2016-07-04 Runaway Bubble

From Transformers: Lost and Found

Runaway Bubble
Date 2016/07/04
Location Lost Light: Docks and Storage -- Shuttle Bay
Participants Wheeljack, Blackstorm
Summary Wheeljack makes the mistake of letting Blackstorm get his hands on a force field.

The four shuttle bays accommodate one of the ship's four shuttles in each bay. The first bay is dominated by the Rodpod. Yes, it really does look like Rodimus's head. No, you can't take it out for the joy ride. Easily the fastest of the shuttles, it is also the smallest. The second (O Fortuna) and third bay contains shuttles which are slightly slower, yet not so large as the shuttle in the last. The last bay contains the Scout Ship "The Leading Light" which can carry a hundred without difficulty.

<FS3> Blackstorm rolls Repair: Good Success. (8 6 6 1 7 2 8)

The shuttle bay is empty, not a sound echoing in the cavernous space. Or, at least, it seems so until there is a loud and unexpected clang from the far end. What can only be called a wreck of a shuttle is docked there, and why no one bothered throwing it into a trash heap ages ago is a mystery. Despite this, a tiny minibot appears to be working diligently on repairs. An array of tools is spread out on the floor nearby, and he has managed to shove himself through an access panel that is meant to accomodate a larger mecha's hand and arm. Upon hearing approaching footsteps, though, he roars a greeting that echoes hollowly inside the innards of the vessel.

"Afternoon! Would you min- Oh, you're not one of the regulars here," he realizes as he wriggles his way out, black frame streaked with grease and other fluids. His optics dart around the room and then he shrugs. "Looking for something? I'd point you in the direction of one of the mecha stationed here, but they've made themselves scarce. And I'm here often enough I might as well be." Twirling the wrench in his hand once, he taps it to his forehelm in a mock salute, leaving behind another streak of grease. "Blackstorm, at your service."

When Wheeljack comes into the shuttle bay he's looking around for an open space. From the box of parts in his arms, he's looking for a place to do a project. Being wrapped up in that is probably why it takes a moment for Wheeljack to realize that Blackstorm is addressing him as he maneuvers his way out of the hatch he'd managed to all but crawl into. "Do you mean me?" he asks, before glancing around and realizing that, just as Blackstorm said, there really isn't anyone else around. Whoops. "Well, nice to meet you, Blackstorm." He doesn't offer a hand, since his are full of his crate and Blackstorm seems to be busy with his own gear. "You're right, I'm not a regular here. Maintenance doesn't usually need help on the shuttles, I guess--" not that they probably want him touching them anyway-- "Though I guess you aren't either? What brings you down here, do you mind if I ask? A project?" he asks, glancing over the spread of tools Blackstorm's set out.

Only once that string of questions is out does he glance back up, and remember something slightly important. "Oh, I didn't say, did I? I'm Wheeljack."

<FS3> Blackstorm rolls Magnetism: Good Success. (8 5 4 7 2 4)

Without even thinking about it, Blackstorm grabs the edge of the shuttle and uses his magnawheels to haul himself up. By the time that Wheeljack has stated his designation, the minibot has manuevered himself to sit on the shuttle's wing. His legs start to kick back and forth as they dangle over the edge. "Yep, you!" Blackstorm assures him, offering up a bright smile. While they've never talked before, he looks as if he just spotted a long-lost friend.

"A pleasure to meet you, Wheeljack. I was just here working out a few kinks in my old lady friend here, the Raven Wing. She's all mine," he brags, pausing to caress the shuttle's wing as if that was something to be proud of (instead of just a heap of junk). "It's a long-term project, and I prefer to do the reconstruction myself over adding to maintenance's work load."

He glances at the other's tool and lets out a long, low whistle. "Looks like you're out to work out a few kinks, too?" he adds, glancing around the room at the other shuttles before his voice drops to a whisper. "Whose the lucky one, might I ask?"

