High Wire

Far beyond the reaches of space, a war raged. A war fierce enough to tear apart an entire planet. And, although not all involved knew it, the battles that took place would determine the fate of the entire universe.

They say there are two sides to every struggle. Our struggle has three. Actually, there are really four, but the fourth side won't show up for a long time. Our side was the minority. Some considered it not to be a side at all, but believe me, we knew more about the war than both the other sides combined.

We are called minicons, and for the first part of the war, we were alone...



The night was totally still. At least, I was pretty sure it was night. It was hard to tell. On Cybertron, the sky was always black and dotted with stars. I'd heard of other planets with thicker atmospheres, that had bright skies during the day, whose suns were so close that they looked like big, floating orbs in the sky.

Of course, Cybertron fit into neither category. Just my luck. That was always my luck.

It had been two, three, maybe four hours, but the minicons in the ship still hadn't left. (We've got different time increments on Cybertron than the ones on Earth, but I'm going to use Earth time for all you humans. Nice of me, huh?) What the heck were they doing? I needed fuel, and to get it, they needed to be gone. I needed to be gone too. I was a loner and a wanderer by nature. Staying in the same place for too long made me anxious.

I was in an open area that had been wrecked by the war. The ground was craggy and uneven. There were ruins everywhere. Some of the ones on the perimeter were still smoldering from the more recent battles.

I guess you're pretty confused about now, so let me explain who I am. The name's Grid. Just Grid. We don't bother with surnames or any of that junk on Cybertron. (Unless you count things like "Magnus" or "Prime" or "Wave, and those don't really count.) Grid is the name I was created with, but before I'm halfway done, I'll have a new name. Oh, and I was sitting in this abandoned wasteland for a reason. I was getting ready to rob that minicon ship.

You could tell it was a minicon ship because of the size. Autobot and decepticon ships were MASSIVE to fit their huge passengers. Minicon ships were smaller, more practical. By the size of this one, I could tell it was probably built for three or four. It didn't surprise me that it was out in the middle of nowhere. Probably hiding from the autobots and decepticons, like I was.

Autobots. Decepticons. Bleh. There are some minicons out there who say we'd be better off if the autobots found us, others say decepticons. I say they're both wrong because, no matter who finds us, we still lose. They're both the same; they both just want to use us for their silly little war. I hate them! I wish they'd just go away.

But that would never happen. The autobots and he decepticons both owned Cybertron. This world wasn't ours. Our job was to run and hide. And serve, if we weren't successful with the first two.

Yeah, both the decepticons and autobots had a claim to Cybertron. The real question of the war was who would get to keep it.

The reason I was waiting to steal from a minicon ship was really pretty basic. I desperately needed some new oil; I was almost out. If I knew some way to get it without stealing it, then I would've picked that option. Too bad for me, there wasn't an option two. I didn't like stealing much. Too much work, not enough pay. But I had no other choice.

You're probably wondering why I'm wandering around by myself. Well, I've got my reasons…

Suddenly, I stood up. It was obviously night, because those minicons, whoever they were, still hadn't left! How selfish can you get? Lazy bums must've been asleep. Well, no more waiting. See, sometimes things in life just sorta happen to you, and other times, you can't just wait around. You have to make it happen. Right now was one of those times.

Quietly as a possibly could, I snuck around the raised, warped metal I was hiding behind and crawled over some smoother (not smooth, smoother) ground. Every couple of minutes, I'd stop my army crawling and look around at the sky nervously. I knew that this area was abandoned, but I was still uneasy. Decepticons were capable of swooping right out of the sky and snatching ya up when you weren't looking. Better to be paranoid than dead.

It took forever, but I eventually made it to the ship. It was a pretty awesome ship, too. Very sleek, very state-of-the-art. I'd have probably thought that it belonged to royalty, that is, if that sort of thing existed among our kind.

Very carefully, I stood up on the tips of my feet, and fired a laser pulse from my hand. That was to weaken the hull. Then, I transformed the same hand into a buzz-saw and cut a hole out of the bottom. I lifted the circular plate down gently, so that it wouldn't clatter against the metal ground.

I jumped swiftly through the hole and hung onto the edge, peering into the ship. Couldn't waste a second; I desperately needed fuel. The interior of the ship was white, same as the outside. I switched to my thermal vision and scanned the walls and the floors, searching.

