Title: Rite of Passage

PCs: Overclock, Scorn

Location: Maintenance Facilities, Kaon

Date: 19 May 2015

TP1: Autocracy

NPCs: Vehicons (OC)

Summary: Scorn finds Overclock and suggests that she take the next step as an Insecticon queen and get a hive of her own.

Fresh out of a hot oil bath, the black hound of the Decepticon hives is standing in a drying station to clean off before putting on her freshly cleaned armour. Permanent fixtures of the femme's presence since the memorial, two Vehicons are in the stalls on either side of her in matching states of exposure. Their matching panels are all hanging neatly in a row within the wash racks nearby but with their inner mechanisms exposed the three look far less alike. Well, Overclock does, the other two are clones. Owing to Insecticon CNA donated by a certain mantis, the physiology of her frame is a more alien thing with hoses and wires routing in odd manners and glowing pods of unclear purpose dotting major junctions. Between the bath and the cleaning, she's been in Kolkular for a while. Long enough to have a meeting or two and to track the distinctive hybrid's EMF. Not that she's been hiding.

Is it wrong to sneak up on your creation while they're washing? Probably, but Scorn is rather shameless in that aspect. It's likely that Overclock will feel the Queen's presence anyway, but her steps are still silent as she steps up behind the three and stands there, arms crossed. "I hope I'm not interrupting." The mantis almost purrs with lips curling into a smirk, optics wandering curiously over the armorless Vehicons.

The beastformer of the trio jumps but doesn't bother to look back. She knows her progenitor's pulse like few other things in the world. Once again, she answers in the more traditional Wavespeech, though with a casual tone. < Oh! There you are, mom. > Very casual. < I'm just drying off from a bath. We're almost done. >

<< Well, don't let me disturb you. I was simply stopping in while I was around and ask how things are. >> Scorn nods and steps back to take a seat on one of the benches dotting the maintenance room. << I trust things are well? You certainly seem to be fitting in nicely, and I've noted your use of the Vehicons. >> Smirk remains on her features when gesturingto him with a tip of her head. << Good, I encourage that. One can never have enough followers. >>

<< It's not a real hive... but it's a start, >> Overclock replies with a tangle of emotions showing in her field. There's a fondness for 'her' Vehicons, but it's not enough. Recalling their conversation before the memorial, it may be dawning on the hatchling how far from a true queen she really is. That question from Scorn doesn't get a direct answer.

<< You said you'd tell me more about the Vehicons in person? >> she asks back hopefully.

<< Everyone must start somewhere, my dear. And real or not, it's something. >> Scorn reassures softly, a trickle of pride slipping through her wavespeech. Overclock had hive-building instincts, which was promising and a good sign of how well she's integrating with her Insecticon-spliced body. 

As for the question of Vehicons, Scorn quiets a moment before continuing. << Yes, the Vehicons... They are, in a way, like you. A hybrid of Insecticon and Decepticon technology, and possibly have some of our CNA within them. They are drones, just like ours, though from what I hear some may be able to become self-aware by pure chance. >>

<< They're just fake drones, like I'm a fake queen, >> it's a term the beastformer uses perhaps too easily. She stretches out her tail as the jets finish spraying off the last of excess oil before turning around and walking over to her armor. Scorn is only glanced at as she's given a frontal view of the Insectibeast's hybrid frame before she grabs the first piece and begins rebuilding herself from the bottom up. Only a few moments behind, the Vehicons follow suit, although rather than rebuilding themselves they first help Overclock.

<< I've only ever seen one type of Vehicon. They don't have nurse or worker or soldier variations. They're all hunter frames like us. >>

Fake Queen. The term bringing a slight frown to her lips. << You are not a fake, dear. You may not be able to create drones, but you are still so much more than you once were. You have the drive to gain followers, which makes you far greater than others who have gone through the assimilation process. >> 

Intrigued, she watches the Vehicons help out their 'leader' of sorts. << Well, they are primarily built for war, so it's to be expected. But back to my previous point, I believe it is time for you to finally do something.. >> She stands, facing her protege and speaking firmly. << You have the instinct, as I said, so I think you should try to conquer a wild hive and make them your followers. It may prove a challenge to connect with them on a more mental level, but I have faith you can bring them to your side, should you defeat the leader. >>

