First Aid walks up the ramp from Cubicron city slowly, throwing the occasional careful glance over his shoulder until he reaches the door of Lifeline's shop, which he carefully opens, steps inside, and allows to close behind him as he steps sideways and leans against the wall with a huge sigh even before he looks for Lifeline.
Lifeline steps out of the back room when she hears the door open and close again, then hurries over when she sees its First Aid. "Are you all right? Where have you been?"
First Aid straightens up. "I'm fine- sorry I'm late, I guess Ratchet comm'd you?" He shakes his head and shrugs all in one gesture, obviously trying to dissipate some of the tension in his frame. "Don Vespa wanted to see me about sending a message to you."
Lifeline's expression darkens at the mention of Don Vespa. "Come sit down. I need to let Ratchet know you're okay." She gestured over to the chair at the workbench.
First Aid takes the seat indicated. "I recorded it, this time." He puts his arms on the workbench and leans on it. "And thanks- this wasn't one of the smarter things I've ever done, but I couldn't think of anything else to do."
Lifeline goes to get a ration of energon for First Aid while they wait for Ratchet to reply to the message. "Do you want to tell me what happened now? Or wait a bit?" She sets the container into his hand, an unspoken order to drink it.
First Aid folds his hands around the cube. "If you don't mind, I'll wait till you've got Ratchet on the comm- that way I don't have to start over for him." First Aid is sitting on a stool by the workbench.
Ratchet pulls up outside the clinic and transforms quickly, tossing himself into a stride to reach the bay doors. He looks around the room, his face dark. "First Aid! Lifeline! What happened?!"
Okay, she knew the medic would rush to get here when she sent that message, but didn't think it'd be THAT fast. "He's fine. It's Don Vespa's doing though, so I think you need to hear his story too." She gestures to the currently empty med table for the elder Autobot to have a seat.
Ratchet huffs and frowns as his systems slow, then leans against the med table and crosses his arms. His face is puzzled as he tries to recall the name, but can't. "Don Vespa? Where did this slagger come from?" he asks, turning his head to look at First Aid.
First Aid smiles at Ratchet in greeting. "I'm fine, Ratchet. Really. They just wanted me to deliver a message to Lifeline." The smile fades from his faceplates as he glances at Lifeline. "Which I don't think you're going to like much at all. Um, I should probably start at the beginning, though. I'm glad you're okay, Ratchet, I'm sorry you got caught up in that- it could have been a lot worse." First Aid sighs. "Anyway, the cargo mech I was riding with was Bumper, and he's a freelancer - he didn't say freelance what- working for Don Vespa, who wanted to talk to me. He drove me back to Cubicron- I'm not quite sure where. When I got out, it wasn't anywhere I recognized, maybe someplace by the Industrial Zone?"
Lifeline frowns and mutters a faint curse. "Next time you need a ride here, First Aid, let me know. I'll have Lift Off shuttle you over." She also gives Ratchet a VERY brief explanation as an aside. "Don Vespa thinks himself the head of the organized crime syndicate in the less savory parts of Cubicron."
Ratchet flicks a glance at Lifeline as he mulls her aside, then regards First Aid with keen optics. "What precisely do you mean by, "a lot worse," First Aid?" he asks.
"Yeah, about that... Anyway. I waited around for a little bit before Don Vespa was able to see me. Apparently the original plan was for the message to be me, or more accurately, my head. The Don's protege- a mech named Streetwise, who looked kind of familiar, now that I think about it, but I don't know where we could have met before- talked him out of that and they decided that I'd just be the messenger instead. Lifeline, they want you to quit associating with the Autobots at all- I'm assuming that means me, too." First Aid looks down at his energon before looking back at the two older medics. "Or else."
Lifeline hmphs. "That just proves that Vespa has ties with the Decepticons. And if that's the case, I know how to solve this here and now." She turns to send another radio message... unless one of the others tell her not to.
Ratchet hisses and revs his engine. "It's denying medical care," he says darkly, "And what's more, if he's targeting Autobot involvement specifically, I can think of quite a few Autobots who might take issue. Above me," he notes angrily.
First Aid shrugs helplessly. "I don't like it either, but Lifeline, please be careful? His exact words were to "Be careful dealing with the Autobots. A lotta folk dun like them down here, see? And we'd hate either of you to take to an accident." I *know* you're not helpless, but you're one person, and he had a lot of mechs there."
Lifeline says, "I told that mutton headed gladiator, and I'll tell you again. Only a Pit-brained fool threatens a medic." She looks over at Ratchet to make sure he's going to back her next words. "Vespa may have had a lot of mechs there, but if he REALLY wants to start a war, I think that can be arranged. But NO ONE tells me who I am or am not allowed to work with."
Ratchet raises an optic ridge, but he nods. "No one should have any say about where a medic goes to work, save the medic. Period. That's not just standard, that's practically law. Either Don Vespa has strong faith in some other players he didn't name, or he's a fool. Either way, Lifeline, keeping from... shall I say, repeating this behavior? Won't be a single-, or even three- transformer job."
First Aid takes a small sip of the energon in front of him, looking relieved. "I'm glad you're not going to change anything, Lifeline, but.. you'll still be careful, right?"
Lifeline says, "As careful as I can be, First Aid, given the circumstances." She nods to Ratchet. "The Autobots are aware of these threats now, and I'm going to make sure that Crystal City and Robustus know about this too." The Autobots may not like the last name she mentioned, but damned if she's going to let some two-bit hoodlum try to control her business. "Unless you have another idea, Ratchet."
