A/N- No, I haven't forgot about the cybernetic doggies, I've just... actually, I have no excuse. Anyway, chapter two, in which a plot begins to develop!

x-xxx-x

"Well?" The demand came from the darkness as Striker and Bloodslick ducked into the abandoned tenement.

Striker looked up at the balefully glowing red eyes. "I - well, that is-"

"We ran into Rover and his lapdogs," Bloodslick growled, shouldering Striker aside.

"I don't see why we can't just kill him," Striker whined.

"Yeah! I'll do it! I'll rip out his throat-" Haywire growled, almost dancing with eagerness

"Yeah, right after we find you a ladder." Steelsnap knocked the little Chihuahua aside with a casual swipe of a paw. The Bullmastiff turned his attention back to the rest of his pack. "You won't so much as drool on them, Striker, until I say so." He loomed over the smaller dog. "Is that absolutely clear?"

Striker drooped to his belly cringing.

Steelsnap glared at him a moment longer, then turned away. "The self-righteous human-loving idiots may prove useful, even necessary. We still do not know how we came to be Different, or how many of us there are."

"Or," came another voice from the shadows, "How we can make more. Our numbers are too few to take on the humans of this city, much less all of them." A second Bullmastiff paced forward, coming to stand next her mate. Lockjaw glared around at the others. "Get back to work. We don't have time for this useless whining."

x-x-x

"Don't see nothin', Fluffy-Boss-Man. Dog. Whatever," Swish chirped, riding up on Rambler.

"No clue what they wanted," The Rottweiler added.

"They're up to something, I know it," Stickchaser muttered. "Come on, we'll meet up with Sashay and see if she's found anything."

Finding the Saluki proved easy; they just followed the sound of furious barking.

"It's another one of us," Swish told them, antenna swiveling. Stickchaser nodded. As they drew closer, he could make out the words under the snarling.

"If you don't get your fluffy little prissy tail off my sidewalk, I'm going to come over this fence and eat you!"

"Calm down," Sashay called, backing up. "I just want to talk!"

"Go yap somewhere else, you walking dishrag!"

"Dishrag? Well, I never!"

Stickchaser trotted around the corner and stopped short, Rambler plowing into his backside.

"Sorry," Rambler muttered.

Stickchaser just stared. Across the street, Sashay was snarling through a fence at the biggest dog he'd ever seen. Sharp metal flashed as she snapped at Sashay, thick fur bristling. Stickchaser shook himself and trotted to the rescue. "Easy!" He bounded up to the fence, wagging his tail. "We just wanna talk!"

The massive dog's glare flicked to him. "Bug off, hairball. I'm not interested."

"Oo, big fuzzy," Swish commented as Rambler jogged up. "Yo, Big Fuzzy! What's shakin'?"

"You, if you don't go away. And the name is Leviathan. Leviathan, you mangy excuse for a cat," she growled back.

"Hey, can't we be friends?" Stickchaser tried again, sidling closer.

Leviathan snarled and lunged against the fence, sending the other dogs scrambling back.

Stickchaser watched the fence bed under the mastiff's weight and decided that discretion was the better part of valor. "We'll just leave you to your yard, huh?" He backed up. "Come on, let's get out of here." The three dogs fled, cat hanging on for the ride.

Leviathan gave one last parting snap in their direction. "Upstart little yapping furballs," she growled to herself, making her way back to the porch. "Tryin' to come in my yard." She gave a quick glance around then flopped at the top of the steps. She rested her head on her paws and watched the cars pass by. Slowly her eyes drifted closed. Maybe when she woke up, her owner would be back and everything would just go back to normal...

x-x-x

"If there was some sort of alien... infestation..."

"The government would be the first to let us know."

"That was the statement last month from Ron and Judy Witwicky, from their home in Tranquility, California. They're the parents of Sam Witwicky, who was lauded as a hero in the disaster in Mission City that took almost two hundred lives and wounded many more. However, recent investigation has cast doubt on the statements made by young Sam and his family as to what actually occurred that day. Some independent sources have uncovered evidence of a broad-scale government cover-up..."

"They were lying," Bloodslick commented, watching the screen through the shop window.

Striker perked his ears and squinted at the screen. "How can you tell? It's not like we can smell them from here," he pointed out reasonably.

"I just can!" she snapped, glaring.

"Okay, okay, you don't have to be so nasty about it," Striker whined.

Bloodslick snorted, turning her attention back to the screen. "They obviously know something. They may even have a clue as to what changed us. Steelsnap has to know about this!"

x-x-x

Meanwhile, elsewhere…

"Unusual energy signatures?" Keller frowned over the video connection. "What sort of 'unusual energy signatures?'"

"We're not sure yet. We swept the area after the battle in Mission City to make sure we had located everything accidentally created by the Allspark. However, when we performed a routine scan today, there were several anomalies in the Mission City area. We can't know more until we investigate."

On screen, Keller nodded. "Alright, but be careful. We can't risk an incident at this juncture, Prime."

"Understood. We'll keep you posted. Optimus Prime out."