Chapter One

Disclaimer: Transformers: Prime, its canon characters, and the basic Orion Pax plot belongs to Hasbro. Darkstorm and Skybreak belong to Dream'sRealm, and Skye Shelsher belongs to blondie-moyashi

"When Optimus surrendered the Matrix, he lost more than the collective wisdom of the Primes. He lost himself." Ratchet turned to his fellow Autobots, his voice grim.

"That doesn't follow. Optimus knew Megatron." Arcee separated her crossed arms and widened her stance.

"Yeah, they were like BFFs," Miko added.

"But that was before he became a Prime.

Darkstorm mentally shuttered. How could Optimus have ever befriended such a tyrant?

"If Optimus did not know his own name, perhaps it is because the title of Prime has not yet been granted to him."

"Say again?" Miko asked, hands on her hips.

Ratchet turned to her, as well as the rest of the humans. "With the Matrix no longer within him, it stands to reason that Optimus has reverted . . . to his pre-Prime state. The historical archivist, Orion Pax."

Agent Fowler stepped forward. "Are you telling me Prime thinks he's some kind of librarian? And a Decepticon?!"

Skybreak transformed, landing as gracefully as his heavy frame would allow with a soft clank, into his robot form. He still felt uneasy about the whole situation, but since the moment he left the Autobot base, he had no choice but to continue. He vented and walked through the doors to the interior of the Nemesis.

He felt a certain feeling of calm, like he was coming home after another mission. There was some anxiety too, though, and loathing.

Skybreak offlined his optics. All for you, Sister.

He onlined them and continued walking.

"And the first to address him as Optimus Prime will have his voice box torn out." Skybreak heard the announcement to the entire ship as he approached a console with two Vehicons, busily working away.

Planning his next move, he slipped into another nearby hallway before the Vehicons could see him. He had to get to the bridge immediately, but he wasn't sure if Megatron had pegged him as a traitor, as he had Starscream. So he had two choices: sneak around and hope he wasn't spotted, or just walk casually down he halls-certainly less conspicuous than sneaking around but still risky if there were orders to shoot him on sight. Either way had the potential of Skybreak being shot at. He vented. May as well try to play nice.

He stepped out from around the corner, walking towards the two Vehicons, waiting for them to draw their weapons on him. He was pleasantly surprised, though, when they simply ignored him and allowed him to walk right past. He smirked. Better head to the bridge, then.

Skybreak thought of something as he walked through the halls of the Nemesis. He remembered when Megatron tore out the Autobot scout's voice box out of anger when his interrogation failed. At the time it seemed like just another day in the pit-spawned war, and it left everyone's processors almost immediately.

His sister told him about how that injury impeded his ability to communicate with the humans, and how he mentioned missing the sound of his own voice, even if his current voice box sufficed.

It made him wonder. . .how much pain had Megatron, the Decepticons, and Skybreak inflicted upon others that . . . left them in mourning?

He shook his helm and smiled slightly. You're rubbing off on me, 'Storm, he thought.

Skybreak continued walking, hoping that he had the strength to get through this.

"Being a Decepticon is a choice, Agent Fowler. One that I have a hard time believing Optimus would make at any point in his life."

"Not always, Ratchet." Everyone looked to Darkstorm. "In my case the choice was made for me. But I do agree that Optimus would never join Megatron's cause in his right mind. . . It's a matter of the spark. And his spark is not that of a Decepticon." Everyone silently nodded in agreement, but Ratchet still looked grim.

"Still, we must locate him to know for certain."

"Hold up." Fowler stepped forward, putting his hands on the rail in front of him. "I got a chip lodged in my behind that lets Uncle Sam know when I stop for donuts. Are you telling me you can't just track Prime?"

Ratchet indicated the screen next to him, displaying the Autobot's life signals. "Optimus's signal has not reappeared since he embarked to the Earth's core. But we must get to work finding him if we have any hope of initiating his contingency plan."

"There's a contingency plan?" Arcee voiced everyone's confusion as they looked at each other and shrugged.

"The keycard. So what's it do?" Jack looked at the key in his hand.

"It grants access to Vector Sigma. The repository of the wisdom of the Primes," Ratchet answered.

"Repository? So, we can just download Optimus's memories back into him? Great. Which one's the big V? Over here? Somewhere in back?"

