Author's Note: -crawls online-

-leaves this here-

-retreats into den of solitude-


8- Unease


"Do you know why you're in trouble, Danielle?"

"Levi made fun of me about not having a mom anymore. So I hit him."

"Don't you know that hitting people is wrong? Do you want me to call your father?"

The tiny child sniffled, but the defiance never left her. "But making fun of me for not having a mom is wrong too. "

"The principal is talking to him about that already. But you did have a mom, so just ignore his teasing from now on. In fact, you're lucky." Fake, cheerful words. "You've had several moms now."

"But not my real mom." Insisted the young child. "And if I did have a real mom, then where is she?" Danielle clutched the front of her overly-large shirt, freckled face scrunched into an upset frown. "Why didn't she come take me back?"

The adult let out an exasperated sigh. "She's dead, Danielle. She died when you were born." Flat, matter-of-fact words from a person who neither knew nor cared about her. The little girl lowered her head, her tiny hands tightening their grip on her shirt.

"I don't have a daddy, either."

The faceless adult tilted its head. "You don't think Mister Robertson is your daddy?"

The little girl shook her head vigorously. "No. And neither was Mister Gein, or Mister Kenson. If I had a daddy, a real daddy, he woulda come for me. He didn't."

"Maybe he couldn't. Nobody even knows who your father is. He might be dead, too."

The girl glared up at the adult through her lashes. She didn't know if he was dead or alive, but she did know, deep within her very bones, that her father would never be a good part of her life either way. All she could ever feel towards the men who posed as a dad to her, even including the very idea of the man who'd fathered her, was anger. Pure, simple anger. Even a child could hate a concept, and Danny did not like her fathers. Any of them.

"I don't have a daddy."

"Danny? Are you alright?" Lennox's words were what brought her back to the here and now. She swallowed and nodded, looking between him and Orburn. Too late to hide any kind of surprise she felt.

"You knew my mother?"

"Yes. I knew Trisha since... About senior year in college. We ended up on the debate team together." Orburn looked her over again, and Danny grit her teeth and bore it. It always set her on edge to get looks of any kind from someone she didn't know, even if there was nothing dangerous in their demeanor. "Didn't know she had a daughter. I was told she died about two decades ago."

"Something like that." Muttered Danny, folding her arms over her chest. "Why're you here?"

Orburn looked uncomfortable. "See, when I say I 'knew' Trisha... Well, the email I got gave me very specific dates about her death- your birth, in fact- and the numbers add up to make this possible." Danny began to get a sinking feeling, more so than what she'd been experiencing before. A part of her knew what he was going to say, but she had to ask. Had to, the way kids had to pick their scabs or look through locked keyholes.

"Make what possible?" Her entire body was tense, as though readying for a blow. Lennox didn't move, picking up on the tension and obviously having a guess as to what was about to happen himself.

"Danielle, I might just be your biological father."

She very much wanted to run, screaming, out of the house and never come back again. It wasn't a logical response but this wasn't really a logical situation for her. Instead her fingers clenched her biceps and she locked her joints to keep from so much as twitching.

"...Might be?"

"I want a blood test done, just to be sure, but if it's true..." Orburn smiled, though Danny was almost sure that it was forced. "Then I suppose we'll be seeing more of each other."

Ten minutes later, after Lennox had walked Orburn out to the car and the man was gone down the road, Lennox came back inside and put his hand on her shoulder. She was hugging herself now, mind running through the day's events in an attempt to figure out just what the hell was going on in her life.

"Need anything?" Lennox asked gently. Danny looked at him, eyes wide, and shook her head slightly. Just time to process this would be nice. He took the hint and left the room after giving her shoulder a quick, comforting squeeze.

She began pacing. It was a habit that helped her think when she was emotionally compromised, and at this very moment she was doing her best just to keep from pitching a fit. Who would've sent Orburn her information? And with the Lennox address, no less? Wasn't that like a highly classified government secret, considering the position Lennox himself had with the diplomatic situation with the extraterrestrial robots? She nearly bumped into the coffee table on her fourth circuit around the room and let out a groan, head in her hands.

