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Killarn Strike: Loyalties Intact

Who: Cyclonus, Fleet, and Fusillade.
IC Year: 2025
Location: Command Center - IHQ - Nightsiege - Cybertron
TP: Operation: Killarn

After the strike upon Killarn, Cyclonus follows up with Fusillade to ensure that the success hasn’t gone to her head.

<Decepticon> Cyclonus clears his throat. "Unit Fusillade."

<Decepticon> Fusillade responds crisply, "Yes, Lord Cyclonus?"

<Decepticon> Cyclonus says, "Have you been cleared to leave the medical bay, yet?"

<Decepticon> Fusillade says, "I have, yes. I intend to remand myself to patrol and harrying of the coalition forces currently threatening the roads to Polyhex."

<Decepticon> Cyclonus says, "I wish to see you in the Command Center. It is nothing life threatning and you may take your time if you have other duties."

<Decepticon> Fusillade says, "I have not yet dispatched myself. I am currently inside Imperial Headquarters. I shall report immediately."

<Decepticon> Cyclonus says, "This is not official business. Take your time."

IHQ Command Center

This massive chamber lies at the core of the upper level, its ceiling high enough for even a gestalt. The walls are covered in monitors and consoles from floor to ceiling, while narrow catwalks rise from the floor to the upper areas where additional terminals and consoles are housed. At the center of the chamber is the column containing the turbolift, while on five of the walls are large double doors, four opening into the various divisional wings. Between the MSE and DCI wing entrances is a smaller sets of doors leading to the War Room. Two huge main screens dominate two of the eight walls, displaying information and images sent by the main computer. Atop the column is the communications room, accessible by the catwalks on either side of the column.

Cyclonus is sitting convienently at one of the consoles, one that has several seats around it. He doesn't seem to be doing anything in particular; leaning back in one of the chairs with his broadsword resting across his lap. A large rag is seen in hand -- the long length of the weapon drawn through Cyclonus' closed hand and pushed back again. The effect is coming along slowly, not quite there yet -- but soon, one can imagine thew thing is going to be gleaming.

After the first few footfalls announce the arrival of Fusillade, silence reigns. For a good, long moment, the dark grey and white femme practically gapes at the Commander's back -- or namely, the weapon in hands, and the care he's providing it. Unbidden, the words tumble out, "Don't you just love being able to do that? What weight cloth and grade of oil do you typically use?" And then, belatedly, she drops the topic as a glossy black hand rises to her brow in a salute. "Good cycle, Lord Cyclonus."

Cyclonus doesn't actually respond to the salute, nor does he actually turn around to face Fusillade. Instead he indicates one of the seats near to him with a nod of his head; crimson optics fixed upon the glittering length of the blade. Upon closer look it is a somewhat interesting weapon, not as plain as it appears at first glance. An odd channel is built into the center of it along with circuitry running through the 'flat'. Soft 'ching' sounds are heard as the cloth and weapon are moved. "It is a useful passtime." He states, still having not looked up. "This is a cloth and weight that I have manafactured in small quantities specifically for this weapon. Diamond-Boron Carbide afterall, is a somewhat exotic material. Rank does have it's priveledges." A few more strokes along the weapon's edge and a question is posed. "Tell me, Unit Fusillade. What is Loyalty?"

Upon hearing those words thrum out, Fusillade tenses up as she immediately associates the question with her earlier, difficult tuteledge under Shockwave. Optics flare a brighter shade of yellow in brief alarm, before she rigidly arranges herself in the indicated chair. For a long moment, the femme inclines her head and crosses her legs. A million wonders, worries, and responses come to mind. "Truly eexquisite." It's unclear whether or not she's addressing the cloth or his queestion. Clasping hands, she finally says, "It has its place in a fully integrated system. It can help, it can hinder. It is not the be all and end all of existance. It can drive people to support great leaders in their time of need. It can guide soldiers to perform as needed in times when uncertainty would otherwise throw armies in great disarray." There's a lingering 'yet' there, but given who her company is, she appears uncertain about whether or not she could continue in more specific terms about its drawbacks.

