Beachcomber crouches to brush his palms across the sparse grass. "Morning, Mother." Perceptor folds his arms and carefully looks to the side.
Mother. Such a human word. Beachcomber usually isn't quite so... blatant.
Beachcomber rocks forward on his knees until his audio receptor is pressed to the ground. Activating the scanners in his visor would make his point just as well, but Beachcomber does not prove points; he makes statements. "Life," he says of the vibrations traveling through the buried rock.
Perceptor has long since grown weary of this argument. "Earth supports life. It is not alive itself."
Beachcomber shrugs, gently patting the soil under his hand before rising. "Take care, Mother."
They know almost nothing about electrum. It's rare enough to be near myth, not something any Cybertronian scientist has ever managed to truly study.
The brush will have started regrowing by now. There will be flowers. The trees... the trees will take longer. The fires they left were nothing like a swift, natural blaze, to leave the trees scorched but otherwise undamaged.
Perceptor speaks excitedly of the possible knowledge they might still glean, the opportunities for study the pool could still provide, of increased safety for the troops. Beachcomber thinks only that the glade will be covered in fresh shoots of grass, young and easily damaged by heavy Cybertronian feet, and feels incredibly selfish.
Perceptor sequesters himself in his lab the moment he is allowed to do so.
He's just escaped captivity for the second time in weeks. Prime has taken him aside, explaining calmly that Perceptor's planed trip to return to the glade will have to be put on hold. Two close calls are a few too many. The glade will still be there in a few months.
Perceptor fights down deep, bitter disappointment at losing a once-in-a-lifetime chance for the second time. He has work to do.
Beachcomber walks in on the tail end of an argument. Cliffjumper has his hands on his hips. His grin flashes up over Seaspray's shoulder, and he waves Beachcomber further into the room.
"Seaspray's got a rock for ya."
Seaspray turns abruptly, optics dimming, but it's too late to escape. He lifts a reluctant hand, displaying the squarish little stone resting in the center of his palm. "I picked it up from the edge of the pool, right before the battle."
Flecks of pale yellow glitter on the surface. Beachcomber's optics catch on the reflected light and won't come free, even as he fights down the analysis programs that want to start up. He doesn't want to know.
Cliffjumper looks with a look of smug superiority for Seaspray—See? Was that so hard?— as Beachcomber smiles, gentle and easy, and takes the stone.
Perceptor enters his lab, utterly absorbed in a datapad, and nearly trips over Beachcomber, who is lying in the middle of the floor.
"Beachcomber!" Despite the exclamation he's not all that surprised. This is certainly not the oddest place Perceptor has found his comrade. "If you must insist upon displaying your oddities in the middle of the lab, please do it out of the way of the foot traffic."
Sometimes he feels the need to ask forgiveness.
Being small, with an alt mode meant for rugged off-road terrain, he can manage the unbroken ground of Oregon's Cascade Mountains. He slips easily between the trees, tires crunching quietly over fallen pine needles.
Well away from both the Ark and human roads, Beachcomber transforms and kneels, digging his hands into the ground. Dirt and pebbles wedge deep into his joints. He hums a little, sinking deeply into himself and listening to the birdsong, the breeze through the towering trees, the life he is utterly surrounded by. He takes it in, grateful, and loosens his vocalizer to add his own voice to vibrant flow, a low murmur of apology to the world that so graciously hosts them.
"If we add--" Perceptor cuts himself off mid-sentence, realizing he's lost the attention of his audience. Again. Notorious for drifting off into his own world though Beachcomber may be, this is becoming ridiculous. "Beachcomber. Beachcomber! This project was your idea; please try to pay attention."
Sometimes Perceptor wonders if Beachcomber knows how utterly irritating he can be when he bothers. Then he chides himself for thinking too narrowly, and wonders how it is that no one else has noticed how utterly irritating Beachcomber can be when he bothers.
Beachcomber knows something is up when Windcharger and Brawn flop onto the seats on either side of him. Not that he and they don't get along, but he doesn't usually take energon with them unless it's as part of a larger group.
Bumblebee approaches next, pulling Seaspray by the elbow, a half-heartedly grumbling Gears trailing behind them.
None of them say anything out of the ordinary. Gears and Windcharger are having an argument even before Seaspray and Bumblebee get back from the dispenser with enough energon for all of them. Bumblebee's look when he hands Beachcomber a cube—his second of the hour, but he isn't going to turn it down—is direct and unapologetic. Beachcomber hums his thanks and takes the cube, tilting his head to the side. Message received, Bumblebee.
A small, glimmering stone sits heavily in his subspace.
"A rock, man."
Beachcomber's humor is not appreciated. Don't take that tone with me, Perceptor nearly says aloud. His face says it for him, only Beachcomber isn't looking. He's staring into the middle-distance, visor flickering as he runs some analysis program or another.
Perceptor angles his microscope, does a little analysis of his own, and his mental processes trip over themselves at what he sees.
Beachcomber's head dips forward, fingers curling gently around the stone.