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Aid - Wednesday, July 27, 2011, 2:20 AM

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First Aid Hot Spot Perceptor

First Aid is sitting at a console inside the software lab, visible from the doorway to the main general repairs building. He's flipping a set of videos back to the beginning repeatedly, waiting for Hot Spot to arrive- he'd commed him as soon as Ratchet and Perceptor went back to their own projects, and now, all there was to do was wait.

Hot Spot arrives, a little nervous and a little excited. It feels like ages since he last saw First Aid - especially with all the soaking up of Autobot culture he's been doing over the past few days - and he's looking forward to talking with him again. He pokes his head around the door and looks for First Aid. "Hey there!" he calls.

First Aid turns towards the door. "Hi! Good cycle- thanks for coming so quickly." He pushes the chair back, tapping the screen of the console to pause the output. "We just finished decrypting Streetwise's memories- you're in them, and ... Ratchet and Perceptor figured out something that you need to know."

Hot Spot steps into the room. "Oh hey, there you are. Um.. wow." That's a lot to take in at once, but he's had enough of that lately that he's getting used to it. "What is it?"

First Aid pushes out a chair. "Here, have a seat, and I'll show you the video- I already asked Streetwise when we did the scan if I could share what we got from it, as long as it was from before..."

Hot Spot takes the offered seat and nods. He has a feeling he'll need to be sitting down for this.

"Some of this stuff is random memories, the same as what I had-" First Aid sets a video playing.

The next video starts to play- apparently from Streetwise's point of view, as though he was flat against a wall. He peered around, seeing Hot Spot just around the corner, back to him. Then the street mech leapt out, pointing a finger gun at the blue's back 'Freeze, robber! This is the police! Hands up!'

"We were probably about a vorn and a half there, from the date stamp. The rest of it- the code that is similar to what I have- is what's more problematic."

"Is that some kind of training exercise?" Hot Spot asks, although it doesn't look so much like training to him as fun. "Um... problematic?"

First Aid says, "I'm pretty sure you were playing- we weren't very old." First Aid smiles. "And there's a couple more like that. The code- that's what I was getting to. Streetwise has the same sort of weird motor code that I do- code that's normal programming to tell a limb how to move, but the numbers don't work for our frames- the mass and dimensions are about equal to our entire frames, not just a limb." He takes a deep breath. "That, in combination with the abnormalities in our transformation cogs? Ratchet and Perceptor thinks our creators designed us as a combiner team."

"A what?" Hot Spot says. His optics flicker, an involuntary recalibration as his processors attempt to make sense of this. "Surely that's not possible?"

"Yeah, that's what I said." First Aid sighs. "I thought they were just ..." He waves a hand. "Stories. Ancient history, at most. But they seem pretty convinced and well... I think they're /right/. The only other thing I can think of is that our creators were planning to upgrade us eventually and that the code we carry is for bigger frames- but that doesn't explain anything other than the one piece of code, not the transformation cogs, or anything else."

Hot Spot's looking at the monitor, but his optics lack focus. What if it's true? He doesn't want to think about it, it's too exciting, the idea that he could be part of something so much bigger than he'd formally thought. The idea that he really does have a link with Blades and First Aid and Streetwise, and that mystery mech Alpha told them about... He doesn't want to admit how much the idea appeals. He finally manages to find his voice. "You're sure?"

First Aid nods slowly, venting air. "I'm just a trainee medic- but if Perceptor and Ratchet think so, I can't imagine they're wrong." His armor is clamped flat around his frame and he looks vaguely unhappy about the news.

"Hey," Hot Spot says gently. He pats First Aid on the arm. "What's the matter?" He imagines it could be one of a dozen things, but he doesn't want to presume. Plus, there's the fact that focusing on First Aid will help distract him from the weird combination of hope and dread currently bubbling around inside himself.

First Aid looks down. "I'm glad to have some answers, I am- and I'm very glad to have found you and Streetwise and Blades." His voice is very sincere. "But combiners were.... in all the stories, they're warriors and soldiers and guardians. I'm a /medic/. I don't want to hurt anyone. I joined the Autobots because the Decepticons are hurting people who aren't fighting, and the Autobots are trying to defend everyone. Not to fight."

"None of us are fighters," Hot Spot says. "Well, maybe Blades," and maybe the mystery mech, he thinks, "but not the rest of us. What's wrong with being a guardian? We can help people, think of all the things we'll be able to do as a team." Despite his reservations (all of which focus on the idea that maybe Ratchet and Perceptor are wrong, and even if they're right, maybe they're wrong about Hot Spot being a part of all this), Hot Spot can't stop himself getting a little carried away with the idea. His optics brighten. "What if we /can/ combine..."

