Title: Freedom, Truth, Justice
Date: 14 May 2015
Summary: Megatron is the new hero of Cybertron!!
The party is over.
The Day of Mourning has come to an end. Those that have lingered will be told that they can (read: should) now leave. Megatron, defacto leader of Cybertron, chooses to be the last bot standing as he sends his guards home - the two stationed at the pedestal where the false Matrix has been put on display. The day is nearly over and dusk casts a long shadow from the statue of Orion Pax, a darkness that Megatron now stands in. The pedestal is situated behind the statue.
There is one bot that Megatron still wishes to see and messengers have been dispatched to bring said mech here to him, alone. When Hot Rod arrives he shall find Megatron standing over that empty trinket under it's protective dome.
At least Hot Rod is never hard to find.
It's not long before he rolls up. Old authority, new authority: it's all authority, so despite all the nice things he's said about Megatron, the Decepticons, and the new FREEDOM regime, there's still a note of wariness in his body language. His pace is borderline aggressive; his posture is confidence carried over the edge to arrogance. The quick movement of his eyes and uncertainty of his features betray him. 20,000 years later, and he's still as easy to read as he ever was. His eyes are bright in the gathering dark as he steps into the shadow to join Megatron.
This is not a metaphor.
The last of the light catches on the flames painted across his chest. "What are you going to do with it?" asks Hot Rod instead of saying 'hello' like a normal person. It's not that he's disrespectful, exactly, but he's certainly not deferential considering, well, /de facto leader of Cybertron/.
There was a moment when he first claimed it, when he *pried* it from Zeta's dead chest that Megatron felt like he knew exactly what he would do with it - the Matrix. Only it wasn't the Matrix. It isn't even 'a' Matrix. "If I was strong enough, crush it with my bare hands." To make it pay - PAY for what it has denied him. Were Megatron able to truly lift his people from the past, from all of the chains of tradition and the horrors that come with it, he would destroy this thing. Yet... he cannot because...
He still believes.
Megatron touches his wrist, pressing something that causes the dome over the Matrix to disappear. He picks it up and turns, presenting it out to Hot Rod.
"You knew Orion as an idol - a figure to worship. He sought this as much as I did, even if he was not aware of it. This is what he died for. This is what your idol but -my friend- died for. Lies. Deceptions. I have known them to be true but perhaps for him, for Orion, I had some measure of hope that they weren't true. This serves as a reminder of how right every Decepticon is. How righteous they are in their actions and how justified they are to believe as deeply as they do. Take it."
Hot Rod laughs when Megatron answers. It's a laugh that seems surprised from him, and he follows it up with a, "Wow," as he glances sidelong at Megatron's hands. Could he crush it? Well, if he could, apparently he would've.
Watching as Megatron lifts the false Matrix, Hot Rod twitches slightly in surprise when it is first presented to him. He looks daunted and a little uncertain: false or not, there's a lot of history bound in that trinket. When Megatron speaks of Pax, the shift of emotions across Hot Rod's features is complicated. He ducks his head, and most of it passes only in flickers: a slight frown, the tension curling his hand to form a fist. He almost reaches for the Matrix, but it's not until the end that he does more than an abortive shift.
Looking up, Hot Rod reaches with one hand cupped beneath, and one curled over, to take it. He looks -- stubborn. "It wasn't worship," is the first thing he says. "Blind worship, blind belief is what kept people following Sentinel and Zeta long past the point of reason. I respected him. But I was never blind about it." Somewhere, Arsenal probably COUGHS and it sounds like LIAR. "We've been lied to for--." The scale of the deception, passing far beyond his years, brings a brief pause to his voice. "--so long."
Megatron lets it go.
Just... let's it go. That fake Matrix belongs to Hot Rod now. In this moment, more than when he ripped it from Zeta's chest, is Megatron aware of hos much he wanted the real one for himself.
"It needs to end, Hot Rod. All of it. All of the lies, all of the deception. We can never truly take our first steps if they are not our own. So much of our society has been shaped for us and where corrections to that system were needed, the most abhorrent means possible were used. On us. Even if not directly then still, we all know someone who has been affected. Was I too harsh to remove all of them in one swift blow? Perhaps. Yet we cannot heal as a people as long as these atrocities linger."
