This is it my friends. Really and truly it. 3 years ago, on this day, I published the first chapter of Science and Fiction; and today, today I finish it.

It must be some kind of illogical, unreal fate that today is also the day my Grandfather passed away.

I love you Grandpa, may you rest in peace.

Credits: Lady Tecuma for the term 'Sparkshock',

Karategal: Her fic Youngling is just everything you could ever want involving baby Bumblebee. Also for her permission to use her take on Optimus being a creator, and

Litahatchee: For your fic 'Night Fire' and for the use of the ideas referring to 'Carrying' and 'Carrying Holds' and for the definition of 'Sparkshock' used in this fic. Also I give her partial credit for the creation of 'Insularity'. She helped me develop the idea and I can never thank her enough for her input! The background story for
why both Ironhide and Optimus have a carrying hold came from "Night Fire." Ironhide's lost sparkling, Sunshadow, and the story behind that came from that
fic as well. All the ideas in "Science and Fiction" that refer to or revolve around 'Carrying' and 'Carrying holds' came from "Night Fire."


Journal entry; grand reveal

Guess I wasn't the only one who had been a little 'overly curious' about what Sunstreaker had been up to.

After several joors – and joors – and joors – of calibrating and training and such from Ratchet and Wheeljack, I was finally released from the med bay with orders to report to several more training sessions to learn how to use the new functions of this frame that none of my other frames had been equipped with; like (most terrifyingly) weapons.

I tried pointing out that I was just a liaison and didn't need to have weapons, but it seemed no one was willing to back me up on the argument. Not even my co-liaison Sam! What was the world coming to?

At any rate, when I left the med bay there was a rather sizable gathering of humans waiting to see this masterpiece of Sunstreaker's for themselves.

If I judged by the sounds of their reactions to their first look at me alone; I'd say that everyone was in agreement that this was indeed Sunstreaker's finest work. I was seriously humbled.

~Proxy

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Proxy stood stunned by the out turn, unable to move forward or retreat. She was completely trapped by the calls and applause from the vast ocean – as far as she was concerned – of people and 'bots that had shown up to see her take her first 'real steps' in her new frame.

The twins stood flanking her a few steps behind; silver and gold framing the pearl that had become so much to them.

Sunstreaker was there to show support for the femme and to see how his masterpiece would be received. A small part of him still wanted to see that others appreciated his talents beyond the battlefield. It was almost as though they could see him to be more than just the war machine he had allowed himself to become. More than that though, was to see that so many cared to see Proxy whole and beautiful; and also to see that all was as it should be just once more.

Sideswipe simply didn't register those that had come to see his femme. She was always beautiful to him, her spark was the most magnificent thing to have ever existed, but to see her like this...knowing that his brother had taken so much time, had put his all into this design and execution...it was surreal. He had known Sunstreaker had been planning something like this, but not...not like this. His spark ached with love for both his sparkmate, and for his brother. He really had everything any mech could ever want, and he considered himself entirely unworthy but completely willing to accept the gifts given to him. Still, there was something lingering somewhere on the fringe of all of this that gave him a sense of impending. What, exactly, he didn't know, but it was there.

Across the way, past the humans and between groupings of collected 'bots, stood Prowl and Jazz with all thirteen of the sparklings. Behind them stood Ironhide and Chromia, close together with an aura of mixed feelings clinging about them, but something resembling hope seeming to win over all the darkness.

Hope.

Proxy looked over all that had gathered, the entire base it seemed, and she realized that this wasn't about her at all. This was about hope. The humans were seeing that from the ashes of a life nearly torn from them came something greater; stronger and willing to continue to take on the world that kept turning on them. Something that was there to remind them that as long as they kept trying, they would eventually succeed.

What the 'bots saw...well, it was more than hope. She could almost feel the breath of relief taking over those around them. As Ratchet had so clearly pointed out to her; whether she had wanted to or not, she had become the embodiment of what they all wanted, what they all hoped for, and here she was showing them that it wasn't just possible, but it was happening.

As she looked over them all, she realized all of the things she had been told, all of the things that she had seen, everything that she had been through had been leading up to something. They weren't quite there yet, but they were on their way and she could see it now. Inside she felt something warm, and strong sink in. Like she had been holding her breath and had just finally let it go.

