Architect of Fear

Who: Grapple, Nightbeat, Hot Spot, Red Alert, Firestar, Inferno
IC Year: 2029
Location: Autobot City
TP: The Resurrection Gambit

Why is Grapple acting all shifty upon his return from Junk? And is Inferno really dead?

Security Room

This room is dominated by the west wall which consists of a multitude of security monitors, viewing each and every room within Autobot City. A desk in the middle of the room is bare, except for the terminal standard for every office here. A forcefield to the east makes sure that those in the Brig stay there. A window on the northern wall gives a good view of the forest beyond.

Leaning against Red Alert's desk (probably while Red Alert is trying to do real work) is Nightbeat. He's not seated in his own cubicle, hunched over a screen, like he is at any other given time. No, he's leaning, watching the door. His left hand is closed tightly around something, and when he shakes it (which he is doing), it makes a rattling noise.

The door to the security room, now with 'DETECTIVE OFFICE' taped over it creaks open, and Grapple slowly walks in. It is almost like seeing a ghost, Inferno, but with no ladder, and the purest orange. In his right hand, he holds a case that is bulging with notes and blueprints, and he smiles at Nightbeat as he saunters up to him. "You wanted to see me?"

And then... suddenly as he says that he makes a SUDDEN dive for the window, one hand covering his head, the other one suddenly clutching a gun as he shoots at Nightbeat, crashing through the glass. "YOU'LL NEVER TAKE ME ALIVE LAWMAN!" he screams. Unfortunately since Metroplex is in space, rather than sweet sweet freedom, he ends up with a forcefield in the face, and crashes back to the floor

You strike Nightbeat with disruptor.

Hot Spot has recently been locked out of his own quarters—actually, to cover up the fact that Nightbeat destroyed them while searching for evidence that he had somehow killed Inferno out of fire-engine-envy. Of course, Hot Spot doesn't know this, and really, no one wants him to know. Still, the mystery has vexed him to the point that he arrives at the Security Office, ready to demand some answers—when Grapple shoots Nightbeat. "Holy hexidecimals!" Hot Spot yells, running over to Nightbeat as the forcefield takes care of Grapple's face. "Are you okay, Nightbeat?! Can you hear me?!"

<Sensor #6> Inferno arrives at the Entrance to Autobot City

Shot in the side by a construction laser, Nightbeat growls and clutches the wound with his right hand. Smoke drifts between his fingers, up to the ceiling where it's sure to agitate one of Red Alert's 800 smoke detectors. "Yeah... Hot Spot, I'm great," he grunts, removing his hand to flash Hot Spot the smoldering wound in his side. As Grapple lies down on the floor from his forcefield makeout session, Nightbeat bends down, steps on Grapple's trigger-finger, and says "Listen carefully, Grapple. Turn around, and put out your hand... palm up."

"Red, who was that on the proximity sensor?" Nightbeat asks in a less gruff voice, back toward Red Alert.

Red Alert leaps to his feet. "Grapple...?" He seems momentarily confused, before whipping out his blaster. "I knew it! I never trusted you! -Never-!! You've been influenced by the Decepticons, haven't you??" Once he gets going, he says his lines with a strange ease and confidence, almost as if he's been practicing. "Ever since the incident with the Dinobots...and Mirage...and Gears...I've just been waiting for them to try again!" He stops and looks at Nightbeat. "On the sensor? Why, that was Inferno." He jabs his blaster towards Grapple again. "Or an incredibly detailed facsimile..."

Grapple lies on the floor, one hand clutching at his head as the forcefield wraps around it, choking and spasming. Beaten, dejected, he slowly does as Nightbeat orders, trembling. "How... how did you know?" he gasps, still winded from the knockdown, and giving an evil glare towards Red Alert. Is he as defeated as he looks though? And what is the architect's secret. And why... does he have flecks of red paint over him?

Hot Spot is a good guy. He's not really too suspicious of much—which makes him out of his element here. "What in the name of Optimus Prime is going on around here?!" he demands to know, his laser drawn even though he doesn't know if he's ready to shoot it at a comrade. "You're all acting crazy!"

