Margo Dupain-Sunet was very calmly listening to her music and walking home when her life got flipped upside down. Miko Nakadai, her best friend and fellow transfer student (though from Japan and not France), walked alongside her as they got to their respective host parents' house. Miko's house was in the completely opposite direction, but the girl was walking Margo home. For the past few days, ever since Margo'd gotten stuck in an alley with purple cars shooting red blasts and the motorcycle shot away, she'd been increasingly worried about a stalker with a blue motorcycle. Everywhere she turned, there were either the purple cars, or the blue motorcycle. And both were extremely creepy.

"Hey, Gogo?"

The brown-haired girl tucked a head phone behind her ear. "Yeah?"

"Isn't that the same bike from earlier?"

Margo looked up from her book. It was indeed the same blue bike with pink highlights. "How does it always manage to find us?" In order to avoid it, they'd already taken six obscure shortcuts and doubled around at least twice. It was the only reason why their journey was taking so long.

They walked along the side of the road for a while until they noticed four identical purple and black cars. They immediately turned they spotlights on Margo and Miko and started getting closer.

Miko dragged Margo into an abandoned street corner, where the buildings were close enough together that the cars wouldn't fit.

"So, suspicions?" Margo asked immediately.

"Biker's someone with a major grudge. The purple cars might be government trying to protect us," Miko said.

Margo shrugged. "I guess we'll have to wait. Still got your pocketknife?"

"Always."

Margo smiled. It was the smile that said she was either going to slap you with a fish or she was proud. She got her own pocketknife out of her jeans, subtly shoved it up her sleeve with the blade out, and started walking with Miko.

The next day at school, the blue bike was there again. Miko shrugged and started sketching it again, this time coloring in the rainbows and hearts.

"Gotta say, no matter who my stalker is, they can go fuck themselves. I can't believe they have better rides than us!" Margo griped.

Miko's phone rang, and Margo looked over the Asian's shoulder. Arcee took her chance, activated her Sadie hologram, and started moving after her assigned pickup.

When Miko and Margo finally noticed the bike was gone, Margo flipped over the back of the rail, Miko hot on her tail. If they had a stalker, they were going to figure out who the fuck it was so they could fuck them up.

"You may be in danger, because you are one of the few, one of the ONLY who have ever seen us."

"Well, with such lousy cover-keeping, it's a wonder you don't get discovered more often," Margo snarked.

"Dude, what are you waiting for? GO WITH!"

Arcee blinked, and her hand drooped. "Scrap. There's another."

Margo and Miko ended up going with Jack on the motorcycle.

"And WHY are we bringing them?"

"Rules!" Arcee answered as they sped down the road. It really wasn't safe to be having three people on one motorcycle, but Miko was kind of sitting on the handlebars since no one could see them, and she was wearing the only helmet there.

They all, of course, got off as soon as they arrived inside the shielded silo, where Arcee picked up Jack in one hand and Margo and Miko in the other.

"I thought there were three," said a gruff voice once Arcee stopped inside and put them down on the floor.

"Haven't you heard? Humans multiply," Arcee said flippantly.

"You sound like Weyoun," Margo said bluntly. "Hi, Weyoun 8."

"I'm Jack," Jack breezed past that.

"Raf," said the youngest with orange hair and glasses.

"I'm Miko!" Miko said, running up to the largest, a green bot. "Who're you?"

"I wonder if there are other Weyouns?" Margo said aloud as she started walking around, ignoring Miko's ranting at Bulkhead. There was a red, blue, and silver bot coming around the corner who was obviously tallest. She blinked at the new addition. "Well, you're for sure not a Weyoun. I think I'll call you... Deyos. He was fun, and he led Ikat'ika, the sort-of-noble Jem'Hadar."

His footsteps shook the ground. It was a wonder the others hadn't noticed him.

"So, if you guys are robots, who made you?" Raf asked.

Weyoun 8 scoffed. "Puh-lease."

The others finally noticed Deyos-but-less-brutal (since they hadn't been squished underfoot yet). "We are autonomous robotic organisms from the planet called Cybertron, also known as Autobots."

Margo blinked. "Funny. I could've sworn you were Vorta."

Miko slapped a hand over Margo's mouth. "Hush, you, with your DS9 references."

Margo licked Miko's hand until the girl recoiled. "Then how to you explain Weyoun 8's voice!"

"Who is Weyoun 8?" asked the yellow bot.

"The one who sounds like Weyoun, obviously," Margo rolled her eyes.

Arcee blinked. "Well, that's new."

"What's new?" Raf asked. "Meeting another Star Trek fan that's not online or in my family? I agree."

Margo's eyes widened. Her head darted to meet Raf's eyes. "You understand my references?"

