Sparked by Magic: Chapter 8

I FINALLY GRADUATED!

I graduated in December and have been spending time moving back home and preparing to join the workforce. Also, there was a period of downtime to unwind a bit.

Oh, and DISCLAIMER: I don't own Transformers or Harry Potter.

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"War is upon us." -?

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Harry couldn't seem to take his eyes off of that water bottle. Its very presence mocked him. It summoned questions he couldn't answer and he obsessed over it.

'You can survive three days without water,' a long-ago lesson reminded him. 'Thirty days without food.'

It took three days to get to the meeting place, and he was pretty sure he didn't drink or eat anything during that time. Three days without water. The last time he ate? It seemed like a lifetime ago. Was it a month? Thirty days without food. He'd probably eaten sometime within thirty days, but he couldn't remember exactly.

Three days without water. Thirty days without food.

You can survive…

))O((

Night Watch noticed his Creator's attention focused on the two children, and noticed when he froze. He couldn't guess as to what his Creator saw, or what he thought of it; his Creator's face was strangely blank.

'What is it you have seen, to have you act this way?'

Night Watch's attention was stolen by Optimus Prime. He shrugged his shoulder slightly in order to draw his Creator's attention to the situation at hand. Whatever in the children that had caught his Creator's attention would likely still be there later, but the current conversation was something he didn't doubt his Creator would want to take part in. He was proved correct when his Creator's attention turned from them to the Prime.

His face remained unreadable to the First.

"There are two things that I must ask," the Prime said. "The first pertains to Laserbeak. Were you able to find any useful information before Soundwave interfered, Skynet?"

Night Watch turned slightly to look over his left shoulder. Skynet was between his trine-mates, though he stepped forward to stand beside Night Watch upon having been addressed. He noticed the Seeker didn't correct the Prime's assumption of being repulsed by the Decepticon Third-in-Command.

/The extent of my abilities should be kept close at hand/ the Seeker sent. /They wouldn't react well if they were to discover my rifting through their systems./

/Understood./

"It seems," the Seeker said aloud, "that the Decepticons intend to activate the Sun Harvester that resides on Earth."

"We can't allow them to do that!" Ratchet said furiously. "The destruction of Earth's star would cause untold amounts of damage, likely killing all native life on this planet!"

"Agreed," the Prime said. "Were you able to discern the location of the Sun Harvester, or when they plan to activate it?"

"Egypt," the Seeker replied. He sent everyone the coordinates he'd appropriated from Laserbeak's processor. "They don't currently have a selected date for the operation."

Optimus nodded as he examined the coordinates. "Do you know who they're taking to activate it?"

"Megatron, most definitely; Starscream, Ravage, and the Constructicon gestalt are also with the main group. There is mention of a mech designated as 'the Fallen' who might be taking part."

Optimus searched his processor, but the only mention of a "Fallen" he could recall referred to one of the original Thirteen Primes. He doubted it was truly that mech, however. It was more likely to be an adopted moniker to inspire fear or loyalty. Either way, it created a great feeling of foreboding in his spark.

He tried to put it aside in favor of asking his second question: "And what of your Allspark shard?"

The group was silent a moment. Surprisingly, it was the mini-bot sitting on the human's lap who answered.

"We don't have one," he said happily. "Why would we need one? We have Creator! He made me, and Night Watch – but Night Watch came first – and then Patch Up and Haul, and there was that time in the Arctic with Sunstorm, and then Scramble and Skynet came after that because of the trine bond, or something, which sounds sort of like what Arcee has, but she doesn't fly, so she's not a Seeker, I don't think, so it's a different sort of bond but it's still sort of the same, which is pretty interesting I guess. Are there any other sorts of bonds like that? Are they always in threes? Why three? Three's a good number, but why not more or less? Do I get a bond or is it something you have to already have?"

He turned big blue eyes up to the human he was sitting on. "Do I get one? I want one, I think. Wait, can you tell me what it's like first? Scramble –Scramble! - what's being in a trine like? Is it fun? Should I get one?"

Yellow optics zeroed in on the mini-bot. "Being in a trine is serious," Scramble said, "but it's worth it. As you're not a Seeker, however, you're not likely to develop one."

Scramble smirked then, and dryly added: "Which is probably a good thing. You with wings would kill us all." *

"Aww," Chatter moaned. "But there are other ones, right? Can I have one of those, Creator?"