First Aid brightens, marginally. "I guess- helping people is definitely good. And... if Perceptor and Ratchet think we can, it's just a matter of figuring out how it's supposed to work."

Hot Spot offers a reassuring smile. "Not just good," he says. "I don't think the Decepticons have anything like this. If they did, surely we'd know about it?" And now he's getting /really/ carried away. "We could help turn the tide of the war..."

"The battle earlier this orn- did you hear the sirens? There was a really big mech with the Decepticons- I heard Venture telling Caducia about him when she was explaining how she got hurt. Her whole turret got crushed while she was in tank mode." First Aid says, still looking worried. "No one could bring her in, either- she's too big."

That doesn't sound good; what if the Decepticons /do/ have a combiner team? Hot Spot's spirits sink; they're missing a mech, and they don't even know for certain yet what they can do. "I heard the sirens," he says. "But I missed the news... Is she all right? "

First Aid nods. "Ratchet can fix anything." First Aid says, a bit of pride in his voice- his mentor is a very good medic. "And I wasn't sure what I thought of Caducia at first but she was really good too."

Hot Spot glances back at the screen. "How do we do it?" he says. "Combine, I mean. And why did they split us up?" He turns back to First Aid. "Did you learn anything more about our creators?"

First Aid shakes his head. "I hadn't really had a chance to look- Venture and Dually- he was the other one that got really hurt- only just left today, and I spent my off shifts down in Cubicron helping Lifeline- that was when I scanned Streetwise. There was the one memory-" First Aid turns back to the console and keys up one of the videos.

It was a board game, set in front of Streetwise as he stared at the pieces. Then he looks up, staring at a familiar, but wise old mech ".. I don’t see the move! I'm stuck! " "Its there. Keep thinking! " a frustrated sigh from Streetwise as he looks back down.

"Who's that?" Hot Spot asks.

"Coruscate- he's in my memories, too- he was the one that was taking us to our guardians when we got separated." First Aid says. "And... here. Tell me if this voice sounds familiar to you?" He turns back to the console and pulls up a clip. "This was from me, obviously."

"Okay Aid, your turn. Yes, your brothers are fine, they're in recharge. You understand how this works, right? I'm going to use this scanner to access some of your memories and move them behind a partition. You'll still have them, you just won't be able to access them until you and your brothers are back together, but for now, you need to stay safe and grow up. "

"That's not Coruscate," First Aid says. "The voice is different."

Hot Spot shakes his head. "It's familiar, but I can't place it," he replies. He goes quiet a moment, thinking, but no scan of his databanks reveals a perfect match. "It could be... No, I don't know." He rubs the corners of his optics. "They split us up for our own good?" he says. He thinks of Blades. "That went wrong."

First Aid says, "Yeah- it did. And there's still one of us out there." He switches to another frame on the console. "I searched combiners while I was waiting. Everything I found was just ... legends." The screen displays a list of search results.

Hot Spot isn't familiar with the names on the screen. Titans, all of them, gigantic mechs with unbelievable strength and dizzying capabilities. He'd heard of a few of them before, but hadn't given credence to the stories. They were, after all, just stories, and he'd always been far more interested in news of real life Autobot heroics than this kind of fabrication. Unless they weren't actually fabrication.

"So long ago," he whispers. Then, "They were Autobots, weren't they? The mechs who built us."

First Aid shakes his head. "Ratchet and Perceptor don't think so- neither of them knows anything about a team working on combiner tech. And if it /were/ the Autobots- wouldn't someone have /told/ me when I joined up? But nothing else seems to make sense, so I don't know."

"Unless they didn't know," Hot Spot says. "What if we were top secret? Do you know where Coruscate is? Or the rest of them? If we weren't top secret, surely everyone would have known? We couldn't have kept safe otherwise. Not by ourselves. The Decepticons would have picked us off if they knew about us." A terrible thought hits him. "How many people know about us?" he says.

"Coruscate is dead- the last memory I have before I came online at Lifeline's clinic was of him being attacked by empties. He couldn't have survived that." First Aid says quietly. "As for who knows... Ratchet, Perceptor, and Wheeljack, obviously. I told Lifeline, and Swivel- Swivel's a friend of mine in Cubicron. She's a courier."

