610/Hyperdrive's Graduation

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Hyperdrive's Graduation
Date of Scene: 13 October 2018
Location: Autobot Academy
Synopsis: Hyperdrive graduates and gives a speech! So does Optimus! And Hot Rod tries to as well, but fails epicly.
Cast of Characters: Hound, Sky Lynx, Optimus Prime, Springer, Swivel, Hot Rod, Hyperdrive, 108, Groove


Hot Rod has posed:
Today is the day! That glorious occasion ! The crowning moment...

The senior class of cadets at the academy are going to become an Autobots!

And it looks like quite a crowd has gathered (friends, classmates, professors, enemies, maybe even) to watch this pivotal ceremony. And even though it's fifteen breems past the time when the ceremony should have started, mechs and fems are still filing in, looking for seats in the back, though there are none to be found. A few moments later, a discombobulated looking administrative assistant hurries up to the podium and taps the mic. "Alright everyone, please have a seat, if you're able..." she looks around at all the people standing in the back with an uneasy expression but carries on. "First of all, thank you all for coming. We're very honored by your presence, and incredibly proud of all our graduates." She glances briefly over at where all the graduates are seated, her gaze passing over Hyperdrive, who's in the front row. "Secondly, we're very, very, fortunate that Optimus himself has made the time to grace us all with his presence, and a few words for our accomplished graduates." She then steps off the podium, and searches the crowd for Optimus, hoping he isn't late.

Optimus Prime has posed:
Optimus Prime? Late? Don't be silly. This isn't the era of Rodimus, after all, and Optimus appreciates the simple pleasure of being on time, especially for a ceremony as special as this one. It's not every day that a class graduates the academy, and every new graduating wave in this new era is a collection of beings not graduating under the rule of oppression. So when the assistant looks around for Prime, she most certainly finds him, considering that he's already on his way up to the podium. He gives a nod of appreciation and takes the stand, looking over the collective crowd. There are still individuals filing in, of course, so he begins with an easy introduction.

"Good evening," he begins, "Autobots, friends and fellow Cybertronians. It gives me great pleasure to welcome all of you to the graduation of our latest class from this esteemed academy. We all lead busy lives, and as I look out over all these faces, I can clearly see that there is no longer any seats - including my own."

There is a pause as head turn, a rather embarrassed young soldier having just sat in the now empty seat. He starts to rise, looking panicked, and Optimus waves a hand, "I've got two good legs, my friend, please, have a seat."

Hound has posed:
Amidst all the war, death, and suffering, Hound really enjoys celebratory moments like these when people get together to note joyous accomplishments, goals achieved, and honors earned. A time to get together and celebrate the good things in life, rather than dwell and deal with misery, loss, and pain. The moments that almost make things seem normal again. The Lt. Colonel sits in the front row among some other officials, watching as the ceremony begins with a warm smile on his face. He looks over at the now taken seat that Optimus mentions, then chuckles before turning to watch the Autobot leader again.

Groove has posed:
Groove is a-lurkin' in the audience, occupying a chair in the back rows. From his posture, he looks more like he's relaxing at the beach instead of observing a graduation ceremony. He's leaning back as far as he can go without making the chair tip, and his arms are folded behind his head as a makeshift headrest.

Swivel has posed:
    Swivel had arrived in time for a seat. Not the best seat, especially consdering her short stature. But upon seeing some looking for a place to park their aft, Swivel stood up, quietly offering her own. She could stand to stand. The femme shuffled towards the back and to the side a bit, occasionally stepping out around anyone taller who blocked her view. Which was most people.
    The game of seats and Optimus' occupied seat gives her a small nervous giggle. However, she'd feel mortified if she were that mech, so there's also a bit of sympathetic embarrassment. Swivel again zips out from someone else, and just keeps her optic on Optimus Prime. On second thought, maybe she ought to stay obscured by a larger body.

Sky Lynx has posed:
Sky Lynx is certainly not late, is indeed right on time in as precise a manner as possible. Primarily to allow others to filter in so that he's not worried about navigating through the masses in a way that might put the smaller attendees at risk.

Opting to claim an open (and admittedly reserved) spot near the back of the gathered mechs, the massive shuttle-mech settles himself down and takes stock of who all is present and not, offering curt but polite nods towards those who offer the gesture his way.

Hyperdrive has posed:
Hyperdrive is sitting with the rest of the graduates well...what's left of them. There are quite a few less than when he first signed up. Though sadly there are others that have filled the spots left vacant. As Hyperdrive sits there, he thinks of the friends he's lost along the way. His optics focus on the ground, yes he's graduating. But there should have been others here instead. Barreler, Tap-out....his best friends. The mechs he knew the longest, gone before they even had a chance. He can still see the expression on Barreler's face as... He remembers the joy he had with his friends. The love of making people smile that he had. Washer giving him advice right before the orbital assault. The old guys's certainty in life. The trackers that spent time dragging him along and who disappeared through the portals when the place went supernova. He spent hours polishing his armor but still he couldn't get rid of the stains that he felt marring his achievement. He starts thinking that he'll fit into the group and then he gets in trouble when someone <<hot rod>> writes his name on the patrol sheet so it looks like that he's the derelict one. How did he actually think that Hot Rod was ever going to actually accept him. And then there's Swivel. More than capable to do stuff on her own without a tagalong. She seemed like the reason he kept pushing on. But she doesn't need the baggage. So what is he doing here?