Cyclonus twists his head to look up at Fusillade as he finishes speaking; catching that look of alarm. Nothing shows in his face to make it any easier or worse either, just his carefully cultivated lack of anything. He continues to polish the weapon as he listens to Fusillade's response; attention focused there again. One might actually expect him to have some long and drawn out treatise in reply; some words of wisdom. However, Cyclonus simply lifts his head and spears her through the optics with his own. "And?"

Somewhere in the back of her mind, a squeaky, ever so tiny voice squeaks out, 'At least he's not hitting you yet!' Fusillade cants her pearlescent features to the side, and then continues. "It can also be limiting." It's at this point she mentally hits a brick wall with how best to proceed. A moment passes, and almost trance-like, her gaze slips down to the circuit-etched blade, the diamond-dust studded material, and eventually, the gauntlets in which they rest. "Dedicating oneself to an individual with proper motives, ethics and ideals, and loyalty is considered a positive virtue. When that invidual's goals do NOT coincide with the best interests of the greater good, the greater glory? It is looked down upon. It chains, entraps." It is at this point that Fusillade readies herself to bolt should the words be taken personally.

The response that comes from the second in command is probably altogeather unsuspected. "Correct. However, one must still be careful where they chose to place that loyalty. The true test of one's judgement and intelligence is just that: Deciding whom is the proper individual to follow, who is 'for the greater good' so to speak. However, it is an unfortunate fact that in many cases no indidividual is perfect and further inspection -and- introspection must be done." The soft sounds of the sharpening blade continue, the edges now almost seeming to glow. "You have recently come to possess a tremendously important power, Fusillade. Do you know what that power is?"

"Consciousness?" is the equally unexpected response from Fusillade. "No, seriously," she insists, resting one palm on the table, expression intensifying, despite the lapse into obtuseness that occasionally plagues her otherwise brilliant, recent performance. "Since I've been reactivated, I have come to the conclusion that my continued usefulness to the empire will be what keeps me in good repair, in good standing. The prospect of remaining in stasis lock, where entropy will have its way with my processor? No. I refuse to go back. I will not have my memories, my being, fragment over the millennia, slow as it may be." There's an intense, whetted hunger in those scintillating optics that borders on anger. "Most likely not the response you were seeking."

Cyclonus stops his polishing for the space of a moment or two, seeming to be relatively nonpullsed by the sudden outburst. "Are you truly surprised?" He asks of her, simply. "Considering the limited resources of the Empire, what choice is really given? This war has raged on for so much time that if we were not forced to select only the most valuable soldiers we would very quickly run out of energon and resources." The statement isn't accusatory, rather completely matter of fact. The polishing is resumed then, Cyclonus beginning to go to work on the flat of the blade. "Your answer was not unproductive however, for it tells me a little more as to what motivates you. However -- to return to the subject at hand. I asked you: You have recently come into a great power. What is this power?"

'Certainly much more patient than the other purple guy' 'Well, look at who he normally has to put up with.' 'Hsst! Shut up!' 'Well, it /IS/ true.' Conversations like these play out in Fusillade's mind all the time before she speaks, and it seems that today would be no different. Terror at blurting something out, the 'wrong' answer, stabs through Fusillade. Mentally shaking herself free, she squares her shoulders, and answers, "I suppose that you allude to the recent mission. Many would gloat over the ability to 'command' Galvatron in battle. He was there of his own volition, however, and freely gave of his immense power to aid in the objective. I would hardly consider that 'command', as it were. Merely a temporary strategum. The influence to command others no longer exists, and as such, I do not consider it a power that I currently possess." Fusillade perhaps foolishly dwells upon tenses. Well, if it got her head chopped off, so be it -- a sudden spike of fatalism, of horror at just how much she has been doing lately, how FAST it's all gone, rears up.

