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2017-05-21 Chore Day

From Transformers: Lost and Found

Chore Day
Date 2017/05/21
Location Lost Light - Science and Medical - Wheeljack's Laboratory
Participants Wheeljack, Bulkhead
NPCs Miko Nakadai
Summary Wheeljack and Bulkhead clean up the lab with the help of a guest.

"Such a waste," Bulkhead mumbles to himself, regretfully, as he sweeps up some errant glass off the floor. Glass that had once belonged to some beakers kept in a cupboard nearby, a cupboard whose door hung by one hinge, swung open to reveal the debris and broken shelving inside. This wasn't the only remaining sign of the battle that had occurred here only a few days ago; while Bulkhead and Wheeljack have been doing what they can since, along with Dymium and another surprise assistant, it's been slow going. Considering the entire ship is a mess, nobody can really afford to stick to one area for long, as there are breaches to seal and disasters to clean up. Bulkhead especially has been called several times to help with some heavy lifting around the ship, and Dymium has been flitting back and forth between Wheeljack's lab and the rest of the science deck. There's only one person involved who hasn't been able to leave the lab at all, staying to clean what they can and remaining out of sight.

That person pokes her head up over one of the workstations now, or, rather, pokes the rounded dome-like helm of her armored suit up. It's not Bulkhead's best work, having been finished in a hurry after that first visit to Earth, but it works for now. "Sooo, I know what you guys said before..." Miko begins, and Bulkhead glances over, already bracing himself for the 'no' he's about to give. "But can I keep this one? Please? You've got enough to study, it's not like anyone will care!" Lifting the corpse of a worm-drone into view, through the thick glass of the suit's faceplate, Miko beams. Bulkhead just shakes his head, sweeping up more glass.

"No, Miko. You can't keep that one either."

Wheeljack's lab is usually slightly more on the 'order' side of 'ordered chaos.' However, in the wake of the recent attack, that state has changed. Wheeljack didn't have a Thingy come blasting out of his lab, of course, but there were plenty of worms that got in, and created a great deal of havoc in the process. The only thing that seems to have survived reasonably intact are the locked cabinets containing some of the more damaged finished contraptions of Wheeljack's. The rest of the lab is in a varied state of disarray.

So far, only one work station is clear, where Wheeljack is bent over one of the drones, carefully disassembling its guts. "Just put it in the pile," Wheeljack says, waving a hand toward Miko. His aim is off, so he's waving about a foot to her left.

Miko huffs, lowering the worm she'd been lifting over his head. "Awww, it's only one, there are like, a zillion others around here!" Bulkhead's expression is firm, and finally she backs down with some under-the-breath grumbling. Her suit, cobbled together as it is, doesn't have the smoothest of movements, and there are small creaks from its joints as she walks over to the pile Wheeljack indicated. The worm-drone is dropped unceremoniously atop it, Miko crossing her arms as best as she can over the broad chassis of her suit. With it on, she stands around the height of a minibot, though when she'd stepped inside she'd talked Bulkhead into promising her real armor would be nice and big, like what she'd once used on Earth.

"You're going to let me do something around here eventually, aren't you?" The question is aimed at them both as Miko's arms move again, hands fisting on her hips. "I'm not a sparkling, I can do more than just clean up after you!"

"Right now, all we're doing is cleaning up after... whatever that thing was," Wheeljack says, finally looking up from the drone he's been dissecting. "There's a lot of work to be done all over the ship." As Bulkhead's occasional departures can attest to. "I'm just examining the way these things are put together to hopefully find out something about what attacked us. I doubt I'll get much information about why the monoliths came to Earth, but it's worth a shot." Wheeljack turns toward Miko, his helm fins glowing sympathetically. "It's not interesting, but it needs to be done."

In the background, as Wheeljack speaks, Bulkhead continues his cleaning, occasionally flicking his gaze at one or the other. He'll stay quiet, for now; Wheeljack can probably handle this better, as the last time he tried to quell Miko's growing restlessness and eagerness to explore, they'd had a bit of a row.

