October 18, 2011, 7:20 PM
(Administrative Wing, Iacon)
The door slides open almost silently, revealing Prowl sitting at his desk with his usual serious expression. "I did. Enter, First Aid." He motions to one of the empty chairs in his office, not particularly comfortable or inviting but more than adequate for his usual needs.
Smokescreen sits back, grateful that the chair he sat in was made with doorwings in mind. He hears the door ping, and inwardly grimaces- poor medic, he'd been to the Pit and back during his time with the Decepticons. Smokescreen watches First Aid enter and a genuine smile touches his lipplates. "Welcome! How are you this cycle?"
First Aid steps inside and sits down in the empty chair carefully, looking curiously at the mech he hasn't met before- there's not too many Praxians in Iacon, Autobot /or/ civilian, but it'd be rude to ignore Prowl. "What can I do for you?" He offers a slightly tentative smile to the SIC.
Prowl examines First Aid with his usual intense scrutiny, taking in every minute detail about the young mech before speaking. "There is an unfortunate, but necessary, request I must make of you, First Aid." He says, tone carefully neutral and mild. "I deemed it best to delay this for your mental health, but we cannot do so any longer." Resisting the urge to heave air out of his vents- Primus, this was never easy, he leans forward slightly, keeping his optics locked on First Aid's. "I need to know what the Decepticons learned from you while you were in their captivity."
First Aid nods, letting out a slow, careful vent. "Yes, sir. I understand. Um.. " He glances at the other mech, who still hasn't been introduced, but who is presumably here for a reason. "I- where do you want me to start?"
Smokescreen smiles. "I am Smokescreen, a psychologist by function. I can help with the psychological ramifications of your experiences. The beginning is generally the best place to.start snything." His doorwings twitch slightly.
Prowl remains silent while Smokescreen introduces himself, measuring First Aid's reaction through slightly narrowed optics. "I would not force you to go through this if it was not absolutely necessary, First Aid. If you prefer, you may address Smokescreen instead of myself."
Smokescreen rearranges his posture to that of open acceptance, his optics softening to a cool, calming azure. Smokescreen leans forward, toward First Aid, and nods encouragingly. "Nothing you say will leave my processor, little one. I cannot speak for Prowl, but I am certain information that is not tactically relevant will not be shared."
First Aid looks back and forth between the two mechs. "It's alright- I understand. Talking about what happened is supposed to help, too, right?" The last is obviously addressed to Smokescreen. "Um- anyway." He vents again. "I guess it started with Dually. The shift after I came to talk to you about Lifeline, when I put that message on the public board about trying to find someone to carry a message to the clinic for me, Dually offered to let me come along with him the next time he went to Cubicron. I don't really know him, but I'd seen him down there a few times and around Iacon, and I didn't think much of it until Shark told me that there had been seekers seen at her clinic. A lot of her regulars are empties and some of them are pretty skittish, and I thought they might talk to me when they wouldn't talk to Shark, so the next time he offered, I took him up on it."
Smokescreen nods. "That's very kind of you, you know. A willingness to assist those less fortunate than yourself is admirable." Smokescreen belatedly began recording, for his file on Aid. He'd be seeing this mechling again soon, without his fellow Praxian in attendance. He knew that much of what First Aid would tell would likely be factual, rather than emotional...and Smokey knew quite well what happened when a bot held it all in.
Prowl settles back slightly in his chair, observing both mechs while First Aid speaks. The first bit of information backs up what the security feeds have already shown, and he debates the merits of revealing the knowledge about the imposter. "The mech that made that offer was not Dually. It has been dealt with." Not to the extent he would like, but dealt with none the less.
Smokescreen 's optics flash minutely. /An imposter, hmmm.../ Smokescreen is curious, intensely so, but this isn't about him. He merely glances at Prowl, with a look of 'I'm going to find out /one/ way or another' on his faceplates, and continues listening.
First Aid looks down for a klick before continuing. "I- Hot Spot told me it wasn't really Dually, when I was still in the medbay, but I didn't know. I- I was just going to go to Cubicron and then come straight back. I'm sorry. I know that was wrong, I shouldn't have, but I thought, if I was with someone else, it'd be okay. Dually was walking with me, even though it's slower, and we were taking the tunnel route down there. Vortex- I didn't find out his name till later- was waiting in the maintenance tunnels, right past where the older section starts and it starts dropping down towards Cubicron."
