punishment for my actions, I knew by doing what I did I'd endanger people, despite being as careful as I was... Fact I was the only person shot is a win in my book." She'd nod. "...The effects they are feeling are harmless, annoying, but harmless, might I add, and can be fixed, just.. need a bit of help with that." She'd add on.

Optimus Prime nods slowly. "First... I want your research. If nothing else, it can be an olive branch. We give it to the Decepticons, or to whomever does the work with the Combaticons to relieve them of their side effects. At this point, I don't know that Onslaught and the Combaticons will trust much of anyone. Incognito certainly isn't about to place himself into the middle of this, any more than he's already been put into it. Most likely, that leaves Valvolux and the Dominicons as their main option. If Solus Prime and Bulwark are still residing there, they may be persuaded to help.

"Second... you will be reduced in rank. Regaining that rank is going to be up to you, and how you take the final part of this."

Optimus pauses a moment. "Before I state the final part of your punishment, I want you to understand where I'm coming from with this. Duke, from GI Joe, told me the story of how Lt. Falcon disobeyed orders... did a fair bit like you have, not to put too fine a point on it. Falcon was court-martialled, but rather than put him into a military prison, they turned him over to someone who excelled at taking on those who were otherwise deemed lost causes: Sgt. Slaughter and his Marauders."

Prime pauses again. "It is... strange to find myself at the same crossroads with you. That being said, third: you are being reassigned, effective immediately, to Springer and the Wreckers. They have many things--" Like a bunch of hard-luck cases and potential malcontents, if not crazies like Whirl "--but a field medic is not one of them. Springer is likely to push you, but not to break you down; if anything, to make you stronger -- stronger still, when you realize that you're not going it alone, but that you'll have others at your back."

"Blast Off, Swindle and Vortex have visited Calyhex, and me and Blast off have spoken at length, so... three of five." She'd say in thought. "As for research.. Its not just mine to give, you'll need to talk to Chromedome, as this anti-virus was originally developed as also a way to keep Megatron from using this type of thing again and thus enslaving anyone he wants." Starlock explains. "Once he gives the okay.. i can give it." She'd nod, least that reveals who MADE it. 

Starlock frowns for rank. "Doesn't matter at this point rank wise, Hot Rod tries to boss me around regardless of it and doesn't listen so... I kinda given up on going up in rank a long time ago." She'd shrug, there was a feeling, knowing she'd never get it back, she'd been busting her aft for years and it was ignored till now. 

Starlock then shrugs. "Dunno.. Since returning I feel.. that I am everything, but with others to my back, given how I've felt unwelcome in Iacon, the medical bay I used to work none stop in.." She'd frown, feeling herself tear up, she shrugs though.

"It may be small consolation, but Hot Rod is not exactly someone to stand on moral high ground, not after some of the stunts he's pulled in his time. He means well, but his name has plenty of obvious reasons behind it." Optimus shakes his head slowly. "Now, he's just your equal in rank, and even then, he still shouldn't be doing that. There may come a time when he's in a bind because he leapt out of the frying pan and into the fire, and you're going to be the one to pull him out. I would hope you would be the better in that instance, and not take advantage of it."

He sighs. "This is meant to be a chance for you to prove yourself, Starlock. Don't let what others say define who you are; let your actions speak for themselves. No matter how much or how little you believe this... I believe in you, and I think you can be so much more."

There's a silence from Starlock. "...We saw where Harmonex ended up the last time I did that.." Starlock says her optics darkening. "Did everything they said I couldn't, then took it away..." She'd take a vent trying to calm herself down and dry the lubricant from her face. "...I'll trust you on this.. But just.. I don't believe in myself, so if I fail to meet expectations.. don't be surprised."

"It can be difficult to believe in yourself when you feel like you've been kicked to the ground," Prime acknowledges. He gestures to the holo-picture of Orion Pax, Ariel and Dion. "As Orion Pax, I had my head in the clouds. I made mistakes. I lucked out; so did she, after a fashion. Dion, however..." He sighs quietly. "I didn't really believe in myself at first either, after I became Optimus Prime. That faith only came with time and patience. I counsel this: don't give up on yourself, and don't sell yourself short. Despite all that's happened, you did things that many will be learning from for years to come. Do your best... and your best will change from cycle to cycle. Just take it one cycle at a time. I think you'll surprise yourself before this is over."

Starlock glances from him and then the picture, she'd take a deep vent, calming, and collecting herself. "Alright.. I'll.. give this a go, and accept it." She'd vent out slowly, there was a moment as she thought. "Just...If you could get Hot Rod to stop berating me about this as well i'd.. appreciate it." she'd add, rubbing and scratching at her upper arm. 

"...Anything else?" She'd ask.

Optimus Prime shakes his head slowly. "Nothing else," he replies. "I suspect you've got some moving of supplies and equipment ahead of you for your new assignment. And I'll deal with Hot Rod."

Starlock nods. "Alright." She'd take a breath again and pushed herself up, definitely was not the horrible lashing she'd been expecting, still a bit hurt but.. she understood. She'd pause before getting to the door. "Calyhex still plans to move over to new Harmonex, and I've found Krystallos, he's agreed to help in forming new Crystals in New soon, there will be crystals and a titan there." she reports, before continuing out of the office.