I planned to wait to write this story after I finished the final chapter of another story, but I have the chapter halfway completed already and didn't have access to the computer it was on, so I wrote this in the mean time, and I'll finish the other soon, not that you'll care.

Anyways, this is in my own personal AU. If you've read my stories, you'll know that they're all '07 movie 'verse, ignoring RotF, with G1 elements and characters. This is pre-Earth, and contains a cast of OCs with a lot of canon involvement. Multiple canon characters were referenced here, but were not named for the purpose of the story. If you know your G1, you'll be able to guess them in a heartbeat.

This is a combo of the ideas in the poll on my profile about what to write next, with the pirate story as the main plot and the story about the lovechild as a secondary plot. Anyways, I can't think of anything else, other than that this is the longest prologue to a story ever written (I mean both the bold text and the actual writing), so with that… Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I do not own Transformers or any of its characters. I do own the OCs used here as well as Vanos and its storyline. The first of the "definitions" used here is courtesy of Merriam-Webster Online, and the second is an adjusted, half-original one from Dictionary with that good old dot and com at the end that FF won't let you write.

History often tends to erase its blemishes over time, either because the storytellers are embarrassed and the less favorable section is no longer taught, or because the people just "forget" something about their pasts. There was only one case on Cybertron, however, where an entire city was forgotten.

It wasn't forgotten in the literal sense; no, everyone knew it was still there. Rather, they just chose not to speak of it, or write of it, or even think of it. Everybody pretended that it didn't exist so they could happily continue with their perfect little chaos free lives. Really, they had enough on their servos with Kaon – the last thing they needed to deal with was another problem area. Kaon would have been "forgotten" too, but it had such a large population that it was hard to cover up.

The "forgotten" city was easy to hide. They just pretended it wasn't there, and stopped teaching sparklings about it. Most of all, nobody told stories of pirates anymore. Not in the academies, nor in daycare centers or orphanages, and most definitely not as recharge-time stories. The last thing they needed was a generation of wannabe pirates. Wasn't Vanos enough?

Ah, Vanos, the ex-sister-city of Vos, hence their similar names. Vanos had once been a center of trade; in fact, it was the trade center of Cybertron. If you wanted something, you could find it in Vanos. That was still true in the present – things just weren't so legal anymore.

Trade had expanded so much that it was no longer trade. Piracy took over the great, sprawling city of Vanos. It took hold with such intricately tied force that there was no way for the Council or their Enforcers to stop it without arresting or destroying more than half of the city's population. The Council disbanded its Vanoan branch and all Cybertronians who valued law and order vacated the city, leaving large sections of it abandoned. Cybertron had given up on Vanos; Vos disowned it along with the rest of the planet.

But Vanos was far from dead. No, the city still had some life in it yet, some hope for a future. Large parts of it had been abandoned, but the city was not overrun by gangs or high-grade addicts – the pirates would never allow it. Over time, Vanos formed into an extremely close knit community of native Vanoans who all abandoned the city's outer limits and moved to its center for protection from the pirates. Not protection from the pirates, as in to be protected from them, but rather protected by them.

All "real" pirates were Vanoan and looked after their small community in the remains of a city that had once held enough power to control an empire. If a pirate, or anyone else for that matter, tried to harm a Vanoan native, they would go "missing" in the same way that Vanos had been "forgotten."

Because of this, Vanos was not a city of crime. Well, it was, but it was a very orderly crime city. Theft was forbidden in Vanos. It was part of the pirate code that nobody could steal from a Vanoan, even if the Vanoan was another pirate. There were so few Vanoans left that they all knew each other, so Vanoan pirates got along fine. It was when groups from other areas heard of Vanos and wanted to get in on their "trade" system that they had problems, because those "pirates" did not often follow the Code. They didn't last long, and often went "missing."

Vanoan pirates had an odd way of trading. Sure, if you were a native they might just make a traditional trade with you for credits or another item. But the pirates liked to switch things up a bit. That was how the Game was created.

