"No." Ironhide crossed his massive arms over his chest and glared down at the humans in front of him.
At the doorway, Epps shouldered his commander and inclined his chin toward one of the two men standing at Ironhide's feet.
"Fifty bucks says the kid wets himself," he whispered.
Lennox looked at the young man in question. He couldn't help but feel sorry for the kid; he looked barely twenty, a civilian tech sent in by the Pentagon to test computer security. He looked like the type who was far more comfortable in front of a computer screen taking on monsters in an MMORPG than out in the real world. Wild, barely cared for hair, dressed in frayed jeans and a t-shirt with a logo for a cartoon that went off the air well before he was born, he clutched his messenger-laptop bag against his chest like a shield. The kid did indeed, look about to piss himself in fright.
"This isn't up for debate, sir. It's policy."
Will's gaze turned away from the tech and to the bureaucrat who accompanied him. The man was dressed in an obvious Armani suit, his hair and clothes perfectly manicured, and yet he looked even less at ease out here in the desert than the kid did. But unlike the tech, the suit didn't seem to have the good sense to be scared of the massive and very irritated alien in front of him.
"The kid'll be fine," Will predicted. "Jamieson's the one who'll lose it the second Hide pulls his guns."
"So that a bet?" Epps asked.
Lennox offered his hand surreptitiously and leaned back against the door to watch the scene.
Ironhide growled at the bureaucrat. "I don't care what your policy is; I'm not letting you poke around in my systems."
The bureaucrat flicked a piece of invisible dust off his sleeve.
"It's very simple," he said in a tone reserved for children and the slow. "If you want to be granted NATO level clearance you'll need to have to have your security protocols assessed. We have very strict regulations regarding computer security, and as you are a computer of sorts, you fall under those regulations."
"Uhm, sir?" the tech said softly, inching away from Ironhide as the big mech rumbled again. "We really don't need to do this. I mean, I'm pretty sure that I can't even begin to test their systems anyways." His tone was wistful and judging by the way he was looking at Ironhide, the tech wished he could gain access to his systems and see how they worked. "And besides, I'm pretty sure the policy is only supposed to apply to PCs an' stuff, not these guys.
"I don't need your opinion, Cameron," Jamieson replied sharply before turning back to Ironhide. "If you refuse to allow us to inspect your protocols, you and your kind will not be allowed continued access to this base or the personnel and information therein."
A sneer pulled at Ironhide's face as he uncrossed his arms and took a small step backwards.
"Is that a fact," he rumbled as he glared at the bureaucrat.
Cameron heard the rumble and stepped away from his superior, obviously execting that Ironhide was about to step on them both. Jamieson, however, seemed completely oblivious to the danger he was in. Like a Chihuahua taking on a Pit Bull, he interpreted Ironhide's response as weakness and went in for the kill.
"Yes, that is a fact. We have rules in this country and you people need to remember that you are guests of the United States Government and will do as you are told."
"You want to see my protocols? Fine." A feral grin seemed to pull at his mouth and it was the only warning the bureaucrat had before the big mech pulled out all his guns and aimed them a bare foot away from Jamieson's face.
"These are my security protocols," Ironhide growled. "Do they make the grade?"
"Hunh," Epps murmured as he watched the bureaucrat tremble as he tried to stand his ground.
"Can I touch them?" Cameron asked in an awed whisper.
"No you may not," Ironhide grumbled as he holstered his guns and turned away from the humans.
"Told you so," Lennox replied with a chuckle, opening his hand for the fifty as Ironhide stalked out of the hangar.