Harry looked down at the small silver bot's hopeful eyes, and managed past his shock to say, "Maybe when you're older."

"Okay! But, wait, how much older…"

Optimus tried to politely bring the conversation back on track before it spiraled even further away from what he'd originally asked. "Could you clarify what he said about not needing a shard?"

Night Watch looked gravely serious. "The answer to that is a very delicate one. One that I believe should not be spoken aloud while others could overhear."

/You claimed your alliance was a tentative one. Let's not test it with this./

Optimus nodded slowly. /I understand your concerns. Now, if you could explain what your friend meant?/

Night Watch seemed to hesitate for a moment. /This is difficult to explain. It would be easier to show you. I'm sending the associated files./

Optimus accepted the offered memory files and spent a moment looking over them. He had to stop several times in an attempt to make sense of what he'd seen. Upon viewing the last file, he refocused on the seemingly human being on the mech's shoulder. This was…

/Impossible./

/Yet it happened./

/If the Allspark were to be absorbed by another being, why not Sam? He was holding it./

/What makes you think the Allspark has anything to do with this?/

Optimus looked into serious, yellow optics. /The Allspark is what gives us life/ he argued.

/Perhaps it was the source of life for you, but not so for us. We are no kin of yours, though we may look it./

Optimus stared. His blue optics searched yellow for truth, and found it. His eyes flitted again to the green-eyed pseudo human.

The question came unbidden past his vocalizer, spoken past shock and maybe a little bit of fear.

"What are you?"

))O((

"What are you?"

The sharp severity of the question made it sound like an accusation, and it was enough to tear Harry from his water-induced daze.

"What am I?" he repeated incredulously. "I am another living, sentient being, and hardly deserving of your disrespect!"

Startled eyes flitted in his direction, but he didn't shrink in the face of his audience. He was too full of righteous anger to care about what they thought. He'd lived with the Dursleys long enough to recognize when someone was calling you a freak, even if they didn't say the word itself.

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Ratchet looked carefully between Optimus, Night Watch, and the human perched on the latter's shoulder.

/Optimus, what's going on?/

Optimus sent him a look that asked for time before he turned his attention to the group before them.

"My apologies," he said gently. "I didn't mean to imply any disrespect. I was simply…taken by surprise. Please, understand that we've never seen anything like this before."

/Like what? Optimus…/

/A moment, Ratchet, please./

Ratchet allowed him his time in favor of surveying the others. Whatever misunderstanding that had occurred had truly upset the other group. The human was glaring and holding the silent mini-bot protectively. The mech he was perched on was stiff, eyeing Optimus warily. Patch Up looked disturbed, and her assistant Haul was eyeing each of the Autobots in turn. Perhaps worst of all were the Seekers. Sunstorm looked one step away from becoming actively hostile, Scramble had lost all sense of his previous humor, and Skynet was dangerously still.

It took a few minutes of tense silence before the human nodded his head and allowed himself to relax. With his assent, the others allowed themselves to calm as well, though some mistrust lingered behind their optics.

'It's curious that they would take their cues from the human,' he thought.

))O((

Optimus felt like he was one step away from falling into a nightmare. None of this made any sense. To top it all off, he'd accidentally insulted a being who, if Night Watch's memory files were accurate, could very easily destroy them all. Reality meant nothing in the face of one who could so easily bend it to their every whim. A twist of power and all the Autobots could be made more helpless than if they were staring down the end of a Decepticon's gun.

So it came as a great relief that he'd managed to calm the deceptive deity perched so innocently on the shoulder of his first-sparked creation.

"Perhaps we should continue negotiations over cubes of energon," he suggested hopefully. They desperately needed this group on their side, and it would be best if they could all work together peacefully.

"Energon?" the mini-bot asked. "What's that?"

"It's a source of energy," Optimus replied. The mini-bot remained confused, so he iterated with: "It's a liquid substance we drink. It's pink."

There was no recognition there, none whatsoever.

"We don't need energon," Sunstorm said, proudly smirking. "Our Creator sees to it that his faithful children don't starve. Can you say the same of your absent god?"

This. This was too much – too much to take in with everything else, and it was all too strange and foreign to make any sense of it. It didn't make any sense at all; there wasn't any sense to make, ERROR, ERROR, ERROR.

Optimus fell back in a dead faint as his processor crashed.

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"Is he going to be okay?"

