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Fate Rewritten

Chapter Text

Cybertron. Despite its tumultuous past, its people had finally begun to prosper and coexist peacefully with the help of the Allspark. But as Cybertron was reunited, one discovery soon cleaved the planet in two. Autobot, and Decepticon.

As the two factions battled for control of Cybertron and the Allspark- they left a path of never-ending destruction in their wake. Fearing the worst, Optimus Prime ordered for the Allspark be launched into the depths of space; far away from Megatron's grasp.

 

Bumblebee ex-vented with relief, watching the Allspark disappear into the void of space, and tried desperately to push back the fear he felt as Megatron’s frame loomed over him. An attempt to speak loosed nothing but a weak crackle and excruciating pain.

Megatron's servos clenched as he gazed toward the stars, and for a few short seconds, Bumblebee could've sworn that beneath the hot rage in his optics, Megatron was afraid as well.

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Megatron was close. The Allspark was so close, he could feel it in his frame- his spark- as he accelerated towards an undocumented solar system. It had been too long since he’d recharged, too long since he’d refueled, but now that it was within his clutches, he wouldn't stop. He couldn't stop.

Nearing closer to the system's sun, he locked onto a small blue planet, and his sensors surged dramatically. “Here. It's here.”

As he accelerated closer to the meager planet, his internal diagnostics flickered before shutting down completely. An electromagnetic field, and a surprising amount of gravity blindsided him as he sped ever faster, heat licking at his chassis. Before Megatron could correct his trajectory- he impacted violently with the frozen surface of the planet.

Megatron growled as he transformed and heaved himself out of the thick ice and onto a nearby outcrop of icebergs. Pain shot throughout his chassis, and he realized just how seriously the crash had injured him. It seemed the constant searching- with little rest- was finally catching up to him.

The intense cold had already began to seep into him, slowing his processors and limbs. Cursing the wretched planet he had crashed upon, Megatron knew his best option was to use an emergency distress beacon, and wait for Soundwave to respond accordingly. Going into stasis, a few last things crossed Megatron's mind. However his final thoughts were of only one thing, one person that plagued his mind constantly- even from across the universe.

The Fallen.

Chapter Text

“Hey, Lennox!”, he heard Epps exclaim, “How's it feel to be goin’ back home?”

Smiling, he momentarily forgot about the scorching desert heat. “Feels pretty damn good man.” he said as he walked over to the Helipad.

Epps was loading the chopper for the trip back to base, and in a few days he’d be loading the vehicles for the trip back home. Will wiped the sweat off his brow and helped out as the sun glared down on them unforgivingly. He was sick of it, the constant sweltering heat during the day, the freezing nights, sand in places unspeakable. The only upside to touring in a place like this were his friends.

As his buddies sat crammed in the aircraft, waiting to land, they did what they usually do in their spare time. They talked about home.

“Oh, god, five months of this. I can't wait to get a little taste of home. A plate of mama's alligators étouffée... Mmm.”

“You've been talking about barbecued 'gators and crickets for the last two weeks. I'm never going to your mama's house, Fig. I promise.” Epps said, granting an incredulous look from Figueroa.

Donnelly chimed in, “Hey, you guys remember weekends? Huh? The Sox at Fenway. Cold hotdog and a flat beer.”

“The perfect day!” laughed Epps, elbowing Fig in the arm.

Fig turned to Lennox, who had been sitting rather quietly. “Hey Will,” he grinned, “You got a perfect day?”

He gave a surrendering sigh before answering, “Nah, I just can't wait to hold my baby girl for the first time.”

Raucous laughter erupted from his friends as they poked fun at his softer side, with mocking ‘aww's' and ‘how sweet’s’, until Lennox gave in and started laughing too. They all wanted similar things as well- Lennox had simply said it out loud.

They kept talking and joking with each other all the way back to base, and once they had landed they’d already challenged each other to a basketball game. Will jumped out of the aircraft eagerly, before clapping a hand on Epps shoulder. “I'll see you guys later, yeah?”

“Oh sure, ditching me for your best friend, huh?” he said, feigning heartbreak before returning the gesture.

With a grin and a roll of his eyes, Will departed from his friends and set off towards the communications hub. One of the techies, already knowing Lennox’s request, pointed him to a computer.

“My ladies!!” he laughed, ecstatic to see his wife and daughter on the screen.

“Look!” Sarah exclaimed, pointing at the bundle in her lap, “She's got your laugh!”

“She's getting so big. Look at those cheeks. I just wanna chew on em! Baby, we made a good-looking kid. I know that people say that all the time, but, wow-” he blathered, “- nice work, hon.”

 

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“Blackout, respond!” snapped a voice through his comm. “That's an order.”

“Apologies, Commander Starscream. There was mild interference in our connection,” Blackout lied, “please restate your commands.”

“You and Scorponok are to return as soon as possible. Information of our Lord Megatron is obviously not in this scorched wasteland. We are better off moving our search elsewhere.” Starscream demanded, and muttered “Despite what Soundwave claims.”

Blackout would've scowled if he weren't in his alt mode, and he felt Scorponok rumble angrily. “Affirmative, Commander.” he responded, before shutting off his comm. He flew faster, but not to rendezvous at base. Soundwave had given them coordinates, and tasked them with retrieving information on their true leader, Megatron. And they would not stop until they had accomplished that.

His distaste of Starscream had grown into disrespect as the Seeker over-eagerly clamored for Decepticon rule after Lord Megatron's disappearance. Even trying so much as to disregard the distress beacon relayed from this foreign planet, and claim it was an Autobot ploy.

Soundwave, however, had not lost faith so easily. Spreading news of Megatron's fate through the Decepticon ranks, faster than anyone could counteract, he forced Starscream to respond to the beacon- and begin the retrieval of Lord Megatron and the Allspark. Blackout was grateful of Soundwave’s loyalty, and had opted to follow his orders rather than Starscream’s.

Amongst the endless sea of sand, Blackout narrowed in on what looked like an outpost, crawling with the organic natives of this planet. As soon as he had spotted them, several of their primitive aircraft had surrounded him. He switched his comm back on to hear voices in their guttural language, commanding him to identify himself. Through their bond, Blackout could feel Scorponok’s curiosity.

“What are you thinking?” he asked.

“I’d like to take a few of these creatures for future experimentation. Without certain members of our high command knowing.” Scorponok answered, a glint in his voice, “I’d appreciate the opportunity to observe them in their natural state before eliminating them.”

Blackout considered it. Scorponok had been reprimanded by several officers for his… avant-garde experiments. While other scientists had been working on similar projects, Scorponok wasn't exactly a mech of subtlety.

“If you see the opportunity, take it. However be sure to eliminate anything that sees you.” he said, already feeling Scorponok’s excitement.

With the sun sinking over the horizon, Blackout quietly landed. Soldiers began to surround him, and he realized just how small they really were. “That will make this much easier.” he thought to himself, as he transformed and readied his weapons systems.

 

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Will’s laughter was cut short by the sounds of yelling, and before he could react, the video call’s connection began to lag and cut out.

“Sarah? Hey, Sarah, if you can hear me, I love you and I'll be home soon.” he promised. Once the connection had finally failed, Will raced out of the tent, only to see a sight borne from science fiction movies. An unfamiliar chopper, surrounded by armed men, began to move violently. Parts of it were rapidly spinning, changing, transforming, until finally it was no longer a chopper. It was a robot.

In the few seconds it took Will to process what he was seeing, the machine had formed what appeared to be a giant weapons system, and started to fire. It lumbered into the center of the base, firing long range explosives at everything in sight- tanks, jeeps, men- nothing seemed to be safe. During the barrage, a gigantic mass spilt from the monster and burrowed into the sand; within seconds, a loud boom resounded.

Epps raced towards him, panting. “They bombed the antenna farm! We're under attack!” he shouted, grabbing onto Will’s arm. Gritting his teeth, Will snagged another man l running past him. He was getting as many people as he could and he was getting the hell out of here.

While Will set about escaping, Blackout had reached the command center. He couldn't help but laugh as he accessed the crude data core. Starscream was going to be livid, and they were going to be a step closer to recovering their leader. Little organics scurried amongst his peds, their shouts being drowned by the sound of their primitive firearms. He went to kick one out of the way before he felt the connection suddenly sever. Snarling, he disconnected and felt a rage come over him. He withdrew his cabling and loaded his canons. They would regret this.

 

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Will crouched atop the tank, searching desperately for any stragglers. Movement caught his eye and he felt his stomach drop. Epps was stuck, 40 meters away, and that thing was steadily advancing. In Epps’ arms was Mahfouz, a civilian child who lived near the base. Lennox refused to leave without them, and signaled for them to run over. He and the others gave cover fire, desperate to try and distract the machine.

Before Epps could make it across, the robot managed to get in between him and the tank, knocking him to the ground. He pushed Mahfouz out of the way, towards the rest of the soldiers and stared speechlessly at the monster. Epps fumbled for his camera, snapping a picture. The machine raised its foot, preparing to stomp down, and Epps took his chance to scramble out of the way.

With a grunt, Will hoisted Epps into the tank and signalled for Fig to start hauling ass. The giant walking weapons system began to fire more intensely, almost…. ‘Angrily?’. He turned his head away, pushing the thought from his mind. As the sun began to rise, he only wished that he could've saved more people.

Chapter Text

“BRRING. BRRING. BR-”

“Shut. Up.” Mikaela grumbled, slamming down on her alarm button. ‘If only it was a Saturday’ she thought, reluctant to rouse herself from sleep.

With a groan, she heaved herself out of her warm covers and onto her morning schedule. Shower, get dressed, brush teeth, so on and so forth until she was presentable for the rest of humanity. Her sleepiness was worn off as she left her warm living quarters and stepped into the steel and grease of the auto shop.

Finished getting ready, Mikaela was quick to notice how empty the auto shop looked. She frowned- while the shop wasn't in fear of going under (“Yet.” she thought wryly)- it did mean that college prospects were beginning to dim.
It was frustrating, she thought. Calloused hands and burnt fingers had kept this place afloat with her father in prison, and it was starting to seem like it was all they would do.
Mikaela shook her head, hoping to clear away the negative thoughts for another time, and grabbed her motorbike keys.

 

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Students chatted amongst themselves before being hushed by Mr. Hosney. The school day had felt endless, and nobody was feeling like staying quiet for even another minute. With tired eyes, he called out, “Okay, miss Banes, you're up.”

She sighed inwardly, and got up from her desk, taking her bag with her. As she walked past the desks, Trent Demarco- the school's star athlete- and his friends chuckled as he let out a whistle.

“Who did that? People! Have some responsibility.” Mr. Hosney snapped.

Clenching her fists around her bag, Mikaela did her best to push down her anger and get her presentation over with. ‘God, do I hate him’

“For my family genealogy report, I decided to do it on my great-great-grandfather, who was a famous man, Captain Archibald Banes.” she said, pointing at an aged map, “He was one of the first to explore the Arctic Circle, and in 1897, he took forty one brave sailors straight into the Arctic Shelf.”

