2017-03-11 Circling the Drain

From Transformers: Lost and Found

Circling the Drain
Date 2017/03/11
Location Lost Light - Recreation -- Oil Baths
Participants Soundwave, Ravage, Hound, Conduit
Summary Conduit interrupts senior staff with an update on the power drain affecting the engines.

Some entirely unnecessary fabric half-curtains hang across the entrance with a swirl of some strange foreign characters painted onto the fabric.

The air is warm and rich with a bouquet of scents. Near the entry, the sharp, bright scent of soaps and cleaners is strongest near the the racks of open showers; shower heads of adjustable heights allow bots from Minimus to Magnus to make use of the facility while benches and stools give space for the injured or wearied to slough off the mess from a fight. Beyond, a larger space is cordoned off into several sections.

There are a few small, deep baths, capable of holding one very large mech, or a couple of smaller mechs. Minerals and scents are racked on the wall nearby to be added to the smaller baths. By far the largest pool is a communal soaking pool, hot enough to sink deep past armoring into the struts while an icy plunge pool nearby is good for waking back up.

Sliding doors lead to the body shop next door where a clean frame can go for touch-ups.

The Lost Light is a great deal of things- Irritating is up there at the top of the list- but it does have one thing going for it. The Oil Baths. One didn't have the time to just soak in heated oil during war but now? Now even Soundwave takes time to visit the baths. And his typically overworked systems thank him for it.

The Decepticon Commander lets his large frame sink lower into the warm oil. If he offlines his visor and tries not to focus on anything, its almost like he can't hear everything for just a bit. Its nice. He opens his empty chassis beneath the oil so it can get into all the delicate internal mechanisms. He hums contentedly.

While not in the oil bath itself Ravage was not far away, having just catcurled at the edge near where Soundwave was resting. He looks so peaceful, it's almost hard to imagine the jaguar was one of the most effective and lethal Decepticons during the war.

Sometimes, even a routine walk through the ship can become have unexpected results. It's one of the things that makes the Lost Light the Lost Light, but it can also make for some occasionally awkward moments. Today, Hound has had the misfortune of walking by a maintenance crew right as they took out, and accidentally dropped, one of the ventilation system's filters, summarily coating him in dust accumulated in the ships' vents from who-knows-what. At least he's on the same floor as the Oil Baths. A quick rinse in the showers and he can be on his way.

Hound hesitates just inside the door, however, when his first cursory glance around the baths revealed Soundwave and Ravage, occupying one of the tubs and for all appearances relaxing. "...Soundwave," he says, with a brief nod. The quick rinse he'd planned might be getting just a bit quicker, now. Sharing a soak with Soundwave and Ravage of all people would be... tense.

Conduit isn't one for an oil bath. For most of his existence, sure, that was how he got clean like everyone else, but after his stock of nanites had become capable enough, he configured some of them to administer cleanings. Believe me, after you've been cleaned by nanites, an oil bath feels like a dip in a waste reclamation pit.

Conduit is looking for someone in particular, however, and unfortunately the leads all point here. So, he enters the oil bath area, and particles from the ... fumes, one might call them ... alight on him right away. There's a subtle tensing, as if to keep the oils out, but he forces himself to relax, at least to not offend those enjoying what is supposed to be an enjoyable experience. "Sir," he announces himself quietly, so as not to startle him. The feline gets a polite nod. It's then he notices the dusty Autobot. Just as well, he can deliver his information to him too. "Sir."

The Oil Baths are far more enjoyable when Soundwave is alone. Or alone with his cassettes, especially his most quiet of them all. He tries hard to come when there are few others in here, most vacate quickly when he enters anyways. It would seem some find his attempts at relaxation to be unsettling. Though that hasn't stop the likes of Rodimus. Soundwave onlines his visor, accidentally leering at Hound before nodding his acknowledgment of another officer.

Before he can offline his visor again, there's Conduit. Hmmm... He looks flatly to Conduit, beating down his own irritation. He's off duty for a short amount of time, this couldn't have waited? Although, Conduit is a responsible individual, it is probably important... And duty really doesn't take a break. He vents softly. "Conduit," he acknowledges. What is it?

One red optic opens to just enough of a slit to glare at the people interrupting. You know how hard it is to get Soundwave to even try to relax? He can probably feel the brief wash of irritation through the felinoid, but when he just flatly acknowledges the new company Ravage vents a faint 'hmph' and closes his optic again. Though you know damn well he's not going back to a down cycle. It's just the typical cat act of faux indifference.

The momentary stare, from both Soundwave and Ravage, has a surprisingly eerie effect, even in an innocuous place like this. Hound finds himself turning away deliberately, lest old bad habits force him to turn every last sensor he has on keeping track of where Ravage is. That's the kind of instinct that he doesn't need or want any more. Instead, Hound focuses his attention on the smell of oil and cleaning products filling the area, as he moves away from the pools.