Cyclonus gives Fusillade yet another of his deadpan looks through all of this. "In a manner of speaking." He interjects the very microsecond that the bomber femme finishes speaking. "No." He says. "Not directly. Since it would seem that you have not yet grasped the concept completely I shall inform you." The rag is tossed to the tabletop along with a small tube of the oil that has been using it. "The power that you have suddenly come into is not rank. Rank can be bestowed by the high command before it is earned. What you have come into is respect. Reputation if you will -- the most valuable thing that any individual could hope to have within the Empire. Reputation is something altogeather apart from rank, because even if you were still a lowly soldier or even a slave; there are those who would follow you because they know that you have been successful." He pauses for a moment to allow this to sink in. "Because of that, you have the loyalty of people below you -- weather you realize it or not. The teeming, ignorant masses will rally to you in a crisis. Because of this, you have become more known to the high command and I -- and I choose to remind you to be careful of your own loyalty. I should hate to have you terminated because you chose the wrong allegiances yourself and threatened to guide the masses elsewhere." Another pause to let that sink in. "Welcome to the Decepticon Political Game, Fusillade. How is it that you are going to play? To where is /your/ loyalty?"

Electric cyan polka dots on tangerine. Puce squiggles on chartreuse. White after Labor Day. Any of these fashion atrocicities would elicit the same look of horrified disgust from a Hollywood fashion designer. And in fact, it's the very expression on Fusillade's features as Cyclonus delivers the warning. When she finally works her dropped jaw into snapping the silvered edges of her teeth shut into a sneer, she casts him a pained look. And then, it appears that she finally failed to hold her tongue. It's a miracle it hasn't happened sooner. She bolts upward out of her seat, recoiling from the Commander. "WHAT?! Are you /SERIOUS/?! You really THINK -- I -- AUGH!" Her voice continues to increase in pitch AND volume. "I have never in my entire -*EXISTANCE*- ever been so INSULTED!!! Do you really THINK I am that treacherous, and that... that... STUPID?!?! Why don't you just go ahead and drag me down to medical and paint me red and silver and call me Starscream, while you're at it!?! After I busted my SKIDPLATE no less than four different times, one of which just so you could get back on Galvatron's GOOD SIDE?!? Of all the NERVE! You have brass bearings! You... you.... OOOAUGH!!" She raises her hands the skies, and emits a final, feral snarl of frustration, that same tiny voice of caution suggesting that hey, that fine line that's not supposed to be crossed? It's about oh... three miles behind her. She stomps off a few paces, still frothing, but manages to not blunder by completely leaving the room, with a big fat 'oh you totally screwed up now' ringing about her processor.

There are some people who would expect Fusillade to get shot at this point. Indeed, a couple of passing seekers who hear the tirade actually turn towards Cyclonus and the female bomber; null-rays at the ready. There is even a main battle tank altformed groundpounder that just happens to be passing by who begins to vector in on the supposed action. Oh, Boy. There's going to be an execution! A slash of the sword upon the console, a splattering of mechfluid and it's going to be all over. And Decepticons love slaughter, afterall. However, Cyclonus simply remains in his seat; not even truly seeming to be bothered. The sword is picked up though; the second in command's purple hand closing around the thing. However, it is not wielded against the errant female and it is not even lifted in a threatning manner. Instead, Cyclonus asks a very simple question in a tone that has a certian air of finality to it, a flatness that suggests that either a point is being made or fate hangs in the balance. "And you persist in associating yourself with Commander Shockwave?" It could be a question in response to any of what she said -- but he's going to leave it to her to find the meaning in it.

Fleet emerges from the lift. Fleet has arrived.

Still seated. Still polishing. Fusillade verifies Cyclonus's disposition, and a veritable hallelujah chorus erupts in her processor. But his earlier words about the politicking involved with this faction's ranking officers now only sinks in fully. Fusillade compares it to her own personal experiences even she twists back to Cyclonus, hands shakily gripping the rear of the seat as she leans forward, trying to calm the stampede of fluid through her servos. A mumbled, "My apologies." chokes out from her momentarily, even as she reels at the implications. It begins now. "I did not seek him. I do not possess the power to defy him," she admits. She knew damned well that repeated disappointments to the cyclopean commander would result in her being shot. And his brief mention of a 'rare fire within optics' is still scaring the ever-living slag out of her, mostly because her imagination has finally decided that if she jumped through the right hoops, success would result in her circuits being smelted down to have their tasty brain essence absorbed in some freakish science experiment to make the ultimate clone trooper. Honest truth. And now, the Unicronians were striving against the Keeper of Cybertron during Megatron's absence. They all had big cannons. They all want her to work for /THEM/, not the Decepticons. She did not. TO SMELT WITH THIS! That nasty feeling she had before emptying her tank on the repair bay floor re-emerges. Weakly, she finally says, "I will continue with my duties as a trooper unit. I cannot lead, without the physical might to back it up." There's a lingering look of doubt on her features, as if some part of her were already dead. The alternative of loading herself up with several tactical nukes, getting a shuttle ferry to right above Iahex, and then stepping out of the hatch without the benefit of ignited engines seems delicious at this juncture.