Perhaps in a gay way, Nightbeat presses his palm to Grapple's. He withdraws his hand, in in Grapple's palm are 5 laser bullets. The kind that would fill Nightbeat's space revolver. "Hold onto those for me, would you?" A *beebooeeet* happens, and Nightbeat's shoulder holster springs open. He clutches his Revolver in his right hand, opens the chamber to show only one bullet loaded, spins it and closes it. He presses the gun to Grapple's head. "every time you give me an answer I don't like, I pull the trigger. And I only have to feel 1/6th as bad about it. Do we understand one another?"

He looks over his shoulder. "Red Alert. Look into that fake Inferno for me. Watch him. Hot Spot... you don't belong here. You're not... old enough," Nightbeat barks.

Grapple looks down at the bullets in his hand. "You... you wouldn't dare!" he yelps in shock, suddenly staring down the barrel of a gun. "I... no. No. YES YES I understand!" he suddenly shrieks, like a little quivering girl. A girl that looks like an orange Inferno who is also a gigantic robot. His other hand, his MISSILE hand, slowly moves up to his side, trying to do so without the detective noticing

Red Alert nods grimly. "Yes, of course Nightbeat." He marches off to go investigate the fake Inferno...on the way he stops, opens his desk and pulls out a few spare rockets, an extra power clip for his blaster, and some TF-sized claymore mines. "Good luck, Grapple." He says grudgingly, in kind of a 'nice knowing you' tone.

"Nightbeat, stand down!" Hot Spot yells, even though he's Ops, not Intelligence, and a Lieutenant or something, not an Officer. He barges over to try and shove the maverick Detective—the 'Living Lethal Weapon,' one might say—away from his prone Autobot comrade. "If Grapple is under some outside influence, this isn't the way to handle-- LOOK OUT!" He sees the missile hand coming up, and attempts to kick it away from anyone—better someone lose a cubicle than Nightbeat lose a limb!

Hot Spot strikes you with Kick for 9 points of damage.

If last week's removal of Nightbeat's arm is any indicator, he's good at staying his ground... he's pushed, and wavers, coming to an unglamorous landing on both knees instead of one, Hot Spot smudging his paint with rough, eager hands. "Hgn. You stand down, Hot Spot. I have questions for you next... and getting in my way isn't going to make me adopt nicer methods for you," he hisses.

Putting his face freakishly near to Grapple's, he whispers, "When did you last see Inferno, Grapple?" The revolver is certainly cocked. He doesn't bother to thank Hot Spot, because, well... fire truck.

BLAM! At Hot Spot's kick, Grapple's missile hand is knocked askew and blasts itself into the ceiling. He curses loudly, jerking down and clutching the end of his arm in pain as it goes off early. His face screws up as he glares into Nightbeat's optics. "I don't know." he hisses. "Who's Inferno?"

  • CLICK*

The space revolver's chamber turns. "Safe for this round, Grapple. Let's try again," says Nightbeat, cool and collected. "When did you last see Inferno? Since you didn't answer the last one, we'll make this two for one. When did you last see Inferno? What's all that red paint all over you?" His hand stays steady, barrel pointed right at Grapple's forehead.

Having averted an assassination, Hot Spot can only watch, his own gun at the ready. "This is insane," he mutters, and the subroutines in his body flare up to say 'YOU ARE NOT DOING ANYTHING YOU NEED TO BE DOING SOMETHING GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO.' "Nn," he mumbles, trying to resist the urge to break up the interrogation.

Grapple stares up at Nightbeat, robo-sweat encrusting his forehead. "I..." he stares down at the gun as if reconsidering. "I... I've not seen Inferno in a while, okay? Not for ages, and you know what, good riddance! There's plenty of people who can... take over from him..." He falls silent again

"That's enough," Hot Spot says, caving to his base need to be bossy and run around doing things. "That's enough for now. Nightbeat, calm down. Grapple, I have no idea what's gotten into you, but you're going to the brig. Nightbeat, you can question him there later." He reaches down to heft up the orange robot. "On your feet. Let's go."

Report: Grapple - Hot Spot

<Hot Spot appears on screen.>

"Hot Spot reporting in. I..."