Once Overclock is fully reassembled, she helps the drones rebuild the one to her left together, listening as she works. The assurance doesn't seem to strike anywhere deep but Scorn's suggestion brings the Insectibeast to a surprised halt. << You think I should take on a full hive?! >> she asks, optics now on her queen in stunned surprise. << But I can't replace any of them if they're damaged, they'd just die out. >>

<< If you challenge the head of the hive properly, then you only need to fight them instead of the entire hive. Either you win and gain their loyalty, or die trying. >> Scorn's words are steady and without emotion, her warlord nature showing through. << As for replacing them.. That's a risk you must take. It may be possible to a good sized hive with a self aware or two, so you could very well have them produce the labor while you lead. >>

<< I mean replacing the drones, >> Overclock corrects. She stands up from her work and focuses fully on her queen while the Vehicons finish reassembly on their own. The Insectibeast's EMF calms as she thinks on the idea and her natural instinct, her desire for a hive - and even more - wins out. << But I don't want to take a healthy hive from another self-aware, that's wasteful. The >> "domesticated hives," << the enslaved ones. I'd like to free one of those and make that my hive instead. >>

Scorn's antennas twitch up slightly at the suggestion. Curious that Overclock doesn't want to go and take a complete hive, but she can see the purpose in her request. She even smiles and reaches out to rest a hand upon the beast's shoulder. << An admirable decision. Also a good starting point for you. Many of them are unaware of how the outside world works, or even how a true hive operates, so they need someone to help guide them. It will also give you more experience before moving to take bigger hives in the wild, should you ever wish. This is a good idea, though, and I fully encourage you. >>

Overclock smiles in a way that's felt more than seen at Scorn's approval. Adopted parentage or not, there is a kernel of truth to the relationship the spark transplant so often mentions. << Thank you, My Queen. Depending on their population I may need some nurses to support them. I expect mostly swarmers and workers make up the enslaved hives. By the way, >> the bestial femme trails off, winking at her progenitor. << By Megatron's order, I'm serving you again. It's almost official, but we agreed that Shockwave was a poor fit for me. Brilliantly intelligent, but without moral restraint. Be careful of him, >> she cautions. << Shockwave has no loyalties except as long as they serve him and I think he's operating with very little oversight. I still need to cut my ties with him in person but maybe... I can still learn something from him - from a safer distance. >>

Scorn smirks at that. << Really, did you ever truly stop serving me? >> She teases, of course. << But yes, I've heard of Shockwave. I have yet to properly meet him, though I don't have the intention to do so anytime soon. He is.. a dangerous variable I would rather not have. So yes, be careful around him. I don't need you caught up in something you can't escape from. >>

<< I don't plan to get any closer to him than is safe, >> Overclock assures. Given the choice, she'd rather help the scientist quietly 'disappear', but of course such a thing would be far more dangerous than simply avoiding him. << Do you know who the progenitor of the Vehicons is, or how they were made? >> she asks, changing topics rather abruptly.

This is where Scorn falls silent a moment, the question turning around in her head. << ..For now, that is only for Command to know. Perhaps in time it will be released to the public, but for now I cannot tell you. >> Overclock may be her kin, but every Queen must have secrets. Especially when it involves part of the empire's offense. 

<< But I wouldn't worry about that right now. Instead, focus on freeing the enslaved hives and bringing them to our side. I have faith in you, but if you should need me then I will be there for you. >> Scorn smiles warmly, giving the beastfemme a soft squeeze to the shoulder before pulling hand away. << For now, I'll let you go back to your duties. I have a few to attend to myself. >> She nods properly to her, as well as her Vehicons, and turns to stride out and go back to her business.

Overclock frowns lightly beneath her facemask. << That's nothing you didn't tell me before, >> she protests mildly. Shaking her head, she lets the matter drop anyway. She'll find out herself if she really has to but for now... << Yes, My Queen. I'll work on expanding my hive. >> My hive... that's a phrase the hatchling could get used to. She offers Scorn a matching nod in sync with her Vehicons and as the queen leaves, stretches out with a yawn. That was a relaxing bath and now, mom is right, it's time to get back to work.