Smokescreen frowns. This is not good. "First Aid. Your capture was /not/ your fault."
"I disobeyed orders. I mean, not the letter of it, but I wasn't supposed to leave Iacon without a good reason and well.. it was stupid of me. " First Aid says. "I take full responsibility for that. I know you don't give orders without a reason-" He looks at Prowl- "And I know you were trying to keep us safe, I just... I don't know." He hunches his shoulders uncomfortably, and continues after a second. "Vortex was waiting. He grabbed me, he had a pair of cuffs, and Dually- er, not Dually, but I thought it was- helped him tie me up and hooked a cable to the webbing and Vortex flew out of there with me."
Smokescreen nods. "Disobeying orders is not something you should get into the habit of, no. That still does not make it your fault. Vortex and that imposter made the choice to kidnap you. Not you. Taking responsibility for failure to follow orders is commendable. Forcing responsibility for your own unfortunate experience is not. Do continue, though." Smokey's hands twitch. He'd like to show Vortex what it felt like...but no, that was the /old/ Smokescreen.
"I am not upset over your actions, First Aid." Prowl remarks quietly, not attempting to interrupt the conversation but simply clarifying to First Aid that, at the moment, his disobedience is not the second in command's main concern. His gaze flicks over to Smokescreen momentarily, taking in the way the other Praxian's hands twitch, and he frowns slightly.
First Aid curls his hands into fists, then realizes what he's doing and shakes them out, looking down instead of at Prowl or Smokescreen. "We got to Polyhex, he landed, and walked me through some hallways and some stairs and a room with a bunch of monitors to- to- it was basically a cell. He told me to sit- I didn't want to, but I didn't know what to do, I- maybe I should have fought back, I don't know- I couldn't think how it'd help, he got hold of me so easily in the tunnel. So I sat down, he tied me to the chair, and started asking q-questions."
First Aid catches himself clenching his hands again and stops, takign a klik to reorganize his thoughts and try to calm his fuel tank, which churns uncomfortably. "He knew who I was, knew I worked for Ratchet- knew I was part of a g-gestalt. He wanted to know ... I don't remember what he asked first. He said they had the others, not just me. Took my datapad- all the stuff in my subspace- and went through it."
Smokescreen nods. The gestalt. That's likely what they were after. "Fighting would have only gotten you harmed more, First Aid." he says gently.
First Aid shakes his head. "I don't- I don't know how. I don't want to hurt people. I just... I can't think what I could have done that would have helped." He vents again, fans spinning up a notch.
Smokescreen has never hated the Decepticons more than he did at this moment. "You did as you had to. Nothing more, nothing less. What's more, you still survived."
First Aid's plating is clamped tightly around his frame, but he looks up, meeting Prowl's gaze. "Groove's name was in my datapad- there was a letter I was working on to him in it. They- they have to know who he is. That was the only personal thing on there. The rest was all my research about gestalts, which isn't really that much, and none of it was restricted information- it all came out of the archives' historical databases. I- I don't think it'd be very useful. I hope not, anyway. He asked me- asked me to tell him everything about my brothers. Told me that he wanted to show them my h-hands and m-my optics. Took my visor" First Aid's voice catches, staticky for a second. "I said no, and he-" Another hard vent. "He took a laser scapel and-" He brings one hand up- it's shaking a little- and touches the side of his faceplate. "He cut me, and t-took out m-my optic."
Smokescreen winces inwardly. "That's what that sort does, First Aid. Pain and fear are the only tools they knpw how to use." He almost wants to rise and hold the mechling...it's obvious that the memory is terrifying. "Do you need something to help calm you?"
First Aid shakes his head. "No. I- it's okay. I just- I'm sorry, I don't mean to." He shakes his head again and scrubs at the outer edge of his orbital strut, just under the edge of his visor. "I'm okay. " He pauses to shake his head again and makes an effort to bring his fans back under control. "He told me then that they had Lifeline, and that he was going to take the optic to her -that if I didn't tell him, he'd do the same thing to her. I- I couldn't, I didn't know he was lying, but ... I said no. He used the scapel a-again." First Aid wraps his left hand around the right protectively. His voice is small. "I told him yes, I was a combiner. That we didn't know how to combine. That there were five of us, I'm sorry."
