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Friday, August 05, 2011, 7:54 PM

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Optimus Prime, Ratchet, Prowl


Ratchet is seated at his desk, signing off on charts from the day's appointments. He frowns as he sees the alterations made to some of the charts, and dashes off hasty corrections and notices in margins.

Optimus Prime is big and far from silent, moving with the normal amount of clank and hiss that any quite-large mech tends to make. He does, however, have a great deal of presence. He pauses at the door for a klik, realizing that the CMO is truly absorbed in his work and resetting his vocalizer with a staticky click. "Ratchet. Is this time still convenient for us to meet?"

Ratchet looks up sharply, then settles with a frown and a snort. "Sure, but I don't think any time's "convenient" anymore," he says. "Mind explaining why Autobot Command decided to participate in my staffing without letting me know ahead of time?" he asks, optic ridge lifted, voice dry.

Optimus Prime steps carefully around the corner of Ratchet's desk, not wanting to dislodge any of the datapads stacked neatly there, helping himself to the chair opposite the desk and leaning back in it. "I simply thought it would benefit you- and the Autobot cause- to have additional well-trained and fully-qualified medical staff available. She came highly recommended, with excellent credentials. Prowl and Red Alert both cleared her background of any ties to the Decepticons."

"Oh, that's nice," Ratchet replies with a measured nod. "Unfortunately, whoever recommended her was a moron. She came in and helped herself to medical records without my permission, and then she treated my intern like a raw protoform, in front of patients. It's not help if it makes my fluid pressure rise."

Optimus Prime 's optics narrow very slightly. "Is her competence in question? You are not the easiest individual to work alongside of, Ratchet. She's requested a transfer to engineering or research & development."

"Her methods met basic standards, although her technique was not what I would consider superlative. In particular, she demonstrated that she was not able to examine a patient without causing further pain." The CMO's words are delivered slowly, as though he's choosing the least opinionated means of delivering them. "Her motivations, however, proved... inappropriate for the Autobot cause." He gives Prime an arch look.

"Her motivations?" Optimus Prime repeats. "Yes, she was recruited, and her pay grade is commensurate with her experience, skill, and equivalent pay grade at the main hospital in Crystal City, but her motivations for coming to Iacon seemed absolutely fine when we spoke in my initial interview with her. I did interview a number of medics, Ratchet, but fully-trained medics not already affiliated with a faction who are willing to work with someone as notoriously eccentric-" The corners of his optics crinkle at that- "As the famous CMO Ratchet are few and far between."

Ratchet snorts. "Well, I can tell you that she definitely appreciated her pay here, because she was apparently enjoying a raise when she got to Iacon," he notes. "She needed to tell First Aid about that when she was introducing herself. I understand she also needed to pass that detail along to a patient." He crosses his arms. "Eccentric or not, I know what a professional medic is and is not supposed to do. Bragging about pay is not acceptable under any circumstances. Neither is beginning work without discussing the assignment with the senior medic in the unit." He vents a sigh, irritation growing. "Both of those outright pale in comparison to her need to peruse patient files without cause. That's unnecessary and invasive. It's marginally worse that she spent her time before I came on shift doing just that, well before I could meet her."

Optimus Prime shifts in the chair, leaning forward to fold his hands, resting his elbows on the arms of the chair. ".... Troubling indeed. I assume there was no indiscretion involved with her perusal of the records? She was simply accessing them?"

Ratchet cocks his head. "Her perusal was the indiscretion. She had no permission to access anything out of hand without discussing her posting with me first. Now," he pauses, rocking his head as he considers, "Were she some kind of epidemiologist, that could've been another matter, had she noted what her research was. Ultimately, perusing patient records without need is not permissible. This is hardly a library."

Optimus Prime hums quietly, obviously thinking deeply. "Alright. Given that, with correction of that issue and additional training- minimal training- do you believe there is any way in which she can continue to perform the duties she was hired for?"

Ratchet holds up his hands to shrug and shakes his head. "Prime, there's entirely too much. I have documentation here that she was advising changes in treatments without justification, claiming background she didn't have, and demeaning a trainee. If you think that yields to 'minimal training,' I think we need to have some very long talks, and soon."

Optimus Prime nods, looking troubled. "Very well. This is your expertise and I trust your recommendation completely. I'm simply troubled that our screening failed to reveal these issues before she transferred to Iacon. If the documentation of her history and abilities are ... incorrect, there is the possibility that we missed something on our security screenings as well, which could have far more far-reaching consequences, as you know." He looks thoughtful.

<Autobot> Optimus Prime says, "Prowl, would you please report to the medbay. It's urgent, I'm afraid."

Ratchet's face sours deeply. "Indeed."

<Autobot> Prowl says, "Of course, Prime. On my way."

Prowl enters from Main Level Roadway.

Prowl crosses the repair bay quickly, doorwings drawn high and tense behind him as he makes his way toward Ratchet's office. He knocks sharply, dropping into a parade rest as he waits.

Optimus Prime glances at Ratchet with a little tilt of his head. "I asked Prowl to come and meet with us regarding this. The security of medical records is now of utmost importance. /Enter/" He raises his voice a little so that Prowl can hear him through the door, which isn't locked.

Ratchet snorts. "Just *now*?" he asks.

Palming open the control, Prowl steps inside the office, offering a quick salute to Optimus and a nod to Ratchet. "You requested my presence, sir??

Optimus Prime shakes his head. "Medical records and privacy have always been encoded as you well know, Ratchet, but the exact details of an individual's repair record has hardly been an actual security matter previously. Prowl, we may have a security breach. Please repeat what you told me about Caducia's practices to Prowl, Ratchet?"

