.:::~CHAPTER 16~:::….

Through Kayda's optics, the sight that was before her was nothing more but disgusting. How could IronHide and Chromia sit there cuddling and kissing in public? That was just gross; a youngling her age didn't need to see that!

Turning away into her sire's armor, Kayda groaned in disgust.

Looking at her out of the corner of his optic, Optimus just smiled and chuckled softly. It was expected of her to behave in this way. She is still quite young and therefore doesn't understand why adults show affection to one another; IronHide and Chromia in particular.

Having heard the sudden sound of disgust from a certain young femme, Chromia looked up from her spot next to her mate and giggled softly. "What's the matter Kayda, don't you like my cuddling with 'Hide?"

Just then Chromia leaned over throwing her arms around IronHide's neck and lightly kissed him on the cheek before resting her head on his shoulder. IronHide merely looked away smiling and rolling his optics.

"You know, someone should really issue a PDA statement for NOT JUST humans; but Autobots too."

Looking over their shoulder plates, the Autobots realized they weren't alone in their hanger.

Nodding Optimus chuckled softly. "Good morning Major Lennox. Always a pleasure to see you as well."

Nodding in return, Lennox grinned. "Good morning to you too Prime. And good morning to you Kayda."

Slipping down in her sire's lap, Kayda looked up from her slouching position. "Good morning Major."

Turning around to IronHide and Chromia, Will's smile seemed to just get bigger. "I wasn't kidding about that whole PDA thing you know."

IronHide merely scoffed as he waved a dismissive hand toward Lennox. Chromia just laughed as she pushed IronHide's hand down. "I'm sorry Major; I guess Hide and I are just a little…well…"

Slowly Chromia put her head down trying to hide her slowly heating face plates.

Laughing Lennox shrugged. "Ah, I know what you mean Chromia. When I found out Sarah was pregnant with Annabelle, well…my joy couldn't be contained. Although I will say that 'Hide is lucky."

Having heard his name mentioned IronHide looked up. "Huh? What?"

Looking at the black mech blankly Will scoffed. "I SAID that you were lucky."

Screwing up his face plates in confusion, IronHide looked down at the small fleshling. "How am I lucky?"

Just then Chromia nailed the oblivious mech in the chest, pushing him back slightly. "How are you lucky? How about how you're NOT lucky?"

Pulling himself back up into his sitting position IronHide huffed through his intake valves. "Mia, that's not what I meant. I mean I AM lucky…I'm lucky because I have you and soon we'll have a sparkling together."

After a moment of watching IronHide closely and a pause of silence in the room. Chromia laughed softly and again rested her head on his shoulder. Sighing softly IronHide leaned into the embrace.

Letting a laugh escape, Sideswipe shook his head. "Nice save 'Hide. You almost lost your aft with that one."

Looking up IronHide slowly mouthed the words; 'I know.'

Again IronHide suddenly got nailed in the chest and then again in the midplate. Looking at Chromia IronHide scoffed. "What?"

Chromia merely looked up and grinned. She didn't have to say a word…and IronHide knew that.

All at once laughter from the others (Lennox included) thundered through the hanger.

Kayda couldn't understand what in the world was so funny. Why was everyone laughing? What was so funny?

Suddenly a soldier from the command hanger stopped at the door of the Autobot hanger. He was panting, out of breath and was carrying several sheets of paper. "M-Major Lennox!"

Turning away from the bots Lennox trotted swiftly to the exhausted soldier. "Yes, what is it?"

Handing Lennox a paper, the soldier took a heavy breathe. "Energon detector 23315 has just picked up on 3 new signals heading this way. The signals are seven clicks north, northeast and advancing quickly."

Pushing the soldier along with the bots close behind Lennox glanced quickly to the sheet handed to him. "Decepticon signals?"

The soldier handed him another sheet of paper. "Unknown, the scanners didn't have enough time to evaluate the necessary algorithms needed to know in order to make an assumption that they were Decepticons."

Handing the sheets back Lennox nodded and started to sprint for the hanger. "Alright, I want 4 units on alert and everyone else on standby. Prepare for the Autobots for deployment. Prime—!"

Nodding Optimus responded. "I understand Major Lennox."

Quickly Will sprinted to the weapons arsenal and the soldier's hanger to call for units to prepare for deployment. Turning to his Autobot's Optimus jumped into action. "Autobots, this is not a drill…you know what to do!"

"Daddy!"

Looking behind him and then down, Optimus optics met that of Kayda's. "Yes Kayda, what is it?"

Continuing to look up Kayda shrugged. "What do you want me to do?"

