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A Second Opinion

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A Second Opinion

Who: Fulcrum and Fusillade
IC Year: 2026
Location: Trypticon Repair Bay, Neocron
TP: Neocron

None


Summary: (April 2026) Fulcrum reexamines Fusillade upon hearing that Jetfire oversaw extensive repairs to her frame, and expresses his distress at her oversight.

Surface

The majority of the planet consists of thick, dark gray steel plating, interrupted by the occasional empty basin, basin-cum-ocean, and the massive cliffs in the distant north and south polar regions. Bisecting this area is the golden central trench. Though comparatively plain, there's no doubt that this is the exterior of a complex mechanism; plates of metal the size of Earth's tectonic plates fit together as smoothly as the armor of the Transformer it is.


The whoosh of a large craft piercing through the sky on a return flight is old hat to anyone who's been stationed long on Neocron. Transforming back to robot mode, Fusillade alights atop one of Trypticon's ramparts, bearing considerably less damage than usual for her grueling missions. "Ow, I look good! I... FEEL good!" And so, it's with a pleased half-somersault back to the loading bays that she struts, ready to deliver another load of explosive enlightenment to the Sharkticons still slinking about the cityformers' perimeters.


Meanwhile, down on a lower external walkway, not soaring through the air and not feeling particularly good - but certainly less damaged - is Fulcrum, pounding on a large sheet of armor, obviously a patch for some damage caused by a Sharkticon lucky enough to get this far before being disintegrated. Hearing what sounds like singing, Fulcrum raises his hammer to shield his optics, peering upwards at the dim silhouette that is Fusillade.


Midway through her jaybird strut to Trypticon's hallway, Fusillade frowns a bit to herself at some thought, and swings her gaze over towards Metroplex's ramparts, which affords her a view of the cleared land between the two -- and one Fulcrum at work. Certainly a diversion was in order, after such a successful run! She steps off the ledge, and with a flare of wingblades, drops most of the way before activating anti-gravs and landing with a squirrelly flip by the weaponsmith. Oh Primus, she's full of it today. "Hi there. Want some help?"


Fulcrum can't quite see who or what that shape is. For all he knows it could be Sharkticons II: Flying Killers. So he's already in a defensive stance, one foot back, hammer half-raised as Fusillade lands. "It's just menial work, Commander" he replies, relaxing. "I'm sure you have more important things to concern yourself with."


"I don't the anti-aircraft batteries' feelings are going to be too terribly hurt if I'm not there to play catch with their harpoons," Fusillade says smoothly as she circles the olive and steel Seeker. "We must look after ourselves too, as well," she says dryly to him over one shoulder. "I was rather sternly reminded of that last cycle. At least the Autobots were the ones using THEIR supplies for the repairs. My attempt to escape the scrutiny of our newly returned High Command by getting killed on the battlefield has been thwarted by one white and red Guardian. Perhaps you can take a moment to double check that it's just the airframe cracking he tended to, and that there aren't any extra... unwanted, undocumented... modifications. I've got a small, but available, cube of white high grade to help make it your while."


Fulcrum raises his optic ridge, lowering his hammer. "You allowed an Autobot to repair you?" he asks, surprise evident in his expression. "Did this particular engagement with the Sharkticons take the form of a contest to see who could hold the most energon without terminal systems burnout?" He shakes his head, returning to his usual dour facade. "Yes, you will need to be examined." He waves his hand at the mention of payment.


A faint rumble escapes Fusillade as she ducks head and leans in a bit closer to explain as she wraps hands around the grip of the hammer. Clearly agitated about the situation herself, she replies, "Yeah, well, he was practically WAITING on me when I came back in two sorties ago. He would have just SHOT me anyway and did what he was gonna do if I had tried to run, arrogant little cuss. It's even worse when they can BACK IT up, though! The entire thing was done out here, if anyone had been paying attention and CARED, it would have gotten broken up. He did provide information about the changes on a data padd, I can provide to you as well." Her expression goes a bit distant as she says, "Although about that whole overenergizing thing, I have this WICKED idea about loading up in my alt mode first, and THEN transforming back to my smaller robot mode. COULD you imagine?!" And then a glance askance is sent his way for him to ignore that jest, and to focus on the matter at hand.


