"Wake up, kid."

Glory moaned and tried to shut out that voice. She didn't want to come online, to face the real world again. Life was so much more pleasant in her realm of dreams, where her family was still alive and Megatron still led the Decepticons, where nothing hurt and no one was cruel to her.

"C'mon, kiddo, you gotta refuel. Your levels are down to zip."

She curled up tightly, covering her face with her arms. She just wanted to sleep, to dream about her uncle… to go back into his arms and know that there was still someone out there who cared about her. Dimly she could feel an alert buzzing in her systems that confirmed the voice's words – if she didn't refuel soon, she would go into shutdown. But she didn't care at the moment.

"Kid, don't do this to me," the voice ordered. "Don't die on me. Swindle'll have my neck." Something smooth pressed against her lip plates – an energon cube. "Drink, okay?"

Weakly she obeyed, opening her mouth enough to let a trickle of fuel in. A powerful arm held her and lifted her up enough to ensure the energon wouldn't go down her vents by mistake, while another steadied the cube as she lifted shaky hands to take it for herself.

"Atta girl," the voice said at last. "You'll be fine."

She brought her optics online and looked up at the mech who'd awakened her. Her vision was still hazy, and she had to reboot her optics a few times before Blitzwing's face came into focus. He wore a neutral expression as he watched her refuel – he wasn't happy, but he didn't seem upset either, which was fine by her.

She coughed abruptly as a mouthful of energon slipped down the wrong pipe, and she almost dropped the rest of the cube. Blitzwing caught it in one hand and slapped her back with the other, helping her clear her vents.

"Gonna be okay?" he asked.

She waited until her air cycles were back to normal before answering. "Yeah… I think so." She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and looked up at the triple-changer. "Did you get locked up too?"

Blitzwing's visor flickered. "No, why? Oh wait… no, you're not still locked up, kid. I busted you out."

"Oh." She looked around, for the first time realizing it was too bright here to be her cell. They were out on the landing plateau, a dry wind brushing past and the planet's pale sun sinking slowly to the east. Blitzwing sat right in the middle of the plateau, as if not caring whether or not a shuttle or a Sweep would want to be touching down anytime soon, and Wildfire was curled up not far away, shivering with pain but fixing a steel-opticed gaze on the triple-changer, as if daring him to do anything to hurt Glory. There was no sign of any other mechs.

"Where's everyone?" she finally asked.

"Cyclonus is off looking for Galvatron, and everyone else went off chasing aliens," Blitzwing grumped. "Honestly, feels like I'm the only Decepticon left with any CPU."

"Even Swindle?"

"Yeah, even him." He set the cube aside and let her go, and she slid out of his lap. "Some freaks calling themselves Quintessons showed up, and they promised energy and repairs if we helped them kill off the new Prime."

"That's good, right?" Glory saw nothing wrong with that plan. The Decepticons were desperate for energy and parts, and seeing Onslaught and the others fully repaired would be wonderful. And if the Prime was gone, maybe the Decepticons could go back to Cybertron. This deal was a good thing as far as she could see.

"I dunno," Blitzwing muttered, sounding more as if he were simply talking aloud than actually addressing her. "Those Quint freaks… don't trust 'em. They look at us like we're property, not sentient beings. It's creepy. And the mechs they had with 'em are no better than drones. It's like they got their CPUs wiped or somethin'."

Glory couldn't suppress a shiver at Blitzwing's words. The Decepticons had been abducted by aliens, it sounded like! And the way Blitzwing described them, they sounded way too sinister for her comfort. Why Swindle would choose to make a deal with creatures like that and follow them on whatever mission, she didn't know. But it sounded as if he were heading into dangerous territory without knowing it… or worse, knowing it but not caring.

"We gotta go rescue them!"

Blitzwing snorted. "Us? One mech, a sparkling, and a broken-down drone? We wouldn't last an astrosecond. The Quints don't look too tough, but their goons could probably make paste of us. That and they seem to be sneaky buggers… probably got something nasty tucked in subspace that they're gonna surprise the others with."

"But we gotta do something!" she insisted. "Swindle's with them! And Rumble and Frenzy and the Stunticons! They could get hurt!"

"Kid, they chose to follow the Quints," Blitzwing reminded her. "If they get into trouble 'cause they were stupid, that's their problem. Besides, they're all tougher than you think they are. I'm sure they can handle themselves."

