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MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE: A HISTORY OF CYBERTRON

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MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE: A HISTORY OF CYBERTRON
An Advanced Cyber life Studies Post-graduate Qualifying Project
New Avalon Institute of Science, Fall Term, 2413
Project Advisor: 
        Grand Admiral Benjamin D. Hutchins, WDFN (Ret.)
        Associate Professor Emeritus, Robotic Engineering
Project Group:
        Sylvie A. Daniels, Worlds Welfare Work Association
        Soundwave, First Decepticon Strike Reserve
        Rewind, 101st Autobot Armored Cavalry
Editorial Assistance:
        Optimus Prime, Autobot Commander-in-Chief
        Megatron, Decepticon Commander Supreme(Ret.)
First Printing, Eyrie Productions Press: 2413
THE GODS AT WAR 
The Great Codex, the Transformer race's main work of theolohistory,
begins thusly:
%-%
        At the dawn of time in this dimension, there existed in the
next higher a race of beings which were powerful beyond our ability to
measure -- being we might call 'gods'.  There were a great many of
them, and most went about their existences in their own ways, banding
together in small groups and influencing various dimensions for their
own amusement.  As often happened in those days, a monumental enmity
sprang up between two such beings, and they and their allies formed
opposed sub-groups within their grouping, usually with armies of the
dimension's lesser beings to campaign with.  These two beings were the
most powerful in their group, and came to be known by the names of
Primus and Unicron: literally, the First One and the Last Survivor.
        Primus was the Creator, the Bringer of Life.  He always sought
to build, to improve, to sow life where there was none.  His general,
Ultris, was a mighty warrior, strong and upstanding, militarily
brilliant and totally loyal.  Opposing them was Unicron, the Dark One,
the Bringer of Chaos, the Twilight of Existence.  He would not rest
until all was destroyed and all was darkness and lifeless chaos.  He,
too, had a general, a mighty, cruel and merciless warlord named
Quantar, the Master of the Atom and Dread Blade of Unicron.  Like
Ultris, Quantar was loyal beyond measure to his lord, and nearly
unbeatable.
        The battles fought between them and their supporters were
unprecedented among the 'gods', and the dimension wherein they lived
was devastated by the war.  In the end, only five Great Beings
remained: Primus and his general, Ultris; Unicron and his great
warlord, Quantar; and He Whose Name Is Lost.  Primus's heart sickened
at the destruction, and his resolve to destroy Unicron wavered in its
face.  Ultris was worried with his lord's depression.  Unicron and
Quantar were exultant at their impending victory.  He Whose Name Is
Lost, disgusted by the carnage, disappeared and has never been seen
again.
        When Unicron and Quantar came to do final battle with Primus
and Ultris, Primus refused to fight, hoping that Unicron would accept
the gesture and make peace.  His hope was vain; instead the battle was
fought without him.  Quantar and Ultris met in battle after their
armies destroyed each other, and Ultris was mortally wounded.  Quantar
allowed him to go back to Primus to die; Primus captured his essence
and swore to put it to use in his avenging.  Then, moved too late into
action, Primus went to meet Unicron.
        A contemptuous Unicron sent his warlord to deal with Primus;
without a pause, the enraged Primus destroyed Quantar.  Unicron
captured Quantar's essence just as Primus had captured Ultris's, and
then the two great gods finally met for their last battle.  The battle
raged for a thousand years and wiped out all remaining life in the
dimension, and in the end Unicron was victorious.  As he prepared to
strike the final blow and destroy his old enemy once and for all,
Primus gathered his remaining energies and fell from their dimension
to ours.  Maddened, Unicron followed him, swearing a thousand
vengeances, but lost track of him in the transition.
%-%
Thus, says the Codex, the two most powerful 'gods' in all creation
came to be in this dimension, one mortally wounded, the other enraged
beyond mortal understanding.  There are many myths and legends about
wars of gods, and almost all are dismissed by academics as falsehoods,
tales created by beings in their primitive phases to explain the
origins of the world.  However, that is not the case with the
Transformers' gods.  They are accepted almost universally as being
real, and this story related by the Codex as true.  Partially, this is
due to the plain and simple language of the Codex (like most
Transformer documents, it is stored in a binary code format, not a
true language, and so is not as subject to interpretation in
translation), but mostly it is because the Transformers have _seen_
their gods, and have ample proof of their existence.
What is known, then, is this: a tremendously long time ago, so long
that no accurate records exist, a being of incredible power and
creative drive, bearing the name Primus, came to this dimension,
weakened and mortally wounded.  The best estimate for when this
occurred is a rather vague 30 to 40 million Standard years ago.  At
any rate, the accepted explanation, again put forth by the Codex, is
that Primus projected his energy-essence into a planetary body, taking
that planet as his own 'body'.  The planet would become known as
Cybertron.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the universe at about the same time, Unicron
arrived, projecting _his_ energy-essence across the dimensions into a
planetary body in a similar fashion.  Unicron was much stronger than
Primus, and so could more completely refashion the planet he took,
creating for himself a reconfigurable shape which could mimic his old,
anthropomorphic form, or convert to a form much more efficient for
transit through the vastness of space and converting available matter
for use as fuel.  Since he 'missed' Primus's arrival location by a
very long way (the best estimate of Unicron's original arrival
position, based on his approach vector to Cybertron in 2005 and his
average observed speed on approach, has him appearing somewhere just
beyond the Andromeda galaxy), Unicron had a very long trek ahead of
him.
INCEPTION 
Primus knew that he could not face Unicron again; he was too weakened.
With this in mind, the great creator bent his remaining creative
energies toward a staggering task: the creation of a vast army of
mechanoids, like the ones which he and Ultris had commanded in their
own plane.  One after another he made them from his own substance,
fashioning them in variations of his own image (a motif that crops up
again and again in Theo historical documents).  Upon an unknown (but
much speculated upon) one of them he bestowed the preserved essence of
Ultris, his general, although the memories and core personality of
Ultris were long gone.
        
When Primus had exhausted the last of his energies and created the
last Cybertronian he could create, he made the Codex for them, and
then bestowed upon them his last two gifts: two small sparks of his
creative power, encoded in crystals and surrounded in
near-indestructible metal casings.  One of them he gave to the finest
of the scientist-artisans of primeval Cybertron, a great thinker and
philosopher named A3.  The other he bestowed upon the leader of the
dedicated military machines charged with the defense of Cybertron, a
great leader and warrior named N5.
At this point Primus became dormant, lapsing into unconsciousness in a
hope that Unicron would not be able to get a fix on his position and
be delayed, giving his army more time to evolve into suitability for
their task.
THE EARLY DAYS OF CYBERTRON 
Very little is known about this part of Cybertron's history.  The
Codex ends with the Inception, and any histories made during this time
have been lost in the wars which have dominated Cybertronian history
since then.  Also, there are no surviving Transformers from this
period; all who live today are subsequent generations produced by one
of the several means of reproduction left to the original
Cybertronians by their creator.
SIDEBAR: TRANSFORMER REPRODUCTION
Transformers are complex living beings, but they are still, in a basic
sense, robots.  Thus, all that is required to create a new Transformer
is a suitable body and an intelligence for it.  However, the problems
lie in the complexity of these two components.  The simplest one is
clearly the body; many Transformers have enough knowledge of their own
anatomy and physiology to construct a working body.  The intelligence,
however, is difficult and tricky, in that it must be a unique and
viable cybernetic mind which generates a Spengler index of at least
0.85.  This intelligence can be generated a number of ways:
1. Matrix Inception
        This method is the most famous one, and was long believed,
erroneously, to be the only method of Transformer reproduction.
Simply put, a body is prepared mechanically, and then it is imbued
with unique intelligence and life directly from one of the Matrices of
Primus.  This is certainly the most spectacular of the methods,
involving as it does a Matrix-generated light show.
2. Collaboratory Generation
        We carbon-based life forms are familiar with this method, more
so than the others.  A body is prepared, again, and then, two
Transformers enter a temporary binary bond and create an intelligence
which is derivative from, and unique from, their own.  Transformers
created in this way tend to exhibit traits of both their 'parents'.
This process can also be used by a Transformer and that Transformer's
binary-bonded carbon unit, in the modern Nebulan Master-pairings, if
the participants' binary genders are different.
        This, by the way, is the reason behind Transformer gender, for
so long believed inexplicable: the genders have different binary
'signatures' in a bonding situation, and only mixed-gender bonds can
produce viable offspring.  It should be noted that this is one of the
several temporary and permanent binary bond applications which produce
an analog to sexual gratification, and as such reproduction among
Transformers _is_ often linked to romantic involvements.  For more on
this subject, refer to the definitive work on the subject, Arcee,
Meadows, Tanner, Witwicky, et al., _Transformer Sexuality: The Riddle
Solved_, NAIS Press, 2410.
