A/N: I know I wasn't going out of my way to be extremely subtle or extremely obvious about it, but you people scare me. Really, really scare me.

Chapter two is only going up because I got it finished. I'm still setting the stage (ignore the bad pun; it'll make sense later) for the rest of the story and that includes getting the rest of the cast of characters introduced. This chapter is a little heavy on the exposition (which hopefully will be entertaining at least), but also contains a tiny nod to TAAO-verse. I'll be amazed (and scared again) if you catch it. It's a bit subtle, I think. Oh and yes, the rest of the Autobots are around here... somewhere.

Disclaimer: The concept of Transformers, among other things, belongs to HasTak and some other people. At least two characters in this chapter are original and belong to me.

The Human Misunderstanding

Logic: The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human misunderstanding. -Ambrose Bierce

Chapter Two: The Looking Glass

Daniel Gregory Allen Robert Gallagher was contemplating his name.

He hated it.

He truly hated it.

He had great plans to murder his parents for giving him four names and he even knew where he was going to hide the bodies. In addition to killing his parents for wanting to honor a few too many relatives with just one person, he was also hoping to alter his name somewhat; stripping off the "Gregory Allen" bit, so it was just "Daniel Robert Gallagher". His current name was a mouthful and it made him feel like he had something to live up to.

Great-grandpa Daniel had attained the rank of colonel in World War One and a Purple Heart for courageous service in the face of overwhelming odds, giving the Gallagher family a bit of fame to their name. The story went that in the dead of a wet, rainy, muddy night, a small contingent of German soldiers had borne down on a handful of French/American soldiers bunkered in a small outpost in eastern France.

By midnight, when the German soldiers had made their move, Colonel Gallagher had been going a bit nutty from cabin fever and the fact he thought one of his comrades had it in for him. The French soldiers had quickly taken to calling him "le psychopathe" and as their accented voices had given the English-ish word a strange pronunciation, Colonel Gallagher had assumed that it was a compliment. He had proceeded to live up to the name by taking out twenty-three German soldiers with his bare hands in order to defend the outpost. He had only received a few scratches in return and not a shot had been fired.

He even continued to live up to "le psychopathe" label long after the war had ended. Gallagher family myth stated that Colonel Grandpa (as he was later known by his grandchildren) was the man who had carried the "crazy-gene" into this particular branch of the family tree.

Uncle Gregory had been a very sane man, up until his decision to pursue a psychology degree. He became a marginally successful psychiatrist and had found work in an asylum in upstate New York; dealing mostly with victims suffering from forms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Ten years after landing this job, he ended up in a white room himself; having become somewhat unstable in the head as well from listening to too many of his patients' problems. He was home these days, but he was currently on a lot of medication and convinced that the groundhog in his yard controlled the weather.

And Uncle Allen...

Uncle Allen hadn't exactly been sane to begin with. He had wandered away from home one night with no warning and turned up three months later at the Hoover Dam, raving about evil spacemen from Mars and the giant microphone on the Moon that had been placed up there by Big Brother in the guise of the lunar lander. Just as the police had been ready to arrest him for disturbing the peace and public indecency (he had been wearing a foil-covered Speedo on his head and nothing else), he had jumped off the wall and into Lake Mead. He had been arrested upon surfacing from the water. Uncle Allen was the blackest sheep in a family of black sheep. He was considered an absolute freak by even the weirdest members. Daniel hadn't seen him in going on ten years now.

It was Uncle Robert whom Daniel had liked the best. Uncle Robert had definitely been the favorite of the lot. And likely the most sane of the family members that Daniel had been named after. Daniel had been his favorite nephew and had gotten all of his uncle's wordly possessions after his death. He would gladly honor that uncle.

In the name department, however, Daniel figured that he had gotten off a helluva lot easier than his younger brother. His little brother whom bore the name James Arthur Gallagher the Fourth.

That was like, asking to be beaten up.

