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06/05/2011

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Ratchet First Aid

Ratchet is looking over First Aid's alt mode calculations slowly and carefully. He turns through the information and spends a considerable amount of time looking at the mass shifting equations. He frowns and writes a few notes on his own data pad, then leans back in his chair to put his pedes up on his desktop as he reads. He peeks out of his office door to the empty med bay to ensure he isn't caught in that particular indecorous position.

First Aid isn't sneaky, or trying to be, but he's not making a particularly large amount of noise either as he crosses the empty med bay. "Hi Ratchet," He says as he reaches the door to Ratchet's office.

Ratchet cocks his head and looks at First Aid, nodding a greeting as he pulls his legs down from where he's had them stretched out. He gestures to the chair across from his desk. "Swivel's headed back to Cubicron?" he asks.

First Aid nods and sits down in the chair, pulling it closer to the desk. "She never stays very long in Iacon. Hammerstrike really *does* give her a hard time, even when she's not doing anything wrong. But she's on her way back to Cubicron." He pauses for a second, but is unable to restrain his enthusiasm any longer than that. "Did you get a chance to look at, oh... yeah." He notices the data pad in Ratchet's hand and smiles sheepishly.

Ratchet nods and looks back at the data pad. He pulls himself from any reflective reverie on the information and sits up straight, sends the information to First Aid's medical records, and hands back the information to the intern. He picks up his medical record data pad and goes through the information some more. "What were the scans you were doing externally?" he asks.

First Aid shrugs. "Jackknife set all the parameters, but I think it was just looking at the self-diagnostics from my transformation cogs."

"But there is an error, which means this isn't ready to work," Ratchet says simply. "This doesn't normally happen in transformation assignments. Have you been having any errors recently? Anything wrong with your processing speed?"

First Aid shakes his head slowly, folding his arms and leaning on the edge of the desk. "Nothing out of the ordinary- the usual stuff that defragging takes care of and... I would notice if my processing speed was changing, right? I haven't seen anything different in my normal self diagnostics, anyway." He looks a little bit worried.

"Well, that eliminates a buffer under run for the transformation system, but that's only one of a group of possible errors. Your diagnostics aren't coming back with any conclusive results, though, which is troubling if they're missing something," Ratchet grants with a sigh. "Nothing's disappeared from your diagnostic list? Everything's reporting back? Everything's receiving power?"

First Aid continues shaking his head. "No, yes, and yes. The only error logs I have are from the mass error I was getting when I uploaded the scans, and the last time I went too long without defragging, which yes, I know is bad, but it was a perfectly normal error and it cleared the next time I ran them after recharging." First Aid is looking really worried by now. "What do you think all this means? I mean... it's fixable, right?"

Ratchet raises his arms in a shrug. "It's only possibly fixable if we figure out what's causing the trouble in the first place, because it's inordinately difficult to fix something that can't be diagnosed," he says drily. "How about the cog itself? Any discomfort or damage anywhere? Any odd changes in range of movement?"

First Aid shakes his head. "Right, of course. No, none of that - everything's the same as it's always been." He pauses. "When you and Lifeline fixed me, after I was found... if there was damage to my transformation systems then, you would have caught it, right? that's the only time I've ever gotten hurt, that I know of."

"I imagine we would have caught it, although it's not unknown to miss a problem in a system because you're worried about a problem in a more critical one," Ratchet replies. "I can't think of anything that would be doing this, because I don't know of any major problems in your systems, either. You're sure everything's reporting as green? You've run software checks, too?"

First Aid nods again, still looking worried. "I've run every self diagnostic I know how to do, Ratchet, and everything's showing up as normal and green." He eyes his data pad laying on the desk. "I thought it was just something with the modes I was scanning."

Ratchet still isn't quite sure what it is. "You've run your self-diagnostics, but have you tried using any of the software diagnostic machines here? If the errors have been coming up from external scanners, you may need to keep using external equipment to pin this down."

