I switched into robot mode and nearly collapsed. I'd been on the road for days now since I'd met the other two bots. They'd gone their separate ways, I pursued mine.
A crushing exhaustion bore down on me. It was like all the energy in me was being rapidly drained away. Slowly, I crawled on my hands and knees it to an abandoned construction yard. High steel beams and concrete detritus lay around, relics of a project that never saw completion.
The place was a mess, not that I was doing much better. Maybe I just need rest. Things will be all better tomorrow. I say down against a big steel tube and dimmed my optics.
"I wouldn't do that."
I leaped to my feet to find another bot. His rough cut features and hard angles in his armor made him look rather like an industrial machine of some sort. He bore the remnants of what must have once been green paint.
"You lie down now, you might not wake up." He said. I whirled around in a circle. The bot in front of me had spoken, so why did his voice seem to come from everywhere at once?
"Who are you?" I raised my fists, ready to spring if necessary. My last few encounters with other bots hadn't been entirely painless.
Out of the shadows, two more figures appeared. One on my right, the other to my left. They looked nearly identical to each other, and they to the first bot I'd met.
They spoke in unison, in the same droning voice. "I am Junkheap!" He/they declared.
I swiveled back and forth between them, not sure which one to address. The first one approached me slowly, his hands raised in a gesture of peace.
"You're low on energy. If you don't refuel now, you'll go into stasis lock. Here, this should help." He held produced a small stack of little cubes. They glowed in his palm with an ethereal light, bright in his palm.
Tentatively, I reached out for one. Junkheap nodded encouragingly, seeing my hesitation.
Well, what have I got to lose? I thought. Besides, Junkheap was right. I was tired, every second exhaustion pushed down harder and harder on me, and all this fright wasn't helping any.
Gingerly, I picked up a single cube and instinctively drained it.
A shock of energy, a surge of life.
Before I knew what I was doing, my hand shot forth and snatched the rest of the cubes. They were so good! They made me feel stronger, no more exhaustion! I could leap across mountains! I could soar into space! I could go forever!
But before I knew it, the cubes were all gone. "Give me more!" I screamed. My own voice shocked me. I sounded different, feral. The exhaustion had begun to creep back in. I needed more of those cubes, I had to have more!
"I don't have any more energon on me. But I know where you can get more." Junkheap said. It was only in much later recollection that I would notice the oily slick tone in his voice, the hungry light in his eyes.
"From my master, Galvatron. I'll take you to him."
Two fists struck me hard on the head. The other two! I'd forgotten them!
As the world faded to black, the last thing I saw was Junkheap, all three of him, standing over me, triumphant.