It was a boon for James that their father tended to go by the name 'Arthur' more than often not. It meant that James got to avoid any beatings by his classmates who thought it was utterly hilarious for him to be the fourth person in a row to bear that name.

It helped, to an extent, that their parents owned and operated the fairly well-known Looking Glass Theatre.

The Looking Glass Theatre wasn't a Broadway theatre. It wasn't even an Off-Broadway theatre. No, it was an Off-Off-Broadway theatre. It hosted approximately 108 seats and the stage wasn't much larger than the stages found in most high schools. It received most of its funding through generous donations, ticket sales and concessions. Thanks to the fact that they routinely sold out the house with every performance, the theatre were far from being in the red. Which was good, because this was basically the Gallaghers' life-blood, outside of the routine checks from the local actors' guild.

The theatre had opened in 1983 with a stirring three-night performance of Alice in Wonderland; starring the then-unmarried Giselle Simmons as Alice and the already-accomplished stage actor -- and son of the owner -- Arthur Gallagher as the Mad Hatter. The wonderful performances of these two had firmly cemented the Looking Glass Theatre's name on the back pages of the entertainment district and the pair had managed to make the theatre a well-known name in the Off-Off-Broadway stage circuit.

There had been a bit of publicity surrounding the theatre when -- six years after their first performance together -- Giselle Simmons and Arthur Gallagher had announced their intention to wed. Their first child had followed within the year.

Now, with the theatre's thirtiest anniversary on the horizon, the Gallaghers had decided that a blast from the past was in order. They were in the process of setting the stage -- quite literally -- for another production of Alice in Wonderland.

Only this time, Giselle had opted to try her hand at the role of the Queen of Hearts (she took quite a lot of delight in hollering "Off with her head!") and Arthur wanted to try on the Cheshire Cat for size. This time, the role of Alice fell to a different young woman and the face behind the Mad Hatter was none other than Miles Lancaster.

Now the question was, how on earth did Miles -- the best friend of the guy who had inadvertently saved the world from some seriously bad-ass alien robots -- find himself in the smaller world that was wrapped up in the walls of the Looking Glass Theatre?

It had been pretty simple, actually. Upon moving to New York, Miles had gotten some dinky job where he was underpaid and underappreciated, but lacked the apparently needed skills to get a better job. On his day off, about six months in, Daniel had called home in a panic, saying that one of their rotating regulars had vanished off the face of the planet and it was opening night and they needed someone to fill his role and Miles, you've got a talent for winging it! Help us!

So Miles had.

He'd had about four hours to memorize his new lines and cues before the curtain had opened. It had been fortunate that the role hadn't been a very big one and he had managed to nail everything without much stuttering. After the final curtain call, when he had been backstage waiting to wash the make-up off, he asked the elder Gallaghers about possibly joining the theatre as a full-time regular.

So this was where Miles had found himself. He loved the stage. He loved getting up in front of an audience and delivering an entertaining performance. Some latent talent for acting had emerged the longer he had spent under the hot stage lights. Not only did he like acting, but he was good at it. Being a full-time regular meant that he got paid for it. A real paid actor! he would exclaim to Sam.

Just no Shakespeare for him. He had totally butchered Twelfth Night.

Rehearsals for the production of Alice in Wonderland began today. They normally took place in the evening, due to the fact that many of the cast members worked regular nine-to-five jobs. Miles didn't have a job like that and he usually came in with Daniel (the latter being the script-editing, semi-director, sort of stage manager kind of guy) to help set things up before the rehearsal actually began.

They weren't the first to arrive to the theatre this morning. The house lights were down like usual, but the stage lights were lit and cycling through the different settings. There was an undercurrent of soft noise coming from behind the stage.

"The sort of stage manager has arrived!" Daniel called out in greeting as he clambered on to the proscenium. "Who's back there?!"