"I know that, I do!" Miko chews her lip, looking guilty, arms dropping to her sides. "I'm happy to help with all that, but I mean after. I want to work on things too so you can figure out what's going on. They attacked my home planet too you know!" She walks away from the drone pile to grab a mop set aside earlier by Bulkhead and start cleaning up the remains of a drone splattered by Bulkhead's wrecking ball during the fight. "We're not even done cleaning up the mess and I already had to dig a tracking device out of my armor--"

Bulkhead looks up, alarmed, and asks sharply, "You found that?" Which ends up being the wrong answer as Miko whirls, dramatically pointing the mop at him and sending worm gunk flying. "Aha! I hadn't yet, but now I know there is one!"

Oh, Bulkhead. Wheeljack is already shaking his helm. Of course he put in a tracking device. Miko clearly knows Bulkhead well, and his habits of being overprotective. "Didn't you put a comm unit in that suit?" he asks Bulkhead, his fins glowing with amusement. "She can call for help if she needs it. And you let her into my lab, before you start saying anything about protecting her from danger." It still isn't the exact same thing as letting her run around a ship filled with mechs who might potentially harbor hatred toward humans, which is the other reason she's spent so much time in the labs with them.

"We won't say no to anyone who wants to help figure this out," Wheeljack does say to her, with his fins flashing in a smile. "We'll need all the processors and brains we can get on this."

"'Course I did." Bulkhead has stopped sweeping, leaning gently on the broom so he doesn't snap it with his weight. His great shoulders slump a bit, tone laced with a hint of betrayal. Jackie c'mon, you should be on his side! "Hey, I let her into your lab because we're here. She could get into all sorts a trouble out there, pickin' fights with 'Cons and neuts who ain't never seen a human before--"

"I'm standing right here you know," Miko interrupts. She jabs angrily at the drone remains, using the mop to push it all into a pile while scrubbing off the slime it leaves streaked on the floor. To Wheeljack, she smiles back. Even after maybe a week of knowing the mech, she's already getting used to the cycling colors of his helm fins. They are, as she's stated aloud multiple times, 'really slaggin' adorable'. "Thanks, Jackie. It's nice to know that someone isn't going to just lock me in here and hover for the rest of my life." Bulkhead makes a strained sound, and still hasn't resumed his sweeping. He lets out a deep vent. "The rest a yer stay, Miko. Which we still gotta talk about. Yer an organic on a ship currently equipped fer mechs, it ain't gonna be easy livin' here."

Wheeljack meets Bulkhead's look with steady optics. He already had to fight his fight to get Bulkhead to concede that he was being overprotective with him. Bulkhead does admittedly have some good reasons to be protective of Miko, as a relatively fragile organic, but to keep him from being stifling, Wheeljack will absolutely take Miko's side occasionally. "There's plenty of bots who've seen and liked humans, especially after Earth. Wouldn't hurt to introduce her to a few while she's here so she can go out into the ship every now and then without worrying about being surrounded by giant metal strangers," Wheeljack points out.

While she's here is the key part of that, though, and Wheeljack does nod along with Bulkhead for the rest of it. "Not that Earth wasn't informative, but the reasons you weren't supposed to be coming along still come into effect," he points out.

Bulkhead backs down on that front under Wheeljack's gaze. Damnit. So maybe he is being a little overprotective; it's warranted, isn't it? So what if sometimes he looks at Miko and flashes back to the girl she used to be, the juvenile human he'd met, not yet an adult even to her own species. So what if he looked at the woman she was now, still too young, too fragile, and wanted to make sure she was safe? Especially considering the things she got herself into. "I guess yer right, I just - there's a lotta mechs ain't gonna be happy she's aboard, ya know it as well as I do." He winces, imagining the fallout of sneaking aboard an organic. "Frag, when Rodimus finds out..."

"Still! Right! Here!" Miko shoves the mop into its bucket a little too hard, splashing dirty soap water onto the floor. "Man, now look what happened!" Groaning, Miko starts wiping up the new mess she's created. "It's not gonna be that bad, you always worry too much, Bulk. You saved me, isn't that what Autobots are supposed to do?" There's a guilty look shot Wheeljack's way as she more carefully drains the sopping mop, even as she says firmly, "I know, I know...but I couldn't just let Bulkhead leave like that, especially since you all jumped so suddenly."