Giving a small cough, she continued, “I have a bunch of his things that are actually for sale, some of his maps, equipment, even a cool pair of his glasses, if any of you ar-”

“Miss Banes, are you trying to sell me his liver? It's not show and sell, it's your junior year.” interjected Mr. Hosney

“Um, right, my bad. Anyways, my great-great-grandfather unfortunately wound up going blind, and was sent to a psych ward, babbling and drawing strange symbols everywhere. He claimed till his death that he had seen a ‘giant ice man’ during one of his expeditions.” Mikaela finished, just as the bell began its shrill ring.

‘Saved by the bell I guess’ she thought, quickly gathering her things. Before she drove back home, she decided to stop by an old family friend, and a long time customer. Uncle Bobby.

 

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The cool air and the warm sun felt nice as Mikaela rode her motorbike. Glancing to her right, she spotted the newest car dealership- specifically for Porsches- and smiled. ‘Maybe one day I could have a place like that.’ she pondered. Daydreaming, she was unaware of something strange. Specifically, about the battered old Camaro trailing close behind her.

Mikaela maneuvered into the sunbaked lot, eyeing the familiar slogans and faded signs. She gave a sympathetic wave to Manny, the clown, who was covered in melted white paint and a ratty old costume.

“Miss Mikaela Banes! I could swear you've gotten taller since the last time I saw you!” exclaimed Bobby, pardoning himself from a pair of annoyed looking customers.

“A week ago, Bobby.” Mikaela retorted, smiling, “And while I've missed you, I'm not really here for small talk.”

“Ahh, I getcha, you're quite the business lady,” he leaned in and cupped a hand around his mouth, “just like your dad.”, he chuckled

Mikaela stifled a bout of laughter before asking, “So Bobby, got anything for me? Busted radiators, wonky distributor caps, loose fuel lines, y’know- the usual?”

“I might have a couple things,” he replied, “but nothin’ major, kiddo. Maybe you'd wanna buy somethin’ from here? I got plenty of good deals, even better since you're basically family.”
Mikaela gave him a tired look,“Bobby, you don't exactly have resale value on this stuff. Just-...”, she halted as she scanned over the sea of used cars. “Hold on, what exactly is that?” she asked, pointing.

With a wide grin, Bobby jumped at the opportunity to sell her a car, and led her through the lot. “Which one?”

“This one.” she said. In front of her was a weathered yellow 74’ Camaro- with racing stripes, of all things. She turned to see Bobby’s perplexed look, eyeing the car and scratching his head in confusion.

“What the heck is this? I don't know nothing about this car.” he said, before yelling out, “Manny! What is this?”

As Bobby and Manny yelled at each other, Mikaela popped open the door and slid into the driver's seat. No busted seats, nothing wrong with the dash displays, it's weird how a car this old is in such good condition. Squinting, she saw something underneath the grime on the steering wheel, and wiped it off to see a strange insignia in its center.

Before she could further investigate, however, Bobby leaned over to the window. “Well, considering the semi-classic nature of the vehicle, with the slick wheels and the custom paint, I would say about six grand.”

“Bobby, I'm no kid buying her first car- I'm my father's daughter- there's no trying to fool me out of my money.”, Mikaela replied sternly.

“Ohh, I know, I know, even though my ‘pricing system’ puts this at 6, I'll give it to you for 4 g’s instead.” he said, causing her to give a well-deserved eyeroll.

“C’mon, what's that old saying your family has?” he prodded.

She felt her smile creep back onto her face. “No sacrifice, no victory.” she answered.

It was tempting, it had potential to be restored, resold. ‘Besides', she thought, ‘it would be nice to drive a car to school when it rains instead of my motorbike.’

Then she remembered how slow the shop had been, and how expensive college was, before sighing. “Sorry Bobby, another time I guess.” she replied sheepishly. As she stepped out of the car, he began to talk again.

“Hold on, now this beauty- she took me to Alabama and back.”, he said, gesturing to a little Volkswagen, “I can sell this one for about 3 thousand if you- YEOW”

A loud crashing noise had interrupted him; as Mikaela closed the driver's side door, the passenger door slammed open, and into the poor Bug next to it. A large dent now graced the side of the small car, and Bobby was quick to regain his composure.

 

“I'll just get a sledgehammer and knock this right out. Hey, hey, Manny! Getcha cousin and get some hammers and come bang this stuff out, baby!” he called out, laughing nervously. As he stood up, a strange noise echoed through the Camaro’s radio. Before anyone could react, a high pitch ring blasted from the car. Bobby and Mikaela watched, wincing, as the surrounding windshields and mirrors shattered into glittering dust. Almost as soon as it started, the noise died down, leaving the lot deathly silent.

Bobby stood wide-eyed as he scanned the dozens of damaged vehicles.

“T-Two thousand…”

Chapter Text

Megatron loomed over the small scout and gave a frustrated grumble. Snagging him by his vocalizer, the warlord clenched his servo tighter. “We have much to discuss.”

Bumblebee awoke with a jolt, nearly transforming out of his alt mode, before quickly silencing himself. “Another damn nightmare.” he thought resentfully. After finding the human, Mikaela Banes, he had been towed back to a building aptly named “Bane’s Auto”. The garage was large, with an enclosed lot towards the back of the building. He was quick to scan the place- Sector Seven agents had been trying to capture him for years, and while their attempts had always failed, he knew he had to be careful. Taking the opportunity, he decided to recharge for the first time in months.

When he had first landed on Earth, he had tried to be confident in his search for the Allspark. However, after several years of dead-ends and cold trails, he’d begun to falter. He never planned on giving up, but now that he was so close to the Allspark’s coordinates, he couldn't help but feel relieved. Now, all he had to do was obtain visual confirmation of the glasses and signal for the others. The thought alone made him want to celebrate.

He shifted, trying to stretch as best he could in his alt, before freezing. Suddenly, the small human burst through her door, a metal baseball bat clutched in her servos. (‘Hands', he thought to himself, ‘they've got hands’.) Raising the makeshift weapon menacingly, Bumblebee watched as she glanced around the room. Seeing nothing, she sighed and muttered, “I coulda swore I heard something”.

She set the bat down and rubbed her opt-(‘Slag.’) -eyes, ran a hand through her disheveled hair, and plodded back to her room. Once the door finally clicked shut, Bumblebee remembered to exvent and settled back down. “This might be more difficult than I planned”

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Mikaela was woken again, this time by her dreaded alarm. She frowned at her reflection in the mirror- she looked about as good as she felt. After getting ready, she grabbed her clipboard as she walked into the garage. She looked up from her appointments to see her newly bought Camaro. Mikaela studied it, brow furrowed, before setting down her papers and tying back her hair. As she popped the hood, her eyes widened. She blinked in disbelief before finally speaking to herself.

“What the fuck?”

Underneath the rusted, dented hood of the car was one of the most souped up engines she’d seen since her dad had gotten locked up. A high-rise double-pump carburetor, with what looked like brand new chrome and (admittedly kind of obnoxious) gold finish. She closed her eyes and dragged a hand down her face, suddenly feeling guilty about only giving Bobby two grand for it- even if that was his offer after that…. whatever it was. Her eyes snapped open as another thought took hold of her. ‘What if this thing is hot?’

She took a second to sit down, eyeing the car suspiciously. A stolen car, in her shop, would look bad- really, really bad. After what her father had gotten into, she knew that the law wouldn't be sympathetic to her. “It wasn't sympathetic last time…”, she thought bitterly. She took one last moment to think, and decided. She was going to take the car to the police station to have it checked out, just to be safe.

Mikaela stood up, rolled the sleeves of her work clothes, and heaved the garage door open. First, though, she had work to do. As she got ready for her first appointment of the day, the television in her room quietly droned on.

“At this time, we can't confirm whether there were any survivors….”

Chapter Text

“Oh my god.” Sarah whispered, bringing a hand to her face.

“...Our bases worldwide are, as of now, at DEFCON Delta, our highest readiness level. We're dealing with a very effective weapons system that we have not come across before. But our prayers are with the families of the brave men and women-”

Sarah felt her gut churn and fought the urge to cry. Her husband was so close to coming home, so close to being safe. Now, she had no clue if he was even alive. Her frantic thoughts were interrupted by the sound of Annabelle crying. She pushed back the sense of dread in her heart and tried to focus on comforting her.

“It’s okay honey,” she promised, “dad’s gonna be okay.”

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Will’s brow furrowed as he listened to the others and turned from his binoculars to face them.

“I've never seen a weapons system like this.” Epps said, “The thermal shows this weird aura around the exoskeleton like it's cloaked by some kind of invisible force field.”

Donnelly shifted nervously, “That's impossible. There's no such thing as invisible force fields except in, like, comic book stuff, right?”

Will opened his mouth, ready to talk a bit of sense into him, before Fig cut him off.

“My mama, she had the gift, you know? She saw things. I got the gene, too, you know. And that thing that attacked us? I got a feeling it ain't over.”

Donnelly and the others had mixed reactions of rolling eyes, “shut ups”, and nervous laughter. Epps only looked up from his camera and gave Lennox a worried look.

“When I took that picture, I think it saw me. It looked right at me.” he said solemnly. Will could tell Robert was spooked- and he very rarely got spooked.

Lennox gazed around at his fellow soldier before speaking, in his most assertive tone. “Alright, we gotta get this thing back to the Pentagon right away. They got to know what we're dealing with here.” he stated.

“We've lost communication with aerial, and my radio’s fried.” Epps said.

Will sighed, he knew someone with a possible lead on communication. He slid off the tank and knelt down in front of the boy, Mahfouz. He hated to put the kid on the spot, especially after all that had happened, but he didn't have much of a choice.

“Hey, Mahfouz. Do you know far you live from here?” he asked.

“Not far,” he responded resolutely, “just up that mountain. We’ve got a phone.”

Will gave him a smile and a reassuring pat on the shoulder, before turning back to the others.

“Alright, let's hit it.”

Chapter Text

Maggie sipped on another cup of coffee, playing the audio transmission on a loop. It had been days since the Soccent breech, and no one had been able to decipher a damn thing. With the Secretary of Defense overseeing them personally, she knew that the situation was even more dire than he had elaborated. Frustrated, she paused it and mulled over her notes.

“Hey, guys, I think the other team figured it out. Iran.” said one of her group members.

An older analyst scoffed, “Come on, dude. This is way too reinforced for Iranian scientists, eh? Think about it.”

“What do you think, kid? Chinese?” the man asked, turning to her.

“No way. This is nothing like what the Chinese are using.” she responded, frowning down at her papers. Her computer let out a screech and she jumped, dropping her coffee.

She snapped back into action, typing away at her keyboard before turning to the rest of the group. “Are you guys getting this? I think they're hacking the network again!”

-----------------------

Getting aboard the organic aircraft had been a special pain in the aft, but now he had to find a way to access the data panels. Frenzy found it difficult to stay still in his new stereo alt mode. T-cog experiments had allowed him to take new forms, but it had also affected his processors. Wheelie had once compared him to a turbofox on circuit speeders, and promptly had both servos amputated.

