Blades's tanks are gurgling uncomfortably and interrupting his already brittle recharge. Every so often he twitches or scrapes his servos over his armor, all the while barely lighting his optics. After a few moments he wakes to cough loudly a few times, then huddles more closely into the alley dead end corner in which he's tucked himself. He squirms against the rough wall to scratch his rotor and dims his optics again.
It wasn't too hard to figure out where Dually had spotted the starving red neutral- the metadata on the image capture had given Aid exact coordinates, even though they were in a part of Cubicron he'd never previously ventured into. He'd come prepared, though, in case the red mech traveled- he probably did, after all. First Aid looks down the first alley near the coordinates from Dually's capture to see if he can spot the red mech.
Blades rolls around in his recharge, rubbing his shoulder armor against the converging walls behind him. A ticking sound emanates from his engine.
First Aid continues down the street. The next alley is also empty, but just in case; he leaves an unopened packet of energon goodies on the ground against the wall.
First Aid ducks into the next alley- ahah! Success! "Hey- um... hi-" he says, standing right at the entrance to the alley.
Blades snaps awake, optics glowing bright. He stares and slowly begins to stand.
First Aid freezes. "Hi- um... I'm First Aid- here. I brought you some food." He puts down one of the packets of energon goodies, and a ration cube, backing carefully away.
Blades picks his way through the alley, scowling at the small parcels on the pavement. He stops to look at the food and looks at First Aid. He kneels to take the ration cube and examines it closely before crunching into the cube and making a face. He continues to munch on the cube in small pieces. "What... is this?" he rasps out.
First Aid says, "Its fuel- energon. My friend saw you-"Dually's really not a friend, but Aid is pretty sure any mech crazy enough to be eating empties isn't all there mentally. "We thought you looked hungry. What's your name?"
Blades is now focused on the packet of energon goodies, which he tears open with rusted and bent denta before he dumps the contents into his mouth in one toss. His eyes glow a little bit brighter in surprise when these foodstuffs don't resemble the nasty goop he'd tried eating before, at the Racetracks. He scratches his neck cables while he thinks about it.
"Friend?" he asks. His optics narrow.
First Aid nods. "Here, do you want another one?" First Aid sets cube of energon on the ground and scoots it towards Blades.
The helo tries to scowl at the other mech's offer, but his tanks talk for him. He follows the food with considerably more alacrity than he had earlier... turns out, that stuff's pretty tasty! A hacking hum comes from his chassis as he claws at a side seam while he chews.
First Aid says, "I bet you're itchy, too- I brought something for that, too." First Aid pulls the bottle of solvent from subspace and rolls it across the alley. "Don't eat that- pour it on the itchy places." He looks concerned- the mech looks much worse in person than he had in the captures.
Blades looks at the bottle and blinks at its contents. He can think of one very itchy place, and he opens the bottle and dumps its contents over his shoulder, down his back... and lets out a painful yowl when the acids in the solvent solution sting the inside of his rotary well. After a few hissing vents, he has to admit that the itch in his rotor has subsided, although he applies the solvent much more gingerly to his arms, neck, and sides until he runs out of the supply.
"Slag. I forgot sealant-" First Aid says. "Look, if you want it to not start itching again, go see Lifeline- there's another thing that'll make it stay that way. Are you still hungry?" He moves a step closer. "You didn't tell me your name, either."
Blades scratches a ventral seam and regards First Aid keenly as he steps closer. "I've heard of Lifeline," he says. He scratches harder. "I'm Blades," he says over the increasingly insistent rumbling of his tanks.
"Here-" First Aid puts down another cube. "I only brought three, but if you'll come with me to Lifeline's, we can do something about the itch, and maybe she'll have some more." First Aid pushes the cube over to Blades, not quite all the way to him.
The flier's eponymous blades swing close to the medic as he stoops to take the seemingly irresistible cube, which he devours quickly. "No one touches my rotors," he says in a low growl as he stands and begins spinning the apparatus ever so slowly. A faint click-click-click comes from the rotary assembly mounted on the mech's leg.
First Aid shakes his head, standing up slowly. "Nobody'll touch you if you don't want them to." He promises.
You paged Lifeline with 'Lifeline’s comm beeps. "Hey Lifeline? Are you around? And is the clinic empty, or at least quiet?"'
Blades steps closer to First Aid, affording a view of his rusty and battered panels, with their various gaps and cracks. He scratches his hip uncomfortably while he waits for the smaller mech to lead the way.
Lifeline (LL) pages: *takes a long time to reply, but finally answers. "Sorry. Yes, I'm here and not busy." The 'anymore' isn't spoken, but it's implied.
You paged Lifeline with 'The empty that the Decepticon attacked, the one with the itch? The starving one? I've got him with me. I brought solvent from Iacon with me but I forgot the sealant- can I bring him there? *Aid's not sure if Lifeline saw the updated image capture or not* He's ... really skittish. Worse than Reliquary.'
"Here, this way." First Aid heads back into the main part of Cubicron
From afar, Lifeline (LL) does not hesitate. "Yes. Bring him here immediately. I'll be ready."
You paged Lifeline with '"We're on our way."'
First Aid enters the open bay door first, glancing behind him from time to time to see if the taller mech is still following him. "This is Lifeline's clinic-" he says to Blades as they come in. "I promise, she won't hurt you."
Blades slowly makes his way to the open door bay, scratching behind one knee as he peers around the inside of the room. His rotors quicken when he sees the medical table, and his optics grow brighter in alarm.
Lifeline is standing in the middle of the room, watching as First Aid and his companion enter. She sees his reaction to the med table and promptly gestures for the mech to sit in the only chair in the room, in front of a workbench with a neatly organized wall of tools behind it.
First Aid says, encouragingly, "Its okay, really- c'mon, you're still hungry, right?"
You paged Lifeline with '*Comm* Ratchet said all the gaps in his armor are because he's starving and still growing. Do you have any energon? I brought him 3 cubes but his tank is gurgling so loud even I can hear it.'
Lifeline (LL) pages: I'll see how much I can spare.
