October 22, 2011
(The Tina, Polyhex)
Seeing Quickrazor enter, Nova Black waves to him from one of the less visible alcoves. Hookshot was far too interested in her business earlier. She's sure the rumors about her and Quickrazor are already flying and expected nothing less, but there's a difference between the usual Decepticon gossip and a chatty glider looking to make, and spread, more of it.
Quickrazor tilts his head and moves over to the quiet alcove, and seats himself after looking around the Tina earlier. He is...happy to see her, and it shows. He clasps both hands on top of the table. "I am pleased to see you, Nova." He looks puzzled for a moment, though. "Do you have any idea why that insane glider kept...looking at me?"
Nova Black smiles as Quickrazor sits down, but a scowl soon replaces her pleased expression. "Unfortunately I do, Quickrazor. Soundwave was monitoring the drill hall on the night we were sparring. That's nothing unusual -- Soundwave sees a lot that happens around here. But guess who happened to stop by Intel while he was looking at us?"
Quickrazor looks...vaguely embarrassed, but totally unsurprised *Soundwave, of course...no secrets from that one. * "Hookshot?" he guesses, totally not guessing. "How much did he see?"
"Got it in one, Doc," Nova answers. "As far as how much he saw, I don't know. Could be he just saw us sparring. Said something to me like 'There's a lot you can teach him.'" Her lip plates curl in disgust. "But he also talked to me about Knifepoint. Tried to encourage me to forget our differences."
Quickrazor nods. "That is.. not entirely a bad idea, if Knifepoint can ever remove his head from his aft long enough to see reason." He flicks a wingtip.
Quickrazor exvents. "I let him practice his skills, because I think he has them. He is a slagging afthead of the highest degree, but he is not entirely incompetent."
Nova Black nods. "I agree. I had nothin' against the mech until he decided he loathed you. He's entitled and arrogant, sure, but he's never gotten into slag with me, not really." Her wings twitch. "But stickin' up for someone who would have turned our medbay into a place for him to do his creepy little experiments didn't make sense to me... and after that, well... if he really thought Psykeout meant to help him out, he's a slagging moron."
Quickrazor nods. "Oh, I agree. Psykeout was psychotic even by my standards...a weak, pathetic little mech...and Knifepoint should know that Psykeout would have /never/ respected him. He would have been a tool."
"Exactly," Nova says, pounding a gray fist on the table for emphasis. "I don't begrudge any Decepticon his ambitions. But thinking that would help him to achieve them? That's just stupid. Stupid, and weak, and desperate. I really hope for all our sakes that Knifepoint sees reason." Her optics gleam brightly in the dimness of the bar. "But if he doesn't... well. You know I'm with you on this, Quickrazor."
Quickrazor smiles. "I...am glad of that, Nova. I need...allies, and you are somewhat more to me than just that, but I am glad that you stand beside me." He dims his optics speculatively. "He is now at work in the repair bay, though, and even though he was rude, he seemed to accept my authority there." Rudeness is just to be expected around here, he knew.
Nova Black smiles again. "Yes, I saw that. For all the problems lately, what I saw when I came in seemed to be -- an efficient and well-run medbay. From what I could tell, anyway."
Quickrazor nods firmly. "It seems so, yes. Of course, chaos could be erupting even as we speak." His tone was not very serious.
Nova Black chuckles. "Welcome to life among the Decepticons. That's one thing I'll say for being here. It's never -- dull." She falls silent for a moment, her optics dimming. Then, returning to herself, she waves down a server, suddenly intensely intent on ordering some energon.
Quickrazor resists the very strong urge to reach put to her. "Are you...all right?" A question he usually does not ask or care to know the answer to.
Nova Black's optics brighten as they refocus. "Yes. Yes, I'm all right, Doc. Just your mention of all the chaos around here reminded me of --" she stops, flicking her wings "-- a time in my past when everything was a little too quiet for me. But that was a long time ago. I'm fine now."
Quickrazor does reach out toward her, then. "When you are ready to tell me of everything that has made you who you are today...I will listen." An odd feeling /always/ rose up when around her, like this.
Nova Black slides her hand toward his. "I should tell you. I'm going to have to tell you, if -- if things between us are going -- where I think they are."
