Summary: When a freak accident sees Mikaela's dad die when she's just a baby her mother meets someone who has already encountered a certain yellow alien robot. And this encounter will not just change Mikaela but alter the fate of the Autobots and Cybertron forever. Meeting August 3rd, 1991 Brighton Falls "Name?" "Rebecca Banes... Shooter. Rebecca Shooter. I called about the Firebird?" She grimaced as the old man running the desk arched an eyebrow at that but after a moment he merely shrugged and slide his chair over to a phone that looked like it was nearly as old as he was and began to dial. Rebecca was glad that he hadn't pressed her as frankly she didn't know if she would have screamed at him or began sobbing and telling him the entire story. She'd done both so far that week, the former to a bank teller and the later to a startled cashier at Dominos, and she wasn't in the mood for a repeat performance. She knew that many widows kept their married name but frankly she wasn't in the mood to have any more reminders of Colin and his stupidity. All he had needed to do was go to work at the shop and then come home and tinker with his car and spend time with his family. But no, not Colin. He decided to go out and get drunk with the boys because he didn't want to admit that even though he was only 24 years old he couldn't act like he was a young man anymore. She wanted to have fun and be carefree but they had to be mature. Responsible. But Colin couldn't handle that so instead he went out, downed too many beers and ended up flying out of his friend's car when they hit a lightpost because he’d refused to wear a seatbelt. Not that it would have helped as everyone in the car had ended up dying from that wreck. That was the official story, at least. Rebecca had found out the unofficial tale from the officers when they'd brought her down to the station the next day. While they couldn't prove anything they were very sure that Colin had been involved with a car theft ring they’d been investigating and Colin’s group had been chased off the road by a rival club that didn't kindly to them muscling in on their turf. She had sat there and silently listened, reacting with the stunned silence that the police would expect of her while inside she had seethed. She had known he was doing something stupid, what with his big talk about finally finding a way to net them all the cash they needed. She'd even asked him if he was doing something illegal and he'd pleaded that it was on the up and up... so of course he had been lying to her. 'Of course this is your own damn fault,' she thought to herself while the old man continued to talk on the phone. 'Maybe if you had a better taste in men...' The problem was that she had a type and she knew it. While many women dreamed of marrying some rich guy that would let them live a pampered life of lounging by the pool eating chocolates and worrying about how they'd squeeze in their nail appointment into their not-busy-at-all schedule Rebecca did not find the suit and tie crowd to be her style. Not that she really found any men to be her style but she did like men that worked with their hands, that enjoyed the simple things in life, and who didn't put on smug airs. Money was nice and all but rather than gravitate towards the attractive jet-setters that were planning to go to college to get their master degrees or make their name in Hollywood she had preferred to hang out with the shop kids and watch them work on their cars. 'And see where that got you. All alone.' A gurgle below her reminded her that wasn't entirely true. Mikaela's eyes fluttered open for a moment and the nine month old looked at her before promptly going back to sleep. It was a small miracle... frankly her daughter was getting to the point where soon she'd want to be dashing all over the place but thankfully today she was quiet and sleepy and willing to let Rebecca get her errands done without much fussing. "Alright... great. Yeah." The old man hung up the phone and rolled back over to her. "Charlie will be here in a moment to take you to where we keep the Firebirds. We don't have that many but hopefully we'll have what you are looking for." He leaned over the desk and smiled at Mikaela, wiggling his fingers at her even though she was asleep. "Cutey." "She is. I already have nightmares of what she'll be like when she's a teenager." "How were you?" he asked. "They say kids act just like us to punish us for all the trouble we got up too." Rebecca flinched. "That bad?" "Worse," she admitted as the door behind her opened. "Charlie, this is Ms. Shooter. She needs the parts for the Firebird." "I’ll get her taken care of, Uncle Hank!" Rebecca started at that and before she could stop herself she turned and said, "You're a woman!" Charlie looked down at herself and let out a huffing laugh. "Last I checked." She waved for Rebecca to follow her. "Sorry," Rebecca said, hurrying with Mikaela's stroller to catch up to the other woman. Charlie was wearing a pair of grease-stained paints and a Rolling Stones t-shirt, her dark hair tied up in a messy ponytail with a Detroit Tiger's cap plunked on her head. "No worries," Charlie said. "You're better than the idiots that come in here and talk down to me, thinking I'm just here to get them coffee and the 'real men' will show up to help them." She snickered as she lead Rebecca into the lot, rows of broken down cars waiting for to be picked clean of their parts so that other vehicles might have a chance at a second life quickly surrounding the two of them. Off in the distance larger wrecks that would be turned into scrap towered over the massive salvage yard. "Gets real fun when I tell them I'm the owner of this place." "You own this place?" Rebecca said, startled that someone so young could own the salvage yard. Charlie had to be around her age! "Officially I'm co-owner with Hank. He's getting on in years, if you couldn't tell, and while I doubt he'll ever retire he wants to spend his time at the desk swapping stories with people, not filling out paperwork or walking around making sure the knuckleheads we hire are actually doing their job. I have been doing odd jobs for him since I was in high school and he finally gave me a controlling share in this place last year for my birthday. Said he wanted to make sure it was in good hands." "Wow." Charlie nodded. "Again, you’re better than the gearheads who I normally deal with. They call bullshit on me until i show them the door." They stopped by a Firebird that was missing half its driver’s side and Charlie popped the hood. "Alright, so what are you looking for?" "Uh... these," Rebecca said, reaching into her pocket and pulling out a crumpled piece of paper. Charlie took it and made a face. "So basically you want an entire engine." "...seriously?" Rebecca said, shoulders slumping. "He told me that he was almost done... that son of-" she stopped and looked down at Mikaela, "-gun." Charlie smiled at that and began to go over the list again. "Well, maybe not a whole engine. Your husband write this?" "He did. He had been working on it but now it’s my problem." "Thought so. I think the ones with the question marks are parts he'd have liked to upgrade but wasn't sure about." She shut the hood and sighed. "But without seeing the car I can't be sure. And all of this… honestly buying a new car would be cheaper unless you are a collector or an enthusiast." "Damn," Rebecca cursed. "I was hoping to sell that thing soon." "Need the money?" Charlie glanced at the baby. "No," Rebecca admitted. "Life insurance has us covered good but I just... I don't want to look at the car anymore." She didn’t want to mention that now she couldn’t be sure that Colin had gotten the damn thing legally. She moved to grab the paper. "Thanks anyway." Charlie though refused to hand the list back to her. “Where do you live?” “Hmmm?” “Where do you live?” “Addams Road?” Rebecca said, not quite sure why she was asking. “That’s only 20 minutes out. Jot down the address and I’ll come by Tuesday and take a look at the car myself. I can tell you what parts you really need and how much work it will take you. Can also see how bad the body is. If worst comes to worst and he left you with a junker then I’ll cut you a deal to sell me the whole thing for parts. Better than sinking good money after bad.” “I can’t afford that,” Rebecca said. The life insurance was fine, Colin had gotten that from work, but there was only so much and she couldn’t go sinking it into such frivolous things like private consultants- Charlie held up her hands and grinned. “No charge. Like I said it isn’t that far away and I’m honestly curious. You’ll still have to buy the parts but I don’t mind taking a look.” Rebecca considered the offered for a few more seconds before finally nodding and rattling off her address.