Ratchet looked up from Optimus' still form to the silver mini-bot, Chatter. "He'll be fine. Processor crashes can hurt, and there's a lot of file defragging that's necessary before regaining consciousness, but it's not the worst thing any of us have suffered over the course of this war."

'The only question that remains is what caused him to crash? Sunstorm's always been somewhat mad, so it couldn't have been what he said, could it? He wouldn't take the Seeker seriously, surely.'

Chatter nodded quickly, holding tightly to the human arms that encircled him. "He just fell over, like 'thump'! Why would he do that? Is he hurt, is he sick? He shouldn't have been moving around so much if he was hurt. I'm pretty sure that's something you don't do. Patch Up had Night Watch go to bed when his head got hurt from that mean Decepticon, and Night Watch doesn't go to bed unless he has to! Maybe you should tie Mr. Prime to the berth in your med-bay so he can't get away again. It's probably not good for him to just be falling all over the place. He could hurt his head more."

'Primus help me,' Ratchet thought with dawning horror. 'It's another Bluestreak.'

He tried to put that horrible realization aside in favor of asking Night Watch what he might have told Optimus that would have caused him to crash.

/I believe it would be wiser to wait until your leader regains consciousness. If you were to 'crash' as well, it would be one more liability to cover should the Decepticons attack./

/Fine/ Ratchet snapped. /Just tell me, is it anything we have to worry about right now? Is it time sensitive?/

/No./

Ratchet nodded sharply and called Iron Hide over to help him move Optimus to what barely passed as a 'med bay' here at NEST base. It wouldn't do to keep their leader passed out here, in the way and where everyone can gawk and stare at him. The Arcee triplets stayed behind to smooth any remaining tensions of the group and keep an eye on them. Hopefully, she would also be able to keep Mudflap and Skids from doing any further damage to this possible alliance they were hoping to make.

'First you stick your pede in it and then you crash,' he thought, exasperated toward his old friend. 'What a wonderful impression we're making.'

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The Arcee triplets were a wonderful distraction to Harry's internal crisis. Her easygoing manner and straightforward approach to educating them on the current situation helped him put the whole situation to the back of his mind and focus on their present problems. The whole not-eating-or-drinking thing? That could wait. It wasn't changing and he could examine it later. He could absorb and deflect, like he had when Hagrid had turned his world on its head. Magic existed, did impossible things, so this wasn't really as much a problem as the Decepticons.

It wasn't a concern, he tried to convince himself.

'No wizard I have ever seen goes without eating. They actually seem to eat more,' he couldn't help but think.

No – stop thinking about it. This wasn't a concern. He might have been a little strange among even wizard-kind, but he was still human and the not-eating didn't change that. He might not be normal (freak, they whispered), but he was still…he was still…

What are you?

(Freak/Wizard/Boy-Who-Lived/Creator)

He didn't know anymore.

))O((

Arcee explained to them about the Great War, how it started and how it continued and the different sides and their goals. Haul didn't like what he was hearing; none of it made any sense to the large green mech. The Cybertronians were driving themselves into extinction for a political system long since dead. The Decepticons and Autobots could just as easily sign a peace treaty and work to rebuild their home, but kept fighting instead. Could either side even stop fighting at this point? Had the war gone on so long that they could do little else than satisfy old grudges?

Worst of all, they'd dragged his family into their conflict.

A crash interrupted his less-than-charitable thoughts. Two mechs came dashing around the corner, chased by the angry curses of the Autobot medic Ratchet. Haul watched bemused as one timely dodged a thrown wrench and disappeared around a corner with his look-a-like.

Pink-Arcee groaned and covered her faceplates with a servo as Blue-Arcee joined the chase. It was Yellow-Arcee who explained.

"Annnnd those would be the Terror Twins, Mudflap and Skids, our resident pranksters. Judging by Ratchet's curses, they probably left him a surprise in the med-bay."

"What do you mean 'a surprise in the med-bay'?" Haul asked with dread.

"Well," Yellow-Arcee began, "with the paint residue on their servos and peds, I'd have to say they probably used it to make a mess of the med-bay."

"They contaminated the med-bay." This was too much.

He looked over to Patch Up to see how she was taking it. She was speechless. Haul couldn't blame her.

"Are they mentally deficient?" he asked for her. It was a serious question. Contaminating the med-bay was the equivalent of poisoning the injured – and the twins had done it for fun. They were literally risking the lives of their injured comrades for a joke. That sort of disregard was inexcusable.

