Although when on errands, or even skulking about Polyhex Hookshot is usually one who clings to the shadows, today he is lavishing standing out with a glittering gold and green paint job and a black helmet that vaguely resembles a tricorn, albeit with some kibble. He is sitting right at the center of the bar, in plain view from anyone walking in, and is merrily downing a vibrantly glowing substance between making small talk with anyone who will listen.
Nova Black walks into the Tina, her scarred faceplates twisted into a scowl. Her wings twitch as she sits down at the bar. She watches the brightly-colored glider making merry and cracks a tiny smile in spite of herself as she orders her drink.
"..and then he was no more! Poor wretch! Well... that's at least the most I can remember..." is the end portion of a story Hookshot had been apparently telling to the disinterested brute of a bartender. He straightens up and takes another gulp, his white optics snagging sight Nova Black as she takes a seat. His face splits into a grin as he says cheerfully, "Greetings! My, you do look the part, but that just adds to the ambience and aesthetics of a rough and tumble establishment such as this!"
Nova Black's optics widen as the glider finishes his story and addresses her. "Heh. Was that a greeting or an insult?" She's still smiling, though; at least he didn't call her pretty.
Hookshot allows his grin to shift into a smirk as her turns more fully to her, resting an elbow on the bartop. "Take it in whichever way makes you happiest!"
Nova Black chuckles. "Well, if you insulted me I could always challenge you to a fight. Might be fun." She turns to take her drink from the bartender and then looks back at Hookshot. "But I don't think I know you yet, so maybe introductions should come first."
Her grin widens. "My name is Nova Black."
Hookshot's fingers twitch a little at the mention of a fight, but he maintains his smirk.
"Nova Black? I am Hookshot... and I'm not terribly fond of fighting needlessly, at least, not with weapons. I prefer a good banter." He glances around the room for a moment, his smile lessening. "I suppose being shy of brawls would be a good motivation to steer clear of here." He pauses again. "Nova Black was it? Weren't you involved in some shenanigans or some sort of brawl here a while ago?"
Nova Black snorts. "Oh. That. Yeah. Rogue had been pestering me a while, and gotten on the bad side of some others, too. They attacked her. She responded by attacking... everyone. Including me." She clenches a gray fist. "I gave her a few dents for it."
Hookshot chuckles as he listens to the condensed version. "Ah, the hapless but far from helpless bystander. I could scarcely understand why anyone would want to mess with you. You look like the sort of person I'd be worried to meet in some dark alley." . Nova Black grins again. "You might say I've lived through a few things."
Hookshot keeps his optics on Nova Black as he grabs around until his hand finds his drink, and then he finishes the last of the glowing substance. Venting with satisfaction, he sets it back down. "Just a few things?"
Nova Black snorts and takes a sip of her own drink. "You looking for my whole life story?"
Hookshot allows his gaze to drop for a moment, and then meets Nova's scarred optics again. "I imagine even if i were, you wouldn't freely give it up," he says, his smile by now only faint and his optic ridges arched.
Nova Black twitches her wings. "Probably not." She notices his expression. Maybe if he's into stories, he'll want to tell his own. "How about you? Have you always been here?"
Hookshot taps his fingers on the counter for a moment, and then shakes his head. "No. I lived independant for most of my existence. I was not made to be one of the fine warriors here, but rather had to come by the training by my own efforts. I used to be a performer... and a collector." He seems at ease talking about himself.
Nova Black's optics widen again and she twitches her wings. "So there *is* hope for some of these machines that were built Neutral. Heh. I knew it." She snorts, thinking of that disastrous conversation she and some others had with Blades. "So... what made you come here?"
Hookshot allows his grin to deepen as he lowers his chin, his optics seeming to glow brighter for a moment. "The war has tightened people's purse strings, and extravagence such as I supplied is not in demand. I want this war to end, so I joined the side that was obviously going to win. Besides, the Autobots should mind their place. Builders. Useful, but not who I would entrust the future to. We need someone powerful who can not only lead but protect Cybertron from outside invaders."
Nova Black grins back. "Makes perfect sense to *me*. Though I dunno about calling the 'Bots useful. Rather just scrap 'em all and go from there." Her optics flare bright crimson and the air around her crackles as power feeds instinctively to her weapons systems. "Besides, why not just let the Neutrals do all that if they insist on staying independent? They don't want to fight, but they're not in our way. I don't really get why some 'Cons think they --" She stops herself, taking a swig of her drink in a feeble attempt to make some excuse for not talking.
