Date: 17 October 2014
Summary: Chromedome is happy. Ultra Magnus will put a stop to that.
Chromedome started hours ago in the Guild Assessment office situated closest to the police station. And after exiting the office, he loitered around all heady-lost a while longer. He's been loitering through various nodes sense, stopping at a bar here, staring through a Primary Programming school there, making a broad circit around that police station because it's familiar. Because it's an old lodestone and comfortable. At the moment, he's loitering some meters away, his spine braced straight, his eyeplates focused upward. He's going to be an obstruction.
It's not immediately clear what Ultra Magnus is doing here, because his proximity is very close to a primary programming facility in Rodion, and it is difficult to imagine Ultra Magnus interacting with the very young without either imploding or being graffitized (or some combination of the two). Yet here he is, rumbling along the road in the massive truck form that is his vehicle mode, blue and solid and rolling at middling speed. It is Chromedome's familiarity that gives him pause as he rolls past the police station; he halts, and then reverts to root mode, pacing toward the other mech with a faint frown reflected in his expression.
Chromedome gradually pulls his head out of the metaphorical clouds, his eyeplate widening mild-high with modest pleasure-surprise at seeing a known face. He has nothing to smile with, but his tone is an attempt. "Ultra Magnus. I hope I wasn't in your way."
"Certainly not." Ultra Magnus dismisses this possibility with a faint deepening of his frown, as if the mere smile of Chromedome's voice somehow grates at him, perhaps even on a level beneath conscious awareness. "Chromedome, I have seen your work before. In your experience, does the forensic analyst frequently come into contact with the witness end of the investigation? I understand that nothing in the regulations forbids it, but to me it still seems as though it could be irregular."
Chromedome looks at, no, through, Ultra Magnus with long placidity before he appears to register the question. "Oh. No. A forensic analyst usually doesn't. But I have ambitions beyond backroom sifting through debris." The smile-tone returns. "I'm sure you understand. It's just a brief irregularity. A trial, if you will."
Ultra Magnus blinks. It is not unlike the blink of an investigator for whom a true hypothetical has borne unexpected fruit. He shifts gears, at least figuratively, to refocus on Chromedome with more weight to his interest. "Really," he says. "A trial."
"Oh yes." Chromedome lifts his hand, turns attention from Ultra Magnus and his active eyes to examine it. Why, he's almost humming. "Tell me, is there any irregularity even you might chase? If only for a few moments."
"No," Ultra Magnus does not even need to take time to think about. He studies Chromedome with a great weight of doubt carried by his ridged metal brow. "There is not."
Chromedome widens his eyeplate that touch wider, and then defaults his non-expression back to, well, default. "I figured. I thought I'd ask. But I wouldn't concern yourself too much about me pestering witnesses. That'll stop soon enough."
"Will it?" Ultra Magnus looks inquiringly at Chromedome, and invites with a particular dryness seeping into his low voice: "Do tell."
"No secret. I've qualified for an alt exception." Chromedome's voice, mostly removed, if not without a hint of pride.
Ultra Magnus considers him for a moment's measured silence, his gaze lingering on Chromedome's mask. "Then you are planning to change your career?" he says. "In itself, there is hardly anything irregular in performing a function for which you are appropriately qualified." Because he's a giant truck and it's his job to force people to toe lines.
"In time. It's a bit fiddly at the moment." Chromedome opens his hand, lifts it skyward. "I wanted the option. I'm not half as impressive as you or Prowl."
Ultra Magnus frowns at him. "Fiddly," he repeats, in tones that ring the word with far more dignity than it might ordinarily contain. Sternly, he informs Chromedome: "I am not impressed with myself, or with Prowl. We do our duty to keep order, that is all."
"And I do what's necessary in the back rooms of Cybertron." Chromedome probably doesn't /mean/ to make that sound ambiguous. "I'm just pursuing the opportunity to keep more order. Like you."
"I see." Ultra Magnus doesn't see. He subjects Chromedome to a scrutiny that suggests suspicion.
Chromedome lowers his hand. The smile seeps out of his voice. "Is it just that I got an alt exception?"
"Alt exceptions exist because there are functions for which they are needed, and the mechs and femmes who earn them are required to contribute their value to society," Ultra Magnus answers. "I am..." He hesitates for a moment, and then selects a word, "... not bothered by that. You have a curious approach to the matter of function. In any event, if you are continuing your work in forensics as opposed to ... whatever it is ... you plan to do next," he pauses for a moment again, this time with a more visible puzzling in the clanky shift of his weight, and then shakes his head. "--Then I may have some memoranda for you to peruse regarding an ongoing investigation."
"I promise that whatever I do pursue will be of great value to society," and so, so does Chromedome promise, however super vaguely, complete with splaying his hand over his chest and displaying a little bow. "Meanwhile, I would be thrilled to look over your memoranda. Which investigation?"
"I have had reason to observe," Ultra Magnus intones, with a distant, ursine rumble buried in the depths of his smooth-surfaced voice, "the ongoing efforts to apprehend a fugitive suspect. A confidential source was able to get close to this suspect. He attempted to manipulate this source with a conspiracy theory, which I judge to have an 83% chance of being a complete fabrication according to the self-serving nature of all guilty persons attempting to escape responsibility for their crimes. This is not the place to discuss the details, of course." He turns slightly on one heel, surveying the police station and then the corner beyond, and the slow roll of some traffic in the distance. Then he resumes the weight of his gaze on Chromedome, and says, "However, if there are any associative details that may connect this fugitive from justice to the recent bombing attempt on an Autobot's life, it may prove critical to our clear need to protect the rights and persons of any bot held in custody."
Chromedome listens with flat-faced interest. Absorption. "We can continue this conversation elsewhere, of course," he milds. "Otherwise, I am happy to pattern hunt through memoranda. I don't suppose you have a name for this fugitive?" is the sort of leading that suggests Chromedome has suspicions of his own.
"Blast Off," Ultra Magnus answers mildly; and since it is hardly a secret that Blast Off is a fugitive from justice, there is little enough reason not to share it even here on the street corner. It's the details that should be more closely held. "I am prepared to provide you with relevant data, either at Decagon or if you would care to stop by my office with the Diplomatic Corps." It is wholly impossible for the neutral face to smile, but the heavy weight of his frown has receded. There is nothing more soothing than work. He states, "I could share my statistical analysis with you, but I believe it would be better for you to begin with fresh eyes on this matter, not directly influenced by what I think."
"Oh, him." Chromedome manages to sound almost relieved. "No, I understand. I'll look over your data and provide my own analysis. And we'll see if we deviate from each other at all. I'll meet you at the Corps." He drifts again. "I like that building."
"Very well, then." If Ultra Magnus finds it odd that investigating a dangerous criminal is a relief to anyone, he does not show it particularly beyond subjecting the other mech to another long look. "I will have the raw data prepared for your review," he says, and steps back.
Chromedome is all glassy placid, already moving down the sidewalk at a more literal drift. Away from long looks. "Thanks. Enjoy the rest of your day. As far as you can, anyway."
"Thank you," Ultra Magnus says gravely. Then, their impromptu interview over, he seems content to transform back into his vehicle mode and continue on his way.