3. External Creation and Fusion
        In this method, the intelligence is produced by some outside
method, normally a powerful computerized cybernetic intelligence
generator/driver such as STACIS 3.0.  Vector Sigma, the Cybertronian
supercomputer, is an example of this method.
THE COMING OF THE QUINTESSONS 
The next major event in Cybertron's history occurred at a similarly
hard-to-pin-down time, best estimated at 25 to 30 thousand Standard
years ago.  At that time, Cybertron was invaded and conquered by the
Quintessons, a five-faced, semi-cybernetic race of scientists and
information merchants, and their allies from Mandalor, the makers of
the finest weapons in the galaxy.  The Quintessons were masters of
misinformation; within a Standard millennium of their conquest they
had convinced most of the people of Cybertron that _they_ had created
the Cybertronian race, and that the Quintessons were, in fact, the
native race of Cybertron.  The Cybertronians were told that they were
servitors, slaves built for the convenience and pleasure of the
Quintessons, and most of them believed it.
It was the Quintessons who, seeking to control every aspect of
Cybertronic life, outlawed collaborative reproduction and, in fact,
rigorously segregated the genders.  It was they who created Vector
Sigma to give them absolute control over the creation of new
Cybertronians.  Both of the Matrices of Primus were hidden from them
by the defiant robots, and the Quintessons subjected Cybertron to a
ceaseless reign of terror searching for them, since they were both an
uncontrolled source of new life and a constant threat of exposure to
the Quintessons' lie.
The Matrix given to A3 was kept hidden by A3 himself, who, now a most
venerable robot, had taken to calling himself the slightly fancier
Alpha Trion, and who tirelessly sought to organize an underground
resistance to the Quintessons' rule.  The one given to N5 had been
passed down through several generations of military commander until it
rested, now, with Scorponok, a warrior of great wisdom and ability.
Scorponok wisely decided to hide his Matrix, and did it so well that,
until very recently, no one ever found out what became of it.
Scorponok also successfully waged a campaign of disinformation about
the Matrix he held, and by the time the Quintessons had established
themselves firmly on Cybertron, they believed that there was only one
-- and so did most of the people of Cybertron.
REVOLUTION 
Roughly three thousand years after the Quintessons came, their
seemingly loyal military commander, Scorponok, turned against them.
He and his officers had pretended to be loyal for millennia, while in
reality they were building their strength in secret.  Scorponok was
shrewd enough to know when the Quintessons came that his army, unused
to actual conflict, could not defeat them and their Mandalorian
allies; the Mandalorian Death Watch was the most feared army in the
universe at the time, and had never been defeated.  Instead he waited,
professed loyalty, and then, when his army was ready, they all
revolted en masse.  In honor of this deception, Scorponok named his
army the Army of the Decepticons.
Scorponok's armies ravaged Quintesson positions all over Cybertron,
and the war continued for months, until finally the Decepticons massed
at the gates of Iacon, the Quintesson capital, and laid siege to the
city and its Death Watch defenders.  They had never met the Death
Watch in battle -- only lesser Mandalorian troops -- and the outcome
was very much in doubt.
GLADIATORS' REVOLT 
In the city of Iacon, the Quintessons had built a grand arena, and in
it, they had ceaselessly enjoyed pitting Cybertronian warriors against
all manner of foes.  It was in this arena that a great many of the
great warriors of the later Cybertronian Wars learned to fight, many
of them as bewildered civilian conscripts who would be lucky enough to
survive long enough to learn to win.  Among the most famous of the
products of the Iacon Arena were Sideswipe, Grimlock, and Starscream
(who had been, respectively, before their conscriptions, a
construction worker, a police officer -- the police force had always
been separate from the army -- and a space explorer).  The undisputed
champions of the Arena, though, were a pair of Iaconian brothers,
twins, one a police officer and the other a transit worker: Ultra
Magnus and Orion Pax.  So talented in the arena was Pax, in fact, that
the Quintessons had contracted with the Mandalorians to build a suit
of the Mandalorian Death Watch's characteristic power armor for him to
be cyber-bonded with, the better to increase his combat class.
Before this could happen, news of the Decepticon Revolution came to
the arena, and Orion Pax, a great orator, inspired his fellow
conscripts to follow their example and revolt from within.  The revolt
began, and as the gladiators fought their way to the control rooms,
Pax sent his brother Ultra Magnus to the weapons rooms to seize some
better firepower for them.  There, Magnus discovered the Death Watch
armor meant for his twin brother, and, since they had the same
configuration, he donned it.  It immediately cyber-bonded with him,
becoming a part of his own body, and to this day, Ultra Magnus is
never seen without it.
THE FALL OF IACON
Scorponok's forces, outside the gates, were beginning to tire by the
time of the Gladiators' Revolt.  They had made no headway against the
Iaconian defenses, and while they had not yet met the Death Watch in
combat, their fearsome reputation was beginning to unnerve the already
tense and restless Decepticon force.  Scorponok feared that all would
be lost if something in the impasse did not change quickly.
That something changed _very_ quickly, as the rebel gladiators from
the Iacon Arena seized control of Iacon Control and opened the gates
for the Decepticons.  Scorponok wasted no time in capitalizing on this
advantage, sending his troops charging into the city, and in the
streets of Iacon, the Decepticons and the Mandalorian Death Watch met
for the first time in open combat.  The carnage was unbelievable on
both sides, and the Decepticons, for all their might, appeared to be
losing until the Mandalorian left flank was suddenly hit hard by the
rebel gladiator force.  This sudden and unexpected attack from a force
that should have been pinned down in City Control (they had used the
city's ancient network of transit and maintenance tunnels, of which
Orion Pax, being a transit official, had an encyclopedic knowledge)
stunned the Mandalorians, who had never even been threatened by an
opposing force before.  Scorponok and Orion Pax pressed their
advantage, and before the day was finished, the Quintessons and their
Mandalorian allies were in open rout, fleeing Cybertron as fast as
their ships could carry them.
PEACE 
For the next six thousand Standard years, Cybertron was peaceful and
prosperous.  The Decepticons remained ever vigilant against outside
threats, while the populace went about their lives in relative
happiness.  The arts and sciences flourished.  It was during this time
that a civilian spiritualist developed the discipline of
transformation, which was to transcend a spiritual discipline and
become a racial characteristic by the end of the period.  It was
during this time that the Cybertronian race began to call themselves
'Transformers'.
Recognizing that they themselves might become a threat to peace at
some point, the Decepticons commissioned from the weapons masters of
Mandalor (who, being professional mercenaries, held no grudge from the
rebellion rout) a force of guardian robots, huge and mighty machines
to defend the cities, and put them under the control of the civilian
militia.  It was a popular maneuver which convinced the populace of
Cybertron that they were destined for permanent peace.  But, like all
things, this golden age could not last.
CORRUPTION 
Approximately twenty thousand Standard years ago, a strange corruption
spread through the Decepticon forces.  Exactly what this was is
unknown; some have said that it was Unicron, reaching across space
with his will and touching Primus's children, dividing them against
themselves.  In any event, the Decepticons very abruptly became
radically imperialistic, militant and cruel.  Scorponok himself was
one of the first to fall to this corruption, becoming a maniacal
dictator, but not losing his sense of strategic planning _or_ his
ability to take a battlefield situation that has gone outside his
plans and command his troops to an improvised victory.  These skills
proved devastating when he turned them against the local militia.
However, the Guardians proved impossible to defeat except by massed
attacks and seemingly endless sieges.  Losses of Decepticon forces
were so heavy in the destruction of a single Guardian that the
Decepticons were forced to go to the Mandalorians _again_, this time
for a weapon which could defeat the Guardians.  The Mandalorians, who
were not fools, had not built into the Guardians anywhere near their
greatest potential power, however, and to defeat them, they simply
rented to the Decepticons (who could by no means afford to purchase
them) five Heavy War Droids, the most terrifying engines of
destruction yet created.
The five War Droids had wiped out the Guardians by the end of the
Standard year, and Cybertron belonged to the Decepticons.
SIDEBAR: THE LAST GUARDIAN 
One of the Guardian robots did survive the Decepticon terror, and
became one of the Autobots' staunchest defenders.  His name is Omega
Supreme, and he was the Guardian of Iacon itself.  The story of his
survival is one of the few truly touching moments of Cybertron's
civil-war period.  Before the Corruption came, Omega Supreme
befriended a Decepticon unit which frequented the Iacon area, the
Constructicons.  The Constructicons, being away from headquarters,
were untouched by the initial sweep of the Corruption, and were
horrified when their forces began to destroy the Guardians.  They went
underground, trying to figure out what to do.
