Optimus Prime and Ultra Magnus stood outside the entrance to the Ark 15, surveying the desert landscape. Prime seemed to be looking for something in particular, while Magnus's gaze seemed to focus his brother in silent concern.

"It's been over a week," Magnus said finally. "If they survived, we would've heard something by now."

"Trust me," Prime replied as he looked to the sky. "I'm trying very hard to believe that."

Magnus gave a knowing nod.

"Where are you?" Optimus asked as the sun vanished beneath the horizon.


Roll For It

"Excuse me, Mr. Cahnay?"

Auggie Cahnay sighed as he stopped just shy of entering the track. Just once, he'd like to make though the doors without being hounded for some kind of autograph. And this was a charity race! Didn't these people at least have the decency to...

Upon turning and seeing exactly who had called, he decided that maybe he'd been too harsh. "Yes, little lady? What can I do for you?"

"My name's Winry Rockbell," the attractive young blonde said as she walked up to him. "I'm a big fan, and well, I have a favor to ask. For a friend of mine."

"What would ya like me to sign?"

"What? Oh no. It's about your car."

Auggie raised an eyebrow. "My car?"

"Yeah...I know the Angel Grove 500 is an important charity event, and I know you already have a car in mind for it, but we were hoping you wouldn't mind making a last minute switch?"

He was about to ask what she meant, but instead followed her arm with his eyes as she gestured toward the parking lot.

Gesturing toward one of the lot's light's, where underneath was parked a familiar blue and white, closed-canopy Formula racer concept car.

Cahnay nearly wet himself. "G-G-G-G-GHOST CAR!!!" he cried. And before Winry could say anything else, he threw open the racers' entrance door and flew inside, letting out the highest pitch wail she had ever heard.

Wiry hung her head and let out a defeated sigh as the door clicked shut. Looking back up at the race car, she offered a soft, almost sad, smile. "Sorry, Mirage."

The race car seemed to be sighing as well as it drove toward the human female of it's own accord, though its was a sigh of disappointment.

"Told you this was a stupid idea," said the voice emanating from a modified red compact, also moving without a driver toward Winry. "Why'd I even let you talk me into this?"

"We didn't," mocked a yellow compact as it also joined the group, also without a driver. "Me and Winry were just trying to help Mirage settle his debts with the driver there, and when you heard we were heading to the race, you insisted on tagging along."

"I'm just making sure you guys are safe in case of a 'Con attack," the red car muttered.

"Whatever you say, Cliffjumper," Winry smirked. "Though I guess you had a point. I mean, considering what happened, Cahnay's response was pretty natural. I do wish there was a way we could get you in that race though..."

"Well, well, well! Look who's finally reappeared! And crazier than ever!"

At the sound of the new voice, Winry's spine went ice cold. Moving slowly, muttering silent prayers that this wasn't really happening, she turned to face...


"So you do remember!" the redheaded new girl announced as she strode over to the blonde and her cars, her vivid blue eyes striking Winry to the core. "Of course, one would find it impossible to forget the Great Asuka Langley Sohryu!"

"Wha-what are you doing here?" Winry stammered.

"What are you, stupid?" Asuka shot back. "It's a charity race! Anyone with a racing license and a sponsor can participate! Though this one will have to make do without my amazing skills. My car is completely shot. Not even you could fix it, Wondergirl."

The light bulb that materialized over Winry's head was almost visible enough for all to see.

"Actually, Sohryu," she smiled slyly, fear and shock vanishing instantly. "I'm calling in a favor."

"Ah, Prime. I was so hoping you and I would get a chance to talk."

"Megatron's plan," Optimus demanded. "What is it?"

Dreadwind laughed. "Still playing hide and seek? Have you even found yourself?"

"I'm not Jetfire or Rodimus. I won't play your games."

"And why not?"

"Because your repair and restoration is my responsibility and I--"

" 'Responsibility'?!" Dreadwind repeated, and instantly his bonds grew taught as he lunged at the Autobot Commander as much as he could manage.

"YOU ABANDONED ME!!" the crazed Decepticon roared. "YOU ABANDONED MY HATRED!!"

