The Diego Diaries: Game Changer 10 (dd3 1)

=0=On the street

Barricade and Stiletto walked through the crowds which unconsciously parted to let the malevolent duo pass by. They were heading for Club Cybertron, their usual hangout.

The rescue was winding down, the few real reminders remaining including the mass of ships being hauled or rolled away to be junked, recycled or refitted for reuse. The atmosphere of the city was bright and electric as newbies hurried about the business of going to new work, looking around or recovering. Some of them were just reunited with long lost friends and families.

Barricade paused to watch a moment, a silent Stiletto beside him. He watched the happiness, relief, surprise and excitement with a critical optic. He saw it, felt it to some small degree but he didn't join it. He couldn't. The 'idea' of all of it was clear. The feeling though was beyond his ability to capture for himself. Turning at last, he walked into the club and headed for the bar, Stiletto following.

-0-In a Dojo at the Cultural Center

The corner where they had placed a seating area was filled with mechs taking their ease between katas and routine workouts. Some of them were younglings who had grown up in the Circle of Light movement and were either immersed in the philosophy and mores of the lifestyle or wanted to be. Lon who was a high caste mech who had asked to be a Watch officer following the fiasco with Prowl sat beside his hero, Drift. That worthy was explaining tactics of their martial art. "You give against attack and use their energy against them. Deflect, give, work for the moment when you can use their strength against them," he said, "making it their greatest weakness."

Lon nodded taking every syllable to spark. The mechs who sat here included Springer, Kup and Fury, a Circle of Light mech who had known Drift at the colony where he had reformed himself. They were filled with stories and wisdom and shared it. It was so utterly fulfilling that he had broken from the others and joined without a backward glance. His genitors and brother, all of them working in an engineering firm that designed and detailed the schematics of the housing towers were at first surprised. He was high caste albeit kindly raised in his attitudes. The Watch job took a bit of getting used to but now they were proud of him. They pointed out to others his Day/Night Watch and Autobot tattoos as well as his newest one depicting his acceptance into the Circle of Light. Sitting with these mechs listening to them as he learned what they had a lifetime of experience to tell him, he felt more needed and peaceful than at any other time in his life.

-0-Sparkling School

She sat on the floor propped up with pillows. Her affect was exhausted and weak, her aura sickly light. She had come in on an earlier wave but was still struggling to recover. She had been too close to a blast from an attack and even though her ada tried to shelter her from the concussion she had been grievously wounded. An arm and leg were lost, both on the same side. She had been in a delirium of pain and fading energy for three orns before their group merging with another stream of fleeing refugees brought some medical attention. Once here, they had watched as Ratchet stabilized her, attached joints for replacement limbs and worked out her recovery and surgical schedule.

She had been in Infant ICU for orns and orns before it was decided to reattach limbs. Her hip accepted her leg. That had been the easier of the two. The protoform at that attachment was greater and clear of infections or defects. Her arm wasn't so lucky. They had two surgeries to attach it and there was rejection both times. It would take a longer period of rest and treatment before a perfect storm of protoform and healthy exostructure would accommodate her replacement limb.

She sat on the floor propped up with pillows watching as Laret held a ball for her to see. She looked at it and smiled, looking from Laret to the ball. She reached out with the one arm she still had and patted it. Dropping her arm exhaustedly, she looked at Laret. She smiled again and tweeted softly. Laret smiled, then leaned in kissing her tiny helm. "My little darling El. You are so very beautiful. Did you know that? Did you know how much you are loved?"

The baby listened to her, her little optics bright with life and joy rather than pain and the ghost of death. She was smaller than she was going to become, weaker than any small new creature should ever be allowed to be and gentle in her manner and outlook. She was a very sweet little bot.
Laret put the ball down and gently lifted her into her arms. Cuddling her in the soft blanket she had been sitting on, Laret rose up and walked toward the pool. She would sit in it and hold El in her servos. The tiny botlet would be encouraged to move her limbs and exercise. When that was finished, she would have physical therapy with Mr. Roto as well as a specialized meal of infant energon with supplements designed to spur her protoform regeneration.

Laret would attend to her, caring for her carefully. When all of that was accomplished, she would sit in a rocker holding El as she hummed and sang softly lullabies from Cybertron that her own ada once sang. She would sit and rock the infant for a long time before finally tucking her into her little crib in the infant nursery nearby.

