Location: Earth's Atmosphere, Above Mojave Desert

Weather: Rainy

Time: 11:28 PM (PST)

"ETA: 120 nanokliks and counting."

For what had to be the fiftieth time since they had left base, Lunarflash checked her weapons. Both her Photon Burst Rifle and EMP Shotgun were fully charged, and she had three extra energy-clips for each in case they drained – a prospect that seemed rather likely to the young flier. Six EMP grenades were within reach, and her alternate mode's weapons were primed.

All was set for the raid, so she shouldn't have a reason to fret. Yet like many a soldier before her, the anticipation of the Energon-bath ahead was far worse than the event itself, making the femme nervously go over everything she was bringing, finding nothing out of place yet still thinking that she had forgotten something.

A set of servos clapped down on her shoulders, and Lunarflash looked up into the gleaming emerald optics of Battleburst, a bulkier femme whose chassis was covered in pockmarks and dents from ancient skirmishes. The silver and indigo Transformer didn't say anything to her, but as she looked at the older warrior's calm expression, her anxiety eased. The Skyraider reminded herself that this was just the latest battle in a long string of battles, including some that she couldn't remember but dearly wished to. (The fact she had an impressive weld-job over her left optic was enough of an excuse for her.) The first battles were the testing grounds; if she had made it through full-scale mêlées in the past, she could deal with a raid on a mining installation.

Satisfied with the younger femme's newfound calm, Battleburst turned away and released the ebony and ivory Transformer from her hold. Their final squadmate was just as quiet – but then again, when prepping for a drop, Slipstream wasn't someone who talked much. The ship they were riding in was an interstellar transport: not as big as a star cruiser, but faster and heavier-armed for something its size. More importantly, though, it was equipped with a cloaking device and jammer.

"Scatterray?" Battleburst said into their private channel, addressing the final, full-sized member of their group. "We're ready to go. Any new transmissions from the strike zone?"

"Negative," replied the pilot, who had been with Battleburst far longer than either of the younger femmes. "Quicksilver, Thunderwing, and Chromebolt are all maintaining radio silence, just like the plan told them to. Prepare to drop in twenty nanokliks."

"You know the drill," Battleburst said, addressing her companions as they moved into the center of their holding area. "Keep in radio contact, don't destroy too much of the facility, shoot to offline. Ready?"

Pressing close together, both Skyraider and Stalker nodded, mentally preparing themselves for what would happen next.

"Best of luck, mates," Scatterray said, as the floor beneath them trembled. "Dropping in three … two … one … now!"

On his final word, the floor completely fell away, sending the three plummeting down towards the hard ground below. For a few moments Lunarflash felt the natural fear that all fliers felt when not transformed and in the air, but then she got control over herself and triggered her transformation. Limbs and torso twisted into new shapes, the better to suit her alternate shape of a human military jet. As her thrusters finished forming and fired, allowing her to take back control over her movements, the Skyraider's fear fell away, replaced by contentment: she was where she belonged.

On the ground, or in her bipedal form, she felt vulnerable. When she was flying, though, she felt invincible.

Beside her, Battleburst and Slipstream had both adopted their own jet alt-forms. They streaked down through thick layers of clouds, the precipitation hitting their hulls before sliding off and continuing their journey to the planet's surface.

They finally broke through the clouds, the target awaiting them below. It was a blocky building, but large and dark: thanks to the efforts of their "inside mechs," the power had been knocked out, and high above Scatterray was jamming their transmissions. Barring an act of Primus, the workers inside were cut off from the rest of their kind.

Regretfully, the joy of screaming down through the atmosphere had to end. As the trio approached ground-level, they reverted to their proto forms so they landed upright and withdrew one of their servos, replacing it with one of their two weapons. Lunarflash selected her Photon Burst Rifle, as it had a scope function, more ammunition than her other weapon, and launched three shots per trigger-pull. Slipstream had chosen her Neutron Assault Rifle; Battleburst the X12 Scrapmaker. As the younger femmes covered the area, Battleburst reactivated their comm. channel. "Scatterray, what's the status?"

