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First Aid Lifeline NPC Alpha

First Aid is returning to the industrial section of Cubicron to retrieve the power relays that Lifeline didn't have time to pick up last cycle. At least he knows where he is going this time and is unburdened by boxes or strangely-behaved femmes.

Its quiet today, not a single soul around save for First Aid. The street was empty entirely, no doors in this section.

But just ahead, as though he were not there, then there, an old mech was sitting on a box, wearing a long dark cape, immobile... blocking the way with his legs.

First Aid slows to a stop. "Um... excuse me, but.. you're blocking the way. Would you mind moving a bit to one side or the other?" He asks politely, trying to determine if the mech is asleep or whatever before trying to step over him.

The figure moves his legs, but his head turns too - glowing bright yellow optics peering down at First Aid. his faceplate was cracked with age, worn smooth, and yet it seemed youthful. He seemed to have a helmet of red and gold under the hood as he smiled "Hello First Aid."

First Aid backs up a step and tilts his head to one side. "I'm sorry, have we met?"

"Maybe." is the cryptic reply as the mech stares at First Aid intently, and then he relaxes. The optics darkened to more of a warm orange "You've had an exciting few months haven't you?"

"You could say that," First Aid says cautiously. "I didn't quite catch your name?" Demanding to know who the other mech is seems rude, but Aid isn't really very fond of mysteries that can't be solved with research databases.

"My... name? " a pause as the mech thinks about this, tilting his aged head. "Ah. I was once called Alpha. Will that work for you?"

First Aid says "Nice to meet you. Or meet you again, I guess?"

"Again, for the first time. Or the last. I get them confused. " admits the old mech as he kneels beside First Aid "What bothers you so, though?"

First Aid takes a step back- a small step, but he's still a bit unsure about the intentions of the strange mech, although he hasn't done anything suspicious or to make Aid afraid of him. "... Bothers me? What do you mean?"

A golden hand reaches out and moves to touch First Aid. A warmth would flow from it, and for a moment First Aid will be unable to move, as feelings flooded him. It was as though his entire core had been opened up to look at - and everything could be seen, even things he did not know. It all rushed past, some too fast to consciously note.

And then the hand retracted again quietly "You have a pure heart, despite your beginning First Aid. Remember this: A true mech will always know what to do, and who to do it for. Do what you feel you must. your feelings are truer than most."

First Aid stares at the old mech, unmoving and more than a little confused. "Thank you. I think? Wait, what do you mean despite my beginnings?" He pauses for a second. "Do you know where my brothers are?"

"Ahh. You remember them!" the mech grins "But I cannot say much more about them. You simply had a rough start to life. Lost and alone. " he stood, the optics near white again.

"Wait!" First Aid says. "Can you at least tell me if they're okay?"

The mech considers this, thinking deeply. Then he states gravely "I will, but at the cost of a boon in return, that I will cash in at my own leisure. " without waiting to see if First Aid continued, he says "You were scattered to the five faces of Cybertron; there each will be found, in their own time when they are ready to be found, alive and well."

First Aid continues looking sort of confused. "That- that's good to know." He shifts his weight, uncertainly. The whole idea of owing someone he doesn't know an unspecified favor makes him a bit nervous, although the mech doesn't seem to mean any harm. "Thank you?"

"You are very welcome." notes the mech as he smiles, pulling his hood forwards with gold hands. Then he glances up and down the alleyway "Huh. Look at that."

"Look at what?" First Aid turns to look.

When First Aid looks back, the mech is gone without a sound.

First Aid looked back and shuttered his optics. Twice. Counted to ten. "I wonder if insanity is contagious. Maybe Swivel has something catching and myself diagnostics have errors. And now I'm talking to myself." He shakes his head, and continues on his way.

--- Part II Lifeline's Clinic ---

First Aid returns with the power relays he'd been delayed in getting yesterday, slipping in the door with a distracted expression on his face. "Hi Lifeline. I got the relays, I'm sorry it took me so long, I hope you weren't waiting on them."

Lifeline is cleaning up after the last mech here left. "The mech who needs them scheduled to return tomorrow, so it's fine." She glances at {C First Aid, then stops cleaning and looks at him again. "What happened?"

First Aid says "... you know, I'm not really sure." He shakes his head. "I ran a self diagnostic and nothing's wrong with my processor, so it's unlikely I am hallucinating, but it was very odd." He walks across the room to the supply cabinet, pulling the box of relays out of subspace and setting them on the work surface to open the box before putting them away. "I ran into a mech on my way to pick them up who acted like he knew me. Well, he did know me, he knew my name." He shrugs. "It was very odd. I can't remember ever having met him before. I'm wondering if he knew me, before."