The Autobot CMO rumbles in thought. "I'd be careful about any Decepticon contacts, if your suspicion is that Vespa's going that route," he says, eyeing Lifeline. "I think I need to have a lengthy chat with Prime, myself," he says. Ratchet pauses for a moment, then sighs. "Again. In the meantime, Lift Off might be able to ferry First Aid here to work his shifts, but just how safe is the clinic itself?" he asks.
First Aid speaks up. "I don't know if Don Vespa had any Decepticon contacts- he said that one of his rivals was working with the Autobots though. He seemed more interested in messing things up for them than anything else."
Lifeline answers Ratchet first. "Metro-X makes sure his mechs patrol this area regularly, but I get the feeling that that won't be enough anymore. It's why I'm sending a message to Solarix right now. It'd be a bit much to ask him to send Omega Supreme, but I suspect he won't bat an eyelash and having some of his personal guard stop by for a visit." She doesn't say anything more at Robustus. Yet.
Ratchet grunts, apparently satisfied with the answer given. He still eyes Lifeline significantly, but he doesn't say anything at this time. He looks at First Aid and narrows his optics in thought.
"So I can keep working here, then?" First Aid asks Lifeline hopefully, apparently missing Ratchet's look entirely.
Lifeline says, "As long as it's safe, First Aid." She finishes sending the transmission to Crystal City, and starts another to send to Robustus. Not all of the Decepticons, mind, only Robustus. "And don't give me that look, Ratchet. You know you'd do the exact same thing if this were YOUR clinic."
"My clinic," Ratchet replies drily, "is surrounded by weapons shops. Autobot Med tends to have a very different dynamic," he notes. "As far as safety goes, I have a question for First Aid. Aid, how would you respond if you were physically threatened by one of Vespa's goons again?" Ratchet is tapping an idle rhythm on the plating on the outside of his thigh.
First Aid nods to Lifeline before turning to look at Ratchet. "If it happened again? It would depend on the situation, I guess. I'd run away if I could, or call for help and stall for time. Yesterday.. we were really outnumbered, and they only wanted me- if you'd fought back, you might have gotten hurt, and it probably wouldn't have worked anyway."
Lifeline finishes sending her second message and moves to the back room without further comment. After a few moments she returns and offers something to First Aid. It's a simple laser pistol, likely barely enough to stun a mech and by its style clearly old. Definitely older than First Aid himself.
Ratchet observes Lifeline's offering and nods slightly in approval. "I'm not so sure how you justify your faith in safety if you run away or stall," he tells First Aid. "Not everyone honors the medic's crosses with nonviolence. You know that."
"I know, Ratchet." He sighs. "I just..." First Aid reaches out and takes the laser pistol from Lifeline, not hesitating, but with an unreadable expression on his face. "I don't want to hurt people." He finishes up with a shrug. "It just feels wrong. I'm meant to heal, not harm."
Lifeline says, "Well, that thing wouldn't kill anyone even if you tried. But it WILL knock them on their afts for a few minutes, long enough for you to get away or get help." She then looks at Ratchet again. "What will it take to push forward the schedule for getting an alternate mode for First Aid?"
Ratchet shrugs, but keeps his optics on First Aid. "It wouldn't take much at all, although he was still working on finding the mode the last time I heard...?" Ratchet asks, observing First Aid's response.
First Aid shakes his head and puts the gun down on the workbench, glad for a chance of topic. "I haven't had much of a chance to work on it, although I've ruled out more things that won't work, mass-wise. I just keep getting the same error about maintaining specified tolerances."
Robustus was frankly a bit surprised to receive a message from fellow medic Lifeline and was privately thankful that he had the forethought to prearrange a private and encrypted comm channel for her to contact him upon. He made his excuses to get out of Polyhex and headed over here. Once at Cubicron's outskirts, he transformed and walked to where he expects to locate her. The fact that two other medics are here causes him pause a moment as he stops outside the shuttered building where Lifeline's clinic is house. He pauses to listen, to observe, but for a few moments then he approaches. "Lifeline?" he inquires in a soft baritone. Oh yes there is indeed a civilian version of a Decepticon emblem upon the mech's chest - but it is small in comparison to the bright red crosses upon his shoulders signifying his medical status.
Lifeline turns quickly at the new voice entering the conversation. "Robustus. Please come in." She DID send him a message, after all. Ratchet can think what he will, the Decepticon medic has proven himself to be trustworthy on multiple occasions.
First Aid turns slightly to eye the new arrival- unfamiliar, but the combination of medic's crosses and the Decepticon sigil added to Lifeline's earlier conversation were pretty unmistakable. He nods and returns to eying the laser pistol on the table in between occasional sips from his cube.
Ratchet stares at the newcomer's markings and powers off his optics with a quiet sigh. He repowers his vision system and cocks his head to regard Lifeline for a moment, then faces the newcomer. "You must be Robustus," he says in a resigned voice. "I'm Ratchet. I don't believe we've met."
Robustus steps inside with a nod of the head to First Aid and Ratchet both. "What did you need from me this fair cycle Lifeline?" he intones in askance. "I would surmise it has something to do with the attack on Iacon. Or perhaps on the rumors I've heard about from my neutral acquaintances. Perhaps even both." The medic is no nonsense and all business, but when is he not? He smiles a bit to Ratchet, "Indeed that would be me." he offers a hand to the fellow medic, "A pleasure to meet you."
Inwardly Ratchet shrugs, figuring that he might as well be sociable, under the circumstances. He reaches out to shake Robustus' hand, careful to avoid letting on his reaction to those neutral acquaintances, and what his imagination suggests at the use of the phrase. He nods simply and regards Lifeline.
