From Transformers: Lost and Found
|Participants||Red Alert, Inferno|
|Summary||Red Alert is looking for information; Inferno tags along.|
In the immediate aftermath of the declined card incident, Red Alert detaches himself from the main party of the Lost Light and sets out into the spaceport on his own to find some answers. At first he walks briskly, head held high, but then he slows at the unfamiliar signs and buildings all around him. Perhaps it isn't the best idea to run off all by himself. For one thing, he feels guilty at having left Inferno behind, especially as they had made plans to explore together. Still, with the current situation being as it is, they're unlikely to get a chance to relax any time soon. Red Alert has a duty to the ship, and finding a way out of this mess is something he feels he must do.
Inferno will understand, right?
That hesitation over watching Blackstorm fool around has cost him. Inferno is fairly certain he saw where Red Alert ran off to, they're only at the docks, it can't be that hard to find one mech in such a place, right? Except said place is kind of confusing to navigate, and there are more aliens than he'd expected, and before he knows it Red Alert is nowhere to be found. Frag, frag, he can't leave Red Alert all on his own on a planet he'd invited the mech to! Inferno hustles in the direction he thought Red Alert had been heading last, and, after some searching, finally spots the security mech. His relief is nearly palpable as he comes up beside Red.
"Thank Primus I found ya," Inferno huffs, a bit winded. It's more from the 'oh slag I lost him' than actual physical strain. "You wanted ta take a look around, yeah? I'll come with ya."
Red startles at the familiar voice way too close. He'd been lost in thought and for once not paying attention to his surroundings. A costly mistake. He whirls around, spark spinning rapidly, and the pace doesn't slow as he sees who is standing by his side.
Guilt overwhelms him now, and he looks down at his feet, feeling his face flood hot with embarrassment. "Sorry I--I need to cancel our plans together. I need to take stock of the spaceport and report back to Rodimus." Okay so maybe Rodimus hadn't told him that exactly, or even seemed to hear him when he tried to tell Rodimus his plans over all the voices in the crowd, but it still felt like something he needed to do.
<FS3> Inferno rolls Comforting: Great Success. (7 8 6 5 1 8 8 7 5)
Pit, he's scared Red Alert. That was absolutely the last thing he wanted to do. Inferno takes a step back, giving Red some space, and goes for an apologetic grin. "That's a'right, mech! That's why I'm here, to help you out." He could absolutely say something cheesy like 'I don't care what we're doing as long as it's with you' but, thankfully, he holds that nonsense at bay. Last thing he needs to do is stress Red Alert out even more. Instead he adds, "I'll be the security to your security, ha. You take stock a the place, an' I'll watch yer back. If that's okay with you?" His shoulders are slumped, wing-kibble shifted to a lower angle than usual, helm tilted and optics soft. He's not a threat, and he's not mad.
"Oh." Red's voice is soft as he considers this turn of events. On the one servo, it's not really conducive to productivity to work with someone you're close to. On the other, well, he does like being around Inferno, that much is true. "I suppose that'll be fine," he says, as if his spark isn't jumping at the idea. "I could always use the extra pair of optics." He shuffles closer to Inferno like he's the only shelter in a raging storm. "Maybe..." he murmurs as he looks around, comfortable now that he's being watched over. "We could try over there?" He points out a little stall huddled between two buildings, selling datapads and small snacks. "Looks like a newsstand to me. We might be able to find out about local events, and even job postings."
Inferno relaxes, plating releasing the tight hold on his protoform that he hadn't even noticed until the tension was gone. "Anythin' ta help," he says, earnestly. 'Ferno straightens, letting his gaze sweep across their surroundings. Yeah, not much going on over here. Looks like most of the crowds - half crowds? Was there a word between 'no one' and 'crowd'? - were near the docks right now. His servo twitches at his side when Red Alert draws nearer, arm ready to drape around the shorter mech's shoulders. Nope, nope, not the time.
"Over there?" Inferno squints as he follows Red's pointing. Oh. He hadn't even noticed that. Good thing Red was here; Inferno's purpose was noticing fires, not small details. "Hey, I think yer right! Good eye, Red." If this were Deluge there'd be a hearty smack on the back to accompany this compliment. Red Alert gets a flutter of wing-kibble in encouragement and awe.
"It's nothing. You don't have to flatter me like that," Red mumbles, but it's clear he's just embarrassed with the way he ducks his helm and blushes. He starts to move toward the stand but then thinks of something, and pulls Inferno back a moment. "Hey, just so you know...no one really likes people looking through their wares and then not buying anything. So try to, um, act like it doesn't interest you. Just flip through and pick out keywords, and then we can follow up on those later. Just be casual," Red stresses, tugging on Inferno's arm slightly for emphasis. "I'll show you."
