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Transformers In Character!
With a Toy on Christmas Day [challenge prompt response] 
19th-Dec-2010 02:00 am
TFA Slipstream

Slipstream did not begin this holiday season with much cheer. She was still dealing with The Betrayal, and with the painful truth that it hurt her so much because it had been at the hands - no hook that time - of one she believed had earned her trust, at the precise time when she had been seeking to cement that alliance and become even closer.

Now, the occasionally reoccurring idea of entering that ship again, ever, let alone any private spaces within, revolted her, with how clearly the scenes of The Betrayal were generated by her graphics sub-processor.

Not having these reoccurring flashbacks, not being affected all the time...it took real work.

She was putting-in effort to be normal and of good cheer.

Someone had told her to talk about it, to not keep her feelings penned-up. And though she was still set against admitting to anyone what had happened, she had found some measure of peace in recording missives expressing her particular feelings on the matter. She never sent them to anyone, of course, but the secret ranting, pleading, and bargaining helped. More recently, she had tried talking to Harvey. The fact that he was not an actual person, technological or otherwise, meant she could talk to him about her difficulty, and still not reveal to anyone how vulnerable she had been.

"I'm not going to try raking," She said. She was sitting outside, on a bench in the snow-sprinkled park, across from her apartment building. She had one of her swords across her lap and a soft cloth clutched in her talons.

Slipstream imagined Harvey was then saying something about Jazz; even though he was their enemy - an Autobot and Elite Guardsmech - and he had been involved somewhat with capturing her brothers and transporting them to Cybertron, and with the AllSpark meddling that took her creator's shard, they could trust that he knew about such things as meditation. He had indicated raking gravel might help some bots set aside their worries.

"You know what Jazz can do with the rake?" She asked, bitterly. "I tried talking, sorta. I tried to be slaggin zen and empty. I came out here to be all in the peaceful surroundings and meditate on rocks and scrap. I even tried this repetetive manual task!" She lifted her arms to show off the highly-polished guns mounted on her arms, as well as the sword. "I'm not going to rake any gravel or sand like some maintenance bot!"

She imagined Harvey shrugging and saying something like, "Well, you know what you can do." Of course he didn't actually talk; he just did things like dance, activate colorful lights, play chimey music, and, Slipstream had discovered, when in demo mode, he played instrumental, electronic versions of popular - public domain, because Powell was cheap like that - Christmas songs.

She had gotten Harvey nearly a stellar-cycle ago, at Christmas time. She'd had marginally more cheer then. She'd been in Detroit, living out of her boathouse in the redevelopment-stalled riverfront neighborhood. She'd recently returned from a vacation in Mexico. Her brothers were all gone, then, but she'd managed to remain free to plot their rescue. Megatron and Starscream had been MIA. The Autobots had seemed occupied with matters at Sumdac tower. It had been...nice. It was like she'd had free reign of Detroit.

The citizens were just accustomed enough, to giant robots that they didn't even contact the police every time they saw one. She'd been able to make a relaxing night flight during the longest night night of Earth's year, and without Air Force interference. She'd acquired enough oil from Maramba Brothers and added a few ingredients to make a festive beverage. She'd even gotten away with pleasant strolls in the chilled air at midday, to observe the curious capitalistic rites of the season. She'd made herself cozy in her cramped boathouse, with her hijacked satellite media channels and watched holiday specials and movies, and listened to Christmas songs, until she was sick of them.

So many Christmas songs were about visiting kin, or wanting someone, or wanting someone to come home: "All I want for Christmas is you", "Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me", "Lonely this Christmas", "I'll Be Home for Christmas", "Please, Come Home for Christmas", "It's Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"...on and on and on. Slipstream doubted there was another holiday that put so much emphasis on having another.

This year, some part of her felt the pressure to have her lover back. She wanted desperately to believe the claim that he'd not really been himself when he betrayed her, and to think that somehow she could have the real him at her side, again. She'd never been one who pinned her success or worth on some mech, but that didn't mean she had no appreciation for ones willing to do mad, endearing things to please her. Even if she expressed that appreciation by saying, "I hate you", and "slaggin blue-light", it was truly there.