The Game ruled Vanos. All Vanoans learned it from a young age, and could usually play it better than any non-Vanoan player. Then again, only pirates tended to know of the Game, so it was rarely played in other areas, and if it was, it was behind closed doors in abandoned areas. Nobody wanted to be caught playing one of the most highly illegal games ever created.

It was really nothing more than a card game in the end, albeit a high stakes, extremely illegal card game. One caught playing it could not be directly arrested, but if they weren't smart, then they were easy pickings for the Enforcers.

The Game had a set of complex rules all its own, and allowed many chances for trading within it, as well as chances to win credits, high grade, and many different items that were either rare, stolen, contraband, or a combination of the three. If one had such an item, they would bring with them a chip that was symbolic of the item and hide the actual object, so that if that particular session was raided by Enforcers, they could not be arrested. Inexperienced players often fell victim to the raids, as they did not realize this. Also, if one lied about what they had, and did not have an item to back up their chip, they too "disappeared" without a trace. That tended to happen a lot to outsiders in Vanos.

Sometimes a non-Vanoan Cybertronian who needed a certain item would hire a professional player of the Game, usually a Vanoan, who knew the pirates and could find the item for them. The player, if they were really good and were on friendly terms with the pirates, could acquire a list from them stating what loot they were carrying aboard their ships and what session of the Game the objects would be up for trade at. If one didn't have a professional, it was almost impossible to find what they were looking for.

People played the Game for a multitude of reasons. They might have had objects to trade or that they wished to acquire, or they may have been hoping for credits – one could simply play their way through the Game on credits alone, if they wished – or they may have been looking to have a good time, if they new who the other players were. Depending on the location and the players, the Game could be like a bunch of friends hanging out or a deadly standoff.

The natives of Vanos were few, but friendly, for the most part. They set up their lives in their little city and most started businesses geared towards the pirates passing through. One such mech had a small business like this.

Deep in the spark of Vanos was a small shop belonging to an inventor barely out of his youngling frame. He repaired the pirates' ships and equipment, and often traded with them for different materials and objects that he repaired or made into new things to sell to others, making his business both a repair shop and a small store. His only business came from pirates and other Vanoans with the occasional order from another city, but it suited him just fine. With his meager earnings, he could usually just scrape by supporting himself and his younger brother. Their creators had been killed when the Council had made a futile attempt to wipe out Vanos once and for all. When the attempt failed and the pirates retaliated, they promptly "forgot" the city again and gave up on it once more. For some, though, the damage had already been done.

The inventor looked up as he heard his shop's door open. In stepped probably the most famous, or infamous, pirate to ever grace Vanos. He was only slightly older than the young inventor, but had already made a lasting name for himself. That meant that the inventor was very nervous around him, even after knowing the silver and yellow mech for almost his whole life. Usually the captain would send one of his crew to do business with him if necessary; he rarely came himself.

"Oh, Steelgauge, hi! Um, what can I do for you?"

The pirate captain smiled in a friendly manner at the flustered inventor. "Relax, mech! C'mon, you know me; you don't need to start worshipping the ground I walk on. Well, unless you want to…" He winked jokingly at the inventor, who smiled in relief.

"I know, I know. But you have to admit, we all know you enjoy the attention."

Steelgauge threw back his helm and laughed boisterously. "You've got me pegged there! Anyways, I've got those parts you were looking for."

"Oh, yes! Thank you so much, I've desperately needed these for my latest order. Those Towers mechs and femmes, they act like they're so proper and perfectly legal and they tend to be the ones who send in most of my orders!"

The pirate nodded as he placed the parts on a spare worktable next to the order-in-progress. He studied the odd object while the inventor puttered around, looking for the appropriate amount of credits.

"What's this one supposed to be?" Steelgauge asked, poking the item for emphasis.

