Characters: Dreadwind, Elita One (AU)

Location: The Cybex Forge

Date: The End of the War

TP: Apocalypse World TP

Summary: The most miserable mech meets the single key to saving the world...

As logged by Zerombr on 04/28/17

The Cybex Forge was never a large establishment. One of those hundreds of small subsidiary manufacturing plants that assembled Cybertronians back since the first Age. No, it was a mere tiny cog, part of the network of the massive Assemblae Cybertronae, where millions were forged.

And then one day, in a desolate time past the war. Past exploration. Past hope. A message echoed out over the enormous rust coated plains of Cybertron.

<<<< Daily Cybex Forge Report: There is still.......ONE.......protoform awaiting frame construction. There is >>>>>

Up above, Blaster and Soundwave had stood against each other. The war had changed them, changed them utterly, and even more so, the quiet peace thereafter.

Blaster never lost his fury, never lost his bitterness and outrage over the eon... half-eon, however long it was since that time. He went through the motions, a shadow of whom he once was.

Soundwave was never bound to be a chrasimatic leader, nor a welcome sight, surrounded by those he cared for. No, that time was brought to an end, far far too early. He struck up an uneasy kinship with Dreadwind, as he would scavenge and salvage the large crashed ship nearby. Together, they could help repulse the Junkion Raiders that took to the dead planet with a shine.

Blaster could never forgive Soundwave's actions, his brutal strike for dominance, killing Blaster's Cassettebots.

Soundwave watched his tapes die a slow, agonizing death due to Blaster's actions.

The war was over.

But some things couldn't be forgotten.

Some people could not be forgiven.

The Cybex Forge has a main staircase that descends downwards into the planet. Its a miracle that in all the destruction, in all the reshuffling of the surface, that it survived as long as it has. Even more remarkable, is that there are still signs of power here.

Its small, cramped, and poorly thought out. A walkway passes by one of the large coiling systems that actually helped initiate the spark protocol, the spark of life. Wires hang from on high, liquids pool about on the flooring. It spreads out into a ten pillared room, and then into an assembly process further on. Dreadwind was at a place of creation, where new life began. He could see right away why the Forge had an issue. Of all things to send out an alert about, there was a single fallen beam that had landed before one of the hatches that protoforms would be ushered through, into the rest of the plant. That was it. That was the entire problem the Forge had called out for.

Several mechanized arms and soldering irons hover before a large slab, brought up and forward, away from the former Decepticon. The entire process had halted right then and there, as if time itself had frozen.

Dreadwind limps down into the forge, faded yellow optics still managing to cast a piercing glow in the darkness. He is not exactly technically minded. If not for Soundwave, he would have collapsed into a barely functional pile of scrap ages ago. The Junkions would have picked all his useful parts clean and left his still (barely) functioning consciousness laying there to tick away the helpless moments until the universe went black. But that's enough positive thinking for now. The fallen beam is fairly obviously a point of failure. Even in his decayed state, he still possesses that "bulky strength" he was known for in the past. Wedging a shoulder (the good one) beneath the fallen beam, he leans his weight into it and begins to push...

The beam groans, and without much more to it, it is pushed off to the side of the hatch, its landing upon the forge floor echoes throughout the complex. Lights flicker on and off in response, and the cycle starts back up, the protoform is moved forward into its next position, welding and riveting are done efficiently, and another slab is brought forth with another mech or femme's base form.

The position registers a 'failure' tone moments later. The reason is simple enough. There's no spark formed yet in order to inhabit the new life. As the cycle stops abruptly, the protoform awakens prematurely.

Generally at this point, the new creations would be given their most basic lessons, downloaded into their frame, as they learned about the world before them. During the worst of the war, it was a 32 hour cycle...'from thaw to war' as they said. No need to learn philosophy and science when you were just needed to pull a trigger...

Up above, a hover tractor finally pulls up, shedding dust from its wake, a silhouetted figure dismounts.

She watches Blaster in his silence, his fugue state after his final battle. The mech'd never fight again, she could tell. He was lost now, but there was always hope. That was still her message, even after all these years. She'd return to him shortly, but for now, the child must be secured.

Dreadwind's good shoulder sparks as it succeeds in clearing the assembly track. He sighs again, "Perfect..." He turns to watch the process with an almost passive sort of detachment. It's actually fascinating for him to see the process. He's blocked out his own passage through a similar system as the only moment of light in his long, long life - but seeing this sparks that memory. A moment in his life, eons ago, when there was nothing bright potential. Pure, bright, shining hope... Then the process grinds to a halt and the decepticon mutters, "Well, that figures." He limps over to the protoform and, although it pains him, kneels down as it sits up. He says nothing just yet. He simply regards it and... waits.

The protoform is small and white. About a head taller than a mini-bot, its design is elegant and simple. Of course, it hadn't its full frame set up, nor its function established. It was still unfinished, lacking even its mouthplate. And yet, its optics flicked on, bright white lights that immediately looked about the room, and noted Dreadwind right before it.

As far as imprinting goes, there could've been a better choice. Hands start to move as ambulation occurs, the protoform steps out of its housing slab onto solid ground.

First steps.

The slab is then retracted back into the ceiling, as the new life on Cybertron looks at Dreadwind.

A voice calls out from the darkness. "A miracle...." The slight figure turns towards where it heard the audio, and moved to track it. Dreadwind could do so as well, seeing a figure veiled in shadows atop the stairwell. She starts to descend, a strange limping gait, her hand upon the rail, as she moved. "I did not think it were possible...after all this time."

