Slipstream is standing guard as part of her duties. Optics scanning the area alertly, scanners sweeping further out. Wings flex slightly as she gives a little sigh.
Goa takes up a guard post on the other side of the main entrance, doing his best not to break a stoic expression and step. Though he can't help himself looking at the seeker's feet.
Slipstream cocks her head as she hears someone step through the door and take a spot on the other side. She looks sidelong toward you, "Goa." is all she says, neither friendly nor hostile, perfectly neutral.
Goa holds up one hand and waves his fingers up and down. "That's me." He stares off across the open flight plains, looking busy. Of course there wouldn't be activity there.
Slipstream hmms softly, keeping her gaze away from you. "All is quiet." she observes softly.
Goa smiles a little, though it's obscured by the slant of his helmet. "Good to hear. You can be twice as sure of that." He thunks back against the wall of the fortress. "Skystalker is an interesting 'Con."
Slipstream is quiet for a moment, then states, "He does not like Firestorm. This troubles me."
Goa looks over to his side. "And why would that trouble you, Slippatron?"
Slipstream states softly, "Because it is bad enough that Megatron has had to correct two of us. Adding two more is unacceptable."
Goa says, "Oh, so it's two of us being corrected? With free energon and a quiet room?" He smirks, making no effort to hide it this time, disregarding that Slipstream's not looking at him. " and Sky are ... different. They'll work it out on their own, I trust."
Slipstream replies calmly, "If you had not pressed your annoyance of me, Goa, then you wouldn't have had to experience Megatron's physical fury first hand. You should take the hint and start behaving like you care about your life." then she slowly turns her head to regard you. "Are they? I distinctly heard a shared loathing between them."
Goa's hand is drawn to the dent lingering on the side of his head. "Mutual loathing tends to go better than one-way loathing." The humor disappears from the mech's face as he continues, "Care about my life?" He snorts, processor filling with thoughts of every career-obsessed Cybertronian he'd exploited so long ago. "My life was over when my ship crashed, Slipstream. I fully expected to rust out my days on that world."
Slipstream's gaze remains upon you, moving only slightly to the dent in your head... a reminder of Megatron's wrath no doubt. Then she looks back to your optics. "I do not loathe you, Goa." she states, then a pause to your words, "You did not rust on that world, you are here among us now. Yet you do not care that you could have been killed?"
Goa seems to stare through the jet at the plains behind her. "No fault of my own I got brought back. I'm not complaining." A long hesitation. "I thought this war was behind me, I suppose. Of course, that's changed too..."
Slipstream cocks her head a little, noticing you aren't looking at her but through her. "You avoid my question, Goa." she points out softly, idly fingering the rope on her hip. "However, I suppose I have not yet earned your respect so don't have to be answered."
Goa is silent for a couple of minutes before explosively speaking back up. "Survival programming is the only reason I'm still here, but beyond that, no, I didn't." Lacing his hands into a collective fist, he adds with an amused snort, "Do you really think you don't have my respect?"
Slipstream nods to the reply, then states, "If I did, Goa, you wouldn't persist in annoying me." she points out, with that she moves her gaze back to the horizon.
Goa finally lets loose the characteristic snicker. "Still trying to figure out the mechs, hm?"
Slipstream lets her hand move from her rope, giving a soft sigh that sounds a little exasperated. "Yes."
Goa eyes one of the planet's moons. "Would you like a tip, or are you happy learning through trial-and-error?"
Slipstream only stands there quietly for a several minutes, like she was thinking it over or just making you learn a little patience. "Yes." a hint of a smile.
Goa shows little frustration, likely having no dearth of thoughts to occupy his CPU at the moment. "Harassment is trust. It means I respect you not to shoot my face off."
A hand cradles his chin. "Though, to be fair, you came pretty close a few times. But then it was just funny."
Slipstream hmms softly. "Harassment is trust, Goa? So you were testing to see if I would or would not kill you were you stood? Why? To be funny? I think you are not fully revealing your true intentions. And that, Goa, is why we continue to clash."
Goa stares forward motionlessly. "If there are truer intentions, I'm glad you know of them, because I don't. Maybe I just don't understand the Decepticons' definition of respect. You were doing a pretty good job teaching me, though."
Slipstream sighs softly, tapping on her thighs with her fingers. Slowly she turns toward you, regarding you with dimly lit optics. "Have I now? I have to wonder about that Goa. I have seen no hint of esteem, no regard for my feelings, no indication at all that you value me as a comrade. She steps toward you, drawing close that you can feel her intruding upon your personal space. "Do you trust me Goa?"
Goa slowly rolls his eyes up to meet the seeker's, mouth straight, between sentiments. "Yes." He looks about to say something, but pauses to see if she does anything.