"That," the inventor began as he dug through piles of parts searching for the credits. "Is an electro-disrupter. In lay terms, it's a device that can be installed to any mech or femme and can be used to render them completely invisible at will."

Steelgauge nodded; he'd always appreciated how the inventor would explain things without making one ask. It was somewhat embarrassing to never know what the genius-level mech was talking about. "And why would they need this?"

"Some Towers mech is worried about his youngling's safety and wants him to be able to hide from danger at a moment's notice. It's asking for mischief, if you ask me, but it brings the credits in, and that's all that matters. Speaking of credits, I have most of the bill here. If you'll give me a moment, I'll see if I can find something else."

The pirate nodded a third time. If it was any other, he might have been more anxious to get paid and leave, but he honestly didn't mind the inventor. He knew that credits were tight, and would often ask the mech to pay prices that were lower than he would have given any other, and lower than the object's original value. The inventor didn't know this, and Steelgauge didn't intend on telling him. Besides, it didn't affect his profits; he didn't pay for the items himself, after all. He just…acquired them through more alternative means than most.

He reached up and adjusted the goggles resting on top of his helm. Wait…they were acting up a bit lately…

"Hey, how about you see what's up with my goggles, and I'll wave the rest of the fee?" Steelgauge grinned at the look of absolute relief on the inventor's faceplates. He handed the pirate the credits he had and took the proffered goggles to examine them.

Steelgauge's goggles were his trademark. Not many mechs wore goggles unless they needed protection for their optics due to their work. Steelgauge's goggles, however, were not only impervious to almost anything, being that they were made from the same material as the inventor's own blast mask, but they were also wired with many microscopic systems of electronics that allowed the user to see farther with more clarity, no matter the lighting. They could also zoom in on things and contained thermal and motion scanners. The goggles were one of the finest pieces of equipment the inventor had ever seen, and he was proud to say they were one of his own creations. He set to work on them immediately.

A small thud was heard as a tiny blue and yellow sparkling tripped on its way into the room. It stood up, frowned at the floor in offense, and continued on its toddle. Steelgauge watched in amusement as it continued falling over, each time glaring at the floor as it moved on shaky legs towards its destination. It was so focused on its steps that it didn't realize where it was going until it smacked into Steelgauge's own pede and landed on its bottom.

The sparkling stared at the pede in confusion, bemused at where the large obstruction in his path had come from. It reached out an experimental digit and poked the offending object once, twice. Its helm cocked to the side as it chirruped in bewilderment.

The inventor didn't even look up as he told Steelgauge, "Don't mind him, he's fine. Still learning to walk, as you can see. I think some crossed wires are your problem here. I don't know how that happened, unless you dropped them from quite some height." Even as he said this, the inventor didn't need to look at Steelgauge's sheepish grin to know he was correct.

Steelgauge leaned down and picked up the sparkling who was now laying on his pede and, surprisingly enough, licking it. He held the little thing in front of his faceplates to get a better look at it, and was surprised when a miniature glossa shot out of its mouth and swiped his olfactory sensor. The hardened pirate shuttered his optics.

"Does he have a, er…" Steelgauge didn't know how to put it without offending the inventor.

"Licking problem?" the other finished. "Yeah, no idea where that came from. I talked to a medic, and he said it's just a habit I need to break him of, but not to worry about it. I hope you don't mind."

"Uh, not at all." The pirate set the sparkling on the worktable, where it promptly crawled over to the inventor, seeking attention.

"Not now, Blackjack," muttered the inventor gently, welding some broken wires. "I'll play with you later, okay?"

The sparkling frowned petulantly, as sparklings were prone to do, and actually crossed its little arms as it huffed and clicked in annoyance.

"Here you are, Steelgauge," said the inventor as he finished repairing the goggles. "They should be fine now, but if you have any more problems, just stop by and I'll do what I can." He moved to return the goggles to their owner, but a set of quick, tiny servos snatched them from him.