Hot Rod has posed:
The administrative assistant stares wide opticked at Optimus as he recognizes her with a nod of appreciation. Then she smiles dreamily and sinks into her seat behind the podium, her gaze fixed on Optimus. What a fine example of a courageous and capable leader!

Hot Rod is late. As always. He tries to slip in quietly, but SOME mech is leaning real far back in his chair, and Hot Rod is watching Optimus walking down the aisle towards the podium. The former Nyonian rebel accidentally trips over Groove's protruding chair. He nearly faceplants, and perhaps even knocks the other mech out of his chair. Hot Rod swears audibly, and it'll be hard for Optimus to miss the young flameo walking in. Several helms turn.

Optimus Prime has posed:
Optimus Prime continues on, "Much has happened on our beloved planet these past cycles, but as one, we have stood against the darkness that has threatened to consume our world. I am proud of each and every one of you, and know that any Autobot, from the smallest to the largest, would serve as a fine example to those joining our ranks."

And that's when he notices Hot Rod, and notices Hot Rod fall down, and everyone in the world turn to look at Hot Rod. Optimus stands there for a moment, his optics narrowing slightly with mirth, and he tilts his head up. "Speaking of which, it was not so long ago that a certain Autobot sat in these seats as these graduates do now. I can think of few other Autobots with as much fire and pride as he, and I think it would be fitting if he say a few words. Hot Rod! Come on up here, if you would, and address your peers."

He shifts around the podium and waits.

Hound has posed:
Hound is among those that nods to Sky Lynx when and if their gazes meet, offering a smile before turning back to face the front. As he spots Swivel ...sneaking? ...around the seats, he pats an empty one next to him. It was reserved but the mech got called away, so.... He smiles to her and gestures with his free hand like- come on over if you'd like? Right here in front row with the officials. Then he turns again to look at the sound of a crash- ahhhh Hot Rod, of course.

Groove has posed:
Groove wobbles dangerously along with his chair, almost - almost! toppling over and joining Hot Rod on the ground. He struggles to stay upright, arms flailing momentarily before he manages to steady himself.

"Easy there," he murmurs to Hot Rod. The mech isn't even mad. If anything, he's more amused. "You alright?"

Swivel has posed:
    Swivel catches Hound's optic and smiles and nods. Then she sees that invitation. Up there. With important people. She's not an important person. But it would be rude to refuse a superior officer's offer. But... she doesn't want to put herself forward either. Swivel stands there, just staring at Hound, like a deer caught in headlights. FInally, Hot Rod's clumsiness just might have circumvented that decisions. Swivel walks over to Hot Rod =. "Oy there you okay!?" Yup. Too busy offering a hand to her fellow Nyonian to sit near the front.

Healthpoint (108) has posed:
     Being quite late now, Healthpoint just tries to quietly slip in and doesn't even look for a seat. She just stands in the darkened back of the room. After all, Optimus Prime is speaking! ...oh wait no, Hot Rod is going to say something. Well, that's good too. However, there's no telling what a loose wire like Hot Rod will even say, so she crosses her arms and tries to mentally prepare for anything from a rant to a self-praising poem.

Hyperdrive has posed:
Hyperdrive glares a bit at the ground when Hot Rod's name is called. He tries to school his features and clear his thoughts from the negativity he's been dealing with. He looks at Optimus for a moment before glancing back to the floor. The young mech is half wondering if he should have set the fire alarms to go off halfway through.

Sky Lynx has posed:
Sky Lynx just watches from his vantage point over all others, tail slowly snaking back and forth casually as he gives slow nods of affirmation here and there while Optimus speaks.

Hot Rod has posed:
Hot Rod frowns disapprovingly at Groove, as if to ask 'Why the hell are you sitting like that?' He shakes his helm. "I'm fine," he reassures him

And then Optimus is calling him up to the podium to give a speech? ".. the frag?" he stares at Optimus, optics wide, pointing at himself and mouthing the word, 'Me?' in disbelief.

And then Swivel is asking him if he's okay.

Well, no. Not since just now, which was when he was called up by Optimus of all people to make an impromptu speech. "...are you really going to ask right now?" he says, sounding tired. But he can't really refuse.

He uncomfortably starts to make his way to front, looking around at the crowd instead of where he's going, and ends up tripping over Sky Lynx's tail on his way up to the podium. He shoots Sky Lynx an annoyed look. Was he moving his tail like that on purpose to trip him??

