Iacon Medical Center <IMC> - Iacon
The Iacon Medical Center isn't as new and flashy as the medical wing of Autobot City, but it serves its purpose. Spare parts and supplies are limited, however, so Iacon doctors and medics have to make do with what they have. Med tables are set up around the room, as well as some ancient-looking scanners. Some of the tools look like they were new when Alpha Trion was young, but they still work, so waste not, want not.
Autobot Medic <Fixit>
Arcee enters the repair bay to get a few minor injuries patched up. She knows she'll need to wait for a while before she's seen, so she looks around for a place to wait where she isn't going to be in the way.
Punch is looking over a datapad, belonging to a patient who, lets face it, isn't him. Amazing how people forget you're there if you hang around and do what needs doing for long enough. He places it on the holder for a frozen patient and starts towards the door for a self appointed cig break. Stopping short he spots Arcee and changes course. "Hi there. I assume this isn't a social call?" Punch says nodding to the semi-busy surroundings.
"Oh, hello Punch!" Arcee says brightly. "Well, I was still a little bit injured from the Seaconsz attack, nothing major but it still needs to be fixed. Are you feeling better? You don't look as...woozy, as you did before."
"Nothing too serious I hope?" Punch says, "I was a little disorientated. I'm a picture of health." He smiles warmly, "I just got caught up lending a hand around here then, well, something came up I needed to look into further." Punch looks over to the desk where the rosters are kept, then where the door where the sweet release of a smoke break resides then back to Arcee. He makes the call. "Need some company while you wait?" Punch asks.
Arcee returns the smile. "Well, actually, I'm only a little bit dented and chipped. And I'm at the bottom of the list. So they would probably be okay with me returning later on, if you wanted to get out of here for a little while." She looks over toward Fixit and his assistants. "Can I just return in a little while?" she asks.
"Sure, Arcee, no problem. I'll give you a call, or...otherwise, just come back in about a breem," Fixit says.
"Okay, got it." Arcee looks to Punch. "I'm guessing that one of your planned excursions is a smoke break. They seem kind of mandatory in your line of work."
Wow. Just read like a book. Punch smiles a little bit brighter at the great read on him. He's impressed. No other way to put it. Getting the door Punch says, "Please. After you." Once outside he reaches into his arm compartment and fishes inside for a deck of cigs. He offers to the pack to Arcee before puffing his own into life. He vents out a little yet distinct question mark made of smoke. "So, to what do I owe the pleasure of your company?" Punch asks happily.
"Hmm, thank you," Arcee says, accepting ane of the enercigs graciously but seeming more puzzled at it than anything else. She watches Punch smoke for a moment, then tries it herself, with varying degrees of success. "I'm coming with you because it's more interesting than sitting in the repair bay," she admits, hoping it doesn't come across the wrong way. "You're interesting, and the repair bay is not."
Punch chuckles, "More interesting than a repair bay. It's a better review than those I've had before." Punch takes another draw from his cig then says, more seriously, "I am sorry I locked out of assisting during that attack by the seacons."
He shakes his head, "There few things about that could be described as admirable. Many more so that are forgettable at best. Some... are... harder to admit to. Much less live with. That event was one of them."
Another plume of smoke dismisses the shape hanging in the air then he adds, much more cheerily, "However, hardly the topic for polite conversation. So, instead, if my being interesting keeps your company... please. Ask away. What would you like to know." Sometimes a question tells more about those asking it and, in this case, Punch's curiosity is piqued.
"Are you going to be here for a while, or are you headed to Autobot City?" Arcee asks, still fiddling about like a total amateur with the enercig. "Because we may be in dire straits here, but Autobot City...well, right now, it's crowded with humans. There's an entire army of human soldiers there. It's crazy."
Punch says, "Arcee, if you hold the cig by the filter, between your index and forefingers, like a playing card or throwing star, then you'll have control over it." Punch turns his hand over and over, slowly twiddling the cig as he does so. the ribbon of twisting smoke surrounds his hand, tying it in a little smoky knot for a moment.
He then moves hand towards his face and says, "You use your lips to make a seal around the cig and take a vent in. As you would to aspirate your systems." Punch draws slowly and deeply to demonstrate the process. After venting out slowly to let the smoke twist and curl freely he says, "Et voila! Smoking. A perfect example of a perfect pleasure."
