2015-02-12 Checking it Twice

From Transformers: Lost and Found

Checking it Twice
Date 2015/02/12
Location Cybertron
Participants Rodimus, Arbiter, Ultra Magnus, Slugfest
NPCs Red Alert
Summary The Lost Light prepares for departure. There are only a few minor hiccups.

It's not all red letter days. Some days it's inventory, manifests, lists and order.

In short: BORING.

The Lost Light is being loaded for its grand trip to the stars, and somewhere Prowl is flipping a table over it as Bot after Bot after Con after Bot (no one said the crew manifest was very well balanced) make their way on board. While Red Alert marks the miscreants and vandals who has signed up, Rodimus stands before the ship with his hands on his hips and a grin on his face. He does not appear to be paying attention to his second.

Arbiter steps up to the ship, gazing up at it with something akin to admiration. Or he's stretching. All that's really apparent is that he's facing the ship. His lumbering movements make him less than subtle, so it's probably a good thing that he isn't attempting to be. As he approaches, he halts near Rodimus and grumbles, "Quite the mixed bag. No way this journey is going to be nice and quiet."

"--item 78," Ultra Magnus intones.

Ultra Magnus cuts an imposing figure to most, though certainly a less dramatic one. His hands are not on his hips. He is reading the scrolldown on a slimline tablet of a dull off-black that, with a brighter finish, would look sleek and polished, but instead looks bland and neutral, much like his usual expression. "For some reason the item count on spare terminal interface screens has been reduced by three. There are now three hundred seven. I have been unable to determine the location of the missing three screens. The manifest lacks symmetry. In fact, we now have a prime number of spare terminal screens."

It's possible he only makes this observation to see if Rodimus starts listening more when he hears the word 'prime'.

And with all this loading and embarking and sorting, a tiny stego seems to be underfoot. He's supposed to be with Soundwave, but various sights, smells, and sounds have excited the little cassetticon, nosing at whatever boxes of goods ready to be loaded that there might be next to the ship.

"What?" Point to Ultra Magnus: Rodimus's head jerks back and to the side at the wonder word. He glances up with a faint fog of distraction in his gaze as he mentally reviews the words he had been ignoring. "Come on, that's even better than symmetric whatevers, right? Hey, back me up here," he says, roping in Arbiter rather ruthlessly.

Oh yeah. He was paying so much attention.

Rodimus's comm crackles with a message from Red Alert: "Rodimus, I have a report of a Decepticon sabotaging the supplies. It may be responsible for this loss."

"Oh, come on, Red," Rodimus sighs. Look out, tiny stego! Rodimus is waving Arbiter and Ultra Magnus over to investigate even as he argues back. "What was it that was missing again?"

Arbiter continues grumbling, heavy footsteps following slowly. "Missing screens. If this snowballs into a huge dilemma, I'm going onboard and taking a nap." His slow, raspy voice, not unlike two trash cans sliding together, lends itself well to bitter mumbling.

Slugfest is still nosing among the boxes, as if sniffing and smelling.

"Ten of the screens included in the original manifest were a practical redundancy, over three hundred required," Ultra Magnus states, "which would make three an acceptable margin for error, but as we have yet to disembark, the disappearance of any supplies seems unacceptable."

He frowns at Rodimus so as to impress upon him the seriousness of the situation: "The requisition forms have not even been made /available/ yet."

He is so focused on this persuasion as they walk through the boxes that he does not appear to notice that the heavy weight of one of his solid blue boots might be about to come down on top of a tiny stego.

Slugfest goes around the corner of a box, his tail around the other side.

"Missing /screens/," says Rodimus with a tone of triumph. AH HAH. HE FIGURED IT OUT. "Yeah, what are the Cons--" The Cons, like they aren't part of his crew now. "--going to want with screens, Red?"

Red Alert's answer is no more than a mumble as he's distracted by dealing with a larger greater threat: Brainstorm's turn to come on board.

"I just said-" Arbiter trails off, aborting that potential argument before it starts. A brief moment later, a slow spark of wit provides, "It's likely they're going to use them to look at things. Or perhaps read other things..."