Hookshot arches an optics ridge at Nova Black. "Think they... what? If they are not with us, they are against us, and therefor should be destroyed? Hmmm... you are a sensible femme. I am sure you'd agree that if our warriors were to wipe out everyone but themselves and what slaves we keep about Polyhex, then Cybertron would be crippled. We need more slaves and workers to handle the mundane tasks of rebuilding, harvesting energon, and producing various goods. Furthermore, once we take the planet, we may want to be able to trade with other planets, and the merchant class would be invaluable there... don't you think?"
Nova Black nods. "Yeah, that's exactly what I meant. And what you're saying makes perfect sense to me. Though I think you care a little more about trading and credits than me." Chuckling, she takes a swig of her drink. "Fine with me, though. I'm here to fight. Being part of us winning this damn war is all I care about right now. Once we win, somebody else can worry about how things should work." Her optics flare again. "And I'll worry about enforcing it."
Hookshot sits back, seeming more and more pleased with the way the conversation is going, and he does not try to hide it. "Enforce it you say? Hmm, and leave the thinking to those more qualified... yes, I think the way I see the future going, you and I will both get on quite well with our lives."
Nova Black's engines rev, and her gray hand grips her cube tighter. "Hey now. I said I'm a soldier, not that I can't think. Have to be able to think to stay ahead of the enemy, even if you are following orders." She chuckles, not very nicely. "Besides, if I can't think, how is it a compliment to know I think you had the right idea until you said that?"
Hookshot throws back his head and chuckles at Nova's response, letting it slowly die out in its own due time. He is silent for a while, still grinning at the scarred femme. "No, you have to be smart to survive in this world, but there's different kinds of thinking. I don't imagine you are the sort to sit and worry about economics, industry, public relations, or even beautification of the world. No... I imagine with you it's strategy, cat and mouse, and quick wit on your feet."
Nova Black glowers at Hookshot for laughing at her. Then again, he did say he didn't want a fight. And as satisfying as it might be to put a few dents in him, she's probably not going to meet an ex-Neutral for a while unless it's someone she convinces.
And she does like what she just heard. "Something like that, yeah. And yes, you've gotta be smart to survive. Especially if you come from where you say you do. It's pretty hellish for Empties out there. And Neutrals too, unless they live in Crystal City... and I wouldn't wanna be living there in a few vorns either." She snickers.
The glowering only make Hookshot smile even more. "You're offended that I question your intelligence. That's good. You have self respect and fire in your core." He takes a moment to order himself a refill before turning his attention back to Nova.
"Ah. Yes. It is quite terrible out there. Another reason for signing up: Protection. With people like you watching my back, I've little to fear. Although... I'm not wholly unaware of the ambitions of some Decepticons... certain ones who you always want to face with your back to the wall... but you aren't that sort I hope. It would so ruin the rest of my cycle."
Nova Black smirks. This little guy's amusing as slag. Probably lying every third sentence, but it *is* funny. "Heh. I wouldn't stab you in the back without a damn good reason. So far, you haven't given me one." She twitches her wings. "You've given me a few reasons to bash you into scrap, though. Might want to watch that I don't decide I've got enough of 'em."
Hookshot takes a moment to take a few large gulps of his energon as he listens. "I think you are better off bashing those like Skywarp who goes out of his way to be a complete aft to everyone, and lacks sufficient charm to even do it with style. At least I'm cute while offending people."
Nova Black snickers. "I've put a few dents in 'Warp before. Never seems to teach him anything." She takes another swig from her drink, still laughing softly. "So where exactly are you from?"
Relaxes his grin into merely a faint smile. "Where? That is difficult to really say. I traveled a lot. To be truthful, things have changed so much since the war began. I remember when things were much more peaceful and pleasant..."
Nova Black nods. "Makes sense you would. Some places out there, you're flying from wasteland to wasteland."
Hookshot inclines his head, staring off into space for a while, just a lingering impression of a smile on his face. After breaking from his reverie he nods again and sets his optics back on Nova. "I used to actually be quite wealthy and have a great collection of sculptures and etchings. I am quite fond of art, you see."