The Elita One, and though her optics no longer light, the blind figure seems to understand where she is, and with whom she speaks. She turns her head towards the two, her head almost completely bisected and destroyed, yet she still functions. "What do you make of it?"

Dreadwind watches the protoform take its first step, tilting his head to watch the new life. There's a slight spark as he gets ready to speak, but is cut short by the other's entrance. He stands as Elita One speaks, having not detected her entrance. He checks the charge on his wrist blasters... not much, but something. He turns to face Elita, stepping between her and the protoform... Is that a protective gesture? Nah, couldn't be. He's probably just looking for a better angle to fire from if need be. His own voice travels gloomily through the darkness, "An interesting choice of words... Unintentional, no doubt." He looks over his shoulder briefly, keeping his hands at his sides, "Something this planet hasn't seen in a very long time. ...something new."

Elita One regards the room at large, as she addresses Dreadwind. "Yes...yes indeed. And right now, the single most important Cybertronian on the planet." It was true. Given time, the new spark inside the protoform could be nurtured to spawn new sparks. It could be the start of a whole new generation...

She moves forward to the railing, her entire left side seems to be gone, replaced only with the most rudimentary prosthetics. A metal rod for a leg, and an arm with a single clamp to supplement her. She puts her hand and clamp against the railing, as she gazes straight ahead. "He will come for her, you know."

Undoubtedly, that was true as well. In whatever festering hole, whatever retreat Megatron still held, this new life would undoubtedly draw his gaze. Knowing his methods, he'd undoubtably kill her, destroy the frame, harvest the spark, and use it to create more Cybertronians immediately...ones under his control. Such was his way.

Dreadwind's head tilts slightly downward, "Yes... I know..." He looks back at the protoform again, turning away from Elita One to take in its countenance. Rudimentary. Simple. Pure. "I've spent my entire existence trying to feel something... anything... and never come close..." He takes a step toward the protoform, voice dropping to just above a whisper, "No one deserves this..." He reaches out to the protoform, again checking the energy reserves on his wrist-blasters. His hand wraps gently around the new life's, and he begins guiding it toward the stairs. Looking up at Elita, he informs her matter-of-factly, almost as a gloomy echo of her own words, "This is probably hopeless, you know."

It looks at Dreadwind curiously, its steps halted and clumsy, its gyroscope's firmware hasn't even caught up with it yet, and yet it steps along, large exaggerated and careful steps as Dreadwind leads it.

Elita One manages a half-smile, the best she has. "On the contrary, Dreadwind." She limps towards her end of the staircase, as if to wait up there for you. "This is the only thing worth doing. Don't you think?" She holds her hand out before her. Its not directly aimed at either of them, but its approximation is good. "There are still mechs who stand. And there are still ones who can fight. We stand at the cusp, Dreadwind. You and I. We've seen our planet die." Her words turn solemn, "but our kind does not have to die. Can you not see it? Can you not see the one moment of innocence we may've all had upon the forge? Look at her. Potential. A life without meaningless war, or hate. How can it be anything but hope?"

Dreadwind moves slowly as it his, so the protoform shouldn't have too much difficulty keeping up, even with her developing gyro systems. "I see a bleak future of doom and despair." He starts limping up the stairway, "It's nothing personal, just a design flaw. I don't fault anyone for it." His hip sparks as his own servos struggle against the upward climb, "Nothing but dark days ahead of us as the planet continues to decay and what little energy remains bleeds off into the void." He gradually makes his way to the top of the stairs, "But at least there's still tomorrow..." He pauses at the top and looks back at the Protoform, repeating the last word curiously, "Tomorrow...?"

Its eyes flicker again, head tilting at Dreadwind's word, then observes Elita One's rather...decimated appearance wordlessly.

Elita One humphs pleased, "Well, that will have to do then." She opens the small guarding gate at the top, gesturing at you two with her clamp hand. "Will you come with her? I see a long distance for her to go. She shan't be alone, but if you wish to see tomorrow yourself..." She lets the invitation linger there before ascending. "There are still places that function on Cybertron, places that raiders and madmechs do not visit. She must go there, ground. Below the spacial sensors, and the anti-air cannons, all those horrid remnants of war." Elita One limps up the stairs, "And she will meet great people...and see her share of danger." Elita One foretells the future, that smirk still on her face, "I see good mechs growing desperate. I see pain rising in desperation, the tears of the damned, and the story of forever ending with a single word." She turns back to you two, her gaze as if looking at the horizon, "Is she your charge, Dreadwind, doomsayer of the dead planet? Do your life and hers entwine here, or is all fated to be the darkness you speak of?"

Dreadwind raises an optic ridge. When he flickered back to life this morning, he was not imagining anything remotely like today's events. Truth be told, he was just imagining more gloom and doom. "This all sounds like some story the humans would make up..." He shakes his head, looking back over his shoulder at Tomorrow. His hand falters, nearly dropping hers, but... he can't seem to let go. He turns back to Elita, "Well... I'm sure it's fraught with peril. And we'll likely all die on the way, but... where to?"

"Then you'll get what you always wanted." Elita pushes open the door towards the surface, which squeaks violently as she does, the dawn of Citctus Minor's soft light shines onto the planet. She pauses, admiring the sunlight, the new dawn as you and Tomorrow reach the surface. "As for that...we need to pay a visit to an old friend."

The Apocalypse TP continues with "Her Name is Tomorrow."