Title: Science Bros
Location: Wheeljack's Workshop
Date: 18 December 2014
When it comes to mixing chemistry with physics, it's best to be prepared. For Wheeljack, that meant being pre-emptive with his medical care, so BEFORE he started his most recent experiment he put out a call to a good friend, and old one, to come check on him. Jackie has also made sure to do this at a time when the others that share this work space are out, so he won't put any of them at risk. Recently his private little lab has grown, expanded and been adjusted to fit some other like-minded folks, as reflected in the number of work stattions that fill the main area. With all that's plaguing Cybertron, or about to, Jackie's been rather consumed with his experiments of late, especially when it comes to potential alternative energy sources. Today's plan is to superheat spheres of concentrated plasma that have been bathed in hyper-conductive liquids... with lasers. As one might expect... when Ratchet rolls up there's a plume of smoke that rolls out fromt he vents in the roof. Inside, Jackie sits on his aft, blinking slowly as that very much went... better than expected actually. He holds one hand in the other, as the one closest to the resulting explosion is now very mangled. One of his ears is still on fire.
It had been stellar cycles since the last time Ratchet spoke to Wheeljack. They attended the Iaconian Academy of Science and Technology together, but after Ratchet graduated and went on to become Chief Medical Officer, they spoke less and less. It wasn't because Ratchet didn't /want/ to speak to Wheeljack, he just never had the time. And now he was one of the joint medics in charge of the Deltaran Medical Facility, a free clinic in the Dead End. A lot had changed, that was for sure. The intellectuals were literally on two separate sides of the city now. That's why the medic was surprised when he received a call from his old-time buddy to visit him. It was a medical checkup, but at least he'd get to /see/ the mech. The drive across the city was long, but the medic was excited. However, when he arrived at Wheeljack's workshop in Iacon, he remembered why it was that they grew distant back then .... THE MECH WAS ALWAYS BLOWING HIMSELF /AND OTHERS/ UP! Ratchet protoformed when he reached the entrance and stared up at the billowing column of smoke, a loud groan escaping his vocodor. "... At least the explosion already happened," he muttered under his breath before pounding on the door. "Wheeljack! You alright in there?! It's Ratchet! I've come to provide aid!"
Where Ratchet went on to better things, Wheeljack became... stuck. After graduation he was allowed to teach but that was taken away from Jackie when he proved to be far too unconventional as an instructor. So he moved on to laboratory work... which resulted in the destruction of several very expensive labs. So he was shuffled further into obscurity which allowed him to focus on his more... wild ideas, which only helped push him further to the fringe. Jackie's willingness to tinker with the more rough, lower caste mechs didn't help either... yet that provided a means for him to reach out to an old friend time-and-again, seeking medical advice when patching up folks like Whirl. In many ways, Jackie knew he was damaged goods so he never wanted to drag down his old friend with him, not when so much of what Ratchet has accomplished deserved anything but ruination. Now, finally, Jackie feels like he's got his life on track, or at least moving in the right direction so... it's time to reach out, to share; to reconnect.
"I'm online!" As Jackie calls it out he also activates the venting system, so in a couple of gusts the smoke clears away. He stays where he is, against a wall on the floor, holding that busted hand. Now, just like before, Jackie seems intent on advancing Ratchet's medical knowledge by providing amble opportunity to practice it. *sha-UUNK!* It's not for everyone that Jackie reveals his face, his faceplate often assumed to be his face, but an old pal like Ratchet deserves to see the smile he's earned. "Couldn't have ya' come all this way for nothin'! Had to make it all worth it," he chuckles as he looks, fondly, to Ratchet. "Primus, you look like you got old," he teases, though there is a hint of concern there. "Ya' got to be careful, Ratchet, that work you're doin', if you don't find a way to lighten it up, it'll kill ya'."
Ratchet stepped over a piece of debris as he entered the workshop and took a look around at the place. It wasn't bad, you know, minus all of the destruction. It was a large lab, perfect for Wheeljack's very ... expansive imagination. His gaze finally landed on Wheeljack and he couldn't help the grin that broke out across his face. It was good to see old friends. Primus knows he needed them lately what with all the chaos with Pharma and the Institute and then Hot Rod, Drift, and Shiftlock dragging him into even more problems. "Of course you couldn't," he remarked, an amused glint in his optics even as he rolled them. He knelt down next to the injured scientist. "/Gee, thanks/," he added with a huff. "And you haven't changed a bit, I see." He ignored Wheeljack's concern over his work. It didn't tire him out a bit! Well, that was the lie he told everyone /and/ himself.