Blades's intakes issue a small burping sound in reply. He edges his way to the chair and sits slowly before going to work on the other knee. He looks around for more blocks to eat and blinks his optics a few times against the rising discomfort over the wall of tools now only just behind him.
"Lifeline's going to see if she can find any more energon for you-" First Aid says. "And I'm going to get that sealant for you, okay?" First Aid doesn't move, waiting for a response from the other mech.
Blades eyes First Aid and nods, watching Lifeline closely.
Lifeline steps into the back room and returns with a full sized military grade energon cube -- easily eight full rations for a normal mech. It's probably the entirety of her stock, but from the sounds the mech's systems are making, he needs it and maybe more still.
First Aid steps over to the cabinet where the sealant is kept, finding a smaller, half-empty container that he tops off from the larger jug- it'll make less mess if it gets dumped, which it probably will. "This goes on the same places you were itching- it'd be better if you'd use the wash racks and then apply it, but you don't have to if you don't want to." He puts the container down within arm's reach, along with a cleaning rag to apply it with.
Blades eyes the cube and the container, and makes his choice immediately. "Energon, please," he says, the ticking of his engine emphasizing the request. He holds out his hands for the ever so irresistible cube.
Lifeline hands the cube to Blades. "Let him ingest some of that, First Aid. Then we'll see about the sealant."
First Aid nods. "Alright. I just wanted to make sure he had it when he wanted it." He steps back again, giving Blades some space.
You paged Lifeline with '*Comm* If I haven't mentioned it recently, Lifeline? Thank you for repairing me when you found me. *his voice is a little bit uncertain and a little bit outraged* Where are his creators?!'
Lifeline nods slightly to First Aid as she steps away from Blades again to give him a little 'breathing' room while she fiddles with one of the ceiling-mounted scanners. She's carefully and subtly reaiming the unit to scan the famished mech where he's sitting. She wants to make sure there's nothing else going on with him besides the damage from the rust.
Blades starts taking a long draught from the cube, greedily trying to get as much of the substance into his tanks. It swills and burns in his intakes and he coughs at the influx. His engine makes a quiet grinding sound over its ticking, but he just keeps downing the cube. His vents flutter.
You say, "Hey, slow down- you're going to make yourself sick- no one's going to take it from you.""
Blades' tanks make threatening gurgling noises, and he pulls the cube away with a look of growing distress.
Lifeline picks up on his growing distress and steps forward to gently move the cube out of his hands. "First Aid, the blue additive from the left cabinet. Quickly." She puts a hand on Blades' shoulder. "Easy, it'll be okay."
First Aid opens the indicated cabinet, returning with the container of blue metal fuel supplement as directed as quickly as he can.
Blades doesn't react to the full shock of someone putting a hand on his shoulder, because he desperately does not want what he feels his tank doing to continue. His upper body rocks back and forth slightly, and his optics blink rapidly.
Lifeline takes the container from First Aid, quickly pours about half of its contents into a cup, then offers the cup to Blades. "Drink this. It should help."
Blades eyes the cup warily over the resistance coming from his intakes. He takes the cup and slowly starts sipping down its contents. After several moments, burping sounds start to come from his intakes and the gurgling subsides.
"You okay?" First Aid asks.
Blades wavers slightly. "Tank's... full," he says dazedly. His servos rasp his ventral plating ever so slightly as his systems calm.
Lifeline nods at Blades slowly. "All right. Sit still and let everything settle for a moment." She looks at First Aid tilts her head toward the scanner system's readout display.
First Aid takes a step away to look at the scanner.
Blades (Opter) pages: The armor's thin and has gaps in between the seams, because he hasn't had the resources to grow properly over time. His denta are rusty and bent. Various spots are gouged open or badly patched -- he's got a rough patch on one arm from where Slipstream jammed in her lance -- and the rotor on his back is a mess with cuts scratched around it. He's been drinking some very nasty energon from the empties he's... emptied... so there's all kind of slag in his intakes, tank, and engine. And he's got that untreated Itch for several orns.
First Aid 's visor flashes as he takes in the extensive list and he gives Lifeline an overwhelmed look. Where to even /start/ with any of that? He wants to help, but this was a little bigger project then he was really expecting.
First Aid will not use the "He followed me home, can you keep him?" line. First Aid will not use the "He followed me home, can you keep him?" line. First Aid will not use the "He followed me home, can you keep him?" line. First Aid will not use the "He followed me home, can you keep him?" line.
Blades works his vents slowly, changing air as deeply and slowly as he can. His optics dim, although he's fighting down the exultation of finally, for the first time he can remember, having a tank that felt full. He burps again.
Lifeline (LL) pages: Blades (Opter) pages: The armor's thin and has gaps in between the seams, because he hasn't had the resources to grow properly over time. His denta are rusty and bent. Various spots are gouged open or badly patched -- he's got a rough patch on one arm from where Slipstream jammed in her lance -- and the rotor on his back is a mess with cuts scratched around it. He's been drinking some very nasty energon from the empties he's... emptied... so there's all kind of slag in his intakes, tank, and engine.
Lifeline (LL) pages: The scanner lists the damages by priority, and flushing out his energon handling systems is at the top of the list.
You paged Lifeline with '*comm* I don't think we can get him to sit still to flush his lines out, Lifeline, but... I don't know. *Aid is still busy being sort of overwhelmed. This sort of long-term neglectful damage is just not like anything he's ever helped with.'
Lifeline gives up on the sneaky radio discussion with First Aid. If he wants Blades to trust them, they have to earn that trust. "First Aid, it'll be okay. I deal with this sort of thing every day, remember?" The only difference is, this mech won't have the luxury of getting small treatments here and there as time and money permit. He needs everything done. Immediately. She looks at Blades again. "Are you starting to feel better?"
First Aid nods in understanding at Lifeline and waits for instruction as to how he can help.
Blades' optics re-light. "Yes," he says slowly, looking at both medics. "Much better," he says.
Lifeline gestures for First Aid to clean up the energon and similar, while she focuses on Blades. "Would you be okay with letting First Aid and me start to take care of that intake problem while you lie down to rest?"
First Aid picks up the empty cube, although he leaves out the bottle of solvent and cleaning cloth, taking the cube to the recycling bin on the other side of the workshop.