Prime stepped back and reached for his weapon, but before he could take further action, Grimlock casually marched into the chamber and fired a single shot from his own blaster. Dreadwind was hit in the chest and collapsed in a heap.

"Not worry," Grimlock snarled. "Low setting. Only stun."

"That was unnecessary," Prime said as he relaxed his stance. "I had the situation under control--"

Grimlock snorted. "Not 'under control.' No one 'control' Dreadwind. Only amuse. You wasting time. His and yours."

"I need insight into Megatron's plan," Prime said, deciding further discussion of Dreadwind was pointless. "If he still functions, why haven't we heard of him?"

"Hrm. Megatron many things, but both know fool not one. He wait. Study humans. Determine threat v usefulness."

"That was my conclusion as well," Prime nodded. "When he does act, what do you expect his first move will be?"

Grimlock titled his head in thought. "When me, Grimlock sent to satellites and other worlds, first orders always establish base with reliable power. Energy raids no good if CR tanks no work."

" 'CR'...? The Darkseid couldn't possibly have survived."

Grimlock snorted again. "Puny Autobot explorer did."

"This...this changes things. I hadn't considered that possibility."

"Yeah. Such great leader you are."

The next morning at the Angel Grove 500, one may have noticed a slightly unusual girl in the crowd. Yes, she cheered along with the rest of the audience, but she did so with a cell phone firmly attached to her ear. Luckily for her, it wasn't likely anyone could here what she was saying.

"Relax, 'Bee," Winry said into her phone. "This will all work out, I promise."

"I'm just not sure we can trust this Asuka girl," Bumblebee's voice replied through the speaker. "She seemed to scare you more than Bug Bite."

Winry sighed. "We've got history, I won't deny that, but as far that psycho is concerned, she's just driving a really sweet car."

"And Mirage?"

"While he won't exactly be making up for screwing Auggie out of that last race, by the looks of things, he and Asuka are going to be winning a whole lot of money for the children's hospital. GO 26!! Besides, he can always fake a breakdown and let Auggie win."

The crowd's roaring took a very different tone when new car entered the race, by leaping over the outside fence and almost causing a wreck as it crashed landed into the middle of the pack.

"Well, that vehicle isn't registered," the announcer muttered curiously over the speakers.

"What was your first clue?!" Asuka cried from behind the wheel of her totally awesome new ride. Letting out a slew of German curses as the strangely shaped car passed her, she floored the gas pedal and tightened her grip on the steering wheel. "No one blows my doors off..."

She quickly caught up with the foreign vehicle, pulling up along side it and letting out the whisper of "Mein Got."

The car had an open canopy, allowing her a far better look at the driver than she wanted. He was a bald man, dressed in a battered and torn racer's uniform. However, what rattled her was his left eye, which seemed to be a large mechanical lens, glowing a deadly crimson. And when he grinned at her, it was with rows of metallic teeth.

"What in--?"

She didn't get the chance to finish her thought as the cyborg driver raised his left arm, revealing it to be a mass of mechanical parts, and fired some kind of pulse at her car. The next thing she new, her engine stopped and she skidded into a wall. She then watched as the late comer crossed the finish line, grab the trophy with some kind of grappling line, and sped off, leaping over the fence again as a grand exit.

"Why that son of a–!"

Again she was interrupted, as her car suddenly started back up, and of its own volition, raced after the cybernetic criminal.

Winry watched as her friends, old and new, disappeared down the street.

"Bumblebee," she said slowly. "Meet me at the exit. And if you say 'I told you so,' I'll strip you down and sell you for spare parts."

Meanwhile, Asuka had no idea what was going on, and honestly did not care. Whoever this freak was, he had dismissed her. Her! The Great Asuka Langley Sohryu! Child Prodigy of the Racing world! She was not one to be tossed aside so easily.

She had to give credit to her car though. It was amazing. Fast, great response time, turned on a dime....

...and luckily stopped on one too, as she quickly caught up to her prey and found him parked sideways in the middle of an intersection, haphazardly bringing traffic to a halt. Her car came to a stop just millimeters from a front-end collision.

