Title: Drift Who
Date: 04 January 2015
Summary: Hot Rod comes looking for Drift. With Panacea's help ... he still doesn't find him. OR DOES HE.
So. Kaon. Yep, that's a place. It's nice! ...okay, it's not nice. And Hot Rod looks a little out of place, all brilliant red and orange and gold against the gray and black of the dirt and machinery. But he's here, and he's a mech on a mission, moving swiftly through the streets.
The thing about the Forge is that it moves, which means that when Hot Rod retraces his steps to go find it, he gets an empty building at the end of his search. "Well, scrap." That's about all he has to say about that. A moment later he's back onto the streets of Kaon looking for a friendly face -- or, you know, a cheap face, the kind of face who will trade the newest location for a price he can actually afford. Hint: /cheap/.
Panacea has a face. Many people might consider it friendly, but whether or not it's a cheap face, well, that would probably take more observation. It's also a clean face, so make of that what you will. Either way, she's walking down the street until she spots Hot Rod. "Hey there, fella, you're looking a bit lost," she observes, her tone friendly enough.
Coincidentally the face Hot Rod is about to run into is neither cheap OR friendly. What is the ruler of Vos doing here? Well that is definitely not a question that will get a direct or pleasant answer.
Starscream is floating haughtily down the street, hovering a few feet off the ground when he suddenly finds himself face to face with flameo boy.
Ugh, had he been /looking/ for him, hoping to ask about Drift's status when he'd hardly even attempted his half of the bargain? The NERVE. He scowls, and folds his arms, looking annoyed. "What do you want?" he says sharply, looking down at Hot Rod.
Hey, friendly face! "Well, they move things," says Hot Rod with a grin that implies a sort of willing friendliness that's nearly as out of place here as his paint. "So then you have to go fffi--." He breaks off when he catches sight of Starscream. A flash of trepidation is almost immediately buried beneath a surge of determination. He steps forward and squares off against Starscream. The fact that he has to tip his head up to meet his gaze does not seem to bother him. Whatever. Floating. Floating is for losers, obviously!! "I want to find out what you did with my friend."
People can't seem to keep track of their friends around here. Or, well, anywhere outside of Panacea's hometown at any rate. Then again, SHE doesn't know where most of her friends are right now, which is why she's here, of all places. And she doesn't really look like she belongs. Hot Rod had been speaking to her, but then the other mech came and interrupted that, so now she's not really sure what to say. She just kinda nods to the floaty one and stands there looking a wee bit foolish. Oh, and out of place too.
Starscream sighs dramatically, glancing briefly over at Panacea and dutifully ignoring her. He looks away disinterestedly for a moment, then back over at Hot Rod, his expression bland. "If that was an attempt to outshine me, sorry, that sucked."
He folds his arms. He knew it! Stupid slagger WAS going to demand to know about Drift. He pauses, his cunning genius suddenly having spun a devious little trick. "Oh, I'm sorry," he says, his demeanor suddenly changing. "How callous of me." He grins, expertly feigning sympathy. "Well, you know, you didn't do what I asked."
Hot Rod goes from annoyed to grieving so fast he sets a new record somewhere. His expression falls and his shoulders slump before he clenches his fists and sidles over in the direction of denial. "What do you mean, you're sorry? I tried! Bl--." Wait, witnesses. He glances at Panacea and edits. "He doesn't trust me anymore than he trusts you, apparently, and went on to prove it by killing a few friends, arresting another, so maybe you should've told me to do something /sensible/. So what do you mean /sorry/?" He steps forward, anger rising hot and fierce in his voice and body language.
Awkward. Panacea looks rather annoyed for a moment. Doesn't anyone get along with each other? Well, if they did, the whole planet wouldn't be at the boiling point, now would it? Frankly, the outside world is disappointing. Starscream is quite pointedly snubbing her and Hot Rod is going through emotions faster than his wheels can spin. The medic just kind of stands there and watches things unfold...for now. Interrupting would be SO rude!