Nova Black considers this. "Can't say I've ever seen too much of that, not out in the middle of nowhere where I used to serve and where --" She stops, and then quickly speaks again. "But I did see that dance performance some time back, right when I first got transferred here. That was some fancy flying, for civilians. It looked good. Before whoever it was got shot, that is. Heh."
Hookshot grins. "Ah, yes, I did attend that and enjoyed it thuroughly. It was so refreshing after the terrible state this world has fallen to. Things have gotten so ugly, so mundane, so ruined... so... so..." He rotates his wrist as he seaches his databanks for the ideal word to express his disdain, "...bland." He failed.
Nova Black's optics widen in confusion. "Not sure why you'd confess all that to me. I like blowing things up." She smirks, and then is quiet for a long moment. She takes a sip of her drink, as if to fortify herself. "But I've also got optics. I've seen what Neutral settlements look like. I know what they think of most of us."
Hookshot shrugs his shoulders calmly. "Of course they are bitter. Their life is ruined because of this war, and the Decepticons are big nasty bullies. But we're the power, we are the way, and they should get over it."
Nova Black snorts. "'Big nasty bullies,' huh? Someone still got a problem? Not that I care, as long as you don't make any trouble."
Hookshot laughs boisterously. "Personally, I think it sums up what neutrals think of us quite nicely."
Nova Black shrugs. "Wasn't arguing with that part."
Hookshot arches an optic ridge. "Of course. I don't forget that I was one of them, but I took my life in my own hands and did something about my misery and loss. I have no sympathy for those who just pine away about the good old days and just complain endlessly about the war and poverty. True... some people have bad luck, and it's out of their hands... but not everyone. Some people are just either stupid or lazy, and we don't need the likes of them."
Nova Black snorts. "Thought you said you came here for protection. Now you're talkin' like a big shot. Which is it?" Her wings twitch with amusement. Hookshot sets his hands on the bar counter and shakes his head, a quiet chuckle playing out slowly. "Must there only be one reason for anything? Yes, I came here for protection. I came here because I believe Decepticons will win, and being on the winning side will ensure me a comfortable place in the future we make. I came here because I hate being poor. I came here because my skills were being wasted. There are many reasons. I am not so two dimensional, Nova Black."
Nova Black laughs back at him. "Easy there, glider. I never said you didn't have plenty of reasons. Or that you shouldn't be here. If I had my way half the damn fools out there would sign up, and I don't really give a slag if they're warriors trapped in hellholes or if they're slag-sucking opportunists. The way I see it it's a waste to let the best of 'em starve out there or to shoot 'em up for fun. After all, if not for one of them, I'd -- well. Let's just say I wouldn't like where my own life was going."
Hookshot places the palms of his hands against the edge of the bar counter, his second energon finished. "I agree. Those block-heads like Skywarp who are too happy to shoot at anything that moves that doesn't bare a Decepticon logo are just doing more harm than good. We need to turn out image around somehow to entice people to join. However, I am such a lowly rank that my ideas would likely go unheard." He smiles, taking note of the amount of unfinished sentences Nova Black had been uttering. He rises to his feet. "Well, I've shared much of myself with you. I should like to buy you some drinks in the future, and hear more about you. As for now, though, I must be going."
Nova Black nods. "Sounds like a good idea to me. I've tried to talk to some of 'em before, but --" She twitches her wings. "Somehow I don't think they buy that I know where they're comin' from. Can't imagine why." She gives a dry, sharp chuckle. "Somebody like you, though... maybe you'd scare 'em less. If I go out on a recruiting mission any time soon, maybe you should come along." She finishes her own drink. "And I'm with you on needing to leave, too. If I'm gonna manage to handle 'Warp on these new missions, I'd better get on that."
Hookshot grins broadly. "I would love to accompany you on a recruiting mission. It has been very pleasant meeting your acquaintence. I shall be off now!" He bows and turns to leave.
Nova Black waves to the energetic glider as he grins at her and heads off. Interesting. Worth watching herself around him, but he's amusing, and what little she can piece together of his real motivations indicates clever opportunist looking for prosperity and fun, not creepy one looking to knife others in the back with little provocation. That could be useful, especially considering his background. She pays for her own drink and follows once she's sure the glider has gone.