Well he finally makes his way to the front and gets behind the podium. There's a silent pause that feels like a lifetime. Then..

"Well, I hate to break it to you all, but --" But then he notices Hyperdrive sitting in the front row. "--frag," he mutters quietly. Well, that's new, does he actually care what Hyperdrive thinks? Who knows.

"this moment... isn't as important as it seems," he finally carries on. "It doesn't matter if you're an Autobot. Hell, I had hardly made up my mind about factions when I became one. And maybe.. maybe now I'm not totally decided, either. We aren't going to end this war by just blindly obeying orders and following chain of command. In fact, I think -- I think that will make us go in the opposite direction of where we want to be." The crowd stirs, looking dissatisfied. Some mechs are starting to whisper quietly amongst themselves, and the administrative assistant who had been emceeing earlier looks very uncomfortable and irritated. "Bad leadership is the main reason why we can't have peace, not the Decepticons." The murmuring grows louder, and some people even get up and leave, looking angry. The administrative assistant stands up, looking offended. "Excuse /me/, but how /dare/ you have that kind of disrespect when he's standing in the room!"

Hot Rod waves dismissively at her, shaking his helm. "Look, I know what you're thinking, and that's not at all what I'm trying to say. Optimus is a better leader than any of us could have asked for, but --" And then he notices Healthpoint in the back, and for some reason, he just freezes. "...u-uh.." He had been on fire just a moment ago, what happened? He stares at Healthpoint, optics wide, expression embarrassed. "A-ah. Looks like it's time for the graduates to get their diplomas. Hyperdrive get up here, you deserve yours first."

But he doesn't even stick around to watch him get it, instead, he rushes from the podium and out the door. The doors bang shut behind him.

Optimus Prime has posed:
Curiously, as Hot Rod makes his speech, while everyone else is getting upset, trying to leave or looking downright perturbed, possibly even wondering what Optimus was thinking in calling Hot Rod up here, the big bot himself steps back behind the podium as Hot Rod flees. He takes the entire thing in stride, brushing aside everything with only a simple glance, saying, "And get it he shall. Just a moment, if you please, Hyperdrive." He gives the rather uncomfortable looking graduate a nod, then focuses on the crowd.

"Some of you may be wondering why I called Hot Rod up here, and you're right to ask that. A time will come when responsibility is thrust upon us. Not requested, not given, thrust. We find ourselves standing upon a precipice, looking both behind us and forward. These halls have been home to many souls, both noble and corrupt. Your leadership has at times exceeded your expectations, but also failed you utterly. It is a new dawn that we find ourselves stepping into, Autobots, and it is individuals like Hot Rod, and indeed like all those who sit waiting to receive their diplomas now, that will lead us into the future."

"Though his words have clearly upset some of you, and that is understandable, they are words that we must hear. For so long there were no words, no opposition, no force to hold our leaders accountable. I value those voices now, just as I value you all. We are united even as we dissent, and I will never turn away those critical of any in command."

He holds his head high, his gaze stern, "Freedom is the right of all sentient beings. I hold that right dearly - the right to live, to peace, to fight and to oppose. So as you take your first steps today into a new world, graduates, remember: It is your own thoughts, your own opinions, that we as leaders, comrades and friends, hold as sacred as we do loyalty. 'Til all are one."

He pauses, seems to visibly relax, and turns toward the assistant. "And now I believe we owe some hard working students their diplomas."

Hound has posed:
Hound turns back as Swivel walks away, going back to listening as Optimus finishes, then Hot Rod gets up and starts speaking. The green mech starts frowning slightly as Hot Rod begins criticizing Autobot leadership- that includes him and Optimus, right here in the audience. He's not entirely sure what to make of all this... However, he does try to catch the gaze of Hyperdrive, and if he does, he'll give the young mech a thumbsup with a smile. You did good, kid. He settles back as Optimus speaks again and shifts into his chair, listening and considering. That makes sense, of course. Hound nods as he looks up at their leader.

Sky Lynx has posed:
Sky Lynx hmms... There's an odd look on Sky Lynx' face as he listens to the speeches and follow-ups, the murmurs, and everything, though rather than looking at the masses of potentially upset onlookers and spectators, he keeps his gaze on Hot Rod through it all, taking mental notes of those looked at, glanced at, reactions to them, all that...

And when the speaker takes off for the wings, he just watches the exit happen before settling himself down. There's a note there, though, and Hot Rod might get a little ping alert that a message is pending to be read. As for what it says?

Take your time, but let's talk. ~Lynx

Groove has posed:
Groove meets Hot Rod's frown with a cheery smile and a nod, before settling back in his chair. This time, however, he doesn't lean back so far, and his arms are folded loosely across his chestplate rather than behind his head.

