Title: LF Healer
Location: Dead End Clinic
Date: 27 October 2014
Summary: Hot Rod LF Healer. Ratchet agrees!
Well, it had certainly been an eventful week. First there was the annoying idiotic mechs crashing Ratchet's soiree and stealing his berth and then a /Mutacon/, of all things, showing up in his clinic. Watching some lifeform crawling out of another one's body was ... not something he'd forget any time soon. To top it all off, a bounty hunter came looking for one of those said idiots. But now things had calmed down and normal patients were attending the clinic once more. Ratchet had just finished a follow-up with Kup and retired to his office for a little while.
"Finally, some peace and quiet," he muttered, sitting down in his chair and closing his optics. He was sleepy ... maybe he'd get forty winks in before another patient arrived. One could only hope.
"Ratchet!" Most doors slide. It makes it really hard to properly bang them open for a noisy grand entrance. Somehow, Hot Rod still manages at the clinic's front door. It is just one of life's little mysteries.
He has a voice that carries, and what's worse -- so much worse! -- is that is starting to become familiar. "Hey, I need to see -- oh, that way? Thanks." A brief and one-sided (there's just a point; Ratchet is betrayed) exchange with a mech at the front sends Hot Rod back to the office. He repeats the act with the door, louder, closer, and with another, "Ratchet! Hey, wake up."
Oh Primus, Ratchet hoped he was having a nightmare. It was just a nightmare, right? A trick of his processor? It would go away if he just ignor-- No, it definitely /wasn't/ going away. Frag it all! He opened an optic at the sound of banging at his door. Great, he'd have to relocate this entire facility now because of Hot Rod. "GO AWAY," he growled in response. "I'm /busy/."
"It's important," Hot Rod insists. Then he appeals to ego: "You're the only one who can help." And waits, smug and self-satisfied, because it would work with him so of course it will work with anyone else.
Ratchet stared at the door, but he didn't get up from his seat just yet. "Are you or anyone else injured and in need of immediate medical attention?" he asked. "I don't mean a cut of your finger. I mean an /actual/ emergency." It was strange to think that Ratchet didn't trust Hot Rod's motives. The last two times he actually /did/ present the medic with injured 'Bots, but he also disregarded anything Ratchet had to say.
Hot Rod deflates. That was such a good line. Even his spoiler droops. He scuffs his foot. "I don't exactly want to yell this for everyone to hear, so why don't you let me tell you, then you can decide."
He didn't receive an answer, but a few moments later, Ratchet opened the door and motioned for Hot Rod to come in. "This better be important," he grumbled.
Hot Rod favors Ratchet with a brilliant smile, but it doesn't last. It fades even as he says, "Yeah, it kind of is." He steps inside. "People are being held against their well and compelled to resist escape by having chips implanted in their processors -- and weirder stuff. Their lives, their minds, and their very sparks are in danger." He straightens with a distant look at the far wall as he listens to the siren song of a quest.
Now that /is/ important news ... if it was real. Hot Rod could have heard a rumor and was spreading it now. "What do you mean?" he asked. "Who's implanting the chips in their processors? Where is this taking place? Have you witnessed it firsthand?" He looked very skeptical, though that was a damning accusation.
When Ratchet asks who, Hot Rod hesitates. After a brief pause, he admits, "The Institute. And I know what you're gonna say!" He rushes in before Ratchet can protest, saying, "It's not all urban legends and scrap. It's real, and I've been there. I--" It was a team effort. He just sometimes forgets that. "--got an innocent femme out, but not before this creepy old Arachnicon harvested her spark and put it in a body more to /his/ preferences. That just scratches the surfaces of the horrors there."
Wait, did he just say The Institute? That was the place Pharma wanted to show him. He said they were making such great discoveries over there. "So you were there," he said quietly, feeling torn. An Arachnicon? There were all sorts of strange 'bots running around weren't there? He sighed and fell back in his chair. "Who was the femme? Is she alright? You said you got her out."
"Feint. They call her--" THEY. Not HE. "--disposable, so they thought they could just sweep her off the street and no one would care." Hot Rod looks fairly obviously fired up about it, to no one's surprise ever. His outrage is so self-absorbing he notices nothing about Ratchet's quiet. "Yeah, she's doing better now. But it was a close thing. The place is monstrous."
"Wait a klik," Ratchet interrupted. "They? I thought it was just the Arachnicon that was doing this." Now the situation was only growing worse. If Hot Rod uttered Pharma's name... He looked relieved to hear that the femme was alright. "Are you both somewhere safe where they won't find you?"
"There's a whole system, mech," says Hot Rod with a broad sweep of his hands, like every crazy conspiracy theorist that has ever been. "It has the support of the Senate, but it doesn't have the support of Orion Pax." Please pause for starry eyes. "We're going to bring it down and get her -- and anyone else! -- out of there, but without someone like you, I don't know what that chip will do to Nautica." At the last, he can only shrug. "She -- made her own choices between happiness and safety." So ... maybe not super safe. But happy!