Lifeline says, "First Aid brought some bad news from one of Cubicron's ... less savory people. I don't know if you've heard of Don Vespa tonight, but he's decided that he gets to dictate who I do and don't cooperate with." She glowers darkly, but it's clearly not aimed at anyone in the room. "In intend to prove to him that trying to dictate to a medic is a BAD idea.""
First Aid remains quiet and watches, mildly curious about the strange medic but having had quiet enough of Strange And Probably Violent Mechs for the day, although if Lifeline called him he's probably safe enough at the moment.
Robustus shakes Ratchet's hand with a healthy amount of careful restraint and yet firmly as well. After all a fellow medic knows that hands are the key to any medics being able to fix the injured. Releasing the mech's hand he focuses fully upon Lifeline. "Mmm the mob causing issues is nothing new to my audios." he intones. "So you called me in to do what exactly?"
Lifeline addresses Robustus seriously. "Well, honestly, whatever you feel you can. I know that Vespa's goons are going to be slumming around a lot more than usual, and I would feel better about First Aid's safety if there were someone here to help defend the clinic if they try to do anything particularly stupid." Should it be considered noteworthy that she makes no mention of her own safety?
Robustus raises a hand to stroke at his beard, his face taking on a thoughtful expression. A soft 'hmm' escapes the mech as he vents out slowly. Oh he did catch on that Lifeline didn't mention her safety, but he's not about to call her upon it. "Well I would suggest setting up some sort of alarm system around the immediate perimeter of your clinic. Perhaps have a few hidden video feeds put into place that would hook up to monitors within your clinic. Then set up another alarm system a bit further out just to notify you to check the video feeds for any possible unwanted interlopers." he intones in reply, lowering his hand from his beard he makes a faint gesture toward the clinic walls, "I would also suggest some sort of defensive capabilities put into place. Perhaps a force field."
At that moment, Lockpick starts to cruise on by, with some ratty old boxes strapped to his roof. one headlight was flickering wildly though and the hover streetcar slowed as he saw the clinic open, and several medical-looking types hanging around. He came to a stop, pondering deeply.
First Aid eyes the Decepticon medic skeptically, but again, says nothing, glancing past him at the sound of someone passing by.
Lockpick starts forwards again slowly to pass by the medic place, his headlight still flickering wildly as he cruises on by, his body sinking low on the weighted hover skids from whatever he had in those boxes. Trying not to be seen? Perhaps...
Robustus looks over his shoulder at the light coming into the clinic, "You seem to have a visitor." he intones helpfully.
Ratchet mulls the security system suggestion silently until he hears Robustus' mention of activity outside. He groans inwardly, hoping it's not who he thinks it is.
First Aid pushes his cube to the back of the workbench and stands up upon spotting the addict. Lockpick, he can deal with, unlike the rest of this completely surreal day. "Lockpick. Do you need more syringes?"
"Syringes? " asks Lockpick, startled. one headlight blinks again "Oh! no, thank you. I have a good supply still." he declines, coming to a stop by the door " Quite a crowd of uh... prestigious folk tay innit sparkstuff?"
Lifeline is considering the security system idea as well, though she knows that if Vespa's people are determined enough, they won't care aobut cameras. The force field idea has merit, though. Not that she could afford one, but it does have merit. Then Lockpick shows up and she watches First Aid step up to speak with the slightly unstable Neutral. "Worth considering, Robustus, but very likely out of my budget. I was more wondering who you would trust to stop by here from time to time, perhaps stay for a few hours at a time." She glances toward First Aid again.
Robustus watches First Aid a moment as he copes with the neutral. Then looks to Lifeline as she speaks, "Surely you have connections with the Autobots that could help you get a force field at the very least." he intones, a significant glance given to Ratchet at his comment, "I wish I could do so myself, but it can be difficult to escape Polyhex for any length of time." there's an implied 'because Megatron would cannon me' there that isn't spoken. Then he vents slowly and considers thoughtfully, "I'll get in contact with some neutral medics I know, see if any of them would be willing to brave Cubicron's mobs by coming down here as part of their rounds. Would you like some sort of safe word to indicate I sent them?"
First Aid looks at Lifeline, slightly alarmed. "That seems like an awful lot of trouble to go to, Lifeline. Maybe I could just ... lay low for a couple of orns?"
Ratchet isn't quite sure what to think about First Aid offering syringes out of hand to the visiting mech, but he's at least relieved it's not Reliquary. "I imagine we could put together a force field of some sort for the clinic," Ratchet agrees. "I don't see anyone having a problem with it." He pauses to regard First Aid, then shakes his head with a loud vent. "No, First Aid, you don't understand. A couple of orns won't deter this crowd. Once they see your sigil here again, everything will start anew."
Lockpick shifts his hovers a little bit at the conversation "Sounds like someone finally got tired of you Lifeline. Who is it?" he asks everyone in general, his headlight still flickering wildly.
Lifeline nods her agreement with Ratchet's assessment. "Well, Ratchet, if you can put one together, I know someone who can install it." She's careful to NOT mention that that would be the same mech that was just offered syringes. Though I really don't think that it'll be that much help during business hours. People have to be able to come and go, after all."
Robustus inclines his head as he has a list in his processor of whom he can contact to swing by and help out here. "Only other thing to do is go after Vespa directly. Isn't there a lawmech around here that enjoys slaughtering mechs like him?"
Hearing Lifeline's comment, Lockpick hrms "The simple way around that is to have it cover everything but a door shaped hole, and wear an emergency wristband that allows you to go into 'shutdown' mode that seals off the building." he finally speaks up. One window rolls down an inch, then back up. Then he hears the name 'Vespa' and honks his horn in alarm "Vespa?? you have DON VESPA angry at you??"
