Title: Friendly Wager

PCs: Pharma, Ratchet, Torque

Location: Iacon

Date: 01 January 2015

It's a busy day in Iacon as per usual. A small bar near Deltaran is nearly full of mechs and femmes looking for a nice place to relax between work cycles. Primus knows some of them really -need- it. Pharma has been meaning to talk to Ratchet on a more personal note about the Institute, as well, so here they are, getting a drink or two on a rare stretch of semi-sustained downtime.

Ratchet had been in better spirits lately. A rift had developed between Pharma and him since the Institute incident, but he recently became reacquainted with Wheeljack, an old buddy of his from the Academy. They hadn't spoken in stellar cycles, yet they fell right back into their same routine when he came to visit the scientist the other day. Now Wheeljack had moved himself into the Deltaran facility to work with Ratchet on developing new, cost-efficient sources of energy. It was good to work with someone who he knew had good intentions. Maybe Pharma could help alleviate some of the tension between them today. "A Nova Cronal, please," he told the bartender as he watched recent news events unfold on the monitor above. "Thanks for inviting me here," he told Pharma quietly. "'Been needing a break."

   Torque is... tired. Very tired. Tired from stress, worry, and work. Avoiding Maccadam's for fear of running into any Cons, she instead opts for a.. safer location and steps into the bar with head held low. Trying her best to avoid optic contact with the patrons, the femme steps up quick to the bar and takes a seat close to the two medics, muttering her order to the bartender. And she doesn't notice them until she lifts her head to glance around, optics settling on them and antennas twitching in surprise. "Ratchet, Pharma, I.. wasn't expecting to see you here."

   Pharma smiles amiably at Ratchet. "Not a problem, old friend. I think we could all use one, to be honest. It's been a while." He pats the other medic on the shoulder. "So how's work been treatning you lately? Any interesting cases?" He definitely notices when Torque walks up, remembering when they had met once before. "Ah, Torque, is it? Well the DMF is nearby, quite a few of its workers like to come here on a regular basis, actually." He tilts his head to the side slightly. "You don't look well, is something bothering you?"

   Special cases? Ratchet can actually think of a few, but before he has a chance to delve into it, Torque has started to speak to them. He flashed her a sympathetic smile and waved in greeting. "Rough day, huh?" he asked. "Hope you ordered something strong." High-grade energon was his cure-all.   

"Right, right.." Torque nods lightly, a little sheepish at the fact that that slipped her mind. "Ah, well.." She stares down into the delivered drink, watching the bubbles rise up from her yellow engex with a concerned look. "Maybe a little, but it's nothing I can't handle." Optics shift to the both of them and she smiles weakly, her friendly nature slowly breaking through the gloom. "A bit." She answers Ratchet next and chuckles softly, raising her glass some. "Oh yeah, definitely. I'm ready to end the day with a few of these. How've you two been?"   

"Not bad, busy as usual." Pharma frowns with concern. "I'm glad you could be honest with us. Care to elaborate?" he asks, taking a sip of his own drink. "Maybe we can identify with you, after all we're medics, too." he says with a smile. "Right, Ratchet?"   

Ratchet grinned at her response and held up his Nova Cronal. "You've got good taste," he said. Now to see if she could actually put it away. He took a swig and glanced briefly at Pharma. How had they been? He had barely spoken to Pharma, but was curious as to what his associate had been doing lately. Busy. Well, that was an enlightening answer. "Right, of course," he agreed, though he had a feeling it was something personal, not work-related.   

Torque goes quiet almost immediately at Pharma's attempt to get her to speak further. She's hesitant.. True, they're both nice enough, but she isn't sure if they should know the whole truth. She'll just have to bend it a little. "I mean, it's nothing too big to worry about, I guess. You've heard about what happened at the Forge, yeah?" She takes a sip of her drink. "Pretty much means I can't fight anymore. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to see Clench go, but the Decepticons are another matter..." She glances down while swirling her glass. "I figure since things might get bad soon, I'm gonna convert the shop into a full clinic. And ah.. I've also been thinking of talking to someone about doing other things. I hear that Pax guy knows what he's doing."