"You look great, sweetie," the first voice to break from the loud cheering and applaud that was still thundering across the base was Sylvia as she came closer to the femme. "This look fits you so well."

"Oh!" The femme quickly knelt to speak with the woman, a sense of humility rushing through her. "Sunstreaker is the one to compliment..."

"No way!" Sam declared as he came to stand beside the older woman. "He designed the frame, but you make it beautiful."

Sunstreaker's shadow loomed over the smaller humans, his optics a bright mark high above their heads.

"No offense..." Sam all but stammered to clear himself of any ill feelings the mech might have for his comment.

"None taken. You're right. No matter what I did, even with Ratchet and Wheeljack helping me...I could have never made this frame so...complete without you giving it life, Proxy."

Proxy looked up at her brother and it seemed that along with all of her new understanding, she understood him. She smiled and tugged at that so quiet part of her spark where Sunstreaker's bond lay, wanting him to feel how happy she was, how thankful she was, that she loved him, and something more.

'Don't say anything,' the mech pleaded with her.

'Sunstreaker...I won't. I just...need to let you know that I will never, ever, for one second regret you having been in my life.'

'I know. I feel the same way about you.'

Her smile faded as a wave of deep grief washed through her, but she quickly pushed it away to indulge in the much more pleasant feelings of understanding and hope.

Sideswipe was at her side in a pulse of her spark, wrapping her in a partial hug and equally offering her a little bit of support in the moment.

They both knew what was about to happen. They also knew that there was nothing they could do to stop it, no matter how badly they wished to.

Will was the next to approach, Rob at his side and Jack following shortly behind. Then more came, everyone wanting to look and to talk to the now reinstated Cybertronian half of their Cybertronian-Human relations team. They offered praise for the new frame, for her return to duty, for her ability to have pulled through and push on, for everything that they could think of to offer praise for. They congratulated her, and Sunstreaker for such a fine piece of work – like a metal that had been bestowed upon a well deserving soldier, and for the hand that had crafted it – until there were no more words to be said.

The Cybertronians all complimented Sunstreaker for his finest work, and many added to the compliment that he could not have made it for a more perfect femme; to which the front-liner openly agreed.

Celebrations were had, and many celebrated a little too liberally, but no one could blame anyone for it. It had been far too long since they'd had a real reason to celebrate.

Sunstreaker, Sideswipe, and Proxy were inseparable throughout the celebrations, a duel sense about their act of completely ignoring what all of it meant and just letting go to have fun. Much trouble was had, some scoldings were given, but no punishments ever made any appearance as the party roared on.

The day passed into night, then into early morning once more, and finally most of the humans either returned to their duties or settled in to recover from the long celebration and liberal indulgences.

As the humans settled, their alien comrades gathered for one more thing before all was considered done.

"Is everyone here?" Ironhide asked as he looked over the sizable gathering of Cybertronians. They had all been called to a meeting of utmost importance and no one was spared attendance. Not even the sparklings that were doing their best to stay mostly quiet in the back corner as they played with items that had been given to them by many other 'bots for their specific entertainment.

"Looks tha' way," Jazz noted as he scanned the crowd. Their numbers were far from substantial – but this was still more 'bots than most of them had seen in one place at one time that wasn't a battle field in many vorns.

"Then lets call this meeting to order!" Ironhide's voice was loud enough to be heard over the low rumble of voices, but not so loud as to be oppressive.

The room instantly grew silent and the weapons specialist nodded his approval before taking his seat alongside the other officers.

Optimus was the first to step forward to address the crowd. "I am pleased to look out and see how many have come to my call, that have come to protect Earth and to help make a new home for our kind.

"As you have all been made aware; what we have accomplished has not come easily, nor at a low cost to our allies and ourselves. We still have a long way to go; however we have made large strides in the appropriate direction. There is light within the darkness.

"We have gathered to cover many, many important things today. First and foremost to recognize those that have given their lives for what we currently have; to those that have fallen in our war – comrades, friends, family. Their designations are too great to call them all, but for a moment, we can all process them, and remember that they gave their all for what they believed in, and thank them for that.