"I honestly wouldn't be surprised," Pink-Arcee ground out.

'No wonder the Autobots are losing,' he thought darkly.

))O((

Harry had finally managed to put his weirdness to the back of his mind when the remaining two of Arcee led them to what would be their quarters on base. She then quickly left to accustom themselves to their new space with the excuse of checking on Optimus.

Harry looked around, taking in the dimensions of the warehouse that they'd been left in, and frowned.

"Does anyone else feel a little cramped, or is it just me?" Scramble grumbled.

"Definitely not just you," Haul replied.

The poor semi was hunched over due to his height. Scramble was just a slight bit shorter than him – enough to leave a couple centimeters between his helm and the ceiling. Patch Up's optics were narrowed as she observed her hunched brother and was muttering about how they'd have to look out for strained wiring in his back strut. There was little doubt that she was frowning behind her mask, and Night Watch didn't seem far behind.

'There has to be a way to make this more comfortable – ah! The Burrow!'

Supremely satisfied and relieved in turn, Harry drew his hands close to his chest, facing the walls to either side, and pushed them apart. Reality broke as the dimensions within the warehouse extended beyond their rational limits. To the others it merely appeared as if the walls and ceiling were drawing away from them, the floor following steadily.

There was a moment of silence, then smiles, then…

"Thanks Creator!" Haul said, mood uplifted as he straightened to his full height.

Patch Up nodded, happy that Haul could stand strait, and sent a smile – though it was hidden behind her mask – in their Creator's direction. The seekers chorused their thanks, much happier now that they had more room to stretch their wings.

"That was awesome!" Chatter cheered, bouncing in his lap.

"Much improved," Night Watch said.

Harry smiled widely. "Just thought I'd make things a little more comfortable," he told them.

Sometimes, it was good to be a bit weirder than the rest.

))O((

Optimus groaned as he awakened, processor whirring unhappily as he came back online. By Primus, when was the last time he'd crashed like that? It seemed like vorns!

"Are you alright?" Ratchet asked cautiously, running scans even as he asked.

"I'm alright, old friend. I was just…caught off guard by what I've learned today," Optimus replied.

Ratchet put down the data pad he was holding and gave Optimus a stern look. "And what would that be, hmm? What went on in there, Optimus?"

Optimus let out a very human sigh and carefully sat up. "I would like to know what happened after I crashed before I tell you. It is a strange tale and might very well cause you to crash as well."

Ratchet nodded slowly. "Well, aside from a little surprise the group didn't seem overly bothered at your falling over. After that I had Iron Hide help me bring you here to the med-bay and sent Arcee to explain things and bring them to one of the spare warehouses on base for their new living quarters. There should be enough room for them all in there. Upon arriving in the med-bay I found out the twins decided to decorate it and chased them off while Iron Hide settled you in. One of the Arcee triplets helped while the other two continued the tour."

Optimus shut off his optics and barely kept himself from groaning aloud. Those slagging twins! They were worse than Sideswipe and Sunstreaker!

"We're going to have to make some sort of detention quarters at some point, for both the twins and any prisoners we gain," he said. At a pointed look from Ratchet his shoulders sunk in resignation. "As for what had happened earlier, it would be easiest explained if I just shared the filed given to me."

Optimus sent the files to his old friend and proceeded to catch the medic when his processor inevitably crashed.

He allowed himself to sigh when he realized he'd have to do this for every other mech on base. For security reasons he only wanted one out at a time, which meant this would take a while.

'Hopefully our new allies will have found something to do as they settled in.'

))O((

Skynet tilted his helm minutely as he found something rather startling in Laserbeak's processor. He wasn't sure what to make of it, so he sent an inquiry to Sunstorm over the trine bond. With their elder brother's previous memories, perhaps their trine leader could explain what he'd found. There was a flash of surprise across the bond, followed by anger and grudging respect.

/The Sparkling Project/ Sunstorm sent back. /It was started by my predecessor Starscream and was collaborated with the Constructicons. The project was a response to the long absence of the Allspark a few vorns into the war after the casualties were undeniably catastrophic to the Cybertronian race. The aim was to bypass the need for the Allspark to create new life, but it was a failure. All that resulted, to my knowledge, were spark-less drones. Due to the method of creation the drones were eventually termed "hatchlings" in their initial stage of development./

Skynet quickly thanked his trinemate before allowing himself to drift back into Laserbeak's treasure trove of information. Even as he did so, a part of his processor focused on one particular thought: drones.

