Title: Good Tips, Bad News
Date: 21 February 2015
NPCs: Turntable (mentioned)
Summary: What started as a good day turns bad when Hot Rod gives Swivel and YX-939 bad news.
Steamcore's Courier Service - a privatised business that arranges the conveyance of messages and packages. Currently in a cramped building wedges between two larger buildings, a maintenance supplies outlet and a pay-by-the-breem car wash. It's faded lettering on the sign and narrow store front is easy to miss if one isn't looking for it, and this is their fourth location in the last stellar cycle. Steamcore's offers regular post services, but also express couriers and courier relays - for an extra charge - to not just keep the senders and receivers safe, but also the couriers who pass messages from one another so that they split the knowledge of who they are from and who it is going to between them.
It is in this cramped building that there has been a bit of a rise. A pipe on the premises had broken a while ago and been subject to a patch-up job with someone ill-qualified to do it. Now, it had burst and was in even worse shape, forcing them to have to seek help outside their own employ, as loathe as the are to involve anyone but their own staff.
On the street just outside the building, a particularly and unexpectedly sought after courier is walking and whistling, which contrary to popular belief of her absolute disco-ordination, she is doing with a casual ease. Swivel had just finished all the deliveries she'd been assigned, and is on her way to cash in, and perhaps check for any other high priority express jobs.
Flatline looks distinctly out-of-place on Nyon's streets; among the rust and decay, a mecha as in good repair as he is an oddity. The medic is not unaware of it, though, his helm constantly bobbing this way and that as he remains on the lookout for trouble. The pace of his walking makes it clear that he is eager to be done and out of this area of Cybertron before someone or something decides to make him disappear earlier than he planned.
The odd layout of the street seems to be working against him, though. Pacing down it once, twice, thrice he has managed to miss the slip of a building that is the courier's service. He tells himself on the fourth circuit this will be his last time. If he cannot find it then, he is going to give up on this endeavor and carry on. He is just moments from giving up when he catches sight of something familiar up ahead. "Wait, wait. You there, do I know you?" he calls out. Yes, it looks like the courier from behind but he could be wrong.
"See, here's what went wrong." A cheerful YX unit points at some gunk removed from the outer layer of the pipe to anyone who'd listen. Though, he seems to be trying to get the attention of one of the Steamcore workers what tried to patch it up in the first place. "You used a cold sealant on a hot pipe. You gotta let pipes cool down before doing stuff like that, or when you turn it back on, BOOM!"
There's currently six little disposables all working on the pipe. That first one actually seems to be overseeing the others; rank in a disposable file? "Yeah, we'll have this fixed in a jiffy!"
Why is it TALKING? One of the staff members, their resident custodian who failed the repairs, being trained only in sanitation and not maintenance or light repairs, is just staring at one of the little cleaners as it points out the error. The individual looks confused, irritated, and intrigued all at once... or rather cycles through a series of expression in rapid succession that express each of those reactions. "Mmmm....hmmmm," is a non-committal noise from the individual, and he glances around to see if anyone else notices the disposable TALKING. This seems to almost have spooked the mech. Another staff member standing a little ways off is just trying not to laugh as if she were in on some sort of joke.
As for the whistling courier? When she hears someone saying wait, she pauses. However it isn't until someone is asking whether they know her or not that she turns around. "Meb -- oh!" Well, yes, she does remember the mech. After all, he invited her in, gave her energon, went looking for photos, threw a fit and ended up unconscious. How could anyone forget THAT? Well, perhaps if more time had passed, and more people invited her in only to sizzle out, she might have forgotten. But as it was there is an expression of recognition. "Good t'see ya up 'n 'bout!"
"Yes, yes. That. It was all a false alarm, never could figure out what caused it," Flatline responded with a wave of his hand. He didn't seem at all eager to talk about that incident or that day. Every single day he still woke up expected that would be the day he was cornered and thrown into a jail cell. Why he wasn't and what had happened were still a confused mess in his brain module, and the unanswered question made him irritated just to think about it.
"Anyways, I was simply passing through and thought to leave that tip I promised you. I was having a little trouble finding the address you left me, though. I suppose there is no need of it now. I can just give you the credits directly."
