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6 Steps to Compiling Your Novel's Three-Act Outline

Anybody Can Write a Novel

Chapter 2 “Creating a Plot” – Section 2 “Compiling a Three-Act Outline”

With Links to Supplementary Material

Part 2 of 2


Joseph Blake Parker's Very Original and Super Complex Three-Act Outline Template


(Not really—this is all standard and basic stuff with no original thought other than my self-indulgent title, and the explanations. I honestly only made this because I couldn't find one online to share with you peeps, and didn't want to mess up the structure of my article by adding it there. Obsessive Compulsive Personality moment, I guess. Please keep in mind that there are many theories as to a proper Three-Act Structure; this one is just a hybrid of all the things I thought most comprehensive.)



Instructions: Delete all the explanations that are written in italics and replace them with the events/plot-points that occur within your story.



----- Plot Premise Goes Here -----



Act I (Setting up the Story)


Beginning (Prologue)

-Reveal your world, your story type, your protagonist, and what things were like right before the Inciting Incident, where the story started.


Inciting Incident

-This is what happens so that your Protagonist's world is forever changed, so that they must decide to act.


First Turning Point (Call to Action)

-This is an event that is even more life-changing (but related to) than the Inciting Incident, as is what causes the protagonist must decide how they are going to react to the Inciting Incident.


Act II (Confronting the Antagonists—feel free to sprinkle fights and confrontations all through this Act)


Rising Action

-Your protagonist tries to achieve his/her goal, but is not skilled or capable enough to do so. Fails, but grows from failure, and begins to seek help or to strengthen him/herself. Things begin to gradually get better/worse, depending upon what sort of story you are telling, and upon the natural consequences of the protagonist's actions.


First Pinch Point/Main Confrontation

-Half-way through Act II, the main antagonist will do something very dark or critical, forcing the protagonist to react. This is the main confrontation. For example, telling the hero that if they do not give up, they will blow up the city. This is to show your readers the power set against the protagonist.


Midpoint

-The protagonist reacts to the first pinch point, and confronts the antagonist. The protagonist fails.


Disaster

-The hero deals with the consequences of failure.


Second Pinch Point

-The power of the antagonist is shown again—causing the hero to feel forced to action, even as they deal with their previous failure and its consequences.


Crisis/Second Turning Point

-The protagonist has a new or renewed Call to Action. They realize that even with everything that has happened, they must act.


Act III (Resolution)


Stand up

-the protagonist again rises to the challenge, with a renewed sense of self and self-discovery.


Climax

-the protagonist overcomes or is overcome by the antagonist, and the story is concluded.


Wrap-up/Epilogue

-Just like the Beginning/Prologue, establish how your world and characters are changed by the events of the story. What is considered the norm after the story concludes?





Acknowledgments:


While the explanations and final list are of my original writing, as was the idea to create a Three-Act Outline Template, the data was inspired, taught, and defined by the following sources. I highly recommend further learning on the topic from their websites.


WikipediaThree-act structure”



Janice HardyHow to Plot With the Three-Act Structure”



Kimberley MagainApplying Negative Space to Storytelling (fiction)”



Larry Brooks The Help” – Isolating and Understanding the First “Pinch Point”



Karen WoodwardUsing Pinch Points To Increase Narrative Drive”




Feel free to comment with other suggested resources. Any questions about writing? Things you want me to discuss? Comment or send me a message and I will be glad to reply or feature my response in a later article. If you enjoy my reviews, please feel free to share my articles with friends, add it to your favorites, become a watcher on my page, or send send a llama my way!


Originally posted at www.facebook.com/JosephBlakePa… (Feel free to “Like” and subscribe)

And: josephblakeparker.wix.com/theb…

And: josephblakeparker.deviantart.c…

Instructions: Delete all the explanations that are written in italics and replace them with the events/plot-points that occur within your story.  

Please keep in mind that there are many theories as to a proper Three-Act Structure; this one is just a hybrid of all the things I thought most comprehensive

Links to Supplementary Learning Material at the end of the page. 

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7 Considerations for World-building with Purpose

“Anybody Can Write a Novel”

Chapter 1 World-building – Section 1 Story Types

With Links to Supplementary Material


When crafting a novel, the first thing you need to know is what type of story you are writing. I'm sure that anybody reading this has a pretty good idea of what they want their story to be about. But for writing with strategic purpose, it is important to answer a few specific questions. Doing so will allow you to establish and purposefully design the foundations for your world, plot, the characters in your story. So grab some notebook paper, or copy this article into a word document, and write down all your answers to the following questions, as will best help you in designing your story.


Question 1: Are you writing a Comedy or a Tragedy?

This question comes first because all other story types fall within this question. And while there are many types and definitions of comedy and tragedy, it all basically comes down to one question: what happens to your hero in the end? Will they triumph or at least find a happy place to settle, or will the world and plot you have created crush or even kill them? Remember that both of these story types deal with the pains and struggles of life; it is just a matter of deciding who wins in the end.


Question 2: What are you trying to accomplish with your story?

Think about, and clearly define what you hope to accomplish with writing your story—how you want it to affect your reader. Whether you are trying to create hope, to instill anger that drives them to change the world, to entertain, to escape the drudgery of the real world, or anything else, make sure that you know why you are writing, and craft your story accordingly. Tragedy, for example, is more effective in urging your readers to action, while comedy can allow them to have hope in the future.


Question 3: Which of the Basic Story Types does your story fall into?

There are many theories as to how many types of story there are—ranging from one to as many as 36 or more. And it is not so important that you conform to an established “type” as much as that you are able to clearly define what your story does. Doing so establishes a goal for designing the plot of your story. For example: is your story about a quest, revenge, overcoming adversity, finding love, perusing forbidden love, survival, rescue, etc...


Question 4: What type of antagonist does your story require?

Perhaps the biggest factor in determining what type of story you are writing, is that which stands between your protagonist and his or her goals. Are they fighting nature, another person, their world, technology, magic, an ideal, a political movement, themselves, God/gods, or something else? Answering this question, and the question of your protagonist's goal, will indicate exactly what sort of story you are writing.


Questions 5: What is your story's genre?

There are countless genres and hybrids of genres that exist within the realm of literature. Like story type, it is not so important that you use an established genre—in fact, you should feel free to mix genres together if you wish—just as long as you know what you are writing and stay consistent. My mistake in my first novel was trying to cross too many genres as I thought the individual chapter required. I wanted to be scary in the beginning and funny at the end. But failing to keep your story uniform, waters down the atmosphere and undermines the power of your story.


Question 6: What is the intensity of your story?

With any genre, you have multiple intensities. Are you writing dark humor or light humor? Heavy sci-fi that anyone can read casually and enjoy, or heavy sci-fi which requires a certain amount of dedication and preference from your audience? Choosing the intensity will often be linked to whether you are writing Comedy or Tragedy, and will dictate what audience demographic will be interested in your work.


Question 7: Is your story of High Art or Low Art?

Before I explain this, let me just say that I hate the title for this classification system. High Art simply means that it applies to a more specific and exclusive audience demographic, whereas Low Art can be appreciated by a larger audience demographic. It has nothing to do with quality—Shakespeare's work, in fact, was Low Art at the time which it was written. This classification goes along with your story's intensity, to dictate how large the audience niche for your story will be. This question will help you to set the atmosphere of your story—and dictate whether your story should include specific political themes, inside jokes, and jargon, or whether you should use more universal themes, humor, and language that could be understood in multiple cultures and education levels.


I hope this article in my chapter on “World-building” is helpful in defining what kind of story you want to create. Next time, I will be focusing on the technical details of creating an actual world that your characters live in. Please let me know if you have any relevant questions on the topic of “World-building” or anything you would like me to address.


Feel free to comment with other suggested resources. Any questions about writing? Things you want me to discuss? Comment or send me a message and I will be glad to reply or feature my response in a later article. If you enjoy my reviews, please feel free to share my articles with friends, add it to your favorites, become a watcher on my page, or send send a llama my way!


Originally posted at www.facebook.com/JosephBlakePa… (Feel free to “Like” and subscribe)

And: josephblakeparker.wix.com/theb…


When crafting a novel, the first thing you need to know is what type of story you are writing. I'm sure that anybody reading this has a pretty good idea of what they want their story to be about. But for writing with strategic purpose, it is important to answer a few specific questions. Doing so will allow you to establish and purposefully design the foundations for your world, plot, the characters in your story. So grab some notebook paper, or copy this article into a word document, and write down all your answers to the following questions, as will best help you in designing your story.  

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7 Steps for Ridding Your Story of Melodrama


Melodrama, strictly defined, means a “song drama,” of the French tradition. The tradition of this story was characterized by over-the-top emotions, to the point that the character's emotions were unintentionally funny, or ridiculous. Melodrama in modern literature, is a term used for when the emotions of your characters are absurd, petty, beyond control, and seem to overshadow the story; and today I'm going to talk about overcoming the melodrama in your story. Please note that this is something to be considered in the editing process, not in the first draft. There will be melodrama—but don't worry about it until you have a whole story down on paper or digital ink.


Step 1: Identify the melodrama in your story.

If you have written a first draft with a good number of characters with different wants and desires, there WILL be melodrama. And so your first step will go to every scene where there are emotional flares—of love, inspiration, anger, sadness, and disagreement. Then, mark them and collect them into a compilation of scenes with similar editing requirements—using the following steps as a checklist for each one.


Step 2: Read the scene aloud, and imagine it happening in real life.

If you have any friend who will help you read parts, it will be especially helpful here. The goal of reading each of these scenes, like a script, is to imagine two (or however many) real people walking the streets and then suddenly engaging in this dialogue. If you can get an audience, even better. If not, record yourself with a phone, audio device, or camera, and then watch it several times over several weeks.


Step 3: Note if you would feel embarrassed to use your dialogue in real life.

When you publish a story, you are putting it before the worst of bullies, mockers, and critics to tear your work apart publicly. Get the jump on them by putting yourself in the shoes of these people. How would YOU make fun of how corny and unrealistic your dialogue is? Then adapt it until it gets to the point that you and your audience could imagine yourselves impressed if you heard it randomly in the street. Remember that dramatic speeches and conversations certainly happen—but ONLY when situations demand nothing less.


