First Meeting

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"-this is actually better than what I'm used to," First Aid was saying to Ratchet when the door to Medical whooshed open. A moment later, three angry jet'formers stormed in, all of them talking at once. With a sinking feeling, First Aid noticed cuts from Blades's, well, blades on all of them.

"-who the hell does he think he is? The second coming of Starscream?"

"-can you believe the nerve of that little whirlybird?"

"-all I did was ask about his mask, he didn't have to yell at me!"

/Aerialbots,/ Ratchet said, switching from spoken speech to a private comm-band. /The red and white jet is Fireflight, the black and white is Air Raid, and the white one is Slingshot. They're the ones you'll run into the most trouble with - Fireflight from carelessness, the other two from fights./

First Aid nodded. /Right. Can I handle their injuries?/

Ratchet grinned at him. /I don't know. Can you?/

"Hello, Earth to Ratchet!" the white jet - Slingshot snapped. "What, is Medical self-service today?"

"What would you do if I said yes?" Ratchet asked, folding his arms.

"Bug Perceptor!" Air Raid said, grinning flippantly. "Fireflight's puppy-eyes always get him."

"I don't mean to," Fireflight protested, then his optics alighted on First Aid. "Oh, hello. I didn't notice you."

That was the story of his life, he'd found. Mechs noticed his teammates first, and after meeting the Ark's engineering staff, he figured familiarity, habit, and their distinctive personalities would lead to the same thing. First Aid liked being overlooked, though, because it meant there was less hassle from officers about his pacifism.

"I'm First Aid," he said, stepping forward to take the nearest Aerialbot by the arm. It happened to be Slingshot, and-

-quite suddenly he found himself on his back on the floor, optics resetting, while Ratchet yelled bloody murder.

"I thought you kids got into a fight, not had the Constructicons replace your processors with molten slag!" Ratchet had Slingshot by the shoulder, the Aerialbot snarling up at him. It was strange, First Aid thought, what a difference in perspective showed. He hadn't realize how short the Aerialbot actually was; Slingshot didn't come across as a small mech.

He climbed to his feet carefully. "It's all right, Ratchet. I've had worse."

"You shouldn't have to," Ratchet snapped, "and you're not going to again! You," he added, shifting attention to Slingshot, "are spending the night in the brig."

"It's all right," First Aid said more firmly, reaching out to push at Ratchet's hand. "Would you take care of Fireflight and Air Raid? I can handle this."

"Wanna bet?" Slingshot growled, jerking away from him- More him than Ratchet, First Aid was sure of it.

Ratchet glanced at him then stepped back. "As long as you know what you're doing, First Aid..."

First Aid nodded, then touched his fingers very gently to Slingshot's wrist to get his attention. "I'm going to get the armor-fill, all right?"

The Aerialbot scowled at him. "I'm not sitting down just because you're a pushover."

"I didn't ask you to sit down."

Slingshot's optic-band flashed, and First Aid walked past him to get the metal-and-nanite solution used to speed repairs on this kind of superficial cut. And, despite appearances, they were superficial. Blades hadn't cut through Slingshot's armor except in one place - the arm First Aid had taken hold of, on the inside of the elbow joint.