Darkstorm looked at the teen. "Vector Sigma is no computer, Jack. It is a rumored source of mystical power . . . on Cybertron."

"Jackson Darby, you will not be traveling to another planet." June pointed to her son as she spoke.

Miko walked up to the two. "Well, I'm in."

"You're not going either, Miko. Not when one of you can." June looked at the Autobots pointedly.

"June's right. Why send a kid to do a Bot's job?" Bulkhead asked.

Ratchet looked at the keycard. "Because only a Prime can access Vector Sigma. Or one chosen by a Prime. Optimus gave the keycard to Jack. It is now imprinted with his unique bio-signature."

"So you mean Jack's like some kind of honorary Prime?" Miko asked.

"Let's just say . . . Jack is the only one who can return Optimus to the Autobot we knew."

"But why would Optimus willfully endanger a human? A child?" June indicated Jack as she finished.

Jack recoiled. "I'm not a child, Mom."

Arcee shifted her stance. "Maybe Optimus believes there's more to Jack than meets the eye."

Darkstorm looked to Jack. "Indeed," she said with a slight smile.

"All of which is moot. The keycard is useless to us without a means of reaching Cybertron. Which we at present do not possess." Ratchet bowed his helm as he spoke.

"Dude, what about that?" Miko ran to the far end of the walkway and indicated the ground bridge with her hand. "Can't you supercharge it to turn our ground bridge into a space bridge?"

"Now please, Orion, there will be plenty of time for catching up. You must rest," Megatron said.

"Megatron . . . I will do my part to stop Ratchet's unspeakable crimes of aggression. This I vow, with all my spark."

"As do I, my liege."

All the 'Cons on the bridge turned to face Skybreak as he walked onto the bridge, his stride confident. He stopped in front of his master, his helm bowed and servo over his spark.

"I sincerely apologize for my absence, Lord Megatron."

Megatron turned to Optimus, who Skybreak saw standing in front of a console on the far wall, examining a large display of Cybertron as it currently looked. "Orion, Soundwave will show you to your quarters." Optimus and Soundwave both nodded and complied.

Orion? What's going on here? Skybreak thought confusedly.

Megatron turned back to Skybreak. "You made a very strong case for your shift in allegiances when we last met, Skybreak. Something about my being a 'monster'?"

Skybreak briefly offlined his optics. "I apologize for anything I said when I was with them, my lord. They were suspicious of me. I had to make them believe I would not betray them."

Megatron tilted his helm to the side. "As you are doing now." Skybreak shrugged with a slight smile. "So why were you among our mortal enemies, my most loyal follower?" Skybreak knew the title was meant to jab at the contradiction of one of Megatron's most trusted soldiers and officers willingly spending time among the Autobots.

"I was not lying about one thing, Lord Megatron. After my sister was . . . wounded," Skybreak fought to keep anger out of his voice. He hated apologizing to the mech who almost offlined his sister, who probably held no scruples of doing it again. But he had no choice. "I wished to keep track of her condition, though I knew the Autobots didn't trust me. So I pretended to abandon the Decepticon cause in order to aide in her recovery. Now that she is 'in the clear', I had no reason to stay. And with the Autobots in disarray at the loss of their leader, I figured it was the perfect time to slip away."

Megatron seemed to dwell on this, trying to figure out whether or not he believed Skybreak's story. "And you are not angry. . . that I was the very mech who wounded her?" he asked with a scrutinizing gaze.

"She stood in your way and needed to be punished. I understand why you had to take that course of action. My only wish was to make sure she was functioning before I came back to you, my master. You know how long I have faithfully served you. I would never betray you in order to join those Autobots," Skybreak faked a snarl at the mention of their enemies. "My loyalties lie with you, Lord Megatron."

Megatron dwelt upon this more before smirking. "Well then, welcome back to the Decepticons, Skybreak." Thank Primus.

Skybreak once again bowed his helm. "Thank you, my liege."

"Now, why don't you return to your quarters as well? I imagine the past few days have been quite . . . taxing for you."

"Yes . . . Lord Megatron." Skybreak turned and exited the bridge.

Darkstorm busily worked away at the console, trying different scanning frequencies to find the Nemesis. She ignored the pain as much as she could. There was no time for weakness now. She had to be strong, for her team and Optimus's sake.

