Title: Beginnings

PCs: Starscream, Slipstream, Thundercracker

Location: THE PAST (Vos)

Date: 05 Feb 2015

NPCs: Karma

Summary: The seekers catch wind of the government's treachery early on...

Vos. What a gleaming city of opportunity. And seeker optic's view of the city is a magnificent splendor to behold, the golden skyscrapers set perfectly among the dusk colored sky, as the city below teems with life and activity. 

 All this Starscream, a newly forged seeker, takes in as he demonstrates for his fellow students and instructor the aeronautic exercises assigned to him only a few cycles prior. He executes each maneuver perfectly, before descending in his usual flamboyant manner back to the ground of the private institute where he and a number of other seekers lived and trained--in hopes to eventually become members of the Elite Guard. Once on the ground, the red and white seeker beams at the other seeker students. "So... constructive criticism, anyone?" A sly smile creeps onto his vain features. "... Thundercracker? Slipstream? No? Ah, well then, I didn't think so."

Slipstream is still shy around her 'brothers and sisters', mostly out of necessity. She is far older than the rest and so to help maintain her newly crafted cover, it is best to keep some distance, least another of these Seekers figure things out. Most of them are dimcircuits though, like Dirge or that bolt Ramjet. Yet, here she is with arguably the brightest of the bunch; the star pupil Starscream and the overachiever Thundercracker. For all of her dishonest living though, Slipstream is honest in her approach to these Seekers. Starscream's arrogance isn't offputting - rather, it is well earned.

"You know full well, Starscream, there is nothing any of *us* can comment on in regards to your flying. Or your scientific marks. Or your swordsmanship. Or your... need I go on? Unless you wish for me to motivate Cracker here to try and outdo you..."

Thundercracker watches the young Seeker go through the paces and land then listens to the conversation between Slips and Starscream. He wasnt about to argue with what Starscream had said but now he got brought up into it. "Hes faster then me." The blue Seeker states, "But Ive got age and experience to my advantage." True age but not by much. TC is not that much older then the brightly colored seeker standing before him.

Starscream sighs, looking annoyed at the other two seekers. He waves a dismissive hand at them, then consequently folds his arms. "Save me your sarcasm, Slipstream," Starscream says. He shakes his helm at Thundercracker. "Oh /please/, Thundercracker, you're hardly a few breems older than me," the red and white seeker quips. 

 He turns to the instructor, who beams at his star pupil. "Yes, yes, of course! Flawless, as usual," he says enthusiastically. Then he smiles, and turns to the other seekers. "But of course, you two are superior as well. My three best pupils, how could I complain about any of them," he says, nodding and placing an encouraging hand on Slipstream's and Thundercracker's shoulders. "Come now. It's time for rest of your lesson. Today will.. be a little different." He starts walking inside, and motions for his students to follow.

Slipstream is only too happy to let Thundercracker assume the mantle of eldest sparkling. It's far easier to hide behind somebot that is puffing out his chest, which she is in no short supply of among the Seekers. "That's right," she encourages sweetly to TC as she reaches out to tenderly run a finger along his shoulder. "And knowing that should put him well in his place." To that she has to laugh, openly, as they all know it to be the case that there is no such home. "Sweet Starscream here won't learn that lesson until he meets failure whiiiiiich I would guess he is about to promise he never will." She shoots Star a playful kissy-faced smile along with that.

She nods to their teacher. Of course she is among the top within this lot. It's not hard. What *IS* the struggle is to constantly downplay her experience, skill and knowledge to let these others have the spotlights. But again, it is so much easier to hide in Starscream'ls wake, so why fight it? Slipstream is even thankful for it. "Oh goodie, something *new*. When most of us look the same, it is so refreshing to be presented with some new options," she quips.

Thundercracker stares at Starscream as he talks then says, "Yea? Im still older." And then the instructor comes out and says hes one of his best studants. Who cares that Slipstream and Starscream were included in that statement, its the fact that Thundercracker was also refere to as that. That makes the Seekers day and he barely notices what Slips says or her hand on his shoulder as he sarts to follow the instructor.

Starscream shoves Slipstream, pushing her kissy-face aside. "Hey! Don't put words in my mouth, okay?" He then tags along playfully after the instructor, who smiles fondly at the three seekers. "Of course, Starscream maybe the brightest, but we all have our strengths and weaknesses," he says. Starscream beams upon hearing further approval from his instructor and obeys unflinchingly as their instructor ushers them gently inside to a classroom. He closes door? That's unusual. He doesn't typically close the door. Or... close the windows. And let down the shades while switching on the artificial lighting. Starscream frowns. "...New lesson, huh?" he glances over at Thundercracker, and draws closer to his brother in his uncertainty.

Slipstream is shoved, but it is hardly the first time. Being the femme among a whole legion of rough'n'tumble boys, she has been subject to a fair amount of roughhousing. She is just 'one of the bots' among them. Which is... endearing, actually. She has to smile as Starscream has to resort to *that* though. she may be more than happy to see him win at everything, but wordplay she delights in far too much to let him maintain the upperhand.

