Title: CSI: Rodion
Date: 30 September 2014
NPCs: There's a dead guy.
Summary: Hot Rod does a little unlicensed investigating, to predictable results in a scene that involves Ultra Magnus.
Who really knows how many escaped from the Institute vault in the Dead End of Polyhex. However many came out, it doesn't come close to the number that went in, and what did come out exited damaged, fractured. But it's the Dead End, right? Who cares!
When it spills over to the more reputable areas of Polyhex, though, then people start caring. And as Hot Rod revisits the scene of his crime (HEROISM), red and gold and flamed and spoilered, it's to take in all of those many details. A murder on the periphery of the Dead End, one victim taking out their pain on another, brings down the attention of the law. And Hot Rod idles nearby, overlooking the crime scene in its last stages of investigation like a really flamboyant ambulance chaser.
Ultra Magnus stands tall and imposing among the flurry of activity, his height lofty both metaphorically and otherwise. He is an observer, cast in shades and hues of frown as he stands, pauldrons high, the plates of his face set. Activity bustles around him, but he is like a solid weight of blue and red, a large metal delta around which other bots must flow.
"You must follow the appropriate protocol," his voice booms with a note of warning, however mild, directed particularly along with the weight of his gaze. "There may be an unusual number of these incidents in the past few days but that does not warrant the cutting of any corners."
Chromedome is crouched beside the wrecked body, picking over head-shatter and caved chest. In the lee of Ultra Magnus, he's almost a spindly figure, were it not for those thick arms with those tacked on wheels. It's like he switched arms with some gorilla. If we believed in gorillas.
Hot Rod wheels a little closer and transforms into root mode to head right up to the line dividing SERIOUS INVESTIGATION from CASUAL GAWKERS with unconcern. He leads with the boldness and confidence of someone who inevitably approaches flame first. "Did you say there've been a lot of these incidents?"
Ultra Magnus turns the weight of his gaze down the length of Hot Rod's frame. What conclusions he draws are not clear from his expression, because it remains a mask of impassivity, but it is certain that by the time it has traveled to the newcomer's feet and all the way back up, over his flames, to his face, an impression must have been made. Perhaps even catalogued, and run in a comparison to data stored somewhere in Ultra Magnus's brain.
What he says, rather than directly answer the query, is: "Please stand back. This is a crime scene, not a performance of street theater. The chain of evidence must be preserved."
Chromedome inevitably glances up at the mention of 'street theater.' Inevitably, he sees Hot Rod attempting extemporaneous investigative journalism, because he's impossible to miss. But we must, we must assume Hot Rod is not the first schnazzy passerby to try to involve himself in foul aftermaths and certainly Ultra Magnus can direct traffic. He returns to poking.
"Hey, I'm on this side of the line." Hot Rod gestures along the length of the taped-offed area while the shift of his body inevitably causes his foot to slide forward and toe onto the other side. Just as he is turning, you understand. To gesture. By the time his hands fall again to his side, he's all back where he should be and smiling up at Ultra Magnus.
There was a line. Hot Rod HAD to cross it. At least a LITTLE. It's his function. And we all like functionism, right? It's legal! We like legal things! He can't be blamed.
Hot Rod tries again: "So what was that about a lot of them? Because -- wow! Have there ever been a lot of weirdos around with processors all fragged up. How do their heads look? Anything weird?" he asks Chromedome.
Ultra Magnus sees this little play of Hot Rod's foot. He stares at the line with a particularly grim look. He knows what to make of line-toeing of this particular kind. He has you pegged now, bot.
It apparently requires a closer watch, because he starts forward toward the lit tape that marks the edge of the scene, moving on gliding steps that come to halt in a wide brace of his feet. On this side of the line, he stands, glances down, and then glances back up again. He is now a tower of disapproval physically much closer to Hot Rod, presumably to serve as deterrent for the next time he decides to /get cute/.
Ultra Magnus states, his voice deep and weighted, "See that you remain there. These measures exist for a reason." Deep skepticism written into his voice for all that his face is still only somewhat on the frownish side of neutral, he asks: "Are you also here for a reason?"
"Not unless murder's weird." Chromedome straightens up, steps back from corpse. He keeps his optics pointed down. Splatter analysis. Drag marks in dust or debris. Patterns, patterns, anomalies. "You sound like you're angling for information."