Hook and Scrapper, the team's design geniuses, came up with a plan
involving radical reconfiguration of their bodies, a bizarre new take
on the transformation process.  They instituted design changes in all
the Constructicons, working against the clock to be finished by the
time the war reached Iacon.
They barely made it.  When they emerged from their bolt hole, War Droid
MG-5 was at the gates and doing battle with Omega Supreme, and Omega
Supreme was losing badly.  He was gravely wounded and could not
survive much longer.  The Constructicons, trusting in the genius of
Hook and Scrapper, went into action, and put their bizarre plan into
motion.  They transformed to their construction-vehicle forms, and
then transformed again, interlocking and uniting into one gigantic
robot, the size of a Guardian and with the terrifying power of a force
of nature and the combined intellect of all six Constructicons.  This
monstrous machine, calling himself Devastator, dispatched MG-5 without
difficulty and saved Omega Supreme's life.
[Today, Scrapper claims that Devastator's name is actually an acronym,
standing for Dynamic Excavation Vehicular Assault System for Threat
Annihilation and Tactical Operation Response.  The other
Constructicons deny this; Bonecrusher goes so far as to say that
Scrapper is 'blowing it out his recirculator'.]
Omega Supreme would go underground and reappear years later as an
Autobot.  The Constructicons, sadly, were caught up in the Corruption,
but before it could happen, they modified themselves further, damaging
the neuromimetic connections so that when Devastator was formed, he
had the mind of an idiot.  When they finally reported to Scorponok,
they, with one final defiance of the Corruption, lied and told him
they had destroyed MG-5 so that they could have Omega Supreme's kill
for themselves, to prove Devastator's worth to the Decepticon cause.
THE AUTOBOTS 
Alpha Trion saw the Corruption coming.  As one of Scorponok's closest
civilian advisors, he watched his friend grow more and more erratic,
until finally he went over the edge.  Alpha Trion escaped before he
could be destroyed or imprisoned by Scorponok's growing paranoia, and
began attempting again to organize the resistance he had tried
unsuccessfully to bring into play against the Quintessons.  In doing
so he contacted the leaders of the Gladiators' Revolt, but of them,
only Ultra Magnus, Sideswipe, and Grimlock could be recruited.
Starscream had become a Decepticon and been caught in the Corruption,
and Orion Pax refused to fight again.  The resistance force, calling
itself the Autobot Resistance in reference to the fact that most of
them were transportation and maintenance workers (as well as most of
the police) initially, became a nuisance to the Decepticons, but
nothing more.
THE HAMMER OF PRIMUS 
Scorponok thought, in his ever-growing paranoia, that the possession
of the Ultimate Weapon in the universe was the only thing that could
make him and his position safe.  To this end, he enlisted the aid of
the Constructicons, ordering them to create the most powerful weapon
in known space, more powerful than anything ever seen -- powerful
enough to subjugate the Mandalorians themselves.  His empire building
dreams had encompassed Mandalor of late, and he wished to remove his
dependence on Mandalorian weapons by taking the planet and
assimilating the technology for himself.
The Constructicons outdid themselves with the creation of the Hammer
of Primus, which was, without doubt, the Ultimate Weapon.  It was a
massive anti-matter annihilator cannon, capable of destroying entire
worlds at a single firing.  Mounted on the most powerful space cruiser
the Decepticons possessed, the Hammer of Primus promised quick
conquest of any sector of space.  Indications are that Scorponok
succeeded in conquering Mandalor, but before he had the opportunity,
unknown circumstances intervened, and the Mandalorian civilization
inexplicably fell.  Records from this period are chaotic at best, but
all indications are that there was some external war which the
Transformers survived (possibly thanks to the presence of the Hammer
of Primus) and the Mandalorians did not.
However it unfolded, the weak Autobot Resistance became deeply
frightened by the Hammer's power, and ceased for a time even their
nuisance-level attacks and raids.
THE BETRAYAL OF SCORPONOK 
Scorponok's ambitious lieutenant, Megatron, saw an opportunity in the
Hammer of Primus.  He had already subverted the Constructicons,
guaranteeing that they would be more loyal to him than to Scorponok,
and now he had them sabotage the Hammer.  Willing to make any
sacrifice for personal power, Megatron caused the Hammer to 'misfire'
upon its return to Cybertron and destroy Cybertron's star-sun.  The
planet was plunged into an eternal twilight, dependent on internal
energy sources for light and warmth, and Megatron, blaming Scorponok,
challenged his leader to a duel of honor.
Scorponok had no choice but to fight the duel.  The Hammer had been
under his command, and had been his project to begin with; any defect
or error was his responsibility.  His still-intact, if slightly
warped, honor code would not permit him to pass the buck.  He met
Megatron in battle, and was defeated and killed.  Some say he allowed
Megatron to kill him, perhaps in hopes that Megatron would eventually
rise above the Corruption that Scorponok had been, unknown to
everyone, valiantly battling within himself for all of his lucid
moments.  At any rate, Scorponok was dead, and Megatron took control
of the Decepticons and the Hammer of Primus, which he immediately
ordered 'repaired'.
MEGATRON'S GREAT ERROR 
Megatron was not willing, as Scorponok had been, to ignore the
nuisance-level Autobot attacks (which had resumed, fitfully and
half-heartedly, since Scorponok's death).  Instead, he instituted a
reign of total terror, ruthlessly hunting down and exterminating
anyone he suspected even remotely of having been involved in the
resistance movement.  These suspects naturally included participants
in the Gladiators' Revolt, including its leader (once a friend of
Megatron's, before the Corruption), Orion Pax.  Megatron personally
dispatched Pax, but unfortunately did not check his work carefully; he
did not kill Pax, only gravely wounded him.
Alpha Trion came upon Orion Pax's barely-functional wreckage later
that day, and saw an opportunity.  He took the gravely wounded Pax
back to his workshop and reconstructed him, making him even more
powerful and equipping him for war, as he had been in the gladiator
days.  When Pax came to, Alpha Trion explained that the Autobot
Resistance needed a leader who was a great speaker, a great thinker,
AND a great warrior, and that he, Alpha Trion, only fulfilled one of
those three criteria.  Trion implored Pax to take his Matrix of Primus
and with it the leadership of the Autobots, confident that if he did,
he would make the Autobots a force to be reckoned with in this nascent
civil war.
A GREAT LEADER ARISES 
Orion Pax agreed.  Alpha Trion gave him the Matrix of Leadership (this
is the first recorded instance of its being called by that name), and
when he accepted it and placed it within him, he changed slightly.
Imbued with the power of Primus, he became even stronger, tougher, and
wiser than he had been before.  However, unlike as with later cases of
Matrix empowerment, this change was _permanent_; why this occurred is
unknown.  (Some have theorized that it is, in fact, because Orion Pax
was originally O9X, a first-generation Cybertronian who received the
essence of Ultrus.  He has, himself, been quoted as saying that he
does not remember exactly how old he really is.)
Optimus Prime was born, and Cybertron would never be the same.
FIRST STRIKE 
Optimus Prime came into the command of a ragtag, disorganized,
demoralized and undisciplined fighting force, most of whom truly
believed that their cause was hopeless.  He turned them around in less
than a Standard year, forging them in secret into a tight, close-knit,
precise and deadly strike force.  Armed with whatever weapons they
could find, the Autobots became the bane of the Decepticons'
existence, striking hard, destroying, killing, and then fading into
the background.  Megatron stepped up his reign of terror, trying to
either force them out or cause the civilian population to turn them
over and end the terror, but the tactic failed.  The civilians only
hated the Decepticons more, and aided the Autobots.  Recruits joined
by the thousands.  Still, the task was daunting, and most new Autobots
were worried that Megatron might become so enraged as to turn the
Hammer of Primus on Cybertron itself, choosing to relocate rather than
deal with the internal threat.
Optimus Prime replied to this concern by organizing an elite strike
force of his finest warriors and making a risky, dangerous, desperate,
inspired move.  He personally led the strike team on the most
dangerous mission ever attempted by an Autobot force: the destruction
of the Hammer of Primus.  Fifteen Autobots boarded the Hammer that
day.  Optimus Prime and Megatron met in battle for the first time.
When it was all over, eleven Autobots had emerged and returned safely
to Cybertron, seventy-nine Decepticon warriors were dead, and the
Hammer of Primus had been destroyed.
MEGATRON'S REVENGE
Furious, Megatron ordered the Constructicons to recreate the Hammer.