"Yes," Raf said.

Margo laughed. "HE GETS MY REFERENCES!"

"Yes!" Raf agreed. "And I agree, the white-and-orange bot sounds EXACTLY like Weyoun."

"Except less... deferential," Margo said.

"And older. More gravelly," Raf nodded.

"Ratchet, don't you dare squish the fleshlings," Arcee warned between giggles. "I'm having way too much fun with this."

Jack cleared his throat warningly. "Why are you here?" he addressed Deyos-but-less-brutal.

"To protect your planet from the decepticons," Optimus said.

"The jokers who tried to run us off last night," Arcee elaborated.

Miko laced her fingers under her chin. "Okay. Now, why are they here?"

Optimus knelt. "A fair question, Miko. In part, because our planet has been rendered uninhabitable, ravaged by centuries of civil war."

"Why were you fighting a war?" Raf asked.

"I'm guessing it's none of our business," Margo picked under her nails.

"I believe you have a right to know, as you have been inadvertently dragged into our conflict," Optimus said. "Foremost, the war was fought for two reasons. The first was the method of deconstructing an unjust political system. The second was control over our world's supply of Energon, the fuel and lifeblood of all Autoboots and Decepticons alike."

"Right," Margo said. "Well, thanks for the intergalactic history lesson. Are we going to be staying here?"

"Not indefinitely," Optimus said. "However, as the Decepticons believe you're affiliated with us, it is safer that you remain with us for large portions of your off time to halt or slow their efforts in tracking you."

Margo sighed. "Would that explain all the purple cars we've been seeing?"

"Yes," Bulkhead said. "We've been keeping an eye on you to make sure nothing happens."

Miko huffed. "Sucks."

"Yup," Margo crossed her arms.

The femme turned her blue-painted helm down at them. "Optimus, are you sure we should keep them here? They have no protective shell. If they get underfoot, they will go squish."

"Then for the time being," Optimus said musingly, "we must watch where we step."

Arcee bit the inside of her cheek as a beep popped up on the computer.

"Blasted Earth tech!" Ratchet groaned. "Cliffjumper's life signal just popped back online!"

This caught the attention of every single bot. Optimus knelt down and let the four humans climb onto his hand, depositing them on the balcony where a faded yellow couch and a television set lay. "Are you certain it's him?"

"Of course he isn't alive!" Ratchet yelled. "It's another damned bug! The system's chock full of 'em!"

"If there's ANY chance Cliff's alive..." Arcee couldn't say the rest.

"Ratchet, set the coordinates and prepare sickbay," Optimus ordered, sliding on his battle mask.

Ratchet waved his hand. "I know the drill, old friend."

Ratchet entered the coordinates and pulled down on the groundbridge lever. The rings lit up one by one, leaving a swirling vortex of blue and green. Optimus, Bulkhead, and Bumblebee were all cars. Arcee, however, became a motorcycle.

Margo's eyes widened. "Fuck. That's a fucking feat of techno-fucking-logical engineering, there! How the fuck do you get a fucking transporter?"

"Do you ever stop swearing?" Jack hissed.

"Not unless given proper incentive," Margo said absentmindedly. "So, Weyoun 8?"

"A feat of technological engineering that would no doubt escape the puny minds of the likes of you," Ratchet said.

Margo stuck out her tongue at the bot. "No, seriously."

Ratched sighed dramatically. "A scaled-down version of spacebridge technology. We currently neither possess the technology, nor the energon to transport offworld-"

"So you're stuck here. With us," Jack completed.

"Indeed. However, I was able to construct a groundbridge with the meagre supplies I was able to find on Earth."

"So you can transport anywhere on Earth, but not anywhere else," Raf said.

It was nearly ten minutes later when a call for the groundbridge came, nearly deafened by the whoosh of burning fire.

Most made it through without incident. Optimus, however, had to backflip through the bridge as his armour shifted back around his arms and legs, as Ratchet closed it before the Bridge was damaged.

Arcee was subtly leaning against Bulkhead.

"Report, Arcee," Optimus said.

The blue and pink motorcycle moaned, holding her left arm. "He was- he was glowing purple where it should be blue. I don't know what happened."

Before she could collapse, Bulkhead caught her.

"Cee! Are you alright?"

"I'm fine, Bee. Just dizzy."

"Robots who get dizzy?" Miko asked quietly.

"Robots with emotions," Raf confirmed.

"Robots who can die." Jack said, eyes narrowed.

Margo flicked Miko's and Jack's ears. "Robots who are sentient."

Ratchet scanned Arcee. Finally, his search stopped on her purple liquid-stained arm. He lifted it speculatively, careful not to touch the liquid itself. "What is this?"

