Friday, August 05, 2011, 5:59 PM
"I'm not sure how to say this," Hot Spot says as they walk. "So I'll just come out with it. Hammerstrike tells me you haven't been getting enough recharge."
First Aid huffs air through his vents but walks across the barracks to pull his datapad out of subspace and put it on the shelf over his berth. "I'm fine, Hot Spot. And Hammerstrike's hardly been around that much- I haven't seen him since the last time he gave me a ride to Lifeline's for my shift there- well, I think he was in the bay, but not while I was there." He turns to Hot Spot and smiles.
"You know he checks up on the new recruits," Hot Spot says - or at least Hammerstrike gave the impression that he did. "Maybe you haven't seen him, because you don't come back to recharge as much as he expects you to?"
"I sometimes stay in Cubicron when I finish a shift there, if I'm not back on in Iacon on the next one," First Aid admits.
"But do you get any rest?" Hot Spot presses. He doesn't like doing this, but his worry is clear.
First Aid smiles. "Of course I do. I haven't worked but 5 shifts for Lifeline since Blades came to Iacon."
Hot Spot isn't about to call First Aid a liar, but he's beginning to think that the medic's perception of 'enough recharge' and his own perception aren't exactly the same. "How much recharge do you usually get?" he says, a brief smile appearing. "And don't say 'enough'."
"Um..." First Aid appears to be counting. "It depends? At least a joor, most cycles, though."
Hot Spot gapes. "At least a joor?"
First Aid nods. "I get more some cycles." He sounds very slightly defensive.
"Some?" Hot Spot says. He shakes is head. "You should be getting at least twice that. You do know you're putting yourself at risk..." He has to steel himself for the next part, because although he knows it's true, it also feels a lot like emotional blackmail. "And your patients. Recharge isn't a luxury."
"I'll do better, Hot Spot, I promise." First Aid sighs. "I didn't think of that. And besides, I guess I'm not going to be able to work in Cubicron anymore, again, at least for a while." He sits down on the edge of his berth with another sigh.
Hot Spot sits down beside him, feeling like a right an utter tool even though his strategy worked. "I just... I'm sorry. I just don't want any of us malfunctioning, least of all because of something we can prevent." He eyes his own bunk on the other side of the room; it's beginning to look seriously enticing, what with how long a day it's been, even if he knows he probably won't recharge all that well. "There's another thing," he adds, before he convinces himself not to. "I saw Alpha earlier yesterday."
First Aid straightens up- going almost comically from dejected to curious. "You did? What'd he say?"
"We talked about things," Hot Spot says. "Me joining up, that kind of thing. But... do you ever get a weird feeling about him? Like there's something /really/ strange about him?"
"Like the fact that he can get into and out of places with no one seeing him? Including the barracks, by the way, and there's codes on the doors." First Aid says.
Hot Spot nods. "Just like that... OK, this is going to sound really odd, and I wouldn't blame you if you want to give my optics the once over after I tell you this, but... he just vanished. Right in front of me. One astrosec he was there, the next..." Hot Spot raises his hands. "Gone!"
First Aid shakes his head. "No, no, I believe you! Remember, he did it when we met him in the tunnels out towards the suburbs, too?"
"Yeah," Hot Spot replies. "But I thought he'd gone into a side tunnel or it was a trick of perspective or something. This was... there's no way it could have been an illusion."
First Aid says, "Weird. What do you think it was?"
"No idea," Hot Spot says. "I think he has tech that no-one else knows about. I'm not sure I trust him. No, scrap that, I don't trust him. I mean, I trust that he wouldn't hurt us, and I trust that he wouldn't pass on intel to the Decepticons, but he certainly has his own motives."
First Aid looks troubled, but nods. "I don't know, Hot Spot. I agree that he's not a Decepticon agent or anything, but I think he has our best interests at heart... He is pretty strange, though, and if he shared that tech, it could really help the Autobots."
"That's exactly it!" Hot Spot states. "He might not be against us, but he's not exactly on our side." He shakes his head. "He knows so much though. I don't think there's anything we could say to him that he didn't already know."
First Aid nods again in agreement. "No... I don't think there's much, at least not about ourselves, and I'm pretty sure he knows more yet. He's got a knack for showing up when you need someone to talk to though- at least, it seems like it. Does that agree with your own experience?" First Aid looks down again. "He's appeared twice when i was having trouble deciding what to do. I hadn't said anything because well, I didn't want you to think I was crazy."
Hot Spot pats First Aid on the shoulder. "I don't think you're crazy, it sounds like just the kind of thing he'd do."
First Aid smiles. "I didn't think you would- especially now that you've seen him do it, too. He showed up the day before I decided to join the Autobots, and then a few days after ... well, everything came to a head. Vespa, the memory stuff, Streetwise and Ratchet fighting.... He showed up that night to talk to me."
"Perhaps we should keep a record of when he turns up. Maybe we could learn to predict it?" Hot Spot isn't sure how this would be useful, but any measure of control over an uncontrollable situation seems like a good plan to him. And this is something he /can/ do, whereas keeping his entire team safe all at once is beyond him right now.
First Aid nods. "That's not a bad idea. What did he say to you, anyway?"
"Nothing much," Hot Spot says. He'd rather evade than lie outright, or break his promise. "He hinted a lot though, that he knows far more about us than he's letting on. But he didn't say anything concrete." That at least can be taken as true.
"He's very good at that.” First Aid smiles wryly.
"Isn't he just." Hot Spot smiles and stands. "I need to get some recharge now," he says, offering First Aid a smile which he hopes says 'and so do you, and you know it.'
First Aid nods. "Alright- me too, probably." He stands up to grab his datapad though. "But I want to review that one chapter on coolant line failure rates and causes before I do. Then I'll recharge." He sits back down with the pad, scooting further up onto his berth.
"Uhuh," Hot Spot says, giving First Aid a partially amused and partially sceptical look. He goes over to his own bunk and gets comfy. "You do that."
First Aid smiles. "Night." He turns on the pad and starts reading.
Blades rustles his blanket on the berth on the far side of the room. "You plan on talking all night?!" he asks, his optics glowing at the other two Protectobots.
"Nope," Hot Spot says, and takes his own optics offline.
First Aid just props his datapad up against the wall at the head of the berth and rolls over on his ventral plates to read it, propping his head on folded arms.
Blades rustles the packet of energon treats as he finishes it off. He offlines his optics to recharge.