Prowl frowns at First Aid's reaction but remains silent while Smokescreen speaks, allowing the psychologist to take the lead; comforting mechs has never been his strong suit. He makes note of the fact the Decepticons are aware of Groove, though with the young mech now in Iacon instead of Crystal City, the Decepticons would be working off outdated information. "First Aid," He begins a bit cautiously, measuring the medic's response before continuing. "I do /not/ lay any blame on you for your reactions to what was done to you. Many mechs far older than you would not have come through an experience such as this nearly as well. Do not blame yourself; the only reason I am even requesting you do this is so that I may keep you and your brothers as safe as possible."
First Aid nods. "You need to know, I understand. It's- it's not you, it's okay, I just-" He shivers, scooting back in the chair and straightening up. "I- I know he asked some other stuff. What my alt mode was, what theirs are. I- it's sort of fuzzy. I think I passed out at some point. I- I don't really know."
Smokescreen "Not recalling all that happened is completely normal as well. It's a response to a traumatic situation.
First Aid nods again, slowly. "I know. I read that- it's in the medical databases. I- I just wish I knew. There was someone else there, I think? He was talking to someone else, I think. I- I'm pretty sure I did pass out, though. Robustus was there after that- gave me coolant. He told me Lifeline was safe, that she was there, but she was a Decepticon, she joined them. It- it didn't make a lot of sense. I don't think he was supposed to. He was kind of strange. Vortex didn't come back until after he left, and he didn't know about what Robustus said. He brought a lens that he said was Lifeline's. He asked me, um, about Alpha- that's this weird old priest I know. Or I'm not sure he's a priest, but I thought he was. The names of our creators, he wanted to know that. He already knew about Adroita. I might have told him, I don't know. He kept coming back to the others, who they were, where they were." He shivers again.
Prowl leans forward slightly, frowning as he sends off a quick series of memos to the necessary members of the security department. "If you wish, we can continue this later, First Aid." He says, resting his weight on his forearms. "I have enough information for the moment, though I am afraid we will need to have another meeting should you choose that option."
First Aid looks up from his hands in his lap. "I- of course, sir, if you need to go. I- I'd rather get it over with though if you have the time." He forces a smile. "I don't want to do this again."
"It is your choice. I have the time." Prowl responds quietly, settling back in his chair again. "Continue when you are comfortable, then."
First Aid nods, taking another few kliks to get his systems back under control. Imagine it happening to someone else, you just have to repair the injuries, you don't have to feel it, or know what it felt like, or how Vortex sounded so pleased when you said no, when it gave him an excuse to do something else horrible. "I- he kept asking me the same few things. He wanted to know about Lifeline, too, though. He... messed with the edge of my faceplate, wheer he'd c-cut to take the optic out. Said he was going to take my hand, if I didn't tell him the next time he asked. And- then he /d-did/." First Aid catches himself rubbing his hands together again and stops. "I- I told him that yes, some of us were Autobots. That we didn't all live in Iacon, some were in Crystal City. I- I lied, I couldn't- Streetwise thinks, thought his dad's place was so safe, but if they could grab me that close to Iacon, what could all his dad's guards do? I didn't know Streetwise was here, I just- if they weren't looking for him in the right place, maybe he'd be safe."
Prowl watches First Aid carefully, trying to judge the state of the mech's processor. It's unfortunate he has to press someone so young, but at the moment it is necessary, and he tunes out the feelings of guilt and sympathy. "All five of you are within Iacon now, and you /will/ be safe. I will personally assure it."
First Aid swallows hard and nods. "Thank you, sir."
Lifeline enters the administrative area of Iacon -- somewhere she's not been before. She's still carrying the cog she acquired for Groove, because she hasn't yet had a chance to officially hand it over.
Smokescreen flickers his optics in surprise. He did not expect that level of viciousness, even from Decepticons. This Vortex must be a nasty piece of work indeed. Smokescreen steeples his fingers and leans forward. "First Aid, I am happy to see that you have physically been restored. Your face is quite symmetrical. How did Vortex make you feel, besides afraid?"
First Aid looks up at Smokescreen and shrugs uncomfortably. "I- I don't know. I mean, mostly I was just afraid. And... it was almost like he liked it, when I told him no, I wouldn't answer his questions." He swallows convulsively. "I don't understand how someone could, though." He squirms backwards, deeper into the chair and wrapping his arms around himself.
