Prologue

It was the middle of the night and everything was dark and quiet. Everyone within the Maximal base was asleep and Sentinel had the shield enabled and the defense systems up and running. In other words, everybody was safe within the interior of the crashed Maximal ship.

However there was one person who was having trouble sleeping. Yume tossed and turned in Airazor's bed, within the room she had used ever since the female Maximal told her she could use it. There was a terrible storm outside tonight and the thunder and lightening were almost unbearable.

Yume was also having a very strange dream, one that caused her to cry out in her sleep. She suddenly rolled a little too far in the bed, going over the edge of the bunk with her limbs tangled up in her blanket. She awoke with a start.

"Yume?" a concerned voice spoke from the doorway. She turned to see Cheetor peering inside. "What happened?" the Maximal stepped into the room, looking down at her with concern. "Everything alright?"

"I.. I'm fine," she said, freeing herself and climbing back onto the bed. 'I was just.. having a dream.."

"What kind of dream?" Cheetor asked curiously. He'd had some strange dreams from time to time, and he wondered what kind of dreams Yume might have.

She looked away. "I um..." she shook her head. 'It was noting. I was just dreaming I was in a car and it was flying and sudden;y it turned into a roller coaster."

"Ultra gear," Cheetor enthused, sounding excited about the idea. "It's been a long time since I've been to an amusement park. Was it fun?" He looked at her with a smile, his youthful eyes shining with a playful look.

"No." she said. 'I'm scared of roller coasters."

"Oh." Cheetor's enthusiasm deflated a bit. "Well uh, what do you like to do instead?"

"Draw."

Before the Maximal could reply, a particularly loud crack of thunder went off, so close to the ship's roof that it sounded like an explosion. Cheetor yelped, so startled that he automatically went back into his cheetah mode without even thinking about it, almost as though he was preparing to flee from the noise.

"Oh, oh boy," he breathed, trying to calm himself. "Just the storm, just the storm..." he looked at Yume. "You okay?" he asked her.

"I'm fine," she said, looking out the window. "just a little spooked."

"Yeah well, I'm sure it'll be over soon," Cheetor offered, peering out the window himself. "I've never seen a storm this bad, though." He recalled the time that he'd tried to set up a series of explosives along a vein of energon during a storm, but even this storm was worse than that storm had been.

"Maybe it's a hurricane."

"Yeah, maybe."

They silently watched the theatrical display of rain and lightening bolts outside for a minute or two. "Hey, looks like there might be some hail," Cheetor said. "I've never seen that before."

"I have," she said. "it happens a lot in the summer."

"Do you have storms this bad where you come from?"

"sometimes they're even worse than this," she replied. "snow storms in new york practically make the entire city shut down."

"Wow." Cheetor tried to imagine that, but failed. There was no snow on Cybertron-there wasn't any kind of weather at all, for that matter. Envisioning an entire area shutting down because of snow was a bit difficult for him to imagine.

Before either of them could think of anything else to say, a sudden noise blared all throughout the ship and temporarily made them forget about the raging storm outside. "Intruder alert," the voice of the ship's computer stated. "Intruder alert! There is an intruder in the cargo hold."

Yume and Cheetor exchanged glances.

"A Predacon?" she asked.

"I don't know," Cheetor lifted his furry shoulders in a slight shrug. "What else could it be?"

Yume couldn't answer that question. She got up off the bed and rushed out into the hall.

"Hey, wait!" Cheetor called after her. He quickly transformed into his robot form and rushed after her.

She paused in the hall, looking back at him. "hurry up!"

The Maximal youth caught up to her and then the two of them hurried down the hall, toward the cargo bay. Once there, Cheetor held up a hand and slowly grabbed his weapon, gripping it firmly in his other hand.

He silently counted to three, then rushed in through the door-only to encounter a silver sword being pointed in his direction. He He instinctively brought up his weapon to point it at the sword's owner-but then he quickly recognized who it was. "D-Dinobot," he exclaimed, having to shout to be heard over the intruder alarm. "What are you doing down here?"

