This Bayverse fic is AU, so don't expect it to follow the movie storyline.

Disclaimer: Transformers belongs to Hasbro/Michael Bay.

It was just dumb luck that the Autobots were still alive despite the fact that they barely escaped a Decepticon attack on the way to Earth. However, without the Ark, it seemed that there was no way off this planet. At the moment, while Arcee, Chromia and Elita One scanned a nearby Internet tower, Optimus stood outside near the ship in a vast field just outside a city as the other Autobots began moving the cargo outside, including the Pillars. Then again, he was bewildered with one thought.

"If the Decepticons were following us," muttered Optimus, "I wonder if they think we were killed when they shot us down."

"I'm probably close," responded a voice from dark inside the ship, "I bet I'm in pieces back here!"

Optimus recognized the voice and headed back into the ship to help the Autobot. He found Smokescreen stuck underneath the debris. Without hesitation, he moved the debris out of the way, allowing Smokescreen to crawl out of the crevice.

"Thanks, Optimus," smiled Smokescreen.

"You're welcome, Smokescreen," replied Optimus.

Just then, Optimus and Smokescreen heard more voices.

"Get your aft out of my face!" grumbled one voice.

"AAGH," panicked another voice, "fraggin Cons!"

"Help!" shouted yet another voice, "I can't see anything!"

"Should we help them?" asked Smokescreen.

Optimus nodded without saying anything. The two Autobots removed more of the debris, freeing Ironhide, Jazz and Wheeljack.

"Thanks, Optimus," sighed Ironhide.

"You're welcome," replied Optimus, "are you all right?"

"Yes," nodded Ironhide, "but where is everyone else?"

"The others are fine," explained Optimus, "they are just moving the cargo outside and Sentinel is keeping an optic on the Pillars."

Just then, they heard a loud noise from outside.

"Ratchet," roared Sentinel, "I needed that!"

"Look out, Sides," warned Sunstreaker, "old guy fight!"

Optimus led Smokescreen, Ironhide, Jazz and Wheeljack outside to investigate. It seemed apparent that Ratchet knocked over a container of energon that sat with the Pillars.

"What for?" remarked Ratchet, "filling your bottomless pit?"

"For the space bridge, you dumbaft!" thundered Sentinel, "what do you think it runs on, space dust?"

"Optimus," asked Smokescreen, "should we do something?"

Optimus shook his head.

"Those two never get physical," answered Optimus, "swearing and insults is as far as it ever goes."

"Gotcha," agreed Smokescreen.

Figuring that he could settle the dispute between Sentinel and Ratchet, Optimus began to walk towards them. Just then, he suddenly felt a shard-like object underneath his foot. After withdrawing his foot, Optimus knelt down, picked up the object and began to inspect it. It was small and silver, but he soon noticed some markings on it; the same markings on the AllSpark. He held onto the shard and approached Sentinel and Ratchet. His presence was enough to stop the argument. They both looked at him with neutral expressions.

"What?" they asked.

"I was going to settle the dispute," explained Optimus, holding out the shard in front of them, "but then I found this."

Sentinel and Ratchet examined the shard carefully.

"Not…possible!" gasped Sentinel.

"By the AllSpark!" exclaimed Ratchet.

"Yes," agreed Sentinel, "it's part of the AllSpark, bolts for processors."

Optimus took a closer look at the shard again, and figured that Sentinel and Ratchet were probably right.

"If that's the case," expressed Optimus, "then there's still hope. But then, I wonder if there are more shards like this one."

"It's quite possible," assumed Sentinel, "that there are other shards like this one, scattered all over this planet."

"Then we gotta find them," replied Bumblebee, "before the Cons do!"

Meanwhile, Ironhide spotted some black SUVs approaching as Arcee, Chromia and Elita One returned from scouting.

"Optimus," warned Ironhide, "we got company!"

"Cons?" asked Prowl.

"I don't think so," answered Ironhide.

"Scrap!" exclaimed Sentinel, "the Pillars! I can't hide them all!"

"I'll deal with them," assured Optimus.

Optimus approached the SUVs as humans in business suits hopped out and approached the Autobots. One of them, a black-haired middle-aged man, bravely ambled towards Optimus.

"Freeze!" he shouted, "don't come any closer! Alright, guys, I want these things contained on the double! Move!"

"Are those humans?" asked Chromia.

"Probably," nodded Elita.

"I don't know what you intend to do with us," replied Optimus, "but I assure you we come in peace."

"That's what they all say," remarked a soldier, "tell it to the judge, pal."

"Scrap," muttered Prowl, "we're fragged!"