"To answer your question... I don't know. I go largely where I can be most useful and I've a lot of... discretion, I suppose, besides. So I tend to put it that I'm usually nearby. Real nearby."
"Oh! Okay...like /this/, then..." Arcee demonstrates a better grip on the enercig and vents a small vapor-cloud. "Got it! Yeah, it is kind of fun." She thinks for a moment, then adds, "Unless Optimus has other plans for you, we could definitely use you around here. Have you heard anything about the business with the underground cult in Helex??"
"I'm sure I can make myself available." Punch states simply and happily. He thinks for a moment, drawing deeply again upon his cig, then he admits, "I got caught up with that Two business. Underground cult? What's this?" Another draw and, on the outward vent, he vents out a series of geometric shapes. "Nice vent by the way." Punch adds smiling brightly.
"...Two business? Oh! Sweep Two, you mean? Did you actually talk to him?" Arcee looks very surprise. "Uhm...I'm still not sure what I'm doing with this enercig, but I need a little practice." She practices another vent, silently wondering to herself how Punch manages to make those shapes. Then, she adds, "Okay, this will probably sound like the craziest thing you've heard in a while, but there's a metrotitan trapped under the ground in the Helex area. The ruling Triumvirate have allowed us access to the area, I think because they want to get their hands on that metrotitan. The reason we've been unable to free it is because...number one, it's injured or incapacitated in some way, and number two, there is a cult that's taken up residence within the metrotitan."
Taking a deep vent of air Punch dismisses some of the shapes vith blasts of air. He then adds a few more the sit next to and start to meld with the other original shapes. Nothing too distinct yet but Punch is making some greater smoky sculpture now as he goes.
"Oh, Two, yes. We talked a little. Usually party lines, unusual willingness to accepts events as they are as opposed to how he's told they are. It's that configuration though. The Sweeps are a big enough problem as it is. I'd rather they didn't start coming out in different styles every season."
Punch shrugs, "I'd hate to become a fashion victim as a result is all." More smoke, more detail to the sculpture, "So, has anyone spoke to the residing group? As it'd be a good start. Also a good diversion to get the appropriate medical attention in place." Punch finishes his rendition of a smoke-metrotitan before continuing, "The head and the core are usually worst culprits for disabling injury. If I were sending a team in to help... that's where I'd tell them to start."
"I really believe that the Sweeps know more about this cult than they're letting on," Arcee says, frowning pensively. "The last couple of times we've gone in were bad...really bad. The cult attacked us and we barely got out alive. They were like mindless zombies, just...attacking as the leader would direct them to, in waves. I don't even think any of them were able to think on their own accord. The leader is pretty dangerous. What's more...other things are happening down there that look pretty bad."
Punch's smile cuts out. He almost freezes entirely for a moment. Then, renewed in motion and voice, he says, "Okay. Be it Sweeps and the torture program installed by Unicron to other forms of mind control on my databases there's usually a major carrier wave going on, not to mention an even bigger power source required. Could explain things. The titan's the source and the leader's sending the signal is my best guess just now."
"You'd need a knowledge of the airwaves like Blaster to lock on to it and block it for best effect. A few people ready to hold a line until someone could get to and take the leader down." Punch pauses and adds, slightly embarrassed, "I mean. Maybe. If I were running that op." Whoops. So much for sounding like a desk jockey.
"Major carrier wave?" Arcee looks a little bit lost. Her main job is to run in and kick bad guys in the aftplate. She doesn't put much thought into mind control, covert ops, and the like. "What do you think's going on down there? Are you saying this cult leader might be able to be...blocked via signal waves, somehow?"
Punch looks around for a good example. He fails. So he makes one. Quickly drawing from his cig and waving the smokeytitan away from his hand he, very carefully vents a textbook smoke example of a sinusoidal wave. He then creates another wave beside it. He then nods to Arcee and says quietly, "This is a picture of what a wave would like if you could see one." Punch says pointing to the first smoky picture
"This is a wave that could be changed in places..." Punch says pointing to the more wobbly or spiky bits on the second wave "... to send information. Like the words you say and here on radio. Or controlling other people or things remotely."
