Mass apologies for not updating for another eternity. I write wherever my inspiration happens to strike, and unfortunately, it's kept me from any of these stories. I just couldn't figure out where to go from here, but I think I've got it now. I sincerely thank everyone who's stayed with this story this long and reviewed any o the chapters. I love you guys, and you're the reason this chapter was finally finished. Thanks, guys and girls.

So, here is the next chapter of our favorite twice-kidnapped, partly mortal human. Perhaps when I finish this story, for I hereby swear that I will complete all stories I've got on this website, I will post the stories that have distracted me these past several, several weeks.

By the way, the phrase 'Go cure the brig' is sort of like 'go suck an egg', just to clear up any possible confusion on what he was talking about.

Hope you like it!

"I'm hungry." His words followed several hours of stomach rumbling. "Are they at least going to feed us?"

"Probably not." I admitted frankly.

"They want you alive, though. Don't they?" he pointed out. "So, there'd be at least enough for you."

"As I said, probably not." I had no doubt that the Decepticons knew what was going on with me and why I hadn't aged a day; which means they know I don't need food.

Silence filled our cage again. Silence and dread, and quite a bit of fear.

Then he broke it again. "We're really going to just sit here?"

"Yes." I moaned, getting irritated with his objections. Chances are, we're both going to die here, unless the Autobots come. Something we both knew would be unlikely, since I've already shared the conditions of which we were held. We were on the Nemesis, probably in space, and within the Decepticons' protective shields. The only way they'd be able to find us is if Bumblebee is leading the way, with our link. But, he didn't seem to be getting any closer to me.

"You don't have any plans?" he repeated.

"Why don't you come up with a plan? You're a professional, you were actually trained to be in war." I insisted. "But unless you have a gun up your sleeve- or say, a car jack -we're stuck." Anything to lever this stupid crate upwards so we could slip out, then I'd be able to give us a plan. But until then, I hope you kissed your kids goodbye.

There was a thrum of footsteps outside the giant door, and we both froze. They came closer, then closer, then stopped.

"We have the boy, what are you waiting for?" an unfamiliar Decepticon demanded, voice muffled by the door and space, and surprisingly in English. Granted, they've been on Earth as long as the Autobots, probably longer, but they've also been gone for just as long. Also, they didn't have human allies with which they needed to converse. So why do they speak in English amongst themselves?

"Wait until we recover the…" Starscream, I was certain who that was, was moving away again, with the footsteps, and was quickly out of hearing range.

We both let out a sigh of relief. What do they want me for? And, what else do they need?

"I don't want to die." He repeated, to himself now. I stood up, startling him, and started to pace. I wasn't losing my head like he was, but I wasn't giving up either, contrary to what he believed. Instead of repeating wishes to myself, I was actually trying to contact Bumblebee. But he remained at a distance, unreachable and vague. Only when I pushed with new strength did I break through enough to feel what he felt. Those few times, I'd received overwhelming rage and vengeful intentions. But they were for only split seconds and, after they'd gone, I was still at a loss as to where he was or what he was doing. And every time, his defenses would get stronger. He seemed to have stopped underestimating me; holding the wall between us at full strength. I could try with all my strength to get into his spark, and I succeeded with surprising results, but either way, I stood no chance when he was also in full determination. Through the link, it didn't matter he was five times my size or a powerful alien, it only mattered that he was on the high ground of the link, and I the low.

Smith moping and my attempts, put together, resulted in no better than what we'd get if we did nothing at all. Why is Bumblebee blocking me out so willfully?

I stopped walking, deciding that this just wasn't going to work. But… I had another idea. I could either accept that Bumblebee might have a plan, and that they would get us out of here, or I could go with my gut feeling that whatever it is, it won't work. I could attempt this other idea, and either finally get his attention, or I could ruin whatever plan he has. I could get his attention, but even then, it was a large risk. Could he act and maneuver between my spark and his quickly enough? Or would it all be pointless?

It was a high risk, mixture of decisions and chance, and I wasn't sure what to do. So, I just sat down again.

This time, the steps didn't pause before coming straight in causing us both to freeze stiff.

"Samuel James Witwicky." It was Starscream, come back and alone. "How much trouble one insect can stir up..."

"What do you want with me anyways?" I demanded, hoping to get this all over with quickly. I didn't need him goading at me.

"You don't get any questions, I'm afraid." he shook his head.

"How about a phone call?"