"That's what everyone said about Uncle T!" she cried, and despite herself she felt tears building up in her cleanser ducts. "Everyone said he was tough and strong and could handle himself, and he still died! I don't want Swindle to die! Or the cassettes or anyone else!" She wanted to say more, to vent the fear and anger building up in her chassis, but she only covered her face with her hands, trying to hold back the inevitable sobs.

Blitzwing sighed. "Primus help me, I'm not good with kids." He reached over and awkwardly patted her shoulder. "Kid, please, don't cry, all right? I'm sure they're gonna be just fine. Just… stop crying, okay?"

She sobbed a few times before regaining enough control to speak. "I just… don't wanna lose anyone else… it hurts too much…"

"We all know that, kid," Blitzwing replied. "It's part of life, losing mechs you're close to. It sucks exhaust, but its something you can't avoid." He went quiet a moment, pondering. "If it makes you feel better, we can try sending out a message and asking if they're all right? They left enough energon for us to power up the communications array."

She nodded, wiping at her faceplate to clear away the overflowing cleanser. It wasn't much, but it would be enough to allay her fears. And perhaps they could give a warning to Swindle along with the message. The Combaticon was smart, he would be able to figure out what the Quints were up to, and maybe even twist it around to the Decepticons' advantage.

Wildfire snarled weakly.

"I'm just touchin' her shoulder, ya paranoid critter," Blitzwing snapped. "Don't short your matrix."

Wildfire snorted. "Not you," he growled. "Ships."

"Ships?" Blitzwing looked up, and his visor flared in surprise. "Slaggit… let's book it, kid, they're coming in for landing!"

Glory gave an involuntary shriek and scurried out of the way as the lavender jet swooped down toward the plateau, followed by the ungainly forms of the Sweeps. Cyclonus was back already! If he saw that she was out of her cell, she was going to be in so much trouble. And Blitzwing would probably get punished too for letting her out…

"Well? Where's the army you promised me, Cyclonus? Where are the Decepticons that I command?"

"Oh frag, he found him," Blitzwing muttered.

Glory squeaked in fright as a familiar mech touched down for a landing just beside Cyclonus, a violet mech with a tri-horned crest and an orange cannon on his arm. She remembered Galvatron from Starscream's coronation, and he had been so terrifying during that single encounter that she had hoped he was gone forever. No such luck, it looked like.

"They should be here," Cyclonus protested, transforming to robot mode. "It is possible they are in hiding. They're low on energy and shouldn't be able to go far…"

"I don't want excuses!" Galvatron shrieked. "I want my army! Now!"

Blitzwing stepped back, obviously wary of the violet mech, and Glory ducked behind his legs in terror. This wasn't the Galvatron she remembered – arrogant and ruthless, but also cold and calculating. This was a mech even more insane than Wildrider, his optics flashing erratically and his voice shrill with anger. He reminded her of a wild animal, crazed with pain and ready to pounce at a moment's notice.

"We will find them, my lord," Cyclonus replied, bowing to Galvatron. His expression was as stony as ever, but his voice had warmed a bit, as if finding Galvatron had finally improved his constantly bad mood a bit. The ice returned to his tone when he turned to address Blitzwing, though.

"Report," he demanded. "Something happened while we were gone, I know it. Where are the Decepticons?"

Blitzwing tilted his head back as if rolling his optics. "Wasn't my day to watch 'em."

"You dare talk back to a commanding officer?" Cyclonus asked, arching an optic ridge. "I didn't expect you to have a death wish."

"Enough!" Galvatron roared, striding forward and shoving Cyclonus aside. "I tire of these games! Where's my army?!"

Blitzwing held his ground, but Glory could feel a slight tremor pass through his body as she pressed up against the back of his legs in fear. "They took off after the Quintessons, sir."

"Quinte-what?" asked Scourge, frowning in confusion.

"Some weird aliens with tentacles and interchanging faces," Blitzwing explained. "Gave us energon and told us if we helped them wipe out the Autobots, they'd fix us and provide us with more energy. The rest of the 'Cons followed 'em, the idiots."

Cyclonus scowled. "Treason. Disobeying their commander and following another, one who isn't even our kind. They will pay for this, my lord." He turned to Galvatron. "They will ALL pay for this."

Galvatron frowned, the look of uncontrollable anger fading from his faceplate a moment. "Quintessons… so another race shares our goal. Perhaps they aren't so different from us."

