[MOMENTS AFTER IRONHIDE IS DESTROYED] [MAJOR LENNOX LETS HIS FAMILY KNOW ABOUT IRONHIDE] Lennox jumped into the passenger side of the Humvee, and shouted at the driver, Wilitz, to get moving. "Head to liaison headquarters B. We need to get to air and ground commands, and it looks like we're going to have to initiate Def- con 2, maybe even 3!" Lennox took a deep breath, and let out a heavy sigh. In a matter of seconds, the game turned completely around. "How could we be so stupid!" He shook his head. Wilitz just gave a quick glance at his commander. Lennox stared blankly at the road ahead. But Wilitz knew better, Lennox was thinking like 10 steps ahead, he always did. It's why he survived this crap for so long. Wilitz decided to talk, to keep the awkward silence from setting in. "What do you mean about how we could be so stupid, Sir?" Lennox sat back in the seat, grabbed a tissue from his breast pocket, and tried to wipe the grime off of his face." It never occurred to me." Shaking his head in distraught, " We know many a Decepticon faction has rebelled and gone Autobot, but it never occurred to me that the same thing could happen, in reverse. Hell, we should have realized what could happen when we first encountered Sideswipe. He was on the edge of a sword for a bit! Ironhide even told me his own stories, how he...." Lennox stopped in mid sentence. In a rage, he hit the dashboard of the Humvee with considerable force. "SON OF A BITCH!" He roared, his tone betraying his feelings of anger and regret . " We should have seen this shit coming!" Wilitz could do nothing but just keep the vehicle steady. Everyone was feeling the weight of Ironhide. That was the fact of war. You rarely got to say good-bye. But the Autobots were like these indestructible warhorses, the thought that they could die was usually pushed to the back of ones minds. The thought of someone like Ironhide dying, was like impossible. Lennox sighed heavily. "Pull over to the nearest gas station, I need to make a call." Wilitz looked at Lennox, a little puzzled. "Yes Sir, I see one up ahead!" He quickly pulled off the highway and into the parking lot of the gas station. Lennox got out, and headed right for the pay phone. Lennox knew he was breaking protocol, but this wasn't like it was back in Qatar, or Egypt, or Mission City. This was practically in his back yard, and while he had a duty to his country, he had a bigger duty as a husband and father. He wanted his family out of dodge. He slipped in the quarters and dialed the home number rapidly, trying to curt his breathing. His wife's comforting voice answered. "Hello?" she asked into the receiver. "Hey hon, listen!" Lennox started. He became conscience of the tears in his eyes. He brushed it off as just irritation from the smoke in the air, but the moment he heard his Wife's voice, he knew he wasn't kidding anyone, especially himself. "Thank goodness. I heard about what's going on it the city, what the hell is happening???" She was calm, but the concern and worry was heard through her voice. Lennox cleared his throat. "Listen, I don't have time to talk, just take Isabelle and head to that secret place we talked about. Don't tell anyone, just pack quick and get the hell out. You know the drill, no phones, computers, be on the look out for the symbols on cars you don't know!" He could hear her take a deep breath. "Is Ironhide going to come and take us this time like we planned, or you want me to drive?" Lennox knew this was going to be the hard part of Ironhide's demise. His voice was strained, and he knew it carried his emotion over the phone, quite well" You're going to have to drive, Sarah, Ironhide was killed!" The silence was deafening. He all of a sudden could hear Isabelle in the back ground. He guessed she was at the kitchen table, eating dinner. Her small little girl voice was definitely strained, she was very smart for an 8 year old, and she knew how to read faces and understand the tone of one’s voice. She would know this phone call was for something dreadful. "Who?" She asked her mom in an upset voice. Lennox knew Sarah didn't have to say anything, and then he immediately heard Isabelle's muffled sobs. Right then, his tears hit his cheeks as it finally hit home. His family was in danger, and his little girl's biggest hero, not to mention his best friend, was not going to be around to protect her, or give her that big, gruff bear hug Ironhide always gave her when he stopped by the farm. It pained him even more that he couldn't hug his little girl and give her this news in person. Soldiers really do sacrifice a lot. The thought of being a soldier snapped back into his sub conscience. He glanced at the Humvee. "Hon, I got to go, we'll have a time to grieve later, just get to safety first!" Sarah sighed again, and the crackle in her voice could be heard indefinite. “Yes, you be careful, and we'll make this right, OK Will!" Just before she hung up, Lennox felt another pain shoot to his heart as he briefly heard his wife try and comfort Isabelle. "Oh honey, I'm so s"....CLICK. The silence was cold. Lennox placed the receiver back in it's cradle and marched back to the Humvee, the mixed emotions of being a soldier, commander, a man who just lost his best friend, the realization that his wife and child could be in danger. It was a lot, but Ironhide would want him to continue, and he wasn't going to let the big guy down, even in spirit! [MIKAELA IS NOT FORGOTTEN BY US] [MIKAELA WITNESSES THE XANTHIUM EXPLODING] Mikaela gritted her teeth, and held her breath far too long as she helped her father lower the newly rebuilt engine into the classic Chevy Camaro. They had spent a year rebuilding the beauty, at the request of a wealthy client. It was a fun project, and very rewarding in the end., as long as they didn’t let