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2018-10-23 Obedience Training

From Transformers: Lost and Found

Obedience Training
Date 2018/10/23
Location Lost Light Recreation- Practice Rooms
Participants Hound, Bulkhead
Summary Bulkhead wants some advice on acclimating to a potential future as a dog.

Hound is a lot more difficult to find than Bulkhead expected, though he supposes this is his preemptive karma for searching the 'former out specifically for commiserating. It's probably why he hasn't commed ahead, instead shifting to a...different means of finding his friend.

While Bulkhead's nose, even with his 'new' furry alt mode, isn't nearly as highly tuned as Hound's, it still helps in a pinch. He sniffs along the halls, tracing that dirt-and-rain scent he now associates with Hound after visiting the latter's office, ignoring the way non-affected 'formers give him a wide berth in the hall. You really don't notice how functionism lingers until you're on the extreme end of it...Rounding a corner, Bulkhead's tail begins to wag as he picks up speed; Hound's scent is growing stronger. Just through this doorway, and--

"Hound?" he barks, in that unsettling way where his mouth doesn't move at all. Out of politeness, no one has pointed it out to Bulkhead yet, and if he's noticed he hasn't let on. "You in here?"

Bulkhead finds himself in good company in this particular training room. It's not the same room he, Nightshade, and Prowl have used for their aromatherapy sessions, and the setup is different, but Hound is inside nevertheless. The setup is half obstacle course, half race track, and Hound, in his quadrupedal form, is in the midst of jump-climbing his way over a particularly large structure on the far side.

The sound of his name has Hound's audial panels perking, and he twists his helm toward the door, his own tail giving a lazy, friendly wag. "Bulkhead? Yeah, I am." A leap, and he thmps down onto the padding mats below, making his way closer to Bulkhead. "Something up? I hope there wasn't an incident in the labs."

While the shift in perspective is odd - he's used to looking down at Hound from a much larger distance than this - it's almost...comforting, having someone on his level right now. Bulkhead's tail gives its own extra few thump thumps before it settles. Without thinking, his tongue lolls from his mouth in a classic St. Bernard move. "Honestly if there were any more incidents in the labs after this, I'd quit," he says, with a chuckle that rumbles in his chest. "No, I...wanted to ask you something. If you had a minute to talk?"

"No you wouldn't," Hound says, with instant amusement. He gives his sides a little shake, stepping around Bulkhead toward the start of his obstacle course, relaxed and calm. "Sure, I've got some time. You want to run this with me, or is it a bit more of a 'transform and sit face to face' kind of talk? I assume it's not too serious, since you're not asking to see me in my office." The audial panels twitch curiously.

Bulkhead snorts in a way that, with his enormous dog nose, sounds more like a sneeze. Don't call him out like that Hound. "I did check your office first," he admits, padding along beside Hound, his bulk much more obvious when compared to the sleek dogwolf Hound is. "But no, it's not all that serious. And we can run this, if you like, though I can't say this frame's built for speed." His tongue lolls even more, lips curling in an approximation of a grin. "I can't give you much of a challenge."

"It doesn't have to be a race," Hound says, even as he dashes forward and jumps on top of the first block in their path with a wagging tail. "It's just for fun and for something to do while we talk." And for working out a bit of restless energy, maybe, considering the way that Hound paces on top of it while he waits for Bulkhead to leap up, then jumps down again as soon as Bulkhead has made the leap himself. "So, what's the question?"

Bulkhead chuckles again, following Hound to the beginning of the obstacle course. He does jump up on top of the block, though it shakes somewhat with the solid smack of his weight. "Alright, alright. Just lead the way." Jumping down after Hound, he follows in his fellow green's pawprints, though perhaps not as quickly or as closely. Hound did say it didn't have to be a race. "I wanted to ask...how long did it take you to get used to this? Last time I was a dog, I didn't have the frame of mind to really. Worry about it. But this time around I don't know how long I'll be this way, what with trying to reverse the process, and I guess...I was hoping for some pointers."

Hound pauses in his pacing, his helm swinging toward Bulkhead at the question. Some of the enthusiastic energy goes out of his frame, leaving him much more contemplative. "I don't know if our situations are too comparable, Bulk," he says, a little more quiet than before. "Frame changes, sure, but mine came with a little more, uh. Of a problem. You're not getting anything like that, are you?" he asks quickly, suddenly alarmed.

"I meant the frame changes," Bulkhead corrects quickly. "No, this time around there aren't personality changes. No...anger." He pads up closer to Hound, and though he claims he's not affected by the dog frame, he still ends up kinda brushing against Hound's side, and giving him a gentle headbutt. Hey, at least he didn't lick. "In case this is permanent. How long did it take to get used to being a beastformer?"

"Okay." Hound leans into the headbutt for a moment, then pulls away, his ears sitting higher now. "Anyway... so a beastmode, right. It took me a few months, but I think the new alt-mode was easier to get used to than the changes to my base frame, you know? It was easier to learn how to use a new form entirely than to get used to some strange changes to my usual form. It's mostly the new kibble that's the problem, especially when it moves. I'm still not always sure what I'm doing with it. I'm doing better with the claws, though." Bulkhead's ears just kind of remain flopped. Because that's what they do. They flop.

"I'm glad to hear that. How are the tips holding up?" Bulk increases his pace to a trot, leaping up onto the next block in their path. It wobbles dangerously as he lands on it; they might not be anchored well enough for his weight. He plops his butt down on the flat surface at the top, until it settles. "I've been having the most trouble with the kibble, too. Not as much with the ears - " And here he shoots another dog grin at Hound, " - but the tail. It's...difficult to control."

