Sparkplug Witwicky had thought that all the kids were in school, and with Meredith fulfilling a rare order from someone other than her husband and Judith running what appeared to be every washable item owned by half the town - and by the amount of camo, half of Sector Seven too, the mechanic had also assumed that heading to the Ark would be a decent place to engage in a few hours of solitary Asimov with the occasional Autobot for company. However, from the sight of a teenager sprawled idly in the command centre, such was not to be.
From a pile of bean-bags on the floor before Teletraan-1, Chip Chase flopped his head backwards, glasses falling up towards his forehead in the process, “what?”
Sparkplug frowned and tilted his head, “you’re not even trying to be dignified right now, are you?”
“Uh…” Chip wrote half a line of code by touch and readjusted his laptop where he was balancing it on his stomach, “since I’m lying on every beanbag I own listening to Glee covers and modding Stellaris, I don’t think so.”
“Glee and game modification,” the elder Witwicky said, lowering himself down to sit on the only beanbag that didn’t have part of the sixteen year old genius on it.
He hummed an affirmation and sat up a little, typing a few more pieces of code before pulling his glasses back into place to review. Sparkplug flipped past the introduction and foreword of the Asimov anthology he had been given for Christmas a few years back and trawled the contents for an interesting title until Chip paused in his typing again.
“What is it you’re doing exactly?”
Chip hummed and attacked the ‘page down’ key for a few seconds, “trying to put Cybertron in Stellaris, but the game doesn’t like it that much.”
Sparkplug tried to recall what Stellaris entailed as he flipped to the first page of The Bicentennial Man, “That’s the one like Civilization but in space, right?”
Chip nodded, “yep. But the game refuses to accept habitable asteroids so I’m having to alter the code.”
Sparkplug looked up, “habitable asteroids?”
“Yeah, I was talking to Optimus about Hadeen - that’s Cybertron’s star - and he said that there’s this big asteroid about where Mars is in our solar system that has evidence of habitation, like the actual remnants of a colony, so I’m trying to get the game to let me colonise an appropriate asteroid so it can be Botropolis.”
“…Yeah, Optimus cringed too, but apparently that’s what his babel fish gave him.”
Sparkplug smiled at the appropriately geeky nickname for the translation circuits the Autobots used to speak human languages, “I am glad you read so much sci-fi, Chip.”
Chip took off his glasses and grinned, "Me too.“
A few minutes passed with few sounds other than the turning of pages and keystrokes before Sparkplug’s thoughts drifted away from considerations of robots and transhumanism to the teenager before him, “I thought you had class today…”
Chip looked sheepish and sunk deeper into the bean-bags, “yeah… I didn’t feel like it…”
Sparkplug met his eye and sighed, “your dad called, didn’t he?”
Chip hummed glumly. Sparkplug marked his page and put Asimov down beside him, “you don’t mind me calling him ‘useless’ do you?”
Chip shook his head. Sparkplug gave a solemn nod, “Chip, listen to me here, there’s no reason you have to feel bad about your useless father who thinks running a tech company from three decades in the future is more important than being in your life. You understand, kid?”
Chip nodded and visibly perked up.
“Good,” Sparkplug gently patted his knee, “have you still got that slightly sketch copy of the Robin Williams film of this?” he asked, waving the anthology.
Chip looked confused for a moment, “oh! You mean Bicentennial, yeah, I’ve still got it.”
“Do you want to watch it?”
“Sure! Can you help me with the set up?”
Sparkplug nodded with a parental smile, “Of course kid.”