First Aid returns to his stool by the workbench, picking up the barely touched cube of energon again and toying idly with it and nods at Lockpick. "He's not happy with Lifeline."
Ratchet revs a little bit at Robustus' choice of words. "That bad around here, huh?" he asks, eyeing Lifeline and First Aid. He eyes Lockpick thoughtfully, then simmers down his revving at First Aid's comment. Not happy, indeed.
Lifeline huffs an annoyed sigh at both Lockpick and Robustus. "The security mechs are stretched too thin as it is. They come by here as often as they can, but their patrol schedules are easily learned and avoided." She then replies to Lockpick. "The Pit-spawned fool dared to try and dictate to me who HE thinks I should and should not work with. He's about to learn how big a mistake that was."
"... Uhm, are you sure you worded that right? " asks Lockpick, suddenly confused "Cause I swear I heard you say HE was going to learn how big a mistake that was."
First Aid tilts his head suddenly. "What if... well, no, I don't know... " He shrugs. "Don Vespa's protege is a lot more reasonable. He's the one that convinced his creator that I made a better messenger than message. Maybe he'd help convince his father to lay off?"
Lifeline says, "You heard correctly. Why do you think Ratchet and Robustus are both here?" She looks at Robustus then and shakes her head no. "I picked this location because it's so central. There are several mechs around here who are in bad enough shape that they couldn't make a trip all the way to the outskirts and back just for routine maintenance." She looks at First Aid. "It's possible. I'd really rather settle this quickly and with a minimum of fuss. But from what I know of Vespa so far," Yes, she makes a point of NOT using the honorific 'Don', "he won't listen to that much reason."
"General Doctorate's convention? " quips Lockpick at the first question. His headlight flickers again, his antennae suddenly extending. "Lifeline, he doesn’t HAVE to act directly against you to get rid of you, you do know that? "
First Aid rubs his optic ridges and says wryly "Believe me, we know."
Ratchet sighs at First Aid's logic. "If his protege had that much control over him, do you think Don Vespa would have pulled you to threaten you in the first place?" he asks.
First Aid shakes his head and looks downcast. "No, I guess not. He was kind to me, though."
"His protege? The White Price? " asks Lockpick "Seen that kid a few times, hanging out with some of the drag racers and their girls down in the Industrial Zone."
Robustus looks at First Aid intensely a moment, "The Don has a son? Hmm, yes, that may be a useful venue to try out. If you have befriended the son, perhaps have him listen to reason and see for himself that Lifeline is not harming anything by whom she accepts to her clinic.. then perhaps he will tell his Father his threats will not work." a glance to Lockpick, "Well said." he intones, "Perhaps Lifeline you should consider allowing Ratchet here to take First Aid under his guidance until things settle with the Don?" he inquires.
Lifeline looks at Lockpick again. "I know that. But I will be damned if I let that pretentious aft think he can strong arm me into doing what he wants. He'll HAVE to take direct action and then he'll regret it." She hmphs softly at Robustus in what seems like amusement. "First Aid isn't my servant, he does what he wants. And he's been choosing to come here and help me as much as he can." She then looks to the younger medic. "I'm not going to chase you out of here. You're welcome to stay or not as you feel is best."
The hover car would shrug, if he could. "Your funeral. Sorry Lifeline but this is something much larger than you." he states "You can't mess with a Don. It’s the equivalent of messing with a Prime."
First Aid halfway smiles at Lifeline. "I just don't want you to get hurt, especially if it was because of me. And I'm not all that interested in getting hurt myself, either."
Ratchet raises an optic ridge at Lockpick's simile. "I doubt that," he says. "I really do. And I would not in the slightest be surprised if we were to find out one way or the other."
Robustus inclines his head to Lifeline, "I didn't mean to imply that he was, I was merely making a suggestion." he notes, then a pause and a soft vent, "I wish I knew what else to suggest, but what I have told you is all I can think of at the moment."
His headlight flickers a few more times, rather wildly at Ratchet's comment, and Lockpick states "Hey, I've SEEN the vids. I've also seen the results of Don Vespas' actions. The only real difference at times is the reason behind it. You don’t mess with the Don!"
Lifeline hmphs at Lockpick. "Even a Prime knows better than to mess with a medic." She glances at Ratchet as if to say 'Right?' then she turns back to the glitchy mech. "Well, then maybe it's best if you stay clear of here for a while, at least until this blows over." She looks at Robustus and nods. "Thank you, for at least being willing to help."
Robustus says, "Always willing to help out a fellow medic Lifeline. I may wear the emblem of Megatron, but he does not own my spark or my fealty. I'll contact the few neutral medics that I trust as soon as I am able to do so and have them swing by if they are willing to put up the Don's ultimatum towards you and your clinic."
Ratchet looks at Lifeline and huffs out a quick laugh. Oh, if only she knew...!
Lockpick states quietly "I wish I had your confidence, Lifeline, but you're seriously misinterpreting how serious this is." he states, redundantly.
Lifeline nods to Robustus. "Give them the commlink passcode so I know you sent them." She looks to Lockpick again. "I know exactly how serious this is, and I REFUSE to let Vespa intimidate me, no matter what the consequences will be."
Lockpick says, "Even if he kills you?"
First Aid glances from Lockpick to Lifeline and back.
Robustus nods firmly to that and offers a pleasant, "I shall do so. For now I bid you all a good cycle, I must return to Polyhex."
First Aid watches Robustus leave with a bit of a skeptical expression on his face. The Decepticon medic was definitely not what he'd expected...
Lockpick flickers his headlight a few more times, a bit of a green tint to the light.