Hound is halfway to the shower heads and the nearby cleaners when the sound of Conduit entering has him pausing and turning back. "Hello," he acknowledges, with a nod of his own. One of the shower heads is already adjusted for a mech of his height, and he pauses by that one. "Were you looking for either of us?"

Conduit doesn't need telepathy to sense Soundwave's annoyance. At least Ravage doesn't seem to be riled, and Hound seems receptive. "Yes. This is a bad time, but I believe you both wished to be updated on the power drain affecting the engines. Sir...s." He gives his commanding officer in the bath a moment to collect himself, if he needs it. The floating oil bits continue to seep and collect on Conduit, making him feel even more uncomfortable. He clasps his hands behind his back, dutifully.

A glint of light in the corner of his visor is the only giveaway of a glare he shoots in Hound's direction. Soundwave pauses, vents again, and pushes himself up. The oil gushes out of his open chassis until its more of a steady stream trickling out of the edges. He carefully closes the deck as he climbs out of the bath. He'd like to stay in it but news concerning the engines is of utmost importance. "Affirmative. Report, Conduit."

There is a subtle relaxing in Ravage's form when it's revealed that Conduit has something of actual importance to interrupt the moment with. Though really only those with the sharpest of senses would notice it. Tail flicks a few times before the jaguar also gets up. Stretches, and then jumps onto Soundwave's shoulder as the mech is rising out of the oil bath. He has nothing to say, but you can bet your last shanix he will be watching and recording everything that follows.

Sure enough, Hound is receptive to Conduit. He even turns away from the showers to pay attention to Conduit. A little dust can wait for Conduit to finish talking, no matter what it is. His attention perks up further when Conduit reveals just what it is he came to find them about. "That's right," he agrees, moving back in Conduit's direction. "Is this an update on the drain itself, or about what we know about the power drain?"

Conduit settles himself as Soundwave rises. Good, this isn't all that bad a time. Hound's attitude further girds his confidence. "Both, I suspect. As you know, the drain was first detected several days ago. It has increased to the point where it registers on even non-specialized equipment, and so the earlier measurements are validated. The characteristics of the drain are consistent with previous anomalies registered at colonies. And, as I understand, we are approaching one. It is a ... strong correlation, at the least."

Oh, its a terrible time, Conduit. You just can't tell because Soundwave is forever hard to read. He resists the urge to scritch Ravage just where he likes it- but not in front of company. Soundwave listens, a little disturbed. It is, indeed, a strong correlation. "At the current rate of the drain, will this hamper the engines?" If this drain is damaging to the Lost Light, journeying closer to the colony would be unwise.

Ravage tilts his head a little to one side. Runs a brief shift through the ship's data networks. "Confirmed. Navigation has reported another potential colony destination within travel vicinity. This would coincide with previous similar occurrences."

Hounds listens, a frown growing on his faceplates as Conduit begins to detail the current problems. And it does sound like it's shaping up to be a problem. "What Soundwave said," he echoes. Priority one is how this will affect the ship, and their ability to even get to, or get away from, the next colony. "Not that correlation isn't good, but... Any progress on figuring out why or where?"

Conduit lifts a brow ridge at Ravage's confirmation. Did he just scan through the ship's navigation systems? An enviable skill indeed. The engineer addresses Soundwave's query first. "We are compensating for the drain as of now, but at the current rate, yes, eventually the engines will significantly deteriorate in performance. I do not know the nature of this upcoming colony, but if it is sufficiently dense or large, it is likely that, once we arrive, we will not have enough power to escape its gravity well."

Conduit then turns his attention to Hound. "Beyond the hypothesis that the colony is the source of the drain, we have little in the way of further clues, save one. The increase in the drain ... is linear." He nods knowingly, as if everyone would know what that implies.

Soundwave's shoulder stiffen. This drain is worse than the previous ones if that's the case. And they're flying blindly to this colony, with a threat of being stranded. And there's no guarantee the colony will be safe or inviting. He looks towards his empty shoulder that would have usually held his cannon. This colony could be another Dunia.

Soundwave vents before turning towards Hounds, stopping halfway as Conduit finishes answering everything. "Further explanation of 'linear' in relation to drain necessary."

"If that is the case," Ravage muses, "it may be prudent to position the Lost Light outside the gravity well of the colony and rely on our spacefarers to transport the teams investigating the location."

"Let's hope it's not sufficiently dense or large, then," Hound mutters to himself. He braces a hand on one hip, ignoring the dust turning the black paint there to a dull gray. "Well, that's good to know. Even if it's not... great. We'll have to bring that to Navigation's attention, see if we have supplies just in case..." there's a whole list of things, but Hound trails off of listing them. He's left staring at Conduit instead, his expression blank in the face of that reveal. "And that's...good?" He's taking a shot in the dark here.

