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More Important Things

Hi!  It's me, Rad, again.  Well, life sure has changed since we met the Transformers.  For starters, things sure are a lot more exciting.  Just about any time I'm not in school, I'm helping Optimus Prime and the Autobots.  Mom and Dad just think I signed up for a bunch of extracurricular junk... which is true in a way, I guess.  I'm not sure how I'll explain this when my report card comes out, but right now there are more important things to worry about... like finding the Minicons!

We've already found a lot of Minicons buried in the Earth's upper crust, but there are probably hundreds more, maybe even thousands, buried a whole lot deeper.  That's because they landed on Earth millions of years ago, and the continents have done a lot of shifting and moving around since then.  I'm not sure we'll ever be able to find all of them, but we're sure going to give it a try!

What's really freaky is that every time one of us activates a Minicon, it's almost like it's in tune with the person who first woke it up.  I can't explain it, but maybe each Minicon is programmed to respond to whoever first activates it.  I'll bet that this was how the Autobots and Decepticons ensured that the Minicons they had working for them wouldn't turn traitor, or something.  I mean, it would really suck if somebody ordered them to tear down a building that you just had them build!

Each of the Autobots already has his own Minicon now, and the reinforcements Prime's ordered from Cybertron haven't arrived yet.  So, a lot of the Minicons we've been finding have been staying with Carlos or Alexis or me, right under our parents' noses.  Even Optimus Prime said that was a great hiding place, since the Decepticons would never think of looking there.  I don't think the Minicons mind a whole lot.  I bet they're just happy that the Decepticons didn't find them first and use them as slaves!

***

"Dude, why aren't you ready?" Carlos said, rocketing up to Rad's front driveway before leaping forward and landing on the front step.  "We were supposed to meet Alexis at the mall half an hour ago, man.  And you know how girls always hate to be kept waiting."

"Relax, I'll be done before you know it," Rad replied as he dashed inside.  A moment later, the garage door opened switched on and Rad emerged from the garage, with two of the new Minicons in tow.  "I promised Mom that I'd get the grass cut yesterday after I did my homework, but I guess I forgot all about it.  If it doesn't get done before she gets home today, I'm toast."

"That's lame, bro.  I don't even bother doing homework anymore.  I just get Cerebros to do it for me."  Carlos reached into the side pocket of his backpack and produced a slightly larger-than-usual calculator.  "This is one sharp Minicon, let me tell you!"  The calculator chirped a few words of acknowledgement.

"Man, Carlos, you are so mental."  Rad laughed.

"So, if you really got all this work to do, let's get cracking!"

"Oh, I didn't say that I'm gonna do it.  Have you met Mowor and Whackor?"  The two Minicons sung a few notes in tandem before jumping into the air; one of them reconfigured into something that looked like a cross between a vacuum cleaner and a lawnmower.  The other shrunk down into a weed trimmer, which Rad caught in mid-air and brandished triumphantly like a sword.

"Do your stuff, boys!" Rad said, and within moments, the two Minicons were busy devouring the front yard, chattering to themselves as they worked.

"Dude, you are, like, so lucky.  The last Minicon I found turned himself into a fire hydrant before I could stop him.  I think he's still on twenty-fifth street somewhere."

"Carlos, my man, that's why it pays to plan ahead," Rad gloated, pointing to the mower parked in the garage and trimmer propped up against the wall next to it.  "If you blindfold them after they first wake up, they can't scan anything until you get them home.  That way you can make them turn into whatever you want!"  He and Carlos laughed and shared a celebratory high-five.

The two Minicons switched back to robot mode and approach Rad, barking at him in computer code.  "Wow, you guys are right!  I am gonna be late.  Better come back inside, you two."  He led them into the garage as he fiddled with the combination lock on his bike chain.  "Oh, and you two better change back so Mom doesn't have a cow if she sees you."

