From Transformers: Lost and Found
|Location||Lost Light: Engineering -- Machine Shop|
|Summary||Are they talking about force fields or is this a thinly veiled metaphor? Alternatively: Gearshift considers changing majors.|
The rich scent of spilled oil and brushed dust filter through the air of this industrious complex, a workshop dedicated to the material construction required to keep a ship operational. This is the Machine Shop, an open space with the only walls being the four that define it. This is were tools can be fashioned, parts milled and crude elements refined in a more basic, freer space than a more delicate laboratory. Like peeking behind the curtain of a theatrical play, this is the shop space where walls can be built or smaller vehicles clobbered together.
Along the far wall is a rolling assembly line style work bench, above which are various shelves of tubing, blocks and girders. Off the entrance, both side walls are decorated with all manner of machinery and crafting tools. Stacks of raw materials are kept out of the central floor space and there are bins on either side of the entrance for recyclable spare parts. The room is well lit and there is a constant background hum of the ventilation system, which doesn't do much for that oil and soot smell.
Wheeljack has been going from place to place recently to work on his projects, and this time is no different. Right now he's working on one of his force field belts. The one he tested with Cliffjumper proved that some modifications to the design are still required for optimum performance, but working within the constraints of a light, mobile belt means that he's limited for space. A lot of the components involved are not standard make in the first place, so Wheeljack has wandered his way down to the machine shop. He has a set of designs set out in front of him, as well as the dismantled parts of one of the older force field belts, and he's diligently working away at the components. From the materials stacked up next to him, he plans to be here for a while.
Gearshift has been exploring again, alone this time. Her pedes take her back to the machine shop where she is surprised to find a new face there where she half-expected hook. "Hello?" She calls out to the other figure "Mind if I come in?" She doesn't want to be rude, after all.
Fortunately, there's nothing in Wheeljack's hands when Gearshift comes in, because when she speaks, he flinches. Clearly he wasn't expecting anyone to come by! His face isn't visible, but the fins that frame his head are glowing a cheerful blue in color, and he nods easily in response to Gearshift's question. "Hello!" he echoes. "Sure, come on in. Were you needing this machine?"
"No, I was honestly just exploring the ship a bit!" Gearshift answers cheerily, making her way over to the table "What are you working on?" there's a curious light in her optics.
"Oh, just making components!" Wheeljack says, gesturing to the small pile of oddly-shaped metal fixings he's already accumulated. "They're supposed to fit in something about this long and this thin around, so they can't be standard make," he says, gesturing as he talks to indicate the size he means. "I don't think we've met, have we? I'm Wheeljack." His reputation might just precede him, but an introduction never hurt. Gearshift's optics give a flash. She's clearly heard of him and extends a servo to shake happily. "Gearshift! Pleased to meet you!" She greets with a grin. "What are the components for?" She inspects the already made pile but doesn't touch, doing her best to be respectful of the working mech
She's heard of him and is pleased to meet him? What a surprise! Most people think he explodes at a touch from hearing rumors about him. Still, he returns the handshake with enthusiasm and cheer. "Same here," he says. He has to scoot his seat back for a moment, so that he can grab the design he's working from and hold it up for Gearshift to see. "It's a portable force field generator," he explains. "I've made a few already, but I'm reworking them for a greater power output." Gearshift is in awe of the device, anything that helps people is a good thing right? "That's really useful!" Especially if they have to deal with anymore spiders, the femme thinks to herself. "Would a greater power output mean a larger radius? Or a thicker force field?" Can force fields have different thicknesses? Gearshift supposes they can. "Some of that, yeah," Wheeljack says. "The old ones were a little bit shorter, and a bit thinner." Again, the explanation is accompanied by gestures to say just how much smaller the original design was. He doesn't have one with him now, or he'd probably pull it out and show her, maybe even activate the force field too. "But I can make up for some of the need for increased space by more efficiently using what I already have, which means using some components that are just a bit thinner. Which is what I'm doing here." He gestures to the machine he's using. "And the greater power output means a more solid force field. It can hold up to more. The way things were before, it could withstand broadly applied force well enough, but point-source was threatening to break it." Gearshift listens raptly, taking in the information as her optics followed his gestures. "And a better force field means better defenses for the combat mechs which means less work for the medics?" She smiles up at the inventor.
"It should! Once gunfire isn't in danger of breaking through, anyway," Wheeljack says with amusement. "Of course, the problem with the belt is that it creates a force field sphere. Which is great for all-direction coverage, but it, ah... tends to lift the mech wearing it up into the air. I'll have to solve that one before we can use it for much. Also, shooting while inside of it is not advised."
That elicits a laugh from Gearshift "I take it you had a test subject before?" She feels bad for whoever was the poor soul that nearly float away before.