Ratchet watches Lockpick's headlight flicker, a look of disgust growing on his faceplates. He's seen green tinting listed in his files before.
Lockpick starts to reverse out "Anyways. I gotta go unload at the shop. Had to get my own shipment." he explains to them "Nice knowing you, Lifeline!":
First Aid glances at Ratchet, watching the senior medic's face go increasingly >|! at Lockpick- who is not a nice mech for sure but isn't that offensive... "I'm sorry I missed my shift, by the way."
"Missing your shift isn't quite what's on my mind," Ratchet says. "Why are you distributing syringes to a drug addict?" He peers at his intern.
"Lifeline's policy. And at least he's not hurting anyone but himself with the stuff." First Aid says.
"Is he getting his drugs here, too?" Ratchet asks, crossing his arms.
First Aid looks /horrified/. "No!"
Amidst the current, ahem, squabble, a grating, dragging noise could be heard just outside of the building, with and occasional light 'thunk' along the outer wall. Finally, in the space between the open doors appears none other than the small, odd femme, Swivel, leaning heavily against the doorframe, ventilating out noisily. The femme is a bit of a mess, having quite a few holes in her, but none quite so alarming as the large one right in the joint of where he leg connects to her body, wires exposed and sending out the occasional blue spark, with streaks of coolant and other fluids streaking down the leg. It is also obvious from the way she requires support that the aforementioned leg is currently disabled. "Hulloooo?" she croaks to try and get attention. "Need... some 'elp 'ere!"
Aria heard a commotion as she passed by the gates of clinic. With her curiosity perked she wandered in and looked around, with all intention getting out of the way if she found herself in said way.
Lifeline answers Ratchet for First Aid. "No, he does not get Syk here, and you can scan for it if you insist. But I give him the syringes so I don't have to clean out his energon lines every other week because he's used some filthy oil injector." She says that like it's already happened at least once before.
First Aid turns towards the door at the sound of someone else coming in (hyper vigilence much, Aid? Oh well, you've got an excuse.) "Swivel! What happened?" He starts across the room to help his friend into the clinic proper and towards an empty berth.
Lifeline looks over as well and starts toward the door to also help Swivel. "What happened?"
Swivel had been a bit preoccupied with staying upright and hadn't noticed the other femme peeking into the building behind her. Or, at least, she gives no indication of noticing. She does, however, notice and gratefully accept the help that comes to her promptly in way of First Aid and Lifeline. The moment he is close she grabs a hold of First Aid for support, hopping along on her good leg while her other foot drags behind her. "Jus' stuff..." she mutters vaguely in response to the inquiry as she clamours to the berth. "Yanno... wi' guns'n things..." her optics dim for a moment, she she doesn't haveher usual bounciness... until she looks up at all the medics and smiles. "Wow, I chose a real good time ter get trashed, din' I?"
First Aid helps Swivel up on the berth since she's mostly clinging to him at the moment with a sympathetic expression on his face. "That must really hurt," he notes as he looks at her dragging foot.
Lifeline lets First Aid settle Swivel on the only medberth in the tiny clinic, then on turning around notices the other small unfamiliar femme standing outside. She looks at Aria with suspicion, not because of who she is but instead because of the VERY recent news of a local crime lord threatening her business. It's just bad timing. Poor Aria.
Swivel glances down at the injuries just below her hip. She stares at it for a moment or two before looking up at First Aid. "Darn tootin'," she says with a big grin and a bubbly tone. How someone could be happy about being in pain is... well.... "Ooooooh but I know jus ther cure fer pain..." she says and goes to open a compartment on her other, less injured leg, only to realize it's open and empty. "Wha? Oh no! My energon goodies! MY GOODIES!" she exclaims hysterically and begins searching all over her person and reaching into subspace, pulling out various other trinkets and junks and dropping them all over the berth and floor, but does not find what she's looking for. Finally her optics dart out towards the entrance, seeing the femme loitering there, and then her optics shift down to the ground about there. "THERE!" she points frantically at what looks like a small, purple gun.
Aria blinks as she instantly spots the purple gun. She takes it up and walks over, but not too close, still not wanting to get in the way. "Is this what you're looking for, sweety?" She holds it out to let one of the medical officers grab it from her.
Ratchet looks at the gun and then back at Swivel. "Is that what slagged your leg? Did you manage to shoot yourself?" he asks, taking the gun slightly roughly from the femme holding it.
The gun, upon grabbing it, is light and seems to be made from a cheap plastic-metal alloy... and well, on closer inspection, looking more like a toy than a real gun.
Ratchet raps on the side of the gun with a knuckle and tosses it in his hand a few times. "You do *what* with this?" he asks, at a loss. Don't sparklings carry the toy guns?
First Aid sighs "Swivel, you're a mess, you know that?" There's a faint smile on his faceplates, though, and he scoops up the junk that's fallen on top of the injured leg and sides of the berth and hands it back to Swivel before turning to retrieve cleaning supplies from the cabinet by the sink.
Lifeline gives Aria an apologetic look when Ratchet takes the toy weapon from her less than politely, though she hesitates to thank the femme. She could STILL be one of Vespa's cronies.
Swivel raises her optics ridges at First Aid for a moment, before offering a little shrug, only to cringe a little and inhale sharply, making a slight hiss sound. She quickly covers up the sound with a sheepish, quiet giggle as she takes back her miscellaneous items and starts carefully putting them back where they belong... only to turn and make grabby hands at Ratchet, wanting her toy gun back!
Aria frowned slightly. But instead of making a comment to Ratchet she steps back out of the way returning her attention to the injured Fem. She calls to Swivel. "Sweety, if there's anything I can do for you, just tell me, ok? And if you like a particular song I'm sure no one would mind me filling this place with a little music."
