Disclaimer: I do not own Transformers. All recognizable characters are the property of HasTak. All unrecognizable ones are the intellectual property of yours truly; their theft is punishable by severe voodoo-induced pain in any and all sensitive organs of the body, followed by eternal damnation.

Because, you know, stealing is wrong. (Which is funny because I totally ganked this disclaimer from Vaeru, with her permission of course.)

Rated: T. For mild cursing, violence, and other adult themes that will probably ensue.

Author Notes: Alright, this is my first fanfiction ever. If you could see my face right now you'd see the "deer-in-headlights" look. A big big thanks to Vaeru who has been so kind and encouraging to me!

Contra Mundum

Chapter One

"I laugh in the face of danger. Then I hide until it goes away."

-Xander, The Witch

David lay with his back on the hard concrete, huddled into as small a ball he could manage, trying desperately to be very still, barely breathing. Even his heartbeat seemed abnormally loud in the close, tense air, not that the long sliver of metal held close over his form made the tension any lighter. He was so closely pressed beneath the four-inch thick, curved metal frame that he could taste his own sweat in the air. It did not taste good; it reminded him of salty sea-air that had been bottled up for far too long. Dirt-smudged fingers gripped the pitiful shield mercilessly, trying frantically to keep still. Adrenaline forced its way through unwilling veins, causing his extremities to tremor dangerously, threatening to reveal his hapless presence.

A stray and rather large pebble made its presence painfully clear by jabbing between David's shoulder blades. Heat emanated from the pavement underneath him; it reflected all the energy it had absorbed from the mid-day Texas sun into his clothes and bare skin. Sweat pooled under the small of his back, making him want to squirm and tear his own skin off until all of the filth and sweat lay smeared across the asphalt.

His attention was drawn away from his discomfort momentarily when he heard a very distinct boom boom... the sound of metal meeting concrete, a telltale sign of one of them. It was looking for him, he knew, and it was closer than he would have liked it to be. As typical of summers in the state of Texas, the weather had become unbearably hot and muggy, and there had been no activity in weeks. David had become sloppy. He mentally cursed himself for his own sloth, for it might just now cost him his life.

David dared to take a quick peek from beneath his protective lead-coated metal shield to see which one of the bastards had come looking for him. He mentally cursed again when his eyes were greeted with white and blue-green metal.

Of course I get the schizophrenic one. Because God forbid anything be easy… David thought bitterly to himself.

The distinctive white and blue-green metal gleaming back at him beneath his sorry excuse for a hiding place meant that this Stunticon was most likely not going anywhere until it either found David and stamped him to death or smashed everything David might be hiding under... or around... or behind... or even anything that was too small for him to even hope to possibly fit under. Hell, it might just blast everything within a five-mile radius just to be sure.

Funny that even giant alien robots could be as obsessive-compulsive as humans sometimes. Or, at the very least, this one was.

Even from where David lay, he could hear the mechanical whirring and shifting of cogs and gears from within the being's mechanical frame. If David remembered correctly, this one called itself 'Breakdown.'

Who comes up with these names? a more immature part of David's mind thought absently. That same part of his mind quickly shut itself up when the Decepticon suddenly ripped a streetlight right out of the pavement and tore it to shreds, metal shrieking as it was bent in ways it was never meant to bend, bits of asphalt flying off in random directions.

If it were possible, David cringed more under his small shelter as pieces of rock and asphalt pelted his shield. The giant metal monster threw the remnants of the ravaged streetlight to the ground, whipping his orange face this way and that, constantly scanning and re-scanning. This guy was not playing around.

"Breakdown, what the slag are you doing?" asked an exasperated voice over an external communication link, resonating from somewhere on or within the white and blue-green mech.

"It had lights on it. I don't like it when there's lights," came Breakdown's fevered answer, all the while still whipping around in random directions like hound that caught the scent of a fox. "My scanner blipped a minute ago too," he added.

A sigh sounded over the communication link. "Does it really matter?" the voice asked, the sound of fatigue evident, as though it really didn't even want to bother asking.

"It means there's a fleshling around here somewhere, and I'm not leaving until I find it. That's what we were ordered to do anyways isn't it?" demanded the jittery, now-irritated Stunticon.

"It is, but if it's just one fleshling I don't think it really matters. It'll be dead soon anyways if it's within the city. Besides, we're supposed to be looking for big groups of them for now. Motormaster's going to angry with you for wasting time trying to find just one human when there are others elsewhere using up resources," reasoned the voice half-heartily. If David didn't know any better, he'd think the voice sounded like it didn't really care in the long run of what Breakdown was supposed to be doing or not.