Lifeline hasn't actually arrived at the room where Prowl is speaking with First Aid, but she IS on her way there. She reaches the doorway she'd been told was Prowl's office and physically knocks on the door's surface with one hand to announce herself. Definitely not the usual Autobot way of doing things.
Smokescreen nods. "There indeed are those who enjoy giving pain to others. This is /not/ normal, as you should well realize." His doorwings stiffen for a brief moment, considering. "He likely considered your refusal an excuse to continue to harm you."
Prowl snaps his attention to the door at the knock, optics narrowing slightly as he frowns. His schedule /should/ be clear, and any pressing matters would be brought to his attention via comm. Motioning for First Aid and Smokescreen to continue, he stands, making his way to the door in a few quick strides. He palms the control to open it, doorwings flaring out to help conceal the occupants of his office, and his optic ridges draw down upon seeing Lifeline. "Lifeline. It is not our scheduled meeting time. Is there something pressing you need to speak with me about?"
First Aid nods, very slightly. "I know. It's something wrong with hsi processor. I've read about it, but.. it's just hard to understand." He rubs his wrist again, not meeting Smokescreen's gaze. "I just... I couldn't tell him. I wouldn't do it. And I didn't know what else I could do."
Smokescreen smiles, gently. "You did /well/, that's what. You sit before me, still functional, and you say that you did not tell him what he wished to know, even though he put you through extreme pain to try and break you. You are /strong/, First Aid, perhaps stronger than even I would be in a situation like that." e
Lifeline looks at Prowl in faint surprise, mostly because of his flared doorwings. "It's... oh. Yes. My apologies." She just compared her internal chronometer with the meetingtime that Prowl had scheduled, and this time did the conversions accounting for the time difference from Cubicron. She doesn't actually try to see who's behind the mech blocking the doorway, but she DOES hear First Aid's voice causing her optics to flick past Prowl's shoulder.
Prowl's doorwings twitch slightly, moving to better block both Smokescreen and First Aid from view. It isn't anything personal, merely for confidentiality's sake, and he tilts his helm forward slightly. "My apologies Lifeline, but now is not an acceptable time." He says quietly, keeping one audio tuned to the conversation behind him. "I fear we may be forced to reschedule."
First Aid halfway turns in the chair, hearing Lifeline's name, and angles his head to try and look past Prowl. "Lifeline, hey." He greets the other medic with a smile, and if it's a little strained, he /is/ genuinely happy to see her.
Lifeline frowns very briefly at Prowl's repeated wing-twitches even though she totally understands about confidentiality. She nods and takes a step back, saying neutrally, "All right. Hello, First Aid," she calls past the Autobot even though he's still completely blocking her in the doorway.
Smokescreen hears the exchange. "First Aid. This conversation is, as you know, private. Was she involved in your experiences?" Smokescreen cocks his head toward Prowl and the door. "I am recording this meeting, for clinical reasons." Smokescreen clears his intake. "As such, with your permission, I can share it with Prowl later, so that he might meet with Lifeline now in another room. It is ultimately your call, though."
"Shouldn't you have asked me, before you started recording?" First Aid asks, straightening up- again- in the chair. "I mean, it's fine-" he hastily adds. "Lifeline helped rescue me, and she was my mentor before I joined the Autobots. It's- there's nothing she can't hear, I'm fine with her being here if it'd be useful for Prowl." And he wouldn't mind if she were there, just for moral support, but he's not about to say that in front of Prowl.
Prowl examines Lifeline for a moment before stepping back and to the side, allowing her entrance to the room. "Very well." He's still frowning, but with First Aid's permission, there is no real reason for him to deny the femme access. He returns to his desk, settling back in his chair and motioning for Lifeline to take the sole free chair remaining.
Smokescreen has the grace to look somewhat embarrassed. A slight purplish tinge highlights his cheeks, and he coughs lightly. "Um. Yes, I should have. It's standard procedure, but I should have received your express consent." Smokescreen looks to Prowl, reading First Aid's body language and finding that the idea of the femme medic joining them conforted him somewhat. "Lifeline. Welcome. I am Smokescreen, a psychologist attached to the Iacon Medical division. I will let you, at least, know that I am recording this meeting for clinical purposes. How are you this cycle?" He flicks his doorwings in greeting.