Cyclonus looked puzzled. "Sir?"

"Where were these Quintessons going, Blitzwing?" Galvatron demanded. "Where were they taking MY Decepticons?"

"Someplace called Goo, sir."

"Then that's where we shall go!" Galvatron declared. "The Decepticons shall crush the Autobots, then crush the Quintessons for daring to steal MY army out from under me! And from there we shall conquer Cybertron, then the galaxy!"

Glory stared in amazement as white-hot sparks danced around Galvatron's helm, causing his entire frame to jolt for a few seconds. She didn't have to be a medic to know that something was seriously wrong with his CPU. Could the others see it? Blitzwing looked concerned, but Cyclonus either didn't notice or didn't care.

"Sweeps, Blitzwing, prepare to move out," Cyclonus ordered. "Set your course for-"

There was a horrific thwack as Galvatron lashed out, backhanding the lavender mech. "Do not usurp my authority! I give the commands here! I am the leader of the Decepticons!"

Glory whined in fear and pressed her face to Blitzwing's leg. The small burst of satisfaction she felt at seeing the former commander get some of his own abuse heaped back on him was smothered by terror. This mech was worse than Cyclonus!

"What's this?" She could almost feel Galvatron's optics boring into her. "A pet? Some sort of miniature soldier?"

"That's Glory, sir," Blitzwing explained. "A sparkling."

"Glory…" Galvatron said the name slowly, turning it over in his vocalizer as if it were a word in a foreign language. Then he gave a nasty laugh. "Doesn't look all that glorious. What's her function?"

"Um… a sparkling?" Blitzwing replied, as if it should have been obvious. "She's not upgraded yet."

"And why not?" Galvatron demanded. "Are you telling me we're harboring a mech who's no use to us whatsoever? A waste of scrap metal is what her function is!"

"She was Swindle's charge before he abandoned us, Lord Galvatron," Cyclonus informed him. "Now that he is no longer here, we can be rid of her."

"Wait just a-" Blitzwing began, but reeled back as Galvatron punched him hard in the faceplate. He staggered back, leaving Glory exposed. She tried to run, but her legs felt frozen to the ground. She could only stare up in horror as Galvatron raised his gun-arm, aiming the weapon at her.

A high scream of rage tore through the air, and Galvatron staggered as a red-and-gold form barreled into his legs. His shot went wide, scorching a black line in the rock just to Glory's left. He flailed, trying to regain his balance, only for Wildfire to slam into him again. The horseformer trembled with rage, dental plates bared, optics wide and flaring angrily, audial receptors pinned flat to his head.

"Destroy it!" Cyclonus snapped. "Sweeps, destroy the drone! It's gone mad!"

"No!" Glory cried, and bolted forward, desperate to protect him... only for a heavy hand on her shoulder to hold her back.

"Kid, stay back!" Blitzwing ordered. "You'll get yourself killed!"

"I gotta save Wildfire!" she insisted, writhing in his grip. "I gotta! I don't want him to die!"

"He's doing what he was programmed to do," Blitzwing replied, his voice hard. "He's protecting you, even if it means giving up his life... whatever life a CPU-less drone has. You're gonna let him sacrifice himself in vain?"

There was a loud thud as Galvatron toppled over, and Wildfire transformed and lunged with a roar, wobbly on his broken leg. Cyclonus had his gun out but had yet to fire - Galvatron and the bodyguard were too close together, and a miss would ensure injury to his commander. The Sweeps just watched unhelpfully, too absorbed in watching the fight to lend a hand or to pay any mind to the triple-changer and sparkling.

Blitzwing took advantage of the confusion to scoop Glory up. "Primus help me, I don't know why I'm doing this." He turned and ran, fleeing for the path that led down the plateau.

Glory wriggled in Blitzwing's arms until she could peer over his shoulder… just in time to see Galvatron kick Wildfire off. The horseformer landed in a heap of limbs, his scimitar skidding away, and with a snarl he planted his hands beneath him and tried to push himself to his feet. Before he could do more than raise his head and chest, Galvatron had regained his own footing and aimed his cannon down at him.

She opened her mouth to scream a warning, but terror robbed her of her voice. She could only stare in horror as Galvatron fired point-blank into Wildfire's chassis. The horseformer shrieked in agony, thrashing, only for Galvatron to fire again and again, seemingly determined to keep shooting until he stopped moving.