Daniel froze like a deer caught in the headlights of a speeding car. A sheepish grin crossed his face and then he bounded away just like that deer. He didn't get very far. His route of escape was suddenly blocked by an irate black-haired girl who had come sprinting out of the wings, waving a strange-looking tatter of sky blue cloth at him. Her blue-violet eyes were flashing angrily behind the darkly tinted glasses that she wore.

"Kimana! Favorite best buddy in the whole world!" Daniel cried, crossing his arms rather protectively across his vital body parts. "Please don't hurt me."

Miles sniggered and stood back to wait for the show. Kimana was likely the only person in the world who could turn Daniel into a quivering pile of goo.

"The costumes! The costumes are in the worst shape I've ever seen! I thought you said they were sealed!" Kimana snapped. She was quite incensed. "It isn't you that I'm planning to kill, but you will get horribly maimed for lying to me about the state of the costumes!"

"I didn't lie!" Daniel said defensively

"Then what is this, exactly?" Kimana shoved the tatter of sky blue cloth at his chest.

"Looks like a dish rag to me--" Daniel held it up in front of him and actually looked at it. "This is supposed to be Alice's dress, isn't it."

Kimana nodded.

"Geez, looks like a raccoon got its claws on it."

"This isn't the worst of it." Kimana went on. "You don't even want to know what the Queen's costume looks like." She threw up her hands. "How on earth did they get in such bad shape?"

"Well, they are thirty years old." Daniel pointed out. "And besides, it's not like I really lied to you. These costumes were last used almost seven years before I was born! I was just going by what my parents told me!"

Miles bit back a snigger when he saw that a spotlight had fallen on the arguing couple.

"Well, next time, don't listen to your parents so much!"

"Hey, I know you get weird when people bring their parents up, but seriously, mine aren't half crazy as they could be!"

"Your dad quotes Shakespeare as part of his every day life! That's a sure sign of a nutcase!"

"Mom's normal!"

"Your mom narrates while washing the dishes! And you think the government is spying on everyone via satellite TV!"

"You hate people!"

"People are idiots!"

Miles couldn't take listening to this any more. He had already been biting his tongue for the last minute and he just couldn't any longer. So he burst into laughter. Daniel and Kimana suddenly jumped back from each other, abruptly recalling that they had an audience. Their arguments didn't happen very often; they actually got on quite well. But when they did argue, they usually veered away from the topic completely and ended up taking potshots at each other's faults; namely Kimana's distinctly misanthropic attitude towards the human race as a whole and Daniel's paranoid tendencies.

"Commissions whore." Daniel muttered.

"Riverdancing bastard." Kimana shot back. "Cricket! Turn off the spotlight! I think it works now!" she hollered at the light and sound booth perched high above the seats on the far side of the auditorium.

"I'm blind!" Daniel screeched theatrically, throwing his hands over his face. The spotlight clicked off suddenly, leaving the two of them blinking the spots out of their eyes.

"C'mon Miles, I'm gonna take the old costumes out of the dumpster. You're helping me." Kimana said.

"Sure thing!" Miles cheerfully jumped onto the stage and followed the black-haired girl into the backstage area.

Miles had met Kimana on the same day he had been recruited by Daniel into that suddenly empty position. She hadn't been terribly pleased with the idea of re-hemming a costume designed for someone three sizes larger than Miles and only having four hours to do it properly, so Miles hadn't exactly gotten the chance to see her nicer side.

The nicer side had eventually emerged at the cast party afterwards, once Daniel had carefully poked and prodded and had gotten Kimana to drink a full bottle of Vault, which had the same effect on her as it did a chipmunk drinking Red Bull. And Kimana, though initially guarded around Miles, had warmed up enough to be considered amiable. And then once the caffeine had worked its way through her system, Miles had been treated to the exact reason why she and Daniel had been friends since the age of ten.

They were both nuts.

When Kimana opened the door to the small room where the old Alice in Wonderland costumes had been stored, startled moths fluttered into the air.

"Whoa!" Miles waved the fluttery white things out of his face.

