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Optimus Prime Shark Lifeline Arcee First Aid Ratchet Horizon

Despite a number of delays, Optimus Prime had finally managed to assemble to hear the reports regarding the situation in Cubicron where a neutral medic was being persecuted for her assistance to various Autobots and her perceived 'Bot sympathies.

Shark arrived in full crazy Cubricon guise. Grimy, greasy, rusty, just overall nasty. Just so folks would really think he was some crazy mech that didn't get in a shower... at all.. ever! He salutes Prime, "Shark reporting, sir." then takes a seat on a chair.

Lifeline arrives pretty much with Shark, though she's a bit slower to claim a spot in the room. And instead of a chair, she leans against a spare bit of wall.

There's something thoughtful in Prime's optics as he faces those Autobots gathered here for the meeting. "This situation is not one I would like to go on any longer." He nods to Shark, unbothered by the appearance of the mech. "Your report will be most valued." With a hand, he gestures for the mech to deliver his news. Noticing Lifeline he nods to her as well. "You may sit down," he offers gently.

Arcee finds a chair and sits in it when she arrives. She salutes Prime as well, and waits eagerly for what he has to say. She nods a greeting to Shark.

First Aid walks in after Shark and Lifeline, offering Shark a bottle of solvent and a cleaning cloth in passing and smiling at Lifeline as he moves to find an empty chair.

Shark glances at the cloth and solvent, then grins at the young medic. He nods to the kid then to Arcee then stands back up to give his report. "As you are aware sir I have been in disguise in Cubricon since I first heard of Vespa's threat toward Lifeline." he begins. "I was able to infiltrate the mob as my crazy Cubricon self because they are dying for entertainment down there and well I was amusing to them."

Once again the doors slide open, this time permitting entry to Horizon's none-too unique form. The blue and gold mech steps inside with a stately manner, clearing the entrances well before taking a moment to glance at all who had already arrived, and of course, to incline his head respectfully to Optimus Prime.

One might imagine Prime smiling beneath his faceplate. "A little amusement can go a long way," he agrees with Shark. Then his expression is all business. "From your time there, what is your estimation of the situation?" Horizon gets a nod as he enters; Prime has better uses for his time and energy than to flip out whenever someone is the tiniest bit late.

First Aid subspaces the cloth and solvent when Shark doesn't take them. "Oh- Ratchet is coming but he was finishing up an appointment." He says.

Arcee listens to what is being said. She doesn't have much to contribute for now.

Horizon quickly moves to take his seat, trying to be as unobtrusive as possible. The only thing worse than being late, is being late and making one's self the center of attention. He listens to what was being said as he entered, and has nothing to contribute just yet.

Shark looks thoughtful for a moment then states frankly, "The situation is nothing new really except for the fact that the mob is showing its guns out of their normal grounds. They are pushing their limits to see if Metro-X or us will do anything about it. Vespa expects there to be retaliation eventually. Especially after Lifeline showed up and had that little chat with him." a significant glance given to the medic in question.

Lifeline merely crosses her arms when Shark looks at her. She doesn't add anything to the discussion so far.

Optimus Prime nods his head gravely. "If he is pressing so hard, then he can hardly be said to be neutral," he muses. Shifting his blue optics towards Lifeline, he inclines his head. "This involves you quite heavily; what is your take on the matter?"

Ratchet arrives at the meeting and nods briskly to all those around, his eyes lingering on Prime as he scowls expressively.

Lifeline is quiet for a moment after Prime addresses her, collecting her thoughts instead of just flying off the handle as she might be prone to do. "I very greatly resent Vespa's trying to tell me who I should and should not repair. Something needs to be done so I can continue repairing people who need it without having to worry about injuries occurring on my clinic doorstep."

Shark nods in agreement to Prime and sits back down since his report is pretty much done. "Well we could storm the downtown area where the mob and gangs live. But trust me they got more numbers, we'd be seeing Primus really quick like. Gonna to have to hurt them another way but cutting off their stream of weapons and wealth." a pause, then he states, "Or we move Lifeline out of Cubricon." a little shrug given like he doesn't believe that would happen.