His brother, Rumble, had undergone similar procedures- and similar side effects. Frenzy had wanted to bring his brother along, but Soundwave refused. Despite their complaints, Frenzy respected his carrier’s orders. Slightly annoyed, he shook himself from his thoughts and redirected his attention to the task at hand.

With a small jitter, Frenzy took the opportunity to transform and skittered beneath the seats, towards the open elevator door. He switched back to his alt mode just as a disgusting organic looked down at him.

He had to keep from purging his tanks as the fleshy creature picked him up, setting him down in the bottom level of the aircraft- right next to to the internal database.

Frenzy snickered, dashing towards the control paneling as it looked away. He smashed through the reinforced casing protecting the ports and jammed his servo in, connecting. He chittered to himself as he downloaded the files, and let out a laugh as he transferred a special ‘gift’- courtesy of Soundwave.

----------------------

“Oh, my God. This is a direct match to the signal in Qatar. Are you running a diagnostic?” Maggie questioned, glancing at her partners.

The young man looked nervously back at her, “Should I be?”

“Yes, you should.” she said, gritting her teeth, “Someone! They're hacking into Air Force One! We need a senior analyst. I think they're planting a virus.”

An older officer rushed over to her team, disbelief painted across his face as he shoved his glasses on. “A virus?”

“It's streaming right now.” she answered, staring him dead in the eye, “They are planting a virus and stealing a whole lot of data from your system at the same time. You've got to cut the hardlines.”

----------------------------

Frenzy muttered to himself as he felt the data upload. He parsed through it, and came across a gigantic file labeled “Project Iceman”, and within it, the human designation “Mikaela Banes”. He cocked his head, curious, but was interrupted by the sound of gunfire. Before he could react, the file download was abruptly cut short.

He let out a frustrated growl before yanking his servo out of the panel and turning to the two organics firing at him. Soundwave had told him to avoid being revealed- and it seemed he had two witnesses. Quickly dispatching them, he felt the aircraft begin to land. Just a little longer and he was home free.

Once he had escaped the cramped plane, Frenzy quickly fled towards his real partner for their mission- Barricade. Frenzy might've respected the larger mech, but they were far from being friends. If he weren't a symbiote of Soundwave, Barricade would've been quick to dispatch him at his apparent failure. Luckily, Frenzy hadn't failed, at least, not as horribly as Blackout.

“Your objective, did you succeed?” Barricade asked, pulling away from the airport.

Frenzy balked, keeping his EM field withdrawn. “I was, er, interrupted,” he answered and felt Barricade’s cab rumble, before quickly continuing “but I've got the information we need.”

Quick to distract from the failed objective, he transferred the information he had obtained. Using the human internet, Frenzy found this “Mikaela Banes”- and the peculiar glasses she had inherited.

Chapter Text

With a tired groan, Mikaela slumped onto the couch. She undid her ponytail and unzipped her work suit, wrapping the top half around her waist. Despite her exhaustion, she was happy.

Today had been an alright day for business- plenty of oil changes, fixed flats, and a commission to replace a twisted bumper. All in all, not too shabby.

She smiled before remembering the last thing she had to do for the day. Mikaela reluctantly pulled herself from the couch and grabbed the Camaro keys. “Better sooner, rather than later.” she reasoned. She pulled out of the lot with ease, and started to mumble her to-do list to herself.

“Open the garage for the day, work on Andy’s carburetor, weld a new muffler onto Tom’s kid’s Honda,” she continued, ”take the Camaro to the police station- h- HEY, WOAH!” Mikaela yelped. The car had swerved out of control before jerking back onto the road, causing her to grab tightly to the steering wheel. Feeling sick, she slowed down, turning into the park so she could examine just what the hell had happened.

Once she turned the corner, Mikaela felt herself get even sicker. Next to the lake, several partygoers were socializing with each other, but in particular, with Trent Demarco. Stuck in a bout of traffic, she watched in horror as he turned and recognized her. She suddenly wished she had crashed and died as he waltzed up to her and leaned up against the cab.

“Hah, hey Mikaela, what's goin’ on?” he asked “Didja come on up here to see me?”

The radio abruptly switched on and played…. ‘What the fuck? Is that Marvin Gaye??’

Mortified, she promptly slammed her palm against the device, and could've sworn the entire car had flinched as the radio died down.

“Hi, Trent. I was just taking my car back to the shop for repairs.” she answered, deadpan while she softly screamed on the inside.

He lifted his brow, “Aw c’mon baby, why dontcha hop in the passenger side and let me drive y-”

“Okay. You know what? Stop.” she snapped, scowling. He got an angry look in his eye and was about to speak before the engine turned over and it started to drive. A resounding thump was followed by incoherent screaming, and Mikaela glanced into her rearview mirror to see Trent clutching his foot. She let out a laugh before she realized that she never touched the ignition, or the gas pedal.

Mikaela cautiously pulled to the side of the road and stepped out. Walking to the front of the car, she heard the radio flip on again.

“kzzrt- My bad, kiddo- kzzzzrt”, apologized an old-timey actor.

Perplexed, she walked back to the cab and switched the radio off. ‘How the hell can it pick up T.V signals?’

After a full half-hour of trying, and failing, to find what was wrong with the car- Mikaela decided to just go home. The car was just too dangerous to drive all the way to the police station. She climbed back into the cab and slowly drove home. “I guess I have to deal with this later.” she thought to herself.

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Bumblebee had waited until nightfall, hoping the girl had fallen asleep. He never meant for the human to be put in an unsafe situation, he just needed to stall her. Even though he wasn't at the human authorities, he was still stuck in this garage. He now had no choice but to activate his beacon, he knew that sooner or later he would be taken into police, and then Sector Seven custody.

He tried to think; climbing over the walls of the lot would draw too much attention. And trying to escape during the day would be too risky. His only option seemed to be opening the garage door and escaping tonight. As softly as he could, Bumblebee transformed. He winced a bit, it had been a while since he had properly used his t-cog. If he had been stuck here longer, he held no doubts that it would've hurt much, much worse. After taking a moment to listen for the sounds of stirring humans, ‘Bee gently inched toward the garage door. He slowly began to lift it when he suddenly heard the sound of an engine rumbling from the human’s room. ‘Bee froze before bringing a servo to his faceplates. “Snoring. She's just snoring.”

He vented quietly, fully opening the door. Relieved, he turned back around to scan the building one last time, brushing his servo against a worktable.

“KA-THUNK”

Bee stood silently as he stared down at the large bandsaw that now lay broken on the floor. He blinked his optics before hearing the distinct “pap pap pap” of organic peds and was overcome with the intense urge to haul aft.

He transformed back into his alt just as the human slammed open her door. Tires squealing, he peeled out of the garage and headed for somewhere secluded.

-------------------

Mikaela was pissed. Just as she slammed open her door, her Camaro shot out of the garage. She wasn't gonna sit idly by, however. Grabbing her motor scooter, she quickly sped after the thieves. The thought of calling the police crossed her mind. ‘No,’ she decided, ‘ they'll just try to write it off, ignore it. If you're gonna do something, you gotta do it yourself.’

She accelerated and caught sight of the yellow car- as she grew closer, it sped up even faster and sharply turned the corner- into the local dump. Mikaela hopped off her bike and raced past the chain-link gates. She looked around breathlessly before glancing up.

On top of one of the scrap piles was a gigantic yellow monster. She watched in horror as it activated some sort of device, brightly beaming into the sky. She fell to her knees and crouched, watching as the creature began to look around. She was so absorbed by it that she almost didn't hear the sound of snarling dogs behind her.

Slowly, Mikaela turned around. In front of her now were two guard dogs, lowly growling at her. She stood up, and they moved closer, teeth bared. As fast as she could, she heaved herself over the low junkpile and started sprinting for cover- a nearby warehouse. She climbed onto the hill of gravel and scrap in the center- just as the dogs lunged after her.

Mikaela’s mind was frantic, she had no clue how to get out of her mess. She felt for her phone, just as she saw it lying 5 feet away, in between the two dogs. While she tried to formulate a plan of escape, she was interrupted by the sound of an engine revving. The car sped into the warehouse and revved even louder, scaring off the dogs. Mikaela gulped. Her car… it was that thing, she was sure of it. In a very deliberate manner, she stepped down; not daring to take her eyes off the Camaro.

“Listen, I don't know what you want- just leave me alone- please.” she asked, backing away from the vehicle. Instantly, it spun its wheels and reversed back out of the building.

She breathed, and took every ounce of her will to keep from collapsing right then and there. Almost as soon as the car left, a police cruiser pulled in.

“Let me see your hands!” shouted one of the officers. Raising her hands above her head, Mikaela knew that it was gonna be a long night.

Chapter Text

Adrenaline still pumping from the breech, Maggie walked with the rest of the analysts. Out of the corner of her eye, a conference room was filling up with familiar faces. Politicians, senior analysts, cabinet members; and Secretary Keller had entered as well.

She broke off from the rest of her group, and jammed her foot in the doorway before it closed- before she lost her opportunity. Maggie took care to stay quiet as she slipped into the room just as an officer began to speak.

“Whoever did this finally managed to infiltrate our defense network, which is what they tried to do in Qatar, only this time it worked.”

 

Keller sighed, “Talk to me about the virus, what did they get?”

“It's a Spider-bot virus. We're not sure what it's going to do, but it may cripple the system.” An analyst interjected, “Every time we try an antivirus, it adapts and speeds up. It's like it's not a virus anymore. It's become the system.”

Maggie gave a confused look. “They hadn't told us about trying anti-viruses.”

“Obviously the first phase of a major attack against the US. The only countries with this kind of capability are Russia, North Korea, maybe China.” an officer stated sternly, and blatantly misinformed.

She winced at his words before finally jumping into the discussion.

“I'm sorry, that's not correct.”

Instantly, she felt all the eyes in the room turn to her. Pushing the sick feeling in her stomach back down, she kept her shoulders straight and her expression calm.

“Excuse me, young lady. I didn't see you standing there.” the officer said, suspicion in his stare, “You would be who?”

Maggie’s face grew stern, “I'm just the analyst who detected the hack.” she responded, trying to keep the bite from her tone.

Secretary Keller’s expression softened and he stepped towards her. “Hold on. It was you? You did it?”

“Her team.” the officer scoffed. She felt her jaw tighten and ignored him

“Sir, I was just trying to say- they hacked your firewall in ten seconds. Okay? Even a supercomputer with a brute force attack would take twenty years to do that.” she said, being as blunt as possible. Maggie refused to beat around the bush when trigger-happy generals were vying for war.

The man’s face twisted in anger, a shade of red painting his expression. He took a step closer and snapped at her, “Maybe you can explain, then, how our latest satellite imagery shows North Korea doubling its naval activity.”

 

“Maybe it's a precaution, because isn't that what we're doing?” she gave an incredulous laugh before turning to a senior analyst, “The signal pattern is learning. It's evolving on its own. And you need to move past Fourier transfers and start considering quantum mechanics.”