The succession of emotions passing along that one staff members' face doesn't escape the notice of the one disposable. He stares at said staff member in the face for a few seconds. Right in the optics.
Then, he looks to the laughing mech standing nearby. "Hey, you get what I'm saying, right? It's a good thing no one was hurt this time!" Apparently, he is very used to people treating him oddly.
The other disposables are chuckling amongst themselves as they overhear their chattering friend, but keep on working. Two of them begin to clean up the spilled mess as the rest repair.
"Glad it wun 'enthin' more serious," Swivel peeps, but leaves it at that. The femme is all smiles, sticking out from the rest of Nyon in her own way. She motions to the entrance to the small building. "Sorry y'ad trouble findin' th'place. It's gotter small entrance... mebbe shooda mentioned tha' or left a note 'er somsot. It's bigger on the inside. Why dun y'come in put up yer feet fer jus' a bit. There's some 'pairs goin' on bu' tha shoona cause ya any trouble. We got seatin' of diff'rent sizes... they was there 'en the buildin' was bought. Dinna feel'ther need t'unbolt 'em though the business dun lend itself t'needin' aft space." Oh yes, such a refined femme. Perhaps it is time she return for more etiquette lessons for what little she has learned seems to be slipping. "But, they's there, so might as well make use 'o 'em. It's th'least I kin do to repay yer 'ospitality." There is something insistent in the femme's tone that indicates she won't take a polite 'no thanks' easily.
As for the custodian he continues to stare at the talking YX unit as if a rock had just spoken to him. You know. A rock. No moving parts and certainly no sentience. He glances about himself and then catches sight of his co-worker trying to hide her smile behind her hand. However, her optics say it all. He sputters a few accusatory things, at least, had they formed words they sounded like they'd be some sort of accusation. The mech seems quite flustered. And meanwhile the femme abandons all preens of hiding her amusement by letting out a laugh, and adding, "Careful. If the Nyonians have their way, you might soon be out of a job!"
"Don't even joke about that!" the befuddled custodian exclaims. He then gives the YX-units the stink-eye.
Flatline looks a little confused as Swivel rambles on and on. At the start he can make sense of most of what she is saying, but speaking that quickly and in that accent he quickly loses track of the point of her little speech. Perhaps for the best, because the mannerless bits of her comment were lost in him trying to get the basic idea. He'd not had this issue when she spoke only a little bit at a time, but it was difficult to focus in her haste.
He does, however, manage to grasp the gist. 'Come in and stay a while.' He frowns slightly and shakes his helm. "I can't stay long. I have a schedule to keep. Maybe a moment, though, just a moment," he remarks, his glance dancing back to the street.
It has to be safer in there than here, and he had made a spectacle of himself circuiting the street several times. Perhaps laying low for a few minutes wouldn't harm anyone. He reluctantly follows Swivel towards the courier shop.
"Ah, there it is. How could I have missed it?"
Beaming with a smile that seems to occupy most of her face, Swivel opens the door for Flatline, stands aside, and gestures for him to go right in. The door is something of a novelty, swinging on hinges rather than sliding open automatically. One of those power-saving doors. "Step roight in, sittin's t'the left," she says in an inviting tone, and gives the sense that she is eager to please.
Through the doorway is a room with seats bolted in place along one wall. Opposite of the door is a counter that can accommodate two queues, but the second is rarely used, so only one person is currently working. To the far right are open double doors leading, and through there is where the pipe had burst, and where the cleaners are now working.
"Yeah hot cold bad good, just.... just get it fixed," the flustered custodian blurts, turning his stink eye on his co-worker. He walks over to her, muttering a few things at her that sound like they should be insulting, but she just laughs more.
Flatline makes a disconcerted noise when Swivel points him towards the chair, and he shook his helm slightly in response. "No, no. I don't think I'll be staying long enough for that. I will just get you your tip and, now that I think about it, inquire about sending a telegram to a colleague. Really, though, thank you kindly but I cannot afford to veer from my schedule too much. Trying to find this place has already kept me too long."