Step 4: Check yourself to make sure that you are not speaking through your characters.

Often, scenes of melodrama come from rants or passionate speeches that we have built up within us, and feel that we need to shout it at the world. However, your audience will detect this change of voice, and so must you. Go through each scene and check to see if any of them trigger emotions from your own past—unrelated to the story. If they do, circle them or highlight them for careful editing. You won't necessarily need to cut it, but you need to know that it is a danger zone.


Step 5: Temper extreme emotions with ambivalence.

Humans are complex creatures, and only very rarely do we feel extremely polar emotions like utter hatred or unconditional love. Therefore, there is little to justify this in your characters, short of mental illness and obsession. Find all of the extreme emotions, and reconsider how you could make them more complex ones. Love should be mixed with emotions like fear, or disappointment—hate mixed with secret jealousies, love, or even a sort of comradery with those who are respectable enough to merit hate.


Step 6: Embrace the expected emotions of a situation.

Go through every scene and imagine what a normal person would do, feel, or say in that situation. Of course, this will not normally be what a hero or antihero might do or say, but you must imagine what natural emotions and feelings every scene would produce. A scene where one's life is in peril may produce courage, but only after you deal with the initial, and continued emotion of fear. Make sure that every scene of potential melodrama contains the mixed sort of emotions that each of us would feel in that given situation.


Step 7: Remember that your characters must be flawed in order to be relatable to your audience.

The last step in removing melodrama, is to remove perfection. Although one-liners and perfect speeches may be fun, and they may be what we wish we could do in an ideal world, rarely is it the case in real life. Real characters rarely know how to put their thoughts and emotions into words. They know that inspirational speeches often feel hollow, or the speech comes from a scared and shaky voice that is trying hard to believe itself as well. When real people speak, they deal with self-doubt, fear, stuttering, and obsession—all which make their words less perfect. But this imperfection will be what makes your characters come to life. Embrace them, and remember that sometimes the perfect words, emotions, and actions fall very short of the flawed ones that can take your story so much further.


Feel free to comment with other suggested resources. Any questions about writing? Things you want me to discuss? Comment or send me a message and I will be glad to reply or feature my response in a later article. If you enjoy my reviews, please feel free to share my articles with friends, add it to your favorites, become a watcher on my page, or send send a llama my way!


Originally posted at www.facebook.com/JosephBlakePa…

And: josephblakeparker.wix.com/theb…


Melodrama in modern literature, is a term used for when the emotions of your characters are absurd, petty, beyond control, and seem to overshadow the story; and today I'm going to talk about overcoming the melodrama in your story. Please note that this is something to be considered in the editing process, not in the first draft. There will be melodrama—but don't worry about it until you have a whole story down on paper or digital ink.


Feel free to comment with other suggested resources. Any questions about writing? Things you want me to discuss? Comment or send me a message and I will be glad to reply or feature my response in a later article. If you enjoy my reviews, please feel free to share my articles with friends, add it to your favorites, become a watcher on my page, or send send a llama my way!


Originally posted at www.facebook.com/JosephBlakePa…

And: josephblakeparker.wix.com/theb…


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6 Steps to Compiling Your Novel's Three-Act Outline

Anybody Can Write a Novel

Chapter 2 “Creating a Plot” – Section 2 “Compiling a Three-Act Outline”

With Links to Supplementary Material

Part 1 of 2 (Link to Part 2)


Now that you have a Plot Premise, I'm sure that you have all kinds of ideas for the things you want to happen in your story—which you probably have written down in your Writing Journal. Well, today we are going to begin to organize those thoughts into groups and begin our Plot Outline by establishing a Three-Act Structure.


Step 1: Open a new word document entitled “Story Outline”

Now that we have so many pieces of your Outline ready to go, it is finally time (if you haven't done so already) to compile a Master Outline/Resource Booklet, by which you will be writing the entirety of your novel. The goal of this document is to make sure that you have as little down time, writing blocks, and aimless story wandering as possible.


Step 2: Write down your Plot Premise.

This is your thesis statement—it should be the first thing you look at every time you begin working on your story, so that you never forget the basic story that you wish to tell.


Step 3: Write down your Timeline.

This is the device that I use more than anything else when I am actually writing. Your Timeline will be what gives you the logic and basis by which your entire world runs.


Step 4: Add your World Maps and World Creation Sheets.

Along with the Timeline, these will be another resource that you will use as a basis for your protagonist's journey, and how they react/are reacted to by every landscape, people group, and environment in your created world.


Step 5: Use the Three-Act Outline Template and fill in the blanks.

You have probably noticed that everything up to now has been a recap and compilation of previous articles. The Three-Act Template is the real addition here. I've done some research, compiled plot structure ideas, looked at several different theories on the Three-Act system, and have created a fill-in-the-blank outline. Just open the above link, fill out the outline, and then save it to your Story Outline document.


Step 6: Be prepared for changes and adaptions as your writing progresses.

Remember that you will come across contradictions, plot-holes, and other complications as you actually begin to write your story. This is to be expected; the Outline only exists to guide you from one plot-point to another so that you can be sure that you have a complete story, are not writing aimlessly, and are less likely to encounter writer's block. Feel free to change, adapt, and play with your Outline as the need arises, or as you think of better ideas that will lead to a more dynamic story.


A concluding note: as I said earlier, we are using concrete structure for two reasons: to give you boundaries by which you can enhance your creativity, and to create a method by which anyone can write a novel. But, you should also know that a convention of writing is to break the rules and the structure. However, to break any rule efficiently and not seem like an amateur, you have to know the rule so that when you break it, the audience knows that it was done with artful intent. Therefore, I encourage you to write your first draft completely within the realm of plot structure, and then break, in your subsequent drafts, only structure that would lead to a better novel.


Feel free to comment with other suggested resources. Any questions about writing? Things you want me to discuss? Comment or send me a message and I will be glad to reply or feature my response in a later article. If you enjoy my reviews, please feel free to share my articles with friends, add it to your favorites, become a watcher on my page, or send send a llama my way!


Originally posted at www.facebook.com/JosephBlakePa… (Feel free to “Like” and subscribe)

And: josephblakeparker.wix.com/theb…

And: josephblakeparker.deviantart.c…

This is Part 1 of 2 (Link to Part 2) for the process of creating your story's Three-Act outline. Part 1 is kind of a recap, an attempt to tie all the articles so far together, and an introduction for the Outline Template (found in part 2). If you have been reading all the articles from the beginning, and are up-to-date, I recommend reading the intro and conclusion, and points 1, 5, and 6. Then, just click the link to the main article for the day (again, part 2). 
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3 Tips on Writing a Novel that aren't Complete Bullshit


Today, I spent a good many hours scouring the internet for tips on improving my writing. You know, useful and practical suggestions for someone who has actually written a bit and wants hints on some of the finer points of writing—you know, as opposed to just wanting to learn how to get publishers interested in the latest Hunger Games or Twilight knock-off. Well, other than the two masters of storytelling—Stan Lee and Stephen King—I found nothing. I thought to myself, “Blake, even you could offer better writing advice than this!” And so I have. Here are three non-subjective tips for the beginning writer.


Tip 1: Pay attention to “Point of View” (POV)

The first mistake I made in writing my novel, and one that I have seen in every single beginning writer's work that I have edited since, is that I did not really pay attention to POV and narration. When telling a story, it is important to remember two things. First, nobody wants God to tell the story. In a room filled with a dozen people, there is so much going on inside everyone's head and in their actions that it would fill a book in about an hour. And when there is simply too much going on, the reader ceases to care and is very confused. After all, if the reader was God, he or she would not spend their time listing every monotonous detail of what they were seeing, but instead finding something more interesting to watch—which brings me to point number two. Pick a focus character (or one at a time) and tell the story through that person's eyes. This way, readers will pick up on the important details, while also having a single-focus lens to look through. If this doesn't make sense, imagine how much better a movie is with just one camera's perspective used at a time, as opposed to the six of them all being played simultaneously.


Tip 2: Outline your story.

I used to prefer just writing free-style, as most writers begin doing. But, when you do that, two major things happen. First, with the lack of direction, you stop caring where you are going with the story, since there is no dramatic force that can force along pointless meandering. Second, even if you do not lose interest, your plot will be a noodle-like mess with no structure, and your audience will lose interest—just like with a television series with no end or destination in sight. Even if you love the characters, you eventually just give up watching because it becomes a dull act of voyeurism where you are just watching a vignette of a life without any actual story. If a solid outline is too restricting, try using the 3-Act Story Structure en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-ac… and just write a paragraph describing each Act. This structure will turn the pasta into a carefully molded form until you find yourself eating a Lasagna instead of soggy, wet noodles.


Tip 3: Don't overpower your characters.

At the most basic level, reading a novel is an escape from the world around us. As such, we want the worlds we create in our stories, as well as the characters, to be the embodiment of the ideals we wish were reality. As such, we create flawless heroes or perfectly flawed heroes, and villains that embody all the evil we see around us, which we wish could be defeated. However, to do so turns your story into a poor sermon, and a badly biased one at that. Not only that, but the audience immediately begins to hate your characters, unless they are the brainwashed sort of readers who think that Dr. Manhattan was the hero of “Watchmen” or that being a hero when you are invulnerable and beloved by those around you means that you are “good” or have some sort of depth of character—as opposed to being a fascist with an old-fashioned set of principals that you impose on the world (any other Lex Luthor fans in the house?). Instead, you should seek to create characters that illustrate the complexities and flaws in everything, even and especially in your own moral code. You want to create real characters for your audience to believe in and empathize with. In practice, you should be able to name off three things that you genuinely admire your villains for, as well as three things you genuinely despise about your heroes—giving them flaws to overcome. And avoid the pseudo-flaws that plague literature (the hero who is just too kind for his own good, or the hero whose traumatic past had made her into a hardened bitch with a secret heart of gold). Doing this creates real characters that your audience can truly escape through and even learn genuine lessons from—making you, the writer, the real hero of the story.


