Disclaimer: Transformers is owned by HasTak, or whatever they're calling themselves these days.
Credits: In this story I will be referencing Bumblebee's origins as developed by Karategal in her stories, as well as the destruction of the Youth Sectors, coined as 'Floatila' by Lady Tecuma in 'Sparks and Plasma'. I will also be using the concept of 'carrying' as developed by Litahatchee in her story 'Night Fire', as well as referencing her depiction of the Floatilla Massacre. These ideas are used with permission. If you wish to use them, do not ask me. You must obtain permission from these authors. That said, I recommend that you read each and every story mentioned here, especially if you're a fan of Ironhide/Chromia, sparklings in general, or Bumblebee.
Chapter Twenty-Seven - Reversion
"Sam has been talking to Lennox," the human female – Mikaela, he reminded himself – stated. She was sitting on the edge of one of the tables in the medical bay and watching as Wheeljack adjusted the settings on his makeshift spark scanner. There had been some major and somewhat sinister looking adjustments made to it since the last time it had been used. Optimus stood nearby, having assisted in moving him into the main medical bay at the engineer's request. The human had arrived a few minutes prior, and – from what he could discern from her tone and posture – was projecting an aura of deep concern. "They both know something's going on. Especially after Ironhide showed up acting a hell of a lot surlier than usual."
He did not know who the other humans she was speaking of, though he recalled she had mentioned the one designated 'Sam' during their previous encounter. Optimus, however, seemed to be deeply concerned, he could feel it through their link.
"What exactly happened?"
"Well, Ironhide caught Bumblebee sneaking in here for a peek," Wheeljack answered before anyone else could, the fins on either side of the engineer's helm lighting up in time to each syllable. "He wasn't entirely happy about this situation in the first place and I guess that was the tipping point. He is kind of...protective of Bumblebee..."
"I would have never guessed," he muttered dryly, the statement garnering a stern look from Optimus. "What? He shot me. Am I not allowed to make observations?"
"Ironhide shot you?"
The human female was leaning forward, elbows braced on her knees.
"And you're still not dead?"
"A problem we are trying to solve, I assure you," he retorted, making a small gesture towards Wheeljack with his hand. He did not miss the slight wince from the engineer at the movement nor the twinge of pain that travelled over his connection to Optimus.
He might have felt guilty for the comment at least, but for the truth inherent to the statement. Wheeljack's tests had been authorized only because they might lead to insight into how to extinguish his spark for good. He had been given the option to refuse them, as the engineer had explained that such an invasive scan of his spark would be quite painful. His agreement had been immediate, as the results might answer the many questions still burning at the back of his processor.
"Okay...what are you doing, Wheeljack?"
"Well, I've modified the scanners used for detecting spark anomalies," the engineer answered, picking up several electrodes and beginning to attach them to the scarred surface of his spark chamber. The sensation was novel - many of the sensors were numb but a few active ones reported pressure and a tickling sort of itch. "His spark has exhibited some qualities that are definitely anomalistic. Such as spontaneous re-ignition."
"But Ratchet said your sparks are like your life force," Mikaela said, her tone bewildered with an edge of fear. She turned to look up at Optimus, as if his brother would have some reassurance. "Once it's gone, it's gone. Right?"
"Normally that is the case," Optimus agreed with a sigh. "But we have learned that there is something connected to his spark that is keeping it from extinguishing in its entirety."
"Couldn't be the Allspark, could it?"
He should probably have been surprised at how much the human female knew of the circumstances of his injury. But the machine had been turned on and the faint electrical hum of the electrodes now attached to his spark chamber was incredibly distracting.
"No, we ruled that out," Wheeljack answered, sounding distracted as well. "He's had too many near-death experiences prior to that event for it to be that."
"Okay, then what could it be?"
"This conversation is somewhat surreal," he commented, glancing sideways as the engineer began to slowly adjust some more dials. He felt a static snap of energy pass through the electrodes to cascade around his spark chamber, leaving it feeling like he'd been dipped into a vat of extremely powerful paint thinner. "And that feels very disconcerting."
"That's only twenty percent power."
"I dread what thirty might feel like."
"Was he always this sarcastic?" he heard the human ask, the question presumably aimed at his brother.
Her voice sounded somewhat far away, and he could only wonder what other malfunctions in his sensory network the engineer's machine might cause. His brother seemed caught between amusement and anxiousness, perhaps stemming from the discomfort he was leaking through their link. An arc of electricity snapped through the attached wires again, making him jerk involuntarily. Above his helm, the lights began to flicker.
"Whoa, what the hell!?"
"That is not supposed to happen," Wheeljack commented from somewhere to his left, though for some reason the engineer's voice seemed to be echoing. His vision seemed to have become overly bright and unfocused as well. "Oh Primus..."
"What is it, Wheeljack?" Optimus's voice seemed closer, though it had the same strange echo to it as everything else. He both felt and heard another snap as a third arc of electricity jolted down the wires into his spark. This time his reaction was more than just physical - he could not control the pained cry it tore from his vocalizer. "Shut it down!"
Another shock tore into his spark and the cold of the medical berth against his back began to swallow everything else. The light that had begun to sear his optics shifted in quality, and though it still seemed to emanate from the medical lamps positioned above his helm - there was something different in their outline, something different in the texture of the ceiling beyond it. He opened his mouth to cry out again as yet another surge of energy passed through him, but no sound emerged.
He felt a hand on his shoulder and at first thought it to be his brother's, but the shape of the digits were wrong, the weight was wrong. His vision began to blur, to cycle out of focus, but he caught a glimpse of darkened blue and the glow of crimson optics. Somewhere distant but also so close that he could have sworn it came from his own shorted out vocalizer, he heard someone whispering his name.