"Oh, Primus," Starscream continues, placing a hand over his chest, his little charade carrying on perfectly. "I didn't /know/. You should have told me, I would have tried harder. I mean, I not that I didn't try, but you know how it is, the nurses and medics didn't want obey me in the first place, and I couldn't exactly waltz in there and watch over him every klik. I have a job to do." A dramatic sigh. "Besides, I knew you hadn't fulfilled your end of the bargain. But because I'm so GENEROUS and COMPASSIONATE, I kept trying anyway. But you could say that since it appeared none of the medical procedures seemed to be doing anything for poor dear Drift, I got a little weary."
Hot Rod's hands twitch. He looks awful close to grabbing Starscream and shaking him. What stops him? Possibly the fact that he can't get a good hold on him without jumping and that is just WAY too undignified, no mater the surge of anger. "What do you mean, /you got a little weary/?"
Panacea perks up as Starscream mentions medics and takes half a step towards the mechs. She's curious, but still doesn't speak up. After all, these two don't seem to be getting along, and she's no fighter. Quite the opposite actually. And the deeper part of her is just waiting to see if she has to add more people to her list.
"Well, wouldn't you? We tried everything conceivable and still nothing--no response or improvement. And it was pretty clear you hadn't fulfilled your end of the deal, so..." He shrugs and floats a little higher, bowing deeply. "My deepest apologies, Hot Rod. Drift is dead."
Hot Rod lunges toward Starscream who is ... floating higher. Ugh. UGH!!! "That's not fair!" Clearly this appeal to fairness will work wonders on the universe and undo this unfortunate demise. "You should have tried harder!"
Panacea can't help it at this point. "Are you sure EVERYTHING was tried? Because everything encompases a whole lot of things," she says. To Hot Rod she says, sadly, "Unfortunately, even the best medics lose a patient now and then." She shakes her head and sighs; most 'decent' medics find such losses to be quite uncomfortable.
Starscream just floats higher, out of Hot Rod's grasp. "The truth is, Hot Rod, is that it's too late. Maybe if you'd told me earlier why your end of the deal didn't work out, I would have tried harder. Although in all honesty I doubt it would have done any good. I'm sorry. But he's gone, and there isn't anything I can do about it now."
As Starscream evades Hot Rod's grasp, he lifts his arm higher -- but whatever threat he might imagine (surely he wouldn't be so foolish that he'd shoot Starscream, right? --ha ha never mind of course he would be.) is cut by Panacea's words, and the reminder, again of WITNESSES. He lowers his hands. After a second to gather himself, he turns his back on Starscream. "You were worse than useless," he says in a harsh voice. OH WOW HE REALLY TOLD HIM. Quieter, he says to Panacea, "He was in really bad shape. It was -- I guess...." But he trails off and doesn't actually say anything. His stance softens and slumps from squared shoulders to pointy spoiler.
Panacea glares for a moment at Starscream, who has snubbed her from the beginning. Aft! But, it's not like she NEEDS to be recgonized by him or anything. To Hot Rod she reaches out a hand to give him a comforting pat on the arm, optics softening a great deal. "It's hard," she says quietly. "But unless I saw a body or a report on the injuries, I wouldn't know if your 'friend' up there is telling the truth or not. Sorry I don't have anything useful to say." And she does mean it; she takes her job very seriously.
"Has it occurred to you," Starscream suddenly interjects, "that you didn't try hard enough either? After all, if you had /really/ wanted to see Drift live, you would have tried your very hardest to do what I asked. Drift isn't /my/ friend, he's yours, and I was spending all my resources on him though you didn't even follow through with your end of the deal," he scoffs.
Remember that prior hint of denial? It returns in the form of hope. Hot Rod regards Panacea like his new BFF. (How quickly Drift is replaced!!) Even a hint that Starscream might be lying is enough for him. He pivots, and demands, "Where's his body?"