Blackjack held the object in his little servos, cooing in wonder at how large the item was compared to himself and how pretty the green glass looked when it shined in the light. He clicked angrily when his older brother reached to take them back.

"Blackjack, please, not now! I promise I'll play with you, but we really need those back!"

Steelgauge just chuckled at the sparkling's antics as it continuously scooted away from his older brother when he tried to remove the goggles from his hold. "Looks like you've got a natural born thief on your servos there."

Anywhere else, that might have been an insult; on Vanos, it ran more along the lines of a compliment. Still, the inventor frowned. He would really rather his brother stuck to more legal endeavors when he came of age. Illegal ventures were part of what had lost them their creators, and he didn't want to lose his brother the same way.

Blackjack was surprised to suddenly find his fun new plaything missing from his servos. And here he'd just been about to lick it, too. He looked up to see the big new mech holding the item in his giant servos. Putting on his best beseeching look, the sparkling waved its servos in the direction of his plaything in hopes to get it back.

Steelgauge laughed at the sparkling's perplexed and then begging expression. In a fit of good humor, he plopped the goggles on the sparkling's head. It shuttered its optics in puzzlement when it found one to be seeing differently than the other, as the lopsided goggles covered one optic and not the other. When he found what object was on his helm, he cooed in delight and gave the pirate a bright smile.

The inventor, too, grinned. "Would you mind if I took an image capture of this?"

"Not at all."

The inventor gathered the proper equipment and captured the moment in time, just as Blackjack was looking up from under the goggles in a manner that was absolutely adorable. "There," he said in satisfaction as he showed Steelgauge the capture. "Perfect."

That time, that captured moment in history, was the first of many events that led to the conception of one of the best pirate crews Cybertron had ever seen. The second event occurred a few vorns later, a long ways away in a small neighborhood in Iacon, where a single parent mech was trying to find a sparkling-sitter.

"C'mon, c'mon," the mech muttered in annoyance. He growled lowly as he received no response over the line. Great. His usual sitter wasn't answering her comm., and he had to DJ at a club tonight. Who was going to watch his sparkling now? It was too late to find a new sitter, and he couldn't take his creation to the club – not only was it a completely inappropriate atmosphere for his young sparkling, but the sparkling would never recharge there, either.

His best bet was to leave his sparkling at home, in his playpen, and to lock the doors and windows and hope for the best. It was times like this that he regretted not having a bondmate. He had sparked during a one-night stand when he was barely into his adult frame, and had never seen his creation's other creator again. Well, he had, but it had been from afar. When he saw how successful the other was becoming, already an assistant to Senator Ratbat, he couldn't imagine ruining the other's life by dumping a sparkling on him. Besides, he quite liked having little Slang all to himself.

Slang was pretty easygoing, for a sparkling. He was fairly calm and didn't cry often, and he fell into recharge easily with music. Plus, if he was sat down with a story-pad, he would be occupied for joors.

The mech snapped his digits. That was it! His creators had left him boxes of old story-pads, and he remembered some of them to have pictures for younger readers. He had never been through them all, but he was sure they would be fine for Slang. The sparkling probably wasn't reading, anyway, though sometimes he seemed to concentrate so hard it was almost like he could read and wasn't just staring at the pictures. However, he didn't speak yet, and the medics all said that speech came before reading.

A trip into a crammed storage closet proved to be fruitful, as a dusty box of story-pads was excavated. The mech placed them in the playpen along with a stack of blankets that he formed into an almost nest for the sparkling, which he filled with all of his creation's favorite toys. He warmed up a small container of sparkling-grade energon which had a spout on the top to keep the sparkling from spilling it when he would undoubtedly upend it to get every last drop of his meal. This, too, was placed in the pile of blankets.