"I'm hesitant to attack neutrals, but it's worse to let them punish you for choosing to associate with Autobots in need," Prime says. "We can't go barging in where we're not wanted, but if you do wish our help, then we are here." He raises his optic ridges a trifle. Nodding to Shark, he vents softly. "Their numbers are that great?" His expression is thoughtful again. "Also, I'm sure that we would injure our standing with other neutrals with such a heavy handed show of force, not to mention leave us vulnerable to Decepticon attack."

Lifeline levels a dangerous look at Shark for the last part of his comment -- the mention of moving her out of Cubicron.

Horizon had been keeping quiet and listening to the situation. Truly, he had not been involved much with the mob, but extra opinions can hopefully contribute. "Well it would seem we would need to beat them at their own game. The question is how? How do we wrestle with these turbo swine and not get dirty?" He leans back in his chair, tilting his head back and staring up at nothing in particular. "We don't even have the right kind of influence or control in Cubicron that an embargo would affect their revenue..."

First Aid looks from Prime to Lifeline and back, and then glances at Horizon. "From what Streetwise said the last time I talked to him, it's not even about money anymore. Vespa can't back down or he loses face."

"I'd be curious as to how he'd expect to save face when someone dies because of this," Ratchet says with a snort. "He's using the Autobots as his excuse for this smeltery. He needs to be set right on that score. He's picked the wrong scapegoats, Prime, surely."

Horizon frowns thoughtfully. "Saving face... hmmm..." he glances over at Ratchet's remark and quirks an optic ridge. He looks as if an idea were forming, but is too raw to express. Thus he keeps his silence and continues to think while listening.

"I don't think Lifeline should have to move out of Cubicron if we can avoid it," Arcee says, "But if we have to, where would she be able to set up shop?"

Shark meets the look with a slight smile. "Oh yeah, I took a head count of each mob and gang that I could identify. If they all joined forces, the Cons would be the least of our worries." he notes. A glance to First Aid and he gives a nod, "Vespa loosing face before the other mobs would be bad for him. They'd think he's lost power and off him. He can't have that." a nod to Ratchet. "He does need to be set right. Question remains how to do it right."

"Their values are not our values," Optimus Prime says calmly to Ratchet. "The question is not whether we will help, but how we can best do so without opening ourselves up to attacks from the Decepticons or alienating other neutrals." Nodding to Arcee, he has no answer to that question...not when Lifeline is unwilling. Then he gives Shark a long look. "How much do you know about these other gangs and their disposition towards Lifeline?"

Lifeline is REALLY hating standing here while others talk about her as if she weren't in the room. But, they're having this discussion for HER benefit, so she's not about to voice her feelings.

"It doesn't matter two bolts and a nut what happens with this lot on their own recognizance, and they should understand that," Ratchet says. "Detente can be just fine, so long as it's understood to be a step in a longer process."

First Aid eyes Lifeline. "And regardless of what they think, Lifeline's clinic in Cubicron is the only source a lot of neutrals have for care. Making it safe for her to stay open- and for them to come to her without fear of retribution- is what's important."

Lifeline looks at First Aid and nods slightly. She knew he'd get it. He always has.

Shark looks over at Lifeline and considers his words carefully, then vents hard and states, "To be honest, the mobs are beginning to grumble more and more about Lifeline taking in non-neutrals. Its eventually going to be reach the point of no return and all the mobs will want to make their statements." A nod toward First Aid, "Trust me I want that too."

Optimus Prime nods to First Aid. "That is true, and that needs to be our focus." He turns to Lifeline. "Be frank with me, if we do force this issue, will your neutral patients feel threatened? We have our own medics to tend to our needs for the most part, but if you are the sole means of repair for these mechs..." He trails off, shaking his head. It usually doesn't show in his exterior, but sometimes it's hard to know the best way to do the right thing. Which aspect of the problem can be compromise, and which cannot. Grasping his chin thoughtfully he gazes at those assembled.

Lifeline raises her chin a bit as she replies to Prime. "Not by the Autobots, if that's what you're asking. They're already feeling threatened by Vespa's cronies -- I've seen less than five mechs in the past three days, and two of them were Autobots."