   Pharma nods as he listens to Torque's story. "Yeah, I heard about that." he replies, leaning back in his seat casually. "So you don't agree with Megatron, huh." he comments, straightening a little. "I don't blame you. He might be well-intentioned, but he's definitely misguided."   

Oh right, the Forge. Ratchet had heard about the fights going on in there. They were gruesome and deadly. Empties were terrified of that place because of a supposed rumor that they were being used to /build/ the damn thing. And not for manual labor, either. It was their /bodies/. He shuddered at the thought. Torque had actually /participated/ in that place? She must have been rather clever and strong to come out of there alive. Ratchet couldn't see himself as a warrior like that. He ... admired her. "That must have been ... horrible," he said. "I'm glad you made it out in one piece." He was also glad that she wasn't inclined to join the Decepticons. When she mentioned Pax, his optics brightened considerably. "Pax? Orion Pax?" A big grin spread across his face and he switched seats so he was right next to her and clapped her on the shoulder. "He's a good friend of mine. I could introduce you to him if you want."

   "Not when he's going around killing people, no. I know Clench was bad, but there should have been a better way to handle everything, I think. Maybe he'll come to realize that, I dunno.." Torque sighs softly and takes a heavier swig of her engex, ready to down what she can before the day's out. But Ratchet pulls her out of her slump when he talks about Orion. Her attention is on him in an instant, optics wider and a look of surprise and eagerness surrounding her. "He is? Ratchet.. if you could have me meet him I'd.." She grins wide and rubs the back of her helmet. "Well frag, I dunno what I'd do. Probably kiss yah, heh. But that would be amazing if you could!"

   Pharma shakes his head. "Doubt it. He seems pretty set in his ways. I mean, he's a miner who -thinks- he's smart, not too much you can do about those types." he sighs."Pax, eh? Heh." The medic shrugs. "He's certainly less clueless than Megatron. But at the same time he's kind of got a hero complex. No one's perfect, though. Not even me." he laughs. "Just kidding, of course I'm not perfect. Far from it, in fact. Speaking of which, I've been meaning to say this, but I owe you a more personal apology for the Institute madness, Ratchet. I got so caught up in all the research I was doing, I guess I didn't pay enough attention to the shady stuff. It's a shame it had to end that way...I honestly thought I was onto something big. There was -so- much potential there. It's too bad they had to ruin it with unethical practices."

    Ratchet's cheeks heated up at the mention on her kissing him. Boy that was a thought. "Yeah, I'll be sure to mention you the next time I see him," he offered, resting his helm on his servo and leaning towards her slightly. He finished off his energon before ordeing another one, then turned back towards Pharma and cocked an optic ridge at his joke. When he started apologizing, Ratchet's expression softened slightly. He noticed Pharma's deflection of the blame, however. Which lead him to ask his next question: "Were you a part of those unethical practices? Or did you just turn a blind optic to it?" Ouch. Those were some harsh words, but he had been hurt by the truth of the Institute.

   Torque smiles warmly at Ratchet as he leans in. If she had a few more drinks she'd probably do it now, but Ratchet'll have to wait, it seems. Throwing back the rest of her engex, she raises a finger to order another before shaking her head at Pharma. "He may be a miner, but he's a lot smarter than you think, trust me." And a lot tougher, but she stays quiet for now and just watches as the two get into Institute talk. She never had much inclination to join that place. Waaay too smart for the likes of her.   