Any questions about writing? Things you want me to discuss? Comment or send me a message and I will be glad to reply or feature the answer in a later article.


Originally posted at www.facebook.com/JosephBlakePa…

And: josephblakeparker.wix.com/theb…

She ran, her heart pumping and the crying babe in her arms growing heavier. The pain in her lower abdomen was like hot fire escaping all over her body. Her legs fought her desire to keep moving and she hugged her son tighter. She couldn’t stop now, not now. Gritting her teeth, she broke into a sprint. Limbs tore at her face and arms, their wicked thorns biting into her skin. Above her, the red moon shone brightly in the night, lighting the path ahead.


“Only a little farther, my son.” She panted into his silver hair.


He clung to her, his tiny fingers curling into the folds of her dress. His cry hurt her ears, but the pain was a pleasant reminder that he was still alive.


They’d meant to kill him, this alien child that had grown in her belly—her child. Regardless of his blood, she loved him. He was hers, her son. Instinctively, she adjusted her arms, wrapping them tighter around him, and kissed his forehead.


Abruptly, the path dipped low into a ravine. Swamp water splashed her thighs as she dove into the muck, her feet sinking into the silt. Balancing her son on her hip, she forced her way through the thickening foliage. Once on the other side, she hurried off into the trees, hoping the cover would give her enough time to lose her pursuers. She was so close.


The shadows enveloped her as she quickened her pace again, trying her best to ignore the mounting pain. Zev’s cries were becoming deafening. The louder they became, the easier she was to follow. She had to quieten him down. Holding his head close to hers, she began to sing in his ear. Her voice was uneven and short, but he responds nonetheless, his fingers curling into her wild hair and his head pressing into her.


“Yes, my son.” she panted into his ear. “I won’t let anyone harm you.”


Several minutes later, she arrived at a break in the trees and she stopped for the first time, her legs itching and throbbing. The pain was so bad she could barely keep her focus. Swallowing hard, she grabbed onto what concentration she had left and stepped forward into the open meadow. It was masked by an endless blanket of white flowers dyed pink in the nightlight. Running water whispered around her, cutting a curving path from one side of the meadow to the other. Beyond the mouth of the stream sat a small cottage. The one window revealed a flickering fire just beyond the animal hide curtain. She could see a moving shadow.


“Skelly,” she coughed dryly.


Her vision blurred and swayed as she lurched across the sharp rocks of the stream, alarming Zev and causing him to grip her neck tighter. Murmuring in his ear, she almost fell as she approached the door. Her upper body propelled forward despite her feet’s intention to stop. She collided none too gently, turning as she did to protect Zev, and her shoulder connected harshly with thick wood. She uttered a cry. Zev began to whimper softly and she tried to hush him.


Behind the door, there was a sound of shuffling feet. Then, brightness poured around a man silhouetted by firelight as it was open. Relief swelled her heart and she grinned deliriously at him. “Skelly!”


“Marali?” His dark eyes widened. “What are you…?” He paused, his gaze falling to the cooing child in her arms.


“Skelly. Please!” The desperation cracked her voice to pieces. “Help me.” Tears fell freely now, creating watery tracks down her cheeks amid the dust and grit.


He gazed back up at her, the shock and loathing evident. She had no one else. The knowledge of that tightened around her heart like a vice.


“What have you done?” He asked, completely at a loss.


“I am doing what I know is right.” She hissed through her teeth, the pain twisting her face.


He reached for her, but she shook her head and moved to hand him the child. He instantly recoiled. “No.”


“He’s my son! I want him to live!” Marali sobbed, the exhaustion finally catching up to her, and she almost fainted. He caught her, though she quickly pulled away and presented her son to him again. “I won’t let them hurt him! Please, Skelly. Please!”



Skelly looked between her and the child, bewildered. “Marali, he’s the son of the monster that…” His voice trailed away. He couldn’t say anymore. The hatred paralyzed his tongue and clamped his jaws.


“He’s my son.” She growled shakily. “Mine.”


Despite everything, he was hers. He wouldn’t be like his father; this she knew. Looking into his bright green eyes, she saw only her reflection peering back at her. You’re mine, she thought. You always will be.


Finally, Skelly nodded as if understanding, but his eyes were still frigid. “You should both come in—”


“No.” Marali interrupted. “You must keep him safe. They won’t suspect him here. I’ll come back at the next sunset to take him.”


Skelly took the child and glanced back at her worriedly. She looked so tired and frail. “Where will you go?”


“I will raise my son away from here.” She replied with a distant smile. “I will go deep into the woods, so no man might look upon him and desire to hurt him.”


“He is of their filthy blood.” Skelly averted his eyes from the child, revolted again. “You can’t keep him a secret forever. The world will want him dead the moment he is discovered.”


“His name is Zev.” She seemed to ignore him and reached out to caress the baby’s hair.


“Why did you disobey, Marali? Why did you let this child live? Look at you! You can barely stand!”


She looked up at Skelly, suddenly appearing beyond her years. “I don’t know. I just know that he has a good heart.”


Skelly’s scoffed, his voice taking on a razor edge. “How can you? He is a curse like the rest of his people.”


“No! My son is good.” She turned away, her shoulders trembling. “Why won’t you trust me, Skelly? You are the only person I can trust. Please, I’m begging you. Trust me.”


Reluctantly, he nods. “Alright. I trust you.”


Tears gathered in her eyes again and she hugged him tightly, her lips finding his. He returned her kiss desperately, his free hand cradling her face. As they part, Zev giggled, smiling for the first time. They both look at him in awe.


“Babies can’t smile like that so early.” He breathed.


Marali plants a tender kiss on Zev’s cheek and looks back to Skelly. “Please don’t judge him before you know his heart. You love me, do you not? My son is a part of me.”


Skelly attempts to speak, but she walks back out the door and turns one last time to him, the red moon creating a strange halo around her head. “That moon,” she points up to it. “That is his moon, Skelly. Don’t ever let him forget.”


For the first time he held Zev close, his dusky mustache tickling the child’s forehead. Her request sounded final. He didn’t like it. It was all over his face. Fear. There was no reasoning with her on this, though. She had made her decision. He gazes intently at her, helpless. “I won’t. You promise to come back.”


She smiled, but there was a brokenness hidden deep in her eyes. “I promise.”


With that, she disappeared into the darkness leaving Skelly with Zev, worn out from weeping and falling fast asleep in his arms.  She intended to come back. She’d fight to come back, but she already knew...
Original Fiction【Angels Fell First : Covenant】

Rating :
  PG-13/T
Pairing(s) / Character(s) : Skelly, Marali, & Zev
Word Count : approx. 1300

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So I have finally completed the prologue for my project, Angels Fell First. :D I will likely edit this in the future. This is mainly just a revised rough draft. LOL! By no means is it the final product. The preview image is of Zev and his love interest Amunet. What I tried to convey with this prologue is the danger Marali (pronounced Ma-ra-lie) is in for keeping her son alive. She keeps saying he is her son, because she feels that he shouldn't be punished for what his ancestors of his father's bloodline did in the past. Skelly is not only averse to keeping Zev for who his father was, but for what his father did to Marali. Zev was the product of rape. That's another reason I highlighted Marali's desire to keep him alive. She doesn't blame him for his father's wrongs to her, either, which plays a huge roll in Zev accepting who he is throughout the story. Below is a reference sheet for Zev for anyone that is curious. ^_^

Ref. Sheet : Zev by AngelicHellraiser


CHARACTER(S) BELONG TO AngelicHellraiser
ART BELONGS TO : melloskitten & Mizury
Deviation Buttons: Anti Theft by Metadream:iconthnxplz:Critique please by Metadream

(I have trouble with my hands and typing, so know that I'm very thankful for every fave and comment.)

Angels Fell First : Covenant :
OF Teaser : Angels Fell First : Covenant (CH1)
The red wolf moon—the color of the blood in our veins, only brighter.
That’s what Skelly had told him in his youth when he’d asked about the crescent blade in the sky. He’d said it while tipping his wide-brimmed hat and lifting the boy up into those wiry arms. His breath had been a smoky whisper. “That’s your moon, Zev. You’re mother told me that a long time ago.”
“Why papa?” Skelly preferred Zev to use his given name, but it always felt more natural to him this way. Father...
The old man studied him for a moment, that familiar scowl returning to his already weathered eyes. “Because you’re chosen, boy.”
“Chosen for what...?”

**********
Zev sprints down a shadowed alleyway, hoping the guards haven’t spotted him. His breath catches in his throat and he swallows dryly. Ahead of him, the alleyway dead ends. Oh no. His heart sinks.
Trapped.
He can’t go back the way he


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6 Steps to Making Every Chapter of your Novel Most Excellent


The number one reason for people refusing to read a book is boredom. And no matter how much good content can be found if one just “sticks it out,” it will never be found if your readers have to drudge through even a single boring chapter. So, for both writing and post-draft editing, here are 6 steps to making EVERY chapter most excellent.


Step 1: Create a three-act plot structure for each chapter.

Every chapter of a novel should be a short story in and of itself—almost like a comic book or television drama. Now, it is not essential that the three-act plot structure be done perfectly, but every chapter should have the hero encountering a problem, growing from that experience, and a climax where the hero overcomes or is overcome by the problem. Doing this will make sure that every chapter is vital to the story and that something is always happening.


Step 2: Make every chapter opening a hook.

The hook might be the single most important guide to getting a reader to not put down your book. All too often, I read the first line of a book or chapter, and am immediately met with boring dialogue or exposition. Make your most interesting and striking impression the very first line of the chapter, and you will ensure that the reader feels compelled to continue.


Step 3: Make sure you can name the objective of that chapter in one sentence.

This rule goes along with the idea that each chapter should be purposeful. The way I do this is that I caption each chapter with the major plot point I covered. This gives me a goal to accomplish—fulfilling that plot point—and ensures that every chapter moves the story along.