Fulcrum does entertain that notion, at least for a moment. In fact, he's about to start on what the possible effects would be... until he catches the look. Ah, right. A joke. "He was /waiting/ for a chance to repair you?" he asks, glancing down as she grasps his hammer. "That.. hrm. DCI will need to know. And I will need to see that pad. But first, we should both be in medbay."


Fulcrum passes through the gates to enter Trypticon.


Trypticon Medical Bay

Several operating tables are set in a row here, and long benches line the walls. On these benches are assorted tools and equipment used in repairing damaged Decepticons. The benches near the door are for patients waiting their turn for treatment. Scattered throughout the room are various repair droids, awaiting the arrival of more wounded to repair. The room gives you the perception of being immaculately clean, with not a single tool out of place. Your olfactory sensors pick up the faint odor of the cleansing solutions used to keep the room clean and sanitary.


Fulcrum gestures to an empty table as he trudges in, immediately making a beeline to a terminal, the monitor springing to life as he taps at the keypad.


Trailing in after Fulcrum, Fusillade says, "Well it's not like the entire thing wasn't done in the open!" And then, she mutters. "Yeah. He said something crazy about my systems being off and neglect, yadda yadda before I went on the bombing run. I don't think he appreciated the concept of 'suicide by cop." She pulls out the pad, and hands it to Fulcrum. "He cited the necessity for heavy bombardment units as rationale for the repairs and airframe overhaul." She averts gaze, knowing full well she's in the doghouse with this one.


Fulcrum still doesn't quite understand. "Neglect? Have you been missing your scheduled maintenance appointments, Fusillade?" he asks, also bringing up that information as the scanner above the bed springs into life, the bomber femme suddenly illuminated by a network of moving green lines. "...And what...what's this about suicide?"


Fulcrum pulls out a medical scanner and runs a check on Fusillade.


The data prior to the Autobot intervention is going to show that there was a stem to stern reforming of metal by Jetfire and indeed an entire team of four other medics going down the airframe. The struts from where the engine nacelles are slung, the bomb bay frames, and other infrastructures show fretting and metal stress. The worst the trusses that support the craft's weight on takeoff and landing, with snaking cracks the width of Terran fingers involved. "Maybe," she responds to the pointed question about maintenance. "But not really. We've been running hot non-stop since we've gotten here Fulcrum. EVERYONE in the Empire is a warrior, and there are just some things that even regular maintenance schedules couldn't keep up. Nevermind that the rotation is even... less frequent now. I should have said something sooner, yes." Fingertalons tick restlessly on the table, and she says a bit more softly, "My interim as a useful commander is coming to a close very soon, Fulcrum. Cyclonus and Shockwave will return to the helm of Military Operations, leaving very little room for others. Combine the fact that they have... some vested interests and power plays involved with yours truly, and... you're going to understand why battlefield accidents may seem a bit more tenable." The hard glint in her optics passes, and she lamely attempts, "Besides, gotta keep that revolving door going, you know?"


Additional information will show the corrections to the airframe infrastructure. Could it be that Fusillade's put on a bit more weight? Indeed, there is additional buttressing installed unobtrusively in the areas that see the most abuse from her rampant leaps into the air, and dives through canyons, and maneuvering in ways that she had no business maneuvering. Shunts for redundant energon feeds to several important systems appear to have been installed as well, and a shimmer of scanner light suggests that there have been tweaks to the diagnostics reporting systems. All of the work is impeccable, top-notch.


Fulcrum gives her a long look. "Given a strict interpretation of the rules, failure to keep to your maintenance schedule is a treasonous activity. Your negilence could have robbed the empire of one of its finest bombing specialists, never mind your rank. Especially at this stage, the Empire could ill afford that loss." He holds the gaze for a moment, then looks away suddenly, down at the scrolling data-readouts. "This is no minor overhaul" he says, frown carving a deep furrow in his faceplate. "This is.. comprehensive."


