Clamp the line, weld the mesh.
Clamp the line, weld the mesh.
Clamp the line, weld the mesh.
Clamp the line, weld the mesh.
A large hand landed on First Aid's shoulder, snapping his awareness up and outwards, and his world broadened, unfocused from the thin world of casualt- of patients still in front of him; up to the concerned expression on the face of one battle-battered Ultra Magnus.
He took a moment, no more than a split second really, to shake off his shook and stand at attention.
"Ultra Magnus, Sir! What can I help you with?" A little tremor was still there, visible just so in his arm as he saluted. He hoped Ultra Magnus wouldn't notice it, just as he hoped the mental fatigue wouldn't catch up to him with his momentary stopping. There was just so much left to do!
"At ease, soldier." Ultra Magnus withdrew his hand and took a step back; out of personal space, back to military bearing. Aid held strong, waiting as patiently as he could muster under the commander's sharp optic.
"When's the end of your shift?" First Aid knew that voice, it was the same that preceeded orders or a mission briefing Ultra Magnus would offer. As the commander wasn't one for frivolities, one would be hard-pressed to deny him, save for in the case of the bot in question being too injured to do it - if just for the principles of the matter.
Being relied upon by Magnus was an honor, or was meant to be one, for as few he did.
First Aid checked the rotation and expertly stifled a wince upon seeing he had gone over his last shift and all the way through his off duty hours and into his next in his hyper focus.
"Not for several hours, sir."
Something like contemplation crossed across Magnus' optics and he rubbed his chin in his reflection, smearing some grime from their recent battle on his usually pristine white facial plating. First Aid held his position to the micrometer.
He may have been on his internal comms as well, First Aid didn't know.
"Can you spare a little time to look after a concern with Metroplex?"
Aid did his best not to look dismayed. Familiar that he was with the mech that made up Autobot city, he thought he could trust him to contact him directly if something was amiss. This wasn't too unusual, however, with Ultra Magnus being Metroplex's official liaison and governor, several communiques went through him.
He ran a flash assessment of his patient care list and... again, he was taken aback.
Had he really lost himself so much? Everyone injured was accounted for and stable, somehow he had gotten down to minutiae when Magnus had come in- tending to things that would be better suited- and better able to naturally recover if left to self-repair systems.
Embarrassment stole through him, but he stifled it in favor of grabbing the nearest tool set. "What sector does he need me in?"
Unofficial repair order information delivered, First Aid was off like a shot with a hastily assembled tool kit in hand.
Ultra Magnus watched him go, and allowed the tension to flow out from his great shoulders as the protectobot left the medbay and was soon out of sight. While he wasn't usually one to partake in a... ruse, like this one, but the assessments didn't lie, and it was his job as First Aid's commander and his concern as a friend that encouraged his participation... this time .
He hoped it would be enough and went on his way with a slow determination, withdrawing a datapad from his subspace to alter the medical rosters as he went.
Outside of the antiseptic atmosphere of the medbay, his medbay as the CMO - a heaviness fell over First Aid's spark. He couldn't help the nettling feeling that his late mentor would be be disappointed in him with his behavior of late. He knew he should be taking his time, being more attentive to his own upkeep- full medics were a starting to seem a dying breed - but Aid had underestimated the trials of his promotion... if it could even be called that.
Not to mention the battlefield... First Aid suppressed a shiver at the thought. He had no idea how Ratchet could have gone out there so many times, bring himself to fight and work with mortars dropping around him and those who had become family getting hurt.
Aid had reservations about taking to the fight as a component of Defensor, let alone as just himself.
He'd see casualties either way, but kept behind like he was now, at least he could get a head start on putting people back together before the battling stopped - like this last time.
That - and he was safe.
Guilt lapped over him; as if carried with an immense tide for the fear of his own wellbeing tied in with his staunch resolution not to harm if he could help it.
So closely entwined in those thoughts, First Aid didn't notice the access door to his destination sector lock tight behind him with a soft -click- as he made his way in.
Since first hearing it, Metroplex was a keen believer of the phrase "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." It was a pleasing concept for logic's sake, but also in a more literal sense - he was one and those like him were so few, they had been even at the start of this most current war, but were fewer now.
He had a function that would never be not needed - a home would never not be needed... and one day, when his great spark finally gave out, his body would serve the many still, immobile- rooted hopefully to Cybertron - to fall and be built over and forgotten.
And that was okay, for this was his function and his duty - if only he could do it better. He was very lucky that his autonomous components felt the same that he did - that they could help him now.
For as much as he liked the idea of his greater good (and for as much as he wished he could provide the utmost care and best living experience to each and all of his citizens), there certainly was something to be said about the other side of that phrase - That sometimes "the needs of the one outweigh the needs of many".
...Especially when that one - one of those few of those many was in such distress.
First Aid was officially the new Chief Medical Officer, with all the burden and import that role brought with it.
Of many of the Autobots stationed within his walls, First Aid was one whom the Autobots could not afford to let self-destruct - and thus, one Metroplex couldn't allow to self-destruct.
His loyal watch over those he harbored was his best kept open secret; it meant he didn't mind so much when they forgot he was... well, a he and not an it.
Metroplex monitored all within him, but those most important to keeping the gears oiled he kept on a more... conscious level of his processings; the last battle his Autobots had sustained had put his green CMO in a nasty state and he had been worried from the moment First Aid last stepped back inside.
A review of Aid's recent activities and interactions told him exactly what he needed to know, and sent a nostalgic throb through his great spark at the memory of Ratchet... and a less affectionate nostalgic tick followed directly after, as he remembered the mech's unsavory habits and coping mechanisms to deal with himself when he got... that way.
And so, his decision was made for him.