Ratchet vents air with a hiss. "They're going to feel awfully threatened if they think they can't reach their clinic, Prime," he says. "Some may cease pursuing care at all, I would imagine. And given some of their conditions, that could be a miserable situation for them, indeed. Vespa's interference can become quite a public health issue."

Arcee hmms. "Yeah, I think the real issue is Vespa. The Neutrals will probably appreciate it if we can protect Lifeline."

Suddenly, First Aids' radio bleeps with an incoming transmission!

"Errr.... Sorry," First Aid apologizes, resetting his comm settings to lose the audible signal. "I should probably..."

Lifeline looks at First Aid suspiciously. If that message were a medical emergency, Ratchet would have been pinged as well.

First Aid (Internal Comm) to Streetwise '"Hey, um, this is a really bad time."'

First Aid looks slightly distracted, obviously responding on an internal channel to the comm. Anyone who knows him would know that there's only two people not in this room that are likely to be contacting him via comm- Swivel, and Streetwise, and Swivel he would have likely ignored in favor of the meeting.

First Aid (Internal Comm) from Streetwise “*without even hearing First Aid, speaking quickly and a little loudly* "Where did you get that video?? Is that really your memory? My memory? " He sounded shaken "I saw it and freaked out! It did something to me! Dad found out about the video he's MAD..."

First Aid (Internal Comm) from Streetwise “*suddenly stops and is calm* It is? Oh, okay. I'll call back later... *click*

First Aid (Internal Comm) to Streetwise “'*comms back* No, it's okay- um... are you okay? Yes, that's really my memory- there's a log file on the chip with a copy of the original metadata. I'm just in a meeting. What happened with your dad?"'

Horizon leans forward again. He glances a moment at First Aid with a quirked optic ridge before saying what was on his mind. "To be clear, losing Lifeline is a hard blow to most of the Cubicron citizens. Vespa is to blame. We aren't assisting Lifeline just because she has helped us, but because we would be helping neutrals as well by allowing her to continue to run her practice. I think we also need to consider what network or resources we have in Cubicron on Lifeline's side. That will change what options are available to us."

Shark comments sincerely, "Sure the slag wasn't me, I've been out of your repair bay for awhile now Lifeline." a glance at Arcee, "Neutrals would probably appreciate it more if they could see Lifeline without wondering if Vespa's goons aren't camped outside checking if they are actually neutral." He peers hard at First Aid, "Really? Even I turn off my comm before a meeting kid." he admonishes. Then he leans back in his chair, "Anyway, only other suggestion I have is to make sure that the clinic has defenses in place to chase the mob off. Only so much I can do as my disguised self."

Optimus Prime nods gravely. "We're not here to put a dent in people's fenders. I don't want to replace the problem with another one; I have to ensure the solution we come up with really /will/ be a solution," he says quietly to Ratchet, weathering the mech's harsh words with stoicism. He's quiet for a moment, a pensive pause of thought. "What neutrals are there in Cubicron without any ties to any of the mobs?" The question is open for either Shark or Lifeline to answer...or anyone else who might know. It goes along the lines of Horizon's train of thought. He gestures to First Aid. "If you have pressing matters, please attend to them." He nods to Shark. "How much have you infiltrated into the other gangs?"

First Aid (Internal Comm) from Streetwise "Kinda okay... " admits Streetwise "That last memory recording though really freaked me out. I don’t know why exactly though. It’s how Dad found out - the guards overheard me and came to see what was up. Dad's not happy at all. I had to tell him everything - he has this way of getting the truth out. no, he didn’t hurt me. He just... well, it’s a father thing I guess. "

First Aid looks embarrassed, although he quickly smoothes the expression off his faceplates, still looking slightly distracted. He's quiet as he watches the conversation between Shark and Prime absently, although a worried expression steals back onto his faceplates.

Lifeline does a really quick bit of mental math. "Mostly the laborers -- the ones who scrape their livings out of the tunnels. Anyone who appears to have it easy in Cubicron is doing so by stepping on someone else."

First Aid (Internal Comm) to Streetwise “ '"A father thing? Are you sure you're okay? I'm sorry, I should have warned you about it better, or... something."'

"And without those heads to step on, where would they all be?" Horizon muses out loud. He shakes his head. He doesn't seem to have more to offer to the discussion at that moment.

