Title: Across the Galaxy

Summary: Mina Castina is just your average twenty year-old woman, struggling to find her place in the world. A nerd and outcast all her life, she is not surprised by her struggles in her social life even as she does well in her school work. For all her feelings of being out of place, she never expected to find a place she felt she belonged. Especially when that place is far from her own planet! And just two days before her birthday too.

Characters: Autobots. Decepticons. Velocitronians. Junkions. Mina Castina(OC). Possible others.

Timeframe: Exodus-Exiles. Possibly beyond.

Note: Originally, this was gonna start toward the end of Exodus, but a combination of a conversation with Sci-FiFan95 and ideas that I had already had has led to me deciding to go through with those ideas and start when Orion is still Orion. That is what happens at times when I do not start a story right when I get the idea. The idea morphs into something better! And longer... *grin*

Idea Origin: I always wanted to do a story where a human goes to Cybertron. I actually started one once upon a time ago(like a year and a half ago), set in the War for Cybertron game, but I didn't like it. So now I have a new and improved version, that I came up with while reading Exiles. I'm starting it just before Exodus starts. And I haven't read all of the book yet, but I have read through all of Exiles and it does not go on through the arrival to Earth, so it will be going beyond what the books have. I have been looking forward to writing this story for a long time.

A/N: I am aware I had written a side story to A Galaxy-Wide Search, the original idea. As of now, it is an alternate universe to the main story. I hope you guys aren't upset about that.

A/N2: I hope you all like it!

Chapter 1: Unexpected Destination

Journal Entry #1: Plans

Have you ever had big plans that you were very excited for? That you felt like you would die if they got ruined? Well that is my case at the moment. You see, it is my birthday in a couple days. And I get a treat this year. I am going to be going to Winter Jam to see my favorite bands play live music!

Needless to say, I am very excited. I may not be a social butterfly, but that does not mean I cannot enjoy the awesomeness that is music. Especially when one of the bands playing is Sanctus Real.

That is right. You did not misread me! Sanctus Real is playing at Winter Jam! The very same that I am going to in two days! It is so exciting!

~Mina Castina

~Ohio University-Chillicothe Branch. January 26, 2012~

I'm as eloquent as an elephant

About as headstrong as the

Mighty King Kong on a rampage

Throwing airplanes

I can't believe you haven't gone away

I am difficult, argumentative

About as thick skulled as the

Dinosaur bones on a display

In a glass case

I can't believe you haven't run away

The song played in my ears from my iPod as I walked up the walk to the school. It was one of my favorite songs by Sanctus Real, Eloquent. I was headed to my work, which would be followed with my Tuesday-Thursday class and then more work.

It must be different through your eyes

Because you look at me like it's the first time

That you've ever seen my face

I'm preoccupied with a crowded mind

I get off track like a train

Rolling back to the future

Never too sure who'll be here

When I come back around

But I'm finding out

I sighed when I reached the Fish Bowl and could take my backpack off my shoulders to set it down in a chair. I rolled my shoulders to try to relieve them of the soreness carrying a backpack full of books and a laptop gave them. Usually on Thursdays I only carried my text book for my one class and my laptop which was relatively small so it was light as well, which made it easy to carry around. Today, however, I had decided to bring along my sketchbook and colored pencils. And you would be amazed how much harder it is to walk up University Hill to the school with the added weight.

"Good morning," Jill, my friend and superior, said. Well, she was not my boss, but she was higher on the ladder than I was.

"Good morning," I said as cheerily as I could muster this early in the morning.

"How are you on this fine morning?" Jill asked.

"I am ok," I said, lifting my sunglasses to the top of my head and rubbing at my eyes. "Tired, but ok. How are you?" I asked as I let my sunglasses fall back over my eyes. I never took them off, especially around people I do not trust. I trusted Jill, but my job put me in contact with a lot of people I do not know.

"I'm good," Jill said. "Are you writing anything for the writing contest? Or the Glass Enclosure?"

There she goes again. "Not yet, still trying to come up with ideas," I said. I was not really one for contests, though I might write something for the book.

"You can think of something," Jill said. "You are a great writer, and very creative."

"Yeah, yeah," I said, trying to hide a smirk. I was not one for compliments, but I was proud of my writing skills. And it was not even what I did for a living. Yet. I did plan on publishing a book someday though.

I tilted my head as a thought came to me. "You know, I think people tend to take for granted the freedom we have in choosing what we do with our lives," I said, seemingly randomly.

"They do," Jill agreed. "What brought this on?"

"Oh, just a random observation," I said. "My mom does data entry every day and here I am doing something completely different. Sure I do some data entry here, but it is not the main thing I do and I do not do it every day. If I recall my history correctly, then there was a time when you were doomed to go into the same business as your parents, whether you wanted to or not."

"I can see what you mean," Jill said. "I think we just lose sight of that. We take for granted a lot of freedoms we have that people don't have even today in some countries."