Quite a scene is going on within the immediate area. Lord Cyclonus is seated at a console in a relaxed position; his broadsword clasped in hand. He does not seem to be using it to kill anything, however. A special cloth for sharpening and a tube of the relevant material to coat it with. The gleaming edges of the weapon would seem to suggest that he has just recently finished the job. Standing around the area is Fusillade and several seekers. The latter bunch are looking... rather rowdy, one or two with a weapon still pointed at her. A burly ground-pounder has just transformed into a main battle tank altmode. The entire scene is an explosion of violence just waiting to happen, suggesting that there's been a confrontation of some sort. But Cyclonus? He seems perfectly dead calm; resting the flat of his broadsword against his shoulder. Finally though, he begins speaking.

"First of all, Fusillade, another outburst like that and you will find yourself in the brig to consider your situation in more detail. Had you said that to Galvatron, Scourge or even one of our lesser commanders such as Onslaught or Razorclaw I have no doubt that they would have shot you upon the spot. Do not think I am soft for not doing so, however. I merely believe that like it or not, hot-tempered younglings are the future of this faction -- and if we are going to mold you into something useful it will not be by killing you. There are other, equally permenant and more productive ways to squeeze errant young warriors into the molds of of someone productive."

The broadsword is lowered to the console once again and the Second in Command's cfingers steeple slowly. "Incorrect." He states to her. "That power that I mentioned earlier, reputation; renown -- legend? It will see you through most situations that should cause you problems. Personal prowess is useful, but certianly not required. Do you think even for a nanosecond you would be nearly as philosophical as you will be about this, had I simply shot you? No. You would be more rebellious, more angry and little will have changed. Ruling by fear is all well and good, but the one who truly commands the respect of those beneath him will be the one who wins the day."

One last pause. "I think you understand what in that last line I refer to in regards to Commander Shockwave. His repeated rebellions have made him seem like an idiot, not like a leader. He may have logic, but has no charisma and no true grasp of how the empire runs. Logic is important yes, but were you following it in your outburst? Do most? No. Further, if you wish to dissasociate yourself from him you need only to begin to report elsewhere. I at the very least, can offer you a direction that will not end in your disassembly."

The doors to the lift slide open upon this most unusual scene, and Fleet steps through quite before he realizes what is going on. Unfortunately for him, the doors have already closed and the lift moved on to another level by the time he does figure it out. The pastel wonder spares one angry glance for the traitorous transport, stifles a sigh, and... continues to do exactly what he came up here to do. He glides past the scene, not drawing too close but taking care to not look like he is creeping around it, either, and steps up to a terminal and flicks it on, checking the upcoming watch rotations. His actions are almost absurdly mundane and commonplace considering what is going on in the room, but Fleet has found that with Scourge, the easiest way to draw his attention is to try to avoid him, and he suspects this may be the case with Cyclonus as well.

Being shot by others is not anything that would truly bother Fusillade, she's taken her licks before, but the permanence associated with being shot multiple times, by multiple parties, particularly under what would like be reported as a poorly placed assassination attempt. If only Fusillade could be given THAT much posthumous credit. The multiple charged, primed, whining barrels pointed her way are for the most part ignored, her attention riveted on the Commander. Even as he speaks, bringing that Galvatron-tried patience to bear, Fusillade takes a long, cooling draught of air over her intake vents, squaring her shoulders and recollecting herself into something more closely resembling a proper at ease stance. Now poised, she laces her glossy black talons together, and considers. Dryly, she states, "I am well aware of the proper course of action, and the liberties that commanders may take with those that have displeased them." Another long moment passes, and she continues to stubbornly disagree with his assessment of this supposed power. Immodestly modest. "I disagree with your assessment of the potential sway I may have upon others." The hiss of opening doors jangles across her already wracked circuits, but she manages to not bolt skywards. One optic ridge is arched, and she swivels her head around to coolly fix one citrine optic upon Fleet's form, before she returns her attention to the purple starfighter. "Many recent occasions have caused me to think that I would rather be rendered inoperable than continue this path of continued scrutiny. That does not seem to be the will of the Lords, however. It appears that my fate will be to perform until I self-destruct emotionally," the words come forth bitterly. As damning as they may be, they carry with them the truth, as far as her peception of the matter is. And some perverse comfort comes, in the form of catharsis. "Those who would do nothing, or the mere minimum required to earn their energon ration, will outlive me after I have ripped myself to shreds to please the Commanders. But that ultimately is irrelevant," she finally concludes, digging fingertips into palms. "Our lives are to be used as you see fit," the last comes out as little more than a whisper.

