Northern Germany

Fire ripped across the night sky, blinding stars and deafening nearby wildlife. Only a few humans witnessed the meteor hurtling to the earth, but it passed far beyond them and their homes. The sound of its impact did not reach their ears for several moments, the distance between them causing interest to wane somewhat. The few locals that decided to check it out would later report nothing but an empty, smoking crater. Another urban legend began that night, speculation ranging from UFOs to solar flares to global warming to government conspiracies.

To the newly arrived Cybertronian, speculation was focused on the pursuit of more practical concerns. It took far longer than was safe for him to locate and scan a suitable alt mode, even once he moved into a more technologically inclined neighborhood. Most Earth vehicles were small, proportional to the organics that operated them. While searching, he picked up multiple radio signals, sensors brushing against Wi-Fi and following that until he found something useful: the internet. Satellites repositioned themselves in his favor, allowing him to access a grand network of information and aerial images. It did not take him long to track down a coal mine that was home to the sort of heavy machinery his mass demanded.

In the dead of the night, a massive excavator rumbled down the small roads, keeping its distance from residential areas. It did not stop until it found an isolated location, engine dying with a thunderous snarl. Demolisher sent a signal bouncing across the satellites, and waited for an answer that did not come.

It took one week before Demolisher's not-so-saintly patience ran out. Not one word. Not a single word from any Decepticon, planetside or otherwise. He was beginning to doubt there any more Decepticons on Earth, though it was obvious the Autobots were still skulking around. The Constructicon only received a brief acknowledgment from Scrapper, relaying that they would not follow him to Earth given the lack of activity. Demolisher could not understand it; this dirtball had been a hot spot not two months ago, and now nothing.

Where had everyone gone?

Another week was spent traveling the southern back roads from Hamburg to Hannover. If it weren't for the obvious presence of the Autobots on this planet, he would have left already. All he had to go on were vague orders from Blackout, and his silence bothered the Constructicon. While Starscream was prone to bouts of mutinous pouting and Soundwave put his contacts on a long waiting list, Blackout was never one to leave his soldiers hanging. The last he'd heard, the Cube had been tracked to this backwater planet, and the Autobots had figured it out as well.

Finally, finally, a Decepticon answered his call. The response he received, however, was less than enthusiastic.

"What do you want?" Barricade was not exactly known for being friendly, but his harsh tone still surprised the excavator. It was angry, bitter, biting, hateful, impatient, annoyed, hurt – Demolisher could exhaust every synonym in every language he knew and still his analysis of the hunter's disposition would be incomplete. He did not hesitate in responding, in case the fractious 'Con decided to shut the connection and ignore him again.

"I don't know, some information may be?" Demolisher snarled in response. "I've been trying to get a hold of someone for over a slagging week. What's happened here?"

"Megatron's dead, the Allspark was destroyed, and Starscram's out of his mind," Barricade said at once. "Good enough for you?"

"No," Demolisher said. Knowing Megatron had perished was beyond disappointing, but he wasn't going to let his shock of the Allspark's destruction bleed into his tone. For the time being, he shoved that depressing revelation to the darkest corner of his memory banks. "I received orders from Blackout to assist on Earth."

"My, aren't you timely," Barricade growled, continuing quickly before Demolisher had the chance to rebuke him. "Blackout's body was taken by the humans, along with Megatron, Brawl and Bonecrusher. I have no idea where they've taken them, and whatever Blackout wanted you for is clearly irrelevant now."

"So what am I supposed to do then?"Demolisher was talking to himself more than Barricade, but the interceptor snorted from across their link.

"I would suggest contacting Starscream, if he'll answer," the Mustang said, bitterness edging in over all the other descriptors of his tone. "Or don't. Either way, I don't care as long as you stay out of my way. Where are you, anyways?"

"Germany," Demolisher said, hoping Barricade was nearby so he could flatten the cheeky little slagger.

"Not only are you two months too late, but you're also on the wrong continent," Barricade said dryly. "It's a good thing no one was counting on you."

"Funny," Demolisher growled. "Where are the Autobots?"

