Speed is the essence of war.

Take advantage of the enemy's unpreparedness;

travel by unexpected routes and strike him where he has taken no precautions.

-The Art of War

o-o-o-o

She could hear something buzzing faintly in her ears.

She felt like she was burning from the inside out. Pain, everywhere, it crawled and licked her skin like hungry flames, surging from her chest like a desperate heartbeat. She wanted to claw it out from her, take it away.

But she couldn't.

She thought she could see sky for a moment before darkness closed in on her again, thought she could hear concerned voices that warbled as if they were speaking through water. Vaguely, she wondered how that was even possible.

It hurt to think, to try and wrap her mind around anything. It was much more soothing to be lulled by the gentle black smoke that curled around her like an affectionate cat, nuzzling her shins and pulling her deeper into the dreamscape that waited for her.

She could hear screaming. She wondered who was in such pain to be making those sounds. It was as if it was a wounded animal.

She'd been bitten by a wounded raccoon once. It had gotten trapped by a paw in a dumpster, and she'd freed it from the prison. Only to be bitten moments later. She didn't blame the poor creature. She would have done the same thing in that sort of situation.

"-swipe, you're with me. Ironhide.."

What was that? There was a voice, low and rumbling. It almost sounded like her grandfather.

"-she's regaining consciousness."

There was that voice again, layered on top of all the pain and a ringing in her ears she couldn't quite place.

"It's still leaking Energon-"

"Suck to be yo, bro."

"What's dat? I think mah sensors still overloaded, bro."

"Nevahmind."

o-o-o-o

Leo didn't remember what happened after that.

The next time she came back to consciousness, there was a steel ceiling above her and the faint sounds of echoing machinery.

"Mom!" she shot up, almost immediately collapsing again, clutching her chest. Glancing down, she was surprised to see that she was heavily bandaged in several places on her forearms, chest, and legs. Her jaw felt stiff and most definitely on fire.

She took a deep breath in cautiously, blinking back tears as pain seared through her lungs.

As images flew in front of her eyes, Leo remembered everything. She'd been attacked by fucking robots.

Panic overloaded her senses, and she immediately realized that she was probably somewhere dangerous. She needed to get out of here, needed to escape-

"Where are you going?"

She shrieked, automatically whirling, and lost her balance, toppling to the floor in an ungraceful heap of trembling, pain filled limbs.

"Whoa, whoa." the man, she noted, said gently, shushing her with his hands. "I'm not gonna hurt you."

"Who are you? Where am I? Where's my mother?" Leo chittered at supersonic speeds. "What the fucking hell happened? Why was there a fucking robot attack in Mission City? What attacked me?"

"Oh boy." the man sighed, rubbing the back of his neck. "You're really in trouble."

Oh, shit.

Whimpering, she scrabbled to get back to her feet, though everything ached like a sonofabitch. "Don't touch me!"

"Okay. Okay. I won't touch you." the man replied, showing his hands in an innocent gesture. "But you are injured, and you need to be resting-"

"I'm not doing anything until I know what the fuck is going on!" Leo retorted, her voice raising an octave as she escalated towards full blown panic. "I was attacked by a fucking mini monster! My mother was taken by a gigantic fucking robot!"

"This must be difficult for you." the man said quietly, making Leo snap her jaw closed. Her chest was heaving from the force of her words, her eyes were probably resembling a feral cat of some kind, and she had no doubt in her mind that this poor guy was probably the one who had drawn the short straw.

Mind, these thoughts all happened in a far away corner in the back of her mind, so she continued staring at him like he was nuts.

"My name is Major William Lennox. I'm a part of NEST. You are currently in Diego Garcia. Your mother was taken by Decepticons. More specifically, Barricade." the man said calmly, moving to sit cross-legged across from her. "You were attacked by two mini 'bots. Frenzy and an unknown Decepticon."

Leo blinked, though the words still weren't quite sinking in. "How do I know you're not lying?"

"Why would I lie about something like this?" Lennox asked.

"You tell me." she demanded wearily, already feeling exhaustion creeping back up on her. "All I know is that one second I'm listening to my music and drawing my novel, and the next I'm whacking a robot with a frying pan. And then, after that, waking up here."

