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2016-02-25 Conjecture

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Conjecture
Date 2016/02/25
Location Command -- Ultra Magnus's Office
Participants Ultra Magnus, First Aid
Summary First Aid continues to be nosy, Ultra Magnus shares his thoughts on Drift.

The nameplate by the door says: Ultra Magnus Executive Officer Wipe your boots before entering.

There's a large desk with a smaller chair opposite and a recharge slab off to the side. Tucked neatly into the corner of the room, a large, round chair of solid construction and reinforced strength, patterned and cushioned in blue and white. A small metal table sits beside the chair with a few datapads held between a neat pair of bookends.

The desk centers the room, its largest and most prominent feature in an area distinctly spartan in decor. There is a nameplate on his desk. It says only: ULTRA MAGNUS.

The wall behind the desk is conspicuously empty. A small Rodimus star hangs on a tasteful black rectangular plaque on the left wall, in view of the main office chair.


First Aid commed ahead for his visit. He'd promised it'd be quick, but he couldn't exactly be sure about that. /Ideally/ it'd be quick. Basically he just doesn't want to draw the ire of the XO, but he's more curious than nervous. The topic in question was left vague. Medical-related. First Aid knocks on the door thrice.


The door is partly open when First Aid arrives, because Ultra Magnus interprets some things, like the regulatory requirement that officers on duty be accessible and have an open door policy in a way that is extremely literal. The music that he is listening to is quietly audible through the door, a somehow tinny, jazzy recording of a crooning tenor vocalist all 'you go your way, I'll go mine,' and who even knows. Anyway, the doors slide the rest of the way open, and as the saxophone slides and glides its way through a retread of the melody, Magnus reduces the volume on his recording so that it becomes barely audible background noise.


"First Aid," intones Ultra Magnus as he looks up from his desk. "What can I do for you?" "Well, let me first assure that the questions I'm about to ask aren't meant to be malicious in any form," First Aid begins, finding a seat quickly. "If they /seem/ invasive, know that I'm merely trying to find facts, and I think that you're the most reliable mech on this ship in that regard." He sets his datapad on Magnus' desk, bringing up a note program, then resting the stylus across the edges of the device. "Are you... are you willing to speak, ah, off-record, of certain crewmembers? Perhaps certain members of command?" It's meant to be a polite gesture, but perhaps it might've been better to be blunt. "This is some nice music, by the by."


"Off-record?" Ultra Magnus frowns. The edge of his helm lifts over the slight widening of his optics. He leans forward toward the edge of his desk, faint frown still pulling at the corners of his mouth, and he resets his vocalizer, officiously not commenting on his musical choices. "Define 'off the record'. I'm not inclined to ... gossip, generally speaking, but if you are looking for facts . . . You said this was medically relevant?"


"Yes." First Aid pauses. "Well, /I/ feel it's medically relevant." Another pause. "Parts of it are medically relevant." ... "What I mean, I guess, is I'm looking for an opinion. Your opinion. Along with the facts." The medic vents inward, picking up his stylus. "I want to know about Drift, beyond the common knowledge of him. I want to know about his past addictions. I want to know about his beliefs. I want to know what turned him. What do /you/ know of him?"


"About his--" Ultra Magnus starts to react with consternation, and then he stops. He sets his stylus down on the surface of his desk. He slides his datapad to the side. He is silent for a moment, his frown etched deep into his expression as he gives this question great consideration. Finally he says quietly: "If you want to know intimately personal details of Drift's history, don't you think the appropriate person to consult would be Drift?"


"Yes, sure, but... I'm getting the impression that he wouldn't share details, or he might skew them in some manner," First Aid answers somewhat hastily. "I try to get important details from patients pretty frequently, and they all like to give me fabricated answers, if it paints them in a bad light. I'm not trying to judge. I'm trying to get accurate records, so I can give them the /correct/ treatment. You understand how important that is, don't you?"


Magnus makes a noise: a low, basal hmmmphing sound in the depths of his frame. He falls quiet for a moment. He looks briefly at the blank wall nearest, although he probably does not expect to find answers upon its decorationless surface. "Deadlock's kill count is well known. His records as a war criminal were made a matter of public record when he accepted amnesty for his crimes. I could tell you all of those facts, but you could easily look them up in the ship's library. Rewind has conducted extensive historical archiving of the Autobots' war records. It's possible that Soundwave could direct you to similar Decepticon projects, though I admit I am less intimately familiar with those." Magnus tents his fingers and stares intently at First Aid over the set of his fingers against each other.