'It's certainly a possibility,' he thought absently. 'I will have to bring it to Creator's attention…'

))O((

Soundwave was very frustrated. His connection to Laserbeak was somehow being blocked! Who knew how much information the Autobots might have retrieved? All the access codes would have to be changed as a security measure. Lord Megatron would not be happy.

Soundwave had more reason than his Lord to be upset, however; Laserbeak was one of the last two of his cassettes left. If the Autobots executed Laserbeak…he didn't know what he'd do. And if they tried to ransom his cassette? He wasn't sure he could just leave Laserbeak to their mercy as his Lord might demand. Hopefully he could convince Lord Megatron that Laserbeak was too valuable to the Decepticons to leave behind and that a rescue mission was indeed necessary. The amount of information Laserbeak possessed should be a good motivator, at least.

And it was. Starscream hadn't been happy, of course. The trine-less Winglord had gone off on a rant about Laserbeak's failure and how he was unworthy of being rescued if he were to be so careless as to be caught. Soundwave had nearly shot the crazed ex-Lord of Vos. He hadn't gotten so close to actually losing his temper since…actually, it hadn't been so long ago - perhaps when he'd felt his connection to Frenzy break.

Ever since he'd lost his other cassettes (Rumble, Ratbat, Buzzsaw…) everything began to fall apart.

If he lost Laserbeak and Ravage too, he'd break. He knew it in his spark. There would be nothing left of him, and Starscream would win. The Decepticons would fall apart with the next assassination attempt – which would likely succeed without Soundwave to run interference – and all their sacrifice would be for naught. Rumble, Ratbat, Buzzsaw, and Frenzy would have died for nothing. Laserbeak and Ravage would die for nothing.

Worlds would burn before he let that happen.

This world would burn first.

))O((

Alarms were sounding across NEST base, causing everyone to drop what they were doing and head to their stations. Active personnel, including the Autobots and their new allies, met in the communications hanger.

"We have a Decepticon sighting outside of Tranquility, California" Keller tells them. He gives a moment for that to sink in before continuing with: "The party is a group of three. We also have another sighting of a group of four heading to meet them from the East."

"What could they want from there?" Iron Hide asked suspiciously. There was little there of value, considering they had removed the shard was no longer in the area. Surely Soundwave knew that?

"We don't know, and that's why you need to head them off. Whatever it is that they want can't be good for us."

"We'll see it done," Optimus said. "Iron Hide, Mudflap, Skids, and Bumblebee will go to engage the group already in Tranquility. Ratchet and Arcee will stay here on base."

He turned to look to his new allies and said: "I'd like for the Seekers to come with me to head off their reinforcements. Haul and Night Watch would be welcome as well."

Night Watch stepped forward, yellow optics calculating the odds of success, and shook his head. "Skynet should be left behind; he is not built for combat. Haul should also stay behind to provide additional support should this prove to be a distraction. Between you, the rest of the seeker trine, and me, the reinforcements will be of little issue."

The seekers could probably do it all on their own, but Night Watch didn't want them caught without back up in case things weren't as they seemed. Things had the tendency to go wrong for those who were unprepared.

"Very well," Optimus replied. "Defense Secretary, please alert your staff that there will be two jets with our party to head off the group approaching the city." When Keller gave him an affirmative, Optimus quickly broke the meeting up so they could leave.

Hopefully, Iron Hide and the others would get to Tranquility before there was any major loss of life. Considering that that was were Sam's family lived, Optimus wondered if perhaps there was more than the possibility of it being a distraction ploy. Bumblebee was very close to Sam, and if the Decepticons tried to use Sam's family as hostages…

Oh, no.

'Could this be in retaliation for Laserbeak?'

Revenge was no strange motivator.

A cold feeling settled in Optimus' spark as he drove after the two seekers flying ahead. He hoped that, should the Decepticons get past Iron Hide and the others, that the Decepticons had orders to take and keep their hostages alive for trade. Optimus would gladly give Laserbeak over in exchange. This was not these peoples' war, and they shouldn't have to suffer for a conflict that wasn't theirs.

))O((

A part of Night Watch greatly disapproved of leaving his Creator behind. He had been created to protect their maker's mortal form after all. It grated against every instinct to leave Him behind. He had to, however, and he trusted his brothers and sister to look after Him in his place. There was also the fact that Creator was well rested and had powers beyond mortal ken. He would be fine.