It certainly doesn't sound like an easy fix, although if he needs it done, this group seems like a safe bet. Still... "What... what are you going to do to my intakes?" he asks. He stands up cautiously.
First Aid says, "You've got all sorts of contaminates - dirt, sludge- in your fuel lines from whatever you've been eating." First Aid says. "We need to clean it out, and you'll feel better- your engine'll run better, too."
Blades turns to look at the tools on the wall board -- What *is* that on the end of that one thing, anyway?! -- and stares at the med table. "I don't always eat the good stuff," he says, blinking. He looks at Lifeline carefully.
Lifeline says, "I'm going to set up a system to flush all of those contaminants out of your energon lines. The most invasive it will be is a tube in your intake." She nods at his admission and offers gently, "It's not easy to these days. Once the flush is complete, you'll be able to keep this from happening again by drinking a supplement every now and again." She indicates where the cup of blue stuff used to be. "Oh, and First Aid, could you send a message to Ratchet requesting a barter for more energon?"
First Aid nods. "I will." Except that this is his project- and he's actually get a stipend he hasn't used for anything yet. It's not fair for Lifeline to pay for a project he brought her, especially when things have been so tight- even though he knows she would.
Blades nods slightly. He makes his way to the med table, scratching the backs of his hands automatically. "Just a tube," he says to himself. His rotor begins to turn very slowly.
"It's not too bad, really," First Aid says.
Lifeline follows Blades, but not so closely as to crowd him. "Just a tube." She nods to First Aid to get the energon flush equipment ready. "Have you been treated for that itching already?" she asks the mech gently.
First Aid nods, moving over to the cabinet. He removes tubing, additives to dissolve any sort of build up in the fuel lines, and after a second's thought, adds a box of fuel filters to the pile- the mech almost certainly hasn't had any routine maintenance done and his filters have got to be beyond filthy.
Blades sits himself on the table and folds his blades against his back with some wincingly painful effort. "A little," he says. "It just won't go away," he mutters. He lies back and digs into the ventral seams again. He vents slowly, as though deflating.
First Aid says quietly "I gave him a bottle of the solvent to pour on, Lifeline, but I wasn't sure I was going to be able to get him back here, so more would probably not hurt."
Lifeline nods to First Aid. "I think we'll have time to be more thorough this time. Start with his rotor blades." Thankfully, a solvent treatment of this sort is akin to a sponge bath, so as long as Blades isn't overly modest it should actually be quite relaxing. For her part, she very delicately attaches the output line of the energon flush system to the mech's leg before showing him the tube he'd have to have down his throat. "Here's the unpleasant part."
First Aid nods, picking up the solvent and cleaning rag. "Is that okay with you, Blades? I know you said you didn't want anyone touching your rotors. It may sting a little, but they really need it."
Blades, alarmed, revs his engine with a cough. The tube is one thing, but the rotors... "There's no other way to do it? You have to put that stuff there again?" Maybe the itching isn't quite so bad (scratch). Rotors are a very delicate area! Staying still is becoming quite an effort. He shuts off his optics and resolves to hang on.
Lifeline says, "Well, the other option is to use the shower to get the solvent on everything. Do you want to do that first so the itching will stop?"
"It'll get you a lot cleaner if you shower," First Aid adds.
Blades nods, sitting up readily. It should be quick, and he'll just have to deal with it if he wants to feel better. He rolls his shoulders.
Lifeline lets First Aid help Blades with the shower, quickly disengaging the one tube she'd already attached. She can take the time while he's getting disinfected to wipe down everything he's been in contact with to prevent re-infestation.
First Aid turns on the solvent in the wash rack- "Here- it'll probably sting, since you've got a lot of rust on tehre- but it'll kill all the mites that are making you itch, and you'll feel much better." First Aid smiles.
Blades grits his denta and steps in. He hisses at the stinging in all of the rusty spots, and stifles a cry when his rotors get the same sting, but aaaahhh... The flier rocks his head to let the solvent spray through all of his neck cables, sighing happily in relief. Once the stinging subsides, it feels so good to be rid of that itch that his stance wilts slightly. "Thank you," he manages to say.
Lifeline makes quick efficient work of wiping down all of the surfaces that Blades has been in contact with. Because it would just be the WORST if the poor mech were to get infected all over again. By the time he's done with the solvent shower the med table has been cleaned and actually lowered partway into the floor so that it's approximately at the height of a park bench. More comfortable for sitting on when a mech has a configuration that makes lying prone difficult at best.
"Lifeline, do you want him to apply the sealant over here, or do you want me to help him with it while he's sitting over there?" First Aid asks. The old equipment in the shop doesn't include the fancy multi-chamber cleaning product recycling system as the med bay in Iacon's decon showers....
Blades looks around outside of the wash rack stall somewhat curiously. The air feels kind of cool across his plating now.
Lifeline says, "We have to sand off the rust first, remember? I figured it could wait until later."
Blades steps out of the wash rack and goes back to sit on the med table. He shivers slightly as the solvent dries, but he's otherwise feeling much, much better.
"Ouch," First Aid says. "I didn't realize- I've never seen this much rust on a mech from the Itch. All of the cases in Iacon were caught really early." In fact, the only mech that had any visible rust at all from it was Ratchet, and that was probably from all the scratching. HAH. He follows Blades back across the room. "What do you want me to do, then, Lifeline?" He asks.
Lifeline directs First Aid to get the warming blankets from storage and she starts setting up the energon flush system again. "Once we get this started you'll safe to recharge."
First Aid nods and goes to obey, returning with a couple of blankets to spread over Blades, vaguely recalling that chronic energon depletion can cause problems with thermoregulation.
Blades stretches out to lie down on his side, his optics fading in and out. Amazing how easily the urge to recharge comes now... his engine hiccups a few times through a quiet rev.
Lifeline tweaks the settings on the energon flush system, starting to add in the first of the chemical additives designed to dislodge the crud in the mech's fuel lines to be caught in the filtration system. It really IS ideal that Blades will be resting -- this much gunk is going to take the entire night to filter out.
