A/N – Warning: crackfic. There is a reason for the three sparklings, I promise! Not a very good reason, but face it, most of Megsie's plans are half-baked.

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Once upon a time, there was a seeker named Thundercracker. Thundercracker had three little friends who liked to play.

One morning, Thundercracker went to see his three little friends and said:

"ARG! How did those little slaggers get out this time?!"

Thundercracker wasn't entirely sure how he'd ended up as the squadron babysitter, but he was sure that it was all Skywarp's fault. In fact, he wasn't even sure why the squadron needed a babysitter. Primus! This is a combat detachment, not a care center!

After the sparkling trio's last little escapade, Thundercracker had been careful to lock them in while he recharged. The constructicons had threatened to do worse than lock them up if the little seekers got out again - they hadn't appreciated their workshop being turned into a play-pen, or the creative uses three miniature jets could come up for Mixmaster's collection of dangerous chemicals. Hook had also made it very clear who they were holding responsible for the damage.

As an added precaution, Thundercracker had welded all the vents shut. He really didn't want his wings removed and welded on backwards…

Thundercracker glared at the vent cover hanging loose. Forget intrusion experts, there was nothing better at getting in or out of a secure area than a hyperactive sparkling.

-0-0-0-0-0-

The desert compound was quiet, construction stilled for the moment. The roar of the morning patrol's jet engines had faded into the distance several minutes before.

Two Autobots crouched, motionless and hidden, in the brush and rocks that surrounded the abandoned mining facility.

A soft scraping sound drew their attention. Quiet whispering drifted out of a ventilation shaft, then the vent cover creaked open, three brightly colored shapes dropping out and streaking into a nearby bush too quickly to make out. Another whispered argument broke out, the bush shaking.

The Autobots exchanged glances. Decepticons were strange, but this was odd, even for them. The shapes were too small to be most of the Decepticons there, but they'd managed to make out the colors: Blue and red, black, and yellow.

The argument in the bush stopped, a pair of moving lines in the brush making the path of two of the shapes. The third started counting.

The Autobots stared. "Is it just me, or the Decepticons playing hide and seek?" Bumblebee muttered to his companion.

"The cassettes?" ventured Mirage.

"Five… Six… Eight… Seven… Nine… Ten…"

"I'm pretty sure the cassettes can count past six."

"Eleven… Fifteen, er… twelve?... uh…" The voice floundered. "Er… Sixteeneighteentwenty! Ready or not, here I come!"

Taser finished counting in a rush, transforming and jetting into the air. He flitted from bush to bush, keeping a running commentary as he went. "Rock, rock, bush, bush? …Bush. That bush? No, wrong bush… rock, oo, shiny. Bottlecap! Rock, rock, bush…" He drifted away from the buildings, peering around. "Nope, nope, hey! Oh, nope."

A glint at the edge of his field of vision made him spin around in midair.

"BONZAI!"

-0-0-0-0-0-

Mirage cursed as the yellow jet whipped around and headed straight for Bumblebee.

The little jet cleared the brushpile shielding Bumblebee from the compound, reversing thrust as he realized that the bot hiding in the brush was not red and blue, winged, or even a Decepticon. He hovered, staring at Bee. Bee stared back.

Slag! If he yells, we'll have the entire Decepticon force out here! Mirage started towards the miniature seeker, invisible.

"Er, hi?" Bumblebee ventured.

"… You're not Scritch!"

"Uh, no, my name's Bumblebee."

"My name's Taser. Whatcha doin'?"

"Well, we're… we're playing hide and seek!"

"Oh, wow! So are we!" Taser seemed amazed at this 'coincidence.' "You should play with us! GUYS!" he called out to his companions. "I found a new friend!" he yelled, oblivious to Bumblebee's shushing motions. "And he's YELLOW!"

"Quiet!" snapped Mirage from behind.

Taser stopped, spinning around to point his nosecone at the voice. "Who are you? Why should I?" Taser demanded, annoyed.

"Because if you don't, I'm going to EAT you," responded the disembodied voice. Mirage figured it was a pretty good threat; simple, easy for the sparkling to understand. It seemed to work, too.

For about five seconds.

Taser froze for a moment, staring in the voice's direction. Then he let out a piercing wail. "HELP! It's going to EAT ME!"