"California," the hunter replied flatly, the sudden absence of emotion throwing the excavator off. "At the moment there are only four of them: Optimus Prime, Ratchet, Ironhide and Bumblebee. Be warned that they are working very closely with the American military."

"What happened to the Cube?" Demolisher could not stop himself from asking, ignoring the sudden shift in Barricade's tone at the name of the yellow scout. Intolerance, hatred, spite, and so much more packed into one little word, it was a wonder the hunter didn't catch himself on fire with his own fury.

"A human child shoved it into Megatron's spark," Barricade said, keeping his voice neutral again. With his words came a sudden burst of data packets, and Demolisher sorted through them, instantly learning the life and times of one Samuel James Witwicky. Child did not seem to accurately describe such a young creature, one that would die in the time it took a Cybertronian to make a casual stroll around the solar system.

"And the others?" Demolisher asked, storing the information somewhere near the file of the Cube's destruction. He didn't want to think about a human that was younger than two decades had done something like that.

"They were killed in battle," Barricade said, and this time the hurt crept through more strongly than the Construction thought the hunter intended. It was just as painful to hear, however. No heroics, no awe inspiring story or tale of bravado or gory details of Autobot death. Just killed in battle, and that was the end of Megatron's most loyal officer, a cunning tactician, and one of the most fearsome warriors in their ranks. "Are you done pestering me now?"

The hunter was back to being sharp and brittle, not wanting to linger on the subject of how much they had lost in the course of one battle.

"I highly doubt Starscream is going to answer me if I contact him," Demolisher said. "So-"

"Get your orders from someone else, Demolisher," the other 'Con interrupted him. "I've got my own orders, and they don't include managing you."

Demolisher was not surprised in the least when the connection was violently closed, though he did wonder why Barricade was so much moodier. He was impossible to understand on a good day, but being the only Decepticon left on Earth after all that would strain anyone's resolve. Demolisher figured his only option at this point would be to relay his situation to Scrapper once again, and hope his superior would be faster to get him some direction.

Until then, he would lie low on Earth. He did not fully trust Barricade, even though the other 'Con had no noticeable motivation to lie about Megatron or the Allspark. He also did not trust Starscream, and Scrapper might decide to use him to do some digging on the events that happened two months prior. Barricade was a practiced liar, but Scrapper would believe anything another Constructicon reported back to him. As boring as it was, Demolisher resigned himself to hiding, staying off the radar and merely observing.

Even if he'd been too late to help Megatron or save the Allspark, he'd be damned before he let the Autobots gain another victory as terrible as that.

Something was coming. Long range scanners flared to life with enough force that Demolisher was roused from his recharge cycle. It was coming in fast, from beyond the atmosphere of the planet, and was broadcasting a Cybertronian signal loud and clear. Of course, the message itself was encrypted, despite being heard by anyone who was listening. Given their relationship with the American military, he had no doubt the Autobot's human allies heard them coming, so he would have to move fast.

Fully awake now, Demolisher tracked its approach with interest, if only because it would likely land not too far north of Numburg. If it was an Autobot, he could deal with them easily before any of its friends could reach them. With any luck, it was a Decepticon that he didn't despise or loathe too deeply that was bringing orders. He was, however, not optimistic. He'd been lounging about in Germany for the better part of three weeks now, and it wasn't doing any wonders for his general disposition.

Activating his very flimsy holoform, the excavator started his engine and began to lumber away from the mining site he'd chosen to nap in. A few of the working humans looked up at him surprise, but seeing a driver in the cab put them at ease again. Plotting the newcomers trajectory, Demolisher guessed he would arrive about an hour after the Cybertronian landed. That didn't give him a good chance of catching an Autobot off guard, but it was a welcome challenge. Whoever it was, their arrival would entertain him, one way or another.

Demolisher stuck to the back roads, skirting around the landing spot of the Cybertronian. A black smoke plume rose in the air, and the whine of sirens could be heard even at his distance. The excavator opened up his connection to the internet, at the same time skimming the local news channels. It was creating such a buzz that Demolisher worried it would quickly reach the international news feed. He knew better than to try and tamper with the news websites, as it would draw the Autobots to him in a sparkbeat.