Blades is now awake and very much distracted by the sensation of the tube down his intakes. He fiddles with the tubing, yanking on it in various directions and feeling how it moves in his pipes. He grumbles a little at the tube, but he has to admit that it feels considerably better than yesterday. He tries to take the tubing out of his intake.
"Hey, hang on," First Aid had taken advantage of a second shift in a row off in Iacon and stayed in Cubicron. "Lifeline, is that ready to come out?"
Lifeline has been awake the entire night, monitoring the filtering system. When she sees Blades move she checks the system's readouts. "It's almost done. Just a minute or two more. First Aid, go ahead and change his filters now."
First Aid nods, glancing back at Blades. "This won't hurt, but I need to take some of your plating off so I can get to your filter housings." He says. "Is that okay?"
Blades squirms around a little bit on the medical berth, not liking the idea of having his plating removed entirely, but then, First Aid and Lifeline have been making him feel considerably better after what they've done so far. He vents, the air hitching as he exchanges it, and nods to First Aid. (And he continues to fumble with the tubing.)
First Aid keeps one eye on the tubing- as long as it stays mostly in place, it should keep working, but if it comes out before the machine is off, it's going to make a mess. He picks up the fuel filters he'd gotten out the previous nights and extends a screwdriver from one finger. "You ready? I need to take off that plate so I can get to your fuel filters." He points at the side of Blade's abdomen, just above the hip.
Blades tries to twist himself into lying prone, wincing as he rests on his rotors, but this would help First Aid finish with his filters and plating quickly. He pulls both arms away from his body and hangs onto the edges of the med table.
First Aid quickly unlatches the panel- it's easy, with the large gaps around the edges- and unscrews the fasteners holding the fuel filters in place just in front of Blades’' fuel tank. They're utterly black with grunge, even after the additives that he's had in his system for the past joor, and Aid makes a little face as he puts them carefully to one side and snaps the new filters into place.
It doesn't hurt, of course, but it's hardly comfortable. Blades squirms while First Aid works. He blinks his optics a few times and flops his head backward to rest the corner of his helm on the table.
First Aid says, "Almost done." He screws the fastener back in place and reattaches the pieces of armor carefully- the latches are brittle along the edges.
Lifeline monitors the filtering system very carefully while First Aid swaps out the filters, just to make sure everything stays as it should. As soon as the filters are replaced she keys the system to shut down and reaches over to disconnect the energon line that's not down Blades’ throat. She's leaving that one for First Aid to take care of. He's already got the mech's trust.
Blades twitches slightly as the latches press back into place. He's already starting to turn his body so he's not resting on his rotors anymore.
First Aid has worked with Lifeline long enough to know how she tends to run things, so while he glances at her for permission, catching her optics and then pointedly glancing at the intake tube, he's already moving to grab hold of it to remove it when she gives her permission. "Just another klik Blades, okay?"
Lifeline shuts down the system as soon as the last bit of energon is confirmed as back in Blades' systems, pulling the filters to show to the two younger mechs. "This was the source of all that discomfort." can we say EWWWWW?
Blades suddenly feels the urge to cough and gag his intakes, although they're now fairly clean. He offlines his optics and vents slowly, in and out. Definitely had not been eating very good stuff...
"Ready?" First Aid carefully pulls the intake tube free as Blades is sputtering, trying not to drip the end that had been seated in his conversion tank around- some amount of the sludge had precipitated onto the end of the tubing, and he wrapped it in a used cleaning rag to keep it from making a mess of things, coiling it up to take away. "I bet that feels a lot better." He asks, as Blades's intakes cycle back into better vent pattern.
Lifeline lets First Aid deal with the filtering system while she reaches over to gingerly pull Blades to sit up on the still-lowered med table. "Will you allow me to take another scan? I want to make sure there's nothing else pressing we need to look at right away."
Blades gratefully sits up, relieved to have the stress off his rotor. He blinks and looks at Lifeline, then shrugs. "I... guess so," he says. He looks from Lifeline to First Aid.
First Aid carries the tubing over to the sink mounted on the workbench, planning to wash it out before it gets recycled, turning briefly away from Blades before looking back. "It can't be pleasant to be that hungry-" He says.
Lifeline starts the overhead scanner so she doesn't even have to hover around the still-uneasy mech. "If you start feeling hungry again and you don't have a clean source of energon, you can always come here. All right?"
First Aid heaves a little relieved sigh at that.
Blades nods solidly at that, although his next meal hadn't quite come to mind just yet. "Thank you," he says quietly, with a soft rev. He blinks in surprise at the different sound.
Lifeline can always use an extra pair of hands around here, especially one that appears to be flight capable, if those rotors are any indication. She checks the scanner's readouts and nods to herself. Everything left to be repairs is not crucial. "I think you're doing much better now, though you'll need to come back in the next few days for me to do something about those rust spots." She looks over to First Aid. "How much sealant do you have with you?"
First Aid shakes his head. "I forgot to bring any, to be honest. I should be able to get some, though." He looks a bit calculating for a second.
Lifeline waves a hand dismissively. "In the cabinet where it always is."
First Aid shakes his head, that was dumb. He goes to get another container out- he'd left one out on the workbench already, but it was a smaller one.
Blades lifts up his arms and looks down at himself, appraising the rust. He rubs a few spots here and there, then turns to look at First Aid. "What's sealant for?" he asks. The helo blinks a few times as he watches the medics.
"It keeps the mites that cause all that itching from getting into your plating again," First Aid says, He pours some of it on a polishing cloth. "It's probably not bad for your armor, either, as thin as it is, right Lifeline?"
Lifeline picks up the container already on the work bench and attaches a sprayer nozzle to the top. "Yes. It'll definitely help your armor plating. Which I'll want to continue to monitor. As long as you don't let yourself get that low on energon again, your armor should return to normal quickly enough."
Blades looks at the sprayer and holds up his arms. Might as well get it over with, and it certainly seems important! He looks at the cloth in First Aid's hand and draws back from it slightly, preferring to stare at the sprayer apparatus. He looks at Lifeline and First Aid briefly.
First Aid says, "Don't worry, it doesn't sting like the solvent does." He offers a smile.
Lifeline says, "We'll still need to use the cloth to get at some of the smaller areas, like between your fingers, but you can do that yourself if you'd prefer."