<Something off-screen beeps at him.>

"Er, hold on a second."

<He turns and reads something. Stroking the chin of his faceplate contemplatively for a moment, he faces the screen again. If his face weren't mostly covered and also made of metal, he'd be blushing.>

"Sorry, /Operations Division Commander/ Hot Spot reporting. Today while trying to figure out why exactly I've been locked out of my own quarters, I came across Grapple attempting to assault Nightbeat -- possibly in connection to Nightbeat's ongoing investigation. Red Alert theorizes Decepticon influence, which may well be the case -- in any event, I have detained Grapple in the brig where he may be interrogated and examined at a later date. No matter what he says, don't let him out -- something's obviously very wrong here, and I won't have people letting their friendships get the better of them and get us all in trouble. Division Commander Hot Spot, out."

<Screen dark.>


"This isn't what we're supposed to use the jaws of life for," Firestar scowls as she sets down the pnuematic driven, bladed instrument on the floor.

Hot Spot, New Ops CO, is repairing Nightbeat's chest wound, using what appears to be robotic dentist tools. Maybe it's just that he got a bunch of equipment off First Aid that was meant for littler hands. "What's that?" he says, turning to look over. "Oh! Er, ah, hello, Firestar."

Looking annoyed, Nightbeat regards Hot Spot. "Listen, pal. Hot Spot. Protectobot Commander. "innocent blue fire truck." I hope you're not this easily distracted when I'm, YOUCH!" he yelps as Hot Spot puts fluoride into his wound, "...questioning you later."

"Holy hexidecimals!" Hot Spot says, realizing his error because he was, uh, staring just a little bit in another direction. "Sorry about that! Just, uh, don't put any energon in here for thirty minutes."

On the floor sits Grapple, handcuffed to a turbo-radiator with his one good hand and scowling up at the two mechs. He has a large wound on his head, and currently can see about 10 Nightbeats in the room

Nightbeat's wound is now sparkling white and could be used as part of a Crest commercial.

Firestar sways hips to shift weight, and whoas a bit. "You do repairs? Not that you're any good at it, but..." She sets down a toolbox on the cowling for the of the air pump for the jaws of life. "And why in here? It's not like we're under attack right now. Nightbeat, are you okay?"

"Just my luck," the detective grumbles, "Three out of four 'bots I want to question, all in the same room. One's a flake," Nightbeat nods to Hot Spot, "One's a psycho," he nods to Grapple, "And one's a dame." He looks at Firestar, squinting. "I think you fixed it as good as it's going to get, Hot Spot..." he says, standing up.

(His wound blinds Grapple by reflecting so much light because it's so sparkly clean)

He rips the huge water cooler on Red Alert's desk off of its base. "Let's try again, Grapple."

"Yeah," Hot Spot replies, making sure to hold his tools away from Nightbeat while he turns to look at Firestar again. "I do okay at it. I mean, obviously I'm not a Ratchet or a Wheeljack, but... who is, these days?" He turns back to Nightbeat just as Nightbeat gets up. "Uh, I didn't solder your armor back on," he points out, before sighing as Nightbeat grabs the water cooler.

Grapple glowers at Nightbeat, trying to stand up, but pinned by the handcuff. "You'll never get away with this Nightbeat. I have friends, powerful friends. You ever heard of /Tailgate/? He knows someone who knows someone who can kick your ass and get your badge taken away. You don't know WHAT you're dealing with. I'm an architect, I can PLAN!"

Firestar openly gapes at Grapple, his paintjob, and the means of his detainment. "Grapple? Is that you?" Once the shock wears off, she looks over at Nightbeat. "Yeah, really, you're questioning me? And I thought I'D at least get some answers about why you wanted me to bring down the jaws of life to security, and all..." She trails off, and snaps up one finger. "HEY! We are NOT going to use the rescue equipment to torture people! That's what baby blue over there is for."

Inferno has arrived.