"OK," Hot Spot says. He straightens in his seat, his expression suddenly very serious. "You need to contact Swivel. Make sure she doesn't tell anyone. Tell her your life will be in danger if you do. We can't be too careful. Our fifth team mate's still out there. We don't know where, he could be in trouble, he could be behind enemy lines... We have to get him back, but we have to be quiet about it. We don't know exactly why they split us up, but something obviously happened, something bad. We're all in danger, and we absolutely have to be careful."

"Swivel won't tell anyone," First Aid protests. "She's my friend." He vents air. "You're right though- he could be anywhere. I hope he's alright. I think we'd know, though- if he wasn't."

"Are you sure she won't tell anyone?" Hot Spot says. "Please, tell her it's imperative she keeps this to herself." He's willing to accept First Aid vouching for Swivel, but if First Aid was as casual talking about it to her as he was in front of other mechs, then Swivel might not understand that there's a need for secrecy.

First Aid nods. "I'll send her a message right now- I have her comm code." He scoots his chair to one side to allow Hot Spot to look at the console while he's distracted.

"Thank you," Hot Spot says. while First Aid sends the comm, Hot Spot tries to work out where the partitions are in his mind. He still has the fear that he isn't really part of the team, that it's just a fluke with the pings and he doesn't actually have any connection to First Aid or the others. But that's only a minor fear right now, the major fear is that they have enemies looking for them, and that they might be torn apart again before they can truly realize their potential.

First Aid looks back at Hot Spot. "I left her a message- I think she's in the middle of something."

"All right," Hot Spot says. "How... How exactly do we find out if I've got partitioned memories and what might be in them? I mean, with everything that's happened, I might have something useful and just not know it." Plus, if he does have partitioned memories, then it might settle his mind about whether or not he truly belongs.

First Aid says, "I can run the scan, if you want me to- it's not complicated. If you want to actually decrypt the memories there, we need to see if Perceptor's available. I can ask, if you're up for it."

Hot Spot nod. "Yes," he says. "Let's do it"

First Aid nods, looking distracted again as he comms. "Done." A beat. "He's on his way."

"OK," Hot Spot says. "Where do you need me?"

First Aid says, "Either a chair with arms and a back, or on one of the berths, whichever's more comfortable. It's not painful, but it's sort of disorienting."

Hot Spot remembers the dizzying feeling that came along with his first set of surprises the very first time he came to med bay. "I think I'll take the laying down option," he says, a half smile on his lips. He stands and stretches, then chooses a berth and makes himself comfortable.

"First Aid? I understand that your fellow mech displaying the abnormal encrypted ping desires to have his memory decrypted?" A red and grey mech walks into the lab. "The timing is most fortuitous, I have several joors to spare while my latest experimental synthesis completes."

First Aid nods, greeting the other mech with a smile. "I told Hot Spot what you and Ratchet thought- that we might be a combiner team- and he would like to go ahead and get himself decrypted sooner, rather than later."

Hot Spot sits up offering his hand to Perceptor. "I would, yes," he says. "Pleased to meet you."

Perceptor extends a hand, shaking Hot Spot's cheerfully. "Salutations, Hot Spot. A pleasure to make your acquaintance. If that berth is satisfactory, please make yourself comfortable and we will begin forthwith."

First Aid returns from the software lab with the portable diagnostic unit that he'd left plugged into the console. "This plugs in to the cervical ports on the back of your helm." He explains. "You'll probably be most comfortable on your side."

"On my side it is," Hot Spot says, and lays back down, ensuring that he's comfortable and that First Aid has adequate access to the back of his neck.

First Aid leans over- Hot Spot is a big mech- and opens the data panel on the back of Spot's helm with a screwdriver extended from one finger. "I'm going to go ahead and attach the cables, but you won't feel anything until it's powered on," First Aid explains. "Are you ready, Perceptor?" He asks the scientist politely.

Perceptor plugs a cable from the diagnostic unit into his specialist data pad- a bit thicker than normal and apparently with increased capabilities- and nods. "Continue whenever you are prepared, First Aid." Hot Spot does his best to stay still, that wash of mingled excitement and nervousness returning full force.

"Do you have a preference, Hot Spot, as to the rapidity of results required?" Perceptor inquires. "With First Aid, we were most hasty due to his rather precarious position and the security concerns- performing decryption live may yield more immediate results but frequently may have more unintended effects upon the subject. The memories we deciphered for Streetwise were achieved in a less expeditious manner due to the need to use a record of the data rather than working directly against his memory core as he was unable to accompany First Aid to Iacon for the scan."