The mech stood back and surveyed his handiwork in satisfaction. Something was missing… Slang! He immediately began a search for his creation, who had wandered to Primus-knew-where during his preparations. The search did not last long, as he soon found Slang being absolutely mystified by the motion-activated sensor in the house's small wash-racks. With a sigh the mech dried off his squirming, wet sparkling and placed him in the playpen.

Slang stared up at his creator in befuddlement, having no idea what was happening.

"I gotta go sweetspark, Daddy's gotta work. Just stay here and be real good for me, 'kay? You can just go to recharge and I'll be back before you know it." The mech could swear sometimes that his sparkling understood more than anyone believed, because its lower lip started to tremble and his optics filled up with cleaning fluid.

"Shh, shh, it's okay sweetspark, Daddy's only gonna be gone a little bit. You'll be okay. Look, I got you some story-pads to read!" In desperation to keep the crying to a minimum, the mech grabbed a story-pad off the top of the stack in the box and waved it enticingly at the sparkling, which was immediately enraptured and reaching for the item. He handed it to Slang happily, and after placing a kiss to his helm and giving him an energon goodie, the mech was out the door like a shot. If he hurried, he might still make it on time…

The sparkling sucked thoughtfully on his energon goodie as he turned on the story-pad his creator had handed him. The screen lit up and showed an old-fashioned picture of a bunch of mechs fighting with long blades and some carrying big shiny things. He narrowed his optics at the words, trying to understand their meaning.

Slang wasn't the most verbal of mechs, but he did understand a good deal of what was said to him, and was extremely smart for his age. His creator had tried to teach him some words, saying them aloud and pointing to them in a story-pad, and he had been taught his letters, he just didn't like reciting them verbally. It was because of this that the young mechling was able to make out one crucial word that would change his life forever.

He stared at the odd, unknown word for a long time as he sat in his haven of blankets. Slowly, Slang mentally recited the letters to himself.

P-I-R-A-T-E. How did one say that? He tried it aloud.

"Pee…Ih…Rr…A…Teeh…Eeh. Puh-i-ray-tee. Pire-ate. Pirate."

Pirate? That sounded like it might be a word. But what was it? He would just have to decipher the rest of the story-pad and see. After all, he did have all night…

The third event came many vorns later, and occurred in the well-known Towers of Cybertron. An affluent family was throwing a "get together," which was a synonym for a bunch of rich mechs and femmes rubbing elbows, making business deals, and having a good laugh at those poorer than them. Obviously, it was not an event that the more uncouth younglings were welcomed to.

Timbre was a fairly young mech, if a bit big for his age. He had often taken the brunt of his peers' and his own family's jokes due to his large, boxy frame that greatly differed from their lithe, sleek forms. Added that he was also a terrible conversationist and painfully shy, his creators actually told others that he was mute so he wouldn't have to speak to them and possibly embarrass his family. It was more than a small kick in the gut for the youngling.

One good thing about his family was that they had an extensive private library that contained more reading material than one could hope to finish in a lifetime. Most of Timbre's family didn't ever touch the library – they kept it so they could outdo their "friends," but they wouldn't go in there if it was the last place on Cybertron. All the better for the shy youngling who just wanted to get away from it all.

When his creators threw a big party, they required all of their progeny to be present to greet guests with them. Afterwards, they allowed them to do as they wished, and that "they" referred to Timbre's creators. His siblings were to politely socialize and, if of age, check out the prospective bondmates. Timbre was strongly encouraged to make himself scarce unless needed for image purposes, lest some poor mech try to converse with him and be subjected to his horrific conversational skills.

That suited Tam just fine, as it allowed him to hang out in his haven of thousands of floor-to-ceiling shelving units crammed with data and story-pads of every kind. They had every subject, ranging from fiction stories to historical texts to medical journals and scientific research. It was all a young introvert could want.

During this such party, Timbre made his required appearance greeting guests with a small, polite smile before he scampered off to the library. He was on a history kick where every orn he would read about the history of a different Cybertronian city-state. The previous orn he had read a very old data-pad on the history of Vos, and in it had found mention of a sister-city called Vanos.

