Chapter Two

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What in the bloody moons is an Arcee? Protect me from what? Did I do something? I pay my taxes. I'm so confused. Kita looked up at the sound of the sweet, reassuring voice with enough computer synthesization to sound alien. The face was angular with big blue eyes that glowed brightly. White diamond-shaped pieces created a mask that framed her curved face. Her white lips smiled back at Kita.

"I-I—Don't eat me," whispered Kita.

Arcee laughed. "I'm not going to eat you. I do need to eat, though."

"Are you out of gas?"

Arcee tapped the split gas tank that made up her chest. "Yuck. For me, that would be like you eating dirt. Just because I have a tank doesn't mean I use it. I need energon. Therein lies the rub. There is no energon on this planet."

It knows Shakespeare? Kita raised her hands. "Just so you know I'm totally freaked out right now."

"I'm sorry," said Arcee. "I don't mean to scare you, but I didn't want you to be caught by Barricade and Boom-Boom. They would do horrible things to you to find us."

"What are you?"

"I am a Transformer. An Autobot specifically. The other two who are with me, Ratchet and Bumblebee, are also Autobots. Barricade and Boom-boom are Decepticons. The two sides have been at war for generations. We're here on Earth searching for the Matrix of Leadership. It will anoint a great leader that will lead their side to victory."

Kita put her head on her knees. Tears fell from her eyes and landed on her jeans.

"Are you ok?" said Arcee, it sounded worried. "You're leaking—crying. Are you injured?"

Kita raised her head. "I want to go home," she whispered. "Why me? I don't have time for this. My yard is failing, and I can't lose it. It's all I have left of my dad. I don't have any money. I'm getting kicked out of my apartment. You don't want me for your war, I'm a failure. I just want to be left alone."

Arcee frowned. "I'm sorry, but you can't go back, at least, not yet. The Decepticons will be searching the area for us—and you. The only safe place for you is with us. I promise we'll keep you safe."

Kita sniffed and rested her head against the fence, letting the wire press into her forehead. "That doesn't pay the bank."

Arcee touched Kita's cheek. Even though its hand was metal, it was warm to the touch. "I understand. But, we do not make the opportunity for greatness, it finds us. Come with us. We'll need your help, and in return, we'll help you."

"How can you help me?"

"There is an Autobot that looks like an armored car."

Kita's head jerked up. "What?"

Arcee chuckled. "I'm kidding. But, I'm sure there are ways we can help."

Kita sighed. Do I have a choice? If what it says is true, my life's in danger. How do I protect myself from eight-foot-tall robots armed with cannons that can hide as objects? I could be making toast and BAM the toaster transforms into a robot and kills me. At least with Arcee, I have a chance. Some chance is better than no chance. But, what good am I to them? The worst I can do to one of them is take them apart with a wrench—if it'll stand still.

Arcee said greatness finds us, is this my chance to be great? I could be killed, but I'm dead anyway if I walk away. Greatness or death, what a choice. Did other great people have the same kind of choice? What did Granddad say about his time in China during World War Two? I did what I had to because I didn't have a choice—do or die. At the time, the deeds were simple, only later were they considered great. But, that was Granddad, he was awesome, and this is me. Was he scared? I bet he never crawled into a corner and cried. Would he be ashamed of me? No. He'd tell me to dry my eyes, stand up, and face my fear—because there is only one way—forward. That sounds simple, but...

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