Slipstream looks down at you, "Why?"
Goa looks back ahead. "You're slighting an order to talk to me, among other things, which implies some level of regard," he thinks, "or masochism."
Slipstream moves a hand to your chin and moves your head back to meet her gaze, "Then so be it, Goa. We are on duty. He cannot punish us for that." she points out. Then she steps back into her spot and faces outward. "Perhaps if we are on good behavior, he will show us compassion."
Goa startles when his face is touched, leaving him to break a half-frozen surprised expression as Slipstream steps away. "If you mean whether I'm going to keep giving you a hard time, I think I'm done," he says, standing alert again. "Besides, I have Skystalker to redirect that energy at."
Slipstream murmurs, "Good." to your saying you were done, scanning the horizon. "Though I would suggest focusing your energy upon a mech that would most certainly kill you is not wise."
Goa says, "Do you have a better suggestion, then?"
Slipstream's reply is simple and concise. "Autobots."
Goa's cackle echoes against the wall. "Autobots are no good, though! Can't trade verbal jabs to save their lives."
Slipstream states, "Perhaps you just haven't found the right one to exchange such with Goa." she looks over at you. "But if you must have some sort of verbal sparring partner, perhaps if you weren't so annoying about it I could tolerate it."
Goa says, "Right one? You sound like I should get out a cage and go 'Bot gigging." He climbs up and perches on an outrigger of Polyhex' wall, snickering.
Slipstream shifts her head up to spot where you perched yourself, "Just as there is a right being to share private thoughts with... the one that you trust with your life... the one who has earned your very spark." then she looks away, "But I suppose I am being too idealistic... Decepticons probably don't have such feelings... or at least shouldn't have them."
Goa shrugs. "And why shouldn't they, Slip?" He sits back, arms behind his tilted head, piqued by the change in conversation angle.
Slipstream stands there quietly, looking out toward the horizon. Quiet and still, like a black and purple statue. Then softly she replies, "For evil knows no love. No sympathy. No compassion." then a beat before she adds, "Though when the Autobots showed me compassion when I fell in battle... I realized that no one is all evil, nor all good."
Goa says, "Evil? 'Bots are no different when it comes to that." The little mech hunches over slightly. "We're in the right here. You can obsess with being evil if you like, but it doesn't seem to be required." He half-lowers the shutters on his eyes invisibly. "Can I ask?"
Slipstream doesn't reply to your comments for several minutes. Then she queries, "Ask what?" She continues to stand there, still while scanning the horizon with sensors alone.
Goa crosses his legs. "I wasn't aware you'd ever been downed."
Slipstream states simply and softly, "It happened last cycle Goa. Starscream didn't even notice. Just kept fighting. The Autobots had to tell him."
Goa raises his eyebrows. "At least I had an excuse for not noticing... Here I was thinking the air commander was self-sacrificing." A chuckle, of course. "But some Autobots are like that. Some aren't. Same on our side, though for our sake, I'd hope the distribution is a bit more unforgiving."
Slipstream moves her head slightly to the left as if listening for someone coming toward the door behind her. Then she looks up toward you, "The air commander probably would have left me to die to save his own hide." looking into your optics, "You at least would have noticed and cared."
Goa returns the stare, unsure what to do with his face. "I could irritate Starscream to incapacitation and assume his post, if you like."
Slipstream's lips very slowly curl into a smile. "Sadly Goa, you aren't a flier."
Goa swings down with one arm, landing on his tires and taking a quick scan of the plains like he should've been doing. "Depends on your definition of flier," he says, shaking the debris from his feet, "I can make other people fly away from me."
Slipstream moves her gaze with your movement, then tells you, "Was that what you were doing with me Goa? Trying to drive me away?"
Goa shrugs with his arms in the air, a clear I-dunno motion, shaking his head. "Are you a CPU analyst?"
Slipstream shakes her head a little. "No. Just you clearly were annoying me for a reason that I do not fully comprehend."
Goa says, "It's that or I try to hawk you energon. Or stab you. ... Or this." He shifts against the wall, seeming more comfortable closer to the ground. "Maybe my spark doesn't have the depth of character it's supposed to. I'm not qualified to know."
Slipstream cocks her head a little at you, "Depth of character isn't something easily seen, Goa. Not when you hide it behind smugness and evasiveness."
Goa laughs nervously. "I'll give you smugness, but when have I ever evaded anything? Sure, I sneak out sometimes, but ..." he seems to get the point mid-sentence. "Slip, what's the longest span of time you've never spoken to another intelligent being?"
Slipstream cocks her head the other way, looking thoughtful as she gazes at you. "A full decacycle. Why?"
Goa shakes the past loose from his head abruptly. "Just getting my bearings still."
