It's not that he hasn't heard similar topics be discussed before, but it's so different to be the one asking. Barricade takes a seat by the table, fidgeting nervously with his cube of hot energon.
"So... uhm, I'm supposed to try someone new tonight. Any suggestions for whom to start with?"
The others glance at each other for long seconds, probably speaking over comms, Barricade realizes, and then Dreadbot smirks at him.
"Nitro." He says at the same time as Crosshairs, cocking an optical ridge. Crosshairs nods his agreement.
Barricade feels his face fall, and then he glares at the gathered mechs.
"He has paid you to say it, hasn't he?" He grumbles, disappointed when he thought he would actually get some serious help with chosing a suitable new customer.
"Wha'?! No! Hoes before bros!" Crosshairs says, sounding shocked that Barricade would think that they're not serious.
"I would've said Motormaster." Drift says, shrugging, and Barricade gets the feeling that Motormaster would be the worst possible to begin with.
"Why would ye even think we would do tha'? An' why would 'e do tha'?" Crosshairs almost sounds hurt.
"Because he has been persistently hassling me since I moved in, and I wouldn't put it past him to do something like that just to get his way. You did say yourself that some of the brothers are manipulative..." Barricade trails off, feeling like he did a horrible mistake, but not certain where he went wrong.
It really wouldn't surprise him if Nitro Zeus bribed all the others just to get him into berth.
"You're so full of yourself, aren't you?" Dreadbot grinds out between clenched denta.
"You come in here, sitting on your high cyber pony, thinking it's below you to pay with your frame, even if you really have nothing else to offer. You know that it's insulting, right? Makes it seem like you think we're less than you, and it's fine that we whore ourselves out, but you shouldn't have to. Do you really think any of us woke up one day and thought 'oh, gee, I think I'm going to become a prostitute'? Do you really think that none of us would have wanted something — anything — else than this at some point?! You're insulting Nitro Zeus too, insinuating that he would have to bribe his way into a berth, and insulting the mechs who literally own everything you take advantage of — every comfort you enjoy right now — is a dangerous path to walk. He'd probably just laugh at it, because he knows that it isn't true, and he's more likely to find humor in it, but my friendly suggestion is; don't try that attitude with anyone else..."
Barricade works his intake, because he has thought about this before, has learned that it's rarely about a mech wanting to sell himself, but he never thought that his reluctance to do it would be hurtful to someone else.
"I-I know that not everyone chose this life," he says carefully, not wanting to accidentally hurt Crosshairs, or anyone else who might actually think this is the best thing that could've happened to them, "but I didn't consider that my mindset would be hurtful. I don't think you're any less than me, it's just that I struggle with the thought to do this myself..."
"If you'd been a little more open-minded, and tried to make friends in the house, you would've realized that we care for each other. You may see this as a halfway house for you to get out of before you have to spread your legs for someone else, but you know what? It's not always that simple, and the crystals always seem brighter on the other side of the fence. Ever considered that we have reasons to stay here that isn't just about being happy to let everyone use us? We do look after each other here, and we've been trying to help you, but you just insult us back. You're a fucking asshole, and you're just lucky that Jazz is so forgiving, because you're insulting him too."
Barricade's tank is churning, and his spark is feeling cold with the ugly truths that are being revealed in that low growl of Dreadbot's.
"I'm sorry..." He says meekly.
"Yeah, yeah, just cut it out with the 'poor li'l me' attitude. It's very unbecoming for a mech your age, and it's fucking time you learn to play with the hand fate has dealt you. The only choices you have are play or fold."