“I'm sorry, but there is nothing on Earth that complex.” the analyst stated, sympathy in his eyes. Maggie felt her grip on the conversation begin to slip- she was about to lose her chance.

“What about an organism? A living organism? Maybe some kind of... DNA-based computer?” she blurted, “And I- I know that that sounds crazy-”

It was Keller who cut her off, “That's enough. We have six floors of analysts working on this thing. Now, if you can find proof to back up your theory, I'm gonna be happy to listen to you.” he said, skepticism staining his voice, “But if you don't get a filter on that brain-mouth thing, you're gonna be off the team. You understand?”

 

Maggie bit back a sigh, “Yes, sir”

Chapter Text

“Look, I can't be any clearer than how crystal clear I am being”, Mikaela said, rubbing her tired eyes, “My car was stolen.”

The cop looked down at her with a scowl- still not believing her. “Look, Banes, I'm just stating the facts here. You got your vehicle “stolen”? Why wouldn't you just call 911? And why is it that, despite your claim, we didn't find any car there?” he interrogated, as Mikaela could almost watch his ego grow larger.

“Officer, I've been answering those same questions all night- please, just let me go home.” she said, bringing a hand to her temple. In her explanation of what happened, she had quietly left out the ‘giant metal monster’ she had seen- and her suspicions about her ‘car'.

“Alright, missy. But if I catch you following in your ole man’s footsteps then you aren't gonna go home for a looong ass time.” he sneered.

She gave a polite smile before gathering her things and leaving. As she exited the police station she opened her fists and observed the bleeding half-moons in her palms. She couldn't help but slump her shoulders and sigh.

They had said that they would “do their best” to find the Camaro, but considering what had happened last night, she actually hoped they wouldn't find it. It had gotten her into enough trouble as it was.

She watched as a family friend pulled up to take her home, and decided on getting some sleep before opening up the shop for the day.

--------------------

After the security guards led her and the other analysts back to their computers- Maggie knew what she had to do. Making sure that nobody was watching, she casually slipped her hard drive into her computer.

‘There’s only one hacker in the world who could break this code.’

Once the files had been copied, she bit her lip and quietly dropped it into her makeup bag, snapping it closed. She had to find Glen.

 

Maggie anxiously knocked on the door of the quaint house. She hated to pull him into this, not just for her sake, but for his. She knew he’d be ecstatic for the challenge, though. She just hoped that he wouldn't…. freak out at her, since she was working for the federal government now and he was, well, a hacker.

She heard loud yelling from inside the house before Glen finally answered.

“M...Maggie?? What are you doin’ here?!” he exclaimed, looking like his usual high strung self.

She gave a sheepish smile, “Listen, I… I need your help.”

Instantly, Glen's eyes widened, “No! This is my private area, my- my place of Zen and peace.” he exclaimed, stumbling over his words. He went to shut the door and she promptly grabbed it, giving him a glare.

“I've got something I need to show you.”

The man balked, studying her look before warily letting her inside. He ushered her in before suspiciously glancing out the door.

Once inside, Maggie fumbled through her bag for the hard-drive. She finally looked back up, only to see Glen’s cousin…. playing Dance Dance Revolution. Her lips quirked up as her old friend shuffled past her and into his room, rowdily cuffing his cousin on the shoulder and laughing with him.

Sitting on the edge of his bed, she tapped Glen on his shoulder. “Glen, seriously, do you want to see something classified?”

He sat at his computer and turned to look at her, incredulous. “How classified?” he asked tentatively.

She leaned in a bit and lowered her voice, “Like I will go to jail for the rest of my life for showing you classified.”

He was still for a few seconds, before wordlessly shutting off the console of his cousin's game and squabbling him out of the room.

“Let's have a peek.” he remarked, taking the drive and plugging it into his computer. As he worked his magic, he pulled up the files and gawked.

“Woah. The signal strength is through the roof. Where did you say you got this?”

Maggie eyed the screen, “It hacked the national military air-guard frequency in less than a minute.” she answered, the fascination peeking through her voice.

“It looks like there's messages embedded in the signal, hold on…” he muttered, steadily clacking away at his keyboard. Suddenly, strange symbols began to fill the screen, along with what looked like file names.

Glen spoke first, curiosity dawning in his expression, “....What's Sector Seven?”

“Who is Captain Banes?” Maggie asked in response.

Before either could react, a loud crash shook the small structure, and an armed S.W.A.T. team burst into the house. The FBI had found them.

Chapter Text

Will couldn't help but feel wary as they approached the small town. It felt too easy, and it seemed Fig and him agreed on something. They felt like they were being watched. He pushed the thought aside to focus on the task at hand.

Meanwhile, Scorponok watched as his specimens pulled to a stop at a human structure- an abandoned power center of some sort. It had been several planetary rotations since he split from Blackout- his partner likely told Starscream something about taking care of stragglers and witnesses.

‘Not entirely untrue’, he thought to himself. Still watching the humans from beneath the sand, he located the village they were nearing to. They had come a tad bit too close for comfort. Scorponok evented, ‘I suppose it's time to wrap things up.’ he decided reluctantly.

Although it had been interesting to observe the gregarious nature of the humans; measuring their intelligence, watching their behaviors during this extreme climate. But he had an objective to finish. Perhaps, before this planet was finished with, he could gather some samples.

Scorponok dove beneath the sand and trailed up towards the determined organics, singling out the one who had seemed to claim leadership over the pack.

----------------------

While everyone was taking their turn, filling up their canteens at a small pump, Will took a moment to distance himself. He tried to keep his posture from slumping as he thought about how close he was to going home, yet how far away it seemed. If it weren't for the base attack, he’d probably be home by now. He prayed that they hadn't made a commotion about it publicly, or worse- told Sarah that he had been killed.

He fought back the tightness in his chest and let out a shaky breath. Now wasn't the time to think about it.

“LENNOX, BEHIND YOU!” he heard Donnelly scream. Will snagged his gun and turned to face a very large, very sharp looking metal tail protruding from the sand- and pointed directly at him.

Lennox dove past the appendage as the men around him armed themselves, gathering around the tank and firing at the shifting sand. Will watched in horror as a giant mass erupted from the ground and landed.

The creature was almost… insect-like. With a pair of clawed pincers and a stinger at the end of a long tail, it looked like a scorpion. For a split second, it seemed to study them all. Will could hear the deep whirring of machinery and a low electronic rumbling.

As soon as it had surfaced, the creature dove back into the hot sand. But before anyone could react, the tail shot out and promptly ran through the nearest soldier. Donnelly.

Will felt himself freeze in shock, unable to wrench his eyes away from the sight of his friend being dragged beneath the ground. He clenched his jaw and yelled, "Everyone, the tank, now!"

The village would only be a half mile from their current position. They could make it. They would make it.

He helped the others onto the tank, and they took off. Lennox felt his heart stop and heaved open the hatch.

"Mahfouz! You in there?" he called out, glancing down at the soldiers below.

"I'm here, sir!" the boy replied, poking out from inside the vehicle.

He did his best to give a reassuring smile. It seemed like the kid hadn't seen any of what happened, and he planned to keep it that way. Looking back up, Will could see the small town growing closer. He signalled for the kid to climb out as the tank pulled to a stop.

While the soldiers took defensive positions and translators began explaining to civilians, Lennox followed the boy into the village, keeping watch for any movement beneath them. Mahfouz shot into a small building, and returned with his father.

Will's Arabic wasn't the greatest, but he managed to ask for the phone, repeatedly thanking them both. "You two should stay here- we're gonna take care of this." he said, turning to Mahfouz.

Shielding the sun from his eyes, Will charged back towards the other men. The robotic creature seemed to be firing back at them with built-in weapons- and several men lay wounded behind their makeshift barricades.

With a frustrated grunt, Lennox ducked down and crawled over to Epps. "Rob, Pentagon!", he shouted over the gunfire. Tossing the phone to his friend, he took his place and started firing.

"I ain't never seen this in my life! We need gunships on station, ASAP!" Epps yelled frantically.

As Epps called in for back-up, Lennox was focused on trying to hold up their defenses. The creature hadn't gained any ground, but Will could tell that their numbers weren't looking great. It seemed like no matter how much they threw at it, nothing made a dent in its armor.

"Will! They're sending in the heat!", Epps said, before turning back to the phone, "Several man team north of orange smoke! Attack direction west! You're clear and hot!"

Overhead, the sound of aircraft drowned out the roar of battle, and Epps popped off smoke. Instinctively, the other soldiers fell back and hunkered down as the pilots fired.

Time seemed to freeze as the jets flew past and the dust began to clear. Will felt his breath hitch as the creature still stood. It let out a pained electronic screech before diving beneath the sand- leaving nothing but a severed tail behind.

After a moment, several choppers could be heard in the distance. But any relief Will felt was stomped out as he looked at the wounded- or worse- soldiers. There had been too much loss today to be celebrating.

Chapter Text

Mikaela rubbed her eyes again. She was exhausted, but sleeping doesn't pay the bills. Both luckily and unfortunately, today was a slow day, Sundays usually were.

She took a small breath and sat down on the couch to think about the night before.

‘Maybe it was just some messed up dream. Some sorta illusion.’ she thought to herself unconvincingly.

Her thoughts were pushed away by the sound of a car pulling in. Jumping off the couch and rubbing the sleep out of her eyes, Mikaela put on her best smile and went to go greet the customer.

She stepped out of the garage to see a 1974 Camaro with a yellow paint job sitting in the parking lot. And no driver in sight.

Mikaela let out a small choking noise before slamming the garage door down and locking it. She grabbed her bag and frantically began shoving her things into it. Snagging her bike, she opened the back door that led to an alleyway, and hopped on.

As she peeled out of the alley, she nearly let out a scream as the car pulled in behind her. Mikaela shoved the thought of speeding tickets from her mind and pushed harder onto the accelerator, weaving through traffic.

Glancing back, the saw the car recede. She took her chance and quickly turned into an abandoned warehouse. Mikaela heard a horrible pop and felt her bike falter. Cursing, she pulled to a stop and dropped it, giving it a heartfelt kick.

She heard the sound of an engine revving and spun around, but instead of the old race car, it was a police cruiser. Mikaela couldn't help but feel sick at the sight. Hoping to avoid any more conflict, she slowly made her way to the car.

“Thank god you’re here officer.” she exclaimed, feigning relief. She put on her best concerned expression, ready to try and explain why she was probably trespassing. (‘Again’)

Quietly, she noticed the windows were unusually dark, but gave a small tap on the driver's side. “Sir, I've been chased here by someone in a car, I didn't mean to-”

At her touch, the cruiser made a strange noise, before its engine roared and began to jerk closer towards her. Mikaela tripped and scrambled away from the car as it edged closer and closer. Abruptly stopping, she couldn't help but gulp as one of the headlights detached from the vehicle and inched towards her face. It slowly retracted and before Mikaela could blink, the car started to move.

It rumbled, huge hunks of metal retracting and spinning and changing until there was no longer a car, there was a giant metal thing looming above her.

“Oh no.”

Mikaela scrambled away and onto her feet, running as fast as her feet would carry her, she could hardly hear the giant footsteps over her thumping heart.

