Chapter Two: We Rise

Ryder was very slightly ashamed to admit that he'd underestimated the gravity of the situation.

Quite literally, in fact.

Instead of calling down the one known as Skywarp to retrieve them, Samantha had simply laced her arms around him impishly, winked, and told him to hold on tight. He hadn't had but a moment to gasp before the air around them crackled with energy. In the next instant there was a pop in his ears and all-encompassing darkness surrounded them.

Fuck it's cold! He thought to himself hysterically, his family jewels quaking upward seeking shelter from the brutal nothingness the blonde had sucked them into. No air, no light and no sound. She'd warned him of the absolute lack of everything before she'd grabbed herself to him, but he supposed it hadn't really sunk into his usually intelligent, quick-on-the-uptake brain that she'd meant to inaugurate him by means of first-travel.

There wasn't any time to worry about the lack of being in that black hole, he came to discover, because by the time he'd pulled himself into a second thought they were emerged.

The Primanar released him readily and quickly, acting as if she didn't wish to invade his space any more than she had in first snatching at him, but he wasn't so swift. His feet stumbled over flat ground as though he hadn't just been standing on the battered wooden floors of his homestead and he fell. The woman squealed as he tugged her down with him, his towering, wide body crashing into metal plating with a body-jarring thump.

Samantha oofed at the impact, her hands braced against his pectorals with her hips elevated. The minx, thank goodness, had been quick enough on the draw to keep her injury from ricocheting against his form.

She giggled adorably and he was angry with himself for thinking her tittering cute. She had to have known that the traspatial warp would have startled him. It rankled his nerves, but her airy delight soothed him better than any medicinal balm created.

"That was underhanded," he scolded, sitting himself up while summarily allowing her to straddle his thighs. He wasn't willing to relinquish his hold on her person for fear of her tripping him up again.

"I needed a good laugh," she replied without a hint of remorse.

Indeed she did.

Her eyes were brighter now. There was a wealth of mirth and contentment in them presently that he'd glimpsed very briefly under the morose surface. She had laugh lines at the edges of her inhuman eyes and upturned lips. She looked beautiful when she smiled.

During their earlier discussion she'd been sullen and bone-deep tired. She told him much while she gathered her strength on his couch. It was maddening to know that the person before him was nearly five-hundred years old. She barely looked to be in her thirties. She had lived long and been with the Cybertronians from the very beginning of their time on Earth. Well, the time of their reveal at any rate. She had known his ancestor, Hunter Mason. She was an inventor and a ruler, a glorious heart wrapped up into a tempting package that no longer aged as her human origins demanded.

She took little joy out of her life other than knowing that all she did was for the happiness of others.

Ryder's eyes goggled as the woman was plucked gently from his lap by a set of several snaking, metallic tentacles. He was hoisted onto his own two feet by a sturdy, singular limb.

"Put me down, Soundwave." The Primanar shrieked, smacking at the various appendages that poked at her with gentility. Ryder made to step forward, though he knew he had no hope of stopping the towering 'Con from hurting the woman if he deigned to do so, but the tentacle that had lifted before now restrained him.

"You have been injured." The stilted way in which the mech spoke made Ryder wince. That was the voice every human imagined when they thought of the Transformers. Robotic and unfeeling. "The Primes have been informed of your condition. They will arrive momentarily."

"Oh goodie. I get to be yelled at."

"Would you but listen to sound advice, Precious One, you would not have to be reproved."

Sam offered the 'Con a rude gesture before verbally asking to be returned to the floor. When that didn't work, she began gesturing more avidly and violently. Despite himself and the situation, Ryder found himself chuckling. Though she had no human family remaining, the woman was far from alone in the universe.

"Who is the enlarged human?"

The gruffer voice of a 'Con identical but for his singular optic echoed across the cavernous room. Samantha had told him to expect to see Soundwave and his twin Shockwave at some point, but hadn't expected it so soon. He'd foolishly hoped he might be introduced to an Autobot first, one of the original Cybertronians that hadn't wanted to destroy and/or enslave the human race.

The earliest images of these two, some of the original footage taken after the Fall of Chicago, had shown them as two separate beings. They had looked drastically different from each other. Not so now. He knew that the Cybertronians took on bipedal forms that more adeptly translated into their alternate forms, but he hadn't quite expected the change to be so drastic. It was like looking at a before-and-after shot of someone who underwent major plastic surgery or suffered from a grave accident.

Shockwave glared down at him with his red optic. Ryder knew he was being sized up and found wanting. He could feel the alien's censure trickling across his skin.