"It isn't torture, you nutty broad, it's 'legally obtaining information,'" Nightbeat grumps, puncturing a hole in the water cooler with a wire-cutter that pops out of his wrist. "Now, Grapple. I know Tailgate, and I know he didn't kill Inferno... Tailgate's never even heard of The Juice. Don't you think I've already talked to him? If we're done playing stupid..." Nightbeat readies the water cooler, over Grapple's head.

Hot Spot is about to speak when Firestar gets in there first. Watching her as she talks, it's a half moment before he clears his robot throat (unnecessary) and nods in agreement. "Firestar's right," he notes. "If Red Alert knew you were doing this, he'd blow a fuse, Nightbeat, and /torturing/ people isn't exactly how the Autobots get information. Trust me, I've had this discussion with Blades /dozens/ of times. If you'll put the water cooler down, we can approach our FRIEND and get information out of him the /proper/ way."

Grapple stares upwards at the watercooler over his head. "You're /insane/ Nightbeat! You're mad, you can't do this to me!" He starts to wail, shaking. "You can't do this to me! I'll never squeal, I'm no grass! Listen to Hot Spot, listen to the blue guy! You can't use water for evil, it just isn't right!" he starts to strain against the radiator at this.

"You be quiet," Hot Spot notes at Grapple's agreement, pointing at him.

"Do you mean, perhaps, Hot Spot, our friend that /shot/ me as soon as he walked into my office?" Nightbeat asks calmly, aiming the hole he poked in the water cooler at Grapple's head and mouth. "A fire engine died in Oklahoma just a while ago, Hot Spot... I need to get to the bottom of this before I find a Streetwise and a Hoist belly up in a puddle of the Juice." He stares at Hot Spot. "What are you doing to solve the case, buddy? Pal? Are you trying to cover it up? Are you /protecting/ him?" His attention is turned to Hot Spot.

Firestar would laugh, if she weren't so aghast. "A WATER cooler? Nightbeat, stop! Look, you really should just let it go, okay?" Hardly convinced that he will, though, Firestar takes careful aim at the jug over his head. A gout of plasma escapes from nozzles in her palms, super-heating the liquid until it evaporates off into clouds of steam obscuring the security corridor. The gaze from Hot Spot catches the corner of her optic, before he is obscured by a billow of the steam.

"If you're so suspicious of everything, Nightbeat," Hot Spot says evenly, letting the accusations roll off of him like any leader of a combiner group has to do in order to survive, "then why aren't you asking yourself why it is that a city populated by robots who don't use water for anything but cooling and cleaning have a water cooler built to our scale designed so it can be /drank/?" He moves closer, but not too close, as Firestar fires.

Grapple starts to scream as his one good hand jerks up as scalding steam blasts around his face. "I'm SORRY!" he cries. "I'm SO SO SORRY! I never meant for it to get that far!" But then he clams up. "I didn't kill anyone, and I never had nothing to do with the Juice! I tried it once, I never inhaled!"

"Firestar, you're, uh, you're hottening, I mean, er," Hot Spot seems to lose his train of thought for a second. "You're scalding Grapple."

"I ask myself a lot of things, big guy," Nightbeat says, frowning as his water cooler melts, coating his hand in melty blue plastic. He wipes it on his leg. "Red Alert's with me on this one, and you're not... which leaves me strangely not suspicious about Red Alert and his water cooler, and strangely /quite/ suspicious of you." He stoops down to slap Grapple in the face. "Look, Hot Spot. Take him to the brig and meet me there at 20:00 tonight. We'll settle this then. And we can even do it your way..." he heads toward the door. "If all of you make it til then."

Nightbeat strikes you with slap for 7 points of damage.

"He's overreacting!" Firestar objects, "I gauged that it'd evaporate off. Nothing a good steamcleaning wouldn't do." However, as Nightbeat makes his proclamation, Firestar turns after him. "Oh come on, we'll be fine! I swear, we go in space for a little while, and everyone goes loopy." She shakes her head, but looks back over Grapple. Just in case.

Nightbeat's wound from Grapple's pistol winks at Firestar, like a TV dentist's teeth.

