He had been part of the construction crew for a month now, but by the end of the week, Hans Strauss would return home to spend shore leave with his family. After three weeks in the pressurized section of the Cybertronian ship with little scenery other than the endless barren gray of the lunar surface, he was looking forward to experiencing the diverse terrain of Earth again.

Still, it was hard to beat the view of his home planet from up here. Hans turned away from his work, taking another moment to appreciate Earth's beauty. It was amazing just how small it was in comparison to the staggering expanse of the galaxy, one that they would soon be able to explore, gaining understanding and knowledge beyond what they did they did now. At the rate technology was advancing since First Contact, they would be traveling to the edge of the solar before the decade was over.

"Hey Strauss, you planning on bringing over that section sometime today, or should I tell Mission Control you've taken a detour around the dark side of the moon?" The voice of Carlos Lopez pulled him back to reality. Prepping the small craft for maneuvering, Hans grasped the controls, guiding it and its cargo down to the surface.

"Keep your shirt on, Lopez," he replied. "If you want to be the one landing 465 metric-tons of metal with only one yard of clearance, I'll let you handle the next one."

"Man you know I can't even touch a prize when I mess with a crane machine. The last thing I wanna do is drop a chunk of building on everyone's head!"

While laughing heartily at the young man's face on the console screen, Strauss managed to keep his descent smooth as silk in the low gravity environment. "You sure? With a bit of practice, I'm sure you'd be a pro."

"No way! I'm only good at putting things together, not driving them post-assembly."

"Come on Carlos," Hans insisted. "You can't tell me you've never thought of piloting one of these things." His eyes wandered to the window, focusing on the growing metallic structure of the former Cybertronian frigate. His lips quirked into a smirk. "Or maybe you have your eyes set on bigger fish. The New Genesis, maybe?"

Carlos's face twisted comically as he shook his head in denial. "There's no way I'm flying anything, let alone a space station full'a people!"

"Technically you're not flying it anywhere, kid. You just got to keep it in orbit and out of the path of asteroids."

"That's even worse!"

Hans' laughter doubled, and his course shifted to the side briefly before he contained himself. He wiped a tear from his eye, only to nearly lose it again when the Latino praised his favorite organic deity and claimed adulthood.

"So you say." Lord, he hoped his next child was a boy, just on the off chance he could tease him as much as this one. Even with Carlos being a young adult, it was clear to the middle-aged man that his co-worker would always be a kid at heart, something too many people forgot how to be.

As Carlos continued to defend his dignity and list the reasons he'd never become a pilot, Hans focused on the task on hand, adjusting the thrust and position appropriately. Even from 3 kilometers, he could see the bright orange beacons marking the site's location, along with the pinpricks of orange-clad workers peppered around the hull of the last section he freighted down. He adjusted position slightly-

Out of the corner of his eye, a large shimmering splotch reminiscent of oil in water appeared. "...Hey Carlos. Are we expecting any more bridge-ins today?"

"Uh, we're getting an ARMS prototype to help out, but that's not for another few hours. Why?"

That was what he thought. With a frown Hans slowed his decent, eying a large warbling area in the vicinity. "I see something that looks similar to a warp point out there. I know the guys haven't gotten the bridge to have a range this far out but…"

He trailed off at as he watched it. It looked like it was expanding. The already massive oil-like sheen continued to spread, rippling stronger with each passing second. "I'm sending you the coordinates."

"Alright Stross, we'll take a look. Once we figure it out, I'll let you know what's up."

"I appreciate it kiddo." Giving the anomaly one last uneasy look, the engineer resumed his flight, glancing between his controls and the station. "Really, I do. It's kind of scary how even with all that we've learned from the Cybertronians, we've still got galaxies of unknowns to-"

"Oh shit! Hans, get out of there!"

"What?" He turned his attention back to the disturbance, only to see it triple in size. A full two seconds passed before he was able to maneuver the craft sharply, thrusters going to to full as he tried to duck down and away. The crane groaned in protest, straining against its massive load despite the low gravity. Hans cursed, slowing in an attempt to keep the grapple from snapping even as the anomaly burst forward in a pillar of light.

The rainbow like sheen expanded to encompass what seemed to be the entirety of space. The crane buckled under the shockwave produced by the expansion. Before Hans could blink, a vessel shot forth from the light, seemingly at warp speed. And he was seated directly in its path.

Adrenaline and fear flooded Hans' veins as survival became top priority. He pressed the emergency grapple release, but instead of the anticipated lurch, all he received was the whine and hiss of hydraulics, the claw locked into place by buckled metal. He hit the failsafe next, and went over the controls in an attempt to divert as much power to the thrusters as possible. Carlos' frantic voice seemed but a whisper as it echoed throughout the small craft, accompanied by other startled and fearful voices. Hope came in the light cast by plasma saws cutting through the crane arm. Briefly, Hans shot a frightened glance at the young man in the screen.

Hans was suddenly thrown back into his seat when, freed of its load, the craft violently shot forward. Digging his nails into the armrests, he coughed and wheezed for air, the necessity knocked from him by sheer force. Eyes shut and heart pounding, he briefly thought he would get out of this alive.

He opened his eyes, only to see a dark aubergine wall only meters away. Instantly, his world went dark.

Lunar Base Build Site HQ, 17:12 UTC


The gathered technicians could do nothing but watch in avid horror as Hans' ship slammed into the massive vessel, and subsequently was consumed by plasma and flames. Within a heartbeat, nothing remained of the human craft but dust, and the alien cruiser continued to drift on, undeterred by the life it had just taken. For what seemed to be an eternity, all was silent. Everyone's eyes remained locked upon monitors which, moments before, had shown the death of their coworker.

"Hans..." The strained whisper came from Carlos, his gaze still fixed on his communication screen, which now displayed empty static. He clenched his fists, his short nails digging into his palms. Noticing his reaction and that of his colleges, the engineer at the station next to him stood.

"What are you all waiting for? We can mourn Straus later, but that bogey isn't about to wait!"

Broken from their stupor, the men and women scattered back to work. The room turned into a tornado of activity, a sense of urgency driving everyone as they collected information about the arrival and hailed the higherups on Earth. To the young golden skinned man however, it made no difference, and even as the small reassuring form of his long-time companion neared, he made no move to resume anything.

"Grindor... Who are they?"

The Minicon sent him a sorrowful and fearful look.

"The Decepticons."