First Aid pats Hot Spot on the shoulder but is otherwise silent.

"Whichever will yield the best results," Hot Spot says. "You're the ones who know what they're doing!"

"It is entirely up to your preferences, Hot Spot," Perceptor says. "But we will proceed as soon as you are ready."

Hot Spot thinks for a moment. Speed or detail, which would be most useful to them. "Live," he says. "We need to know as soon as possible whether there's anything useful trapped in here."

Perceptor nods to First Aid. "We shall proceed at once, then! Please initiate the power-up sequence on the diagnostic scanner, First Aid."

"Ready?" First Aid asks, although the question is more or less rhetorical, as he's already reaching for the scanner, pressing the power button to start it up.

"Ready," Hot Spot confirms. He's impressed with Perceptor's attitude. And his competence. Not to mention his complete lack of irritability. No that Hot Spot dislikes Ratchet.

The scanner powers up with a faint hum, and Perceptor taps his data pad screen a number of times, dialing up scan parameters. "You should experience little to no discomfort at the present scan intensity. Please inform us at once if this alters, as it can indicate a more urgent problem."

"Shall do," Hot Spot says.

The scan feels a bit invasive and uncomfortable, sifting through Hot Spot's file system. "It appears that you do indeed have the same encrypted file structure and partitions that the others displayed," Perceptor reports.

"Uhuh?" Hot Spot responds. Despite the slight discomfort of the scan, all he can feel is relief; he really does belong with his team.

First Aid pats Hot Spot's arm comfortingly again.

Perceptor hmms. "This code is in the same format as the code which accompanies the conditional shutdown of your secondary systems, First Aid, but it appears to serve a different purpose- it appears to be looking for inputs from multiple other systems, which would support the hypothesis that you are indeed part of a combiner team." He hesitates. "I believe, given the size differential between yourself and First Aid and Streetwise, you are most likely to become the torso of the theoretical combined form."

"Really?" Hot Spot says quietly. He's still making a supreme effort to stay still, which is getting harder the more anxious and excited he gets. "But..." He's about to say 'it doesn't make sense'. but then he realizes that actually it does, at least in terms of their relative sizes. "Is that why my alt mode works and theirs don't?"

"Certainly a compelling possibility," Perceptor says, tap-tap-tapping away at the data pad. "Ah- here is a video file- I believe it has audio as well." He turns the screen so that Hot Spot and First Aid can see it. "Shall we see what we've found?"

The screen flickers, the image resolving to show a clear slice of sky, a few buildings jutting up in the corner. Then the vista changes; faces coming into view. Blue faceplates split in a wickedly happy grin, a white mask and bright blue visor. "That's you and Blades," Hot Spot says. They're laughing, then running; Hot Spot and Blades each have a toy gun much like the one Hot Spot saw his younger self wield in a previous memory clip. First Aid doesn't have a gun, but some kind of tool or toy, a puzzle perhaps. It's hard to tell with the images moving so fast.

The memory of First Aid calls out 'Wait for me!' but there's a crash, and the image stops moving as Hot Spot comes to an abrupt stop. 'Aid?' he says, looking back, and is echoed by Blades a little way ahead. But First Aid is already picking himself up off the ground, his mask drawn back and a slightly embarrassed look on his face. He's scuffed his knees, but otherwise he looks fine. 'You OK?' Hot Spot asks him, and he just nods, then the image dissolves.

First Aid leans forward, fascinated- the memories recovered from Streetwise mostly featured Hot Spot, and it's odd seeing himself from someone else's perspective. "Does that look like Iacon to you?" He indicates the buildings on the screen.

"I don't know," Hot Spot says. "Could be..."

Perceptor leans over to reclaim his data pad. "We should proceed while the scan is ongoing- ah, the decryption subroutines have already deciphered a second fragment of your code, Hot Spot."

"Yes, of course," Hot Spot says. "Keep going."

"This segment of your code is again, in the same location of your file structure as one section of Streetwise and First Aid's code which was related to their unique alt modes. It appears to describe a very large mech- the mass is equal to your own- but the dimensions to not match up exactly to your own current mode. I speculate that you have a third mode of some sort, which again, would fit with our hypothesis."

First Aid adds, "Ratchet said that my cog system is more typical of triple changers- and Alpha implied that I have three modes as well, one of the times I spoke with him previously. It would make sense that Hot Spot does as well."

