Author's Notes:

I thought I'd post this in honor of the premiere of season five of SPN. It is unrelated to my fanfic "Masks" though it could conceivably be set in the same universe. It's something I'm working on when I get stuck on Masks or other fics.

This is set some generic time during the first season of SPN, and obviously pre-Movieverse by a few years for the Transformers.

"I dunno, Sam," Dean said, as he disassembled his shotgun on a hotel bed, "maybe it was just a meteor."

"Maybe," Sam said, unconvinced. He was poking through a cryptozoology website, merely amused by most of the postings. Amateurs, he thought, in response to a guy who claimed to have caught a picture of Bigfoot on a game cam. To Sam's eyes, the picture was of a large bear. They were not looking for bigfoot today, however, or bears, so he clicked away from the page and did another search for meteor-related mayhem.

"Sure is quiet now, though." Dean squirted a little oil onto a rag. "Weirdest thing in this town is the Museum of Pigs."

"Heh. I'm still not convinced that was just a meteor ... there were those reports on the internet about monster of some kind, and that was a pretty big crater in the field. Nothing in it."

"Nothing in it because somebody probably stole the meteor in question before the farmer got there. You know what those things go for on eBay? Lots of moolah. Lots." Dean, having swiftly cleaned and reassembled the shotgun, moved on to a Glock. "Place is too quiet and too normal for there to be anything weird here. This is Normalsville, Kansas and not in a weird way."

"Maybe," Sam repeated. He rose and padded to the window, peering warily outside. The little motel's single parking lot light was burned out, and the only illumination came from the "Vacant" sign. That wasn't much, and it was a moonless night. The Impala, parked in front of their room, was very dimly visible as a pool of dark shadow amid slightly paler shadows, with a few red reflections from the sign glinting off the glossy black paint. After a moment of not entirely idle study of the darkness outside, Sam sighed and admitted, "But I can't find anything. Guess we move on tomorrow. What was it that you found for us to check out -- a haunted, abandoned, mental hospital?"

Dean shivered. "Yeah. It's claimed at least one life a year. Kids sneaking in 'cause of the rumors, and always an accident, but you know the drill."

"Geeze. Sounds like a live one." Sam shook his head, and moved away from the window.

He did not see a rather large patch of shadow behind the Impala move slightly.

Slag, that was too close, the scout thought, after having stood utterly motionless for a few minutes. He thought he was very fortunate that human vision was so poor. Any of his species would have spotted him in a single pulse of their spark. He relaxed only when the human man retreated from the window, but he did not move from his location, frozen in place in the shadows, for moments longer. When he did finally walk away, it was with a very slow, quiet tread. He was large, though not as large as some of his race, and the normally heavy tread of his feet would draw attention. Even the dull senses of humans could not fail to notice the vibrations and noise several tons of alien robot would cause, if he set his feet down normally.

Moving as much stealth as he could muster he walked the length of the parking lot, closely inspecting the vehicles, and discarding most of them as insufficient for his needs. Almost all seemed cheaply made, with thin body panels and wimpy, underpowered engines. A few were too big. Two were too small for his needs.

After a moment, he returned to the oldest vehicle in the lot. By the long-lived standards of his race it was practically new. The car was careworn but well maintained, with spotless glossy paint. A quick scan confirmed it seemed to be in good physical condition. This world's moist oxygen atmosphere could cause very quick rusting of the inferior alloys humanity's primitive vehicles were made of, but this one seemed to have no sign of such damage. Moreover, it had a decently large engine and far heavier construction than anything else immediately available.

He scanned it more closely, and noted to his surprise that the trunk was full of weapons. Most humans did not routinely handle guns, and some didn't even own any. That struck the scout as strange; he had been very heavily armed almost since his creation, tens of thousands of years before. The pulse cannon attached to his arm and shoulder-mounted rocket launchers were an extension of his self, and he felt naked when they were removed for any reason. The car's owners were likely sensible sorts, he concluded, and perhaps of a similar mindset to himself. He theorized that they were soldiers or law enforcement officers of some kind. The sturdy design of their vehicle and the weapons they owned would support that.

This will have to do. I will study the vehicle's owners and decide if they may be useful allies. We are not yet sure of the level of secrecy needed here, he thought, and ruthlessly squelched the completely vain personal complaint about the car's color. Black was not his preferred shade. He loved yellows and golds above all else, but he was also a soldier and he could deal with a gloomy, depressingly dark paint job for as long as he needed to stay undercover.

Decision made, the scout then retreated to the safety of some concealing trees beyond the parking lot and waited a bit longer before making his move. He hoped the humans would enter their sleep cycle soon, but it was a good hour before that wish was gratified. The lights went off in the room. After another half an hour, his natural impatience warring with his vast experience and survival instincts the entire time, he finally made his move.

A bit of fumbling with a magno-pick got the vehicle's locked door open. He carefully reached a hand inside, put it in neutral (and the gear shift felt so very tiny and fragile in his hand), took the parking brake off, then padded around to the front and gingerly picked up that end with one hand under the frame. The car groaned loudly when he lifted the wheels off the ground, and he froze, hoping that he had not woken the owners. They did not stir and he tiptoed away, towing the vehicle on its back wheels after him. He had already identified a densely wooded lot half a block down the road, and it was there he walked with his kidnapped automobile.

He stopped in a spot that appeared to be very secluded, and removed the weapons from the trunk. Then removed a portable holo-emitter from a compartment under the armor on his thigh. Once the device was triggered, the car was disguised by a vehicle-shaped rock outcrop. He assumed the owners would want it back, and he had no desire to see it damaged. Disguising it behind a hologram should keep it reasonably safe until he could direct them to it, or retrieve it himself. His final step was to scuff out the tire tracks with one heavily armored foot, disguising them as best he could.

He did a much more thorough scan of the black car, transcanning it, then padded out to the road and initiated a transformation sequence. Getting the assortment of guns and rock salt (why salt? he wondered) into the trunk was not particularly difficult, though it did involve partially transforming back to protoform and a few awkward contortions that would have had Jazz howling with laughter at him if he'd been around to witness it.

Yes. Suitable, he thought with satisfaction when the weapons were stowed and he had transformed again. He drove himself back to the parking lot, moving quickly now as dawn was only a few hours away. Happily, he thought. This vehicle will do nicely. If I decide to stay with them for a bit, I wonder if I could convince them to let me change the color scheme, however, to a nice cheery yellow?

Dean blinked awake, then lunged upright. The Impala!

He ran to the window, certain he had heard the Impala's engine outside. He yanked open the curtains ...

... to see the Impala sitting innocently in front of the hotel room, in the same position as he had left it. A faint glow of sunrise tinted the eastern sky a lighter shade of night, but the parking lot was still pitch black.

Huh. Must have been a nightmare. No ... he gave the Impala a very suspicious look. I could have sworn I heard the engine running.

Maybe somebody had driven by with a similar vehicle, he decided. He was not satisfied, however, until he padded outside and inspected the car by flashlight. It seemed untouched but the uneasy feeling that something was wrong did not leave.

That's weird, he thought, finally, and went back inside. He did not sleep much the rest of the night. The thought of someone messing with the Impala was enough to give him nightmares.