Rochelle laced her leather boots up meticulously, making sure each lace was properly placed. Tugging on her leather gloves, she snatched up her leather jacket and slung it on, grabbing her helmet on the way out. Jogging downstairs, short and straight brown hair messy and yet still not a wreck, she gave a wave to her parents on the couch—her father immediately frowned, starting to say something.

"See ya, Dad," she said without ceremony, but her quick getaway to the party was cut short.

"And where do you think you're going?" he asked curtly. Rochelle sighed to herself—her interests had always clashed with her parents.

"I'm just gonna hang out with my friends," she said, opening the door—but she was stopped again by her father's authoritive voice.

"Stop right there, and shut that door. You face me when I'm talking to you."

Rochelle scowled, shut the door louder than actually needed, and turned around. "What?"

"You watch your tone young lady!"

Her mother touched her father's arm. "Rochelle," she said calmer, "your father and I don't like you running about at late hours like this. What if something happens to you?"

Rochelle resisted the urge to roll her eyes. She could see her father flicking his eyes up and down her apparel of tight jeans, leather—he hated it. And they hated the fact that her habits weren't in their views on how she was 'supposed' to be.

Straining to show some patience and courtesy to her parents, Rochelle said a bit thinly, "Nothing has happened to me before, right? And nothing will."

Then—thank her lucky stars, seeing her father's face flush—her next interruption was better. Something crashed loud and hard into the backyard, seeming like a meteor had fallen out of the sky. Rochelle screamed with her parents, knocked to the floor by the sheer force of the miniature earthquake. The table with her mother's lamp toppled and fell over, the lamp hitting her arm on the way down to the wooden floor, breaking apart.

"Rochelle! Rochelle, are you all right?"

Scowling again, she sat up, brushing the bits of glass from her sleeve. "Yeah, I'm fine."

Her mother immediately stepped around the glass shards, helping brush Rochelle's coat off and straightening her hair, trying to fix anything. "Are you sure?" she asked worriedly. "Nothing is broken?"

Rochelle tried not to roll her eyes, but was unsuccessful. "I'm fine, Mom." Then, glancing over, she saw her little sister carrying her pink unicorn as she slipped outside—to the backyard.

At her vantage point, Rochelle couldn't see what was happening, but she didn't care. She thought she could hear faint thumps. "Mom, I think you guys have got bigger problems than me. Kimmy just went out back."

Her father jolted. "She what!"

The effect was instantaneous. Both her parents raced off, and Rochelle smirked to herself, letting herself quietly out the front door, ready to head off to her party. The garage only held one car, so Mom's little minivan was inside, baring her father's GMC pickup truck and her motorcycle to the elements of outside. That was fine with her—just so long as they hadn't gotten her a stupid little car. They had hated giving in and letting her have her motorcycle. Rochelle shook her head. She bet that they regretted every instant of letting her have it.

Jogging down the porch steps, Rochelle started to put her helmet on for the ride when she froze, staring up at the thing in her yard. Fear coiled inside her chest—the monster of metal came around the house, tiptoeing as well as it could in an effort to be quiet, peeking over its shoulder to make sure it wasn't followed. Rochelle's head craned back in an effort to see it, but then, she heard a loud crunch, and jolted her eyes down.

In response, she screamed—that thing had stepped on her motorcycle! HER MOTORCYCLE! She had slaved over the summers in an effort to get enough money to finally buy it, only to be surprised by her parents as it was given to her as a graduation gift instead—that was HER motorcycle! Flattened! Squashed like last week's trash!

"Hey, dumb-ass!" The humanoid, alien robot immediately jolted its eyes down, and she narrowed her own green eyes at the blue ones above her. "You just WRECKED my MOTORCYLCE! So what are you going to do about it?"

Rochelle jumped when the alien robot reacted, a massive gun suddenly coming out of its arm, pointed directly at her head, a giant chasm of energy that she stared into. "You either shut your trap," she heard it say in a gravelling voice, "or you get a bullet through your head." Then, those blue eyes rolled in the darkness, that same voice muttering, "I don't have time for this . . ." Rochelle didn't watch it scan her dad's truck—instead, she walked up to the thing and gave it the most vicious kick she could.

The ding echoed slightly, but her sharp curse sizzled the air—what a time to be wearing the leather instead of her steel toed boots! However, even though she could tell she hadn't hurt it, she had its attention—the great being whipped back down to her, gun blazing in her face.

"Yeah, yeah," she said flippantly, pushing around the gun, "your gun is MIGHTY impressive." She scoffed at how sarcastic she found she could be. "But you OWE me, damn it! You stepped on my motorcycle!" and she threw and angry gesture to the crushed remains of her ride. "You owe me a ride."

The bot just stared a moment longer before completely ignoring her, and her jaw nearly dropped as she watched it morph down into an identical version of her father's truck. Faintly, she could hear her dad yelling over what had happened to the pool.