Blackstorm's climbing gets a little fascinated glance from Wheeljack, who tracks the minibots movements along the hull of the shuttle to the wing with interest. He doesn't comment on it, though he does take a step back so he's in a better position to keep looking at Blackstorm as they talk. Wheeljack laughs, and his fins flash brightly at Blackstorm's whistle and conspiratorial whispering. "Oh, none of these. Like I said, Maintenance really doesn't need me down here. I just needed some space for some projects, and the Shuttle Bay was the first place I thought to go." He shrugs, tucking the box against his hip. "My workshop's got too many other projects in it, and this kind of thing isn't really the best use of the practice rooms..." He shrugs, but his attention flicks over the Raven Wing. "Now that's a shuttle that looks like it has a story or twenty behind it! Though it looks like you've got a big job going there for just you. I could lend you a hand and a wrench, if you'd like?"

"What a shame. They could use a little extra lovin'," Blackstorm remarks, following his comment with a wistful sigh. "But if you were looking for a place to work, you couldn't have picked better. Lots of space and plenty of friendly faces down here."

When the topic turns to his shuttle, though, the minibot stops swinging his legs and goes silent. The smile doesn't leave his faceplates, but for a fleeting moment there's a tension in the way he holds himself. Wheeljack isn't entirely wrong about there being a lot of stories about the Raven Wing, but he's loath to explain how he came into possession of a refurbished lunabot. Some mecha found it morbid that someone would repurpose a corpse into a non-sentient vessel, but it was just one of many odd things mecha resorted to in the resource-strapped war. That's why he rarely let anyone else under the hood, as it quickly became obvious to any trained mecha.

"Didn't you say you came to work on your own project, though? I wouldn't want to distract you from important work. 'Sides, she's used to my personal touch." He pauses to pat the vessel again, which would quickly prove to be an annoying and persistent habit for Blackstorm.

"I'm sure some of them could use a touch up," Wheeljack agrees, glancing around. It's probably coincidence that his attention lands on the Rodpod before he looks back toward Blackstorm. Almost certainly. "But I'll wait until their owners ask, or if they get damaged for some reason. Who knows, out in space like this?"

Speaking of their owners, though, Wheeljack capitulates with an easy shrug when Blackstorm casually declines the offer. "Offer's there if you'd like to take it!" he says, stepping back and shifting his box of tools again. "You're right, though, I've got a project. Hope you don't mind if I'm doing something kind of weird, though. I can find somewhere else if things get too distracting for you!"

<FS3> Blackstorm rolls Climbing: Failure. (6 1 6 4 5)

Sensing that they were both ready to get down to work, the minibot moves to lower himself back to the floor. For a moment he considers using his magnawheels again, but down is easier than up. Besides, it should be easy to just slide down.... But, apparently not. As Blackstorm moves to swing off the wing, his hand accidentally slides on one of the streaks of grease he left behind. Before he knows what is happening, the floor is rushing up to meet him in a loving embrace.

"Ooph!" he says. "Well, that's becoming a habit for me. The floor is my best friend, can't just let me go."

Moving to sit up, he hisses low in his vocoder. After falling from the ceiling and a plane wing, it should not come as a surprise that he's a little bit sore. A new crack has also appeared on his visor, allowing a brief glimpse of his blue optics glowing beneath. With some effort, though, he manages to haul himself to his pedes.

"Don't worry about me, though. I just wish the floor would be a little gentler with me, but I can't complain."

<FS3> Wheeljack rolls Medicine: Good Success. (8 4 5 6 2 6 1 4 8 3 5)

Wheeljack is in the process of turning away when he hears the scrape and the thump of Blackstorm sliding off the wing and hitting the ground. "Whoa, you okay?" he asks, putting his box aside and leaning in toward Blackstorm. He doesn't touch him, but he scans the scuffs and the crack in his visor, and how he moves as he puts himself upright again. Wheeljack's fins flicker with musement. No signs of damage, and at least Blackstorm doesn't seem to be perturbed. "If you want it to be gentle with you, maybe spend more time with it," he says as he steps back. "But a run through the oil baths should be enough to set you right."

Wheeljack turns back to his box to check the contents, and his shoulders relax when he sees that the contents have managed just fine with being pretty much chucked aside. "Maybe I should offer you one of these force fields, when I get them working! Seems like you'll need one."