Finding a relatively secluded spot, he killed his engine and waited, scanners on full alert. It would be a small miracle if the newcomer could get out of that city center unnoticed by humans. Smoke continued to rise, and Demolisher realized a building, or several, had been set ablaze from the impact. He had no sympathy for humans structures; they were built from shoddy, flammable and biodegradable materials. What else did they expect to happen?

Much to his surprise, the excavator did not have to wait long before a signal flared across his scanners. It was quick, and obviously unintentional. The signal blipped several more times, telling him the Cybertronian was either terrible at masking himself, or his systems were damaged. The excavator ambled down the roads again, following the erratic signal as it wormed its way through the interior of the city. When it came through steady, its motions were stop and go, and Demolisher figured whoever it was really was injured. That sort of behavior indicated they were having a difficult time moving themselves.

He thought as much until he came to a major intersection, where he quickly pulled himself off the road. A tremendous traffic jam had been created by the motorists attempting to exit the city, horns blaring and humans swearing out their windows. A quick listen to the police scanners told him the fires were burning quicker than anticipated, and parts of the town were being evacuated. Doubling back before a police officer thought about questioning his bizarre presence, Demolisher kept a sensor on the new Cybertronian. Caught up in traffic, he would have nowhere to go but out of the city if he had an ounce of intelligence.

Pulling out of view as best he could, Demolisher waited once again. The signal popped in and out, but they were moving with traffic towards the intersection he was monitoring. Any detours or side roads had been blocked off by the police, or were one-way streets clogged with more evacuees. As the Cybertronian grew closer, Demolisher began to watch for duplicate vehicles, which proved easier than he wanted. Many humans chose identical models, with some variation in colors and features. He had to look for finer details: matching license plates, same cracked headlight, or even something as simple as a discreet faction symbol.

It finally arrived with with a few glaring clues. The first silver Mercedes stood out among the mass of bland middle class vehicles, shining under the sunlight as its owner swore into his cellular phone. The second Mercedes was a bit dusty on the sides, but bore a license plate that matched the first. The dark windows could not hide the driver in the first car from Demolisher, but they did hide the empty drivers seat in the second car from humans. Even as he watched, the signal burst from the Mercedes as it accelerated, dying when the silver car had to put on the brakes.

Whoever it was did not know they were broadcasting so obviously, and Demolisher could feel another Cybertronian presence crawling across the local Wi-Fi. He kept himself silent and shut away, watching the original Mercedes make a left turn and speed off in the opposite direction. It was nothing but pure luck, Demolisher assumed, that the copy Mercedes turned right, heading straight for him. The little silver car put on some speed once it was free of traffic, panels on its roof flashing under the sun. Solar panels, Demolisher realized. But what does he need them out for now?

The Constructicon did not wait until the Mercedes was close to start moving, cutting off another motorist to head off the silver car. The new mech was not paying attention to the road at all, completely caught off guard by the massive mining machine that was suddenly in front of it. Swerving to avoid a collision, the silver Mercedes jumped the curb, sparks grinding off its undercarriage. Pulling a hard left, it dropped back onto the road, tires burning as it came to a stop on the other side of Demolisher.

"Watch where you're going!" the silver car, with no visible driver, shouted up at him. Demolisher's holoform looked down at him impassively, ignoring an irritated honk from another motorist.

"You ought to watch where you land," Demolisher shot back over the radio, and the silver car suddenly threw itself into reverse. The excavator was having none of it, rolling forward to close the distance between them. The Mercedes swung around, though it did not take off. "Name and faction, before I flatten you."

"Sideways," the silver Mercedes said at once. He drove forward, though he was being herded by the larger excavator. "Decepticon, I'm a Decepticon! You don't have to flatten me!"

"I don't have to," Demolisher growled, engine revving to reinforce his point. "But I can. Especially after a landing like that – the Autobots will be swarming this area in no time."

"Are – are there a lot of Autobots here?" Sideways asked, driving forward despite the massive excavator riding his bumper. The little silver car allowed himself to be herded, as Demolisher wanted them away from the city center as quickly as possible. "Do you know which ones?"

