Who: Soundwave, Tuxedo, Fusillade, Scrapper, Sinnertwin, Abyss, Rider, Leet, Michael Briar, Emily Briar, Dead End, Sky Lynx
Summary: Soundwave enlists Tuxedo to help train the Decepticons on how to treat humans as if the Decepticons really, truly respect them.
This circular arena evokes either a whirlpool, in the sloping spiral of the seating, or a toothy maw, in the pointed backs of the seats. Layered blues and subtle violets give a water-colored feel to the arena, a pointed contrast to the bright life-fluids spilled on the floor here. It's almost mocking, the lulling false sense of security. Rising on shining spires, box seats perch high above the 'whirlpool', sculpted like crystalline compound eyes, mirrored and unknowable on the outside and comfortable within, with an excellent view of the arena. Floodlight globes like pearls are strung from the high ceiling, and on full power, they can fill the arena with more light than high noon.
As a few more mechs are settling into their seats, the lights in the arena are suddenly extinguished. As optics are adjusting to the darkness, a large screen which looks as if it would be more at home in a movie theatre is lowered down from the rafters.
A pale light shines from behind the seated members of the audience, capturing dust particles in its beam, and illuminating the screen ahead. The images that are soon flashing up on the screen are a collection of greatest hits of Decepticon battles. It soon fades to black though, as the following text scrolls its way along from top to bottom:
"For eons, a war has been waging between the Autobots and the Decepticons. Although, no victor has ever been stated, there is little doubt that the Decepticons had all but won when the Autobots fled Cybertron to seek out other sources of Energon so that they could continue the fight. That act had very serious repercussions. As the Decepticons pursued in order to finish what they had started, they intercepted the Autobot shuttle and crashed on an alien planet. The mechs lay in a dormant state for a time, but then, close to 50 years ago, they were awakened and the war raged on. On a new battleground."
Soundwave is, of course, in the front row, hands on the armrests as he observes the beginning of the presentation. If Tuxedo pulls this one off successfully, well, he might be going places... whether or not that place is a comfy office in DCI HQ all to himself, or the looney bin as Soundwave gives the poor guy the Catechism treatment, well, that all depends.
Scrapper strides out from the medical bay. Alas it seems Dead End wasn't interested in Scrapper's planned outdoor wilderness surgery. C'est la vie. The Constructicon is interested in this presentation as he really knows little about humans outside of their technological and combat traits. Scrapper has even been known to flaunt impossible 'facts' about the humans just to get 'em all riled up. Scrapper slips into one of the seats at the back so as to not disturb the presentation.
Sinnertwin keeps noisily munching his pie as the presentation goes on. He leans over the back of the chair in front of his to hiss at Abyss. "Is this tha' cartoon at tha' start? I hope it's a popeye one!"
Abyss watches the presentation in silence, her arms folded over her chest plate. She looks mildly interested; this, at least, would give a good amount of background information on the current conflict. She turns her attention briefly to Sinnertwin and raises a single digit in front of her lips in a 'sssshhhh'-ing motion...not unkindly, mind you. She shakes her head slightly in answer to the question, then points at the screen. She turns her attention back to the presentation.
"The Earth" As these words blast onto the screen, in bold type, a familiar scene often called 'Earthrise' by the humans appears in the backgound. As brief but loud, epic music fills the arena, more text follows "It's Inhabitants" on the 2nd line, "And You" on the 3rd line. A brilliant purple Decepticon spinny fades into existence after the full title has sunk in and whirls proudly on the screen on a now dark grey background.
Slipping into the back of the room, Fusillade hmmms to herself as appraises those present and their reactions to the presentation thus far. She shifts weight to one foot, refusing to sit for now. The other division heads were here, surely this was obligatory for her to be here as well. Tapping her chin, she waits... and waits...
Scrapper looks around to see whether or not the crowd boos the introduction of Earth or not. He doesn't want to be the only one booing, after all. He looks kind of bored right now.
Fusillade leans forward, wingblades whipping out to their full span, even as her arms lock backward in place as the rear fuselage. Her torso folds out to the become the cockpit of a Terran B-1B Lancer, ready for flight!
B-1B Lancer blocks the projection path. The aircraft flicks nose canards coyly.