"Guessing at the motivations or political interests of the alleged screen thief--" Ultra Magnus begins in tones of great reproof, but he doesn't get to the end of whatever this is, because he is distracted from his directed course by an accidental booby trap.

The clump of his foot comes down on Slugfest's tail.

The little stego yelps, and tries running around, but the spikes on his tailtip are embedded firmly in Ultra Magnus's sole.

"Yeah, like they read things." Rodimus laughs (like a jerk) as he trails after the others, only to startle at the clump and its resulting yelp. "Whoa, hey, spy-thief!" He shouldn't sound so delighted.

Arbiter's gaze drops down to the noise, and after a slow and deliberate pause, he states, "You have something on your foot. If you didn't know."

"NO TAKED ANYFING!" the little stego protests.

Ultra Magnus does not quite yelp. The sound that escapes him is a grunt muffled beneath layer upon layer of dignity and restraint. He lifts his foot and stares down the whole length of his considerable height at the unfortunate that he has stepped on.

Because Ultra Magnus's habitual expression is so dour, it is unclear what exists behind his eyes in his view of any one of his new crew. Yet there does appear to be some consternation in his expression now.

"I will take that observation under advisement," he grates out dryly to Arbiter, a low sound to his voice not entirely unlike gears being ground invisibly in its depths. He studies Slugfest, even as he carefully, gingerly, sets his foot to the floor beside him. "There have been some allegations upon information as to Decepticon supply tampering," he informs the stegosaurus ponderously. "Though, Captain, I might point out the practical problem inherent in the physical measurements of the screens in question."

"Me no did it!" Slugfest says, "But look! Are hole in crate! Me finded!" He noses at a crate so that it turns, so that Ultra magnus can see for himself.

"Practical ... problem?" Rodimus repeats with a note of bemused uncertainty whispering along his words. What is practical. Does not compute. He moves around the others take a look at the hole in question. He crouches down and maps the edge with a quick touch. "So why are you stealing screens?" he asks Slugfest. For an accusation, it is delivered in an awful friendly tone -- almost teasing, really, so far as an Autobot can tease a Decepticon in this wacky post-war world.

Arbiter nods at the acknowledgement, either unaware or uncaring about sarcasm. As he watches the small bot nose the crate, he remarks in a slow, enunciated and grinding tone, "He's adorable."

Ultra Magnus looks at Rodimus. For a moment, he seems about to speak, and does not. What this effort at restraint costs him will be lost to the ages.

He turns his gaze to Arbiter next. Adorable. Between Rodimus, Arbiter and Slugfest, it is possible that Ultra Magnus is out of his depth. He takes a step back, standing stiff and upright as he looks down at the hole past Rodimus's head and fingers. "If other materials have been damaged in transit prior to loading, we will need to redo the complete inventory from the top of the list." (Which was seventy-seven items ago, incidentally.)

Frowning censoriously at Rodimus, he adds, "/By hand/."

Slugfest stomps a little feets in annoyance. "Said no did it! Only can carry things in mouf, so how could do it?"

Rodimus looks /horrified/. He could not look more appalled if Megatron jumped out from behind Ultra Magnus and declared himself co-captain. "Well, /that's/ not happening.

"Come on, buddy." Rodimus reaches out to nudge Slugfest toward the hole in the crate. "Hey, why don't you take a look, make sure nothing else has been broken in there?" He lends pointed weight to his words, unsubtle in his suggestion that, regardless of the actual state of the crate's contents, Slugfest declare them undamaged.

Slugfest narrows optics at the nudging, but sticks his head in the hole anyway. "Crate no is full!"

An attempt at translation grinds through Arbiter's mind. "He says the crate is full. Or empty." It was not, apparently, successful.

Ultra Magnus flips up his tablet to go down the inventory list and match the crate to its potential contents, the tablet lifted like a weapon brought to bear, or possibly a clipboard brought to bear, upon the problem. "This is box number 17. It should contain, item, eight containers high grade wax polish; item, ten containers weapons grade waterproofing sealant; item, six units professional grade furniture polish--"

"There, you see? He can't fit in the crate because it's full." Rodimus rises to his feet to face Ultra Magnus with an easy grin. "Nothing else has been damaged." Doesn't matter what Slugfest said; that's what he heard.