Looking up to see Chromia advancing through the Autobot hanger doors, he sighed and smiled as he kneeled down and looked at his youngling. "I have the most important job for you sweet-spark. I need you to stay here and keep Chromia safe."

"WHAT?"

Looking up from Kayda, Optimus realized Chromia had heard him.

Chromia stared at Prime bewildered and angered. "You can't be serious! You're just going to leave me here?"

Sighing Optimus looked up at Chromia before rising back up to his full height. "Chromia, as valuable of an asset as you may be, due to your current condition I do not want you risking harm to your sparkling."

"But Commander—!"

Holding up a hand Optimus barked. "No buts Chromia. I will not be held responsible for any harm that may come to you or your sparkling if you were to fight. Therefore I am ordering you to stay behind at base until this young is successfully sparked. Do I make myself clear?"

Looking down Chromia remained silent. Out of her and her three sisters she was the one that loved to face a fight the most. But…since she was carrying both her and her mate's future within her, she had to set priorities. But apparently Optimus was setting them for her.

"Chromia? Do you understand what I am telling you?"

Looking up to meet Prime's optics Chromia nodded. "I understand Prime."

Slowly resting a hand on her shoulder, Optimus' voice softened slightly. "Chromia, I know that you have wanted a sparkling for some time. And now that you and IronHide are finally getting that chance, the last thing I want to see is something happening to you were you lose what you both worked hard to achieve. I only want the best for you, IronHide and your sparkling."

Looking up with a sheepish smile Chromia nodded. "I understand Commander. And thank you."

Nodding to Chromia, Optimus slowly looked down at Kayda and smiled. "Keep her company Kayda, and keep her safe."

Giving a thumbs-up Kayda smiled sheepishly. "You can count on me dad."

Smiling Optimus turned away only to meet up with IronHide. Nodding to him Optimus sighed. "Make it short IronHide, we need to get moving."

IronHide nodded in return and then turned to approach both Chromia and Kayda. Looking Chromia over IronHide smiled warmly. "I wish you could come along 'Mia. No one is a better long range shooter than you."

Laughing Chromia shrugged. "True, but I have priorities here; to Kayda and our unsparked little one."

Wrapping his arms around Chromia, IronHide grinned and nipped at the muscle cables in her neck. "Oh don't worry 'Mia, I'll be sure to blow apart a couple of 'Cons for you. And then who knows maybe when I come back—."

Suddenly Chromia pushed IronHide away. "Hide! Not in front of Kayda!"

Laughing abruptly IronHide lightly nudged Kayda with a stabilizing servo. "Ah, a time will come when Kayda will find a special someone."

Screwing up her face plates and scowling, Kayda shook her head and hacked in disgust making both IronHide and Chromia laugh.

"IronHide let's go! Prime and the humans are waiting!"

Turning around IronHide yelled to Sideswipe who was impatiently waiting. "Alright, Alright I'm comin'!"

Smiling Chromia gently pushed her mate toward the impatient mech. "You better get going, looks like Sides' is getting impatient."

Shrugging IronHide slowly started walking away. "Isn't he always?"

"HEY! I HEARD THAT!"

Chromia could help but laugh as IronHide sprinted away and then transformed in mid-stride. She knew he did it just to show off for her. He always did. Always does, and always will.

Humans and Autobots alike raced off base grounds to intercept the signal and engage it if it turned out to be hostile. That was how it worked.

After a few minutes, the base suddenly seemed to grow quiet and tranquil as it was before the alert. For a long time Chromia couldn't help but stand still, staring off in the direction that the others had gone. She had guessed that something like this would have happened even before her and IronHide had interfaced and joined sparks…but still. She thought since everything had become so quiet with the 'Cons activity that she would have been able to have young and then get back in the fight easily. But of course then arose the problem of how their young would need looking after almost 99 percent of the time until it was old enough to understand and grasp the concept of 'staying out of mischief'. But even at that they STILL need to be watched. After all, they are very young and naive.

As Chromia stared off she couldn't help but second guess her actions now. True, she DID want a sparkling. She wanted one more than anything, and she had finally convinced IronHide of having one after a VERY long talk about how she KNEW he would be a wonderful sire and would never disappoint. That she loved him and thought he was perfect just the way he was. And that though he may have his down falls, he was just the way she wanted him to be, and how she wanted a sparkling just like him. It was after that long talk and IronHide's realization of the whole sparkling thing that he finally cracked and agreed that they should have one. But now…now she doubted herself. Was she really ready to have the thing she's been wanting for stellar cycles? Was she ready to give up being a full time soldier and go into a kind, fun loving, nurturing mother figure? What happens if being a creator isn't all she thought it was cracked up to be? What if she can't take care of it? WHAT IF—?

