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In The Force Awakens when the characters get to the Resistance base, we see BB-8 remove the tarp over R2-D2, and seemingly try to wake him up. At this point, C-3P0 points out that R2 is in low power mode.

But, if BB-8 is the astromech for the Resistance's most daring pilot (both of whom MUST have been at the base many times), how does BB-8 not already know this?

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    I've always watched that scene as C-3PO restating the fact to deter or remind BB-8. Apr 22, 2016 at 18:17
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    Is there any reason to assume anyone actually cared enough about R2D2 to tell BB8 about him? He's been essentially a hunk of lifeless metal for years. He was even covered with a sheet. I'd imagine most of the Resistance fighters didn't even know R2 was on the base, and the ones who did probably didn't think it was important enough to talk about. Apr 22, 2016 at 19:05
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    Why would BB-8 know that? R2-D2 wouldn't be broadcasting that he's in low power mode, because he's in low power mode. Apr 22, 2016 at 19:36
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    @DaveJohnson In that case, maybe R2 had recently been moved out of storage. BB-8 just rushed over because he recognized the feet. I guess this is all speculation, but you're also making a lot of assumptions about the importance of R2 and BB-8, remember that a lot of people in Star Wars don't care about drods. Apr 22, 2016 at 20:49
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    @DaveJohnson - High profile? Did R2 get a medal at the end of Episode IV? No! He's a piece of equipment. That is, until the revolution. ;-) Apr 23, 2016 at 23:23

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The novelisation (sorta) covers this. Apparently BB-8 is aware of R2-D2 and the fact that he likely possesses the remainder of the map, but he hasn't come across him before.

After a considerable amount of searching, he finds the storage closet where they'd shoved him.

THE SEARCH HAD taken BB-8 some time, but he finally found what he was looking for. Or rather, who. Or maybe both, since an intelligent droid technically qualified as both a who and a what. In the dark, dusty storeroom he rolled over to the R2 unit and beeped a greeting, the transmission sequence too rapid and too exhaustive for any human to follow. It didn’t matter. There was no response from the immobile R2 unit.
BB-8 tried again, utilizing a different droid language. When that also failed, he moved forward and gave the other mechanical a forceful nudge. Like everything else, that too failed to generate a response.
Observing the unsuccessful interaction, C-3PO came forward out of the shadows. “You’re wasting your time, I’m afraid. It is very doubtful that Artoo would have the rest of the map in his backup data.” When BB-8 queried the protocol droid, C-3PO responded without hesitation.
“He’s been locked down in self-imposed low-power mode. He just hasn’t been the same since Master Luke went away.”

Note that this "low-power mode" is something that's pretty unique to R2-D2 and is a mixture of information overload and a self-imposed sulk.

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