Shark considers that question carefully, then finally shrugs. "Anyone that's in the top most parts of Cubricon are not part of any mob or gang, nor do they go down there if they can help it. I know for sure Metro-X has been trying to clean it up down there, but he is but one lawmech.. but at least he has the authority to be there. We don't have it. Just that simple." a little smile now at Prime, "I'm working on it. Takes time to convince folks you are truly a harmless crazy mech that talks to an invisible friend. You allow me free reign to get them to open their doors to me, I can better access how deep Lifeline is in with them too. Wouldn't hurt if I had some back up from Chains, maybe Jazz if he can be pulled out whatever mission he's on. Ya sent him into Polyhex didn't ya?" he ask with a smirk.

First Aid (Internal Comm) from Streetwise “I'm FINE. A little rattled from the memory, but I've been in trouble before with him, though not to this extent. I'm pretending to be calling my uh, girlfriend right now to get a little private, but he's probably listening in. hard to tell. Not allowed anywhere now without a guard. We may have to call the theatre thing off."

First Aid (Internal Comm) to Streetwise “Is he mad at /me/?! I just thought... I thought you should know. It's your past too."'

First Aid (Internal Comm) from Streetwise “It's mostly the 'going behind his back thing', though I think part of him IS impressed that he didn't find out till now.

Optimus Prime doesn't comment on Jazz's current whereabouts. However, he does nod to Shark. "If you need a few more bodies to help, then you will have them." He gazes off into space for a moment. "Officially Crystal City has no interest in the matter, but if someone were to ask some of the citizens for aid. They respect neutrality if nothing else." Shifting his gaze towards Lifeline, he nods. "What other medics are in Cubicron and who do they tend to?" he asks. "Maybe they can be key points to be dealt with."

First Aid (Internal Comm) to Streetwise “Well, if he hadn't threatened to use me in pieces as a message and shot up Lifeline's clinic, we wouldn't have /had/ to go behind his back." First Aid points out. "And if he's listening in, well- good! Maybe he'll lay off Lifeline and we can stop all this sneaking around just to talk to each other!"'

"I'd like to volunteer to help," Arcee offers.

Lifeline would roll her optics if they were designed that way. "There ARE no other medics."

First Aid (Internal Comm) from Streetwise “ I already told you that won’t work. He can't lose face in the other dons' eyes. If you want to get him to stop you gotta be sneaky about it. Impress him - don’t foolishly try to walk into his place again though. He LET you guys in. You would've been dead before you stepped out of the clinic otherwise. He's reasonable, but he also won’t do anything that will put HIS people at risk either."

First Aid shakes his head. "Vespa's got a medic but I don't know what his name is."

Lifeline says, "I can guarantee you that those medics don't give a smeg about anyone NOT working for their affiliated gang."

First Aid (Internal Comm) to Streetwise '"*sigh* It's all good and well to say that, but... how?"'

First Aid (Internal Comm) from Streetwise “ *an awkward pause as Streetwise thinks. * Negotiate. Don’t just say 'lay off or else'. He'll just laugh. push a little back though. He doesn’t WANT Lifeline to leave town, but she's seriously putting herself at risk doing what she is. She's not immortal. That's why there ARE no other neutral medics in town. Eventually one Don or another goes and just torches the place. Heck even some of her patients are dangerous to her. She can't be that blind to who she treats!

"No, he doesn't- or if he does, he doesn't let Vespa know he works on the side." First Aid says. "Vespa is the key- either getting him to back down with a big show of some sort- something that shows enough backing to let him save face if he backs off, not walking into a trap that he /let/ us walk out of- or taking away his power to hurt people."

Horizon quirks an optic ridge at First Aid. "Now we're talking. We might have to set something up, a show of power that isn't necessarily a show of brutality, and has little to not collateral damage."

First Aid (Internal Comm) from Streetwise “We... " Yes, he considered himself part of the Family " are really big on honor too. A life for a life and all that. Do something for him that's worth being left alone. That could work yeah. Oh!”

First Aid (Internal Comm) to Streetwise “"... have you tried uploading a scan for your alt mode yet?" First Aid asks thoughtfully.'