Step 4: Analyze it against other chapters and ask yourself if the story would lose anything if you cut it.

When you have finished a draft of your novel, go through each chapter and imagine cutting it completely. Would the story still make sense? Would it lose anything? If your answer is that the story would be in the same place as if the chapter were not there, then cut it and store it away as research. Remember, there is no such thing as wasted writing, but there are some chapters that should not be in the final draft. Perhaps that one only existed for you, the author, to figure some things out about your characters and the plot.


Step 5: End on a cliffhanger.

After concluding the basic plot of your chapter (all three acts) present a new situation and end on a cliffhanger. This is the secret to creating a “page-turner” novel, as opposed to one that a reader can simply put back on the shelf after finishing each chapter. In addition, this will give you, the writer, a good starting place for when you begin writing the next chapter. You already have a problem to deal with, and you do not have to waste time twiddling your thumbs and looking at a blank document, waiting for inspiration for what will happen next.


Step 6: After finishing a chapter, take note as to the status and changes in your characters.

Taking note as to the status of your characters does a few things to help your story along. First, it helps you to keep track of where your characters are, physically—as nothing is more annoying than writing four or five chapters and realizing that you left a minor character in the woods, or them having said nothing for that entire time. Second, taking these notes will ensure that your characters are changing and shifting with the story, creating a truly dynamic experience for the reader.


Following these guidelines will ensure that your readers have a most excellent experience, and that each chapter pulls them into your story even deeper.


Feel free to comment with other suggested resources. Any questions about writing? Things you want me to discuss? Comment or send me a message and I will be glad to reply or feature my response in a later article.


Originally posted at www.facebook.com/JosephBlakePa…

And: josephblakeparker.wix.com/theb…


For everyone who found this article to be helpful to their writing, I just wanted to let you know that koimonster22 (I hope that link worked) created a corresponding template that goes well with this article, to organize your notes for each chapter. Check it out!
 Chapter Outline Template by koimonster22

6 Steps to making every chapter of your novel purposeful and engaging. 
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History of Atlantis

In the year 350,000 B.C., refugee scientists from Mars landed on Earth as their world was already begin to die. They landed on a small island
that was in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. When they had landed, they began to build a base and a small city so they could recreate their
civilization. By there on Earth, they realized that they need a slave race to help with buildings of cities and the mining of metals and minerals.
A team of the Martian scientists flew to the continent of Africa to find indigineous people to be this slave race of theirs, but the only race of people
at the time were Homo Erectus. The scientists captured a few hundred of these natives and thus began to experiment on them, and with these experiments came
a new race of men, called Homo Atlantea. Over the years, this new race saw their creators as gods, and some of the scientists would interbreed with
the new of race of humanity and were also worshipped as demigods. 310,000 years had passed, and all full blooded Martians had died. Those of Homo Atlantea who had
Martian DNA became Kings of this new island, and called it Atlantis after what the Martians called them. While the rest of the world was still in the stone age, the
Atlanteans were already in an Iron Age, creating metal weapons and were already began to develop agriculture. The scientist's offices and living quarters had become
temples dedicated to them. To the Atlanteans, the genesplicing and other scientific advances in DNA was considered sorcery since it created creatures that would be known
in mythology, such as the Minotaur, the harpy, and the centaur. The people of Atlantis went out to the world and brought back animals such as the Mammoth,the sabertooth, and
other prehistoric creatures, which they used for agriculture or gladiator battles for entertainment, with the Mammoth being used for plowing fields for crops and for food, while
the sabretooth was used in gladitorial fights against captured criminals or the mutant science experiments. The government of Atlantis would be considered communist as the leaders
believed in sharing the food and wealth amongst the citizens of their kingdoms, since each was split into 7 with the eldest son of each royal family as leader. The kings then decided to
go out into the world and create colonies. Some of these colonies went to such places as North America, Africa, South America, and the Middle East.  9,000 Years later though, the morality
of Atlantis had fallen with the kings now beginning to become corrupt and stealing the wealth from the poor. It was then Atlantis become a country similiar to the Third Reich and believing
the citizens of Atlantis were the chosen race and the people were gullible enough to believe them. Soon, the entire Atlantean army was sent out to attack other races and tribes. Such of these
were rival countries as Mu and Lemuria, who had similiar origins to Atlantis. These wars devastated many until 11,260 A.D. when a large earthquake had sunken the the island empire in the
Atlantic and caused the disaster in the Middle East that will be known in the Abrahamic faiths as the Great Flood. There was a prince of Atlantis who survived that flood and will be known
to the Babylonians as Utnapishtim and Noah to the Hebrews. The survivors of Atlantis went to many other parts of the world and created civilizations such as Egypt, Babylon, Greece, Aztecs,
and the Celts. This how Atlanteans rose and fell, like all civilizations will one day
This is the my version of the History of Atlantis, which is suppose to give an idea of how they were much more advance than any other prehistoric people. I just hope Domain-Of-Darwin accepts this. I also added the Ancient Astronaut theory since some UFO-ologists believe gods were alien visitors
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'Myth Wars': Episode 53: "Beast Wars Rekindled: Part 1: Back to Earth":</u>


"OOOH! We're finally goin' back to Cybertron!" Rattrap throws his arms up in the air in celebration, "I can hear the dames whistling for me already!"

Optimus Primal, clad in his recently acquired 4-mode optimal form, strolls up to the front of the escape pod where Rhinox is intensely concentrated on piloting the shaky ship.

"Well, Rhinox, have you spotted them yet?" he asks. Rhinox turns to him and shakes his head, "Not yet...you know it is possible that they all made planet fall..." Optimus rubs his chin, "Possible; but unlikely."

He stares out into the vast blankness of space, and smiles. "I know somewhere out there our comrades are waiting for us..." He suddenly turns to Rattrap who's conveniently reclined in an onboard chair, "...and then we'll be on our way home."

"Aw, fer bootin' up cold! Ya mean after all that we've been through on that dirt ball back there; we still ain't goin' back to Cybertron?" Rattrap rises from the over sized chair designed for Autobots and walks up to the giant gorilla leader. Optimus merely peers down at him in disapproval, but knows how badly Rattrap misses Cybertron; and therefore says nothing.

"Well I for one want to rescue my fellow bots!" A voice echoes through the ship as Cheetor appears from a hallway and into the main room.

All eyes turn to him, even Rhinox for a brief moment. As Rhinox turns back around, Optimus nods at Cheetor in approval. "I can't go back to Cybertron with my crew still orbiting Earth..." Primal begins, "...no matter how long it takes, we will rescue them all!"

Rattrap raises an eyebrow upon hearing this, and sighs, "I guess the dames can wait just a tad longer...heh."

He sees Rhinox nod as he pilots the ship to the left with the gigantic controls. "I just wish I were bigger..." Rhinox states as he steers the ship with great difficulty towards a blip on his screen.

"Optimus Primal...Maximize!" the giant gorilla bellows and transforms into his massive robot mode. He casually strides over to an empty chair and has a seat. He laughs a little as he reclines, "I don't know what you're complaining about Rattrap; these chairs fit me just fine." Rattrap gives a quick sarcastic laugh in response, "That's because you've got a big fat gorilla as..."

"EVERYONE! LOOK!" Rattrap gets cut off as Rhinox points out the windshield; "Do you see it?" Primal rises and walks up to the controls and leans on them as he peers out the window. "Is that...?" he asks as Cheetor and Rattrap join him at his side.

Outside, they see a dark shape floating about 1000 yards ahead of them. Even with hardly any light; they could all tell what it was: a stasis pod.

"Told ya!" Cheetor mocks Rattrap, and Rattrap dismisses him with his hands, "Eh, spoil my fun why don't cha?"

Just then they hear footsteps behind them and turn to see Blackarachnia and Silverbolt walk into the room together. "Where have you two been?" Primal asks them, crossing his arms. "Don't ask..." Silverbolt quickly kills the conversation as he and Blackarachnia take seats.

"Oh...so the two love boy-ids decided to get romantic, mm?" Rattrap questions as he waves his fingers at them. "I said 'don't ASK!' " Silverbolt states again, and growls at Rattrap. "Easy Bowser, he didn't mean anything by it..." Blackarachnia coos, and rubs Silverbolt's chin with her finger, "...besides, you know it's true." Silverbolt 'rolls' his optics and sighs, "Yes dear."

"If you three are done arguing..." Rhinox begins as he points at the stasis pod again, "...we've got to retrieve that thing." "I think you mean those things..." Primal states, drawing Rhinox's gaze back out the window.

"Wow, that must be all of them..." Cheetor's mouth hangs open as they all stare as more and more stasis pods come into view, each becoming more lit against the blackness of space as it comes closer to the ship. “At least all the ones that didn’t make planet fall…” He turns to Optimus quickly, “…It looks like you were right.” Optimus silently nods.

"But that still leaves the problem of who's going to get them?" Rhinox announces. Everyone exchanges glances at each, everyone except Primal.

"I'll go." He boldly states as he walks towards the back of the ship, past the cabins located near the midsection. "WHAT! You can't go out there..." Rhinox begins. "Huh, better him than me..." Rattrap adds.

Optimus turns back to them as he stands at the rear hatch. "I have to go Rhinox...I must. I'm the only one with flight capabilities; at least in space; and therefore it has to be me. Besides, if Megatron tries anything; I'm the only one strong enough to stop him and clamp him back to the hull." Primal states with a sudden smile, "But don't worry, I'll be fine."

They nod at him in agreement, all except Rhinox who shakes his head in regret. Primal takes notice of this, but hides his fears and opens the airlock door.

As the door closes behind him, he watches as the others stare at him until they can be seen no more from the door. It slams shut, and Primal sighs. "Here goes nothing..." He takes a deep breath (for no real reason at all), and holds it.

With a leaking sound, the pressure from the airlock is dropped and the outside doors open. Primal steps out into space, and floats around for a moment before grabbing his bearings and transforms into his jet mode. He rockets out around the side of the ship and patches a channel through to Rhinox.