It was the way Sideways said it, a sort of hopeful, suspiciously eager tone, that put Demolisher on edge. "All I know is Optimus Prime is on this planet," he lied, thinking the Autobot leader's name would strike the fear of Primus into any Decepticon. "There are about three or four others. Why, did you come here to see one of them?"

"No," Sideways said so quickly that Demolisher's suspicion deepened even further. "Are there any other Decepticons?"

"Besides me? Just Barricade," Demolisher said disdainfully. Although he had begun to think there was at least one or two more, seeing as most higher ups did not typically count drones as a whole soldier. Until he proved that, however, he was sticking with Barricade as his only other ally. "Megatron, Blackout, Bonecrusher and Brawl were all dead before I got here, so I never got my orders from Blackout."

"I heard Starscream was back on Cybertron, so he made it out?" Sideways was close to getting run over, as he was no good at driving and talking at the same time apparently. Demolisher revved his engine so the Mercedes got the idea, and the silver car sped up, putting a few more feet between them.

"Yes, Lord Starscream made it out," Demolisher said, snarling the word Lord. "Why are you here, anyways?"

"Oh, uh, I received orders from Blackout, too," Sideways said, and Demolisher wondered if the Mercedes thought he was a complete idiot. The Constructicon was by no means a genius, but that didn't make him a moron either. Unfortunately, the excavator had already made a mistake by mentioning his lack of knowledge concerning Blackout's orders. That had given the Mercedes a back door, flimsy as it may be.

"Is that so," Demolisher said lowly, making his doubt rather obvious. "And what, exactly, is your function?"

"Courier," Sideways said, without a hint of hesitation, embarrassment or apprehension. Most Decepticons dropped the title of their previous careers and went with something more menacing like 'shock trooper' or 'ground assault'. While their faction had its roots in the military, many 'Cons, like the Autobots, had been civilians at one time. He didn't know what Sideways was trying to achieve by still calling himself a courier, but it didn't make him sound very useful.

"Blackout thought he'd mail a letter to Cybertron, then?" Demolisher turned off onto a dirt road, and Sideways was quick to speed around to catch up to him.

"I don't know what he wanted," Sideways replied somewhat defensively. If the Mercedes wasn't so obviously intimidated by the Constructicon, his tone might have had some weight to it. "Where are we going anyways?"

"Someplace where I can transform and beat the truth out of you," Demolisher said simply, vastly amused as the Mercedes' engine sputtered.

"I'm not lying," the silver Con said meekly. Despite coming off as something of a wimp, his pliant disposition was a vast improvement over Barricade's caustic mood. "I'm not."

"Whatever," Demolisher said dismissively, knowing that would leave the smaller 'Con shaking in fearful apprehension. He wouldn't really try to beat it out of him, unless the Mercedes proved to be that much of a nuisance. Sometimes all he had to do was sound like he was serious, and the smaller ones buckled without so much as a raised hand. The sun hit Sideways' solar panels, light dancing across Demolisher's side and irritating his dermal sensors. "What's with the solar panels?"

"I'm just low on Energon, is all," Sideways said, sounding relieved to be on another subject. "I was in space a long time, so -"

"I don't need your life story," Demolisher cut him off. The last thing he needed was a chatty Decepticon, no matter how annoying Barricade's silence was. "Right now our only orders are to lie low and monitor the Autobots and their human allies. Unless you've got a message to the Autobots that says 'Die', stay in sight and don't contact anyone."

"Okay," Sideways said, following close behind the excavator as he led them further from civilization.

"Which reminds me," Demolisher went on, feeling Sideways' signal strengthen as he accelerated. "Your field dampeners aren't working. Every time you speed up, I imagine they could detect you all the way from Cybertron."

Rocks and dirt flew up into the air as Sideways laid on the brakes, his position suddenly dropping from Demolisher's radar. The excavator slowed down, but did not stop, watching as the Mercedes idled in the middle of the road. When the silver car started forward again, he remained invisible.

"Don't know how that happened," Sideways muttered, clearly upset that he had been so exposed. The Constructicon did not reply, instead leading them further south, away from the city and further into rural areas. They drove in silence for several miles, before everything else Demolisher had said seemed to sink into the Mercedes' processor. "Megatron's dead?"

