Log Title: Childhood Memories
Location: Autobot City
Summary: Sparkplug relives an early childhood memory
As logged by Buster - Monday, January 28, 2013, 10:35 PM
Human Quarters - Residential Complex - Autobot City
Buster is in Sparkplug's quarters, helping sort some of his dad's boxed possessions to unpack as Spike puts up shelves.
Sparkplug is helping pin up a few items. But that seems to take all the energy out of the elder Witwicky. Sparkplug finds a chair and moves a few shirts off and sits down. "Just...gimmie a sec, son."
Buster looks up, and smiles re-assuringly. "There's no hurry, dad. I got the whole night off."
Sparkplug smiles tiredly at Buster. "This is great... spending time with you - " He pauses, trying to think what to talk to Buster about. Almost 35 years, and his son is still a mystery to him. "Uh... have you read any good books lately?"
Buster chuckles. "A few. I'm finally reading Dune. I'm ashamed that I've never read it before, and I'm amazed at how good it is. It really lives up to its rep."
- GAME: Sparkplug FAILS an INTELLIGENCE roll of Very High difficulty.
Sparkplug says, "That's the one with... sand. In space, right?"
Buster chuckles, nodding. "Exactly."
Sparkplug looks up at Buster. Eyes starting to fill with regret. "Son... I am so sorry again - for leaving you so long with aunt Judy and uncle Ron. I just..." He looks around. "I THOUGHT all of this would have given you and Spike a full... future. Paid college..." He smiles weakly. "Instead - you're deluged with student loans, and your brother barely made it to his sophomore year before dropping out."
Buster stands, dusting off his hands. "Dad, don't fret it. You did what you had to do, and now I'm working on my doctorate, and Spike's in training to be the ambassador of an alien species to our world. I think you did a pretty good job!"
Sparkplug smiles sadly and looks at Buster. "YOU - did everything son. I wasn't there for you."
Buster says, "You made sure I had a good home, Dad. You kept me safe. I was too young to be underfoot during alien battles."
Sparkplug nods and finally gets some energy and gets up. "So...classes start up in the fall though - what will you do in the meantime? Does Crosscurrent have anything for you to do diplomatically?"
Buster says, "Diplomatically? Hell no. I'll leave that to Jesse and Spike. No, I'm mostly focused on helping everyone get set in here -- some spring cleaning early, if you like -- and doing more prep work on my doctoral dissertation. I don't want to wait too long to get started on it."
Sparkplug says, "Buster... if you wait too long... "
Buster smiles. "I know. Jesse's on me not to procrastinate. I won't."
Sparkplug nods seriously. "Good - you're SO close son... " He smiles and shakes his head. "The FIRST Witwicky to ever hold a doctrine!"
Buster smiles. "I know! I take it seriously, Dad." He pulls a dusty bin out of the stack, and carries it over to set on a stool, opening it. Inside Buster sees a collection of old photographs and a family Bible on top of older family relics. "Speaking of Witwickys... what's this stuff?" He begins to pull out pictures with careful fascination.
- GAME: Sparkplug FAILS an INTELLIGENCE roll of Very High difficulty.
Sparkplug seems to 'zone' off, Thinking of the time where he's seen the pictures before.
1946. After Jeremiah's father died - he inherited a good portion of Witwicky history. However, he and his wife poured over what 'should not be' in the household - including artifacts and news clippings of Archibald Witwicky. (unknown to Jeremiah, his wife though kept a few articles and pictures and tucked them away - feeling that SOME history should be preserved). In an odd gesture of tenderness, Jermiah is taking a 10-year-old Sparkplug into the woods, carrying a box of material. Jermiah's cold hand on Sparkplug's shoulder could represent a tender father-son moment - or a beating to come for ...SOMETHING he might have done.
Young William follows his father cautiously, keeping up with the older man's stride and making sure to always show the proper fear and respect.
Jeremiah stops by a barrel. He looks at his son and smiles. "Son...I have tasked you with an important task today. My father has left me... a collection of our relatives' life. And one in particular - was a rather demonic figure. See, he chose to follow the false god of science...not the true path of God."