"That time it was me," Wheeljack says, his helm fins flashing a slightly sheepish pink. He had Cliffjumper help him testing the durability, but neither of them was actually inside of the force field that time. "It's just a matter of balancing the repulsion for the weight of the wearer. Might be a good idea to make a less comprehensive force field, too. Think a one-directional shield would be useful?" he asks
Gearshift notices the flush and can't help but flush herself a little, nodding in agreement "I think so, a simple blast shield that can be attached to someone’s forearm" She pats her own for reference. "Then again I think any type of shield could prove useful. Maybe the one you have now would be good for medical if it's mobile?"
Wheeljack nods thoughtfully. "If the force field can fit a medic and a patient, and if rolling to get around wouldn't destabilize things," he agrees. "You're right, attached to someone's forearm, or maybe held in one hand... it probably wouldn't take too much to turn the belt configuration to a stick," he mutters to himself. And he's hunching over the datapad now, scribbling up something or another as he starts thinking out loud.
Gearshift is happy to see him at least considering what she's suggesting. "That way you can utilize the prototypes right? Waste not want not, so the humans say." She gives a half-shrug as she watched Wheeljack, then looks at the different parts again.
Wheeljack brightens. "I hadn't considered that! Concentrating the projection of the force field would certainly solve the problems of stability," he notes, with another bout of furious scribbling. "So, are you familiar with force fields?" he asks her, once he's done with that. "These are some useful suggestions."
Gearshift shook her head "Not beyond human science fiction. It's just things that makes sense to me, things that'll help others." Gearshift gets a bashful look on her faceplates, suddenly very shy as she averts her gaze.
"Well, you should talk about it plenty," Wheeljack says. "Wish I had troubleshooting like this all the time." He's learned over time that he works best when talking about his ideas to others, so it feels good to have someone to not only ramble at, but also actually making suggestions back.
Gearshift's biolights flicker brightly. "Be careful what you wish for: I don't really have much to do around here." She teases gently, but then starts talking about all the different ways she's seen force fields used in the films she used to watch on Earth, and the ways they could have been improved upon. She's happy to gesticulate for the inventor, feeling comfortable with him despite having only just met. It was a good feeling for her.
Wheeljack will be listening intently, and nodding along with that. He's had occasion to be exposed to Earth media, but he was a bit preoccupied at the time, so Gearshift is providing plenty of mentions he hasn't heard of or seen before. By the end of her list, he's got and entire page of notes, and she can probably get the impression that he's beaming. "This is great!" he says. "Would you like to see some of the results, once they're done?"
The femme can't contain her excitement now, nodding eagerly. "Of course!" Gearshift grins at Wheeljack, engine rumbling in her glee. "I'd love to!" She's exuberant, and no longer feeling so bashful like before.
Wheeljack is nodding enthusiastically as well. "I'm sure I'll see you around-- do you work in engineering?" Without waiting for her to answer, he's continuing on, offering another option. "Or you could stop by my lab sometime. Knock first, of course, but if I have anything done I'd be happy to show you."
Gearshift starts to answer but pauses to allow Wheeljack to finish. "I don't. I'm actually.... sort of a scout? My thing is architecture and my other thing is politics." She admits. "Should I ping you before I come down?" the femme asks before adding "And if you're ever at Swerve's and see me come say hi, I'll buy you a drink." Anyone willing to give her the time of day like this deserved a freebie or two, right?
Wheeljack's blink of surprise at that is probably a bit obvious, especially with the orange that ripples along his fins, but he recovers easily enough. "Well, you could probably train in engineering if you wanted," he notes. "You've got the head for it." But he's quickly distracted from that line of conversation by her offers. "Pings are good, sure. Gives me time to put away anything dangerous." Which, considering this is Wheeljack, is very likely.
Swerve's, Swerve's... surely he knows where that is, right? He has a vague memory of the bar, anyway. He's just been focused on his projects since launch, so figuring out the rec areas hasn't been high on his to-do list. "I'll take you up on that offer sometime. I should probably stop by there every so often..."
Gearshift's biolights glow warmly from the compliment as she beams. "Maybe I should then." She seriously considered it: It'd be something to do, she'd be able to study something, and it seemed like her knowledge of Earth fiction actually helped her!
Her smile grows when Wheeljack agrees to accept her free drink offer. "All work and no play makes Wheeljack a dull mech." She dares to tease playfully again, keeping her tone of voice light.
A working knowledge of Earth fiction is surprisingly helpful when it comes to the possibilities of Cybertronian engineering, and Wheeljack is always happy to have more people to work with. Or relax with, as is apparently going to be the case. "Well, we won't have to worry about that!" he laughs, clearly not at all offended by the teasing. "I'll see you there."