<FS3> Red_Alert rolls Deception: Success. (1 6 2 4 4 2 5 1 4 8)
It's not as easy as it usually is, Red Alert finds, as he awkwardly shuffles up to the newsstand with full awareness of Inferno's optics on him. He casually picks up a datapad that looks promising and starts to swipe through it, but he feels stiff and awkward knowing that he's being watched. I shouldn't have acted so confident. What if I mess this up? Red quietly panics as he puts the datapad back and reaches for a new one. I don't want to look like an idiot in front of Inferno... Still, if the stall manager has noticed him acting weird they haven't said anything, so he quietly goes about his act even though he's screaming inside.
<FS3> Inferno rolls Obliviousness: Good Success. (3 8 6 7 3 4)
Flatter...? Inferno frowns. "I'm tellin' it like it is, Red, that's all." He's pulled up short by the security bot as they approach the newsstand, and an old instinct takes over, one from the beginning of their trip when Red Alert was still security chief and Inferno was expected to do as he was told. He listens quietly, nodding his acknowledgment of what Red is saying. "Yeah, I can do that, no problem." His voice goes distant at the end of that sentence when Red's servo finds his arm, and he pushes some fluid down his intake. "Okay. Thanks.”
Inferno's optics are on Red Alert, it's true, but that helps his false air of disinterest. He's picked up a different datapad to swipe through, trying to note important words and ads and articles even as his optics keep flicking over to Red. On the outside he looks like he's bored, like he's just browsing, not really sure of what he wants. So it works out! After a few kliks of aimless swiping without really paying attention, something does eventually catch his optic, and he leans over toward Red Alert. "Check this out," he says, keeping his tone as even as he possibly can. It sounds casual, to the outside observer, hiding the nervous thrill shivering through his circuits as he shows his companion what he thinks might be important - a section of a local news program that includes help wanted ads and available jobs in the area. All small time, cash only type deals.
"Hm," Red says, sounding disinterested, but secretly thrilled at Inferno's discovery. He commits as much to memory as he can with a glance, and wishes he'd had the forethought to pack one of his cameras with him to take a few secret shots of the page. When he's mentally compiled the information he slots the datapad he's holding back into the rack with a sigh. "Eh, I'm not finding anything. Come on Inferno, let's go."
Inferno's optics, as much as they can without being obvious, search Red Alert's faceplates. Is he pleased? Impressed? Is he grateful to Inferno or did 'Ferno just come up with jack shit? The firetruck has no way to tell, so he hopes for the best as he keeps up the stoic, bored look. "Me neither. We'll check out some place else." Inferno flicks off the datapad - don't want to waste the battery for someone who will actually buy it - before putting it back where it came from and giving a stoic nod to the vendor keeping this stall. He keeps up the 'casual' demeanor, looking like any other being stuck on this rock waiting to get out and bored with how little there is to do, until they're a safe distance away. He keeps himself from leaning down toward Red a second time. "<< Where to now? >>" There's an unspoken boss that he couldn't quite help.
Red leads the way, strolling casually down the main until they've come to a place out of range of the vendor's eyes and ears.
"Inferno!" Red says suddenly, swinging around and clutching Inferno's arms with no notice of how unusually touchy he's been today. "You're brilliant!" A moment later he releases Inferno to ponder the state of the information they've acquired. "We could report back to Rodimus now with what we've found, but perhaps we should follow up on a few of these leads first to get a better idea of the jobs and their availability. Yes, that sounds best." He nods in agreement with his own plan, and then looks back at Inferno. His face is shining with more happiness and excitement than Inferno, perhaps anyone, has seen in a long time. "Alright, I remember a few of the addresses listed. Let's find a map of the town."
Inferno is ready for, well, the usual Red, calculating possibilities and opportunities with a calm focus. What he's not ready for is Red Alert whirling and grabbing him, and air stutters in his vents, optics going wide with surprise. Brilliant...? "I. Ah. Heh. I try," is the best he can choke out, cheeks tinged a bright pink. He has to reset his vocalizer a few times to collect himself. "Yeah, followin' up, sounds good." What were they talking about again? He'd almost caught the thread of his thought process, and then Red was looking at him with a face that burned so brightly 'Ferno could have sworn a fledgling star had come into being inside the mech's helm. "Map of the town. Right. We'll do that." He finally catches on that he's not making any slagging sense at all, and adds a hasty, "Lead the way, Red. You know what yer doin'."