Panacea blinks a few times and then stares at Starscream for several moments. She considers addressing him directly, but then decides against it. Instead she turns her focus back on Hot Rod. "Correct me if I'm not understanding this right, but it sounds like that guy," jerking her thumb backwards towards Starscream, "is pretty much saying that your friend's health was contingent on a deal?" Then Hot Rod is demanding the body. Well, that WOULD answer some questions, but Panacea usually doesn't do autopsies. Not that she couldn't, mind you.
Starscream gives Hot Rod an exasperated look. "Look, clearly you don't know anything about what happens to people who die around here. This is Kaon. Where do you /think/ his body is? The parts got sold in a nano-klik and the profits went to the Forge. Don't be so foolish. No one in Kaon gets autopsies. If they're lucky, they'll be... cremated in the slag pools. If not, the empties and parts scavengers will dismember them before you can say 'he's dead.'"
Hot Rod looks a touch uneasy at Panacea's question, but agrees with a, "More or less." He doesn't go on to /detail/ the deal, but yeah, totally a deal. When Starscream gives his perfectly reasonable and in all ways logical answer, he only looks more stubborn. "Then I want to talk to the medics!" he demands next. "How do I know you even tried?"
Well, there is some sense to this. Body parts don't come cheap, and Panacea knows it, unfortunately. Still, an autopsy should have been done first. But this place is so big and busy that she knows she can't compare it to the much smaller community she came from. Too bad. "Were there no reports then?" she asks, speaking directly to Starscream this time. When Hot Rod agrees that there was a deal, more or less, she frowns. "That should not be a medic's primary concern. It's unethical," she states. "We're here to help."
"Oh, well I'm sorry, it isn't MY job to make sure I try, that's on YOU," Starscream snaps. "And from my point of view, it doesn't really look like YOU tried either." Really now? This guy.. just....!!
"Oh you /want/ to talk to them, after you made that stupid fuss at the repair bay last time? You think they're going to tell you /anything/ after that? Pft!"
"I'll find them with or without your help," says Hot Rod. Glancing at Panacea -- hey, back to looking for directions! -- he asks, "Happen to know where they've moved the fights after that whole...." Dot dot dot indeed. "That's where he was. That's where they were treating him."
"It's not your job to make sure you try?" Panacea blinks. "That doesn't even MAKE any sense." And the jerk is still ignoring her. What is she, invisible. Oh, hey, if she's invisible, she could get away with things. Like making a rudge gesture. But she doesn't, because she knows she really isn't invisible. As for Hot Rod's question, well, she puts her inner ramblings aside. "I'm sorry, no; I just got into town. I haven't been here very long. I'm actually looking for work," she admits with a helpless little shrug.
"Of course it isn't, this matter hardly concerned me, I did it as a /favor/ to Hot Rod," he finally responds icily to the female.
Starscream shrugs. "Whatever," he says dismissively, "maybe you'll find some person who bought his chassis plate, and you can get him to strike a pose for old times sake," he says with a smirk.
"Well," Starscream chides Panacea, "perhaps if you had worked at the hospital where Drift was stationed, he'd be alive right now."
/Hot Rod/ will rude gesture. He will super duper rude gesture when Starscream makes the crack about Drift's body. "Great. You're a medic, right? You want a job? Then we /both/ need to go find that place. Come on. Forget him." With a last (rude) gesture back at Starscream, he turns to consider the stretch of Kaon. Maybe someone else will give them directions.
"Are you a medic?" Panacea asks Starscream. "Because if you are not, what is it you did /as/ a favor?" She's getting a bit lost again. "As for working at the hospital, I wasn't even in the city yet, so I didn't even know there was someone dying there." At least he actually deigned to acknowledge her existance. Yay! Actually, maybe that's not such a good thing.
Panacea surpresses a laugh when Hot Rod makes the rude gesture. To herself: Go guy! Outloud: "Alright. Um...where are we going?"
"Made the medics endeavor to save him, because otherwise they wouldn't have," Starscreams says blandly, "and that's besides the point. What I'm saying, is that if you work at that hospital, deaths like Drift's could be less common." He smirks.