"Don't be rude, Shockwave," Sam told off the towering mech, still gesturing for Soundwave to put her down. His ears might have been playing tricks on him, but he could have sworn he heard the Communications Officer release a put-off sigh as he returned the woman to his side. "This is Ryder."

"He is a descendant of Hunter Mason," Soundwave stood shoulder-to-shoulder with his brother, their unfaltering stares urging him to shuffle his feet with nervousness. He wasn't prone to doing such and repressed the impulse with effort. "Shockwave was not rude to the human. The male is enlarged."

"He is bigger than most, yes, but you don't verbalize peoples' physical differences like you just did. It is considered rude."

"Why is it rude? Explain." He had the impression of Shockwave waving his hand dismissively in the air before him even though his arms remained hanging innocently at his armored sides. "I did not call him by a foul moniker. He is enlarged in comparison to other humans. This is an observation of fact, not an untruth or exaggeration."

"I've explained this to you before, you jerk."

"You see, it is now you that is being rude, Precious One. Is it not inappropriate to address me as anything other than my designation? To do so in front of a stranger is also a slight against me."

Ryder was laughing uproariously at the pinched and heated look that veiled Samantha's face as she glared balefully up at the taunting automaton. When she took a single step forward he bellowed even louder at the two-step retreat Shockwave took behind his brother.

"I am glad to see that somebody is getting some enjoyment out of this."

Whatever humor he had had dried up in an instant at the booming voice that reverberated in the room they were in. The space, a main hub of both control centers and observational equipment, seemed to shrink considerably. There was a heaviness in the air again.

Two titanic-sized Cybertronians approached them fluidly. There had been others manning several of the stations nearby, but every single one of those beings rose onto their feet and saluted the newcomers.

Optimus Prime, with his signature blue and red paint, and Megatron Prime, his facial armor making him look like an armored boar of sorts. Megatron was taller than Optimus, but not by much. The two were absolutely massive in scale and radiated power like a second skin. A part of him wondered, if Samantha was their Primanar, why the others did not rise when they first appeared, but it was a distant query he'd expand on later.

As it was, he felt suspiciously like a castigated child again standing before his irate parents. He'd been a bit of a brawler and hell-raiser growing up so had perfected the recalcitrant stance of one under a condemning stare.

"Optimus, don't be mad."

"I am not mad, Sparkling. I am furious." The first Prime's optics glittered with an inward light from his peak of emotion. "I specifically ordered you to remain with the contingent of mechs that were assigned to your care. You disobeyed me and they in turn will be punished for allowing you to slip away from their monitoring systems."

"Don't punish them, Optimus. I ran off before they could have a prayer of catching me. If you're going to punish someone it should be me."

"Have no doubt, Pet, you will be held accountable for your actions," Megatron rumbled in a voice consistent with boulders crashing against each other down a mountainside. "You learn best, however, when you realize that there are others that suffer from your thoughtless actions. They also must learn that their responsibility to you is not to be taken lightly and is not as simplistic as they believed it would be."

Ryder hadn't known the woman for more than a couple of hours, if one discounted the dreams he had had of her and the feeling of kismet in regards to her, but he was well aware in such a short time that 'babysitting' her would be no easy task. Samantha was a headstrong female with a will of iron. Kind-hearted to those she cared about, yes, but there was mischief oozing from every pore of her body. She was what his mother had once termed a 'naughty-mouse'. She was silent as the grave and often squirreled her way in and out of situations without anyone else the wiser – until something went wrong that is.

How these beings could know her for hundreds of years and not see her impishness right off was beyond him.

"Amma'Am!" A young, boisterous voice cried out from beyond the wall of alien giants. The mechs didn't so much as twitch when a young girl, no more than four years of age, rushed up to the elder female. Samantha was ready for the catch when the youngster launched herself through the air in a clearly practiced move.

"Hello Nik. How's tricks?" Sam swung the girl up above her with complete ease, her arms not straining in the slightest. Ryder grinned wholeheartedly at the warmth that radiated off of his dream girl. She was meant to have children in her arms. It was in the way she held the child and herself. He'd been in the medical field long enough – not to mention from personal encounters with family and friends – to be able to read body language and to be able to discern who was a nurturer down to their very core.

"Amma'Am, I has your crown!" The girl waved a glittering circlet up and down between the two of them, her smile wider than seemed possible.

