(The Tina, Polyhex)
Nova Black walks into the Tina, has a seat at the bar, and orders a drink. One of her shoulders is slightly damaged, her internal repairs having healed most but not all of the injury. When the bartender brings her cube she regards it for a moment as if thinking. Then, wings twitching, she takes a swig from it.
It's the twitching that catches Vortex's attention. Slouched in a seat a little way from the bar, he has Prowl's chevron in his hands and is turning it around and - until Nova came in - was watching the light glint off it and thinking through tactics for his forthcoming interrogation of that delicate little Autobot medic that will very soon be his to work on. But the twitching gets him, and he recognises the seeker he'd fought alongside at the battle for the quarry. He watches her for a while before speaking. "What's up with your shoulder?"
Nova Black's optics narrow as she turns to face the copter who addressed her. He hasn't even said hello, and that's a bit rude. Then again, he did drag her home after that battle, and having to do it herself would have sucked slag. She owes him an answer, at least. "Nothin' much. Just sparring. With blades."
Vortex shuffles his rotors to get them more comfortable before slouching further into his seat. "Useful," he comments, then flashes her a brief grin. "And you'd rather go to the bar than the medic, eh?" It doesn't look bad enough to warrant a medic, but having been pondering his job for a while, Vortex is in 'get to know people' mode, and he always finds warriors interesting.
Nova Black snorts. "If I went to the medic every time I had a dent, they'd have no time to work on anyone else."
"Heh, I'll bet," Vortex says. "What's the medic like?" He hasn't found out yet for himself because the call for routine maintenance wasn't anywhere near as interesting as... just about anything else.
Nova Black tilts her head. "Which one are you askin' about? Robustus? Shred? That new one?" She scowls slightly as she mentions the last.
There are two of them out there, potentially wanting to examine him? Great. Vortex doesn't consider Lifeline relevant, as she's only just arrived. "Robustus," he says. "But if you've met the new one..."
"Robustus? I like him," Nova answers. "Careful. Calm. Doesn't seem to have much of his own agenda. That's refreshing in this city. As for the new one..." her wings twitch again. "I'd rather just see Robustus."
"Something up with her?" Vortex asks, alert for anything that will help him get to know Nova as much as intel on First Aid's ex-employer.
Nova Black scowls. "I wouldn't know," she says, closing her dark mouth tight. This mech's just full of questions, and she's not sure she likes that. "Soundwave told me to bring her in if I could. So I did."
Vortex gets the hint that Nova isn't keen on being questioned, so he figures a slightly friendlier approach might be helpful - especially as they haven't actually been introduced, and she might not know who he is. "Soundwave knows what he's doing," he says with complete confidence. "I'm Vortex. Nice paintjob."
"You work for him, then?" Nova asks, glad to be the one asking the questions now. "And I'm Nova Black. And thanks. Though I still don't see why everyone seems to think I'm pretty."
"Never said pretty," Vortex smirks. "Tasteful, good aesthetic. Something your enemies won't forget until you snuff their sparks." He continues to turn the chevron around slowly between his fingers. "I'm in intel," he confirms, happy to divulge any information as long as it's getting him somewhere. "But a good fight in the open's always welcome." Or a dirty fight anywhere else, he thinks.
Nova Black nods. "Figured you were. Heard you did some interrogation a while back, I think." She peers at the chevron in his hands. "What's that you've got there?"
"Prowl's chevron," he says, keeping it still for long enough for Nova to see, before continuing to play with it. "Tore it off him at the quarry. Frag, that was fun." He leans forward to take a swig of his drink, then settles back again, still smiling. "Yeah, that Autobot flier Screamer had. Shame our beloved Air Commander compromised my intel by shooting the glitch in the head." He's still a little bitter about that, and probably will remain bitter until Starscream gives him a victim whose optics are still intact.
Nova Black chuckles. "I dunno, I'd rather kill 'Bots than rip pieces off of 'em."
"That has its uses," Vortex concedes. "But this..." he gives the chevron another little flourish, evidently pleased at having obtained it. "This is gonna give the Autobots something to talk about. Prime's strategist gets back from a battle without his crowning glory and they're gonna wanna know what happened. It'll shake 'em up a bit, give 'em someone else to fear. And it'll give the neutrals another reason to reject the Autobots. If a 'con can get close enough to do that, who knows what they'll do next?" He shrugs. "Besides, ripping bits off is fun."