"There are so many," the Autobot leader repeated firmly, sorrowfully, "yet one that I will call out in this meeting is Aurian Fae Towns.

"It is because of her great sacrifice that so many of you have come to be here. Though it cannot be explained, let it be known that Aurian shared some part of the Allspark within her and through its guidance – unclear though it may have been at times – we have been given more hope than we have had in vorns."

Voices called out their support of this claim, not a 'bot that had met the human woman keeping silent.

"She is greatly missed," Optimus stated, his optics locking onto Proxy as he spoke, "but her presence lives on." He paused, waiting to see if Proxy would object, but the femme simply tipped her head in acknowledgment. "The sparklings that we have been gifted with are her progeny." There were a few intakes of surprise, and a voice or two that denied the claim. "We will not dwell on the how, for now, but I want to make it clear that these sparklings are our hope. They were created to survive our war, to carry our race beyond our own short comings. They are our greatest treasure," there were no lack of resounding calls of accord to this proclamation, "and so is their caretaker, Proxy." He motioned for the femme to come join him in front of the gathering.

Proxy vented. Only joors before, she would have denied such a call to stand before these 'bots and accept the truth as it was about to be laid out before them, but that opening of her processor – that moment of knowing – had given her some semblance of insight and understanding. This was something that had to pass, as were so many other things that would take place this day.

"Proxy is Aurian's legacy," Optimus stated with no small amount of awe in his own voice. It was something to be proud of, and to stand in wonder of.

There was a moment of tension within the gathering as those that knew Proxy's story, and those that did not, reached the same level of realization, and then there was a sudden outbreak of questions and demands.

"Please," Optimus demanded, "there are many questions to be answered if you will simply wait. Any further questions can be addressed at a later date." He waited for the crowd to quiet before continuing. "Today, we recognize yet another gift our race has been given.

"Aurian was given new life upon her deactivation at Megatron's hand, and that life is the 'bot we have all come to know as Proxy."

Proxy looked over the crowd, searching for disapproval, denial, anything that she feared might indicate that she would become an outcast because of this secret she had held so close for so long, but all she saw was different levels of confusion and acceptance. She even saw a dawning upon several faces as they finally made connections.

With another deep intake, she stepped forward as Optimus stepped aside for her to address the crowd. "I am more than honored to be here. After so much that has happened, that could have happened, and even what may yet happen...I have never felt more at home than I have in my time spent with the N.E.S.T. teams.

"I have been, always, listed as a Neutral. Aurian was also listed as a Neutral, even in her service as a human-Cybertronian liaison. However, today I wish to change that. In the deepest parts of my being, the parts that have survived through everything and carried on, I have always been an Autobot. I am announcing my official alliance from this day forward to be Autobot."

There was cheering, and clapping in acceptance of her announcement; even a few calls of 'it's about time!' were shouted. Proxy felt her smile, more true than any she thought she would have felt at this moment, spread across her face until she could hardly contain herself.

In a short, very to the point ceremony the femme was marked with the Autobot symbol – in the same place she had carried it as Aurian, and the same place she had carved it into her metal skin in her previous frame. The symbol was dark, painted to match the red highlights of her frame, and as the femme inspected the new marking she realized, precisely where Sunstreaker had designed for it to go.

She looked to her brother and saw pride. He was proud of her and her decision. She already knew Sideswipe was beside himself with joy and a touch of apprehension about it, but he supported her decision without question.

Once the femme stepped back, she turned to move back to her seat, only to be surprised as someone blocked her path.

The black and white mech before her stood firm, not allowing her to go past until he had said what he intended to say. "If I may?" He asked of the Autobot leader who still stood aside.

"Of course, Prowl." Optimus had expected as much might happen, so had intentionally waited as the only other Neutral 'bot that worked with N.E.S.T. came to the front.

Prowl gave the femme a single look, but one that clearly stated what he asked of her; simply to wait until he had spoken his peace before returning to the crowd.

With a nod, Proxy allowed Prowl past her and stood to watch as her friend spoke.

"My designation is Prowl," he stated clearly, not that any within the room didn't know who he was, though some did not know who he had been. "I am a reformatted mech, my previous designation was Barricade." At this there was some stir, but between Proxy, Optimus, and the other officers, the gathering was quickly subdued. "I do not recall much of my function before my reformat due to severe damage upon myself; however I do recall one being that had been beside me, who believed in me and trusted in me and it is to her that my loyalties lay.