"The Institute must fall. The Council... soon. None of that will matter though if *we* don't change to meet these new challenges. There can't be any embracing of the way things were," he states as his optics fall on that useless thing in Hot Rod's hands.
Although he's probably not aware of it, Hot Rod folds his arms protectively over the false Matrix when he holds it against his chest. All the lies, all his rebellion, and there's still some kind of respect buried spark-deep, even if the trinket is no more than tin and glass. And yet--
"Good," says Hot Rod, fierce and hot. "No more Primes. I've never known a Prime to mean anything good. Just suffering for the people they were supposed to protect." He looks down, and seems somewhat surprised by the way his arms have folded across the Matrix. He holds it out, at arm's length, in a distancing gesture. Ew. Matrix cooties. Faketrix cooties. "That's what people've been waiting for. That you'd set yourself up as one. But you're not. I want that change, you know. I want something /better/ for people. Everyone does. Now we finally have the chance to make it happen. To help each other."
"It is okay, Hot Rod. If you did not want it then I would find fault in you. The Matrix, had it been real, would have been a burden. Yet also an honor, to serve so many. There is no fault to be had in wanting it. Only... in those that would lord its ownship over others." Megratron looks away from Rod now towards Iacon. "Never again shall Cybertron suffer at the hands of a Prime. Nevermore shall we be forced to endure their reign. This I vow. With all my spark, I will keep Cybertron free from such a grasp."
"Am I what the bots out there want? For the moment I am. A crowd favorite," he smirks easily. "I have rode that wave before, the adoration of the masses. It is ... intoxicating. Yet, you are correct. They deserve more. I cannot, will not, give in to that. I may be what they want right now, but it is on me to remain what they deserve. You are correct, Hot Rod. Now is our chance to make change, to forge the very fabric of our society into something just. Something *whole*."
Well, that's a vow that certainly won't come back to haunt /any/ of them.
Hot Rod's foolish enough to look pleased by it, and also by being told he's right. Ah, the young. "It's not really about this," he says, suddenly much more careless in the way he handles the Faketrix. He loops his finger through one handle and lets it swing, just to show how much it doesn't matter. Whatever, Faketrix!! "It's about what it was supposed to represent. /Supposed to/," he repeats. "But we don't need this and we don't need Primes to do the right thing!
"I can't believe the Institute is still around. You try to put out a thing, and it just comes back." Hot Rod sounds exasperated, wise with wisdom of the young. "And the council! Like change isn't an /essential/ part of us!" Now he's all cocky again. Terrible. "Your chance to show you're different, too. To actually make justice a reality. Pull out all those secrets, put them on trial. A real trial." That's Megatron's plan, right.
He does indeed have a plan.
"I have reached out to Prowl. He might have been chief among those in Zeta's pocket, but I believe he wishes to root out the corruption of the Institute as much as we do. You and I. My hands... are somewhat tied in that regard. I cannot engage in that directly but you... if you are so convinced, Hot Rod, then you *should act*. Join in the hunt for Institute in all of its forms and reaches to help unmask and undo it. So many of your friends have been affected by it. Let their suffering be your guide and your intentions for justice be your conviction."
If there is one thing Megatron does in excess, it is to grant those he encounters the opportunity to prove themself. Until now he was unsure of this youthful upsttart. Sure, Hot Rod might have years on him but the bot embodies both of those ideals to the core. Such passion can be dangerous, but where Megatron thought distance might be best before maybe... "Transformation lies in the heart of Primus, born in each of us. How will you see us reforged, Hot Rod." Not a question. A statement. Because Megatron is eager to find out.
Ugh, Prowl. Hot Rod can't help but scrunch his face when Prowl's name comes up. "I will," he says, ready, even eager to help smash the latest incarnation of the Institute. "I'll even work with Prowl if I have to." He just barely refrains from gagging noises, because he is totally more mature than that. /Totally/.
"You should melt this down. Reforge it." Hot Rod smiles, slightly, and says, "Transform it, maybe." He offers the Faketrix back to Megatron. "Make something new. A symbol for real justice."
Anything Megatron wanted it for has been rendered useless. "I am done with it." With wanting it. With aspiring to be worthy of it. Megatron knows what he must do, what he must become for the sake of his people. He deserves no trinket to symbolize it.
"When the last of the Institute is removed from our world, come see me again." He would wish to talk to Hot Rod then. When they are all truly free.
With no other formality given, he turns to go.