Disclaimer: I own nothing recognised as belonging to someone else.

I was driven to do this fic. Whether I continues it or not depends on how much support I get for it.


The first time I woke, all I could see were stars and space, all I could feel was tired and cold, all I could hear was silence...

...All I could remember was pain and confusion.

When I woke a second time, I was facing was a field of twisted metal and other debris.

There had been a sound that had woken me, echoing around the empty cold expanse around me...

The sound was familiar, triggering a low, warbling, wordless call from me.

There was silence for a moment before the chittering, whistling call echoed in the space between the debris, followed by a series of other cries joined from within the rended metal of what may have once been a ship.

I twisted and activated my severely weakened thrusters, pushing me towards the debris enough for momentum before cutting out.

I impacted with a large piece of metal and called again, using the piece as leverage to launch my aching, cold frame further in, leaving a small trail of blue liquid behind. The chirping cries got more frantic, allowing me to identify twelve, maybe thirteen, individuals.

As I got close to the nearest cry, I was able to locate a small black metal frame clinging to the remains of a femmebot...

That's right... I remember now...

I was on one of the small ships Chromia had sent out just before the Decepticons attacked. I was in the bay with others when we must have been hit...

Most of the passengers had been matron Femmes, Younglings and Sparklings; even I was a Youngling, though nearly an adult.

The cries I could hear around me were from distressed Sparklings.

The little Sparkling in front of me was barely a newly-sparked, likely running on basic functions and protected by its matron's form.

I repressed my grief and tried to struggle past the cloud of confusion that had overcome my circuits and disorientated me, crooning wordlessly to the Sparkling.

The little frame trembled under the weight of its fear and cries, bright blue optics staring up at me with confusion. When I reached out it grabbed on and clung to my servo, chittering confusedly whilst looking towards its matron.

The femme was little more than a torso; not even her head remained.

I pulled the Sparkling away and moved off towards the next call, doing my best to ignore the wail of the little one cradled against my chassis, his bright optics flickering in distress.

The next two were twins, not quite Younglings but not quite Sparklings anymore. They were both of a frame that would likely make them rather large later in life (probably heavy-hitters or weapons specialists), their burnt-amber plating already scarred and stained by war so early.

"Come." I said, beaconing to them. "The enemy may return. We must save who we can."

The two shared looks, bright-green optics glancing at one another uncertainly, before they released the piece of wall they had taken refuge on, bouncing over to me and curling up against my larger chassis area and around the Sparkling.

"I am Shader. What are your designations?" I asked the twins softly before calling again. An answering cry came from my left and several more from my right. I went for the call from my left since it was seemingly alone.

"I am Nova." Said the little mech on my left. "And I am Galaxia." Said the little femme on my right. I was a little startled since twins were usually the same gender, though it was not unheard of.

"Ah." I murmured, the two falling silent as I tried to navigate by ear, the newborn cuddling into Galaxia's servos miserably.

The cries lead me to a Sparkling held loosely in the servos of a half-conscious mech Youngling I vaguely remembered seeing in the class down the hall from where I was learning to be a scout, making him not much younger than myself. He was a mostly-dark communication specialist with long shards of bright metallic-red metal swinging down his back, spiking up as a defence mechanism and antenna.

His blue optics flared slightly as I approached, drawing the little bot closer to his chassis, probably too close to deactivation to be able to feel the hole that took out much of his right abdomen any more than I could feel where most of the plating on my back had been stripped away, laying my gears and circuits bare.

"Are you aware, Axel?" I inquired as I more closer, slowing in case I was not recognised.

"I am aware." He answered weakly. "You are Shader, are you not?"

I nodded, manoeuvring to get a better look at his wound. "I do not believe that this is a fatal wound, though it will stop you from doing much until we can find at least a field-medic." I glanced at his face. "I don't want to have to do any emergency first-aid. I barely passed that course."

He chortled weakly. "Bummer."

I looked back the way we had come.

"Do you mind playing shuttle? I would be easier to manoeuvre just you then having my mobility hindered."

"Sure. Not like I can really do much."

I looked down at the twins and newborn. "You heard that?" I inquired.

The twins nodded and, Galaxia having a firm hold on the newborn, bounced over and clambered into the circle of Axel's servos with the young Sparkling he already had a hold of.

Getting a good grip on the other bot's legs, I began the process of moving back towards the whimpering Sparklings.

*****

We had taken refuge in the shell of what was once, presumably, a storage hanger.

There were eleven Sparklings and seven Younglings (mostly having been protected by the larger bots and femmes around them). Axel and I had further found an adult femme, called Apex, who had lost her Sparkling and her legs in the explosion, and an ancient mech called Sandrock whom I recognised as being a regular visitor to the medical studies wing of the academy.

As the most functional semi-adult, I was given the grim task of locating parts for Sandrock to use to fix Apex and Axel. I later found out that Sandrock, who had had five of the small Sparklings and two of the Younglings protected between himself and a solid door, had survived with minimal damage because, as a field operative and Chief Medical Officer for exploration teams, he had had armour ten times thicker than then the armour of the average bot commissioned early on in his career.

Apex had been an engineer before she had taken time off for her Sparkling. Her bondmate and Sparkling were dead, so, as Sandrock had sadly confided to me, she likely wouldn't last more than maybe a vorn at most. Fortunately, she was already attempting to teach a little white and metal-grey femme Youngling who called herself Shatterdoll about the bits and pieces of machines she brought the wounded femme.

Of the Younglings, there was the little femme Shatterdoll, the twins Galaxia and Nova, another dark blue and silver femme called Wisteria, and three little mechs, the rust-red Heavyarms, dark green Sabrescout and the off-white and black Ghostshell. Some of the older Sparklings had started to grow armour, but none were near old enough to become Younglings and gain colour or choose names.

It was a source of distress for both myself and Sandrock as to how we could look after so many in the middle of a war where anyone could be an enemy and Energon was limited.

-What are we going to do?- I enquired over a private com line whilst trying not to jerk as the big mech welded my circuts back together and covered them with temporarily grafted armour.

There was silence from the mech for a few astroseconds where I could vaguely hear the soft hum of his processor sorting through millions of cycles of data.

-There is a place I know of.- Sandrock's deep, rolling-thunder voice rumbled across the comlink. –It is surrounded by dead planets for some ways and is inhabited by mechanical beings much more primal than ourselves. Furthermore, there were trace amounts of Energon particles amongst the sand that covers it. The council decided it would not be worth the effort of excavating such small amounts of Energon whilst staffing off angry natives.- Here he chortled a bit. –Those mechanical beings may not be Cybertronian, but each and every one of them packs come serious firepower.-

I nodded to show I had heard. –How long will it take us to get there? And what do we do if we are waylaid?-

Sandrock chuckled grimly.

-That's a good question now. Isn't it?-