First Aid follows Lifeline and the others back to her shop in the center of Cubicron wordlessly. When Ratchet splits off to head back to Iacon, Aid begs off with a promise to get an escort from Metro-X or one of his deputies out of Cubicron when it's time for him to return, and follows Lifeline on into her shop proper.
Lifeline lets First Aid in and takes a moment to make sure everything is as she left it and also bidding Protofire and the other medics farewell. then finally she turns to First Aid.
First Aid gazes at Lifeline with a very carefully neutral expression (and if he learned the trick of annoyed staring from Ratchet, well... he's an apprentice, that means he learns things, right?). "I am not asking this to be disrespectful in any way, Lifeline- but what the /slag/ were you thinking walking in there like that?"
Lifeline huffs a tired sigh out of her vents, apparently not taking offense at the young mech's tone. She sits at her workbench before answering. "Honestly? I thought he'd be sufficiently surprised that I'd be able to ... I don't know. Scare him into leaving me alone."
First Aid pulls up the other stool at the end of the workbench and sits as well. Aid looks skeptical, but it's not really any his nature to aggravate things when she's obviously feeling bad about it already. "I'm sorry it didn't work," he says simply, ignoring any speculation about the likelihood of it ever having worked in the first place. "What are you going to do now? He's not going to give up. Streetwise is right."
Lifeline shrugs, looking as tired as that sigh sounded. "There's only one thing I can do. I just have to keep going like I have been. If I change now, that's as good as admitting that Vespa won."
First Aid digs around in his subspace and comes up with two small sealed cubes of energon- nothing special, just regular rations- and slides one across the workbench to Lifeline. "Is that realistic?" He asks. "I heard-" probably from Swivel- "that they're threatening your patients directly now. How long can you afford to keep the clinic open with no patients except the ones with nothing to lose- who never have any money anyway? I'm not saying you're wrong, but... that's just not going to work, Lifeline."
Lifeline takes the cube of energon and idly turns it about on the workbench. "I know, First Aid. I know. But I don't see that I can do anything else, even if I /am/ doomed by it." She's quiet for a moment. "I can only hope that something changes over on Vespa's side, and it's in my favor."
First Aid sighs and looks at the workbench. "Streetwise tried, from what I understand. Either its personal- and well, the situation with Ratchet, I think that's personal. I still can't believe he did that-" Aid shakes his head and resumes his train of thought. "or someone's pulling his strings. Someone even he's scared of. With Robustus involved, though, it doesn't seem like it'd be the Decepticons, except that who else would care if you were associated with the Autobots or not?"
Lifeline shakes her head slightly. "This is something no one else knows. Robustus came here today without the knowledge of his superiors, so it's still entirely possible that Vespa IS working with the Decepticons."
"Hmm." First Aid puts his elbows on the workbench and props his chin on his hands. "So... what is he getting from them? And how can we stop that? I'm sorry, I've had too much time to think over the last few cycles. Being off duty with nothing to do is horrible, especially since most of my friends are still down here."
Lifeline frowns slightly at that. "Off duty? Why? What's happened?"
First Aid says, "Oh, I'm back on now. At least, I'll be back on a normal schedule once Ratchet makes it up again, and he said something about taking my theoreticals soon, too." He temporizes. "Um... well, you know how I didn't remember anything from before you and Ratchet repaired me- when I was found in the tunnels? I do, now. Some of it, anyway. There was more data in my core than there should have been for a mech my age, apparently. It was a big mess, and Ratchet got some of the Autobot engineers to work on it in order to get me cleared for work again because they were worried about me being a security risk. They're still not sure what all of it is. Anyway, that's one of the things I need to talk to Streetwise about. I knew him, before.""
Lifeline seems only mildly surprised by that. "I /have/ been wondering why you and Streetwise seem so drawn to each other considering how different your lives have been recently. But...what was all of that extra data?"