Maybe she should have been happy. Thrilled, even. It wasn't every day that a parent just came out of the blue and offered to embrace her(even if it seemed a bit false). But something felt off about this to her and it made her anxious. Too many internalized reasons and rationalizations about not having any family and this guy just came in and disrupted that. Maybe he really was her father, though. And if he was maybe... Maybe he really wanted her. But who had told him?

One, and only one, real possibility came into her mind. But she chose to wait, to process more and think on it and try- try, and hard- to calm down. It'd been a long day and her emotions were already fraying, and the more she thought on this really fucking startling development the more agitated she became.


Temperature: 68.2º F/20.1º C. Local time: 09:01. The sky, overcast. Lighting, rising.

His Charge hadn't come out all night, not even to bid them good evening as she had for the last two weeks. Even in his case, she'd made sure to get in touch with Ratchet to talk to him before going to sleep. Lennox, instead, had emerged from his dwelling to inform them that she was alright, but please, don't stalk around the house looking for her. Roadbuster had dejectedly come back to the driveway from his spot by the kitchen window. Ironhide, having come back from his meeting with Optimus late in the evening, said nothing on the matter. At least, not out loud.

Morning came. Lennox left in Ironhide to go to work. The femmes of the Lennox family left in Chromia, returning later in the morning with groceries for the coming week.

The green fragger left with their Charge after she came out of the house and jumped into him. Bonebite began reversing to follow them but was cut off by Chromia.

"Move. I can't leave her alone after that." He was not going to bother with comms again if he could help it, even if Chromia had been nothing but courteous with him. Sort of.

"Maybe that's what she needs right now." Countered the blue femme. She continued over him, cutting off his protesting. "That information that she just received is hard enough for her to process, and her mind doesn't go at the speeds ours do. She needs space to think things over for a while."

Bonebite fell silent. He could understand what Chromia was getting at. From the look on her face, his Charge had just suffered a fairly heavy blow, emotionally. What he didn't understand was why she'd gone off in Roadbuster of all mechs. That violent-tempered loudmouth was the last being he wanted in the company of their reeling human. Wasn't she by now aware of the Wrecker's temperament?

Chromia almost seemed to read his mind. "Roadbuster is rash and quick to fight, true, but he also knows when to keep quiet. He's a good mech. He'll take care of her until she comes back."

"But why did she go to NEST at all? We only just left there yesterday." He didn't want to go back there just to get locked in the medbay again, and he couldn't imagine Danny was keen on seeing that human woman again this soon either. It didn't make sense.

"The message that man received? The one claiming she was his father?"

Ah. "It came from them."

"Yes. Likely, she's gone to confront the source of her troubles. For better or worse, I can't yet say."

Bonebite rumbled to himself. He didn't like that. It didn't seem wise, especially given the threats that female had made towards Danny. But he understood why his Charge wanted, and needed, some space to come to terms with her new situation. He just hoped she wouldn't get herself into too much trouble with that poisonous human woman at NEST.


Not one peep came from Roadbuster the whole drive back to the base. It was unusual and now that she'd had time to cool off a little Danny wondered why he was so quiet. She didn't confront him, though, until he turned and drove into the fields along the side of the highway.


"Aye, lass?" Innocent as could be. It would've made her smile if her nerves hadn't been strained already.

"NEST base? Remember?"

"Ah, right." He showed no sign of turning around or otherwise going back towards the NEST base. She glared and kicked his console. The Wrecker ignored it. "Ye an' I both know yer not in any state to go face Mearing again."

"But I have to! She's the one- She's got no right to screw around with my business!"

"And ye think yelling at her is going to help?"

"Yes! I- No!" Danny ran a hand over her face. "I don't... know. But I can't just- just let her pull shit like that. Okay? She doesn't know what she's..." The young woman trailed off and sighed, sinking back against Roadbuster's seat as she ran a hand through her hair. The wrecker let the silence grow for a few seconds to give her time to just breathe down before continuing.