Nova Black nods. "Makes sense." Her optics gleam and her wings flare out. "And anything that convinces more Neutrals, I like." Her mouth sets in a grim line. "But the Autobots are vermin, crawlin' all over Cybertron making trouble. If you've got scraplets, you don't rip 'em in half." Her optics shine still brighter. "You make sure they're all exterminated."
"Sure," Vortex says. "But it's kinda like blowing up a tower. If you're careful with your undermining, and you do enough groundwork, you can just sit back and watch the whole thing topple. Then, y'know, pick off the fraggers as they flee." He laughs and takes another mouthful of his drink. "You been havin' fun with neutrals then?" he says, responding to her frown more than her words.
Nova Black sighs. "Trying."
"Yeah?" Vortex prompts. He stops playing with the chevron and relaxes into an easy, open posture, giving the impression of polite interest.
Nova Black nods. "Yeah. I already told ya, your boss sent me out on a recruiting mission. Unfortunately, he sent me after that slagging medic." Her engines rev in irritation. "Still don't know why he didn't just let me scout out Cubicron on my own. I know Neutrals. I could easily have found someone I'd know for sure would really want to be one of us."
"You don't think she does?" Vortex asks. Then, because Nova hadn't responded too well to queries about Lifeline earlier, he says, "Neutral contacts are useful. Yours aren't in Cubicron?"
Nova Black huffs. "That's not what I said. I said I could've been making some useful ones if Soundwave had sent me to do that instead."
"I'm sure you could," Vortex says, his curiosity thoroughly piqued by Nova's touchiness. "So," he says, as though it's a change of subject, "where are you from?"
Nova Black smirks. "Not sure that's somethin' you need to know right now, either."
"Your call," Vortex says. Much as he's enjoying getting information from Nova, she isn't a subject, she's a colleague, and he knows when to back off. "I was built in Kaon," he offers, just to show this isn't an intel-mining operation. "Never thought I'd end up here." He sounds pleased that he has.
Nova Black nods. "I never thought I'd end up here, either," she admits, willing to give a bit of information back for what he's offered.
"I was built for the front lines," Vortex says, hoping that divulging a little more will help her to open up. "But I ended up in intel instead."
"I was built in Kaon, but sent to work as an enforcer," she answers. "Out in some of the old Neutral territories." That's probably too much information, she knows, but what the hell? This mech's obviously going to fish until she tells him something.
"You must'a done well, summoned to Polyhex and all," Vortex comments. Nova Black flicks her wings. "Found out about some Autobots lurking around the Neutral settlement," she answers. "Came up with a plan to flush 'em out."
"Sounds entertaining," Vortex responds. "You get 'em all?"
Nova Black's optics narrow. "All but one. They had a weapon -- maybe somethin' like that thing they're building now. One of the Neutrals switched sides after I -- when *we* showed up. You won't believe it, but the guy had a set of *wings.*" She snarls, grittign her dental plates so tightly they throw up sparks. "Sprouted right out of his vehicle mode and everything. Anyway, he managed to fly to the weapon and shot me right out of the air." Her engines rev again. "I'm lucky I'm not dead."
"Lucky or just plain resilient," Vortex says, because a bit of flattery can't be bad. "Heh, an aerial Autobot..." The idea's a little odd, although not exactly impossible. Culturally improbable though, and highly unpalatable - and Vortex's expression reveals what he thinks of the idea.
Nova Black's engines roar. "It's slagging *disgusting*, is what it is."
Vortex pulls a face. "Filth oughtta be grounded," he says. "He still out there somewhere?"
Nova Black nods, snarling. "Yes. I'd be hunting him down, but I was called here instead." She clicks her wings. "I like it here, but that usurping little parasite needs killin', and someday I'll go back to do it."
"Send me the footage," Vortex says with a grin. Then he notices the time, sighs and downs the rest of his drink. "Frag, I gotta be going." He doesn't want to, because getting the full version of what happened with the hidden Autobots and their weapon is something he really does want to hear. But getting that out of Nova will have to wait until another day. He stands. "You ever want anyone taken apart slowly, comm me," he says.
Nova Black snorts again. "I ever want someone taken apart slowly, I'll do it myself." Her hard expression twists into a smirk. "But I do appreciate the sentiment." She holds out her hand to shake. "Be seein' you, then, Vortex."
Vortex accepts the gesture, and shakes Nova's hand. "I'm sure you will." Then he flashes her a final grin before drawing his mask back into place and heading off back to the intel compound.