Author's Note: Originally debuted on my Deviantart gallery. The characters of Windstreaker, Firesong, Piper, Starwhisperer, and Deathwish were created and are © by me exclusively for this fanfic. Do not take them and use them without my permission.

Piper's ability to transform into a flower was based on Botanica from Beast Machines.

Disclaimer: I am only a fan and do not own anything of Transformers Animated!! All characters, names and anything else pertaining to Transformers Animated are owned and copyrighted by their respectful owners (Hasbro, Cartoon Network, etc). The only thing I own is the fanfic itself and any fan made characters I designed to fit into it. This fanfic and any of my other fanfics may not be copied, altered, edited or posted elsewhere without my permission. For those of you who may speak another language please feel free to translate my story into your native language for better understanding and your personal enjoyment ONLY, or to show to a friend that may not speak English.

Rated PG – For mild violence and action

"We're under attack! I repeat—we're under attack!" the captain's gruff voice rang out over the fuzzy and popping intercom system as the small exploration ship roughly made its way through the darkness of space. The female bots it carried hid together with their children among the boxes and other items in the cargo hold as they waited for what horror would unfold next. Several of the little sparkling bots started crying and their mothers held them closer to sooth them. Sudden, fast jolts impacted the ship from the outside and alarms blared through the corridors, announcing a red alert. Heavy footsteps of soldier bots (some being the mates of the females) could be heard running past the closed door as they yelled orders to each other and roughly made their way to battle stations. Another blast impacted the ship, nearly rolling it over on its side. Everyone braced themselves against the wall in order to keep from rolling to the other side of the room. The air was thick, stale, hot, and tainted with fear and the agonizing screams and wails of frightened sparklings. Everyone knew what was going on outside without even having to look. Decepticon war ships had found them and were opening fire. They escaped from the imprisonment of the Decepticons, but their dreaded enemies were fast in pursuit. This was their last battle, there last hope, their last shot at freedom. If all was to fail, the plan was to move all sparklings to an escape pod and fire it towards the nearest planet. At least they would be saved.

"We're being boarded! The Decepticons are coming aboard! All soldiers prepare your weapons for defense!" the captain's voice suddenly screamed over the intercom before it fizzled out completely into static. The female bots exchanged horrified glances with each other. All of them knew what they were to do.

At that moment, the sound of blaster fire, plasma cannons, and angered screams broke out and filled the corridors outside and the impact of heavy metal bodies and footsteps shook the floor under them, announcing that Autobot and Decepticon sides had finally collided in an energonthirsty fight to the death.

"Firesong, hand me that sword." screamed one of the females as she pointed toward a huge rusting sword lying on the ground near the back of the room. Firesong obeyed and handed the sword over to her friend.

"What are you going to do, Windstreaker?" asked Firesong, shifting the sparklings she carried to her other arm.

"I'm going to be ready in case any of those Decepticon scum come through that door."

"You won't stand a chance against them."

"At least I'll go down fighting. It'll be better than allowing them to just gun us down like animals."

Windstreaker had a point. Firesong looked around her for another weapon and found a blaster rifle not too far from her. She quickly grabbed it and nestled it close to her side.

The ruckus outside was beginning to die down or so they thought. But before any of them could comprehend what was happening, there was a deafening screeching and crashing of metal and the cargo hold's door flew through the air with such force that it nearly tore a hole in the wall across from the entrance. What came next was the unmistakable head of a Decepticon—his glowing red optics burning with fury and rage as they scanned the inside of the cargo hold for any signs of life. The face was not familiar to the females but it was still hideous and terrifying. The wings on the Decepticon's back, of which scraped against the door facing when the huge bot stepped forward, clearly showed that his vehicle mode was a Cybertronian jet.

Windstreaker jumped out from the darkness, catching the Decepticon completely off guard, and charged forward with victory in her voice and rammed her sword head on through the Decepticon's spark chamber. There was a brilliant burst of light and the Decepticon screamed in pain and agony before falling into a pile of lifeless scrap metal and computer circuitry at Windstreaker's feet.

"Promise me one thing," Firesong said as she approached Windstreaker's side.

"What's that?" the light blue female bot asked.

"That you won't try anything that stupid ever again."

Windstreaker chuckled as she walked over to pick up her son and a few other sparklings. The other female bots gathered up the rest of the sparklings and together, with Windstreaker in the lead, they made a dash out of the door and headed toward the escape pod docking bay. Firesong had to keep from shrieking as they maneuvered around lifeless bodies of male soldiers, many of them leaking pools of pinkish-purple energon from gaping wounds in their armor plating. Each one's spark chamber had a charred hole through it, revealing a cold and sad emptiness that once housed a glowing, pulsating life source. One female held back tears as she caught sight of her mate among the bodies. Firesong wrapped her arm around the bot to comfort her as they quickly moved on.

"We're almost there." Windstreaker said, reaching down and grabbing up a loose blaster rifle from the floor and powering it up. Turning a corner, the group unexpectedly met up with a Decepticon soldier that towered well above their heads.