"Why's it so important that ye have to deal with her today? It'd be better if ye were calmer 'bout this. Ye know that."

"Because if I don't deal with her today then..."

Then what? She'd have 'won?' Mearing had already made it clear that she wielded a great amount of power and despite her cocky attitude towards the older woman, Danny was scared that the director really would have her locked up. Or worse, get Optimus to send out the order to kill Bones. She glared and kicked the dashboard again.

"I hate that you have a point."

Roadbuster chuckled. They drove for a good ten or fifteen minutes, neither of them saying much more before he again rolled to a stop, this time firmly in the middle of nowhere. Danny sighed, but relented when he told her to get out and stretch her legs a little, and stepped back to watch him transform. Even in her sour mood it was still pretty damned cool to watch all the parts slide and latch into place to make up his body.

She was surprised, though, when instead of attempting to lecture her some more he simply sat down in the field and remained quiet. Not that Danny could bring herself to say much as she thought over what had happened the other evening.

On top of being the mediator between her two Guardians and being attacked by more giant killer robots she'd had the bomb of her 'real dad' dropped on her. The hell kind of day had that been, anyway? She grumbled a little to herself and kicked a rock through the grass before letting out a long sigh.

"Okay. So, so maybe going to talk to Mearing right now is a bad idea."


"And I should, uh, think over what I'm going to say when I finally do go. If I go."

"Now yer thinkin', lass." Danny looked up in time to see Roadbuster's shit-eating grin before he rubbed a pair of his fingers into her head.

"Ugh! Hey!" She glared at him and smacked his hand away before promptly cursing and shaking her fingers to try relieving the pain. Okay. Metal, not good for her, right. "Prick..."

"Aw, wee lass, did ye hurt yerself badly?"

"Shut up."

They stayed out in the field for a good several hours. At first they'd spoken about inconsequential things; Roadbuster because he wasn't sure how best to bring up the issues and Danny because she hadn't want to talk about it. Eventually the topic shifted over to the Xantium, and from there to space.

Having been part of the crew of the Xantium for millennia ("What? A couple'a yer centuries are nuthin' ta us."), Roadbuster had seen his fair share of space while running around the galaxy and hunting down Decepticons. As she sat cross-legged on his knee, enraptured, he told her stories about how he and his brothers-in-arms had taken down enemies on the fringes of nebulas and wormholes, in zero gravity and on alien worlds, how Leadfoot and Topspin had saved his life numerous times and how he'd saved theirs in return. About those that had fallen over the years, the many comrades he'd mourned and had watched die.

For the first time it really hit Danny that he'd been through so very much more than she could ever truly fathom. He and all of the Autobots, for that matter. They'd been soldiers for longer than human civilizations had existed, lost their friends and family to the senseless fighting that had been raging even before homo sapiens had first walked the earth.

Made her wonder what loses Bonebite had gone through, too.

"How d'ye feel?" Roadbuster's question brought her out of her pensive state and she blinked up at him. He shifted his leg a little so she was a bit higher up, cocking his head to the side.

"Oh, uh..." Not good, per se, but better. She hadn't addressed the problem but she was definitely in a more stable state of mind than before. Not likely to run off and try to get at Mearing any time soon, at least. "I'll be fine. Just wanna head back for now."

The green wrecker smiled and motioned for her to get off before transforming once she was clear of him. "Let's get goin', then."


Chromia and Bonebite were waiting for them in the driveway when they got back around noon. Ironhide was still gone, though she kept a link open to him in the background of her processes. A habit she'd formed after arriving on Earth and reuniting with her sparkmate after vorns of being forced apart by the war.

Danny hopped out of Roadbuster's window with a lot less aggressiveness than when she'd first hopped in during the morning and went inside the house. Both of the Autobots could feel Bonebite radiating curiosity and agitation next to him but the ex-'Con was still too proud to form a link with him directly. Chromia, on the other hand, was not.

'Will she be well?'