"Yeah, we need to replace everything." Kimana said, sighing heavily. "There was no way Gail is going to be able to fit into Alice's costume anyways. Even if she dropped twenty pounds in the next five months."

"I thought Alice was supposed to some stick-thin seven-year old." Miles commented. "Not-- however many pounds Gail is."

Kimana threw him a look.

"Gail was nailed the character personality during auditions. She's the best we've got for the role." she said. "You know that."

"Dun wanna."

Kimana threw a black, clunky-looking, buckled shoe at him. Four years around her had taught Miles how to dodge flying projectiles like a pro.

The entire store room smelled rather strongly of mothballs; an unpleasant smell that was not alleviated by packing the old, threadbare and entirely useless costumes into large plastic bags. Kimana had the overhead fan running, but it didn't help much. Miles kept the hem of his collar over his nose to block out the worst of the smell. It took them two trips each to get the trash bags out to the dumpster behind the theatre where they belonged. When they got back in, the lights went out.

"Ack! I really am blind!" They heard Daniel shout from the stage. "Cricket! The lights! The lights are out!"

Miles felt his way back to the stage, navigating the twisty backstage path by memory.

"What happened to the lights, guys?" he asked, fighting his way around the curtains. "Is Cricket messing with us again?"

"Power's out, ya nutjobs!" came the semi-distant shout in the voice of the Looking Glass Theatre's light-and-sound tech. There was the faint sound of rummaging and then a light flickered on in the booth above the auditorium.

"What happened?" Kimana asked. It sounded like she was still in the wings.

"Just flopped out on us!" was the reply. "Hang on! I'm coming out!"

Miles patted around for the brick wall that he recalled being nearby and found it. Once upon a time, he had been afraid of the dark and sometimes, it was hard to forget that period of his childhood. He felt slightly anxious until he saw the flashlight beam alight upon the far wall, shining out of the tunnel that led to the light-and-sound booth. The tunnel was accessible by a ladder and down that ladder came one of the people responsible for keeping the Looking Glass Theatre running behind the scenes.

Her full name was Winnifred Josephine Moyer, but all her friends called her 'Cricket' because she could perfectly mimic the noise that crickets made and that she hit anyone (other than her immediate family) who used her legal names. She was tall, thin and pale; white-blonde hair and pale blue eyes. She seemed determined to off-set this by wearing as many dark colors as possible.

"I don't know what happened to the freakin' power; it's just gone." Cricket said, waving the flashlight over their faces. She handed a second flashlight to Daniel, who was closest.

"Think it's just us?" Miles wondered.

Cricket shrugged. "Hell if I know." She headed for proscenium and jumped off, setting her clipboard down as she went. "I'm gonna check the circuit breaker."

"I'll go with you." Kimana offered and proceeded to follow the other girl off the stage.

"Stop hating humanity!" Daniel shouted after them. In reply, he got a gesture that didn't look particularly kind. Miles slapped a hand down on his shoulder.

"Ain't gonna happen, bro." he reminded him.

"I know, but it's just--" Daniel fiddled with the flashlight. "Whenever they start talking -- it's all -- 'People suck' and 'I hate the human race'." He shook his head. "I tell ya, Miles. They get on like whole housing development on fire."

"Never should have introduced 'em to each other." Miles recommended.

"Yeah well, hindsight's twenty-twenty." Daniel retorted.

Kimana and Cricket regularly argued that they were normal people. But they were also less -- fond of the human race as a collective whole. They agreed that a person was smart, but people were "dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it".

Naturally, they got along perfectly.

When Cricket had first moved all the way from the sunny state of California in an attempt to be her "own person, goddammit" and had signed on as the light-and-sound tech for the Theatre, Daniel had gotten what he thought had been the brilliant idea to introduce the new girl to his long-time friend Kimana. He admitted that his initial thoughts had been that they would get along good enough and that they had might as well get along if they were going to be working together. So when the first opportunity had presented itself, Cricket and Kimana were introduced to each other.

The whole introduction had turned into a prime example about why hindsight was always twenty-twenty.