"Since Proxy has chosen to align herself with the Autobots, I as well officially declare my own alliance to be with the Autobots."

More cheering went up for the announcement, and a similar short ceremony was held for the black and white mech.

"We are lucky to have both of you," Optimus announced as he resumed his place at the front.

Proxy offered Prowl a brief hug wanting to convey some of her adoration that the mech was so willing to follow her. Then they both returned to their respective seats to hear the rest of what was to be said.

Once everything had settled, Optimus continued. "We are very lucky to have so many among us today. Some of you have come great distances seeking a message sent out blindly into the darkness; even more are still on their way. This is a good time for all, though the dangers, and the war, have not yet passed.

"Megatron is still out there, somewhere, and it is unlikely that he will remain silent for long. It is time we stopped chasing after him, attempting to salvage what he has wrecked and fighting only when we have caught up to him weary and depleted. We have gained a great advantage here on Earth, both in our counts of victories and in our allies. While it is true that all relations here may not be the most hospitable, this planet has sparked something we had begun to forget – hope.

"It is time we take advantage of our good fortune and cut Megatron off before he has a chance to recoup; however, this endeavor will take more than what we have here.

"I have decided to send out a team to the old colonies, and to Cybertron itself, to spread word amongst those still clinging to what we once had. I will only ask for volunteers to go on this mission. It will not be easy, but it is necessary. Just as we sought after the Allspark before, we must now seek our comrades so that we may rise together and finally bring an end to this war."

There was a roar so loud, the ground shook as the gathered 'bots gave up their voice of approval for their leader's plan of action. There were no lack of 'bots wishing to take a position on the team, though it was quickly apparent who would, and who would not be going.

The team was kept small, the only available vessel to carry anyone was the science ship – repaired and ready for flight – and was set to carry eight.

Mirage had stood, quickly accepting a place on the team, followed in short by Grapple – who claimed that he might as well go see what the damage was – and Trailbreaker. Jolt more than happily took the position as the team's medic, and Bluestreak as security. Perceptor went to fill the need for energon substitution and conversion, and Blur stated that they would need somebody quick enough to get into the colonies before someone shot them down; and he was handy with communications besides that.

The last position was filled by someone few had expected to ever willingly accept such a mission.

Proxy tried not to let the torment she was feeling show as Sunstreaker stood with the team. She had known Sunstreaker was planning on going away, but she hadn't realized he planned to leave the planet all together. Not only that, but he planned on going so very far away.

Sideswipe was in little better of a position as he tried to support his twin's decision while inside he was screaming for the mech to change his mind.

The noise in the room drowned out the sound of Blindside crying out, but his siblings were quick to try and soothe him. Splitbeat quickly sought her caretaker, the small femme finding her way through the crowd easily enough until she was climbing Proxy's leg, chirping with her distress.

Proxy didn't need to hear what was causing the problem before she was making her way back through the crowd to be with her sparklings. They were all upset, not fully understanding what was going on, but knowing that Sunstreaker was going away and that none of them liked it. Blindside's recently discovered skill likely fueling the fire of his siblings' distress.

The femme sat amongst her sparklings, allowing them all to climb on her but quickly scooped Blindside into her arms and tried to reassure the young mech, promising that it wasn't forever, that Sunstreaker would come back and they had nothing to worry about.

Sideswipe followed his mate, but his optics kept turning to where his twin stood waiting for some semblance of control to settle back over the gathering. Sunstreaker seemed to be avoiding looking at his brother and sister, instead focusing his optics somewhere up and over everyone and Sideswipe knew that in that moment, Sunstreaker had already left. His processor was fixed on this decision and nothing he said or did, no matter how much he might bed or plead, his twin was willingly taking a mission that would separate them by galaxies, or more. 'Why?' He asked over and over again, but their altered bond didn't allow the question to carry through.

Eventually the meeting carried on; several other things came to be addressed such as more 'homes' being constructed on the outskirts of the base for Cybertronians wishing to have something more than the quarters that most of them had grown accustomed to. It was deemed that several more buildings would be built to accommodate the 'bots; some would be private homes, some shared homes, but in the end everything would be a little more comfortable than what any of them had had for as long as they cared to remember.