Young William nods quietly, saying nothing if not prompted to do so. He fears for whatever his father has in mind, while having no idea what form that might take today.
Jeremiah opens a box and before Sparkplug - a box of wonders appears. Tools for exploration! A few articles about exploring the arctic! And more - the allure of someone who claimed to have seen god-like beings.
In Jeremiah's other hand is a small canister of lighter fluid. He looks at his son, seriously. "You must rid our family of this work of the devil. Our house is a godly house. And no infiltration - no matter if it represents our blood - shall pollute our household."
Young William looks from the artifacts to the lighter to his dad's face, uncomprehendingly.
Jeremiah's firm, unyielding hand grips his son's hand like a vice and MOVES it toward the barrel. Jeremiah urges his son, "Your great-grandfather strayed from the lord to follow the false god of science."
Young William asks softly, "False... god?"
Jeremiah nods quietly to his son. Not making a move. "You must be the one to cast out this unholiness, son." He then gives William's elbow an intimidating squeeze. "Dump the contents in this barrel, son."
Young William blinks, and hesitates, still not really grokking where this is going and what is being asked of him. His instincts are to build and create, not destroy.
Jeremiah frowns and begins to tighten his grip on William's elbow. "William...I asked you to do something."
William gets a brief glimpse of the headline for one article. 'ARCTIC HO! - CELEBRATED SCIENTIST ARCHIBALD WITWICKY TO LEAD HISTORIC VENTURE TO THE UNKNOWN!"
Jeremiah frowns. "WILLIAM...I am asking you to do God's work!"
Inside the box is a few other wondrous items. A compass! A watch! A canteen!
Young William stares into the box, and, unwilling to resist, reaches in to grab the compass.
Jeremiah frowns and finally grabs the box and proceeds to pour the contents into the barrel. "If you're too damn dumb to follow a simple instruction, then I'll do it myself!" He then snatches the compass out of William's hand and throws it into the barrel. He then SHOVES the lighter fluid to his son's chest. "Now I'm givin' you an order son - direct from god - RID this world of these temptations!"
Young William shakes, and starts to cry, but slowly follows his father's orders, pouring the sharp-smelling fluid over the musty documents and fascinating gadgets.
Jeremiah frowns. Then suddenly he slaps his son's face. "Don't you cry! You hear me?!" Jeremiah then gives William a book of matches. "Now finish this task so we can go home!"
Young William snifs deeply as snot and tears run down his face.
Jeremiah barks "NOW!"
Young William shakily tries to light one of the matches, but lacks the ability to do so. He quiets his sobs, but his body continues to shake with confusion and fear.
Jeremiah yanks the matches out from young William and frowns. "If you're too much of a baby, I'll do it myself!" He then reaches into the barrel and takes out a newspaper and crumples it into a stick-like form. He then lights the tip of the paper stick and gives it to his son. "Cast this fire into the barrel and cleanse this filth!"
Young William looks up at his father for a moment with tear-streaked red-rimmed eyes, but finally returns his gaze to the barrel, and with shaky hand lights its contents on fire.
Jeremiah puts a hand around young William's shoulder and leads him back home. "You put too much emotion in material possessions." He then pats William's shoulder. "You did God's work today - son. Be proud of that."
Young William replies obediently, "Yes, Father," hardening himself behind an emotional wall a little more each day.
Sparkplug can be seen staring off into space, as if lost in another dimension. He finally looks at his son. "Sorry...did you say something?"
Buster looks up from the Bible in his hands. "Oh, no, Dad. You just said that this belonged to Grandpa and Grandma." He flips back to the front cover. "Uh, why are certain names burned out of the family tree?"
Sparkplug looks at Buster and a few tears start to form in shame. "I...uh...uh..."
Buster just looks confused. "Dad? Are you OK?" He stands, quickly setting the thick family Bible aside.
Sparkplug says, "I was...told...to burn them...by your grandfather." He looks at Buster, ashamed. "I didn't want to...but... I was too scared...too weak. I... your grandfather made sure that some of those people never existed in our family."
