Difference between revisions of "2018-09-05 Could You Check"

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Latest revision as of 02:22, 6 September 2018

Could You Check
Date 2018/09/05
Location Lost Light - Science and Medical - Medibay
Participants Rodimus
NPCs First Aid
Summary Rodimus checks in with First Aid regarding Soundwave's condition.

It's not that Rodimus hasn't been seen in medical since Soundwave's repairs were finished, but they have been seeing a lot less of him. His arrival now to see who's around to bother is a novelty rather than routine, and his gaze lands unerringly on First Aid.

Good ol' First Aid.

Rodimus crosses directly to him without even the courtesy of a sidle around the room and says, "Hey, you got a few?" Just in case there was the slightest possibility of doubt, he says, "I wanted to talk to you about Soundwave. How're things -- you know. Going?"

First Aid looks up from where he's hunched over a thin holofile, rubbing his temples. There's a bisected model of a tiny brain module atop the large, round table he sits at. "It's going. There's been a few cases... Ratchet says it's Rigor Mentalis. It's rare. But of course poor Soundwave got it, huh? You've been talking with him, right?"

"At him." There's a brief, stricken look that crosses Rodimus's features which he's too weary to hide. He takes a seat next to First Aid atop the table, and leans to plant his hand on the other side of the model and lean down to study it. He looks a little unnerved seeing it all laid out like that. "At him," he repeats: quieter, closer to a better attempt at normal. "He's just sitting there and staring at me. I keep checking the remote sensors, making sure he's not glitching or something, but he's fine. He's just. Silent." After a beat, he attempts a bracing tone, but fails to even attempt a smile: "So, what can you tell me about Rigor Mentalis?"

"Silent?" First Aid's visor furrows. "I'd say that's better than him rampaging, but it's really not. We don't know what he's thinking if he's silent." He flicks the file to Ratchet's own paper on the subject. "It's a waiting game, apparently. Spark either overrides the mind, slowly but surely, or the spark never takes and the mind... decays."

"What do you mean, decays?" Rodimus asks. He leans to try to read the file but gives up two words in. YEAH, NO.

Penchant NUDGES THE FILE OVER. And points at some words. "Since the spark isn't refreshing the memories, the donor brain will, uhm, glitch out. So to speak. But! I'm trying to update the treatment. Sparks can do some amazing things. I'm sure I can figure it out, I just need more time."

Rodimus holds up his hands in a warding gesture, but it's too late. First Aid is already making him read things. His hands close over the screen. "What do you mean, glitch out? Like just sit there? First Aid, maybe you should take another look."

"I had planned on going down there tonight to try a spark jump with Soundwave's life cord channels open. Maybe it's not decay just yet, Rodimus. Maybe he's just... being defiant. This is some alt-universe Soundwave bent on destroying you, after all. Right?" First Aid smiles faintly with his visor.

"Yeah, but like--." Rodimus breaks off, visibly struggling to talk -- or maybe to not talk. To keep it in, when it wants to spill out. He drags his hand down his face and steadies his ventilations, then asks, quietly, "Could you check?"

First Aid watches Rodimus' fairly clear anxiety and quickly follows with a soft voice. "Rodimus, it's going to be alright. The medical team is working tirelessly on this. We're not going to let Soundwave slip away. I can perform a cognitive test on him, yes. We can make sure he's just being stubborn and not becoming catatonic, but we'll have to sedate him again..."

Rodimus chills, prickles, and then calms himself in a rapid cycle as he attempts to play it cool, gets mad that First Aid DARED TO COMMENT, and then reaches within and paste his ego so that he can reach back to that kindness. "It's hard to believe that right now, First Aid," he admits in a quiet voice. He stares at Ratchet's paper and his fingers curl. "And I feel so helpless. I wish there was something I could do. I know you guys are good. You're the best. But--."

"It's hard, I know." First Aid reaches for the file and scrolls to a particular section. "Some proposed treatment involved generating a reaction so strong that the spark cannot help but react. It's not backed by results or even science, so I haven't looked into it. But... Well, if you've been talking at him, I imagine you've been trying every trick in the book."

Searching the far wall, looking well beyond it for answers, Rodimus hesitates, then says, "We could try threatening the cassettes, I guess. That could get a reaction from him -- but to be honest, I don't know if we'd be able to tell a difference, there. Spark and mind probably the same. Same if we threatened to kill Megatron. Could use Hound's illusions for that or something, too. But -- if it's not backed by results or science, isn't there a chance it could make things worse?"

"Yeah," First Aid sighs. "We'll do the cognitive test first, then my treatment, and if he doesn't see improvement in a day, we'll consider a different route. I have to get this approved by Ratchet first. Do you want to be present for any of this? ...And I thought he was over Megatron."

Rodimus rolls his eyes, then -- more seriously -- he says, "I don't think you get over four million years of idolizing someone that quickly. There's always going to be a part of him--. Soundwave's a Decepticon to the core, and Megatron has been the face of that since the start. Anyway, I'd like to be there, for whatever you do. But if my being there is a problem, or seems like it might become one, I'll leave. My being there isn't as important as Soundwave getting better."