"I know he isn't stupid," Pharma shrugs at Torque. "But he isn't exactly that intelligent either. What more could you expect of a miner anyway? Regardless of intelligent or not, however, misguided is one thing he is for sure." The medic insists. She has to agree with that, right? Otherwise she wouldn't be talking about the Forge in that way. Pharma sighs at Ratchet's question. "As far as I -know-, I wasn't. But like I said, I was pretty caught up in my research, so it's possible that they used some of my notes for nefarious purposes. They kept all of their 'questionable projects' on a subbasement level, away from prying optics."

   Ratchet wouldn't know the truth because he never joined that Institute. He hadn't seen what happened there firsthand, so Pharma's word was all he had to go on. The medic never let him down before, so why should he now? He had always been a good mech. All of the change lately was getting to Ratchet's processor. "....Alright," he said after a long moment of silence. "I ... believe you." He rested a servo on his friend's shoulder, squeezing it. "I'm glad you didn't willingly participate in the unethical experiments." He smiled slightly before grabbing his drink and taking another swig. "Enough with the heavy stuff now. We're at the pub, we should be /enjoying/ ourselves!" He brought both Torque and Pharma into his arms. "How about a little friendly wager?"   

Torque just grunts softly into her drink at Pharma, agreeing with him, but she almost chokes on it when Ratchet grabs them both up. Cheeks flush a slight shade of violet and antennas perk up in intrigue at the ambulance. "Eh? What sorta wager?" She could use a moment of excitement, honestly, so she's all ears.   

Pharma smiles. Of course Ratchet believes him. He's his best bud. He pats him on the shoulder. "I don't know, maybe one day I'll have the opportunity to continue what I was doing and maybe I'll actually figure out how to fix this energon shortage thing. A mech can dream!" he chuckles, then grins at Ratchet's suggestions. "A wager huh? Yeah what kind of wager?"   

Ratchet grinned right back at the two of them. "One that fits the occasion," he said. "We /are/ at a bar, right? What better wager than a /drinking/ wager. I bet I can put more down than the /both/ of you combined~" he challenged. Nobody loved energon as much as him!   

Now there's a game she can get behind. Torque chuckles warmly and beams, slapping Ratchet goodnaturedly on the back. "Now that's more my speed. I accept! But to make things interesting, what're we puting on the table?" She eyes them expectantly. She honestly has no idea what to put up, herself. It'll come to her, though.   

Pharma laughs. "Oh I should have expected this from -you-, Ratchet! Oh, Primus I don't know. You're the one suggesting this, so you make the rules, huh?" he suggests to his old friend. "I guess it'll be Torque and I against you?"   

Ratchet smirked. "Guess so," he said, feeling confident. There was something he'd like to bet, but he had to make it fair for everyone. "Alright, we take turns downing a cube (two for me since I'm competing against the both of you). Each round increases the grading. First to fall on his or her aft pays the bill~ What do you say?"   

Torque smirks challengingly at the two of them. "Tch, what, can't think I can't take you on on my own, Ratchet? No way am I gonna be picking up Pharma's slack here. I say we all drink against each other, no teams. Hope you mechs have a hefty bank account."   

"All right, all right." Pharma laughs. "Well I guess we'd better get it started." he glances at Ratchet. "Care to give us a countdown?"   

Ratchet laughed. "I like your spunk~" he replied. "But I'll be winning this one." He waved the bartender over and ordered their first drink. "Round 1."   

>> Pharma rolls one three-sided die and gets: 2.*

>> Ratchet rolls one three-sided die and gets: 3.

>> Torque rolls one three-sided die and gets: 1.   

The bartender brings the first round, smirking because he'd probably overheard this was a contest. "Two mechs and a fembot, eh?" he laughs. "Oh this'll be interesting!" Pharma takes his first shot, downing the cube in one go as best he can. He wavers a little bit, but he isn't getting dizzy yet! "That wasn't so bad."

   Ratchet downed his first cube and slid it to the side, his circuits buzzing with energy. "That hit the spot," he said, barely even phased by it. It was the first round, so it was designed to be easier than the rest. He looked to Pharma with a little smirk and turned to Torque expectantly.   

