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The Circle

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Lights of all colors pulsed and flashed with the beat of music which shook the walls as well as the circuits of the mechs inside the complex whether they were dancing, drinking, or simply conversing with one another. It was hard to have a conversation over the constant pounding of the music, but one did not come to the Circle to simply talk. No - the Circle was for fun of all types, and simple conversation was not considered "fun" by its typical customers. Some liked the music, some came for the atmosphere, and some were partial to the high quality of energon served.

Blurr preferred the attention.

"Blurr, over here!"

"Hey, Blurr! Great job beating Swiftride!"

"Blurr, is there anybody you can't outrun?"

"Locomatic is tough, Blurr, but my bet's on you!"

Blurr soaked up all of the praise and attention as thoroughly as his fuel processor soaked the fuel he was consuming, beaming and laughing along with his crowd of fans. Few dared to touch him as if they believed marring his finish would slow him down, but he did not mind - the praise was more than enough to keep him happy while he was off of the race track. Nothing compared to the glorious feeling of racing, but being fawned over by his fans was close enough.

As was usual, the crowd started to dissipate after the first cycle and a half, but Blurr was not yet ready to leave even when all who remained were himself, the bartender, and a few other mechs and femmes sitting around the tables against the walls. The music was still making his circuits quiver, and the lights were still giving the bottle in his hand a rather peculiar tinge of different colors, so as far as he was concerned, the party was still going on.

Apparently, someone else thought so too. Blurr glanced around the room again and turned to see a blue and white mech dancing alone in the center of the room. He moved his elegant curves in perfect sync with the music. Blurr knew he could not be just anyone - only mechs of a higher status were allowed into the Circle, and clearly, if the perfectly polished frame, intricately sharpened edges and curves, and flawless paint were any indication, this mech was the quality of Cybertronian the Circle was meant to serve. Blurr leaned back in his seat at the bar and finished his drink while he watched the stranger dance and wondered where he was from. The design was not one he was accustomed to seeing even among all of his followers - perhaps this was someone from the other side of the planet.

When the mech glanced over his shoulder, Blurr caught a brief glimpse of his face and the small, almost sly smile that graced it before the stranger continued his dance, and it might have just been Blurr's imagination, but he thought maybe there was a little more fluidity in his movements than before. He knew he was being watched.

"Them nobles sure are somethin', ain't they?" the bartender's amused voice came from over Blurr's shoulder.

"Nobles?" Blurr repeated.

"Yeah - Towers mechs. Don't usually come mix with our kind."

Blurr frowned in confusion but said nothing else. Don't usually mix with 'our' kind? he thought. What was that supposed to mean? Who wouldn't want to be around him? He was the fastest racer Cybertron had ever known! Everybody knew of him - he was the gossip, he was the news, he was the life of the parties, he was everything!

Blurr continued to watch the strange "noble" mech with feigned interest as he mulled over the mech's frame and the fluid grace with which he danced. Such grace and elegance - it was almost a waste on a mech so small. Had he been larger, he might have made an excellent racer, possibly a rival actually worth Blurr's time. He loved the crowds, the lights, the cheers, and the thrill of the race itself, but the thrill had dissipated lately because he was unbeatable. Racing was far more intense when he could actually be almost concerned about the mechs behind him.

Unfortunately, the song had to end, and with it ended the show. Blurr was about to turn back to the bar for another refill when he noticed the dancing mech stepping toward him. It was then that Blurr noticed his optics - amber. Those were rare. Blurr could count with one hand the number of followers and mechs in his usual crowd who had that particular shade of optics. Maybe it was part of that "noble towers" thing. That detail alone kept him half-turned to the bar and half to the stranger who closed the distance between them with light, delicate steps which made no sound on the floor.

"Greetings, Blurr," the stranger veritably purred as he made himself comfortable on a stool and waved to the bartender for a cube.

Well, that was reassuring - so he did know of Blurr after all.

"Haven't seen you here before," Blurr remarked, watching the stranger lounge languidly on the stool. "I usually know everybody who comes to the Circle."

"I'm not from around here," the other mech answered after taking a small mouthful from his cube. "But I heard this was one of your more frequent establishments at which to celebrate." It was odd hearing such perfect pronunciation after so long around racers and their crews, including his own. "I was on my way to the turbofox hunting grounds and decided to drop by to see if I might run into you. Lucky me, hm?"

Blurr's optics flickered slightly in a surprised blink. Turbofoxes were nigh uncatchable - just like himself - but this mech claimed he hunted them? "Turbofox hunting? That's impossible," Blurr scoffed. "They're almost as fast as I am."

"Perhaps, but I have quite a few in my trophy collection." The stranger smiled again, the same small smile he gave Blurr as he danced. "Nothing is entirely uncatchable."

"And you'd know how?" Blurr snorted in response. "You waste your time shooting at beasts that have nothing better to do than hover from one place to the next." He let his gaze go over the blue and white mech again from head to tires and back, frowning. "All those high-quality gears and well-lubed joints...such a waste on someone who doesn't race."

The smile only widened. "There is more to life than simply increasing its speed, Blurr," he purred. At Blurr's frown, he simply stood in one fluid movement and took a single step closer to Blurr. "I must be going; however, if you wish to inquire further as to what I mean...you'll use this."

Blurr's attention had been so focused on the mech's face, he did not notice a white hand reaching out until he felt something being pressed into his palm. He looked down to find himself holding a key card, and he knew the city well enough to recognize it as a key to one of the most luxurious recharge pavilions in the center of the city - as well as one of the most prestigious clubs around, more so than the Circle.

He looked up from the key card only to see the mystery mech's back as he left the Circle. Frowning again, Blurr looked back down to the key card and turned it over in his hand. On the back of the card were perfectly etched naming glyphs - the mystery mech's name so Blurr could find him again.

Mirage.