She rushed up to the alien truck—she'd sure as hell take her new ride! Opening the door and hopping in, she rummaged around for the keys. "All right, forgiven," she said easily, finding the keys hidden in the glove compartment. She put them in ignition. "Let's see what you can do, baby." Revving the engine of her new truck, she grinned—this might not be a motorcycle, but it was sweet! Then, with no ceremony whatsoever, she found the door had opened itself up, the seat raise itself up, dumping her in the driveway.

"What the hell!" Rochelle cried, jumping up as it closed its own door and started to drive off. "You jerk!" Picking up her helmet, she took aim at the offensive truck that drove away. "Take this, damn it!" The helmet hit beautifully, and she heard the loud 'bang' echo across the deserted road. The truck slammed on its breaks, tires screeching loud before it slowly drove in reverse back towards her.

Rochelle tossed her head, sneering, "Yeah, that's right, get back here! Don't like it when I do that, huh?" For good measure, she picked up the nearest pebble she found and chucked it too, the little 'ting' loud as the truck drove closer.

"Rochelle? What's going on?"

Oh—shit. Her father. Rochelle jerked to where he was in the doorway, staring in confusion at the two trucks, and then, she knew exactly what to do to get her way.

"All right, you alien freak," she muttered to the truck, now frozen in indecision. "I tell you what. I won't tell my dad what you really are if you promise to take me along. Otherwise, I scream at the top of my lungs of what I saw happen. What then?" The alien truck did nothing, so she assumed it was listening to her. She waved to her dad, untroubled. "Nothing, Dad, it's just Tony. Remember? He's got the same truck." Which was almost true. She waved her hand again, strolling up to the driver's side. "Actually, I made a huge bet with him last night and he lost his truck to me in it, so now it's mine." She could almost swear she heard the alien truck shudder. Opening the door, she said for show, "Scoot over, Tony, I'm driving." She waved brightly to her dad, unable to control her giddy grin. "See ya!"

Rochelle heard him shout out, but she slammed the door, putting her foot on the gas. The truck lurched forward instantly, and Rochelle let out a cry of victory, driving away from her house in what she detail into being some living, alien robot truck, this kind of excitement pushing her over the edge.

Turning on the radio and flipping channels restlessly, she gave a shout when she hit a station playing ZZ Top, "I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide". Thrilled with hearing one of her favorite bands, she rolled down the windows, laughing as she cruised the streets. The night air blew through her bob cut.

"'I'm bad'" she drawled with the music, "'I'm nationwide!'" Rochelle couldn't even imagine her friends faces when they saw her new ride!

Starting to turn left towards the party, she gave a sharp squeal when the wheel jerked itself the other way, gas pedal lowering closer to the floor. The windows rolled up promptly, radio cutting off.

"What the hell!" she shouted, giving the truck another vicious kick as it drove faster and faster. "Where are you going? I'm driving! Go back, my party is the other way!" Rochelle tugged on the wheel to find it wouldn't budge, so she slammed her foot as hard as she could to the brake only to find that it wouldn't move either. Furious, she gave it several more kicks before huffing out a breath, crossing her arms and gritting her teeth—damn thing had a mind of its own!

As if hearing her thoughts, the radio cut on again, this time as the alien robot's voice. "You want me to drop you off at your party?"

She nearly jumped on it—then bit her tongue, realizing that the thing was literally going to drop her off and drive off, making its getaway. "No way," she snapped at it. "Wherever you're going, I'm going, you stupid truck."

She gave a short scream when the seat bucked, smacking her against the wheel. "Watch who you're calling stupid, bitch."

Rochelle gave another furious scream, but didn't rise to the bait of leaving, and instead gave the infuriating truck one last kick before settling down for the ride.

It was a short one—they met up with some ambulance, a Pontiac, and a blue Peterbilt truck covered in stupid red flames. She snorted at the sight of it.

Then, Rochelle did a double take as it stood up, gears and mechanical parts grinding as she could see its body form, and she felt something drop in the pit of her stomach—it was an alien too! And she would almost bet that the rest of them were too, and for a second her heart rate picked up—then, she silently assured herself that if the truck she was in was so easily subdued, so could the rest.

Spying a yellow Camero and two people, Rochelle didn't get to see them long—again the seatbelt undid itself, the door popped open, and she was dumped without any care onto the nasty ground of the alley. Scowling furiously, she kicked at the transforming truck as it stood up again to its full height. It glanced down at her, and from a look from the biggest, the Peterbilt, muttered, "I've got a hitchhiker . . ."

The giant blue-flamed alien just shook its head, realizing that the boy, too, had a hitchhiker. Rochelle shook her head at the being, and he looked down on her with equally blue eyes as her truck. She sent him a grin, jangling the keys to her new GMC pickup. "He's mine now." However, she wrinkled her nose in irritation when the giant robot turned from her, giving his attentions to the other kids—they didn't even look like they were out of high school yet!

Rochelle stayed at her vantage point behind the kids and the Camero—which also transformed. Sticking next to her alien truck, Rochelle watched the Peterbilt truck lean down until his giant face was right in front of the boy. Rochelle had to give it to the kid—he had guts. She wasn't sure if she could take the full brunt of that thing's gaze. It was . . . powerful, intelligent. It made goose bumps rise on her skin.