Once again, Ravage impresses Conduit. "Very good. That may be a prudent plan, although the gravitational pull of the star itself could also present a problem. We may still be confined to the star system, unless we perform some clever slingshots." His mind begins to wander, but he pulls himself back quickly.

Conduit hides his disappointment, mild as it is. "The linear characteristic is probably not good. Most natural phenomena decrease in intensity with the square of the distance from the point of causation. Gravity, solar radiation, and so on. This is due to their omnidirectionality. The effect is imposed equally regardless of orientation. The power drain, however, is changing in direct proportion with our distance from the colony, which could indicate ... " this time Conduit decides not to assume his audience will get the point, "well, it could indicate that the effect of the drain is directed at us, specifically." He rotates his shoulders as droplets of oil collect.

If one were to ask Soundwave, he would say they should halt all travel to the colony until they're at least properly prepared. But with Rodimus as acting Captain, he knows that may not be an option. Ravage's ideas get a subtle hum of his systems, the hum of pride.

Soundwave nods to Conduit. "We are being targeted." That's very interesting. And concerning. Hopefully its not the separate Titans targeting them... "Understood. We will take necessary precautions on our approach. Have you reported these findings to the Captain directly?"

Ravage has already said his part, he just resumes being Shoulder Support Catte.

"If you have any suggestions for making sure we can get out of here, go ahead and bring them to Navigation," Hound suggests. Hopefully that will allow Conduit to focus on relaying the important, practical bits, and leaving the complicated theoretical underpinnings to the crew members who are best equipped to deal with them.

When it comes to the state of the engine, this absolutely isn't the case. Hound doesn't have a short attention span by any means, but it's a fight not to glaze over when Conduit starts in with words like 'onmidirectionality.'

Still, it's a grim picture that Conduit does finally paint, and Hound's mouth presses into a grimace. He's hardly an expert on the titans, and even if he were the middle of the oil baths wouldn't be the place to discuss that. Still, "If you have a report on it to hand off, you can hand it off to me. I'll make sure he gets it."

Conduit shifts in his stance, partially from Soundwave's question, but mostly from the oil vapors. "Not directly, no, but I have filed the requisite reports that are submitted to command staff. Ultra Magnus directed me quite specifically as to how they should be executed for this matter. The latest report has, um, already been submitted, Hound, but I can send you a copy specifically." So why is Conduit even here. "Despite that, I did feel that bringing up the matter in person with you both was prudent." His reluctance to go straight to the top, another matter.

Hound and Soundwave read reports and the Decepticon Commander makes not to retrieve the report as soon as he's back at his office. Rodimus however... Its a hit or a miss. "Suggestion: Speak to Rodimus in person as well." Things just click for the Captain easier when he's being told in person. "Thank you for taking the time to tell us, Conduit."

Ravage bobs his head in a bit of a nod. "Reports can carry more weight when delivered directly, especially for such potentially important matters."

"If you've sent it already, there's no need." Hound'll fish it out and make sure Rodimus finds out about it, even if Conduit doesn't get a chance to speak to the Captain directly. In the meantime, he smiles and nods to Conduit. "Thanks for taking the time to stop by. I'm sure there's still plenty of work to be done in dealing with the power drain."

Conduit 's career hasn't exposed him much to reporting in chains of command - not being willing to work within such chains didn't help matters either - and it shows now. His discomfort, compounded by the invading oils, makes him eager to go, and Hound gives him his out. "Of course. I will keep everyone informed of new developments." He gives a nod to each of those assembled, and then makes a hopefully-not-too-hasty-looking exit. It'll be right back to the engine room, except for a quick stop at his nanotech lab on his own ship. He needs to get cleaned up.

Soundwave watches Conduit go and sighs. Well, he's definitely not going to get back to relaxing. He better rinse off and get back to his office. He turns and heads in Hounds directions, to the showers. More things to worry about, he hopes the colony will be safe. "Hound," he intones as he passes the Autobot. He makes a mental note to speak with him sometime in private. He doesn't want the SIC to be so wary of him still

And Soundwave walks past Ravage reaches over to swat some dust off Hound's shoulder with a paw. "Usually crawling around in ventilation ductwork is part of my job."

Hound is fine with seeing Conduit off with simply a wave. After this information has been revealed, he has plenty of reason to clean off and get back to his own duties. There will be plenty to do with the colony coming up, and even more with this business about the engines. He's already making his way to get cleaned off when Soundwave makes his way by, and Ravage flicks at him. Hound's hand comes up to brush at some of the dust with a grimace. "It's certainly not part of mine," he says. "Which I do have to get back to." Being sassed by a cat is not in his job description, and Hound is more than happy to turn away to start cleaning himself off. The sooner he's dusted, the sooner they can get to preparing for the colony ahead.

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