"We'll figure it out," says Hot Rod, already setting out in what just might be the wrong direction entirely, but at least he's moving. (This explains a lot about him.)
"Oh. Uh. My name's Hot Rod, by the way. And that aft was Starscream." Who he is WALKING AWAY FROM, because Starscream is a LOSER who can't HELP. Despite the way he latched on to the possibility that Starscream might be lying, Hot Rod's mood wavers between stubborn and depressed. So far as he settles on anything, it seems to be trepidation.
Panacea gestures to herself. "Well, I'm here now, aren't I?" she says to Starscream. "And if the medics need YOUR prompting to fix someone, then they're not very good medics."
When Hot Rod introduces himself, Panacea giggles softly. "Hot Rod, eh? It definitely suits you," she says. "I'm Panacea. Used to work as a medic for a small mining community, but it shut down because the miners, well, there were issues. Then we all had to split up and find other places to go." She follows Hot Rod because she really doesn't know where what the thing they're looking for is.
"You could change that," Starscream muses, "If you want to, that is. Think about it." He watches Hot Rod and Panacea go, smirking before flying off dramatically. Sheesh, his exits are as showy as his entrances.
"They'd probably be happy to have you, then," Hot Rod foolishly encourages. Yes, Panacea, go join the Decepticons as a medic, it'll be great. Good way to HELP PEOPLE. "I don't know exactly what's going on with the fights. Last I heard it was pretty, uh, complicated. But I can't think of a better way to find out."
Charging blindly into things IS THE BEST WAY TO DO IT. So Hot Rod sets off to do so. This includes a false start or two, but they get pointed in the right direction sooner or later, and it's not long before they are on approach.
Who is the greatest fool, the fool or the fool who follows the fool? Panacea isn't aware that Hot Rod is a fool, though she knows she can be foolish at times. So she follows Hot Rod as he charges blindly into things. "I'm not really sure why people enjoy fighting so much. I'm not built for it, so I guess it's something a person just has to do to get it." She sighs. "But, I'm not interested in who people are. If they need fixing, then I'll do my best to fix them."
Oops. Starscream's kinda right. The medic standing in front of the repair bay at the Forge is the same guy Hot Rod ran into the first time he tried to go there and visit Drift. At the moment, he's in an argument with another medic at the moment about pulling a patient's plug.
"Not everyone who fights does it because they like it. Sometimes that's all a person has, because the Senate's shut down every other way they could make a decent living," Hot Rod says. At least he knows where to place the blame when walking Kaon's streets. "They get desperate."
He's quieter as they enter the repair bay, and his steps slow, too. Hot Rod watches the two medics, eavesdropping shamelessly, then asks Panacea in aside: "You know medical things, right? Ask about Drift."
Panacea nods to Hot Rod as they moved. "I guess that makes sense. But some people still seem to actually enjoy it. I mean, there's a lot of things that are dangerous already without people LOOKING for it." She shrugs. When they reach the repair bay, she listens to the arguement for a few moments before approaching them. Not wanting to interrupt a fellow practicioner, she makes a small, polite noise and waits her turn.
"WHAT?!" The medic bursts out, as he shoves the other medic he'd just been arguing with to the ground. He glares at Panacea, and then his gaze wanders and lands on Hot Rod. "Oh, not /you/ again," he snarls, taking out a laser amputator.
"I didn't do it!" Hot Rod says reflexively. "What, come on! Just got a question!"
Panacea flicks a glance to the medic on the ground and then back to the one with the amputator. "Excuse me," she says, politely enough, apparently undaunted by the glare. "I just had a few questions, but if you're busy, I don't mean to hold you back from your work." She raises her optic ridges at Hot Rod because his response came so...reflexively. Interesting. Then she looks back to the standing medic, waiting to see if he will calm down, or if things will get worse.
Well, too bad Panacea doesn't know Rod all that well, situations like this don't usually go uphill when he's involved. "I don't know what you're trying to pull off this time, but making her your scapegoat is NOT helping my mood," he growls, brandishing the laser amputator and walking towards Hot Rod.