His attention starts to wander about halfway through all the speeches as daydreams of going on a long drive around the city take over. Someone could probably flick him in the side of the head and he wouldn't notice.

Springer has posed:
    Springer slips in, late as usual. He notices the agitated state of the crowd, and asks a passing Autobot, "Hey! What'd I miss?" Pressing forward without really waiting for an answer, he scans the room for Hyperdrive, wondering if he missed seeing him graduate. Frowning in silent guilt, he flexes his large hands, glancing down at the Decepticon-purple paint on his knuckles. Same reason he's always late.

Healthpoint (108) has posed:
     Healthpoint can't be sure, but...did she just derail a fired up rebellion kind of speech? Just by being here? That can't be right. She doesn't have that kind of influence on people. He must have been looking at someone else. She doesn't become agitated by Hot Rod's speech, though. Of course she doesn't question Optimus's decisions, but there are other leaders in the Autobots. And she questions their decisions quite often.

     As Hot Rod exits the auditorium she offers a slight nod, giving him her silent approval. But, she doesn't follow him out. Hyperdrive is going to graduate! And she isn't going to miss that even if Megatron himself shows up!

Swivel has posed:
    Well, not one to get in Hot Rod's way, Swivel shuffles to one side as Hot Rod makes the long walk up to the podium. Boy. Is she glad SHE wasn't up there having to make an imprompty speech. Sher curls her little hands and holds them up, shaking them slightly as if to make a very subtle, quiet cheer for Hot Rod. You can do it!

    And then... Hot Rod talks. Swivel watches and listened win wide-eyed astonishment. AS people get agitated, she darts out of their way. But hey, now that some have left in disgust, Swivel can now take a seat that isn't among important people. Like Hound. Swivel is about to dart into one of the recently vacated seats when Hot Rod flees. She turns, and looks almost as if she were to go after him. But then she pauses, and slowly turns to look over where Hyperdrive is sitting. Hyperdrive needs her support at the graduation. She looks back to the exit. But Hot Rod probably needs a friend as well. Swivel glances back at Hyperdrive. BUt graduation only happens once. The femme ends up fixed in place throughout Optimus' grand and tolerant speech. She peers at the Prime for a moment or two, a slight tilt of her head. Does he ... really mean all of that?

    Swivel had been lost in her own thoughts when Springer made his belated entrance. The small femme jumps just a little when he asks what he missed and she looks around, spotting her combat mentor when she was int he Academy herself. Pity she isn't exactly a shining example of what the big green mech has to offer. "You're just in toim, Springer." Swivel says very quietly.

Hyperdrive has posed:
Hyperdrive does move slightly though he waits for Prime to finish his stuff and him to be waved up. He accepts the token of his graduation and though he probably isn't supposed to, He does move over to where the podium is. "I-I don't agree with Hot Rod. A bad or good leader isn't anything without a willin group of mechs ta follow him. I joined the bots cause they saved me and my friends when we were neutrals being crushed by a buildin brought down by the cons. When I lost them....to the cons, I thought revenge would be the only reason needed ta keep goin once I stopped feelin sorry fer myself. But it wasn't just that. There were those in the bots who cared enough ta keep pokin me until I got on my feet again. And there were others who kept helpin me even when stuff had gone bad."

"I ain't a big bot. I'm not particularly strong and there are times I let my emotions get in the way of my better judgement. But Throughout I've seen that Prime's Autobots have gone out of their way ta help others who needed help. And no, not all leaders are like him. But that's where we need ta be able ta think fer ourselves and also have the courage ta go to our leaders when we have concerns fer the path they're takin. I'm glad that this Prime is one ta listen ta the mechs below him and I hope that the trust I put in him by wearing the Autobot symbol will never be misplaced."

"My time among the bots hasn't always been the best but through all the bad times I've made new friends." He looks to where he thought he saw Swivel's colors, "And even in my darkest moments I've seen that even good things can come." He gives Healthpoint a slight grin, "For all the evil that is done, wether it be by Decepticon, Autobot or Neutral, I hope I will help be part of the good that will help reshape this world into a better tomorrow fer everyone. And I hope the rest of my class and those who have come before and those that come after will also take up the burden ta continue doing what is right not just because that is what we're told...but because that is what we feel in our sparks and what will hopefully give all cybertronians a brighter tomorrow." He then hops down and goes to quickly and quietly reclaim his seat since well...probably not any good escape routes.

Hot Rod has posed:
The crowd applauds thunderously for Hyperdrive, and some of them even give him a standing ovation. Probably the treatment that Hot Rod would have preferred for his speech, but oh how the tides have turned today!

Well, if Healthpoint had any doubts, they might be erased when Hot Rod slips back in and takes up a spot next to her.

He places a hand on her arm, leaning in and whispering to her, "Hey, did I miss it?"