"The third one being the combined mode?" Hot Spot follows Perceptor with his optics, trying not to move his head. "In what ways don't the dimensions match up?"

Perceptor says, "Primarily, it appears that this mode lacks limbs of its own. Presumably your frame possesses some means of connecting your systems to those of your brothers. I believe-" He taps on the screen. "Ah, yes. I believe that the reason for the conditional cessation of function in Streetwise and First Aid's secondary systems- coolant circulation, in particular- is that your own code here takes over control of those functions for your combined systems."

Hot Spot just listens. He isn't sure whether that thing about the coolant is a good or a bad thing.

First Aid says, "Are there any more memories, Perceptor?"

Perceptor looks at the pad again and nods. "It appears that several memories have decrypted themselves while we were conversing. The decryption subroutines are becoming more efficacious with additional application of data to sample, exactly as we had hoped." He turns the screen again to angle it so that all three of them can view it.

This time they're indoors. Clean, grey walls give way to tinted windows, but it's impossible to see what's outside. A tan and white mech sits on the edge of a table, talking in hushed whispers with Blades, while Streetwise and First Aid sit - as Hot Spot appears to do - in solitude, lost in their own thoughts.

Then the room's only door opens and a sleek femme walks in, all dark grey metal with stern orange optics. She quirks a smile. 'Are you ready?' The memory fades.

"When was that?" First Aid asks.

"Does it say?" Hot Spot asks.

Perceptor checks. "It appears to be 0.85 cycles ago- that would nearly correspond- within a cycle- to one of your own memories, First Aid- the audio file explaining to you how the partition system would be set up."

First Aid clears his vocalizer. "You said there was more than one memory?"

"Ah, yes," Perceptor replies, and taps the screen a few times again.

The screen flickers, then goes blank for a moment. When the image re-emerges, half the screen is taken up by a solid vertical line. Then the view shifts enough that it becomes clear that the line is a door jamb. Hot Spot's fingers are in view, wrapped around the jamb, and the audio feed picks up the subtle whoosh of coolant rushing around his frame. All that is visible of the room is a corner, shrouded in shadow - all the action is happening in the portion blocked from view by the door jamb and the wall.

Whoever's in the room, they don't know he's there. 'They're in danger.' A femme's voice, very similar to the grey femme from before - perhaps the same? Then a male voice, strained and obviously unhappy, 'We'll have to close down the program. If they're taken, if the enemy finds them...'

The femme again, 'I know.' She sounds bitter, resigned.

A flicker of green passes beyond the door, and the vista shifts as Hot Spot draws back. It was just an elbow, and it isn't clear whose it is.

Another femme speaks, 'We'll take good care of them. But we need to split them up, you know it.'

'It won't be good for them,' another mech says, and this voice is familiar, Coruscate. 'We didn't design them to function apart. They belong together.'

'And they can be together,' the first femme says. 'When the danger's passed. They'll be everything we designed them to be, and more.'

A laugh, as bitter as the first femme's tone. 'The danger will never pass.'

First Aid breathes, "Those must be our creators- the ones Alpha mentioned."

"Yeah," Hot Spot sighs. He realizes he's become tense, and makes an effort to relax. "They didn't want to split us up. Something really bad must have happened."

Perceptor notices Hot Spot's tension. "If the scan is provoking discomfort, we can decrease the granularity to lessen the effect on you, Hot Spot." He offers.

"No no, that's all right," Hot Spot says. "I'm fine."

"As long as you are experiencing no undue symptoms, we shall continue," Perceptor replies with a nod. "Here's a bit more code." He hmms thoughtfully.

"This code here," Perceptor taps a line on the screen, highlighting it-"This entire partition has never been activated- the directories on it were created approximately 3.5 vorns ago, but none have been accessed since then. I believe this partition is somehow linked to your combined forms. As I recall, First Aid, your secondary partition was the same way."

"What does it tell us?" Hot Spot asks.

Perceptor pauses. "This is wholly speculative," he temporizes. "But I do not believe that your combined form has ever been activated. Perhaps your creators had not finished it, or were forced to place you in hiding before you had matured sufficiently to utilize that transformation."

First Aid says, "If they didn't finish it... maybe that's why Streetwise and my alt modes are locked?"

"Maybe," Hot Spot says. He tries not to be disappointed and fails. What use is a combiner team that can't combine?