"Chromia?"

Having heard her name being called, Chromia slowly looked down to see Kayda's sweet face staring up at her.

Kayda watched her with warm, curious and yet concerned optics. "Are you okay?"

Letting all of her worries drift away for a moment, Chromia just smiled as she offered her hand to Kayda. "Yes Kayda I'm okay. I was just thinking about something."

Taking Chromia's hand, both Kayda and Chromia turned away to return to the Autobot hanger. Kayda stared up at Chromia still with curious optics. "What were you thinking about?"

Laughing softly Chromia shook her head. "Oh, it's nothing important sweet-spark, just 'grown-up' stuff."

Looking back down Kayda couldn't help but sigh. "Oh."

Looking down at Kayda who was watching the ground pass beneath them, Chromia tried to smile. "Hey, Kayda—."

Looking up Kayda watched Chromia as they suddenly stopped. Chromia kneeled slightly on her single tire and smiled warmly. "What do you say we go down to the beach for a while and maybe play in the ocean?"

Kayda's optics suddenly lit up brighter as a smile creped in over her face plates. "Could we maybe play in the sand too?"

Returning to her full height Chromia laughed softly. "Well I don't see why not."

Gently releasing Chromia's hand, Kayda swiftly trotted in the direction of the beach. "Well what are we waiting for? Let's go!"

The sound of the ocean lapping its waves up on the beach was relaxing for Chromia as Kayda rummaged over the sand looking for intriguing rocks and shells. Watching Kayda was somewhat amusing as she would tend to find something, look it over for a few minutes and then if it was worth keeping she would either stash it in her subspace or toss it over her shoulder out of the way.

Chromia couldn't help but laugh at this behavior because it wasn't like she would just casually toss it like any other bot. Instead they way she would throw it was quick and awkward right over the shoulder. A couple of times Chromia swore Kayda almost hit herself in the head because of the way she was discarding her spoils.

After being satisfied with what goodies she could find and stash, Kayda trotted triumphantly over to Chromia's side and sank down beside her in the warm sand.

Looking down at the purple and maroon youngling, Chromia couldn't help but giggle. "Did you find what you were looking for?"

Looking up Kayda smiled. "Yep, I sure did."

Laughing softly, Chromia gently placed her hand on Kayda's head and caressed her head armor. Giggling from under Chromia's hand, Kayda smiled. "You know my daddy does this all the time."

Looking over Kayda's little helm, Chromia's smile just got bigger. "I know he does…and I know how much you like the attention."

Snuggling into Chromia's armor, Kayda purred happily. "Yeah…"

The soft sound of waves washing over the rocks filled the air for several minutes as the sun rose higher in the morning sky. Small crabs wandered across the sands finding their way into empty shells that littered the rocky areas of the beach that Kayda hadn't foraged through. The smell of salt water wafted through the air carrying the aroma of seaweed and wet sand.

Sighing through her intakes, Chromia looked down. "Hey Kayda, can I ask you something?"

Looking up Kayda nodded. "Yeah."

Gently rubbing Kayda's head Chromia smiled sheepishly. "Do you think I would make a good creator?"

Laughing Kayda fell back against Chromia's armor smiling. "Heck yeah! You've been like a creator to me my whole life!"

Smiling warmly Chromia embraced Kayda in a gently but secure hug. No matter how little she may be, she inherited her father's talent of being able to say just the right thing. She said the exact thing that she needed to hear.

"Oh Kayda… I hope I have a sparkling like you."

Rubbing into Chromia's side, Kayda couldn't help but laugh. Sometimes it was nice to know that there was someone other than her sire who adored her.

The wind whistled by Major Lennox's ear as the group raced down the interstate. Though he was wearing dark sunglasses, Will could easily make out the figures of all the Autobots moving down the road in their vehicle forms.

The group itself was being lead by two human escorts with Bumblebee and Sideswipe close behind. Behind them IronHide and Ratchet followed thus dividing up the human-manned vehicles. Will was seated within the hum-V that trailed behind the Autobot weapons specialist and medical officer. And alas, the mighty commander Optimus Prime brought up the rear of the caravan.

Lifting the hand radio up, Will glanced over his shoulder gazing back at Optimus only to see Prime's grill only feet away from the back end of his hum-V.

"Prime, how you holdin' up back there?"

Through the radio Will could clearly hear the Autobot's voice.