But then, the administrative assistant gets up behind the podium again, and takes out a data pad. "Yes, thank you Hyperdrive, that was very well said, and we definitely all needed to hear that. Congratulations on your graduation." A perfectly timed dramatic pause. "Now, for the rest of the graduates. Copperlength...?" she summons the next graduate up.

Hot Rod then steps away a bit, his attention turned back to the front. "Aw, frag," he says audibly, "I did miss it, dammit."

Then he notices Sky Lynx's ping. He glances briefly over at the dino bird, frowning, but says nothing. He dismisses the message for the time being, not exactly sure if he's ever going to feel like discussing what was probably one of his most embarrassing moments ever.

Optimus Prime has posed:
Optimus Prime nods in appreciation to what Hyperdrive says. He does not step back in to speak further, allowing the graduation ceremony to proceed without any additional interruptions. He does notice Hot Rod re-enter, but for the sake of the embarrassed speedster, he does not call attention to him. He simply waits, keeping a respectful distance, providing the occasional nod, handshake or encouraging comment if any of the graduates approach him, but staying silent otherwise.

Sky Lynx has posed:
Sky Lynx hmms... has anyone ever seen something large simply vanish without a trace? Well, probably not... but all the same, with the applause and other things going on, Lynx slips off without much in the way of sound or fanfare. There's probably...things going on, stuff to do, and he'll certainly be catching up with graduates and celebratees alike in due time.

Hound has posed:
Hound is among the standing ovation, clapping enthusiastically for the graduate. "Good job!" he calls out. He stands there and then, since he's not really sititng *with* anyone anyway, he makes his way towards Optimus Prime, standing near the mech. Looking up, he whispers, "That was a very good come back. I'm impressed."

Healthpoint (108) has posed:
     Healthpoint can't help but grin a bit back at Hyperdrive and even offers a slight wave. And when he is done speaking she claps for him enthusiastically.

     When Hot Rod slips back in and places a hand on her arm she seems a bit surprised, but smiles none-the-less and nods lightly. "Yep. You did." she says, then pats his hand atop her arm. "But, if it makes you feel better...I think you're right about most of what you said." she whispers back to him.

     The graduation proceeds, and Healthpoint is quiet for a few moments before quietly speaking to Hot Rod again. "So...that was either really brave or...you just don't have the circuits that guide thought before speech." she whispers, then hmms. "Or...Optimus knew what you wanted to say and planned for it." She smiles lightly. "So, which is it?"

Springer has posed:
    Springer grins in relief at Swivel. "Thanks!" He makes a place for himself next to Swivel, taking up a lot of space as he mech-spreads and blocks people behind him with his bulk and massive shoulders. Settling back, he discovers he is indeed just in time for Hyperdrive's impassioned speech. Springer glances back at Swivel, optics raised. "Did Hyperdrive... just make sense?" Shock is clear in his voice. "Wow. Now I've heard everything." A smirk travels quickly across his handsome face.

Hyperdrive has posed:
Hyperdrive keeps his head ducked as he listens to the clapping. Yeah perhaps sneaking out of here might be the best idea. He's pretty sure that the other graduates want to kill him AND Hot Rod now. Pretty much he wants to go back to his room while it's still his and hide the rest of the night.

Hot Rod has posed:
Hot Rod grins at Healthpoint when she says that she thinks he's right about most of what he said. "Most?" he chuckles jokingly, "ah, well, thanks."

He looks amused when she comments about him not having the circuits that guide thought before speech. "Yeah?" He steps closer, squeezing her wrist playfully. "C'mon, you know me, I never second guess myself. I just go ahead and /do/. Words are nothing without action." He smirks. "Course he knew what I was going to say. He knows me better than I know myself. I mean, maybe it was all three."

The graduation continues as each graduate goes up, makes a little speech and receives their diploma. Finally, after all the graduates have gotten their diplomas and said their piece, the Cybertronian equivalent of pomp and circumstance plays, and the graduates walk out ceremoniously.

And just like that, graduation is over, Hyperdrive is an Autobot, and somehow, Maccadam's is catering drinks for everyone who attended.

Swivel has posed:
    Of course Swivel was among the standing ovation, even if she had to slightly shift to one side to avoid being jostled by a certain broad Triple-changer. She wanted to go over and congratulate Hyperdrive personally, but the ceremony was not yet over and it's not like Swivel to step out of line or make a scene.
    When the ceremony has finished Swivel attempts to weave around various people-shaped obstacles towards Hyperdrive. "Well, ya made it in...." Swivel looks him over. Freshly polished is one thing but... "...mostly one piece." Swivel claps a hand on hYperdrive's arm. "I was impressed with yer speech."