His voice echoed out to the boy. "Are you Samuel James Witwicky, descendant of Archibald Witwicky?"

Rochelle raised an eyebrow even as she nearly shivered at the leader's voice—it carried so many volumes of wisdom that it made her grandmother sound stupid.

The girl next to 'Samuel' whispered, terrified, "They know your name."

Rochelle nearly snorted—they didn't know her name. Samuel managed, just as scared, "Yeah."

Those blue eyes cut through the darkness of the alley. Rochelle felt herself holding her breath. "My name is Optimus Prime." Rochelle felt her heart slam in her chest—something about those words, his easy introduction sounded, FELT so . . . final. So like destiny, like it were fate. She shivered.

"We are autonomous robotic organisms from the planet Cybertron."

A different one spoke up. "But you can call us Autobots for short."

Autobots—cute. They gave themselves a nice nickname for the little humans because they can't understand atonomotic robot organisms? What did he call them?

"Autobots," Samuel repeated.

Rochelle jerked her head over when one of the other robots moved. "What's crackin' little bitches?" She clapped a hand over her face to keep herself from giggling—he was black! He did a fancy flip as Optimus said, "My first lieutenant. Designation, Jazz."

Jazz, the Pontiac with a black person's attitude—she could remember him.

"This looks like a cool place to kick it." Jazz did another stylish turn, landing lightly on a busted old car as if he were king of the world. Rochelle grinned—yeah, she could remember him.

"What is that?" Samuel asked, and Rochelle wondered if he went by 'Sam' for short. She'd call him that whether or not he wanted her to. "How did he learn to talk like that?"

Optimus answered, "We've learned Earth's languages through the World Wide Web." That statement nearly made Rochelle collapse into giggles—wonder what website Jazz had went to?

Rochelle turned her head as her truck moved, and she glanced up to see him whip out his guns again, spinning them before letting them 'crack' into place. "My weapons specialist, Ironhide."

So, Ironhide was his name. Rochelle watched as he pointed the guns up close to Sam's face too—she wondered if he always did that. Either that, or he was just trigger happy. "You feeling lucky, punk?"

Rochelle grinned—okay, maybe she could get along with him just as long as he wasn't pointing those things her way! Sam swallowed, and Optimus warned, "Easy, Ironhide."

"Just kidding," he said, shrugging. He looked down at the huge guns on his arms. "I just wanted to show him my cannons." Rochelle's lips twisted up—he was kinda cute. She was reminded of a little boy getting in trouble for showing off his fake guns to his little sister. Rochelle gave a nod to Sam.

"The Camero yours?" she asked. He nodded hesitantly, and she jangled her keys. "Ironhide here's my truck."

"I am not!" he declared hotly, pointing the guns down on her. Rochelle just patted his hand, saying, "Are too. I've got the keys. Now point that thing somewhere else, you're liable to accidentally blow my head off."

Ironhide wrinkled his nose, and Rochelle pursed her lips at his expression. "Trust me, it wouldn't be an accident . . ."

"What was that?" Angry, she kicked his foot for good measure, muttering, "Smart-ass truck . . ." If she kept this up she'd have a bruised foot.

Optimus eyed them both before turning to what she assumed was the ambulance because he said, "Our medical officer, Ratchet."

Rochelle watched in curious interest as the other robot sniffed the air, and she leaned casually on Ironhide's leg. Ratchet's words were, "The boy's pheromone level suggests he wants to mate with the female."

Making a face and tugging on her jacket as the two people in question shifted uncomfortably, she muttered, "Well, bet that was awkward."

"You already know your guardian," Optimus said, "Bumblebee."

Rochelle watched as the yellow Camero jogged in place, throwing several punches at nothing. "Check on the rep," she heard him say without moving his mouth, "Second to none." She snorted—right, he was like the little kid of the group.

Sam looked up at the car, and Rochelle eyed his girlfriend. She was pretty and hot, just like what the guys wanted, and she scowled—hopefully the slut dumped him. What did she want with a nerdy kid like him? "So you're my guardian, huh?" Bumblebee nodded, and Rochelle tried to scowl—the little bee thought it was cute. Okay, maybe it was cute, but that was beside the point.

"His vocal processors were damaged in battle," Ratchet said as a way of explaining Bumblebee's handicap. Rochelle raised her eyebrows when a red beam of light hit near Bumblebee's neck, seeming to cause him some sort of pain as he rubbed his throat and the vocal processor. "I'm still working on them."

"Well!" Rochelle drawled out as loud as she could, bringing every eye in the area to rest on her. She pushed off Ironhide's leg and raised an eyebrow. "If anybody would like to know who I am, you could just call me Rochelle, or just ignore me for the rest of the night."

It was actually Bumblebee who responded instantly, saying, "Rochelle," in a different voice.