Was he... pissed at her? Fusillade doesn't have long to dwell upon what portion of Fulcrum's response was duty-bound and what wasn't, as she snaps back with her own fire, "Yeah, well go ahead and report it, I'm sure that they'll be able to make plenty of fine obedient multi-role fighters out of my carcass after they're done with the execution! I'm /sure/ they'll be more efficient at the task anyway!" Slapping down the flat of one wingblade on the table as she dismounts, her seething tirade continues, "THAT is what matters most to the bean-counters!" A subdued, "Yeah, it is a lot of work," escapes her as she takes a few tentative paces away, cutting the exam short without permission.


Fulcrum's optics flash white for a moment before returning to their usual furnace yellow. "Have you not been LISTENING?" he grinds, moving over to place his hands on the now-vacant table, leaning forward into the moving green lines. "We can't AFFORD to lose you, Fusillade! Should you fall in combat, you will not easily be replaced - even with 10 more Seekers. Who would clear away the masses of Sharkticons with enough efficiency for ground troops to launch strikes? Who would surgically pinpoint enemy installations without damaging our comrades? Who would..." he trails off, straightening up and shrugging with noticeable irritation, as if he doesn�t' know what to say. "I should report this. It will not end in your termination, but it may well end in punishment. Give me a reason why I should not."


Therein lies the power of a name. As Fulcrum drops any titles, and also puts together more sentences in one sitting than she has ever heard from him, Fusillade snaps her feet to a halt. "We all do what we must, Fulcrum," she says, back still turned to him as one hand reaches out to rest on another table as she finally begins to accept the enormity of what she has allowed. Another draught of air over vents, and she chokes out, ducking her head, "It's just more proof of my inadequacies for this position. An entire division? It just... shouldn't be."


"Quit then" Fulcrum replies bluntly, cutting to the heart of the matter. "If you do not think you are qualified for the job, once more request that Lord Galvatron replace you. But I would suggest doing /after/ the current crisis." His manor softens somewhat as it's clear Fusillade is upset by the whole situation. Emotional response isn't his specialty, so he casts about for something reassuring to say as he moves from behind the barrier, approaching the femme. "You've lead many successful missions, and you are able to command loyalty and respect from your troops. What more must a leader do? What more do you think you should do?"


A faint snort escapes Fusillade as her irrepressibly perverse demeanor returns. Irrepressible, remember? "I could try, and get promoted again for my troubles," she says with a brief, lop-sided smile as she references the last blowup revolving around Octane. Gaze still wary as he draws close, conflict taut over her form as she wars between storming out, and seeking further assurance as she mulls over his question. "Those are beginnings," she concedes, but there is something greater burning within those saffron optics that she finally deigns to raise to meet his gaze. "But that is not where it will end. Beyond that, Fulcrum, to where many of our hopes -- yes hopes -- have long not trod."


Fulcrum shrugs. "Hope ends in the assumption that we might just make it through another revolution of this planet. Anything else is an added bonus... Commander." He gives her a steady look. "I will make the report, but minimalize any mention of missed maintenance. However, from now on, you are to stick to the schedule unless interrupted by a sudden case of deactivation. If an appointment is not kept, I will come looking for you."


"Might need to set that bar a little bit higher, Elite," Fusillade purses lips slightly as she rocks on her heels, sassing Fulcrum lightly. "I'll behave though, yes, and... apologies for any interruptions to the scans," she shifts her gaze back to the table, before gathering herself. "I'll make my best effort, although you may need to think up some other threat than your presence to enforce the scheduling." A thin smile, laden with silent gratitude, is sent Fulcrum's way before she sidles for the door.


=========================== Decepticon ==========================

Message: 2/27 Posted Author Autobot perdifery Mon Feb 20 Fulcrum


Fulcrum appears on screen, transmitting from Trypticon's medbay.


"Earlier today I was informed by Colonel Fusillade that she was subjected to unwanted repair and modification work by the Autobot Jetfire and unknown assistants. Apparently the Autobot justified the intrusion by making some comments about regular maintenance or similar, highly dubious statements coming from an Autobot. In addition, Fusillade believes that the Air Guardian had been waiting for a chance to catch her alone to perform the operation, in effect stalking her. A simple scan revealed no tracking devices or electronic surveillance equipment, thus suggesting that it was a fact finding mission designed to obtain information about our forces. It's possible that Jetfire might attempt the same procedure on other Decepticons, so I would advise caution when on joint missions that include him in the roster.


Fulcrum out."

=================================================================

--End--

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