"Rhinox, can you hear me?" He asks. "Loud and clear...good to hear I might add." Rhinox smiles as he sees Primal float past the side window. "Sometime you worry to much..." Primal laughs and rockets towards the first stasis pod.

"Rhinox, can you maneuver the ship so the rear faces me? I need to load these into the airlock." Primal asks as he latches himself on top of the stasis pod. "Sure Optimus; just give me a nano-click." Rhinox replies as he activates the thrusters and begins to rotate the ship around slowly.

Just then Primal hears a voice. "Just what do you think you're doing Primal?" the voice roars, and Primal looks at the top of the shuttle. "That's none of your business Megatron." he states as he pulls the stasis pod towards the airlock entrance.

Megatron shifts around a little as he tries to break free from his bonds, but settles back after a few seconds, "You're a fool Primal. You actually think your Maximals want me back on Cybertron? Or even you for that matter?" "That's my call..." Optimus stops just outside the entrance, "...and I say they'll be glad to get you back. I bet they have a specially made cell just for you..." Primal transforms into robot mode, and presses the button to unlock the door. Megatron laughs, "Flattery will get you nowhere Optimus, yessss...enjoy this moment while you can."

Optimus sneers upon hearing this, but maintains focus and puts the first pod into the ship. He uses his foot rockets and takes off towards the next pod. "Come on Primal; I know you can hear me...don't you think it gets lonely out here..." Megatron begins with suave in his voice, "...Take me inside and lock me up in there." "No chance Megatron...I like you just where you are!" Primal squints and makes a face at Megatron as he grabs the next pod.

Grunting and groaning, he pulls the rather heavy pod towards the door. As it finally moves in the direction he wants, Primal lets up and lets it float towards the door, only floating along with it to stop it at the entrance.

Megatron moves his head to look at Primal, but can't see him due to his position and the considerable height he is above Primal's position. "At least tell me what you're doing..." Megatron almost sounds like he's pleading, but keeps that certain level of proudness and smirks at his own words; hoping to extract information out of Optimus. Primal looks up at Megatron for only a brief moment, "Don't you ever shut up?"

Several minutes pass, and soon Primal finishes loading in the last pod inside the ship. "Great! That's the last pod!" Primal announces and dusts off his hands as a sign that he's done. "Oh, so that's what it is..." Megatron begins. "You were quiet for a few clicks there; what happened?" Primal laughs as he stands at the entrance to the door. Megatron ignores him, "...those were my protoforms!" "I'd love to stay and chat Megatron, but Cybertron, and your prison cell, await!" Primal proclaims and slams the door shut behind him.

"We shall see Primal...you haven't won yet!" Megatron announces to the vast blackness of space, staring at it as he lays spread-eagle on the hull.

Inside, Primal enters the main room again after the airlock pressurizes, and everyone smiles at him. "Good to see ya Big Bot!" Cheetor gives Optimus the thumbs up. "And to see our comrades again." Rhinox adds, pointing at the stacks of stasis pods behind Optimus.

"So, we're finally going to Cybertron then!" Rattrap asks impatiently. Optimus gives a deep belly laugh, "Yes, Rattrap, we're finally going home."

Everyone starts dancing and rejoicing; and Rhinox watches them celebrate and smiles. He turns around and sits back at the controls, "O.K. everyone, strap yourselves in; I'm taking this bird back to Cybertron!" Rhinox proclaims as he presses a few buttons and pulls a few levers. "You got it big guy!" Rattrap gives him the thumbs up and jumps into his chair. The others follow suit, and everyone buckles in for the trip home.

"Commencing engine thrust...activating hyper-drive..." Rhinox states as he presses a button. Suddenly a giant explosion from the rear rocks the whole ship, and everyone looks around in panic.

"What was that?" Cheetor yells, grabbing the arms of the chair in fear. "Sounds like we lost our engines!" Primal announces as he begins to unbuckle himself. “The ship’s diagnostics have been knocked offline…” Rhinox shouts as he whips around in the control chair.

“I’ll be right back.” Optimus shouts and rises from the chair. "No Optimus! I'll check it out." Rhinox states and holds up his hand to signal Optimus to stop. Primal looks at him, and sits back down. He straps himself back in and nods at Rhinox, "Check it out, but hurry."

Rhinox stomps towards the back of the ship when the ship begins to move under his feet, causing him to fall. "RHINOX!" Cheetor calls out as turns in his seat to see Rhinox lying unconscious on the ground. "We're all gonna DIE!" Rattrap yells, covering his optics in fear. "SHUT UP RATTRAP!" Optimus yells as he unstraps himself and rushes towards Rhinox.

Just then, then ship begins to spin out of control, throwing Optimus across the cabin and slamming him into the pilot's chair. He slumps down onto the ground, and lies there for a moment before the momentum of the ship's spinning lifts him off of the ground and throws him against the other wall. Cheetor ducks as Rhinox flies over him and smashes into the rear of the ship.

But just as the spinning started, it stops as the ship's windshield begins to heat up, and glows bright red with fire. "NO!" Rattrap screams as he looks in horror upon the sight before his optics, "We're going back down!" "Stay close dear..." Silverbolt heroically states as he pulls Blackarachnia close to him as they sit next to each other, strapped in.

Outside, Megatron's body begins to burn as he reenters the atmosphere attached to the ship. "ARRRGGGHHH!" He bellows in pain as he struggles to break free of both the ship and the heat.

Suddenly, his right arm snaps free of his bonds, and he reaches over and breaks the bond on his other arm. "I...must...break...freeeee!" He proclaims as he grinds his teeth from the intense pain. He manages to break the final bonds that hold him, and as he does, he flies off the ship like a bullet and floats away high above the ship...

Meanwhile, back inside, Optimus Primal and Rhinox's bodies are pinned by the centripetal forces against the rear wall of the shuttle. Everyone screams as they watch the ground get closer and closer...

But on Earth, others watch them return as well...

"What?" Waspinator asks as he watches the ship plummets towards Earth, "Max-zimals come back?" The early anthropoids jump about in confusion and wonder as they watch along with Waspinator.

Not far away, in some bushes, a pair of eyes watch Waspinator, and the Autobot shuttle hurdling uncontrollably towards Earth with happiness. "Hmm, so my prey returns..." the spider-esque voice cackles, "...How lovely!" and his evil laugh fills the air...
This is the first part of the opening 5-parter of Myth Wars!! This starts right off after the end of the Transformers: Beast Wars T.V. series; with Primal and his crew leaving Earth in the Autobot shuttle.

Myth Wars is a series spanning the missing events between Beast Wars and Beast Machines; and features both new characters and old favorites!

Based upon the characters created by ShinMusashi44, TGping, AcidWing, Gryphman, Mako Crab, BillyBadAss; and of course myself. Story created and written by me.

Characters are copyright of Hasbro; and each of the above; myself included.
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Please read comments first. :3

1.
The dust was settling and everything was quiet.  It seemed like the end to a story, but it wasn't.  The battle, which had seemed to it's participants to have lasted days had lasted merely a few hours.  The entire downtown of Mission City was in some form or another destroyed.  From a chunk or two taken out of one side of a structure, to several buildings completely demolished- one from having two giant robots come crashing completely through them- it was in ruins.


Captain Lennox took a deep breath and looked at the four still functional mechs in front of him and the two seemingly random kids that had become embroiled in this as well.  He'd seen a lot of war in the years that he'd been in the military; neighborhoods lain to waste, disturbingly empty twisted play grounds with blast craters around them, people who had been torn asunder, but now it was on his own soil.  The signs that hug at odd angles or were partially blasted were in English and for familiar things like McDonalds and Macy's.  Destruction was a horrible thing to witness no matter who's country it was, but there was a special pang for when it was your own backyard.  People were coughing and fearfully creeping out of their hiding places, looking at their destroyed environment with disbelief.  Some were crying and shaking, looking for answers to what had just transpired.  He needed to get these kids and their giant friends the heck out of dodge before a mob did it for them.

Epps shrugged at him, indicating that their communications were still cut.  That meant Lennox was still ranking officer and responsible for sorting things out.  The aliens were getting antsy and had begun to mill about.  The wide black one that had been a truck was peering at the sky line suspiciously as the largest, a big red and blue semi, gingerly touched their fallen comrade's body, head bent in sorrow.  The green hummer was tending to the smallest, a yellow sports car, who was the most severely injured of the group and still alive.  Each of them bore their own injuries, but the yellow one's legs were sheered off at the knee.  The knee?  Did they have knees? They seemed to have humanoid joints   when they were robots. but they were aliens.  Didn't aliens have to be stranger than somehow?  With multiple limbs and too many eyeballs?  

Lennox hardened his heart as he heard the sirens start to wail.  There was time to think about the dynamics of alien robots and monsters later when he was home with his wife in one arm and the kid in the other.  They could watch Star Wars and pretend that robots were just scuttling tiny droids that spoke several million languages and took orders from whiney space pilots.  “Alright people.  We need to get these robots and the kids out of here.”

Everyone stopped and looked at him.  The bots seemed to have a military system of their own, ad recognized Lennox's authority.  He looked at the surviving members of his team and felt good that at least he hadn't lost anymore of them today, “Okay, I need you to find me a truck or something to put all the de-” were they dead? Or did you say non-functioning?  He gestured at the group as a whole, not making any distinction, “these uh, dead... robots into and take them for some sort of disposal or dismantling.”

The huge black truck frowned and crossed his arms in answer as the kid stood up and waved his arms, “What?! No!  You can't put Jazz in there like that!”

Lennox shook his head, “Now wait kid, Sam, right?  We can't have these things sitting around here.  They need to be out of here before someone walks over and just starts trying to take parts away.”

The girl stood up, he could never remember her name.  It started with an M. Mikaela. That was it.  Her eyes were burning with frustrated tears and she was covered in grime.  She flung out a hand that had been bloodied when she broke through the glass of a tow truck and pointed to the bots behind her, “They are not things, Captain.  They are people.  Okay, not people like you and me like humans, but they have feelings and... and are intelligent and have personalities.  Just like us.  And they have names.”  She pointed to each one in turn, “Ratchet, Bumblebee, Ironhide, Optimus Prime... and... and Jazz.”

