September 05, 2011, 4:43 PM
(Monastery of the Crystal Guard, Crystal City)
Protofire is the teacher today it seems, as he takes a spot at the front of the grotto of his choice, waiting for the class to assemble. An opened crate of energon, six sided purple crystals sat beside his right leg. They were low powered ones, barely even snacks really. His armor was still mottled in places from the damage he took, but the warrior did not seem to mind as he waited with the patience of a mountain.
Groove makes his way into the grotto behind a pair of chatting students, settling in near the back. He offers a smile and a quiet greeting to another student as they pass, before turning his attention solely to Protofire. The crystals earn a curious look, but other than that he tries not to pay them any mind.
A glance is taken to Groove and Protofire smiles, nodding in greeting to him. He waits until the other six classmates sat, and then he clears his throat. "Today we will be speaking more on the techniques used in Crystalocution. You've been practicing the movements, but now it is time to learn how to USE them. One can shoot a gun after all, but learning to hit a target is an entirely different kettle." His wings flip as he takes up a crystal, revealing a few panels of metal underneath. Armor metals.
"The basic premise is this; everything has a 'strike plane', and if you apply enough pressure along that plane, the item will break there cleanly."
To demonstrate, he lifts his other hand, holding the crystal tightly as he carefully, but sharply, strikes it at an angle. A flash of sparks as energon ignites... but it seems his choice of low-powered fuel did not cause it to blow up like usual.
"You've no doubt seen this before - chips off a statue, cracks in glass... crystals. Some items are more resilient than others. The hard metals we use for armor have these strike planes too. Some are too flexible, like rubber wheels. Its even used sometimes to craft art in the form of carved energon. Today we'll be just learning the basics of a few common armor types, and practicing with these crystals - too weak to be refined for our stores, so good to practice on to see how it works."
Groove watches the demonstration with open fascination, despite the unpleasant churn of fuel in his tanks. He's never been fond of the actual attack techniques, but he understands the necessity. He shifts a little uncomfortably but doesn't say anything.
The crystal is put down and then a plate is brought up. "This is standard seeker armor. Relatively lightweight and more flexible than ground armor because they need to be lightweight and able to flex slightly due to torque forces. Because of this, you need a little more force, and actually to apply the pressure at a very shallow angle." he explains, "Almost level with it. About ten degrees or so. "
He pauses, focusing on the plate as he lifts a hand, snapping it down briskly to cleave off a part. "... If it starts to hurt your hand, you're doing it wrong by the way. Here, pass this one around."
Accepting the chunk of plating as it's handed to him, Groove looks it over carefully, trying not to think about how exactly the monastery might have gotten a hold of it. He hesitates for a few moments, debating, before delivering a sharp strike to the metal. The small piece that snaps off in response makes him frown to himself, hurriedly passing on the remaining larger part.
"Well done Groove, on the first try." notes Protofire, "This technique has other applications too beyond combat and art. You can use it to mine crystals or shape them - you could even use it to break out of imprisonment if you could find the strike plane of the wall. " He picks up the next piece. "This is standard wall metal. Heavier, and firmer. You'll find a more direct strike will work on it best." he explains, watching each one carefully, optics focusing on Groove intently.
"Thank you, Master Protofire." Groove murmurs, but his spark isn't really in it, optics still focused on the piece he managed to break off. He tries, mostly unsuccessful, to shake off the feeling, instead keeping his attention fixed on what Protofire's explaining. His gaze flicks down to the small bit of metal every few moments, a hint of a frown still on his faceplates.
Protofire steps up next to Groove now, and crouches so that they could speak while the class continued. "Something is bothering you Groove. You are not like this. Did you wish to speak?"
Groove starts slightly when Protofire approaches him, forcing a smile. "Nothing's wrong, Master Protofire. My apologies for disrupting the class." Well, it's not /technically/ a lie. He really is sorry for being a disruption, and there isn't anything 'wrong'...
Protofire tilts his head. "You're not disrupting." He gestures to the others, continuing their practice. "But if you are sure... just remember that we are family here, and we can always talk to others about concerns." He smiles, hoping to reassure Groove.
Groove returns the smile with a more honest one of his own. "I'm sure, Master Protofire. Thank you." He responds, bowing to the older mech out of respect. He catches sight of the bit of plating again and his smile almost falters, but he forces himself to ignore it.
Protofire smiles again and pats Grooves' shoulder. The class continues, and soon Protofire gives them each a piece of energon crystal. "Here. Now the fun starts. Carve whatever you want out of your crystal. Let what you feel become reality."
Groove accepts his piece of crystal, turning it over thoughtfully in his hands. He lets out a quiet hum, brushing his fingers over the smooth surface as he examines the softly glowing solid energon. Despite his best efforts, he can't get the thought of how easily the plating snapped out of his processor, and he takes a moment to pick up the remnant still by his feet. Subspacing it, he turns his attention back to the crystal.
Protofire watches Groove especially now, noting his actions at that. His wings pull back as he picks up the last crystal, starting to carefully chip it himself as the others worked. A few ended up with plenty of sparks and shards, a few yelps and laughter ringing out. He then noted, "Almost anything can be used as a weapon, or as a thing of peace. It is the wise person who uses it for peace."
Still smiling a little to himself, Groove turns the energon around one last time, apparently ignorant to Protofire's attention. He looks at what his fellow students are doing for a few moments before setting his still unchanged crystal down, obviously content.
The one next to him notices Grooves actions, the other student working on what looked like a bust of some sort. "... Aren't you going to make something?" He asks curiously.
"No." Groove answers vaguely, still smiling happily. "Yours is coming along well, though." He offers before turning his focus back to the raw crystal in front of him, simply watching it.
"No?" repeats the other one, then looks at the bust. "It's a self-portrait. At least, in theory." he admits at this as he carefully chips away more, clinking and tapping away.
Finally they were done, And Protofire looks them over one at a time, nodding. Some made weapons, others simply shapes or containers, and a few had only piles of chips. Finally he comes to Groove, and raises an opticbrow. "Hmm? Yours is untouched, Groove."
Groove hasn't lost his smile the entire time, and he shrugs mildly at Protofire's question. "Yes, it is, Master Protofire."
Protofire pauses a moment, but he was indeed intrigued. "Why is that?" he finally asks, wings folding against his back as he looks over the crystal.
Groove tilts his head slightly, looking for a way to put it into words. "You told us to let what we feel become reality. Primus gave us these crystals, impure and imperfect as they are, just as he gave us all existence. I felt they were more beautiful this way than anything I could have turned them into." He explains, smile never once budging.
Protofire watches Groove, then smiles back warmly. "Very wise words, Groove. We each see beauty in a unique way, and indeed." He crouches, picking up Groove's crystal to turn it over. "This is a thing of beauty in of itself, like an unpainted picture is perfect in its' blankness." He nods again, standing to move back to the head of the class.
"Thank you, Master Protofire." Groove says cheerfully, ignoring any odd looks he might be getting from the other students. He supposes he doesn't have a 'normal' view of the world, even in the monastery, but he's rather fond of it.