First Aid (Internal Comm from Streetwise "My what? " Streetwise was confused at the sudden change of topic "No. Why?"

Ratchet snorts. "Or strategically placed collateral damage. Nothing wrong with getting creative." He sighs. "To keep tabs on Lifeline's clinic, Vespa could be relying on a spy group of mechs, but he might also be relying on automated surveillance. I believe we have a sector of our Special Ops division that specializes in turning such systems into music amplifiers."

First Aid (Internal Comm) to Streetwise '"Well... this is all a theory. But if you've got the same encrypted files I do, I'm betting you're going to have the same alt mode errors. Errors which Ratchet and Lifeline, among several other people, are working on resolving. Is that a big enough favor?'

First Aid (Internal Comm) from Streetwise *falls silent* I dunno. I think it may be too soon to convince me to let me see you guys... I do have another idea though. " didn’t seem happy about it.

Shark nods to Prime, "Thanks, much appreciated. Whoever you feel best can assist sir." is offered from undercover mech. A glance at Lifeline. "So what gives with the Con medic I've been seeing down in Cubicron.. with you... in Vespa's lair?" A look to Horizon, "Can't do it with our current numbers. Might be able to pull it off if the Crystal City guard showed up with some guardian units though. Still though it'd only delay the inevitable. Vespa wants it his way or no way at all." a significant look at Ratchet, "I've been watching for that. Not really seen anything suspicious. But I suppose they are way better than I am."

First Aid (Internal Comm) to Streetwise '"What's your idea?"' First Aid (Internal Comm) from Streetwise Can’t tell you at this time - my time to talk is up... take care okay? I need to lay low and 'behave' a little bit. The tickets are already heading to you - look for Lockpick. You can have fun at the show. First Aid (Internal Comm) to Streetwise 'Well.. okay? Lockpick? Ouch. Okay. Um... talk to you later?'

Lifeline frowns at Shark slightly. "That 'Con medic' was there at my request, to prove that I don't play favorites. In ANY direction. That's also why Protofire was there."

First Aid (Internal Comm) from Streetwise “See you later bro!”

Optimus Prime nods to Arcee. "Do have much experience with Crystal City?" he asks. Her ways might win them over where someone rougher around the edges would fail. He looks at Lifeline. "If we keep any other medical attention away from them, would they have to capitulate to your ways, or would that put you in more danger?" he asks the neutral medic. "It would be easier to remove them temporarily than to take on the entire mob." He gives First Aid a long look. "But how much would be required to save his face?" He nods to Shark. "I'll see who would best suit the situation. It all seems to come back to Vespa. So, is there any chance we can convince, or trick, him into seeing Lifeline's continued practice /is/ his way?" Solemnly he nods to Lifeline. "Your dedication does you credit; we'll do what we can. We can hardly claim to be fighting for the good of Cybertron if we don't take time to help even the least of its inhabitants."

First Aid (Internal Comm) to Streetwise '"Stay safe," First Aid closes the comm channel.'

Shark ahs softly to that and shrugs, "Fine. How far that get you with Vespa? Nowhere right? Probably take a majorly ticked off Megatron to get Vespa to notice anything." he notes then a pause as Prime makes his points. "Trick, maybe. Take some planning though. Maybe if we got his kid involved somehow.. might just work."

Lifeline shakes her head at Prime. "I don't know who these other medics are, so I don't know how we'd find them to use them as leverage. Though it IS a good idea."

Optimus Prime spreads his hands out. "Alright, Autobots, we need a bit more information, but we seem to have focused our leads. Arcee, pick someone to work with you to speak to Crystal City. It might help and can't hurt. I will have more intel go into Cubicron to help Shark. Meanwhile, everyone keep your optics open, and your audial receptors alert. The situation is trick, and we must tread carefully." He inclines his head towards Lifeline. "Just keep doing your best until we get this resolved. If there are any neutral mechs you trust to protect you, perhaps we can give them some more immediate aid."

"Of course," Arcee says to Optimus Prime.

First Aid glances at Arcee. "Um... I'd like to help, if you don't mind it being me. I know some people in Crystal City, too."

Shark salutes and heads out to work on getting help on Cubricon intel!

"Certainly, First Aid. I'll enjoy the company," Arcee says.