Sentinel wasted no time as he pulled out his Primax blade and shield.

"Autobots," commanded Sentinel, "defend yourselves!"

Unfortunately, before the Autobots could even respond, they found themselves surrounded by soldiers.

"Scrap," grumbled Sentinel.

Sentinel stood protectively in front of the stacks of Pillars.

"Here's the deal," proposed the agent, "come with us, and maybe we could put you to good use."

"And what would that be?" asked Optimus.

He was interrupted when he heard a soldier fire liquid nitrogen, followed by Sentinel screaming in pain and dropping to one knee as his other leg froze.

"Nasutn'on!" panicked Optimus.

Optimus frantically rushed to Sentinel's aid in an attempt to help him. The old mech struggled to get up, only to fall again, his frozen leg unable to support him. Optimus reached out his hand towards Sentinel, but then he was suddenly hit with liquid nitrogen himself.

"AAGH!" he shouted.

The agent sauntered up to Optimus while soldiers continued to blast the Autobots with liquid nitrogen, some of them moving in to restrain them.

"Don't even think you'll get away from us so easily, aliens," scolded the agent.

"Do you intend to harm us?" asked Optimus.

Sentinel cried out again and fell onto his side...right on top of his arm, from which Optimus heard a sickening crack, followed by another pained scream from Sentinel.

"Great," muttered Ratchet, "now I have to fix that, you idiots!"

Sentinel winced as Optimus tried to get closer, before the nitrogen was fired straight at Sentinel's head. Optimus couldn't bear to see the older mech in pain.

"Please," begged Optimus, "stop! You're hurting him!"

"Yeah, right," sneered the agent, "that's the lamest excuse I've ever heard from a machine."

"Optimus," gasped Sentinel, "I...think they will...kill us!"

Optimus wanted to say something, but he couldn't even bring himself to come up with the right words. To make matters worse, he heard trucks approaching.

"Get these things frozen for transport," ordered the agent, "and gather the cargo, too!"

For the first time ever, Optimus saw true fear in Sentinel's optics as the younger Prime held the AllSpark shard tightly in his hand. The soldiers teamed up to move the Autobots and the cargo onto the trucks. The agent pulled out his smart phone and began to make his call.

"Director Mearing?" said the agent, "this is Agent Simmons. We have captured the NBE's."

"So," asked Mearing over the phone, "what are you planning to do with them?"

"I was considering experimenting on them," answered Simmons, "unless you're willing to come up with another option."

"We'll discuss it when you get back to the base," replied Mearing.

Nodding in agreement, Simmons hung up.

After a long while of driving, the trucks and the SUVs arrived at the base. Simmons hopped out of his SUV and sauntered towards Mearing, who was waiting for him as the soldiers dragged the Autobots out of the trucks.

"So these are the NBEs?" asked Mearing, peering at the alien robots.

"Yes, ma'am, we—" nodded Simmons.

While Simmons continued to ramble about the capture, Mearing noticed one of the creatures' arm was bent at an odd angle, its face frozen in a look of pain and fear.

"I hate to interrupt," interrupted Mearing, "but did you even try to talk to them before freezing them?"

"Pffffft," answered Simmons, "no, why?"

"We don't know if they're even a threat to national security," explained Mearing, "and if we keep them frozen like that, we'll never know their intentions. Why don't you unfreeze them and let them speak to us?"

"And what if they attack us?" pestered Simmons.

"I can have the soldiers bring them down if that happens," suggested Mearing, "now, unfreeze them!"

"Fine," sighed Simmons, glancing at the soldiers, "you heard her, move it!"

Without hesitation, the soldiers stopped firing the liquid nitrogen at the Autobots. After a moment of silence, the giant robots finally gained momentum and freed themselves of the ice and stood to their feet. Sentinel sighed in relief as he caressed his injured arm. Optimus looked around, trying to figure out what was going on.

"Hey, robot!" called Mearing, "down here!"

Optimus snapped his head towards Mearing and knelt down to her level, his optics glaring into her eyes.

"Was that necessary?" growled Optimus.

"What are you talking about?" asked Mearing.

Sentinel groaned as the pain of his injury returned.

"Did you really have to freeze us to transport us here," ranted Optimus, taking a brief glance at Sentinel, "and injure some of my comrades in the process?!"

"I'm sorry to hear that," replied Mearing, "now why don't you tell us what you're doing here?"

"Injuring?" scoffed Simmons, "Mearing, are you really gonna believe that crap from a machine?"

Optimus cringed at the comment, and Sentinel's optics glared at Simmons.