She too steps inside but as the exits are blocked and the lighting dimmed... instinct kicks in and she paces away from the boys, preparing and giving herself some distance. "I hope the lessons involves more than just me walking out of this room still functioning," she cautions towards their teacher.

Thundercracker isnt too thrilled with the exits closed and the windows closed and then the lights dimmed. He notices STarscream draw closer to him and lets him. He looks at the instructor.

The instructor laughs softly at tension he's unwittingly caused his students. "No, no... there's just something .. confidential I need to tell the three of you. And you must not tell any of the other seekers what I am about to tell you." 

 Starscream frowns. "I don't know.." 

 "As you may all know, I didn't always work for this specialized academy for seekers. I.. used to work for the government, at a place where scientific horrors were performed." he shudders. "The experiments conducted there were unspeakable. And it was only so long before I couldn't take it anymore. So I quit, and I came here, and was instructed to instill in my pupils the values that the government seeks to educate young and powerful Cybertronians like yourself with. And I wanted to tell you today, that the things I have taught you, about equality and free speech, are not what they have instructed me to teach you. You see, places like ones I worked at before exist so that the government can control those who disagree with their fundamentals..."

How to play this... how to play this... This isn't *entirely* new information. Slipstream has had some suspicions, before she became a Seeker but nothing as ... concrete as this. "Oooooookay," she considers, thinking it best to say something this time before either of her brothers can lead the conversation. "Then either you have taught us something you do or *don't believe in. You selected the three of us because we are smart enough to know the difference," she suspects. "That we three can handle what it is you *really* wish us to hear."

Thundercracker isnt sure he likes what hes just been told. He folds his arms, "What were you suppose to teach us?"

"*Think*. You're not Ramjet, or Skywarp. If he taught us one thing but wanted to teach us something else... it would be the opposite," Slipstream snaps out there for Thundercracker's benefit. "We're better. For a *reason*, right?" She steps forward as she looks directly at Karma.

Karma shakes his helm. "I do not believe in what the Senate is trying to instill in.. well, everyone," he says, inclining his helm. "And yes, you three are the brightest, so it is within your right to know. There is no real 'lesson' for today--" He pauses. "Wait. There is." His expression grows solemn. "Yes. You are. Which is why I must tell you about a certain procedure that the government uses on people who dissent. It is.. a form of extensive brainwashing called..shadowplay. It is a reformatting of the mind, if you will, and commonly practically at places like where I used to work," he says. "I.. do not want to go into detail. But that is the general idea." 

 Starscream stares at Karma, then over at the other seekers. "You're... kidding right?"

Thundercracker really isnt liking what hes been told and now even more so. He opens his mouth to say something an then closes it again and just listens.

Slipstream sighs and seems more... bored than concerned? "Get to the point," she snaps at Karma, too impatient to rely on formality now. He made this meeting informal, so she punches the boundries, treating him less like a teacher and more like a bot that has annoyed her. "Is that a warning, on offer, or an armament? What would you have us do with that knowledge. Embrace it, fight it, or prepare to avoid it?"

"I'm not joking," Karma says urgently. He glances over at Thundercracker, then over at Slipstream. "My dear, dear, pupils. I care for you deeply, and it is my earnest desire that if you find that disgusting, to not sit about and let it happen. It is every bit your right to know the truth. You may do whatever you like with what I have told you. You are the ones in the control of your own lives, do what you will with what you know now." He bows his helm. "....class dismissed." He stands to leave. 

 "Wait..." Starscream calls after Karma. He glances over at the other seekers, his expression uncertain.

Thundercracker looks at Starscream and frowns, "What is it, brother?"

Slipstream is there with Starscream. He is faster than her, even in his uncertainty. He reaches for their teacher before she can, even as she is willing herself to. That is why he shall lead them, she knows. She was too busy putting together the words. Starscream leads with his convictions and the rest of them shall follow. "There is a grand difference between armaments and arguments," she states. "It *is* disgusting. Appalling. It is the kind of thing to go to war over and, forgive me Karma, but you are our teacher. Would you wish to teach us to hide from it or... ot march into it?" She looks to Starscream here too because.... well, moreso than Thundercracker, he's apt to see what she is getting at.

"You didn't want to just *tell* us this. You are a teacher. An instructor. You seek to instruct. So, Karma... please, teach us how to go to war against this." The closed windows make a lot more sense now. "If one class has been dismissed then I think you need to begin another." With the three of them as the only pupils.

Karma places a hand on Slipstream's shoulder, giving her a warm, sad smile. "Yes, of course, we will meet again to discuss this, but another day, another time. We cannot meet like this in secret for too long," he says, glancing around. "And I'm afraid.. there isn't enough time. It.. grows late, my dear Slipstream, I must retire.." And he starts to push past her. 

 Starscream grabs Thundercracker's arm and drags him along, following Karma. "She's right. And if you could take the time now to tell us, why not stay more and tell us more? I mean, come on! You can't possibly think we wouldn't have any questions or figure out what exactly it is we're supposed to do to stop whatever abominations are going on in that place you used to work at. This /is/ something that we need to take action about, as in, right away. If it means war, then so be it." 