As he speaks, he is reaching into subspace to pull out the credits he planned to hand off to the agency. He hardly notices the talk of the repair bots and the workers in the background. After all, such is normal around any place of business and hardly his concern.
The YX unit watches the custodian stomp off. "...That's not what I said at all." He looks to the custodian's co-worker. "That wasn't what I told him at all. It's not my responsibility if he blows himself up, now. There. That is a disclaimer." Aw, he's trying to cover his own butt. How cute.
The disposable then turns to look back at his teammates. He nods to himself. "Yeeah, lookin' good." He beams at that pipe as if it were the greatest piece of art ever forged.
On a Swivel-hunt, Hot Rod heads for her workplace when he returns to Nyon. He carries the dust of two long trips, dulling the brightness of his finish. All he needs is a 'wash me' written somewhere to complete the picture. Still -- that's not so bad for him! He's gone /so long/ without anyone shooting at or otherwise injuring him that it's a minor marvel. He must be doing something wrong.
Entering with a long stride that comes up rather short on seeing the relative crowd, Hot Rod starts to say something, then stops when he actually spots Swivel. "--oh. Swivel!" As happy as he sounds to see her, his mood almost immediately turns toward solemn. "Hey, you got a sec?"
"Oh.... well... a'east now y'know where the place is." Swivel says when he says he can't stay long. That actually is for the best, but Swivel does like to show gratitude with her actions, and what's more gracious than offering a place to sit and rest? Well, plenty of things are more gracious, but it's what she could offer at that moment. She glances over to the mech behind the counter and gives a head tilt and a wink, and then as she goes to look back at Flatline while he gets out her tip, she spies the YX units. It's not often their places of work collided and Swivel thought that was neat. And she was planning on heading over there onec Flatline was done, but then the flaming one steps in.
"O'Rod!" Swivel responds with enthusiasm. Although that cheerful demeanor changes into an 'oh-oh what now' expression as his turns to grim. She glances at Flatline, then at Hot Rod. "Yeah... I will in jus a bit..."
Meanwhile, the femme continues to chuckle at the expense of the cleaners and the custodian. She looks down at the yappy unit. "Yer a yappy one, aincha?" Sounds like she might come from a similar place as Swivel... or similar circumstances. "Dun worry, I will be sure ta write that down an' post it somewheres." Although she doesn't skip syllables like Swivel. "But the revolution han't happened yet little fella. Might want ta pipe down if you wanna last til then." With that the female worker ducks into a side room to do something work related.
The medic's posture immediately stiffens when Hot Rod enters the room, and there is a flicker of recognition in his optics. It is that mecha who came to his clinic that night, bringing his friend for a reformat. Still, as far as he is concerned anything that happens at the clinic behind closed doors never happened at all. At least not out and about in public where anyone can overhear.
"Yes, let me not keep you from your friend," he remarks, fishing out the credits and holding them out towards Swivel.
He sidesteps away from the filthy mech, trying to stay as far from him as possible. Hopefully he, too, has the sense not to express recognition. The medic is already beginning to edge towards he exit. "And perhaps that telegram can wait now that I think about it. I really am in such a rush."
The YX bot lets out a little huff at being told to pipe down. He even folds his arm a little. With the others working and this one with his back turned to Swivel, none of them notice Swivel or Hot Rod just yet.
The poor 'supervisor' YX looks pretty bummed out, though.
Hot Rod waits more or less patiently for Swivel. In the meantime, he looks around. He is about two seconds from picking random things up and juggling them just to have something to fiddle with when he notes Flatline. Recognition returned, he gives the medic a brief nod. He's somewhat short on smiles at the moment, or else he'd manage one -- to be friendly, if nothing else. Because he's so friendly. /SO FRIENDLY/. "Oh -- hey, is that Y back there?" he asks, like they aren't /all/ Ys.
Perhaps it would be more decorous to not look so excited about receiving a tip, but there is an eagerness in Swivel's purple optics that she doesn't bother hiding when she receives it. "Thank-ya soooooooooo much!" she exclaims once it is hers. The anticipation is over, now she has extra money to spend! She'll save this for something, though, rather than take YX-939 out on another Not Date since the last one was a disaster. Hot Rod's doom-and-gloom face can wait. "Sorry y'ad t'waste yer time findin' th'place," she remarks to Flatline as he seeks to extricate himself before Hot Rod can say or do something to make matters worse, or at least, more complicated. The mech was very talented in that regard.