All Towers mechs were well-educated, even if they were an outcast like Tam. He had learned all of the city-states by spark at a young age, and yet he had never heard of Vanos. This piqued his ever-present curiosity and his need to learn, so he decided that he would spend this party learning all he could about the mysterious Vanos.

His search did not turn up many results. There was nothing in the digital log of the library that mentioned Vanos in the title, so Tam decided to search manually. There was nothing on it in any encyclopedia or any other reference source, or in a data-pad claiming to contain the complete history of every city-state to ever exist on Cybertron – it obviously didn't, if Vanos wasn't there.

Timbre had almost given up hope on ever finding out more about Vanos, and began to wonder if the statement he had read about it had been wrong. In a last ditch effort, he searched the "V" section of the library.

The painstaking search had almost come to an end; he had looked through the entire section, and there was nothing about Vanos. Timbre was about to give up and move on to another city-state when he noticed that a few data-pads were pushed out farther on the shelf than the others. He pushed on the sides of the data-pads so they would conform to the neat, orderly rows of the library, but found that they wouldn't budge; something was set behind them.

Tam removed the data-pads and was shocked to find another pressed against the back of the shelf and sitting perpendicular to the others. He pulled it out and went to set it correctly on the shelf when its name caught his attention.

Vanos: The Pirate City of Cybertron.

Finally, something on Vanos! But, pirate? What in Primus' name was a pirate? Thanking his deity that he had a library full of ancient texts at his disposal, the youngling spent the rest of his evening pouring over every source he could find which mentioned or described "pirates," and reading the lone pad about Vanos all the way through.

The definition he found was this: one who commits or practices piracy. So he looked up piracy: robbery or illegal violence in space; the illegal or unlawful looting of a ship or home with intent to sell the stolen goods for personal gain.

This interested Timbre to no end. He read about Vanos' connection to piracy and was utterly fascinated by the odd social network that existed there. They were criminals, but were like one big family. He wished he could meet a pirate, be protected like that. Be a part of a larger group that actually welcomed his presence and went on grand, dangerous adventures.

It was Timbre's fantasizing that sealed his fate. He would hold onto the data-pad about Vanos for vorns, rereading it to assist in his fantasies of a place where he wasn't a mute, rich youngling, but a mech with a purpose. At least he could dream…

The last of the biggest, most important events came even more vorns after Timbre's discovery of Vanos.

A pair of blue and green twins was walking through the filthy streets of an extremely poor, rundown residential neighborhood in Tarn. They were virtually identical, in that their voices, paint colors, styles, and accents were the same, except that where one was green with blue markings, the other was reversed, blue with green markings. Their names were Flash and Bolt, respectively, and where one was, the other would undoubtedly be found, to the point where they were just called Flashbolt to save time.

They were orphans, abandoned by their creators, and they had grown up with only the other to watch their back. This led to their heavy reliance on each other, and their extremely close and developed bond. No one could quite tell where one ended and the other began.

Flash tended to be more extroverted than his brother, but the quiet Bolt was known to throw a witty, sarcastic one-liner into a conversation that left a crowd in fits of laughter. That was, when the two were in crowds. Being street filth, they never even had a secure place to stay the night, and spent more time trying to survive and find energon and shelter than they did socializing.

Flashbolt had become quite the pair of thieves, which was a good trait when one lived on the streets and needed to steal energon if they planned on having any. They also had a tendency to break into others' homes and steal their belongings to sell them for the credits that they desperately needed.

On that particular night, the duo was trying to find shelter. They decided to hole up in the same place they had the night before, a small, abandoned home full of trash and turbo-rats. If it had a roof, it was good enough for Flashbolt.

To their great surprise, their shelter was already in use when they entered it. A large, round table had been set up with a dim light over it, and a group of mechs were sitting around the table, playing some sort of card game. When the twins entered, all optics turned to them.