The Constructicons, perhaps untruly, claimed that they could not,
saying that vital components which had been destroyed made the level
of power the weapon had attained impossible to replicate, since they
had come from cutting-edge Mandalorian gear, none of which was now
available with that civilization in ruins.  However, they did
replicate the basic technology, and installed a much lower-powered
version of the weapon in Megatron's own fusion cannon, making him the
most powerfully armed Transformer in history.
Megatron scoured Cybertron for Optimus Prime, issuing challenges and
warnings and threats at any opportunity, and when he finally made
contact, he challenged Prime as he had challenged Scorponok.  Prime
agreed to meet him in single combat in, ironically, the old Arena in
Iacon, where he had made such a name for himself in the old days.
Their fight was epic, matched perhaps by only one in Transformer
history in terms of single combat.  In the end, Megatron tried to
destroy Prime using the new Hammer-like function of his fusion cannon,
but was too weakened by the battle to control the reaction, and, while
he destroyed half of the Arena, he missed Optimus Prime.  He then
fled, embarrassed and embittered.
WAR UPON WAR
It would be futile to describe in detail the constant wars of the next
eighteen thousand years.  They all began and ended the same way: with
Optimus Prime and his Autobots hampered by lack of materiel and
personnel, and Megatron and his Decepticons always outmaneuvered, but
never really removed from power.  Frustrating for both sides.  The
wars ravaged Cybertron and drained most of its sources of energy, so
that by the start of the Standard calendar, it was basically a used-up
husk of a world.
CRASH
Seeking new energy sources, Optimus Prime led the most elite of his
Autobots, except for a top-echelon command staff under Ultra Magnus
which was to hold the line until his return, into space.  Megatron did
the same, leaving Shockwave in command and taking most of his best
troops to intercept and destroy the Autobot force.  The Decepticons
boarded the Autobot starship, and as the Transformers battled within,
that ship fell out of control into the gravity well of an
insignificant M-class world on the edge of the galactic center, a
developing world whose primitive inhabitants would eventually get
around to calling it 'Earth'.  They crashed there, and all were
rendered dormant by the damage incurred in said crash.
MEANWHILE AT THE FARM
Back on Cybertron, it soon became clear that neither force was
returning, at which point the wars resumed pretty much as they had
gone before.  Ultra Magnus constantly outmaneuvered Shockwave,
Megatron's commander pro tem, but lacked the equipment and personnel
to take the offensive.  And so it went.
AWAKENING
In mid-1999 Standard, the Transformers on Earth awakened and emerged
to find themselves on a world with carbon-based indigenous life and
abundent energy.  The Decepticons sought to seize this for themselves,
and cared nothing for the carbon life forms; the Autobots sought
friendship and alliance with the natives and did their best to prevent
the Decepticons from wreaking havoc.  When both sides made contact
with Cybertron, the Cybertronian War suddenly expanded to include a
confused and frightened Earth.  Shortly thereafter, the Imperial
Salusian government inducted Earth into the United Galactica, and the
UG officially declared itself allied with the Autobots.  Autobot City
was established, and Optimus Prime returned to Cybertron and exchanged
places with Ultra Magnus on Earth.  The war on Cybertron was not going
well, and by the time Prime arrived, the Decepticons had taken
complete control.
Five years of jockeying for position ensued as both sides tried to
find an advantage.  The Autobots had eliminated any Decepticon
presence on Earth, but Earth was not Cybertron, and most of the
Autobots wanted to go home.  Finally, in 2005, Optimus Prime formally
requested the assistance and alliance of the Wedge Defense Force.  It
was promptly given.
THE GREAT BATTLE OF AUTOBOT CITY
On October 5, 2005, Megatron and his Decepticons decided to destroy
the Autobot presence on Earth once and for all.  Learning that Optimus
Prime was sending a supply mission to Autobot City from one of the
Autobots' Cybertronian moon bases, he led his elite strike force, much
the same one he had controlled on Earth, aboard the supply mission's
shuttle, sneaking aboard during preflighting and then slaughtering the
unprepared crew in flight.  The Autobot City defenses, and the
shuttle's own WDF escort pilot (Commander Benjamin D. 'Gryphon'
Hutchins, WDF Executive Officer, who had personally requested the
assignment), were unaware that anything was amiss, and the shuttle
penetrated all of Autobot City's air-defense nets but one before being
detected by a sharp-eyed infantry soldier named Hot Rod.  The
Decepticons then abandoned the shuttle.
Pitched ground and air battles resulted in a net Autobot loss; the
badly outnumbered Autobot forces were driven back and back.  Their
only real airpower were the Aerialbots and the single WDF pilot; the
Decepticon air warriors downed two Aerialbots (killing neither) and
Commander Hutchins (who in his crippled Valkyrie Veritech fighter
fought the rest of the battle in battroid mode as a ground soldier,
earning himself an Autobot Valor Medal for distinction and an Autobot
commission), achieving air supremacy and forcing the remaining
flight-capable Aerialbots to put down for their own safety.
The Constructicons then formed Devastator, and with him at the
spearhead, the Decepticons laid siege to Autobot City.  Autobot
communications officer Blaster did manage to get a message out before
the booster antenna array was destroyed, but no one knew if it had
been heard.  Inside Autobot City, the Autobots and their one WDF ally
hunkered down, fought back as best they could, and waited grimly to
die.
The next morning, just after dawn, Devastator penetrated Autobot
City's inner curtain.  Megatron gave the order for the slaughter to
begin, and just as he did so, an Autobot reinforcements shuttle
arrived.  Grimlock and his Dinobot special operations team disembarked
in the air and, using drop packs, descended directly into the combat
zone, engaging and defeating Devastator, while the shuttle landed just
outside Autobot City and an Autobot reinforcement team including
Optimus Prime himself disembarked.
OPTIMUS PRIME'S FINEST HOUR
Prime is reported to have said, to no one in particular, 'Megatron
must be stopped.  No matter the cost,' before charging alone into
Autobot city and, in the most impressive display of his combat skills
ever captured on film, plowing and blasting his way through most of
the Decepticon force to reach Megatron himself.  He challenged
Megatron to single combat, and was well on his way to winning when the
untimely intervention of Hot Rod, who was attempting to help, cost
Prime dearly.  Unable to shoot Megatron with Hot Rod in his way, Prime
was forced to accept mortal injury before receiving his shot.  When it
came, though, Optimus Prime took it, with all the guts that had earned
him his reputation as the finest warrior the Autobots possessed.  In
the end, both commanders were near death.  The Decepticons retreated
in disarray, and the Autobots, shocked and without a medic (their
chief medical officer, Ratchet, although the sole survivor of the
original supply shuttle crew, was unconscious, badly wounded), had to
watch as their beloved commander gave the Matrix of Leadership to
Ultra Magnus and then died.
UNICRON
Meanwhile, Unicron had finally reached striking distance from
Cybertron, the form of his old enemy, Primus.  He encountered Megatron
and other badly wounded Decepticons, abandoned in space by Starscream,
and offered Megatron salvation in return for servitude.  Megatron
turned him down flat, and Unicron, incensed, continued on his way and
let the Decepticons drift.  He had scanned them, though, and used his
own powers of creation to make minions for himself based on updated
versions of their designs.  Their leader was the updated Megatron,
whom Unicron named Galvatron and who believed himself to be Megatron,
recreated after accepting Unicron's deal.  Unicron believed it would
be simpler to make him serve that way, or perhaps he simply found it
amusing.  We will never know.
Unicron wanted the Matrix of Leadership destroyed, and sent Galvatron
and his minions to do the job.  On Junkion, the Planet of Junk, they
finally did get possession of it, dismembering Ultra Magnus in the
process (he was later repaired by the Junkion’s); Galvatron did not
destroy it, however, as he believed he could use it to blackmail
Unicron into serving him.  He was wrong; he could not utilize it.  The
Matrix had already chosen its next holder, and neither Ultra Magnus
(who had tried to use it and failed) nor Galvatron was he.  Unicron
mocked Galvatron, transformed to his robot form, and attacked
Cybertron.
SALVATION AND A NEW LEADER
During the battle, an Autobot force, including several of Ultra
Magnus's troopers from Earth and that single, bedraggled WDF Valkyrie
and its pilot, managed to get -inside- Unicron.  One of them, Hot Rod,
got separated from the group and stumbled upon Galvatron, whom Unicron
had swallowed out of spite.  They fought, and Hot Rod got the Matrix
of Leadership away from Galvatron.  When he did so, the Matrix, which
had chosen at Optimus Prime's death (some theorize because the dying
Prime dropped it and Hot Rod, catching it, had been the first Autobot
to touch it) that he be its next holder, transformed him into a
powerful Autobot commander, as it had done to Orion Pax before.  This
new leader, calling himself Rodimus Prime, easily defeated Galvatron,
then unleashed the power of the Matrix.  Unicron's body was
obliterated, but he was, as the Transformers would later learn, not so
easily defeated.