"I haven't- to be honest, it didn't occur to me. Can we do that now? To be honest, other than virus patches, I've never done anything with software to speak of, my own or watching someone else's- Lifeline doesn't see much of it in her clinic at all." First Aid says.

Ratchet snorts. "I don't imagine Lifeline sees much of it at all, because most of the documented cases depending on the systems have involved military 'Bots and acquisition of intelligence from their CPU's. Catching that and resolving it tends not to show up in the civilian medical playbook," he says. "I don't have anything in your records for any sort of software scan, which might not necessarily be unusual, but you've got a good reason to do it here. Sure, we can do it now."

First Aid pushes the chair he sits on back from the desk and stands up with a bit of a shrug. "The only time I've ever done anything with my own software other than use it is uploading AV patches, and that's hardly unusual."

Ratchet shrugs and gestures toward the door. "AV patches are ubiquitous, but they're hardly diagnostic by themselves. A positive detect for a virus might be something, or a sudden inability to take the update in the first place, but that still might not tell you if there's something else out of line. All it means is you probably don't have a problem with your antivirus," he concludes. "No, I want to see whether anything's going on in the background that makes the scanner twitch, and this unit might give us more detailed information than what Jackknife's did."

First Aid nods as he walks across the med bay to the analysis lab and supply room, opening a cabinet door and bending over to reach the back of a lower shelf where the software diagnostic tools are kept- something he's only seen while doing parts inventory, and never seen in use. He picks the hand sized box with its neat bundle of cabling up and carries it back out into the main lab, setting it on a workbench and removing a tie from the cabling to uncoil it. "So.. just like uploading an AV patch," he says, holding onto the connector at the end of the cable and examining it a bit nervously.

Ratchet smiles lopsidedly. "Not exactly. Uploading an AV patch lets your own CPU, memory, and networking connections do a lot of the work. You allocate the space for the update, run the checksums, and request the packets for the update. There's still a barrier between you and the source," he notes as he checks the connector himself before applying a cleansing swab to its sockets and pins. "This won't upload anything, so you don't need to run all the base file handling routines. It's going to assay your full memory, test each sector for data integrity, and report the results to your medical records." He pauses to turn a keen gaze on First Aid's expression. "The barrier is... less. The scanner won't modify your memory, though. There's no writing involved."

"Right... I know that." First Aid says, a little nervously. He pulls out a stool from under the workbench but doesn't sit down. "Does it run in the background, or... what? I don't need to be offline for it to run, right?"

"You can be, if you prefer," Ratchet replies gently. "It's going to take a while to run. Some patients remain online with no difficulty, and some report hallucinations. Very rarely the scan process elicits anomalies in the motor system. Most everyone agrees that it doesn't entirely stay in the background." He cocks his head.

First Aid shakes his head. "No, I just don't really know what to expect." He vents air. "Let's just get it over with. I'm just making myself more nervous thinking about it."

Ratchet nods. "That's fine. I'm going to run a full scan to see what your memory baselines are, and then we'll see what we can see. You might want to sit in a chair with a back and arms," he suggests. Ratchet extrudes a small screwdriver from one finger and gestures to a chair against the opposite wall of the lab. He picks up the scanner from the workbench and uses an intact digit to start the device.

First Aid nods, pushing the stool under the bench and walking across to the indicated chair to sit down very carefully. "Okay. This is probably good experience for me anyway, right? So I can tell patients who need it what its like." He makes a deliberate attempt to relax-with a fair degree of success- and leans his head forward to reach up and open the panel over the data ports at the top of his spinal column.

"That's certainly one way to look at it," Ratchet admits as he puts the scanner on a bench and plays out the cable to reach First Aid's data port socket. Gently he presses on Aid's helm to keep his head bent forward while he secures the connector to the port by the screws on either side of the connector. "When you're dealing with patients, though, you'll also be thinking about how it would sure be nice for this thing to solve whatever pit-slagging mystery has you scratching your helm," he notes with a quirk of a smile as he starts the connection. Ratchet pulls the screwdriver back into his finger and taps in a few points of information to identify First Aid's record, then selects a series of scans to run. He starts the scanning process by pressing a large, green button on the device's touch screen.

