Title: Alas, Turntable
Location: Maccadam's Old Oil House
Date: 21 February 2015
Summary: Hot Rod asks Panacea about a missing person.
Maccadam's Old Oil House is classic neutral territory. All things considered, when Hot Rod wants to arrange a meeting with Panacea, he strikes Nyon off the list, and there's no way that he's going to Ibex, so it's Maccadam's the he suggests when he comms to ask her if she's got the time to speak with him. He shows up ... early. Don't take it as a sign of any kind of promptness or courtesy: he was speeding for the fun of it, the joy of it, and he's desperately underfueled as he whumps up to the bar to wait for a cube from the bartender. A light coating of road dust dulls his finish, but the colors remain rich despite that.
Perhaps she should see it as a slight that Hot Rod chose this location instead of one in Nyon. Yet, there is a certain wisdom to it. And, on the bright side, the drinks are /bound/ to be better here than in Nyon (Sorry Hot Rod!). She doesn't mind getting OUT of Ibex; it's nice to move around when she isn't working.
Like Hot Rod she orders a drink. Then she turns to the warm hued mech with a faint smile. "I suppose this means you're not still sore with me," she says softly while she waits for their drinks. Whatever he wants to talk to her about, she doubts he'll discuss it right here at the bar since he's no longer surrounded by 'his own people.'
"That's complicated." Hot Rod offers her a smile despite his answer. However sore he may or may not be, he's still friendly. To her. Quantum, not so much. BUT QUANTUM'S NOT HERE.
Once they've got their drinks, Hot Rod nods to one of the booths that line the walls. Heading over, he slides into a seat. It's a little quieter, and while it may not be as safe and secure as his own city surrounded by his own people -- eh, it's good enough. "How's Blurr doing? He heal up okay?"
Panacea also didn't beat Hot Rod up; Quantum did. Drink in hand, she follows Hot Rod to the booth and slides in across from him. "He's doing well," she says. "Hopefully he'll be starting to settle down a little more. I can't say much, but his medical history is quite complicated." There's that word again: complicated. "Unfortunately I think they put far too much stress on the mind of someone so young. It's a small comfort that I'm actually able to work on him without him having a panic attack about it."
"I'm not asking for his medical history," says Hot Rod with an irritated bristle of his shoulders and spoiler. "I'm just asking if he's okay. You hide behind medical history and patient confidentiality a lot." The words are plainly combative, but his tone is not so sharp as one might think. "Are you really /okay/ with what they are doing to him?" None of this is why he asked to see her, but it is pretty unavoidable that he'd be diverted to arguing about it.
"Hide, perhaps," Panacea says. "But would you want the intimate secrets and workings of your body readily available for everyone who happens to ask?" she asks. She sighs. "It's not okay that they would /start/ this sort of thing. But taking him away abruptly would be too dangerous to his health. The only way to avoid permanent damage to his spark and systems is to work /with/ them and find a better solution." She shakes her head then takes a long, slow sip of her drink. "It's a fine line to walk, but it beats one of us, or both of us, being dead." Her shoulders rise and fall in a shrug.
"I don't want his secrets and workings! I just want him to be okay. Safe and /free/. I want him to be able to make his own choices, not have them made for him by weirdos in secret labs who mess with his head and drug him. And none of this is actually why I wanted to speak to you," Hot Rod says, his first rush of words winding down into a resigned slump. Despite the slump of his shoulders, he looks a little relieved by the tone of her answer. Even if it isn't FREEDOM enough, at least she doesn't seem to have bought the IAA line without question.
Hot Rod leans over his drink and picks it up to take a long sip. Then he tilts the cube in her direction in a point for attention. "There's a disposable from Nyon who was framed for a crime he didn't commit." That's what they all say, though, right? "He was transferred to an off-the-books facility in Ibex. I think it's probably IAA-related. Would you be able to find out where he was transferred and let me know? That's all I'm asking."