Other things were decided, such as wider patrols, focused searches for Decepticons – no one wanted to allow the other faction to set up again like they had before – and planned 'meet and greets' between Cybertronians and humans.

At some point, key humans were brought into the meeting to add their parts where needed; Sam came when they outlined the plans for the liaison missions, Sylvia for the 'humanitarian' missions, Will, Rob, Jack and all of the other lead humans to discuss militant actions – both in damage reconstruction and in the search for Decepticon activity; and eventually all came to discuss what would have to happen to make everything more favorable for other arriving Autobots.

By the time the meeting was called to an end, everyone was about as worn out as possible. Emotionally as well as physically.

Proxy had excused herself shortly after the liaison portion of the meeting to take the sparklings home, but she continued to 'listen in' as it were, through Sideswipe who remained throughout. However, when everything was over and Sideswipe went to find his brother, Proxy closed herself off. She didn't want to eavesdrop on their conversation; not at a time like this. They needed to talk...to say goodbye.

She busied herself with the sparklings, keeping Blindside close to her since he seemed more upset by the events taking place than any of the others; or maybe it was her way of distracting herself. Either way, the little mech more than happily stayed attached to his creator while she dealt with everyone else until they were all fast in recharge.

Still, the femme kept the youngest mech cradled in her arms while she sat waiting for Sideswipe to come home, keeping his presence as a focus for her processor so she didn't simply break down with grief.

When Sideswipe finally did return home, he came to the room Proxy was sitting in, but he didn't look at her.

They stayed silent for a while, Proxy finally allowing her end of their bond to open to let her mate share what he felt. Instead of overwhelming grief and sorrow, she found almost absence of anything at all. He was numb, stunned, in complete shock.

"Sideswipe?" She dared to ask aloud, hoping to get some response from her sparkmate.

Sideswipe stiffened slightly, then slumped. "He's gone," he said with disbelief. "He...he's really gone."

"Sideswipe," the femme called softly, tugging at him through their bond, wanting him close to her.

The mech responded easily enough; in truth he felt lost and unsure of what he should do, or what he should feel.

"He'll come back," she assured him.

"Yeah," Sideswipe agreed, "that's what he said. 'It's not forever, I'll be back.'" The mech vented, confusion filling his end of their bond. "But I don't get why he left! Why can't he find himself here?! Where we can get to him if he needs help? Why'd he have to go out there alone?"

"He's not alone, Sides. He's with a whole team of Autobots." She did her best to encourage her mate, but her own spark was hardly in it. Sunstreaker had left them, and he hadn't even said goodbye. Her intake hitched a little as she rubbed her hand across Sideswipe's plating in a soothing manner. "He'll be fine."

"Yeah...it's Sunny after all, right? Nothing can get to him..." Sideswipe just couldn't believe in his own words.

"You look exhausted. Why don't you head to the berth. I'll go put Blindside to his and join you shortly. Okay?"

With a hardly perceptible nod, Sideswipe shoved himself off the couch and headed for their shared room.

Proxy watched him go, an ache growing in her spark. She hated to see him so lost. 'Why did you do this, Sunstreaker?' She barked angrily in her mind, already knowing the answer but could not stop herself from wanting to lay blame.

'Proxy,' the mech answered, and for a moment Proxy was afraid she had contacted him with her angered question. 'I'm sorry I didn't tell you before. I didn't want you do dwell on it.'

'You should have warned us, Sunstreaker.' There was a snap to her tone, but the emotions attached were so full of sorrow, Sunstreaker didn't for a second mistake it of anger.

'You're right, but that's just not me. Listen, I don't know how long I'll be able to reach you like this, but I didn't want to leave the system without telling you goodbye.'

'You'd better come back in one piece or I'm going to offline you myself,' she growled in place of returning a 'goodbye'.

'I will. You keep him in one piece too, okay?'

'Sunstreaker...'

'Because I want to find out who I really am without my brother, that's why,' he answered her question before she could find words to ask it. 'I don't want to be away from him, or you, but I want to see who I am; what I really want. I'll come back when I know.'