Kimana had been quick to inform the new girl that she didn't like people very much. The new girl had been equally quick to voice her opinion that a large portion of the population should have been shot at birth.

And just like that, Daniel had two misanthropes on his hands.

Kimana had suddenly found someone who would listen to and agree with her less-than amiable opinions regarding the human species. And Cricket discovered a person who would take her ranting tirades in stride, and more importantly, listen to those ranting tirades.

Like a housing development on fire indeed.

Kimana had always been a bit anti-social and she was almost abnormally picky about who she made friends with. The way she saw it, her standards weren't so much as high as they were restricted. These restricted standards she promptly blamed on her grandmother, whom had been responsible for her upbringing. Grandma Clandestine hadn't been a terrible social person either and had about the same standards as her granddaughter. The way it was, Kimana wasn't comfortable around normal, well-adjusted people.

Miles took this to mean that he himself was neither normal nor well-adjusted.

What also didn't help Kimana make friends was her inability to coexist peacefully with technology. It had a tendency of breaking on her or simply not working right. It was like she could touch a mobile phone and it would stop working. She could barely get the Theatre's old sewing machine to work properly on the best of days and anything with a circuit board was simply out of the question. The wonders of the modern age were utterly lost on her.

Whatever had happened that had caused Cricket to sink into a state of misanthropy, no one actually knew. She wasn't keen on talking about life before the end of her high school career, no matter how good a mood she was in. She had made vague comments pertaining to the fact that she had not actually graduated high school and had remarked something about it being a cesspool before returning to marking down lighting cues on her copy of the script.

She was, however, prone to ranting about everything and nothing for upwards to ten minutes and Miles realized that if he listened to these rants, he could glean some information regarding her life out of them.

But all he had really learned was that humanity stunk, her step-father was halfway up the Misogyny Creek without a paddle, and that she apparently had a serious problem with this "sodding alien who prances around time and space like a feather-brained ditz completely drunk on the damn tea!" Apparently this alien also owned a large blue box.

After two years, Miles finally deduced that Cricket was determined to see the worst in people.

It was like rejecting a marshmallow for its burnt black outside; never mind that the inside was all soft and gooey.

On the other hand, once Cricket had decided that your redeeming qualities outweighed the undesirable aspects of humanity's collective stupidity, she became a decent person to spend time with.

As long as you weren't sensitive to copious amounts of swearing, that is.

"I dunno, Miles. I think we should stage an intervention." Daniel said all of a sudden. "Before they decide to wipe out half the population of New York in one vicious blow."

"Dude, I am not getting between those two." Miles said firmly. "I'm on Kimana's good side. I wanna stay there."

"What about Cricket?"

"Cricket hits people. I wanna stay out of range."



Down in the cluttered basement of the theatre, Cricket was making Kimana hold the flashlight while she unlocked the circuit box.

"I find it slightly disturbing that the Gallaghers trust me with the electricity." the blonde-haired woman was saying in the driest tone she could manage. It was pretty dry. "I never liked electricity. Does funny things to your head."

"And yet you cheerfully ignore the high voltage warning sign." Kimana noted with a smile.

"Damn straight I do." Cricket said. The lock clicked under her fingers. She took the padlock off and opened the lid. Kimana obligingly shown the light on the interior of the box.

"Must have been a surge. Tripped all the breakers." Cricket announced after she was finished examining the circuits. "Or maybe you just looked at the lights the wrong way." she added wryly to Kimana.

"Shut it." the black-haired woman snapped.

Cricket's grin was the very definition of cheeky as she reached up and flipped the master breaker back into its 'on' position and then the rest of the circuits in turn. The lamps in the basement buzzed to life, casting a yellow-ish glow over thirty years worth of props and cobwebs. Most of them had never seen the light of the stage after their initial use. Cricket shuddered once she had tallied up a rough estimate of just how many old props were sitting around. Kimana knew that the blonde-haired woman was just itching to put some organization to this mess, but the devil-may-care attitude she showed to the world kept her at bay.