"You're on." Torque grins, taking up her shotglass and downing it in one go. But.. it doesn't seem to go down as smoothly as she expects and she makes a face, coughing into her fist. "Erf.. that did not taste very good." That is definitely some cheap stuff.   

Five rounds later ....   

>> Ratchet rolls one three-sided die and gets: 2.

>> Ratchet rolls one three-sided die and gets: 2.

>> Ratchet rolls one three-sided die and gets: 1.

>> Ratchet rolls one three-sided die and gets: 2.   

>> Torque rolls one three-sided die and gets: 3.

>> Torque rolls one three-sided die and gets: 3.

>> Torque rolls one three-sided die and gets: 2.

>> Torque rolls one three-sided die and gets: 3.   

>> Pharma rolls one three-sided die and gets: 1.

>> Pharma rolls one three-sided die and gets: 3.

>> Pharma rolls one three-sided die and gets: 1.

>> Pharma rolls one three-sided die and gets: 3.   

After five grueling rounds later, Ratchet was really feeling the high-grade. His vision was filled with a bit of blurr and static and he felt dizzy, but happy and uninhibited. "Ah do /believe/~" he slurred, "/Ah/ won this~" He rested his feet on top of the next bar stool over and tilted his helm back so he was looking at Torque and Pharma upside-down.   

The first shot was a bit rough, but the remaining rounds were pretty much a breeze for her, downing a majority of them like a champ. By the end she's got a nice buzz fuzzing her mind, making her feel nice and loosened up, but not as much as the other two. Ratchet's declaration makes her chuckle heartily and lean into the mech to playfully tap his head. "Says the one that's slurring. Sorry mech, but I've got yah both beat. Hope you two like splittin' the bill."   

Ratchet pouted up at her. "Ah belieeeeeve the rules were tah /not/ fall on our afts~" he replied with a grin. The position he was sitting in was ripe for Torque to push him over easily, though. Ratchet tilted his helm to the side. "Ah haven't fallen over /yet/~ Ya sure look pretty from this angle."

   "That so?" Torque muses with a lopsided smile as a light, violet hue lights up her cheeks from the mix of enerhol and his little comment, to which she grins wide and replies, "Maybe I'll better from another one." She flashes the medic a friendly wink and promptly gives him a light shove to knock him off his stool and onto the floor.   

Pharma is about on the same level as Ratchet after five rounds are complete. He sways slightly and laughs at Ratchet's claims of winning. "Oh! Look! Not any more! Aww..." He slaps his friend on the back, maybe a little -too- hard. "Just listen to yourself..." he snickers. "If I didn't know any better, I'd say you had your spark set on the fem'." he teases. "That right?" He laughs again. "Torque you sure know how to drink....I guess we'll have to split the bill, huh?"

   "Ack!" Ratchet swiveled right off of the edge of the stool and hit the floor. Now he had promptly fallen onto his aft. "Ugh, shush you," he muttered to Pharma and his doubles, his cheeks burning a bright red against his white face. "... Ah dun have my spark set on anyone," he mumbled, rubbing his back where Pharma slapped him. "Alright, alright ... We'll split tha bill."   

Torque laughs softly at poor Ratchet's fall, but she doesn't outright laugh at him. Rather, she moves off her seat and reaches down, hooking her fingers into the back of his collar plating and hoisting him up onto his seat with a soft grunt. "Up yah go. I'll admit, you mechs can hold your engex. I'm impressed." To Pharma she nods, dusting her chestplate with her knuckles proudly. "Where I hang out, a femme's gotta learn quick how to take a drink and keep standing up straight." And then, of course, Pharma has to go and talk about Ratcet liking her, making Torque's antennas droop sheepishly as she clears her vocals. "Eheh.. Well, I'd sure be surprised. I figure mechs don't like the tougher sort."