"A lot of mecha have suggested that to me," he admits, chuckling quietly. "But I just find it hard to stay on the ground, y'know? Must be something about being strapped into a shuttle hours after onlining."

The small motorcycle begins to stretch his arms, hoping to work out some of the soreness from his joints and limbs. As expected, it doesn't do much good. That oil bath sounds like an amazing suggestion, though.... Blackstorm throws a reluctant glance at his shuttle, torn between continuing his work and taking a bit of time to ease out the pain. Both are equally appealing, but he knows which is most advisable.

"I'm not sure about the forcefield thing, though. People might start calling me Trailcutter then, and I wouldn't want to steal too much of that mecha's thunder," he adds. Easing over, he peers at the panel he extricated himself from to greet Wheeljack. The motorcycle grimaces. Twisting himself in had been no easy feat the first time, and after that fall he's loath to repeat it. With marked reluctance, he glances over his shoulder at Wheeljack. "Though I might need to borrow you for something else for a moment, yeah? I think I left one of my tools in there, and I'm not sure I can reach it without wriggling in. Would you mind? I'd owe you big time."

"Guess those magnawheels must make it safer for you than for some other mechs,' Wheeljack agrees, as he shuffles through his box. "Oh, I guess the forcefields are a little like Trailbreaker's, but they're not integrated. It's just a belt, see?" he holds one up in example, from his box of supplies. "I could show you." he offers, cheerful at the prospect of sharing some of his work.

He looks over toward the hatch at Blackstorm's request. "Sure, I can help with that," he says, stepping back away from his crate of supplies to step up toward the hatch. "No need to owe me for this, though." He can fit his hand and arm in easily enough, bbeing around the height and size that the hatch was apparently designed for, and he tilts his helm to try and use the fins as a light so he can see what he's reaching for. "Think I've got a handle... what was it, a wrench?"

"Nah, I carried in something else with me. A pair of pliers," he explains. He watches Wheeljack move to fish out the tool with some trepidation, wondering if he'll notice any signs of the shuttle's previous existence. After a moment, though, he has to remind himself that his concern is silly. While the Raven Wing's story is a morbid one, it is not one he need be ashamed of. If the questions came, he would answer. Properly reassured, Blackstorm resorts back to his natural playfulness. "But I knew you couldn't be around these beauts without putting your hands on one. Pegged you for that kinda mecha, glad I could convince you. And I'm sure Raven Wing is glad to share the moment."

You know that patting thing? He's doing it again. Someone make him stop. "I'd be happy to see your project once you've fished those pliers out, too," he adds, noticing the brightness talking about it brings to Wheeljack's faceplates. "Can't believe you brought them home to show me before they met the folks, though."

"Hmm..." Wheeljack mutters, tilting his helm at a different angle to try and get a better look into the paneling. "Unique ship," he comments as he fishes around inside it. He doesn't sound too disturbed, so apparently the reasons why aren't coming through in this particular section of the ship. Then again, Wheeljack is an engineer. Even the parts of a mech can look like nothing more than machines to him sometimes. "Ah, there we go! Pliers," he says, carefully pulling his hand out of the space and presenting them to Blackstorm with a flash of his fins. "You've got me pegged," he chuckles. "I just can't resist seeing what's under the hood."

"If by the folks you mean the officers, they know about this one. Besides, I'm all about bringing my work to where it's needed."

<FS3> Blackstorm rolls Body+body: Success. (3 4 7 1)

Blackstorm retrieves his pliers with a grateful nod, moving to place them next to his other tools. With that done, he moves towards where he placed the lid for the access panel. The tiny mecha hefts it with a grunt, his sore joints screaming in protest. He looks mildly ridiculous carrying/dragging the large panel back into place, but he manages to do so without having to ask for help. With a soft click, he slots it back into place.

"By folks I meant whoever you hang around with, y'know? Since I don't know you too well yet, but everyone has their group," he explains. Reaching down, he fishes up his wrench and begins to tighten the bolts holding the hatch in place. "But don't worry yourself over it too much mecha, mostly a joke."