Yume jumped backward, cowaring behind Cheetor. Though she and Dinobot were friends she still felt small and intimidated around him most of the time.
"I heard a noise," he replied, putting the sword again. "I came down here to... deal with it.." he looked at the two and frowned. "and what are you doing down here?"

"We heard the alarms going off all over the ship," Cheetor answered. His eyes scanned the cargo area. "Did you see anything?" he asked.

"No," he replied. 'i have not. but that does not mean nothing is here."

Yume tried to look past the gold and blue Maximal. To her it seemed that the only items in the room were boxes.

"Then maybe we should look around a little more," Cheetor said. He then moved to the nearby console and shut off the alarm. "I bet we can deal with this, whatever it is," he added confidently, "without having everybody else waking up."

"If you wish," he replied, though he didn't look happy about the idea of looking for the source of the noise with cheetor and a human girl who couldn't properly defend herself.

Cheetor kept his weapon at the ready as he promptly took point, always eager to prove himself useful and, most of all, that he was not a kid. He cast a brief glance at Yume, then slowly moved toward the back of the cargo bay.

All of a sudden there was a noise, and it was a sound that Yume hadn't heard since she first arrived in this time and place. It was the sound of a very young boy giggling.

Yume looked at the two transformers then moved toward the sound. she lifted a box and discovered a little Japanese-American boy sitting on the floor. He looked very familiar. 'Tai!" she exclaimed, nearly dropping the box.

"Huh?" Cheetor exclaimed, moving forward to get a better look. He saw a small human child seated on the floor, looking around with curious eyes. "Is this your little brother, Yume?" he asked. He was vaguely aware of Dinobot leaning in to peer over his left shoulder, and could practically feel the frown on the former Predacon's features.

"Yes," she replied, picking him up. "But how did he get here?"

"Uh... I don't know." Cheetor looked up at Dinobot, his eyes asking the obvious question.

He shrugged. "I do not possess that knowledge."

"What's going on in here?" another voice asked. All heads turned to see none other than Optimus Prime enter the room. The Maximal leader's eyes took them all in, then zoned in on Yume and the little child in her arms. He blinked in surprise. "What-how did this child get here?"

The boy looked up and grinned at Optimus. 'Monkey!" he exclaimed, grinning.

"Umm uh.." Yumme blushed a little. "Optimus I'd like you too meet my little brother, Tai."

"Your little brother?" Optimus echoed. Then he unknowingly repeated the same question that had already been asked, "How did he get here?"

"We don't know," Cheetor said with a shrug. "He just... showed up, I guess."

"Hmmm," Optimus purred thoughtfully. He took a few steps closer to examine the child. "Well, if nothing else... I guess we've found our intruder," he said lightly.
Tai grinned at him and jumped out of Yume's arms to latch onto Optimus face.

Optimus grunted a little when the boy put his tiny hands against the ridge of his nostrils, but the Maximal leader smiled a little. "Well, I guess someone is going to have to look after him." His eyes slowly and thoughtfully moved in Dinobot's direction, obviously considering him.

Dinobot frowned at him, his expression distinctly saying. 'Don't even think about it!" baby-sitting one human child was bad enough. But a baby would be far worse.
"Yume," Optimus said as he gently pried the little kid's hands from his face with one of his massive fingers, "you probably know more about... little human needs than we do. Would you look after your brother, since he is here?"

She nodded, taking the boy back. "All right." she did it often enough at home, this wasn't anything to her. "Though you might want to make him a special bed to sleep in."

Right at that exact moment Rattrap, who was in his beast mode, came into the cargo bay. "Hey, what's goin' on around here?" he asked in that mildly whining voice of his. "I finally got to sleep and then Sentinel starts blaring off about an intruder-" His nose twitched, and then he sniffed the air. "Yetch!" he grimaced, squeezing his eyes shut and twitching his whiskers. "What in the name of my Great Aunt Arcee is that SMELL?"

Yume looked down at her brother and made a face. 'I think it's a dirty diaper."
Optimus frowned a little.

Cheetor said, "What are we supposed to do about that?"

Rattrap backed away. "Whatever it is, I ain't doin' it," he proclaimed.

Then everybody turned to look at Dinobot.

He glared at them.