Blitzwing finally reached the path and started down the plateau, moving as fast as he dared. Glory got one last glimpse of Wildfire, her beloved bodyguard raising his head one last time to lock optics with her. Somehow, impossibly, he looked happy in that final moment, and a smile crossed his faceplate before a final blast from Galvatron's cannon obliterated it.

She tucked her face into the crook of Blitzwing's neck and began to sob quietly, shivering. It wasn't fair. How much more was going to be taken from her? How much cruelty could Cyclonus and Galvatron pile onto the Decepticons before they could be stopped?

"Stop cryin', kid, you ain't hurt," Blitzwing told her, his voice gruff but soft. "You're gonna be okay. Wildfire saw to that." He paused at the door to the command center, then grunted and walked in. "You're gonna have to be tough from here on out, kid. It's gonna be the only way with those two in charge. Sorry, but that's the way it is."

She couldn't seem to get her vocalizer to form words, so she just nodded in reply.

"Now listen," he ordered. "Galvatron and Cyc are probably going to take off after the rest of the Decepticons, wherever they are. And they're probably going to make me go with them. While I'm gone, no matter what happens, don't leave the command center. Stay in here, and if you see or hear anything weird, you hide. Understand? You got a weapon besides your arm spikes?"

She started to shake her head, then remembered the gun she held in subspace – the last thing Megatron had ever given her before he'd died. "Yeah…"

"You can shoot, right?"

"Yeah... kinda."

"Well, if anything comes lookin' for ya that ain't me or Swindle or the cassettes, you fire at it, okay? Even if it's Galvatron or Cyc. Just keep shooting and run for it."

She shuddered at what he was implying. To have to shoot another mech, just as Wildfire had been killed… "But I'll get in even worse trouble with Cyclonus if I shoot him!"

"Trust me, kid." He set her down and shooed her in the direction of one of the back rooms. "With any luck, either Swindle'll be able to talk you out of trouble, or Galvatron'll forget all about you by the time we get back. Until then, just lay low. I'm sure Swindle'll figure something out, since you're his charge to look over for the moment."

She nodded. "O-okay." She didn't know why Blitzwing was suddenly being nice to her, but at this point she would take kindness wherever she could get it. "When'll you be back?"

"Dunno, kid… I doubt it'll be too long, though." He patted her shoulder. "Stay hidden for now. I'll leave you a few cubes in the main command center. Remember, only come out for me, Swindle, or the cassettes. Nobody else."

"'Kay." She huddled up in a corner, hugging her knees to her chest. "Blitzwing… thank you."

He grunted. "Welcome. Swindle's gonna owe me big for this, though…" He turned and hurried out of the command center, shutting the door behind him.

Glory waited until she was sure he was gone before resting her head on her knees, tears streaming down her face even as she struggled to keep her sobs choked back. Everything felt so hopeless now – Wildfire was gone, every mech she'd ever considered family was either dead or missing, the leaders of the Decepticons hated her and wanted her dead… and now she was alone and hiding from the very mechs she should have been able to trust. It seemed that every time she thought things couldn't get any worse for her, her life sunk to a whole new low.

She reached into subspace, trying to find Dragon. Even if it was just a toy, it was the only source of comfort she had left. Instead of the toy cyberdragon, though, she ended up drawing out a handful of datapads. She almost threw them aside, but the top one caught her optic – a scratched and dented datapad that bore, not a human book or one of her educational texts, but a personal journal.

The journal her mother had recorded, and that her uncle had given her before his death.

Wiping her optics clear, she activated the datapad. Despite the scuffs and cracks on the screen, she could still read the text. Maybe reading would take her mind off everything… and maybe having her mother's words so close, even if it was just words on a screen, would provide the comfort she so desperately craved.

By the time Blitzwing made it back up to the top of the plateau, there was no question whatsoever that Wildfire was completely and thoroughly deactivated. Pieces of the drone were scattered all over the plateau, some still sparking and smoking. The head was conspicuously absent, hinting that a rather messy headshot had been the final cause of death. Galvatron himself was spattered with energon and oil but looked unscathed, and Cyclonus looked on with an obvious expression of satisfaction. The Sweeps' expressions showed varying degrees of horror and disgust, but none dared speak a word against Wildfire's demise.

"Let this be a lesson to any who would dare oppose me!" Galvatron thundered, raising his fists to the sky. "They shall perish! Painfully!"