With that out of the way, Swivel turns to look at Hot Rod with a tilted head. She gives a side glance over to where the cleaning bots are and says "Mebbe. 'Ent 'ad th'chance t'go in there an' see if Spritz's among 'em." Swivel explains. She crosses her arms over he chest and stares up at Hot Rod, since, well, she has to stare up at most people. "What is it?"
"It is nothing, it is nothing. Have a good day," Flatline responds. There is a look of clear relief as he turns and pushes the door open. If he noticed Hot Rod's nod, he made no move to acknowledge it. With that, he is gone as quickly as he appeared.
Twisting to watch Flatline walk out with a slightly puzzled look, Hot Rod reluctantly glances back at Swivel. "It's about Turntable." He hesitates enough that it is fairly obvious what he is about to say: "I talked to someone I know at the IAA. He /was/ there -- but when she found him, he was already dead. Whatever they were doing, he didn't survive it. She didn't really know. She promised to check the records. Y needs to know so he can tell the other crew, too."
Well, her earlier anticipation was one of excitement and eagerness. But this anticipation is laced with Dread when Hot Rod leaves that excruciating pause after mentioning Turntable. Perhaps the new rule ought to be don't mention Turntable? And then when she gets the news, the femme just slightly tilts her head down, but doesn't show any other immedite expression. It's that numbing moment of processing. Finally she looks up when Hot Rod mentions that Y AKA Spritz should know too. She nods her head solemnly, and without a word, she turns to head into the area they were working, looking to see if Spritz is actually among them.
While working on the pipe and cleaning around it, the YX crew do glance around while chatting quietly with each other. One of them inevitably catches fight of Hot Rod's very... UNIQUE paint job. Next to him, of course, is Swivel, and by then that one YX is elbowing the others to LOOK OVER THERE.
Oh, look, there's Spritz, with wide optics and looking a bit surprised. Also, dirty. But that tends to happen in his line of work.
Hesitantly, YX-939 waves to Swivel.
Hot Rod trails after Swivel. Despite the dust, the paint beneath is certainly still obvious enough to make him readily identifiable. He hangs back, and watches Swivel in profile. "Hey, sorry I didn't find out any sooner. Maybe -- I don't know." He trails off and glances ahead to the YX crew. He gives them all a nod, but leaves it to Swivel to pass it on.
"...Group Five works there." YX-939 murmers quietly; he seems to have picked up that something Wasn't Quite Right. The other YX units seem uneasy, now, as well. "We're actually Group 7 right now. Or most of it, anyway. What's going on?"
"Hey," Hot Rod greets from over Swivel's shoulder as he looks between the two. He doesn't interrupt or push himself forward (for once). He leaves the conversation between them.
"Oh... sorry.... got it wrong," Swivel mumbles, but she doesn't seem overly embarrassed of flustered. "Wellum.... ya dun need to worry 'bout tha'. Th'mech we was lookin' fer was... found." For a moment there was a small spike of emotion in her tone, causing her to pause mid sentence and regain her composure. She isn't about to cry at her place of work. Swivel straightens herself and rolls her shoulders back. "For ya get yer concerned face on, I'ma tell ya it's not f'ya t'worry 'bout. Fact, it otter be a relief."
Funny, the lot of YX bots don't look any bit relieved. Spritz even shifts in place, looking MORE nervous as the seconds go on. "Uhm... We kinda already told them about it. They're probably already snooping."
"To be fair, they snoop at a LOT of things down there." That's the 'supervisor' YX. "They bring back a lot of, uhm, souvineers. So we're hoping no one will look at them funny."
Hot Rod gives Swivel a skeptical glance that only grows more dubious as she continues. "Tell--." He catches the sound against his teeth, cutting himself off before more than a puff of exasperation can escape. He shakes his head, and drops it. He looks down at the YX crew with an unhappiness that deepens. "Of course they are. Tell them not to push it, if you can, would you? No one's exactly waiting for rescue."