Blades nods slowly and settles.
Lifeline gets out a second sprayer attachment to hand to First Aid, then steps over to start spraying Blades with the sealant. It's a lot like getting a light all-over paint coating that dries very quickly.
Blades seals his vents to keep from taking up too much of the sealant spray. He stays rather calm and relaxed, except for a few slight twitches when a burst of spray hits a sensitive spot. The ceiling appears more and more interesting as the procedure continues, more for watching than for plotting escape. He flexes his arms a little as the layer dries over his panels.
First Aid takes the second sprayer and attaches it to the second bottle of sealant, making sure the lid is tightly attached before returning to Blade's side, looking at Blades for permission as he raises the sprayer to begin spraying Blades down, pointing the spray at his upper arm.
Lifeline makes quick work of the sealant with First Aid's help, then takes another look at Blades to make sure that everything looks okay. She's not taking any chances with this skittish mech -- she may not get a second chance.
Blades looks at the quickly setting coat of sealant and turns his arms this way and that to see the shop's lights glistening off the surface. A soft gurgling from his tanks interrupts his study. He looks at the two medics expectantly.
First Aid says, "Are you hungry again?"
Blades blinks a few times. "Yes...?" he replies.
Lifeline turns and gives First Aid that look. He knows the one. Of COURSE the mech is going to need to consume some more energon. She hands her container of sealant to the younger medic and goes to bring a ration of energon out from the back room.
First Aid says a serious look on his face. "Lifeline said she'll find you energon if you ask. You don't have to hurt people to stay fueled." He ignores the look Lifeline shoots him, he was making a point.
"It's not the best stuff to eat, anyway," Blades says, his glossa sticking out in disgust. "It's faster to refuel this way, if I don't have to hunt," he says to himself. He becomes rather focused on his pedes while he waits for Lifeline.
First Aid shakes his head, voice still very sincere. "No, I imagine not. You don't have to hunt, though- people will help you. You don't have to hurt anyone just to eat."
Lifeline returns with a single full ration of energon which she offers to Blades as well as a 'coffee cup' sized portion for First Aid. "He's right."
Blades accepts the ration and begins tipping it into his mouth with enthusiasm. He pauses in the middle of the cube to speak. "Metal is very filling," he admits. "It's satisfying to get some weight in your tanks... even if it isn't energon." The remainder of the ration disappears into the mech's body in fairly short order, and his fuel tank yields a tiny burp as the fluid starts to cycle into his pump.
"I can wait until I get back to fuel up, Lifeline, its okay." First Aid says. Especially since he brought her a patient that just used up what had to be nearly all of the supplies she keeps on hand. He looks a little discomfited at Blades' words about the ... pros and cons about eating metal. "Yes but... if you don't need energon, you should feel full without it. It's bad for your denta, too- and you don't have to take it off mechs- there's other metal things around if you really have to, I guess."
Lifeline shakes her head no at that. "No. Very few mechs are designed to safely consume metals. It would be like eating a piece of that wall." "It was always good when there wasn't much energon around... And wiring, that was kind of chewy. Tubing could get gummy. Anything just to make my tanks feel full," Blades says, his jaw starting to move in a chewing motion by memory. "Sometimes the wiring would catch on the way in, and that wasn't... pleasant, but it made me feel full for a while, but then I'd have to try drinking..." Again he extends his glossa as the memory of unusable energon surfaces in his memory.
First Aid is looking kind of sick to his tanks, really. He puts the smaller energon cube on the workbench. "But you've got fuel now, you don't have to do that anymore." Or describe it.
Lifeline simply nods as if in understanding. She HAS been around Reliquary a lot, after all.
First Aid checks his chronometer with a wince and straightens up. "I have to be back in Iacon for my shift in two joors." he says.
Blades looks at First Aid uncomfortably. "They've... got energon there, too?" he asks.
Lifeline looks at First Aid. "So soon?" She looks from the young medic to Blades. "Do you want me to go along?" If nothing else, it'd make the journey faster for them.
"I've been down here for a shift and a half," First Aid reminds Lifeline. "I wasn't, um.." He looks at Blades. "You want to go to Iacon?" It's more in the nature of 'why' than a 'wanna come with me' question, but he really hadn't expected to be able to find, let alone help Blades.
"It's okay if they've got food there, right?" Blades asks, optics bright. "I won't need to eat metal."
First Aid looks at Lifeline. Help? "No, they've got food- I get food from the Autobots because I work for them." He tries to explain. "And no, you don't need to eat metal."
Lifeline turns to get her med kit, but it's more of an excuse to not let either young mech see that she's trying VERY hard to not burst out laughing. After a moment she's regained her composure enough to turn back to them. "I think we can safely promise that you won't have to eat metal."
"Having something else to eat would be good," Blades admits as he works his jaw experimentally. "Could I have any of those cube things you gave me earlier? Before I felt sick?" he asks First Aid. He watches Lifeline busying herself with the med kit and trains his optics on the other medic in the room.
First Aid tilts his head. "The energon goodies? The little crunchy ones? Sure, I have more, if you want them." Aid retrieves a packet from his subspace.
Lifeline stows her med kit in a leg compartment, then keys the bay door to open. "Well, if we're going, let's go."
Blades accepts the packet from First Aid with enthusiasm, working on the seal to get to the goodies inside.
Repair Bay – Iacon – 7/12/11
First Aid radios Ratchet several breems earlier. "Um, Ratchet? Do you have a second?
Ratchet looks up. "Yes. Why?" he asks.