With that done, he turns back to Wheeljack with a curious glint in his visible optic. "Now, enough about my unique properties." Blackstorm smirks before continuing. "Enlighten me about yours."

To be honest, he just wants to see Wheeljack excited about what he's talking about. It's a simple enough gesture that should make him happy, and the least he can do after making him dig around in deceased mecha without proper warning. Though hopefully he doesn't figure that last one out.

Wheeljack is more than happy to ramble about his projects, and just as Blackstorm was teasing, he literally lights up in the process of talking about them. "Well, for once, these force fields generate a complete bubble, so they'll repulse anything that's within their radius. Including the floor. So they end up being kind of... rolly." He picks up the force field belt in his hand, and takes a few steps back. "I've been resolving some power issues to make sure they're the proper strength for defensive purposes, but really they're probably best suited for use as containment fields, instead of for defense the way Trailbreaker's shield is. They're also blue." It's an important distinction, apparently.

Ramble finished for the moment, Wheeljack activates the force field. Sure enough, the bright blue bubble of it leaves Wheeljack floating where he holds on to the belt. It rocks a little bit as he shifts his weight, but before it can go too far he deactivates it again. "It absorbs force pretty well, so it's good for blocking falls," he says. "Which is why I offered you one."

"How thoughtful of you. It matches my optics," Blackstorm says. For all his smart-aft comments, though, he has to admit that bubble-thing is really cool. Just before Wheeljack deactivates the device, the minibot moves forwards to poke at it. Apparently, bubbles are made for poking. He startles back when it disappears after his prod, chortling at his own reaction when he realizes.

"I didn't do that, did I?" he asks. "But if you think it'll do me some good, I'll give it a try. We can even test it out right now."

"If you did, I did something wrong!" Wheeljack laughs. "It was having some problems with force applied to a small surface area, but that should be solved now. And I did turn it off," he reassures Blackstorm, "so you don't have to worry about breaking it."

He hands the belt off to Blackstorm. "Here. Take a few steps that way, we wouldn't want it to crash into the ships..." he nods along from a good distance as well. "You can hit the button along the side once to activate it, and then again to deactivate it! Turning the belt with yourself should start the force field moving similarly."

<FS3> Blackstorm rolls Transportation: Good Success. (1 1 1 8 2 6 7 6 4 3 1 7)

"You mean this button?" he asks. Reaching out with a digit, he points at one on the side of the belt. Before he entirely realizes what has happened, he accidentally brushes against it and activates the device. Bloop! The minibot is engulfed within the blue bubble. His visible optic widens behind his visor and he hollers with excitement. "That's so cool!" he screams, even as the bubble begins to tilt sideways slightly, rolling with Blackstorm's excited jerking.

But once it really clicks in his brain module that can steer this by shifting the belt? Excitement shifts to a mischevious glint. After a few test wobbles, Blackstorm finds his rhythm and he's off, rolling across the shuttle bay with giddy laughter. Even though it's his first time using the device, natural instincts kick into gear. He manages to swerve around any obstacles with ease; however, he is quickly rolling out of sight of Wheeljack...

<FS3> Wheeljack rolls Mechanical Engineering: Good Success. (3 6 1 4 2 1 3 3 1 7 7 7 4 5 5 5)

"Yes, that one" Wheeljack confirms, but whoops! Blackstorm is already encased in the bubble. He looks like he's enjoying it, too, which Wheeljack takes as a good sign. The glowing of his helm fins is probably less visible from behind a glowing blue barrier, but he'd clearly be grinning along with Blackstorm if he could.

Most of his focus is on the force field itself, to check for any weak spots or wobbles in the field, so he entirely misses the change in Blackstorm's expression. He doesn't seem to find anything amiss as Blackstorm starts to roll across the shuttle bay. It's only when he passes the first obstacle and doesn't come back that Wheeljack realizes what's happening.

"Hey wait!" he shouts, but Blackstorm's nearly out of view by then, so Wheeljack whirls back toward his crate and digs around for the command remote. He has to run after Blackstorm to try and see the ball again, but the moment he can, he's pressing the button to deactivate the force field.