Scrapper raises his hands to his faceplate. "Down in front!" he shouts before looking behind him at Fusillade. "Or back..."
Sinnertwin nods at Abyss, but still decides to jeer at the Earth. "Aaaah ye wee mudball, go back home!" he cat-calls
Stepping out from behind the curtain, Tuxedo smiles broadly at his audience. "Greetings my fellow Decepticons... For those of you whom I have not had the chance to make acquaintance with yet, I am Tuxedo." He gestures expansively around the arena, "I am here to make a presentation regarding the treatment of the humans that inhabit the planet Earth, as you may have guessed I have entitled this report 'the Earth, its Inhabitants, and You' With the possibility of an alliance with the Protectorate of Nations looming in our future, I believe it is key to begin putting into practice some habits that will ensure our dealings with them go more smoothly."
Soundwave isn't given to booing much, because he's Soundwave. No, he just watches mutely for now and lets the presentation unfold. Though, he does glance over his non-missile launcher shoulder at the other occupants. His gaze lingers on Sinnertwin in particular. Noisy little bugger, that one.
Abyss pulls out her datapad and opens up a blank document. With deft strokes of her piano-player fingers she begins to take notes, apparently intent on giving this presentation serious attention.
Scrapper now focuses his attention on Tuxedo. The Decepticon looks fairly interested, but this may or may not last. He could be out performing wilderness surgery right now, after all.
Tuxedo continues, "Obviously, the first item that should be addressed in this briefing is our behavior towards them. In order to positively interact with the humans, it should always be remembered that although they are fragile, short-lived creatures, they are fiercely proud." He nods all around attempting to make eye contact where he can.
Rider has arrived.
Soundwave nods his head encouragingly as Tuxedo's gaze meets his own. All seems to be going well--pity that it will all turn into a booze-fest some time later. Alas, it was the only way to get some Decepticons in here!
Abyss seems to be waiting, her fingers poised...it's as if she were waiting for something she -didn't- know to come up.
The introduction ends, cutting short Fusillade's silent commentary on the proceedings. With a mild huff, the aircraft resumes its robot form.
The sleek bomber rears up, wings collapsing onto hips even as the rear fuselage splits to form arms. The horizontal stabilizer slides up, the forward fuselage folds up accordian style, and Fusillade hops up on thrustered feet.
"Many of them have false illusions of control. In your dealings with the humans, appeal to their sense of control. Respect them as if you were addressing Galvatron, or another of our senior officers. Refrain from ordering them to perform as you would wish, and ASK them instead. If you cannot get what you want out of them in this fashion, simply leave, and address them again about the issue at a later time. Simple courtesies seem to go a long way with the humans." Tuxedo slows himself as he says this last bit, not expecting a positive reaction from this statement.
Rider slips in the back, hoping that his lateness isn't noticed. He'd been busy watching VH27's special day-long marathon of "The 100 Most Ghetto Moments in Backgammon," and lost track of time.
Sinnertwin's hand shoots up immediately. "Wha' is this ballacks!" he shouts. "Do ye think I'm gonna be bowing ta humans and callin' them lord and master? Ye's crazy, so's ye are. They's just germs. Mighty tasty germs, but germs nonetheless!"
Soundwave knows that his would be the hardest part for most Decepticons--getting over their own sense of superiority, however justified, and treating the humans like equals. His head turns to the side slightly as he waits expectantly for the reactions from the other 'cons. And yes, he noticed Rider's late arrival.
Abyss stays silent, her fingers working furiously over her datapad now. She had always suspected that demanding things of humans would never go over well with them, this merely confirmed her theory. Although truly inferior, humans were easily as stubborn, if not moreso, as any of her own race.
Scrapper shifts in his seat uncomfortably at Tuxedo's comments. This sounds like an awful lot of work. The Constructicon raises his hand. He has a question, but doesn't blurt it out like Sinnertwin.
Eying Sinnertwin, and Scrapper, "You have questions I know," his brow furrows as he expects the worst, "Scrapper, please go ahead with your question." He seems to be attempting to ignore Sinnertwin's crudeness.
Soundwave isn't surprised that Sinnertwin completely missed Tuxedo's point. As he fixes his gaze on the Constructicon, he wonders if Scrapper didn't get it, either?