“Great, fine, nice to meet you guys.  What's you're point?”

Mikaela's patience was at a complete end.  The week had started out great with parties and finished projects and then it had gone down hill starting with breaking up with a boyfriend- which wasn't a bad idea in retrospect but hadn't been a real high point either- and ending in the middle of a giant alien robot war.  Oh, and she'd had to steal a car.  Something she'd swore she'd never do.  “My  point is that you can't just treat them like they're some crazy terminators or something!  They-”

“Things like those destroyed the base I lived on,” Mikaela wasn't the only one who was completely out of patience.  “Things like those didn't leave anyone alive, just me and my men.  Then they came after us and killed my soldiers.  My friends.” He was nose to nose with the girl now.  Her eyes were wild and unnerved.  He wondered if he'd ever have to yell at his daughter like this and hoped that he never did.

Sam backed Mikaela up, “But Captain, they're autobots, not decepticons.  Jazz... Jazz died trying to keep Megatron from popping us like zits.  I mean, come on, he deserves better than to be carted off with these assholes.”

“Please,” The largest robot, the one called Optimus Prime, bent down till he was at a level with the human captain.  Optimus felt that he could reason with the captain, soldier to soldier, “Jazz was our friend and compatriot, it would, “ he groped around for words.  So many things that a bot could instantly send from one to another that you couldn't with humans, “Wound us to see him carted away in such a manner.”

“Yeah,” Sam piped up. “It'd be like putting Superman in with Doomsday's body.”

The captain and Mikaela looked at Sam blankly.  Lennox looked at Epps who was nodding, “What?  Dude's gotta point.”

Surprisingly, it was Ironhide that spoke, “Captain, we have been fighting the decepticons for millions of your years.  I have seen devastation of entire worlds, and of my own world.  I am a soldier also, I serve my people.  I once believed that it was pointless to defend your people because they were so steeped in violence,” He looked at Optimus begrudgingly, “But I was wrong.  Don't make the same mistake about us.”

“Besides which, “ Ratchet spoke up, “ I believe there's a chance I can fix Jazz.”

The autobots all swiveled to look at their medic.  They had absolute faith in his ability to restore them when injured, but to restore a spark?  He transmitted to them in private, {With the shard of the all-spark that Prime picked up I may be able to resurrect his spark.  I downloaded a copy of his memory core to a data pad before he lost complete consciousness.  Since his spark didn't cease to function from being totally destroyed, there's a chance I can repair it.}

The weary Lennox shook his head then rubbed his eyes.  He tried to let the frustration drain out of him.  He was tired, his men were tired, and these two kids were annoying and tired.  Did robots get tired?  The looming form of the autobot leader spoke again, “I'd like to stay and keep an eye on the decepticon's bodies.  Just in case Starscream returns for them.”

Ratchet scanned Prime without giving prior warning and sent him a private comm.  {No I don't think that would be a good idea.}

Optimus flexed one fist impatiently.  He knew that Ratchet wouldn't stop him for anything short of a major problem, but that didn't mean that he had to like it, {And why is that?}

The mech folded his arms and hunched his shoulders.  His comm dripped with sarcasm.  {Do you want me to make a list?  I can send you one.  It starts with stressed metal and ends with places your armor has been punctured with plenty of other concerns along the way.}

Cybertronians didn't have things like natural morphine to keep them from feeling pain after an injury, but they did have the semi conscious ability to turn off the pain receptors in most cases- or at least dampen them so that they could continue to function and fight.  During the battle with Megatron, Prime had flipped quite a number of those switches to keep from collapsing.  However, like a human's natural pain killers, the switches would eventually come back on and at that point he would be forced to rest.  Optimus could already feel some of wounds beginning to ache.  {What do you recommend then?}

Ratchet gave a mental shrug,{Let Ironhide and I stay with the decepticon's bodies.  He and I have taken less damage today than you have.  When you get to the dam I want you and Bumblebee both to shut off for a little while and take some of the stress off.}

Ironhide patted Prime on the shoulder and said aloud, “One of these days you'll learn to duck and then you won't always be the worst for wear.”

Optimus sighed.  It was a long standing joke among them since before he was Prime that he didn't seem to know when to duck.  His instinct was to put his massive bulk between his friends and his enemies, not duck and let the shot pass.  He'd nearly gotten his spark handed to him on several occasions from his inability to avoid fire.  “Very well.  If you will hook up a trailer, I will carry the children, Bumblebee and Jazz back to the Dam.”

Lennox nodded impatiently, unsure of what had just transpired between the aliens, “Great, okay.  Epps you keep checking for a signal on those radio communicators, “He tossed one of the extra ones to the kids, “You two keep this with you just in case.”

“You are not coming back to the Dam with us?” Optimus cocked his head.

“We've been shorter on sleep than this after battles just as fierce,” though not as weird, Epps added mentally, “And... this is home turf.  We got a chance to help people here who are going to need it, we're trained in that.  You guys, the kids, you're not.  Best to get y'all out of here.”


2

The ride back to the Dam seemed so much longer than it was.  It took them about an hour to get out of the city itself, traffic was awful as people piled their belongings into cars and headed for the proverbial hills.  No one seemed sure that more aircraft or monsters or aliens or terrorists were going to pop out of the woodwork and attack their city again.  Lucky for the kids they could reward themselves with sleep.  Optimus was not that lucky.  Bumblebee, however, stubbornly refused to switch off and instead kept his friend quiet company.  In the darkness of the trailer, which would have been too hot for a human to ride, he watched the silent form of Jazz bounce with the hum of the road.  So many had been lost and were irreplaceable.  Each spark that was ripped asunder by decepticon hands did so much damage to the sparks that still beat.  In his inner thoughts the yellow mech made a mental list of the dead.  Good friends and family, all gone.  His home was gone.  

It wasn't in his nature to be so melancholy, but he always felt less than his usual upbeat self after losing a friend.  Especially after losing someone who'd fought at his side.  Outside he could hear the continual honking of horns and yelling of humans.  Had he misjudged them?  Maybe Ironhide was right, maybe they were just a self-centered creation that would burn themselves out in a few millennium.

Or less. He thought to himself.

A screech and cursing could be heard right outside the walls of dirty metal.  In frustration he started to reach up and bang against the side closest to the yelling.

{Bee.  Don't.} Optimus sounded tired.

With a disgruntled sigh, the wounded bot scrunched himself down.  {Why not?}

{It'll just make them more frightened.}

{People have died today... and yet I can hear them out there yelling at each other, each thinking that their desire to escape this mayhem is more important than the rest!}

{They are frightened.  Give them time.  Were we not just as frightened and angry when war first came to our home?  The first time it showed up in front of us, on our very doorsteps?}


Bumblebee didn't reply.  That had been so long ago, and he'd been extremely young by cybertronian standards.  He remembered how scared he was the first time he saw his home on fire; the absolute torture he'd felt when he came back to find that the places he knew were no longer more than dust and twisted metal.  

When Bumblebee had first lost his ability to speak Optimus had worried about how he had withdrawn from from the others.  But he never failed to bounce back and retain his disposition.  Optimus sent him an image of the two children in the cab of the truck.  Sam was sprawled on the seat, his head on Mikaela's shoulder.  Mikaela's head kept nodding forward to smack into Sam's and then raise up again as she tried to stay awake.  When it did, Sam would absently pat her hand and both would smile.  {As I said, we have gained new friends and all humans are not the same.  We may have lost Jazz, but hopefully with luck and Ratchet's abilities...}

{And it's over.  Megatron's done for.  We can relax and just be ourselves again.  No more soldiers, no more battles... } Bee sounded a bit more positive.

{Yes, although the others may come for the shard of the Allspark...} began Optimus uncertainly.

Bee made a buzz like a snort, {Now who's positive?}



Sam stepped out of the semi woozily and took a few careful steps away.  How long had it been since they'd eaten?  It had seemed like a good idea to nap at the time, but now he wasn't so sure.

“Yer alive!” A blonde cannonball was hurtling itself down the corridor towards them.  Maggie came to a sliding surprised halt as Optimus unhooked himself and transformed slowly.  It's the ceiling, he told himself, I wasn't sure how low it was. However, the aches and pains he felt as he stood up told him that he wasn't fooling anyone.  

For a moment she wasn't sure what to do, but in the end the simplest thing seemed best, “H-hello.  I'm Maggie.  Not Margret. Maggie.” The analyst stared up and up.  The blue and red mech was certainly more friendly looking than the frightening looking thing in the box and the Mega-thing that had been hanging around in cold storage.  Still, the sheer size of the alien was enough to send humans into a bit of delirium.

“Hello Maggie, I am Optimus Prime.” He didn't bother to bend down to her, he was just too tired at this point and she didn't seem to mind.

Glen came wheezing down the hallway behind Maggie, “Geez, don't you ever slow down? OH HOLY SHIT!”

Optimus looked at him with amusement.  He didn't mean to startle the humans, but he had to admit they made amusing faces when they were.  

“Glen, this is Optimus Prime,” said Maggie calmly.  “It's okay, he won't hurt you.”

“A-are you sure? I mean uh, he's kinda big.”

“I have sworn an oath to not harm humans, all autobots have.  You are safe with us, Glen.” Prime nodded his head to the frightened human, trying to pitch his voice in a reassuring tone.

The screeching of metal on metal announced Bumblebee's presence as he dragged himself slowly out of the back of the truck.  Optimus limped over to the back and looked down, “You couldn't wait for help?  How'd you get the back undone anyway?”

“Are you kidding? I've been holding the damn thing closed for the past ten miles.  It unlatched itself!”

Optimus reached down and half carried, half dragged Bumblebee away from the trailer.  Maggie finished making sure the two humans were in good shape before nervously going around the corner.  “Oh my GOD!  What happened to your legs?!”

Bumblebee looked up at the human incredulously, “Oh those? I cut them off so I'd fit in the trailer better.”

Mikaela frowned, “He got hurt trying to save us from Starwhatsis thing.”