Night Watch told himself this multiple times, as well as reminding himself how very profitable it would be to meet the Decepticons in person. Watching the footage of Mission City with Skynet only did so much good, after all. If Night Watch could meet them in battle he could test them and himself. He could observe their reactions to his own attacks and how their strategies evolved when met with his own. How would Decepticons measure up against him? And were they accustomed to fighting Seekers? From what Sunstorm knew, the Seekers mostly sided with the Decepticons. It would be a great advantage if it were so, seeing as how Sunstorm and Scramble were very dangerous examples of their frame type.

A message from the Autobot Prime interrupted his musings. /We will have the Seekers blitz them first before we engage with any survivors. We should be able to see them soon - ETA ten minutes./

/It is a sound strategy/ Night Watch replied. The Seekers above agreed and sped ahead of them, cutting their own ETA drastically.

/Engaging the enemy!/ Sunstorm reported happily.

There was a storm of fire, the explosions loud and clearly visible as his brothers fired on the unsuspecting Decepticons below them.

/Survivors?/ Night Watch asked.

/Only one/ Scramble replied. /He managed to take cover in time./

/Acknowledged. I'll come around from the left. Give me cover fire./

/Understood/ the Seekers replied.

/Optimus, one of the Decepticons survived. He's taking cover fifty meters ahead, by the wreckage of the bridge. I'm coming around the left and the Seekers will cover me./

/I'll come around the right to cut off his escape then./

/Understood./

Night Watch sped ahead, eating up ground as the Seekers ahead bought him time. Turning around the destroyed bridge, he immediately transformed into root mode and rolled under the fire the surprised Decepticon sent at him. Transforming his left arm into its gun form and taking cover behind a large piece of concrete, Night Watch returned fire. The Decepticon tried to back away to better cover from the combined force of Night Watch and the Seeker duo above, only to find his escape route blocked by Optimus Prime. The intimidating site gave the comparatively small Decepticon pause.

That moment of indecision was all Night Watch needed to close the distance between them, his boot boosters giving him all the speed required, and bury his hidden right-wrist-dagger in the Decepticon's neck and sever the spinal column.

Night Watch retracted his dagger and allowed the body to fall.

He looked up to see the considering look of the Prime. "Shall we return to base?"

"Yes," Optimus replied. "We're done here. Iron Hide has reported success in his own mission and…"

/Get your afts over here!/ Ratchet sent across their frequency. /The base is being attacked! Twelve Decepticons, maybe more, and one of them is Soundwave. He does not look happy./

/We're on our way! I'm sending the Seekers ahead. Sunstorm, Scramble, don't wait on us. Get back to NEST base as quickly as you can and provide support/ Optimus replied.

Night Watch didn't bother waiting on Optimus either. He immediately transformed and pushed his speed-boosters to their limit, trying to get back to the base as quickly as he could.

'Please, Creator, lend me strength and speed. Let me make it in time!'

))O((

"Fascinating," Ratchet said as paint vanished from the med-bay.

Patch Up smiled behind her mask as the other medic shook his head, completely bewildered. "I know. Now, seeing as how the contagion is sufficiently dealt with, would you mind showing me where everything is?"

"Of course," Ratchet replied. He stepped forward as her Creator finished banishing the mess and said, "Thank you for the help. It would've taken a lot longer if I had to do it myself and I might not have finished before the others returned."

Creator smiled. "I was glad to help. If you need anything else, call me. I'll be with Skynet," he said.

"Alright," Patch Up acknowledged. "And thanks again for your help, Creator."

Her Creator waved and promptly disappeared.

"I'm never going to get used to that," Ratchet grumbled as he rubbed his helm.

Patch Up patted his shoulder. She knew it must be hard for him, seeing as how his own god didn't have such a visible presence. He probably wasn't use to witnessing the divine and their work.

"Haul should be in soon with the spare parts," she said. It would help sooth his processor ache if he had something a little firmer to concentrate on.

"Good. In the meantime, I'll show you where things are."

He gave her the tour of the adapted warehouse come med-bay and informed her sternly on basic Autobot Medical Protocol. Most of it was common sense, like cleaning surgical equipment before and after use, but Patch Up didn't feel insulted. Ratchet was just looking out for his own family; he didn't know what Patch Up knew, or the extent of her abilities. It was better to be safe than sorry, especially when a medic can do more harm than good if they performed incorrectly. If it were her in his position, she would do the same.

