“Guys, I think I found our solution to Megatron!” Wheeljack’s voice called over the comm. link to everyone. He seemed proud of his new invention, and it had even gotten the interested yet wary Optimus’ attention. Sure, his experiments blew up, but some worked rather well in the past, so he decided to check it out for himself. On his way there something happened, however. He hadn’t gotten within 100 feet of the door to Wheeljack’s lab, when something exploded. The explosion was powerful enough to blow the doors to the lab clean off and into the wall across from them, leaving huge dents. Optimus covered his face with his hands as debris flew in every direction, the shockwave pushing him back slightly. The explosion had to have been massive. Smoke billowed from the lab, and fires were still all over the place in small spots. There were scorch marks all over the lab and all over the walls and doors where it had blown. The explosion wasn’t exactly anything new, this Optimus knew. They had heard it times before, and then he’d yell “I’m ok!” but this time the call didn’t come. No one was worried at first, figuring he was delved deep into his work. Little did they know that the last explosion caused some serious damage, nothing far from reformatting his CPU. Wheeljack sat there, staring into space. He looked as if he had suddenly shut down, but his online optics belied that. Optimus took a few seconds to start approaching again, making sure the area was clear of any more explosions. He could feel something not right in his spark, and through the fires and the smoking and debris, he pushed on until he got to the door, where he could hardly see through, waving his hand in front of his face as his optics switched through various different visions until he could see the best. He also needed to make sure everything was alright, so continued into the Engineer’s lab to look for his Engineer, only to find him sitting on one of his many desks, his knees drawn to his chest, back arched, staring at the ground into space, his optics barely lit and he was unmoving, “Wheeljack?” There was no response. Instantly Optimus started to worry. His ever happy Engineer was unresponsive, “Soldier, respond!” Optimus took in the surroundings as he got closer to Wheeljack, looking around as he thought that it looked like a nuclear bomb itself had gone off on everything, demolishing the area. The room was a complete wreck, with places around still on fire. Wheeljack was injured pretty badly, energon leaking from his left arm and his neck, half of his faceplate was missing and one of his ‘wings’ were gone, but he gave no outward signs of distress. Wheeljack flailed his arms suddenly for no reason, sputtering something incoherent from his vocals then went back to his previous point. This got a quirked brow from the leader, “Wheeljack?” Optimus voice careened pleading, “Are you functional?” Silence. Hello. Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me. Is there anyone home? The bot looked like he was in deep thought, but his position looked uncomfortable and Optimus called his name again, trying to get his attention, only the bot still didn’t respond. Wheeljack’s optics had never left their stationary place, as if he was fixated in a deep trance. Worry overcame the leader and he called for his medic, the only one who he knew could possibly snap Wheeljack out of his strange stupor. Ratchet was slow about getting to the lab, taking his merry ole time getting there. He figured nothing was seriously wrong, so he felt no need to rush. Why Optimus was even calling him confused him a little, but the confusion stopped when he approached Wheeljack’s lab, staring at the might of the damage that had been done. He slowly approached, stepping on metal and fires, snuffing them as he went, getting to the threshold, he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Wheeljack was still staring dumbly at the floor, and Ratchet cocked his head in confusion at his position. Instantly, his systems went to work as he tried to bring Wheeljack back from his stupor, “’Jack ‘ole buddy, come on, and answer me.” He moved closer, scanning his CPU and body, seeing the various injuries the mech had sustained. Ratchet had never seen this before, he was completely gone, something that had never happened to any Cybertronian. Wheeljack gave no response as Ratchet tried to hail him time and time again, running scans and giving him shots, and still no response, “What happened to you buddy?” He asked, as if Wheeljack would suddenly answer. The catatonic mech didn’t look up or even acknowledge the presence of others around him. His optics barely lit, “Nehh.” Wheeljack’s fins on his head lit just long enough to give out that sound. It wasn’t the sound that worried Ratchet, it was the fact that Wheeljack himself made it. The supposed smart Autobot seemed like he was either way over-energized or had a hard hit to the head. “Optimus, something is terribly wrong, I can’t get a response from him and my scans indicate something is very wrong with his CPU.” “I will help you take him to the med bay for examination,” Optimus said as he reached out for Wheeljack, who still hadn’t moved, “Nehh, Sys-sys-system re-re-re-reboot f-f-fail-failure, s-s-sys-system failure-ure. Cr-cr-cross exam-am-am-amina-tion-tion-tion