In only a second, I found what I was searching for. A sentry-bot was attached to the wall, its swivel-head moving back and forth to scan the perimeter. It was the same shade of white as the wall and didn't stick out. If not for my thermal scanning, I probably would've missed it. Sentry-bots are a form a security that only minicons use. If I took even one step inside the ship, it would detach from the wall and come after me like a shot, and the alarm would go off. Can't have that.

I quietly raised my hand and fired another pulse at the machine, disabling it. Then I climbed up through the hole. So far so good. Now where was that oil?

I switched back to normal vision and looked around. The long, white hallway went on for a few feet, before it split into a fork. Above each side of the fork, there was a sign. The one on the right read, "STORAGE ROOM" in big, bold leaders. Well, that was easy. If I had had a mouth, I would've grinned. Stupid idiots, labeling everything. Well, they would pay for it now, wouldn't they?

The hallway on the left had a sentry-bot, which I saw with my thermal vision and dodged. Lucky for me, the hallway on the right was really short and had no sentry-bot. It just opened up into a big room, stacked to the ceiling with oil drums. Which, I guess, kind of makes sense, because if a sentry-bot charged into a room firing lasers, and that room was filled with oil… well, that might be a problem.

I walked up to a stack and picked one up. I turned it around in my hands, examining it. For some reason, I felt kind of dejected. No, not some reason. I knew the reason. I had to swindle and steal what I wanted just to survive, and these three minicons had more oil than they could possibly drink. It wasn't fair.

I sighed, scooping up the one oil drum, and turned to leave. No need to be greedy. If I took just one, there was less of a chance that they would notice. I walked out the doorway…

… And the second I did, there was a loud wailing noise, and a laser flew right past my head, exploding into the wall on the other side.

I panicked and looked around, realizing what I'd done wrong. I'd forgotten the sentry-bot on the left hallway! Slag! I thought, Slag, slag slag! How could I have been so stupid? In the split second I spent gaping like an idiot, I saw the sentry-bot detach from the wall, almost like I was seeing it in slow motion. Had to act fast.

I threw the oil drum in the air and transformed. The drum landed nicely in the cockpit. I hadn't transformed earlier because I couldn't risk the noise of the engine giving me away, but now, with the alarm blaring, it didn't seem to matter.

Only hesitating for a second to make sure the drum didn't fall, I sped off toward the exit.

That second of hesitation almost cost me my life. I had to really book it to get out of there in time, dodging lasers the whole way. One actually hit me, scorching a black mark onto my red paint, but I didn't slow down. I drove right through the hole in the floor and smacked my hood onto the ground below.

Shaking off the blow, I took off again. The alarm was disturbingly loud; you could hear it from outside the ship. It echoed around with sort of a ringing quality. As I zoomed away, I heard a voice yell angrily, "Hey, you there! Stop!" I paid them no mind.

Only when the ship was far outta sight and I was back in the shadow of the tall buildings did I allow myself to screech to a halt. I transformed and sat down, giving myself a second to rest. I was really out of fuel now. Better dig into that barrel.

I looked around real quick to make sure no one was looking, then, I sawed the lid off the top of the oil drum and drank it all in one sitting.

You're question probably is, "Hey? How can you even drink that if you don't even have a mouth?" My answer is: Shut up! That's my secret. You puny humans can wonder about it all you want.

Oh, and about that question you had before, why I live by myself, risking life and limb for one barrel of oil, well, I'll tell you the answer. It's because big groups bring nothing but trouble. If I traveled with a group, like the minicons I had seen before, I would just call attention to myself. If I lived in one of the villages, like so many other minicons, than that would attract attention, too. The autobots and decepticons could never know about me, I would make sure of it.

If you think I'm being paranoid, you're pretty dumb. Either that, or you haven't heard what I've heard. I'd heard the stories of captured minicons, of the horror of being forced to fight a war that wasn't even yours. I'd heard about decepticon raids on whole villages, with fire and smoke everywhere, while minicons scream and try to escape, only to run right into the clutches of cons they were trying to escape from. No thanks. That wasn't going to be me, no way in the pit. I wasn't going to become some decepti-bot's yes-man.

I finished the barrel and threw it away. It rolled away, clunking, and that was the only sound there was for miles. The alarm from the other minicons' ship had died down. The ship was gone to, I noticed through my zoom-in vision. They had probably left, knowing that the alarm might have attracted some unwanted attention. I was thinking that I probably should be leaving too, when I heard a voice. "Going somewhere?" it asked quietly.