Blitzwing grimaced down at what looked to be a hoof, resisting the urge to kick it aside. If Galvatron was trying to make an example out of Wildfire, he'd done a rather bad job of it. Rather than being an example of how treason wouldn't be tolerated, the bodyguard's death was instead a testament of just how deranged and sadistic their new leader was. Galvatron wouldn't be the same sort of leader Cyclonus was – he'd be even worse.

Cyclonus glanced over at Blitzwing, as if just noticing he was there. "Where is the sparkling?"

"She's… gone." Let these two make of that what they would.

"She's gone?" Galvatron demanded. "She'll not trouble us again? Good work, Blitzwing!" He gave a cruel smile. "That's one less waste of energy among our troops!"

"What now, sir?" Blitzwing asked. "Where do we go from here?"

"To find the Decepticons, of course!" Galvatron barked. "To get my army back! And to destroy Rodimus Prime once and for all! He will suffer just as this traitor did!" He pointed at the scattered components of Wildfire.

"You will accompany us, Blitzwing," Cyclonus ordered. "We will need every available mech for this mission."

"Yessir." He despised having to take orders from the nutjob and the bootlicker, but for now he didn't have much of a choice. Besides, someone was going to have to warn Swindle about what had happened here, and it looked like it would have to be him.

"Decepticons, fly out!" Galvatron ordered. "Follow me!" And he took to the sky, Cyclonus close behind.

Blitzwing transformed to his jet mode and trailed after them, the Sweeps rising in formation just behind him. This new leader got worse all the time, it seemed. Under Cyclonus they had faced slow death by starvation… but under Galvatron it seemed they risked swift, painfully messy death by their leader's own hands. And with Cyclonus so fanatically loyal to the psychotic mech, they couldn't hope for him to pull a Starscream and get rid of him for them, either.

Idly he wondered if any of the other Decepticons would be planning some sort of coup now that they were fully energized and in better repair. Soundwave had always been loyal to Megatron, but somehow he doubted the tape deck harbored the same sort of loyalty to Galvatron. Astrotrain had never fully let go of his hope to overthrow Megatron and just might be plotting something against their current leader, but he didn't exactly have the best success rate. Hook, Motormaster, and Onslaught each had their teams to back them up should they decide to make a power grab, but so far none had shown any signs of wanting to seize the throne for themselves. Shockwave had vanished after the attack on Cybertron, but that didn't mean he was dead – he could be in hiding, biding his time and forming his own plot to take control.


Galvatron's shout jolted Blitzwing out of his thoughts. "Huh?"

"I said get your aft up front where I can see it, you idiot!" Galvatron barked. "Are you deaf as well as stupid?"

Blitzwing thought of a few witty retorts he could fire off in reply, but he decided he liked his head in one piece and on his shoulders. "Yes, sir," he grumbled, and moved up to take his place in front. He knew he was making a target of himself, but at the moment he didn't have much choice.

One thing was for certain when they finally caught up to the rest of the Decepticons, though – he was going to have to track down Swindle and tell him it was time Glory grew up for good. Whatever innocence she'd possessed before today had most likely been shattered anyhow, and she would be better able to defend herself from Galvatron's wrath if she were upgraded. That, and Cyclonus could no longer claim she was a useless waste of energy if she were useful to the Decepticon cause as a warrior. He had a feeling Swindle wouldn't like his suggestion, but if he had a lick of sense in his cranial unit, he'd listen.

Every time Megatron broadcasts a message to Cybertron, he sends the call out for more soldiers, more recruits. He continues to push for family units to accelerate their sparklings' educations, to prepare them for adult upgrades that they might serve the Decepticon cause more readily. He says it's our duty to prepare our children for battle, that to ensure victory every mech, femme, and sparkling must be prepared and ever ready.

Glory had to pause reading to wipe her face again, wondering why she hadn't run dry on optic cleanser yet. At least these weren't tears of grief or fear, not anymore. Somehow, reading her mother's words made her feel as if she were here again, even if she didn't always write about the happiest subjects. It had been a long time since she'd felt truly happy, and she didn't want to lose that feeling now.

She'd lost track of the time, and wasn't sure how long it had been since Blitzwing had taken her here and urged her to hide – though she found she wasn't bothered enough about the time to check her internal chronometer. Reading her mother's journal had occupied her time, and she'd only paused a few times to refuel and recharge. If she stopped reading, she would have to think about the present… and she would rather have her mind in the past, remembering her creators and learning more about them.