   "Yeah, maybe you're right, but Ratch has always had a...uh..ya know...-different- kinda preference in fembots." Does Pharma even know that? Probably not, but he's overcharged. "I'nt that right, Ratchet?" he laughs. "You like the kinda femme who can pick ya up offa your aft when you're too overcharged to do it yourself!" he laughs.   

Ratchet's optics widened as he was suddenly hoisted off of the ground by Torque. He was amazed she did it with one servo, too. "/Whoa/," he said, waiting for the dizzyness to go away so he could see straight. Oh right, she hung out at the Forge, right? It made sense that she was so strong ... and able to hold her energon. "SHHHKKSSHSHHH!" he said, smushing his finger against Pharma's mouth before trying to turn smoothly around in his chair to face Torque. Unfortunately, he overshot it and had to scoot the chair slowly back around. He cleared his throat. "Ahm a medic," he clarified, resting his helm in his servo again. "Ahm naht so tough m'self. Uh... naht that ah think yer weak.." He rubbed his face, feeling embarrassed. "Yer super strong. Um..." As if thinking that he could just rewind this entire conversation over, he reached out his servo for her to shake. "'M Hatchet. /Ratchet/."   

Torque has since ordered another, more standard engex, and snorts softly into it at Ratchet's comical attempt to silence Pharma and look cool. "Don't make me pick you up too, now." She smirks at the flier, flexing an arm at him tuantingly. She'll do it, too. Back to Ratchet, she chuckles softly again and takes his hand, just to humor him. "Easy there, Ratchet. I'm gonna have to dunk your head to keep yah from runnin' too hot." Leaning her side into the bar, she playfully bumps his chin with her knuckles. "And nonsense. I bet you're plenty tough, just in different ways, y'know? We've all got our strengths."

  Pharma laughs when Ratchet tries to shush him. He slaps his friend's hand away playfully. "Awww, stahp it!" He laughs some more. "C'mon Ratch, she's right. You're plenty tough, maybe just not in the same way as some people." He laughs even more when Ratchet misspeaks his own name. "Y'sure now? It's -Ratchet-?" he teases. "Y'haven't been lying to me this entire time or something, have you, and your real name is actually Hatchet?? I mean, sounds plenty appropriate...when you're in a mood..."   

Ratchet's optics brightened considerably when Torque started flexing. He had to look away and downed yet another drink, though smaller this time. Him? Tough? Not a chance. He never had to be, really. "/Yes/ it's Ratchet," he said back to his friend, playfully pushing him. "/Pharmy/." Looking down at Torque's servo in his, Ratchet ran his thumb over the back of hers, distracted for a moment. "Well, ah /can/ throw a mean wrench," he admitted with a little chuckle. "When I'm in a mood, as Pharma said."

   Torque snickers softly into her drink. "Pharmy.. heh.." Optics then shift, noticing Ratchet taking care with her hand. Her blush remains steady and antennas flutter just slightly when attempting to casually bring her hand back. "That so? Remind me not to get you in a mood, heh. Or at least in a bad one." She smirks at him and nudges him with an elbow. "But you two bein' the top medics on Cybertron, I'd say that's pretty slaggin' good strength."  

Ratchet withdrew his own servo and rubbed the back of his neck. "I doubt you can get me in a bad mood," he said, taking great care to speak clearly now. "I'd say that's more skill than strength, though I appreciate it. And look at you! Best of both worlds, huh? You've got the medical acumen /and/ strength." He paused. "What was it like in the ring? Did you ... you know, /offline/ anyone? Why did you join?"   

Torque is feeling a lot more limber now, so she figures it wouldn't hurt to tell them a little bit. Leaning into the counter now, she swirls her glass idly while speaking. "The ring can be pretty harsh, honestly, depending on whst tier you fought on. Low tier is pretty much beginners, middle tier is much tougher, and high tier.. Well, that's where they start getting into the deathmatches. I stayed in the middle." A pause to sip and smile softly to him before continuing. "Nah, never offlined anyway. I don't think I could even if I had to. ..Why'd I join? Well.. to work in the medbay at first. Help those who needed it. Eventually I tried my hand in the ring and I ended up doing a might now and then. But I was a medic first, above all else."