"I don't think Rodimus is the one you need to be worried about," Wheeljack says with a wry chuckle. "Just don't wear a hat in front of him while telling him about it." Reporting it to Ultra Magnus or to Soundwave might cause more of a problem, in fact, though Wheeljack just winces at the prospect of bringing a human in front of Soundwave. That does not seem like a situation that ends well.

"We did give you the comm for a reason, you know," Wheeljack says gently, but he shakes his helm a moment later. There's nothing they can do about that now that she's here. "Well, one thing's for sure. You would have made a good Wrecker, if you were Cybertronian."

Bulkhead can't help a snort, a grin flitting over his features. "Who said I'm only worried about one of 'em?" It's meant to be light and teasing in return, but he's serious. He's worried about everyone, especially command, especially Decepticons, especially Breakdown. He hasn't even told Miko that particular mech is on the ship yet, and he's gonna put it off as much as he can.

"A comm wouldn't have helped him if he needed me," Miko gives right back, mouth set in a stubborn line. "Which he did." Sort of. So maybe those two had fought off more worm-drones than she did, but she was totally more helpful than that scaredy-cat Dymium. She perks up at the compliment, beaming, while Bulkhead looks at Wheeljack in wide-eyed disbelief. "Really?! I knew it! I would've been the best! All, blam, bam bam, take that, Deceptiscum--!"

"Even if you would have been, the war's over and so are the Wreckers." Bulkhead is lying, but Miko doesn't have to know that. "What you should concentrate on right now, other than cleaning up, is helping us figure out what you're going to need. Food, personal care, that sort of thing."

"Come on, Bulk, you can't say the Wreckers weren't known for jumping in headfirst," Wheeljack says, his fins lit up and glowing. There's plenty of other more unfortunate things that the Wreckers were known for, but those aren't things Miko needs to know. Especially about a member whose name begins with a V and ends with erity. Bulkhead might just kill him if he says anything about that.

"That's a good point!" Wheeljack says, moving to the other side of the room to pull open one of the cabinets and start searching through his inventions. "We'll need to make that stuff for you. I know there's the botany lab a few corridors over. If Skystalker isn't too busy we can see if he found anything edible from Earth."

Bulkhead has to bite back a long-suffering groan. "That's exactly what they're known for," he confirms, and Miko practically wiggles. It's an interesting sight, the suit doing that. He knows her well enough to imagine she's wishing she could find a way to join up with this 'nonexistant' group anyway, or, even worse, make her own version.

The wiggling stops when both Bulkhead and Wheeljack bring up 'human care'. "We don't have to do all that right now," Miko complains, putting the mop back in its wheeled bucket and propping the handle against the nearest surface to keep it upright. "I told you, I brought enough supplies for like, a couple of weeks. Plenty of time to figure out where to get more." There's a tightness to her voice, one she's clearly trying to hide. As if she's been worrying a lot about this and doesn't want to think about it.

"The where is going to have to be the ship. Right now, we're going nowhere fast, thanks to the state of the Lost Light and the Ariel," Wheeljack points out. "We've got plenty of genius engineers on this ship, but there's only so much we can repair at once." Not that he's worried that they'll be able to repair it eventually, but stopping into a port to get some organic material that might be suitable for human consumption is an eventuality they'll have to deal with down the line. "We can at least make you some materials so you don't have to be in that suit all the time!" Wheeljack points out. "Since our other projects will have to go on hold anyway." They may potentially have had parts of that destroyed in the attack, anyway.