Cyclonus sees Fleet enter as well and studies the pastel Seeker. "Unit Fleet." He states. "Come here for a moment." Weather or not he approaches, the Second in Command points a finger at him. "You truly believe that you have more or less of a chance of surving than him? Not to suggest anything, merely to use this one in question as an example of what a 'generic' seeker might be. He does as is ordered and does not draw attention to himself. Yet, he stands more of a chance of perishing in combat than a commander might because he is of lesser value -- though that may change with this one. I have been intending to make something more useful out of it as well." He's referring to Fleet in third person, but it really does not seem to be something that he is going to dwell on. "There are two paths that you may follow, Fusillade. The path of the generic seeker -- to be nothing more than the lackey of bigger units. To have no part to play in the fate of yourself, your future, your planet and your race. Do as you are told and hope that you do not get killed. Or, you can overcome the difficulties that you have and play a part in your own fate, in your history and your future. In the end, it is your decision and I leave it in your capable hands. Should you actually wish to become something a little bit more than a generic flunky, come and speak with me. If you wish to be trained to lead, so be it -- I will do it -- and I will not train you to be a traitious, blind worm like some would prefer. Notify me in twenty four hours which you prefer. Dismissed." He points to a chair, then. "Unit Fleet. Sit."

Fleet's optics widen as Cyclonus calls him out despite his best efforts, but rather than dwelling on the matter he shrugs it off. He even manages to quickly tuck away the amused smile that skitters across his expression when he hears what Cyclonus has said before he turns around and tap-tap-walks over. His expression is kept carefully blank as Cyclonus uses him, apparently, as a demonstration model for his kind. For all one can tell, Cyclonus may as well be making observations about the weather as discussing Fleet's survivability quotient. When he finished and Fleet receives his next order, the Seeker inclines his head respectfully, murmurs softly, "As you command, sir," and then walks over to the indicated chair before seating himself. He interlaces the fingers that rest in his lap and waits, keeping careful reign on any fear he might be experiencing.

The urge to snap her hand up to cover her face in mortification as Cyclonus actually points out Fleet. "Not quite what I was..." she trails off as the commander continues, not deigning to interrupt -- any more than she already has. At this point, she lapses into silence, much the same way that a scolded child waits, a sort of mental standby until the equivalent of 'go to your room' is delivered. The dark grey and white femme merely responds, "The best of intents behind an item's creation, even the nature of its individuality, can be rendered utterly meaningless in the face of circumstance. The decision has already been made for me," she says dryly. "I seriously doubt if I had any choice in the matter at all. Saying no is as good as guaranteeing my own death." She asides snappishly to the other troopers, "Quit pointing those at me, you vultures." At that point, she flicks her wingblades once, irritably, as if smoothing down ruffled feathers. Entirely too late, it appears, the idea of preserving dignity has come to her. And then, a final thought. "If you wish to insure that no treachery or bad influences are to befall me, I highly suggest that the access codes on my quarters be changed. I can take to sleeping on the wing, though, if need be," she states airly. "But I will not delay your other meeting. Good cycle Commander, and thank you for your wisdom." One last lingering gaze is sent toward Cyclonus's weapon, the potential lying within it eliciting a terse smile from her, finally, once the tacit agreement between the two has been solidified. Either that, or the bomber's just flipping nuts over stabby things. She begins to slink toward the exit, each single motion positively FLAUNTING to the others present what it is that she just accomplished, daring them to repeat the same -- and survive.

--End--

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