Optimus Prime has posed:
Optimus Prime exchanges a few final pleasentries, including a humble thanking of the assistant herself, who somehow kept from blowing a circuit, and descends from the stage. Hound approaches him, and he catches the whisper and turns to face the tracker. "Well, I can't lie and say that I entirely planned it," Prime replies, "But I knew that he would be honest, whatever he said, and I wanted to make a point - that this is a place for free thought now. I won't silence anyone who disagrees with me like my predecessors. I thought it important they all saw that first hand." He pats Hound on the shoulder, adding, "Go enjoy a night off with them if you can make the time, Hound. For me, duty calls." He moves away then, greeting others who try to stop him, politely excusing himself as quickly as he can each time. Before he leaves, however, he finds himself approaching Healthpoint and Hot Rod. He has to keep moving, but he gives them both a nod, a knowing look cast at Hot Rod, as he moves on to the joy of endless paperwork and situations to sort out that await him.

Hyperdrive has posed:
Hyperdrive looks up when Swivel appears and fives a faint smile. "Sorry.....I shouldn't have said anythin. I...I don't know." He frowns, "Hope yer doin well? Seems like every time I'm busy, then yer busy then I'm busy...we never get ta hang out anymore."

Healthpoint (108) has posed:
     Healthpoint giggles a bit and pushes her glasses up. "Thinking before you speak isn't second guessing. But you are still right. Words mean little without actions to back them up." she says quietly. There might be a bit of extra color in her faceplates as Hot Rod continues to keep a hand on her arm. "And yes. Most. I mean, it is pretty much wrong to say the Decepticons aren't a problem at all. Megatron has made it quite clear what he believes, and those beliefs are what we are fighting against. Our leaders might sometimes hinder peace, but it is Megatron and his war-mongering that creates our need to fight in the first place. He might care about Cybertron, but he doesn't care about the people."

     And then...Optimus just nodded in acknowledgement of her! Healthpoint goes stiff and salutes sharply, then blinks and looks a bit embarrassed before letting out a light and nervous laugh. Once Optimus has exited Healthpoint relaxes a bit. "He nodded to us!" she gushes to Hot Rod, then giggles before looking for Hyperdrive. She is fairly tall so it shouldn't be hard for her to spot him, and when she does she offers an enthusiastic wave. "Congratulations, Hyperdrive! ...a-and everyone else of course!"

Hound has posed:
Hound smiles as he looks up at his friend. "That's why we follow you, Sir. I believe in your vision, in your ...compassion, if I may say so. We need you." He keeps smiling, looking back towards Hot Rod, "...We need honest mechs like him, too." Then to Hyperdrive. "And we've got good graduates, too." The scout nods as Op pats him on the shoulder and leaves. "I'll try, Sir."

Hot Rod has posed:
"That's where you're wrong," Hot Rod corrects Healthpoint. "Sure, the Decepticons might be the force we're fighting against, but that doesn't make them all bad. I didn't say they aren't a problem at all. They are, but we shouldn't dismiss whatever frag is going on in our own ranks. I mean, yeah, Megatron made clear what he believed, but he's just misguided. Don't forget that once upon a time, he wanted the same thing Optimus did. They just couldn't agree on the method. And I couldn't agree with Megatron's methods, so ultimately, that's part of why I ended up joining the bots." He shakes his helm, and refuses to make optic contact when Optimus nods at them.

He pats Healthpoint on the back, then approaches Swivel and Hyperdrive. "Hey congrats, mech. Sorry I missed your speech. But you did good. Optimus is proud of you. You should be proud of yourself."

Healthpoint (108) has posed:
     "Misguided is a bit of an understatement." Healthpoint says with a small huff. She follows after Hot Rod as he approaches Hyperdrive and Swivel and smiles to them. "Why are you so down? This is a happy day! And you made a wonderful speech about a much more palatable subject." she says, then looks toward the door. "I'm surprised so many walked out, though. I'd have hoped more at least questioned some of the decisions of our leadership. But, then again, a graduation from the academy where Autobot pride has just been emphasized for several semesters may not have been the best forum." she says, smirking lightly at Hot Rod.

Hyperdrive has posed:
Hyperdrive shrugs, "Just a little run down right now. Got ta thinkin that this should have been my friend's graduation too....well...the class or so before this. I kinda let my grades and everything go ta the pits when they died. And then I avoided thinkin of them at all." he signs. "Sorry about that. I'm glad ta see everyone though."

Swivel has posed:
    Swivel's optic ridges raise. "Sorry about what? I think it was important for you to say all that. It was a really good speech." Swivel insists. Better than she could do. WHen it comes to whipping up a report, sure, Swivel can do that. Public speaking? No thank you. "And yeah, well, lots been 'appening. Busy toims. Dangerous toims. But I've been doin' as well as kin be expected."

     Swivel smiles, seeing Hot Rod and Healthpoint walk over, nodding to both of them. However, her optic ridges knit together in a hint of incredulity. Hot Rod saying sorry? To Hyperdrive? Swivel gives a little shake of her head and lets it slip without bringing attention to it. And then Hyperdrive mentions his friends and she looks down, uncomfortably. She should have done more for Tap-out. But she insisted on doing everything by the book. Which meant nothing got done. Swivel looks up. "Anyone want drinks? Can I get anyone anythin'?"