"No." he glared at me. "You've caused far more trouble than you're worth. If it were up to me, we'd kill you now. But, then, you're also more valuable alive. I just came to tell you, Lord Megatron has assigned me to be in charge of you."

"Taking care of insects? He certainly has high respect for you." I insulted, speaking sarcastically. He glared all the much more.

"Don't try to talk yourself out of this; annoy me and your torture will be prolonged." he had only come in here to goat me, I realized.

"I doubt I'll crack."

"We don't need toy to crack." he laughed. "The torture is for fun. But, that's right. You've already gone through a torture few had ever experienced before, haven't you? I wonder what it would be to put you through it again?"

I found my throat closing up and it became impossible to speak. His words cut deep, since already the link between Bumblebee and I was stretched thin. It was a physical torture, sending pains to my gut and stomach, heart quivering with nearly every beat.

He laughed again. "Or, if that isn't enough, imagine the pain when his spark goes out? You'd feel it as your own, and quickly enough it would be yours."

"You couldn't do it." I scoffed, regaining my nerve. No backing down.

"We'll see. But remember this; when the medic is cleaning in here, make sure you make the sickest sounding noise. She'd love to run a few 'scans'." he laughed and left.

But, when he had gone, I was still thinking about what he said. Medic cleaning? They must have a short staff on board.

"What was he talking about?" Smith had regained his voice now that we were alone.

"Just trying to make me mad, probably." I answered, starting to frown. A short staff meant lapses in security. On a ship like this, with a threat like the Autobots coming after me, they'd only risk a short crew if they were in space, making it near impossible to find us. They would be able to spare on security only then.

"That was Starscream." I mused. "He's Megatron's second in command because he aspires to overthrow Megatron."

"That doesn't make sense." he objected, coming from a very different military system.

"They don't have men to spare, so it's not like he could just kick Starscream out. As second in command, Starscream can be under closer supervision. It also makes Megatron sure that Starscream will carry out his assignments better than anyone else, because Starscream is loyal to the Decepticons. He's valuable and to be trusted to feel the same way Megatron does about many things. They're a lot alike, and Megatron knows that."

"Is there a reason behind this speech, or did you just want to make sure I knew who was going to kill us both?" He sounded resentful. I ignored that comment.

"But there are a few differences between Megatron and Starscream. Megatron is a manipulative mastermind, with a history in rising to what he is from having not even a name. He has power and he knows how to use it. Starscream, however, has always had a name. He was once a scientist, and so he has the common belief that power cannot be created, but only manipulated. With his background, he doesn't have the conviction to start or to control as Megatron does. He's far more interested in the act than the deed, and so if he condemns you to death, it is worse than Megatron's condemnation. Megatron will kill you, never giving you a chance to escape and thus eliminating farther work for himself.

"Starscream will take the time to torture you and allow you to have hope, to think like you've got some power still, then kill you when you least expect it. When he's won, he thinks that he's won. Megatron knows that once you've got what you've want, you don't want to waste time, because it might slip out of your grip."

I looked up from my palms and around the room. "Starscream needs time to gloat. He never stops to think that his prey may escape."

"Does that mean you have a plan?" he jumped to his feet. I met his eyes.

"I can get us out of this room, but it wouldn't do any good. We're in space, probably several AU from Earth." I shook my head. "If you can call that a plan, then yes, I have a plan."

"Finally." he had utter faith that I'd figure something else out when it came to getting back to Earth. I shook my head at the idea that anyone could assume so much of me, that I was so great... It was like being back in the Pentagon, arguing with big-name politicians that had gone through years of college. They treated me like I was just as trained and worthy as them; they were ruthless. Always assuming I could barter and argue as well as them. Getting fancy with the words, exploiting loop holes, catching them all on technicalities and still making my word law.

I used to be so good at it.

"So, how are we getting out of here?" he demanded.

"We wait for them to let us out." I grinned a grin that probably still haunts Director Galloway's nightmares.

"And how do you expect that to work out?" he questioned, not any more convinced than he'd been a minute ago. He obviously had full faith that my pockets were subspace and full of tricks, but he wouldn't be satisfied until he knew this would work. And I have to admit, it isn't likely that Starscream will just let us out if we ask real politely.

"You don't need to know the details." I assured, mostly for the fact that I didn't want to deal with his reluctance. Because my plan wasn't exactly without discomfort, despite the fact it was foolproof.

