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Hot Spot Hammerstrike

Among the sentries standing guard at the gates of Iacon is Hammerstrike, wearing his usual expression, or rather, lack thereof. As usual, his posture is still, rigid, and erect, and if not for his glowing blue optics, might be mistaken for a statue. However, this all changes when another mech of smaller stature walks over to him, and he inclines his head to them. Wordlessly they switch places, and Hammerstrike is officially off of guard duty. He takes a few steps away so not to crowd his replacement, and then stares at the gates for a while before turning his gaze to the ruinous horizon to the north.

Hot Spot emerges through the gate, having no real idea where he is apart from 'at the edge of Iacon'. He doesn't know anyone here, and he could really do with directions.

He doesn't want to bother the gate guard, who looks preoccupied, but there's an Autobot standing close by, looking off into the distance. Hot Spot decides to try to catch his eye by loitering politely in his field of vision.

Hammerstrike remained unflinching for some time, even after another mech had dawdled in his field of vision. Finally his gaze shifts ever so slightly as his chin dips and he studies the mech standing there. After a thorough examination, the mech finally speaks in a deep baritone. "Yes?"

Hot Spot has a moment of nervous indecision. Stay, and face the embarrassment of having gotten himself lost, or go and feel a bit of a fool, still lost. "Just after directions," he says. "I got turned around. Wow, that's quite a view."

Hot Spot winces. He hadn't meant it in a good way, but now he kinda feels like a bit of a cog head. Oh well, here goes, he thinks. "The Red Guardian," he says, and is appalled to find that he's gotten his vocaliser in a twist. "I... um... I'm staying there a while."

Hammerstrike stares at Hot Spot for a very long, silent moment, continuing to wear almost no expression. Finally he nods deeply and turns towards the gates. "Follow me."

"Thank you!" Hot Spot replies, and falls in beside Hammerstrike. "I really appreciate this. I found my way around fine yesterday, but today after the tunnels and that... thing, it all got a little odd." He trails off, realizing that not only has he come across as terminally under-clocked, he's also prattling.

Hammerstrike listens patiently as the other mech prattles on, walking with heavy, plodding steps back into Iacon. "The fire breather?"

Hot Spot's jaw drops. "You know about that?" he says.

Hammerstrike inclines his head in the affirmative as they pass into Iacon.

"Have you seen it?" Hot Spot asks, a measure of awe in his tone. He doesn't look around at the road signs, but just trusts to the Autobot to lead them.

"No," is all the response the large mech offers. Hammerstrike leads the Autobot onto the main road through Iacon, continuing in his steady pace, occasionally inclining his head politely to those they pass by.

"I have," Hot Spot says quietly. He catches a glimpse of Hammerstrike's insignia in the corner of his field of vision. Such stark red against the white of his arm, the stylized face so stern and yet reassuring. "If you don't mind me asking," he says.

"What's it like? Being an Autobot, I mean."

Hammerstrike does not slacken his step, but for the first time there is a slight change in his expression as he raises his usually furrowed optic ridges. Yet again there is another drawn out silence, other than the clump-clank of his feet on the road. "Precarious," is his final retort.

"Oh," Hot Spot says. "I suppose it must be. I saw that you're recruiting..." He lets the sentence tail off. "I get the Autobot news, back in Crystal City," he adds. "Always seems so busy here."

Hammerstrike inclines his head again was they turn westward to the recreational district. "Indeed. The Autobots fight a noble and worthy cause. If you are inspired, then do not hesitate to enlist."

Now that cheers Hot Spot up no end. "I'm thinking about it," he says. "I mean, I don't know how much use I could be in combat... I'm part of a disaster response team back home, under Greenlight." Hot Spot isn't sure whether Greenlight is well known or not. Certainly everyone he knows back in Crystal City knows her, but most of them also work under her so they probably don't count. "I want to be helpful."

Hammerstrike continues looking ahead as the mech babbles on, no indication one way or the other whether or not he is familiar with this Greenlight. "Everyone has a use in this war. It isn't just about fighting. I was not a warrior before, and have not been a soldier long. But my skills from before have not gone wasted."

"What were you before?" Hot Spot says, then realizes that his enthusiasm has got the better of him again, and adds, "I don't mean to pry, I'll understand if you'd rather not say."

"I tore down buildings," comes his straightforward response.

You stroll into the Commerce and Theatre District -- Iacon City.

Hammerstrike enters from Main Level Roadway.

Hot Spot nods, uncertain of the politest way to respond. He doesn't doubt that

Hammerstrike could tear down a building. "How long have you been with the Autobots?" he asks.

Hammerstrike shrugs his shoulders. "Two solar cycles, more or less." He lifts his chin as he looks far ahead, seeing the sign for the Red Guardian Inn come into sight, but there was still a while yet to walk.

"What made you want to join?" Hot Spot asks. He's aware that he's asking pretty personal questions now, but he's also allowed himself to get swept away with the idea of enlisting, and he wants as much of an insight as he can get. It occurs to him that his absence from Crystal City might not be temporary, it might be permanent, and his circuits buzz with a mix of nervousness and excitement.

Hammerstrike continues his steady pace in another long silence, with his optics narrowed ever so slightly.

Oh scrap, Hot Spot thinks, that might have been one step too far. "I didn't mean any offence," he says. He glances up just then, only to see a familiar road and familiar buildings. At last, he knows where he is!

"I am not offended," intones Hammerstrike as they get closer to the Red Guardian.

"I'm glad," Hot Spot says, giving Hammerstrike a friendly smile. "And thank you for bringing me back."

Hammerstrike finally allows his stern mouth to turn up into a mild smile. "You are welcome." He then thrusts out a large, open hand. "Hammerstrike."

Hot Spot can't help but grin. He reciprocates the handshake. "Hot Spot," he says.

Hammerstrike maintains his smile for as long as they shake hands, but then finally withdraws and offers what is too shallow to be a bow and too deep to be a mere nod. "Good cycle, Hot Spot." That said, he turns to leave.

"You too," Hot Spot replies. He watches Hammerstrike go, then heads for the Inn. He has a lot to think about.

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