She just rolled her eyes and turned to Optimus. "That was interesting enough, but tell me something useful. What in the name of hell are you doing on our planet?"

Optimus turned towards her, blue eyes piercing. "We are here looking for the All Spark. And we must find it before Megatron."


"MegaTRON, Sam," she scoffed, crossing her arms. "Listen up and get it straight."

"And who are you?" he asked, giving her a gesture. "I mean—who are you supposed to be? Why don't you just go home? You're the useless third wheel here."

Rochelle raised an eyebrow. "Look, kid, the alien truck is mine, so I'm going wherever Ironhide goes. Not that your little skank won't dump you in a year or two."

"Hey, hey, hey," he said seriously, putting an arm around her. "Don't you say that. Look, look, let's just—let's just focus on the matter at hand. Optimus?"

Rochelle yelped when Optimus shot a beam from his eyes, the ground crumbling away with the illusion—she jumped up onto Ironhide's foot, not letting go as she watched her surroundings change into war torn grounds.

Optimus began speaking as the illusion took form, saying, "Our planet was once a powerful empire, peaceful and just, until we were betrayed by Megatron, leader of the Decepticons." Rochelle stared in awe at what he was showing them, what looked to be a once beautiful world, ravaged by war, strange things and strange beings all over the place, guns shooting, explosions, killing. Rochelle felt her finger digging into Ironhide's leg, clutching him tight. "All who defied them were destroyed." Well, if they were Autobots and not Decepticons . . . then how did they survive? "Our war finally consumed the planet, and the All Spark was lost to the stars."

Rochelle stared in horror as a futuristic lance impaled through someone at a distance, the one she presumed a Decepticon laughing. "Megatron followed it to earth, where Captain Witwicky found him." The illusion disappeared, and Rochelle let out a breath she had been holding. She looked up to Ironhide who glanced down at her, but then he returned his gaze to Optimus.

"My grandfather," Sam stated, Rochelle feeling very much like a third wheel in an unwanted party.

"It was an accident that intertwined our fates," Optimus said, and Rochelle watched how his mouth moved while he spoke, amazed at the transformers. They were so advanced, so intelligent . . . So, beyond her. "Megatron crash-landed before he could retrieve the Cube." Assuming it was another name for the All Spark, Rochelle relaxed a little against Ironhide, listening to the tale. "Captain Witwicky accidentally activated his navigation system. The coordinates to the Cube's location on Earth were imprinted on his glasses."

"How'd you know about his glasses?" Sam asked quickly, to which Optimus leveled a look on him, stating one word.


Rochelle chuckled to herself. "Ebay," she heard him repeat. What, he had been trying to sell them? The thought made her chuckle harder.

"If the Decepticons find the All Spark," Ratchet said, "they will use its powers to transform Earth's machines and build a new army."

Optimus's deep voice penetrated the air, finishing. "And the human race will be extinguished." Rochelle watched him stand up to his full height, feeling like an ant next to him as he proclaimed, "Sam Witwicky, you hold the key to Earth's survival."

Rochelle craned her head up as they all stood tall in a semi-circle, and she didn't know whether she wanted to peg them as looking heroic or ridiculous.

Sam's girlfriend took a deep breath, saying to him, "Please tell me that you have those glasses."

They had to go to his house. Before Ironhide could dump her and leave her in the alley, Rochelle all but jumped on him when he transformed, and she could swear she heard him groan. But this time, she was ready for him.

The door opened and the seat lurched, but she snagged a hold of the steering wheel, giving a harsh laugh. "Get over it, Ironhide! You're my truck now because you smashed my motorcycle. Besides, what if I ragged on you to the Decepticons? You gotta keep me here to keep my mouth shut."

As they all started to drive off, she put the key in ignition and followed, hearing Ironhide mutter, " . . . be permanently shut if I terminated you . . ."

She gave him another kick. "I heard that."

Rochelle pulled up the rear with Ironhide, and she jammed her keys into her pocket as she got out of the truck. Running up the line, she had to dodge around Sam when he went hurtling along towards his house.

"Made you the baby sitter, huh?" Rochelle asked Sam's girlfriend when she was left leaning against the Camero.

"Yeah, he did," she said. Then, she turned fully to her, putting out a hand. "My name is Mikaela, so don't you dare call me a skank again."

Rochelle just shrugged, not taking the proffered hand. "No problem." She journeyed back to Ironhide, hoisting herself up to sit on the hood of her truck. "Look, I'm not so bad, so why are you trying to get ride of me?"

"Get off of me," Ironhide muttered. "I'm not your butt-cushion."

Rochelle rolled her eyes, jumping off. "Better?" Then, she jumped when Optimus transformed, standing up. Uh-oh. Weren't they supposed to stay here?

"Wait!" she cried as the rest of them followed suit, even Ironhide. "You were supposed to give him five minutes!" She ran to keep up with their long steps. "That wasn't five!" Hiding behind a bush as Optimus walked right into their backyard, she saw Sam's dad behind the door. Her heart started hammering—that was why it was taking so long! And then, the dad disappeared inside.