"They're doing fine. A bit worn out, but none of them need replacing yet." Hound finally resumes his own movement, pkeeping pace with Bulkhead as he makes his own leap, though the block doesn't move nearly as much beneath his own feet, with Bulkhead's mass already holding it in place. "I got lucky, I don't have to deal with the tail in root mode. Makes chairs a lot easier to deal with," Hound notes with a bit of a laugh. "I think your audials are different, anyway. Not as twitchy as mine."

"I think my breed is different from yours, that's why." Bulkhead jumps down from this second block, then observes the next obstacle. A long, cloth tube. His helm tilts, ears swinging, as he tries to calculate if he can fit into it or not. "That's what they call them on Earth, right? Breeds, when it's a dog? Regardless, I don't even think it's chairs that annoy me most about this kibble. It completely broadcasts - can you imagine how embarrassing it would be, to have my tail tuck between my legs in a serious situation?"

"Breeds, right. I don't know if alt modes count, though," Hound says, cocking his helm. "A bit safer than having the urge to bite some poor bot's hand off," Hound observes, his audial panels swiveling as he jumps down and makes his way casually into the tube, dashing through to the other end. His movements make the tube rustle slightly as he goes through. "Are you going to ask Ratchet to remove it?"

"I meant more with design - I...Hound." Bulkhead sighs, settling onto his butt again for a moment. He is still not sure he's going to fit through that tunnel. "I know these issues are...new, to you. And I'm not sure it will help any, but. Ever since the Wreckers..." He lifts a paw, scrubs it over his nose like he's stuck it in some mud and needs to clean it off. "I may not have the urge to bite 'formers, but you've seen my wreckers. I get the urge to hit a bot with them...more often than I'd like. And it's taken a long time to cope with that, to let reason take precedence. Honestly, the fact that you've done as well as you have, when your transformation was as violent as it was, is phenomenal." That said, Bulk, a bit embarrassed, shifts so that he can start crawling forward on his belly into the tunnel.

As expected, it was meant for Hound size, not Bulkhead size. He gets three-quarters of himself inside the tunnel before his furry butt wedges itself tightly in the entrance. Damnit.

"I didn't miss the war," Hound says, his voice tight and ears drawing back, but he doesn't growl, and he keeps himself silent as Bulkhead talks. And he's silent for a while longer, as Bulkhead begins to make his way into the tunnel, then gets unceremoniously stuck.

In the end, he comes around and transforms himself, walking over to the entrance to the tube and using both hands to hold it in place. "Here, back out of that," he says, more gently than he'd managed before. "Sorry," he says, though whether it's about the tunnel or the comments isn't immediately clear. "That was just the bigger part of the transformation, to me. Sure, having a new form is strange, but I don't mind it, now that I've had time to get used to it."

Bulkhead tries a few times to pull himself forward, but no matter what he does, he's just too big. He plans on fixing it himself without bothering Hound further, except then Hound's behind him, and he's following those gentle directions and backing himself out of the tunnel. Once he's free, he gives a full-body shake, hair fluffing and whipping about, before he transforms and settles himself on the floor in root mode. His tail is successfully, subtly pinned beneath a leg.

"You don't have to be sorry. It wasn't the war that I meant; it was the anger." Bulkhead scratches at his helm, where those much subtler ear panels barely shift beneath his fingers. "After the transformation...all of you, Air Raid, Sterling, Percy. It was like coming out of the Wreckers all over again, where the slightest thing has you seeing red. But...good. If you can get used to it, then so can I." He grins up at Hound.

"Are you thinking about staying that way?" Hound asks, crouching down. His audial panels are pricked forward curiously, as he braces his elbows against his knees and observes Bulkhead. His optics studiously don't go to that pinned tail. "Or just preparing for the worst?"

"I'm not sure there's room for the both of us," Bulkhead quips, his grin widening. "I don't want to say I'm preparing for the worst, because this. Frankly isn't as bad as it could be. It's something I could get used to. But...I do want to return to my old alt mode, if I can. So if I can get used to this alt in the meantime, and decrease any potential issues, I'd like to."

"It's not so bad, once you get used to the emoting," Hound says, reaching out to give Bulkhead a reassuring pat to the shoulder. "Even if you don't control it, it's just like any other kibble. Or biolights, or something. Or even just expressions. And if you accidentally hit some things sometimes, well, you get used to maneuvering around, too."

Bulkhead snorts again, which is much odder, somehow, in his root mode without a nose. "I should have figured as much. Thank you, Hound; you've been a real help." He pats Hound's arm in return before pushing himself to his feet. "And...we've got aromatherapy with Nightshade soon, don't we?"

"Glad to help." He may not have a tail, but Hound's audial panels are doing just as good a job as expressing cheer right now, as is his grin. "Even if it's just saying that it'll take time." He shakes his helm and transforms again. "We do. Though speaking of time... sure you don't want to finish this course with me? It'll help getting used to the legs and all. I promise you won't have to go through any more tunnels."

Bulkhead eyes the tunnel in question, then, with a good-natured shake of his helm, transforms back to alt. "If you get me stuck in anything else," he says, trotting past the tunnel (and maybe purposefully bumping it with a hip. Not from any misplaced sense of vengeance, no sir), "You're the one getting bit."

"Hah! Next time, don't investigate nose first," Hound says, tail wagging as he jumps forward to take the lead. "That should be beastformer lesson number one. Now c'mon, the next part's just perfect for you." And he continues leading Bulkhead through the obstacle course.

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