"There is no sign on the Decepticons on my scanners yet Major. I will keep you informed of any change."

Putting a hand out the window, Will gave Optimus a thumbs up. Quickly pulling his arm back in, Will looked over to his driver. "Where are we?"

Looking at the GPS on the dash the soldier responded. "Just two clicks east of the detected coordinate's sir."

Nodding Will turned back to the window. "Okay, keep me informed."

Slowly the soldier nodded as he continued to watch the road. "Yes sir."

As Will stared off out the window he couldn't help but wonder, why after all this time did the Cons decide that NOW would be a good time to reveal their ugly faces again? Although if he really thought about it, Megatron was highly unpredictable, even Optimus agreed with that statement.

Suddenly a voice rang through the radio; it was Sideswipe. "Everyone be on guard, Epps' Energon detector is picking up something."

Epps happen to be stationed with Sideswipe and lately rode along with the bot on missions like this, not that Sideswipe really minded, he actually enjoyed the human's company.

Picking up the walkie-talkie Epps huffed. "Will, we gotta get off the interstate; the trail is starting to get hot right up by this off-ramp."

Nodding Will took his radio into his hand. "Copy that Epps. Bumblebee, Sideswipe… get off on the next off-ramp. The rest of us will follow."

Within moments Sideswipe and Bumblebee both raced up the off-ramp with the others following close behind.

As they pulled onto a vacant highway, Will slowly sat up in his seat and stared out the windshield. Coming to an abrupt halt, the group sat quietly idling on the highway…while three other vehicles sat there staring back.

With just sat there watching until the soldier sitting next to him whispered. "What is this?"

Idling quietly on the highway just in front of the group sat three vehicles lined up side by side right in the middle of the road.

A red Firebird Trans Am with a detailed orange and yellow bird of some-sort painted on its hood.

A 2010 black dodge Challenger with purple and grey tribal markings detailing up and over both doors.

And nestled in between these two vehicles was a 2010 Dodge Ram pick-up truck with a higher built suspension and large off-road tires; decorated with ghost decal of a king cobra. The front was reinforced with a guard bar over the grill and clearance lights on the roof.

Sitting within Sideswipe, Epps gawked at the vehicles only to jump at the Energon monitor going off. Looking at it Epps gasped and then grabbed at the radio. "Will!—."

Grabbing his radio Will responded. "Epps, you getting anything on the detector?"

Laughing sarcastically Epps spoke into the radio. "Uh…yeah. The meter is going hay-wire! These vehicles are defiantly Cybertronian!"

Suddenly without warning Optimus transformed into his robot mode…only to be met by three unfamiliar faceplates.

A large black mech almost as big as IronHide transformed and placed himself between Optimus and the other two bots, another mech and a femme… the other mech being red and the femme also being black but with large hints of gray and purple on her armor. The red mech was nowhere near as big as the black one on the guard but was bigger than the femme…but not by much.

Transforming and brining their weapons online Bumblebee, IronHide and Ratchet stood with their guns ready to fire.

Bringing their weapons online as well, the three mysterious bots held ready to fire back if provoked.

"Autobots hold your fire!"

Putting himself between his soldier as well as the humans who also stood ready, Optimus held up his hands. "Do NOT fire unless fired on first."

Slowly, the bots and humans alike let their weapons fall to their sides. The other three bots looked at one another but did not lower their weapons.

Slowly putting a hand up Optimus spoke calmly. "I am Commander Optimus Prime. Are you Autobots or Decepticons?"
Suddenly the realization of what was going on suddenly clicked within the larger mech's processor. Lowering his blaster, the mech relaxed and huffed. "Commander Prime?"

Slowly Optimus nodded.

Just then the femme suddenly lowered her weapon and gawked in disbelief. "Commander Prime?"

Just then the femme turned to the larger black mech still in disbelief. "Charger, we almost fired on Commander Optimus Prime!"

Looking over his shoulder the black mech smiled. "Yes Nightfire, I am aware of that."

The femme then suddenly turned and walked away rubbing her optics openly talking to herself about how she could not believe that she almost fired on her own leader and her fellow Autobots; that she wouldn't be able to live with herself if she had inflicted harm on them and so on. The other mech, the younger red one just watched her quietly laughing.

Suddenly the femme whipped around and pointed a dangerous digit at the red mech. "Phoenix, if I were you I'd be quiet before I rip out your vocalizer."

Just then the red mech grew silent.

Shaking his head, the large black mech turned back around to meet the Autobot commander with a warm smile and open hand. "Forgive us commander; we had received your message through deep space that you were on this planet. However, we were not aware of your physical appearance or your current vehicle form."