Buster's blue eyes nearly bug out of his pale skull. "What?" he nearly explodes in disbelief.
Sparkplug looks at Buster and stammers. "I'm sorry! I knew it was wrong...but your grandfather - you... I don't know if you ever remember him. He..."
Buster stands a little too quickly, and checks himself, instantly regretting his strong emotional reaction. "When was this? When you were little?" He tries to picture his dad scared and weak, and even though Sparkplug is an old man now, Buster has a hard time doing it.
Sparkplug says, "I think this...one " He points to where Archibald was. "Was some explorer - and in our house - your grandfather...thought... he was...a heretic.""
Buster shakes his head.
Sparkplug looks on sadly. "I knew better, son. I KNEW better..but..." He looks at his son weakly. "I was weak...and scared."
Buster says, "How old were you? I barely remember him..."
Sparkplug says, "You don't remember your grandfather... what...effect he could have on you. I don't know... I was... 8, maybe 9?"
Buster frowns. "Dad, what choice did you have? It's OK." He turns back to the box. "It looks like some things survived..."
Sparkplug says, "Son...when grandpa told you to do something - when you were that age - you didn't have a choice."" He shakes his head. "That's impossible - nothing survived."
Buster nods quickly. "From what I remember, I can believe it." He looks through the box. "Well, I guess this stuff is from family members who made the cut... there's an old rosary, some pictures... Does Uncle Ron have anything?"
Sparkplug says, "I...I don't know."" He smiles slightly. "I wouldn't put it past the ol' hippie."
Buster opens the Bible again, and peers at the burnt-out branches in the family tree. "Do you remember their names?"
A faint news clipping seems to protrude from the bottom of the box. Maybe a false bottom?
Sparkplug shakes his head. "No...I just... it was so fast, son - " Sparkplug's memory may be fading, but that day is etched in there. "I remember - an arctic trip... and a compass."
Buster says, "An Arctic trip? Really? Weird." He takes more things out of the box, and sees there seem to be more stuck in the bottom, maybe under a folded flap? He investigates.
Sparkplug massages his temple. "Son - it happened so fast. As soon as he got those heirlooms, he wanted them out of the house."
Buster nods. "It's OK, Dad. I'm just curious."
Sparkplug's eyes raise. "Me too - but...there wasn't enough time. I did all I could to get into the Korean War. Then after that - it was finding a job. Then raising you two. Then...well, you know the rest." He smiles sadly. "Guess I finally have some time now, huh?"
Buster grins. "No time like the present! Want me to do some research? Can't be many men named Witwicky who travel to the Arctic."
Sparkplug frowns. "Buster, stop procrastinating! Focus on your doctrine! I'll... maybe this assistobot tin can can help me."
Buster chuckles. "Did Blaster program him to run a microfiche?"
Sparkplug says, "No...but... now I'm not saying spend ANY of your spare time doing this - but out of all of us...you're easily the most qualified to utilize the research tools to track this kind of stuff down."
Buster grins. "That's what I'm saying! And I've been meaning to study our family's history for a while! Just, like you... always too busy."
Buster . o 0 ( And if I wait too long, it might be too late to ask... )
Sparkplug closes his eyes and mutters "I should have stood up to him. I shouldn't have destroyed all of that..."
Sparkplug shrugs. "I dunno...maybe." He then smirks "I got a nice backhand for not setting fire to the stuff the first time."
Buster makes a face. "Dad, that's terrible."
Sparkplug shoots a look at Buster. "He... did the best he could. Our family was very...poor."
Buster frowns. "We went through some serious hardship, and I don't recall you EVER raising a hand to us."
Sparkplug looks on and a brief glimmer of shame can be seen in his face. He shakes his head. "I made a promise to your mom... she... showed me that that type of punishment was... what did she say...'counterproductive.' Before you were born, I made a promise to her, that I would never raise my hand to either you and Spike."
Buster frowns. "Well, yeah. Corporal punishment is a lousy reinforcer for desired behavior. You were a good dad, Dad." He walks over to place a reassuring hand on his father's shoulder.