"That's the weird glowy purple stuff," Arcee said, voice wobbly. "Cliff was covered in it."

Ratchet took a sample with a scalpel as Jack took out his phone.

"Go take a decontamination bath, now."

Just as Arcee entered, there was an alert. Optimus grabbed Margo and Raf, while Ratchet grabbed Jack and Miko. They were both put inside the two, and closed their chassis before the elevator opened.

"I would suggest you be quiet," Ratchet hissed quietly. "You'll be let out in a minute or two."

"Anything you'd like to get off your tin chest, Prime?" Fowler asked. "Because there's been thirty-four fender benders, a three-hour traffic jam, a half-destroyed drainage pipe, and of particular note, random and wanton destruction of property because of red laser blasts, numerous reports of a speeding blue motorcycle of unknown make, and a black-and-yellow custom muscle car."

Optimus waited a few seconds to be sure he'd stopped. "Agent Fowler, we have the situation well in hand."

"They're back, aren't they?" the agent asked.

"If you are referring to the Decepticons, I have doubts they ever left."

Inside Optimus, Margo had sat backwards in Optimus's drivers' seat, and was tinkering with his radio. Optimus was very pointedly keeping his faceplate steady despite the classical music in his audials and resisted the urge to open his chassis and let her out.

"Then it's time to wake up the Pentagon."

"Agent Fowler, we are your best, possibly your only defense against the Decepticon threat. Involving humans will only result in additional loss of life."

Fowler looked around. There was a bot missing. "You lost Cliff, didn't you?"

Optimus nodded. "We did."

Fowler sighed. "It doesn't change the fact that you've got to handle this threat, under the radar. If you can't, we will."

"Acknowledged," Optimus nodded.

Fowler walked back to the elevator and got in.

Optimus's chassis immediately opened when the elevator closed. "Margo, I would ask that you do not play with my recordings."

Margo winced. "Sorry, boss bot. I haven't had any tunes since I came here."

"A security precaution," Optimus explained. "The silo walls isolate all radio waves."

Jack suddenly shot a look at his flip-phone. "It's TEN! Optimus, if I don't get home an hour ago, my mom's gonna send the cops out looking for me!"

Optimus tilted his head. "Have you broken a law?"

"Curfew!" Jack exclaimed, trying in vain to call his mom. "It's not a work night, I had to have been home since nine-thirty!"

Miko's eyes widened. "Crap! I'm usually home earlier than this too!"

"I better get home, too, or I'll be grounded for a year," Raf said.

Margo ran her hands through her hair. "Fuck! I'll get kicked out of the fucking program for this!" She took in a long inhale through her nose. "Okay, there's a tree outside my window. I'll be fine as long as I can get in that way."

Optimus tilted a brow. "Human customs. I hadn't considered. However, the issue of your safety remains. Bulkhead, accompany Miko home."

"Camo mode?" Bulkhead asked.

"Indeed," Optimus confirmed. "Bumblebee, you'll accompany Raf. Ratchet?"

"Busy!" came the answering call.

"Arcee, you'll accompany Jack."

Arcee feigned a wobble. "Ugh, still dizzy."

"You're fine, says your physician," Ratchet said, waving a noncommittal hand.

Arcee sighed, resigned, and transformed.

Margo looked around. "You're the only one left," she said.

"It would seem so," Optimus agreed and transformed, opening his passenger door for the brunette. "Let's go."

It was deep night outside. The four vehicles were led by Bulkhead until they got to the edge of the city, where everyone paused to ask their charges where they were going.

Bulkhead and Bumblebee went left. Arcee continued straight, and Optimus turned left.

Jasper was a rather small town. But the stress of the day made the girl slowly fall asleep in the warm safety of Optimus's seats.

Optimus regretted activating his holoform to wake her up, but they were at her home. "Margo."

Margo twitched. "Cinq minutes de plus, maman."

Optimus shook her a bit more. "Margo, you must wake. We are at your home. Margo!"

The teenager finally stirred and started when she realized where she was. "Sorry for falling asleep in you, OP."

The girl got out of his compartment, and he drove away when she was inside via unlocked window.

It was twenty minutes later, when Margo was tucked into bed and under her covers that her eyes snapped wide opened again and she ran a hand down her face. "Fuck. I still don't have my school bag."

~?~

Optimus was there early Saturday for her, and waited patiently until the girl got out of the house.

It didn't take long, but the girl directed him to the school first.

Miko's miscellaneous colouring pencils were gone, but her bag had thankfully fallen off of the rail and was hidden by a bush. She retrieved it and put all her belongings back in the bag, and then returned to Optimus.

"Back to base, please," Margo said. Optimus obliged.

