Even though it's in my signature, I still feel like makin' a thread to promote my little fictions. Not at all long or complicated, they center around Wheeljack's travels post-Loose Cannons, with him ascertaining the nature of Earth and its people. There's links, but everyone else just includes the whole text, so that's what I'll do. A Solitary Stroll The road spun on for miles. Wheeljack savored the feeling. An empty world, ripe for exploration, was a welcome break from the criss-crossing roads of Cybertron and the battles in seemingly-empty space. He wondered how Prime's team was doing—as he did, intermittently—but again the road cleansed his pangs of guilt for leaving them. Besides, he needed to see if the hunk of rock was worth saving first. His new alt treated him beautifully. Bulkhead was a master coordinator when it came to picking altmodes. It seemed to be the only thing the lug did right sometimes, but he did it excellently. The tires gripped the rough skin of the asphalt, and every thought became a turn as he was having them. He hadn't seen much of Earth, but their vehicle designs were certainly impressive. Wheeljack had grown accustomed to the newfound power of his engine. On Cybertron, his boxy cargo-transport form was functional, but little else. To get away from the war had many benefits, the least of which was the ability to take care of one's self. A few rocks of varying sizes, a faded stripe on the road, a pebble here and there—they were his markers. He gently pushed his engine, aiming for precision among the impromptu checkpoints.* 1.2 seconds. 1.23 seconds. 1.19 seconds. The response time was unbelievable. 1.2 se— wait, what was that? He slowed down, pulled over. A feeling, deep in his gut. A smell he could recognize. A memory he couldn't quite place. There, over the hill.* A black luxury car, stained by mud and washed of its pristine beauty by a long trek. Another car doesn't seem so bad. Why feel trepedation? But then, on the hood. A Decepticon symbol. The other car slowed, pulled over. They were both in plain sight of each other, a hundred meters apart. Their engines hummed almost in harmony, one sweet and purring, the other powerful and brisk, echoing across the empty plains.* They both stopped. Neither made a sound. Wheeljack's sensors picked up no outgoing communications; the 'con wasn't signaling for reinforcements.* And there they stood. Minutes seemed like hours, hours like days.* Wheeljack turned on his engine, headlights illuminating the faded finish of his enemy. But still, it made no move. He pulled up to the luxury car, and still it made no move.* He engaged his reverse gear, and, eyes trained on the other car, began slowly pulling away. When he thought enough distance was between them, he turned around and went to second.* The hum of an engine other than his almost spurred him into transforming, but, in his sideview, the agressor—not so, as he now thought—was making the same speed on his previous course. The Earth is strange, Wheeljack thought. Things are different here. The Rich Folks Through countless battles, life-threatening situations, and more explosions than he could count, Wheeljack never counted on dying *of boredom.* His tires seemed to sag under his weight, dust caked his siding, and more than a few of the tiny flying creatures had committed suicide on his windshield. A rest was in order, but where? Humans had the frustratingly Cybertronian trait of having more journey than destination. Just like his home planet, megamiles of road separated any population center from another. Without any Energon depots or "gas stations" to be found, he faced the unenviable task of calling base for a place to stay. An intersection in the distance provided an alternative. Though his vision couldn't make out the ends of either direction, it was better than this monotony. He turned, noting the sluggish response of his differential. Earth tech. Can't even handle a few straight days of driving.* The sky gradually dimmed, and the Wrecker began to think twice about his decision. His tiredness began to present itself. Did his headlights just flicker? The engine sounds a bit fussy...* A large, rectangular object appeared a few miles away. Dimly lit from below, the structure, supported by struts, sported a human male with a white substance covering his face. The text, faded through many years, still said "BURMA-SHAVE."* A good place to park. He pulled up to the rectangle, shut his lights off, and let his programming idle. Light washed over his hood. Wheeljack reactivated his programming, and noted his readouts—systems performing at 20% more efficiency. Energon mixture 59%— tink, tink, tink. He almost transformed to fire at the sudden tapping occuring on his rear quarter panel. A small human, covered in dirty fibrous material, was now rubbing dirt off his body. What gives him the right to touch me? Primus, this planet is disgusting.*About to turn on his engine and stop this offense, the Wrecker halted when the human sat down and began addressing him. "You know, you're different." His cover blown, Wheeljack prepared to gun his engine. "In my little town, a few miles down the road, no types like you come around anymore. It's only old, tired men with rusty pickup trucks and bottles of beer." He stopped. "My momma said that there used to be your types, when this road got built. Nice, glitterin' cars full of rich men wantin' to spend their money at the capital of nowhere." The human chuckled. "That's what momma calls it. The capital of nowhere. Feels like that sometimes." It dawned on Wheeljack that the human wasn't talking to him as a Cybertronian, but as a car. What was it talking about? Human nonsense, no doubt. "Well, she says that we got passed over pretty quick. The glittery cars turned ta rusty trucks and the town lost its life. How d'ya figure? A town having life? That's like a car havin' life. Momma says I'll understand when I'm older." "I guess this is where the glitter went. You folks just stop at the billboard. Maybe we should move the town here. I bet that'd give the town 'life.'" The human morosely kicked a puff of dust into the air.* "Look at me, talkin' to a rich folk's car. The dust is gettin' in my brain, just like Momma said. I guess I'd better head back before she gets worried." It started off, and walked into the distance.* An hour passed. Wheeljack contemplated what the small human had confided in him.* His engine purring, he started in the child's direction. Shortly, he came upon a dilipidated human settlement, filled with what must have been "rusty pickup trucks." Metal sheets, hanging from dwellings, creaked back and forth in the wind.* He felt uncomfortable, even as he paced through the deserted town. When the tiny human said there was no life, he was serious—no trace of human activity seemed to persist anywhere. Suddenly, his gleaming finish and 8-cylinder engine seemed painfully out of place. Giving a hard look around for the tiny human yielded no results, and, not knowing his destination, turned around in the narrow street and sped for the highway. As he departed, Wheeljack was reminded of the settlements exterminated by plagues on Cybertron. Devoid of life, the two seemed strangely similar. If that's the whole town, Wheeljack thought, I can't blame the rich folks for leaving.