SUMMARY: (AU, G1 and IDW-Verse inspired.) The civil war between the Autobots and Decepticons has only just begun, but is going strong. Skyfire, on a mission from Optimus Prime, has discovered a small mud-ball of a world rich with resources. This world, it has been decided, will act as an Autobot outpost and a staging ground for the Autobot forces to gather enough energon to decisively defeat the Decepticons. This world is Earth. Unfortunately for Wheeljack, plans go awry and he finds himself alone on the strange planet with six younglings to look after as he tries to signal for help and reach the outpost.

Disclaimer: I, of course, do not own Transformers or any of the 'bots. They belong to Has-Tak. I am but a lowly fan.

Author's Note: bold face indicates nonverbal communication. Italics indicate thoughts.

And on a side note, if you don't recognize Drift, he's a character created by IDW for the Transformers: All Hail Megatron series. Check him out, he rocks.


PROLOGUE

It was supposed to be simple, Wheeljack mused. Of course, with the number of younglings on board the ship there was bound to be some minor altercations. They all knew that. Younglings would be younglings, and you had to overlook their mischief. Or that was the theory any way.

He had been walking from his makeshift lab to the rec room, when he heard the shouting from down the hall. He quickened his steps worriedly and peered into a side corridor and stiffened. The shouting was coming from Red Alert and the bot's helm was sparking madly. Prowl was standing rigidly beside him. It didn't take him long to figure out what the fuss was about. Poor Perceptor had been welded spread-eagled to the wall like some macabre ornament. The red bot didn't look angry, just resigned and put upon. Around Perceptor was a dizzying collage of colorful graffiti.

"What the slag were you glitches thinking?" Red roared, head still sparking erratically. Wheeljack sincerely hoped he didn't fry himself again. After all, he was the closest thing to a medic they had on board.

Wheeljack turned his head and quickly spotted the focus of Red's ire. The younglings were standing in a small group with varied expressions. Most likely, he mused, this was Sideswipe's idea. The red twin was openly grinning and his yellow brother, Sunstreaker, looked defiant with his chin up and his eyes glaring. Beside him was Bluestreak, the second youngest of the group. The young sniper held his wing panels down submissively and was staring fixedly at the floor. The youngest, Bumblebee, was standing partially behind Blue and Jack found himself doubting that the small yellow bot had had anything to do with Perceptor's current predicament. The other two were standing slightly apart from the Iacon raised bots. They were two of Kup's foundlings, who had been enlisted in their group at Ultra Magnus' request. Hot Rod easily stood out the most with his fiery coloring and personality. The other, a quiet bot named Drift, Jack knew next to nothing about. The white and red bot kept to himself for the most part and always had a small smile on his face.

"We didn't hurt him." Sideswipe protested, pouting slightly and giving Red a big-optic look of utter pathetic-ness.

"We were bored." Sunstreaker griped and he crossed his arms challengingly.

Jack huffed air through his system in a sigh. Thank Primus, I'm not the one responsible for them, he thought with a tiny smile that was hidden by his face plate.

Prowl turned at that moment, somehow sensing he was there. "Wheeljack, cut Perceptor down," he said sounding tired. Wheeljack nodded and stepped aside. Prowl pointed at the cluster of younglings. "You lot, come with me."

He watched as with Prowl leading the group filed out, with Red Alert bringing up the rear and still ranting at the younglings. Jack seriously hoped he didn't accidentally short himself out again. Primus knew they didn't need that. Jack turned to Perceptor and rubbed his hands together.

"Don't you just love younglings?"

Perceptor rolled his optics.

"I'll be right back, just need a cutter. Hey, don't go anywhere," he called over his shoulder.

Perceptor shook his head slowly.


"I can file that off later," Wheeljack muttered, his vocal indicators blinking apologetically.

Perceptor shrugged as he rubbed at the ragged metal clinging to his arms that had once been part of the wall. "No hurry. It's just…unpleasant, not intolerable."

As they passed the training room, Jack sneaked a glance inside. The younglings, amid much griping, were scrubbing the floors down, while Red Alert glowered at them and barked orders. Sideswipe "accidentally" bumped into Red and knocked him down, spilling a container of solvents on him in the process. The two mechs hurried away as Red's angry voice filled the air yet again.

He could, in a way, see why they had targeted Perceptor for their little prank. He was the mildest of the bots on the ship and the most tolerant. Also, Jack thought, he isn't much fun.

He was jostled from his thoughts, by the shrill and insistent scream of an alarm. He tensed and opened communications with Prowl.

What's going on? He asked.

A Decepticon ship just turned up on the radar.
Prowl replied sounding distracted. He would be on the bridge, Wheeljack realized, running scans. Frag. Multiple Decepticon ships. He corrected himself.

Perceptor and Wheeljack exchanged a look. Can we outrun them? Perceptor ventured.

No, not with the ship we have. Prowl growled. Change of plans. Wheeljack. You take the younglings and go ahead. We'll cover you. Perceptor, I need you on the bridge.

He ran a quick diagnostic, but no, his systems had received the message clearly. Still, he couldn't help but ask, What?

Get the younglings to safety. That's an order, soldier! Red Alert snarled over the connection. He winced back from the tone and turned around reflexively. They're untrained and they're liabilities in a fight! Red added.

From down the hall, Bumblebee and Sideswipe were sticking their heads out the door in curiosity. Red Alert shoved past them and ran up to seize Wheeljack's arm and all but dragged him to the training room. "Let's go!" Red shouted when the young bots hesitated. Wheeljack found himself being shoved along as Prowl uploaded the coordinated to the outpost to him. The little group of younglings jogged behind them still calling out questions.

"Where are we going, Red?" Sideswipe called.

"You've dealt with younglings before, right?" Red Alert demanded, completely ignoring Sideswipe and the other younglings.

"Are we under attack, Sir?" Bluestreak asked, looking worried and his wing panels rose stiffly at attention.

"Actually—" Wheeljack began, but Red Alert wasn't listening.

Before he could explain that he had never dealt with them, he was pushed into a small shuttle along with the young bots. They struggled, already fighting for a place to sit in the cramped space. Wheeljack fought his way to the door, truly worried.

"But—"

The door slid shut in his face and he heard the whine as the systems automatically started up and the ship launched, preprogrammed, on its course. They welded Perceptor to a wall, because they were bored, he thought. Slowly and with much trepidation, he turned to face the six younglings.

"Er, hi," he said with a tiny wave. They just stared back blankly. Primus.


*Author's Note: Poor Wheeljack. And I'm only just getting started. Next chapter, they make it to Earth in one piece, but unfortunately it doesn't take Jack long to lose the younglings. Plus the young bots find a "pet," but the only problem is that the pet is sentient and not very happy about being a pet. Can Jack get the younglings to the outpost? Will the younglings tear him to pieces? Tune in to find out and thanks for reading; the other chapters will be longer. Please review. –I'm outta here—