She smugly watched Sam panic, loving the show. "What are you doing? What are you doing?" he repeated twice. Optimus walked right in though, making Sam speak faster and more pleading than before. "No, watch the path! Watch the path! Watch the—please, please, please." Then, Rochelle held her breath when Optimus took one more step. "No, no, wait—" And then, it was too late, Optimus stepped on what looked to be a birdbath, crushing it instantly. "No, no, no! Oh, no!" Rochelle wrinkled her nose in disgust—it was just a birdbath. It wasn't as if it were your graduation present motorcycle!

Optimus looked down, replacing his foot out of harms reach. "Oh, my bad."

Rochelle smacked herself. "My bad, my foot," she muttered aloud.

Sam was tongue-tied. "Oh, I—you couldn't—You couldn't wait for five—You couldn't wait for five minutes? I told you to just stay! Just stay! God!"

Deciding it wouldn't hurt to get a better look, Rochelle left her hiding bush as Mikaela ran up. Sam grabbed her. "I told you to watch them. I told you."

"Okay, you know what? They seem to be in a little bit of a rush."

Rochelle snorted, walking away—a little impatient? They were practically knocking on his front door! For such high-intelligent beings, they didn't have any patience whatsoever—even if it were the artifact to save the world. Sauntering back over to Ironhide who was also in the backyard—who was she kidding? They were all in the backyard!—she nearly tripped over a tiny dog. It barked up angrily at Ironhide. It lifted its leg—Rochelle's eyes widened for a fraction of an instant—and then it was peeing right on Ironhide's foot.

Ironhide looked down, picking up his foot out reach of the stream, shaking it as little sprinkles of the urine fell off. Rochelle made a face—that was disgusting! She thought for a second that Ironhide was going to crush the tiny thing by stepping on it, but Sam swooped in out of nowhere, picking up his dog while saying quickly, "Mojo! Mojo! Off the robot! God!"

She looked up at Ironhide who was frowning. "Oh, wet," he groaned, and Rochelle silently wished that he had crushed the thing when he had his chance. He did, however, pull out his guns, aiming them both down at the dog and Sam.

"Hold on! Hold. This is Mojo. This is Mojo." Jeez, when the kid was nervous, he had an awful habit of repeating himself! "He's a pet of mine."

Rochelle threw up her hands. "Like we care!"

"He's a pet," Sam repeated fast at the sight of Ironhide's huge cannon. "Okay? That's all . . . If you could just put the guns away . . ." The other gun joined the first, and Rochelle leaned cockily on Ironhide's leg. "Put the—Put them away. Please."

"You have a rodent infestation," Ironhide growled, and Rochelle agreed, sneering at him—how she hated that kind of dog! "Shall I terminate?"

"Terminate away," Rochelle agreed enthusiastically, but Sam nearly wet his pants.

"No, no, no, no," he stammered quickly, seeming to blanch complete white and turn several different shades of colors. "He's not a rodent, he's a Chihuahua."

"It's a rodent in MY book," Rochelle muttered.

"This is my—This is my Chihuahua. We love Chihuahuas! Don't we?"

Rochelle shrugged, slapping Ironhide's leg. Sam's eyes jumped to her for a second. "I agree with the big man, here. Chihuahuas would be better off extinct, and starting with yours wouldn't be a horrible start."

"He's leaked lubricants all over my foot!" Ironhide echoed with irritation.

Sam continued to stutter. "He peed on you?" he started to set the dog down. "Bad Mojo. Bad Mojo!"

"Bad Mojo!" Ironhide growled threateningly with another jerk of his guns, and Sam snatched the dog up quick.

"I'm sorry," he stammered quickly, "He's got this male dominance thing—that's all it is . . ."

Rochelle rolled her eyes. "We'd figure out who's dominant in the time it takes Ironhide to pull his trigger . . ."

Ironhide snorted, and Rochelle hopped up on the clean foot, taking a bumpy ride as Ironhide stalked away, muttering, "My foot's gonna rust . . ."

Rochelle watched as the kid finally went inside, and looked up when she heard Optimus say, "Autobots, recon."

Then, she found herself kicked lightly off Ironhide's foot—to which she promptly kicked him, for the thousandth time wishing she had her steel toed boots to inflict more damage—and then watched as each Autobot transformed into the vehicle they were, parking right in his yard. Rochelle dropped her face in her hands—what a way to camouflage in and hide! Mikaela immediately dropped into some nearby bushes, and Rochelle rolled her eyes, flopping down in the back of her truck's bed.

Almost instantly, she found herself and Mikaela picked up by Optimus—to which Rochelle kicked his hand furiously, hissing, "Let go of me! Let go! I'm not looking through that kid's junk!" Her denials were to no avail though, and she found herself and Mikaela lifted up to the window.

"Time is short," she heard Optimus say, his breath making her hair flutter.

Mikaela just shrugged as she went into his room. "They really want those glasses."

Rochelle stayed put on his hand until he dumped her on the windowsill—to which she swiped out at him with her fist, only to miss—and gritted her teeth as she went inside.