"You know that red mech from the image capture? The starving one?" </radio>
Ratchet pauses. "What about him?" </radio>
<Radio> "I took him some fuel, and <garble in which the only words distinguishable are Lifeline, clinic, more fuel, solvent> and um, he's coming back to Iacon with me. Lifeline is too. *pause* Maybe we can find something that he can do? So he doesn't have to hurt anyone to get fuel?" </radio>
Ratchet: The comm is silent for a few moments more. <radio> "You took him fuel." </radio>
First Aid: <Radio> "You said he was starving. It was just a couple of rations and some energon goodies. </radio>
Ratchet: <radio> "And now he's thinking about hurting people to get fuel. Here, in Iacon. In my med bay." </radio>
<radio> "No, he won't- he was just hungry, and didn't have anything he could do!" First Aid says. "But he needs something to do so he can keep getting fuel and can you help? Please?" There is not an audio version of the turbo puppy eyes, but it's a good attempt....</radio>
Ratchet: <radio> "You're bringing him here, and it's up to me to straighten this out?" </radio>
First Aid: <radio> "No! I mean, you don't have to! I just didn't know who else to ask! Quit laughing at me, Lifeline. I just wanted to help, I didn't think-" Aid sounds completely flustered. </radio>
Ratchet vents slowly as his intern finds yet another way to extend his workload. <radio> "We'll discuss this when you and Lifeline get him here." </radio>
<Radio> Alright- we'll be there in a few breems." Aid sounds appropriately nervous. </radio>
a few minutes later -------------
"This is Iacon." First Aid says, dropping off the side of the bed of Lifeline's alt mode to the ground. "Which is where I live. There's food here, but you can't hurt anyone to get it, okay?" He glances at Blades.
Lifeline waits for both mechs to step clear -- and take the crate of parts to barter -- before transforming.
"Okay," Blades replies, as though it was the most natural thing in the world. "Does that mean sometimes people try anyway?" he asks.
"No!" Aid yelps. "I mean, no. You can't do that. You'll get in trouble, and I'll get in trouble for bringing you here." More trouble, anyway. "You don't need to, anyway."
Ratchet hears the yelp and steps outside to look. Certainly that mech is a lot bigger than Ratchet thought he'd be. The CMO frowns. There's no way he can stay in the 'Bay long term, but he's not sure that Aid's made other arrangements. Radio conversations considered, he severely doubts it. "First Aid. Lifeline," he greets, appraising the new mech.
Lifeline puts a hand on Blades' arm gently. "You'll only need to ask for something to eat." She then looks at Ratchet as he says hello and simply hands him the crate of parts. Typical greeting for her, though.
Blades watches the new Autobot with bright optics. His rotor begins to whirl.
"Hi Ratchet- this is Blades." First Aid says. "Blades, this is Ratchet- he's my mentor, and he won't hurt you." He eyes the rotors a bit nervously.
Ratchet accepts the crate of parts and only dimly notices First Aid's remarks as he looks into the selection Lifeline's brought. He looks up and keenly watches the rotors spinning.
Ratchet picks up the dicebag and rolls against -3+(his awareness).
Ratchet's roll fails!
Ratchet rumbles in his engine. "Hello, Blades," he says. "I've been hearing an awful lot about you." He eyes Lifeline, hoping the story is indeed worth it.
Lifeline nods slightly to Ratchet, promising to tell him the whole story that she knows -- later. After the surprisingly skittish Blades is no longer within earshot. She pulls her portable scanner and offers it to the Iacon CMO as well. "Here's a list of still-pending repairs," she says hopefully vaguely enough to not spook Blades.
Blades picks up the dicebag and rolls against his awareness <Notice the scanner?>.
Blades's roll succeeds!
Blades watches the scanner change hands between Lifeline and Ratchet and becomes somewhat alarmed. Lifeline didn't have the same kind of attitude this other medic seems to have. And he frowns. Quite a bit. And he hasn't offered any energon yet. Blades turns to First Aid while his rotors start to turn a little more quickly. "He's really not too bad? You're sure?" he asks.
First Aid nods. "I promise- he won't hurt you. Right Ratchet?" Please, not a repeat of the Streetwise incident. Please?
Ratchet grunts, then vents a sigh. "I hadn't been planning on it," he says. "I don't expect there's any reason I should." He thumbs the scanner's display and lets out a low whistle. "I'm glad you managed to knock some of the heavier items off the list, anyway," he tells Lifeline. First Aid has truly increased his workload this time.
Ratchet looks at the helo-former and narrows his optics. Something's odd about this one. "Primus on a pogo-stick," he mutters after a moment's thought. No wonder!
Lifeline says, "It was really just one heavier item, Ratch. I've left all of the little annoying things." She looks at Blades and offers to him in a tone that is FAR more gentle than Ratchet is likely accustomed to, "This is going to be fine, honestly."
First Aid tilts his head at Ratchet with a questioning look, returning his attention to Blades. "He really is okay."
Blades watches Lifeline's expression very closely, then flicks his optics to Ratchet. He looks at First Aid and begins to subside. "It had better be," he says quietly, a soft rumble coming from his newly cleaned engine.
Ratchet snorts. "Well, at least he's not scratching anymore," he says as he considers the items on the scanner. "First Aid, we need to talk," he says, raising his voice slightly.
Blades blinks and nods, going to stand closer to the Cubicron medic. "Is something wrong?" he asks Lifeline.
"Right- okay. Now?" First Aid nods towards Ratchet's office. The promised discussion is probably in the offing, but no reason for Blades to listen to it and possibly get the wrong impresion. He look at Blades again. "Can you stay here with Lifeline?""
Lifeline watches the other two, then leads Blades over to a place where they can sit -- safely out of eye and earshot of Ratchet's office. "Well, not really. First Aid was supposed to have been back here yesterday, I think... and Ratchet might be asking him some questions about you, too." She offers the information as gently as she can.
Ratchet takes First Aid bodily by the arm and leads him out of earshot. "He's pinging," Ratchet tells the intern bluntly.
"He's what?" First Aid says, startled. "Like Streetwise and I?"
Blades stares at Lifeline. "What kinds of questions?" he asks. "Why's he asking questions?" His engine revs unsteadily, and he starts looking around the room in short bursts. He's twitchy enough that he has trouble keeping himself sitting.
"Exactly like you and Streetwise, yes," Ratchet says grimly. "In fact, you're practically responding in synchrony. I don't have a graph trace of your signals to show you, but yes, you're both throwing off the same signature." He crosses his arms. "Tell me again how this happened."
Lifeline puts a reassuring hand on Blades's arm again -- something Ratchet likely hasn't seen her do for ANYONE else.
"Nothing bad, I promise. First Aid just ... has a bit of a habit of wanting to devote more resources than is considered wise to help others. It's admirable, but can be difficult to explain to the leader types sometimes."