At present, he remained passive until First Aid's entire countenance stiffened while looking at the long, smooth cut in the wall.
"Metroplex." First Aid stood up straight as he spoke, gaze still locked in front of him. "What is this?"
Metroplex took the private comm route to relay the information. A cut, approximately 3 meters in length, made with a plas-
"No." Aid interrupted, frustration rising. "This is a self-inflicted wound. Why did you do this?? Why am I here when I could be-"
"Killing yourself slowly over other asinine repair jobs in the medbay?" If Metroplex was a regular-sized mech, he may have cringed at the comment, but there would be no earthquakes at Autobot city today.
Well, Autonomy gives all it implies.
He sunk a little more awareness into his component and allowed the rest of himself to sink into passivity, watching from two angles as First Aid startled and whirled to stare at Scamper, who stood nearby with his arms crossed over the sizable Autobrand on his chest plating.
"Mind fixing that up? Its not exactly the most painless thing, you know, a plasma cut. Fix it up and you'll get your explanation. Promise on our spark."
First Aid frowned hard, if not at the comment then the condition imposed with it, but turned and withdrew a welder to carefully rejoin the two sides. There was no damage to the workings underneath so the job was an easy, nearly mindless one.
By the time he had finished closing it back up, there was no additional piece to the puzzle he had managed to slot into place, and Scamper was uncharacteristically mum on the topic still too, though he had come closer to watch the process (this was something both Six-Gun and Slammer did too when it called for it, he suspected it was some half-morbid fascination with seeing oneself be worked on, in some abstract regard). He set his welder back into his toolkit and set the whole thing aside, ready for his explanation.
Scamper inclined his helm, an odd gleam to to his visor. "The big guy feels like you've been working too hard, Aid."
That was rich and First Aid immediately took on a defensive posture. "And so he gave me more of it to deal with? Went to Ultra fraggin' Magnus to get a fix up from the CMO, when Hoist or even the likes of Perceptor would have been more than enough for a job like this when I've got real work to do? Do I need to call psych in on this?" He spoke out of anger, and while he may regret it later, at the moment he felt he was due the frustration.
Infuriatingly, Scamper didn't rise to his bait. Instead, he just shook his head and sounded piteous. "That wasn't his... our intention." and in a flash, he crouched down and stood back up again with Aid's toolkit in hand and took a huge step back, vocalizer running again before he could really react. "And honesty, I didn't think we'd ever have to do this again, but Ratchet's not even been gone a vorn and here are."
The growing blaze of anger evaporated instantly, though indignation and disbelief remained. "You've done this to Ratchet?"
Scamper's countenance shifted into a grin, softened at the edges with recollection. "More times than Earth years you've been lived so far. The cut trick stopped working after the first few times, and the last few times he got as bad as you are right now, he was escorted here by guard."
Scamper quieted as Aid hung his helm. "So I take it there's an element of rank involved in all of this?" This was punctuated with a wave of his hand towards the open area, which, with a jerk of his frame and brightening of his visor, he seemed to finally realize was shifting.
"We find it's good form to get the current governor to sign off on exigent vacation time for the command staff who reside on base, when the need is there."
The fight poured out of First Aid as if he was a vessel to hold it tipped on it's end, he made his way to the plush berthing that had transformed itself quietly into the room and sat down with a plonk.
He sat in silence a few minutes before letting out a wheezy vent, held back since Scamper picked up his toolkit. "...Magnus changed my place on the roster for the next two weeks."
Scamper, and so Metroplex - checked into the crew roster and were doubly pleased to find the speed with which it had been changed. It would ease Aid's acceptance of this whole thing along.
"Okay!" Scamper chirped happily and First Aid jerked, quickly looking his way with surprise at his change in tone. "SO, here's how this works. For the next few days, you get to stay here and hang out, it's a mini-vacation! Though you don't have to remain here the entire time, this first few days is just to break you of the duty compulsion. There's no war or patients or paperwork outside of this room and the big guy will see to your every need! Here, let me show you this little menu he made up, he's really proud of it, you know..."
Ultra Magnus made it a point to stop into the medbay on that Monday that marked the end of First Aid's compulsory vacation.
Even his first glance at the young medic as he approached sang of a good prognosis, though the flash of Aid's visor at seeing him waiting at one of his stations made him juuuust that littlest bit of uneasy. Still, he offered a small smile on approach.
"Morning, sir! In for your maintenance right on time, I see!" First Aid's tone was bright and cheery, his entire demeanor was far improved from the jittery shell-shock from before.
Metroplex's movie nights and oil-bath massages had seemed to do him wonders. Though he trusted the simple, pared down report from Metroplex that he had come out of his recharge to, there was something to be said about seeing with his own optics...
...Wait a moment, what?
His mind caught up through the conversation, and Ultra Magnus pinged for a schedule check, something he never usually had to do for how he liked to keep his matters memorized... and there it was, a full maintenance order, scheduled with an override from the CMO himself.
The mech in question looked downright impish as he set out his tools and primed his scanners at the nearest mediberth. "Not so nice to be on the receiving end, hm?"
Magnus let out a great exvent, and brought himself over to sit. "Your point is clear, First Aid. Crystal clear. I will make it a point from here on to alert you when you get too... wound up. No more goose chases, wild or otherr wise."
First Aid's whole demeanor softened into a momentary bright gratitude and he stopped to lay his hand on Magnus' forearm. "And I appreciate that, sir. Communication is the oil of an efficient working relationship, after all." Magnus allowed another smile... that soon faded when First Aid turned away and then back to him with tools in hand, quick as a whip. "Now, Metroplex tells me sometimes he's observed you limping a short while from a locky joint right out of recharge?"