He was laughing as he stood up in his vehicle, metallic mouth smiling at her hungrily. "I gotta give it to ya, little lady. Takes a special set of wheels to keep up with ol' Gearhead. Let's see what else it can do!"

Again he raised his machine of a limb and fired an attack, but Asuka's car was already peeling back, evading the blast just in time. Again confused at how it was reacting on its own, Asuka nonetheless grabbed the wheel and prepared herself for whatever was coming next.

And what came next was a series of spins and dodges that were beyond even her skill as the car dodged every pulse and cable "Gearhead" threw at her. And all the while, the freak never stopped laughing.

"Damn kid, you can drive!" he howled as a small cylinder rose up from his mechanized wrist. "Maybe it's time I made a trade in!"

"I got your trade in," Asuka growled as she clutched the steering wheel and gearshift so tight her already whitened knuckles threatened to rip through her skin. "Right here!"

And with that, she threw the car into "drive" and slammed her foot down on the accelerator, right as the car tried on its own to peel back. As a result, the car lurched, but remained in the same spot, making it the perfect target when Gearhead launched the cylinder. The device impacted the windshield, and stuck. Asuka watched with wide eyes as golden lines formed out of the object, seeming to write some kind of circuit.

She then cried out as sparks began shooting out of the dashboard and the car went berserk.

First, it vanished and reappeared. Then parts began to twist and contort and the next thing she new she was crashing onto the street as the car ejected her out. Like a greaser punk spitting out a loogie. Cursing in German and Japanese as she silently thanked God she was still wearing her helmet, she looked up to see her car...stand up.

Only it wasn't a car anymore. It was a robot. A tall, spindly blue and white robot that seemed to be having a epileptic seizure. It's face was contorted into some kind a of silent scream as what she assumed were its eyes kept flashing from blue to that same eerie shade of gold.

"Dude," Gearhead said in the awe of a child finding the perfect toy while the civilians around them finally stopped watching and ran for the hills, abandoning their vehicles and screaming all the while.

"This is like the coolest day ever."

Winry pretended to drive Bumblebee, following the trail of chaos and trying not to grip the steering wheel too tightly herself out of worry. That worry both subsided and increased when the trail went suddenly cold with Asuka standing deathly still in the middle of an intersection. In the distance, Winry could see a blue and white formula racer speeding away very erratically and heard the insane laughter of a madman over its engine.

Bumblebee parked and Winry ran straight toward the other girl. She was about to put her hand on Asuka's shoulder when the redhead suddenly spun around, threw her helmet off and grabbed Winry by the shirt.

"Just what the hell did you get me mixed up in Rockbell?!"

"Asuka, I swear, I have no idea who that--"

"I know that!" Asuka spat back. "I doubt anyone knows who that idiot is! But that was your car I was driving! Did you plan on telling me it could drive itself and trans-morph into some kind of anorexic robot?!"

As Winry racked her brain for an answer, she happened to look over Asuka's shoulder, where she saw something that shifted her level of concern drastically.

A few yards up the street, just behind where the abandoned cars stopped, she saw a man. A man dressed in a black suit, wearing ribband sunglasses, standing in front of a black SUV, and talking into his wrist. And through she couldn't see his eyes through the dark lenses, his head never shifted from their general direction.

"Asuka, you're absolutely right," she said quietly.

The redhead blinked. "What?"

"You deserve an explanation, but not here."

Asuka blinked again and let go. "Okay."

Winry smoothed out her shirt and hurriedly began walking back toward the Bumblebee. "Just get in and I'll explain on the way."

Asuka followed, but couldn't help but to ask "Does this one turn into a robot too?"

"Yes," Wiry said without hesitation as she climbed into the driver's seat. "His name is Bumblebee. Your car was our friend Mirage."

Asuka blinked yet again as she climbed in the passenger's side. "This is the weirdest day ever."

"Sister," came the high-pitched voice of a forth grader from Bumblebee's speaker as the Autobot began to drive away, "you don't know the half of it."

"Now do you see, Ramjet?" Megatron asked as footage of the Angel Grove 500 played on the Darkseid's primary monitor. "These creatures are not to me underestimated."

"The germ's....enhancements are intriguing," the ariel Decepticon conceded. "However, that simply means we should use a stronger satirizer."