Rad wrapped the bike chain around his palm and elbow and stuffed it into his backpack.  "Come on, High Wire," he said, "it's time to do some serious riding!"


"It's just like you guys to be late... again," Alexis said, standing before the mall entrance with her arms on her hips.  "I thought you guys were old enough to tell time.  Haven't you ever heard of a watch?"

"Oh, sure we have," Carlos said, not quite appreciating the rhetorical question.  "I got a new watch just last week.  His name's Lightspeed.  See?"  Carlos extended his arm, showing off the not-quite-terrestrial digital watch wrapped around his wrist.

"Sorry, Alexis," Rad offered with a sheepish grin.  "But, we're here now, right?"

Alexis rolled her eyes and let out a long, overdrawn sigh.  "Whatever, Rad.  There's still time to check the mall to see if they have those new keychains you guys keep talking about.  So, let's get moving!"

"Okay, just let me get my bike chain out," Rad said, reaching into his bag.

"Rad, it's not like anyone is going to steal your Minicon," Alexis said.  "Besides, you've got two more that turn into bikes at home, don't you?"

"Yeah, dude," Carlos chimed in.  "You're way too paranoid."

"I happen to like High Wire the best, and I don't want anything to happen to him.  Besides, he'd get lonely without me.  Isn't that right, little fellah?" Rad said, patting the bicycle on the front reflector.  High Wire beeped in response.  "See?  He agrees with me."

***

The Autobot base has got to be the most totally awesome place in the entire world.  They have computers that can design new weapons, battle simulations, or just about anything you can imagine!  Carlos and Alexis and me hang there whenever we can, and Optimus Prime treats us like royalty.  Earth is such a strange planet to them that they probably wouldn't know what to do without our help.  We sure are lucky to have them protecting us from the Decepticons, but I think they're even more lucky to have us!

***

"You guys are so lame!" Alexis shouted, barreling down the metal hallways on her scooter.  "I bet you never thought you'd see the day I'd whip both your hides!"

"Oh, she is so toast," Carlos promised.  "Let's kick it into high gear, Grindor!"  His Minicon skateboard responded by revving up its engines and launching the two of them forward with renewed determination.

"Not if I get to her first!" Rad said, close on Carlos' tail.  "You aren't the only one with a motorized ride, ya know!"

The teens' joyride stopped abruptly when Alexis skidded sideways just in time to avoid hitting a large door with Autobot script written on the front.

"That's weird," she said, as the others stopped just behind her.  "I thought all the doors on this deck opened by themselves."

"Eh, it's probably just jammed," Carlos said, marching forward and pushing on the door with both hands.  "Give me a hand with this, Rad!"

Rad stepped toward the door and scratched his head.  "The sign says that we're not supposed to go in there.  I wonder why?"  High Wire made an editorial comment in the form of a loud clicking noise.

"Hey, I bet our Minicon buddies could get us in there," Carlos said with a wicked grin.  "What do you say, Grindor?"

Grindor transformed to robot mode and stared at the door dumbly for a moment.  He buzzed to himself, then made his way to the door's control panel.

"Oh, I get it," Rad said.  "He needs the command codes to open the door.  Just try hitting some of the buttons and see what happens.  Maybe we'll get lucky."

Grindor tapped the buttons on the door panel, but nothing happened.

"Geez, you guys couldn't get a clue if it was stapled to your foreheads," Alexis muttered.  "All we have to do is slip a Minicon under the door so he can open it from the inside."

"Yeah, like they even make Minicons that small," Carlos teased.

"Bogus idea, Alexis," Rad said.

"Oh yeah?  That shows what you know.  It just so happens I have the perfect Minicon for the job!" Alexis announced, slipping her fingers into her pants pocket and producing a sleek metal object vaguely resembling a salt shaker.

"What kind of stupid Minicon is that?" Carlos said.

"It's... a leg massager," Alexis said.

"Boy, did you ever end up with a useless Minicon, or what?" Rad laughed.