'Sunny, you're our brother. No matter who you are.'

'Thanks, Proxy.'

'We'll be here, waiting for you.' Proxy could feel him growing further and further away. He was going so fast, she could almost feel his bond pulling thin from her, like a cord unraveling only to hold by the barest of fibers. 'No matter what!' She demanded again, and though she felt a response, she could not hear it any longer. Their bond simply wasn't strong enough to span the distance.

In her arms, Blindside cried out in his recharge, not waking but obviously suffering.

"Oh, love...we'll have to find some way to help you control that." She cradled him close, focusing her mind on pleasant things; mostly on the ocean washing up on the island beaches and the soothing sounds it made. Once Blindside was still, and seemed deep in recharge once more, Proxy laid him on his berth beside his sister and retreated to her own room.

She wasn't sure what to expect upon entering, but felt relieved when she saw Sideswipe already in recharge. Sunstreaker would come back. He had to.

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Journal entry continued; …

It was so hard. The first vorn was the worst. As the humans aged and passed on, Sideswipe seemed to grow more and more distant from everyone. Sure, he was friendly, and he did his duties well, but as each human passed on it seemed he vowed to keep another from getting close. He simply didn't handle loss well at all. I really can't say I was any better. Will...Sarah...Rob...Jack...Sylvia, Primus it never gets easier.

Sides never pushed me away though. I felt all of his pain, all of his doubts, the hope he held that Sunstreaker would come back soon and everything could be like normal again. But I guess some things just aren't to be.

The initial team returned, but Sunstreaker wasn't with them. Sideswipe had been devastated. I had been devastated, but the team passed on a message that nothing had happened to him, he had simply chosen to keep on. He had sent his apologies, but said that he hadn't decided who he was yet and just needed more time.

Sideswipe spent the next vorn waiting while I continued my duties as liaison. Sam...oh, Sam. That man lived a long, long life, but even the power of the Allspark that lived within him and the watchful guidance of the Primes couldn't keep him alive forever. His grandson took his place and was so much like Sam I was more than once caught talking to him like he was the man I had worked with for so long.

Another vorn passed, and then another. Megatron kept rearing his ugly head, but it seemed that the war was well on its way to ending, it was just a matter of time until the leader of the Decepticons was caught or dispatched. Earth as a whole was accepting of the Cybertronians, even if there were groups that didn't approve of aliens on their planet.

Plans were made to construct a colony within the solar system, just outside of, but matched to, Earth's orbit. It would be a planet of its own accord, but small in comparison. Of course human governments latched to the idea, already making offers that would allow them rights to the colony. Discussions are ongoing. Still, with as many 'bots that are showing up every few orns, something has to happen. Earth might be able to support many Cybertronians, but at some point we will exceed what the planet can handle.

Still another vorn passed before any word was heard of Sunstreaker. Some new arrivals said they had been sent this direction by him, but that's all they really had to offer.

I guess...at least we knew he was still functioning out there. Somewhere. We just wanted him to come home.

~Proxy

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Epilog

The impending arrival of a new 'bot always had the Autobots in a uproarious mood, but for some reason, this particular one had Proxy all but dancing on top of the communications tower. Not that they saw it as odd as far as Proxy was concerned, it was just that she was so very obnoxious about it.

When clarification came, and everyone knew that it was Sunstreaker returning from his roaming, Proxy's strange over-the-top enthusiasm made sense. However, many wondered over Sideswipe's less than expected reaction to the news. All of the Cybertronian Development Corps knew about Sunstreaker, and they knew Sideswipe had been waiting for his brother's return for longer than a lot of them had been alive. It just didn't make sense to them that the mellow 'bot didn't show more enthusiasm.

Sunstreaker's planet-fall had gone well, and he was climbing to his feet before the dirt he had disrupted started to settle. However, he was rather surprised to find himself almost thrown back into the crater by a rather small, but brawny force slamming into him.

"If you ever leave again, I swear I will hunt you down and nail you to the walls!" Proxy's voice rumbled joyfully through the dusty cloud, clarifying the presence latched to him.

"I missed you too," Sunstreaker wrapped his arms hesitantly around the femme. This most definitely wasn't the reaction he was expecting. "How's Sides?"