Grapple looks over at Firestar sadly, his face downturned. "I'm sorry" he mouths as he looks back to Nightbeat. "Look, I don't know what /you/ think I've done. I am many things. Thief, artist, commando, repairman, architect. But I am not a murderer, nor a supplier of Juice. You might want to look closer to home for that" he hisses. "Closer to... TECHNOHOME"

"Well, I guess 'loopy' is relative sometimes," Hot Spot says, rubbing the back of his metal neck as he watches Nightbeat leave. Turning his attention back to Grapple as well, he lifts the orange robot to his feet—un-handcuffing the radiator from the wall, but leaving Grapple handcuffed to the radiator. "I don't even know where we got a radiator," he says. "Maybe this is one of Whirligig's things, I don't know. Grapple, maybe you just want to keep quiet for a little bit, buddy," he notes at the architect's insinuation. "There'll be time for that later. So, uh, Firestar! While I have the chance, I was wondering if you'd like to go out on patrol later." Realizing what he just said, he adds, a bit dumbly, "Patrol... of... the city! Since... we're in space."

Space. The final frontier.

And the Autobot fire suppression juggernaut known as Inferno has had his taste of space, from the very bowels of Metroplex's deep, dark, cavernous access crawlspaces and repair conduits. Space? There's a definitive lack thereof where Inferno's been, and if not for the rumblings and thundering of space travel itself, this crimson titan of firefighting prowess would've never been the wiser. And it is as such, as the Big Red Machine enters the room coated in grease, grime, and lubricant, that through barely recognizable optics he peers up from a datapad, seeing the occupants of the room and dropping a cordial salutations.

"Uhhh... Howdy, fellas."

We won't mention the grease and dirt laden footsteps that follow him out into the hallway.

Firestar asks, "The city? Are you for real?" She waves her hand through the air to clear up some of the residual cloudiness from the steam, and steps closer—if nothing else, to make sure Grapple isn't abused anymore. "Did you really shoot another Autobot?" she asks point-blank of the architect. "And if I'm assigned a patrol, then I'm assigned one, Hot Spot. No telling what kinda creeps might try getting in. It's not just the Decepticons we have to worry about these days." She double-takes at Inferno's entrance. "Speaking of steamcleaning..."

Grapple shakes his head, staring into Firestar's optics sadly. "No! No I would never do that! I mean, my laser might have gone off accidently, but you saw how he was with me! I would never do anything to hurt you Firestar... to hurt /anyone/! I promise!" He turns as black Inferno enters the room. "Oh, hi Blackferno" he nods, the condemned man in chains

"Holy hexidecimals," Hot Spot says at Inferno's entrance. "Where have you been, Inferno? Do you have any idea what's been going on here -- we all thought you were /dead/!" He doesn't explain why he's holding Grapple, who is handcuffed to a radiator. "Not that I'm not relieved to see you, though," he says, thanking Primus that his optics are so featureless that a sidelong glance at Firestar cannot be detected.

"Do... whut?"

The look of surprise can even be seen through the layers of disgusting filth that cover the scarlet titan as he peers at each and everyone present. Scratching his head in an absentminded gesture of confusion, Inferno lands his gaze on Hot Spot, the fellow fire apparatus losing his combustion crushing brother with the first few words from his mouth. Whether or not it's stupidity or exhaustion that confounds him is anyone's guess, as the flicker in the crimson Autobot's optics is dull and simply worn out.

"Now how n' th' hell fires a' Charr am ah dead when ah've been buried in th' guts a' Metroplex workin' like a dog, huh? Have ah been missin' from the duty rosters that long, that folks 'er thinkin' I'm laid out awn a slab somewhere's, stiff as a hammer?

"Uh," Hot Spot says, to the question. "Well, yeah, looks like."

Firestar shuffles feet, and looks properly chastised. "The reports... the investigations..."

Grapple looks at Hot Spot in fear. "What's this guy? What's he saying? What DEVILRY is this? You can't break me!" the architect cries. "This is madness!"

"Sister, you done been roped inta this 'ere mess, too? Fer th' love a' Primus..."

Continuing to scratch his head as he makes a few last second entries into the datapad, Inferno looks to Grapple, letting his own warm smile open up. The architect may be a low budget knock off of the Big Red Machine, but he's still an Autobot brother.