"Have faith," Perceptor says. "While the decryption of your code has proven difficult, it is far from insurmountable, and nothing I have seen indicates that your coding is unfinished in any way."

"That's good," Hot Spot says, although it isn't all that reassuring. "I wonder if they went into hiding. Our creators, I mean. They could have gone into hiding and sent us into hiding too. Or tried to."

Perceptor says "Ahah! Another memory decoded." He turns the screen again.

This time, the visual feed is fragmented. A flat expanse of metal fills the screen, something bulbous extending from it, and it takes a moment for perspective to become clear. It's a ceiling; the bulbous thing is a light fixture, but it isn't on. Light comes from elsewhere. 'He's awake!' a male voice, triumphant. Then the grey femme's voice, now familiar, 'Hello there, Hot Spot. My name's Metallika and I'm one of your creators. How are you feeling?' Hot Spot's own voice can be heard next, with the dull whine of machinery in the background. 'Hello,' he says, but he sounds disorientated. 'I'm fine?'. 'Everything's online,' the mech comments. 'And preliminary readings are good. Give him a joor or two, and he'll be able to take his first steps. Hot Spot, I'd like you to look at the light...' The screen goes white, a flash of a light pen. The visual feed keeps cutting out, but it's clear that Hot Spot's optics are following the light, just as he's been told. Then the light vanishes, and the screen darkens as Hot Spot's brand new optics recalibrate. Metallika leans into his field of vision; she's smiling. 'We've worked so hard on you,' she says. 'You're going to be just what this world needs.'

First Aid says urgently, "The date on that is the same as on my memory of watching Streetwise activate, isn't it, Perceptor?" It's another piece of near-irrefutable evidence for their common origin.

Hot Spot says nothing. His optics are no longer focused; he's thinking of Metallika and wondering what happened to her. Is she even alive?

"I believe so," Perceptor tilts the screen in order to access the file data from First Aid's scans. "Indeed, it is- down to the joor. Hmm, we have another memory here as well,"

This time, sounds come before pictures. A femme's kind laugh, but not Metallika. 'You'll combine when you're ready, and you're not ready yet.'

Then a huff, and the image resolves, evidently because Hot Spot had his optics off before. 'I don't want to question your wisdom,' he says, 'but when will we be ready? Cybertron needs us, you all say so. We should be out there, not in here! We could be doing so much!'

'Further tests are required,' the femme says. 'When you're ready, we'll tell you.' She's gone before Hot Spot looks her way, and all that's visible is a glimpse of white as she leaves the room.

'We're ready,' a familiar voice snaps, and the image blurs as Hot Spot turns. Blades leans against the wall, First Aid standing beside him. 'C'mon, we should give it a go.'

'Yeah,' another agrees, and it's Streetwise, an excited grin on his face. Then another mech, the tan and white from other memories, stands, an equally excited grin on /his/ face. 'Our creators aren't always right. Remember that time they said the roof couldn't take your weight-'

'It didn't,' Hot Spot responds.

'Only 'cause you jumped up and down,' Blades says. 'If you'd held still, it would'a been fine!'

'Um,' First Aid appears to be about to protest, but the tan and white mech leaps in.

'If we're gonna try this, we ought'a go outside. I think the ceiling's kinda low in here.'

'Yeah, c'mon,' Blades says. 'You know you want to. Just think, we prove to them we're ready and they'll send us out. We could be on some battlefield-'

'Disaster site!' First Aid interjects.

'Disaster site, battlefield, whatever,' Blades says, 'and you're gonna stand there and say 'Protectobots, transform and combine!' like in all those stories, and we will and it'll be awesome!'

The visual feed wobbles, apparently because Hot Spot is nodding. 'All right,' he says, and glances at the tan and white mech. 'But like you say, we'll try it outside.' Then the feed fades and the memory ends.

"Protectobots? We have a name?" First Aid asks.

Perceptor tilts the screen back towards him. "It is nearly the end of shift, First Aid, and I'm afraid I am needed for the resumption of testing on my project with Eon. Perhaps we can continue this at some other time- ah, after this. How fascinating- this packet contains alt mode scans that definitely do not belong to you, Hot Spot."

"Looks like we do," Hot Spot says. He's a little overwhelmed again. The others deferred to him, he's the central part of their combined form... it gives him a few hints that maybe he's meant to be in charge, but as much as the idea enthuses him, he doesn't want to make the assumption. "It's a good name."

"Yeah," Hot Spot looks at Perceptor. "I think we could all use a break. Thank you for this."

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