Scrapper says, "We don't have to shout 'Hail Girl Briar' or anything like we would for Lord Galvatron, do we?" He may or may not just be trying to screw around with Tuxedo's presentation. His lack of facial features save him once again.
Fusillade inclines her head, a scowl of concentration on her features. Spotting Abyss's work, the flyer makes a mental note to get a copy for herself later. Turning to the hall, she begins to stalk to the exit. "I am a warplane; I must have targets," she posits.
A look of relief claims Tuxedo's visage. "No Scrapper," he replies, "Although there are proper terms of respect for those that deserve it among the humans, for example" he smiles, "Instead of Girl Briar, the appropriate term would be Miss, or Madame, if you prefer."
Dead End arrives from the NCC Medical Ward to the east with a swish of polished doors behind him.
Dead End has arrived.
Dead End strolls into the room.
Rider mutters something under his breath about "glitches and hoes," but doesn't offer it to the rest of the assembly.
Abyss raises her hand, waiting patiently for her turn to ask a question.
Soundwave watches Fusillade leaving, and suspecting that she may misunderstood the purpose of the meeting, he sends a radio transmission.
Tuxedo acknowledges Abyss with a nod, his smile now firmly back in place, "Please, go ahead."
Abyss nods to Tuxedo,"In regards to matters of decorum and respect, if a human is disrespectful to one of us, are we to remain polite and 'turn the other cheek' as it were? Or may we respond in like kind?"
Scrapper raises a hand again.
You send a radio message to Fusillade: Fusillade. Do not be concerned that our campaign against the humans has ended altogether--we are here merely to learn how better to lie to and deceive those humans who seek alliances and favors from us. The efforts to crush those who do not do so will continue.
Fusillade departs on a steel-web bridge to the southeast, trading the stands of the NCC Arena for the spikes of the NCC Spinal Pathway.
Fusillade has left.
"An excellent question Abyss." Tuxedo gestures towards her and then towards the rest of the crowd. "Many humans feel they have slighted by us in the past, and will not react positively towards us until we have assured them that our intent towards them is in their benefit. In order to ensure they believe us, we should indeed, turn the other cheek- as you say" He smiles broadly, and points at Scrapper, "Yes...?"
Rider protests: "Mang, if a mecha up in yo grille, you /gots/ ta step to a mecha. Y'all cain't let yoself be played the fool, mecha."
Abyss nods again as her question is answered, typing in a few more things into her datapad.
Scrapper lowers his hand, "Girl Briar's never objected to being called Girl Briar, so I'm just going to go ahead and keep calling her Girl Briar if it's all the same with you." Scrapper just wants to keep doing that because he thinks it's funny and degrading to humans.
You receive a radio message from Fusillade: It could be argued that we are acting in defense; but we cannot explain away everything. It is naive to assume that any useable portion of the population won't see the lip service for what it is, Soundwave. Send the summary to me in the morning.
Sinnertwin scowls and raises his hand silently. Curse the man keeping him down!
You send a radio message to Fusillade: Very well.
"Actually Scrapper, I was just about to say, that from what I have observed so far the Protectorate are much more like us than they may realize. They seem more likely to accept some of our current practices if they feel it will help them get what they want, but if they believed that our goals were more closely related, then any hesitancy in forming an alliance would surely disappear." Tuxedo does his best to ignore Rider's outburst, although a grimace is evident to those closest to the stage. Acknowledging Sinnertwin's more polite approach, Tuxedo smiles in his direction, "You sir, you have a question?" He hopes Rider can take Sinnertwin's example.
Scrapper nods. Success! He gets to keep calling Emily Girl Briar. Scrapper raises a hand.
Sinnertwin nods, putting down his hand. "Ah, yes. When ye say 'turn tha other cheek', does tha mean ye can cut off their face? Is tha' the same thing?"
The drums in Soundwave's chest spin slowly as he records the results of the meeting. He decides to deal with Rider himself. "That depends on who the human is, Rider. Protectorate soldiers and citizens must not suffer any retaliation. However, a soldier or citizen of the UN may be punished for such insolence--in MOST cases."
Rider gives an upwards-nod of the head towards Soundwave. "Well..I ain't gon' be played like dat..but it is what it is, B. I jus' sayin'. Guess I stick to the UN'r whoever, get up in some people's business der." His tone and volume back off, until he's back to mumbling by the end of his statement.