"N all this talk... You ALL sound like ya done fell off th' tailboard, fellas. Is this what space does to a guy?"

Hot Spot gives Grapple a shake. "Knock it off," he says. "Nightbeat didn't mess with your brain /that/ hard." The shake actually seems to get a little more aggressive than one might really expect from Hot Spot. "You've missed out on a lot, Inferno," he notes. "Things aren't as simple now as they were in 1985."

It was enough that Inferno's presence had made fools of them all, but the rebuttal, gentle as it may have been for HIM, sets Firestar off. She's midway through picking up the jaws of life to reattach them back onto her running boards. "We depend on what we're told, when we're busy," she grumbles out. "What were you doing that was so important that you didn't return my four hundred fifty one comm messages, huh?!?" she glares in inferno's direction.

"NO!" Grapple cries, face a rictus of terror. "Don't talk to him, don't talk to him!" He breaks free of Hot Spot, and rushes between Firestar and Inferno, radiator still attached to his wrist. "She doesn't want anything to do with you, FAKE Inferno!" he yells, shaking slightly, waggling his free arm (now devoid of hand after the previous 'incident' at Inferno. "Arrest HIM, not me!"

Red Alert says, "Inferno, nobody is questioning where you've been all this time." Well actually, it sounds like a few people are, with Red Alert himself at the top of the list. "It's just that, there was no sign of you whatsoever. For -months-. Some reports even indicated that you'd been -murdered-. Now, I wasn't convinced myself (my own theory was that you were actually being held in a secret prison in Quintesson space but that's a story for another day) but there was still considerable -- " He cuts off as Grapple breaks free. "Look out, he's attempting to escape!!"

Inferno can't help but mutter a muffled growl at Hot Spot's quip, especially since Grapple seems to be the recipient of his powder blue brand of brotherly love. And while Hot Spot earns a muffled growl, Inferno apparently earns a full blown removal of the head as Firestar opens up both figurative barrels on the Big Red Machine. One step removed from hugs and kisses, the scarlet titan tucks away his datapad in a greasy, sludge covered crosslay compartment, rubs his chin for a moment with a patient glance, then narrows his optics on his sister of fire suppression, with both barrels of a good ol' fashioned family knock-down drag-out loaded and ready for bear.

"Wait jes' a Primus-damned minute. Hold th' <CENSORED> fire phone!"

Leveling a thick, scarred and powerful accusatory finger first at Hot Spot... "What th' hell you mean, 1985, junior?" Then Firestar... "Where've I BEEN!? Since when th' hell does gettin' off yer skidplates n' helpin' me wit' th' foam system in this dump ever become 'PRIORITY' fer ya, sis? Instead a' galavantin' aroun' wit' yer slick-legged, cross-eyed, hellraisin' bunch, doin' somethin' fer the cause fer a damn change, huh? Shoulderin' yer sidearm fer a <CENSORED> wrench fer once!?" And lastly, Grapple. The finger quickly becoming a fist that doubles threateningly at the crane-bot. "N' shut yer hole, Grapple. Ah ain't above puttin' a knot on yer head, so don't make me."


Hot Spot, in a rare moment of checking what he does or says before doing or saying it, bites back a 'When did everyone in this faction turn into a total spaz?' Instead, he moves to grab the radiator and pull Grapple back by it, using his freakish Protectobot strength to keep a tight grip. "I got him, Red Alert," he says, although he says this before he actually closes hands on the radiator. "Inferno, I meant what I said, and I mean this -- calm down, now. You got everyone up in arms trying to figure out where you'd disappeared to, so getting /mad/ that we showed /concern/ is just about the worst way to deal with the situation that I can imagine. Do you follow me?"

Firestar balls up a fist, and leans in, blow for blow. "/-FOAM-/?! Since when did you ever mention... wait. Oh. I thought you were coming ON to me! That stuff gets you drunk! I returned the call, don't you even start with me. And it'd do for us to pick up firearms more often, they're just about like Shockwave, can't shoot for &&%!@#!" As Hot Spot pipes up, she whirls back around, "You stay out of this!"