crit-crit-cr-critical system-m-m-m just…” Wheeljack stuttered, still staring at the empty spot on the floor. Optimus and Ratchet tilted their head. Where had that come from? No one had ever experienced anything like this, and Ratchet wasn’t sure what to even call what had happened to him. The medic regarded Wheeljack intently, watching for signs of anything, life, but the bot stared after he was done speaking. As Optimus went to lift Wheeljack, suddenly the bot swung out violently, as if refusing to be touched. He then placed his arms back in their position and continued to stare at the floor, “What is wrong with him?” “I – I don’t know, Prime,” Ratchet answered, still scanning Wheeljack’s CPU for abnormalities. At first he found nothing, but then it came to him, and he looked at the Engineer with a baffled expression, “We need to him at the med bay now, Prime, I fear something has gone terribly wrong with his CPU.” As if Optimus hadn’t figured that one out on his own while his Engineer babbled stupidly. Optimus tried to grab at Wheeljack again, only to have an arm flung out at him, hitting him square in the chest hard enough to leave a dent. Ratchet watched with amazement, “I can give him a sedative, it should help,” “I didn’t know he could hit that hard,” Optimus rubbed his chest plate, staring at Wheeljack confused. Ratchet went to give Wheeljack the shot, but another arm flung out at him hard, knocking him backwards into a table and onto his aft. Both bots stared incredulously at the Engineer. Of course, the situation had gotten the attention of others, not to mention the explosion itself. As onlookers peered in, Perceptor was one of the ones who approached him, examining him. “Wheeljack’s condition is known to humans as Catatonic Schizophrenia, something usually caused by extreme stress, depression or trauma.” Perceptor supplied. It was the explosion that had done it, for sure, but how, no one knew. Obviously, Wheeljack had apparently made one too make explosions that this time had gotten the better of him. Come on, now. I hear you’re feeling down. Well I can ease your pain, Get you on your feet again. Perceptor had seen what the engineer had done when Optimus and Ratchet and wasn’t sure if he wanted any part of it. But the room was still smoldering and on fire, so they needed to get him out of there STAT. He called for Ironhide, who came up behind all of the others and made his way through, “What happened here?” “Wheeljack’s invention blew up?” “Well why do you need me?” He glanced at the engineer, confused as to why he was sitting like he was. “Because something fried his CPU,” Ratchet explained, “Perceptor says it’s something called Catatonic Schizophrenia. He refuses to move.” “Well what makes you think that I can move him?” Ironhide grunted. “Brute force, all of us, we need to get him out of here before something else explodes,” Optimus said. Ironhide approached Wheeljack, curious himself of Wheeljack’s condition. He waved a hand in front of the Engineer’s optics and got no response, called his name a few times, and still nothing, “Wow, must have been some blast!” he reached for Wheeljack’s arm, and the Engineer flung it out at him, missing him because Ironhide backed up just in time, “What was that?!” “That was an involuntary action.” Perceptor added, “It sometimes happens when they are moved or touched.” “Well brainiac, do you have any suggestions as to how to move him from this place?” “All of us will have to hold him down.” Optimus said as he approached the Engineer. Wheeljack had no idea what was going on in his mind. He couldn’t access hardly any of his CPU, and even though he wanted desperately to tell everyone he was ok, he couldn’t. His body nor vocals would respond to him. The trauma of the explosion told him to stay where he was, that if he wasn’t careful everything he touched would explode, thus killing those around him. He knew he wasn’t about to move. He wasn’t sure if he knew how, even. He could hear voices, but he could not make them out, as if they were speaking a completely different language. He felt like if he moved he would in fact, explode himself. In his CPU it was actually racing, but his body would not really respond, and when it did, it was unusually violent. He didn’t have the mind to question what was going on, only stared at the floor, babbling every once in a while with incoherent words. Words flashed across his HUD, but he couldn’t read them. Armor 60 percent damaged – Repair imperative. Core processor – 80 percent damaged – suggestion: Full system reboot, proceed?