They sat in silence for a while, until the girl spoke up again. "Hey, do you got any fliers with you?"

"No," Optimus said simply. "Many of the fliers joined the Decepticon cause."

"Is... there a reason for that?" Margo asked as the base door closed behind them. Optimus opened his door, Margo climbed out, and Optimus transformed. The brunette had to jog to keep up with his steps.

"Seekers need a higher-grade Energon to fly, and without flying, they often go mad," Optimus said. "As being a part of the war effort ensured a steady supply of good energon-"

"The fliers had to join either side, or they'd be killed," Margo sighed. "Okay, so then why did they mostly join the Decepticons?"

"A substantial amount joined the autobots, as well. However, the decepticons had far more of a supply than the autobots, and probability suggested they'd have an easier access to energon than if they'd joined the autobots."

"Then, what happened to the fliers on your side?"

"They are not here. The dependence we have on energon necessitates we ration our stockpile in mid- to low-grade cubes. High-grade simply isn't an option."

"And since fliers don't want to go insane, they don't stay on this planet except with the people who have the most access to high-grade," Margo completed.

"Not precisely. To be more exact, I advise any Autobot flier that they can stay with us, but the energon deposits on this planet's moon and on Mars are much less heavily guarded due to their relative rarity, and they often do not stay."

Margo nodded. "Right."

When they got to the main room, Ratchet was about to be jumped by a purple glowing spider-thing.

"Erm, what the fuck was that?" Margo looked up at the Prime.

"I believe it was dark energon," Optimus said while kneeling so Margo could climb onto his hand. She did, and got lifted up to the balcony.

"Dark energon?" Ratchet asked. "I suppose that would explain Cliffjumper's life signal popping back online, but it's so scarce as to be virtually nonexistent. What would it be doing on Earth?"

"Well, why is regular energon on Earth?" Margo snarked.

Ratchet paused, voice caught in his throat. He finally exhaled. "Point. But who brought it here?"

"Megatron."

"Right," Margo said. "But then, why now?"

"In order to raise an army of undead warriors."

Ratchet guffawed. "Well, he'll have to break quite a few toaster ovens. I mean, where in his galaxy is he going to find that many cybertronian dead?"

A sound of revving engines interrupted Optimus's answer.

The six others came racing up to the main room, laughing, oblivious to the dire conversation between Ratchet and Optimus.

"Autobots, prepare to-" He paused, looking down at the children.

"Roll out?" Arcee finished.

"Remain here," Optimus corrected. "Ratchet, you'll come with me. Arcee, we'll be outside communications range for quite some time, so I'm putting you in charge."

"Optimus, with all due respect, playing bodyguard is one thing. Babysitting's another! Besides, Ratchet hasn't been in the field since the war."

"My pistons may be rusty, but my hearing's sharp as ever," Ratchet hissed.

"For the moment, it is strictly reconnaissance," Optimus said. "Look after Margo."

"Optimus, why do I hear an edge in your voice?" Bumblebee buzzed.

"Bumblebee, much has changed in the past twenty-four hours. We all have to adapt. Ratchet?"

He activated the ground bridge, which Bumblebee powered down as soon as they made it through.

"So... What's on the activities list?" Jack asked.

"I'm going on patrol," Arcee said.

"But-"

Anticipating his argument, Arcee said, "I know, and I still need to blow off some fragging steam! You're in charge, Bulkhead. Bee, with me!"

Bee looked down mournfully at Raf and mumbled something in between "I don't wanna", "Coming reluctantly", and "But cartoons!".

The both of them transformed and sped away.

Bulkhead looked nervously at the kids. "So, wh-"

Margo interrupted him. "I'm going to sleep on the couch. Be quiet."

Thankfully, Jack had taken the opportunity to suggest a video game tournament. They were all able to play since Jack, Miko, and Raf were squished in his two front seats with a remote each and Bulkhead played by steering his wheel.

They didn't get far before the proximity sensor woke Margo. The brunette looked at the blinking green light as Bulkhead transformed, making sure they were all inside his chassis.

"Margo, hide behind the couch!" Bulkhead hissed as the elevator whirred. The girl complied.

"Prime!" came the angry yell.

"He's not here, Agent Fowler," Bulkhead said.

"Then where is he?" Fowler asked angrily. "No wait, don't tell me. He's pancaking a mini-mall, isn't he!"

"That only happened once!" Bulkhead argued weakly. "And he was in holoform mode!"

Fowler was about to answer ("IT HAPPENED ANYWAYS, AND THAT'S MY GO-TO WHENEVER I'M MAD, SO DEAL WITH IT") before he saw Margo's books, spread all over the couch where she was studying for her chemistry midterms.

"Since when are you bots studying high school chemistry?"