THE RODIMUS YEARS
The mantle of Autobot leadership never sat comfortably on Rodimus
Prime's shoulders.  He was valorous and competent, there was never any
doubt of that -- but he lacked confidence in his abilities, and he
lacked experience.  He never felt capable of filling the position
Optimus Prime had left, and constantly fought against despair in the
shadow of his legendary predecessor.
Still, Rodimus Prime was not without his accomplishments.  Under his
leadership the Autobots repaired and then completed Autobot City and
solidified their diplomatic position with the United Galactica and
Earth.  His command period saw a dramatic increase in the standard of
living on Cybertron.  The Autobot ranks swelled as, encouraged by the
better times, more Transformers came up from the underground and
joined.  Rodimus met and handled several major crises during his
period of command.  By and large, it was a good period, despite the
still-constant Decepticon threat.
HARD TIMES FOR THE DECEPTICONS
Beaten and scattered, refusing the Autobots' generous offer of
sanctuary and amnesty for any who wished to live on Cybertron after
the defeat of Unicron, the Decepticons had taken up refuge on a
burned-out, decimated world named Chaar.  Charr had once been
populated by a humanoid race, but they had wiped themselves out in a
nuclear holocaust several centuries earlier (assisted, it is said, by
the Decepticons themselves), and it was now nothing but a toxic,
radioactive wasteland, devoid of all life and studded with the
skeletons of twisted, burned-out buildings.
Here, the Decepticons hid and starved, their supplies of energon
running so low at one point that they could not send a scouting
mission in search of more.  It seemed inevitable that the once-proud
Decepticon elite would simply starve to death on this remote planet of
ash.
Cyclonus, Scourge, and Scourge's Sweeps, other creations of Unicron,
did not accept this, and finally, they decided to take action.
Hoarding energon from the others, they left Chaar on June 14, 2007
Standard, in search of Galvatron, who they surmised had survived
Unicron's destruction.  As it turned out, they were correct; Galvatron
lived, but Unicron's destruction had thrown him into a lava pit on a
small, volcanic asteroid near Cybertron.  When rescued on the 28th,
Galvatron was, either due to the mental stresses of his defeat, brain
damage from the lava, or both, stark raving mad.  The other
Unicron-created Decepticons followed him anyway, and they set out for
Chaar.
FIVE FACES OF DARKNESS
However, Chaar had been visited in their absence by a scouting force
from the long-absent Quintessons, who had encountered a small Autobot
force during the Unicron incident and decided that the time was right
to retake Cybertron.  The Quintessons supplied the starving
Decepticons with all the energon they required, and demanded in return
that the Autobots and their Matrix be destroyed.  When Galvatron
discovered this disloyalty he flew into a rage (as he was wont to do),
and the Quintessons, as they so often did, resorted to deceit to
placate him.
[It is ironic that, in order to assure Galvatron's assistance, the
Quintessons promised to provide him with the Decepticon Matrix of
Leadership -- the very thing with the Quintessons did not believe
existed, and which Galvatron would have already possessed, had he been
who he believed he was.]
The Quintessons' plan was elegant and terrifying in its cruel
subtlety.  While the Decepticons hunted the Autobots on two fronts --
a full assault on Autobot City and Cybertron -- a commando force of
the Quintessons' own loyal (and rather stupid) Transformers, the
Sharkticons, would go into the depths of Cybertron itself and enact an
ancient Quintesson contingency measure which, in the furious rebellion
of millions of years previous, they never had a chance to use.  This
contingency would produce a harmonized energy field around Cybertron
which would immobilize all Transformers.  Unknown to himself, one of
the Decepticon attackers on Earth carried a slave module to this
system within him which would produce a similar effect there as well.
A Decepticon warrior, Blitzwing, discovered the plot and was
horrified.  He immediately reported it to Galvatron, who ignored him,
raving about his 'destiny'.  When Blitzwing implored his commander to
listen to reason, Galvatron struck him down and told him, 'Tell it to
the Autobots!'  Stunned by this betrayal, Blitzwing did so, and the
Autobots did their best to stop the Sharkticon team.  Unfortunately,
Galvatron intervened, apparently believing that the contingency switch
would, in fact, provide him with the Decepticon Matrix.  He activated
it, and was immediately frozen, along with all the other Transformers.
The Quintessons, rejoicing, moved in.
Unfortunately for the Quintessons, there was an error in their plan --
the Autobots' human allies.  One of these, an Earthman, Steven 'Spike'
Witwicky, destroyed the paralysis field generator.  When the main
generator went down, it stopped transmitting the activation signal to
the slave unit on Earth.  The Quintessons retreated in the face of an
enraged Galvatron, and before the battle could continue, Blitzwing
demanded that it be halted.  Galvatron vowed vengeance, expelled
Blitzwing from the ranks of the Decepticons, and fled with his
Decepticons, ordering a simultaneous pullout of Earth.
SIDEBAR: BLITZWING: THE FIRST NEO-DECEPTICON?
Blitzwing's expulsion from the ranks of the Decepticons is unique in
that it is the first documented case in which an expelled Decepticon,
rather than become a simple independent or non-combatant, instead
joined the ranks of the Autobots.  Interviews with Autobots who knew
Blitzwing in this time confirm that there was no trace of the
Corruption in him; some, who had known him before the Corruption, have
said that he was just as they remembered him from the golden age.
Where did this lowly Decepticon Triple Changer find the strength to be
the first of his kind to successfully throw off the Corruption?  No
one knows.
DARK AWAKENING
Several largely uneventful years after the Quintesson Incident, on 12
February 2015 Standard, an Autobot force, including Rodimus Prime,
discovered the Autobot Mausoleum Ship, a space faring memorial
containing the remains of many great Autobot heroes, including those
of Optimus Prime.  While aboard the Mausoleum, the Autobots were
attacked by a pursuing Decepticon detachment, who were driven away by
the timely intervention of
 Optimus Prime.  Needless to say, this caused a bit of surprise,
but the Autobots were too overjoyed at the return of their beloved
leader to ask questions.  Rodimus Prime turned over the Matrix of
Leadership immediately, despite Optimus Prime's protests, and reverted
to his original Hot Rod form.  Shortly thereafter, Prime rendered the
other Autobots unconscious and left the Mausoleum with its
auto-destruct set; when he reached Cybertron he told the Autobots
there that the force who had found him were killed by a Quintesson
attack, and that only he escaped.  He then led the entire Autobot
fleet on a mission against the Quintessons' new base: a mission which
was, to put it simply, flying into a massive trap.
Unfortunately for the Quintessons, two things went wrong with their
plan.  The first was that Hot Rod had regained consciousness and
terminated the Mausoleum's auto-destruct sequence, and the Autobots
had then piloted the ship back to Cybertron, then taken a fast shuttle
to catch up to the fleet.  The other was their chief tool himself, for
Optimus Prime was beginning, with the aid of the Matrix, to realize
what had happened to him.
When Hot Rod and the others arrived, Optimus Prime had sealed himself
in the command center of the flagship, alone.  Hot Rod, fired by anger
at having been duped, went in after him, and he and Prime fought, with
Prime constantly imploring Hot Rod to stop him, to take the Matrix
from him.  Eventually, stunned by one of Hot Rod's blows, Prime
stopped fighting and figured out the full truth.
That truth was: he was not Optimus Prime at all.  The Quintessons had
rebuilt the shattered body they had found, and enabled some of its
memory systems (all Transformer memories remain resident after death;
dead Transformers have no life force, and no one is certain why it
cannot normally be restored and the robotic body 'restarted') with a
simpler intelligence that would mimic the real Optimus Prime's mind
well enough to fool anyone who expected him to be in shock following a
resurrection.  The deception had fooled everyone -- even itself.
Contact with the Matrix had reawakened other parts of Prime's mind,
apparently, and he realized what he was: a zombie, undead and nearly
mindless.  To maintain the illusion the Quintessons had not repaired
any but the most vital damage to the body, which left it weak and
underpowered -- which explains why Hot Rod, brave though he
undoubtedly was, stood a fighting chance in their battle.