'I have no idea. I don' think she'll tear Mearing's head off anymore but I don't think she's set to right just yet.' She could scan Danny's progress through the house by heat signature alone, noting that she'd simply gone straight through and into the backyard. ''M not good at talkin' feelings. Ye know that.'

'Mm.' Chromia transformed, twisting to her feet in one fluid movement before walking around the house. 'I'll see what I can do to help her process. Keep an eye on the 'Con for me.'

'Aye ma'am.' Wreckers always did their jobs, so Chromia didn't bother looking back. Bonebite would be held in check just fine without her there to bully him into passivity.

Danny was sitting out in the yard on a small wooden bench Lennox had set up for his monthly barbecues, though the blue Autobot's approach quickly got her attention. Even without scanning the organic Chromia could tell she was still distressed, although not to the point of last night.

"Uh, yes, missus 'Hide?"

Chromia laughed once she realized what Danny had said. Really? 'Missus Hide'? That was a new one. Ironhide would get a laugh out of that later, too. "It's just Chromia." She assured the human, carefully sitting down away from the small garden and swingset. Even though she was smaller than Ironhide she was not a tiny femme, so she had to be careful with what her limbs did in a world that was build for creatures a third her size. "I wanted to talk to you."

"Oh. Um. Okay." Danny shifted a little in her seat, putting away the small notebook she'd carried out with her.

"How are you taking the news about your father?"

The girl blanched before glaring up at Chromia. "How'd you guys know about that, anyway? S'none of your business and I know I sure as hell didn't tell you."

"It's my business to know what goes on in that household, especially when it involves strangers." And an unfamiliar man walking into that home who'd gotten the address from a strange e-mail was very much worth keeping an eye on. "You didn't answer my question."

"Nope." Danny kicked at the ground a little, frowning. "I just... It's really weird. I never knew my actual family because they didn't know who my father was and my mother had no living relatives. She died a few days after I was born because of some stupid complications or some shit. So I ended up running through the foster care system- which is broken as all hell, by the way- and kinda fell in with other foster kids more than the people trying to take me in." The human sighed and scratched the back of her neck. "Most of'em were actually pretty decent people. I wasn't very grateful to a lot of them... I was just really angry at the fact that none of them were my family."

The girl got up now, pacing around in a circle.

"It wasn't until I was older that I figured out the whole 'family doesn't have to be blood' thing but by then I'd kind of... I guess just got really mad at my dad for never showing up. For never coming to get me, for probably not wanting me in the first place. Why else would my mom show up to a hospital alone, right?" She then waved her hands and shook her head. "Anyway, long 'n short of it is that I never really, uh, liked my dad. Even before he actually showed up. And- and the thing is I'm positive Mearing knows all this already."

"A woman such as she has access to a lot of information."

"Yeah." Danny looked up at her. "So why the hell would she think it's a good idea to just drop him on me like that?"

"Didn't you punch her?" Chromia gave the girl a look, and the human flinched a little and rubbed the back of her neck.

"Yeah... Seemed like a good idea at the time." Danny grumbled, going back to pacing. "But I mean... the point of this is just that I don't know how to handle having a dad. And fuck, why am I even getting this worked up over it because he might not even be my dad, right? This could all still be fake." The tone of voice made it clear that she doubted it, though. "And now he's suddenly here and he says he wants to be around and-"

"And why do you feel this is your responsibility?"

"I- what? Of course it is! I can't just... dump the problem on Lennox. Or ignore it."

"Regardless, that doesn't mean you need to give that man any hand-holding." The femme glanced at the house, towards Roadbuster and Bonebite in their unseen parking spots. "If he truly bothers you, you have options to get yourself some space. And if he proves to have less-than-benevolent intentions we can protect you." Chromia's optics went back to the little organic now. "You are part of this household, Danny, at least for now. That puts you under my care as well as that of Ironhide. So don't fret about your safety or comfort," She smiled a little. "We'll keep you safe."

The human had stopped pacing, staring up at Chromia with wide eyes before she nodded and, after a brief hesitation, stepped closer to put a hand on the femme's leg. "Thanks. Really, I mean it. For being willing to protect me and, um, for letting me talk. It helped."