"We are people," roared Sentinel, "but you humans treat us like nothing but stupid machines!"

"You heard him," remarked Mearing, "no snarky comments from you, Agent Simmons."

"Snarky comments," muttered Simmons, "my ass."

"Sentinel," requested Ratchet, "would you sit down so I can look at that arm?"

Sentinel sighed as he sat down, allowing Ratchet to inspect his arm.

"We are autonomous robotic organisms," explained Optimus, "or 'Autobots', from the planet Cybertron. We came under fire from our enemies, the Decepticons, and our ship crash landed here."

Optimus flashed the AllSpark shard to Mearing.

"We are now searching for these," continued Optimus, "for together, they form the AllSpark, an object which has the power to create worlds and fill them with life. Its power can also bring ordinary machines to life. In Decepticon hands, this would mean certain destruction for all who oppose Megatron's rule."

"So you're saying that you're dealing with an adversity that might endanger global security?" clarified Mearing.

Optimus nodded.

"I see your point," sighed Mearing.

Mearing glanced at the Pillars.

"Now," continued Mearing, gesturing to the Pillars, "about the technology in your possession…"

"Those are Pillars," explained Sentinel, "and together they form a space bridge, which I hope can help the Autobots win the war against the Decepticons."

"Optimus," sighed Ratchet, "I can't fix this right now. I don't have the proper medical equipment. He's got a multiple fracture break in his strut, along with some ruptured energon lines."

"Primus," muttered Sentinel, "I'm going to lose my arm."

"It seems that the equipment is back at the ship," assumed Optimus.

Optimus glanced at Mearing.

"With your permission," requested Optimus, "I wish to return to the ship and retrieve the rest of the cargo."

"Are you sure you're not going to wreck havoc on the citizens?" asked Mearing.

"I will not harm the humans," nodded Optimus, "I promise."

"Then I will have soldiers escort you," acknowledged Mearing.

"Thank you," smiled Optimus.

"Just a minute," paused a soldier, "what exactly do you want to get?"

"Energon supplies and our equipment," answered Optimus.

"Optimus," suggested Ratchet, "I should be the one to go. I know the medical equipment best. Along with energon, that's the thing we need the most."

"Understood," nodded Optimus, "Ratchet, Prowl, Ironhide, Jazz, Wheeljack, come with me. Smokescreen, Bumblebee, look after Sentinel."

"You got it, sir," agreed Smokescreen.

"Thank you for not leaving the whack jobs," smiled Sentinel.

"What do you mean whack jobs?" pondered Bumblebee.

"Sunstreaker and Sideswipe," clarified Sentinel, "the Lambo twins, the terror twins, double trouble, whatever you want to call those two."

"You're welcome, Nasutn'on," replied Optimus.

"What's that mean?" asked Simmons, "What'd you just say?"

"Allow me to explain," answered Prowl, "Nasutn'on is the Cybertronian translation for father."

"So this one," clarified Mearing, pointing at Sentinel and then Optimus, "is the father of that one?"

"Yes," nodded Optimus.

"Interesting," mused Mearing.

Optimus, Ratchet, Prowl, Ironhide, Jazz and Wheeljack stepped outside while the soldiers accompanied them.

"We should also search for and scan alternate modes," suggested Optimus.

"What for?" asked Ironhide.

"On Earth," explained Optimus, "we should be robots in disguise."

"Gotcha," agreed Wheeljack.

Optimus, Ratchet, Ironhide, Prowl, Jazz and Wheeljack transformed into their Cybertronian alternate modes while soldiers boarded a few military trucks. Both Autobots and soldiers drove out of the base and down the road. Along the way, the Autobots scanned vehicles that passed by, and Optimus obtained a trailer. After a long hour and a half trip, they finally reached the Ark. Once the Autobots transformed into their robot modes, they stepped closer to the ship.

"Should we go in with you?" asked a soldier.

"We can find the cargo ourselves," assured Jazz, "just keep an eye out for Decepticons, ok?"

"Uh," questioned another soldier, "what's a Decepticon?"

"They have red optics, or eyes," explained Prowl, "and appear to be the same species as us."

"Only uglier," added Jazz, "and they'll try to kill you."

"Got it," nodded yet another soldier.

The Autobots meandered inside the Ark, gathering whatever supplies they could find. Ratchet found the medical equipment in his medical bay while Prowl and Ironhide carried out the energon containers. The Autobots stashed the supplies in the trailer as well as a couple of the military trucks.

"And that's the last of the supplies," sighed Ironhide.

"We should head back," suggested Ratchet, "there might be Decepticons in the area."