Wheeljack is a good, and well-practiced, patient as he holds out his busted up hand to Ratchet. He's been through this before, many times, so he knows better than to fight the good doctor. No resistance here. "Maybe some," he chuckles as finally now he'll look away from Ratchet to his lab. Everything seems to be in a mostly-okay-ish state? Which is good. Unless the docbot objects, Jackie will seek to stand. "Maybe same ol' me, but lots new otherwise to contend with. I wised up, recruited some help," he motions with his good hand to the other work stations. His, the one in the middle with all the char marks, is the only one showing signs of damage. "Met a Camien," she grins, "A scientist even I'm havin'a hard time keepin' up with, a mech that's pretty much opened my optics to... well, a *lot* and..." Here he pauses for dramatic effect and his eyebrows go up. Apparently it's big. Important even. Surely you remember that mech that he went on and on and on and on and on and on and on about in the Academy, the one he always raved about, tried to show and recite the scientific papers from? "Starscream's here too!" Despite having just been on fire, Wheeljack looks so very happy with himself. "So... how's your clinic going?" Jackie's never been there but he's kept up (somewhat), from afar.
Finally, /someone/ who actually listened to him while he did repairs. He let the scientist stand as he brought out a laser scalpel and began reconstructing Wheeljack's mangled servo. Ratchet glanced up briefly to see that the other stations had been untouched. He kept the others safe from his dangerous escapades. That made the medic swell with pride. "You've got yourself quite a misfit group there, huh?" he asks before looking up to see Wheeljack nearly ready to explode. There wasn't a bomb in his chassis, was there? And then he says it. Ratchet nearly stabbed Wheeljack's poor servo when he spilled the news. "/Starscream/?! You got /Starscream/ to work for you? How did you manage that?" He brought out a small fire extinguisher and sprayed Wheeljack's ear finial with it. "
"Ow! Owowowowow," Jackie sputters. He's not afraid of being vocal, especially to the someone that is stabbing around in his microcircuitry. "Watch what you're doin' there, Ratchet. I thought *I* was supposed to be the destructive one!" He's only teasing, mostly, as he doesn't flinch too much. "To be honest, I ain't exactly sure. I kind of made up a reason to be in Vos and told him how important his research was, that I understood why he became a leader and all... then I got to show him my data, on all the stuff I've ranted about... dwindling energon reserves, population growhs and stresse dhow important all of his alternative energy research was. How much it transformed my own studies." Jackie can't stop smiling. Finally, someone who *understands*, someone who *gets it*. Not that Ratchet is interested in the same fields that Jackie is, but it's someone that can understand. It's like when Jackie was happy for Ratchet that his friend would get to meet Pharma (not that Jackie is aware, still, of what all went down at the Institute). "I promised him that here he could escape all the pressures of Vos and focus on what he began... seemed to win him over. He wants me to work with those sentient Insecticons I've heard 'bout," he beams, excited for the prospect of *that*.
"Oh hush, you're fine," he said, waving a servo dismissively. "Don't deliver big news like that when I'm working! How was I supposed to react?" He made sure he didn't further damage Wheeljack's servo anyway. That mech was always so idealistic and filled with good intentions. Ratchet was really glad /that/ hadn't changed. "Well, I'm glad you got him on board. We could certainly use a good change what with all this division going on and whatnot." He leaned conspiratorially towards Wheeljack. "Between you and me, this next generation of mechs and femmes is highly idiotic." He huffed and leaned back. It seemed a lot was revolving around these sentient Insecticons lately. Ratchet was supposed to meet Kickback, but he hadn't gotten a chance to just yet. "Hey, I'm happy for you. You've come a long way since the Academy. I think you'll do great things, Jack."