“But he can talk now!” Sam replied excitedly.

Bee nodded, “I've been feeling it coming back a little at a time.  What do you think?”

Maggie stared at him blankly, “You sound like a speak and spell.”

“What is... a speak and spell?”

“I thought you guys like, downloaded like the whole internet?” said Mikaela watching Optimus try to carefully sit down and not end up on top of something.  The hanger seemed to have not only housed the allspark but also a corner stash of obsolete junk.  The stack of old computers, printers, and failed experiments based on things learned from the captive decepticon was marked with a note to take it to the archives, but apparently no one had bothered to.

“Not all of it, just your languages and relevant information.  There didn't seem to be a reason to retain memory of the entire thing,” He sighed as he bent himself into a comfortable position.  He envied the human's ability to seemingly flop down and fold themselves up into whatever position they liked.  His protoform was much more flexible, but with the condition he was in he wasn't sure any stance would be comfortable.  His armor was dented and stressed where Megatron had flung him around and from the times he'd fallen off of buildings.  It all added up to the equivalent of bone bruises.  All the damage he sustained had been aggravated by driving over the roads on the way back to the dam.  To avoid traffic they had ended up on several side roads that had been in considerably less than choice conditions.  It was no wonder the door of the trailer had finally popped open.  “It could also be noted that even after downloading the information, we still do not always have practical use for it.”

Bumblebee rested his chin in his hand and looked down at his human friends, “Yeah, sometimes you guys just don't make sense.”

Maggie was nodding, “Besides if they'd downloaded the whole internet they'd probably be running around using net speak and saying things like, 'It can be hugs time now.'”

Optics sparkling with mirth, the yellow mech replied testily, “We're not that naive that we didn't-  0squeek!0”  Everyone turned to stare at the ungodly noise that had issued from his mouth plate.  Bee didn't say anything but patted his throat a little.

Optimus shook his head slowly, “Better to have Ratchet check you over and make sure should be speaking so much before you start going into explanations about how we process information.  In the meantime, I think he wanted us to shut down for a while.”

The younger mech looked frustrated but as Mikaela patted his shoulder, “You two just relax.  Sam and I need to get some rest as well.”

“Right, that's the question, food or rest first?”

“Shower.” Mikaela replied, following Maggie towards the hanger door.

“I uh...” Sam felt his face heating up.  “I uh...”

Glen clapped Sam on the shoulder, “Come on, let's get some food.”


3.

The Sector 7 headquarters in the Dam was not home, but the promise of a little rest and a chance to lick their wounds was enough to make even Ironhide look forward to it a bit.  He dropped off his passengers and followed Ratchet into the hanger where the others waited.  

Sam, Mikaela and two other humans he didn't know were seated in a circle in front of Bee and Optimus eating some sort of food.  The food looked gooey, messy, and stringy, he wondered why humans ate exactly what they did.  His sense of smell was nearly destroyed from the years of taking in smoke and ozone from the burning chemicals left over from battles, but he still didn't understand how they could enjoy the stuff.  He ignored the stares of the humans, gave a grunt in return to the children's hellos and installed himself on the right of his slumbering leader.  Prime wasn't the only one who deserved a little shut down time.

Ratchet, on the other hand, lowered himself down beside Bumblebee, who had come back on-line, and the children.  Sam looked up at Ratchet, “How is it out there?”

The medic frowned and chose his words carefully.  For all that these children had seen battle and risked their lives today, they were still children even by the standards of their people, “Not as bad as it could be.”  

He quietly began checking Bumblebee over while the others ate in silence.  They weren't sure that they wanted to know exactly what happened right this very moment, either.  It was odd having a national emergency and not have it covered from every possible news angle, worldwide communications were still down.  In a way it was nice to not have a tv chattering at him, but the silence also disturbed Sam.  He was already trying not to worry about his parents, Banachek had told them that they were still in California and safe, but he still hadn't talk to them.  They were probably going out of their heads, not to mention Mikaela's mother who had no idea where she was or who she was with.

“Let me see your throat plates, Bee.” Ratchet ordered.

Bumblebee's eyes pleaded with him, “No, I don't think I need-”

Ratchet grabbed Bee and bent his head back and shot the medical laser into the sensitive parts of his still regenerating vocal processor.  The humans tried not to stare as their friend made gagging strangled noises as the medic worked, “If... you'd hold still... this wouldn't hurt so bad!”

The narrowed blazing optics begged to differ.

Finally he released the yellow bot's head and looked satisfied with his repairs, “There.  That should hold you till I have time to really work on it.”

Bee rubbed his throat plate gingerly and said hoarsely, “Gee thanks, Ratchet.”

“So, uh... where did the Secretary of Defense wander off to?” Sam lamely tried to strike up a conversation.

Maggie shrugged, “I dunno, he said he wanted to talk to Banachek about stuff and I don't know where they went after that.. at least that Simmons guy is gone.  God, what an asshole, he sort of creeps me out.”

Mikaela gave her a flat look, “Yeah.  Seconded on that.”
Glen rolled his eyes, “I bet he still lives with his mom.”

“You should talk, Glen,” snorted Maggie, polishing off her third slice of pizza.

“Hey, I live with my grandmother so that I can care for her.  Lord knows she can't take care of herself anymore!” he squirmed uncomfortably.  He tried to change the subject, “Here comes K- er Mr. Keller now.”  Glen, watching the craggy-faced gentleman stride purposefully into the room.  For all that he had never given much thought to politics outside of occasionally hacking government sites, Glen had to admit that he had a lot of respect for the SECDEF.  Any man that age that could wield a shot gun like a scalpel while still wearing a pressed suit and barking out orders to send over morse code got a lot of credit in his book.

“Evening folks,” he sauntered up to the group, not flinching at the sight of the addition of three more giant robots.  After today he considered that very little would ever surprise or unsettle him again.

Ratchet, who had been making his way to Prime's left to get a little shut down time stopped mid way down to stare at the human.  He recalled the information that he had on Keller from his memory banks and watched the man warily.  

Keller addressed the bots, “I don't suppose you could tell me which of you is in charge?”

All eyes went to Prime's scarred frame.  Ratchet nudged him and sent a comm, {Optimus, we need you.}

{Hm?  What's that?} The line was private between the two so no one heard the fuzzed, sleepy reply.  Ratchet looked at his leader fondly, for all that Optimus was Prime and therefore leader of all the autobots, he wasn't that old.  Experienced in leadership and battle, yes, but he was much younger than Ratchet and Ironhide.  He was closer in age to Jazz than to his medic and weapon's expert.  Before the war he had been an archivist, and had continued to function in that aspect with great dedication even up to the time he became Prime.  In fact, Ratchet was fairly certain that he still filed away his data with the intention of having accessible to any autobot that wished to read it in the future.  Satisfied that Prime was awake now, he busied his own systems with shutting down for a while.

The shutters opened on Optimus's optics as he glanced down at the older human in front of him.  The man seemed to be trying to decided exactly how to address someone who stands at least two stories taller than you.  Optimus saved him the trouble.

“My greetings to you, I am Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots,” Primus.  How many times am I going to have to say that?

“Greetings, I am the Secretary of Defense of the United States of America, John Keller,” He quirked one furry eyebrows, what was the best way to proceed? “I'd welcome you to our country but I guess you've been here a while.”

“I have,” said the yellow bot that Keller was familiar with, “But the others just got here yesterday.”

“I see.  I think it would be a good idea if you and I had a chat if I'm not interrupting?” He eyed the children significantly.  The things that he needed to discuss with the alien leader were paramount to national security.  He had a pretty firm idea of exactly what he could offer the four mechs that had just saved the country, or rather the planet.

Optimus eased to his feet.  The few hours of shut down had let a lot of the minor damage repair itself to the point that the throbbing could be ignored.  He was satisfied that he was not going to have to limp and clank after the SECDEF.  “Very well, Mr. Keller, we shall speak.”

As Keller turned, Optimus slipped something into Bumblebee's hand and followed the man out into the next Hanger over.


As he followed, Optimus took in the surroundings.  It was chilled in this hanger, as caves were naturally apt to be.  Everywhere hung cords, lights and scaffolding- most of which were now scattered on the floor in various states of damage.  The floor was damp with melted ice and had washed away the blood from the injuries the humans sustained in trying to keep their prisoner in his frozen state.  Optimus suppressed an inner shudder at the thought of being frozen and alone on an alien world.  Not that Megatron had probably been bothered about it other than to simply get angrier and angrier, but they had wanted to do the same to Bee.  Optimus shook his head, trying to not to hold a grudge about it.  The ones who had wanted this done had not understood that they were living beings and more than the simple machines that they themselves had created, or worse the ones that they wrote about.  

There were a greater number of robots that were featured in the human's fiction as the aggressors than protectors.  In fact almost all the sentient robots that weren't some sort of cyborg were usually regarded as being evil punishing monsters that wanted to destroy someone or the entire planet. A bot could easily assume that all humans would fear a sentient machine as a matter of instinct.  However, he had found otherwise in Sam, Mikaela and now the soldiers.  Even if they initially were frightened, they did learn to trust through example.  Humans, he mused, were each as dynamic as his own race.  While they might not have developed as high a scientific ability as he and his kind had, their emotional potential was much the same.  All the more reason to approach this particular authority figure about making a new home for the autobots here.

Provided that today hadn't spoiled it all.  He had a sinking feeling that someone would probably find it to be a wonderful movie about killer robots from outer space. Hopefully the leaders of this particular country at least would see not the destruction the decepticons had caused but the help the autobots offered.  

Prime looked around for a suitable place to sit.  He could crouch in front of the human but at the moment he didn't want to stress his servos any more than he had to.  The pedestal where Megatron had been mounted for so many years seemed like as good a place as any.

Without being asked, Keller climbed the stairs to the scaffolding and found a step that was blessedly dry and sat down to face the giant mech.  He marveled at the creature's size and the amount of expression he could see in the layers of parts that made up the Autobot's face.  He cleared his throat and addressed Prime, “So, now that your enemies have been scattered and beaten, what are your intentions for your soldiers and our world?”