Quickrazor nods. "I...slag, I want them to. Very much." There. He'd said it, put out that vulnerability...yet there is her hand, warm and strong and /alive/. "More than a simple alliance, Nova Black. I intend to court you, in my...fashion." His intentions crystal-clear, he lays his large hand over her smaller one.
Nova Black nods. "If that's your intention, Quickrazor, then you need to know, before you make up your mind." Her faceplates twist up in a pained expression, and she vents a heavy sigh. She stares at him, alert, ready to power up her weapons if this goes bad. "A while ago, I noticed you -- looking at my scars."
Quickrazor looks at them once more. "I wondered who had had the temerity to assault you in such a way, your optics, and how many pieces you left after you rose from stasis."
Nova Black gives Quickrazor a wry smile. "It's not like that, Quickrazor. If it was, do you think I'd hide the story?" She lifts one of her hands to her face, laying her fingertips over her optic sockets, fitting her fingers precisely over each of the scars. "I gave these scars to myself." She pauses before going on.
Quickrazor wonders why. Why would /anyone/ tearnout their own...but no, she couldn't have been, not /her/...He raises his eyeridges, both winglets fluttering in confusion, before he quietly asked, "Why?"
"Because I was hiding, Quickrazor," she says, her normally gruff voice soft. "Because most machines built with red optics are Decepticons, and I needed those around me... not to know." Her wings flicker in agitation.
"It was years ago," she begins. "I'm sure you can tell from my voice, the way I talk, move -- I'm from the middle of nowhere. Scrapville. I was built as an enforcer, working in one of the contested areas before we managed to fully conquer them. My team was a bunch of nobodies -- me, a couple coneheads, a big grounder, a little slithering worm of an intel officer --" she shudders violently as she mentions that last one. "For the most part, we all got along." Her wings twitch again. "Until we didn't."
Quickrazor stares, but only for a brief moment. Nova is strong, and not one to hide from her problems...he firmly believes this. "An uprising within your command?" That is the /only/ reason he can come up with, other than the possibility that she'd /defected/...and he just could not see that. "Calm, Nova. I am /here/."
Nova Black's wings slowly grow still. But she's not at all happy with his guesses."My problem was the slagger leading us. Lazy glutton. Good for nothing, as far as I was concerned. But I wasn't gonna run the risk of attacking my CO, so that was that... Instead I got into it with this conehead who was constantly sucking up, agreeing with everything Bane said or did, even when it was drinkin' everyone else's energon, or turnin' blind optics to things the Settlement we were watching over was doing." She gives a wry chuckle. "Slag, I'd wanted to lay him out forever." Her hand transforms before she realizes it's happening -- which is pretty much what happened then, too. "But that's not quite what ended up happening that day."
Quickrazor nods. "There is nothing inhrerently amiss with wishing one's commanding officer into the Pit. And the coneheads are /not/ the best and brightest of the Seeker-kin." He smiles, then, at her transformation. "You used that?"
Nova Black nods. "I did. It really -- it shouldn't have been *anything*," she says, her engines revving with the intensity of her emotion. "I mean, yeah, I would have gotten in trouble anyway. Maybe the bad kind of trouble that doesn't easily go away. But it wouldn't have -- I mean, none of them would -- slag it, they were *my team.*" Her turbines whirl in indignation. "But the little slithery worm of a spy decided I was better off gone -- so he decided to convince the others I was dangerous to them." She stares around the Tina, her optics flickering with memories. "Before I knew it, half the 'Cons in the damn bar were after my spark, and the other half were too slagging cowardly to stand up for me."
Quickrazor nods. "You /are/ dangerous, especially to one whose cowardice you saw through." He's not sure what to think. "So you had to run. Where...did you go?" *Not the Autobots. I don't think I want to know that, if it's true.*
"Neutral settlement," she answers. "Bought some yellow optics, tore out my own, got a doodad that would change my paint and hide my brands. I -- I lived there for years." Her engines rev. "I was so damned mad at the 'Cons who ran me off I didn't even realize how much I hated it. That's what I meant when I talked about what it's like -- when it's boring. When there's no one to fight and nothin' to fight *for*."
Quickrazor says with quiet intensity, "If you have nothing to fight for you may as well be dead." This revelation was not what he expected. "You lived as a Neutral. But now...you are not." he observed.