Slipstream frowns a hint, "You didn't speak to other intelligent beings for a long while so that is why you act like a total idiot at times?"
Goa bares his teeth with his grin. "Hah. Well, if you want to be presumptuous..." Toning the sneer down, "I don't know. If a 'Con is going to try to kill me, I figure he should get it out of his system as soon as possible. That way I don't get thrown away holding the bag." Goa taps his helmet where the slim grooves are. "Like this."
Slipstream hears the slight tone and sighs, "Fine. Then correct me Goa. How long were you not talking to other intelligent beings. Why do you act like you have no clue about femmes." then a little nod, "Tell me what happened to you."
Goa shakes his head. "I maintain there's not much to tell." He looks out to the ground like that's the end of it, but momentarily continues. "Just a hundred thousand cycles of being a particularly large, metal-plated organic trying to squeeze the... energon... from stones. Maybe that's why my circuits are fried," he rubs inside the edge of his helmet, "Would be pretty anticlimactic if it /was/ that, and not the part where I was running from 'cons much angrier about--it than me."
"No clue about femmes?" His hand moves from his helmet to his hip. "I'm perfectly aware of you. I just don't understand the stigma. Maybe it was just bad upbringing. But wouldn't a real Decepticon not discriminate, as long as you can fight?"
Slipstream listens quietly to you, looking confused a few moments about the squeezing stone for energon. Then she nods a little bit to the rest. "Like I told you before, femmes have to prove themselves more in the Con ranks. It just simply is, and there is no getting around it." then she admits, "Though you are right that I've equally no clue when it comes to mechs. So we are even."
Goa notices her confusion, and looks her up and down for a few moments after she stops speaking. "How familiar are you with the newer seeker? Firestorm?"
"You know," he twirls the 'beard' on his faceplate, "The one I don't give such a hard time."
Slipstream looks at the horizon again as she answers you, "I am not familiar with her, though she seems to know me somehow." a pause, "Why is it you don't give her a hard time hm?"
Goa barely hesitates with the information now, seemingly having opened up. To some degree. "The crystal energon on that planet is ... unique. It'll kill transformers, or drive them mad. Her condition is partly my fault." The mech looks morose. "That's what got me sober about the war. Not Megatron, not Skystalker pushing me around. You can't run from it."
Slipstream looks toward you again, "It didn't kill you... so did it affect you differently?" she asks, then a little nod, "What is her condition that you are obviously sorry for from that look on your face?" this question soft and concerned.
Goa looks to his side, optics fogged over. "No, it didn't kill me. It took half the trip back for that fragging Autobot cyan-blue to fade from my optics, and I still have scoring on my engine. That /slag/ slowly killed an entire troop of Decepticons. Of Cybertronians," he looks back down, apparently very invested in examining his heels. "And they... went and just started testing it on people. It shouldn't even have gotten back here, but so it is."
Slipstream listens quietly, taking in this information. She frowns a hint, standing there as she looks at you. "Thank you for sharing that with me Goa... it must have been difficult for you... not only then... but now."
Goa seems to be shaking slightly as he cleans out a vent. "Is that evasive enough?"
Slipstream says, "Quite the opposite, Goa."
"If you understand that, then I respect you not to pass it around." He looks up, with a smile different in quality than usual.
Slipstream inclines her head to you, "Of course." she assures, smiling back a bit. "I suppose it's my turn to open up then?"
Goa freezes, then looks surprised. "Should I get my can opener?"
Slipstream smirks. "No. Just you shared something and I should do so in return. Just I'm not sure what would be as private that you would want to hear...”
Goa stands, to be polite. "I was going to ask-- you don't seem like the mysterious type," he says. "Surprise me."
Slipstream hmms, "I don't believe I could surprise anyone with my story." she points out. "I was the last in my line of new seekers. Went to aerial school. Did my stint in the academy. Joined the Decepticons." she pauses, "What were you going to ask?"
Goa waves his hand. "I was going to ask -- what could you have that's eating at you in such a way? Except, perhaps ... where do you get the inspiration?" He gestures a square with his hands. "The image of an obedient soldier?"
Slipstream looks confused about the eating at her comment, "A wise teacher at the Academy inspired me. My creator gave me the sort of programming that makes it easy to be obedient and respectful to my superiors."
Goa smirks. "So it /is/ the programming. Wonder what my builder was thinking, then."
Slipstream nods, "Core programming is pretty unshakable unless you are strong willed enough to counteract it." she points out. "What did you mean by eating at me?"
Goa says, "I suppose you wouldn't hear that sort of analogy here that often...? If it wasn't obvious, I let the whole stranding thing get to me..." Goa sighs, engine choking slightly.