Optimus Prime, now sufficiently in control to resist the Quintessons'
programming at least for a time, returned the Matrix to Hot Rod
(returning him to the form of Rodimus Prime), then told him to
evacuate the Autobots from the area and ordered the fleet into
retreat.  He then piloted the flagship, alone, through a withering
firestorm of Quintesson defenses and destroyed the Quintesson command
center.  When he did so, the framework intelligence, dependent on
transmitted power from that command center, died, and with it, so did
the never-truly-resurrected Optimus Prime.  His body was recovered and
taken to Cybertron, where it, like the others aboard the Mausoleum,
was entombed in the newly-constructed Hall of Heroes in Iacon.
DOUBT AND DANGER
The Dark Awakening incident left Rodimus Prime deeply shaken.  On the
one hand, Optimus Prime had personally charged him with defending the
Matrix, which meant he no longer felt like a usurper; on the other, he
now felt the _direct_ pressure of responsibility, coming from Optimus
Prime himself.  In addition, he was berating himself for being so
naive as to hand over the Matrix to Optimus Prime without first
authenticating him somehow.  A medical examination would have revealed
his lack of true life, but Rodimus had chosen to hand over the Matrix
right there on the Mausoleum, leaving himself and the others open to
ambush.  He felt a fool for the whole incident, and there was the
additional pain of dealing with Optimus Prime's loss a second to deal
with as well.
Galvatron chose this moment, naturally, to launch, finally, a
full-scale, no-holds-barred, all-out invasion of Cybertron, which
began on 3 March 2015 Standard.  In the course of this war, the most
violent Cybertron had seen in millennia, the Autobots were backed by
the Wedge Defense Force in large numbers; the Decepticons were
supported by Imperial Gamelon troops and legions of suspiciously
familiar-looking robotic soldiers which were later conclusively proven
to have been supplied by GENOM Corporation.  The war raged for months.
Rodimus Prime and his generals defended Cybertron ably, but were
unable to mount enough of a counteroffensive to drive the Decepticons
away.  Rodimus Prime was stricken with severe self-doubt during this
war; Ultra Magnus, his chief aide, has said that he spent most of the
time he wasn't actually in combat 'moping, and brooding.  He said
once, 'Magnus, our _real_ leader would have ended this battle by now.
Optimus Prime would have won by now.'  I couldn't convince him that he
had the power to live up to Optimus no one could.'
FIRST CONTACT
On 15 May 2015 Standard, WDF _Hawkwind_, a Wedge Defense Force
transport carrying reinforcements from Autobot City to Cybertron was
intercepted by a Decepticon blockade patrol.  Damaged and seeking to
escape, the transport, a Corellian Heavy Industries JN-1990 bulk
freighter, jumped to hyperspace without an adequate navicomputer fix.
When the crew got it under control, they were outside known space.
Looking for a place to put down for repairs, _Hawkwind_'s crew located
a class-M planet orbiting a nearby star.  While they set their
astrogator to work at figuring out just what star that was, the rest
of them dropped ship on the planet and set about effecting repairs.
Shortly, they found themselves contacted by natives of the planet,
which they were told was named Nebulon.  The Nebulans, a humanoid
race, were highly advanced technologically and had recently been
considering initiating contact with the United Galactica, having
recently perfected interstellar travel.
The damage to the ship was more extensive than had been previously
thought; the uncontrolled journey had damaged the hyper drive core, and
an overhaul would be required.  The Nebulans immediately pledged their
alliance and began assisting with the repairs.  One of their top
scientists, a brilliant man named HiQ, became fascinated by
Transformers, and studied them extensively during the two months it
took to repair the transport.  Out of his studies of Transformers and
humanoid/Transformer interactions, the binary-bonding process would be
extended to humanoid minds, and the first combined
humanoid/Transformer teams would be produced through biocybernetic
reconstruction operations devised by HiQ.  By the time _Hawkwind_ left
Nebulon on 19 July 2015, the first of the Targetmasters and Type One
Headmasters were aboard.
SIDEBAR: THE HIQ PROCESSES
There are six major categories of humanoid/Transformer binary
partnership; five are covered by processes created by HiQ of Nebulon.
They are:
1) Headmaster, Type One:
        This partnership is the most unique as interactions go.  A
living Transformer, his cerebration unit transferred to a position
within his body, is bonded to a humanoid whose body, equipped with an
infra-restruction armor and certain biocybernetic augmentations,
becomes the body's head.  The two minds, while the bodies are joined,
may function separately, with either one choosing to let the other
control the body's actions, or they may merge into a gestalt with a
single identity, producing a strange fusion of personalities, the
stronger of the two dominant.  The partners in this kind of fusion
tend to be the closest together, emotionally.
2) Headmaster, Type Two:
        In this partnership, the humanoid again forms the head of a
Transformer body, but the body itself is not sentient; the Transformer
who was processed was dead when the process began.  This produces an
interesting effect: the humanoid's personality, being the only one
present, controls the body, but the mind has access to the
Transformer's original memories and experiences.  Over time, this can
cause the humanoid's personality to begin to mirror that of the dead
Transformer, producing an eerily familiar effect to people who knew
the Transformer before his death.  This process is rarely performed,
and is usually only done on Transformers who expressed a desire that
their bodies be processed in the event of their deaths.
3) Targetmaster:
        In this partnership, the humanoid component transforms into a
weapon which is wielded by the Transformer.  The mental dynamics in
this form of partnership are not as profound as in Headmastership; the
partners will generally be close, and know almost everything about
each other, but their identities rarely merge (only when the
Transformer is taking a completely absorbing, all-or-nothing shot).
Most of the time, the link is very similar to that of a smart gun; the
humanoid component provides a great deal of status and targeting
information.
4) Powermaster:
        The most spectacular, and rarest, of the HiQ Processes, the
Powermaster Process takes the humanoid and transforms him into an
engine or power source within the host Transformer.  This gives the
Transformer incredible power in robot mode and powers him in vehicle
form (non-vehicle Transformers are rarely, if ever, processed this
way); without the humanoid, a Powermaster Transformer cannot function
in vehicle mode.  The mental dynamics here are as they are with
Targetmasters; only when the Transformer is concentrating fully on
power will the personalities synchronize as in Type One Headmasters.
Most of the time, the Transformer is in control, and though they minds
are in constant contact and may converse telepathically, the humanoid
is just along for the ride.
5) Cybermaster:
        In this process, the gestalt mind is given top priority, for a
different reason altogether.  The humanoid generally forms some kind
of backup processor unit, and the Transformer is generally a piece of
computer or communications equipment.  This partnership does nothing
useful in the physical world, but in cyberspace, the gestalt-formed
unit is a nearly unstoppable force.  When not synchronized, the
partners are mentally close, but not joined, as with the Targetmaster
and Powermaster processes.  This process does not have an evolutionary
effect, unlike the others, since it is used fairly rarely, and the
partners have more separate physical existences than in the other
processes.  The principal authors are a Cybermaster team.
6) Other binary partnerships:
        There are a few other known forms of binary partnership.  The
best-documented cases are the reverse-Targetmaster partnership of 3WA
Trouble Consultant Priss Morgan and Megatron, the Decepticon supreme
commander (this functions exactly like a Targetmaster teaming, except
that the Transformer is the weapon) and the pilot-vehicle partnership
of WDF General Patricia Currier and Starscream, Decepticon Air
Commander (reserve), which is functionally identical to Type One
Headmastership, but since Starscream has a functional cockpit in all
modes, does not require the removal of his original head.
Evolutionary effects:
        Most binary partnerships have an evolutionary effect.  As the
humanoid component moves toward the end of his lifespan, his
personality and that of the Transformer become closer and closer
together, until finally, they are permanently synchronized.  When the
humanoid component dies, his personality becomes a facet of the
Transformer's.  (Note that this may require retooling of the
Transformer, in the case of Headmasters and Powermasters.)  When the
humanoid components of Type Two Headmasters die, the unit dies as
well, since there is no Transformer mind to merge with.
SECOND WAVE; NEW STALEMATE
WDF _Hawkwind_ and her first-contact crew arrived at Cybertron on 22
July 2015.  They were two months late, but what they had with them
made up for that, because the new Headmasters and Targetmasters proved
frighteningly effective in combat.  Unfortunately, an unscrupulous
Nebulan scientist named Zarkon, one of HiQ's aides, stole the data on
the Processes and sold it to the Decepticon Swindle, who in turn sold
it to the Constructicons, who immediately began retooling Decepticon
and Gamelon 'volunteers' with the processes.  (They, of course, did
not submit to binary-bonding themselves.)  When he heard of this,
Galvatron was furious, but when he was shown the effectiveness of the
new troops in combat, he relented and did not have the Constructicons
executed.