-0- Also nearby

Sunstreaker walked from the studio with a small image that had been commissioned by a mech who wanted to give a personalized gift to his bond. He had asked for a picture of his bond painted with the images of Central City in the background. The big buildings of that town, landmarks to the locals were detailed behind him with the usual precision and flare that had made Sunstreaker one of the most sought after painters on Mars.

He walked to the City Hall and entered taking an elevator to the fifth floor. A short walk to the planning department and the painting was delivered to an ecstatic mech who had a dinner date at The Bistro, a restaurant just opened in the Autobot City Business Plaza nearby. Sauntering out, Sunstreaker walked to the Medical Tower and went up 49 floors. Stepping off, he walked to Ratchet's office. Pausing at the door he grinned. "Hey."

Ratchet looking up from a flickering monitor, a pile of datapads before him grinned at his biggest oldest son. "Hey, Sunshine. Pull up a chair."

He did and put his peds on the coffee table before him. Ratchet sat back and grinned at him. "You look contented."

"I delivered a commission."

"That's awesome. I imagine the image is flawless."

Sunstreaker smirked. "Can it be other?"

"Ah, the artistic temperament," Ratchet said with a grin. "What's on your agenda?"

"I thought I would bother you a while, then Atar. How's it going with Flint?" Sunstreaker asked.

"Good," Ratchet said. "It was always a sore spot for your atar that his uncle was a traitor. We should have known better. Alor and his family were the best bots you could ever meet. By the way, have you met him?"

"No," Sunstreaker replied. "I don't know if Sideswipe has. Bluestreak mentioned him."

"We can eat lunch then and I'll introduce you. He looks so much like Alor that it must make Ironhide's optics twirl."

Sunstreaker nodded. "I can imagine."

"I want you to know that I put in for a code reader and analyst to the Employment Office. I am seeing interesting things in your CNA and Hound's. I need more experienced optics. I saw on the list a couple of bots with that skill."

"That's good. You might be able to isolate this problem?" Sunstreaker asked.

"That's the plan," Ratchet said. A beep sounded and he turned punching a button on his console. "Ratchet here."

"Ratchet, this is Blondi. I have a couple of mechs who can do analysis on the data that you specified. One of them is already attached to the energon committee and the other one you might not want."

"Who is it and why, Blondi?" Ratchet asked curiously. He glanced at Sunstreaker a moment. Sunny looked at him equally curiously.

"The analyst is a high caste named Turquoise."

Ratchet thought a moment. "I don't know him."

"The Wreckers do. He's the bond of a troublemaker on a ship in the migration and his son, Burnoff was the youngling that started the fight with you and Prowl over the insult to our little Kaon."

Sunstreaker stiffened. Ratchet glanced at him, then looked at the monitor. "Have they applied or did you take this from intake information, Blondi?"

"Intake information," she said with a smirk. "He's a nervous little mech from what I see here and rather nice. But Copperton is overbearing and you might not want that problem."

"I need a code reader. Can we switch with the energon committee?" Ratchet asked.

"I asked them and they said nope. They like their new worker and he likes them. Sorry, Ratchet. What do you want to do?" Blondi asked with a smirk.

Ratchet vented a sigh. "Send him in, Blondi. We'll see how it goes."

Blondi smirked. "Want me to send some Wreckers too?"

"I might," Ratchet said with a smirk of his own. The line cut and Ratchet sat back. "Well, we get to see what a slagger's genitor looks like."

Sunstreaker grinned a humorless grin. "We will."

"You're going to see what your atar is up to. I want you to go and tell him we are meeting up for lunch. Get that brother and bond of yours too. Round up my genitors and we can meet everyone at once."

"Where do you want to eat?" Sunstreaker said rising.

"How about Club Cybertron?" Ratchet asked.

"Sounds good."

"I'll make the reservations. You go spend time with your Uncle Flint," Ratchet said with a grin. "Nothing like family, Sunstreaker."

"If you say so, Ada," Sunstreaker said with a grin. He turned and ambled out heading for the elevator and depot station in the sub floor where he could catch a train car and ride to the armory in the Fortress nearby.

-0-In a tower

Turquoise shut off the monitor and turned to Copperton. Burnoff sitting nearby watched his ada with concern. "What do I do, Copperton? It seems I am employed."

"I don't like this, Turquoise. You need to rest and get on your peds again before we even discuss whether or not you will pursue a career again," Copperton said worriedly. "I don't ever want you to feel you have to work again. I will take care of you. I will take care of all of us."