"Darkstorm, are you okay?"

Her optics widened as her mind was pulled away from her work. She looked up at Raf. "Of course." She knew her smile wouldn't fool anyone, but she didn't want the others worrying about her. They were all worried about Optimus, and she didn't want to distract them from working, injuries or no.

Raf was standing in front of the railing, his hands resting on the lower bar. "You miss Skybreak." Darkstorm's smile softened at the observation.

"Yes. I'd looked forward to spending more time with him, maybe even convince him to fully commit to the Autobot cause. His absence . . . does not bring back pleasant memories. Or feelings."

"He'll come back, 'Storm." For a phrase obviously meant to make her feel better, Raf's voice held a great deal of confidence. Darkstorm looked up from the console, and saw the same confidence written in Raf's face. She smiled and nodded.

The sound of something powering up behind Darkstorm took their attention. Ratchet was in the maintenance area of the ground bridge, but the tools he had sprawled on the bridge were not for a simple tune-up.

Raf adjusted his glasses. "Ratchet, are you . . . supercharging the ground bridge?"

Ratchet looked up from his work. "Tinkering. No need to get anyone's hopes up yet."

Darkstorm and Raf looked at each other, both smiling. But there is still hope to be had, Ratchet. We'll get Optimus back. She offlined her optics. And Skybreak.

Skybreak lay on his berth, unable to recharge. His thoughts kept scrambling around like a hungry scraplet, running back and forth between his next plan of action and his sister's well-being. He still hated that he had to leave her side, but this was to help her.

He heard the quiet shifting of heel struts on the metal floor outside his quarters. Placing him under guard made sense, even if it only reminded Skybreak of his place among the Decepticons. He wasn't Megatron's most trusted servant anymore, but an unknown returning from the clutches of the Autobots. He had to change that point of view if he wanted to get anywhere. Or just finish his task quickly.

He sat up, deciding to get an energon ration from the rec room. The doors slid open as he approached them. The guards on either side of the door tensed as Skybreak walked through. He put a servo up as he walked between them and down the hall.

"Relax, boys," he said, humor in his voice. "I'm not planning on initiating a mutiny today." He heard the clanking as the two Vehicons followed him down the hall.

He decided to take the scenic route, a longer path that would take him past the bridge and med bay. It had heavy traffic for the warship, and was always a good way to go to hear news on what the mad doctor was up to or upcoming missions. Who knew, maybe he could find a way to shake his guards long enough to-

He stopped as several Vehicons exited the bridge, Megatron's conversation with Soundwave escaping through the open door.

"I only hope that Orion will complete Project Iacon before I am forced to destroy him. Once and for all."

The door closed, but rather than continue onward Skybreak remained where he was. So, he has "Orion" working on decoding that database we acquired when we stormed Iacon. Wait . . . Iacon, Orion . . . Skybreak facepalmed. Of course! Orion Pax was an archivist at Iacon before the war broke out! How could I have forgotten? It explains why Optimus is complying with Megatron . . . But the fact that Optimus legitimately thought he was a Decepticon put a bit of a kink in Skybreak's plan.

A big kink.

"Ratchet! You awake? This is an emergency!"

Ratchet looked up from his work. "Agent Fowler, is it Optimus?"

"It's 'Cons. And they're busting into the same military research lab they hit two months ago."

"Didn't that base have a power source the 'Cons wanted?" Bumblebee asked.

"For all we know Optimus is riding with them." Arcee looked from Bumblebee to Ratchet.

The temporary leader of the Autobots nodded. "Roll out."

Darkstorm took a step towards Bumblebee before he transformed. "Bee . . ." She couldn't think of the right words to express how desperately she wanted, needed him to return. "Please stay safe." She lost her leader, she lost her brother, she just couldn't lose her scout.

Bumblebee saw her expression and closed the distance between them in two quick strides to wrap her in an embrace. "Of course. I'll be back before you know it." He released her, placing his servos on each side of her helm and looking her in the optic. He waited for her small forced smile and nod before nodding himself and turning to join the others.

The Autobots arrived at the base to find Knock Out and Breakdown taking on the human military, the latter of which seemed to be losing. Breakdown was carrying the piece of military equipment they'd been sent to acquire.

"Drop it!" Bulkhead charged his weapons as he spoke.