"And what about the human driving Mirage around the track like a pet?" Starscream interjected. "As skilled as he is, I believe having a secondary pilot my have improved his performance."

"Indeed," Megatron agreed, stroking his chin as Gearhead's grand entrance replayed. "The order stands, Ramjet. We watch.

"We watch and we learn."

"So," Asuka said calmly as she stood center stage on the Ark 15's former bridge, encircled by Prime, Magnus, Cliffjumper, Bumblebee and Hot Rod. "What's the plan?"

The Autobots seemed taken aback. Not so much by the question, but the casual, matter-of-fact tone in which it was asked.

"I have to say," Optimus said, "you seem to be taking this all rather well."

"What are you, stupid?" Asuka shot back. "Okay, yeah. Super robot life is a new one to me, but it's hardly the most unusual thing going on in the world. Not with all the 'blue box' sightings and evil law firms. Wouldn't surprise me if this Gear-freak was from that bizzaro town in Kansas."

"She has a point," Bumblebee chuckled. "Some of the stuff I've seen on their Internet?" The yellow 'bot shuddered.

"Whatever the case," Cliffjumper said, "I don't see why we've taken in another one of these things. And least the yellow-haired one is useful."

"Watch your mouth, Scrapheap," Asuka snarled.

"Why should I, flesh pile?"

"Cliffjumper, stop--" Prime started to say, but was cut off.

"Save it, Big Rig," Asuka spat, never taking her eyes off the smaller red Autobot. "You. Understand the only reason I'm not climbing up your leg and kicking your eyes out is that Winry vouched for you. All of you. As for what good I am, tell me something Scrape: what do you know about humans? Specifically, what can you tell me about the guy who jacked your friend?"

Cliffjumper scoffed. "He's obviously a minion of the Decepticons--"

Asuka held up her hand. "Okay, that's enough out of you."

Cliffjumper was obviously annoyed, but remained quiet. Bumblebee, Hot Rod and Ultra Magnus tried to hide their amusement."

"Gearhead isn't working for the Decepticans," Asuka said flatly, looking directly up at Optimus Prime.

" 'Decepticans'?" Bumblebee whispered to Hot Rod, who only shrugged.

"He was just as surprised to see a transforming robot as I was. Mirage was just a bonus."

"He was probably after money," Ultra Magnus offered. "These humans seem to be willing go to great lengths to get it."

Asuka rolled her eyes. "God, you guys really are aliens, aren't you?"

"What is your hypothesis?" Optimus asked.

"Thrill," Hot Rod said suddenly. "The guy's a thrill-junkie."

"Yes!" Asuka proclaimed, smiling. "Finally, a robot who uses all of his hard drive."

"It makes sense," Hot Rod continued with a smirk. "Gearhead made a rather dramatic entrance, made sure to leave everyone in the dust, and only stole the trophy. Not a cent was missing."

"You're telling me," Magnus said, looking between the human and Autobot, "that this guy used advanced technology, put innocent lives in danger, and kidnapped Mirage just for the fun of it?"

"It actually makes some sense," Cliffjumper replied in a calm, controlled tone. "The humans I was staying with before Bumblebee's signal were obsessed with racing. Speed. So much so they were willing to break the law and risk their lives for it."

"Welcome to the conversation," Asuka smirked. "So, which of you guys is the fastest?"

"What does that have to do with anything?" Bumblebee asked.

"Well, if I'm gonna catch the guy, I obviously need to keep up with him!"

"Now hold on," Optimus interrupted. "We cannot risk the life of a human in our affairs."

"Exactly," the redhead replied, her smirk growing. "And what do think will happen if all of you go after this guy, guns blazing? Can you guarantee his safety? Or Mirage's?"

"You...have a point," Prime conceded. "However, we will be taking no action until Jetfire and Winry can devise a way to protect us from Gearhead's control."

"That should be ready in a few hours actually," Jetfire said as he entered the room. "We've thoroughly examined Gearhead's previous vehicle and I believe we have a basic understanding of how he was controlling it. Winry's understanding of machines continues to fascinate me. It's quite impressive (and a little unsettling) to watch her work."