"Now ratchet, they ain't all bad. Most of 'em ain't," Jackie argues. he *is* idealistic and overly optimistic. Even despite everything he's endured, having his classes taken from him and any hope of mainstream research. Chance is the engine that pushes him forward. "They just need to be taught better. Shown what they can do rather than be reminded of what they can't." Ratchet may be grudd, but Jackie knows that the doctor has the best spark. He still remembers Ratchet when his polish was still new and that the docbot is of like mind with him about this brewing division. "We just gotta' save the planet before any of that comes to a head. No big deal, right?" Jackie grins like he truly believes that is possible. "Thanks, Ratchet," that smile continues. "Nothin' like you though. I heard about your clinic. Some of the mechs I've worked on have mentioned it. But you know..." Jackie looks around his workshop. "We kind of already have a medical bot here but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be a part of this too. If you have time. I... it's been too long," he admits. He really has missed his old friend. "Besides, you might like her. She ain't one of them idiotic mechs. She's really...," he thinks, a bit of a dreamy look in his optics. "Balanced. In all the right ways. You'd like her." He sounds certain.
Truthfully, that was the speech Ratchet had given all of his patients with problems beyond the physical. He tried to teach them that they were capable of great things and to stop being so down on themselves. Time would tell if they actually /listened/. It didn't stop him from complaining as usual, though. "Is that /all/ we have to do?" he asked with a laugh. "I wish I had your optimism. I'm not sure how a medical clinic can change the world, but I appreciate that," he replied, finishing up the repairs and wrapping Wheeljack's servo. He felt honored to be invited to join Wheeljack's research group. And it looked like his buddy had found someone he had a crush on. Good for him! "Wheeljack, it would be great to join your team. I'm pretty busy with the clinic, but whenever I'm free I'll help out in any way I can." Wheeljack had a good spark. What he was doing would benefit /everyone/. That was more than the Institute could ever hope to accomplish. "It really has been far too long. We should get a drink sometime."
"What's not to be optimist about? We got brilliant minds... just workin' on the wrong things, pointed in the wrong directions." In the early days, that's what drew Jackie to Ratchet, this mutual understanding that mechs aren't to be limited by anything other than themselves. Ambition isn't a byproduct of function. They were 'young' and ill-prepared to take on an established system and even now, Jack knows that's not the way to accomplish things. Still, he's finding his own way, so why can't others? "If the solution ain't there well, we just got to find it. That or build the answers we need." That's Jackie's real strength, is that he's unboound by logic to limit his approach to things. Ratchet is sworn to fix and Jackie, he's willing to break in order to find a better way to rebuild. "Your clinic keeps those online that others would just rather see shut off, or tossed away." He hasn't *been* there, but Jackie is pretty sure he knows his friend. He can't imagine Ratchet turning away anyone. Once the repair job is done, Jackie holds up his hand and flexes it for Ratchet's inspection, and his own. "Just like her clinic, I imagine! You two should compare notes, or something, maybe work out trades... I bet there's all kinds of ways you two could help out one another! Her's is in Kalis. Maybe you already know of it? Ever heard of Torque?" While waiting for an answer, Jack looks around his work station to see what scrap is left. "Or several. Make it a standing thing? I'd like it if we didn't... well, there's no need to let the distance happen again."
Ratchet's expression softened and he patted Wheeljack on the back. "I've missed you, bud." There really should have been more mechs like Wheeljack in the world. Ratchet remembered when he had that sort of mindset, but with everything falling apart around them he just felt ... lost. Seeing his old friend again was starting to bring him back from the darkness. Hearing Wheeljack gush about his clinic made the medic proud that he had done it. There was a very ... philosophical reason behind why he built that clinic. It was more fulfilling than helping little scratches and dents of mechs who didn't have any cares in the world. He loved helping those who were /really/ struggling and needed help ... and even a friend. "Thanks, maybe I wi--" Ratchet paused when Wheeljack uttered her name. Torque? The femme that he met and went to the bar with? The femme that had a drinking contest with him? The femme that .... Well, he wasn't sure what happened after they got horribly drunk. He had fled after that, but she was a truly remarkable and attractive femme ... And Wheeljack had a crush on her! Primus damnit ... "Ah ... no, I haven't. Er, because we live so far apart, I'll probably conduct any research you need from me at my clinic. You and I definitely /will/ hang out more often, though. Just you and I. No need to invite anyone else."