"What the spark?" Firesong muttered out loud as she peered at the grotesque figure in front of them.

"Good galaxy," Windstreaker breathed. She thought it had to be the ugliest Decepticon she had ever seen in her life. It looked half dinosaur and half bot with a giant crab's claw for one hand. It must have been some kind of mutated robot-animal hybrid—half and half and totally gruesome. Its huge reptilian mouth gaped open, showing a massive set of fangs that dripped acid saliva onto the ship's flooring. It took a step toward them, all the time hissing like a snake.

"Alright, ugly, I don't know what you are, but I dare you to take your best shot." Windstreaker said aloud, pointing her blaster straight ahead and backing up and into her friends. The Decepticon took a few more steps. Suddenly, without warning, the creature reached out and snatched one of the female bots up in its claw hand. The bot screamed in terror and pain, her legs kicking and scrambling in every direction possible.

"Windstreaker, do something!" Firesong shouted. Windstreaker fired several rounds of blaster fire and hit the Decepticon, but it didn't have any affect on the massive, muscular body. Windstreaker, Firesong, and the rest of their group looked on in sheer horror as it ended the life of the female in its hand with one snap and started coming toward them again.

"Get the sparklings to the escape pod. I'll handle tall, dark, and ugly." Firesong pushed her way forward and dumped her sparklings into Windstreaker's arms. "GO!"

"I can't just leave you here!"

"I'll be fine, now get going!" Firesong turned around just in time to fire a few more rounds at the beast with her own blaster. While Firesong kept the Decepticon busy, Windstreaker ran as fast as she could past the battle, the sparklings in her arms screaming in fear. The other females followed her until they finally reached the door that would lead them to the pods. It hissed open when they approached. Windstreaker ran to the nearest pod and rammed her elbow into a red button on the outside control panel, the door of the pod coming down to form a boarding ramp.

"Everyone, put your sparklings inside the pod. Hurry!" Windstreaker barked her orders, holding her own sparklings close to her and following the others inside.

"I'll go outside and open up the main ship's door." A purple female said, making her way out of the pod. The other females followed her, one of them picking up Windstreaker's blaster. Once they were outside, the pod door came up and closed shut. Windstreaker watched in awe as the other females purposely stayed behind. She banged her hands on the pod's windows and tried to get their attention, but they didn't hear her—or pretended they didn't. The main ship's door was opened and the pod fired up its engines and shot out into the empty void of space. Its thrusters kicked in and sent it flying at top speeds away from the ship. The last thing Windstreaker saw before the pod ejected was at least two Decepticons bursting into the pod docking bay and one of the females firing at them, trying to hold them off so the pod could make it out safely. Now, Windstreaker blankly stared at the helpless ship in front of her—what was left of its small crew was still onboard, fighting for their lives. Not only that, but her mate was still on there.

A few minutes passed and Windstreaker brought herself out of the shocked state she had been in and peered out of the window. Suddenly, the ship in front of her exploded into flaming debris. Windstreaker couldn't believe what she was seeing.

"Noooooo!!" she screamed in anger and fear, pounding her fists on the window's glass. Tears filled her optics as she stared at the pieces of burned metal that still floated through space. What had caused such an explosion was not known, but she did know that it would have been impossible for anyone to have survived. But she had bigger problems to worry about. Two of the Decepticon ships had spotted the pod and were coming toward her.

"Slag!" she muttered through her teeth. "Don't they ever give up?" Her only chance was to make it to the nearest planet. The pod wasn't built for battle and thus had no form of weaponry to defend against attacks. They were sitting ducks and Windstreaker knew it. A sudden blast hit from behind and threw the pod forward.

"They're firing!" Windstreaker struggled to regain her balance, grabbing hold of the window and peering out at the enemy ships in hot pursuit. The frightened screams and cries of sparklings filled the air but Windstreaker didn't seem to notice. Another hit rocked the pod, this one hitting home and sending a shower of sparks. A fire broke out on one of the nearby control consoles—Windstreaker grabbing an extinguisher and dowsing it before it had a chance to get out-of-hand. Then there was the rumbling and violent rocking and shaking as the pod entered the nearby planet's atmosphere.

strongMeanwhile, in a Detroit park/strong

Sari bounced the ball up and down a few times before tossing it to Bumblebee, who then threw it upwards and straight into the basket.

"YES! Score one for the Bee Team!" Bumblebee shouted while doing his strange interpretation of a victory dance.

"We aren't keeping score, you know." said Prowl. "We're merely playing for pleasure."

"I know, but no one said we can't celebrate. Besides, I know how to play this game good."

Prowl grabbed up the ball and twirled it around on one finger before leaping gracefully through the air and shooting the ball through the basket, hanging onto the rim and then flipping over and landing perfectly on his feet.

"Show off." Bumblebee mumbled.

"Look who's talking." Bulkhead added.

