Sort of a sequel to 'Asking Much' but can be read alone.

To Stand

The warship had been at sea two days, which was more than enough time for the world's governments to go eighteen types of crazy. Two historical locations in Egypt wrecked (one in full view of Cairo's many citizens), Princeton screaming about terrorist bombs, a doomed warship, Paris licking more than a few wounds…not to mention the hundreds upon hundreds of robot sightings from the Decepticons hunting through cities for Sam…it was not a good situation for anyone.

It was time to make a decision. Come clean and watch the panicked masses riot, stay quiet and hope the cover stories would hold, or a variation on the second option…which included insisting that the Autobots leave earth.

With the Allspark, its shards and the star harvester now all destroyed, the governments were hard pressed to see a reason for Decepticons to come back except for revenge. Would it be better if the 'bots left?

One final discussion between representatives of every country in the know, where the Autobots could give their final defence on the subject. But Optimus, rather that choosing to speak himself, had approached Sam again.

"My words have not worked before Sam, I doubt they will now," he had explained. "We need a human to speak for us."

"Why not Will?" the boy had asked.

"Major Lennox is bound by the rules of the military. You government has ordered him and the rest of NEST to stay neutral throughout this. They are already on thin ice thanks to the Galloway incident."

Which Sam had to find a video copy of - anyone that could irritate Will enough to break regulations to that extent had to have had it coming.

"Mr Witwicky?" One of the techs behind the video screen started. "We'll be beginning feed in 30 seconds."

Sam swallowed heavily, but the lump in his throat wouldn't go away. "You're really sure this is a good idea, Optimus?"

Above his head, the Prime gave a small chuckle. "As certain as I was the day I first approached you about it. You will do fine."

Sam winced, staring at the blank video screen. "Least one of us is confident."

"I will be here should you stumble. Don't worry."

'Easy for you to say,' Sam thought to himself. 'You could do this in your sleep, why does everyone seem to think I'm the one for this job?'

Unfortunately, he didn't have time to complete that train of thought, as the techs finished the countdown, and the screen burst into dozens of small screens, each showing a man capable of starting World War 3.

Sam swallowed again, and clenched his fists.

'Here goes nothing…'

"Okay. Hi, gentlemen," Sam squeaked, immediately cursing the weak beginning. "Guess you wanna talk robots."

At least one of the men were glaring at him. "Who are you? Where is the leader? Can he not speak for himself?"

To his side, Optimus blessedly answered. "I have found my words have little weight among your people. Instead we have chosen a mediator to speak on our behalf. Sam Witwicky is perfectly capable of aiding you."

The glares were gone now, replaced with a mix of surprise, and to Sam's own astonishment, a little bit of awe. It made the cement mixer in his stomach calm down. Just a little.

"Okay," he said again. "We have big giant robots running around. Usually in the USA, but every now and then finding their way into your cities and causing lots of property damage. Understandably you're a little pissed, but believe me when I say keeping them here, and hidden, is better for everyone.

"How so?" one of them asked, and Sam grinned.

"Well if nothing else, given the world's economy right now, I don't think Joe Public wants to hear that a couple hundred million dollars are going towards housing asylum seekers," he quipped. "Even if they are incredibly awesome alien robot asylum seekers."

"And how do you suggest we do that?" Egypt's representative snapped. "All of Cairo saw that monster take out half the pyramids of Giza."

Sam smiled and held up a hand, ticking off fingers. "Yes, true, but the earlier EMP blast means there's not video, radio, camera or other footage to prove it, your cover story about hallucinogenic and terrorists appears to be working, and you managed to get the damage covered up. Once you get a little construction work done, nobody will be able to tell the difference at Petra or Giza. You've actually handled it pretty well."

"That story is not going to hold water in the long run," one of the other representatives warned.

"You'd be surprised," Sam insisted. "I'm still trying to figure out how people bought the Dynamic Enterprises cover story. It'll go down as one of those paranoid conspiracy theories and in a few years nobody will even think about it."

"And the other catastrophes?" the President asked "Including, of course, that broadcast."