But, maybe, if he couldn't be himself again, it was better she never see him again. To trust once and be betrayed was bad enough. Made her feel life a poor soldier and an emotional wreck. Wasn't the conniving Seeker supposed to betray others? She wasn't going to be so...needy as to invite someone to hurt her again!

So, she wasn't ready to dismiss that small hope that he'd find a way back to her, but she wasn't counting on it happening any time soon, either.

At least she still had Harvey. It might seem strange to confide in one's action figure. But, he kept her entertained, so long as she kept his battery charged.

Slipstream remembered last year, when she had discovered the tiny bot, not far from Wyatt Toys in Detroit. She'd recognized it was one of those action figures that the organics Powell and Sumdac were arguing over. Only, this one had seemed defective. He wasn't shaking it to the left then shaking it to the right; he was running down the street with glowing, red optics. If she hadn't know it for an action figure, she might have thought it a Cybertronian drone.

In fact, when she'd taken him home and played with him, her action figure had displayed rather curious behavior. He'd tried to jump into her oil beverage or hop on the keys when she was typing. He'd especially been interested in her digital music player among her collection of salvaged earth tech.

It had been annoying at first, but then Slipstream had found the odd behavior entertaining. She'd had a lot of fun with her toy.

And then, shortly after Christmas, like a snowman from a Christmas special without his magic hat, her action figure had returned to normal. The light in his optics was only yellow. He danced the same programmed dance. He played chimey music. He walked, but did not run.

Maybe his special behavior had been a kind of Christmas miracle. Even if her action figure wasn't special anymore, Slipstream still kept him with her. He'd been helping her get through a difficult time, and now, sitting on the park bench, the memories of last Christmas gave her just a little holiday cheer for this year.

[OOC: Slipstream hasn't seen the play/movie Harvey, but she's seen Farscape, which features a character who addresses the entity only he can see as Harvey, after the movie character. We <3 Jazz. I don't think Slipstream was around for Valentine's Day, as she was possibly created in Summer and Endgame was possibly not long after Christmas, and she arrived in Nexusville at the end of February; she probably experienced a month or so of missing time in coming here. Her memories of last year correspond to the Human Error episodes, in which Soundwave was controlling the Sound Wave action figures.]
19th-Dec-2010 08:04 am (UTC)
His senses go one at a time. First his vision, then hearing, then his body numbs, no longer affected by the cold of the snow and the warmth of his spilled energon, dying the pristine ground beneath him. His processes slow as precious life-energy his body, his ventilating going shallow, autonomous subroutines shutting down one by one, consciousness included.

He has entered a deep level of stasis, his body functioning at the absolute minimum to keep him online with what little All Spark energy it has to draw on. One subroutine in particular remains active, not relying on his consciousness to function. It is an emergency procedure, programmed explicitly by the bounty hunter to run when his life force dropped below a certain level.

Silently, his radio sends a signal to an emergency beacon on the Death's head. The beacon enables the ship to be tracked. It transmits a traceable frequency to a recipient of Lockdown's preset choice, and he had it programmed to send a distress call with this frequency to Slipstream's commlink.

The pre-recorded message goes through. It is slightly garbled and broken with static, but the voice is unmistakable:

//Hoped it wouldn't come to this------------need help------my ship--------musta-------trouble-----\\
19th-Dec-2010 03:37 pm (UTC)
Slipstream's comm system receives a ping, the carrier wave signature informing her the signal originates from the Death's Head. She listens to the automated message, sitting very still on the park bench. The voiced message cuts off, though a series of tones continues to transmit; a homing beacon.

//Lockdown?\\ She tries the ship and his personal comm, but there's no response.

Slipstream sits quietly on the bench half a klik longer, absently subspacing her sword and polishing cloth, as her processor lags, trying to respond to the veritable flood of data generated by her emotional subroutines.

Are you fraggin kidding me with this?! Slipstream shouts, as she rises to her feet. Outrage wins over all other reactions. Everything I've gone through and you contact me like this? When you need my help, because you got in trouble, again!

Slipstream runs hard along the gravel path. She ignites thrusters as soon as her heels touch the paved street and transforms mid-air.

If you aren't dying out there, I'll kill you myself!

Her toy stands on the park bench, abandoned.
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