"I brought her here because she wants to help, you broken-chipped moron," Hot Rod retorts. "/I'm/ here because I want to know what happened to your /patient/." He does not seem daunted by the brandishing. Surprise. Nor does he seem to be deescalating. Surprise.
"You're not going to get much help around here if you greet people so rudely," Panacea says with a little shrug. "I'm not a scape goat, I just met that mech," pointing to Hot Rod. "I just had some questions. I'm new in town." She really doesn't like the look of that amputator. At least, not the way the medic is brandishing it; she never treats her equipment with such disregard for function. And no, she only just MET Hot Rod so of course she doesn't know how things go.
Then she looks over at Hot Rod. "I know we just met, so I don't mean to be a bother, but that's really not the way to get people to listen to you," she says patiently, shaking her head. "I know you're upset, but you need to calm down a bit fella."
"And what makes you think I'm going to tell you a damned thing," he snarls. "Stay out of this," he snaps at Panacea. "What the hell do you think I am, an outlier who can read minds?! Primus! There have been hundreds of slagging patients since the day you came here, mech!" He shuts off the amputator for now and starts walking away.
"I am calm!" Hot Rod doesn't /shout/ it, no, but he says it very ... emphatically. (Not calm.) When the medic walks away, he follows. Of course. "But you remember me! So no way you don't remember Drift. How many of your patients come in here with their processor falling out of their head?"
Panacea waves a hand at the room in general. "Obviously you're a bit understaffed," she begins, "and if this is how you treat incoming medics, then I won't be surprised if it stays that way."
Hot Rod is not calming down, which is understandable, so she puts an arm around his shoulder if he will allow it. "Even calmer then," she quantifies. "They're probably very busy here and you need more diplomacy than emphasis right now," she says gently. "Maybe if you settled down long enough to give this fine medic an approximate date, the general appearance and size of your friend, he would be able to help you easier." Pause. "He's right that most of us are not mind readers."
"Like hell I remember you!" he spits, "I don't know who Drift is, and there are lots of patients who come in here with their processors falling out. Now slag off!"
He glances at Panacea. "Well, when you work your aft off day in and day out to see the same people come back every time, it's slag. But what the hell do I have to lose anyway, I'm a criminal already..."
Although Hot Rod's shoulders are tensely squared beneath her arm, it's an ire that's aimed at the poor medic (wait, they are both poor medics: the poor medic with the /answers/, then) rather than at her. He ... simmers. This is kind of like settling. He spits out important details like date, appearance, size and then follows it up with an entreating, "It's important. C'mon, mech. You'll never see me again. Anything about him?"
Why would a medic be a criminal anyhow? Panacea at least has the sense to keep that question to herself for now. "Well, /do/ you need a hand around here?" she asks. "I'm used to helping miners, to be honest, but an injury is an injury."
She squeezes those tense shoulders lightly; obviously she's not terribly shy. Hearing that Hot Rod is still impatient, she decides that telling him to calm down any more than she already has is sheer redundancy. She keeps her eyes on the other medic. "It's understandable that you do not remember details, but do you keep notes?" she asks evenly.
"I don't know," The medic finally snarls at Hot Rod. "I got kicked out for a while." (Figures). "But I can tell you this. No one with an injury like that ever comes out of here. They're all either non-fatal injuries and they get out and come back a cycle later, or they die. Anytime a berth belonging to a patient like that guy empties it can only mean one thing. He's dead. Now GET OUT. Before I /make/ you." To Panacea. "Trust me, you don't wanna work here," he says gruffly, "if you wanna live a good long life and stay sane, you'll take my aforementioned advice and LEAVE."
Hot Rod's shoulders droop. DROOP. All the shoulder squeezes in the world can't fix a dead Drift. He glares at the floor some middle distance away, then pivots to stalk out. The medic can even pretend that Hot Rod listened to him, if he wants, but from the way he stiffly stalks, it has more to do with pride and not letting his guard down around unfriendlies. He doesn't go far; he stops to look back at Panacea, and lingers outside.