It took about an hour for Sari to explain the rules of playing basketball to the Autobots, but they were surprisingly catching on fast. Already Prowl, Bulkhead, and Bumblebee were shaping up to be excellent players. Optimus Prime and Ratchet, however, preferred to stand off to the side and watch, not really understanding why humans would want to throw a ball through a bottomless net hanging on a pole.

Before the game could continue, Sari's key started glowing. Everyone stopped and stared in the girl's direction. The key glowing could only mean one of several things—either there was a piece of the Allspark nearby or there was danger lurking about.

"There's something wrong." Sari said nervously, seeming to sense what was happening. "There's something very wrong."

An ear-splitting roar filled the air followed shortly by a streak of flame and smoke that shot across the sky toward Dinobot Island. All eyes and optics followed the sight until it disappeared from view. Optimus and Ratchet exchanged glances, knowing full well that trouble was connected to the bizarre display they had just witnessed.

"What was that?" said Bulkhead, still looking in the direction in which the thing disappeared.

"Shooting star?" Bumblebee jokingly suggested. Prowl gave the young Autobot a sharp smack to the back of the head. Bumblebee turned an irritated look toward the ninja-bot.

"I hope it lands on the island—whatever it was." Ratchet said.

"Autobots, let's move!" Optimus ordered before transforming into a fire truck. The rest transformed into vehicle mode and followed him, Bumblebee stopping for only a moment and allowing Sari to climb into him.

The escape pod roughly touched down, skidded about twenty feet, and turned a complete flip over, scattering debris and blowing the door off before flipping some more and coming to a halt by ramming into a tree. A trail of upturned earth, fire, and burning trees led right to the wreckage. Windstreaker limply tumbled out of the open doorway, coughing from the smoke and fumes. She quickly looked around for the sparklings, but she couldn't see any sign of them. She hoped they were still inside and safe. Getting to her feet, she weakly grasped the pod's doorframe and hoisted herself back into it. She shakily and hurriedly rummaged through the scattered and scorched innards of the ship for any signs of the children. Hearing a faint squeak, she turned her head to her left. Picking up a slab of metal, she found the pair of male twins and a female sparkling huddled together. All of them were in shock—half from fear and half from the wounds they received during the crash.

"It's okay, sweeties. Everything is going to be okay." she said in a soothing tone, rubbing her fingers gently over the sparklings' heads and faces. "Now I just have to find the others."

Windstreaker continued to quickly and roughly overturn and dig through the scattered stuff inside the pod, until she found all but one sparkling. She went through and overturned everything again, but the sparkling was just not there. Fear gripped the female bot's spark. She turned, her optics looking over the huddled mass of baby bots in the corner to see who exactly was missing.

"Piper," the name caught in her throat. Her own son was the missing sparkling. "PIPER!!" she screamed at the top of her voice. Tears in her optics, she turned back around and started flinging everything she could lay her hands on out of the pod's door. Piper wasn't inside. Windstreaker fell to her knees and began to sob. The only other explanation for Piper's disappearance was that he had been thrown from the pod when it was still crashing. If she succeeded in finding him, it would be a miracle if he even survived. She couldn't give up hope—not now, not after coming this far. The other sparklings needed her more than ever. Windstreaker got up and walked over to where the tiny sparklings were barely staying online. She would have to find help somewhere.

Piper woke to find himself laying on a soft bed of grass—alone and in a strange place. Whimpering, he quickly looked around him to find anything that looked the slightest bit familiar—the escape pod, his mother, the other sparklings. But there was nothing. However, his optics soon caught sight of a flower—a big, beautiful, majestic, purple flower that grew not more than a few feet from where Piper sat. He gazed in wide-eyed wonder at the strange thing. Never in his whole life had he seen something so gorgeous.

"Pretty!" he breathed, crawling closer to it for a better look. He winced at the pain he felt in one of his legs, but it didn't stop him from investigating the curious object. When he got close enough, he reached out a tiny hand and carefully touched the flower's soft petals. He squealed in delight, his blue optics beaming with joy. He touched it again, this time quickly poking it with one of his fingers. The flower bobbed up and down and around at the slight impact. Another squeal of delight escaped Piper's mouth and he clapped his hands together in excitement. He then grabbed the flower playfully by the stem, but quickly drew his hand back while uttering a cry of pain. Tears crept into his optics as he sucked his stinging fingers. Not understanding what had happened, he looked down at the plant and saw pointed thorns protruding from the green base.

"Bite," he said softly, "Pretty thing bites."

Piper felt the ground under him shiver. Forgetting everything else, he nervously looked around to find the cause. He couldn't see it just yet, but the shivering worsened and there was a slight sound of thunder. Getting scared and instincts kicking in, Piper quickly scanned the flower. After his systems absorbed the information, his body started to transform into a flower identical to the one in front of him. The source of the quaking was soon revealed in the form of Grimlock, one of the Dinobots that inhabited the island. His T-rex mode heavily stomped over the island's vegetation and stopped in the clearing and sniffed the air. Piper remained silent in his new flower form and curiously eyed the stranger. Not finding anything threatening, Grimlock moved on.