"I see that." Samantha chuckled. He was unable to see the dark look that passed over the optics of those present due to their lack of articulating facial features, but he felt the fine hairs at the back of his neck stand on end from it. Apparently something involving that bejeweled 'crown' was a big no-no for this group. "How about you put it back on my head? I thought it felt drafty up there!"

The girl, Nik, chittered away gaily as she reset the lavender-hued circlet onto Samatha's scalp. His brows shot up in surprise when the stones, Energon crystals if he assumed correctly, flared brilliantly upon contact with her person. The crystals near the back that dangled on glittering chains delved deeply into her tightly knotted braid as though they had a mind of their own. The teardrop crystal that rested against her forehead sparkled with nearly as much mirth as her eyes did.

"Thank you, baby girl. I don't know how I managed to lose it."

"Daddy says you in big trouble." Nik's eyes were dramatically wide. "Do you get a spankin' when you in trouble, too?"

Sam snickered, setting the child down onto her own two feet. The little girl's brown hair and hazel eyes popped nicely against the jade-green overalls she wore. She was urged back in the direction which she came from by the blonde's gentle pushing.

"No, I don't get spankings. I do, however, get grounded from time to time and that is just no fun. How about you go back to your Daddy and tell him I'm here. I'm sure he'd like to talk to me." It didn't take a genius to figure out that she was hinting at opening herself up for another round of scolding from whomever the girl's father was. The little one didn't need to hear that, however.

"Okay. Bye-bye!"

"Bye-bye to you too, baby girl."

Ryder was still grinning as he watched the girl toddle off to go find her father. He noted idly that the youngster had a relatively small in stature Autobot trailing after her. It seemed that every human had a babysitter in this place…wherever that was.

"Amma'Am?" He inquired, his right brow ticking up in question.

"I used to be Auntie, but by the third brood they started calling me Grandma. The youngest one at the time, Matthew, hadn't been able to work the sounds out well enough and I became Amma'Am instead of Grandma Sam. The name stuck."

"You don't mind bein' called Grandma?"

"Why would I?" She chuckled, shaking her head as Nik pirouetted around the corner and out of sight. "I'm certainly old enough to fit the bill even if I look like I'm perpetually trapped in a thirty-five year old's body."

"And the crown?" He raised a hand and allowed his fingers to skim across the crystals. They were warm to the touch. Out of the corner of his eye he could see the mechanoids stiffening.

Well if that ain't an oxymoron. Robots stiffening. I'll be a monkey's uncle.

"No big deal," she shrugged his question off, turning her focus onto the databanks around them. Her eyes were beginning to emit an ethereal glow.

"It is a 'big deal', Samantha, and you well know it." Optimus Prime's tone was immutably irate. Despite never having spoken to him before and having no reason to trust him, the red-and-blue Prime turned to speak directly to Ryder. "The crown as you call it links Samantha to every trace of Cybertron within this solar system including the Cybertronians. It allows her to feed off of its strength and to funnel it back in equal measure. It also aids in ensuring that the nanites within her systems retain a full charge. Without that connection, her nanites cannot keep up with the demand of keeping her human body rejuvenated."

"Are you sayin' that without the crown she'll age an' die?" Just speaking those words sent a heavy weight to the pit of his stomach. The urge to toss his cookies was strong. Irrationally, he felt anger directed towards the Primanar herself for ignoring her health in such a way.

Sam snorted derisively.

"He's being melodramatic. I ain't going to croak that easily." The blonde rolled her shoulder, the joints cracking as she did so. One hand fell to her injured side. "The nanites can do a lot for the human body, but they can't do everything all at once. Unless someone is able to extract every single one from my body, I won't age in the traditional sense of the word for a human for a long, long time.

"The problem is that the nanites are always going to primarily focus on ridding my body of any foreign entities and correcting genetic errors, such as disease and aging. I can use them as conduits to do other things such as animating a protoform or warping, but that exhausts them and in turn exhausts me. Depending upon my actions I can end up in bed for days, even weeks at a time because I've worn myself out. Wearing the crown – as everyone likes to call it – gives me direct access to Cybertron's innate power core. Think of it like me plugging myself up to a charging station."

"She makes light a grave matter," Megatron rumbled in agitation. His laser-sharp focus landed on Ryder. "You will be joining us, human?"

"I will," he replied with as much surety as he could inject into the affirmation. He sidled up closer to the woman beside him, her body so much smaller than his own. He'd been raised with the mentality that it was a man's job to protect their woman. A woman could be all that she wanted to be, their inner strength insurmountable, and it was a man's physical strength that complimented her inner. It was an archaic and often long-forgotten – hell, frowned upon – way of thinking, but Ryder wholeheartedly believed that he was born for the sole reason of being the interlocking puzzle piece to his other half. His soul mate.