Hound has posed:
Hound walks over after Prime leaves, gazing down at Hyperdrive after nodding to anyone else that looks his way in a greeting. "Hyperdrive, that was a heartfelt speech. I appreciated it. You've done extremely well, Graduate. You have a lot to be proud of, you know." He smiles, then looks up at Hot Rod. "And... heh, well, we can always count on your honesty, Hot Rod, and I appreciate that too."

Hyperdrive has posed:
Hyperdrive makes a face. "I don't know...I might not be able to drink tonight. Depends if my name is on the duty roster again already." He shoots a glare at Hot Rod. And besides I'm the one that failed my friends." When Hound comes over he offers a slight smile, "Was just a little thing. Be glad I was feelin sorry fer myself or no one woulda been able ta understand what I said."

Hot Rod has posed:
"Yeah well, have you ever met him?" Hot Rod asks, a brow ridge raised. He chuckles when she says she was surprised at how many people walked out. "Yeah well, some people don't like hearing the truth. Glad you weren't one of them." He elbows her, smirking back at her.

He grins at Swivel and pushes her helm down playfully. "Don't worry about the drinks. I'll get them." He turns to Hyperdrive. "Don't think about your grades. You graduated, and your friends, if they were here right now, would have been damn proud of you. Don't apologize, you're drinking tonight." He then glances over at Hound. "Sadly, you're an exception. What do you want to drink?" He grabs several cups and approaches the kegs.

Healthpoint (108) has posed:
     Healthpoint finds herself wondering if it is the world or just Hot Rod that wants to see her drunk whenever possible. She also wonders who brought kegs to an official graduation ceremony. Aren't those supposed to be at the after party? Of course, she hasn't been to many of either so she can't really say. "He isn't exactly known to be personable with his own people, much less us Autobots. So...no. I haven't met him." she replies to Hot Rod. She stays with Hyperdrive and the others as Hot Rod goes to get drinks. She salutes Hound, then gives Hyperdrive's shoulder a squeeze. "Try not to blame yourself so much. Blame those that created a situation in which your friends even needed to be rescued. But more than that, use it to strengthen your resolve to help others. And, try to think about the good you have done more than the bad things that happened in spite of you." she says, then smiles warmly. "Like...saving a certain someone from being forced into the Decepticon ranks."

Groove has posed:
With all the important stuff and the ceremonies over and done with, Groove figures that it's time to get away from all the bustle and noise of the city and indulge in that daydream he'd been entertaining. He wanders off, humming quietly to himself.

Hyperdrive has posed:
Hyperdrive smiles a little at Healthpoint and then sighs. "But even you shoulda had a bit more of a choice shouldn't ya?" He smiles at Swivel, "But I guess this is all about makin the best of the situations we find ourselves ya know?"

Hound has posed:
Hound laughs at Hyperdrive's response, the scout's smile still warm as ever. "It was a good speech." His expression turns more sober, and he studies the mech quietly a moment. "You've already suffered some real blows, Hyperdrive, and I'm sorry for that. But... well, I don't know you that well, but the mech I saw out there in that rubble caring for those turbofoxes? He's got his spark in the right place, and that's a very good start." He smiles again, then looks over at Hot Rod. He lifts an optic ridge at that, but lets it pass with another good-natured grin. "I'm open to pretty much anything, Hot Rod! Surprise me, it's a night for fresh new starts, right?"

Swivel has posed:
    "You should get something in ya, even if it ain't engex. You look and sound worn out." Swivel squints at him, her face a vision of concern, as she brings a hand up and lightly pats his helmet. She'd squeeze his arm reassuringly, but Healthpoint's got that covered. Swivel's smile eases into a beacon of warmth and affection. "You need to take care of yerself."

When Hot Rod pushes down Swivel's helmet she lets out a playfully indignant squawk and halphazardly swats at Hot Rod, but not really meaning to drive him away. She won't stop him from getting the drinks. She then suddenly straightens up when she is aware that Hound has joined them. "'Ello, sir." Oh. Right. Hound is one of the less intimidating officers. But there are so many people around she doesn't want OTHER people seeing her being too slouchy in front of him.

     Swivel looks to Hot Rod again. "Nothin too strong fer 'Yperdroive. And I think I'd be 'appy with plain energon." Swivel then looks to Healthpoint and Hyperdrive. "Aye... the best we can do in our given situations. That's all I've been tryin' to do all along, and will keep trying."

Hot Rod has posed:
"Yeah, well, I have, back when they were trying to recruit me. So trust me when I say he had the right mindset, he's just misguided."