"Perhaps I should talk to Ratchet. I might be able to work from home. Would you be amenable to that option, Copperton? I would like to be helpful if I can be. Perhaps this is about an important project," Turquoise asked his expression anxious.

"I will go with you. I want to meet this Ratchet and find out what is going on here," Copperton said flusteredly. He looked at Burnoff. "Do you know this mech?"

"After a fashion," Burnoff said. "Don't tell him about me."

"Why not, son?" Turquoise asked, his frown deepening. "You are our son. We're proud of you. It pleases me to tell others about you."

"Ratchet and I don't get along. He has a short temper and doesn't tolerate mistakes in others," Burnoff said.

"Well then, that solves that issue. I won't be having you work around such a bot, Turquoise."

Turquoise looked up at Copperton. "I think I should at least talk to him, Copperton. What if this is important?"

Copperton looked at his bond, the smaller mech the absolute center of his well being and happiness. He wavered, then nodded. "We shall both go," he said holding out his servo. Turquoise gripped it and stood up wearily. They turned and looked at their son. "What will you do, son, while we're away?" Turquoise asked anxiously.

"I have errands, ada," he said rising himself. "I want to go and take care of them. Then I'll meet you here for dinner."

They both nodded walking out together heading for an elevator. When they parted, two went east walking to the Medical Tower while one went west heading for Quarry 5 and a meet up with the foreman that would run his sentencing for the next decaorn. All the time he took to reach the quarry was put to good use. Burnoff settled two things in his processor. The first was a plan to prevent his genitors from finding out about his escapades so far in the colony and the other was deciding what spectacular thing he would do to prove his quality to Barricade. By the time he reached the road that led to the foreman's shack in the quarry he had his optics on the thing he needed to make his splash loud, large and colorful.

-0-Leaving an elevator on the 49th floor

They stepped out and walked to the door of a large brilliantly sunlit office that proclaimed 'Ratchet, Chief of Medical Services, Autobot and Civilian, Autobot City, Mars' on the window beside the glass door. The bot inside looked up from a pile of work nodding. "Hi."

A big bronze bot stepped inside followed by a bot with another exquisite paint scheme. They paused in front of the desk. "I am Copperton. This is my bond, Turquoise."

Ratchet nodded, then remembered the conversation. "Ah, Turquoise." He looked at the quiet bot standing beside the big obviously high caste mech who was defensive from the moment he entered. "I am told that you are a very gifted analyst. I have a code problem and need an analyst who can read as well as organize information to find a problem hidden in the data."

Turquoise nodded, then Copperton cut him off. "What exactly do you want my bond for? I don't approve of Turquoise working at the moment. He's had a very difficult time and needs to rest."

Ratchet leaned back in his chair and scanned the little mech. Considering the data, he looked up at Copperton. "I don't read anything out of sorts in your bond. Fatigue perhaps but good health, no protoform wasting. Nothing too worrisome."

"I don't approve." Copperton felt a servo on his arm. He looked at Turquoise who was looking up at him.

"Copperton, we should find out what the need is. Perhaps it is important to the colony and if I can help I should." He looked at Ratchet. "What kind of code?"

"We have a medical problem. It would appear that some of our soldiers who are carriers have a glitch in their programming that is heightening their emotional states and causing difficulty. We need to find the exact spot where this is occurring so we can find a fix for it."

Turquoise nodded. "Then we would be reading CNA."

Ratchet nodded. "That would be correct."

Turquoise looked at Copperton. "I can do this."

"You need to be home resting. We haven't had a stable place to live in eons. I want you to be stronger, Turquoise."

"Then perhaps I can do this work at home?" Turquoise asked looking at Ratchet.

"I don't see a problem. We can link your terminal into the data file or send it to you over the IntraComm wireless network," Ratchet said.

"That would be nice. I can work at my own pace and rest when I feel tired." Turquoise looked at Copperton who looked uncertain. Then he relented and nodded. "Alright." He turned and looked at Ratchet. "I want you to understand that Turquoise is still struggling to recover and if it looks like an imposition I will ask him to stop."

"You would have no opposition from me. I am not a slave driver," Ratchet said.

"Perhaps," Copperton said coldly. "But I do hear that you are violent and I don't want that for my bond."

=0=TBC 2012 (9) edited 8-19-14