"Who would use furniture polish?" Arbiter clumsily scratches at the back of his head.

"There are numerous items aboard the Lost Light that will require maintenance materials," Ultra Magnus says stiffly. He says many things stiffly. "Even if the breached crate has not lost any of these items, the fact of the breach remains significant. How many other crates of supplies have come open? This may delay our departure--"

"Maybe other crates has holes?" Slugfest suggests.

Rodimus tries to hold back his glance in Ultra Magnus's direction at Arbiter's question. He fails. He smirks. "Well, sounds like this crate of maintenance materials is fine!"

The tiny suggestions from the tiny stego causes Rodimus to drop his eyes in horror. He widens his eyes at Slugfest. He gives an exaggerated shake of his head. "Nope, it's fine, come on. Definitely not going to delay our departure. I hereby authorize the write off of any missing items. Captains orders."

Arbiter's gaze drops back down to Slugfest, and he shrugs. A little exaggeratedly, with the unfortunate side effect of a few crates getting bumped by his arms; Arbiter does not do nonchalance well. He lets out a rumbling "Oops."

"We need to determine the extent of the missing or damaged supplies," Ultra Magnus pushes the issue, because the furniture polish and spare terminal screens are clearly the priority here. "At least review the weapons stores and other potentially hazardous materials." (Okay, so not the furniture polish.) He lifts his head, turning the new narrowness of his gaze on Arbiter.

Ultra Magnus demands, "Was that an admission of responsibility?"

Gesturing with careless nonchalance to Arbiter's clumsy shrug, Rodimus says, "There, look. They just don't make crates like they used to. That's peace for you. No more bomb-proofing shipments."

Rodimus's smile fades as he looks up at Ultra Magnus. He steps between his second and Arbiter. Grudgingly, he grants, "Weapons and hazardous materials." He is not incapable of listening to a /reasonable/ suggestion. "They will help--" He thumbs at Arbiter and Slugfest. "--and I'll redirect others once Red Alert has cleared them to help. But we. are. launching. on time."

Arbiter's gaze lifts back to Ultra Magnus, over Rodimus. His voice grinds out, "Guilt? If I made the holes in these crates, this chamber would be much more messy, you can bet."He makes a strange metallic noise that may be a scoff, or a chuckle, or a...bark?

To say that Ultra Magnus relaxes would be a gross overstatement of the facts. However, when it becomes clear that they will at least check high priority crates, the stiff line between his pauldrons seems to ease back slightly.

Ultra Magnus looks pained. It is a not unfamiliar expression on his otherwise blandly composed face. "Then I hope you will /refrain/," he says. "I will naturally assist in cataloguing all of the crates marked hazardous. Crates 20 through 24 are all supplies and materials specified for Brainstorm's laboratory."

He makes a note on his tablet. He is going to personally assess all of the other crates as soon as time and opportunity allows, but he isn't going to argue about delaying the launch over some furniture polish, Primus be praised.

Rodimus holds Ultra Magnus's gaze until they've more or less given in to each other, then nods. "Good." He turns to head off and go do other important Captainy things with a last word over his shoulder to Arbiter: "Make any more holes in those crates, and you're going to find yourself stuck here when we launch. Help with the counts. Keep me updated, Ultra Magnus."

Arbiter looks blankly at Ultra Magnus, then down to Slugfest, then back up.

"This has been exciting and all, but. I'm going to avoid crushing anymore of these crates." He turns, and begins to lumber off, taking care not to bump anything. "Let me know if you need my help."

"Yes, Captain," Ultra Magnus agrees promptly, because at least this part of their professional relationship is correct and according to form. He considers Arbiter for a moment in the sweep of his glance. It is possible that the big awkward mech fella is going to be more harm than hindrance in cataloguing existing damage by making more. He says, "Very well then. Stay out of the way during the initial count. I will require your assistance once the damaged crates are catalogued."

Since this sounds /totally boring/, Rodimus makes good on his escape. He strides off, expression clearing back toward delight as he observes the thrum of activity around the ship. Totally taking off on time.

Slugfest scampers to the door of the ship, sitting there and watching all who are coming in.

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