Dana wasn’t sure what had happened. She bet nobody involved or who investigated after the fact would ever know, or at least come to a remotely accurate conclusion. What Dana did know was that Voldemort had thrown what seemed to be a random spell or charm he’d gotten out of a spellbook or had heard vague rumors of at the same time that she’d attempted a spell that Hermione was inventing. Priori Incantatem almost formed, but either the nature of the spells, the instability of the spellwork, or the side effects of messing up a spell interfered.
Various factors mixed, and Dana was caught in an explosion. She was engulfed in an explosion of blue, green, purple and yellow light that gave off a deafening roar. At the same time magic combined with some kind of energy or force interacted with her. It changed her on a level she knew instinctually went beyond atomic- it seemed to reach soul deep. Dana didn’t mind dying, but this seemed to be something else and she was terrified despite herself. Then before she could fall into a panic she heard a voice.
“Be calm little one, I promise no harm will come to you. I am Primus, and I’m here to help.” they rumbled, “I have seen your struggles and your plight. You are changing, becoming one of my children. This is being done to save you. However, you have a choice.”
“What kind of choice?” Dana asked.
“Free will is both a gift and a burden, and combined with the machinations of followers of my brother set into play eons ago the planet my physical form became slowly fell further and further into corruption until war and ruin was wrought.” Primus explained, “Your choice is this. You can enter the dimension I feel best suits you fully grown, and likely end up either helping the Autobots end the Decepticons’ path of destruction and heal the hurts the war has wrought or remain neutral and struggle to play peace maker when able. Neither would be required of you but I have seen the depth of your compassion and I suspect in such a scenario those would be your most likely fates. Or your second option- you can have your memories suppressed and become a sparkling, the Cybertronian term for their young and have no role in the war save perhaps as a starting point for the warring factions to learn to truly coexist.”
Dana considered the two options but in the end her answer was a no-brainer. “I’ll go with the second option. If I’m getting a second chance I might as well go all the way with it.”
Unseen by the girl before them Primus smiled. “Very well. I wish you the best of luck, Dana.”
Dana felt odd, as if everything was shifting and shedding. Then there was more light, and it was like she was falling asleep surrounded by enough pillows and blankets to muffle her senses. True to Primus’ words and her choice, when Dana would next wake she only had the awareness of an infant and her memories of her life as a human were buried deep in her subconscious, able to influence her emotions and reactions but otherwise having little influence beyond shaping who she was as a person.
In the dimension Primus chose for Dana’s new life, a young Cybertronian mech with yellow and black armor named Bumblebee was scouting for energon in an isolated forested area deep in the mountains. Then suddenly, some sort of interference messed with the readings on the scanner he was carrying. Upon looking around for any sign of a possible cause, a lightshow caught his attention. It was like spotting a space bridge or a ground bridge from a distance, only more colorful. Frowning, Bumblebee readied one of his blasters and carefully made his way to investigate.
Quicker than expected, Bumblebee reached the sight of the oddity. At first there seemed to be nothing. But then he heard a whimper, and a chirpy sound of distress that seemed oddly familiar. Bumblebee looked down… and if he’d had a mouth in the sense that humans and the rest of the team did, it would have dropped open in shock. Lying on the ground unattended was a sight he hadn’t seen since he was a youngling- a sparkling. It was a miracle- sparklings had become so rare because of the war he’d been under the impression the last ones to be born were all around his age. Bumblebee was quick to hurry to their side and check them over. The sparkling was a femme only just bigger than his forearm, her sparkling grade armor black with green accents. And amazingly enough she didn’t seem hurt; her distress only seemed to be from fright or having been startled.
Scooping the sparkling up gently Bumblebee cradled her the way he’d seen humans hold their infants. Though his memory was fuzzy with how long it had been and how young he’d been at the time he was reasonably sure it worked the same way for Cybertronians. She didn’t get more upset, so the young mech counted that as a win. Hoping to calm her Bumblebee beeped at her soothingly and nuzzled her. To his delight it worked, prompting a chirp of delight that made the sparkling giggle. Energon scouting forgotten he commed Ratchet for a ground bridge.
“Ratchet, I need a ground bridge. I found something.” Bumblebee said.
“What did you find?” Ratchet asked.
“You’ll need to see it to believe it, Ratchet. I almost don’t believe it.” Bumblebee replied.
Bumblebee could hear the medic huff in exasperation. “Fine. Opening the ground bridge now.”
The swirling blue, green and purple portal was open within moments. The sight made the sparkling coo in wonder. Moments after the pair were safely inside the base and the ground bridge closed behind them Ratchet was practically marching towards Bumblebee.
“What did you find, Bumblebee?” Ratchet asked, only to stop short and stare in shock and awe; “By the Allspark! Where-? How- I’d begun to think…”
“I don’t really know, but there was something like a space bridge or a ground bridge. It was so intense it messed with the scanner. She’s all I found” Bumblebee explained.
Ratchet frowned sadly, a form of pity few bots had had directed at them openly clear in the older mech’s optics. “I see. If I may?”
Bumblebee obligingly handed the sparkling to Ratchet; she cooed, clearly curious about the new face and the medic’s expression melted into one so gentle the younger mech hadn’t thought he was capable of making such a face anymore. “Hello, little one. Welcome to the world.”