Sparkplug looks at Buster and says seriously, "I could have been a lot better, especially to you."
Buster grins. "It's water under the bridge, Dad. Now that I'm older, I can better see the choices you had to make."
Sparkplug looks on - not really looking at Buster tiredly. "Uh... if it's OK, I think I'm going to turn in, son."
Buster replies, "OK, pop. Sure. Mind if I take this box with me to go through?"
Sparkplug shakes his head. For many reasons, this talk seems to have brought back a flood of memories. Now, he just wants to sleep them away. He waves a hand. "It's yours now, son."
Sparkplug says, "Uh...thanks for helping unpack everything. We're almost done."
Buster grins. "Thanks, Dad. Good night." He makes sure Sparkplug gets in bed OK before he leaves.
Repair Bay - Medical Wing - Autobot City
- This medlab is carefully maintained by Blizzard, and is therefore usually spotlessly white and clean. Well-stocked medical cabinets line the walls, and tools and spare parts are hung in strategic places. The room is large, even by Autobot City standards, allowing people the size of Skyfire to move around easily. Various tools are available so medics of all shapes and
sizes can work on any patient, no matter the differences in scale. Medtables are carefully arranged around the room to handle as many patients as possible; more are in storage in case there is a rush. Usually, there is at least one medic on hand, even if it is only a lowly intern, or the grumpy Lugnut, who seems to always get stuck with the longest shifts.
- Generic Autobot Medic <Lugnut>
- Intensive Care Unit 2 <ICU2>
- Intensive Care Unit 1 <ICU1>
Buster has dropped off the box in his own quarters, and sought out his brother in the repair bay.
Spike has his earbuds in, playing Frank Ocean - since...that's what... this hipster magazine says kinds are listening to today.
Buster walks around to where Spike can see him, and waves his hand.
Spike spots Buster and pulls out his earbud. "Heyah - 'sup?"
Buster says, "Hey. How's studying going?" He pulls up a chair, and stretches before plopping himself down.
Spike points to his iPod. "It's...going OK. Test in 4 weeks, so still a bit of time. Heyah - have you heard of this guy - Frank Ocean?" (he hates it - nothing like Pearl Jam) "He's...it's really...great stuff! You should check it out. I think it's called 'Orange.'"
Spike says, "What's up?""
<<Autobot>> The college dropout, Spike says, "'Stupid mission' and 'Alpha Trion' never go together."
Buster says, "Uh, sure. I'll check him out."
Spike says, "How you doing?" He gestures to his coffee pot. "Want some medication?"
Buster chuckles. "I never turn down caffeine." He goes over to fix himself a pot: 15% milk, 5 sugars.
Spike says, "What have you been up to?"
<<Autobot>> Bot Advisor Alpha Trion says, "Happy to hear it, Gears. Blaster, please have all Autobots in the mirror universe return home immediately."
Buster says, "Helping Dad unpack."
<<Autobot>> The college dropout, Spike says, "You closing the portals...sir?"
Spike closes his eyes and lets out a curse. "Frak...I was supposed to help with that today! Is he still up?""
Buster smiles, sipping his coffee. "It's OK. He just went to bed."
Spike mutters "Days need to have like - 12 more hours to them." He looks at Buster and gives an appreciative nod. "Thanks though - tomorrow I'll put in my time - promise."
Buster grins. "No problem. I have less to do right now."
Spike says, "I think he's adjusting pretty well - though. Don't you?""
Buster nods. "Yeah. He seems a lot happier - definitely less depressed than when he was in the hospital."
Spike grins, totally oblivious to Buster's discovery. "And what about you? Still looking for a place, or are you and Jesse going to be hangin' here for a few more months?"
Buster says, "I think we'll be hanging here. Jesse's been enjoying working with the Autobots."
<<Autobot>> DJ Blaster says, "Sure thing, man! Autobots, head on home!"
Spike says, "Well, they've enjoyed having her - 'I've enjoyed her as well - she's been a tremendous help in prepping me for interviews."
Buster raises his eyebrows at Spike enjoying having his girlfriend, but figures Spike may be too tired to notice the unintended innuendo.