Sam started ticking fingers off again, incredibly grateful that even though the symbols were gone, his more recent photographic memory seemed to have stayed. It had made the dossier of information so much easier to understand.

"Even without you trying to figure out an explanation, most people think that worldwide hack was a hoax, done by million of hackers around the world to see if they could. As for me? All I have to say that it's classified and I'm not allowed to talk about it. Does wonders for my rep and people will eventually forget about it if I keep my head down."

Second finger.

"Paris can prove those meteors came from the outer atmosphere. It was a freak accident that somehow skipped the radar. Anything that happened after that can be attributed to mass hysteria due to the worldwide hacking hoax. The only people the Decepticons actually interacted with were my parents, and they're not gonna talk."

Third finger.

"The warship…I'm gonna have to leave to our government. I'm sure we've got enough enemies to pin it on…while the attacks at Princeton can be put towards terrorists. Alice was a Decepticon, but she had to have student ID, which means she's in the system as someone. Pin it on her."

The president nodded. "It was one of the contingencies.

"As for the robot sightings, is it too soon to use Dynamic Industries again?" Sam offered. "That, or more mass hysteria. I haven't seen too much decent images of them yet."

Which was true, for creatures that had apparently decided the world should know of them, they had been surprisingly hard to catch on camera.

"Fine," the British representative began. "The situation is containable, but that is not the issue at hand."

He glanced to the side, even though he clearly couldn't see Optimus. "The question is whether or not they should be staying. As long as they're around, more of these situations are going to happen, and eventually it wont be containable."

"And now with all the artifacts destroyed, the Decepticons should leave," another representative butted in. "All they could stay for is the Autobots."

Sam could see where this was going, and knew he couldn't let that train continue. "Let me stop you right there. "One, the Autobots only blow cover when Decepticons show up, and even then they're pretty damn good at hiding. Bumblebee transformed in my garden in the middle of the day, shot up half the place and not a single neighbour saw him. And two, even if they leave, I really don't think the Decepticons are just gonna follow."

A collective frown before one representative asked the obvious question.

"And why is that."

Sam grinned. "Well…we did sort of lock up their leader for almost a century to advance ourselves. We have destroyed the Allspark, what they've been fighting over for so long, and then killed off any Decepticon we found on earth. We kind of laid down a gauntlet here that I really don't think Megatron will pass up. Right now Earth is probably just underneath Optimus in his 'must slag' pile."

"But why would he even care?" another rep asked. "They're almost immortal, what possible reason would he have to justify revenge against a planet that has no redeeming features for their race."

"You sort of answered your own question" Sam replied. "They're immortal, and we just destroyed everything they were fighting for. What else have they got but revenge now?"

Sam started to pace. "They're going to come, if just to watch us burn. And unless we can figure out a way to keep them out of our atmosphere we're gonna need all the help we can get down here. That means Autobots."

He stopped and turned to face them, eyes and stance filled with determination.

"Whether we like it or not. This is our war now."

"You did well"

When the screens blacked out, Sam collapsed, dropping down into a tired mass.

"I've never so nervous in my entire life! I kept thinking my voice was going to give."

Optimus's reply was full of amusement. "I believe a loss for words is never going to be an issue for you, Sam."

The boy glared up at him. "Was that a compliment or an insult? Cause I really can't tell sometimes."

He sighed and stared at the blank screen, knowing that across the world, officials were deciding the fate of their alien comrades. "Think it was enough?"

"If it wasn't, then we never had hope even from the beginning," Prime replied. "Thank you."

Both headed back onto the airstrip, eyes inevitably heading up to the sky.

"When do you think he'll come back?" Sam asked.

"Soon," Optimus replied. "As you said, Megatron has little left but revenge. He will not be patient about it."

Sam wrapped his arms around himself, fighting off a chill that hadn't been there before.

"Can we handle it?"

Optimus smiled, and crouched down to meet his eyes.

"Sam, if the Autobots and humans stand together, I don't believe there is a single thing Megatron can do to stop us."

Sam grinned back, and the boy and leader turned their eyes from the sky, and back to earth.