"Just ignore him, Thrust," she said.  "Now, I'm going to roll you under the door.  Just transform and open it up for us, okay?" she asked.  The Minicon warbled in response.

A moment later, the door slid open.  The teens entered, with the three vehicular Minicons in tow.

"Wow, look at this!" Carlos said.  "It's like a prison or something!  There are cages everywhere!"

"This isn't where the Autobots planned to put the Minicons, is it?" Rad wondered.

"Probably not, Rad," Alexis said, stuffing the now-transformed Minicon back into her pocket.  "Optimus Prime said that the Autobots and Minicons were equals, remember?"

"Well, there must be some reason for... huh?  Hey, Rad, look at what I found!"  Carlos was pointing to a caged door a few feet down.  "It really is a Minicon!"

"Hey, I recognize him!" Alexis proclaimed suddenly.  "That's the Minicon that Megatron was using!  It's Leader-1!"

"Wow, so that's what happened to him!" Carlos said.  "Yeah, I remember that it got knocked off Megatron's shoulder just before he warped out of here the last time!"

"Hey, do you guys realize what this means?" Rad said.  "If Megatron doesn't have his Minicon anymore, that means he's way less powerful now!  I betcha the Autobots could beat him in no time flat, now!"

The Minicon stared plaintively at the kids, tilting its head to one side and making pathetic mewing sounds.

"I don't think it likes being here," Carlos said.

"And I don't think Megatron is going to like not having his Minicon the next time he shows up," Alexis giggled.

"I'm gonna miss the Autobots when they're gone," Rad sighed.

"What do you mean, dude?" Carlos asked.

"Well," Rad said, "if they beat Megatron, they're sure not going to stick around here, are they?  They've already messed around on Earth for long enough.  They don't even really belong here."

"I guess that means they'll take the Minicons with them too, huh?" Carlos said.  "I'm really gonna miss those little guys."

"Yeah," Alexis said, "a lot."

"Life just won't be the same without them," Rad said.

The three paused to digest the ramifications of that last statement.

"You know, I don't think it's right that any Minicon should be imprisoned like this," Alexis said finally.  "After all, they have feelings too, don't they?"

Leader-1 sobbed an electronic sob.

"Yeah, Alexis is right," Carlos said.  "The poor little guy probably hasn't even gotten fed in days.  Look at him, man!  You can practically see his ribs."

"It's not the Minicons' fault that the Decepticons are using them for evil," Rad realized.  "The Minicons just don't know any better, that's all.  We should let him go!"

"Hey, little guy," Alexis said to Leader-1, "did you see which code they used to seal the electronic lock?"

Leader-1 rattled off a numerical sequence, which High Wire repeated as he punched it into the control panel next to the cell door.

"All right!  You're free!" Alexis squealed as Leader-1 stepped into the corridor.

The Minicon stared longingly at the ceiling.

"Oh, I bet he wants to go out and get some fresh air," Carlos realized.  "It's awful stuffy in here.  The exit is just down the hall and to the right, man!  You can't miss it."

Leader-1 beeped a response and sauntered down the hall.

"Well, uh, we'd better get back," Rad said.

"Yeah," agreed Carlos, "there's that TV show coming on tonight that I wanted to see."

"Man, they've replayed the first episode four times, and you still haven't caught it?" Rad said.

"I'll race you guys back into town," Alexis taunted.  "Let's do it, Sureshock!"

"Oh, no, you're not gonna get me this time," Rad said.  "My Minicon is way faster than yours!"

"In your dreams, Rad!"

***

Well, things never did really get back to normal.  Even though we set Leader-1 free, Megatron must have recaptured him somehow.  Even worse, now there are even more Decepticons on Earth than before!  The Autobots are really gonna have their hands full for a while.  In the meantime, I'm gonna do everything I can to help the Autobots find the rest of the Minicons.  After all they've done for the Earth, it's the least I can do!

THE END

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