"See, look at that! Part of the problem's already solved." Miko goes for chipper, yet the tightness remains. She's not exactly confident in a robot ship being able to produce much human food, and while she was honest in saying that she had brought enough for a while, it's still a daunting deadline. Because what happens when that runs out and they haven't found her more? "Don't forget, you've got me now, too. I can help plenty." Look, she already is, sorting another pile of debris and junk from various things around the lab. Despite her whining, the cleaning is actually fun while she's in the suit, as it is so much stronger and better than her frail human body. Speaking of which - "Because you're gonna make me a better suit. Bulkhead already said so." She looks over at him, receiving a chuckle in return for her grin, before adding, "And I guess something human-shaped to sleep in." The one downside to the suit: it was not comfortable for sleeping. "Oh, yeah! I can actually be here working with you on your projects! I can't wait, this is gonna be so cool--"

It's not impossible to notice the tightness, but between the size difference and the suit, it's difficult. Furthermore, Wheeljack doesn't know Miko as well as Bulkhead does. It certainly doesn't seem like something she would be happy to have pointed out, especially considering the way that she launches into her cheerful rambling. If this is what she need to bolster her confidence, Wheeljack certainly won't deny her that. "If you want to help us with that suit, you'd better keep up with your studies," he points out, his fins glowing.

Miko makes a jokingly 'yuck' face at the fond look Bulkhead shoots Wheeljack over that reminder. She doesn't get why that particular sentence prompted it, and she doesn't really want to know. She'll just file it away to use as teasing fodder for later. "Well duh! Now that I don't have dumb boring human school to worry about anymore, I can learn the good stuff from the best." She does, of course, mean Bulkhead and Wheeljack, not yet knowing of or caring about Perceptor and Brainstorm. Once she does, they're likely to be targets of her interest, especially Brainstorm, aka one of the other people on Bulkhead's list of 'don't let Miko near'. "And since we probably won't be going back to Earth for a while, you've got pleeeenty of time to teach me~."

"What, you didn't bring your homework with you?" Wheeljack teases, laughing. "I'm disappointed! Bulkhead, aren't you disappointed? Learning is supposed to be fun no matter who you're learning from." Wheeljack's still chuckling, though. He knows plenty about not enjoying who you're learning from. He's just been lucky that his own curiosity has always made the learning part the most important factor. "Aha!" He mutters, pulling something out of the closet at last, and moving back toward the workbenches. "Bulkhead, mind clearing me a space?"

"Extremely disappointed, Jackie." Bulkhead wears a lazy grin, and easily ducks to avoid the piece of unidentifiable scrap Miko throws at him. "Whoa, hey, watch it! The place is already slagged enough!" But he's laughing now, too, and almost stumbles as the broom handle starts bending under the weight he's putting on it. Woops, hadn't realized he'd started leaning so heavily on it.

Miko looks over curiously as Bulkhead sets the broom aside and does as asked, shifting materials and broken datapads and splintered parts out of the way to provide a space for Wheeljack to set down whatever it is he's brought out. Miko of course moves to join them, clutching at the edge of a worktable to peer at what they're doing.

"Perfect. Thanks," Wheeljack says, as he sets the device down on the cleared space. It looks like a little scanner attached to some sort of 3D printer, and Wheeljack dusts it off with an extremely satisfied look. "Now, this is a kind of replicator I was working on a while ago," he says, patting the top of it gently. "It'll probably need lots of calibration, but we can use it to make some more food like the kinds you brought along!" He pauses, then adds, "that's the theory, anyway. I'll test it on some other things first."

Miko shuffles closer to get a better look at the scanner, eyes wide and bright with interest. "A replicator? Like on Star Trek?" She looks expectantly at Bulkhead, who shakes his head and shrugs sheepishly. He doesn't remember that one, sorry Miko. "That's sooooo cool! Hopefully the food tastes normal, I mean, depending on what you're using to replicate what I brought, unless it can transform something into something else? Like if you feed in plastic you get out hamburger? This is awesome, I can't wait to try it!"

"Like on Star Trek. Except this one wasn't made by humans for humans. It'll take some work to get it calibrated for human foodstuff, like I said," Wheeljack explains. Clearly he's happy to babble about his work with anyone who will ask. Also, he's definitely seen Star Trek, even if he doesn't enthuse about it as much as some of the Terraphiles on the ship might do. "It can turn something into something else if they have the right ratio of elements, but it's easier to feed it in raw materials in the right proportions. Even better if I can feed in some of the complex molecules, which will take some doing. Organics use some strange stuff," Wheeljack says, starting to turn on the device. One of the screens lights up with a beep, but another stays dark, causing Wheeljack's fins to darken. "Hmm. Might need some work," he comments.