"There might be a visitor center near the port," Red muses, oblivious to what he's doing to Inferno. "We should head back there and take a look." He's grateful, as he turns them around and leads the way, that he hasn't gotten too into exploring and digging up information just yet. It would certainly make it a lot harder to find his way back. He doesn't want to get caught in the trap again of leading Inferno without fully knowing what he's doing. (That's the captain's job.) So it's with at least a fair level of confidence that he guides them back to the stardocks, for once looking like the professional he's always strived to be.
It takes a klik for what Red Alert is saying to completely work itself through Inferno's processor, and in the meantime, he's simply watching Red, focusing on that helm, those shoulders, those lip plates....no wait that's not what he's supposed to be doing. "That's as good a place to start as any," Inferno offers, sounding totally normal. He's fine, it's fine, everything's fine. "If we get a map we can figure out the best places ta work an' earn our keep." You're only about ten minutes late on this observation, 'Ferno. Doesn't help that he's dropped about a step behind Red Alert to show deference. That's it, that's all, that old instinct to follow his superior rearing its head for the third time. Nothing to do with watching how Red walks, nope. Where'd you get that idea.
Red is oblivious to Inferno's distraction, too intent on the mission ahead. It isn't long before they're back in the spaceport amidst their confused and annoyed comrades, mainly milling about trying to figure out why their cards aren't working. "I think..." Red stands up on his tiptoes, but he's not the tallest of his kind and many of the mechs in the way are blocking his view. "Probably around here somewhere..." He shrugs helplessly. "Do you see anything, Inferno?"
He stays behind Red Alert as they head back to the docks. Inferno's focus isn't really on their surroundings. Oops. Once they reach the ship and the Lost Lighters trying to figure out what the frag is going on, he at least regains some of his senses. "Haven't seen anythin' yet." Servos automatically reach to grip Red Alert by the hips, lift him up above the others, and it's a good thing Inferno catches himself in time to cease and desist mid-movement. He covers the moment of awkwardness (likely only noticed by those actually facing him, unlike Red Alert) by sweeping his blue optics along the spaceport until he notices a particular stall near the entrance to the docks. "Found it. There's a booth, worked by an organic, with information an' maps an' all that sorta thing."
"Good. I'm glad to have you around." It seems like such an easy thing to say when they're in this working role, to compliment a subordinate on a job well done, but at last Red's words catch up with him. He pauses, thinking back on a day's worth of casual touches and easy compliments, and feels something like elation and panic all at once swell within him. He covers it by diving into the throng, squeezing under wings and skirting around agitated spinning wheels until he emerges on the other side next to their destination.
"I--I mean," he corrects when Inferno's arrived and he's found his words again. "That you've been very helpful this whole time. I wanted to thank you for your assistance in these matters." He fiddles with the edges of a map, looking at it but not really seeing it. "If I could ask one more favour though..." Oh he hates to do this, but his surprise confidence has finally run out and he's not sure he can look Inferno in the face after saying something so casual and yet so meaningful. He thrusts the map at Inferno instead, hiding his face behind it as he stammers out some words to cover his need to escape again.
"Could you check on the jobs on the south side for me? If I remember rightly there's several around the main shopping center there. I'll check the ones in the north part of town." He peeks around the map for a moment and then quickly feels embarrassed and looks away. "It will be faster if we split up. So. Please?" Please give me the space I need to recover.
Alright! He found something they needed. Inferno enjoys the flash of triumph, frame perking up in a 'oh yeah, I did it' type posture. At least until Red Alert's comment, and, ah, he's fallen back under the tide of emotion that has been claiming him for far longer than he'd realized. It's, heh, crushing him with feelings. Luckily for him, Red Alert's already disappeared into the throng, and Inferno has to use his energy to catch up with the smaller mech rather than spend time mulling over that statement. He stumbles once he finds Red Alert again, pede catching on a particularly large, six-armed organic that shoots him a glare before moving on.
"Yer welcome," comes the automatic response. Inferno's looking over the stall and its contents, though his optics are unfocused, if one looked closely enough. "Ask away." There's a pamphlet in his servos, one he's flipping through and not really seeing at all. Something about a small geyser on the other side of the planet, billed as an attraction. Pfft. He nearly drops the pamphlet when Red Alert pushes a map into his face, instead hastily stuffing it back into its rightful pocket before focusing on the map Red is showing him.
Blue optics scan the map, and after an astrosec he nods. At least until he remembers Red Alert can't see him, and therefore adds, "South side, got it. I'll get started right away." Another copy of the map is plucked from the stall, a thumb digit softly brushed against Red's digits on the edge of his copy, before Inferno is turning away and transforming. "<< Comm me if ya need anything! >>" He doesn't want to leave Red alone, but if Red insists and there are new things to explore, well....hard to say no.