She was his dream girl, quite literally, and a niggling sense in the very recesses of his mind was telling him that Samantha was his matching piece.

His breathing hitched a little while his stomach flipped to think that just maybe he had found her.

"You will watch her." Megatron ordered him succinctly, his red optics blazing. "My Pet has an affinity of sneaking away from her security detail and neglecting her well-being. You are a doctor? All the better to ensure her health. She is able-bodied, but also soft of heart. She will go nowhere alone if it puts a weak human at risk."

"Hey!" They both chorused, affronted for their own separate reasons.

"I am far from weak," Ryder grumped, his not inconsiderable arms crossing tightly over his chest.

"Don't I have enough God-forsaken babysitters without adding another one into the mix? And for the last time, stop calling me 'Pet'! Stubborn fuckin' toaster oven!" Sam stomped her right foot onto the metal flooring, her eyes both brightening. A wave of static electricity seemed to dance over his skin and caused the finer hairs of his body to stand on end. For their parts, the titans twitched, but did not shy away.

"Obtuse hairless primate." Megatron parried back, mirth apparent in his tone despite no emotion showing on his face. The Cybertronians weren't like humans. Unless their facial structures were comprised of far more intricate little plates, they were unable to emote as a human did. He supposed that in itself might have been a reason for the human populace to be wary of them. They relied heavily on facial queues to read others and feel a sense of comfort. Their autonomous, alien planetmates didn't have the means to express in a way familiar to humankind.

"Come down here and say that you glitched out son-of-a-scrapper."

"I will not fall to your level, Pet. It is, after all, such a long way down."

"Why you…"

"You two are never going to completely get along, are you?" This new voice, a male's, chortled gaily. Ryder turned from the bickering duo to see a taller man, though a foot or so shorter than himself, striding purposely towards them. Nik was bouncing on his hip, her arms raised high as though she were flying in his arms.

"He was a pompous, self-righteous windbag before he was granted Primehood. Why did I ever think he'd be different now?" Sam gestured rudely at the silver Prime behind her back out of view of the giggling child.

"From what you yourself have told me, 'Amma, he has changed and more than deserves his Prime status." The sandy-blonde haired newcomer cocked a nearly bushy eyebrow at the smaller woman once he'd come to stand a few feet away from them. "You're just cross because you don't like the endearment he is so very fond of laying at your feet."

"It ain't no endearment," she muttered nearly under her breath, shooting a death glare at the once Decepticon warlord. Finally she sighed, opening her arms and making grabby hands towards the tyke again. "Come to 'Amma, baby girl. You need to protect me when your daddy tries to pull my head from my shoulders."

The man pivoted his daughter away from the blonde, his expression stern even as Nik made mirroring hand motions towards the elder female.

"You aren't getting out of it that easy, Witwicky. Nik is here for me as a reminder to keep calm and as a reminder for you that you have people who need you. Next time you go off with one of your hair-brained schemes, how about you think about all of the youngsters that won't understand why their Amma'Am isn't coming to visit anymore? Or maybe about the older ones that still need that matriarch in the family to look up to and guide them? Or even about the ones that you visit every weekend at the Home? You ever think about the rest of us having to explain to them why the woman who had been a part of their lives from day one and is always telling them stories from across the galaxies is no longer coming by for tea so they can hear about another fantastical adventure?"

For the first time in his life, Ryder felt a soul-numbing pain for another person's hurts. As soon as this young man, who looked no older than twenty-eight or so, started lecturing Samantha, she physically deflated. Her whole demeanor changed. Where before she had been regal with a hint of mischief, she now bore a countenance of one condemned. Her lavender-hued eyes misted with tears she fought to keep at bay.

As a doctor, it was ingrained in him to be sympathetic and often-times empathetic to the suffering of his patients. It grounded him and kept him from being aloof. There was a fine line between detachment and closeness a good physician needed to keep with his patients to treat them with the respect and accuracy they needed.

This was different.

Without thinking he snaked his hand around the fragile woman's middle and drew her carefully behind him. He held her positioned there, keeping her front tucked up to his back. She was so small and he so large that she would have completely disappeared from the smaller man's sight. His own body was tense, not liking the ire that spiked in the pit of his gut for the father's harshly spoken words.

