6/6/2011 (Set a few days after “Bad News/Bad News Delivered)
The entry to Iacon is a busy place, but Aid's just about had it with the half-suspicious looks and suddenly-quiet conversations that he's encountering in the barracks and common room of the Autobot base proper, and the noise of city and traffic is at least less distracting while he studies his data pad. He's sitting on the edge of the wide pedestal around a small statue of a cyber lion that sits at the corner of one of the smaller ramps spiraling off into the arts district, keeping one eye open for Swivel (or anyone else familiar in case she decides to visit again. (After all, it's not like anyone can get MORE suspicious, can they?)
A familiar young mech comes in, tailing behind a crowd of 'mercenaries' - aka, good guys who charge the Autobots extra to work for them. - possibly future Wreckers. Either way, he strode along behind carrying a few things himself. AT the guard, he holds out his pass, allowed entry in as a common visitor/trader for the Autobots.
An ambulance is travelling around the area, between the command buildings and the repair depot, making trips approximately every eight breems.
First Aid glances up at some unheard, unseen signal, just in time to spot Streetwise coming in the entrance. "Str- hey! Hi!" He says, pitching his voice to carry over the traffic noise and waving, trying to get Streetwise's attention.
Ratchet notices, on one of his trips back and forth to the command offices, that First Aid is sitting alongside the road with a data pad. He notes the intern's waving to another mech that he hasn't seen before. With a quiet rumble in his engine, Ratchet pulls up around the corner from the two mechs and parks.
Catching sight of the wave, the young white and black mech with blue optics turns to head that way, grinning a little as he shifts his bag a little "Hey! I was worried about you!" he notes as he reaches over to slap First Aids' arm lightly. His optics glance about, noting headlights around a corner, and then back once more "Glad to see you're okay
First Aid grabs his hand and squeezes it briefly before letting it go. "I'm glad you're okay, too- I appreciate the warning, even if we didn't listen... You got my message? How are you?" First Aid is smiling broadly, and talking not quite a mile a minute. "Are you going to get in trouble for being here in Iacon?"
"Nah I come here all the time. So long as I keep out of trouble I have no reason to be IN trouble right? " jokes the other mech with a grin "Yeah I got it. Got me at an odd moment though. Lifeline's been grumpy lately. Want to go for a drink?"
First Aid hesitates. "I probably shouldn't- I'm still in trouble- well... some of its new trouble..." He looks down at the data pad in his lap and marks his place. "But it should be okay." The Red Guardian Inn's a public part of Iacon, after all...
Ratchet has his radios running with some additional equipment, compliments of Jazz and Bumblebee. He notices something he hasn't detected before on the nearby airwaves... namely, an odd prefix on location pings coming from both First Aid and the newcomer mech. He frowns to himself, but keeps scanning.
"Works for me! They have really good stuff I find." notes Streetwise. He then pauses "Is your friend coming?" he asks
First Aid stands up, subspacing his data pad and hopping off the block he's perched on. He blinks. "Friend?"
Ratchet turns off his headlamps and transforms before he strides over to the pair. "First Aid," he greets with a nod. He looks at Streetwise expectantly.
About to respond, Streetwise turns towards Ratchet. Straightening, he smiles politely "Hello sir!" he greets, dipping his head '... Doctor, rather!" he notes the markings a moment later
First Aid says "Hi Ratchet." He looks ... surprisingly cheerful, really, considering the last day or two. He starts to introduce Streetwise and then... pauses, in an amazing act of common sense. "I didn't know you were there." He says instead.
Ratchet cocks his head and holds his mouth in a grim line. "I'm the investigation arm, at the moment," he says, purposely cryptic in front of Streetwise. "You both have an interesting trait in common," he says.
"Oh, cross-training?" asks Streetwise, still innocent and polite. He then pauses, his smile faltering "A trait in common? Aside from being so young our paint still is drying?" he jokes with a chuckle "Were you coming for a drink too then?"
First Aid looks confused. "I'm sorry- was I not supposed to be out here?" First Aid says. "What do you mean, trait in common?"
Ratchet stops short of reaching into his subspace and pulling out the radio device. "You've been pinging each other with location data since he's come through the gate," Ratchet replies, temporarily ignoring Streetwise's conversation. "And both of you -- each -- have been issuing the pings with the same prefixes," he says with a sigh, "which also happen to not be encoded on Autobot cryptography." He quirks an optic ridge, then turns his attention to Streetwise. "Drinking? Really? You're here just to drink?"