The femme nodded and stood up, nearly crushing a rosebush in the process. "I'm glad to have helped."


Temperature: 63.3º F/17.4º C. Local time: 21:15. The sky, clear. Lighting, dark.

After Chromia had come back and parked between them again Bonebite noted that his Charge was far less agitated than before. She'd returned to the inside of the dwelling and had stayed there after the fleshling designated 'Lennox' returned with Ironhide.

Roadbuster hadn't spoken a word to him about what had occurred when he'd taken her early in the day, only that they did not go to the NEST base as Danny had intended. Bonebite was, grudgingly, grateful to the green fragger for keeping her from doing something rash.

He did not like that Mearing female but he knew better than to let Danny run wild in her presence, even from his limited knowledge of her. Good to know that the Wrecker had some sense in that thick metal head of his, too.

Evening fast approached, however, and after most of the other humans inside the dwelling had gone into their version of recharge he observed Danny leave her room and disappear further into the house before emerging again in the backyard, if his sensors were accurate. She proceeded to scale the barn a little further afield, perching upon the roof.

He quietly rolled out of the driveway to transform and walked around the dwelling towards the barn himself. Roadbuster growled slightly, disguised as a mildly revving engine, but did not join or stop him.

"You wanna have a chat with me too?" Bonebite heard her grumble as he approached. Her back was to him and she was staring upwards at the stars, the roof of the barn putting her at about shoulder height. He followed her gaze upwards and remained silent. She did seem to like looking at them. "Maybe I should start charging to talk. Be some nice pocket money..."

Bonebite wordlessly began projecting holo-images of star maps and galaxies to envelop her, the bright lights of a universe full of suns floating around her in swirls of the colors of space. She jumped, looking around with no small amount of wonder at the blips of light that he created, all of them slowly revolving with her as the axis.

"Our planet was here." He pointed, catching her attention and directing it to the edge of a nebula off to her right. "Cybertron held this entire sector and had colonies spread out as far as two hundred lightyears away." For a race such as his, where decades could pass without notice, distances such as those were not a big issue to travel.

"Until your war destroyed it all." Her voice was quiet and she did not meet his optics. He merely clicked out an affirmative.

How lucky, how powerful, how great his race had been, right up until they self destructed. And he'd helped, willingly at the time.

"Did you lose anyone close?"

Bonebite cycled air through his systems and did his best to look at her levelly. It wasn't a topic he liked having broached and despite the fact that she was his Charge that did not mean she was privy to every detail of his life. She was an obligation. Not a friend... not yet, at least.

"That is none of your concern."

"Roadbuster lost people too, you know. Or well, actually, he just admitted to it." She looked away from him and traced little patterns in the dust and dirt and rust that covered the metal roof. "Other Wreckers. It's just him and Topspin and Leadfoot now. Not to mention all the other 'bots that weren't Wreckers. In a war that long and that brutal I'd imagine everyone's lost someone-"


"So what I mean is… it's okay to talk about it. Or not. Whatever you want, or feel comfortable with or whatever." Bonebite watched her turn back around to look at him again. "You're really cool, Bones. But I hardly know anything about you. Can't we just talk?"

"...Pick your topics more carefully." Not quite turning down the offer.

"Okay. Um," She scooted around to face him, folding her legs underneath her and chewing her lip as she no doubt thought around for something less touchy than 'which of your loved ones were offlined.' "Well, uh, what was it like in the Decepticons?"

Bonebite huffed and cocked his head to the side. "Difficult. You pleased your superiors or they carved out your spark."

"Oh, I- oh, wow. Really?"

"Failure was not well tolerated. Only those of high rank could afford to fail, and even then it depended on what kind of mood Megatron was in at the time." Starscream was an exception, although that was due more to his sycophancy than anything else.

"You've seen Megatron?"

