10th September 2011, 8:11pm BST
(War Room, Iacon)
Hot Spot rushes down the command level corridor, his vents heaving, and pushes the buzzer for access to the War Room. "Prowl, sir?" he calls, although he's sure the room is soundproofed. He looks up at the camera and waves frantically.
Prowl looks up from his work at that, frowning slightly at the sight of a rather frantic Hot Spot at the door. He immediately unlocks it, rising from his seat as the door slides open. "What is it, Hot Spot?" He asks, wings hitching up slightly in worry. This isn't a good sign at all.
Hot Spot pauses. Now that he's actually here, he feels a little foolish. "I can't find First Aid," he says. "He wasn't in the refectory when we usually fuel up together, and he didn't come back to the dorm after his shift. I can't find anyone who's seen him, and... And..." he glances around; even down here he doesn't want to be overheard. "He's not in Iacon any more. I'm sure of it."
Prowl's doorwings flare out sharply, his optics narrowing. "And you are certain he is no longer in Iacon?" He asks, one hand moving to hover over a small, well-hidden button on the console he's standing by. Already thousands of scenarios are running through his processor, some being rejected as implausible, others cataloged in order of likelihood.
That feeling of foolishness isn't going away, but Hot Spot's concern for his team mate is paramount. "It's... intuition," he says. "Sir, I wouldn't come to you if I didn't believe that this was serious. I just can't find him. I can always find him. It's..." He can't exactly explain about Alpha unlocking something within him, and he can't find a rational reason for his newfound innate abilities, but he has to find a way to make Prowl understand. "I think it's a property of the gestalt programming. I don't know exactly where they are, but I know that First Aid isn't where he's meant to be. Please believe me, I've looked all over. He isn't in Iacon and he isn't answering his comms. I think something's blocking the signal - his regular comm and the /other/ one."
Prowl stays silent for a few moments, examining Hot Spot critically. Finally, he turns fully to the console, pressing the button he had been hesitating over. Immediately, the door to the War Room slams shut again, a loud series of clicks announcing the locks moving into place. The hologram generator hums to life suddenly, displaying a map of Iacon filled with small markers, each one labeled with a designation and a seemingly arbitrary number. "Red Alert," Prowl says, all the consoles but the one he's using blinking off in the background, "Security breach detected. Authorization code 5625-3696." He pauses, looking back at Hot Spot with a grave expression. "Lock down Iacon. Nobody is to enter or depart without express authorization from myself. Begin an immediate sweep of the entirety of Iacon and the surrounding areas with cleared security personnel." A sharp affirmative comes from the speaker on the console before it goes silent.
"I should be out there," Hot Spot says. The feeling of ridiculousness evaporates utterly, and leaving him with a terrible nervous energy. He wants so badly to be wrong about First Aid being missing, but he can feel down to his spark that something's not right. "Thankyou, sir. For taking me seriously, I mean. It can't be easy, dealing with something like us." He glances at the door, not meaning to. He really needs to be on the move.
Catching the glance at the door, Prowl's frown deepens. "Hot Spot, you need to stay here." He all but explicitly orders, turning his gaze to the holographic model in front of him. "I understand you must wish to assist in the search efforts, but we cannot risk both of you." He taps a few keys, watching as certain areas on the map begin to shift to green as each sector is cleared. "I am unaware as to how this happened, but I will ensure that it is dealt with promptly." He pauses for a moment, Hot Spot's words fully registering. "Do not thank me, Hot Spot. I am second in command; regardless of what is 'easy', it is my duty to handle everything brought to my attention to the best of my abilities."
Hot Spot forces himself to nod, but he can't force himself to accept Prowl's decision. "Please," he tries again, the nervous energy beginning to boil over into panic. "I need to look for him. I can't just stay here."
"Hot Spot." Prowl says sharply, turning his full attention to the mech. "I cannot allow that. You are /all/ undoubtedly in danger. My two current concerns are retrieving First Aid and ensuring the rest of you are safe. I am not willing to risk you going out to assist in the search when there are more than capable security personnel out looking for him." He pauses, helm tilting slightly as his comm unit flickers to life. He confers with whoever is on the other end for a moment before cutting it off, moving to type something into the console. "Elita One has set out for Crystal City to both see if First Aid has gone to visit Groove and ensure Groove is still safe."
"I understand, sir," Hot Spot says, and he does, but it doesn't do anything for the burning /need/ to be out there looking for his missing team mate. "Just give me something to do, please."
Prowl falls silent for a few moments, still typing. "Very well." He agrees, activating the console next to his own once more and motioning for Hot Spot to use it. "You have been given temporary security clearance. Red Alert has allowed remote access to all current duty schedules to that console. Check everyone whose down time coincided with First Aid's this cycle. No one has failed to report for duty, and your brother is responsible," If much more optimistic than Prowl would like, but that was neither here nor there, "Therefore he presumably would not have left base alone, and whoever he left with would have had to been off-duty. We will run down that list once you have compiled it."
"Yes, sir," Hot Spot says. "Thankyou, sir." He sits, taking a look at the console before he starts to familiarise himself with the layout. It's not what he'd choose to do, but it /is/ something, and he can see how it could have a direct impact on the search. He sets to work.