Panacea sighs softly. "You must know best; you've been here longer than I have," she says to the irate medic. And no, she actually isn't being sarcastic. "I'm sorry if we've bothered you." She has to let go of Hot Rod as he moves away. She takes a couple steps towards her fellow medic and leans forward. "I take my job very seriously, if there's people that need fixing, then I fix them. I'll probably be in the city for a while longer, just in case you change your mind."
The medic just watches Hot Rod leave, looking relieved. "Good riddance," he mutters. He just nods at Panacea then steps back, making a shooing motion with his hands for her to leave.
Hot Rod may want to make himself less noticeable, though (if that is even possible with him), there's a group of Deceptions approaching the Forge now...
That's funny. Hot Rod does no such thing. He just folds his arms and scowls. He is noticeable, and noticeably upset.
Panacea doesn't belabour the point; she simply leaves after she's had her final say to the medic. She passes by Hot Rod and gives him a questioning glance; she isn't sure if he wants her to go her own way now.
He'll notice however, that there is a familiar face among the group of Decepticons approaching the Forge. They're actually following him, though it's probable he doesn't rank any higher than they do.
Well, looks like Starscream had been lying his aft off. And the medic too, maybe, although it isn't probable. Drift doesn't look very dead...
Hot Rod exchanges a look with Panacea that ends in a tight, unhappy shrug. He starts to say something, but his gaze catches as he glances past her. He stares at the passing Decepticons. After an unflattering beat where his jaw hangs loose and he stands silent, he jerks upright. He hesitates before stepping forward, but once he does, it's a positive lunge. "Drift? Drift!"
Dead mech walking? It would seem so as it wouldn't take a genius to put together the pieces here. The piece that is missing, however, is WHY? Panacea stands back and watches to see how things unfold. Who the hell is Drift anyway?
'Drift' doesn't stop the first time the name is called out, but at the second cry, he hesitates. "...eh?" he mutters, and turns to face whoever is addressing him (by the wrong name, albeit). He stares at Hot Rod, his expression blank. There's zero recognition there. After a moment, he frowns, shakes his helm and starts walking again.
Duh, Drift is Hot Rod's BFF, obviously. You can tell by the way-- he walks away. Wait. That's not how it's supposed to happen. "Drift, come on," says Hot Rod, sliding past the other Decepticons to catch up to him and reach for his arm. "Let me guess: injury rattled your processor, right? Taking a bit for everything to settle? That's a thing, right?" he asks Panacea almost desperately. Fix it, medic.
The pale medic looks over Drift from top to bottom as he hesitates, utters a vauge questioning sound, and then continues. Hot Rod's tone of voice catches her attention and she nods her head slowly. "It is possible," she says. "From the sounds of it, he HAD been very badly injured." Which is why she's giving him quite the scrutiny, as though she's trying to see if there's any sign that this mech was badly injured not so long ago.
'Drift' frowns, and steps back, moving his arm away from Hot Rod. "I don't know you," he says simply, "leave me alone," he says, his tone of voice turning harsh. He looks annoyed by Panacea. Why are these strange people suddenly converging on him, and now /examining/ him? His optics narrow and he moves backwards. "I'm fine." He turns and starts walking away again.
"Yes, you do. You do!" Hot Rod follows, although he doesn't make a grab for Drift's arm again. "We met in the Dead End, remember? You tried to kill me. We got over it. Remember?" He glances back at Panacea again with an openly expectant look. Why hasn't she fixed it yet.
Panacea might be strange, but she hardly looks threatening. And, since she doesn't know him, from now or before the injury, it's mostly a 'professionally curious' sort of stare.
Then she just LOOKS at Hot Rod for a few moments. The guy tried to KILL him and he's THIS concerned over him. Strange.
She steps forward towards the strange mech. "I'm sorry to bother you, but this mech here believes he knows you. It could simply be mistaken identity," does that even HAPPEN on Cybertron, "or it could be something else. If you would humor us for a few minutes, it would be appreciated." Tact is good for a medic to have, though many don't bother employing it.