Ratchet nods. "In short -- Caducia's methods left much to be desired. In terms of records, before she could report to me on her first shift, she apparently helped herself to a detailed examination of medical records. She had no clearance, and she did not apparently limit her search to patients currently in the 'Bay's berths." He vents a long sigh. "She continued this until I pulled her from the records after I came on shift. I don't know how much of the full database she viewed, but clearly, she did some exploring."

Prowl frowns deeply at the news, one wing twitching slightly. "This is... Unsettling news. Given the Decepticon knowledge of a 'special project'- though they do not appear to yet be aware of the details- it is possible she is the security breach Red Alert and myself have been searching for." He pauses, running a rapid series of simulations. "If this is indeed true, our knowledge of her identity could become a powerful misinformation weapon."

Optimus Prime nods. "Indeed, counterintelligence is certainly a possibility. I'm more concerned about the immediate implications. Is there anything in those records that could identify the individuals in the, ah, special project?"

Ratchet snorts. "Their names, their memory scans, their cog dimensions and orientations, their ping signatures, their medical histories... No, Prime, nothing at all." He rests his hands on his desk and narrows his optics. "A transformer's medical records are quite possibly the most intimate documentation of their existence they could possibly have. Medical staff are expected to treat that information with the utmost confidentiality, but once they get that designation in the system, they've got access to all the energon goodies in the refectory, if they're so aligned."

"And yet we have been forced to allow one of the mechs to leave, with another following suit soon." One of Prowl's doorwings visibly twitches in irritation. "I would recommend a temporary first-stage lockdown of Iacon until we discern the extent of the breach. All visitors and other non-personnel should be scanned before they enter or exit, and carefully monitored while within Iacon."

Optimus Prime exvents air at Ratchet's words before listening to Prowl's recommendations. "Before we take such a step- and I am not suggesting that it is unwarranted, Prowl-" He holds up a hand. "Can we determine which records Caducia accessed and when? You mentioned using her for counterintelligence purposes. To tip our hands with a lockdown would negate that plan at this time, would it not? As for Streetwise and Groove... We cannot and will not force them to remain. All we can do is present the most compelling argument possible for them to remain. I may be able to negotiate with Solarix for Groove's continued presence in Iacon, although on what pretext, I don't know. Streetwise... I fear that we have lost Streetwise's trust, possibly for good when it comes to our motives regarding his coming and going from Iacon" Prime sighs. "I don't see any simple solutions for convincing him to remain."

"Your best bet for that would be Red Alert, or someone in infrastructure monitoring and control," Ratchet says heavily. "I don't maintain the access records here. Knowing Red Alert, however, he has on file the duration of viewing and extent of examination of each file." His expression darkens. "Prime, they need to be safe, one way or another. Records notwithstanding, compromising one compromises them all."

"I will contact Red Alert- without full knowledge of any other possible leaks, it would be wisest to keep all information limited to the fewest possible mechs." Prowl agrees, tilting his head slightly as he opens a comm line to Red Alert for the requested information. "It also may be possible to still heighten Iacon security without alerting anyone to the true reasons, should we be willing to falsify a small amount of non-critical information." A pause, as Red Alert apparently speaks over the commlink. "...Yes, I am serious. No, I am not glitching, thank you."

Ratchet snorts. "If he is, I'll repeat the request," he says drily.

Optimus Prime is patient. "While we wait, Prowl, what are your recommendations for increasing the physical security of Iacon while minimizing the possibilities of anyone noticing?"

"The corpse that mech, Reliquary, retrieved- if few enough mechs have seen it, would it be possible to declare a medical quarentine due to a possible infectious disease? Scraplets, perhaps, or something else not as obvious that we could use as an excuse to search all mechs coming in and out of Iacon?" Prowl questions, looking at Ratchet curiously. "Or would you prefer not to be involved?"

Ratchet barks out a bitter laugh. "Oh, I don't know about that... Seems I did that a while ago and got overridden," he says drolly, eyeing Prime. "If it's going to be done, it needs to be done exceedingly well. Particularly when you want to catch someone who would know the difference."

"In addition, all of this evidence- while extremely troubling- is circumstantial. I find it difficult to believe that an agent managed to avoid detection by your security measures as well as Red Alert's, Prowl, and her background /was/ screened completely. She could be innocent." Optimus Prime frowns.

Prowl frowns slightly. "...True." He admits, tilting his head forward. "I suppose I am just worried for the younglings, and those around them. Any possible information leak could easily lead to a great many unnecessary deaths, and to think that such an occurrence could be caused by a failure on my part is... Unsettling." Another twitch of his doorwings, though he forces them to still immediately.

Ratchet nods, optics losing focus as he gazes at his desk.

Optimus Prime is quiet for a long klik as well. The silence in the office ticks on before he vents and leans forward in the chair. "For now, Prowl? Please investigate this situation with your usual thoroughness," Prime orders. "Establishing Caducia's guilt or innocence, as well as what files she accessed- is our /most/ critical need. Developing a series of plans to step up the defenses and possibly begin a misinformation campaign takes second priority to that. Ratchet, if you will make sure that any further medical care that any of the members of the gestalt need is taken care of in isolation- that should minimize the chances of someone seeing something they shouldn't by accident. I do not believe greater vigilance over them in general would go amiss, either." He pinches the bridge of his noseplates and vents air again. "I will contact Solarix and see if Groove can be released from his oaths to Crystal City- or temporarily housed here until this situation is resolved. Do either of you have any additional questions?"

Ratchet sighs heavily. He shakes his head.

"No, Prime. I promise I will work on determining both Caducia's involvement as well as the extent of any other breaches." Prowl answers, bowing his head slightly. "Red Alert is pulling the medical access records as we speak."

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