"Yes," Demolisher said, nearly failing at keeping his disappointment hidden. "A human boy called Samuel James Witwicky pushed the Cube into his spark, destroying them both."

The Constructicon expected anguish, or shock or horror at the revelation that had more than ruined his day. What he did not expect was for the Mercedes to slew off the road and drive into a ditch full of muddy water.

"Get out of there," Demolisher chastised the smaller 'Con, whose engine spluttered at being doused in the filthy liquid. Sideways' rear tires tried to pull him out, but there merely spun in the mud. "Now."

"Destroyed?" Sideways repeated, gaining a few inches before sliding right back down into the ditch.

"Yes, now get out of there," Demolisher was getting sick of the sudden echo, but he was also getting anxious. "Humans live out here, do you want them to find you?"

"I think I'm stuck," Sideways replied, rear tires having made quickly deepening ruts by now. "And a human did this?"

"Yes," Demolisher growled, losing whatever patience he already didn't possess. Lashing out with his shovel, he hooked the edge of it under Sideways' bumper, eliciting a yelp from the Mercedes. Hauling the shovel backwards, the silver 'Con came sloshing out of the ditch and was dumped back onto the road with as little care as possible. Bouncing on his shocks, Sideways' engine rumbled as the water flooded out of it. Certain everything was working properly, he sped off after Demolisher, who was already leaving him in the dust.

"Thanks," the silver 'Con said, headlights flicking on and off once as well.

"Don't let it happen again," Demolisher rumbled, knowing he wasn't going be at ease until they were far from human eyes. He was paranoid that someone had seen them from their house, and it was very unusual behavior for an excavator to be lifting sports cars out of ditches. His curiosity apparently sated, Sideways remained silent for the remaining hours they spent on the road. It wasn't until they had pulled off into a more private chunk of forest that the Mercedes began expressing more of his quirks.

"It's getting kind of dark out, isn't it?" Sideways asked, his solar panels tilted in the direction of the rapidly sinking sun.

"Yes," Demolisher said, engine dying with a thankful whine as he powered his systems down for the coming night. The days on this planet were pathetically short, but he was beginning to get used to them.

"How long do lunar cycles last on this planet?" the Mercedes pressed, headlights flickering for no reason that the Constructicon could discern.

"Lunar cycles are not night cycles on this planet," Demolisher replied. "Depending on the latitude and longitude, and the season, the time varies. Here, once the sun sets, it won't rise for another nine hours."

"Nine hours," Sideways repeated the two words, sounding worried. Demolisher was not so annoyed by his repeating habit as he was by Sideways' sudden fear of the dark. "Why does the time vary? Can we go somewhere with a shorter night cycle?"

"Polar regions experience six months of sunlight, and six months of night, given the tilt of the Earth in relation to the sun," demolisher explained, feeling weary. "Right now, the northern pole is in its six month sun cycle."

There was silence for all of ten seconds, before Sideways asked: "Can we go there?"

"No," Demolisher said with such finality that surely it would silence the Mercedes.

"So once the sun sets, is there any residual solar energy -" Sideways only got so far before Demolisher cut him off.

"Do I look like a slagging almanac to you?" the Constructicon exploded, causing the silver 'Con to reverse several feet away from him. "Connect to the internet and look it up yourself!"

"I can't," Sideways replied, though his tone was very quiet and subdued. "It – it's not working."

"Liar," Demolisher growled. "I could feel you browsing through the internet on your way out of the city!"

"But I wasn't!" Sideways yelped in his defense. "I was trying to access it but I couldn't!"

Demolisher was deathly silent, and Sideways feared for a moment he was going to transform and shoot him after all.

"The sun will be back in nine hours," Demolisher said as evenly as he possibly could. "I don't want to see you until then."

Sideways didn't have to be told twice, quickly reversing and speeding away from the sulking excavator. He stayed within scanner range, but out of view, which was more than enough for Demolisher. The Construction almost, almost, wished he were still dealing with Barricade, and not this chatty little glitch.