"I sure do." he contradicted. "You may be great and powerful here, but-"

"No, what I am is experienced." I interrupted quickly. "If you knew what you were working with, you'd be able to come up with the same stuff I do." For some reason, I was suddenly upset with him. I'm not all that great. If I was that great, then I would have been able to stop this all from happening way back when it started. I would have convinced the government not to kick the Autobots off Earth, or I would have at the very least gotten out of this mess before the Decepticons came into the equation.

I could have done it too.

"Look, kid." he seemed to realize that whatever he was doing, it wasn't helping. "Just... what's you're plan? So I can go along and help. You know?"

"You've got to do exactly as I say." I eyed him. "Got it?"

"Deal." he answered with full faith. Obviously, he still thought I was a miracle.

"Fine." I glanced around. Truth be told, I didn't really trust him to realize and go along with it when the time came. Lowering my voice, as to avoid any possible cameras hearing (though I doubted it since we were in some sort of cargo hold), I commanded all of his attention. "Did you pay attention to what Starscream said?"

"No."

"Of course not. He hinted, unintentionally, that they're short staffed. Which means there are gaps in their security. And the first place to get cut when you don't have enough people to patrol your own ship are the vent systems. Cliché, but, true. Especially since on Cybertronian style ships, the vents aren't like what we're used to. They're much smaller, and more efficient. So it'd be impossible for their usual enemies to get in. That's where we're going."

"And how are we getting out of here?" he pursued. "You expect that big one to just open the door?" he looked around. "There is no door."

"No, we're under a crate." I rolled my eyes. Obviously. "Specifically, he said that the medic was on cleaning duty. Just because they're evil doesn't mean they aren't keeping a tidy ship. It's more of an efficiency thing. Less mass on the ship, good balance, it all helps it go faster. So if the medic is coming in here, then she'd," I knew their medic to be a femme, "be easier manipulated by health issues. Now, this whole plan rests on two assumptions."

"That's a bit risky, isn't it?" he frowned, starting to doubt me.

"Yes. But do you have another idea? Besides, they're pretty good assumptions. The first is that they want me alive and healthy enough. They have plans for me. The second is that their medic doesn't know much of human medicine. Considering they don't care about humans, it's a pretty good bet she doesn't."

"You're going to fake being sick?" He sounded like it was a brilliant idea.

"No. Because if I were sick, she'd take me out and you'd be left behind when I make my great escape." I shook my head quickly. "If she took me out for 'healing'," I used air-quotes, "then they'd realize they might as well squish you then. The only reason they haven't yet is because they're not too worried about you being here, and it hasn't convenience them yet."

"So..." he prompted.

"You've got a contagious, terminal illness." I grinned as he frowned.

"I what?"

"You do. You're coughing and hacking, and you even are a bit shaky."

"No I'm not." I gave him a look. He knew exactly what I was implying, but he didn't like it. "I'll be sick so they toss me out and just kill me? I don't think so."

"Oh?" I challenged. "If you're contagious, then I might have already gotten it. And if they want me healthy, then they'll take me out too. I don't know why they do, but obviously, they do."

"I don't like this. You're completely relying in the hope that they'd take us both out at the same time. If I were them, I'd take me out first, kill me, and then take you out to do whatever." he ticked his fingers off.

"Ah, but they aren't you. They don't know much about human medicine at all. So start acting sick, and play along. Got it?" He gave me a skeptic look, and I shook my head. "Just do it."

"And how do you expect me to pull this off? Just start coughing?"

"How about we drain some blood from your face?" I suggested. That will make him look pale.

He gave me some wide eyes and took a subtle step back. "Not happening, kid."

I snorted. "I meant, hang upside down for a while." Whatever he was thinking, I don't think the Autobots would be too proud of me... "Just hang your head upside down." I couldn't help but to laugh.

"Right." he muttered.

I shook my head and walked away to the other side. I wanted to look around the room again. The walls were solid, but transparent. The plan I'd been thinking about earlier, I just couldn't do it. It was too risky, and I have to have faith Bee had something up his metaphorical sleeve.

So the only questions left were, how long would this take? How good of an actor is Smithy here? And lastly, just how far can I push Starscream?

A minute later, when I'd finished investigating the room, I turned back to Smith. He looked ridiculous standing there, bent over with his head hanging down so he was staring at his own stomach. His face was getting red and I frowned.

"Well, that's not working." I mused and he tilted his head to look at me.

"What?"

"You're getting red faced instead of pale. You know, I distinctly remember getting pale when Ironhide had me upside down by the leg before. Then again, he was swinging me around too." I thought a moment, then pushed him upright. "Start spinning."

"Spinning?" He stared at me skeptically.