<<Autobot>> The college dropout, Spike says, "Heyah Blaster, buy Frank Ocean's new album!"
Spike is. A new baby does that.
<<Autobot>> Sit-Com says, "I am Colonel Putty Tat!"
Also, with Carly and 2 kids - Spike's so far removed from that game that he doesn't know he may have crossed a line :) Spike says, "If she wants a full-time job here, it's hers - Crosscut can put in the paperwork."
Buster chuckles. "I'll let her know."
<<Autobot>> Dust Devil says, "Testing...Oh cool I can talk on here again. Hey Spike...I need like a ton of games ta play in the medical bay."
<<Autobot>> DJ Blaster says, "As soon as I get back to Earth I'll check 'im out, Spike."
A few seconds pass - and nothing is said between the two. Even with repaired relations, both can sometimes find it hard to communicate with one another.
Buster finally asks, "Uh... do you remember anything about Grandpa?"
Spike points to the coffee pot. "Uh...Raging Sage - it's this brewer from Tucson. It's... Eitheopean."
Buster frowns. "What - the coffee?"
Spike thinks. "Not...really. To be honest, I never really liked him." He nods at the coffee. "Yup." He adds "Oh! Yeah - I DO remember him scaring the living shit out of you [[A Hellish Education|one time]]!"
Buster says, "I found a bunch of old family stuff, but Dad said Granddad made him burn the rest."
<<Autobot>> The college dropout, Spike says, "I'll send out a care package, Dust Devil."
- GAME: Spike PASSES an INTELLIGENCE roll of High difficulty.
Spike says, "Sounds like they didn't live up to grandpa's biblical standards."
Buster frowns. "Can you imagine that? How terrible."
Spike nods. He arches a brow. "Want to know how he scared you?"
<<Autobot>> DJ Blaster says, "I'll have Hurri drop off some hot games as well."
<<Autobot>> Dust Devil says, "ummm and yeah uh...I guess I need a complete rebuild."
Buster says, "Sure. I don't really remember the details... just that he was scary and I didn't like him."
Spike says, "While you and I were plain' Star Wars - he dropped some real ridiculous religious BS that mom would be burning in hell forever since she wasn't as churchgoing as he wanted." He grins. "Mom and I spent like half the night comforting you". In Spike's mind, this is how it played out. But obviously, mom spent as much time comforting Spike as she did Buster." Spike shrugs. "Anyway - family stuff - like pictures and stuff?"
<<Autobot>> Sit-Com says, "I owe, I owe, it's off to work I go. To earn my bread, I'm worth more dead, I owe, I owe..."
Buster says, "Yeah. From Grandpa-approved member of the family, at least."
<<Autobot>> Gears says, "Ugh. Don't you people have anything important to talk about?"
<<Autobot>> Dust Devil says, "Yer still short?"
Spike says, "Huh..." He has always been more enamored about the history of beings light years away. As for his own - meh. But he tries to feign interest for the sake of his brother. "Anything cool?"
Buster says, "Not too much. I'm more interested in grandpa burned out. I found a few articles tucked away that mentioned an Arctic explorer, which seems to fit some of Dad's memories... how cool would that be?"
As Buster talks, a monitor goes off, indicating Megan's fussiness. Spike sighs, getting up JUST as Buster says 'how cool would that be?' "Yeah! That'd be awesome!" He looks at his brother. "Sorry - Megan's been trying to kick a nasty earache."
Buster nods. "No problem. Have a good night, Spike! I'll catch you tomorrow. I might go visit Uncle Ron."
Spike nods and says absentmindedly "Sounds like a plan!" He heads out to tend to Megan, leaving Buster with a full pot of coffee...and a whole lot of theories as to the missing parts of their family tree.
<<Autobot>> Gears says, "Any way you can leave Dust Devil on the other side of the rift, Trion?"
<<Autobot>> Dust Devil says, "Only if we can paint ya pink!"
<<Autobot>> Sit-Com says, "Allow 4-6 weeks for delivery, cash on delivery."