*Taking time out from her scouting
, Slipstream is crouched upon the ledge outside the wide glass expanse of the observation deck, near the top of the building in which she has claimed quarters*
The ideas of friendship and animosity have become entwined with my thoughts on leadership of late. Although I fully expect others to disagree, I think that anyone can potentially be a Decepticon leader; it is all a matter of going unchallenged. For example, let us say the most widely known Decepticon Leader is imprisoned by Autobots; well, as long as he's got loyal followers raving about how glorious his escape will be, he still is
the Decepticon Leader. He's got followers. Yet, at the same time, someone else, perhaps a previous Second-in-Command, could be leading the Decepticons who are not in prison. And if
this is so, then that individual is also
the Decepticon Leader, so long as he, or she, goes unchallenged. And in another Star systems, other Decepticons may declare themselves the Leader. And they too
In all of these cases, the rank and file about the Leader have a choice to make for themselves: accept commands or give challenge. It is in this way, the choice to submit or resist makes the Leader. Or, most correctly, their choice, plus their ability to follow through with that choice. A choice to resist means little to the Leader if the challenger fails...except that it makes both stronger for next time. Well, assuming they both live.
And, what, does this have to do with friendship or animosity? Everything, possibly.
A Starscream recently said
, "Those who do as I tell them, recognize my greatness, and don't get in my way are my "friends". "Enemies" would be everyone else."
And I believe I agree with this, at least, I believe these definitions are parts
of what makes up "friend" and "enemy". Going by these borrowed definitions - so appropriate to our faction - friends are not going to be as likely to make a challenge. The rest, may. Having "friends" means support when you make your challenge against someone else - though of course the actual combat must be a one-on-one duel - you may certainly have help in gathering the intel you need to plan strategy for that duel, and if you fail you will certainly need help with repairs.
However, I do not truly believe that everyone falls into only these two categories of supporters and everyone else. There are so many complex relationships, as I am learning. Those we call Liege Lords, or kin, or even lover are not mere supporters, and furthest from being enemies. And there are those we may term frenemies, or consider drinking partners, intelligence contacts, or business associates, which we enjoy for a time, or on a certain level, but would not hesitate to betray. And there are rivals, for love, or position, which is not the same thing as worthy opponent or mere annoyance, all of which would be considered enemies in the most general sense.
Some of these relationships I have experienced. I have found one I will consider Lord, because he is eldest and best of a kind, a progenitor and example. Though I will not submit to his commands and call him Leader, I will protect his reputation within the faction, such as any of us can do for another. And I will lead in his stead so long as he has other pursuits.
And I have found kin. A brother I knew I had and found again, and brothers I never expected to find, but discovered as my wing kin. Kin, unlike lesser friends, maintain through their bonds with us, their words and deeds such a respect that they may challenge without being enemies. Kin can tell us we do wrong, or refuse us, and still be respected. They make us stronger in character in doing so. They can make us stronger in spark by their very presence. They are to be protected and defended - whenever it would not dishonor them to do so.
I have no lover. I do not even have a body I use to pass the time. But, I have seen enough to know these both exist. A different kind of choice to submit or resist.
I do have various contacts and acquaintances. The kind of individuals that are valued for their influence, or what they can do for me, or maybe, sometimes, because I see some of myself in them. Individuals I might very well like to share a cube or two with after a mission. Ones that I trade favors with. Meet to discuss mutual goals. Yet, all of these I would betray if it came to time of military conflict. Some, maybe, it would hurt to betray, but I would still do it, because it is my duty. And I think, in some cases, they would not respect me otherwise, because they would betray me just the same.
I have rivals. A rival for love, even if they never perceived me as such and won what I lost. But, that was the way I saw it. And I think sometimes I have a rival in my pursuit to be respected amongst the faction; he doesn't even see me for me, and is so cold and just domineering to everyone, even though I really tried to show my admiration for his success in our mission. I do not know that I have any worthy opponents, and this is probably because Autobots are decadent and complacent, and many Decepticons do not see me as a threat, yet. There is someone who will draw his gun if I get too close, and I have to say it puts a little thrill through my shard when he does that, not that his primitive Earth tech is much of a threat. But, I think, if it came to true military conflict and we were on opposing sides, I might just have to go out of my way to kill him myself; his kin may not understand, but that would be the best way for me to honor the little hero for challenging me. There are some, also, that are mere annoyances, they are not worth fighting, but under some circumstances, they could be made very useful.
All relationships, in fact, can be useful, in developing leadership ability. Those who support me of course aid me in my goals, even if they do not follow my commands. And those who oppose me present challenges for me to overcome, which will only make me stronger. And, the stronger I become, the less others will see me as one to resist and the more they will see me as one to which they must submit.
[ooc: sometimes I struggle with Slipstream's 'voice'. For example this rant about PDAs and pain
is a lot more like her canonical bitter/bantering voice. But, I think she would have to have a non-bitter mode, because I don't think "bitter" is her personality trait, just an outward expression of her obsessed 'I am Starscream to Starscream's Megatron', which I also don't think is her predominant trait...whatever that unrevealed trait may actually be.]