Alright, this one requires a bit of explanation. I've been getting chewed on by a human!transformers plotbunny… rabid little monster. So here we go, one AU coming right up… They still have the movie forms, but now it's powered armor. :P And somehow, Skorponok became a dog. I blame lionaskycat and the scribblecons!

x-x-x

"Pull up!"

"Don't you think I'm trying?!"

"Try harder!"

"Do you want to fly this crate?!"

"I don't wanna die!"

Small avians took off, squawking in terror as a burning shape plummeted out of the sky. It hit with a reverberating whump, sending showers of dirt and foliage into the air.

The forest was silent for a long moment.

"Whose idea was it to let Jazz drive?!"

x-x-x

"Lord Megatron! The Autobots have fallen!"

"I can see that, Starscream! Barricade, status."

"The first shot damaged our engines, Lord Megatron. We do not have enough thrust to escape the gravitational field." The pilot's voice was matter-of-fact.

"Can you land safely?"

"Relatively, Lord Megatron."

"Do it. Starscream and I will provide cover."

Blackout's voice came over the comm.. "It's awful nice of the Autobots to volunteer to be spare parts, isn't it?"

"Indeed. Megatron out."

x-x-x

Barricade met the Lord Commander at the Nemesis' entrance ramp. "The power grid is unsalvageable, my lord. We'll need to replace both interfaces before attempting take off. The Autobot engine should be sufficiently compatible with some alterations to get us back to civilization. We've also lost enough plating to compromise the hull, causing the heat from reentry to fry our long-range communications. Flight controls were also damaged, but we should be able to re-route or replace the wiring."

"How long until the Nemesis is space worthy?" Megatron dropped out of his mech and started up the ramp.

"Best case, two weeks. Perhaps longer, depending on how extensive the damage to the Autobot ship was."

Megatron growled in annoyance. He stalked past the pilot and into the hold. "Blackout!"

"My lord?" Blackout ducked under the nose of his chopper. His dog trailed behind, tongue lolling out.

"Get airborne. Find the Autobot ship and determine status of survivors," Megatron ordered.

"Yes, my lord. Come on, Skorpy. Let's go find us some Autotrash."

x-x-x

"Coming up on the crash site… oh, yeah, they hit hard. It's one hell of a hole. Transmitting imagery now."

"Image reception confirmed. Life signs?" Barricade eyed the mutilated ship on the screen, mentally calculating how much could be salvaged for parts.

"Not yet – Aw, slag… Taking fire…" The image on the monitor spun crazily as blackout evaded weapons fire arcing from the mangled husk. "I think it's safe to say they noticed me. I've got a visual on Prime and the psychopath with all the guns."

x-x-x

"Damn him!" Ironhide beat the fist of his powered armor against the bulkhead. "The bastard's still up there, hoverin' just outta reach. Slaggin' vulture!"

"Easy, Ironhide. Ratchet, can we get flying again?"

"That's a negative. She's scrapped, Prime. No flight controls, no comm, nothing."

"Let's hope Jazz and Bumblebee have good news, then."

"That depends on how you define 'good,' Optimus," Jazz's voice crackled over the comm.. "We've got visual on the Nemesis, and it's banged up pretty good. My guess is they had to land for repairs… but she still looks a damn sight better than our boat."

"And let me guess, they mean to use us for parts," Ironhide growled.

"Looks like," Jazz agreed.

"That is good news," Optimus said thoughtfully.

"Huh?"

"If they need parts, they won't risk combat near the ships. That gives us a bargaining position."

"Bargain?!"

"Yes, Ironhide. If any of us want to leave this planet, we'll all have to work together. All of us, Ironhide."

Ironhide just grumbled.

x-x-x

"Lord Megatron, we are receiving a t-t-transmission. It-t's Optimus Prime."

"If you want to lecture me about the inner goodness of mankind again, I'm a bit busy, Prime."

"Not today, brother. I propose a truce –"

Megatron laughed. "And why would I consider such a thing?"

"You need parts. I have them. I need a ship, and you have one. It's in both our interests to work together, and you know it."

"Well, I was thinking of shooting you and taking what I need. That interests me a great deal."

"And I will destroy this ship myself before I allow that to happen."

Megatron leaned back in his command chair. "Very well. A truce- you help repair the Nemesis, and we'll drop you off on the first colony we come to."

"Agreed. Send Blackout down with what you need, and we'll get started. Optimus out."

"Barricade, make a note to plot a course from here so that the first colony we come to is somewhere highly unpleasant."

x-x-x

Blackout hadn't been happy about letting an Autobot in a heavily-armed power suit in his hold, but grudgingly obeyed Megatron's orders, ferrying Ironhide and the interfaces to the Nemesis. The two smallest Autobots were waiting for them in the clearing. Blackout recognized Jazz immediately from past encounters, but the bright yellow mech beside him…

He's new, Blackout thought to himself as the yellow one instinctively raised an arm to shield his eyes from the debris Blackout kicked up on landing. Very new.

He waited for the trigger-happy lunatic in back to unload before unbuckling Skorponok from the co-pilot's chair. The pit bull dropped to the deck, growling.

x-x-x

Bumblebee trotted up the chopper's tail ramp.

"Watch out for the damn dog," Ironhide called out after him. Bee just waved back, looking around the dimly-lit helicopter with interest.

Hearing a deep growl behind him, he spun around in time to see a massive shape with sharp teeth lunge for him.

Bee fell back on his rear with an undignified startled squeak, heart racing. The shape resolved itself into a tall man holding on to a muscular dog. The man flashed him a grin.

"Hush, Skorpy, it's okay…" The man calmed the dog down, giving it a pat on the head.

Bee sat up, feeling embarrassed and sheepish. "Er, hi? I-" Bee broke off as the dog lunged again, landing heavily on his chest. "MRPH!" IT took him a moment to realize that he was not, in fact, being eaten.

"… Okay, he just tried to eat me, and now he's licking my face. Is that normal?" Bee asked faintly as Skorponok slurped his ear.

"For him? Yeah." Blackout shoved the dog off, holding out a hand to help Bumblebee up. "I'm Blackout, and this is my faithful alarms system, Skorponok."

"Bumblebee." He eyed the grinning dog. "So he only acts ferocious?"

"Oh, no, he really was going to eat you." With that less-than-comforting response, Blackout moved off to close up the chopper. "So I take it you're my tag-a-long for the duration? Make sure I'm not plotting anything dastardly?"

Bee blushed. "Er…" Was he really that transparent?

The chopper pilot laughed. "Relax. Come on, I'll give you the grand tour."

x-x-x

"Damn, he's cute," Blackout told Barricade later, seating himself on a consol. "I can't believe they're just handing him to me like this," he continued happily.

"Where is your new toy?"

"Went to the head. Yours?"

"Hasn't shown yet. Just remember your end of the deal, Blackout."

"Of course. I'm going to enjoy breaking this one."