Lifeline hms. "That IS rather odd. Did you think to make a recording while you were talking with the mech?" She finishes cleaning up and puts everything away, then moves toward the workbench where a complex joint assembly is in the middle of being refurbished.

"... Oops. I should have thought of that." First Aid looks sheepish. He opens the box of relays and sets it into its own lid so the lid won't get lost. "It was very surprising."

Lifeline nods as she takes a seat at the work bench. "It can be difficult to remember when you're surprised." She lets the subject go at that point. "You didn't have trouble picking up those relays, did you?"

First Aid shakes his head. "Not once I actually got over there without running into trouble. Although I'm not sure Swivel is really trouble as much as a nuisance." He stepped over to the supply cabinet, removing the last relay from the old box and pulling the now-empty box off the shelf. "I'm sorry I was slow yesterday- this whole orn, really." He shakes his head. "I've had a lot on my mind, but that's no excuse, and I apologize for it."

Lifeline resumes working on the joint assembly. "It happens to everyone sooner or later." She is quiet for a few moments, concentrating on some piece or other. "Swivel did seem a bit ... scattered."

"I thought she was always like that, really." Aid says under his breath before picking up the new box of power relays and setting it into the space he's just made in the cabinet. He closes the door and walks over to the workbench to watch Lifeline work on the joint assembly.

Lifeline offers First Aid part of the assembly to clean and inspect. "You /did/ spend a lot of time in Iacon this past week. Did you learn anything new and interesting while you were there?"

First Aid takes the piece offered and picks up a rag and container of solvent to start cleaning it. "No- well, yes, I did, but most of what I downloaded when I went back was just more of the same articles I found in the library here." He'd gone over during some of the research he'd been doing about alt mode possibilities, but he can't remember if he told Lifeline he was planning to or not. He vents air from his intakes nervously, and that's not really what's been on his mind, anyway.

Lifeline says, "That bad, huh?" She finishes cleaning one part and sets it with the other clean parts. "It's got your vent cycles all out of sync."

"I really *like* working for you, Lifeline, and you've done so much for me." Aid's voice is quiet, and he's obviously nervous about what he's about to say. "I don't want you to be mad, or to think I'm making a bad decision." He pauses again, steeling himself. "I think I'm going to join the Autobots, if Ratchet will take me as an apprentice."

Lifeline stops at that and sets aside the part carefully before turning slowly to look at First Aid. She says nothing for along moment.

First Aid continues cleaning the piece of joint assembly he's holding, even though nothing further is coming off it, staring at the workbench and not meeting Lifeline's gaze.

Lifeline finally replies. "What makes you think I would be mad? I know all too well that there is only so much you can learn here. And while I have my reasons for my opinions about all three factions, you could certainly do worse."

First Aid continues to stare at the table, but puts the piece down. "Because.. I don't know. Because I work for you, and I know how hard you work and if I'm not here to do it, you'll have even more to do? Because you think they're wrong, or you would have joined yourself." He vents air again, hard. "But I think it is, and I have to do what *I* think is right. I just don't want to hurt anyone, either."

Lifeline points at First Aid. "And that's why I have no right to be mad. You're doing what you think is right. I can't fault you for that. And besides, if I need more help, maybe I can convince one of Ratchet's new recruits or Murusa's nurses to come by and pitch in from time to time. Not to mention, I used to run this clinic by myself just fine before you came here, remember?"

First Aid nods. "I know. But I don't like making more work for you, either. I want to keep working here, if I can. I don't know how much free time I'll have, but you've helped me so much since I got here, Lifeline, I want to keep helping you here, too." He reaches for another dirty piece of the joint assembly to start cleaning, unfrozen now that the hardest part of the conversation is over.

Lifeline says, "You know I won't say no if you do come by to help." She reaches for another piece as well. "Just don't go all getting high and mighty and preachy, or I'll have to smack some sense back into you."

First Aid smiles. "If I do go getting all high and mighty and preachy, please do." He gives the piece he's working on a final swipe with the cleaning rag and sets it down. "Thank you, Lifeline. For everything."

Lifeline says, "Yeah, yeah. Now go away already, you're in the way and I need to have this done by tomorrow."

First Aid picks up the dirty rags to toss in the bin. "Right. Anything else I can do to help?"

Lifeline considers. "There are two appointments left today, both routine maintenance. You can take care of them, or keep working on this assembly here. Either way."