He clearly had no clue where the glasses were. He designated them to different sides of the room before they heard a slight hiss from a truck. Sam and Mikaela ran to the window, but Rochelle didn't, just rolled her eyes and kept searching.

"This isn't hiding," she heard Sam burst, still panicking. "This isn't hiding! This is my backyard, not a truck stop!"

They started searching again. Rochelle made a face as she came upon a pair of who-knows-how-many-days-old boxers, and she didn't even touch them, flitting through everything. How hard could a pair of glasses be to find?

"Sam." He ignored her first hiss, and so Mikaela repeated, "Sam. Sam, Sam, Sam, Sam, Sam!" Finally, he stopped his hectic searching and ran to the window where Mikaela said, "He's back."

"I can't deal with this right now . . ." Rochelle rolled her eyes, so glad she had gloves on to protect her from God knows what in this kid's room.

She heard him stammer something about her mother's flowers—Optimus must have stepped on those too—before saying, "Listen to me. You've gotta listen to me. My parents come out here and they see you, they're gonna freak out. My mother's got a temper, okay?"

Optimus gave a frustrated sigh as Rochelle moved to a dresser, sifting trough his clean clothing. "We must have those glasses."

"I know you need the glasses," Sam said with equally strained patience. "I've been looking everywhere." Rochelle rolled her eyes again—why hadn't she taken Ironhide's suggestion and just went to her party? Then she wouldn't be looking through this wreck of a room for some stupid glasses! "They're not here. They're definitely not here." Rochelle rolled her eyes, slamming the drawer shut. Coming closer to the window, she saw Optimus wipe a hand over his face—a very human-like reaction, actually.

"Keep searching," he said tersely, and Rochelle threw up her hands, returning to the dresser.

"I didn't ask for this!" she said to no one in particular. God, why did she get into a situation like this anyway?

"I need you to be quiet for five minutes," Sam pleaded with the Autobot leader. "Ten minutes. Please? I'm begging you," and Optimus shifted positions, clearly not wanting to. "You got to—You're making a racket."

"Don't you remember, Sam?" she muttered. "Autobots can't tell time. He'll be back in about one minute, I guarantee it."

"I can't concentrate," he said, trying to make it seem as legit as possible to the alien that didn't understand his disorganization. "You want me to look and I'm hearing—"

Optimus finally waved a soothing hand at him. "Calm down, calm down," he said, finally retreating from the window.

"You got to do something here. You got to do something here."

It was amazing that his parents couldn't hear him freaking out. Or for that matter, what was going on with their Autobot friends. Rochelle was sure Optimus's voice could be heard, much less felt as it vibrated through your body when he said, "Autobots, fall back."

"Thank you. Please, five more minutes. Okay? Okay."

Rochelle jumped, slamming her knee against the dresser when Optimus ordered, "Move!" She was sure they heard that one!

"Get away!" Ratchet ordered Ironhide who was moving too slow for his tastes. "What's the matter with you?" Rochelle rolled her eyes, hearing him pester Ironhide all the way. "Can't you be quiet? He wants us to be quiet! Argh!"

Rochelle jumped, yelping when she heard a shock and several staggered steps before it seemed like an earthquake hit—"What the hell!" she snapped, lunging to the window—only to see Ironhide's back and a bit of a yellowish Autobot on the ground. Ratchet! What, did he do something stupid, like trip?

She watched his bright blue eyes widen. "Wow! That was tingly!"

Rochelle groaned, leaning against the windowsill.

"You got to try that!"

She snickered though when she heard Ironhide's sarcastic, "Yeah, that looks fun."

Then, Rochelle groaned again—the lights went out. All down the street—the spark must have been power lines! She scowled, muttering, "Damned, klutzy, Ratchet!"

Optimus ordered Ratchet to point a light in the room, and Rochelle froze, as did Mikaela—they could hear his parents in the hallway, banging on the door. What the hell—now what?

Hovering behind Sam's shoulder, she could see Ironhide just out the window, Ratchet pointing that blazing bright light in there too. Rochelle wasn't quite sure what was happening, but suddenly they were all hiding, and fast, as his dad started to count down the numbers before he came barging in. Shrugging off Sam's hand, Rochelle let him drag his girlfriend off as she instead took a big leap from the windowsill, landing on Ironhide as he pressed against the side of the house, trying to avoid the windows. She didn't see where the others went, but landed roughly on Ironhide's shoulder, and she gasped softly when she felt pain on her knee. Sitting a bit clumsily on him, losing her balance and falling onto the side of his head, Rochelle cursed softly seeing her bleeding knee.