Wheeljack is an observant bot. He's keen. He builds things, sees how things come together. It's allowed him some insight into the plights of Cybertroni. The energon problem. The increasing hosilities. Wheeljack is very gifted when it comes to observation and application of that, so much so that he can often bypass a research phase. He's just that clued in. But so very not when it comes to more personal things. "Sounds like a deal!" He's only too eager to agree. "I could come to you, if you're too busy to make it here. I ain't no you," he chuckles. "Any of my patch jobs aren't of your grade but still, I could use some refreshers.... sure there's stuff y ou could teach me. That is, if you'll trust me in your clinic working on other mechs? It'd give us a chance to hang out while doing good."
Wheeljack working as his assistant in his clinic? There goes all of his hopes and dreams. Wheeljack was very taleneted and a literal genius, but he was also incredibly destructive. Ratchet had a bad feeling that the clinic would go boom if he allowed the scientist to come over and help. But how could he say no? Over at his place, he could keep control over who came over. He would have to make sure that Torque and Wheeljack weren't in the same room with him. Great, now some personal drama to add on top of his problems. Cue a prolonged sigh. He grinned at Wheeljack, though. "Yeah, that would be great! I could teach you a thing or two and I'm sure Pharma would like to meet you. I'd like to hear about /your/ research, too." He really did like the idea of doing some good.
"I'm sure I'll give you amble opportunity to instruct me!" Say what you will about Wheeljack, but at least he's conscious about his own destructive tendencies. Jack stops what he is doing though and blinks. "Pharma? *The* Pharma? The one you talked about?" Jackie shakes his head. "When I told you about Starscream why didn't you say? That's great! I'd like to meet him too. This is great," he smiles. "This is going to be so great." He believes it in his spark. But then! Jackie perks up. "Actually, I *do* have something we need to work on and your clinic's likely the best place for that!" He moves to the 'cockpit' area of his converted workshop and fiddles with the display of monitors there. He just assumes you'll follow? They come to display the roof of this place, the vents scorched from before, but up there are large flat dark panels and windmills, tall rods that extend into the sky and other collection devices. "I've been apting Starscream's original research, lookin' into alternative means of energon bypass... that's to say a subsitute. I've tested it on myself but... it ain't good. The 'charge' doesn't last. So you need a lot more of it," he points to one of the windmills, "Like that. Cycles worth of wind power harnessed only produces a small charge and it leaves ya', or me in this case, sluggish at best. Even if we started collecting it all now, wind and solar and magnetic, even gravitation vibrational waves, it wouldn't... it wouldn't be enough. Maybe you can help me to make it better. You know, workable."
Ratchet chuckled. "I'm sure you will. As for Pharma, I don't know. We're a little on the outs right now, but I don't want to get into it." He smiled a little. "We see each other after all these stellar cycles and you /already/ want to put me to work," he joked, but followed Wheeljack over to the monitors anyway. He listened to the mech's struggles with the alternate power systems and stroked his chin. "I see," he said. "Perhaps we can make the equipment more sensitive to the energy it's supposed to collect. We're definitely going to need a lot more than this, too."
Wheeljack considers the best way to approach this. He then 'ahahs!' as he looks upward and then to Ratchet. "I'll bring my equipment to your clinic!" Bam! Solution! Just like that, Jackie's got it solved. "I can pack up the stuff on my roof and move it to yours. We wouldn't need much inside, just a recharge station that we could modify..." Just like that, Jackie's moved himself into Ratchet's space. Since he didn't want to go into Pharma, he won't pry, but it is curious that the medic's so silent about that. Still, Jackie respects his friend's personal space... just maybe not so much his literal space.
Ratchet's optics widened in shock. "You'll .... bring the equipment to my place. Uh--" He paused, watching as Wheeljack's optics lit up. The mech looked so excited to come work in the clinic with him. It was a little unnerving, but if they were able to figure out an alternative power source .... "Alright, I'll help you. But what about your workshop...?"