"That's Wondergirl," Asuka said softly, almost wistfully, a smile threatening to tug at her lips. "Always the technofile."

"I take your attitude to mean you have a plan," Cliffjumper said. "Care to clue us in?"

"If that freak is as hardcore as he wants me to believe, he's getting to know his new ride," the redhead replied, looking back up at the Autobots. "Which is what I need to be doing, so again: Which one of you guys is the fastest?"

Hot Rod replied by grinning and transforming into his vehicle mode.

Asuka stared at the legendary Flamemobile, and eyes wide and filled with awe soon gave birth the brightest gleam of mischief.

"She's arrogant, egotistical, conceited, freaky, self-absorbed, twisted, cold hearted, schizophrenic, saccharin, unsympathetic, self-centered, totally absurd, and just plain annoying!"

Bumblebee's optics flashed in quick succession. "Don't hold back, tell me how you really feel."

Winry sighed as she wheeled herself out from under what had become known as the "Gear-mobile." "Sorry," she muttered as she sat up and began wiping grease and oil from her hands with a rag. "Asuka's always had a way of getting under my skin."

His optics flashed again. "How would she fit?"

"What? No! I mean, she annoys me. A lot. Sometimes I just wanna take my wrench and-"

"But aren't you two...friends?"

"Yeah," Winry sighed again. "I mean no. I mean...it's complicated. Asuka...she's like family. You love your family, but you don't always like them."

Bumblebee rubbed his cranium. "Human relationships are confusing."

Winry smiled as she laid back down on the wheels and resumed her work. "It's like you said yourself, 'Bee. You don't know the half of it."

Hot Rod was very confused.

At first, Asuka had acted pretty much as he had expected. Namely, driving out of the Ark 15 and around the desert like a thing possessed. It was really quite eerie. The way she shifted gears and turned the wheel...it was almost instinctual. He couldn't help put feel that any attempt to steer his own body would only slow her down and get in the way, and he wasn't sure how he felt about that.

However, what really confounded him was that after about an hour of driving like the proverbial "bat out of hell," Asuka simply stopped, put Hot Rod in park, left his engine running, and sat there with her hands on the steering wheel and her eyes closed. At first he tried to ask if she was all right, but any attempt he made to speak was immediately halted. Sometimes with violence.

So they sat there, time ticking away. After a while, Hot Rod began to....sense something. It was as if the young human in his driver's seat was listening. Listening to the very pulse of his laser core. It made him nervous at first, but soon, he began to relax, and found himself listening as well.

Soon, Asuka opened her eyes, and spoke two simple words:

"Let's rock."

Bug Bite laughed in demented glee as he watched his human pet work tirelessly at the computer terminal, bringing datum after datum to the screen. The laughter was both of amusement at the creature's helplessness, and relief that he was finally proving useful.

In a rare moment of carelessness, Bug Bite hadn't considered that the cerebro-shell would affect an organic brain differently than it did a cybernetic one.

Namely, in the form of an electrical overload and epileptic seizures.

It had taken much trial and error, but Bug bite had sworn to Megatron the human would prove useful. That the Decepticon Leader shouldn't throw away such a potential asset so easily. He was quite glad when he finally found the right frequency and voltage to be proven very much correct.

"That's a good boy, Fido," the Decepticon cooed as his optics flared greedily. "Speak. Tell me everything you know about this 'Sector 7'...."

Gearhead laughed manically as he willed his new car down the wrong way of a one way street, police cars fading away in his rear-view mirror and panicked pedestrians swerving hard to the side. It was all he could do not to wet himself as he activated the "make car invisible" device and began to make his way out of the city. It was time to move on to bigger game....

However, his travel plans became rather drastically revised when what appeared to be a jet of flame on wheels roared past, nearly running him off the road. Growling, Gearhead made himself visible again and violently flattened the accelerator, following the flame to...

"The track? What the crap?"

Despite his confusion, Gearhead drove right back into the scene of his original crime, only to be knocked for another loop at the sight of...

"The Flamemobile?! What the F–!"

He stopped mid-expletive and focused his mechanical eye on the other car. Zooming in on the driver's seat, he was confused even further to find...