In the seconds it took to look behind her, she felt herself being slammed into the air- and straight onto a dilapidated car. The hood dented upon her impact and her leg twisted painfully. She let out a miserable groan, and turned onto her back, only to see the creature glaring down at her.

“Are you LadiesMan217!?” it demanded, slamming a fist onto the side of the hood. It’s ‘eyes’ were bright red, with an inhuman metal face. But even with how strange it looked, she could tell it was pissed.

“I- I don't know what you're…” she trailed off for a moment, before remembering she had used her dad’s old eBay, “.... yeah. I am. Who are you?” she dared to ask.

It seemed to stare at her for a second, calculatingly. “Designation: Barricade”, he growled, squinting at her. “Now where is item 2153?”

“Look, I don't know what you want from me-”

The plates on Barricade's face twisted angrily, and Mikaela yelped as he smashed the grill of the car beneath her. “Where are the glasses?!”

Gritting her teeth, Mikaela rolled off the hood and picked herself up. Searing pain shot through her leg as she forced herself to run. She darted through the abandoned cars, limping. Behind her, she could hear Barricade's roar and the crashing of cars being slung aside.

God, was she sick of being chased around this week.

She could see the sunlit highway, she was just yards from freedom- but she knew her chances of making it were dimming. Suddenly, the Camaro swerved into the lot, skidding to a stop in front of her.

The car door swung open and she heard the radio crackle. “ -Get in-”

Without a second thought, Mikaela jumped into the driver's side and slammed the door shut. She jolted as the ‘car’ shuddered in response. “ kzzrt- Ow-”

The tires squealed as they raced out of the lot, Barricade close on their tail. Mikaela watched the steering wheel and pedals move by themselves with fascination (and mild horror), and quickly fastened her seatbelt. The Camaro veered in and out of traffic, with the accelerator pressed hard to the floor.

Mikaela couldn't help but grip the interior and snap through clenched teeth, “You better be a kickass driver.”

--------------------------

The little scout couldn't avoid him for long- likely running on inadequate fueling and recharge. No, his main concern was obtaining the girl. His spark seethed at the fleshling's escape, and it took everything in Barricade's power not to tear Frenzy from his subspace and silence his mockery.

"Hah! Oh, Primus, Soundwave is gonna have your aft!" the wretched pest laughed through their comm.

Rattling his plating, Barricade shut off the comm and directed his attention back towards the Autobot. He resented this task, not just because it was a chore to him, but because he was a soldier- his anger was a weapon, not some delicate tool.

He didn't care for either Starscream or Soundwave, but when it was revealed that Megatron still lived he was quick to align himself in Soundwave's favor. Primus knows that if Megatron is revived, he won't be merciful to any compromised loyalties.

Barricade huffed, he knew that there was no point in complaining now. The current solar cycle was nearly over, and he would succeed. He chased the scout into what appeared to be a quarry, before losing sight of him amongst the primitive structures. Slowly, he crept through the dark, scanning for the Autobot- and the human.

----------------------------

They had quietly stopped, headlights shut off and engine silenced. With a 'thunk', the doors locked.

"We ditched him... right?" she questioned nervously.

Mikaela peered through the windshield and tensed as the cruiser creeped past them. She exhaled as the engine gently turned over.

"Okay. Let's go." she mumbled.

With a burst of speed, the Camaro whipped past Barricade and fishtailed around, a door opening and tossing Mikaela out. She clutched her leg and she felt her jaw drop as the Camaro- and Barricade- transformed. Instantly, Barricade launched himself towards the yellow robot, as Mikaela backed away.

With horror she watched as the small bot was knocked aside, and something erupted from Barricade's chest. A waist-high silver robot landed in front of her, letting out a strange shriek.

As the two giants battled, only yards away, she stared at the creature cautiously. Its bright red eyes bored into her; appendages twitching sporadically. She glanced out of the corner of her eyes and spotted something she could use. A large shelf covered in tools. There was bound to be a crowbar or a tire iron or something in there.

She hesitantly took a step back, and the creature violently lunged forward. Mikaela scrambled into the shelving and grabbed the first thing she felt. A reciprocating saw. Grinning, she spun around just as the silver menace caught up to her and clicked the power button. She couldn't help but wince at the sound of tearing metal and a whining screech pierced the cold night air.

Mikaela, panting, turned the saw off and looked down at the crumpled pile of metal. The creature's eyes weren't red, but rather a dull grey. She tossed the tool aside and frowned. She hadn't wanted to kill it. She stared at it for another moment until she realized how quiet it was. Mikaela bit her lip, and turned around. She let out a relieved sigh as the yellow creature stood over the wreckage of its battle.

Carefully, she walked towards it, stopping just a few yards away.

"Can.... can you talk?" she asked, hearing the strain in her own voice. It seemed hours of screaming in terror had taken it out of her.

Eyes flashing brightly, it responded, "XM Satellite Radio- digital cable brings you- Columbia Broadcasting System!"

Mikaela couldn't help but crack a smile, "You talk through the radio. That explains that, at least. What were you doing last night at the junkyard?"

The mech scrunched its face plates, the antennae on its head twitching wildly, "Message from Starfleet, Captain- Throughout the inanimate vastness of space- Angels will rain down like visitors from heaven- hallelujah!" it answered, pointing into the night sky.

"Visitors from heaven.... You mean you're an alien?"

It nodded in affirmation, before transforming back into the Camaro, and opening up the passenger side door. "- anymore questions you wanna ask?-"

It wanted her to get in. Mikaela felt herself stiffen. She had no idea what laid ahead of her, what she was getting herself into. Furrowing her brow, she stepped forward and into the 'car'. Like her dad always told her; no sacrifice, no victory.

Chapter Text

Frenzy onlined his optics. He shuddered in pain, that little glitch of an organic had barely missed his spark. That was its mistake. Clenching his dentae and tightening his vents, Frenzy disconnected his vital mechanisms and fuel-line bearing struts from the damaged wreckage of his body. An internal diagnostic revealed that over 70% of his non-vital structures were either severed or unsalvageable in his current circumstances.

He shook with rage, wanting nothing more than to rip the human to shreds and just go home to the Nemesis, to Soundwave and Rumble and the others. Frenzy nearly cursed Primus aloud until he heard a voice. With a jerk, he turned his head to see the human talking with the scout- Bumblebee.

‘That means Barricade’s scrapped.’ he realized in horror. That meant he was prolly scrapped too. Feeling his spark ache, he stubbornly refused the thought. Frenzy sat himself up as best he could- without the notice of the Autobot- and scanned the area, optics landing on a spilled bag. He recognized it as the human's, and after offlining his vocalizer, he painstakingly dragged himself towards it.

Once he was close enough, he perused the bag’s contents, finding an appropriate electronic. It appeared to be a rudimentary communications device, small, almost too small for him to scan. Almost.

Frenzy tossed the phone aside and began reconfiguring himself, wincing as his t-cog burned with the sensation of a new form, what plating he had left packing in tightly around his vitals. Now feeling extremely cramped and sore, he came to another realization.

Rumble was never gonna let him live this down.

-----------------------

“Hold on a sec!” Mikaela exclaimed, prodding the dashboard, “I gotta find something.”

The radio gave a crackle and they slowed to a stop. Frantically studying the ground, she spotted it- her bag. She quickly grabbed it and jogged back to the Camaro. As she sat in the passenger side, watching the wheel and clutch move of their own accord, she spoke up.

“So… what's your name?”

The dials on the radio searched for a second before landing on an advertisement, “kzzrt-Honey fresh from bumblebees!-”

She gave a wide, goofy grin. “So your name’s…. Bumblebee?”

“-You! Are! Correct!-”, affirmed an enthusiastic game show host.

She glanced around the car's- Bumblebee’s- cabin, and joked, “So Bumblebee, if you're a highly advanced alien robot, why do you turn back into this scrappy old Camaro?”

Mikaela jolted as Bumblebee screeched to a stop, opening the passenger door and unclicking her seatbelt. She gaped in disbelief as she crawled out and watched him speed away.

“Fantastic.” she muttered exasperatedly, “10 minutes into meeting him and I already managed to piss him off.”

Before she could even lift her hand up to start hitchhiking, she saw a bright flash and heard the blaring of a stereo system. As she blinked away the flash, she saw what looked like a brand new 2007 model Camaro drive up to her, clicking open the door.

“A pure-bred show off, huh?” she retorted, climbing back in. While he drove, Mikaela dug her phone out of her bag. As she picked it up it shook sharply. She could've sworn she set it up to ring, not vibrate. Trying to check her messages, she attempted to flip it open to no avail.

‘It must've broke when it hit the ground’, she figured, failing to pry it open. It was time for a new one anyways, the old brick of a thing was prone for glitching up. She dropped it back into her bag, where it silently vented in relief.

When she finally brought her attention back to the road, they were already stopping in front of an old monument outside of town. A strange feeling of wonder danced in her chest as she stepped out and stared up at the sky.

Chapter Text

Soundwave’s spark twinged in pain and he knew something was wrong, long before Barricade's comm came through.

“Soundwave, there have been-” he heard Barricade falter in stifled pain, “- complications. My self-repair systems are at full capacity but I may need assistance.”

“.... What is Frenzy's status? I am unable reach him.” Soundwave responded.

There was a long silence over their connection. “I am unsure. His signal is weak, his comm unit must be damaged. I believe he has…. opted to continue the objective himself. Despite apparent, er, injury.”

Soundwave lifted a servo to his helm, offlining his optics and giving a frustrated ex-vent.
“I will give Scalpel your coordinates. You are to stay on Earth until further notice.” he ordered, ending the transmission.

From within his chassis he felt Ravage and Laserbeak comfort him. Rumble had been assigned a mission on the other side of the Nemesis, but he knew his symbiont had felt it as well. Not that Soundwave knew quite what to tell him when he came back. His audials twitched as the dataroom doors opened behind him.

“Commander Starscream. What is it you require my assistance for?”

“Don't play coy with me, Soundwave. I figured even if you didn't respect my authority, you would at least respect my intelligence. It appears I was mistaken.” the Seeker snapped.

Soundwave turned around, staring the mech in the optics through his visor. Starscream’s wings were pinned back angrily, taking a step towards him. He felt Ravage stiffen but silently chided him.

“I'm aware of Barricade and Frenzy’s unauthorized absence.” Starscream remarked, quirking his wings and sneering, “And I'm aware of Blackout and Skorponok's conflicting orders, their little mission.”

Soundwave stood unflinchingly, “I am merely ensuring the best use of our resources in our search for Megatron and the Allspark.” he said with conviction, “Unlike you.”

Starscream’s face warped into a snarl as his vocalizer grew louder and less composed, “Because Megatron is a detriment to the Decepticons! We both know how that disturbed artifact has corroded his mind- he's obsessed with not just complete control of Cybertron-” the mech spat angrily, “- but with the sole destruction of Prime.”

“With the subjugation of his own people.”

“With cyberforming other planets without a care of Cybertron’s current state.”