Bulkhead froze, unable to respond.

Margo sheepishly got out from behind the couch. "Hiya."

"Contact with civilians?" Fowler looked shocked, and then angry. "Team Prime has really gone off-book this time."

"No, you've got it all wrong! I'm an... a student intern, here studying... comparative alien/human... socioecology?" Her voice tampered off into almost a question.

"Oh, really?" Fowler asked. "Let's go, kid. It's for your own protection."

Bulkhead picked her up and put her on his shoulder. "We're protecting them."

"Them?" Fowler asked. "Don't tell me. He brought home the mini-mall!"

"Excuse yourself, you don't know my pronouns!" Margo tried.

"No!" Bulkhead said. "They saw 'cons. We had to bring 'em here."

"You said you'd handle this under the radar! I don't know how different things are on Cybertron, but on THIS planet, 'under the radar' means 'having avoided detection'!" He took a deep breath. "Where are the others?"

"A-fucking-gain, pronouns!" Margo's riposte fell on deaf ears.

Bulkhead opened his chassis, revealing the three other humans. He held out a hand for them to climb on. Miko went without question, and Jack immediately followed, chased by Raf.

Fowler's eye twitched. "Alright, kids, you're coming with me. It's for your own protection."

Bulkhead raised them above Fowler's head. "I said, we're protecting them."

"Really?" said Fowler, a sarcastic drawl in his voice. "I guess you won't mind explaining that to my superiors at the Pentagon, then?" he said, reaching for a phone.

"Don't use that phone, it's-"

Margo took the nearest crowbar and smashed it against the phone booth as hard as she could.

"-out of order," Bulkhead finished pathetically.

Fowler snarled. "This isn't over, though guy. Not my a long shot."

He stormed off in the elevator, and the proximity sensor tampered off into a small, annoying beep until he was out of range.

It wasn't even thirty minutes later than a distress signal sounded.

"It's from Fowler!" Bulkhead said. He tapped a few keys until a beeping red dot popped up with an error message. "Location scan was incomplete. Oh, well."

"Oh, well?" Margo said sardonically and raised an eyebrow.

"Fowler's a jerk!" Bulkhead said.

"Whoa!" Jack exclaimed. "Whether you like the guy or not, the Decepticons may have him!"

"And Agent Fowler knows your location!" Raf added. Apprehension came a moment later. "Our location."

"And did we not just witness how fast Fowler backs down from a 'bot?" Miko had her hands on her hips. "The 'Cons will totally make him squeal!"

"I don't have his coordinates!" Bulkhead protested. "Fowler could be anywhere!"

Raf bit the inside of his cheek. "Not necessarily. A few years ago, the government started microchipping their agents, like owners do with pets."

Margo blinked. "Uh, what?"

Raf looked up. "What? I saw it in a documentary. Anyways, if I can hack into the feds' mainframe, I might be able to catch his frequency."

"How do you know how to hack?" Miko asked. "You're like, two years old!"

"Fingers, Miko?" Margo asked. Miko'd always had a problem with exact numbers in English, like Margo had a problem with locations and proper names (grandmother, father, brother, etc) and usually defaulted to French.

Miko groaned, clenched a hand into a fist. Five-five-two.

"Twelve," Margo corrected for Raf.

"And a quarter," Raf said, like it made all the difference.

It was a few minutes before Raf got the coordinates. "Latitude, 39.5. Longitude, 116.9."

Bulkhead entered the coordinates, and opened the bridge.

"Okay, wait here," Bulkhead said.

"Aw!" Miko said. "But what about our game!"

"We can finish it later. Jack, you're in charge!"

Margo sighed tiredly. "I seriously need some fucking sleep. Good night."

She settled on the couch, took off her purse, and curled up under the lap blanket.

"I guess we three have the run of the place," Jack said.

Margo waited for Miko's whining about missing the action. Two beats. Three.

She sat up. "Mimi?" she called, knowing she hated that nickname. "MIMI?"

The usual answering 'whaddaya want, fuckstick?' never came.

The girl sighed, got out from the warm blanket, and walked over to the second balcony. "Miko probably went with Bulkhead, the fucking adrenaline junkie. Raf, can you access Bulkhead's comm frequency?"

Raf went up to where Margo was standing, plugged in his computer, and started messing around a bit. "The comm signals are all here. See, Ratchet and Optimus are staticky, but Arcee, Bulkhead, and Bumblebee are still stable."

"Get to Bulkhead first," Margo ordered.

"Comm line opened," Raf said a few seconds later.

"Gogo to Bulkhead. Bulk, Miko's with you. Find her, make sure she doesn't get fucked up!"

"I already have her," Bulkhead said.