"We haven't been introduced," he began fluently, his accent dropping to speak with the other man. He'd learned early-on in medical school that no one took him seriously with his country-boy twang and had worked diligently to suppress his accent. Whenever he'd been with patients or spoken with influential figures within the system, he kept his natural voice hidden. No matter how he spoke he was the same man, competent and downright lethal under the right circumstances, but his put-on voice was an intimidation factor.

"My name is Ryder Erikson." He offered his hand politely even if his first urge was to crush the man's fingers once their palms met. He restrained himself admirably. "I've recently come into the acquaintance of this little lady you were talking so mercilessly down to. I would ask respectfully that you don'tdoitagain." With each word he punctuated with a more vigorous squeeze to the man's hand.

Said male winced.

"Justin Banes. Director of PR for Primaritus Central and General Relations throughout the tributaries." He shook his hand liberally once Ryder had released it. "Heck of a grip you got there, Mister Erikson."

"Ryder will do just fine." His lips thinned. "I reiterate, do not address Samantha so harshly again."

"Daddy! I want Amma'Am!" Nik squealed in her father's ear. Justin flinched at the cry. "Amma'Am is sad. Hugs make everyt'ing better."

"That they do," Sam wiggled out from behind him, her composure back in check. Ryder shivered minutely to feel her solicitous touch skim across the muscles of his back as she rounded him. She took Nik carefully from Justin, her movements tempered by her earlier ordeal. The little girl in turn laid her head on the blonde's shoulder, a contented smile etching across both of their faces.

He thought fleetingly once again that she was a natural-born mother.

"Is the tracker working?" The elder female queried, moving to perch herself onto a large, bowled chair set before a lone bank of consoles. As she sat, the chair pivoted and rolled back so that she and the little girl were slid into the deep recess of its lush cushioning. Nik tittered happily.

"Yes," a Cybertronian tech of some sort replied quickly, his servos hovering over the flat console before him. Fractures of light sparked from his fingers – digits – and queued the computer. The robot version of tapping keys, apparently. A three-dimensional map projected from a space just beyond the mech's console. "Based on speed and predictive directional mapping, it is assumed that the protoform is being transported to Chicago."

"I'm kinda sick of Chicago," Sam hummed more to herself than to the rest of the room's occupants. Nik was laying back against the elder woman, their hands intertwined and playing with a long loop of string. Walking closer, Ryder could see that they were forming 'Jacob's Ladder'.

"I'd imagine that city wouldn't hold many fond memories," he conceded, marveling silently at the chair and the slowly revolving databanks that orbited said seat. The screens were entirely holographic and moved according to physical prompting, possibly even mental urging, by Samantha herself. The largest jewel of her crown pulsed with light and heat. He felt power emanate from it.

He suspected that this chair, this spot, was hers and hers alone.

"You'd be correct. We repaired all damages caused by the Horde and Vector Prime and the city itself has advanced lightyears beyond what it would have had Cybertron not encompassed Earth, but the memory of the destruction will haunt me for the rest of my life."

"Your primary existence was to create and nurture, Sweetspark." Optimus Prime rumbled from above. "Death and destruction is against your nature."

"Well, the human-condition warped the core of your precious Allspark."

"Don't be cross, Pet." Ryder couldn't be certain, but he sensed that Megatron would have kneeled and petted the woman had he not been so surrounded by others. He could feel the longing in the air. "You are as you were always meant to be. Truth, your sometimes bloodthirsty ways thrill my spark."

"You're a dirty mech, that's why."

"Language," Justin reminded them, eyeing his still playing daughter warily. Ryder chuckled to himself. He'd seen more than enough children spouting off words 'taught' to them by parents or other adults that hadn't minded their p's and q's.

"So why are you tracking these protoforms?" He queried, sneaking a glimpse at the nearby map and the moving red tag that denoted the protoform's location.

"We're trying to find their main base of operations. We've located a few of the off-site disassembling teams, but they're clever enough to keep their origins hidden. I've got a good guess, though, on who is funding Cemetery Wind."


"Joshua Joyce."

"You can't be serious, Sam?!" Justin remarked loudly to the elder woman. "He offers donations to many of our projects. Why would he be sided with Cemetery Wind?"

She signed. Deeply. "Justin, how many times have I told you that things are not always what meets the eye? Our projects and inventions are being funded and penned by me under a false identity. No matter how much digging he does, he's never going to come back to the source. He wants his finger in my various pots – you know how profitable most of my adventures have been – but if he knew exactly who I was he'd retract his financial backing. Swords would cross in a big way and he is no fool. Naïve, yes, but fool."