The war was even again, the technological advancements of the Nebulans
thwarted by Zarkon's treachery.  Rodimus Prime sank into despair, more
convinced than ever that he was not commanding well.  Meanwhile, HiQ
worked feverishly to develop some new breakthrough which would turn
the tide of battle again.  During this phase of the war, the
possibility of Type Two Headmasters was postulated during a rest-time
discussion between a few Autobots, including Perceptor, Snarl, and
Fortress Maximus, and HiQ.  The idea was shelved at the time, since
it, to quote Snarl, 'Gave everybody the creeps.'
BREAKTHROUGH
At a loss, searching for inspiration, HiQ decided to visit the crypt
of Optimus Prime, a leader he had read and seen almost all the
historical data available for since his arrival on Cybertron.  While
there, HiQ, who was an expert with energy fields and their
interaction dynamics, and had cybernetically modified himself to be
more sensitive to them, noticed something unusual about Optimus
Prime's remains.  He went back to his lab, excited, and got some
equipment; before long he had set up a complete field lab in the
crypt.  Eventually, after a solid week of uninterrupted work and
study, he felt he had the answer.  Optimus Prime was alive -- barely
-- apparently through the action of the Matrix within him while he was
'undead' during the Dark Awakening incident.  All he required,
according to HiQ's calculations, was a properly modulated, massive
burst of energy to revive him, and a power source of sufficient
magnitude to sustain him afterward and serve as an anchor.  HiQ
compared the concept to a human being with an artificial heart -- and
he had an idea of what to use to modify the energy.
From this week of work was born the Powermaster Process.  Optimus
Prime's body, with the permission of Rodimus Prime, was retooled by
HiQ, Perceptor, and the Technobots into the Powermaster form,
including the void where his original laser core had been and where
his new, massive power source would be installed.  HiQ, meanwhile, had
modified himself and constructed an infra-restruction armor for
himself.  He fully intended to _be_ that source.  Now, all that was
needed was an initial power surge 
FORT MAX CHEATS DEATH KIND OF
On the eve of HiQ's bold experiment, on 12 August 2015, a great
tragedy struck the Autobot forces.  Fortress Maximus was cornered and
mortally wounded by a massive Decepticon strike force.  When he was
discovered, he was clinging barely to the edge of death, and before he
died, he asked 'Spike' Witwicky, the only humanoid present and a
friend, to use his body after his death, to see if the Type Two
Headmaster Process would really work.  Unwilling to disobey his
friend's dying wish, Spike had himself modified by HiQ's assistants
and became the head of Fortress Maximus.  The process was successful,
and Fortress Maximus, eerily familiar and yet oddly different,
returned to the battlefront.
THE MATRIX SPEAKS
HiQ, meanwhile, was almost beside himself with frustration.  Optimus
Prime's new form was ready, and HiQ had tested source after source of
energy against the magnitude of power he calculated was required to
pull Optimus Prime back over the brink, and found all of them vastly
wanting.  What was required was a power source of almost infinite
magnitude.
Then it occurred to him, in one of those flashes of inspiration which
an Earthier scientist had once named 'a Eureka Event': the energy
source which had given Prime this chance at resurrection in the first
place was the only thing that could complete the Powermaster Process
and bring him back -- if anything could.  He approached Rodimus Prime
with his calculations and asked for his assistance, and Rodimus,
desperate to have Optimus Prime back, agreed readily.
What followed, on 15 August 2015, was best described by Ultra Magnus,
who was one of the Autobots who witnessed it.
        Every Autobot who could be spared gathered in the crypt, where
most of HiQ's machines had been cleared away.  Optimus Prime was
stretched out on his bier, his body larger, bulkier, and bristling
with new armaments, both familiar-looking and strange.  HiQ stood in
the middle of his abdomen, in the opening where his grille had once
been, wearing his red, white, and blue infra-restruction armor, his
helmet in his hands.  There must have been thirty of us there: most of
Prime's Old Guard were ranked on either side of him, and Rodimus Prime
stood at his feet.  The lights were low, and as Rodimus opened his
chest panel, we could clearly see the glow of the Matrix.  I had never
seen it glow so brightly in all the times I'd seen it; it was as if it
knew what was happening, and was just as excited and frightened as the
rest of us.
        Someone -- I don't know who -- turned the lights completely
out then, and HiQ very solemnly put on his helmet and said, 'I am
ready, Rodimus Prime.  Begin.'
        Rodimus held up the Matrix, put his fingers into the sockets,
and said those immortal words: 'Now light our darkest hour.'
        The Matrix's glow became nearly blinding, and with a hiss, the
casing split and separated away from the blue crystal, which hovered
in midair.  For a moment, a nimbus of energy tendrils crackled around
Rodimus, as if they were uncertain what it was they were supposed to
be doing.  Then, one or two of snaked out and touched Optimus Prime,
like the fingers of a blinded man, searching.  More and more thin
bolts of Matrix energy curled over Prime's body, as if they were
mapping him: up and down his arms and legs, across his great chest,
over his face.  Then they found HiQ.
        The energy began to intensify, the glow becoming brighter
still, and more and more tendrils shot out and ran over Prime and HiQ
both; and then, with a suddenness that was startling, they all
unified, and with a roar like a photon cannon, the Matrix was shooting
a solid beam of energy into HiQ.  He screamed so loud, it could be
heard over the roar of the Matrix; I know I saw excess energy shooting
from his eyes.  He transformed, then, into the engine, fitting
smoothly into the socket and forming the familiar grille.  The Matrix
kept pouring energy into him, and before long it was like a light was
shining inside Prime's body.  Blue Matrix light was shining out of
every crack and joint, and the windows in his chest were throwing
squares of light on the ceiling even over the glare of the Matrix.
        Then, the outpouring of energy began to slow, and presently,
it ceased, and the silence and dark were deafening and blinding.  The
lights came back up a little, and as we watched, the Matrix's case
slid shut again with a soft click, closing over the crystal which was
now glowing ever so faintly, all of its power thrown into that
incredible river of power.  Rodimus Prime shrank a bit, converting
back to Hot Rod again; the Matrix could not sustain his form.
        I don't think anyone in the room dared to even think for the
eternal next few seconds and then, Optimus Prime's optics
flickered, then glowed strongly.  He stirred, then moved, then sat up
and looked around the room, and to my last functional day, I will
never forget what he said.
        'Autobots,' he said, in that deep growl of a voice he had, 'we
must be in serious trouble.'
THE RETURN OF OPTIMUS PRIME
Optimus Prime, Powermaster, took command of the Autobot forces on
Cybertron at 14:37 Zulu, 15 August 2015 Standard.  He was, at first,
scrutinized (discreetly) by several concerned parties to see if the
process would hold, experimental as it was.  Prime showed no signs of
weakness as he swung instantly into action, traveling here and there
boosting morale and directing defense operations.  The Decepticons did
not yet know he had returned; they only knew that Autobot resistance
was stiffening exponentially, and their enemies' morale skyrocketing.
Confused, Galvatron ordered his troops to regroup for a full assault
on Iacon.
When he was informed of this, Optimus Prime went immediately to the
south gate, where the spearhead of the attack currently was, and,
after coordinating the defense operations so that they would function
without him, he went out to meet the attackers personally.
OPTIMUS PRIME V. GALVATRON: ROUND ONE
Galvatron was, needless to say, quite startled by the appearance of
Optimus Prime on the battlements, perhaps even more so by the way
Prime chose to make his entrance.  At 19:43 Zulu, the south gate of
Iacon opened, making a space barely wide enough for a large
Transformer to pass.  Again, an excerpt from text written by one of
the witnesses of this event will capture its spirit better than the
dry language of a textbook.  This excerpt is from the journal of the
current Decepticon acting commander, Thunderwind, who was then a
warrior named Thundercracker.
        The gates rumbled open about six meters, and for a second, we
all stopped, and the guns fell silent.  We were shocked -- they were
opening the gates?  They were giving up?  It was so amazing we all
just stopped fighting and stared.  And then we started to hear it a
low, dull roar, like some kind of huge engine.  Then we could see a
couple of lights, from inside the opening of the gate.  The noise got
louder and the lights got brighter, and then he just _appeared_,
roaring out of Iacon with fire shooting from his stacks, his
headlights blazing: a huge red semi truck, his trailer mounting heavy
artillery pieces.  Sleeker, bigger, more dangerous-looking, but
unmistakable: in a half-cycle, all of us knew who we were looking at,
and my laser core was in my throat all of a sudden.
        Galvatron knew too, although it took him a moment to realize
it, but when he did, he completely wigged out.  I still can hear his
voice, screaming madly, 'NO!  I KILLED YOU!  I -KILLED- YOU!!'
        It wasn't long after that that Galvatron was giving the
familiar order to retreat again.