The pair of misanthropes made their way back upstairs to the theatre. The lights had come back on properly, to Cricket's relief; she hated preventive maintenance. Miles and Daniel had seated themselves on the proscenium, letting their legs hang off. They were discussing the lumpiness of their couch -- or at least that's what it sounded like to Kimana.

"Hey Daniel!" Cricket called out as they came down the center aisle. "I've got good news on the gun situation!"

Miles perked up. "We get guns?"

"No, the card-guards get guns." Cricket corrected, picking up her clipboard. "I don't trust you with a gun like I don't trust the bottom of your shoes to be clean enough to eat off of."

"That doesn't stop you from throwing them at me." Miles pointed out.

"Doesn't mean I trust you with a gun." Cricket said pointedly.

"So what's our gun situation?" Daniel asked, sitting forward.

"There's a place near 37th and Fifth that showed promise." Cricket handed Daniel a business card. "The owner has several old bayonets that he keeps on display and I talked to him about possibly loaning them out. We'll have to pay a fee for it, but he said yes, we could borrow them as long as we have no intention of loading them with live ammo."

"Sweet." Miles drawled. "You sure he's not just some two-bit snake, though? Completely on the level?"

"He asked me for ID the second I walked in the door. This bastard does freakin' background checks like it's going out of style." Cricket assured them. "If that's not 'on the level', then I don't know what you would call it." Then she scowled. "Jerk's got dedication to an honest job, I'll say that much for him."

The other three looked at each other, but didn't say much of anything. That was normally about as close as Cricket got to complimenting a random stranger. If she, with all her looking-for-the-worst-in-everybody, could be assured of a total stranger's better nature to her contentment, then it was highly likely that this person was surely nothing short of a model citizen.

"Sweet. I'll check it out in my free time." Daniel offered. "What this place called again?"

"The Iron Clad Hide: Gun, Knife and Accessories." Cricket reeled off. "Number seven. Bit of a hole in the wall. Easy to miss. Sandwiched between a photo shop and god-damned McDonald's, of all things."

Daniel gave a dazed sort of grin. "Knives..."

Kimana gave him a warning slap on the shoulder. "Touch nothing, Daniel!"

"What?! I wasn't thinking about knives!" Daniel protested. "I was thinking about-- uh... Knives! The Trigun character! You know! Knives! Because his name is Knives-- Oh forget it! My humor is lost on you!"

Miles just sniggered, Cricket rolled her eyes and Kimana shook her head.

"You and sharp, pointy objects just don't mix." she said wearily.

"I happen to have a healthy, working relationship with any and all sharp, pointy objects!" Daniel shouted in protest.

"Then you won't mind if I tell the story about your adventure with the scissors and the art teacher's prize-winning stuffed goose at the next cast party?" Kimana inquired slyly.

"Oh by all means, do your worst." Daniel said confidently. Then he noticed the way that Miles and Cricket were looking at him. "What?"

"A stuffed goose?" Cricket repeated. She grinned; something that did not necessarily herald good times for all. "Do tell, Kimana."

"Yeah, I'd love to hear how this one turned out." Miles agreed. He always enjoyed hearing about Daniel's youthful pratfalls. It made him feel like he had more common sense in comparison.

Daniel seemed to shrink under the stares he was receiving; from Cricket's pale one to Kimana's dark one to Miles's mid-level blue. He tried his best to maintain that confident, blustery sort of air, but it cracked and he hung his head. There was no forgetting the episode of the scissors and the art teacher's prize-winning stuffed goose. Nor was there any forgetting the crazed look that had been in his eye.

"Take Sam with you when you go. He's responsible." Miles suggested brightly. "And he needs to get out of the house more often than just for work."

"Good idea. I'm not letting you go anywhere near that place by yourself." Kimana said with a look that promised an extremely painful death if he dared go to that store alone.