"Why don't you ask him yourself?" The femme was already dragging Sunstreaker in the right direction.

Sunstreaker noted that she had become somewhat stronger in the time he had been gone. Still far from equal to the strength of the other 'bots, but there was something more lithe and dangerous to her now. He decided it would be far better to oblige the femme rather than protest being dragged around like a youngling. He did note, with great approval, that she had kept up on her frame's maintenance without exception. Sure, it showed some wear and tear, but it was so minor that one might not notice it if they didn't know what they were looking for.

He was greeted warmly by everyone – 'bot and human alike – all claiming that his presence had been greatly missed; which he thought odd considering he didn't recognize any of the humans. Still the one 'bot he wanted to see didn't seem to be anywhere.

"Where is he?" Sunstreaker finally asked Proxy as she continued to lead him on.

"With the younglings," she informed him as though it should have been expected. "Their schedule changes for no one, I'm afraid."

They pushed past the base, on to a cluster of buildings Sunstreaker definitely did not recall. They were large and very Cybertronian in construction. If he didn't know better he would think it was; "A city?"

"Yeah, sort of" Proxy shrugged. "Turns out more 'bots wanted a home than didn't. Space is getting tight though. Plans for the colony are in motion, but it will be a while before the first stages of construction can begin."

They approached a building Sunstreaker vaguely recognized as the house Proxy and his brother had lived in. It was different, yet still the same.

Tapping a simple access code into the panel near the door, Proxy lead the way inside and released her grip on Sunstreaker. "This way," she called after giving him a few moments to take in the changes that had been made to this section of their home.

She lead him through the house to a room that was centralized to the building as a whole. "There," she pointed to the open door, but didn't go any further herself.

Looking inside, Sunstreaker finally understood.

Sideswipe lay sprawled on the floor with several younglings laying on him in some way, pinning the larger mech to the floor as they all recharged contentedly.

Sunstreaker could only stare at the scene, a part of him wanting to laugh at the sight, and the other part longing to be a part of it all. He had missed his brother, his sister, and all of the sparklings a lot more than he had even realized.

"He wanted to come greet you himself," Proxy explained from beside the golden twin, "but the younglings wouldn't recharge without him. He's such a softie when it comes to them."

"So they've learned to rule, have they?"

"Oh, you have no idea," the femme laughed. "They'll recharge for some time yet. You look pretty exhausted yourself, why don't you recharge for a bit?"

"Should probably check in," Sunstreaker nodded. "I'll let you know where I'm staying as soon as..."

"Oh, no you don't. You're room's still right were you left it and I expect you to use it. Optimus already knows where you will be and I told him he can wait to meet with you until after you've been properly reintegrated with your family and not a moment before."

"You did, huh?"

The femme fixed him with a glare that clearly stated she had, and would not hesitate to institute some form of authority over hi too, if it became necessary.

"I see you've worked that stubbornness right up into a full superiority complex."

"Just as much of an aft as ever," she chided with a smile. "Seriously. Recharge. There's a wash rack down the hall, I've even got some extra energon for you. You don't have to go anywhere until you're ready."

Sunstreaker looked to think it over for a few minutes before nodding. "Guess that'll work. If you went to all the trouble of telling off Prime for me, least I can do is take you up on your hospitality."

Proxy laughed, a sense of relief she hadn't felt in a long time washing over her. "Welcome home, Sunny."

"Thanks."

.~...~...~...~...~...~...~...~...~...~...~...~...~...~...~...~...~...~...~...~...~...~...~...~...~...~...~...~...~...~...~...~.

"So, you're back." Sideswipe and Sunstreaker sat awkwardly across from each other at a simple table just outside of the house.

"Yeah, figured I should check in." Sunstreaker studied his hands as though he had never noticed them before.

Silence claimed the air for a few breems before Sideswipe vented heavily. "Don't leave again, Sunny. Please?"

"I don't know, Sides. I can't really promise anything..."

"I need you!" Sideswipe blurted desperately. "I can't stand the thought of you leaving again! You're a part of me, and I'm a part of you."

Sunstreaker looked at his twin, really looked at him, for the first time sense he had returned.