At half past three in the morning, Demolisher found his recharge cycle interrupted once again. This time it was a sound that roused him, one that was not cataloged along with the hundreds of normal Earth noises he'd gotten used to. Nocturnal animals certainly did make a racket to something that could hear an Insecticon drop a mile away. A low, ultrasonic keen echoed through the night, grating on his nerves as much as it set him on edge. It lasted for about 20 seconds before dying off, followed by a light, repetitive clicking.

Demolisher listened; something scuffled in the dirt near where Sideways had slunk off, stilling after a moment. Almost as soon as it had stopped, another keen drifted out from the between the trees, though this one was shorter. It was too absurd to think that Sideways was afraid of the dark, but the noises were definitely coming from him. Without saying anything, Demolisher opened a comm channel between them, giving Sideways a chance to explain himself first. When the Mercedes failed to say or do anything, the Constructicon decided to press the issue.

"What are you doing?"

"Nothing," Sideways was at least quick to reply, but his vocalizer was strained, as if it were an effort to speak even over the radio. "Leave me alone."

Demolisher complied, closing the channel without much ado. Sideways remained silent for the rest of the night.

As soon as the sun spilled over the horizon the next morning, Sideways was already front and center with his solar panels flared out. Demolisher said nothing to him as he basked in the sunlight, though he was still curious about whatever it was that had happened several hours prior. Checking his usual news feeds and sources, the Constructicon found suspicious traces of Autobot meddling focusing on Germany. It would be foolish to think Sideways' arrival had gone unnoticed, so he felt it best that they leave the country. There were other American military outposts he could spy on to get the information he needed.

Only once Sideways seemed to be convinced he was fully charged did Demolisher inform him of his plans.

"We're heading East," he explained, keeping a careful optic on the suddenly mellow Mercedes driving beside him. "I don't want to be anywhere near here when the Autobots start sniffing around where you crashed."

"It wasn't my best landing," Sideways admitted glumly. "It was a long trip."

"Well there's nothing for it now," Demolisher rumbled. "We're stuck running circles around the Autobots until someone shows up and gives us something to do."

The Constructicon could not keep his bitterness out of his tone, angered by the fact that even Scrapper wouldn't give him the time of day. As mad as he was, though, he couldn't help but worry; had something else terrible happened? It seemed that everything had started to fall apart after Starscream led his doomed crew to Earth, and the news of Megatron's death did not make things easier. The sniveling jet would make another grand grab for absolute power, which would, as it always was, be met with equal parts acceptance and rejection. He imagined things on Cybertron were less than calm, so those on the fringe were going to have to wait until everything was smoothed out.

"Tell me why you came here," Demolisher suddenly asked, hoping to catch the truth if the Mercedes was mellow enough to comply. "And don't bother telling me you got orders from Blackout, because we both know that's not true."

"I have my reasons," Sideways said evasively, which did nothing to deter the Constructicon.

"I would suggest you share them with me," Demolisher said sharply, growl of his engine rising to match his tone.

"It's my own business and I don't have to tell you, you stupid dirt mover!" Sideways barked, instantly regretting his words as Demolisher's brakes grinded in the dirt. As Demolisher transformed, the Mercedes realized he'd made a terrible mistake standing up to the Constructicon. If he thought the excavator mode itself was large, the sheer size of his root mode had him reeling back in panic.

Demolisher knew he was imposing, dwarfing most of his comrades without even rising to his full height. It was a simple act of throwing one of his wheels up over his head to make him look twice as large, a tactic that rarely failed to instill further terror. Organic creatures across the galaxy had a habit of puffing themselves up to appear more intimidating, and Demolisher found that it worked just as well on highly advanced mechanical beings.

Sideways transformed, falling over himself in his panic to escape the Constructicon, scrambling in the dirt to try and run. Demolisher easily grabbed him with one hand, tightening around the middle of the thrashing Mercedes to hold him fast. The silver 'Con did not make it simple for the excavator, squirming and twisting with all his might to break the vice grip he was in. Demolisher lifted him up to his level, intending to shake or squeeze the truth out of the little 'Con.

"I see you're all bark, and no bite," Demolisher rumbled, head tilting to one side as the silver 'Con struggled in his grip. "Let's try this again, only this time you tell m-"

The Constructicon bite back a growl of pain as sharp saws spun out of Sideways' arms, slicing into the excavator's hand. They cut into the metal with a shower of sparks, stopping only when Demolisher released him by throwing him through the air.