"Good," Margo said. "Do you want me to call Arcee and Bee?"

"Yes. Bridge them to the same coordinates I'm at," Bulkhead said. "But, uh, make sure Cee knows what you're doing first. She doesn't like being interrupted when she's on one of her stress drives."

"Got it," Margo said. She looked at Raf, who instantly clicked away Bulkhead's comm signal and clicked into Arcee and Bumblebee's. "Gogo to Arcee and Bee. Guys, Fowler's been kidnapped, and he's on the Decepticon warship. Bulk's after him, but he really should have backup, since Miko was being a fucking idiot."

"Hold on, what?" Arcee said.

"Look, we'll explain later!" Margo said. "Raf, lock on to their coordinates and activate the ground bridge."

Raf tapped a few things on the computer, and the hand levers moved on their own. Arcee and Bee came speeding through, and waited in front of the ground bridge for Raf's bridge.

Raf then tapped a few things into the computer, and the levers moved again. Arcee and Bumblebee moved, and they were out again.

Margo blinked, and Raf and Jack were gone too.

The girl sighed. "I'm never gonna get any fucking sleep, am I?"

They called for a bridge an hour later. Jack and Raf were shaken up, Fowler needed some electricity-related medical care, and Miko was just shaking from giddy excitement. Arcee, Bumblebee, and Bulkhead looked no worse for wear.

"You three okay?" Margo asked.

"No, officer, I swear I don't know how my washing machine got in a fight with a kangaroo!" Fowler said dazedly.

"I'll take that as a firm 'fuck, no'," Margo said. There was a beeping on the monitor, and this time Arcee answered the hail.

"Arcee," Optimus said. "Lock on to our coordinates and prepare to bridge us back."

Jack looked at the bots. "So, who wants to tell Optimus about today's activities list?"

Bumblebee's doorwings drooped. "Ill do it."

"Absolutely not!" Bulkhead said. "This was my fault. I'll take the blame."

"But Jack and Raf followed us right after we left too, and Arcee was meant to be in charge, not you. We're all to blame."

"Well, not me," Margo mumbled. "I tried to stop all you fucking morons, and I actually stayed behind so you had a means to get your sorry asses back here."

Arcee moved the levers, and the rings lit up green, blue, and purple. It was only a few seconds before Optimus and Ratchet stepped through. A deep gash marred Ratchet's right shoulder, and Optimus immediately set to work welding it shut.

"Hey, boss bot," Margo said. "Arcee has something she wants to tell you."

~?~

Margo fell asleep as soon as she was in Optimus's passenger seat. Her books could stay at the base for now - she was clearly too tired to remember a thing about them.

He had to wake her up via shaking again.

"Merde, pas encore," Margo moaned. "Why do I always fall asleep in you?"

"I do not know," Optimus said.

She sighed, sat up, and got out. "See ya tomorrow, OP."

His holoform nodded. "Tomorrow."

~?~

Margo was curled against her guardian's neck wiring as they discussed the plan for getting to the space bridge.

"We will leave as soon as Arcee gets here," Optimus said.

"She's not going to be focused if Jack doesn't come," Margo warned.

"I know," Optimus said, "but we still need everyone we have if this effort is to succeed."

She adjusted her arms. "Since Cliffjumper's gone, you'll have to adjust to his absence."

"I am certain we will compensate well for his absence."

"Because you have no other choice, right?" Margo said.

"Indeed," Optimus confirmed.

"Anything we can do from the human side of shit, let us know," Margo half-ordered.

"Acknowledged," Optimus said.

"Let me down, please," Margo said. "You'll need to be ready for when she comes."

Optimus obliged and let her down on the couch.

"I'd wondered where I'd left my books," the girl sighed as she picked up her social studies textbook.

Arcee arrived at about the same time with Jack.

"Hey, guess who's back," Jack said.

"Autobots, prepare to roll out."

Arcee transformed. "Where to?"

"The final frontier," Miko said.

"Space?" Jack said. "I thought they didn't have any way to get there."

"Ground bridge," Margo said. "If it can transport exactly halfway across the world, then it can more than likely transport anywhere within a radius of twelve thousand seven hundred and forty-two kilometers, which is a fuck of a safety margin. The issue is the vacuum - it's cold enough to freeze their nuts and bolts off. There's no wind chill or fucking snow, so they should be okay for a certain time period, but after that they really should be getting back inside where it's warmer, or they're majorly fucked."

"Margo is correct," Optimus said. "Ratchet, do you have the space bridge's coordinates?"

"Yes," Ratchet said.

"Then activate the groundbridge." He looked to Margo.

Her eyes narrowed. "You better come back, you... hairbag?" she tried for the proper expletive.