"No." is Tuxedo's curt response. "Which brings me to my next point actually. The current level of violence being done to the humans and the damage sustained to their society during our operations is, I am afraid to say, intolerable." Tuxedo lowers his optics, again expecting yet another barrage of questions.
Dead End shrugs and, while not raising a hand, speaks. "Can it be called intolerable when it is often necessary? You can't make them any more resillient to damage."
Scrapper waves his hand in the air a bit more to get Tuxedo's attention.
Soundwave peers at Tuxedo, wondering where he's going with this? Oh dear. Raiding other civilizations for their resources is half of any good Decepticon's life! He sinks back in his seat a bit, pondering the ramifications of such a bold claim.
Pointing again in Scrapper's direction, Tuxedo paste on a forced smile. "Go ahead."
Abyss looks as if she's about to raise her hand; however, looking around at all the other hands being raised and given the bombshell that was just dropped, she keeps her question to herself and simply waits for the results.
Scrapper lowers his hand again. "Hypothetically, are we allowed to contact Protectorate R&D and create weapons of mass destruction with them?"
Abyss sighs,"It better not be more giant lasers on strategically impotent locations..." she mutters, low enough so as not to disrupt Tuxedo's answer.
"Yes Scrapper, you may, although I would certainly suggest that you allow them to take full credit for the creation and whatever damage it does." Tuxedo continues, "Think about it like this, currently, we give little or no thought to the damage we cause by our actions. It significantly affects the human opinion of us, not to mention making my job MUCH more difficult. Another way of looking at it is this, what use is there in ruling over a dead planet? For surely that is what would happen if we continued on our current path."
Sinnertwin raises his hand as if he desperately needs the loo
Soundwave adds, "Also attempt to ensure that we retain more of the leftovers from any destroyed superweapons, Scrapper. There may come a time when we must turn on the Protectorate, and if that day comes, our victory will be more assured if they have fewer opportunities to learn from our technologies."
Dead End listens to Tuxedo's reasoning with a bored expression on his face as he idly taps his right foot.
"Sinnertwin, I take it you have another question?" Tuxedo looks thoroughly pleased at the fact that Sinnertwin actually raised his hand before speaking.
Sinnertwin nods. "Yeah." He taps the Decepticon insignia on his shoulder. "Now, last time I looked, this here was a Decepticon symbol, not an Autobot one. We don't wanna go tippy-toeing round asking nicely fer stuff. Tha's for weaklings. I say if someone don't like us, we kill them, like in tha good ol' days!"
Scrapper nods at the first part of the question, but seems taken aback at the second part. Give them all credit? Scrapper is modest enough to not mind, but some of his Constructicons might revolt at the idea of letting the /fleshlings/ get the glory. "Well a /dead/ planet, sure... but lets say only a mostly dead planet?"
Rider glances around to see if anyone's looking, and pulls what look like headphones from a compartment on his left hip. He places them in his aurals, and flips a button on his right arm. Soon, his head starts bobbing in a consistant rythym.
Tuxedo looks slightly agitated at Sinnertwin's remark, and although he had tried to prepare for this type of reaction, it is much different actually hearing it than just prepping for it in his processor. Flustered, he looks back at Scrapper, "I understand, that we Decepticon's are a proud Empire too, and I know the pride of ownership one feels when he or she has created something, but if we leave the planet in tact though, with humans on it that honored and served us by choice, would we not have a renewable source of Energon?" He pauses hoping this sinks in, "If we planned properly, it is quite conceivable that humans and Decepticons could work together in a mutually beneficial relationship. We could begin that relationship now, with the Protectorate. If we can aid in setting them up in control of this planet, then, in the future, they would owe us something. I believe as I have stated, that a simple Energy tax for our continued protection would be ideal. We would be the true rulers of the planet, although the humans would still believe that they had control. It works out perfectly. It is slavery in its grandest form because they wouldnt even realize they were enslaved."
Abyss raises her hand again.
Still a bit agitated, Tuxedo stares up at Abyss, "Yes?"
Scrapper doesn't raise anymore hands, but instead shrugs and puts his hands behind his head, leaning back. This plan doesn't sound as fun as his plan. Not that his plan works as far as 'winning the war' goes, of course. But hey, the fun is in the journey, not the destination, right? Right?
