"Life is a highway, I want to ride it – all night looooong, all night long…"

The apparently happy rider was singing at the top of – probably – her lungs. A tweedle sound interrupted her cheerful butchering.

"Yes?" said she, fingering the earpiece.

The resulting explosion nearly pitched her forward. "Could you cut out that racket, already?!"

"Take it easy, Stellaris." The peaceful blank expression of the girl didn't change at all.

"Pick a different song then. And not 'Slow Rider' – yes, because I KNOW saying 'take it easy' makes you think of that song."

"Oh, fine. I've got a lovely bunch of-"


"Well my heart knows me better'n I know myself, so…"


Sierra Huevolos smiled even more warmly – not that you could see through the dark helmet visor – and patted the yellow motorcycle under her absently.

"Test ride's done," she announced in her cheerful tone, ", I think it's safe to say that you're totally repaired, Stell."

"I'd better be," grumbled the normally placid Transformer, ", after spending a month of hearing YOU sing, I'm ready to take on Megatron himself, if only to drown you out."

"Aw, that's not nice, Stell. And you'd still be in that one-foot-in-the-junkyard motor lot if it weren't for me."

"That IS true." And it was. In the past five weeks, Sierra had painstakingly repaired the damaged femme in her family's garage, using her own pay to buy necessary parts and even getting the motorcycle Transformer to tap into the wireless earpiece's frequency, so they could talk during the pairs without Sierra being dragged off to the loony bin, or Stellaris to Area 51.

The cool night settled over the two companionable girls, making Sierra glad she wore her windbreaker and that Stellaris was a constant source of moderate warmth.

After a brief pause in the shadow of one of the many Arizona plateau's, they drove onward, taking the long way back. The barren landscape and lack of light pollution allowed the stars and moon to filter through as nowhere else.

It was only as they neared the lonely traffic light a quarter mile from the garage that their silence was broken, and only with four words from a terrified Stellaris.

"Dead in the water."

The femme Transformer powered down all but her base mechanical functions. She hadn't even risked the transmission over the earpiece, choosing instead to speak aloud.

There were vehicles at the light.

That alone was strange. The fact that, through the dark tint of the visor and the shaded windows, Sierra was unable to make out drivers, was also a key factor, as was that even the locals barely ever came out this far, even before the new road was put in.

A shiver ran down Sierra's back.