First Aid holds very still while Ratchet attaches the cable, optics blinking a few times as the scan itself starts running. "That's... really strange." He says, a bit distantly.

A seemingly long time passes...

Ratchet has been checking on First Aid while doing chores in the area. He's glad that First Aid hasn't been experiencing any odd signs or symptoms during the process, and it's something of a relief that the intern has been able to slip into a dozing recharge during the scan. Ratchet spots the handset flashing from the other side of the room when the scan's complete, and he briskly strides over to read the results. He frowns and taps First Aid's shoulder. "All right, Aid, it's done. How do you feel? Notice anything odd?" he asks while tapping a few more options on the panel for more information.

First Aid onlines his optics and sits up straight- he hadn't quite meant to go into recharge but well... "I'm fine, Ratchet. Everything seems normal." He cranes his neck for a glimpse at the readout on the scanner. "Did it find anything?"

"I'd say so," Ratchet says, sending more information from the scanner to First Aid's medical record. "It's still largely inconclusive, though. First Aid, how old are you?" he asks in a change of gears.

First Aid blinks, a little surprised at the apparent non sequitur. "Um.. I don't actually know. You know I don't remember anything before coming online in Cubicron when you and Lifeline were fixing me- there's some fragmentary data, but I've never felt like trying to reconstruct it was that important. I think I'm pretty young- but your guess is as good as mine, really."

Ratchet looks at First Aid from the corner of his optic for a long moment. "According to this, you have at least twice the memory data of a mech of your reported age, and close to half of it is encrypted. The scanner tried its best to see what it was, and it couldn't get a read because it didn't even recognize the encryption scheme." He cocks his head. "That's not going to come up on an antivirus patch report." He pauses. "This isn't a small deviation from expected values, First Aid."

"Oh." First Aid says, very quietly. There is a long pause. He twists in the chair to face Ratchet more fully, carefully not-fidgeting with the arms of the chair under his fingers. "So... what do we do now?"

"I think it's imperative to find out exactly why you're having these results," Ratchet replies equally quietly. "And more importantly, why those results have an encryption report that doesn't match anything anywhere in Autobot cryptography," he says with a deeply grim expression. "I don't need to tell you that's exquisitely bad news."

First Aid looks even more worried. "Right. But why would- what- he shakes his head. "How can we find out what it is? Or get it /out/ of my memory core?"

"The easiest way to do it would be to crack the encryption," Ratchet replies with a shrug and a frown. "That's... unpleasant, to say the least. Deleting the data entirely might not be possible, although because it's not readable, I can't even say whether it should be deleted." He tips First Aid's head forward and undoes the connection to the scanner, then closes the access door. "For now, I have to assume the worst, until I have better information. First Aid, until further notice, you are restricted to the public areas of Iacon, and you may not have access to the medical bay or its records, or any Autobot documents. Please don't make me do any more than that," he says quietly.

First Aid looks stricken but nods. ".. I understand. How long do you think..." he looks down for a second, vents air, and looks up again. "Is it okay if I keep working on the materials for my theoreticals?" He asks.

Ratchet sighs. "Yes, that's fine," he says with a nod. "I'll have to make a few enquiries on what might be best to do next. I'm sorry."

First Aid nods again, looking miserable. "It's okay, Ratchet- it's not your fault, and I understand. I just hope we can get it sorted out soon."

Ratchet nods and wraps up the scanner. "I agree. You'd better be on your way," he says with a pointed look. He starts to walk back to his office with the device in hand, then stops and turns to First Aid, his face impassive. "Study," he says simply.

First Aid stands up. "Right. Um... See you around, Ratchet." He heads out of the med bay with a sigh.

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