Answering screams sounded form the other sparklings and two colored streaks zipped across the ground and back into the vent, wailing the entire way.

A quick grab by Bumblebee kept Taser from following his wingmates. The seeker transformed, trying to squirm free, screaming the entire time. "AAAAH! It's got me! It's going to EAT ME!"

"No! Shhh… it's just me, no one's going to get eaten, stop screaming…" Bee soothed. After a few moments, the little seeker calmed down, realizing that he was not, in fact, getting eaten.

"It's okay. Mirage was just teasing, weren't you, Mirage?"

Taser folded his arms and sulked. "He's a jerk."

"Mirage, apologize to Taser."

"What?!"

"We need to get out of here before the other two bring back someone with actual guns," Bumblebee hissed. "Since they didn't actually see us, there's a good chance that the Decepticons will dismiss it as over-active imaginations if we wait until we're clear before letting this one go. But if we let Taser run back inside and he says he ran into a little yellow Autobot and an invisible person, they'll hunt us down and catch us before we get out of the rocks. So apologize to the nice seeker, and we can sneak back to the road before we get shot!"

Mirage had to admit to the logic in that. "I'm sorry for scaring you, Taser."

The little seeker glared at him. "You're still a jerk."

"Why you little brat -!"

"You're a bigger jerk than Astrotrain!" Taser spat, making it sound like the worst curse he knew. "I don't wanna play with him anymore!"

"You don't have to play with him," Bumblebee said soothingly, heading off a temper tantrum and starting away from the complex.

"Oh, okay. Hey, what's that?" Bumblebee had to lunge to catch the sparkling as he suddenly bolted to the side.

"That's a snake." Bumblebee got a better grip on Taser.

"It's got a tail! It IS a tail! It looks like someone lopped off Scavenger's tail and it's squirming around on it's own…"

"Oh, Primus, I didn't need that image…" Mirage muttered.

"Hey, we should show it to Scavenger. He'd think it was neat!"

"You friends with Scavenger?" Bumblebee asked, trying to distract the squirming sparkling.

"He's nice! He lets us chase his tail, and shows us all sorts of neat stuff he's working on!"

Bumblebee missed a step. Could they really be that lucky? "He does? He show you what he's been working on lately?"

"Oh, yeah! Yesterday he showed us this cool thingy he's been working on! It like, cooks things! Really nifty! It goes bzzrap and the squishy goes crisp crisp and it's really really cool!"

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"It's not good news, Jazz. Megatron's new weapon appears to be a small portable device designed for use against the human population. It apparently 'cooks' them over a period of half an hour or so. Range unknown. It's controlled by a panel of buttons on the side rather than by remote, so hijacking the frequency to shut it off is out of the question. The biggest problem is its size. It's small enough to hide just about anywhere."

"Oh, great. Got anymore good news for me?"

"Just one bit."

"How bad is it?"

"That depends on how you feel about the plight of future generations…"

"What?"

"Thundercracker's a mommy."

Laughter. "Our race is doomed."

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"He told them what?!"

"Apparently everything, Lord Megatron." Thundercracker tried not to cringe.

"You're telling me that my phase generator is still two weeks from completion, and the Autobots know everything?!"

Thundercracker stepped back, yellow sparkling tucked under one arm. "Yes, Lord Megatron."

"I have a question," Skywarp broke in before Megatron exploded. "How did the bratling know this in the first place?" It was always best to spread the pain around, after all.

Six little optics peered up at Skywarp. "Scavanger," three voices chorused.

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"And they wanted to know how it worked, and what it does, and how long it took! So I told them!" Taser was recounting the whole adventure to the rapt attention of his wingmates.

All three were silent for a moment.

"I don't get it," said Stick.

All three turned to stare at the device in the corner, looking mystified.

"Why is everyone so interested in our Easy Bake Oven?"

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The Note At The Bottom - For anyone curious, introducing the OCs: (AKA, the Bratlings from the Pit)
Taser - seeker, buff yellow with purple edging. There's a reason he's called Taser, but that's another story altogether
Scritch- Taser's wingmate, dark blue and red. Real name is Hotstrike, but she answers to Scritch
Stick - Black with orange. Real name is Blackmark, but called Stick for a good reason. Again, that's another story.
Alt form is the X-36, a miniature experimental aircraft. It's a real jet, with a wingspan of about 10 feet, 19 feet long and 3 tall.