"Yeah. You know, get dizzy. That'll make you pale."

He started to spin in place, eyeing me like I was just making fun of him. Granted, it was kind of funny, but if it gets the job done, that's a bonus.

I went back to the walls and pressed my ear to the one closest to the door. We just need to wait until that medic comes in, or someone else that doesn't know me personally.

"How long have I got to do this for?" Looking back, I realized Smith had started to wobble.

"I'll tell you when to stop." I went back to ignoring him. Honestly, so long as Megatron doesn't take charge of the situation, I think we have a pretty good chance of getting out of here. Getting back to Earth, however, was a completely different story.

"Kid, I haven't done this since I was six." He was starting to sound off. "I think I'm going to hurl."

"Good, good." I mused, pressing my ear back to the transparent crate wall. Puking would make it more believable. All I need is to get this crate lifted just enough...

"I feel like an idiot doing this." He moaned. "I'm stop-"

"Shh!" I hissed, jumping back from the wall of the crate. I pulled him down. "Act sick!"

"I think I am..." He put his head between his knees, a nice pale complexion worked up. "This better work."

"Shh." I pushed him over again. "Shut up."

"UUhhhg." I wasn't sure if he was acting or not now, but it sounded kind of cliché.

That's when the door was opened again. For a short staff, they were still pretty active here. Could they be on a tight schedule? What are they planning on?

"Unnng." Smith was faking it now, though he had managed to cling to the dizzy facade. Maybe he wasn't faking that, though.

"Oh, shut up." It was a femme's voice- the medic. I let out a sigh of relief and rolled over to act like I might also be infected. It also served as a chance to glare at Smith. He started caughing. "Shut it." She grumbled, hitting the crate.

I craned my neck to look over to see her going through boxes for something. She tossed something from one to another, missed, and left it there. Not much of a cleaner, are you?

More fake coughing came from behind me, and the femme tossed something at the crate in irritation.

"I said, shut it! Disgusting already."

"You're going to leave him here?" I gaped, sitting up. She ignored me. "He's obviously sick, and you're going to just leave him there?"

She glanced over to glare, and shoved one box aside to go for another.

"Hey, I'm talking to you. What if he gets me sick? Hm? Don't you all want me for something?"

"You're no more useful than your doomed friends." She scoffed. "What do I care if an insect dies? Starscream's an idiot for leaving you there."

"Oh, and what'd you do with me then?" I challenged.

"Shut up already." She dropped a box on top of the crate, blocking out half our light. Smith stubbornly persisted with his hacking.

"Make me. You guys want me alive for some reason." I crossed my arms. "And he's contagious. Probably got some virus or something. How'd you like to have that on your hands?"

"I don't care." She moaned, obviously pressed for time on something. What's she looking for? Everything she's thrown so far were parts of broken weapons...

"Why not? Hm? If you don't care if I die or not, then why not just toss us both out the air lock?" I continued to pester. When Smith coughed again, I noticed the genuinely worried look she accidently shot our way. Not for either of us, of course, but for herself. She knew Megatron wanted me alive. "Toss us out now, then. End our suffering, because I think he's starting to get boils..."

"Shut up." She hissed, throwing an entire box at us, and fishing out another. More broken weaponry fell, knocking the one above us down and pushing the crate about a foot and a half back towards the wall.

"You know, even out here in space, the Autobots will come. You would not believe how angry Bumblebee is right now. You do know who he is, don't you? He's on his way right now." I didn't know the last part, but the former I knew for a fact. "And if I'm sick, or especially dead, chances are Megatron won't be the only one who'll kill you."

"I will not be the one to go offline in that fight." She sneered. "How far is it stretched, human?" She wasn't intimidated in the slightest. "Do you feel like carving your own chest cavity yet?"

I smiled. "Don't pretend you know this pain." It was actually pretty dulled, because Bee was blocking me so fervently. Nevertheless, it was still killing me. Worse than the past twenty years because I knew what it was.

"I only find it amusing the great Autobots would stop so low." She laughed and came closer, thinking she'd won. "They're not so different from us."

I narrowed my eyes and poked my finger to the wall. "You're right. You're both Cybertronian, giant, you both have sparks and you're all descendants from Primus. You aren't so different from each other. The only thing that is different is the fact that you guys are stupid enough to think you're more important than any other life form out there!"

"You humans are so easily compromised." She turned away. No, you aren't supposed to brush me off! "It's a shame you'll all be dead soon. I wouldn't mind having a pet of my own."

