It's been a while. And for the past few months I've wondered if I would ever get back to this story. At first I was really gung-ho and the words came out so fast and I was so very proud to finally be writing out one of my many "stories". To actually publish them took more bravery than I thought I had, but the kind words and encouragement I received both thrilled and emboldened me. And Spindle...well that femme really had a life of her own...for a while. Right now I'm stuck. The fire has dwindled and the keyboard and monitor just stare back at me as blank as I feel. I have more excuses than Carter has liver pills (those of an age understand this phrase).

I am much obliged to those of you who have favorited the story, who have put me on their watch lists and who has left wonderful reviews. Should you read this next chapter, please think kind thoughts my way and thank-you!

Thanks to Andromeda Prime, Ice and Fire Dragon, Netvolts, Teddy-wabbitz, kellyviolinthebest, Exactlywhat, gender-bender-lover-101, ironaft, Forever Dreaming Grace, Botosphere, Phoenix 13, Suzy Prime, Black_Oracle, MorePrimeLand, and many others who have read and favorited my other stories too...Thank-you All! You are real treasures.

I may have sent this chapter out a bit too soon...I must learn to write down in hard copy just how to upload and publish stories. I apologize for taking up too much room in your e-mail accounts. On with the tale...

Chapter 26: Discovered

"Man…don't go over there without back-up." Aaron whispered to his partner as Tom began to creep closer to the mound of rubble.

"I got back-up…you." his voice replying softly from his half turned face.

"That's what I thought you'd say.

"Good, now shut it and follow me. Something's in there…I want to know what it is before we go botherin' the Bots." came the excited whisper.

Furst only rolled his eyes, but followed his partner, sweeping his eyes around the area to better provide cover if it was needed. Only now was he beginning to feel the adrenaline-rush from battle seep away and replaced by chills from the breeze blowing over his sweat-soaked body, pain from the many scrapes and tumbles he took during the battle and brief waves of fatigue that were beginning to sweep throughout his whole being.

"Mmmmmumfff…hhhheeeuuuullllp..mmmuh…"

The muffled noise brought both young men up short. Battle-tested reflexes, honed from years training, replaced their natural curiosity as they placed themselves back to back scanning the area for hostiles.

"T?"

"Yeah A?"

"Think it's a 'Con?"

"Could be, you?"

"Yeah…could be." Both young men began to pick their way carefully towards the sound. Standard procedure would

"Mmmmm…hhheh…hehhh…ppp…mmmm…" The voice was soft, weak, hurt.

"Sounds like it might not last the day." Aaron postulated. "Could be a trap."

"Dunno." Elting murmured. "Look at the pile of rock. If there's any space between those two slabs it's got be small."

Both men stared at the remains of the landslide of limestone blocks; some first removed by the gestalt Devestator, others by a jet-powered Optimus when he flew through the sun harvester. One was lying on its long side while the other had tipped itself end over end, and stopping only when one end slammed into the first block. They formed a stony lean-to surrounded by a multitude of rocky detritus and harvester parts. If any thing was inside, it was either very small of nearly flattened. Neither knew which.

Tom looked at his partner, his face a mask of resignation and pulled his flashlight from a cargo pocket. Flicking it on, he attached it just above the sight of his rifle and approached the unknown voice.

…it's a…it's…a…

Darkness greeted Spindle as she fought to regain some control of her processor and memory files. She so wanted to scream, so wanted to vent her anger loudly, excessively and not stop until all that came out was static.

But she could not; it hurt too much. A downed block had caught her in her fall and her right shoulder and arm were wedged into an impossibly small gap under it. The other block rested above her, its edge just over the other block by millimeters. At any time one or the other could slip and she would then be able to join her beloved sparkling in the Well of All-Sparks. She was actually considering ways to make one or the other move, but even processing hurt. The dust and debris clogged her filters and vents and energon and vital fluids leaked from the many line breaks. The area supposedly healed by the Fallen began to burn and she felt the armor in that area begin to crack and blister. Her spark hurt…it flared.

,,,uuuuuuuuuphhhhh…Her optics flickered off and her vocals began to sieze. Was the casing finally cracking; were her chest plates impinging on its connections; would she give up her spark soon?

*Sunstar…I come…soon.* her spark flared again causing more pain and locking out access to the chamber. Her chest plates locked down, just as they had done when she was hunting on Cybertron with a booby-trapped spark chamber.

*NO!* her processor shouted. Her mouth only let out a string of unintelligible sounds in the dark stillness. And then movement outside her resting place caused a cascade of rock to further bury her frame in what may be her grave.

She tried to shout "Help me…please, help me…" but only rough sounds came from the damaged vocals.

A beam of light shot into the narrow cleft and she shuttered her optics in pain.

Again she tried to communicate with whoever was there…