First Aid vents a bit nervously. "Well... I'd been thinking about him since I saw the video capture and thought that maybe I could take him some energon and see if he'd go to Lifeline's clinic and get treated for the rust mites. I wasn't planning on going too close to him- I'm not stupid, Ratchet- but thought maybe I could put down some fuel and talk to him from a distance. It just... worked better than I thought it would, and I hadn't planned anything out past getting him to Lifeline's for treatment."
Blades begins to settle, but there's still something nagging at him. "First Aid is going to be in trouble for my food?" he asks. "He helped me find you, and find food. I don't want him to be in trouble for that." The rotors tick-tock over his back as he considers. "I don't think I like Ratchet very much," he says with a small growl.
Lifeline says, "No, not for your food." She glances over at Ratchet's office door. "If anything, he'll be in trouble for not telling Ratchet promptly that he'd found you. It's not that Ratchet is mean or won't like you, it's that he doesn't like surprises."
Ratchet vents slowly in annoyance. "He was starving," he says. "You gave him a food source, and he needed more of it to stop feeling that starvation. What else did you think he was going to do?" It's not that the CMO is averse to caring for this patient, so much as he isn't sure about just how to manage it appropriately. "And some of those repairs he needs could get invasive. He's skittish enough right now. How do you propose continuing his care?"
First Aid looks down. "I don't know. I've /tried/ to help empties before, and usually they won't let you. *pause* Do you think the ping has something to do why he was willing to trust me enough to follow me back to Lifeline's?" First Aid sighs. "I know you're busy, Ratchet- I'll do everything I can to help. I just... I didn't realize how much help he was going to need. I'll do it, though." He brings his head up sharply, a flash behind his visor. It's not that he thinks Ratchet wouldn't help, but he wants the CMO to understand how important the whole thing is to him, too. "If he's pinging... do you think he's got encrypted memories, too? Is that why he acts so... I don't know. Young? Lost?"
Blades hums softly. "I'm a big surprise," he says. He eyes the office door and starts stretching his body to try getting a better look or hearing what's going on in the room. "Wish he'd get done soon."
Lifeline looks around to see if there is any kind of energon dispenser within easy eyeshot. "Well, if it's any consolation, you're a good big surprise."
Ratchet frowns more deeply. "I think it's a distinct possibility that he does," he says. "It's hard to ignore that he's actually young, though. He's young and he hasn't had much in the way of resources or stimulation for quite a while, so he's not going to act the same way someone who has would." He gives the intern a long look. "Clearly he trusts you. That might be from any number of things, but it's awfully hard to dismiss that ping. And he truly will need a lot of help to reach 100. Do you feel that you could see to his case in full?"
First Aid shakes his head slowly. "I ... kinda think I'm already over my head, Ratchet. Do I think I can do most of the day to day stuff and help him acclimate? Probably? With some guidance. But from what you're saying, it's going to take a lot more than that, and I'm just a trainee. With help? Maybe. But I don't want to mess things up more than they've already been messed up for him. I think I may know who he is from my memories, too- at least, his voice."
"Feeling better is a good big surprise," Blades replies as his tanks begin to politely remind him that they exist. "Where does Ratchet keep the food?" He pauses. "Do I have to stay here to get my rust fixed?"
Lifeline hasn't spotted an energon dispenser yet, and almost never carries any on her person -- it's too rare a commodity in her world. "Well, you're still on the mend, and you'll hopefully continue feeling better... I'm not sure where his energon is stored, and it's probably better if I don't snoop about too much." She looks back at Blades when he asks about the rust. "This room in particular, no. But this IS where the actual repairs would take place if you choose to stay here in Iacon."
Ratchet looks at First Aid keenly for several moments. "You're now in charge of Blades' case, and you can ask me for guidance. I expect Lifeline won't mind you asking her, as well. I'll be judging the quality of repairs you perform, and you will be in charge of monitoring his acclimation and overall health, and conscientiously documenting same." He pauses. "This will be fantastic study for your practical exams. Being connected to him by your memories should actually make his acclimation much easier, although you must first reach a point at which you can explain the situation to him." He lets his arms drop. "Is that clear?"
First Aid exhales, feeling slightly overwhelmed but determined. "Yes, Ratchet. I guess my first question is, what kind of resources are there for finding him some place to stay and who do I need to talk to? Well, no, actually, I guess I need to find out what HE wants first." Aid looks distracted. "I should get back out there- anything else?"
Now that he has some time to sit and think about it, Blades' mind starts to wander about wandering. "I don't have to stay in Iacon all the time, though?" he asks. "It's OK for me to go to Cubicron, too?" Settling down isn't exactly something Blades has ever had occasion to mull in any sort of depth.
Lifeline looks at Blades and steps back next to him. "That would probably be okay, so long as you didn't get into trouble along the way." She reaches toward the mech's rotors but knows enough to not actually get close to touching them. "Do you know what these are for?"
"You most definitely should," Ratchet replies with a nod. "I don't have anything else for you right now. You have a patient waiting on you," he intones.
First Aid nods and ducks out the door, hurring back across the room to Blades and leaning against the berth across from him. "I'm sorry about that, Ratchet had some stuff he needed to tell me and um... I'm in charge of getting you the help and repairs you need." He looks more than a bit nervous at that. "So first things first, you've seen Iacon- do you want to stay here? Not forever, you can leave if you want, but for a few days at least, so we can get the rest of the things you need repaired fixed?"
Blades turns his head to see where Lifeline is pointing and twitches the rotor blade away from where her fingers are pointing. "They're sharp, and useful for cutting metal," he says. "Sensitive, too. Not always fun when I have to cut into something." His face brightens at First Aid as the junior medic comes back from Ratchet's office. He looks at Ratchet after the CMO exits the office, as well. "Who's going to fix me?" he asks. "And who's got the food?"
First Aid says, "Me, if that's okay with you. And I'll get you some more energon in just a klik. Are you okay with me being the one in charge of your treatement?"
Ratchet observes First Aid's manner from the side. He catches Lifeline's eye and nods for her to see him in his office.