My head snapped up. Is that what they're planning? But, how? Something tells me they wouldn't try something so big while relying on the assumption that Earth's military is not up to par, and the Autobots were not there. They know the 'bots are there, and they've faced the U.S. army themselves.

"If we are insects," I started, "Then we must be cockroaches."

I think Smith's heaving sound wasn't quite as much of an act as it had been.

"Because, no matter how many times you try to stomp us out, we always manage to survive and rain on your parade. Surely you realize by now that none of your schemes ever work. What are you planning? Divide and conquer? There's too many of us, and we're built to survive. If you hadn't figured that out by now, then your leader must be an idiot. Megatron's just a monkey, he hasn't thought this through at all."

All of the sudden, the crate was over turned and I was in the air, ribs nearly crushed, with a pair of glaring red optics in my face.

"Do not insult Lord Megatron. He plans greater than your puny brain can comprehend. Within the lunar cycle, each and every human spark will be extinguished and each of ours strengthened! Do not pretend you know what we do." She actually thinks I do know something. I can tell.

"Whatever you're planning, how does it play out with two sick humans?" I raised an eyebrow.

She hesitated, and I craned my head to look back. Smith coughed again, and a light fell over him. I was dropped down and she went to grab him. Scanning, to see if he really was sick or not. If it were Ratchet scanning, he'd already have hit me upside the head because it's obvious Smith isn't all that bad. Honestly, he probably would have known before he scanned- Smith isn't a very good actor.

Luckily, this medic didn't know much of anything at all.

As soon as I was on my feet, I ran towards Smith and pushed him out of the way. "Let's go." I urged, hearing the medic scream in frustration.

But I've spent plenty of time around Cybertronian-sized environments. I only had to make sure Smith stayed up. From the counter to the shelf, from the shelf down to a pile of boxes. From the boxes to behind the counter. From behind the counter upwards, to a vent system too far squished between the wall and the counter for her to reach us.

And several minutes of silent climbing to a higher place, what I assumed was the central ventilation compartment. Smith was out of breath collapsing on the ground and falling still. "You're crazy."

"They're going to find us here." I stated. "They probably know we're already here, if they're looking at the vent security readings." I'm assuming the Nemesis was made with the same sort of design as the Ark, considering they share a common origin.

"Then what was the point in coming here?" He demanded, exasperated.

"Just because they know we're here doesn't mean they can get to us. Unless they want to flush their own ventilations and injure their own ship, I'd bet we have half an hour here." I looked down several other tunnels that led to this juncture.

Not only did I get us out of there, but I caused a disturbance for them all. They're rushing for something, and just by escaping like this, I've put another problem on their plates.

"What now?" He had finally righted himself. "What's the next step in your master plan?"

"You'll see." I decided on the vent just to the left of the one we came in. There was more of a current in the air there, telling me that that was the direction of the air-recycler-thing. And if the Nemesis is anything like the Ark, that's somewhere close to the front of the ship. "Come on."

"We just got here." He objected, showing his fatigue again. I didn't answer, and he didn't object again. I'm looking for a certain 'con, and we need to find him soon. I'm sure it won't be hard, for he ought to be making a ruckus right about now.

When the air started to get cooler and the current got stronger, we veered off into a smaller branch, which took a sharp nose-dive into some room. We were still concealed in the vents, but now we were closer to the action.

"You find that slagged insect before I syphon your energon too!"

"Go cure the brig, Starscream. Megatron put you in charge of it, you're the one who's going to get scrapped."

"Do you think Megatron will care who it is that gets blamed for this? If you were wise, you'd find the human now, before Megatron finds out." Starscream threatened. "Find Soundwave and flush the vents with those minions of his."

"Even if one of us does find the boy, Lord Megatron will still be disappointed in you."

"Hmph!" I heard footsteps, before a door shut. I crept along to a slit in the vent, peeking through. Starscream was still inside, working with some monitor.

Perfect.

From out of my pocket, I took a little piece of paper. Looking back through the slit in the vent, I saw Starscream still on the monitor. I seen the image of energon there, and frowned.

So, I didn't forget the transmission-toy Sam had made earlier. But what does it say? And what is Sam's plan? What is Bumblebee doing? And honestly, why can't I update more often than I do?

Once again, I offer no promises on when I'll update, but I feel as if this chapter has given me more inspiration on the rest of the story. So, I'm not saying I will, but I will certainly try to get the next out sooner.

On a side note, I've done quite a bit of progress with my book. Not much, but it's the only viable excuse I've got to offer up. R&R