Taking the mechs hand and returning the smile Optimus' deep voice rumbled softly. "It is alright soldier, seeing as how you are of a younger generation of Cybertronians, I would not have expected you to recognize me on first glance."

The black mech nodded as he glanced over his shoulder at the other bots accompanying him and then glanced back at Optimus. "Please commander, allow me to introduce myself and my siblings. My name is Charger and these two are my brother and sister; Phoenix and Nightfire."

The two bots standing behind Charger stopped and nodded slowly.

Optimus nodded and returned his gaze to Charger. "It is an honor to meet you Charger, now…what do you three have to report from your journey across space?"

Chuckling softly Charger sighed. "We've been traveling through galaxies in search of other Autobot survivors, looking for a place of sanctuary. But when we received your message Optimus, we knew we had to come and join the fight."

Letting a gentle smile slip onto his face, Optimus graciously nodded. "Thank you Charger. Those of us here are few…but strong. We have suffered losses but have gained noble allies, and would greatly relish new Autobots into our fold."

Looking back at his siblings for but a moment Charger remained silent but then soon smiled and nodded. "It would be a privilege and an honor to fight alongside you Commander."

Chuckling IronHide gently nudged Ratchet in the side. "HA! Yeah, with the Cons being here on Earth too, it's always nice to have more warriors then them."

Ratchet merely rolled his optics and shook his head.

As the others paused to take a laugh, Charger could help but notice and unsettling glance on his sister's face. Something about the way she was looking at him made him feel uneasy.

Jumping excitedly at hearing about 'Cons, Phoenix grinned. "Oh slag yes! Finally get to kick some Decepticon aft!"

Looking away from Charger, Nightfire's look changed. Quickly she swiped her hand across the back of his head. "Phoenix you dumb aft! We're not going into battle right this nanoclick! Have some patience."

Grimacing in pain Phoenix glared at Nightfire. "Why are you always out to ruin my fun?"

Smiling menacingly Nightfire casually shrugged. "I'm your older sister, it's what I do."

At that Phoenix merely huffed and looked away, almost pouting in sorts.

Chuckling Optimus turned to Ratchet. "Well seeing as how the detected signals are friend rather than foe, I see no reason as to why we cannot return to NEST and have our newest recruits introduced to human intelligence."

Ratchet casually nodded, as the human troop turned away and got back into their vehicles.

Looking back around at the others Optimus gave the order. "Autobots, roll out!"

All present Autobots; including the newest three transformed and slowly moved back toward the direction of NEST.

As the other Autobots rolled ahead, Nightfire slowly drove alongside Charger and spoke on a reserved frequency.

"Charger, why did you lie to Commander Prime about why we were here?"

Back through on the same frequency Charger spoke casually. "What do you mean?"

Almost shouting Nightfire scolded. "You know EXACTLY what I mean Charger. You told Optimus we received his message and came here to fight alongside him in the ongoing battle with the Decepticons. Though the part about receiving his message may be true, the part about us coming here to fight is not."

Sighing Charger changed gears to keep his steady speed. "Nightfire, I'm just not sure that Optimus would understand why we are really here. And you know as well as I do that what happened at the grand temple of Iacon back on Cybertron is top secret! If grand priestess Nateria's spark is looking down on us from the Well of Allsparks, do you really think she would be pleased if she knew we were even CONSIDERING breaking our sworn oath of revealing the true nature of our presence here on this planet?"

Sighing Nightfire groaned. "No, she would be very displeased. But I don't understand why Commander Prime can't know, after all he is a Prime; the ONLY Prime, the true leader of our kind, and was Priestess Nateria's leader as well."

Groaning Charger huffed. "All true, but I don't know that Prime would understand the entire situation."

"But, Charger! Optimus Prime should know about Priyasha!"

"However…" Just then Charger gently started to slow down and dropped further behind the pack. Nightfire fallowed; listening carefully to his words.

"You are entirely correct Nightfire, Prime should know. And though we made a promise to Priestess Nateria, we have to tell Prime because maybe then he and the other Autobots could help us locate Priyasha. That is our soul objective."

Nightfire then fallowed as Charger started to speed forward towards the group. Catching up to him she quietly whispered. "So…we're going to tell him?"
Moving over a hill and turning off the interstate, Charger sighed. "Soon…"

As the view of the setting sun came into view, and a strange, isolated facility could be seen. Nightfire again whispered. "When?"

As a cloud of dust was left behind the now slightly larger caravan, Charger again responded…softly.

"I don't know for sure…but it WILL be soon…"