Lifeline looks over as First Aid and Ratchet return, then walks toward the Autobot medic. "I'll be right back."
Blades blinks. Well, of course, First Aid's been very careful so far, so he doesn't have any qualms in that respect. He nods quietly. "I can go see Lifeline, too, though, right?" he asks. She seems to know more than First Aid does. And she's not Ratchet.
First Aid nods with a smile. "Of course. I'm hoping she'll be willing to help, too." He glances at the door of the office, more than a little curious what's going no there, although it really isn't his problem right now. "Now, you asid you needed more energon?"
Ratchet sighs deeply and looks Lifeline in the optic. "If I start talking about encrypted pings, how much recent history on the concept do you know?" he asks her.
Lifeline frowns slightly. "I've never heard of encrypted pings before. Pings are pings...aren't they?"
"That would be good right now," Blades replies with a nod and a smile. He stands and looks around in place for those resources. He should, of course, learn to be self sufficient in the search for non-metallic foods. Yes. Self-sufficiency!
"Wait here, I'll get it." First Aid walks across to the supply room and retrieves a pair of cubes from the cabinet, returning and handing one of them to Blades. "Here- this oen's for later, though. We need to get you set up with a ration code, and that way you can get it yourself..." Aid's voice trails off. Blades isn't an Autobot- will he have access to the AUtobot refectory? "Or something."
"Not anymore, they're not," Ratchet says with a frown. "Briefly, we've been finding a small number of mechs emitting encrypted pings. They don't even know they're doing it. Two of them have anomalous memory encryptions, up to half their storage partitioned off and encrypted, and they couldn't even access the records." He pauses to gauge the Cubicron medic's reactions. "First Aid is one of the emitters. So is Streetwise, actually. And now," he makes a deep vent, "So is Blades. I don't think this is an epidemic, because no epidemic is this engineered, but..."
Lifeline looks over at the two young-seeming mechs sharing energon, then turns back to Ratchet. "They're connected somehow. And that DOES sound familiar to me, but I'm not sure I remember how."
Blades looks at the two cubes, then sets to working on the one First Aid has handed him. He begins to down it quickly, but then feels some resistance from his intakes and slows to sipping. He sloshes the fluid in the cube for a few seconds. "Thought I was really hungry," he allows.
First Aid smiles. "You can save the rest of it for later, okay?" First Aid's face turns serious. "That's really important, okay, if you're going to stay here in Iacon? I promise, you won't starve or go hungry for long- but you have to ask for food, and we'll find you some."
Ratchet nods. "So it would definitely seem. I got a look inside Streetwise recently, and he's carrying onboard equipment I've never had any reason to see on any mech. Double, transverse transformation cogs. Additional sensory wiring, and a harness with connections for what looks like a whole other sensory network." He huffs. "That doesn't make sense, because the harness is right up against his body wall. Clearly someone meant to do it, and I'm waiting to examine First Aid for the same thing." The CMO rumbles softly. "Don't even ask me how we'll get that information from Blades."
Lifeline nods slowly at the information that Ratchet is sharing with him. "Maybe Blades would be willing to let us check if he sees that First Aid is okay with the same." She shakes her head. "These younglings...what is going on with them?"
Blades blinks and nods. "Always ask for the food first," he says before taking a few more sips. He looks at the remainder in the cube and peers around for someplace to save the resource that it will be waiting for him when he returns to it. He eyes First Aid, still holding the other cube.
First Aid nods. "Want a lid so you can put that in subspace?" First Aid offers a lid for the cube. "And if it's oay with you, I want to go ahead and scan you again like we did at Lifeline's so we can start a real record for you and all the repairs." There's other things that Aid needs to figure out, but he needs to ask Ratchet a few questions and it can wait. The scan will have to be done anyway.
Ratchet frowns and nods. "Maybe," he says. "It'll take some time. I've put First Aid in charge of his care, since Blades trusted him enough to follow him to your workshop. He knows that he'll have to do some gradual introductions before Blades will be prepared for the idea." He puts his hands on his hips while he watches the exchange outside his office. "I have no idea what's going on with them, to tell the truth, but I'm glad we're the ones helping them find out at this point. That encryption could create all kinds of problems if it showed up in someone working for Megatron."
Lifeline nods, looking at Blades and First Aid as well. "Well, I know you dislike it, but I do have contacts in the Decepticon medical ranks so I can possibly find out if they do come across anything similar. And they're both always welcome at my clinic ... in case Blades takes exception to something here."
Ratchet snorts. "I'll keep that in mind," he says, gesturing Lifeline back out to the rest of the 'Bay.
Blades accepts the lid and places it on the cube before squirreling it away in subspace... for which he needed to make a little room by removing some reserve metal from the storage space. He puts it on top of a berth and looks at First Aid and now Lifeline with shifty optics, but he otherwise follows First Aid willingly to a berth for a scan.
Lifeline walks back out into the main room of the repair bay, addressing Ratchet as she goes as if this had been the point of their conversation the entire time. "Would I perhaps be able to barter parts for energon today? I know that's not the norm, but..."
Ratchet nods emphatically to Lifeline's request. "Of course," he says. "I've got some cubes in extra reserve, and you're welcome to however many you feel you need." He starts off toward the supply room to fulfill the barter.
"Sit up there, okay?" First Aid goes to get a handheld scanner from the workbench, punching up the basic diagnostic sequences easily as he walks back. "It won't hurt-" He says, hitting the scan button. He doesn't exect to find anything terribly different, but the scanners here are a generation or three past the one at Lifeline's shop, and the scan resolution is significantly finer.
Lifeline follows Ratchet to the supply room to complete the barter.
Blades clambers a bit to get comfortable on the berth and watches First Aid carefully and expectantly. He certainly doesn't feel anything, so the medic is being truthful indeed so far...
First Aid hmms at the scanner results and tries to figure out what to start with. The rust will keep for a few days with the sealant, the broken denta are something he doesn't even know where to begin with- that needs research and almost certainly will require Ratchet's assistance ifi it's the kind of fix he suspects. The rotor blades, likewise- probably the easiest place to start is with the wound in his arm. After a long pause, Aid finally says, "Let's see what we can do about your arm, okay?"