 Karma pauses, his expression weakening. "I know you have many questions--but now isn't a good time. Tomorrow morning, meet me here, same place.."

"Rushing into battle without a plan is an act of stupidity," Slipstream tosses at Starscream. "Surely you are capable of a better plan of attack than what Ramjet would come up with. That's why Thundercracker is here." She even points right at him. "That's why he's here. The strategist," she smiles. "If this prgramming exists then it must be sold to the people, which is where I come in, to be able to pick that apart." Karma's touch gives Slipstream confidence as she thinks this through, more concerned in this moment why these three were selected than what they were selected for. She doesn't say what Starscream is destined for but looks to Karma for confirmation. Really?

Thundercracker is grabbed by the arm and dragged along as Starscream seems to be going 90 to nothing with his vocolizer. War isnt something he has thought about or wanted to get caught up in and then Slipstreams comments happen. He looks at Slipstream as if to say 'what the slag?'

Slipstream meets that look with a comment. She is always quick to speak. "You won't get distracted with... well, yourself. Lost in your significance to be able to come up with the best plan."

"I didn't say war immediately, of course, that's a fool's plan," Starscream replies to Slipstream, still gripping Thundercracker's arm for security. "I'm saying, that if it should eventually come to that, then so be it. /I'm/ the strategist, not Thundercracker," he says dramatically. "I doubt they would make programming like that exactly.. 'accessible'. But if you want to be the to investigate Slipstream, by all means, be my guest.." 

 While the seekers discuss animatedly, Karma makes his getaway. He seems a little unwell emotionally... 

 "Come on TC, stop being so apathetic. I know you think that programming is disgusting too. Don't you want to do something about it?"

Thundercracker shrugs a bit, "But why us?"

"Because we might be the last they would come for," Slipstream growls, "But we're also the most valuable! Lose us and what hope does this planet have? What, are you *coward*, Cracker? Maybe you should change your name to 'Whimpercloud'."

Thundercracker snaps a mean look at Slipstream, "Im not a coward, femme. I just want to know why its got to land on us to do something about it is all..."

Slipstream tosses up her arms and looks to Starscream for help. "If not us, then *who*, Cracker? Who *better* than us?"

Slipstream wants to scream at Thundercracker! Shake him! Of all the Seekers, he frustrates her the most! Skywarp is ANNOYING and Ramjet an idiot. She can deal with those, even Dirge's behavior. But Thundercracker’s continued denial of his own potential is JUST SO FRUSTRATING! "Then what *would* you fight for? Your lack of desire to do so?" She's irritated. All of these Seekers have so much power, so much privilege. They haven't *had* to fight for anything in their lives. They haven't had to kill. She has. It's a dark path she's had but she's ill-equipped to motivate Thundercracker to journey down it too. Starscream though... he does have a certain powerful charisma that motivates them all rather well... even her. She gives Scream a 'you deal with him' look.

"Slipstream!" Starscream chastises the other. "That's enough. Thundercracker, my brother. I know this isn't easy for you to decide. But the time has come for us to stop living so comfortably so that others can have a chance at a life like ours." He places a hand on the other seeker's shoulder. "You're right though, Slipstream. We are the most valuable, the best, and the brightest. If we do nothing, then nothing will be done to stop .. the shadowplay." But he notices that Karma is gone, and his brow ridges furrow in concern. 

 "<Master, you aren't well--what is it? Are you afraid? For yourself...?>" He radios him. 

 "<No.. I am.. simply afraid of what they will make me do to /you/. Listen. You are my brightest pupil. If anything happens to me, you must take care of the other seekers. And find Megatron>" 

 "<Don't worry. We'll protect you. And Megatron? Who's Megatron?>" But Karma doesn't respond. 

 Starscream sighs, and averts his optics. "... I'm worried about Karma."

Thundercracker listens to Starscream and finally nods. He remains silent though as he thinks on everything Karma told them and the fact that the world is not what he thought it was.  And that he’s destined to be one of the ones to change it.

"He's old, in disrepair most definitely," quips Slipstream. She too is worried about Karma but... it's hard for her to attach to anyone still and even more so to show any emotion outwardly. "An oil bath or two, he'll be flying straight." Honestly, it worries Slipstream more that Starscream seems to genuinely be concerned for someone other than himself. She does look to TC but... Starscream 'asked' that she back off him. His silence only annoys her further.

"Well, of course, there's that. But there's something else. Deeper. He may be in danger--in fact, I think we all are. There was a reason why he took us into that room privately. We aren't supposed to.. know about the things we discussed." Starscream's brow ridges furrow in worry. "You may think it's unlike me to worry about him. But you know we all have him to thank for where we are now. At least, partially," he adds proudly. "But all of that aside, I think there's something bigger going on here, behind the scenes. And Karma might seem like someone the government would over look but I'd beg to differ. He knows a lot more than the average individual. And his part in all of this could be very important."