"Pinging each... other? " the act was somewhat dropped as Streetwise frowns, looking at First Aid in confusion, and then back "I haven't been... at least, I don’t think I’ve been. Not surprised about the Autobot Cryptography. I'm not an Autobot. And yes, drinking and visiting First Aid. He's become a friend of mine. I also run errands for one of the traders in the commercial district ' he holds up his pass - a legit one.
First Aid is also looking confused. "I don't know what you're talking about, Ratchet. I'm not doing anything. I think?" His expression shifts from confused over to worried. "Unless this is something... is it the same type of encryption as the other data in my core?" He glances at Streetwise, torn between wanting to preserve the small friendship forming between them and worry about what's behind the encryption. "And it's got something to do with Streetwise?"
"I've got both pings recorded and located. They're coming from both of you, because I'm fairly sure they're not coming from that lamppost and this cyber lion," Ratchet replies after a long vent of air. "The encryption appears to be similar, yes, and I know that the data core crypto doesn't look like anything in the civilian records," he says, nodding to Streetwise. "A scan will tell me just how deep this commonality runs," he says, crossing his arms and watching both mechs.
Streetwise fidgeted a little bit. He actually glances at the Cyber lion, and then back to Ratchet again "And if they do match, then what? What would that mean?" he asks, skeptically, and a little suspicious.
First Aid looks more curious than suspicious now. "Can you scan us, then, and maybe figure it out?" He says, hopefully. "Now?" He looks at Streetwise. "Please, you can trust Ratchet= he won't do anything to hurt you."
"I think I heard the same thing about Lifeline." mutters Streetwise. First Aid says impatiently, grabbing Streetwise's hand. "Lifeline wouldn't either- they're /medics/. Please?"
"I can't make any guarantees," Ratchet tells First Aid, "but certainly it would be valuable evidence. And I want to know," he says in a low growl at Streetwise's muttered remark.
"She tried to grab me and drag me into her shop." explains Streetwise simply. He looks at Ratchet again, frowning. He seemed reluctant still " Valuable evidence of... what?"
First Aid says "Oh, that... Swivel told me about that... I don't know what she was doing, but she wouldn't have hurt you- there had to be a good reason for it." He turns his very best turbopuppy look on Streetwise.
"If you present with the same data arrangement that First Aid does," Ratchet says, cocking his head toward his suspended intern, "and you're a civilian, it lends credence to First Aid's civilian history. Your ages would still be in question, but if you're both saddled with the same data load, at least the load wasn't targeted," he notes. "I'd need to scan your memory in full to confirm the configuration."
"Memory files? " his optics darkened "Sorry, I can't consent to that then." states Streetwise. He looks towards First Aid, then quickly looks away before that look draw him in "Shall we go for a drink?"
First Aid looks slightly panicked. "Please, Streetwise? I mean... you said your father's mechs found you wandering in Cubicron, right? Maybe it's, your past, locked up the same way whatever's in my core is..."
Ratchet's arms drop to his sides and his knees bend slightly while his hand briefly disappears into his subspace. He regards Streetwise and First Aid with narrowed optics.
Streetwise stiffened at First Aids' words, and his optics brightened as he sharply turned to stare at the other sparkling now in shock. Finally though he speaks "I... don’t feel good. I think I'll skip the drink this time..." he starts to back up, not turning his back towards either of them.
He also tries to release First Aids' hand.
Ratchet picks up the dicebag and rolls against his dexterity <Wrench strike to Streetwise's noggin>. Ratchet's roll succeeds!
Streetwise bolts... but held onto by First Aid, the wrench slams into the side of his head. He let out a cry of pain heard by others nearby as he staggered, disoriented now "... HELP! ATTACK!" he shouted, dazedly as he twisted his arm.
First Aid looks horrified. "Ratchet!" He doesn't let go of Streetwise's arm though, more out of startlement than design, though...
Ratchet rolls his optics, annoyed at mechs that can't be smart enough to pass out when they're struck. He reaches under Streetwise's helm to pull a few cables from the base of the civilian mech's head, then slaps the side of the helm to draw what fleeting attention Streetwise has left before he finally slips into unconsciousness. "Shut up!" he hisses.