"Some of it was just memory data. I know how old I am now- Streetwise too, actually- we were all brought online together. There's more of us, but I only know one more face, and I don't know his name." Leaning back, First Aid pulls the seal off the cube of energon in front of him and takes a sip before putting it back down. "Our creators hid it from us to keep us safe- we weren't supposed to end up in Cubicron. There was an attack, and we got separated. The rest... the rest, we're still sorting out. It seems to be tied into my transformation systems. You and Ratchet never mentioned that I have a modified triple-changer cog design. That's actually how we found the data in the first place, scanning my memory to see why I keep getting errors when trying to load an alt mode. Which I /still/ don't have."
Lifeline frowns again. "Wait, what? Is THAT why your transformation cog is exponentially more complicated than it has any right to be?"
First Aid nods. "It is. Wheeljack found the code for a trans-scan in one of the encrypted partitions but it doesn't make any sense at all. No means of propulsion- it's not vehicular, doesn't match any of the stationary alt-modes he'd ever seen, and activating it looks like it's going to shut down a bunch of my systems. I haven't tried it, for obvious reasons." He pauses. "Streetwise doesn't remember anything before he was found, either. He's willing to get scanned so we can see if he has the same encrypted data- or maybe more memories- but he can't come to Iacon while this is going on, or come to you here if you'd let Perceptor and Wheeljack set up their equipment here."
Lifeline says, "I'd have no problems at all with letting Perceptor and Wheeljack borrow the clinic for that, but how is Streetwise going to get all of that past Vespa?"
"He can't." First Aid frowns. "Not now, at least. And he doesn't transform yet, either. More data might help solve the problem for me- or both of us. I haven't asked if he's gotten their medic to try and load a scan for him."
Lifeline says, "Well, if he doesn't have a medic there he can trust, I'm willing to do it." Her expression hardens briefly. "But not for his OR Vespa's sake. For yours." She then gestures to the back of the clinic. "Go get some rest. I'll lock up out here and as if Metro-X or Lift Off can give you a ride back to Iacon."
First Aid stands up and scoots the stool he was perched on back under the workbench. "Give Streetwise a chance, Lifeline- he's a good mech, you just need to get to know him better." He smiles. "Thanks. And be careful, okay?"
Lifeline hmphs faintly. "I can only give him so much while he's still Vespa's lapdog, and you know it." She pushes to her feet. "Now shoo."
"He's a lot nicer and more accommodating if people don't try grabbing him without his permission, or hitting him with wrenches." First Aid says with hint of a smile on his faceplates, stepping through the doorway with a wave.
First Aid is standing in the doorway of Lifeline's clinic, poised to head back in if anyone other than Metro-X, Lift Off, or someone else he recognizes shows up as the promised escort back to Iacon.
A familiar figure does appear. He slides around the corner into First Aids' view. It was Streetwise, in his pristine form and he looks across, straight at First Aid. A head tilt, to the alley he appeared from, and then stepped back into the blackness.
First Aid glances back at the clinic- Lifeline's still inside- before slipping across the roadway and into the alley. "Didn't expect to see you here," He says quietly. "I thought your father'd be keeping you even closer after that mess."
"I'm in my room technically... thank goodness for holograms." chuckles Streetwise quietly "But yeah, he IS irritated. Did you guys make it out okay? " he asks anxiously.
First Aid says, "Quiet as can be, no trouble at all." First Aid leans against the wall, tilting his head back and looking up. "I have no idea /what/ Lifeline was thinking. That wasn't a plan. That was just... a mess."
"Yeah... Father DID let you guys walk in by the way. Six mechs? if the other Dons could get in so easily..." remarks Streetwise with a sigh "Wish I could help more.... "
First Aid nods. "I sort of figured she'd have SOME sort of plan... I just... I don't know. Lifeline's a civilian, and it's not like I'm any kind of soldier, but..”
"Yeah. It surprised me too. And horrified me." notes Streetwise "I didn’t want you to get hurt, much less anyone else. Business is business but it’s still wrong." He at least still had some priorities.