"That redheaded chick?! What in...?"

He stopped when she winked at him. Growling again, he tightly gripped the wheel and revved his engine.

Meanwhile, in Hot Rod's driver seat, Asuka sat comfortably with a smile on her face.

"I wanna get in trouble," she sang sweetly. "I wanna start a FIGHT!"

Hot Rod bolted forward instantly, blazing past the stunned Gearhead. Roaring loud enough to be heard outside the canopy, he turned Mirage around and race was on.

Just outside the track, Winry sat in Bumblebee, watching the unorthodox competition on the Autobot's dashboard screen.

"So, what's exactly the plan here?" Bumblebee asked.

"Good question," Winry muttered as the two made another lap around the track.


"Asuka's got a lot of talents, but 'planning' isn't really one of them."

"....And she's in there with Hot Rod. The Autobot so impulsive he teamed up with a strange human without knowing anything about her."

"Nice recap."

"Thank you. I'm going to call Prime for reenforcements."

"Good plan."

"Now when you said you were the fastest," Asuka growled as Gearhead tried to drive her into the wall yet again, "did you mean out of the guys left or are you finally gonna impress me here?"

Hot Rod considered answering verbally, but instead smirked inwardly and sent a command. Asuka barley registered the word "trusters" appearing on the Autobot's dashboard screen before the car suddenly blasted forward, sinking her into the seat.

"All right!" she grinned as she readjusted herself. "Now we're cooking with justice!"

"Did she just say...?" Bumblebee whispered.

"I am going to burn her comic collection," Winry growled as she hid her face in her hands.

As she pulled ahead, Asuka could barely make out Gearhead throwing a fit in Mirage's canopy. Smirking, she slammed on Hot Rod's breaks, swerving to a stop. As she expected, Gearhead paniced.

What she did not expect however, was for Gearhead to trigger Mirage's transformation.

She watched as the formula racer flipped into the air and landed on the other side of her as a giant robot with a very annoyed Gearhead standing on its shoulder.


Before she could do it herself, Hot Rod switched gears and peeled away in reverse, dodging laser fire from Mirage's weapon.

"Was that your plan?!" Hot Rod shouted as he continued to evade the not-so-friendly fire. "To have Mirage crash into me?! That could've killed all of us!"

Asuka tried to answer, but instead let out a cry of surprise as she was shunted out of her seat and into a metal hand. She looked up and saw that Hot Rod had transformed as well and was firing back while trying to evade and keep her shielded at the same time.

"....Your weapon."

"What?!" Hot Rod shouted as he ducked, barely avoiding a particularly large energy burst.

"Your weapon!" Asuka repeated. "Where does it go when you're a car?!"

"It's my primary thruster! Why?!"

"Are those wings of yours just for show?!"

Gearhead couldn't help but laugh as the redheaded psycho and her ride argued with each other while dodging blasts from his new toy. Her robot was even putting away its gun! And it was...flying?

"Hi-YA!" Hot Rod shouted as he collided with Mirage at near the speed of sound thanks to the flaming thruster on his back. The two Autobots tumbled along the race track, crashing into the stands before rolling to a stop.

"Sweet merciful Primus," Hot Rod muttered as clumsily stood up, clutching his shoulder. "I love this girl!"

"Heh. Me too," Gearhead grinned as he too stumbled to his feet and aimed his cybernetic arm at the flame-colored Autobot. "She's brought me two brand new toys in one day..."

Hot Rod reached for his weapon, but Gearhead fired first. The cylinder flew from the metallic limb and struck Hot Rod in the chest. The golden circuit began to appear, but suddenly sparked silver and receded.

And Gearhead screamed, clutching his lens of an eye with his robotic arm and his robotic arm with his organic one. Sparks shot out from all of his cybernetic implants and Hot Rod thought it looked like his teeth may be melting.

"Damn," he muttered. "Harsh."

"What did you do?!" Gearhead screamed. "My parts! My parts are–!"

He was cut off when Asuka ran up to him and delivered a swift kick to his crotch followed by a fist to his face.

"Lady Mercy isn't home tonight," she snarled as the cyborg crumbled into an unconscious heap.