"Aren't you missing someone?" Knock Out planted his energy rod in the earth, his confidence obvious by his stance.

Several Vehicons attacked the 'Bots in aerial form. They fired back, Bulkhead taking out one of them before they flew overhead. The 'Bots turned and shot down two more.

"Ready for that bridge!" Knock Out's tone was impatient. When the bridge opened behind him, he looked at the 'Bots with a mocking smirk. "We'll be sure to tell the big O you said hello." With that, he turned and followed Breakdown through the bridge.

Arcee quickly transformed and made a beeline for the bridge, expertly dodging fire from the Vehicons before disappearing into the green portal.

Skye Shelsher raced through the dirt roads, trying to reach the end of the road faster than she had last time. The past three times she tried had been after storms, so the mud and puddles hindered her time, but this time she just knew she would do it.

Her Jeep went over a rock that always let her catch air, and she laughed as her mental countdown started. 5 . . . 4 . . . 3-

Suddenly a green vortex appeared ahead and Skye slammed the breaks, careful not to swerve too much as to stay on the road. The Wrangler screeched in protest, but did as it was told and came to a stop fifteen or twenty feet from . . . whatever that thing was.

A blue motorcycle emerged from it at high speed. Luckily the vortex was on the road, but from the angle of the bike, the driver couldn't stay on the road for long-dirt trails like this were narrow and didn't allow for much correction.

Skye jumped out of the Jeep and ran to the edge of the road. She winced as the bike hit a large tree and spun through the air. She scanned the ground.

"Where's the driver?" she asked herself, her English accent only partially smoothing out the raspy tone in her voice from all the kicked up dirt.

Unable to find the driver, her mind thought back to when the bike appeared, and realized that she hadn't seen a driver then either.

Skye turned her head at a strange sound, and saw the vortex . . . portal . . . thing disappear. She looked towards where the bike had fallen, but there were too many trees to see anything from this distance. She slid down the embankment on her right leg, quickly getting to a large flat area where she could either see under all the branches or through them.

A yell rang out through the forest, originating from up ahead, if the terrified birds were any indication. Skye ran towards it, even as it led to a drop-off. She stopped short of running over the edge, and couldn't believe what she saw below her.

A large blue robot knelt on the forest floor. A giant robot! Skye's heart raced and she was paralyzed by . . . excitement? Fear? She didn't even know, or care. All she could do was watch as it examined its leg, which was dripping some sort of blue liquid.

It made a sound very close to a sigh and stood, the top of its head about ten feet below her. It put a finger to the side of its head, where its ear would be.

"Ratchet, I need a-"

Skye had gone closer to the edge than she thought. Some of the dirt under her feet gave away, sending her rolling down the embankment. She yelled as she felt sticks and rocks hit and slash her face for several seconds before landing on something flat, hard.

She groaned as she put a hand over where her face had landed, then her eyes shot open at the texture of what she was laying on. Smooth. Metallic. She scrambled to sit up, her eyes confirming what she felt. She looked up at the face of the robot, which was now holding her in the palm of its hand.

It sighed-in what sounded like frustration-and rolled its eyes. "You've got to be fragging kidding me." She-Skye presumed by the voice-seemed to listen to something for a couple seconds. "I don't know. I was on the 'Con warship but it looks like Soundwave bridged me off. But the main problem is sitting in the palm of my servo . . . Yes Ratchet, another human." Her tone seemed to get more frustrated as the apparent conversation continued. "Ratchet, of everyone, you're the one who should be objecting to bringing another one to the base. Especially at a time like this!" One more long pause before she looked at Skye. "You have two choices, kid. You can either come with me right now or swear off having ever seen me."

Skye shakily stood. "I . . . I want to go with you."

She raised her finger to her head again. "Okay Ratchet, you have two incoming." She lowered her arm to her side and her voice dropped to a mumble. "Better get back to base before this day gets any worse."

Another green vortex like Skye had seen a moment ago appeared several yards away and the robot started walking towards it. Skye had trouble staying upright as it walked, leaning every which way before sitting down.

They entered the portal, and suddenly they were walking down a tunnel. What was that thing, a wormhole of some sort? Whatever it was, it made Skye's bones feel like they were trying to run off without her.

They reached the end of the tunnel in a few strides, and it opened up into a large area with . . . with . . .