Ratchet decided that the first order of business giving the little femme a full checkup. At first the medic kept Bumblebee around to keep her distracted and ensure she didn’t fall off the examination platform. But it was surprisingly simple to get the sparkling to stay mostly still- though that may have been partly because she was barely old enough to move that much on her own- and though she fussed, she gave Ratchet little trouble. By the time he was done and returning to the command center with the sparkling cradled in his arms the others had returned.
“Where is Ratchet, Bumblebee?” Optimus asked.
“I’m right here, Optimus. You’re not going to believe what Bumblebee found today. Or rather, who he found.” Ratchet interrupted, approaching the others.
Optimus turned to face his long time friend. “‘Who’? Has another comrade- Ratchet… is that what I think it is?”
The others’ eyes were immediately drawn to the sparkling.
“Well this is a surprise.” Arcee noted.
“Well I’ll be… a sparkling. A little miracle like this must be a good sign.” Cliffjumper said in awe, moving closer for a better look.
Bulkhead also moved closer, unsure of himself but just as awed as Cliffjumper.
“Where’d this little cutie come from? Bots trying to leave the war behind to start a family isn’t completely unheard of but the last time I heard of that working out was back when everyone thought Cybertron could still be saved.” Bulkhead asked.
Bumblebee and Ratchet exchanged a glance before the former spoke up. “I found her while I was scouting for energon. One minute my scanner isn’t working right the next I found her where something like a space bridge or a ground bridge appeared.”
Optimus leaned in for a better look, smiling briefly at the sight of the adorable little femme. He gently took her from Ratchet, careful to keep her supported. Now that she was closer she reached up to feel his face, cooing. His spark melted, and for the first time in a long time he felt the weight of the war and his burden as a leader momentarily melt away. And then the turn his thoughts were taking turned his expression and his mood somber.
“It would stand to reason that something happened to her creators and they either attempted to flee when something went wrong or were forced to send her away for her own safety.” Optimus mused.
Ratchet inhaled sharply and let out a sigh. “That… makes more sense than you know. But I am unsure of how likely that is.”
“What do you mean Ratchet? Is something wrong with her?” Bulkhead asked worriedly.
Ratchet shook his head. “Physically, she isn’t injured or ill, the only anomalies come from sporadic nourishment. However… scans show she may have a strange form of immunity to toxins that typically only comes from exposure or lingering traces of antitoxins and I had to upload an entirely new firewall of a strength sparklings shouldn’t need.”
Bumblebee gave a wordless beep of distress. Optimus and Arcee frowned. Bulkhead and Cliffjumper growled.
“A… firewall? Does she have mental damage?” Arcee asked incredulously.
“Luckily enough, no.” Ratchet assured, “No… it’s only that the ones she already had were so shredded as to be virtually nonexistent. It was almost worse than the damage I encountered when the cortical psychic patch was still being developed.”
“Are there any clues at all as to how such a young sparkling could have been through so much?” Optimus asked.
Ratchet hesitated for a moment, the sudden appearance of a sparkling was such a rarity as to be cause for celebration yet he had one last piece of bad news, his spark clenched painfully at how something that should’ve been happy was tinged with tragedy.
“Not exactly… but there is one last thing.” Ratchet admitted, “She doesn’t have a parental bond. And I don’t mean it has been damaged or severed- she never had one in the first place. Even if we had the technology and resources to look she doesn’t have anywhere or anyone to be returned to.”
“Well we have to do something about her.” Arcee said, “This is an outpost not a daycare center and we barely have the resources to take care of ourselves.”
“Come on Arcee, have a heart. We can’t just send her away and hope for the best, there’s no telling what would happen to her. Besides even Megatron himself wouldn’t hurt a sparkling or condone others hurting one, especially with how rare they’ve become.” Cliffjumper retorted, “Besides a good chunk of the Decepticons are seekers, and everyone knows that seekers’ guardian protocols are so strong that it’s practically programmed into their very sparks to protect sparklings.”
Arcee sighed. “Look, all I’m saying is we’re in the middle of a war and on a organic foreign planet. And all of us are constantly busy. What kind of life could we give her?”
Optimus and Ratchet gave me the best life possible stuck orphaned in the middle of a war.” Bumblebee protested, “I’m sure we could make her happy.”
Bulkhead hadn’t once looked away from the sparkling and barely took notice of the conversation around him, and when the sparkling looked away from Optimus their optics met. “I’ll take care of her.”
“You mean like adoption?” Arcee asked.
“Sure, why not. The little one needs somebody, and I’m more than willing to give it my best shot.” Bulkhead answered.
Ratchet looked at Bulkhead consideringly. “Are you certain, Bulkhead? Sparklings are a handful at the best of times.”
By this point Optimus had handled the sparkling to Bulkhead, who cradled her in one and stroked a finger along her cheek with the other, when she grasped his finger in both hands and grinned at him Bulkhead smiled. “I honestly don’t think I’ve been more sure of anything in my entire life.”
Cliffjumper slapped Bulkhead on the back. “Congratulations, Bulk. Looks like you’re a sire now. Any idea what you’re going to name her?”
Seeing the sparkling yawn Bulkhead situated his free arm so he could rock her to sleep. “Stormburst. Her name is Stormburst.”