   He admired her determination to be a medic. She must have wanted it enough that she would risk life in the gladiator pits to help those injured in the fights. "You are ... truly remarkable," he said. "I built my clinic to help those in need, too. Empties and low caste 'bots who couldn't afford what Iacon's medical facilities offered. I bet there are a lot of mechs (and femmes) out there that would've died from their injuries had you not been around."   

Torque nods quietly. "Probably.. But I don't do it for any praise. They need the help and I can provide it. Plus.. it makes me happy to help others, you know?" She beams to the mech and leans over to elbow bump him again. "And don't count yourself out. You and Pharma have been doing a ton of good over at your facility. Plus, with such a big place, you've helped a lot more folks than I have. Though.." She quiets down a little, her smile waning. "I'm wondering how much worse it's gonna get with the Decepticons making this move. I don't know how many are going to get caught between them and the Senate.."   

He could tell that praise wasn't what she was after. None of them were after fame in this line of work. Still, he admired her guts. "We all do some pretty good work," he said, gently nudging her back. The mention of Megatron's recent move to power and the Senate erased the smile from his face. "You're right. Are you sure it's safe to continue working at the pits? We could always use some help at Deltaran. You'd be an awesome addition to our team. Wheeljack's even moved in to continue his energy resource project."  

"Jack's working with you now?" That grabs Torque's attention instantly, and even makes her snicker a little. "Hope you have insurance on that building if he blows it up. ..But Primus, been a while since I've seen him. Good to hear he's with you guys now." As for moving in.. "I'd.. Well, I'd have to think about it, unfortunately." She rubs the back of her helm while resting on an elbow, looking unsure. "I won't be going back to the Forge, but I'm gonna try and move as many innocent folks as I can to Kalis where I can take care of them for as long as possible. And when it comes to where I can't stay... I'll come knocking on your door." The femme smiles weakly to him and tips back the rest of her drink. "The Decepticons may be making their move, but I'm not gonna let them intimidate me." She hopes.   

"He invited himself into Deltaran," he said with a little laugh. "I should probably insure the building soon, now that you mention it." The worst part was that he was working on the roof. If something exploded up there, the entire building would collapse. Though he would have liked Torque to start working at Deltaran, he could understand her desire to help those in need who were caught in the Decepticon uprising. "Of course," he said. "Our door will always be open. Just ... be careful out there." He really liked this time he was spending with her. They'd have to do it again, for sure. Maybe next time he wouldn't be so ... energized.   

Torque couldn't say she minded an over-energized Ratchet. He was pretty amusing, honestly. But it's true, a more sober get together would be nice. "I will be, don't you worry." She winks and sets her glass down before reaching over to catch up the other medic in tight, warm, side hug. "Anyway, I gotta head back to the shop and see if Suture's got the new equipment installed. I'll catch you mechs later. And if you need me.." She pulls a small datacard from subspace and places it on the counter in front of him. "Here's my number and the shop address. I'll catchya mechs later." Smiling bright, Torque releases Ratchet and makes her way out of the bar, raising a hand as she goes to wave behind herself at them.   

It could be the high-grade talking or the fact that this was the first time he had contact with a femme that wasn't his patient, but the medic was smitten. When she hugged him, he eagerly wrapped his arm around her waist and hugged her in return. "I'll be looking forward to it," he said, tucking her datacard away safely in his subspace. Once she was gone, he spun around in his barstool, arms resting on the back of it. "What a femme," he said dreamily. "I am /smooth/~"   *Rules of the game: 1 = took it hard, 2 = middle of the road, 3 = barely even phased

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