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2016-06-07 Reasonable Precautions

From Transformers: Lost and Found

Reasonable Precautions
Date 2016/06/07
Location Lost Light - Science and Medical - Wheeljack's Laboratory
Participants Red Alert, Wheeljack
Summary Red has some ideas for personal security that he wants Wheeljack to consider. (Backdated a few days, before Wheeljack was at Transit)

Wheeljack's lab is a masterpiece of controlled chaos. Shelves, stacked haphazardly with completed projects and curios, line the walls. The workbenches in the center are covered with the guts of machines in various stages of completeness, and all of the furniture is solidly built and looks ready to withstand whatever might be thrown, dropped, or spilled on it.


Ever since one of the maintenance drones malfunctioned not so long ago, Wheeljack has been spending time in his lab building a drone for his own lab, one hopefully less prone to problems. Also one hopefully more suited to the delicate tasks required in his lab than the other more generic drones that the ship uses. For now, he's focused simply on getting it functioning at basic tasks. This is why the drone is currently taken apart across his workbench, parts scattered everywhere as he works on part of its processor. His door is open, since he's not working on anything particularly dangerous or delicate, but a warning knock before entering is probably a good standard practice when intruding on Wheeljack.

Red Alert skirts down the corridor, glancing both directions to make sure he isn't being followed. Once satisfied that no one is watching him, he inches into the open doorway of Wheeljack's lab and stares at the mech busy at work. He watches quietly for a moment, gathering his nerve, and then coughs a little static to announce his presence. "Um..." Then he stalls, because his plan hadn’t gone much further than "um."

Fortunately for Red Alert, that noise is enough to get Wheeljack's attention off of his work. He looks towards the door, and his headfins flash cheerfully when he sees who is there. "Red Alert!" he says in greeting. He takes a moment to set aside his tools and puts the circuit board he was working on to the side, somewhere that it's not in danger of being bumped or knocked to the ground. Then he steps away from the workbench to greet Red Alert by the door, and beckons him in further. "Wasn't expecting to see you here." He is pretty sure he has been classified a work hazard in Red Alert's books, is what he's saying here. "Is there anything I can do for you?"

"Yes, there is," Red Alert says, but his optics are not on Wheeljack, instead skirting around the room. He hasn't been down here much. There could be cameras he doesn't know about. Bugs. He tries to focus on what he wants to ask, but the thought threatens to overwhelm him. There's more than ample hiding places for something like that in Wheeljack's lab. There could be cameras lurking in the vents. Bugs on the undersides of tables. There could be, for example, an unfinished drone sitting right now on top of Wheeljack's workbench, optic lens grey but not necessary indicative of its lack of functionality. Red Alert feels his energon lines run cold, and has to reset his vocoder again before he can talk.

"That," he croaks out, pointing at the drone, "Is that--is that operational?"

Wheeljack's optics flick off, then back on, in bafflement. "The drone?" he asks, glancing between it and Red Alert. "No, it's not ready to be turned on yet. I haven't even put in the battery, it's somewhere over there," he adds, gesturing over to shelves stacked high with stuff. Good luck finding anything specific among all of that. "Not that it would work even if I did put in the battery. The propulsion systems aren't in yet, I haven't finished the coding at all, or wired in the processor, or finished the motor controls... It's a work in progress," he summarizes with a sheepish shrug. "Why? Do you need one? I think Maintenence has a collection that you could borrow from, if you need something done quickly."

"They do?" An idea begins forming in Red Alert's processor. Possibly one of his more brilliant ones. "Something like that, do you suppose it could be used for security?" He looks hopeful.

That has Wheeljack shrugging. "You'd have to talk to someone in security about that, but I can imagine that there would be some uses for the drones, if they aren't being used already." He pauses. "I mean, if security's requisitioning some drones for use, I'd be happy to make them, but is that what you're asking for here?" he wonders aloud, as he moves back toward the table where the pieces of his drone are spread out. He starts poking at one of the servomechanisms idly while he talks.

"Not exactly for security." Red Alert says quickly, momentarily forgetting his fear and following Wheeljack into the lab. He rests his hands on the work bench and leans over it, somewhat intrusively watching Wheeljack work. "Well, it is for security, but not in the official capacity. I was thinking more about my personal security." It is then that he realizes what he has done, and nervously glances around the room once more. "I came to ask you about that, actually. Uhh, but is it safe to talk here?"

"Is it safe?" And Wheeljack is back in the land of baffled. Do you really want him to answer that question Red Alert? This is his lab, after all. He'll do his best, though. "Well, I don't have any projects running, so there's nothing to worry about," he says. Hidden cameras and recording devices are obviously not the first thing that comes to his mind when asked about safety. "Anyway, if you run your ideas by me I can tell you if I think they're feasible. Couldn't say about the drones, though, if they're supposed to be in the corridors. Is this something for your quarters?"

Not quite aware that he and Wheeljack have had a miscommunication, Red Alert nods along with Wheeljack's words, somewhat reassured. Still he drops his voice to a whisper, just in case there is something active in Wheeljack's lab that he's not aware of. "I don't feel...comfortable in my quarters, currently." He doesn't say that he's been avoiding sleeping there ever since his reawakening, nor that he's been setting up camp in various rarely-used parts of the ship. He's still not sure he can trust Wheeljack. "I thought perhaps a security grid would make my habsuite more...secure." He reaches into his subspace, and draws out a small map he had scrawled on a datapad. It's intricate but sloppy, clearly drawn by an amateur, but at least a devoted amateur. Of particular note are a ring of motion sensors around Red Alert's bed, so he can never be caught unawares. "This is what I was thinking to start, but..." he glances at the drone again, "It would only secure my safety inside my own quarters. If I had something following me at all times, recording what's around me--" He leans in conspiratorally. "--Could you imagine the possibilities?"

That... is not exactly what Wheeljack was expecting. To say the least. If it seems like he's examining the plans, at first it's because he's boggling at them. There are a lot of parts to this plan! A lot of very interesting parts. For a given definition of interesting, which might also include worrying in this context. And then Red leans in and talks about the drone again, and oh dear. "I think I'd haveta requisition some parts for a drone like that, Red Alert," he says. "But maybe you could talk to someone about something like Rewind's camera." It is maybe not the best thing to suggest, which is why he moves on relatively quickly. "But tell you what, I could at least get started on making you some of those motion sensors! Those are easy enough to whip up. How does that sound?"

"A helmet-mounted camera couldn't see what's behind me," Red grumbles, but he mentally puts the idea down as a maybe, at least in the temporary sense. "But the motion-sensors are a good place to start." At least he could stop sleeping in the maintenance shafts. It could get pretty cramped in there. "I'll leave these plans with you for now." He glances around again, then gently places the datapad in Wheeljack's hands. Once the pad is secure he begins to back up slowly toward the door, at last giving Wheeljack the space he needs to work. "We can discuss the...other ideas later. I'll be back again. Please be careful with those plans in the meantime. We wouldn't want them getting into the wrong hands." At last he reaches the door, and quickly glances out into the hall to make sure that it's still vacant. "Anything else before I go? Anything I can do for you?"

"I'll hang onto these," Wheeljack agrees. Hey, if they get lost in his lab where no one can find them, that probably counts as secure, right? Right. That's how he secures all of his important work. It doesn't count as losing them if he knows where everything is supposed to be.

"I think it's supposed to be me asking that question," he laughs as Red Alert makes his way to the door. "No, no problem. I can let you know when I have those motion sensors ready!" he says. "Let me know how those suggestions go with Security, if Tailgate doesn't do it himself." And he'll wait long enough to wave Red into the hallway before turning back to his work.

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