Ratchet frowns at Swivel and puts the gun on a shelf above the berth. "You'll get it back soon enough," he says, before he starts looking around the cabinets for extra hoses and cable casings. He eyes Aria, cocks his head, and continues on his way.
Lifeline stays by the entryway as if guarding the interior of the clinic from Aria, though she has to admit, offering to SING for an injured Neutral doesn't exactly sound the typical MO of an organized crime lackey. Ratchet should find the storage cabinets along the back wall VERY well organized, the hoses and cable casings very easy to find.
First Aid returns with a cleaning rag and spray bottle of solvant and begins wiping the leaking coolant and energon away from the injuries so Lifeline can better see what exactly the loose wires that are sending up sparks. "Who's your friend?" he asks, nodding at Aria, calm and focused as usual now that he has something that he knows how to fix to focus on. "Lifeline, do you want me to pull this plate off?" he taps the plate on the front of Swivel's hip that partially obscures the sparking wire. It's Lifeline's bay, after all, and she's his boss when he's working here - not Ratchet.
Swivel's optics go wide as she is denied by Ratchet. She just stares at him, watching with an expression of sheer agony as he places the item on a shelf. Her lips move as if to protest, but no sound actually comes out. She almost doesn't hear Aria as she tunnel visions on her beloved novelty energon goodies dispenser. She barely even noticed First Aid beginning to clean and preparing to repair her. Her chin quivers....
...and she manages to keep herself from making too much more of a scene. She casts a downward glance, looking dejected for a moment, before she perks up, as if Aria's words finally made their way through her flurry of thoughts. She looks at the femme, for a moment or two, and eventually asks tentatively, "Um... d'ya know tha' techno song, uh, 'Core-Breaker' by Tiptap?"
Ratchet opens the appropriate cabinet and removes a few lengths of hose, then peruses the cable casings and pulls a few down onto the countertop. He closes the cabinet and grabs up the bundle of supplies in his hand, then hurries back to the berthside, putting the supplies on the stand. He eyes First Aid and Lifeline, then sets off to start preparing a transfusion kit.
For a moment Aria stands, staring into space with deep thinking look in her optics. Then she nods, shifting her weight slightly as she presses the buttons on her left arm panel. Starting low and slowly rising to a comfortable level the clinic is filled with the grooving and fast paced techno rhythms. A few moments of a driveway play out before Aria begins to sing.
Lifeline watches Aria for a moment longer then turns and walks over to help Ratchet set up the transfusion kit. It's probably a very antiquated setup compared to what he's used to.
First Aid glances at Lifeline for guidance and then decides to just continue with what he's (pretty sure) is right, removing the damaged armor around Swivel's hip joint to reveal the damage underneath so he can start sealing off the leaking energon and coolant lines that keep dripping fluids onto the exposed wires, causing sparks to arc between the sensory and tension lines that run through the joint.
Swivel settles down and leans her head back, staring towards the ceiling as she listens to the music, a relaxed smile on her face, the injury forgotten. Both the injury of the leg and other bullets as well as the injury of having her favorite knick-knack put away by Ratchet! The heel! And, despite the moving beat, she remains quite still and cooperative. She rolls her head just slightly to the side and stares at First Aid. "Yer real shiny, yanno tha'? I dun mean yer paint 'n stuff, but I mean the inside. Yer shiny on ther inside! I kinner like shiny peeps," she says in a lulling tone... seeming somehow unbothered by the repairing process othe than only a very minor jerk when a portion of her armour is removed. She glances over at Lifeline and Ratchet. "An yall prolly try an hide it, but yer shiny peeps too! An' ther singin' femme's VERY VERY shiny, inside an' out! I like shiny..."
Aria just smiles as she continues the song, lightly tapping one of her feet to beat.
Ratchet starts loading a transfusion bag with energon and peeks over his shoulder at Swivel on the berth, gradually losing orientation. He stops the low-grade running into the bag and begins adding some higher grade fuel.
Lifeline lets Ratchet concentrate on the energon feed while she starts to help First Aid start the actual repairs on Swivel. She noticed First Aid's glance and simply nods to him to indicate he's doing fine as she starts to work on the other bullet wounds.
First Aid talks to Swivel while he works, because a quiet Swivel seems sort of unnatural. "So I'm shiny?" He says absently, dropping the cleaning rag on the edge of the berth and going to retrieve replacement lines to splice into the damaged ones. Cutting them is only the work of a moment, and he begins to carefully clamp off and replace the leaking lines one at a time.
Swivel rolls her head side to side a few times, her optics growing dimmer and dimmer, only to flicker back on quite brightly. "Tha's roight, Firsty, yer shiny. Ya got a bright spark... ya care 'bout people, an tha's a treasure in this day an' age, yanno? A real treasure..." she pauses a moment to listen to her favorite part of the song, mouthing the words idly to herself before she continues to speak. "Not enough people are brave enough to care, and to show that they can without hiding it behind toughness..." Her optics dim again, and her other leg, less injured leg twitches a little.
Ratchet grabs a free pole and walks it out to Swivel's berthside, where he clamps the line before spiking the bag. Ratchet leaves the transfusion line otherwise wrapped, and hangs its sealed loop on another hook on the tree. "Need anything else at the moment?" he asks.
Lifeline looks up at Ratchet. "No, thank you. Though if you'd like to pitch in here, I certainly won't complain."
When the song finally finishes Aria randomly picks another song from the requested group, lowering the volume slightly just in case it isn't a song the injured fem liked. Other than that she just remains in the background, staying out of the way as best as she can. She does, however step up on her heels a moment to see how Swivel is doing, but not too long, as it was a gruesome sight to see.