Hammerstrike had just finished his round and was enroute to his barracks when shouting caught his attention. Attention earned, Hammerstrike moves with long quick strides without breaking into a run, keen on investigating the source.
"Let go of m-" his voice cuts off, a flash of fear on the youths' face as he was grabbed. He struggled a moment longer, fingers gripping hard into Ratchets' before his body starting to go limp and slumping over.
Upon coming upon a somewhat grizzly scene of the CMO tearing at cables and rendering a clearly fearful mech unconscious, Hammerstrike stops short. His usual calm demeanor drops and he looks clearly astonished, and then glances between Ratchet and First Aid, seeming lost. "W-what is the meaning of this?" he sputters before he can check his tone and stay the urge to make demands to a superior officer - even if it isn't one who he answers to, Ratchet still outranks him.
First Aid lets go of Streetwise's arm, still looking at Ratchet with a really horrified look on his faceplates. "You /hit/ him! With a wrench!"
"That happens occasionally," Ratchet replies drily to First Aid. "The meaning is that this mech is preliminarily presenting with the same type of systems that got First Aid suspended from working in the Med bay, and I want to know why. He didn't like the idea, so I made it less of a choice," he growls with an angry rev. "His next stop is the med bay. Period."
First Aid is still opening and closing his mouth in shock. Hitting someone- Streetwise! With a wrench! "But... He... "
Hammerstrike is very silent as he listens to Ratchet's explanation, glancing at the fallen mech, then back to Ratchet. He seems to have regained his cool and is back to the same rigid, expressionless Hammerstrike. As if he was not horrified moments before, he offers, "Would you like me to carry him?"
"At this rate, you'd probably better carry both," Ratchet tells Hammerstrike as he stands up and subspaces his wrench. "He won't be going anywhere once he's in the Med bay until I say so," he says pointedly, looking at both First Aid and Hammerstrike. "And I'm not giving the say so until I get those scans."
"Wots' all dis?" asks a voice from the exit off to the merchant area. It was one of the neutral traders who came and went. He frowned, optics flickering at what was going on "Wot're you doing with my delivery boy?? He doesn’t cause no trouble! "
First Aid looks from Ratchet to Hammerstrike and then the strange mech, still looking pretty stunned.
Hammerstrike had bent over to scoop up the fallen Streetwise, and had just shrugged him onto one of his broad shoulders when a new voice was introduced into mix. He cranes his neck to stare at the merchant, but says nothing. It's not his place to explain. He then goes on to try and gently take a hold of First Aid with his other arm, taking Ratchet's suggestion as a literal order.
"I don't imagine he does," Ratchet replies, fake affability overlying a sharp tone. "I'm the chief medic here, and he's being pulled for medical reasons. If he has what I think he has, he's bound for quarantine, so you'd better go to your nearest medic and get checked, yourself," he bluffs, raising his voice.
The mech narrows his eyes "We have our own medic down in Cubicron. I'll take him there. He ain’t no Autobot, and nor am I. " the mech replies "You've no right tae just take us in, we still have rights."
First Aid says "I'm coming, Hammerstrike, you don't have to carry me," Aid looks mildly annoyed at being manhandled. "Put me down, please?"
Hammerstrike glances over briefly at Ratchet, and then puts First Aid down gently, but keeps Streetwise slung over his shoulder.
"Maybe I haven't been clear," Ratchet says angrily as he draws closer to the merchant. "As soon as you step your pedes into Iacon, you're at the mercy of the Autobots. We generally don't take issue with anyone, but when it's related to a matter of health or security... or both!... I have every right to take someone in until I deem the situation safe. If everything's fine, he'll be back in Cubicron soon enough. If not, I'll be contacting the medics in Cubicron, assuming no one's hassled her clinic. Got me?" He doesn't pull a weapon, but his temper is flaring brightly.
The mech folds his arms "You also can't force YOUR laws on US. We 're here because we agreed to it, and if we dun like it, we're welcome to leave." he states "Want me ta quote the specific regulation? Not everyone likes ta have just any old medic messin' around with them. We gots rights, ones that yer own leader gave us."
Hammerstrike remains paused as a debate starts up, but does not get involved.
"I know a lot more regulations than you do," Ratchet hisses. "You want to risk this getting out of hand, when you don't even know what he's carrying? Do you? I've already got patients with this, and here he is -- finding an answer would've been nice! But no -- you want to take him, risk dealing with the consequences in Cubicron? Is that it?" he asks, practically shouting.