"Alright. I can understand how weird this is. Believe me when I say that." Lennox said with a snort. "But not all of those robots you saw are 'bad guys'. There's two sides. The Autobots, which are on our side, and the Decepticons, which are the bad guys. You were attacked by Decepticons, but Bumblebee, one of the Autobots, managed to get to you in time before you ended up a puddle of goo on the ground."

Leo blinked. Did she just hear this guy right when he said Bumblebee?

Her confusion must have been showing, because Lennox grinned. "Yeah, it's an odd name. But really, he's harmless. When he's not fighting the Decepticons, he keeps an eye on your neighbor. Samuel Witwicky."

Hold. The. Phone.

"I knew that damn Camaro was weird." she muttered, fighting off the much needed sleep that was pulling her eyes down. "I could have sworn it knew that I was watching it.."

The last thing she remembered was a pair of arms lifting her up before she fell back asleep.

o-o-o-o

When Sam woke up the next morning, Bumblebee was gone, and there was a lot of sirens going off outside.

Grumbling, he rolled out of bed before shuffling downstairs and taking a look out the front window. And then doing a double take.

The Mclay's house was a mass of caution tape, news reporters, concerned neighbors, and the authorities. And he suddenly got one of the familiar sinking feelings in his gut.

"Mom? Dad?" he called out nervously, turning to walk into the kitchen. There was no sign of his parents, but they'd left him a note on the counter saying to enjoy the day, as his dad was taking his mother out for the day.

Some things just weren't necessary to know.

Shuddering, he rummaged through the fridge before finding the orange juice. Unscrewing the cap, he took a long drink straight from the carton, wondering what the hell was going on. He didn't remember anything out of the ordinary during the night, but then again, as of late, he'd been becoming more and more of a heavy sleeper. If anything, he blamed it on Bee. The Autobot was always moving around out back at night, so he supposed that that was the most logical reason for his non-wakefulness.

Speaking of which...

Checking out front again, there was no sign of Bumblebee anywhere along the busy street.

"Uh oh.." he muttered, almost running out to the garage and flipping open the door. As he'd suspected. Nothing.

"Bee, where are you..?" he hummed anxiously, going back inside and searching for the phone.

This warranted an emergency call to Mikaela.

o-o-o-o

Leo wasn't alone the next time she woke up.

Lennox was sitting next to her, his head tilted back as he stared at the metal ceiling in contemplation.

"You know, if you do that for much longer, you might fall asleep." she commented dryly, pushing herself into a sitting position.

The male flicked his gaze down toward earth, back to her, and she felt a sudden uncomfortable moment as he examined her face with his emotionless eyes. Sighing, he shrugged, a loose grin crossing his features. "Did you have a nice rest?" he inquired.

"I don't know yet. Did you tell me that there are such things as giant robots, or was that all a dream?" she narrowed her eyes, gingerly keeping herself from taking too deep of breaths.

"Unfortunately, it wasn't a dream." Lennox sighed again. "And I have a team searching for your mother as we speak."

"Thank you."

Leo didn't quite know why she was being so calm about all of this. Last time, from what she remembered, she'd had a big shit fest about all of it and tired herself out. So why was she suddenly so reasonable?

"You're suppressing the thoughts." Lennox stated, almost making her think that he could read minds. "It's possible. The memories are still there, but your mind is refusing to fully accept them."

"You're kind of creepy, if you don't mind me saying." Leo said mildly. "I was just thinking about how rational I'm being. It's a bit of a coincidence."

"Well." Lennox shrugged in a casual sort of way. "It's an automatic assumption. Plus, you're a bit of an open book."

"Thank you. That's always the kind of thing a girl wants to hear right after she's woken up from a traumatic event." Leo drawled sarcastically.

There was an uncomfortable pause in the conversation as both of them fell into their own thoughts. Leo wondered how on earth they could be searching for her mother with hardly anything to go on. Other than a giant robot named Barricade kidnapped her.

And judging by the fact that this NEST organization he mentioned sounded like it was top secret, she seriously doubted that they could go to the public about it. Not unless they wanted some unwanted attention from these other robots.

Oh yes. She was having a fucking peachy day already.