“You're cleared to leave- and you're to report directly to the brig now that I've cleared you.” Ratchet folded his arms and looked down at Slingshot who stood, stretching his arms to settle the freshly welded parts along either side of his torso. “Do I need to call someone to escort you down, or can you find your own way?”
Slingshot scowled, but you didn't mouth off to Ratchet, who not only wouldn't put up with it, but hadn't had any part in this decision anyway- and Slingshot believed in laying blame squarely where it was due. “I know where it is.” He looked over at the berth where Air Raid was still out.
“Don't worry about him, he'll be reporting soon enough.” Ratchet groused, turning away from Slingshot to begin powering down the monitoring equipment on the berth he had been occupying. Slingshot frowned, and headed for the door to the medbay.
The brig was on the lowest level of the ship, between two cargo bays- the Ark's original brig had been a tiny two-cell unit located in the security center and meant more for separating the occasional crew brawl than housing Decepticon prisoners, and no one wanted prisoners that close to the command center. Slingshot made his way downward, which involved changing elevators once and a quick detour to avoid the Dinobots' preferred hang out in one of the port-side cargo bays. The door opened automatically when he approached- there were no Decepticon prisoners, so the lockdown was minimal. Ironhide was on duty, sitting behind the console and frowning at something on the monitor.
“Good to see you're out of medbay.” Ironhide said. “You're down here for a shift. Think Bolt's tryin' to make a point to your brother. He's down here for another two days.”
“Raid's still in the medbay.” Slingshot replied automatically. He couldn't even think of the last time Skydive or Fireflight had ended up in the brig.
“I know.” Ironhide said. “Fireflight's in three. You're in two.” Slingshot made a face. He turned to go into the corridor where the cells opened, Ironhide opened the cell door from the console behind him.
Cells two and three were across from each other, and there was nothing Slingshot found more irritating than having a chatty neighbor to add insult to injury when he was feeling agrieved and persecuted (rightly or otherwise). Uncharacterstically, though, Fireflight didn't greet him when he stepped into cell three and the forcefield snapped down behind him. The red and white jet was flopped morosely, chest down, chin resting on crossed arms on the bench in the cell, wings drooping. Slingshot sat down himself and leaned – carefully- against the wall, crossing his arms over his chest and staring at his gestalt mate.
It was almost a breem before Slingshot gave up and couldn't stand it any longer. “What's the matter with you?”
Fireflight rolled over and sat up, wings still drooping. “I got everybody hurt, and Bolt's really, really mad at me. I'm sorry, Slings. I'm glad you're okay, I didn't mean to!”
“Yeah, well. Maybe if you used your processor as something other than deadweight once in a while, it wouldn't have happened.” Slingshot rolled his optics and scowled at Fireflight through the forcefields. Fireflight cringed, and Slingshot looked away. “Why'd you jump him, anyway?” He asked idly. Fireflight usually patrolled with Skydive or Air Raid, and while everyone knew he couldn't navigate his way out of a paper bag with a map, it wasn't like him to start a fight without permission.
Fireflight leaned forward and shrugged. “I don't know.”
“You're a dumbaft, you know that right?” Slingshot huffed. “I'm gonna be grounded for another week because of you don't know? I thought he at least insulted you or something!”
“Like you don't go around starting fights for no reason!” Fireflight retorted, a hint of irritable breaking through. “You cause Bolt more headaches than the rest of us put together!”
“That's because Bolt's a slagger who takes everything way too seriously. And you're a suckup.”
“Better a suckup than all the trouble you start! I don't know why I bothered!” Turning away, Fireflight flopped back down on the berth.
“Slagger.” Slingshot replied, although it was without much heat. He leaned back, trying to get more comfortable on the hard, narrow berth and stared at the ceiling tiles.
Ironhide came in twice per hour to check on them, as was apparently routine for brig duty. (Slingshot had never stood it, only mechs in the security division ever die, but he'd spent enough time in the brig to know the routine.) Fireflight stirred a few times, changing position or staring at Slingshot, but he didn't try to start another conversation, either. Slingshot offlined his optics after a while and powered down to recharge through the rest of the shift.
The next thing he knew, Hound was calling his name. The forcefield was already down, and the chime for shift change had already sounded. When he glanced over at the other cell, Fireflight was still sulking- or recharging-, on his side with his back to the outside of the cell. Slingshot shook his head and nodded at Hound before marching himself back up to the living levels of the Ark and out to where he could see the sky and just breathe again. He climbed up the steep hillside a few hundred yards to a ledge just the right size and shape to sit on while looking out over the view below.
The sun was glowing blood orange, painting the rocks outside the Ark's entrance the same color as the walls inside. The Dinobots were milling around a bit further down the hillside, and the sound of an argument carried up to Slingshot on the evening air, along with the distant sounds of the highway far down the slope of Mount St. Hillary.
He didn't notice when Silverbolt joined him, only gradually becoming aware of his brother's silent presence, sitting on the ledge next to him. Slingshot glanced over, but Silverbolt was staring down at the Dinobots below, looking up himself only when Slingshot sent him a quiet inquiring ping.
“What do you want?” Slingshot asked.
Silverbolt shook his head. “I just wanted to get out for a while.” Down below, Sludge roared and Slag turned to stomp away from the rest of the group. “It's quiet out here.”
Slingshot nodded. “Good enough reason, I guess.”