"Why, do you have any?" Hot Rod focuses his smiling, friendly inquiry on Chromedome from beneath the shade of Ultra Magnus's disapproval. Question? What question!
"Who are you and what are you doing here?" Ultra Magnus's disapproval only seems to grow darker and more encompassing on being ignored, gathering weight as a gray cloud slowly, inexorably roils into a thunderhead.
"Why don't you tell me what you're hoping to hear?" Chromedome takes two long steps back, reangles on the scene. Just a little patter before Ultra Magnus eats Hot Rod. Sure!
Hot Rod slides to the side and out of Ultra Magnus's shadow to keep a clear line of sight on Chromedome. Coincidentally, this gives him room to transform (You know, if he'd want to. But why would he want that. Silly, right?) as he at last answers blue and broody: "Name's Hot Rod." Of course it is, right? "You said there've been an unusual number of incidents. That's why I'm here. That's what I want to know about. What's going on, huh?"
"That information is under investigation and not for dispersal to the general public. Naturally, information will be put forward for public consumption and public record when it is no longer sensitive to ongoing inquiries." Ultra Magnus is prim and correct as he lays this forth. He narrows his gaze at Hot Rod as if he is reminded of something. The shift of his expression is detectable, but the meaning behind it is not immediately clear. Whatever it is leads him, however, to this next question: "Are you a material witness, Hot Rod?"
The precision with which he pronounces the syllables of this name sugggests a certain heavy exasperation buried inside him at having to speak the words. No sentence containing Hot Rod is going to have sufficient dignity for Ultra Magnus. This is the real reason he will one day change his name.
"I think it's clear he's gawking. You see his type all the time." Chromedome is still angling and re-angling, stepping around anything evidence-like. Far as there's much of it. "Think they could outthink the professionals, if only they had all the data."
Hot Rod's eyes glaze over as Ultra Magnus talks all prim and correct and blah blah words blah blah not listening blah blah. It's not clear if he notices the shift of expression, so bored is he by the official language. The question, however, recalls his attention with a sharp start of focus: "What? I -- yeah, I'm gawking. I'm a gawker. Why, no good witnesses?" LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: too dumb to be suspicious, surely.
"Gawking," Ultra Magnus says, the depth of his voice weighted by the firmness of his frown. "There is a remarkable paucity of available witnesses considering the very public nature of this crime. Chromedome's talents as a forensic analyst will be ultimately highly necessary to resolve this matter." Even as he indicates Chromedome with a small, constrained gesture, he does not stop looking at Hot Rod, who is apparently a much more statistically likely /troublemaker/ under his gaze than anyone behind him. "'Gawking' is without any value, however."
"Try to have faith that I know what I'm doing. I know it's hard." Chromedome shifts his attention back to Ultra Magnus and Hot Rod beyond. "Why are you asking about the witnesses?"
"Oh, too bad." Hot Rod sags in something like relief, all through his shoulders to the very tips of his spoiler, but he shakes it off in a shrug. "Sure, sure," he agrees on the matter of faith. He then asks, "So what's that mean?"
"It seemed likely," Ultra Magnus answers Chromedome more obscurely than not, still watching Hot Rod, "under the circumstances." He's very subtle.
"Witnesses don't always come forward. And there's always at least one witness to a crime," Chromedome decides to obscure in turn. He takes another step back. "Well. I've scoured this crime scene enough. Back to the lab for me."
"But -- hey! You never said anything about other incidents!" Hot Rod says, pacing toward Chromedome and skirting the very edge of the line. "Should people around here be worried?"
"Vigilance is always reasonable," Ultra Magnus tells Hot Rod /completely uninformatively/.
"I think it's a great idea to be worried," Chromedome says, equally informatively. He treads out far enough to go -- transform, or whatever these people do for travel, they transform, right? Unless they turn into a beaker or something. Anyway, he goes and turns into a super fast car in a super professional manner.
Hot Rod looks between Ultra Magnus and the departing Chromedome with a low rev of frustration as he drops back down into alt mode himself. "Thanks for your service," he says not at all sarcastically, why would you think that, before going the /other/ way. He will just go linger suspiciously around SOME OTHER CRIME SCENE THEN. (Probably not.)
Ultra Magnus watches him go, paying more heed than he usually does to lookie-loos at crime scenes he happens to be observing. It's probably got something to do with his robutt.