Lifeline looks at First Aid and the other mech in the room when Prowl steps aside, then steps into the increasingly cramped-feeling office and sits in the only free chair as directed. She studies Smokescreen with a keen gaze as he introduces himself, then nods. "That's fine. And I'm functioning well enough." That's probably not what the mech meant by his question, but that's all he'll get. She focuses on First Aid again and says in a far gentler tone than she's used so far, "Is this where you've been all afternoon?"
First Aid nods shortly. "Debriefing, now that I'm feeling better." He doesn't really know what else to say.
Lifeline nods to the young mech. "I'm supposed to be here to debrief also, but ... I didn't take time conversion from Cubicron into account and I'm here early."
First Aid smiles halfway again. "Oh. Um, I'm glad you're here, anyway?" He looks back at Smokescreen and Prowl. "It's okay if she stays? I mean, I don't mind. But it's not going to mess anything up?"
Smokescreen shakes his head. "No, it won't 'mess anything up'. I think that having your friend here could be therapeutic. It's your decision."
First Aid nods. "As long as Lifeline doesn't mind, then." He looks at her, a little sideways.
Lifeline says, "I don't mind." She looks at Smokescreen again, her expression hardening again ever so slightly as if silently daring him to send her away now.
Smokescreen just looks at the femme, his doorwings shifting only a bit. "He wishes for you to stay. I have no objection."
"I will allow it." Prowl interrupts the conversation calmly, resting his forearms on the desk as he leans forward slightly. "Lifeline, if you would like to stay, I am afraid our briefing will have to be postponed until First Aid is finished. My apologies."
First Aid sucks air in sharply. "I guess I should go on, right?" Pause. "He- I think that's all I told him, after- after that. He asked about the gestalt bond- if there was one. I think he read all the stuff in my datapad, even though most of it was fiction. He asked who here knew, who helped figure it out." He looks down. "I told him that. Ratchet and Wheeljack and P-perceptor. And about our transformation cogs- how they were different. He left after that, for a while- it was different, he left the lights on and some other mechs- they were scientists. They didn't talk to me at all, they just wanted to l-look at my systems. Took the plating off, looked at the cogs and the circuitry. They didn't- they didn't t-try for my code, I don't know why. Then they left too."
Smokescreen nods. "I do not know much of gestalt tech, but from what I /do/ know it is unlikely that no matter how much they studied you, they could not replicate it. Still, you are here, and /safe/, now. Are you proud of the fact that you managed to keep what information you could to yourself?"
Lifeline nods to Prowl. "That is fine." She looks at First Aid as he relates his experiences, then remembers something. Standing, because she's not still totally accustomed to the whole subspace pocket thing yet, she pulls a transformation cog nearly the size of First Aid's torso out of seemingly nowhere and sets it on Prowl's desk. There. That much done at least.
First Aid looks up as Smokescreen speaks and watches Lifeline put the cog on the desk. He shrugs in reply. "I.. there wasn't anything else I /could/ do." He finally says, awkwardly. "He- Vortex- I can't let him hurt them. I /can't/."
Prowl turns his attention momentarily to the cog, examining it with a critical optic before nodding sharply to Lifeline. "Thank you." He says quietly, sending off a few rapid notes to the necessary staff to alert them that the cog was now officially in Autobot custody before shifting his focus back to First Aid.
Smokescreen tilts his helm, his optics flashing just a bit. "Hurt who? Who is important enough to you to endure /that/, to hold silent where many mechs and femmes would do anything to stop it? Who is your strength, First Aid?" The question sounded harsh, but really, it wasn't- Smokescreen merely wants the medic to realize that he showed no weakness. He notes thw huge cog and his doorwing twitch fractionally. His professional face cracks slightly. "What the slag is /that/?"
Lifeline reclaims her seat, and says to Smokescreen blandly. "It's a transformation cog."
First Aid smiles at Smokescreen. "My brothers. ANd yes, I know- we're stronger together than we are apart. We're meant to be." He shakes his head. "That was.. that was mostly it. There was another mech- a seeker- who asked a bunch of questions about you, Lifeline- but he never asked me anything I knew, and he- he kept yelling, and he yanked some of my plating off- he was interested in my systems- but it wasn't- not like Vortex. Robustus came in while he was there."
Smokescreen stares. "That is the largest transformation cog I have /ever/ seen." he says sonewhat shakily.
Lifeline is having fun seeing Smokescreen's reaction, but hides it VERY well behind an almost non-chalant shrug. "They had bigger, but this was enough for our purposes."