"Damn it," she muttered, jeans and skin sliced cleanly by a sharp edge somewhere, but didn't say anything more by a stern glance of blue eyes. It was then that Ironhide noticed the cut, but he couldn't do anything about it—she thought Ratchet would probably notice it too, just because he could probably smell it. She could hear Sam fighting with his parents over—what? Masturbating? "Oh, God," she breathed out heavily to herself, and Optimus happened to glance inside the window. He jerked back when he saw a parent in the window, jerking back into the house. Rochelle groaned quietly to herself when that caused ANOTHER hard shaking and rattling of the house, making the dad freak out all over again. She heard him screaming about aftershock, going to look outside. Last to hide was Jazz, and she could see his mouth move as he silently cursed, each hiding place taken, and she saw him duck down—must have gone beneath the porch somewhere. But wasn't that where Bumblebee was? She couldn't tell from her vantage point on Ironhide's shoulder, only that Ratchet was crouched behind them.

As he finally went back inside, the Autobots were able to breathe, and Rochelle sighed out a breath she hadn't known she had been holding. Ironhide frowned as he came out to the others, hefting up that big ol' gun on his wrist. "The parents are very annoying," he said lowly, and Rochelle nodded, also agreeing with old Ratchet in the background hissing, "Yeah, yeah, yeah." "Can I take them out?"

"I agree," Rochelle said brightly, holding a hand to her injured knee. "Let him finally blast something with those cannons."

However, Optimus took them for serious, saying quickly and quietly, "Ironhide, you know we don't harm humans. What is with you?"

He shrugged, jolting Rochelle's seat and making her grasp a hold of him. "Well, I'm just saying we could." And then, near inaudibly, "It's an option." Rochelle found herself snickering in his ear.

Finally, things calmed down quickly when Mikaela made herself known, and Rochelle sighed, leaning again on Ironhide's head—she'd had enough drama tonight! And a bloody, cut leg to top it off!

The Autobots looked first—then Rochelle. Staring a bit dumbly at all the police cars, Ironhide backed away first—"Damn it, Ironhide, I can't see what's going on back here!"—and then the rest, Optimus peering from behind the house as she heard the cars pull up. A couple minutes ticked by. Then, she could hear screaming, and she froze, realizing that they were all being taken away by the police—thank God she hadn't been in there!

When Optimus let them drive off, Rochelle found her voice. "Hey!" she snapped at him, not bothering to keep her voice down since everyone had evacuated the area. "You just let them get away with your glasses!" Who cared about Sam and all the other crazies? Certainly not her. "You gonna just stand there like a lump on a log?"

Optimus ignored her. "Autobots, roll out."

Ironhide tried once again to leave her behind—Rochelle jumped on him before he could leave. It wasn't as if he could, they had to file out one by one, and she quickly got in the truck, jamming the keys in ignition.

"All right," she muttered, tried of this same game, "You listen close, and you listen good. You're stuck with me forever, got it? I've claimed you as my truck, and you WILL continue to be my truck since you so crushed my motorcycle to bits, thank-you-very-much. So get over yourself and drive." Damn, it was going to be tough to keep him in line!

Not finding anything in the cab to bandage her knee, Rochelle scowled, heaving a great sigh. Not sure if he could or not, Rochelle muttered unnecessarily to Ironhide, "Don't look at me." Taking off her leather jacket, she quickly stripped off her dark lavender tank top, streetlights passing by at an alarming pace. She quickly put her jacket back on, buttoning it up, and then proceeded to tie her shirt tight around her knee as a makeshift tourniquet. By the time she looked up, she squealed as Ironhide suddenly transformed, catching her in his hand.

Rochelle had just enough time to look up and see Optimus stop a car, lift it up, and let it hang until the top just ripped off, exposing, guess who? Sam and Mikaela.

Sam leaned forward to the men in the front seats. "You A-holes are in trouble now. Gentlemen, let me introduce to you my friend. Optimus Prime."

Rochelle stared as he said heroically, "Taking the children was a bad move." God, how she would HATE to be on the receiving end of that threat! Rochelle watched every man from every vehicle point their guns at Optimus; he raised his voice. "Autobots, relieve them of their weapons!"

Rochelle resisted the urge to scream when Ironhide reacted instantly, jumping down off the bridge to run up, pointing his huge cannons down at all the people in an empty threat—Optimus clearly wasn't going to harm ANY humans.

"Freeze!" he barked, deep and gravelly, making her shiver at the extent of how threatening his voice sounded as well.

"Give me those!" she heard Jazz growl, and looked over just in time to see his hand transform, creating a magnet that brought every gun in the area to him. Rochelle had to grin—they were good.

Ironhide cut his eyes to her. "You go with the other humans."

"What? No!" She kicked at him only to miss as he picked her up with his fingers.

"You go with them—I can't ferry you around while doing what I do."

Narrowing her eyes, just glad that she'd still be with the Autobots, she jangled the keys up at him—he couldn't conceal his look of surprise. "How did you—"

"You are STILL my truck!" and she left, stomping over to the boring humans.

Rochelle walked up, easily accepted as the third wheel. After an unsuccessful interrogation of the man about a place called Sector Seven—and after Bumblebee peed on him, sending the little bot way higher in her regards book—Rochelle made her way back to Ironhide.