Shark appears out of nowhere because he's just that sneaky and so undercover that his usual bright red and blue armor is fully covered in the nastiest mass of used oil, rust, grit, grime, and Primus knows what all else. The only thing that's not completely covered in the stuff is the optic band, though that too is coated lightly with dust. He leans on the door, acting all casual like. "So I hear Vespa's got you in his sights doc. You know what I got to say to that?" he asks, then flashes all of those sharp, pointy teeth of his, "I say he goes through me first." then he glances around at those gathered here. "So what happened to Swivel?" he inquires. Then he focuses his light green optic band upon Aria, "And who is this?"
Aria takes a step back, surprised by the sudden appearance of new comer mech. She takes a step back, the music stopping rather suddenly. "Ah... Aria." Then she turned back to the medical units and injured fem, bowing quickly. "Recover soon, Sweety, perhaps we'll meet again. I'll be getting out of the med officers way now." She slips past Shark, nodding to him as well before disappearing out the gates.
First Aid splices the last obviously leaking energon line and looks at the sparking wires and slagged structure of the joint itself, uncertain which to tackle next. He glances at Lifeline for advice.
Swivel winces only ever so slightly when the leaks are sealed away and seems to get lost in thought, staring off into space. She doesn't even really acknowledge Shark's entrance, or the end of the music. She just goes quiet and quite docile.
Lifeline looks over at Shark-in-disguise and seems less than shocked by his words. Rumors DO travel fast, and this is proof right here. "You'll need to bring your own chair," she offers to the toothy mech.
"Excuse me, First Aid," Ratchet says, coming up alongside. He starts playing out the transfusion line and feels around conduits in the side of Swivel's neck to find a possible placement site. Site found, Ratchet undoes the line and slips the needle into the side of Swivel's neck. He opens the clamp and the energon starts flowing.
Shark nods his head to Aria, watching her head off as he awaits for a response from the medics about what happened to Swivel. He remains in the doorway though, almost like a grimy bodyguard or bouncer ready to take any mobster foolish enough to mess with Lifeline. He smiles to the medic and says, "Oh I'm not sitting down on this job doc. You just focus on your patient there. I got your back, just like I got their back." a vague gesture of a grimy hand toward First Aid and Ratchet.
First Aid steps out of Ratchet's way nimbly. "When you have a second, would you look at this wiring?" he says quietly, with a glance at Shark and Lifeline.
Swivel flicks her optics back to their usual vibrant purple when she feels Ratchet searching around her neck. She stares up at him and smiles, but says nothing, remaining still and even unflinching as the rest of the repairs continue, seeming to have gotten used to the various unpleasant sensations of getting fixed.
Lifeline is surprised by Swivel's reaction to the repairs, but not in a bad way. Continuing to concentrate on the repairs to the little femme's chest. "Well, that'll be a little obvious," she comments to herself in response to Shark's words. She lets Ratchet check First Aid's work, as that's who he asked to check it.
Shark nods to First Aid, looking very relaxed just leaning his back against the door jam. Then he looks away to scan the outside environs, looking for anyone that may be looking suspicious. "So someone gonna tell me eventually what happened to Swivel?" he inquires. Persistent this mech.
Lifeline says, "We don't know yet. She's not told us." Typical terse answer here. "Sit down, already, you're making me uneasy."
Swivel remains almost eerily calm, with minimal twitches and flinches, but never an actual sound of protest or complaint. Perhaps her smile serves to hide constant grimacing while she goes between watching the medics with bright, alert seeming optics, and letting them dim and seeming to phase out for a few moments. Of course, she also doesn't offer up anything to answer Shark's question, but she's a bit preoccupied.
Shark makes a scoffing sort of sound at the suggestion to sit. "Get used to it doc, cuz as long as you and your apprentice are threatened by the mob then I've got every reason to stay here and make sure they don't get their chance at you or him. So you focus on Swivel and ignore the fact I'm even here."
Lifeline looks at First Aid when Shark speaks, then tilts her head toward the toothy mech, silently asking the younger medic what he thinks of being called her apprentice. Clearly, she found the comment amusing.
First Aid meets Lifeline's gaze and shrugs- when he's in Cubicron, he *is* effectively working as her apprentice, Autobot insignia and affiliation or not- and he WAS officially her apprentice rather than Ratchet's for almost all the time Shark's known him. He returns his attention to Swivel and asks quietly. "Do you want something to make it hurt less? I can numb the sensory lines in your hip joint with a static burst, but it'll take a few hours to wear off, even if we fix all the damage falter than that." The damaged joint itself and the wiring needs one of the senior medics to look at it, but he can manage pain control.
Shark makes a rather odd comment as First Aid talks to Swivel about how to make it hurt less. "You really want to help her, gotta fight pain with pleasure." he intones lightly, but sounding quite serious about it, "A distraction for her meta processor will go a long way." Then he glances over with a full on toothy smile, "Unless of course you want me to come over there and distract her for you kid. Just don't tell Starfire or I may just lose my teeth to the femme that keeps my spark beating."
First Aid drops the screwdriver he's holding in his off hand and looks embarrassed but manages to keep his voice level enough as he replies to Shark. "Using an electrostatic charge to temporarily numb a sensory line is very effective on pain caused by traumatic injuries like this one. It's a standard therapy."
Lifeline moves to start working on the damaged joint, the moving part needing to be replaced before the wiring around it. "Just disable the pain receptor node, First Aid. It's under here." She indicates a spot about where a human's kidney would reside. To Shark, though, she comments, "If you want to distract her, Shark, get in here. But if so much as ONE speck of grime on this table..." Yes, the ominous tone creeped out a bit there.
