Title: No More Confusion
Date: 28 December 2014
Summary: Shiftlock is tired of being confused and ignorant. She agrees to getting brainwashed in order to fix that problem.
Shiftlock has been captured out of her home in Nyon, and dragged to Iacon, where she now finds herself in a secret facility located in the sublevels just below the city-state's chapter of the prestigious Deltaran Medical Facility.
Why is she here? Well, Ratbat had made it perfectly clear what he wanted done to his former servant, who will now become his servant once again. But -this- time on a -much- tighter leash. No, he's not taking any risks this time around. This time, he is going to -ensure- that she literally does not even have the capability to disobey.
But first, there is the matter of the Shifter, and if she had left any remnant of herself behind in the test subject, and if so what effect it'd had.
For the past few cycles, she's been confined to a cell of sorts, or maybe it's a monitoring room, but it seems her time has come. Shiftlock may or may not recognize one of Cybertron's most well-respected doctors, Pharma, who is now standing in the doorway to her cell. He looks up at her from a datapad. "Ah, you must be Shiftlock, the one with combiner potential, and the former Shifter host."
"Are you sure about that? I mean, there's nothing that says I /must/ be Shiftlock, I could be someone completely different and you have the wrong femme," Shiftlock says with an easy smile, sitting on the floor, back to the wall.
Pharma chuckles. Oh, he's going to like this one. "Certainly a valid point, my dear! But there is only one way to find out for sure, isn't there?" He says with a grin. "We'll just head right on over to one of the operating rooms across the hall here, and go from there! Now are you going to come willingly, or must I call security to help you out?" His voice is inappropriately pleasant for the occasion as he nods toward the bulky cannon-wielding guards standing outside the cell.
"Carry me," Shiftlock requests, looking over at Pharma and batting her optics. "If you're going to put your hands all over my body and its various components, the least you can do is romance me a little. I mean, if you were going to kill me you'd have done it by now, so death threats are going to be a little hollow. Sure, you can hurt me, but then you'd have to spend time repairing me, and there might be damage done to my precious components that you want so -badly- to have a look at."
"Very well then." Pharma laughs. "I was never built for heavy lifting, but fortunately we have people who are right here on hand." he nods toward the guards, and they enter the cell to pick her up and carry her out and across the hall to deposit her on an operating table in a small, cluttered room. The doctor follows not far behind. "But of course, who ever said anything about death threats? No one is killing anyone today, if I can help it."
"Well, the natural way to coerce someone is to threaten them with harm or death, which is what you just did," Shiftlock says as she now sits on the table. "Pain is also a pretty good threat. So what horrible things are you going to do to me today?" she asks cheerfully.
"Oh I wasn't threatening with death; maybe harm, if you struggled too much, but not necessarily. Just some -physical handling-, that's all." Pharma replies, equally cheerfully, as if this were just a regular visit to your friendly family physician.
He begins working with some of the equipment, and a scanner begins sweeping across her body. "Well, first of all, I'm going to secure your limbs to the berth, so that your reflexes don't cause you to move around too much while I'm working. After all as you said if I cause any unnecessary damage then I'll just have to repair it, and that's difficult when the patient is writhing! And then, I'm going to search your body for any remnants of genetic material from your -friend- who used to share it with you. See if that little experiment had any kind of -effect- on you." Spherical drones float over her, shining bright exam lights over her chassis. Pharma pulls out several tools, like laser scalpels, wrenches, and other things used for poking and prodding.
"Then, after that," Pharma continues, grinning. " I'm going to bring in a dear friend of mine, who will see to making sure you're good and ready to go back out into the world."
"I don't mind if you look because to be honest, I'm kind of curious myself," Shiftlock replies, pretty calm about all this. She's naturally given to curiosity, and figuring out what she was and where she came from would be a biiig help in her estimation. "I mean, it's not like I was taught anything, just harvested and fused and viola, here I am, awake and confused about everything."