"No," Deadlock says, stepping more lively now, trying to outpace Hot Rod. "And no, I don't know who you are," he tells the flameo boy, his tone of voice growing more and more agitated with each passing moment. "If I tried to kill you, we're definitely not friends."
"Mistaken identity," he quickly confirms, "now go away." The other Decepticons are also giving Hot Rod dirty looks. "Mech, what's your problem? Don't know how to stay out of other people's business?" Their hands are going to their weapons.
Nope. What is staying out of people's business. Hot Rod has clearly never heard of it. "Well, were you injured recently?" he asks, unwilling to just let it go quite yet. He is equally unwilling to leave it in Panacea's infinitely more diplomatic hands. Too bad.
If those mechs get violent then Panacea will have more people to add to her list. Not that she ever really WANTS to add anyone, but if people persist on doing things the hard way then it can't be helped. Most of her expression remains pleasant, though there's a sudden chill to her green optics. "He's trying to find a lost friend; having a little patience /isn't/ going to kill you," she says to the mechs, perhaps a bit flippantly.
She shakes her head slightly and sighs. She can tell Hot Rod is determined, but she fears that, in this endeavor, he will be left disappointed. Unless this 'Drift' consented to a medical examination there isn't much she can do. And she doesn't have the build or the personality to do this.
Deadlock finally snaps a little, jumping in front of Hot Rod and shoving him backwards. "Look, I /don't/ know you. If you have an axle to pick with me and want to duel it out, fine, whatever, but not here, not now. Drift is dead. I am Deadlock. Now seriously. Just get lost already." He turns his back to Hot Rod again.
The Decepticons don't say anything back to Panacea, instead, they just glare at her and start following Deadlock again.
Hot Rod turns the /saddest kicked turbopup in the world/ look after Deadlock, but he finally stops nipping at his heels. He's quiet and unusually subdued as the Decepticons tromp off.
A shove is a bit boarderline as far as Panacea sees it. If it goes no further than that, she will easily let it go. If not, well, she can be patient. Medics always have patience. Or is that patients? Her expression softens quite a bit as the dejected mech walks seems to lose his inner flame, if not that paint job. She calls out to Drift-Dead-Lock-Guy, "Again, sorry to bother you. Have a nice cycle." Then she walks over to Hot Rod, optics searching his face. "I'm sorry I couldn't do more for you," she says gently.
Deadlock's gaze lingers on Hot Rod for a moment, is he squinting at him because he recognizes him?? No... his expression is hardening as he leaves with the posse of Decepticons following him.
"You've -- no, you've been a lot of help," Hot Rod says. He looks a little lost, in a way he didn't while blindly charging through the city. It's a long pause before he remembers the nice thing to do is say, "Thanks."
Hot Rod glances again after Deadlock. In a short, sharp burst of frustration, he says, "What if it really is him? He can't remember? Or is it worse if they just took his parts and slapped them on some other guy? I don't know. I don't -- ugh." He drags his hands down his face then brings them back up to press at the temples of his helm. "But I'll find out. I don't know how. But. I will." Ever an ember lingers of his flame: impossible for him to lose it entirely, but it's certainly much dampened. He sighs. "I guess I better head back. Thanks again. If things don't work out with those guys--" He hooks a thumb toward the JERK medics. "--look me up in Nyon. I bet I can find a place for you there. Good luck."
"I'll keep my optics open. Medical science is capable of doing some very strange things," Panacea notes to Hot Rod. "Just keep yourself safe and try to stay calm. If there is anything left of your friend, you have to be around to find it out, yes?" She gives him a comforting smile. "I've been to Nyon once before; I didn't know you were from there. I'll definitely look you up either way."
Hot Rod looks vaguely offended by her inability to telepathically intuit his ties to Nyon. "Yeah, of course," he says a little impatiently. He smiles, but it's obviously forced, and he drops it half-formed. "Guess I'll see you then." And so he heads off to sulk -- wait, no. Take stock. He's got a lot of stock to take.