Swivel just looks at Hot Rod when they mention that group five is already snooping about the IAA. She looks a bit perplexed and then looks back at the units, nodding her head gravely. "Yeah... e's dead. Nuthin' t'rescue..." Swivel finally says after a pause to steady herself. "An' tell 'em t'be careful... I dun want 'eny of 'em to share the same... end." Swivel then shoots Hot Rod an almost blaming expression, but her expression quickly softens into one of guilt.
The whole lot of YX units give each other sidelong looks. They're, collectively, silent for a moment.
"You've never met Group 5." Spritz takes in a deep breath and lets it out very slowly. "If they DON'T come back injured from a day on the job, then something has gone very wrong."
Nodding in echo of Swivel, Hot Rod settles back on his heels. The accusation in her gaze catches him flat-footed, surprised. He looks startled first, then offended, then irate. "Okay. Then I guess I'll just wish them luck, wherever they are," he says with an undertone of carefully managed heat. "Brave of them to /try/. I'll get going. Just wanted to tell you as soon as I knew."
It would seem Swivel and Hot Rod are destined to offend each other with as little as a glance without actually hating one another. But then, Hot Rod has a temper. Swivel... not so much. She gets hurt more often than angry. And right now the femme is looking injured mixed with apprehensive. "Thanks O'Rod, fer comin' t'let me know... knowin's better 'en not... iffin it 'ent..." she doesn't quite finish her sentence, she just sort of does an odd litlle head tilt and shrugs just one shoulder. "Jus... guess we kin jus' 'ope they dun get trouble."
"They'll probably be okay." YX-939 nods slowly. "They're pretty tough. I mean, for one of us." A pause. "...They have more accident reports than the entire rest of us put together."
Hot Rod steps for the door, but pauses and casts a speculative glance back in the direction of YX-939. "Accident reports like injuries, or like going missing?"
In spite of the situation, Swivel forces on a smile. "If yer confient they'll be fine, so am I." Swivel says. She's also about to say her goodbyes, but then Hot Rod asks about them going missing. She hadn't thought to ask that, but not that it is asked, she is interested in the answer. She stares at the disposabes with raised optic ridges.
"A little bit of column A, a little bit of column B." Spritz shrugs, tone rather deadpan. "They dive in to dumpsters to get trash with those racing logos on 'em. Once, one of the guys was stuck in one of them for three days. Or they, ahem, 'clean' drinks left alone, get their processors mixed up, wander off, and then we don't hear from them for a week. You don't even WANT to know about the FIGHTS."
Hot Rod grins. "As long as they come back," he says. He tips his hand in a quick wave and then heads out, having delivered his news for the day. Now he'll just wait for the updates from Y. Spritz. Whatever.
"Oh.... so they 'ventually turn up. 'Ad me worried there fer a mo'," Swivel says, putting a hand to her chestplate. She reaches over as if to put a hand on Spritz's shoulder, but then thinks better of it and withdraws her hand.
Somehow, Spritz notices the hand raising up. He gives Swivel a small smile. "I think everything's gonna be okay, Swivel. And we're fine. All of us, right now. We haven't lost anyone for over a month!"
"It's a new record." One of the other YX bots nods quickly.
"See?" Spritz grins. "We're okay."
That is not necessarily a comforting thought. The fact that they are used to such high casual casualties is a bit alarming. Sometimes she almost forgets when they mention disposables, they REALLY mean disposable. However, she smiles in spite of this, because to them, that is just normal. No point fussing over it right now. Until she knows they can be helped, why make them miserable by trying to insist that their normal just isn't right? Right in that moral sort of way, anyhow. "Wellum, if yer fine, so am I," Swivel declares. She can suss out all of her upsetness over the affair another time. But right now, why be a downer?
And with that Swivel turns, "Well, I otter check m'work load, and get meself back t'work. S'prised none's come t yell at me or you guys... mebbe they figger I'm keepin' yall in check and 'ent looking closer. But why tempt fate, eh?" Swivel perchers her hands on her hips and winks at the assembly. She then waves to them and turns to head back into the office portion.