"So you do have claws!" Demolisher laughed as Sideways hit the ground hard, one of his saw blades snapping off as he failed to retract it in time. Demolisher inspected the damage on his hand even as Sideways transformed to his alt mode, probably planning on a quick getaway. Seeing that the saws hadn't hit anything vital, he ignored his injured hand and looked after the retreating Mercedes. Thinking Sideways had enough of a head start, Demolisher casually rolled after him, charging the cannon on his good arm.

One low level blast from his cannon was enough to blow a crater in the dirt road and send Sideways rolling over into the opposite ditch. The silver 'Con transformed out of instinct, swaying uneasily as the shot had disoriented him. No doubt still fueled by panic, he started forward, only to be lifted off his feet as Demolisher took a swat at him. Sideways landed back on the dirt road, letting out an involuntary gasp of pain upon impact. Before he had the chance to even recalibrate, a massive hand was suddenly smothering him, pinning him to the ground.

"Well, that was fun," Demolisher said, leaning over him and eclipsing the morning sun. If he had had the room to do so, Sideways would have shrunk away from him. As it was, the Constructicon had him perfectly immobile – he couldn't lift the arm with the remaining saw even if he wanted to. "One last time: why did you come to Earth?"

"Please," he heard Sideways whine, frame straining somewhat under his hand. Fear radiated off of the Mercedes, wide red optics searching for some sort of sympathy in indifferent yellow optics.

"I apologize, I forgot my manners," Demolisher said in a flippant, yet angered tone. "Tell me why you came here, please."

"I can't tell you," Sideways moaned, frame no longer straining, but shaking. "Don't make me tell you."

"I even said please," Demolisher growled threateningly. "I'll gladly take you apart if you'd just-"

"Because I'm dying!" Sideways shouted so suddenly and so forcefully that Demolisher lifted his hand, rolling back in shock. The Mercedes made a weak attempt at crawling away from him, but the excavator moved forward again to indicate neither of them were going anywhere.

"Your vitals are fine," Demolisher announced, performing only the most basic of surface scans. Even that would tell him if something life threatening was happening in Sideways' body, but nothing was out of place. The only thing that seemed odd were his Energon levels, which were almost halfway depleted. Their brief scuffle would not have been enough to take that much out of him, and he knew he hadn't punctured any fuel lines.

"I know they are," Sideways said, his panic slowly being replaced with a different kind of fear. "Just leave me alone."

"If you know-"

"I said leave me alone!" the Mercedes transformed again, his alt mode sporting a few new dents and dings. Demolisher had only to reach out with one hand, his hooked finger catching under Sideways' bumper and lifting him up. His front tires spun uselessly on the gravel, unable to get free of the Constructicon.

"Why would you come to Earth to die?" Demolisher asked, more to himself than the Mercedes. Convinced he wasn't going anywhere, the Constructicon released him, and the silver 'Con sagged on his tires, defeated. "And how do you know you're dying when your vitals all read positive?"

Sideways, predictably, did not answer. Perhaps he was hoping the Constructicon would grow bored with him and leave. Instead, he folded back down to his alt mode, pushing on the silver car's bumper with his shovel.

"Go get your saw and let's go," Demolisher said, engine firing up as he began driving once again.

"Where?" Sideways asked warily, darting back to retrieve his weapon before following him at a greater distance than before.

"East, like I said," Demolisher replied. "And may be someplace a bit further south, too, where it's sunnier."

"Okay," Sideways agreed, though the confusion was obvious in his voice. He self consciously retracted his solar panels, thinking may be the Constructicon was mocking him.

"You keep your secrets for now," the excavator said, suddenly back to being menacing. "But don't think you'll have them forever."

Sideways did not reply, silently allowing the Constructicon to lead and control his life. It wasn't like he was getting a choice in the matter.

A/N: For some reason, Demolisher is not on the character list for ffdotnet, but this will obviously be mostly from his point of view. And yes, I know Sideways is an Audi R8 in the film, he just isn't one yet ;)