the engine damage the finish on the car, or itself get damaged, . Finally she let out a long sigh of relief as the engine settled perfectly onto it's mounting bed. She looked at her dad, and both gave out a laugh, and then she high fived him for a job well done. "OK hon, you earned your break, I'll finish up with the mounts, and then you can do the undercarriage work when you get back!" Mr. Bane told his daughter proudly. He didn't have to tell her twice, Mikaela had been working since the wee morning hours of dawn, it was now nearing 4 in the afternoon. She ran across the grounds to the house, up the porch and into the kitchen to try and wash the grime away. She was busy drying her hands when she heard the TV in the living room. She thought she heard someone say Autobots. She rushed to the remote and turned up the volume. There was a reporter talking about an attack in Washington D.C., and then the screen changed from reporter to live footage of a motorcade making it's way to Cape Canaveral. But what caught Mikaela's eye were the lead and tail vehicles. They were, without a doubt, Mikaela's very special friends, Bumblebee and Optimus Prime. The reporter continued. "As you can see now, this motorcade is made up of all of the remaining Autobots that are here on Earth, and our leaders have decided, after the destruction in Washington, that they are just simply bringing more harm than good to our planet, so what we are seeing is their ultimate departure, from Earth!" Mikaela gasped, and sunk onto the couch. Bumblebee is leaving? There was an attack on Washington concerning the Transformers? And, she thought with sadness, Sam didn't even bother to let her know? She held her head in her hands, completely distraught. Why should Sam let her know, she thought, she was so ugly with him in the end. She remembered, the last time she saw him, they were getting into another fight. She was getting mad all the time with him, he was never home, he was always studying, or complaining on how the Government wouldn't let him work with Nest. She was just getting sick of it. She was so pissed with him for his whining that one particular day, that in a rage to get physical with him, she accidentally stepped on Wheelie, insulting him for being in her way, and out of fury, kicked a soccer ball on the floor, hoping to nail Sam in the head with it, but instead ended up knocking out the new robot, Brains, right off of the sofa. After that, she had gone down stairs to relieve some of her stress and that’s when she came across Bumblebee. He had opened his passenger side door. He was the one thing that always seem to have an open ear. Usually after talking to Bumblebee, it helped clear her head and she would go back to Sam and make up. But this time, Bumblebee had interrupted her, and blasted a rather familiar song on the radio. It was Kelly Clarkson's Already Gone. That was when it hit her. Bumblebee knew. She fell out of love with Sam, and he with her, which was the reason for the fights. Then Bumblebee had managed to sum up a phrase from the radio. "This is not a healthy relationship, for anyone, but I will always be your friend, whenever you need it. But in truth, I'll probably need you more. You would have made a fine warrior on Cybertron, with your raw talent". Mikaela finally had that voice of reason she needed. Bumblebee had convinced her to pack up while Sam was still at school, drove her to the airport, and bid her farewell, and he had added, he might be around from time to time, for a repair here and there. But now, with this heart breaking news with the Autobots being exiled from Earth, she will now never see him again. He often would show up at the garage, for a new paint job, and he often would bring his sparring buddy, the intimidating Sideswipe. She had a blast when they did come over, often practicing moves, and debating famous Transformer fighters back on Cybertron, and who were the best sportsmen here on Earth, as well as what the best military was, best automobile, who was the fastest, or smartest…….etc. The Autobots were now on the massive ship. She heard about the ship before from Sideswipe. But this was the first time she was seeing it with her own eyes. Her heart was in her throat as she watched the engines start, the infamous white clouds obstructed views of the shuttle, but she could hear the roar of the turbo boosters, and then count down from the ground techs. Then, as the shuttle lifted off, Mikaela realized, she never even got to say good bye. The cameras all watched the shuttle as it flew beautifully up into the air. Then, in a flash, an object darted towards the shuttle, and before Mikaela could register what was happening, the alien mechanical wonder was exploding, falling to pieces, and falling back to Earth. "Unbelievable, this is happening on live TV, the Autobots have been attacked in midflight, and, I am just stunned. The footage is painting a thousand words. I just can't believe it, but it looks like this is the end for the Autobots!" The reporter looked on into the lenses of the camera, and Mikaela felt like he was looking right at her. His face seemed to mirror what she felt inside. She was numb, dumbstruck, and felt weak. Mikaela couldn't bare it anymore, she turned. She just realized, she must have risen from the couch while watching the events unfold. As she turned, she then saw her father standing in the hall. He was speechless. But, all Mikaela saw was her dad, who was always there for her when she needed him. The flood of emotions came with full force, and she ran into her dad's arms. Tears streaming, her voice completely cracked from the crying. "Daddy, he's gone, Bumblebee is gone!" Mr. Bane could do nothing but hold his daughter as she broke down uncontrollably, for probably the first time in her young life.