… Wheeljack didn’t have it in his mind to actually tell himself to reboot. He was deep within his core processor in a place that was like a box. No entrance, no escape. He only wanted to sit quietly, unmoving, knowing that he would be safe if he did. He tried to access all his processor, but found that there were firewalls even he could not break. Despair overtook his own CPU, although there were no outward signs of the abuse he was suffering inside. He was lost in thought, only one, however. To avoid moving. To avoid anything. There were explosions over and over again across his HUD also, from the past, everything that had ever blown up to now, the most violent explosion that not only knocked him for a loop, but also was threatening his very existence. There was no way out of this horror. “Optimus, might I suggest that we strap him down so he isn’t a danger to us or anyone else?” “We do have an empty room where we can place him until we know how to treat this particular problem,” Ratchet said softly. Optimus nodded. There was no other choice. The bot that sat on the desk was in for a rude awakening, and they suddenly jumped him, all at once. Wheeljack didn’t move, in fact he stayed in the position that they had him, which gave them all time to grab him and pin him down, taking his arms and tying them up, along with his legs. That was rather easy. Ironhide and Brawn moved to pick him up and brought him into the med bay and laid him on a berth. Ratchet allowed only Optimus in the med bay as he assessed the situation. He didn’t dare untie the severely damaged mech as he used several types of equipment to make Wheeljack stationary. As he scanned his CPU, he found that the malfunction was something that was apparently incurable. While he assessed his CPU, he went to work on the rest of his body, slowly repairing him. It took long than expected, because sometimes Wheeljack would jump or jerk for no apparent reason, “Wheeljack, lay still, you old bot.” Others were very worried about their catatonic friend. They had never seen him suffer something like this, and wondered if his very existence was in question. They would peek every once in a while at Ratchet as he worked, sometimes watching him flinch away when the Engineer moved quickly. Some were there for morbid curiosity, others were there to see if their friend would make it out. Ratchet always managed to fix them all, no matter how badly they had been damaged, but little did they know that this glitch would not be curable by anything Ratchet could get his hands on. This frustrated the medic as he finished fixing up the body of the Engineer. Relax. I need some information first. Just the basic facts: Can you show me where it hurts? Wheeljack suddenly spoke, but it was nothing but garbled mumble, making Ratchet jerk to look at him. He remembered him saying that before. He wondered what Wheeljack was talking about, but didn’t question him, only scanned his CPU more. There had to be some kind of glitch that was fixable, but his scans came back with an unidentified system failure. He turned, looking to the door where others had gathered. His face was solemn as he looked at them, shaking his head sadly. Across from the med bay was the room that was mentioned. Optimus ordered it to be completely cleared out, and afterward, Ratchet lifted Wheeljack over his shoulder and walked to it, the doors hissing open, and he set Wheeljack down on the ground, untying him. Wheeljack remained in the same position as when he had untied him, “’Jack ole buddy, you gotta snap out of this,” he said softly, looking down at the dim optics of his friend. This is not how I am. I have become comfortably numb. “Perceptor,” he called. The scientist was quick at his side, “Find out everything you can about this Catatonic Schizophrenia. I want to know if there is a cure, I want to know everything. He is obviously an danger to everyone including himself. “I already have, Ratchet,” the scientist said, “Humans have medication for it, I do not know of any medication for an Autobot with such a problem. What I did read, is that they will sometimes not move for hours, days, weeks or even months. They are completely dependent on others,” Perceptor said sadly. He knew this was going to be something very difficult for everyone to accept at the Ark, and Ratchet instantly went about hunting for those who would want to help on the caring for Wheeljack. Some to feed him, some to clean him up, others to sit with him and try to get responses. A lot of them volunteered for the job, even the twins, “He can use all the help he can get,” Optimus said as he glanced into the room where the Engineer lay. There is no pain, you are receding. A distant ships smoke on the horizon. You are only coming through in waves. Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re sayin’. “I have done more research into this disorder in humans, as far as it has been noted, they can be sometimes violent, so I recommend that he remain in this room. He will not be very reactive to outside stimuli, if at all,” Perceptor said, “Perhaps later we can hook him up to Teletraan One and see what exactly happened,” “You think that is a good idea? He could bring down the entire Ark.” Ratchet argued, and he had a valid point. Wheeljack’s own core processor had access to every known file of Teletraan One. “Maybe he will snap out of it himself?” another voice said. Ratchet regarded the voice, “Hmm,” he quietly looked back to the one in the room. Ratchet looked down at the downed Engineer sadly, shaking his head as he moved to press the button for the door to close. He couldn’t believe that one of his friends had something so severe happen to them. He wanted so badly to find a cure, to get their own Wheeljack back, but it was hopeless right now. There had to be something though, and he would research until he found it. He wouldn’t give up so easily on the Engineer. He reached down with his hand over his spark. Hopefully this would not be the continued fate of their friend.