First Aid looks faintly ashamed. "Lifeline... well... I promised I wouldn't go getting preachy or high and mighty when I joined the Autobots but... Lifeline should have left things to Metro-X and what passes for police down here, or asked for real help. We were lucky your dad didn't handle things differently." He sighs. "I was thinking about something you said, though- you said he admired her resolve but... didn't want her to get hurt. Is this just about holding a grudge now?"
"Not really.." admits Streetwise "Its all about saving face at this point. If he stops, then he shows he's rather weak and the other Dons will take advantage of that. He also thinks she needs to realize she can't treat anyone just blindly - its foolish. other Dons can't be convinced as he can. So he can't just back down so easily cause she walked in and yelled at him. It would be bad for the whole family."
First Aid sighs again. "Any ideas for a way out of this that lets him save face, because, honestly, I don't think she's thinking clearly at this point. Someone is going to get hurt."
"Not that I can think of... at least, nothing that's not drastic. I’ll keep thinking on it though. I doubt she'd be the one to say "Okay okay, back off, I'll do it!" but then quietly continue doing it under a 'don’t ask don’t tell' policy." asks Streetwise
First Aid shakes his head. "Probably not, no. I think stubbornness comes with the coding for medics." He smiles a little bit crookedly. "Anyway, on a more positive note? Wheeljack and Perceptor started decrypting the part of my memory that was locked down."
"Yeah you said that. And it involves me? ' asks Streetwise "I still wasn't sure about what Ratchet was saying... I honestly am convinced it was a trick to catch me." he explains.
First Aid tilts his head. "You haven't tried to have your medic or anyone upload the scans for an alt mode yet for you, have you?"
"No not yet. I've been looking at alt modes but no scans yet. Father's trying to influence my decision." he chuckles "Gently of course. But we've been busy with other things
First Aid nods his head. "Me either. I get an error when trying to upload one. Ratchet did a basic memory scan- that's what he wanted to do to you- that checks file sizes and meta data and whatnot- on me and discovered I was carrying around about twice the data I should have been for how old we thought I was. The extra stuff was encrypted. The Autobot engineers were able to decrypt it though- WITH my permission- and well... here-" First Aid reaches into his subspace and pulls out a data chip. "I copied the stuff for you that had you in it."
Streetwise takes the chip, looking it over ponderously "Hmm. I'll take a look at it. I'm curious about this too. I don’t remember anything really. But what would it mean? " he asks, frowning in puzzlement.
"One of the clips on there is... well, I'm pretty sure it's when I came online for the first time, from the date. You were there." First Aid says. "I think we grew up together. The ping that Ratchet detected was stored with my other encryption keys, and had been basically forever- well before I met you here in Cubicron."
The other mech shifts restlessly. He frowned, bothered at this news, then nodded 'I see, I think. I'll look over the images... maybe something will stir. Do you 'remember' it actively now, or just as a secondhand memory?"
First Aid tilts his head. "Both, a little- there's sensory data missing from most of them- a couple are just audio or just video, and the rest of the memory data that should be tagged on there* is missing. But they 'feel' like mine." He stops for a second. "I didn't give you everything- there was some code stuff that they decrypted too, that was also just plain weird. But that may just be me." He shrugs."
"One way to find out. I'll see if I can do anything. Just..." he pauses, then states "Have that scanner thing on 'stand by' or something okay?" he smiles. "Good to see you again though."
First Aid smiles. "I think I can manage that. Maybe even here, if things with your dad will relax a little."
"Cool. We'll see I guess. Stuff happens fast here sometimes you know?"
First Aid nods. "I should probably get back- don't want to keep whoever's escorting me back waiting, if they're there- and you shouldn't be gone too long, either."
"Right. Watch your head okay? " requests Streetwise. "I should be going back. Luckily Bumper's easy to pay off."
"You too. I can probably slip out fairly easily now that I'm not a potential security risk anymore, but.... well, you've met Ratchet's temper. I don't want to unless it's really important." First Aid pushes off the wall and heads back towards the street.
"I don’t want to meet it either! Fair driving!" the other mech pushes off, disappearing into the black.