He waves his hand through both smoky pictures. "Using a bit of math and by generating your own wave you can cancel it out. Like making the radio stop working or all the zombies dropping to the floor unconscious." Punch looks around again, "So, like you say, The leader could be stopped long enough to be given a kicking and get things under control."
Punch rubs the back of his neck and says, "Arcee. If anyone asks... you came up with that idea on your own. If someone heard I was talking like the field agent I am when I'm ''supposed'' to be a desk jockey... I might get into trouble." i.e. He'll have to do paperwork. He does that a lot. Punch doesn't always take his Autobot cover too seriously.
Arcee watches the smoke-doodles that illustrate Punch's points, and she stares at them in fascination as they disappear into formless vapor. "Wow. That's something I never even considered. We had no /time/ to scan for signals. It seemed pretty much like 'magic' to us -- wave after wave of zombie cultists, crashing into us until we were forced to retreat." She stares directly at Punch. "I can't take credit for your idea," she protests.
"If I get caught outing myself as a spy they make me fill out forms. I'm supposed to be a data gremlin. Or, at least, to look like one most of the time." Punch returns Arcee's stare by looking straight back at her. Smiling warmly. "If I go through official channels it'll take me forever and I'll have to fill out paperwork." Punch hunkers down a little to make himself smaller, still looking at Arcee, still smiling and he says, "I really don't want to do paperwork. Please? What'd it take to persuade you? C'mon."
For a moment, Arcee just looks kind of blank. Then, she slowly grins, and begins chuckling. "Oh, alright then, I'll do the paperwork! But I'm not going to take credit for all of your bright ideas. I really think you're onto something. The /next/ time we head in to Helex, Blaster's going to need to be with us." She takes a drag off of her enercig, venting out shapelessly. "Sometimes the Sweeps watch over that area, too. I think the cultists would probably allow them free access into that area, being worshipers of Unicron as they are...did you know there's one Sweep who won't attack me, under most circumstances? It's true."
Punch brightens and returns to his normal standing height as Arcee chuckles. He then listens carefully as she speaks then says, "It wouldn't hurt. If there's room on this little help the metrotitan party I'd like to help out." Punch draws and vents from his cig and then nods, "It makes sense, there is a doctrine to Unicronian life that has cultish characteristics. So the Sweeps'd get a pass that way." Another draw and another vent, "There is? Who is that?"
"Absolutely, as crazy as it gets each time we head into Silent Grill, we'll need anyone and everyone who can help out," Arcee exclaims. "Well, as for the Sweep, his name is Sunder. And he did almost kill me one time a while back, but I think it was because Scourge ordered him to do it. Ever since then, he's had several opportunities to fight me, and he never has. If I didn't know any better, I'd say he...likes me, or something. But that's impossible for a Sweep, they have no free will, right?" She shrugs. "I don't know what his deal is, but the last time I was able to put a hurt on him, he just ran away screaming 'Why? Why??' ...I thought the answer was pretty clear, he was in a place he wasn't supposed to be, so I shot him."
"Under the many heavens and upon the many worlds... there are darker things than most may dream of." Punch sighs, "Most Sweeps were made into the monstrous forms the currently occupy from people." Punch draws from the cig slowly before continuing, "When you are forced against you will to become such a monster it's instinct to resist. Rarely... there's enough of that which you once were to avoid changing completely." Punch looks to the ground, "Doesn't just apply to Sweeps. I should know..." Punch tails off into silence.
Arcee tilts her head as she senses Punch heading off emotionally into a place he doesn't want to be. "Punch? Are you okay talking about this?" she asks worriedly.
"As much as I can be." Punch says mustering as much reassurance as his tone allows. "There's good reason for my being in intelligence. The same reason I can talk, perhaps intimate, towards those aspects of who I am which I am least proud of. The same reason prevents me from being too clear, here and now, to demonstrate or explicitly say the form and function of that which both makes and breaks me." carefully and with a practiced set of draws and vents Punch creates a smoky model of a cracked mirror. Punch attempts to brighten, "Hardly interesting conversation. I apologise." There are times Punch forgets. Time he thinks maybe he's just enough. Then he remembers why he's allowed to be a spy.
"Well, I mean...it /is/ interesting, but...just like Jazz or Mirage have interesting lives and I'd love to hear their stories, I think...probably their stories aren't any of my business, especially if they're in Intel. Not that I would tell anyone, but you know the old adage, once you tell someone a secret, then it's no longer a secret," Arcee points out. "If it would make you feel better to talk about those things, however, I'll definitely listen, and...if I have advice I can give you that's constructive, I'll certainly tell you."