I totally panicked. I didn't even perceive that it was a minicon voice that had spoke in our minicon language. The only thing I could think was the worst-case scenario. Living on a war torn planet can do that to you.

"Get away from me, Autobrat!" I shouted swinging my buzz-saw.

"Relax," the voice said, "I'm not going to hurt you."

I stopped being a spazz and looked. The voice was coming from a minicon about my height. His armor was a dark blue color that blended in nicely with the shadows. He had yellow optics. I could tell from his body structure that he probably transformed into some kind of jet. One unusual thing about him was that he had a face, which is rare among minicons. Like all minicon faces, it didn't move at all when he spoke.

"Oh," I said, slightly embarrassed, "Hi. What do you want?"

"What are you doing out here?" he asked flatly. He had one of those real heavy voices that let you know that the person speaking was real serious about everything.

"Wouldn't you like to know?" I snapped. I didn't have time for stupid questions.

He did, apparently. "It just seems strange to see someone out by themselves, is all," he said. "Isn't there someplace you have to go?"

"I was about to ask you the same thing," I said hotly, "Beat it. All this talking is going to attract someone." That statement was true enough, but more than anything, I just wanted him to leave.

"The decepticons retreated from this area already, and the autobots are camping a fair distance away. No one will come here tonight," he said.

For a second, I wondered how the heck he would know something like that. I was going to ask him, but I decided to drop it. "Who are you anyway? Why are even talking to me?" I asked him.

"I'm talking because I'm curious, okay?"

"About what?" I asked.

"About you of course," he said like it was the most obvious thing in the world. "Look, I don't your name, but I was patrolling this area, and I saw you out there tonight," he told me. He leaned in real close and narrowed his eyes, "You should ashamed of yourself, stealing from your own kind. Just what are you doing with your life?"

I was about to answer him, but that last question threw me off. What was I doing with my life? What was that supposed to even mean? For some reason, that really set me off. "It's my life, okay?" I snapped, "Stay out of it!" I turned away, ready to stomp off.

"Wait a second," he called, "Hear me out. I think I've got the solution for a renegade like you."

I sighed but turned around anyway. "What solution?" I asked suspiciously.

"There's a minicon by the name of High Wire," he began, "And he's holding a meeting underground in the third sector tomorrow night. He wants every minicon to come."

"Are you fragging kidding me?" I asked unbelieving, "Does this High Wire guy really think he's so important that every minicon will come and listen to what he has to say?"

"Yup," was the answer. Well, at least he was honest.

"Every minicon can't really go," I argued. "What about the ones that have partners? There's supposed to be this sort of bond, and…"

"Believe me, I know about the bond," he said. There was this weird determined look on his face then. That's when I noticed that someone had stuck a small autobot sticker on his chest. They had either done it in a real hurry, or they were really sloppy, because the sticker wasn't exactly right. It was sort wrinkled, and it leaned a little to the left. I suddenly grew uncomfortable. He went on talking. "Don't worry about them, they'll show up."

"But it's supposed to be impossi-"

"I said, they'll show up," he repeated. Even though he said, "they," I got the feeling he meant "we." We'll show up.

"Well," I said after a second, "I guess I'll show up too. Got nothing better to do."

"Excellent," he said, still unexcited, "See you then." He turned to walk away.

"Wait!" I called, "Can you at least tell me your name?" After that, I at least deserved to know that much.

He waited a second. Then, he called back, "My name is Dirge. Yours?"

"It's Grid!" I called, "My name is Grid!"

Well human, I can safely tell you that I never did see Dirge again. But, if it weren't for him, all the crazy stuff that happened to me never would have. Guess I still owe him for that.

In case you didn't catch it already, my name was Grid. I'm a minicon, and this is my story. It's not only mine, actually, but I'm gonna be the one to tell it. I'll try to do a good job, but I'm not promising anything. Here's praying that you're up for it.

Author's Note:

Whew! This chapter was long wasn't it! I've had this idea in my head for a while, and I'm glad that it got to be on paper. If you're wondering if this will be like my last fanfic, Mars, the answer for the most part is no. I won't be switching viewpoints for this one. Grid will tell most of it. High Wire will do the prologue and stuff like that, but that's about it.

If you don't recognize Grid yet, don't worry, you will.

I checked, and there is no minicon named Dirge. I made up the character, and I wanted to pick a name that wasn't taken already. I succeeded. Hope you enjoy this second fanfic. (Yes, I am still working on Mars. Patience)