"Whoa, whoa, whoa," Ratchet said. "Are you crazy?! Bring The Institute down?! I'm a medic, for crying out loud! Rebellion is /not/ in my programming! And you said it yourself: the Senate /supports/ that place. They'll execute us as enemies of the state for even /attempting/ such a thing!" He just stares at Hot Rod for a while, rubbing his temples. "Kid, I understand you're upset, but your idea is just crazy. And who's this Nautica now?"
Hot Rod leans forward. His voice is low, which is unusual enough for him to draw attention, and all but vibrates with the intensity of his words: "But helping people is, or you wouldn't be running this place." He gives Ratchet a long, level look. "There's no one more in need than the sparks imprisoned there. I'm not asking you to carry a gun, and I'm not asking you to hurt anyone. I'm asking you to /help/ people being /abused/ by a system that is supposed to //protect them//." Seriously. There's a lot of emphasis to his words. Whatever else he is -- obnoxious, irreverent -- he does not lack for passion.
Stepping back, Hot Rod gives Ratchet a little more space, but in no way breaks his gaze. "Nautica is one of them. She's not even Cybertronian. She's from Caminus. They don't care. Maybe her brilliance made her too valuable for them to lose. I don't know. She didn't do anything. She's as innocent a femme as I've ever met. But now she has a chip in her head and she's being followed or watched or something every time she leaves."
That sly little mech, using Ratchet's own passion and morals against him. Hot Rod was both passionate /and/ charismatic at times. He knew that he had to do /something/ to help those poor 'bots over there in that Institute, especially if they were being abused in such a way. It was wrong, so terribly wrong of the Senate to support something like that. He was grateful Pax wasn't. If Pax were involved, that would ruin him.
Ratchet rubbed his face, feeling weary from the weight of this news. He looked up at Hot Rod, an uncertain expression on his face, but he'd help anyone in need. "What do you need me to do?"
Hot Rod straightens as a weight slips from his shoulders. He gives Ratchet a grateful smile. It's small, and it's brief, and he doesn't actually say it -- but it's thanks. "We'll try to pull people out of the back door, so to speak, to get them out quieter, and with less collateral damage. Last time -- it got messy," he says with a brief wince. "So I'd like you to be there, in the tunnels nearby. First priority will be getting that chip out of Nautica's head, then helping anyone else who is injured. We don't have a time yet. We're planning it. We're going to do it right."
Ratchet nodded once more. "Alright, I've never been a field medic before," he admitted. That would be interesting. "Who's 'we'? You, Feint, and Nautica?" he asked. "The best thing to do would be to create a distraction ... like a fire. Something to get them to evacuate, but leave the 'bots they're abusing inside."
"Oh. I guess that works as distraction, too." No prize for guessing for what kind of distraction Hot Rod was imagining. "We is -- bigger than that. Feint will be a lot of help in the tunnels, and Nautica is going to be inside. I've talked to her, though, and we'll coordinate as much as we can. But there's Chromia -- Nautica's friend, the other Camiens. The Autobots. I'm hoping Blurr--" Yes, of all people, Blurr. "--will help, and Drift wanted to hit the Institute, too. Shiftlock."
"WHAT," Ratchet said, his jaw dropping slightly. "Are you building a fragging army?!" He smacked his forehead, cycling in deep breaths of air to calm himself down. "They're going to call us a gang, you know. We'll be given a faction name like those Decepticons." He groaned and rested his helm on the table.
Hey, at least he was still going along with the plan. They would just have to deal with his complaining and paranoia over getting caught and executed.
"No!" Hot Rod looks a little upset at the very /idea/. "I'm not building an army. I'm not doing anything." He's a little too quick about it, a little too defensive. He protests too much. "Look, it's just -- a little help, that's all. You're in, though?"
Ratchet flashed him a skeptical look. He was totally building an army, at least in the medic's optics. But he sighed and waved his servo dismissively. "Yes, yes, I'm in," he promised. "I'll do whatever I can to help these people."
Hot Rod drops his hand on Ratchet's shoulder with presumptive friendliness. "Thanks, Ratchet. I knew you wouldn't let me down." (He could just tell. Spending a night in Ratchet's bed really let him get to know the medic. Right. RIGHT.) He steps back in the direction of the door, but first passes over his direct comm link. "There. Now you can get in touch with me if you need to. How can I reach you?"
"Reach me? You mean besides showing up on my doorstep in the middle of the night or crawling into my berth?" he asked sarcastically, taking Hot Rod's comm link. He wrote his down and handed it to the mech. "There. Don't call me for mundane things or I'll remove your comm system from your helm, got it?"
Throwing a gesture around the clinic, Hot Rod says, "I came here, didn't I? I was discreet!" Yes. Showing up and shouting for Ratchet is discreet. /Way to go/, pal.
Leaning back away from Ratchet, Hot Rod claps a protective hand to his helm. "Yeah, yeah. Whatever. I'm not going to call you up every time I dent my metal, I promise. I'll let you know more when I know more," he promises, then beats a retreat out of the clinic. Discreetly. Red paint and golden flames and high speed and all.
Discreet shouldn't have even been in Hot Rod's vocabulary because he didn't know how to apply the word. Ratchet rolled his optics as the mech zoomed right out of the facility. At least now he could get some rest ... though his processor would be plagued with worry about what was going on in that Institute and, more importantly, if one of his own was involved in it.