That gets a hand wave. "It'll be here when we get back. I'll have it repaired. Or maybe Torque will, don't know. She likes fixing things as much as I do, hah! To think, they assigned her to me," he chuckles. He means his supervisors from the technoversity, who he has always regarded as real bolts, at least until this last decision. "Don't worry about it," because Jackie clearly is not. ""We'll have to get up top..." He taps a button and a hatch opens to the roof and a telescoping ladder descends. Yet, Wheeljack moves to his work station and pulls out a couple of different toolboxes and starts moving things around between them. "Can you get that one?" He points to the one under the station, the one next to the sealed box labeled 'DANGER: DO NOT OPEN'. "You were smart, settin' up your clinic where you did. Well away from the pryin' eyes of supervision," he scoffs with a glance out to where the technoversities are, beyond his workshop. "We'll be able to get more done there an we ever would of here." He sounds confident. "Soooo," Jackie asks as he shuffles tools around to where he needs them to be, "The clinic can't be the only thing in your life. What else is keepin' you busy?" Okay, maybe he'll pry a little.
"Won't they all worry about your absence?" Ratchet asked. He watched Wheeljack shuffle around before going to pick up the other toolbox. Of course he was directed to pick up the one next to a most likely explosive box. It definitely piqued his interest. He wanted to open it, but he didn't want to die. Frag. "Well, I figured it would be better to have a clinic out where the lower castes and Empties live since they can't get any proper medical attention. It just happened to be in an area none of the higher-ups really care about." He helped to stack things on a big cart. "What's /not/ keeping me busy?" Ratchet asked. "I've had an influx of strange patients lately. There was one femme who had another living creature /living inside of her/; I treated an empurata victim; of course Drift and Hot Rod have made a few trips to my actual /house/ and /stole my berth/ once." He huffed. It would be difficult getting him to talk about Pharma.
"I've heard that name..." Wheeljack looks up, his eyes giving a wave as he focuses. "Hot Rod," he says, like it's an insult. "I was once told that there was a mech out there more destructive than me. That was the name I was given when I asked who!" What began as an insult ends with a smirk, as Wheeljack seemed pleased to know he'd not the only one out there. "Sounds like you got yourself a colorful group of friends," he chuckles. It not hard to imagine that the down trodden and desperate would cling to somebot as dependable and giving as Ratchet though. He'll likely never, ever, never be rid of any of them. "They'll keep life interesting," he offers though. Jackie always looks for the silver lining. He has his things together as he packs the tools he needs to bring away. Now it's only a matter of gathering the equipment he'll need. "Missed? Nah, here we all get to come and go as we might want. You know me, Ratchet. Structure? Schedules?" He laughs, because that's not a thing, certainly not one he's willint to do. "Drift... that sounds like a sketchy name though... I might suggest caution about that one."
Hot Rod definitely was more destructive than Wheeljack, just in a different way. He groaned at the mention of those crazy kids being 'friends'. "They are nuisances more like..." he grumbled. At least Wheeljack had more refined friends. Torque? Starscream? Yep. It made him laugh to hear Wheeljack reminiscing on his lack of predictability. "I suppose you've got a point there," he agreed. Most of the equipment he would need was on the roof, the medic guessed, and he followed his buddy out there. "Drift? He's ... got a lot on his shoulders, but I know he's a good mech. He's better than most."
Brainstorm and Nautica too! Wheeljack has managed to surround himself with some very introverted bots, come to think of it. It's almost comical how that all works out. Still, up Wheeljack goes with Ratchet right behind. As soon as he's up there he begins to rip up solar panels and windmills alike. "With a name like 'Drift'?" Jackie's not sure he can trust that, but hey, if Ratchet says so... "I saw this bot once that *really* had a lot on his shoulders. Looked like bolt that was wound *way* too tight too. Ultra Magnus," he shivers. The more Jack gathers though,t he more ladden his arms become. "You wanna' transform? I have some stuff I need to stuff inside you." Phrasing is so utterly NOT something Jackie is good at or even aware of. Wheeljack considers something though and then, slowly, a smile creeps across his lips. "In what ways is he better than most?" Ratchet, you sly old bot you!