"It's difficult to explain..." In the middle of Iacon with all the cameras and people about, "... but I'll try." Punch looks carefully around. The camera angles are pretty tight so modelling something that distinct in smoke is out. However the busy nature of medical shouldn't pick up audio... if he's quiet enough. "A story." Punch says, barely above a murmur. "There are different types of spies. Intel, Counter-intel, Saboteurs, Field Agents, Special Operations... but it is Deep Cover that this story speaks of."
"An operative working deep cover literally has to live another life. Be another person. This has many advantages. The operative can have a work and social life as his cover, reducing suspicion about their activities, and learn more than any form of intelligence gathering. There are stresses too."
"End of story." Punch says and takes another series of draws and vents to further mask what he's saying from prying audio and optic. So Arcee's the only one to hear the questions when he asks, "If you were to venture a guess what kind of work would you guess I do? If I said I possessed a unique ability to do that job... what would you guess it would be?"
Arcee furrows her brow, listening to Punch very intently. "Hm. Well...I suppose you need to become someone else in order to glean intel, but since that's ridiculously dangerous, my best guess is you would have to be a complete master of holographic capabilities, maybe on the level of someone like Mirage. But even holograms have their limitations. If someone were to scan the field while Mirage masqueraded as a Decepticon, his cover, however convincing, would be blown instantly."
"True. A hologram also wouldn't be able to replicate the directives encoded by Vector Sigma, the root mode flight of a Decepticon, and many other things besides. To follow your line of thinking." Punch says, calmy yet still quietly. "So, somehow, it would have to be an additional physical form, perfect in every detail compared to its peers. No one's deliberately perfected such a process... but that wouldn't prevent it happening by accident." He takes a draw of his cig and, as he vents out, his hand heavily clunks against his chestplate.
"So...that's what /you/ do," Arcee concludes, looking stunned. "Now wait, though. How can something like that happen on accident?"
"I don't even know." Punch says, more normally. "As soon as whatever happened did happen there was some industrial memory erasure handed out. Most I've been able to put together after the fact is that there was an accident. That and... every time. I try to change. It... it's just wrong. I don't know how else to put it."
Punch waves vaguely in the direction of the alley Arcee found him in, "I had to park and stay hidden. I got a warning that, if I transformed back from vehicular mode... it might not be the correct transformation I selected." Punch sags, the thoughts of it weighing him down, "So. There you have it. It's the reason why most of my life is a lie. Why most of my character is far from laudable. As far as impressions go... I suppose I could have made a better one here." Punch concedes with a chuckle.
"Well, I completely understand now why you were disoriented now...and here I was thinking that maybe you were caught in the Seacons attack," Arcee realizes. "I can't fix your processor or the problems you're having, Punch, but...for what it's worth, I'll be your friend and I'll help you out. That's a big burden for any one mech to be carrying alone. Does Prime understand what transforming to the alter-ego does to you? The effect that it has??"
Punch stands a little more normally, "It is a bit... difficult talking about that to Prime. For two main reasons. I'm not the only one who has a burden to shoulder and, well, going through a reformat? At least I can get back. No matter the difficulty." Punch doesn't elaborate.
He does take another draw from his cig and then pauses. His gaze moves to different corners of his vision like he's forgot the code to get through a security door but it'll come back to him in a second. "Umm... I..."
Punch looks a lot happier bust confused with it. "Strictly speaking... there's nothing stopping me talking about all that. Thing is though... for the sake of that secret identity, as it were, anyone asks... I am just Punch. Just a Data Collator."
"Also, quick thing. I'm not sure why I talked about that so easily. I'm also not sure why it doesn't have you... well... a bit freaked. It freaked me when I found out and, kinda assumed, if anyone ever did... they'd be the same." Not really a question. Punch is still curious though.
"It's one of the more unique abilities I've ever heard about," Arcee admits. "It might just be the single-most unique one, in fact. Guess I just don't freak out easily. I...sort of can't, I fight creeps for a living." She smiles warmly. "And if anyone asks, you're just the guy who collates data, far as I know. And you're alright in my book. Unique to say the very least."