"Where there's one, there's bound to be more, Dead End. There always are," hissed Breakdown back over the communication link.

The fact that they communicated out loud for the all the world to hear them amused David a bit. Anyone within a mile radius could hear these guys talking, but that also meant they were confident that no human could hide from them, not for very long anyway. It was their way of flaunting their presence and the power they held over what was left of the human race. The human's amusement quickly evaporated with the passing of that last thought.

Not for the first time in the last few moments, David wished he could check to see the battery life of his scrambler. In such tense and close circumstances, he could not remove the small device from behind his ear to see. He had already risked enough by raising the protective metal panel to get a peek at Breakdown. Now he couldn't lower it back down lest Breakdown detect the movement, small though it would have been. He could only sit and hope his scrambler didn't die. As long as it functioned, his body would be spared detection by Breakdown's multiple scanners.

Of course, that only meant that the Decepticon could no longer sense or scan him, but he still had eyes (or "optics" as he so often heard them referred to) and he could still use them. The metal panel with its lead-based coating currently serving as his shield would provide some protection from the Decepticon's many sensors, but not like his scrambler did.

A giant metal foot stepped closer, crunching stray rubble and rocks underneath it into dust. The ground vibrated, making the pebble in his back dig deeper in between his already aching shoulder blades. The foot was so close that David could reach out and touch it…Oh God, what did the battery life read last time he checked his scrambler? Was it at three-fourths? Or was it at half-life? Oh no, was it at less than half? Or was that yesterday? If only he could just reach those few inches and check.

The young man was sure he was shaking so badly now that it wouldn't matter if his scrambler died or not. Surely the ruthless Stunticon less than two feet away from him would notice his pitiful body shivering underneath the curved panel-like sheet of metal any moment now. He'd probably be shaking less if he could just check his freaking scrambler! The air seemed to be suffocating him now, and the damn pebble was still jabbing him in the back! Oh, God. Oh, God…

"Breakdown!" Like a gunshot, Dead End's voice interrupted the silence that had unexpectedly yet briefly fallen. David could not control the spasm that wracked his body, but it went unnoticed as Breakdown did the same thing, the giant's foot nearly crashing down right on top of the human.

"What?!" Breakdown screamed into his end of the communication link. It seemed that Dead End had irritated him already with his incessant nagging and fatalism

A different voice answered Breakdown's agitated response. This voice was deep and terrifying. David recognized it almost instantly.

"Get off your aft and get back to work or I'll come down there myself!" barked Motormaster's voice through the link. David watched in fascination as the Stunticon jerked and suddenly became very rigid as if his commanding officer were right there in front of him. Even the other Stunticons were afraid of this guy!

"Y-yes, sir," was Breakdown's subdued response.

With that, he transformed into his alternate mode and sped away down what was left of Pearl Street in downtown Dallas. David remained under his makeshift haven for a long time even after the Stunticon had long gone. He had already screwed up once, and he wasn't going to be caught with his pants down twice in the same day.

An hour passed. Then another. Finally after what felt like forever, he slowly uncurled himself from under his temporary shelter and surveyed his surroundings. He waited another ten minutes before getting up, the joints in his legs and the disks of his spine aching and creaking in protest after being tensed up for so long in one position.

There was an intense pain from where the pebble had been stabbing him; surely it would leave an impressive bruise. He kicked the pebble, returning the favor, smiling triumphantly. His ratty hair stuck out in every direction, the most underneath part drenched with sweat and sticking to the back of his neck along with dirt and grime acquired from the pavement.

He didn't hesitate any longer; he ran to the nearest manhole, pried back the heavy metal hood and dropped down into the sewers. His sweat-slicked skin welcomed the drastic decrease in temperature, even though the air was as stuffy and musty as it had been under his shield. The sewers had long since dried up, only sparse puddles of muddy water remained. Every now and then a window of eroded road offered the blue sky above, sunlight poking through to reveal thick and numerous dust particles dancing in the air. Leftover rubble such as concrete and abandoned pipes littered the long unused underground tunnels, hindering any sort of navigation or movement considerably.

The young human paused to peel back his scrambler from behind his ear; a small egg-shaped black computer chip. The battery life read half-life. David sighed with relief, then hitched up his metal shield and continued his well-memorized path through the underground maze. Breakdown had prevented him from finding supplies today, but he still had another day to scrounge up food and medical supplies before the next group of refugees came through. He had a lot to do before tomorrow evening.

Author Notes Continued: Contra Mundum- "Against the World"