"I've heard about him!" Ratchet said with a laugh. "They say if he smiles, the planet's core will explode. He must /really/ be a tightwad, that one." Shaking his helm, he helped Wheeljack to start removing the windmills and solar panels. When Wheeljack made the poorly-worded comment, Ratchet accidentally dropped some panels on his own foot. "Ow! Jack ... that's not--" He groaned. "You can't /stuff/ those things inside of me, are you crazy? Don't you have a cart or something we can put them in and tug along behind us...?" Ratchet's cheek plates heated up and he threw one of the panels at Wheeljack's helm. "Not in the way you're thinking, heathen!" he barked with a smirk. "I /meant/ he has a good spark."
Well, that just causes him to blink and look utterly dumbfounded. "Why would we bring a car when you're perfectly capable of transforming? If I remember right, and I know I do," Wheeljack says, "Your carrier is roomy nough for a bot to fit in. Hrm, sensitive medical equipment you don't damaged, okay. I get it." With that Jackie sets down the stuff he had picked up and transforms himself, flipping and folding into his car form. He turns his rear end towards Ratchet and pops the back, to lift the hatch for his companion. "You can stuff me then." The transforming also means he was able to dodge the panel thrown at him. "Well, then enlighten me, doc. How good is his spark and just how do you know how brightly it burns? You're pretty defensive of the guy." Not that it's a bad thing, not at all! Wheeljack is happy that Ratchet has someone in his life.
Ratchet deadpanned when Wheeljack transformed and asked /the medic/ to cram the items into his rear end. "Wheeljack, I don't want t--" He sighed and gave in, however. Hopefully no one was around to see him stuffing the panels and windmills into his friend's trunk. Imagine the gossip! He frowned at Wheeljack's continuing prodding. "Wh- I'm a /doctor/! I have to do checkups on my patients' sparks! I'm not /defensive/ of him, I just don't like what you're insinuating." He huffed. He was into femmes, particularly femmes in the medical field (*cough cough*). He was tempted to loosen a few bolts in his old friend right now.
"I ain't insinuatin' nothin'!" Says the mech with his trunk open, a truck that is currently getting filled. Wheeljack-as-a-car explains himself. "You'll forever be my pal, Ratchet, cause of all the bots I've ever known, you're the one with his bolts fasted properly. Best thing is, you make sure all of ours are too... but there ain't a bot better than you. Still, I worried about you then and I think I am right to worry now. A bit. You're *too good*, Ratchet. You could get lost in your work. Not just the meanin' of it but the plight. So... to know you've met people, let them in - as it were - it's a good thing. It's good to know you have friends."
Now Ratchet felt a little guilty. Boy was his mind in the gutter. "Thanks, bud," he said. "It's ... humbling to hear you say that, but I won't get lost in my work, not when I have you to pull me out of it once and a while." He chuckled. "Or, rather, blow me up out of it." He smirked. "I'm glad you've met some friends, too, Wheeljack. You deserve a lot of good ones, considering what you've been through."
Having his classroom taken from him was by far the worst. Still, Wheeljack is determined. If it breaks; he builds better. Ratchet too. "Sorry," he says then. All loaded up, Wheeljack-as-a-car turns to more directly face Ratchet. "I should have sent you a message sooner. Way sooner." Way, way sooner. After a moment Wheeljack-as-a-car beeps his horns and flashes his lights. With a docbot here, well, he can afford to do crazy stunts, right? He rumbles his engines, set to jump off this roof and to get going! "Race you there," he chuckles because he KNOWS he's much faster than his clunky ambulance friend. So, off he goes! Vrooooom! He zips right off the rooftop of the workshop... and then spins back as he hits the ground. "Actually... I don't know where we're going, so you better lead!"
"It's alright," the medic assured. "I'm just as guilty. We won't make that mistake again, though." When Wheeljack started for the roof, Ratchet's jaw dropped. "You're not seriously going to--" But he did it ... that crazy mech drove straight off of the roof and hollered to race the medic. He was an /emergency vehicle/ for crying out loud! How was he supposed to beat Wheeljack? Good thing the scientist had no idea where he was going. With a grin Ratchetactually gave in to his wild side and dove from the roof, transforming on the way down and landing on his wheels. "I was built to get to emergencies quickly. Think you can beat me?" He laughed before speeding off. 'Only on a racetrack,' Wheeljack thinks to himself as in every other way, all the ways that could matter - there really is no better bot than Ratchet. Wheeljack is happy to lose to that mech. So, though he *could* win a race, Jackie will be glad to let the doc have this one too.