Location: Starlight Mansion, Los Angeles
Date: 20 February 2017
Summary: Rio discovers Major Bludd in one of the Starlight Mansion's kitchens.
As logged by Major Bludd
The smell of bread and butter being grilled on the stove wafts from the upstairs kitchen, where Major Bludd has taken it upon himself to scrounge some not-quite-entirely-stale bread and edible cheese and ham and prepare a handful of rather small sandwiches. He frowns at the pan as he lifts the last one and slides it onto a plate already piled with its fellows. "Woulda been better if I'd had the string, but ah well."
Rio, who is cranky, headachy, hungry, and tired, smells the heavenly aroma of grilled food wafting down from the upstairs kitchen and decides maybe the day is looking up after all. He climbs the stairs with almost a bounce in his step, although thinks better of it as his head begins to ring and decide to take the last few steps with a little more caution.
"Hey, girls," Rio says with a smile as he enters the kitchen. "What's cooking?" He stops suddenly in surprise as he discovers a man in the kitchen. "Who are you?" he demands with a sputter, apparently not immediately recognizing Bludd in this context.
Bludd's eyebrows rise in surprise at the sound of Rio's voice, but he keeps his back to him for the moment, for all it throws his soldier's instincts into chaos. "I'm just helpin' out," he says, sure his voice and accent will give him away as they did with Raya. "Care for a sandwich?" He pushes the plate in Rio's general direction along the countertop.
Rio's dark eyes widen as, sure enough, he recognizes Bludd's voice, as much from his telephone hostage negotiations with Bludd as from their brief meeting when the Holograms were released. "You!" he exclaims predictably. Literally taking a step back away from Bludd in surprise, he gasps, "What are you doing here?" He apparently didn't listen to Bludd's comment that he's just helping out. Rio leans forward, clenches his fists, and starts breathing hard as fight-or-flight instantly kicks in at finding a killer in Jerrica's kitchen.
Bludd holds up his hands defensively. "I've pledged to protect this house and everyone in it," he says slowly and calmly. "Yourself included, now you're here. Kimber was pretty worried when she couldn't get in touch with you."
Rio's eyes bulge and his mouth works silently a moment, giving him the look of a purple-haired fish suddenly yanked from the water. First a trigger-happy Autobot, and now Major Bludd making lunch? It's almost too much for Rio to handle. "Wh--," he starts, stops, and starts again. "How are you here? Why would you protect this place, and me? I don't understand," he says, stating the obvious. He leans on the counter for support as he brings his fist to the side of his head as if checking against the possibility this is all the result of a head injury.
"I don't blame you," Bludd says mildly, nodding to Rio. "If I told you how Kimber and I met up the second time, you probably wouldn't believe me." He spreads his hands in a helpless gesture. "Life's strange sometimes. And trust me, you're not the only one who's looked at what's gone on and thought you must have slipped into the Twilight Zone somehow." He regards Rio with concern. "How're your head feeling, anyhow?"
"Not that great since I fell and hit it after a tiny robot shot me in the face!" Rio exclaims petulantly. "And what are you doing here? Are, what, Kimber and you friends now, after all you've done -- now all is forgiven? No, I don't buy it -- something's up -- what's your angle? Figure out the holoemitters we gave you are practically useless without us to build the images to project? Well, you're not getting the secret behind any more of our technology -- I don't care what you do!" Rio leans forward again and sticks out his jaw in a show of defiance.
Bludd sighs. "I'm not working with Cobra right now. I'm hoping to keep it that way for the forseeable future." He clasps his hands behind his back. "I've apologised to the ladies for the kidnapping, and I'll offer you the same. What I did was wrong and I'm sorry to have done it. All I can do now is be different going forward. I can't change what's already been. Cobra ought to have just bought the holoemitters and all from you from the start. But they're not in the habit of buying what they feel they can take." He lets his arms fall back to his sides. "I told you you could take a shot at me last time we met," he says, unable to keep the faintest hint of a smirk off his face. "Offer still stands, if you want it. I've earned it." He stands still, his posture quite open and not defensive.
Rio balls his fist like he wants to take that punch, but finally exhales and just shakes his head. "No," he says, "I'm not bringing myself down to your level. You may have the others fooled with this 'new leaf' business, but I'm keeping an eye on you, Bludd. If you hurt Kimber or any of the other Holograms, I mean it -- I'll come after you." Turning on his heel, Rio storms off to find Kimber and get her side of this baffling situation.