"Anything I could tell you about his history of substance abuse would be pure conjecture. I have no facts. For all I know, he's never been an addict and the rumors otherwise are simply that. Ask Drift. Ask Ratchet. If he is an addict, I have never seen any signs that his recovery is threatened. Whatever his coping mechanism may be, assuming he needs one, it appears to be working for him. Anything I could tell you about his religion is colored by my impression of it," he adds, with a dismissive flick of his wrist: "I think it is rather silly, but I am not especially a religious mech. I find faith as little more than a framework on which to hang a lattice of reason and common sense. Drift is a mystic who seeks out spiritual answers from every stray fragment of universal flotsam and I have never paid serious attention to his woolgathering on the subject."


Barely audible above the low jazz is the sliding, dull clacking tip of First Aid's stylus as he writes his notes. If Magnus' does in fact find Drift's drug use to be nothing more than rumor, then it will indeed end up back with Ratchet, and First Aid doesn't seem pleased with that. Yet he still presses. "You wouldn't happen to know the details of Drift's shift in alliance - ? You truly think he's not at risk of any sort of relapse?" That particular seed of doubt planted by good ol' Getaway. "You've found him to be... adequate within command? Here's where I'm seeking opinion." He tries to make it clear that he's certainly not trying to /trick/ answers out of Magnus, not that he'd believe he could.


Ultra Magnus makes another sound. This one is very like a snort. "I do," he says. "I am very familiar with them. The Circle of Light and his religious transformation were key to his choice of new identity. He was granted amnesty under the reintegration act, whose provisions are not exactly without restriction." He should know -- he helped draft the damned thing. "I have personally observed him very closely since taking this post. He is a valued officer. He has earned the Autobot badge he wears. I said so when I reinstated him and I do not say otherwise merely because we are in private." His glare intensifies momentarily; he glowers across the desk for a moment, and then looks away, scrubbing at his face with the knuckle of his hand beneath the edged curve of his helm.

"If anything, Drift goes too far to ensure the crew sees and recognizes his transformation. He works so hard to be inoffensive that he makes himself somewhat ridiculous. I perceive no risk of treachery from him whatsoever. He has sacrificed everything for Rodimus and for this mission, and would do so again if the situation demanded." He scowls, and adds as if he finds it highly irritating to say so, "Incidentally, he has personally saved my life."


First Aid begins to feel a little guilty for assuming the worst of Drift, as Magnus goes on to speak rather highly of him. He rubs sheepishly at a cheek guard, visor dimming, then scribbles down a few more notes. 'Circle of Light' is underlined a few times. "I was unaware," he adds. "Er, of him having saved your life, that is. Admittedly I'm kind of glad to hear a success story. I don't really hear them that often, when it comes to his type." He straightens in his seat, seemingly satisfied. "Perhaps I should... actually /try/ to talk to him about this stuff. I don't know him well. I just... I didn't want to offend him, you know."


Magnus vents a sigh, air coursing in a hissing release through his internal vents as he shakes his head. "First Aid, you will find that he expects it," he says. "There is no one aboard who is more aware of Deadlock than Drift. Not even myself. It took me a considerable time to accept him as an officer, and I occasionally find him ... extremely personally frustrating, for a variety of reasons." Ultra Magnus scowls again. He frequently scowls when Drift is the topic, apparently. "But the principles of the reintegration act required us to make the effort. On a vessel full of Decepticons who still wear their badge, Drift stands out as one who has chosen to embrace the Autobot Code and what it represents, not merely the freedom to walk about a post-war vessel on sufferance."


First Aid taps his stylus against his mask in quiet thought. He's not blind to the scowling. At long last he stands, collecting his datapad, and rests one hand on the back of the seat. "Hard to argue with that sort of solid endorsement. I'd be pretty flattered, myself. Thank you for taking the time, sir."


Ultra Magnus picks up his own stylus, and kind of ... fiddles with it with a sudden awkwardness between his hands. He goes, "I don't mean to flatter him," like almost flustered how awkward he is as he puts this forward. He insists to First Aid, "He's still very annoying."

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