Here is further proof that Blackstorm and the floor were meant to be. At the momentum he is traveling, the motorbike has really only one option when the forcefield is deactived (and that is faceplant). Thankfully, the fall is not nearly as far as it had been from the shuttle's wing. In his giddy excitement, Blackstorm doesn't even seem to care that he's been reunited with the floor. Rolling over, he stares at the ceiling with a euphoric look.

"That invention of yours," he says breathlessly, "... is something else. Bravo." He even claps his hands for effect. "I have to do that again someday."

forcefully, and he takes the time to look him over again before he carefully takes back the force field belt. "You okay?" he asks. "You got going pretty fast there. You've got to be kind of careful with this thing, if it hits something wrong it might break it, and then so much for not making work for the maintenance team, right?" His fins are still bright, though, and he doesn't seem too angry about the near-escape. "Tell you what, if we find a place to stop with more empty space than the hangar, I'll let you have another go," he suggests. "Until then, I think I should probably work on an emergencies-only version."

<FS3> Blackstorm rolls Body+body: Failure. (3 6 3 3)

Blackstorm throws Wheeljack a baffled look when he asks if he is okay. Did he just see how cool that was? It was really cool. "Never better!" he chirps. Until Wheeljack points out what might have happened if he ran into anything, and then the pilot's face crumples. "O-oh, I didn't think of that."

Well, nothing did happen, though. It isn't worth pouting over too long. "But everything's okay, right? And I'm sure that will be a really neat invention once you've finished with it."

"... And I'm still laying on the floor. Whoops." He considers getting up, but shrugs.

It was really cool. It was also just a bit startling. How does he always find people who go all-out when testing his inventions? It's a question Wheeljack will have to ponder. "On the plus side, I know it holds up well even when going pretty fast," Wheeljack says consolingly. "Which is useful data!"

Wheeljack gets up from his crouch, and after taking a moment to tuck the force field belt and remote away, he leans down again to offer Blackstorm a hand up. "Seems like you really do need that oil bath now," he comments.

<FS3> Blackstorm rolls Body+body: Success. (3 6 3 8)

Reaching up, Blackstorm snags the hand and pulls with all his might. At least, with assistance, he manages to get back on his pedes. He sways for a moment before he finds his balance, still dizzy from the wild rolling. "That's an understatement," Blackstorm admits, chuckling quietly at his own situation. "That's gonna smart in the morning... Or now. Actually, it smarts now."

Reaching up, Blackstorm runs his digits over his visor. The whole thing is now webbed with spiderweb cracks, and he can hardly see through it. With a shrug, he clicks it out of place. He'll have to find a replacement somewhere. The visor literally falls to pieces in his hand.

"I don't think anyone has to worry about me leaving ground for the next few hours at least, though." Amazing, that whole incident only bought a few hours of behaving.

If the swaying lasts too long, Wheeljack will lay a hand on Blackstorm's shoulder to steady him. For the moment, though, he's just keeping an eye on him as he takes off the pieces of his visor. "Sorry about that," he says, about both the visor and the aching. "Tell you what, since I got all of that good data, why don't I walk you by the oil baths?" he suggests. "Since I owe you one for the help, and all."

"What's there to be sorry about? I'd do it over again in a sparkbeat," Blackstorm enthuses. Sure, he is in pain, but no more so than after a hard night of certain illegal activities. It is well worth the pay off. "And I believe we're even, actually, since you saved my pliers for me. Still, I'm not about to pass up an offer to have you join me on my way to the oil baths."

Reaching out, he tries to pat Wheeljack on the hand. If he succeeds, he will leave a streak of grease behind and comment, "Looks like you might need one yourself, actually." His expression is much too snug as he says it.

Wheeljack doesn't pull away from the pat, and stares bemusedly beween the smear on his hand and Blackstorm. He's gotten himself dirtier than this over the course of a single shift without going to wash it all off, but since he'll be escorting Blackstorm along the way, he supposes it wouldn't hurt. "Guess so," he says with a laugh. "All right, to the oil baths with the both of us." You'd think he's actually a minibot, with how high over his head Blackstorm's implications go.

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