Panacea tilts her head to the side. "I'm not sure that it would be in anything I've dealt with. It's a pretty big complex. But I'll see what I can do," she says evenly.
"And I know these are things you don't really want to hear, but sometimes you have to do something step by step, piece by piece instead of rushing headlong into things." Pause. "Especially where medical things are concerned." She would hate to see Hot Rod as a medic. "There's a time and a place for doing things on the spur of the moment, for standing your ground and saying 'no more'. You do that wonderfully. But it isn't always the /best/ method, and certainly isn't the /only/ method."
"Thank you," Hot Rod says with a duck of his head as she promises to at least /try/. Just a peek. Maybe just check. But it's something. He makes a little 'hmph' of dissatisfaction as he straightens and sits back. "I don't know. It's hard to /not/ do that when things are so bad, sometimes. And so many people are just willing to -- ignore it. I just can't do that." And, yes, he sounds a little self-congratulatory about that. (A lot.)
"How will I know when I've found the right guy?" Panacea asks with a faint smile as a prompt to get a name from Hot Rod while he's busy metaphorically patting himself on the back. "There's a difference between ignoring something and coming up with a different plan to deal with it. And some plans require patience." She shakes her head. "Most of the ways of changing things are far too violent for me. I'm meant to heal people, not put holes in them or blow them to bits."
"Oh." Right. That. Hot Rod leans forward and says, "His name's Turntable, and he--" --looks like a completely well-described thing. "Got that?" he checks when he's done. Sitting back a little, he tilts his head. "Yeah. Maybe. I don't know. It's easy to say that changing things is too violent when you're not the one hurting. I'm not advocating violence, but I don't condemn it, either. I understand where it comes from."
"Some people just aren't built for it, psychologically or physically. While the second can be altered, it's harder to...ethically...change the first." Yeah, Cybertron is a bit sketchy when it comes to mental manipulation. "I was lucky enough to be middle caste personally, but most of my friends were low caste miners. Almost all of them are dead now, either by the oppression of the government directly, or caught up in attacks by the dissidents. Both sides have hurt me already by taking away my friends, so it's hard for ME to say that violence is okay." She takes a quick sip of her drink. "Unless you're at the top, sitting as the Senate, Prime, or Functionist Council, no one has escaped unscathed," she states.
"What was that name again?" She got rather caught up in Hot Rod's other words that the name seemed to have slipped right past her. Good job Hot Rod.
"/Ethically/," Hot Rod repeats. "Like /that/ stops them. Like that /really stops them/." He looks ready to go on -- again, always -- at length on the subject, only to obviously stop himself. "Turntable," he repeats. He adds nothing else beyond a repeat of his description, because this is really the important point. Not arguing about politics and revolution. "Okay? Do you want me to write it down?" The offer is made honestly and without sarcasm.
Panacea shakes her head. "Not them; you," she says, putting a finger in the middle of that gloriously painted chest. "You wouldn't do that, so you have to accept when someone simply isn't going to see things your way. That's what makes you better. You're not ignoring those things."
Then he gives the name and description again. Likely Panacea would be in trouble if Hot Rod was a far more astute individual. Her expression goes sad, but there's a look in her optics that flickers for a brief moment that is a mix of guilt and calculation. "I don't know what happened to him, but by the time I got to him, there was nothing I could do..." Which TECHNICALLY isn't a lie. By the time she saw him, he was already dead.
Hot Rod glances at Panacea's arm as she points across the table. He frowns thoughtfully at her elbow. Joints are very complex and clearly worthy of deep contemplation. "That's hard," he says, glancing up to see the sadness on her expression and miss all but a trace of the guilt and calculation. "But I'll think about it."
When she reveals Turntable's fate, Hot Rod looks openly dismayed. "What? Seriously? What were they /doing/? He was there? Ugh! When was it?"