Slipstream nods, "No, not a term I am familiar with Goa. But I can try to answer you if you explain it to me." she offers, a little frown of concern. "I won't strand you."
Goa makes a little worried smile at the sudden alienation he finds himself in. "Organics eat, Slipstream," his expression furrows further, "Rocks, other organics, sometimes they try their hand at machines." A shudder. "Some are parasitic, and don't really ask before they get to the eating. It's just an expression that the crew had... when something's bothering you, 'eating at you'."
Slipstream frowns only more at that explanation, especially when you shudder. Naturally she makes a presumption and asks, "Did they eat the Cons you were with on that planet, Goa?" then a pause, "How did you manage not to get eaten yourself?"
Goa says, "... Some of them." He folds out the scythes on his back to answer the femme's second question. "I guess I got some combat programming, too. Maybe I was just built to be a thorn in the side..." He smiles, shaking his head to himself, "But that's another expression."
Goa taps a shoulder thoughtfully. "Do you think if I left these out, the 'Cons would give me less problems?"
Slipstream nods a bit to the answer, "I'm sorry you lost your friends on that planet Goa." she offers, sounding sincere, which may be quite odd coming from her. "I am not sure how to answer your question though... about what is eating at me." then a smile, "It might."
Goa ponders. "I wonder if we'd get in trouble for sparring again?"
Slipstream nods, "We would." stated without a question to her tone.
"Hm. Maybe, some cycle, I'll manage to spar with a 'Con that doesn't immediately try to kill me." Rolling his head to one side groggily, Goa continues, "And I probably shouldn't talk about things that make me pine for a drink when I can scarcely get one."
Slipstream nods, "I don't like having your energon credits... but Megatron insisted." she sighs, "I could buy you a drink after duty ..."
Goa rolls his eyes up to meet Slipstream's. "Only if you want to. Don't pity me."
Slipstream taps her fingers against her hip a few times, then moves her hand up and into her subspace pocket. When her hand comes out it has an energon credit. "I don't pity you." she offers the credit to you, "But I do forgive you."
Goa accepts the offer, lingering on the femme's hand a moment before stashing it. "Thanks." He adds, "... for this. Not for not killing me when you had the chance. Energon on the hands is too much effort to wash off anyway."
Slipstream's hand is palm up, the credit laying there. Her fingers curl against yours as your hand pulls away. She nods slightly, "Not to mention I'd be in the brig for killing a fellow Decepticon without just cause."
Goa nods. "That's what I was getting at. Just cause, though? If the war was any worse, you would've had it."
Slipstream glances at the moon positions and says, "I still wouldn't have it, even if it was worse." she pauses, then looks toward you. "There is something I can share with you that you asked about before."
Goa peers at the armor of his hand. "Go on." Slipstream studies how you are avoiding her gaze now. "My wings." she says, "You wanted to know why I didn't like them touched."
Goa snaps back to eye contact. "I just figured they were receivers of some sort. Still doesn't make much sense to me."
Slipstream meets your optics, "There are a lot of sensors in them, Goa. For a flier to fly accurately, the wings are packed with sensors so we can know if we are putting too much torque or too little upon them. SO you grabbed them like you did, it hurt."
Goa nods slowly, seeming to absorb the explanation. "Didn't know. Don't fault me for assuming a seeker is vain." The genuine smile seems locked on his face now. "I'll be gentler next time, if you like." But there it goes -- back to the smirk.
Slipstream hmms softly, "Isn't vanity, Goa. Just fact. Like how jamming my fingers into those grooves in your helmet bothered you. It's the same deal with me." she points out. She hmms to the smirk, "I like your smile better."
Goa looks bashful. "Well I know that /now/ ..." His eyes cross upward, as if trying to see through his antennae through the helmet.
Slipstream murmurs, "All right then." the she takes a step back, glances at the moons, telling you, "And yes gentler would be nice."
Goa stares ahead again, checking his internal chronometer. "Didn't your shift end twenty clicks ago?" he asks.
Slipstream replies, "Yes."
Goa blinks, then resumes smiling. "Funny, that." The mech tilts his head up at the tower of the city. "I should be out here in the wastes... not holed up in the barracks. Hunting Autobots, like you said." He huffs.
Slipstream turns and faces you, "I stayed out because we were talking as equals Goa. We needed to talk about things and clear up the issues. We have done that." she nods a bit, "I won't keep you from it. I should go to my quite lonely little room and rest."
Goa chortles. "Lonely?" He engages his antigrav, pausing.
Slipstream nods, "Yes." is all she says, "Good cycle to you Goa." then moves to head on inside.
Goa buzzes off to the tower, kicking off with a plume of fire from his heels, whatever retort he may have had deafened by the purr of the engine.