He grins at Hound's response. "Hopefully you won't regret telling me that," he says with a smirk, starting to fill up the cups from the massive keg. "Honestly, Hyperdrive, no one should be blaming anyone. Slag happens, and you can drink to a better future, because guess what? You've graduated and can be the one to start pushing Cybertron towards that better future." He starts handing out the glasses, making sure Healthpoint gets the one that's the most full.

Hot Rod laughs at Swivel. "Loosen up, lady. Hound is drinking."

Hyperdrive has posed:
Hyperdrive smirks a little when Swivel picks out the drink for him. Hey, isn't he a big bot now? Though he doesn't fault her. Nah. he'll take someone caring for him even if this is supposed to be that post grad party time everyone talks about. "Drinking something at all does sound like a good idea. I think I spent two hours in the showers today...one hour of that was probably in recharge."

Healthpoint (108) has posed:
     "Had. Even if his goals might have been noble at some point, he has obviously lost that nobility somewhere along the way. And that is a decision he made, regardless of whatever might have happened to him." Healthpoint argues with Hot Rod.

     Healthpoint just smiles to Hyperdrive at his question. "Really...shouldn't we all have had more of a choice? Very few of us chose starting a war, or any of the other bad things that have happened. I feel mad about those things, not down on myself. At least only be mad at yourself for things that are actually your fault and not just everything that happens when you are around."

Hound has posed:
Hound smiles down at Swivel, nodding his head in greeting. "Hello, Swivel, enjoy the graduation?" He looks over as Healthpoint speaks, nodding. "She's right. You have to focus on what *you* can do. Do your best, but you can't run your gears to the ground over things you have no control over." Accepting the drink from Hot Rod, he thanks the mech, then takes a sip. *cough, wheeeze*! Hound blinks, then grins again, shaking his head. "That's... that's pretty good! Put the shine on your armor real fast, ha!" Taking another sip, he stops to look at Hyperdrive. "I'm proud of you, Hyperdrive. Enjoy your night, you deserve to." With that, he wanders off.

Swivel has posed:
    "Loosen up?" Swivel tilts her head, as if it never occurred to her that she was in any way wound tight. "I just loik plain energon." Because its cheap. Even if she isn't the one paying. Swivel then looks up to Hound, and nods to him. Yes. She's not stiff and rigid right now. She's totally stiff and rigid now. She stands a little bit straighter. "Yes, sir." Swivel looks up and smiles. It is a genuine smile, if a bit shy. Swivel is fairly sure she doesn't want to drink whatever Hot Rod surprised Hound with.

Swivel casts a glance over as Healthpoint and Hot Rod continue a conversation, although having not been part of the earlier stages she's not entirely sure about butting in. So she keeps her comments to herself. She does listen with a keen interest, though. As for Healthpoint's remark to Hyperdrive, Swivel's optics light up and she nods solemnly yet earnestly. "She's roight. Things that 'appen around you are 'ardly yer fault. If I were to believe every terrible thing that 'appened around ME was because of me... well... well... well I'd 'ave driven myself mad." And those around her, likely. Swivel squints. There are things, though, that she did brings upon herself. However those dark thoughts are quickly pushed aside and Swivel resumes smiling. "I do 'ave a shift soon, so I probably should try and get in a quick recharge."

Hot Rod has posed:
Hot Rod just waves a hand dismissively at Healthpoint. "Even if what you said is true, you still never met him. And honestly, I'm not sure I totally blame him for becoming the person he did. Sure, he's got his methods all mixed up, but he wasn't wrong about the Senate."

Hot Rod smirks at Hound as he leaves, "Mech, I didn't take him for a lightweight but..." he chuckles, shrugging. He turns to Swivel and takes her by the shoulder, shaking her a little. "Yeah, /loosen up/. Look at you, you're wound tighter than Prowl's gears." Then he turns to Hyperdrive. "You look like you could use an extended recharge - so stick around this party and drink all you want before you crash hard and long. I'll take your shift this time - guess it'll be me and you working night patrol, Swiv." He downs the rest of his drink, and gives Healthpoint's arm an affectionate rub. "I'll see you around. Next time, we're going back to Mac's," he says to Healthpoint with a grin as he starts heading out.

Healthpoint (108) has posed:
     Healthpoint huffs softly and crosses her arms as Hot Rod says that. "Not being wrong about things and choosing homicidal rage to solve it are two very different issues." she says. She blinks at Hot Rod's words to Swivel, then tries to stop a giggle. "You could probably benefit from loosening up a little, I think." she agrees. She is once again surprised when Hot Rod rubs her arm, and she gives him a bit of an uncertain look before she smiles. "I don't really drink, you know!" she calls after him as he goes. She then looks to Hyperdrive. "If you don't take care of yourself, you'll have me to answer to." she says with a smile and a bit of a sing-song. It's playful, but definitely a warning. She smiles and gives Hyperdrive a squeeze, then heads out as well. "Time to get back to medical. See you all later!"