November 10, 2011
Hot Spot heads to the refectory in the hope of finding First Aid, but there isn't another Protectobot to be found. He does, however, see a familiar face. "Hammerstrike!" he says and bounds over. "How are you?"
Hammerstrike had been sitting one a bench, still as a statue as he is prone to be, his optics barely a dim blue glow. Although he is leaned straight against the back of the bench and hands are placed stiffly at his side, there is almost a relaxed look about the mech. Almost. His stern facade is as grim as ever.
Upon seeing Hot Spot, the large, blocky mech lifts his head somewhat, turning it just a slight degree to watch the oncoming new recruit. He inclines his head deeply, his voice rumbling from the deptchs of his chassis as he greets him with a baritone, "Hello, Hot Spot." He pauses a moment, looking over the young mech before answering, "Well."
"Glad to hear it!" Hot Spot says. He doesn't sit down immediately, as he's still in the 'awe and wonder' phase of hero worship with Hammerstrike (as with all the older Autobots), regardless of the time they've spent together for his training. "Mind if I join you?"
There is a subtle shift as Hammerstrike scoots over slightly, yo make more room for Hot Spot to sit. That is as much of an invitation that large mech really will issue. "Looking for First Aid?"
Hot Spot nods and sits. "Only on the off chance," he says. "He wasn't sure he'd have the time." He smiles amiably, but it soon slips. "Did you hear about Crystal City?"
Hammerstrike quietly stares off into the empty space in front of him, his optics returning to their regular glow. "About Groove?" Hammerstrike clarifies.
"Yeah," Hot Spot says. He sags. "Just when I thought we might be able to function as a team. I mean, we've got everyone in the right place."
Hammerstrike continues to maintain his stoic expression. "Minor setback. Things will work out for the best," he says in a quiet tone.
"You really think so?" Hot Spot says. It's not that he doubts Hammerstrike, he's just searching for a little reassurance.
Hammerstrike inclines his head, turning his head to stare at Hot Spot. "Have faith."
Hot Spot nods. "I'll try," he says. "It's just..." He sighs. "You're right, I'll have faith. Primus will see us right." Primus has to, he thinks, the gestalt is important. "How's it looking outside Iacon?" he asks. "Prowl won't let me patrol. Not after... You know, what happened."
"My patrols have been uneventful," Hammerstrike responds. "Which is good," he adds after a very brief pause. He reaches over and places a hand on Hot Spots shoulder, the weight of it noticeable and yet the touch gentle.
"That it is," Hot Spot says. He manages another smile; the hand on his shoulder is far more reassuring than words. "Thankyou," he says quietly.
Hammerstrike goes silent, but keeps his hand on Hot Spot's shoulder.
Hot Spot sighs. "I was built to lead the team," he says, and the implication is that he isn't sure how he's meant to do that.
Hammerstrike is silent for a moment longer, then tilts his head. "Destinies take time." He gives a very subtle squeez of Hot Spot's shoulder before withdrawing his hand.
Hot Spot gives a brief smile. "I suppose," he says. "Wish I knew where to start though."
Hammerstrike leans forward, the slightest hint of casualness in his usually rigid posture. Soon his eblows are on his knees and he is looking over at Hot Spot with a softened look to this otherwise stern face. "You have already begun."
"And the next step?" Hot Spot says with a self-depreciating smile.
Hammerstrike remains stooped forward, but turns his head to look down at his hands. He is silent for a moment before he responds softly, "Learn before you lead, and lead by learning." He straightens up again, looking back over to the searching mech. 'You are young. No one expects you to be able to lead yet. Now, just follow the lead of the other Autobots. You will find your destiny when the time is right."
Hot Spot nods, taking it all in. "You make far more sense than Alpha," he says. He commits Hammerstrike's words to his databanks.
Hammerstrike frowns slightly. "I am younger and less learned."
"But you speak plainly," Hot Spot says. "I think it'll take me a fair few vorns before I can even begin to understand some of the things Alpha says."
Hammerstrike merely nods his head.
"Plain speaking's useful," Hot Spot muses. "Say, have you seen Prowl lately?"
Hammerstrike shakes his head in the negative. He is silent still. He folds his hands over one another in his lap. "How.. has First Aid been?"
"He's doing well," Hot Spot says. "All things considered. He'll be back on duty soon, if he isn't already. So much spare time doesn't agree with him."
"It does not," Hammerstrike agrees while shaking his head. His face shifts to a more thoughtful expression for a while, and he goes silent again.
"What's on your mind?" Hot Spot asks.
Hammerstrike frowns, seeming still to have a look of contemplation and disquiet. "Just concerned." He pauses again and then his broad shoulders sag somewhat. "First Aid's... 'friend'... Swivel."
"What about her?" Hot Spot says. He doesn't really approve of Swivel, but she's First Aid's choice of a friend and he won't speak badly of her.
"She abandoned him. He still speaks fondly of her," Hammerstrike begins to say. There is a certain look of inner struggle plain on the mech's broad face. "She sent him a letter from off planet..."
"She did?" Hot Spot hasn't seen enough of Aid recently to catch up on his news. "What did she say?"
"I do not know. First Aid said she had made it somewhere safely. What troubles me is..." he frowns even deeper, "I heard things near Cubicron. I don't like rumours. But..."
"What things?" Hot Spot looks worried.
Hammerstrike presses his lips hard against eacn other until they are an even thinner line upon his face. "She left with a Decepticon."
Hot Spot's face falls. "She what? Which one?"
"Psykeout," Hammerstrike says with clear disgust in his tone.
"Who was he?" Hot Spot says. He hasn't heard of the 'con, although he can infer a lot from the tone of Hammerstrike's voice.
Hammerstrike shakes his head. "I never met the mech. Only heard things. He's twisted," Hammerstrike offers up a slight shrug. "A Decepticon is a Decepticon. All of them are evil."
"Why would she go with him?" Hot Spot doesn't understand. But then he remembers how Swivel was the weak link, how her diary was stolen by the Decepticons, putting First Aid at risk in the first place. "I hope she doesn't come back."
"Me too," Hammerstrike agrees. "What pains me... I don't know if I should tell FIrst Aid. Upset him but let him know the truth, or let him believe she is still his friend?"
Hot Spot sighs. "I don't know," he says. "On the one hand, if she's gone off with a 'con, she could present a serious risk to him in the future. On the other, he's been through enough already."
Hammerstrike nods his head in gloomy agreement.
"It could be worse for him in the future," Hot Spot says. "I mean, if you don't tell him. Withholding information is as bad as lying. I can't lie to him."
Hammerstrike nods again. "I agree. It's as bad as lying. I can't tell First Aid until he's well."
Hot Spot nods again. "You're right, of course. But perhaps... If he knows sooner rather than later it could be better for him in the long term. His healing won't be as protracted." He says this with next-to-no knowledge of psychology at all, but with Aid's best interests at spark.
"Perhaps," comes Hammerstrike's quiet comment. He then stands. "Thank you. But... could you tell him? I am strong on the battlefield, but..."
"Of course," Hot Spot says. He's begun to feel as though it's his responsibility, which he hopes is one of those in-built things to do with the mysterious door Alpha unlocked within him. "Back on duty?" he says.
Hammerstrike inclines his head in response. He then waves to Hot Spot, and turns to leave.
Hot Spot waves back and watches Hammerstrike leave. Then he grabs himself a cube, and tries to think through how best to break the news to First Aid.