Abyss nods to Tuxedo,"You make a valid point...I often wondered why, on my first energon raid, we blew up a dam that in time we could have come back and raided again. My problem with the protectorate is that they think a little -too- much like us...and they'd probably double-cross us at any given opportunity. I already have had one state to my face that once they have control of the planet, that they fully intend to drive us out," she pauses for a moment, before continuing,"I believe you have a good idea...be diplomatic...but at the same time, I believe we should be preparing a very large stick to beat them with...I'm certain our resident expert on doomsday weapons could come up with something that we could hold over their heads...say a device to boil away the atmosphere if they defy us..."
Soundwave warns Tuxedo, "Do not underestimate the spite these humans are capable of feeling. Many in the Protectorate are motivated by a hatred of ALL Cybertronians. Should the Autobots and the EDC be defeated, the Protectorate's first action would be to turn on us and attempt to expel us from the planet. I am certain of this. To avoid this result, the current Protectorate leadership would have to be... replaced, before our final victory against our enemies."
Soundwave didn't want to contradict Tuxedo, but he feels he has to, since he has met some of the Protectorate troops. There was no mistaking the xenophobic rage emanating from their minds.
Scrapper raises a hand again. There's been a nagging question that's been tickling the back of his mind for some time now. Remarkably, it's an actual serious question!
Tuxedo folds his arms across his chest. "Perhaps the Protectorate is not the ideal government to be placed in control, but they are the ones who are most likely to ally with us in the time being. I know they do not like us... None of the humans like us... That is the purpose of this seminar is it not?" He unfolds his arms and gestures imploringly at all present. "Our focus is to make ourselves more open to interaction with the humans. The Protectorate's feelings toward us may never change, but once we use them to get rid of the Autobots, perhaps the U.N. would be in a position to accept an alliance with us."
Soundwave rubs his chin. An alliance with the UN? Maybe. There's certainly still plenty of weak-willed member states that could pressure the organization into folding if the Autobots were destroyed. Briar would never accept it, though--but that's just the icing on the cake!
<Autobot> Michael Briar says, "Heads up bots, I'm moving past the Florida line to test out their current defenses. I know, I know, I'll be careful. I'm not looking for a fight, I just want to know what they've got set up by now."
<Autobot> Leet says, "You took ages to respawn last time you died!"
<Autobot> Sky Lynx says, "If you do need assistance, sir-- I will be more then willing to come down and do so."
<Autobot> Michael Briar says, "If I need someone to drag me back, I'll call you Sky Lynx, thanks."
You send a radio message to Emily Briar: *your cell phone rings*
You receive a radio message from Emily Briar: H..Hello
Soundwave rises from his seat and steps up onto the stage. He isn't sure he likes everything Tuxedo said--he's dangerously getting close to rewriting Decepticon policy in general, which isn't quite what Soundwave asked him to do--but it seems to be good training so far. "We will continue this meeting later. I hope to have your continued cooperation for this training."
You send a radio message to Emily Briar: This is Soundwave of the Decepticon Empire. Expect a visit from your brother.
You receive a radio message from Emily Briar: Yeah he's here now. Thank you Soundwave.
You send a radio message to Emily Briar: You are welcome. *click*
Scrapper lowers his hand. He had a sweet sweet question, too! The Constructicon stands, "So I guess we're all done here in that case?" he asks, looking around. He specifically glances at Soundwave to see if he has anything else.
Soundwave nods to Scrapper. "That is all. Thank you for your attendance. While you all still receive free drinks on my tab later on, I may provide yet more drinks if you attend further meetings." Gotta keep dangling that carrot...
<Autobot> Sky Lynx says, "Everything alright so far sir?"
Counterpunch finishes scribbling notes in his datapadd. His personal opinion on the human germ problem is definately at the opposite of Tuxedo's thinking. Still the Protectorate will need to be watched closely.
Scrapper waves his hand dismissively, "Sure sure," he says as if booze will not sway him (it will). The Constructicon heads out, making a note to ask Tuxedo his question next time.
Dead End stands up as Scrapper makes his way out and follows him.
<Autobot> Michael Briar says, "Doing fine so far."
<Autobot> Sky Lynx says, "Good, good-- then I will return back to my orbital cat-nap, as many like to call it."