Finally, things calmer, she looked up at him in awe. This—THIS was her truck. Ironhide was her truck, a fully intelligent and powerful robotic, living creature, with feelings and a mind of his own. Seeing her, he leaned down closer to her.

"How did you manage to steal the keys away without my knowing?"

Rochelle couldn't help but give him a saucy grin, twirling the keys around her finger, saying only, "I believe you underestimate me, Ironhide. I think I'm capable of more than you realize."

For once, something in Ironhide's rugged, tough outlook changed as he looked at her, but Rochelle didn't get to see it long enough to pin-point it. In the next instant, he jerked his head up, bellowing, "Optimus! Incoming!" Half a second later, she found his giant hulk of metal barring the way of whatever was coming, slamming his gun to the ground. Rochelle felt the shockwave even when it didn't come her way, and she tried to peer between his legs to get a better look at what was going on. She could hear a helicopter—or several—and sirens. The cops again?

She didn't think twice as Optimus told them to get moving—Ironhide transformed back into the truck, and she jumped right in, this time for once him not trying to leave without her. Jamming the keys in ignition, they took off, tires squealing, the seatbelt automatically strapping on.

Rochelle spared a glance to Optimus as he picked up Sam and Mikaela. "Shouldn't we stay close to them?"

"We're splitting them up," Ironhide said as each Autobot took off in different directions, the police forces splitting up too. In the black truck, Rochelle shook her head—she had had the thought of missing this for a measly party? Hell no! She still had troubles wrapping her head around the fact that this was all happening in one night.

The dark, black truck easily lost them in the night, backtracking the other way. "Ironhide, the glasses!"

He screeched to a halt, revving in reverse before quickly driving down the slope. Hopping out of the truck, she snagged up the near-broken glasses and jumped back in, Ironhide bringing them away quickly.

Curious, she turned on the light above her, staring down at the cracked glasses. The map was in this? She could hardly believe it.

Ironhide brought them around back to a different bridge, and she saw Optimus crouching resolutely on it, troubled. She could tell it from where she was—it emanated from every vibe of his being. But even so, only Jazz transformed.

"Hang back," he said to them, jogging forward. "Let me check it out."

Rolling down the window, Rochelle listened quietly to their banter. "Optimus," he said, but the robot didn't answer, moving aside for enough room for Jazz too. "Are we just gonna stand here and do nothing?" They moved through the bridge like it were monkey bars.

Rochelle swallowed, dreading Optimus's answer, somehow knowing it already. "There's no way to free Bumblebee without harming the humans."

Something dropped in the pit of her stomach—she had known it. She had known it . . . "But it's not right," she heard Jazz stick up for him. "He's—"

"Let them leave."

Something caught in her throat. Optimus cut Jazz off, saying the words so shortly—he hated leaving Bumblebee too. But he refused to hurt humans even if to save him, and he hated the fact that he was leaving Bumblebee. His tone was final.

They came back up, and Optimus approached Rochelle and Ironhide—she knew he wanted the glasses. Clenching them in her fist, she opened the door, stepping out to face him.

"I won't give them to you."

The truck next to her gave a shudder. Optimus thrust his hand out to her, right in front of her face—she flinched, but refused to budge.

"Give me the glasses."

Rochelle shoved them in her pocket. "No way. Not until you do something about Bumblebee. And unless you want these glasses, you'll either do as I say or you'll have to end up hurting me."

Speaking of hurt . . . her knee was beginning to throb.

Optimus winced slightly, but refused to put his hand down. "Rochelle," he stated, and her heart quickened—she had only said her name once, and he remembered? "Please. The fate of your entire world rests within those glasses." Mesmerized by his deep, pleading voice, Rochelle felt her will waver. "Without it, we cannot find the All Spark, and the Decepticons will mobilize soon. They will come for the All Spark, the glasses as well, and they will not be forgiving. They will kill every last human to get it, and while we will lay down our lives, we don't know if the Decepticon army will overwhelm us." Those crystal blue eyes blinked down on her. "And despite how I wish I could help Bumblebee, I will not harm humans."

For a second, her will wavered tremendously—then, she caught herself. Giving a mighty shake of her head, she snapped as vicious as she could, "Then we all die along with Bumblebee," and she slammed the door to her truck shut.

Shaking slightly, surprised that she cared so much and also that she had said no to Optimus Prime, she squeezed her eyes shut, dreading what would happen next. Instead, she just heard Optimus sigh and say, "Follow close, Autobots," and then they were driving.

They were leaving. For a second she thought she had made him come to his senses, but they were leaving the city, going the opposite way than from where the humans had taken Bumblebee. Terrified for some reason, Rochelle hugged herself, feeling how her leg hurt. A voice broke the silence, comforting to her ears.

"You stood up to Optimus," Ironhide said quietly. There was a stretch of silence. "I admire your guts, girl."

Leaning against the door, finding herself exhausted, Rochelle said truly, "Thanks, Ironhide." The repetitive dash of lights across the truck numbed her mind. Realizing the night was turning to morning and she had been up almost 24 hours full of excitement, Rochelle succumbed to deep slumber.