“He is unfit to rule the Decepticons”

Soundwave slammed a fist against the table next to him, taking a heavy step towards the seeker- who jumped back and onlined his weapon systems. His optics glared bright red through his visor, staring daggers into Starscream.
“I don't care.”

The tension between the two cut like a knife, before Soundwave quietly unclenched his servo and stepped back.

“We have bigger problems.” he stated distantly, strain in his voice. Turning around, he displayed on one of the large screens what appeared to be four vessels entering earth atmosphere.

----------------------------------------------------

As he studied the stars carefully, Bumblebee could only feel a ghost of his previous excitement. While his friends were finally here- so were the Decepticons. Still in his (sleek and totally not scrappy) new altmode, he glanced at Mikaela, who was now gawking up towards the fiery balls of light falling towards Earth as well.

As the four bots began to land, he was greeted with an encrypted set of rendezvous coordinates through his internal comm. He gave a small beep on his horn and popped his door open, jolting the human from her trance. Feeling a bit better from her air of enthusiasm- even if it was the oblivious kind- he tore out of the small courtyard and sped towards their next location.

Once ‘Bee had neared the coordinates, he slowed down, cautiously observing his surroundings before turning into an alleyway to see three freshly scanned vehicles waiting for him. His friends. Barely remembering that the human was in his cab, he urged her out, and awaited their fourth arrival.

-------------

When Mikaela first bought that old Camaro, she figured the most eventful thing that could happen was making a decent profit from it.

But, she realized as she stepped into the ring of cars, she hadn't even scraped the surface of “eventful”. Before she could truly assess her situation, Mikaela heard the loud hiss of hydraulics, and was greeted by the sight of a massive semi truck (a 379 Peterbilt, from the looks of it) emblazoned with the same insignia that Bumblebee and the other ‘vehicles' bore.

She couldn't help but hold her breath and inch back as the truck steadily rolled forward and screeched to a halt, only feet away from her. All of a sudden, she was surrounded by the strange whirring and clunking of alien machinery- the cars encircling her beginning to shift and transform- until she was surrounded by hulking metal aliens.

‘Feeling small would be an understatement.’ Mikaela thought silently, trying to keep her fight or flight instincts under control.

The tallest one, the Peterbilt, looked down at her, and with the thrum of live metal, knelt to her level. Even crouched and bent over, he still towered over her. Mikaela forced herself to maintain her spot and what little composure she had left as the being studied her for a moment. In a baritone voice, the robot spoke.

“Are you Mikaela J. Banes, descendent of Archibald Banes?” he questioned, eyes(?) narrowed.

“You know my name…” she mumbled with wide eyes, before quickly responding. “Yes.”

“My name is Optimus Prime,” he said, standing back up. “We are autonomous robotic organisms from the planet Cybertron”

Mikaela gave a small jump as another bot- the green BMW- spoke up. “But you can call us Autobots for short.”, he stated matter-of-factly.

She blinked, unsure of how to properly react to any of this. “Autobots,” she breathed, “okay.”

Optimus rested a hand on the other bots’ shoulder, “This is our Chief Medical Officer, Ratchet.”

Behind her, the loud crash of metal on metal caused her to spin around and take in the sight of the former custom Pontiac Solstice, reclining on top of a dinky minivan.

“What's crackin’, little glitches?” he asked, snapping his visor up and giving a kind grin at Bumblebee and her.

“This is my Second in Command- Jazz.” Optimus said, gesturing towards the smaller bot.

At this, Jazz leaned down towards her a bit, “Seems like a pretty cool place to kick it, kid.” he remarked. Mikaela supposed it was the alien visitor equivalent to a compliment about your home decor. Giving a small frown, she looked up to Optimus.

“How did you guys learn to talk like us?” she questioned. It was her turn to ask things.

“We've learned Earth's languages through the World Wide Web”, he answered, giving a small tap to one his antennas.

Mikaela gave a nod, just as the black GMC Topkick, now a large weapon-heavy ‘bot, joined his side.

“This is our weapons specialist, Ironhide.”

The mech’s arm weapons began to spin rapidly, dark red glowing as they warmed up. With an unconvinced scowl, Ironhide took a step towards her, “Feelin’ lucky, punk?”

Mikaela nearly took a step back, scared, before giving a scowl right back- he sounded like those damn cops that gave her hell the other day.

Promptly, Optimus laid a hand on his shoulder, “Easy, Ironhide.”

The scowl turned into an expression of dawning regret as he powered down his firearms, ”I'm kidding- I just wanted to show her my cannons.” he said sheepishly. She relaxed herself and let out a small, still somewhat anxious laugh.

Finally, Optimus lifted his hand towards the more familiar yellow ‘bot. “You already know your guardian, Bumblebee.”

With a loud crackle of his radio, he pushed himself from his spot leaning against the wall, feigning boxing strikes, “- Check out the rep, yep, second to none-”

“Guardian, huh?” Mikaela asked, a small smile growing on her face.

He gave a her a thumbs up, as the crackling grew louder and he thumped his fist against his chest. Ratchet was quick to hurry to the smaller bot's side, his hand turning into a strange medical device.

“His vocal processors were damaged in battle.”, he said in a quiet tone, “I'm…. still working on them.”

Mikaela didn't have to be an alien expert to recognize the sound of remorse in the mech’s voice. It quickly dawned on her, Bee had gotten hurt in battle.

She turned back to Optimus, her expression now grave. “Why are you here?”

Chapter Text

“We,” Optimus’ face fell, “are here in search of the Allspark- and we must find it before Megatron.”

Mikaela couldn't help but feel out of the loop, and raised an eyebrow. “Megatron?”

The look he gave her was an old, tired one- obvious even in his strange alien features. Gently, he reached a hand to the side of his head, and with a small click flooded a strange light. Glancing around, she jolted slightly as pavement beneath her appeared to split apart, and her surroundings morphed into an unfamiliar landscape.

She looked back up to Optimus, who was now staring pensively at the scene unfolding in front of them. The night sky was now filled with bright yellow light, the only shadow being cast by an enormous cube, and more giant mechanoid beings cheering in celebration. “Our planet had finally achieved peace, with the discovery and the revival of the Allspark.”

Again their setting changed, and now they were in a dark, enclosed room; where a strange, heiroglyphed structure stood ominously. She could hear a low whispering emanate from it, and watched as a large figure emerged from the shadows. A grey mech, nearly Optimus’ size, quietly inched closer to the object, reaching his hand out towards it.

“But with finding of the Allspark, another ancient relic was discovered. It housed a force of malice- of evil- and it corrupted Megatron.” Optimus said, his voice almost a murmur now. “Although we both governed Cybertron together, he became power-hungry and consumed by hatred and fear. He betrayed us, cleaving our planet into two factions. Autobots and Decepticons.”

As Megatron's fingers brushed the surface of the relic, a crackle resounded and now Mikaela watched as a violent battle raged across a war torn horizon. The once bright sky was now dark and hazy, and the beautiful planet was now littered with ruins and corpses. Mikaela felt her throat tighten a little at the sight. Almost violently, the illusion dissipated, and she was back in that dirty little alleyway on planet Earth again. Mikaela tried to steady herself, and focused on Optimus as he continued to speak, doing her best to ignore her vertigo.

“Our war finally consumed the planet, and we were forced to launch the Allspark to the stars, in hopes that it would be out of Megatron's grasp. We had hoped wrong.” Optimus said, as the other ‘Bots shifted uncomfortably. “Megatron followed the Allspark to Earth, but crash landed before he could retrieve it. That was when Captain Banes discovered him, reactivated his navigational systems, and had the Allspark's coordinates imprinted into his glasses”

“How have people been finding out about my Great Grandfather's glasses?” Mikaela asked, thinking back to her interrogation from Barricade.

The great mech's inner machinery clicked and whirred for a moment before he finally answered.

“Ebay.”

--------------------------------------------------------------

Will absentmindedly paced across the floor of the aircraft. They had been extracted yesterday but he couldn't find it in him to sleep, after what had happened. Many of them couldn't. Before the could be rushed into medevac choppers, Epps had seen the glint of the machine's severed tail, and impulsively grabbed it. After wrapping it in his tattered equipment tarping, he smuggled it onto the large plane.

Now, against their better judgement, they had strapped the peculiar limb to a table, and were examining it. Luckily some of the remaining soldiers had experience in the scientific field, and had an idea of what they were doing. Deciding to take the opportunity to distract himself- and make use of himself- he joined the crowd around the steel table.

He rested his eyes upon the odd, almost alien-looking hunk of metal and listened to one of the men talk. “It's like a self-regenerating molecular armor, using what looks like some kind of nanite technology?”

Lennox spoke up, “Look at the scorch mark where the sabot round hit. Melted right through.” he looked across the table towards Epps, “Hey, aren't sabots hot-loaded for like, a six thousand-degree magnesium burn?”

Giving a nod, “Close to it. It melts through tank armor.”, Epps said.

“So this metal skin must react to extreme heat.” Will said, resting his hand on the appendage. He felt it twitch slightly and jerked his hand away.

“Heads up!” the soldier next to him shouted, jumping back. Will's face twisted in unnerved astonishment as the tail thrashed on the table and shot up. The razor-sharp tip lunged back down with alarming force, effortlessly piercing through the steel table- and dangerously close to where Epps had stood. Will's mind replayed the sickening moment of watching Donnelly being impaled and pulled beneath the sand for what seemed to be the millionth time that day.

Epps, breaking him out of his trance, snapped angrily at the scientist, “I thought you said that thing was dead, man!”

To keep from slipping back into his intrusive thoughts, Will stepped back up to the table in an attempt to take charge. He slammed his hands down onto tail, tightly holding it in place. “Someone help me strap this thing down! Robert, can you get on the horn with Northern Command? You know better than anyone that our most effective weapon is high-heat sabot rounds. Recommend we load them on all the gunships.”

Later that day- after the specimen had been thoroughly duct taped and cinched tightly to the table, and after Epps had successfully gotten ahold of their superiors, Will found himself alone with his thoughts again. He thought about his family to keep the constant reminders, the disturbing memories and the hollow silences his many dead friends now lived in, at bay. Sarah and Annabelle- hell, Epps was as close as family too- were the best things that ever happened to him. He felt the small frown on his lips twitch up into the ghost of a smile. He would get through this for them.

Chapter Text

Maggie Madsen prided herself in her abilities to stay calm in stressful situations. She didn't even flinch when she got caught bypassing her high school's firewalls- didn't even get in major trouble.

But as she listened to Glen loudly eat an entire plate of donuts she could feel that calm being tested.

She rested her head in her hands, she needed to get out of here, to talk to someone in charge. Maggie sat like that for a few moments before Glen finally swallowed the last bite of donut.

“Okay, Maggie, look. Let me break it down to you how it's gonna happen,” he said confidently. Maggie turned to him and looked at him with wide, disbelieving eyes.

'Please tell me he's not gonna-'

To her avail, he continued, “They're gonna come through that door and be good cop, bad cop. Don't fall for that, all right?”

'He is.'