"Hope I'm not interrupting," Haul said as he walked in. He was carrying a large supply container with him.

"Not at all," Ratchet said. "We've finished covering the basics. Do you have everything on the list?"

"About half – not everything fit, so I'm making two trips. Just tell me where you want this before I go grab the rest," Haul replied.

"By that wall please," Ratchet said as he pointed to his left. "I'll sort through it later. Thank you."

"No problem. I'll just go get the rest and be back in a bit."

The two medics waved him off before turning again to each other.

Ratchet began to ask, "So what procedures do you…"

Alarms interrupted him. Loud braying echoed across the base, lights flashed red, and a voice yelled over the intercoms for personnel to get to their stations to defend the base.

/Twelve Decepticons are approaching the base/ Skynet clarified.

"Scrap!" Ratchet cursed. "Of all the times! The other groups must have been decoys for a raid. I'll inform Optimus. Skynet, you tell Iron Hide to get his aft over here!"

/Acknowledged./

"What should I do?" Patch Up asked nervously.

"You're with me."

Patch Up nodded and followed the older medic outside. Haul met up with them at the munitions storage warehouse with Creator on his shoulder. The sight of them helped her gather her calm, but the vestiges of panic clawed at the back of her processor.

'Please, Creator, let our family come out of this in one piece,' she prayed.

Her Creator's eyes snapped from the far horizon to her and he gave her a strange, lopsided smile. "Everything's going to be okay, Patch Up."

Then he reached out to where he had been looking before, his hand poised as if to grab something. The air began to feel heavy and she became aware of a hum vibrating through her armor. Then he closed his fist and pulled it tightly back to his body, causing the space in front of them to tear apart. Instead of a clear view of the horizon there was a hole leading to a road.

Coming down the road was a black car and a flame-decaled semi-truck.

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Extra: Sam's Perspective

Sam wasn't sure what to make of the new arrivals. They were Cybertronian, but they weren't. They were pretty much the same – soul-bearing sentient robots – but apparently they were different. Optimus wasn't sharing. Sam wasn't sure he wanted to know, anyway. Normally he would be all over it and pestering Bee for the answer, but Bee had fainted after he was told the secret. All the Autobots fainted, actually. Even Optimus toppled over – and wasn't that a scary thought? Optimus Prime is not the sort of person to faint, no matter how bad the situation.

What was so bad, then, that the leader of the Autobots couldn't compute?

Sam wasn't sure what to make of it. He was a little scared, considering their secret downed his friends, but the group seemed okay. Well, aside from the white and red jet-formers and the black car. Those mechs were creepy. The white one rarely talked out loud and his name was foreboding; Sam just knew he had heard it before somewhere and it sent a chill up his spine. The red one was a crazy zealot, going on and on about his Creator and how He was superior and how the Cybertronians had been abandoned and what not. And the black one? He seriously reminded Sam of Darth Vader sans life-support. Saying it out loud made it seem like a joke, but it wasn't.

So, maybe Sam was a bit scared. Maybe. He had good reason to be. Even the not-creepy ones could be scary. Their medic came to mind, and the black jet right behind her. Even the truck got a bit intimidating when the twins came around. Hell, even the human of the group scared Sam sometimes. There was something in that kid that made Sam feel small.

The only one of the group that seemed truly harmless was the mini-bot. There was a catch there, however, and that was that the little mech made up for intimidation with annoyance. Sam couldn't stand being near the cute little guy because he was half-sure he'd end up screaming. And then Darth Vader would force-choke him. Actually, it'd be more likely that the mech would shoot him, but Sam would still be dead in the end.

He was too young to die, so he avoided them.

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Author's Note: First of all, sorry for taking this long. Real life and writer's block made getting this chapter out like pulling teeth. Second, I'd like to apologize if I missed anyone's questions. Please PM me if I missed answering them.

I hope you all liked the chapter. I tried to make it longer than the others so far, but got a little stymied around the end. It's longer than the last chapter at least. Personally, I enjoyed Soundwave's bit around the end. And yes, Skywarp and Thundercracker are dead. The bots won't have to worry about them in battle, but Starscream's actions become unpredictable as his loss of his trine eats away at his sanity. Also, yes, Skynet is considering drones. Poor Sam might very well have a panic attack when he realizes where he's heard Skynet's name before.

Please leave a review to let me know what you think!