"You gonna cut me open without any kind of pain blocks? Because that seems pretty counter productive to the whole 'not wiggling around' thing."
"Excellent! I'm happy to hear that you're just as curious as I am!" Pharma says pleasantly. "I'll be sure to tell you what I find." As promised, restraints on the berth clamp down over her arms and legs. "Well yes, I will be using some sedatives, but I do need you to be awake in order to get the best results, so I'm afraid they won't be enough to block out -everything-." As he is speaking he starts to set up her with a fuel line feed, and begins loading said anesthetics into it.
"That's okay, I'll take it as a test!" Shiftlock adds cheerfully. "I want to see if I can withstand the pain." It must be refreshing to have someone who actually cooperates (or a little disturbing). It's probably an indicator of how young - or how recklessly brave - Shiftlock is.
Oh, it's not disturbing to Pharma at all! It makes his job easier. And now he's genuinely interested, too, in how much pain she can withstand. "Ah, it's always refreshing to have a patient who is just as interested in testing themselves as I am." The drugs begin to flow into her body, and he waits just a few moments for them to take effect. "I very much look forward to all that we will learn today!"
"Me too!" Shiftlock answers, overly cheerful from the application of pain blockers. Wheeee! TRAILS.
With pain mostly blocked, and feeling a little loopy, she laughs and adds, "So, are you single?
Pharma laughs at the question, though he doesn't seem surprised. She seemed to be flirting with him earlier. "You're quite interesting you know that? It's not every day that I have a patient who decides to flirt with me during an operation! But like I said, it's refreshing..." he says, as he starts to cut into her chassis near the shoulder joint using a laser scalpel. "...getting someone -different-. As for being single I suppose I am, not a lot of time for that sort of thing, with the job I have."
Shiftlock takes that like a champ. So far, she's either got a good tolerance to pain, or the medication is working to block it. "Well, there's a lot I don't know that I want to know, you know? So like, I try to just try -everything- at least once. How else am I gonna know if its good or bad? It's not like anyone actually TOLD me these things." Her conversation is slightly rambling as her mind swims.
"That's too bad - you being busy, I mean, because it's -totally- worth having someone around when you need it." She frowns cutely. "Nobody around here gets me. They're all 'oh you shouldn't go interfacing whoever you feel like'. Pff. They don't -understaaaand-." Yeah, slightly loopy.
"Oh, but's a -good- kind of busy." Pharma replies, cutting deeper and expanding the incision. Once he's gotten the piece he intended, he peels the armor away and puts it aside. He then pulls out a probe with a miniature camera on the end of it and thrusts it into the open wound. If there's any evidence of the Shifter in this particular section of her body the probe is sure to pick it up. "I suppose you're right; however I suppose I simply haven't had someone like that come into my life, yet. Medicine requires patience, I guess I've learned it well."
"Ow." First indicator of pain but it's said rather flatly as if it's more of an annoyance than anything else. There doesn't appear to be any real evidence of the Shifter in her shoulder or armoring in this section of her frame.
"Yeah, I'm not patient," she giggles. "It's hard to be patient after being in control of your body for only a couple of weeks. See, Mercury had total control of my body, right? But she knew I was there and she tried to help me. And THAT is why Hot Rod and Barricade and Blast Off are all -wrong-. See, see -- SEE -- th' more people I plug in with? The better my memory gets. The more I understand and all the fog of where I was merged with Mercury goes away. It gets clearer. It's like.. it's like I am SUPPOSED to have multiple people in my head!" Drunkenly she spills names.
"Hmm. Is that so? Interesting. Hot Rod? Blast Off? Who are these people you're speaking of? Friends of yours, or maybe people you've interfaced with?" Pharma asks, finding no evidence of the Shifter and deciding to move in closer to her spark. He gets out the scalpel again, and starts cutting further inward, pulling more pieces of armor off. "Well, perhaps, if we learn enough today, we will be able to reveal -more- of your memories from today's procedures!"