"No one was doing anything. I didn't have the particulars; he was already dead." Panacea sighs. "It always makes me sad when I can't fix someone." Which is completely true. "They should make a medic with speed like Blurr's; so many lives could be saved with that sort of response power." But unless things are sorted out for the racer entirely, the price would be far too high, and she knows it. Still, it doesn't stop wishful thinking. "I could always look for any records of what happened, but I'm a medic; I can't give back life once it's been taken." She puts a hand on Hot Rod's arm. "I'm sorry."
She could have lied and denied knowing anything, but she also knows that if people are looking for him, they won't be able to grieve, heal, and move on if they don't know his fate. Hopefully this isn't a breach of any particular confidences. Hopefully.
Hot Rod's a soft touch: there isn't a moment of doubt that she is telling anything less than the full truth. He droops, right to the edge of his spoiler. He covers her hand with his and squeezes briefly. "Thanks. That'll -- I'll tell people. If you can find any records, that'd be great. It'd be good to know, I guess."
Panacea nods her head at this. She's not generally a smooth liar; she's no Starscream. She doesn't believe that things are /right/ exactly, but she also knows this sort of information is DANGEROUS. Hot Rod's likely in enough trouble (causes enough trouble?) as it is without bumping him up on the list of the IAA's enemies. Too many things are at stake for revealing what she knows; least of all her own scientific studies. It's not the main cause of her new employment; it was just the thing she consoles herself with.
"Was he someone you knew well?" she asks gently. She's always felt bad about telling people the news that she couldn't help their friends or 'family'...it doesn't matter that this time it wasn't her failure as a medic. For all she KNOWS, he was gotten legitimately.
"Never met him," Hot Rod admits. "I'm not even sure Swivel really knows him or anything, but I guess that doesn't really matter. I mean, that's kind of how they work, right? They take people no one cares about and no one is going to ask about and then they turn up dead and no one cares." He's winding himself back up again, somewhat inevitably. "I should really go let her know, though. And probably Y. Thanks for meeting me and letting me know."
Panacea nods her head at this. Perhaps all those bodies there are such individuals: the unwanted. The medic could be callous and say they're better off furthering SCIENCE than wasting away as empties. But Panacea doesn't think that way. However, she is also not wanting to put anyone /else/ in jeopardy to fight that system. No, she doesn't have the spark of a rebel that pulses in Hot Rod and many others. "That was very kind of you to look for him on Swivel's account. She's a good femme from what I've seen." She sighs and finishes her drink. "I just wish I had better news for you." And she's in complete sincerity there.
She gives Hot Rod a direct look, optics to optics. "I know you are rather impulsive, but try to take good care of yourself; Cybertron really needs you. I mean it."
"She'd rather close her eyes and ignore how bad things are, but--" Hot Rod absently brushes his fingers over his chest where Panacea's touch had lingered earlier. "I guess ... it's up to her. To open her eyes or not." See? He listens! Sometimes. He doesn't sound /happy/ about it, but he sounds like he might be willing to grudgingly accept that Swivel's not ready for rebellion. Dropping his hand to his drink, he lifts it to tip to Panacea in salute. "Yeah. Cybertron needs a /lot/. Take care of yourself too, okay? I still don't trust those guys."
"I don't either entirely, but I think it's too dangerous for Blurr to not be under their care." For now. "It will take a lot of untangling to get him set straight, and I know you have good intentions, but simply pointing out that he needs to change isn't going to work at this point. So, when you see him, hold back a little. It'll likely cause less problems in the long run. When he's able to, I'm sure he'll agree with you," she says earnestly. "Just keep your optics open."
Hot Rod goes, "Hmph." Again. Unhappily. Then he finishes his drink and shifts, pushing to his feet. "Always do." He taps two fingers on the table and then smiles. "Keep in touch. Let me know if you need anything, yeah? And good luck."
Panacea offers a little wave; she's already said pretty much everything there is to say. "Safe travels," she says, sure that he's going straight back to Nyon. As for her, she feels she needs another drink; walking such a thin line is stressful.