Prowl resists the urge to huff air out his vents at the question. "'That' would be the reason for Lifeline's stay in Polyhex. /Focus/, Smokescreen." He says dryly, doorwings twitching with obvious amusement to anyone familiar with his mannerisms.
"It's a cog for a gestalt, Smokescreen." First Aid says, missing both Prowl and Lifeline's hidden amusement. "Of course it's big."
Lifeline says, "Actually, it's bigger than a gestalt cog, First Aid. I had to make sure to get one substantial enough to tool down for Groove."
Smokescreen turns sharply to Prowl. He resists the urge to wink, knowing it would only infuriate the other Praxian. "Fine, Prowl...but I want answers...later. First Aid, can you name or describe the Seeker who yelled at you?"
"White or light grey, with red and blue. Loud- really screechy voice." First Aid replies promptly. "Taller than that one that was prisoner here, Slipstream."
Lifeline offers a name. "Starscream."
Smokescreen nods. "Sounds like Starscream, which means Primus must be watching over you if all he did was that."
Lifeline says, "From what I heard, he was not allowed to touch First Aid at the risk of incurring Vortex's ... disapproval."
Smokescreen thinks further. "He didn't attempt to decode your gestalt programming?" This idea baffles Smokescreen.
First Aid shudders. "Vortex- Vortex said, when he came back, after that, that they had everything they needed. That I was /his/. That they didn't care if he offlined me- or if he didn't."
Prowl narrows his optics at the description, doorwings stilling as he straightens his posture minutely. What would the Decepticon Air Commander and second in command be doing investigating a prisoner, even one as unheard of as part of a gestalt? His frown deepens as the conversation continues, but he doesn't speak up.
Smokescreen says soothingly, "That never happened. You got out before he could do.as he wanted. And it is a good thing that you were not subjected to /that/, as well." Smokescreen continues. "Are all of your brothers in Iacon?"
First Aid nods. "All of us are here now- all of us but Blades have joined the Autobots. Groove hasn't told Flare he's not going back to Crystal City yet, though. And Blades... I don't know. He's been avoiding me since I got back." He looks down at the floor.
Lifeline adds her reassurances to Smokescreen's. "You were NEVER his, First Aid. Remember that." She reaches over to put a hand on First Aid's shoulder and shakes him lightly. "All right?" Lifeline frowns slightly at mention of Blades. She's going to have to corner that mech and have a serious talk with him.
Smokescreen is actually rather glad to hear that. The 'Cons would certainly love to get their claws on one of Aid's brothers, for sure. He made a mental note to ask Prowl to put a special guard, an unobtrusive one, on them all if Prowl had not already thought of it. "They are far safer here, you know. Just as you are."
First Aid shivers again, and nods. He's silent for a moment, listening, and then nods again. "I know. But... we can't stay here forever. It- even if we could, we can't do our jobs stuck here in the city." He looks up, expression worried but stubborn. "If- if we can learn how to combine, we can take care of ourselves. Well, the others already can, sort of. But... we can't just stay here in Iacon indefinitely."
Smokescreen ponders this. "I am certain that you are welcome to stay for as long as you need...but learning to combine woukd be helpful. What do you know of it?" He glances at Prowl. "I /am/ focusing...this will help his confidence, if he can access what is his by frame and sparkright."
"I know we're welcome, but it's just... not being able to leave, at least sometimes. We can't do our /jobs/ like that." First Aid says. He looks at Prowl. "Is there anything else you need to know? I mean... wait, I didn't tell all of it. Robustus brought Lifeline after the seeker- Starscream- left. And after that- it's just- I know Vortex was there, but I don't- it's pretty blurry."
Lifeline says, "It's not forever, First Aid. Just like my being trapped here." She glances at Prowl. It had BETTER not be forever. "Soon enough we'll both have the freedom to do what we need."
Prowl gives Smokescreen a Look, complete with a flick of one doorwing, before looking back at First Aid. "That is all I require, First Aid. As for your complaints about not being able to leave Iacon..." He trails off momentarily, considering. "I will discuss it further with Prime." Lifeline's glance may go unmentioned, but it doesn't go unnoticed.
Smokescreen shakes his head. "It's not captivity, even though it may feel like it."
Smokescreen notes Prowl's Look and flicks his own doorwing in response.
"I don't mean to complain- I'm sorry." First Aid says, sincerely. "But- I didn't join the Autobots to organize the medical supply closet forever and sit safe in Iacon while everyone else is out risking their plating to fight the Decepticons. My brothers, too- we all feel the same way."