"Of course. Most Decepticons have. He was... very sure to be present during the war." More like doing his best to ensure that everyone knew they were being observed. Better show them the consequences of failure first-hand. As well as, of course, his lust to offline as many Autobots as possible. "He's a skilled fighter. Good enough to fight both Optimus and Sentinel Primes in the city designated Chicago." Of course, Sentinel and Optimus had weakened each other and Megatron had been forced to flee after Optimus offlined Sentinel, but few mechs could say they went against two Primes in any condition and came out functional.

"Oh." Danny whistled, shaking her head. "No wonder Optimus has had such a hard time taking him down."


"When'd you join the Decepticons?"

"Long before Cybertron fell." He had to work to think back that far, before all the agony of the war had nearly crushed him under its weight. "It was during a time of peace. At the time I, like many, believed the Decepticons would bring order to our world and that the Autobots were a group of chaos-bringers who were only stirring up trouble. I took up the Decepticon mantle not long before another bout of fighting, however, and I got to see how incorrect I was, although it took me vorns to accept it."

"You knew they weren't good from the get-go?"

"Denial is a powerful thing."

Danny scoffed and nodded. "No kidding. Did you have any friends? In the Decepticons, before you left?"


"Only one?"


"What's their name?"

"It no longer matters." Barricade was still a Decepticon, after all, and he didn't want Danny getting the idea that she could approach him simply because Bonebite had once called the other mech friend. Foolish and rash as she was he wouldn't put it past her to try.

Danny, predictably, pouted. "You're no fun."

"I deleted my fun protocols vorns ago."

"Haha, yeah... Heeyy, hang on a sec, did you just make a joke?" A grin split her face as she pointed at his impassive one. "Sweet shit, somebody call the press. Ole stick-up-his-ass himself just did a goddamn funny."

"Are you finished?"

The organic blew a raspberry at him and he cycled out another gust of air, ruffling her short hair with it's force. Still, it was good to see her smiling and laughing and more or less back to her rowdy self. The thought of her having been suffering from such anxiety and aggravation earlier irritated him. Seeing his Charge in distress was already a problem and it'd been less than a blink in time from a Cybertronian standpoint.

Hopefully this wouldn't become a theme.

"Tell me a little more of your history."


"I've been doing research." To better care for his new Charge. Nevermind the fact that it was mostly unnecessary information at this point. "Do sparklings your age not attend 'college?'"

"Oh. Uh, well," She rubbed the back of her neck, smiling sheepishly. "I, uh, I got really lazy. My grades fell and I dropped out and I couldn't make it back in without a scholarship. And there was no way in hell I was gonna sell my soul to a student loan firm. They keep that shit on tab forever and unless I got some ridiculously high-paying job I was never gonna afford to pay off my debt. So I stopped going to college."

"Could you not go to..." He had to search for the correct terms. "'Community college'?"

"Well, sure, but they still need shit like textbooks and materials and stuff that I just couldn't afford."

"Does that make you ill-educated?"

"Shut up. I'm plenty well educated, thank you. I just choose to have my brain function at half-capacity."

He was almost sure she was serious. The look on his face must have given away his incredulity though because she burst out into laughter, waving the issue away and admitting that she was joking. He huffed through his vents again and lightly bumped her shoulder with a fingertip, much to her amusement.

"Will you be well, Danny?" He asked, a breem or two later, after a somewhat companionable silence. Whether he liked it or not he was actually becoming fond of the little fleshling. Not a great deal yet, not enough that he would admit it, but little by little she was setting up space in his spark that went beyond the Guardian protocols that bound him to her.

"I... suppose so. Yeah." She let out a sigh of her own and glanced up at the stars again. "I'm still going to have to talk to Mearing at some point, and I don't know if I'm comfortable dealing with my so-called 'dad', but..." The young human shrugged, looking back at him. "I'm feeling better about it now."

"Good." He offered his hand out to her. "Come. You need to enter recharge for at least eight of your Terran hours and it is already late."

She stuck her tongue out at him again but nevertheless willingly climbed onto his palm. He felt her grip his thumb as he turned around and walked back to the Lennox dwelling, kneeling down to let her hop off by the back door. She turned and gave his thumb a hug, which caught him completely off-guard.