“That's why I ate their food. See, they put the plate of donuts out here to test your guilt. If you don't touch it, you're guilty. I ate the whole plate,” he pushed the plate forward for emphasis and Maggie gently brought a hand to her mouth in exasperation, “The WHOLE plate. And when they walk through that door you don't say nothing.”

As if on cue, two very large and very muscled interrogators entered the room. She glanced at Glen to see him flash her a smug smile. One of the men menacingly slid the empty plate to the opposite end of the table, and slammed a thick binder down in front of them.

Glen let out a panicked shriek, “She did it! She did it! She's the one you want! All right!? I was just sitting at home watching cartoons, playing video games with my cousin, and she came in there, and-”

Maggie felt what little patience she had left snap like a twig. “Glen you freak!”

“Hey! I am not going to jail for you or anybody else! I have done nothing bad my entire life! Hey, man, I'm still a virgin-” he said, getting up from the table and reaching out to one of the agents, and Maggie cringed as he was slammed back into the chair.

“Aw……. sugar rush……” he mumbled pathetically.

“Glen, for the love of god, shut up.” she snapped, trying to gain some semblance of control over the situation. “Sirs, this isn't his fault- please just listen to me!”

The two men glanced at each other and then to the one-way glass against the wall. And then their hardened gazes were centered directly on her.

“Okay.” she said carefully, “Whoever hacked into your military system downloaded a file, alright? It was something about someone named Banes, and some government group- one named ‘Sector Seven’.”

Maggie paused to watch them exchange more indecipherable glances. Frustrated, she barely withheld herself from shouting, “You have to let me talk to Defense Secretary Keller before you go to war with the wrong country!”

--------------------------------------------------------------

It was settled- she would head back to the shop with the Autobots and give them her Grandfather's glasses. Optimus reasoned that if Barricade was already on Earth searching for it, it would be safer for them all to escort her. Still dazed from the sheer strangeness of everything, she watched as they all transformed back into their respective vehicles in a flurry of shifting, spinning metal. Mikaela reached out to open Bumblebee's door but was stopped by the bright flash of Ratchet's high beams and shielded her eyes instead.

“I still need to properly scan and run diagnostics on him- which will be much harder with an organic lifeform in his chassis.” the wildlife rescue ‘vehicle’ stated.

Sheepishly, Mikaela glanced at the other Autobots. She doubted there was any polite way to ask a living vehicle if you could hitch a ride in their cab. Not a second passed, however, before Jazz gently swung his passenger side door open.

The silver Pontiac's engine hummed in a friendly manner, “Hop in, kid.”

Mikaela felt some of her nervousness fade as she carefully stepped into the car, holding her purse in her lap. The door clicked closed and Optimus pulled forwards, leading the rest of the Autobots to the highway. She noted the order they fell into. Optimus, followed closely by Jazz, Ironhide, Bumblebee, and Ratchet. Maybe it was a ranking thing?

Mikaela was distracted from her thoughts by a bit of awkward silence. She hated to be rude, so she she attempted what her dad was best at- making conversation.

“Thanks for giving me a ride, Jazz.”

“Hey, no worries, I doubt you humans have many ways to get around besides your Earth vehicles.” he reassured. He reminded her of some of her dad's friends that she grew up around.

Mikaela relaxed in her (‘his??’) seat. “So uh, what do you think of Earth so far? I doubt it's as nice your home planet.” she said, trying to avoid the topic of interstellar war.

It was silent for moment, “Cybertron was beautiful, before the war.” Jazz's voice sounded sad, before perking up a little, “Earth is interesting, though! I like your species’ music, even if it doesn't compare to Cybertronian tunes…. Wanna listen to some?”

Curious, Mikaela nodded. The dials of the stereo system twitched and adjusted and strange, electronic alien noises burst from the speakers, their frequencies so high and so low that they hurt her ears a little. It had a rhythm, even if a little incomprehensible for her. A bit gentler, the clip of music slowly faded out.

“Not bad, although I think i'll stick to human genres. I'm more of rock music gal.” she smiled and gave a small apologetic pat to the console, only to hear Jazz chuckle.

“I actually chose my designation after one of my favorite genres I found. My, and probably most Cybertronian names, would be unpronounceable for any human vocalizers” he said, carefully weaving through traffic.

She was about to say something when she shifted her leg and felt a dull throbbing. The downside of finally relaxing a little was remembering her sore leg and tired body. Mikaela stifled a yawn. She was having conversations with aliens and going on a quest to find her Grandfather's glasses, and she was thinking about naps. ‘What a judge of character.’ she internally griped.

Jazz must've noticed her wincing and tentative placement of her leg, and a small blue light scanned her body. He let out a sound akin to a concerned human parent. “I'm no medic, but you should get some recharge- or uh, sleep, I think is what you organics call it. Once we have the glasses you'll be safe, and Optimus will likely leave you at your domicile until further notice.”

Feeling a bit like a little kid, she kept from protesting. This was a huge alien war that was way out of her control- but she couldn't shake the thought that she needed to help them more. She almost didn't notice when Jazz and the others pulled to a stop- right in front of her autoshop. Quietly, she hopped out of Jazz's cab and patted his bumper as she slunk her way over to Optimus.

“Listen, I need you to lay low for like, five minutes, okay? I shouldn't take long.” she said in a low voice, then turned from them and stepped to her house. Fumbling through her purse, she found her keys and unlocked her door, only to see her disaster of a home.

‘'Where the fuck did I put those glasses.” Mikaela whispered to herself, deciding to upturn her room first. She pulled out drawer after drawer without success, when she suddenly heard a loud, destructive noise from outside. Her heart in her throat, she raced outside to see all five of them, transformed and making a ruckus in her parking lot. She felt her jaw drop in horror.

“What happened to laying low?!” she couldn't help but hiss. She hoped her nosy neighbors were too asleep to feel the rumble of giant footsteps.

“Please hurry and find the glasses.” the larger bot replied.

With a nervousness, Mikaela rushed back into the house and frantically started to go through the living room and kitchen. To no avail, she couldn't find the godforsaken heirloom anywhere. Another loud crash sounded off, but this time, it was from inside the shop. Slowly she turned around to see Optimus and Bumblebee climbing over the walls of her lot. Mikaela barely withheld a shriek as Optimus stepped onto one of the cars she was repairing, the crunch of steel and hours of hard work almost making her nauseous.

“Oh, oops…. sorry, my bad…” he said with regret, gently raising his foot off of the wreckage.

Let's hope that one of these Decepticons kills me before that Nissan's owner does.’ she thought bleakly. As Bumblebee peaked out over the walls, Optimus crouched down and started scanning her living space.

A loud siren erupted from outside and the power blew out- a peek out the window showing a discombobulated Ratchet toppled over next to sparking power lines while Ironhide looked very amused at him. Outside, Jazz had his high beams turned on, searching the area, and accidentally blared his lights into multiple houses.

Ironhide let out a growl, “Eugh. It appears she has a rodent infestation.” he turned to see her mortified expression through the glass, “Shall I terminate?” he asked, gesturing to her neighbor's prized mastiff, Bones.

Mikaela threw her window open, and nearly yelled, “That's a pet, and if you hurt it I will personally take your robot eyes and shove them up your tailpipe, do you understand?

The mech froze and powered down his cannons dejectedly, “Agh. My pede's gonna rust.” he muttered, scraping the damp appendage on the grass.

Optimus, seeing her distress, leaned over the walls of the lot, “What's the matter with you? Can't you be quiet? She wants us to be quiet.” he urged. Mikaela's breath hitched a little as she tried to remember where she had set the glasses, and Optimus glanced down at her.

“Calm down-” he started quietly, and Mikaela shot him a look. The mech stilled for a moment, before touching the side of his antenna, “Autobots, fall back and transform into vehicle mode.”

Optimus and Bee climbed out the way they came, and another look out her window showed the five Autobots sitting neatly in her parking lot. She took a long deep breath and sat down on the couch, closing her eyes in exhaustion. Mikaela wracked her brain for where she left her grandfather's things. She blinked her eyes open and glanced around the room, before she paused.

Sitting on her coffee table, right in front of her, were the sparkling wire-framed eyeglasses. Mikaela could’ve almost cried as she snatched them up triumphantly and walked to the door. She swung it open.

The Autobots were gone.

Chapter Text

Instead of the colorful entourage of alien robots, there were now multiple black SUVs screeching into her property, red and blue lights flashing obnoxiously. At least a dozen men in black suits and hazmat attire were unloading from the cars, and she shoved the glasses into her bra. A tall, curly-haired man strutted up to her.

“Mikaela Bames?” he asked.

“It's Banes.” she answered, “Who are you?” Mikaela felt uneasy at how close the men were getting to her garage doors.

“We're with the government. Sector Seven.” he said, pulling a strange badge out of his suit and into her face. “You are the great-granddaughter of Captain Archibald Banes, are you not?”

She opened her mouth to speak and was cut off by the man grabbing ahold of the half open door- he was close enough that she could smell his awful cologne. “May I enter the premises, miss?”

As he pushed his way past her, she saw the men cutting the locks on her doors, and barging into her shop. “Hey! What the hell is going on?!”

“You were detained and filed a stolen car report last night. We believe its involved in a national security matter.”

Mikaela felt helpless as armed men tore her house and shop apart and waved geiger counters over her belongings and equipment. She felt her frustration rise, and threw any remaining caution out the window. Her eyes snapped to her trusty baseball bat propped against the wall. Without thinking, she grabbed it, and watched the sleazeball's eyes grow wide.

“Unless you've got a warrant, you better get the fuck off of my property.” she hissed, gripping the handle so tightly her knuckles turned white.

He rested his hand against the gun on his hip (‘Like a true pig’, Mikaela thought) and glared at her angrily, “Really? You gonna try to get rough with us? You're comin' with me, missy.” Before he could make a move, another suited man nervously rushed up to his side- a receding gray hair and a sharp face making him appear almost birdlike.

“Simmons…”, they both regarded her with a strange glance, “I think it's direct contact.”

In an almost frantic manner, Simmons snatched a geiger counter from a passing hand and warily waved it over her. An already steady clicking grew louder and more persistent as it passed over her. Mikaela cocked an eyebrow and looked at the two men, now sharing her bewildered expression for a split second.

They snapped back into full seriousness, “Fourteen rads. Bingo! Tag ‘em and bag ‘em!” Simmons exclaimed. Several of the men surrounded her and she angrily swung her bat at them, only to be snagged from behind and handcuffed. They shoved her into one of the SUVs and slammed the door shut behind her.

“I'm not talking until I get a lawyer.” she snapped, glaring at Simmons through the rearview mirror.

“That's fine, I'll do the talking for you.” he replied as his partner started the car. “LadiesMan two-seventeen. That is your father's eBay username, right? Anyways, last night at the station, you told the officer your car was stolen. Care to enlighten me?”

Mikaela held her gaze without flinching.

Simmons' face readily displayed his irritation and he twisted in his seat to look directly at her. He fished his strange badge out again and waved it at her. “You see this? This is my do-whatever-i-want-and-get-away-with-it badge. I'm gonna lock you up forever.”