"But didn't K.S.I. work with the Neutrals in Antarctica when they were digging up that cyberformed landscape? I know Sparrowback is the division of K.S.I. that received Cybertronian aid. Isn't that a contradiction?" Ryder inquired softly, his hand itching to pet at her tightly braided hair. He wanted to pull those heavy strands from their knots and see if they were as soft as they looked.

He needed to get his shit together.

"It's all about appearances. Plus the excavation time was cut by nearly seventy-two years with the help of some of my mechs and femmes." Sam smiled crookedly. "That man is wily. He knows as much as anyone else that the Cybertronians report to their Primes and Primanar. He's accepted assistance, but doesn't allow for my mechs to access anything that might be considered classified information. Separate computer banks with no connective abilities for example."

Back and forth she worked with Nik's hands, creating one design after another. The little girl couldn't have been able to retain all the appropriate gestures to be able to recreate the finished string-art alone, but she was tickled pink to see how rapidly Sam was moving both their hands to make every design.

The fact that she could do so and not falter in either her thought processes or speech patterns was a bit of a fascination for him. Ryder had come to discover in his years of med-school and an intern that people were, as a rule, unable to multitask. Yes, people often preformed multiple tasks at the same time, but the brain does not allow one to give 100% to each task at the same time.

Samantha Witwicky was doing that now. Seemlessly.

What other tricks was she hiding?

"Hatchback reported that the foremen for the Antarctica site were instructed to scavenge some of the outer-most strips of cyberformed land and ship it back to K.S.I.. My theory is that they're using that metal, which is essentially the same raw materials needed to assemble a protoform, and harnessing it in the 'human' way. Depending upon its application, that metal isn't going to give Joshua what he wants I'm afraid."

The sound of screeching metal and clunking machinery caused all of their heads to turn. Megatron snarled as the latches above and neighboring his Spark chamber snicked open. Ryder's eyes widened to see the ornate, diamond shaped object that was the Matrix of Leadership, coast down towards them.

"That Spark-Pitted thing simply refuses to be contained." Megatron beat at his reclosed chest plates loudly as though he were trying to dislodge a bit of food. "My brother, how could you tolerate it?"

"The Matrix was never as active as it has been these last decavorns. It was my hope that a different wielder would bare it better." Optimus looked only momentarily to his 'brother' before watching the Matrix hover above the two prone females.

"Don't touch, Nik," Sam ordered the young one, shifting enough to allow the girl to run off to her father and remove the distraction of the glowing alien device from her reach. The blonde's own hands hovered over the Matrix, humming lightly at whatever she felt.

"It's been gaining power since Earth and Cybertron melded. I can feel the Sparks waiting to be called forth."

"What?" Ryder leaned forward to hold his hand over the glowing tech as well. It exuded a large amount of heat and he could feel the air pulsing. It was like being stationed beside a large speaker and feeling the vibrations of sound emitting from it. "Sparks?"

"When a Cybertronian life is extinguished, it's similar in the way that it's believed humans have souls. On Cybertron there is such a thing as reincarnation. Each soul, each Spark, recedes to the Well of All Sparks until it is called forth once more. Sometimes a Spark will return with the memories of its previous body. Other times it will not. It will be as a new being. A fresh start.

"Think of The Matrix of Leadership as a kind of biblical Pearly-Gate. The Matrix has a direct link to the Well and with the Allspark's power, a Spark can be pulled from the well and inserted into a protoform. Problem is that up until recently the Matrix has been dormant for that purpose. On an older Cybertron, a life was Sparked only once every six-hundred years or so from the Matrix and Allspark combined. It took all that time for the Matrix to reaccumulate the power necessary to open the 'gate' to allow a Spark through."

"Can I…can I touch it?" He was mesmerized by the object. Its heat was welcoming. It felt like home. Combined with the euphoria he was beginning to feel in Samantha's presence, the sense of her being his one and only, he was on the verge of being bowled right off his big feet.

"It usually burns," she warned him sternly.

"I'll take the risk." Without pausing he pushed his fingers into the pulsing metal. He received a shock, yes, but no sense of burning flesh. The shock was akin to a blast of static electricity which made his hair stand on end. A shuddered worked its way down his spine.

Pure bliss.

"Huh. Well I'll be damned," the woman murmured, her brows furrowed as she assessed him. She touched his fingers lightly where they connected with the Matrix. Out of the corner of his eyes he watched her eyes glow phenomenally. Sparks of red and blue streaked through the lavender iris.

"What in the world is going on here?!" Justin shouted over the ringing in his ears.

He wished he knew.