Shiftlock is happy about this. "Yaaaa-- ow! -aaaaay!" She smiles widely. Answers are GOOD. "Well see I didn't 'face Hot Rod, no, he's just kinda like the guy that looked out for me in Nyon, right? He's nice. Kinda dumb sometimes though, but then so am I. Blast Off is this uppity shuttle and he liked Mercury but now he's like 'ugh you're just a kid Shiftlock I like to drink all the time I'm gonna conjux my wine'." Best impression of Blast Off -ever-.
"And... uh... lessee... Barricade tried to help me get the schooling I missed but then he got mad at me because I interfaced Whirl and they got in a fight and it was horrible and all my fault." She seems saddened at this.
"Oh my, you're right, I don't think they understood you at all!" Pharma mock-sympathizes. "But that's okay, because -we- will understand you after this, at least all that we can, and there will be no more fights between friends, I promise you." He pulls away the armor and casings right over her spark, and its light radiates outward, casting an eerie glow on his face and on the drones. In goes the probe again, into the spark chambers and surrounding areas. "No more arguments!"
Shiftlock groans a little bit in discomfort. It's only due to the pain blockers that her systems aren't registering pure panic, fight-or flight, for having something so close to her spark. Inside there is evidence that she's not normal at all; her spark frame has massive multi-pin connector plugs, male and female, intended for cables as thick as the spinal cable itself. There are five connection sites, one towards her head, the other towards her limbs.
The cut on her shoulder is slowly starting to /self-repair/ around the edges. "Thanks," she offers weakly.
Pharma's optics widen, he's getting quite excited. "-Fascinating-!" he exclaims, taking multiple images and scans of all unusual ports, as well as the repad self-repair mechanisms in the shoulder incision. "It would appear that you -do- have combiner potential, with all these massive multi-pin ports in the spark frame....-and- you appear to have retained some sort of accelerated self-repair mechanism!" He dives in further, searching for the source of the self-repair ability. Surely she must have retained some Shifter CNA that incorporated into her own!
Shiftlock is focused on mitigating her pain, her brain module not receiving all the error messages due to the blocks, which leads to confusion and disorientation. The shifter CNA is indeed permated into her frame; a sample of her genetic material will yield results... but only after thorough research. After all, how can one tell what is normal and one is not unless one spends time reducing the sample down to the basic components and comparing it to a baseline?
"Combiner?" she mews. "... Mercury... she was combined... to her entire colony. Sailing space as one gigantic ship... hunreds of thousands of minds all joined together but losing self..."
"Incredible..." Pharma marvels, perhaps at Shiftlock's words regarding Mercury, but also at the physiology he is currently examining. "Her CNA has spliced perfectly into your own." He begins to draw out some of her energon, as well as scrape some of the linings from the inside of her fuel lines. They would make for excellent samples upon which to conduct such thorough research. "That's where the accelerated self-repair came from..."
Shiftlock is getting quieter and less responsive, trying to hold out against the pain. She's doing a good job, but she's less chatty, which is a pretty good indicator of her level of concentration.
Pharma siphons the energon into small cryotubes and puts them away, then brings out a welder, as well as the armor pieces he had taken off, and begins to expertly seal her back up. By the time he is done, on top of the self-repair mechanisms, one could barely tell that she had even been cut into at all. "There, now if you'll give me a few moments, I will fetch my dear friend Cipher to finish up with you. He will be starting up another experiment...I believe he is a friend of one of your acquaintances--oh yes, Blurr. Fortunately this one will not be painful for you at all. He'll fill you in on the details."
Shiftlock takes the time to rest and regather her strength, letting the pain ebb away. Internally she's pleased with how she held up, but the mention of Blurr makes her jerk awake. "/Blurr/? Don't tell me I'm going to be in the same room with that crazy slagger! You guys fragged him up something royal!"
"Oh, no don't worry, you won't be in the same room as him, but one of his friends will be working on you." Pharma says cheerfully as he makes his way out of the room. "I'll be right back!"