Hello, shocked look! I'm Inferno. Why'd you settle in so comfortably on my face?

The fact remains, the Autobot firefighter is at a loss over this entire scenario. What he thought was grinding it out for the cause, passing on glory and gunfire for the sake of life safety and the well-greased gears of the Autobot machine, apparently is the purest definition of abandonment of one's post. Off camera, he's been a good little worker bee. And it's apparently managed to get him killed in the process.

"Gettin' mad!? Because y'all showed 'CONCERN'!? By hogtyin' Grapple, runnin' th' hole in yer pretty blue face 'bout th' worst way a' dealin' wit' th' situation? Why, howdy, Pot! Ah'm kettle! N' ah done lost mah ever-lovin' mind."

Snapping his head to Firestar and adding yet another growl, Inferno levels that finger once again, this time in an upright gesture that simply says, 'Stop it. Now.' "Now's ain't th' time, sister..."

"And people say /I/ rush into situations without getting all the facts," Hot Spot grunts, leaving the topic at that as he shoots Firestar another glance and heads off with Grapple in tow.

Firestar's pose is a bizarre reflection of Inferno's, finger raised as well. However, each time that something new comes to mind, she pops open her mouth, closes it, glances at that finger, and starts over. The process repeats a few times, before she barks out a sullen, "Yeah, well it never is with you." She frowns as she looks around at the others clearing out, and with a final snap of latches closing, she hefts the bladed tool into a slung position over one shoulder. Great, last one standing. Nothing like undivided attention.

And undivided attention you shall get, Firestar, as Inferno's optics follow Hot Spot as he leaves with Grapple. The Autobot firefighter is at a complete loss as to what just happened, why it happened, and why the issue even came up in the first place. Dead? Murdered!? It borders on the ridiculous, and the fact that it even came up in the first place leaves the Big Red Machine ALMOST at a loss for words. But unfortunately for Firestar, there's at least a few drawled words the crotchety old firefighter can come up with.

"You're right. Primus bless ya, yer right. Now..."

The anger and confusion within his face melts away, leaving a calm, peaceful demeanor and an honest look of concern. Far be it for Inferno to not care about his fellow man, regardless of the gruff exterior and whipcrack temper. "About this 'ere folks thinkin' ah up n' died. Surely y'all ain't serious, are ya?"

Firestar still stews as she slumps over the sentry desk, resting weight on forearms and cocking one foot to rest. "Yes, everyone's been talking about it. And how hard would it have been, if anyone actually knew, for someone -- a squad leader, intel, SOMEONE -- to say 'there is no record of his demise'. The last time m you were seen was on Cybertron, Inferno. That's where I, that's where we, LOOKED. And looked we DID. All we could assume was that you were MIA, or dust in the wind over Koriolis Desert." She shakes her head. "Who knows? Maybe it was intentional misinformation from the Decepticons. Either way, medical will want to check you out. Nightbeat's been trying so hard to get justice on your behalf. That should say something." With a final heft to redistribute weight, she begins to clomp to the door. "I need to get this back to the garages."

Inferno nods, heartened by the efforts of the many from his misspoken demise. Letting Firestar to her business, the Autobot firefighter simply nods, finds a chair to accomodate his massive, grease-ridden frame, and takes a seat, once again scratching his head in steady, reliable confusion.

"N' hell, 'ere I thought ah was doin' a GOOD thing. Go figure."

"Making Metroplex safter IS a good thing! Letting the robots that care for you think you were dead is CRUEL!" Firestar calls back over her shoulder. Was that particular comment a bit lighter, jesting? "And get a bath!" That one, definitely not.

Inferno looks down, letting his optics take in the filth and disgusting coating that now has managed to not only leave footprints across the room, but also smear nastily all over the chair and every surface the firefighter managed to come in contact with. And as Firestar's voice of reason echoes down the hallway, the Big Red Machine drags a finger across his windshield, letting the grime accumulate into a thick wad of greasy goop which is then flicked off like a booger onto the floor.

"Great... One minute she's bustin' mah chops 'bout workin', now she's bustin' mah chops 'bout bein' dirty from workin'. Fella cain't catch a break 'round here."

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