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04 August 2011
Iacon, a courtyard off the main road near the barracks
Hot Spot NPC Alpha
It was quiet time in the courtyard. Usually it was only busy between shifts, but now it was empty.
Except for a tall, fully cloaked figure sitting where Hot Spot usually sat.
Hot Spot stops at the entrance to the courtyard. "I'm sorry," he says, "I didn't realise anyone would be here."
The mech shifted a little bit, and turned to look over at Hot Spot. It was a familiar aged face. Alpha. "Ah. Hello again, Hot Spot."
Hot Spot freezes. "Alpha... I'm surprised to see you."
"I get around, and try not to let people know. I like being a little sneaky. Sit with me? " the mech returns.
Hot Spot takes a seat next to Alpha. "I noticed," he says dryly. "You have a way of getting around unseen."
"Indeed. I've had practice. How goes the quest to find yourself?"
"I think I'm getting there," Hot Spot replies. He laughs softly and looks at his feet. "I've joined the Autobots."
"So I see. A temporary brand for now though, but that will change." replies Alpha brightly "And have you unlocked anything?"
"My memories are restored," Hot Spot responds. He glances at Alpha. "Streetwise and First Aid still can't access their alt modes though, even though we're all together now."
"And the other two? " asks Alpha "And yes, that is to be expected really. "
Hot Spot knows better than to ask how come, so he just nods. "Something to do with the extra programming?" he says.
"Somewhat of it. What is the purpose of a Team that benefits over individuals?" asks Alpha.
Something more useful than the purpose of a riddle he can't puzzle through. Hot Spot thinks. "Solidarity, strength in numbers, strength in unity, diverse specialities and expertise..." he shrugs. "All the usual benefits of teamwork, but more so."
"Exactly. A team works together, cooperating. But there is one part of the team that does a little bit more." hints Alpha.
"The medic?" Hot Spot guesses.
A pause "... Oh, aside from that one." notes a slightly irritated, but pleased mech.
Hot Spot shrugs. "The, um, sum of the parts?" he suggests, not wanting to say 'combined form' out loud.
"Hmm. Getting close." he reaches over and actually tries to tap Hot Spot on the head. "But not quite there."
Suddenly, something clicks. "Oh! But why?" he looks confused. "Is it because I'm the, you know, the bit in the middle?"
"Every team needs a leader. From a great Faction of noble warriors, to the pair of patrolling guardsman walking down the hallway. Only one of those two guardsmen though, hold the door key."
Hot Spot 's jaw drops. "Then I can help unlock their alt modes? But how?"
"You know how." replies Alpha simply.
"You do know that's not very helpful, don't you?" Hot Spot says, but he doesn't mean it harshly. He laughs and shakes his head. "Are we really like the legends?"
"Not everything is easy." admits Alpha "And no. you aren't. AT least, not yet. But you have the potential to be."
Hot Spot 's optics brighten and that irrepressible grin returns full force. They have the potential... Wow. "What makes a good leader?" he says. He has his own thoughts, but he wants to know Alpha's opinion.
The old mech smiles a little bit "My own opinion? A commander orders his followers, and is obeyed because they MUST. A leader asks, and is obeyed because they WANT."
Hot Spot nods. "Trust and loyalty," he says. "Like with Prime."
"Indeed." agrees Alpha "Something which will be a challenge with some of your brothers.":
"We'll get there," Hot Spot says with absolute certainty. "It might take a while, but we will."
"Excellent. Just remember patience is the key. Trust must be built up, especially if it previously has been broken. Pride can get in the way of brotherhood."
"Wise words," Hot Spot says. "I'll remember."
"Indeed. Do you have anything else? " Asks Alpha, suddenly sounding tired.
"Just a thousand questions and all of them can wait until later," Hot Spot says. "I have to get back to training."
"Ah, very well then." states Alpha, standing "And of course, this stays between us."
"Understood," Hot Spot says. "Until next time." He offers his hand.
Alpha pauses, then takes the hand offered by Hot Spot.
For a brief moment, time stood still. Movement was impossible, and yet not restricted either. It just happened so fast, that one could not react, yet it felt like an eternity. A warm feeling, almost like melting, flowed up the arm and through Hot Spot.
And then it was over, and Alpha was actually not there anymore.
But something inside had changed, like some door had opened.
Hot Spot reboots his optics, but no, Alpha really did just vanish. He gapes, looking around in case the old mech was hiding behind a wall. And as for the feeling... he can't explain it. Something happened, he's different. An alarm goes off in his HUD, he /really/ needs to be getting back. He heads out of the courtyard, still trying to figure out what just happened.