"What are you doing here?" growled a large mech with a scar running down his faceplates. The youngling twins cowered and made to move to the door, but their path was blocked by another, even larger mech with a huge gun that was trained on them. The pair whimpered in fear.

"We didn't mean nothin' sir, we was jus' tryin' to find a place for the night, y'know? We were here last night, and we thought…" Flash yelped loudly as a servo clapped down on his shoulder.

"Well, ya thought wrong, kid. You walked in on some private business here, and we don't take very kindly to that. Who are ya? Do ya work for the Enforcers, hmm? Or what about the Autobots, you with them?"

"N-none of them, sir, none of them."

"I don't believe ya." More than one gun was trained on the twins. Across their bond, Flash whispered, Love ya, Bro.

Love ya too, Flashes.

The pair awaited their untimely demise with shuttered optics, only to hear a voice shout, "Cut that out, you dumbafts! Lemme tell it to you straight what happens to mechs who come from some big city and think they can play pirate with the big kids – they go missing real fast, you hear? You wanna be a pirate and not get yourself offlined, then you need to follow the Code, and the Code very clearly states that the harm of younglings is expressly prohibited. Do those two look like a threat or like they're at all connected to Enforcers? I'll answer for you: no. In fact, they look like a couple of kids who've had some tough times and could really use a break and a couple cubes of energon. So maybe you should stop scaring the life outta them and start welcoming them like the Code states. That is, unless you have an urge to disappear for the rest of eternity."

Bolt carefully onlined his optics to see a silver and yellow mech with some weird green goggles on his helm looming threateningly over the mechs who had aimed weapons at them. He signaled his brother to online his optics across their bond, as the threat appeared to have been neutralized. When their silver and yellow savior noticed the two gawking sets of optics trained on them, he gave the duo a big, friendly smile.

"Hey there," he said, and he winced when the pair flinched. "I'm not gonna hurt you, promise. Like I said, it's in the Code to help younglings." The pair nodded as if they had a clue as to what he was talking about. "You two got family? Or a home?" They shook their helms. "That's too bad. How about you stick here for the night? We have plenty of energon to share, and you two could use a little socializing, am I right?" The pair nodded, small smiles adorning their faceplates. "Well, do you two have designations, or am I just gonna keep talking to myself?"

With heated faceplates, Flash introduced himself and his brother. The mech nodded in satisfaction. "Well," he said. "My name's Steelgauge and I am a pirate captain. You two know what a pirate is?" The twins shook their helms once more. "Figured as much. They try to keep us secret, the Council. Well, first I'll explain to you what we're doing here. This is called the Game…"

The twins learned all one could about pirates, gambling, theft, and the Game that night from one of the lead sources on the subject. By the next morning, they had been fed, cleaned, had a good night's recharge, and Steelgauge had placed small insignias on their forearms that matched those on the chassis' of his crew.

"For protection," he had said. "Nobody with a functioning CPU will bother you with those on your arms. Not even the Enforcers, if they know what's good for them. You have any problems, you call me, aye?" He gave them his private comm. frequency and that of his ship, the Madness.

That one bid for friendship and shelter was the final event needed to create one of the oddest, most famous and effective pirate crews the planet had ever seen. Along with two other Vanoan natives, the mechs would form a formidable crew that was both a family and a franchise. And when the Autobots came sniffing around them, one in particular would find more than he bargained…or just what he had always been looking for.

Two of the crew were not mentioned because it would make the prologue even freaking longer, and they're Vanoan, so their way into pirating is pretty easy to explain. Everyone else's discovery of pirates had to be explained because, remember, it was no longer talked about, so only through word of mouth or a really old source could it be found. Tam's data-pad was very old, and Slang's story-pad was too, as it had been inherited from his grand-creators' collection. And that is basically it! We jump to the Autobots next chapter, whenever that will be.

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