The operating berth in the center of the med bay has a drape over it, and arrayed on the drape are a series of parts. There's an arm, a pair of domes, a few joints, and some bearings slightly smaller than Ratchet's palm. The Autobot is currently running a cloth over and around his hand to remove some of the stubborn grease that is staining the drape on the berth. Ratchet eyes the ceiling and shakes his head before pitching the cloth and going to riffle in a supply closet for degreaser.
First Aid paused outside the med bay. He'd been -more- worried about Lifeline's reaction to his plans, but the other half of that equation wasn't much easier. No time like the present, though. (And the knowledge that he'd probably have to wait for Ratchet to have time to talk to him given the Autobot's usual busy schedule wasn't procrastinating. It was just practical.) "Hi Ratchet," First Aid stepped through the door, deliberately adding a smile to the determined expression already on his faceplates. "I was wondering if I could have a few minutes of your time."
Well, it certainly couldn't hurt anything, Ratchet knew, and it wasn't as though he was truly busy so much as doing busy work today. Ratchet grunts and whips a little bit of dribbling degreaser from his servos before he turns to First Aid and shrugs. "Sure, Aid. What brings you here?" he asks, leaning on the berth to face his visitor.
"I've been thinking, a lot, the last few weeks." First Aid started, wishing he'd thought to figure out what he wanted to say in advance, but it was a little late now. "I want to join the Autobots." There. Said and out in the open- not that he thought Ratchet would laugh at him, but other than that, he really wasn't sure *what* the reaction would be. "And I was wondering if you would be willing to take me as an apprentice."
Ratchet isn't quite sure what he expected First Aid to say, but he didn't expect this. It makes sense, he supposes, after the idea of changing factions sinks in. He's not really overwhelmed with the revelation -- if he'd had a credit for everyone who had expressed the exact same thought, he'd be practically sopping with high grade for life -- but then, he could personally attest to the intern's diligence. Still, no... recruit... had a friendly preceptor on the first day. Ratchet straightens and crosses his arms, grease spots forgotten and ignored. "I see," he says, venting some air. "You've talked to Lifeline about this?"
First Aid says "Yesterday. And that was one of the things I wanted to ask about - I don't want to stop helping her. I know she managed before she hired me, but she works too hard, and I wouldn't let it interfere with anything else I was assigned."
Ratchet nods slowly. "You're an intern," he says simply. "Your crosses won't come without clinical experience, and your job will be to pursue it wherever you can get it," he says. "I don't have a problem with you working in Lifeline's bay so long as she doesn't," he continues with a slight shrug. He eyes First Aid appraisingly. "I'll need to speak to Lifeline myself, actually. She'll know what you've done so far to prepare for your level one exams."
"Right." First Aid hadn't been thinking that far ahead, really. "I'm not afraid of hard work." He smiles.
"Catching on to hard work is a good start," Ratchet notes, "but this job won't always be hard work. Independents don't generally get the same brand of... activity Autobots do." He cocks his head. "You're well aware of the way this war shoves itself into everyone's existence. Being a medic won't protect you from that." His gaze hardens. "What do you plan on doing about it?"
First Aid meets Ratchet's gaze. "I know. That's one of the things I had to think about. I can't say I know for sure." He glances down for a second but only for a second. "I want to say I wouldn't panic again, and I don't think I would. But other than not knowing enough to help you faster, I wouldn't have done anything much differently. Like you said - that's what training is for."
Ratchet vents slowly with a soft hiss. "This isn't a case review," he says, flapping a hand. "First lesson is that you need to assess what your best is, and accept it, before you set your sights on improving it," he continues, pointing at the intern. "You and I both know that the first time you make a run with the red sigil on your armor, you'll get some attention. Having to work up to what you're going to do about your first attack is a liability if you plan on working anywhere outside Iacon for your training." Ratchet produces a low rumble from inside his frame. "Don't assume that your training will be all about medicine, or that it will be as... simple."
First Aid listens with a serious expression. "I didn't think it would be. But that doesn't mean it's the wrong thing to do." He folds his arms in front of him. "I've spent most of the last orn thinking about it, Ratchet. Before I talked to you -or- Lifeline."
Ratchet steps closer and regards First Aid for a long moment, his face impassive. "You certainly seem to have thought about it a great deal. No one," he declares, "and I mean no one, automatically becomes an apprentice in my med bay. You have the potential to become a first-rate medic, particularly if you could keep your head long enough to turn over a fuel pump while Megatron and his mob came to call, and that without formal training. You will, however, work your aft and chassis off to earn your crosses." He looks down on his new apprentice. "Welcome to the Autobot army."
First Aid smiles. "Thank you." He pauses for a long moment, glancing at the parts on the berth. "So... anything I can do to help?"
"Sure," Ratchet says, not missing a beat. "All of the bearings and joints need scrubbed with degreaser, then lubricated, before the whole mess goes there," he says, pointing straight up to where the surgical lamp had been removed, a greasy stain on the ceiling panel around a narrow power conduit.