"Now I'm not," she repeats, nodding. "I never was, not really." Her engines rev. "I don't think anyone is. I think every spark is one or the other, and sometimes you don't know which you are yet." She fixes him with an intense stare. "That's why I don't do the slag most 'Cons do to Neutrals unless I have a reason. *I* don't know which they are either. Until they show me."
Quickrazor cycles air through his vents thoughtfully. "I suppose that makes sense." He gazes at the scars, then... "They are a reminder. Of all that occurred. Your scars, I mean. On your face." Something about her made all his eloquence fly straight into the stratosphere, never to be found again. He tried again. "I...you did what you had to do to survive. I was not there...but I /know/ that you have honor."
Nova Black's wings twitch. "I -- I'm glad to hear you say that, Quickrazor." She looks up at him as if she's about to say something more. Instead, a long silence passes between them. With another nod, she adds "Just as I'm glad to be back. I thought I might go glitched back then. Maybe I already had."
Quickrazor shakes his head, then. "No more glitched than the rest of it. Do not...do not /worry/. Your experiences have shaped you into who you are now...and I like that person very much. If it is weakness to admit that, then so be it." He looks into those crimson optics, surrounded by the evidence of her trials. "You never betrayed what you believed, I should think. Decepticons occasionally kill one another. Generally it's for far less reason than your own."
Nova Black nods firmly. "No. No, I didn't. I could have stayed, I think, if I'd really wanted to. But when I discovered that a group of Autobots was hiding right under Bane's gluttonous olfactory sensors... well. When the Settlement decided to do nothing I couldn't sit on that. Not even if suddenly reappearing meant I'd get slagged for showing up again." She flicks her wings, her uncertain expression becoming a triumphant little grin. "Besides, I had a plan."
Quickrazor smiles, a little gently. She looked /well/ with a grin. "What was your plan? Other than to get rid of that which had no business being there." It's not clear whether he is referring to the Autobots she'd discovered or her former CO.
Nova Black smiles back, glad to see Quickrazor engaged in her story. "Remember I said Bane is a lazy idiot? Well, the Settlement kept him out of their business with bribes. He probably had more energon stored up than a small 'Con *citadel*, not that we ever saw too much of it. Anyway, I'd spied on the 'Bots for a while after I found out they were there, and they were -- building something. A weapon, it turned out. I told Bane he'd better call their bluff before they ended up blowing his worthless wings off with an AA gun.
"I proposed we pretend we were after the fuel they had stored -- Bane would want it anyway, so it would be believable, and if we didn't make a move the bribes might stop coming, depending on how the rest of the Settlement liked Autobots in our backyard. The 'Bots would want to save the poor Neutrals from starvation and would, if we were lucky, show up to save the day before they finished their AA gun, and we could pick 'em off before they were ready to fight us. And of course, there'd be one more of us than they were expecting. Me."
Quickrazor nods, truly interested. "You would be a...surprise, to be sure. Do you think he actually knew there were 'bots in the area, or did he just not care?" He flicks his left winglet in a gesture of derision. "Continue, please."
Nova Black scowls. "I don't know. I discovered they were there completely by accident myself. Anyway, he liked my plan -- probably because he couldn't have come up with one himself. He reinstated me for it, and even gave me an upgrade." She fans out her wings, larger than the wings she'd been built with. Though she wasn't sure just how impressive someone who fixed 'Cons would find it; she and her team had been mass-produced models, half-obsolete when they came off the assembly line anyway. "It worked, too -- drew 'em out." She grimaces. "Unfortunately, they'd finished their little weapons project. Slagging thing almost killed me."
Quickrazor nods slowly, considering. He had noticed that her wings were slightly larger than most Seekers of her general size- he'd thought it was simple variation, because despite his curiosity and interest in her he would not scour her personal file to gain /that/ sort of information. She had yet to officially report for general scanning, and as such he hadn't reviewed it yet. "I am certainly glad that they failed. How did you get reassigned here?"
Nova Black grins. "Promotion. After what happened. Word got out that I was the reason we'd killed most of that gaggle of 'Bots -- funnily enough, the one who nearly killed me was Neutral until I turned against the Settlement." She clicks her wings. "That's part of why I think everybody's one or the other. That and the ex-'Bot that tried to ruin everything for me throughout the whole thing." She looks at him. "At first I was angry about it. Glad for the rank, sure, but I -- didn't want to leave my team. Not after I finally belonged on it again, and the retrorat who tried to have me killed was dead. Also, I wanted to hunt down the newly-minted 'Bot who tried to kill me. You know they gave him wings? An Autobot with wings!" Her engines rev, a dark purr of rage. "I wanted to rip 'em off before I killed him. And I couldn't go after him if I got transferred. But I -- like it here, now."