"Thanks for talking with me, Bones. I'm glad you're willing to at least hang out with me a little." She smiled up at him before letting go and turning to move inside. "Sleep well. If you, uh, sleep."

"...Goodnight, Danny." Shaking his head slightly, he got up to go around the house and return to his spot in the driveway, ignoring the way Roadbuster quietly revved at him as he transformed back into his alt mode.

She was no Cybertronian and she sure as the Pit was no sparkling, but Primus, he was fond of her.

Is the plan in motion?

Yes, and if all goes well we should be in possession of that insect soon.

Good. The sooner we eliminate this threat to our goals the better.


The next day, after Danny returned from getting her blood drawn to run the tests that Orburn had wanted, Roadbuster surprised both her and Bonebite by offering to let them join him at the rebuilding site. Danny, of course, had happily agreed and Bonebite had followed suit a little more cautiously. Apparently the tales of the Wrecker's exploits had reached him and he was wary about being in the middle of a group of them.

'They're only effective in groups, after all,' he'd muttered to her after she'd shot him a questioning look.

It was easy to see why he'd been so uneasy upon arriving at the Xantium.

Neither Topspin nor Leadfoot -especially Leadfoot- had been pleased to see him. Both of them instantly had their massive arsenal of weapons out and were snapping at him in their odd mechanical tongue. Danny frowned and bit her lip. She didn't remember ever seeing them so upset before.

Bones, to his credit, stood perfectly still and looked at them impassively as Roadbuster and the other Wreckers talked and gestured towards him. Eventually the red and the blue mechs gave in to Roadbuster and let Bones off with a few harsh words and gestures before returning to work. Even without speaking their language Danny got the gist of it.

Fuck up and die.

Sweet shit, had Bones been living with that kinda pressure all this time? Wincing a little, she held on to Bones, tightening her grip on his shoulder to keep her balance as they moved towards the ship.

It was further along in construction than when she'd last seen it. The giant piece of machinery that had been the computer was open on one side to allow the Wreckers to install the last of the internal components, and the engines were in place in the framework despite the fact that they didn't look welded into place just yet.

Some of the internal plating was in place, too, with wiring and circuitry lacing everything exposed. If she had to guess she'd say they were a good forty percent done with the ship, although she'd have to see it completed to be sure of her estimate.

"Looks like it's comin' along, huh Buster?"

"Aye. If we keep up this pace, maybe get a few more hands here to help pull it all t'gether, she should be finished in a month'r two."

"Dang." That seemed soon, at least for her. Of course, they were dozens of times her size and thousands of times more powerful, on top of knowing what they were doing. Building a spaceship of that scale was probably like setting up a computer for her. A very high-tech, space-flight capable computer. Right.

Bones had gone quiet, though, and she nudged his cheek lightly with her elbow.

"Hey, Bones, what do you think?"

"I... believe they are working efficiently." He looked over the arching form of the Xantium, expression more unreadable than normal. "It will be ready within a few of your Terran months. I agree."

What an odd way to put it. Danny cocked her head at him and he ignored her, so she went back to watching the Wreckers work. Even with the somewhat hostile glares from Topspin and Leadfoot and the much more speculative glances from Roadbuster, she hoped it'd be a fun visit. She enjoyed the company of the Wreckers and she just wanted, however wistfully, for them to at least not kill each other before the day was over.

"It'd be nice to go into space someday. Think that thing'll be safe for me to fly in?"

"'Course, lass." Roadbuster looked over and grinned. "With our top grade engineering ye'd be perfectly safe in th' Xantium. I could pro'lly convince Optimus to let me take ye up with us to the moon when we get th' Ark."

"The moon?" A wide grin split her face and she just about hopped in place on Bones' shoulder excitedly at the prospect, which just got a laugh out of Buster and even Topspin. The moon!

Her musings, along with the fact that he was normally not a talkative mech anyway, left her mostly unaware that Bones said barely two dozen words the entire morning.