"What is wrong with you humans?" Cricket asked in a venomous sort of tone (not for the first time either). "You all just look for more inventive ways to kill one another. You're such a destructive species."

"You're human too." Miles reminded her.

"As far as you!" Cricket spat out. She pointed a dramatic finger in his direction. "I could be the really recessive-gene second-generation descendant of aliens who landed back here in the forties! But you don't know that! Because I don't have to tell you!"

Then she burst into cackling laughter, jumped onto the stage and ascended back into the light-and-sound booth. After her clunking footsteps had faded, Kimana broke the silence first.

"I'm really starting to think she's not as sane as she wants us to believe." the black-haired woman stated.

Miles nodded sagely. He knew all about strange psycho people, having seen it first-hand in his good buddy, Sam.

Alright, so it wasn't entirely fair to call Sam strange and psycho, but it didn't change the fact that his car had been evil. Or at least produced by one of Hell's subdivisions.

Or it was a giant alien robot; just like Sam had said.

Even four years after hearing that, Miles was torn between believing it and not. On one hand, the concept just sounded freaking cool. An alien robot coming to Earth and disguising itself as your car while fighting a war against some other robots who were evil and could destroy the planet if things got out of hand. Awesome.

On the other hand, it sounded like the plot of an 80s cartoon. A poorly thought out one.

Personally, Miles liked the Satan's Camaro angle. As strange as it seemed, he could believe that the yellow Camaro had really belonged to Satan first; rather than it being an alien robot from the depths of outer space. Aliens weren't-- Well, he didn't want to say that they weren't real. He had just never seen one before.

Not that he had ever seen Satan before either, but Satan had a long established history in the human consciousness. Aliens hadn't started cropping up in the imagination with regular frequency until the early 1900s and Miles just couldn't bring himself past the stage of simply imaging they existed and might be bothered to make contact with Earth one day.

Within the hour, the Theatre settled into its usual state of normalcy. Daniel and Cricket had sat down and were now watching the 1983 version of the play to get an idea for the props, scene changes and light cues. Miles read his copy of the script, highlighting his dialogue, trying to get a feel for the character he had chosen to portray. And Kimana sifted through great swathes of fabric, searching for the particular shade of sky blue that would get turned into Alice's dress.

In the middle of each task, the power went out again.

"Okay, does anyone know why the hell that keeps happening?" Cricket asked of the Theatre at large. "That's fourth time since I've gotten here."

"Four times? Seriously?" Daniel was heard asking.

Though no one could really see it, Cricket nodded. "Yeah. If this keeps up, expect to see a news report tomorrow morning about how everyone at the local power station died under mysterious circumstances."

Miles hoped she wasn't being serious.

He really, really hoped she wasn't being serious.

That was the real problem with her. It was hard to tell.

A quick note on... Original characters.

Kimana Clandestine first appears in Lost Fragments by Mandy-deshi and is used here with permission. I originally had no intention of including her, but in the Lost Fragments story, she and Daniel are best friends and something of a package deal. The more I thought about it, the more it didn't seem right to not include her. She has undergone a slight retooling in order to fit into the plot. For this story, her eyes aren't purple (as they are in Lost Fragments); I stripped away the freaky powers from outer space; and she has about as much luck with machines as Capt'n Fanzone from Transformers: Animated. Her basic personality components and quirks have been left unchanged.

Winnifred Josephine "Cricket" Moyer originally appears in the story Mirror, Mirror by Hazardous Materials (my secondary profile). She was initially created for the Doctor Who fandom, but was able to make the leap over to Transformers thanks to several elements. The separate timelines are easily matched up (this would essentially take place two years after Cricket's travels with the Doctor); the ages correspond (Cricket was eighteen when she began traveling with the Doctor; they parted ways when she was twenty; in this story, she is twenty-two; just like Sam); and she has an appropriate occupation. There is some (deliberate) indication that this is the exact same Cricket who traveled for two years with the Doctor, so there is little need to reconcile with the established character history.