He was telling the truth. She could tell. These obviously weren't the run-of-the-mill cops that gave her trouble, these were the feds, and it was gonna be their word against hers. Tired, in pain, and pissed beyond belief, she couldn't help but shoot back at him. “Oh, god. You know what? You're just pissy 'cause after this you've got to get back to guarding the mall.

“Don't test me, training bra. Especially with your daddy's parole coming up.”

Mikaela felt her heart stop and her breath hitch. “What?”

“You heard me- you're both criminals, you've even got a juvie record to prove it. Well, it sure would be a shame if he had to rot in jail for the rest of his natural life…”

She could feel the tears welling up in her eyes, clouding her sight, but she could see his smug expression and she lost her composure.

Her dad had gotten into some financial trouble and fell into the traps of a loan shark. When he couldn't make payments, he resorted to less-than-legal ways to try and keep up. He did his best to keep her out of it, but as a single father running a business out of their home, he couldn't shield her completely. When he got busted for helping run a chop shop, Mikaela had been in her room, fiddling with her model cars. At age 12 she had been detained by police, and when she refused to testify against her dad, she was forced into 3 years of juvenile detention. It was only a miracle that her father's friend had bought their Autoshop and kept it functioning for her, and when she successfully filed for emancipation, he gave it to her to co-manage with the extensive knowledge her dad had taught her. Now she was 17, but in that moment, she felt like a 12 year old in the back of a cop car, scared for her dad.

Simmons raised his voice, “It’s time to talk!

In that moment, the entire car screeched to a halt, and the sound of crumpling metal pierced the air. All three of them let out startled screams as the vehicle was lifted up off the ground and promptly slammed back down. Mikaela fell awkwardly back into the seats, arms twisted painfully from the handcuffs. Groaning, she adjusted herself just in time to watch the roof of the car being ripped off as easily as a lid on a tin can. She braced herself to see the angry face of a Decepticon, and instead breathed a sigh of relief.

Mikaela laughed tiredly, tear tracks still wet on her face. “You assholes are in trouble now. Gentlemen, I want to introduce you to my friend- Optimus Prime.”

Optimus seemed to growl, making him even more menacing as he loomed over the two agents. “Taking the child was a bad move.”

A handful of identical SUVs pulled in rapidly, heavily armed soldiers and agents spilling out, and she felt warm air huff from vents on his body. “Autobots, relieve them of their weapons.”

Mikaela propped herself up with her knees and watched in marvel as the ‘Bots surrounded the men and Jazz's strange, claw-like hand gave a high pitched whirr.

Give me those.

He made a gesture and every visible weapon in their hands flew onto it like a magnet, agents stumbling and exclaiming in shock. Then, just as quickly as it started, the whirring stopped and the firearms simply clattered to the pavement.

Mikaela tried to right herself, and succeeded only in losing balance and nearly falling out of the destroyed car. Her weight shifted onto her sore leg and she bit back a curse. Optimus studied her with a concerned frown. He waved his hand and Bumblebee jogged over, powering his cannons down.

“I'm fine, I just need the cuffs off.” she said, trying not to sound as pathetic as she felt. They both shot her incredulous looks, before ‘Bee gently motioned for her to turn around. She hesitantly complied and heard a sound akin to a blowtorch. She sucked in her breath and bit her lip, careful not to move. Within seconds, her hands were free.

She rubbed her wrists, and looked at the two agents, who were still frozen in their seats.
Mikaela hopped out of the car and quietly stood behind Optimus.

A few seconds passed, with Optimus and the agents staring intensely at each other. Optimus spoke up first, not lowering himself to their level as he had with her. “You don't seem afraid. Are you not surprised to see us?”

Simmons stuttered nervously, something Mikaela grinned at, “Look, there are S7... protocols, okay? I'm not authorized to communicate with you except to tell you that I can't communicate with you-”

Optimus's eyes narrowed. “Get out of the car.”

Simmons raised his hands in surrender but didn't move. “Listen I-”

Now!

The men flinched, slowly stepped out of the wreckage of the vehicle, and joined the rest of the defenseless agents, who were now lined up next to Ironhide.

Mikaela followed after him and jabbed a finger into his chest, “What is S7? Answer me.”

“I'm the one who asks the questions here, not you little lady!” he shot, trying to intimidate her again. Ironhide took a loud step forward and the sound of his cannon's chamber loading was impossible to ignore. Mikaela smiled. ‘Not this time.’ she thought.

Simmons gulped and stepped back. “Look, I am not at liberty to discuss that.”

“That's fine, I'll do the talking.” she said snidely. Mikaela grabbed his jacket and yanked it open, snatching his badge away.

“Hey, that is a federal offense-”

”Do-whatever-I-want-and-get-away-with-it badge, right?” She didn't bother fighting the smirk on her lips.

He muttered under his breath, “Yeah. Brave now all of a sudden, with her big alien friends standing over there.”

Mikaela rolled her eyes and turned her attention to the badge. Inscribed in black lettering were the words ‘Sector Seven.’

She pocketed it, and returned her gaze to Simmons. She rubbed her sore wrists and snorted in laughter.

He glared at her cautiously. “.....What?”

Chapter Text

Optimus was cautiously scanning the sky when Jazz approached him.

“Something isn’t right about this. We’re here, we have the coordinates to the Allspark- and we haven't heard a single peep out of the ‘Cons. It feels too easy.” his second in command- his friend- said.

Optimus turned to the silver mech, “I agree. I believe these strange humans and their organization may have something to do with it. I cannot seem to find any information on them, and it is rather…. suspicious"

"What do you want to do about the youngling?" Jazz asked, crossing his arms. They both shifred to face the rest of the group.

The agents were now all bound to each other with handcuffs, with their leader restrained uncomfortably to a pole. The girl stood in front of him, twirling the key around her finger, before flinging it far into the distance. His Autobots all seemed entertained by her small gesture, even Optimus couldn't help but let out an amused huff.

"We can't bring her with us, she would only be in more danger, and she would slow us down. A war zone is no place for a child. We can leave her somewhere safe after she gives us the glasses." Optimus answered resolutely. Jazz gave a small nod, but Optimus could see his slight hesitation and rested a servo on his pauldron.

Jazz exvented and looked up at him, "I just have a bad feeling that there isn't anywhere safe for her to stay- safer than being with us, sure- but from Bumblebee's reports about Sector Seven, it seems like they would just hunt her down like they did with him. And we both know that backdoor, secret government agencies aren't exactly the best company." Jazz paused, "I don't know any alternatives, and I know its only one human, but it's... a concern."

Optimus thought for a moment, considering their options, when he heard Ironhide shout.

"Optimus! Incoming!"

______________________________________

Mikaela watched as Ironhide bellowed something in his alien language and all of the 'bots readied their weapons. She stood, completely confused until she heard the tale-tell sound of helicopter blades coming closer. Optimus and Jazz rushed over, and Ironhide took aim with his cannon, only for Optimus to push it aside and snap something at him. The helicopter was visible now, and floodlights now shone directly at them. There were humans controlling it- that meant no Decepticons, she hoped.

Ironhide growled in what she figured was frustration, and lowered his weapon. Their attention turned to the flashing lights and the sirens of Black SUVS speeding towards their left. The angry weapons specialist's hand shifted into a strange structure, and with a loud snarl he slammed his fist into the ground, in the direction of the oncoming vehicles.

She watched as a shockwave of energy took out the engines and computerized mechanisms of the cars, bringing each of them to a screeching halt. Mikaela felt faint, already at her limit from the pain in her leg and the long day spent running in terror. Ratchet gazed down at her for a moment and said something to Optimus. The next thing she knew, Ironhide, Ratchet, Bee and Jazz all transformed back into vehicles and sped away, multiple helicopters following suit.

Quickly, but gently, Optimus knelt down and held out his open palm. "Up you get."

Mikaela carefully hefted herself, trying to keep the weight off of her injured leg, into his hand. The metal felt warm to the touch, and a closer look revealed the complex mechanisms that made up hand. She was momentarily reminded of a book she had read as a child- ‘The BFG'- as he lifted her up onto his shoulder. Mikaela climbed into a space between an exhaust stack and a strut, and upon realizing she was over 40 feet in the air, she latched onto him for dear life. Once she had settled, the giant mech lurched forward, running from the remaining helicopters, and towards the city. She buried her face into the strut next to her, eyes clamped shut, as she felt Optimus turn corners and heard the sound of screeching traffic and stomping footsteps.

Mikaela only opened her eyes once they had stopped, only to be greeted with the sight of Optimus rapidly climbing the underside of a bridge. She tightened her grip and her jaw, but still wasn't prepared for the shift in gravity when Optimus pulled himself up and held himself by his hands and feet over the ground- out of sight of the helicopters and patrolling cars.

Mikaela could feel her sweaty palms losing their grip, and her tired arms beginning to fail in supporting her weight. Time seemed to slow down as a helicopter flew directly below them and Optimus adjusted himself, causing ger to lose what grip she had left. Mikaela let out a horrified shriek as she began racing towards the concrete.

"No!" Optimus exclaimed, swinging his legs back down in an attempt to catch her. She painfully bounced off of his foot, and blacked out right as someone caught her in mid air.

 

_____________________________________

Bumblebee had caught her in time, barely making it before she had hit the ground. Optimus cursed himself, he was a fool to put a fragile organic in danger like this. Bumblebee's rescue had attracted attention, and now human aircraft and vehicles swarmed the scene, surrounding the two. As Mikaela regained consciousness, a restraint shot out from one of the aircraft, wrapping tightly around Bumblebee's servo. In a split second, another one burst out to constrict around his leg, effectively tossing him to the ground when he attempted to break free.

He felt an angry rumble in his engines, and started to jump down from under the bridge when his communicator pinged. The message was from the small scout, still struggling to get loose.

"Don't help me, sir. Mikaela dropped the coordinates directly below you in the fall. Complete the mission, then you can worry about finding me, if I don't get out first myself. If we harm these humans, it will ruin any chance of cooperation between us, and they'll only target us with the same hatred as the Decepticons."

It pinged again and there was another message.

"Besides, they can't torture me for information if I can't talk, right?"

Optimus ground his dentae in frustration as he watched the girl hoarsely scream at the other humans, trying to tear them away from the incapacitated mech despite her drastic limp. Quietly, he stepped down and scanned for the glasses, finding them intact. The large mech fell back, into the shadows, and watched from an unfinished bridge construction. He said nothing as he heard his fellow Autobots transform behind him, still watching while the humans loaded his scout onto a convoy and dragged the girl into a vehicle.

Jazz approached him, "Optimus, are we just gonna stand here and do nothing? This isn't right."

Optimus relayed Bumblebee's message to the rest of them. "He's right. There is no way to free him without harming the humans, and whether we have qualms about it or not-" he glanced at Ironhide, who looked like he was ready to tear him apart, "- it will only cause the humans to hunt us down more ruthlessly and become another obstacle in retrieving the Allspark."

He rested his gaze downward. "We must let them leave. For now, at least."