4.

“What did Optimus hand you?” asked Maggie eagerly.  She and Sam were practically prying open Bumblebee's hand trying to see what was inside.

He held his arm up, “Hey now!  If you get down I'll show you!”

They backed up obediently as Mikaela watched them.  The humans had made sort of armchair shapes out of some massive disused computer towers, the seats to which were bulky discarded laptops, boxes or wadded up blankets.  She was already wearing some unknown person's thankfully clean fatigues- they all were.  They looked like refugees.  

It occurred to her that the autobots, for all that they were massive warriors from space, really were refugees.  They wanted to call this place home.  She'd been frightened of them at first, unsure what these things could want and convinced that it couldn't possibly be good.  But watching Bee crawl out from the wreckage, stubbornly refusing to give up even after he'd had his feet blown off had changed her feelings.  The look of pain and frustration on that almost completely un-human face had connected with her and she'd come to trust them.  How much had she changed in the last few days?  What was her daddy going to say when he came home to find his little girl all grown up?  The thought made her shrink into herself and wrap her arms around her knees.  

Bumblebee opened his fist to reveal the tiny sliver of what was left of the precious allspark.  It wasn't much by their standards, but it was long to the humans.  It looked to be a little less than 12 inches in length and staggered like a splinter.  They marveled at it as Sam stepped a bit closer.  He didn't see the length of pole that stuck out from one of Bumblebee's leg nubs.  He reached for the closest thing to steady himself and slammed into Bee's arm.  

The little shard went up into the air as time slowed for an instant.  Maggie threw herself forward, trying to catch the piece and crashed into her nest of blankets, the shard smacked into her hands with an electric crackle, making her arm up to her elbow numb.  The shard then bounced out of her unresponsive hands and flew through the air to land on one of the giant old laptops.

All five eyed the laptop, which wasn't moving, warily.  When it didn't do anything, Bee wasn't sure if he was glad that nothing popped out of the laptop or if he was distressed that it didn't and that meant that it couldn't help Jazz.  Mikaela snorted and bent down past the laptop to reach the shard, which was now about a foot past it, nestled in the blankets.  She laid completely flat to reach the shard, too comfortable and tired to get up and walk over to it.  As she was level to the laptop on the floor, she noticed that an eye had opened on it and was watching her.

With a cry of horror, she snatched the shard, clutched it to her and went clattering backwards.  The startled laptop burst into life, splitting out in all directions, then scrambling into the air.  It's black wings beat frantically to get away from the cacophony that the inhabitants of the room were making.

It flew around in a frightened circle, making hissing and clacking noises as Bee calmly sighted it and fired a low energy shot.  He didn't want to use a full charge and risk hurting any of the humans if something fell.  Without his legs he couldn't exactly scramble past them and take the brunt of any heavy pieces of ceiling falling.  But he wasn't about to give the flying chattering laptop the chance to hurt anyone either.

{I heard fire, what's going on?} Bee received the worried comm from Optimus.

{Uh... nothing.  We're all fine... just a um, accidental discharge.}

{What's all that... squawking in there?} came the confused reply.

{Nothing I can't handle,} He hoped.

The shot managed to clip the wing of the weird robotic bird that had spawned.  It spiraled down out of the air dramatically to lay in a disorganized looking sprawl on the ground.  After a moment it righted itself and made panicked circles, trying desperately to get away from it's attackers.

The humans, who were now hiding behind Bee, watched it warily.  It stopped trying to fly after a moment, sort of half scuttling, half shuddering, trying to turn back into a laptop.  Maggie popped out from behind Bee and began stalking toward the creature, cooing softly.

“Maggie!” hissed Glen, “What the hell do you think you're doing?”

“No idea.  But I don't think it wants to hurt us, it's just... scared.” She continued to coo at the creature who had stopped trying to get away and had settled it self back out into a complete bird again.

Bumblebee scratched at the horns on his head in confusion.  It was basically, as far as he understood anyway, a new born with no programming.  It would attack anything that it thought was going to hurt it- or it should have.  But here it was just trying to get away.

Mikaela had joined Maggie and both of them were on their hand and knees crawling toward the strange bird-like creature, trying not to startle it.  Maggie reached out her hand to touch it, but it hissed angrily.  She sat back quickly and it scuttled backwards as well, equally startled.

“No no no, it's okay!  Don't be scared!” said Mikaela, trying to reassure it.

It's beady blue eyes snapped onto Mikaela.  It hissed a little.  “Huuuuuurt.”

Bee shook his head, “Okay it definitely should not do that.”

Mikaela looked back over her shoulder, “What do you mean?”

He shrugged, “As far as I know anything that comes out of the allspark raw like that shouldn't immediately be able to talk or reason.  It doesn't have any programing.  It should just be-”

“Freaking out and attacking like my phone did, “ Glen said absently.  He didn't take his eyes away from the black and blue laptop bird.

“Exactly,” rumbled a response from behind them.  Ratchet had brought himself back on-line at the start of the commotion.  He wasn't the sort to shoot first and ask questions later and was very glad that Ironhide, who was the sort of bot to do just that, was an extremely deep sleeper.  “Something strange about this one.”

Mikaela felt something tickle her arm and she turned around to see the laptop was  now cowering behind her. In comparison to the autobots he was tiny, about the size of a medium sized dog.  She looked at it, “It's okay.  They won't hurt you.”

Ratchet started to get up.  This of course, startled the bird creature into action.  His instinct was to get to higher ground in order to jump off and glide, and Mikaela's shoulder was the highest point near to him.  He took an ungainly hop and landed on her forearm.  She yelped in pain as the sharp claws pierced the thick army coat that she was wearing and tore at her skin.  The bird, realizing he was hurting her, leaped off and scuttled backwards.  Ratchet was pretty  fast when the occasion called for it and he managed to get around the startled humans and Bee to get to the bird.  He grabbed a thick metal crate and snapped it down on top of the bird-creature.  He then grabbed a larger, much heavier crate and put it on top, effectively pinning the laptop.

Maggie and Sam ran to Mikaela's aide, trying to get the jacket off and stop the bleeding as she clutched at her arm.  The medic grabbed the discarded jacket and expertly ripped it into long shreds.    He then gently took her bleeding arm in his giant hand.  With deft movements he delicately and quickly wrapped the arm with just enough pressure to staunch the bleeding and not cut off circulation entirely.  He winked at the girl, “Just because I'm a bulky bot doesn't mean I haven't got nimble fingers.  My scan indicates it's not deep enough to need stitches, just a nasty cut, it's a good thing these jackets are so thick.  Hold it up and keep pressure on it for a little while.”

Sam kicked at the crate with his foot, succeeding only in sending pain up his appendage.  He hopped away while Bee leveled his gun at the offending creature.

“No don't!” Mikaela called, “He didn't mean to.”

The forlorn creature inside moaned, “Sorry!  Sorry! Me not mean to!”

“What in blazes is going on here?”

“Uh...” guilty gazes watched as Keller and Optimus returned from the other hanger.  

“Well, the good news is the shard will work, and we only took minor damage,” replied Ratchet.

Optimus leveled a look at his medic but addressed Keller instead, “I will deal with this, you had best continue on your way.”

The Secretary of Defense nodded with a look of disbelief, “Very well.  Glen, Maggie, let's head out.”

“Now?”

“But-” the two chimed together.

“Come on, you're still my advisors and I'm going to need your help analyzing the virus that brought down the satellites.  I've gotten a call that they need us back in Washington, ASAP.  You can come back and visit sometime I'm sure,” He turned again to the leader of the Autobots and nodded, gave one last look at the suspicious box and continued out the door, practically dragging the two analysts away.

Optimus crouched next to the make shift kennel. “And exactly what is in here?”

“Something the allspark shard made.”

“I ran into Bee and he dropped it, “said Sam sheepishly.  He felt a lot like the times when he'd had to admit to his father that he'd done something incredibly stupid.  

“I see.”

Ratchet looked at the laptop, who was sticking his beak through one of openings in the box that served as a handle.  “It hasn't tried to attack us or even shown any sort of weapons.  It only cut Mikaela because I frightened it when I was getting up off the ground.”

“Am sorrrry...” it said again.

It's speech startled Prime.  At this point in it's “life” it shouldn't be able to do much other than react to basic fight or flight parameters.  The fact that it was talking, albeit in broken sentences, spoke volumes.  Tentatively he tried to send a comm in cybertronian.  {Who are you?}

{??????} was the reply.

Ratchet tried and got the same response. “It... doesn't know our language.”

Mikaela tried to blow her bangs away from her face, “Maybe it only knows english because it's a laptop. “

They stared at her.

“No, think about it.  It's hard drive is probably full of old files these guys have saved.”

“Yeah, maybe it's name is it's network name?” Sam offered.

There was a fluttering sound as the laptop beat it's wings against it's prison. “YES! Me am... Me am... Me am Southwest Operating System #392!”

“That's kind of a mouthful for us humans to say,” said Sam, shaking his head, “How about we shorten it to like, SOS or Ninety-two?  Maybe just WEST, yeah that'd be kinda cool,” He offered a hand out to the nose cheekily, “Hey, West, how's it hanging?”

The metallic beak pulled itself back into the crate with disgust.

“How about Swoop?” asked Mikaela quietly.  

“Swooooooop.  Me like.  Me Swooooooop.” said the beak, emerging from it's kennel.

Sam gave her a blank look.  Mikaela sighed, “It's an acronym, I mean it's sort of hacked up but SouthWest O(o)Perating Station #392.”

The others nodded thoughtfully.  Sam crossed his arms and looked grumpy, “I still like West better.”
This is a fan fic set in the transformers movie universe.

I'm taking a little bit of G1 history, the movie prequel novel, and some of dreamwave's war within backstories...

no OC's here unless I need to grab a random human character.

I don't know if I'll continue writing this as I'm working more on the steam punk one... we'll see.

no pairings except sam x mikaela.

also, the parts about the decepticon partners are not meant to infer that they have anything other than a symbiotic relationship. :3
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