And indeed, a few minutes later, he returns with another mech. "Shiftlock, this is Cipher." Cipher nods and smiles. "A pleasure," the newcomer greets. "Pharma has spoken well of you. I take it you know Blurr."
Shiftlock smirks. "Yeah, he's always flipping out and trying to kill me. I take it you're the guy that screwed up his brain module? 'Cause I seem to remember getting stabbed in the neck with some kind of memory erasure device by him before."
Cipher moves over to the berth and sits down on the edge of it casually. "Oh Pharma you weren't pulling a crankcase when you said this was an interesting one!" Cipher laughs. "I -like- her." he turns to look at her directly. "You're certainly a sharp one. That is absolutely correct! I'm glad you're acquainted with him--that way, you're already somewhat familiar with what we'll be doing today, because I'm going to basically do to you what I've done to him, only better. You see, I've been running an experiment on him, with a program that I call the Legislator program--named for some of the theories I read about in Justice Tyrest's research notes. The first prototype has been less than stellar, though it works for Blurr, at least. But based on the results from that field test, I have come up with a newer, stronger, and overall better version of it. I've been searching for a suitable test subject, someone nearly as -special- as Blurr is; so thank Primus I found you." he grins.
Shift looks back at Cipher, studying him, his expressions, his movements. She's trying to look for any cues as to what's going on in his head. "Well, it's nice to be thought of as special, I suppose. So what exactly am I going to be -doing-? I mean I know it's not going to matter because I'm kind of screwed and you can do whatever you want to me right now and I can't fight you, but could you at least let me know what I'll be doing after all this? I mean, it probably sounds really weird but I hope it's something -cool- and at least SOMEWHAT legal."
Cipher brings out a rectangular case, opening it up and hooking various devices into the workstation in the room. "Oh, not to worry, it will be -very- legal. You'll be doing mostly what Blurr is doing. Helping keep the peace, delivering justice wherever the law demands it, overall just enforcing the law and the will of the Senate where appropriate." He's pretty eager to get on with this, as it is a personal project of his. "All the while, I'll be assessing your performance to further my research."
"So... are you just gonna change everything or am I gonna be like Blurr and have some kind of normal life too?" Shiftlock asks. "Because I'd -really- like to keep my personality as it is. It's kind of the only thing I have going for me."
Cipher smiles. "Yes." He opens the appropriate compartment in her body and brings out the interface cables. "You will be...-mostly- like Blurr. You'll be able to keep the major tenets of your personality programming, you'll just have different -political views-, and you will be dedicated to enforcing the law. So in actuality not all that bad, yes?"
"Honestly I don't -know-. I mean, I never went to primary programming school, I don't know half of what's going on around me and no one I've met seems to have any real freaking answers," Shiftlock says with no small note of frustration. "No one wants to tell me right from wrong, they just assume that somehow I'm trip over it, but they're damn sure ready to jump on me when I cross some social rule everyone seems to know but I don't."
"If ... if I can just have things -make sense-.... I'll won't even fight you. I'm just tired of being ignorant and confused."
Cipher nods and connects the interface cable to the workstation. "There, there now." he says soothingly, patting her arm. "I have an idea of how you feel though I haven't experienced it myself; after all, Blurr had similar anxieties and I am accustomed to dealing with him. I can guarantee you, however, that once this is finished, you -will- be sure of yourself. There will be no question in your mind of what is right or wrong."
He taps in a command to the terminal, turns back to her. "Now, I'm going to put you into stasis while the program uploads, and when you come back online, everything will be clear. There will be no more confusion, no more arguments."
"All right then... see you on the other side I guess?" Shiftlock asks tentatively.
Down she goes, and the upload begins. Shiftlock will now be in the same boat Blurr is, only her version is stronger and much more difficult to resist. When she wakes up, she will find herself in the troop quarters at the Decagon, the First Face emblazoned on her chest, and her mind filled with a -renewed- sense of purpose...