"Alright, fair enough." First Aid shrugs. "It shouldn't be a problem. I'll buzz you. In the meantime, find a way to settle your nerves. I usually send anxious bedsiders to Swerve's for a particular concoction that doesn't involve actual high grade. All the chill with none of the headache, if you want it."

"Ratchet's a bad influence on your bedside manner," Rodimus sulks at First Aid's still-gentle 'chill out'. He's just whining. "I'm fine. I don't know how you expect me to settle my nerves when--." He shakes his head, stilling a shiver of his spoiler into a faint twitch. "But I can quiet them at least. I know you're doing your best."

First Aid turns to Rodimus squarely, folding his arms and tilting his head. "Then talk to me. Tell me all of the stuff you're worried about."

Rodimus startles and then looks over his shoulder like it's a trap and Rung is standing behind him with a datapad. "Look, I'm not -- sorry. I mean, I'm not, uh -- whatever, but I am sorry. I know it's got to be a hard case for you, too. You're great with sparks, though. Better than Ratchet. Feel absolutely free to tell him I said that, too."

"I'm not trying to punish you, Rodimus," First Aid says, a little bewildered. "It's supposed to help. Try it. A few minutes expressing the spark. If you really believe that I'm better than Ratchet at sparks, you'll trust me here."

Rodimus still looks a little suspicious about this all, despite First Aid's promise. Slowly, GRUDGINGLY, he says, "I'm worried about ... Soundwave."

"Why?" First Aid asks, toneless but not unkind.

Gaze narrowing, suspicion deepening, Rodimus says, "Because he got his head shot off?"

First Aid shifts his hands to his knees. "Because he matters a lot to you? ...Especially recently?" he guides, as gently as he can manage.

Rodimus immediately loses the air of cool he tried to cultivate in a sidelong glance. "Not that recently," he says, looking back. "First Aid, you can't really want to sit here and listen to this, can you? I mean, where's the fun in listening to developmentally stunted, post-traumatic soldiers grapple with the idea that they maybe have a feeling? What about your feelings? Isn't this all hard on you, too?"

"You're not developmentally stunted," First Aid huffs. "You grew like a foot! And yeah, this is a difficult case. You're supposed to remove yourself from the equation, in these situations. But... I wouldn't be able to settle any nerves, if I were you. So I guess that wasn't the best thing to suggest. Point taken."

Despite himself, Rodimus smiles as he provokes First Aid into a huff -- then he immediately objects. "I grew like five feet!" He wasn't counting. But if he was. "It's not about settling your nerves. It never has been. It's about managing them, at least for me. I've never been able to do Drift's whole -- meditation thing. I envy him, that serenity. But I find my peace in doing, I guess, and there's nothing I can do here, and that's always the hardest for me. You?"

"Drift's atypical in that sense. I'm pretty damn sure most mechs would rather be actively doing something to help." First Aid considers Rodimus' question, staring over the point of the speedster's shoulder. "I think about Springer," he volunteers. "Visualizing his chassis is a soothing mental mandala. Don't tell him, though. That's a pro-tip."

The noise that Rodimus makes buried deep in his chassis is somewhere between a sputter, a wheeze, and a choke of his systems. "I can't--. You know his ship is like right there, right? Despite Prowl's best efforts to get rid of it? You can go and visit. Anytime."

"I don't know what Prowl's damage is, who wouldn't want Springer along!" First Aid grumbles. "Yes, I'm aware I could visit. But then what? Seriously. He's probably into the Thunderclash-type."

"No one is into the Thunderclash-type," Rodimus says with an absolute and fierce certainty that denies PLENTY of visible and audible evidence to the contrary. "Look, I'll send you over to talk to their medic, say we need to check in to see if they ran into, uh, those personality ticks. Their flight path definitely absolutely crossed with a possible contamination zone." He has no idea what their flight path was.

First Aid is suddenly fidgeting, hands in his lap, thumbs rolling over one another. He looks back to Rodimus, then down at his knees, then back up, more sharply... Then back down. There's not a lot to convey in the way of expression, but his visor sure burns brightly. "...What line would you use?"

"'Hi,'" Rodimus suggests, with a grin that's not teasing at all, but warm, encouraging. "Just say hi, and ask him how he is, what they're up to. You don't need a line."

First Aid reaches for his datapad to write this down, word-for-word. "Okay." Ex-vent. "Okay. I'll give it a shot."

"Wait." He shakes his head, and turns back to his holofile and brain module model. "I really ought to get back to working on this case, Captain."

"It'll be something to look forward to when you fix it," Rodimus says, pushing himself off the table and clasping First Aid on the shoulder as he stands. "I have faith in you," he says, hand a weight no more or less than the weight of his words. No pressure.

First Aid reaches to pat Rodimus' hand. "Thanks. I'll be glad to gloat about it when I do." If he feels the pressure, it doesn't show. He's already back to scribbling some wild math on the touch screen.

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