Quickrazor cocks an eyeridge in distaste. "Bots don't deserve the skies. That is a mess with welded on metal plating that only wishes it were good enough to share the air with you." He stops...did he /actually/ say something so slagging stupid? "Does it still function, the flying travesty, I mean?"
Nova Black snorts. "Don't you mean 'us,' Doc? You've got wings too. And I don't know -- but I have to guess he does. I was takin' care of some of my own business with the ex-'Bot when the flying mess -- mech named Grandeur -- found me. He was a 'Bot now, so he offered to trade himself for the guy I was in the middle of killin'." She shakes her head. "Idiot. I told him no deal, and we fought. The other 'Cons were pulling out, because we'd won, but I wanted a piece of Grandeur so I went after him. His new wings meant he got to the weapon and blew me out of the sky with it." She shudders, her spark pulsing with remembered pain. "When I came to, my enemy had long since driven off. Or flown off." She scowls in disgust.
Quickrazor smirks and twitches those wings, nowhere near a Seeker's. "I meant what I said...you, specifically, as my grace in the skies is almost nonexistent. My skills lie elsewhere." He considers her enemy's designation for a bit, comimg up completely blank in the general file system.
Nova Black shakes her head. "I'd be hunting him if I weren't here." She looks down at her dagger and re-transforms it, clenching her hand a few times. "So. That's my story. Or most of it, anyway."
Quickrazor reaches for her hand once more, with a rueful chuckle. "You have seen and experienced a lot, haven't you." It was clear to him what he should do, but he waits for the right moment, waits for /her/. Her proximity drives him to distraction.
Nova Black gives him a small smile of her own. "I have. I -- thank you, Quickrazor," she says with a twitch of her wings.
Quickrazor nods. "Offline your optics for me. Just for a moment"
Nova Black tenses, remembering her upgrade and the moment her old team's medic had removed her old yellow optics to give her new red ones. She'd loathed those hideous yellow things that made her look like something she wasn't, but the moment of sightlessness when they'd been removed had thrown her into panic. She regards Quickrazor for a long moment. Then her optics flicker and go dark.
Quickrazor watches her, this show of trust. The idea thrilled him on levels he did not understand. He rose, almost silently, and moved next to her. Bending near, his warm presence very near now, he brought his face close...closer, gently kissing those darkened optics and by proxy all that they represent. He does not touch her, except for the too-brief brushes, but he leans near her audial and whispers anyway. "That is how I feel." His hands lock at his wrists, crossed at his center in a gesture of submission.
Nova Black twitches slightly as she feels his lip plates touch her optics. Then, slowly, she relaxes. Her optics flicker back on again as she reaches over to wrap a hand around the back of his helm and draw his mouth to hers and draw him into a kiss. It's... better than trying to say something. She's done all of that already anyway.
Quickrazor offlines his optics then, leaning in and bringing a single hand to caress her arm, her back...he doesn't know what to do, to say. He breaks off, just slightly, leaving only a breath between them. "I think...I want you, to be /close/. Later, because there are eyes everywhere...I can show you that I will give to you, will be there for you." His lips brushed hers again, he's trembling now, barely able to hold his control, that control of himself that he wished only to give at this moment.
<Decepticon> Seeker Patrol Officer Neonwing to Polyhex! There is a giant- I don't know what it is! It's moving! It's as big as the tower! It's- ARRRRG!* *The transmission cuts off with a burst of static*
Nova Black wraps her other arm around him, holding him tightly. She grins. "I'd like that."
Then the message comes through on the communication channel. "Slag. Trouble. I should go."
Quickrazor cocks his head, cursing lightly. "My dear, it appears that duty may well be calling." He forces himself to let Nova go, then. "Comm says the slag is hitting the air recirc unit right now."
Nova Black is already getting up to go. "Yeah, it is. I hate to go so quickly -- but it has been a while since I've had somethin' to shoot." She grins, her optics bright, as her weapons systems begin to energize. "I'll see you when it's over, Doc. Hopefully, you won't need to fix too much of me."