Optimus blinked at the odd name. "I know, my charge. I will return."

Jack looked up at Arcee. "Um. Be seeing you?"

She smiled and stood ready in front of the swirling vortex.

"Be careful, Bee," said Raf.

"I will be," Bumblebee said.

"I'm so jealous!" Miko moaned.

"Don't even think about following me," Bulkhead warned.

"Optimus, if you leave me on a planet teeming with humans, I will never forgive you," Ratchet hissed.

"Until we meet again, old friend," Optimus bid, battle mask sliding into place around his mouth.

Margo kinda spaced out after that. She understood they were on the Space Bridge, and there was a lull which resulted in them finding out the Decepticons couldn't target Cybertron with the space bridge.

"From what I know of Earth technology, I doubt they possess a radio-telescope dish powerful enough."

Raf was already looking it up. "Uh, what about a bunch of linked radio-telescope dishes?"

"Like the giant size array in Texas?" Margo elaborated.

"Zip-bup-gup-buh-guh! This is not child's play!" Ratchet hushed.

Margo flipped so she was balancing on the railway. "Excuse you, but we know way more about our own planet's technology than you do about it. Especially Raf."

"Good thinking, Raf, Margo," Optimus praised. "Is Agent Fowler capable of clearing the base of personnel?"

Jack rushed over to the other balcony where the government agent was being kept. He poked Fowler's rib. He twitched and sat up abruptly, looking dazedly at Ratchet. "You, soldier! You're out of uniform! Put on some pants!"

Margo blinked. "Well, I mean, he's more coherent than he was. But no, he's still not in any condition to be doing anything. Especially because of... what I think is a lightning attack? Maybe? I dunno. It's totally fucking unclear. But electric damage causes damage to the brain."

"It does?" Ratchet asked.

"Yeah. Like, we're okay with small amounts of electricity - that's how we can even have static shocks in the first place. But too large amounts, and we can end up with permanent brain damage."

"Why are you affected by more electricity than usual? Wouldn't it simply be absorbed and be dealt with later over a long period of time?" Bee asked.

"Can you drink an entire ocean?" Margo riposted with a raised eyebrow.

Ratchet winced in answer.

"Yeah," she drawled. "It's why we've got him on an IV in the first place. This delirious, he's probably lacking fluids somewhere. I'm gonna check him for burns in a while."

Raf, meanwhile, was tapping away at his computer. The long lines of code turned into paragraphs, and Raf was looking more frustrated by the second. "I can't breach the firewalls! They're too thick!"

Jack took a deep breath. "Hey, Raf. Spitballing here, but what if you were all the way in? Like, all-the-way-inside-the-building in?"

Raf adjusted his glasses. "I might be able to get past the firewalls easier if I was on site..."

"Are you certain?" Optimus asked. "I do not wish to endanger your lives."

Margo blinked. "Oh, guardian of mine, you're talking to stubborn-as-fuck motherfuckers who don't want to see their planet reduced to a fucking crisp. Excuse us for being a bit motivated."

"This is bigger than the safety of us four humans," Jack agreed.

"Yeah! If we don't do this, we're fragged, along with everyone else on the planet," Miko said.

"Raf?"

"I wanna give it a shot," Raf said.

"Well, alright. Let's get going, no time-wasting. Ratchet, fire it up."

~?~

"Whoa, there! You okay, M?"

Margo moaned and picked herself up. "Should'nt've had chilli sandwiches for lunch."

"Right, well, let's get going," Jack pulled Margo by the arm, and she nearly heaved again.

Thankfully, there was almost no one touring the halls. They got to the radio-telescope room without issue.

"I'm in," Raf said, "and so are the decepticons."

"How can you tell?" Jack asked.

"I recognize those schematics from the space bridge diagrams," Raf said. "They're locked on to Cybertron. I'll just fix that," he said, changing them back to random point.

They switched back within seconds. Raf was constantly battling to get ahead, interrupting the code any way he could.

"Can you trace the signal?" Margo asked.

The door opened. Jack and Miko looked back, staring at the tentacle slithering into the room.

"Motherfucking Fuck, it's in the fucking building!" Miko screamed.

Margo, Miko, and Jack kept the tentacle distracted while Raf continued to code and play the game. That was, until the tentacle threw Raf against the ground and Miko dropped her axe. The axe chopped through the computer like butter, and then receded from the room.

"Wha-" Raf moaned, holding his head. "Follow it!"

Miko and Jack were already running. Margo was kneeling beside Raf and running her fingers through his hair to check for bleeding. "You good? Do you know where you are? What did I have for lunch today?"

"The decepticons!" Raf sat up, but Margo pushed him back down.

"Answer the questions."