I nodded. "I'm going to get some breakfast," I said and left the room before Jill turned it into a political conversation.

I sighed when I escaped before we started talking about the upcoming elections. It was not as if I did not have political views, I did. I just did not talk about them here. Everyone here were liberal Democrats. I was a conservative Republican. I knew I was not the only one, but mostly I was surrounded by liberals. It was not that I disagreed with everything they believed. I did believe there needed to be more equality between women and men, cause reality has it that there is not. If I were to get the same exact job as a man, the man would be paid more. There was no use pretending the gender bias was no longer around when it was.

They were my friends, but that did not change that I am a lot more conservative than anyone around here. I knew some thought my ideas were crazy, but I am not sorry that I believe abortion to be murder and that we should stick to the good values of the Bible. The country was founded on the Word of God and has fallen far from it in the hundreds of years since its foundation.

I sighed again, feeling much like the only cat in a room full of dogs I was not familiar with. I had nothing against them, but they made me nervous at times. Like one wrong step could have me right back in the outcast status I carried through grade school.

I shook the thoughts out of my head. No, do not start thinking that way, I mentally berated myself. Positive thinking Mina. Just because you are the only Republican here does not mean you are alone.

"Hey, what can I do for you?" the student on shift at the café asked, making me realize I had made it to my destination.

"Hi," I greeted. "Can I get a small hot chocolate and a breakfast sandwich?"

"It will be a few minutes on the breakfast sandwich, if that's ok," she said, putting in the figures on the cash register.

"Yeah," I nodded.

I handed her my debit card when she held her hand out for it. After she swiped it, I signed the receipt and she went to make the hot chocolate. My wait was about five minutes, which probably would have made some people annoyed, but I found one of the keys to staying sane in this world was having a lot of patience.

"Thank you," I said, accepting my order when it came. "Have a good day."

"Thank you," she said. "You have a good one too."

I nodded and headed back to the Learning Center. One nice thing about this place was that everyone was nice. They may occasionally call me crazy or weird, but it was not like they were wrong when they did. I did not mind. I enjoyed being the crazy and weird one. The world can call me crazy all they want, it will not change my beliefs. Besides, I always dared to be different. Despite everything, I was going to miss this place when I left. But I still had some months before that happened.

"Good morning," I said when I walked into the room to find that some of the other tutors had arrived now as well.

"Morning Mina," one of them said.

I held my hot chocolate up in a salute kind of thing and then headed to the table I had set my stuff down at. I sat down with my back to the window, since I had to face the door for when people came in for math tutoring so I didn't miss them, and spun the chair around to look out the window for a moment. The windows surrounded the Learning Center, including the wall that was to the library. They are what earned the place its nickname, the Fish Bowl. Looking out the floor-to-ceiling window to the outside, I could see the different students arriving for their first class of the day or early study time. This place was the home away from home for many of us here. We spent the majority of our time here, after all, rather than at our homes.

I turned back around, pulling my sketch pad out along with my colored pencils. I decided I would work on coloring some of my sketches during lax times today. Such as now. In fact, the whole morning was rather slow, a contrast to how it could be some mornings. A couple people came in for tutoring in math before I had to go to class, but my shift I had after class was quite busy. I tutored about seven different people, two of them at the same time, before my shift was over at seven at night. That wasn't counting the five that came in for a math higher than I could handle, but a different tutor was there to handle them.

"Have a good night," I said when my second shift was up. My coworkers that were still there each gave a small wave as I left, putting my headphones in my ears. I turned on some music to listen to on my way home.

Why are we afraid of what people say

What they think about us

This is the way of cynical hearts

Learning to trust

Everyone is scared of feeling

Out of place

Break away the walls

Carry us to where we belong

The world around me faded slightly from my perception as I focused on the music and on getting home. I was aware enough to know when I needed to move aside to avoid get hit by a car, since there were no sidewalks on the trek home, but if someone were to call to me it was unlikely I would hear them. Not that there was anyone around here who would anyway. I did not know many people around here yet.

Journal Entry #2: Unexpected…

The day had gone by as normal as any Thursday had. So I was not expecting anything…strange to happen. In hindsight, perhaps that was my first mistake.

I only made it half way home before it happened.

I was about to turn onto the street that would take me the rest of the way down the hill when a loud boom inserted itself over my music. Having not been expecting it, I must have jumped about five feet in the air before falling back toward the ground.

I expected to land, which would be followed with a mini freak out as I tried to locate the source of the boom. I did not expect to keeping falling, with blue swirls dancing in my vision. For a moment I thought something had gotten on my visor-like sunglasses, but when I took them off I still saw the blue swirls and I could see the trees on the opposite side of the street fading to nothing.

I think I passed out momentarily, because when I found myself opening my eyes, I definitely was not in Ohio anymore. In fact, I do not believe I am even on Earth anymore!

Where on Earth are there buildings so tall, I think they were made for giants?

Maybe I need to learn to expect the unexpected…

~Mina Castina