Hot Rod was about to repeat himself when he heard something moving behind him. He looked to see Mirage sitting up, holding his dented cranium. Upon seeing Hot rod, the white and blue Autobot held up a hand to indicate he meant no harm.

Upon seeing Mirage's faded but blue optical lenses, Hot Rod smiled and nodded. "Sorry about the collision course, buddy."

At the sound of another engine, both Autobots looked to see Optimus Prime pull up to the scene and transform. The Autobot leader looked from his soldiers to the two humans and back again.

"Let's just go home."

Meanwhile, miles away, hands worked furiously across a keyboard before tapping the "enter" one last time with a note of satisfaction.

"There!" she proclaimed with a smile. "All of the footage of the incident should be erased from everywhere from the major news networks to UToob."

"Thanks Stella," a slightly mechanical voice replied. "It's not a perfect solution, but it helps."

"Yeah," Stella agreed. "Helps people you obviously don't care for. What's up with that?"

"Our primary objective is to protect and while we may not be able to get involved in the conflict directly, we can at least try to suppress panic. You humans are innocent this is the very least we can do."

"Whatever you say, 'Bolt."

The voice groaned.

Bug Bite grinned as he looked over the schematics on the screen before him.

"Good boy, Fido," he chuckled darkly as he gently tapped Lazarus on the head with a finger. "Very good, boy."

"So you're heading out?" Winry asked in front of the entrance back into the Ark 15.

"Yeah," Asuka said as she looked up at the assembled Autobots. "Today was fun and all, but this is just too crazy for everyday. Even for me."

Winry smirked. "So what's that say about me?"

"God only knows," Asuka smirked back as Mirage transformed into racer mode and opened his canopy. "Guess that's my ride back to town."

"He owes you a lot," Hot Rod said. "I think we all do."

"Damn right!" she shot back. "Starting with you!" She pointed at Winry. "You could at least call. Mom worries herself sick about you, you know." She smacked Winry hard against the head. "Idiot."

Winry, Bumblebee and Hot Rod watched in stunned silence as Mirage drove off, vanishing from sight almost instantly.


"Yeah, 'Bee?"

"What did she mean by 'Mom'?"

Winry smiled softly and she put her hands behind her head. "When I said Asuka was like family, I meant legally. She's my sister."

She then walked down the ramp, leaving two very confused Autobots to watch and wonder.

"Hey 'Bee?"

"Yeah Roddy?"

"Are all humans this confusing?"

"I hope not."

And as the soldiers entered the Ark 15 as well, Optimus continued his debriefing with Ultra Magnus and Jetfire.

"Are you sure it was a good idea to just leave Gearhead there?" Magnus asked.

"Honestly?" Prime replied. "No, but I did not see another viable alternative. We barely understand our human allies and are simply not adept to keeping a human prisoner. I couldn't risk the potential harm of bringing Gearhead to the Ark."

"I have the device he used to take control of Mirage," Jetfire added. "And from Hot Rod told me, his cybernetic components seemed to have been rendered ineffective."

"Our conversations with Miss Soryu also seem to indicate that this situation isn't as unusual as it seems to us," Prime continued. "I'm sure there is some sort of authority meant to handle cases just this."

"Something else we'll have to ask Winry about," Magnus nodded. "Whatever the case, this has proven to be a rather eventful day."

"Agreed," Prime nodded. "We now know that the Decepticons are far from the only problem we face on this planet."

Here we stand or here we fall

History won't care at all
Make the bed light the light

Lady Mercy won't be home tonight


"Hammer To Fall"


WTF? Another chapter?! In less than a year's time?! ARMAGEDDON!!!

Seriously though, it's good to have another part of the same series in a relatively short amount of time. This story is mostly for the fun of it, but it does cover a lot of important ground. Namely, the introduction of another human ally (who we will be seeing again, I promise) and laying the groundwork for future stories. I apologize to any Decepticon fans who may feel slighted, but they'll be back to full force soon. (I'm an "Animated" fan, so what can I say?)

I'd like to thank Ri2 and GimlockX4 for the reviews of "A Classic Story." They made me smile and provided motivation to keep this universe going, even if for just one more story.

See ya around. :)