"Code green. The automated defenses are down thanks to Thunderwave's work, but I'm picking up heavy Spark-activity inside."

"They've learned," Slipstream commented, amused. "Any weak entry points?"

"The entrance you're standing in front of has the lightest activity – Chromebolt's just behind it and he's reporting six 'Cons. If you go in guns blazing, he can help you out."

"Keep us posted; we're going in. Battleburst out."

Knowing this as the signal to move, Lunarflash hoisted the rifle up to her optics and fell in to flank Battleburst on the left. As the Scrapmaker had the highest rate of fire when warmed up, it was generally a good idea to keep behind the Transformer using it. Slipstream shared the other femme's sentiments, sliding into a right-flank position.

They moved forward, pausing in front of the door Scatterray had indicated. There were three automated turrets set up to defend it, but all were offline; Lunarflash made a note of their position, in case they could take control of their mainframe and turn them against the 'Cons. It was clear they had been learning from the past lightning raids on other such facilities: the last time they had attacked an Energon mining facility, there had been only two turrets at the point of entry, and they were designed to repair damage. These three were rocket sentries.

The door was opaque; impossible to see through. While it was something of a disappointment, it was also reassuring: the enemy wouldn't be able to see them coming. The black and white femme took her rifle off safety, one finger resting over the trigger. The silver and blue warrior rose her left pede, paused for a moment, then snapped it forward, sending the portal flying out of its frame in several pieces from the impact.

The six soldiers inside were taken off-guard by the explosive entrance. It was enough time for the bulkier femme to charge in, panning her Scrapmaker back and forth across the room as its rate of fire increased. Both Lunarflash and Slipstream lacked the thicker armor of their friend, so they hung back and picked off those that managed to escape the minigun's fury, grinning each time they hit someone in the helm.

All too soon the last enemy fell, and the music of battle ceased as they rested their weapons. All six Decepticons were sprawled on the floor, either offline or in stasis lock. As the three femmes reloaded their weapons, the smaller mech that made up their secondary squad emerged from his hiding place, Plasma Cannon whirring in the place of his left servo.

"Nice work," he complimented, looking around at the slumped bodies and bullet holes in the walls. "You got them all so fast that I didn't get a chance to fire a shot." While he clearly meant it as praise, there was just the faintest pouty undertone, letting them know he wasn't all that thrilled with their handiwork.

"Don't worry; you'll get plenty of chances to make up for that," smirked Slipstream to the Minicon, striding over to one stasis-locked enemy and slamming her left heel-strut down on his spark casing. Lunarflash couldn't hide her cringe at the sight. Early in their time together, the Stalker had modified her struts so they had the deadly dagger-points of combat knives, having six blades merge into one point so they could still work normally. There was no doubting their effectiveness – they were capable of breaking spark casings with one good stomp – it was just that she didn't like watching the deed being preformed.

"Where are the others?" Battleburst asked of her diminutive companion.

"Quicksilver's in the drilling section; Thunderwave in the control room. They haven't been spotted yet, but we've all seen Brutes hanging around the facility."

Lunarflash's optic ridges hiked up her helm. "They're not messing around, are they?"

"No, they aren't," agreed Battleburst. "Scrounge what ammunition you can, then be ready to fight through the whole place – their top brass takes less time to figure out what's going on each raid."

As it turned, the squad hadn't exhausted many of their supplies before the fight had ended, and the ebony-ivory jet wound up finding more three more charge clips and a double-set of her favored grenades. As the quartet prepared to rejoin their other companions and take full control of the facility, she realized that her nervousness had melted away with the gunfire. This was just another battle, and that was where she really belonged.


Disclaimer/Author's Note: I do not own Transformers, or any canon members of the franchise. The story is my own, taking place in the Prime/War For Cybertron continuity, and I hold ownership over all OCs. In case you were wondering, the Slipstream in this story is the same one from War For Cybertron. Why she's not being a Decepticon is part of the plot; be patient and youll find out why.

Here's to Slipstream making her Transformers: Prime debut sometime in the near future! =D

-Inferna Firesword