A red and white robot was standing in front of them, several screens in front of it. It turned to face Skye and the one carrying her, looking at Skye with an expression that was mostly dead-panned with a touch of . . . disdain? Disgust? Whatever it was, it was clear the robot didn't like humans.

It turned, walking towards an area with two large table-looking surfaces. The one carrying Skye walked to a platform behind the screen, placing her hand on the ground at an angle that made it easy for Skye to walk off.

She pointed at the ground where Skye stood. "Stay." She turned and followed the other robot.

Skye dropped to her hands and knees, her legs shaking horribly. She looked around, and smiled brightly when she saw three robots in addition to the one that caught her and the one she just saw as they walked up. This was incredible!

"You okay?"

Skye turned her head to see three kids about her age standing to her left. Closest to her was a girl of Japanese descent, with pink and black, oddly-styled hair and an . . . interesting wardrobe. Behind her was a taller guy, sporting jeans and a gray T-shirt over long sleeves. And next to him was a short kid with glasses, jeans and a button-up shirt and orange vest.

"Eehhmm yeah, I-I think so. Just a bit dizzy."

"Yeah, it can be like that the first few times." The girl smiled, bending to offer Skye a hand up. She accepted, even as her legs still wobbled.

"'First few times'?"

"Using the ground bridge," she said with enthusiasm as she indicated the tunnel Skye just came through.

". . . Ground bridge?"

The taller boy walked forward, putting a hand on the girl's shoulder. "Let's slow down. I'm Jack, this is Miko, and that's Raf." Raf moved forward as Jack spoke.

Skye nodded to them. "Skye Shelsher. It's a pleasure. So . . . you get to . . ." she indicated to the group of robots, her grin broad as she spoke, "live here with them?"

Jack half-smiled and shrugged. "Basically. It can get hectic at times, but it's worth it." He nodded to where all the robots were standing. "These are the Autobots. The black and purple one with the wings is Darkstorm, next to her is Bumblebee. Ratchet, the red and white one, is in the med bay fixing up Arcee, who you apparently already met. And-"

Jack was interrupted by the sound of something being smashed. Everyone turned to look, and saw a big green bot pulling his fist away from a mangled tool on a tall surface.

Ratchet turned away from Arcee. "Bulkhead!"

"What, you 'needed that'?! Only thing I need is our head-honcho back!"

"And that's Bulkhead," Jack said plainly. "Sorry, it's not always like this, usually things are less . . . stressful. I'm sure the 'Bots will be happy to meet you . . . once things calm down."

One of the screens emitted a sound that seemed like an alert of something, then displayed a video call from a man in a button-up shirt, tie and jacket.

"Ratchet, what happened out there? Reports indicate at least a dozen wounded. The heat's on me to provide some explanation! You 'Bots better get your act together or the Pentagon's gonna make me shut down your base."

"But where would you go?" Raf stepped forward.

"Who knows? Maybe they'll ship us out to some island. Or fire us into space-wouldn't that be a welcome relief." Ratchet turned away from the group as he spoke, using his arms to show just how frustrated he was.

"I don't blame Fowler. Optimus would've evacuated all humans from the area before engaging the 'Cons," Arcee sighed.

Skye leaned sideways toward Jack, watching the exchange. "Who's Optimus?"

Jack scratched his head. "Eh, it's kinda a long story."

"Give me the CliffNotes."

Jack sighed. "Okay, these guys are from the planet Cybertron. They're the Autobots; the bad guys are the Decepticons. The Decepticons currently have the Autobot leader, Optimus Prime, and I need to get to Cybertron somehow to give him his memories so we can get him back." Jack managed the whole explanation on one breath.

"Ooookay yeah, you'll have to fill me in later." Skye and Jack turned their full attention back to the Bots.

"You're pretty good at stating the obvious, Bulk." Arcee stood and walked toward Bulkhead. "Anything else you'd like to mention that we already know?"

"Nothing I can say in front of the children-" Bulkhead and Arcee leaned towards each other, as if rearing for a fight.

"Hey, aren't we overlooking one positive? No one's talking about what the 'Cons just got their claws on." Jack put his arms out as he spoke, drawing everyone's attention from the spat between Bulkhead and Arcee, including theirs.

Ratchet turned his back to the group, arms in the air again. "Yes, we managed to allow them to acquire more equipment to build their space bridge!"