Lifeline is making mental notes of the doorwing conversation, comparing it to the wings on the Seekers she was subjected to while in Polyhex. The similarities are there, but ... infrequent. With enough observation, she thinks she can maybe interpret them. "First Aid, you know that that's not the case. Was it that way in Cubicron?"
Smokescreen nods in agreement. "You wish to aid the cause. There is nothing wrong with that. You will do yourselves far more hsrm thsn good if you aren't prepared, though."
First Aid looks at Lifeline. "I know, I know. But in Cubicron- we left the clinic all the time. You go - went- wherever people needed you, when there was someone who needed treatment. And it's not just me, it's them, too."
Smokescreen looks at First Aid. "If you could, what would you be doing?"
"Working in the medbay and learning everything Ratchet can teach me about being a medic. I want to earn my crosses and work as a full medic for the Autobots, someday." First Aid says promptly, without even having to think about it.
Smokescreen nods. "I'm sure that can be arranged?" He cocks an eyeridge at Prowl, silently asking.
Prowl frowns at Smokescreen's 'response', but leaves that alone for the moment, instead focusing on the young mech. "First Aid." His tone is sharper now, hands clasping together on the desk as he stares down First Aid. "It is not your decision where you will be assigned, nor is it your brothers'. I can understand your frustration, but we do /not/ send partially-trained mechs out into battle. You will be back on the duty roster within the orn; I will speak to Prime about possible assignments outside of Iacon in the future, and that is all I am willing to offer on the matter for the moment."
First Aid looks embarassed and ducks his head. "I- of course, sir. I'm sorry. I didn't mean-" He really didn't mean to imply anything like that. "It's just- well, we just want to help. However we can."
Smokescreen exvents in disgust. His fellow Praxian had less tact in his entire frame than Smokescreen did in his littlest finger.
"I can understand, and respect, that desire. However, it does not change the facts, and those are that none of you are fully trained yet." Prowl ignores the sound of Smokescreen's vents, focused solely on First Aid. "For the moment, you are needed here, and thusly here you will remain, until that need changes. Do you have any other concerns you wish to discuss with me?"
First Aid shakes his head. "No sir." He says quietly.
Smokescreen snorts. "Prowl...."
Prowl nods, leaning back slightly. "If there is nothing else, then you are dismissed, First Aid." He responds, tilting his head in acknowledgement even as he gives Smokescreen another Look. "I am certain that Smokescreen will be available for you to speak to at any time if you wish."
Smokescreen nods, looking once more at Aid. "Absolutely. Any time you need someone to talk to." Smokescreen pings First Aid then, with his personal comm code.
First Aid looks at Lifeline, then back at Prowl. "I- just one thing. I hadn't had a chance- thank you for getting me out of there, sir. I already told Lifeline, and Robustus- and Elita, but I don't know who else was involved so I can thank them."
Prowl pauses at that, one doorwing twitching minutely in surprise. He offers a sharp, slight awkward nod in response. "Sideswipe, Sunstreaker, and Chromia were all part of the extraction team. Jazz as well, but I will have to pass your thanks on, as he is not currently in Iacon." He says slowly, glancing down at the cog for a moment before looking back at First Aid. "It is my duty to watch over all Autobots. I had anticipated that it would be necessary to retrieve someone from Polyhex at some point in time; I... Apologize, that you were the one that plan had to be enacted for."
First Aid nods. "Please thank Jazz for me, then. Or, I'll tell him myself, when he's back in Iacon." He stands up, pushing off the arms of the chair. "Um, it was nice to meet you, Smokescreen."
Smokescreen smiles and holds out his left hand in a parting gesture. "I only wish it could have been under better circumstances. Still, do remember I am here if you need me."
First Aid nods. "I will, thank you." He very carefully and briefly- as quickly as can be considered polite- places his hand against Smokescreen's before withdrawing it. He looks at Prowl, waiting for a formal dismissel.
Prowl manages not to cock an optic ridge, doorwings held carefully still behind him. "I have already dismissed you, First Aid. You are free to leave at any time." The slightest hint of what might be amusement makes its way into his tone, but it's gone as quickly as it appeared.
"Oh- sorry," First Aid smiles sheepishly and turns to head for the door, pausing to turn back to wait for Lifeline."