Windblade hadn't just written about her private worries or the major events in her life, either – there were plenty of lighthearted memories recorded in here as well. Glory had found herself giggling at some prank her mother had pulled against her own creators or Thundercracker, or at the overcharged antics of her uncle, or Shockwave's reaction to Windblade changing every computer password in the labs to SHOCKWAVENEEDSAHUG. She wished Rumble and Frenzy were here so she could share these stories with them. They would have hysterics.

But the current entry dealt again with Windblade's private thoughts… and with Glory herself, even if she hadn't yet been created when this was written. She read on.

I can't help but be scared by this. It was never my intention to bring a child into this world with the sole intention of making a soldier out of her. I want my daughter to mature at a normal pace, to live a normal childhood, to enjoy some portion of her life as an innocent sparkling without the terrible burden of war on her shoulders. And more than anything, I want her to live to see peace restored to Cybertron. And if she is made a soldier as soon as possible... then I fear she will never see the end of the war.

Glory reached up to wipe her optics, only to find her cleanser stores had finally run dry. She had seen the end of the war, all right… but it hadn't ended happily. Windblade had no doubt imagined that an end to the war would mean their family could live peacefully on a Decepticon-controlled Cybertron. Glory couldn't help but wonder what she would have thought of the war's true end, with the Autobots ruling Cybertron and the Decepticons under the reign of a mad-mech.

She read on, clinging to every word. She read about the rediscovery of the Nemesis on Earth, and Windblade learning that her brother – Glory's uncle – was alive after almost four million years in stasis. She read about her activation, her days as a new-sparked, and her mother's thoughts and reactions to her antics. She read about her father, and idly wondered if he, too, had kept a journal, and if it would ever be found.

And she read about her mother's decision to keep her a secret from her uncle.

We have decided not to tell Thundercracker about Glory. It hurts that I can't trust my own co-creation with this information... sorry, that was a bad choice of words. I know I can trust him - Primus knows he's kept enough secrets for me over the vorns. (As far as I know, he has still kept silent about the petrorabbits being released in the Astronomy Labs back at the Academy, for which I'm eternally grateful.) But I fear that, with my brother so close to Megatron, it will only be a matter of time before some word of Glory reaches Megatron's audials, even by accident. I won't have my child forced to become a soldier... and I won't have my brother forced to choose between his family and his commander. It wouldn't be fair to him.

Primus forgive me this... and Thundercracker too, if by some chance he ever reads this. I never meant to hurt anyone. My only wish is to protect Glory.

No wonder Uncle T had been so surprised to see her, and had been so awkward and distant around her at first. For the first time, she understood some of the struggles her parents and uncle had gone through to keep her safe, and to ensure she had a proper sparkling-hood. And for the first time, her uncle's attempt to send her away a few years ago made sense. He had risked being punished for treason to keep her from being upgraded too soon, even if it had meant sending her to live among the neutrals. Even with Windblade gone, he had been willing to sacrifice all to make sure her wishes for Glory were carried out.

The next entry was the last – and it cut off in mid-sentence. Had the memory chip been corrupted? But when she checked the date of the entry, she realized the truth. Her mother had been writing in this journal the day of the attack, and been fatally interrupted in the middle of the entry.

Her optics burned, though no tears came, and she hugged the datapad to her chest. There wasn't going to be a miracle – her parents and her uncle weren't going to magically come back to life. But somehow, she felt as if her mother had returned to her through this journal. It was as if some part of her had come back to life within Glory, giving her a measure of her presence.

"Thank you, Mom," she whispered, hoping Windblade could hear her in the Well of All Sparks. Maybe she hadn't had the childhood Windblade had hoped for her, but she would always treasure the time she had. And she would always be thankful to her creators and her uncle for all they had done for her.

One thing was for sure, though – she was going to work as hard as she could to make her family proud of her. It was the least she could do in return. Whatever happened from here on out, she wanted to make sure their efforts to raise her right hadn't been in vain. She would be the best possible Decepticon she could, however she could do it.

Tucking the datapad back into subspace, she curled up in her corner and settled in for recharge. Once the others returned, she would find Hook and tell him she was ready for her upgrade. Then she would show Cyclonus that she was hardly weak and useless… and honor the memory of Piston, Windblade, and Thundercracker.