Bulkhead cycles his optics in surprise when Wheeljack understands Miko's reference, while she claps her hands in glee, the sound ringing through the lab with the force of it. She doesn't even seem bothered that she probably clapped a little too hard, while Bulkhead decides on the spot to sit down with these two and watch some Star Trek. Miko's probably shown it to him before, he just doesn't remember. "Looks like ya had this one sitting around fer a while." Bulkhead studies the replicator, and chuckles quietly when it doesn't turn on all the way, letting a hand come to rest on Wheeljack's shoulder. "That's alright. Between the three of us, we'll have it working perfectly in no time, I'm sure."

"And then," Miko chimes in excitedly, "we can start feeding it recipes, right? What I wouldn't give for some mochi right now, or french fries."

Hey, Wheeljack spent some time on Earth! It wasn't all doom and gloom there. He had some time to watch cheesy science fiction shows about what the humans thought about Space, and plenty of time to be charmed by it. The rest of humanity, he has mixed feelings on, but whoever created those shows is on his list of good people. Now's not the time to nerd out about Star Trek, though, it's the time to nerd out about his work. "I wanted to see if I could make it!" Wheeljack says. "Then... I had other projects. I can't even remember where I did this one. The help is always appreciated." Miko's enthusiasm gets a chuckle, but Wheeljack shakes his helm. "Eventually, sure. But right now I'd like to use whatever you did bring with you to calibrate it. It won't destroy the food, it just needs to scan it to analyze its chemical makeup."

Bulkhead laughs again, giving Wheeljack's shoulder a fond squeeze. "Looks like ya could, just not all the way." He winks an optic to make the joke absolutely clear, then leans back down to study the replicator a bit more. "Mm. Do you still have the original blueprints anywhere? Unless you remember everything from back then." Meanwhile, Miko nods, already opening the compartment in her suit's chassis, one Bulkhead built specifically to act as a sort of pseudo-subspace.

"Here, start with this." Miko pulls out her bags, which she hadn't had a chance to put away since coming aboard. They'd all assumed she'd be going right back, after all. Opening the bulkiest looking duffel, she pulls out a package of instant ramen and holds it out to Wheeljack.

"Oh, sure, I have the blueprints," Wheeljack says, then starts casting around his lab. Oh, right. Things are in... something of a state of disarray at the moment. Somehow, in his enthusiasm about this project, he managed to forget about all of the worm corpses and debris. "They're uh, in one of these datapads," he says eventually. "They were on... that shelf, I think." Finding those might take a while, in other words.

Wheeljack doesn't even take the cup of ramen from her-- it's so small, and doesn't seem that sturdy. If he picked it up he's worried he'd crush it without even trying. "We'll try to get this up and running, then," he says, already beginning to poke at the replicator. "Then we'll see what we can do for you."

Bulkhead was afraid of that. Looks like it'll take some time before they can start working on this replicator to get it up and running, since they've got no idea where the blueprints are now, or if the datapad the information's stored on is even still functional. Even more of an incentive to get the lab cleaned up and back to its less-than-spectacular level of order. "We'll find 'em soon enough."

When the ramen isn't taken, Miko purses her lips and withdraws her hand, putting it back into the bag with everything else. Bulkhead marvels, not for the first time since she's started using it, at how quickly she grasped the intricacies of using the armor, so that she doesn't even hesitate in picking up something that she could have accidentally crushed as easily as Wheeljack or Bulk. "That's fine, like I said, I've got enough for a while." Miko flashes a smile. "No rush." Except yes rush. Just a bit rush.

"Well, the lab's clean enough for now," Wheeljack says. It's not really, but the pathways are clear! And the slime is even mostly gone. That counts as progress, right? It's good enough for his purposes, anyway. "So why don't we start looking for this datapad?" The dissection of the worm creature can wait, especially since there's almost certainly some other member of the science division doing the same exact thing. Or maybe someone over in medical has taken that task upon themselves. Either way, this replicator is clearly the new, important project. "We can get this thing up and running in no time."

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