Raf sighed. "I'm alright, I think. We're at the linked radio-telescope array in Texas, we got here via ground bridge. You had chilli. Or chilli sandwiches? I dunno, I wasn't really paying attention."

"Short-term recall looks okay," Margo muttered. "Can you stand?"

Raf got to his feet.

Miko rushed back in. "Decepticreep cut a wire!"

"The hard line?" Raf gasped, rushing out of the room to where Jack was still standing. The axe stuck up out of the cracked tiles on either side of a bundle of cords. He moaned. "The hard line. The dishes are locked on Cybertron for good," Raf said mournfully.

Margo's eyes softened, and she moved. "You did great, Raf."

"I wish," Raf said angrily. "The most I got were schematics."

"Still useful," Margo said. Miko, the only one who'd managed to collect every single bots' contact info, called Ratchet for a bridge.

They were barely through when Optimus's half-panicked call came through. "Ratchet, Megatron has sent the dark energon vein through the space bridge. We must destroy the space bridge!"

"Raf's got construction schematics," Jack said immediately.

"Optimus, I must ask. Is this the only option?"

"I believe so, old friend," Optimus said.

"Then by all means," Ratchet said eagerly.

Raf connected his USB key and Ratchet quickly pulled up the file. He methodically directed Arcee, Bulkhead, and Bumblebee while Optimus played decoy for Megatron.

It wasn't long before the Bridge was being destroyed. That was similarly when Optimus called for a bridge.

Ratchet checked his wrist for the vitals. "Four life signs, one very faint."

A stab of worry shot through each of the humans for the sake of their guardians.

Optimus came through first.

"NARC-BOSS!" Margo yelled enthusiastically, hugging his ankle. "I was worried."

Optimus lay his hand flat against the ground. Margo got on his hand and got lifted up to his neck cabling, where she immediately knelt against the pulsing warmth. "I know, my charge."

Bulkhead came through next, and was greeted with the same enthusiasm as Optimus. "Bulkhead!" Miko yelled, coming up to his knee and hugging him close. Bulkhead smiled.

Arcee came through next, carrying Bumblebee. He looked inexplicably tiny in the arms of the motorcycle.

Ratchet stepped closer. "We lost one this week. By the AllSpark, don't let it be two."

Raf came up close, and climbed up Bumblebee's servo.

The yellow bot opened his eyes and looked down at the little human. "Raf, you do know there are other muscle cars in the world, right?"

"This isn't about sparts cars. It's about friendship," Raf said, lying down on Bumblebee's windshield.

Jack looked up. "You okay, Arcee?"

"Physically, just fine," Arcee answered.

"Psychologically?" Jack asked. "Emotionally?"

"... I'll get there," Arcee answered.

"Prime!" Fowler yelled from where he'd gotten up.

"Ah!" Margo yelled. "You shouldn't be up, you're injured!"

"Earth owes ya one," Fowler said. "I'll need to get to a hospital now."

"Agent Fowler, if I could cash in that favour immediately?" Optimus asked. He looked to his feet where Miko was clinging to Bulkhead's pede and Arcee was speaking with Jack, and then over his shoulder to look at Margo, and Raf curled against Bumblebee's armour as Ratchet got to work. "The human children-"

"Say no more," Fowler said with an almost-smile on his face.

Margo tapped Optimus's shoulder and smiled for real. "We're staying with you?"

"Yes," Optimus said. "We have suffered enough losses, and I am certain you all would be valuable members of our team."

Margo smiled. "Aw, we love you too, metalhead."

End of chapter one.

Note: since I don't have seasons 2 or 3 on Netflix anymore, I'm going to be going off of what I remember, snippets from fanfictions, and crack videos I manage to find on youtube.

Season 1, however, is still going to be fairly inconsistent. Because consistency can go fuck itself. So there.

And remember: if you're ever feeling sad (not depressed, if you're depressed get a fucking medical intervention), picture Optimus Prime's holoform getting dragged into a mini-mall pancake joint, in an apron clearly too small for him, serving pancakes to the people and failing to understand the concept of change.

Optimus: But you gave me twenty dollars.

Pancaker: It only cost five!

Optimus: If you did not wish to give me fifteen extra dollars, why did you give me twenty instead of five?

Pancaker: Because I don't have the change!

Optimus: And you are asking me for the money you payed in excess?

Pancaker: Yes! This is not a new concept to anybody! What are you? An alien?

Optimus: instantly vanishes in a dust cloud, leaving fifteen dollars change on the counter and his strained apron fluttering in the wind from his Overdrive mode as he tries to get back to the technology store for the adapter Ratchet had asked him to fetch.

Pancaker: blinks. Okay, then. I... guess he considers that an insult?