"Yeah, actually that IS it! " Responds the mech, striding towards Hammerstrike and holding up a hand "Give him to me. He's mine, not yers." he demands, optics blazing. He was rather agitated himself, and only the sharpest optics could sense the slight nervousness coming from him.
"... Ratchet, what is going on here? " asks a loud, stern voice. It was Prime, and his optics were not pleased as he looks from one mech to another, not angry at any particular Transformer.
Ratchet faces Prime in smoldering annoyance. "You've seen the advisory I sent you? I've found a second case," he says, avoiding naming names or specific issues, even in his ire. "I can't do anything about either until I get confirmatory data from the second."
Hammerstrike glances down at the demanding merchant, quietly intoning "I like to think he belongs to himself..." he says, although he's standing on thin ice being the one holding the unconscious mech. However, upon hearing Primes voice he straightens his posture even more, if that were possible, standing to attention. Luckily he doesn't fumble and drop poor Streetwise.
First Aid steps away from Hammerstrike, putting himself in the path of the merchant but not agreeing or disagreeing with either party. As much as he wants answers, if Streetwise doesn't want to go, this isn't the way to get things done. At the sound of Prime's voice, he freezes again.
"He's my charge though. Ah'm takin care of him. " replies the mech simply to Hammerstrike, stopping short of running into/over First Aid. He looks to Prime, and then states, speaking quickly before others could "Me helper here was coming in, and this guy just up and clocked him out. I heard him shouting so I came to see what's up. He wants to take him to med bay. I say we gots our own medics to take care of any problem, and we're both clean." he points to Ratchet at the appropriate moment.
Prime looks coolly at Ratchet, and then at Hammerstrike. He gestures for the mech to relax before stating "I did read the advisory Ratchet. But... if a Transformer does not want to consent, we cannot force it upon them. It’s not the Autobot Way."
"That issue's in the air, and you're telling me it's going to be let go on a matter of principle?!" Ratchet asks incredulously. "Isn't speedy resolution of charges also the Autobot Way? Let this go, and I've got an intern who could legitimately be held in prison on suspicion of treason. You want me to just let that go?!"
Hammerstrike remains quiet and does not relax. He seems to simply be waiting for a definitive resolution before returning Streetwise to the care of the merchant. He just stares off straight ahead, looking at no one in particular as he listens.
First Aid takes a deep breath. "Ratchet? It's okay. It's not right, just to get me out of a mess. It's not Streetwise's fault I'm in it, either." He looks back and forth between Ratchet and Streetwise, still offline. "I'd rather be suspended than have you get in trouble- or have him get scanned, if he feels that strongly about it."
"Of course not, but we also cannot FORCE someone to comply if they are uncomfortable with it." repeats Prime with his infinite patience. His blue optics thought, flickered in a silent apology to the respected medic as he looks at Hammerstrike "Give him the boy. As for you sir, I would highly encourage you to contact us as soon as you can about having the youth scanned. We'll make it worth your while if you come willingly so we can resolve this as soon as possible." He turns to look at First Aid, nodding in approval.
Being given a definitive order from the highest rank, Hammerstrike complies with a hint of relief. He walks around First Aid to the merchant, bending forward and gently unloading the young mech into the Merchant's care.
First Aid steps forward, putting a hand on the merchant's arm before he can go. "Please tell him I'm sorry? I didn't mean for any of this to happen." First Aid looks genuinely distressed.
Ratchet is fuming quietly as he wonders why he bothered to pursue this on his own at all. He glares at Prime in irritation, and vents heavily as Hammerstrike yields Streetwise.
The 'Merchant' takes up the youth, checking him over carefully. Then he shoots a look at Ratchet, before looking to Prime "we'll... consider it. But after this treatment after bein' long term merchants for you, I wouldn’t count on it." he states "We'll be departin' now. I'll send one of my boys down to get my st... eh? " he looks at First aid, and blinks "I'll uh, relay the message." he replies, surprised.
Prime nods "Please do. It will benefit you as well as others if your charge is scanned to add to our database." he encourages, dipping his head. He looks at Ratchet, and the others "Dismissed. Ratchet, we should speak I think. You too, First Aid."
First Aid looks nervous, but nods. "Yes sir."
Ratchet nods briskly. "We do, indeed," he says.
Hammerstrike nods his head and makes a hasty yet orderly evacuation of the scene.