Sideswipe looked as he always had; maybe a few more marks on his armor than before, but overall, he seemed unchanged. However, Sunstreaker could feel the change in his spark, even through their altered bond. The mech had a family, and they were a large part of who he was now.

"Sideswipe, we'll always be a part of each other; nothing can change that."

"You don't understand," Sideswipe sounded on the verge of a breakdown. "I love Proxy and the younglings with all of my spark, but I can't live without you here with me."

Sunstreaker huffed and leaned back in his seat, not wanting to see the torment on his brother's face anymore. "You're being dramatic, Sides."

"No, I'm not. Sunny, there's a lot of things we have here now that we thought we'd never have again. It's great, and a lot of 'bots are finally looking like they believe things are actually getting better for us, but the only thing I've been able to think of outside of Proxy and the younglings is you. If you have to go roaming around, that's fine, I understand, but don't go so far away. Come home every few orns. We need you in our lives."

Sunstreaker stayed as he was, looking up at the sky filling with stars as the sun sank beyond the horizon. He really couldn't say that roaming the universe had been fun. Sure, he'd seen a lot of things and he got to experience a lot of things like he'd never felt them before...but had he really enjoyed it?

"Sunny, please..."

"Proxy said something about a colony?"

Hope sparked inside Sideswipe. "Yeah, still working on details before construction can begin...that'll be a while down the road though."

"So, guess I'll have to stay here until then." Sunstreaker shrugged. "I think I've seen enough of the universe to know I like it best when I'm around my family."

Sideswipe all but shouted with victory at his brother's words. "Good," the mech stated firmly, "'cause it's a big one, and we could really use some reinforcements."


Oh, my...that was really it. This is the end...I think I might cry.

Well, there you go my friends, my fans, my readers. 3 years in the making and several false endings later and we have reached the end of Science and Fiction. Could it go on? Absolutely, forever, but this is the end of my plots. Was everything answered, no, I'm sure it wasn't. That's just the way life is; sometimes you don't get all the answers. I hope that I have at least answered a majority of your questions through this fic; and if there is something bugging you that isn't answered, PM me and I'll happily do my best to answer them.

I do have a few ideas planned for follow ups for this story, but they will have to wait a bit as I am setting off on an endeavor to publish an original work. Wish me luck. I appreciate you all for your reviews and kind words. I'll miss you; but I won't be gone forever. Until then, I hope you find something else to read and enjoy.

Thank Yous:

~To authors who have inspired me to write and to those who have allowed me the use of their ideas: ~DO NOT USE ANOTHER AUTHORS IDEAS AS YOUR OWN. ASK PERMISSION!~

Litahatchee: For your fic 'Night Fire' and for the use of the ideas referring to 'Carrying' and 'Carrying Holds' and for the definition of 'Sparkshock' used in this fic. Also I give her partial credit for the creation of 'Insularity'. She helped me develop the idea and I can never thank her enough for her input! As per request of Litahatchee, I would like to clarify: The background story for why both Ironhide and Optimus have a carrying hold came from "Night Fire."
Ironhide's lost sparkling, Sunshadow, and the story behind that came from that fic as well. All the ideas in "Science and Fiction" that refer to or revolve
around 'Carrying' and 'Carrying holds' came from "Night Fire." I would also like to add that the surrogacy ideas that appear in both 'Night Fire', and in 'Science and Fiction', are similar, but were developed apart from one another. However, it is due to Letohatchee's Carrying Holds idea that I developed my own thoughts on the surrogacy, so she is partially to credit for it.

Lady Tecuma: Sparks and Plasma; a wonderful fic! And for the term 'Sparkshock'.

Hearts of Eternity: Her WAR ETERNAL series. All are VERY moving and well written. Also she is the one to blame for Jazz's accent. ^_~

Karategal: Her fic Youngling is just everything you could ever want involving baby Bumblebee. Also for her permission to use her take on Optimus being a creator. (If you haven't figured out of who yet, it will come up soon...er or later. ^_~ )

~To my Beta Reader, anasazidarkmoon. Your efforts help make my work so much better. I appreciate your time and effort greatly! A simple 'thank you' really isn't enough but it's all I can do from here! ^_^;

AND TO ALL OF MY READERS AND REVIEWERS! I would never have come this far if it weren't for you guys. You are very important to me.