"Right," First Aid mutters, retrieving the screwdriver from the floor and unlatching the panel Lifeline indicated.
Swivel is quiet for a moment, not responding to First Aid's offer right away, before she stares at him for a moment. "Oooh... not havin' pain's better 'n pretendin' I dun feel it!" she says quietly. "If it ain't trouble, I'd lurve ya ter dull it... but if it take up any kinner resources, I'll just tough it out, 'coz he'd never let me live it down if I...." she trails off, blinking her optics a few times. "Um... ne'er mind tha'..." she watches and listens for a moment or two, stifling a bit of a giggle when First Aid loses his screwdriver, and finally speaks to Shark. "Yer 'bout as bad as' Depth."
Shark makes a harsh vent as if he had something stuck in there. The mech gives the younger mech a smirk as he got the kid to drop his tool from his comment. Then a chuckle at Lifeline as he takes one long look outside then turns and walks into the clinic proper. "I am one with the grime. The grime is one with me. All the better to not look at all sane. Part of the undercover gig I got going down here. You know that Lifeline." he notes, he stops within easy arm reach of Swivel. "Depth was in a class all to himself Swivel. No respect for personal space. I learned my lesson not to get into personal space the hard way." giving Lifeline a significant glance. "Now then Swivel, if you don't mind too much, I can distract you if you really have to be a tough little femme about this."
First Aid lifts the armor panel free and sets it to one side on the berth, then pauses to wipe the screwdriver down with a bit of solvent and a cleaning rag before using it to pop the power connection to Swivel's pain receptor node. "How's that?" he asks.
Lifeline just gives Shark a mild stink-eye. "I didn't tell you to wash up, did I? Just don't get it on the table." She glances approvingly at First Aid for cleaning the screwdriver before using it again. Good habits are worth encouraging.
Swivel shifts her neck only slightly, as if worried that the feed into the conduit in her neck might fall out, despite the fact it would be harder to dislodge it than a little head movement. She glances at Shark as best she can, only now seeing the grime all over him. "Hey, ya look li' me affer a tour o der tunnels," she says. She smiles and then turns her attention to what First Aid is doing... and then lets out a long sigh. "Tha's reeeeal nice, Firsty... righ' now yer my best friend." She looks back over to Shark. "I dun NEED a distraction, but, I AM curious as ter what ya 'ad in mind."
Shark ignores that look Lifeline just leveled at him. "I'm not the medic here. Why would I need to clean up. Besides even if I did so, I'd wash off all my hard work getting my disguise to stick to my armor. I really got to stop using that good wax." he notes with a soft chuckle, looking Swivel over studiously as she speaks. Oh yes he is looking for a spot to start on. Hmm, what wasn't damaged and looked good to tackle. "Oh you'll see Swivel. You'll see... or should I say feel." Smirk.
First Aid eyes Shark before turning back to focus on his work again, replacing the piece of armor on Swivel's abdomen. "What do you want me to work on next, Lifeline?"
Swivel seems to pause, staring lat Shark for a moment, then letting her optics wander about to the other medics then back to Shark. "Innit bit crowded? Thanks, but if ya need ter be so close, 'en mebbe bes' ya dun show me what ya had in mind after all. Sides, wot was tha' bout learnin' yer lesson 'bout pers'nal boundaries 'n such." She glances down at where her armou was replaced. "'Sides I kinner like watching me own repairs. Got real comfterble with pieces bein' removed 'n put back on what with..." she trails off into mumbles.
Lifeline considers as she's very delicately removing the ruined hip joint. "A new hip joint to start. There should be a refurbished one of the same model in the cabinet. Then if you want, start repairing the plating."
Shark smirks a bit at Swivel, "Crowded? Bah, just trying to dissuade me." he notes, idly shaking a finger accusingly at her. "Not getting off that easy with me." he states firmly as he paces around to where her head is and idly taps that finger on the femme's helm in a precise pattern that sounds vaguely musical.
First Aid nods and turns to move over to the supply cabinet, searching for the refurbished joint Lifeline needs and returning with it to set it on the berth within easy reach. "You should wash your hands at least if you're goign to touch her while we've got plating off," he offers Shark the rag and bottle of solvent.
"Yer getting sommer ther grime on me 'ead," Swivel points out, but her tone does not suggest that she is whinging about it. "Catchy beat, though," she adds as an afterthought as the rhythm rebounds through her helmet, which is not as hollow as she makes it seem. "But, yeah, dun be getting yer grime on me! Ya might get gunk behind me platin', and tha' can be a real problem! But.... mainly... dun go makin trouble fer the medics, they're nice people an ya shun be toin' ther line with 'em."
Shark smirks and backs away, "I distracted you though didn't I?" he asks, turning and walking away to the exterior of the clinic. "I'll be around.. in the shadows.. watching.." he states, then disappears off to the right. Becoming one with the scenery once again.
"Mebbe I shoo jus' rest..." Swivel murmurs.
First Aid sets the rag and solvent back down and begins detaching the pieces of Swivel's armor that need patching.
Lifeline carefully and deftly puts the new joint into the little femme's hip, adjusting a few things to make it fit. "Go ahead and rest, Swivel. It will take your systems a while to integrate the repairs anyway."
Swivel smiles and the light completely fades from her optics as she slips into stand-by.
First Aid pats Swivel on the shoulder before gathering up the armor plating and carrying it over to the workbench to start patching it, shoving the half-empty (and now flat) energon cube and the battered laser pistol to the back as he puts it down and stares at it, rubbing his optics with one hand.