Arcee looked at Jack with her hand on her hip, bent slightly forward. "And how exactly would that be a 'positive'?"

"We let them build their space bridge." Jack's response evoked expressions across the room of either confusion or disagreement.

"Why? So they can bring back more zombies from Cybertron?" Arcee countered.

Skye's eyes widened. Zombies? Space bridges? Other planets? Wh-what is going on here?!

"No, so we can commandeer it. And use it to send me to Cybertron."

"Whoa . . . that's a pretty good idea." Skye turned around to face Miko as the girl spoke, having forgotten she was there with all the . . . excitement.

"Oh, well if Miko thinks it's a good idea . . ." Arcee sounded annoyed, her tone suggesting that Miko didn't always have the best ideas.

Jack put his hands on the rail. "Nobody's saying it's gonna be easy, but you've seized a space bridge before."

"We blew one up. That's a whole lot different than three of us seizing and holding one," Bulkhead argued.

Darkstorm looked at Bulkhead, determination in her optics. "Four."

In response, Ratchet turned to Darkstorm. "Upupup! You are not ready for flight, let alone combat!"

Bumblebee made a beeping sound that seemed like some form of communication, but Skye couldn't understand him. "But in order to take the groundbridge, we'd need to know its location."

"Bee's right, we'd have to find the thing first," Bulkhead said.

"Uh hello! If it's a space bridge isn't it-?" Miko pointed up.

"The term 'space' refers to its transport range, not it's physical location! And we've been monitoring Earth's orbit since the last one, we'd know if it were there!" Ratchet walked to the several screens, using the oversized keyboard to bring up what looked like a scan of Earth from space. He indicated the display with his hand to make his point.

"So the bridge could be somewhere right here on Earth." As he spoke, Jack pointed down.

Bulkhead nodded slightly. "Makes sense, since it looks like the 'Cons' main operations are on Earth now. But that would be like trying to find a servo in a scrapyard."

Darkstorm spoke up. "I'm sure we've done more difficult things since coming to Earth. If you rescued us from an alternate dimension-"

"Or finally got 'Storm and 'Bee to 'fess up to each other!" Miko interrupted with a smirk.

Darkstorm looked embarrassed as she finished. "-then I believe we can do this."

Everyone went silent, their faces showing that they were thinking hard about something.

Ratchet broke the silence. "But the fact remains, we do not know what the Decepticons have in store for Optimus. Or if he's truly safe from-"

The computers beeped again. "Autobot outpost Omega-1."

Skybreak sat on his berth, tapping his digits on his leg. He didn't know how long he could stay on this frequency unnoticed, or how long before his guards found him again. "Omega-1, please resp-"


He vented in slight relief at the response. "Don't sound so surprised, Ratchet. You didn't think I ran away, did you?"

"We didn't care where you were. We've been dealing with trying to find Optimus!" the medic replied roughly.

"Well, I seem to be doing a better job of that than you at the moment."

"What do you-?"

Ratchet was interrupted by Darkstorm. "Brother?"

Skybreak smiled. "I'm here, Sister."

"Is . . ." He could all but hear his sister's timid expression during the pause. ". . . Is our plan working?"

"Yes it is, 'Storm. Megatron bought my story-I'm in."

A/N: Hey, moyashi here. Hope you guys enjoyed this first chapter- I kept nitpicking little things before making myself send it in XD Sorry there weren't a lot of 'Bee x 'Storm moments, but I didn't want to force anything. Thank you so much for encouraging Dream'sRealm to continue her lovely story, and leading her to a sequel :D

Theme song: "Warning Signs" - The Anix

A/N: And thank you blondie for writing this legit chappie XD Anyway, there you have it. The first chapter of what should be a very successful sequel to my story Across This New Divide. And if you think my first story with 'Storm was legit... ya ain't seen nothing yet.

"For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of love, of power, and of sound judgment." 2 Timothy 1:7

I can't help myself but I just want y'all to know... that I went to a Bible study yesterday and several more people accepted the Lord! XD *has a mini party* Hallelujah!

Well, I hope y'all enjoyed this chappie :D And don't be afraid to PM either me or blondie for suggestions and, of course, make sure you leave a review. Reviews make our day :3

God bless all of you and I hope to see y'all next week with an update.

Until next time, Dream'sRealm