Indeed, enraged by the idea that Optimus Prime could be alive (since,
thinking he was Megatron, Galvatron believed he'd killed him),
Galvatron ordered his warriors to back off while he dealt with Prime
himself.  Unfortunately, he grossly underestimated Prime's power
levels, unaware as he was of the Powermaster Process, and was badly
beaten before fleeing and taking his army with him.  In a little less
than eight hours, Optimus Prime had ended the war.
SIDEBAR: HOT ROD, ONCE AND FUTURE LEADER
Hot Rod, once he was rid of the onus of leadership, did not remain
depressed for long.  He took Optimus Prime's swift victory as proof of
his own inadequacy for command, then shrugged it off, saying that 'It
doesn't matter now that I'm not -in- command, does it?' with that
characteristic grin of his which had been seen only rarely since 2005.
He seemed not at all bitter about losing his position -- in fact, he
was downright relieved.  However, Optimus Prime has assured all that
his service will not be forgotten, and although Hot Rod has refused to
take any rank other than that which he possessed before the Unicron
Incident, Prime has informed him, and the rest of the Autobots, that
he intends Hot Rod to succeed him as Autobot leader, should he fall
again.  Hot Rod doesn't seem worried.
PEACE FOR A TIME
For the next eleven years, Cybertron was relatively peaceful.  There
were occasional Decepticon raids both there and on Earth, but by and
large, the Decepticons remained hidden and quiet, little more than a
nuisance.  They had apparently terminated their relationship with both
GENOM Corporation and the Gamelon Empire.  For all intents and
purposes, they disappeared.
INVASION BY SUBTERFUGE
On 19 August 2026, a major Decepticon strike force arrived on
Cybertron.  The Autobot defenses, more than adequate to stand against
a direct assault, found themselves all but useless as the Decepticons
performed an operations which seemed wildly uncharacteristic, even for
Galvatron.  Through a series of brilliant tricks, switches, and
deceptions which completely outmaneuvered Cybertron's chief of
security, Kup, the Decepticons were in assault positions before anyone
knew they were there.  Only hours after the Decepticons sprang their
trap, Optimus Prime requested Wedge Defense Force assistance.
With the WDF's assistance, the Autobots held the line against the
Decepticon invaders, but just barely so.  The Decepticons were
fighting with a zeal and morale that had not been seen since the glory
days of Megatron, and the Autobots had no new tricks to throw at them.
They had air supremacy despite the intervention of the Wedge Defense
Force's elite fighter groups.  They owned the ground despite the WDF's
Destroid units backing up the Autobot infantry.  Nothing, it seemed,
could stand in the face of their relentless advance -- except
Autobase, the Autobots' backup headquarters bunker on the opposite
side of Iacon from the assault force.  Within three days even Iacon
had fallen, and all that remained was Autobase.  To destroy Autobase,
Galvatron ordered in Devastator, and it seemed that, within hours,
Cybertron would fall to the Decepticons.
THE HAMMER STRIKES
There was time for only one attempt at stopping Devastator: an
eleventh-hour scheme created by a Wedge Defense Force simulation
artist, an aging Earthier officer, Martin 'PCHammer' Rose.  (No one
knows.  He refuses to explain.)  Rose had constructed a simulation of
Devastator and attempted to destroy it with any means necessary, and
had discovered, quite by accident, the monster's weak point -- placed
there by the Constructicons themselves, in anticipation of falling to
the Corruption, millennia before.  
Devastator was and is different from all other Transformer composite
teams.  Whereas most composites are held together and motivated by
mechanical linkages and servos, Devastator adds to that a force field
similar to that used by the so-called Gryphon style of starships (such
as the Constitution class) for structural integrity and motivation.
The six Constructicons are linked together mechanically as well, but
without his structural integrity field, Devastator cannot maintain his
integrity.  Rose discovered that certain seismic vibration
frequencies would disrupt this field -- the weakness the
Constructicons themselves had given their monstrous alter ego before
the Corruption took them.
Working against time, Rose, Blaster, and Perceptor effected a daring
trap for Devastator.  Using a hologram of himself as bait, Rose lured
Devastator onto a concealed ground-wave generator apparatus built at
the very doorstep of Autobase.  Then, as Devastator entered the trap,
he was magnetized to the ground and shaken apart.  It worked
perfectly, and the Decepticons, their spearhead shattered, withdrew.
GALVATRON'S REVENGE
Before leaving Cybertron, though, Galvatron discovered that a human
had been responsible for the defeat of Devastator.  Enraged, he
remained behind, watched Rose board his personal aero spacecraft (a
unique transforming vehicle of his own design), and then shot that
vehicle down in flames.  Galvatron then departed, confident that his
revenge was complete.
It was not.  Rose, trapped and unconscious within the wreckage of his
vehicle, was still alive, and for the next week, a team of WDF and
Autobot medics fought to separate him from the remains of the vehicle
and save him.  It was during this period that WDF Chief Medical
Officer Jenna Steen discovered that the peculiar makeup of the
vehicle's computer systems, the energy patterns of Galvatron's weapon,
and the power sources of Rose's vehicle had conspired (perhaps, as
some Transformers who were present believe, with the will of Primus)
to inextricably link his nervous system with the vehicle's shattered
electronics.
It was then that HiQ was consulted, and the Nebulan genius turned his
encyclopedic knowledge of Transformer/humanoid interactions to work.
Combined with Autobot Chief Medical Officer Ratchet and Protectobot
medic First Aid's mastery of Transformer anatomy and Doctor Steen's
extensive human medical skill, he adapted the sub-ether
infra-restruction technique used in his Master Processes to a rather
unusual use.  Martin Rose survived, and was forever changed.
SIDEBAR: THE HUMAN AUTOBOT
When Martin Rose emerged from the medical facility (ironically enough,
on his sixtieth birthday), he was a bizarre fusion of human and
Transformer.  In his base form, he looked and felt perfectly human
(much like any Master human, out of his infra-restruction armor).
With a cybernetic act of will, he could convert himself into his
vehicle, armor and all, and all trace of organics vanished.  This was,
without a doubt, HiQ's ultimate expression of his philosophy that man
and machine could be truly one, and no one alive today understands how
it works -- least of all Martin Rose, who has been, apparently,
rendered functionally immortal by the process.
Martin Rose was not the first human to be officially commissioned an
Autobot (that honor belongs to 'Spike' Witwicky, who was commissioned
by Optimus Prime in 2000), but he was the first Autobot to be a member
of the Wedge Defense Force, and still serves, as a member of the
Criminal Investigation Division, today.
THE LONG PAUSE
The beaten Decepticons vanished off the map in 2026.  Nothing was seen
of them for decades.  The Autobots rebuilt Cybertron (again), and many
of them followed PCHammer into the Wedge Defense Force and Worlds
Welfare Work Association.  (The most famous Transformer 3WA Trouble
Consultant team is #979, the Protectobots.)  Nothing at all happened
during this period, which some more action-oriented Transformers, such
as Hot Rod, referred to as 'The Yawn'.
DEATH OF A LEGEND
On June 1, 2091 Standard, HiQ, an old Nebulan at 140, fell ill.  Three
days later, peacefully in bed, surrounded by friends, he died, and
when he did, the Powermaster Process he and Optimus Prime had begun
seventy-six years previous completed itself spectacularly.  HiQ's
personality became one of the facets of Prime's complicated
personality, and Prime himself was finally stabilized, capable of
surviving without the Powermaster conversion.
After the funeral, which was held on the sixth, Optimus Prime left
Ultra Magnus in command of the Autobot forces on Cybertron and boarded
the SDF-17, the WDF's flagship _Wayward Son_.  There, a WDF mechanical
team, in consultation with Ratchet and Wheeljack, began the task of
reconstructing his body to remove the handicap the Powermaster
conversion had now become.  Prime permitted the team to take much
longer than usual during the reconstruction of his body so that they
could study his workings and learn more about Transformer physiology.
In the meantime, Prime himself had other plans for spending the two
years the reconstruction would eventually take.
On the twelfth of June, Optimus Prime's intelligence was
cybernetically transferred to the brain of a cloned and gene tailored
human body by the WDF Life Sciences Division.  To protect his much
more fragile new form, he was given a false identity as a Wedge
Defense Force junior officer, and was posted as a fighter pilot to
Gryphon's famed Eight-Ball Squadron, serving as a fill-in for the
squad's usual Executive Officer, Lcdr. Dave Ritchie.  (Ritchie, it is
said, had taken a sabbatical to go hunting.)
For the next two years, Senior Lieutenant Olaf Petersson, a tall,
handsome Nordic man of indeterminate middle age, served as the
Eight-Ball Squadron's number-two man, flying Gryphon's wing.  He
performed the job admirably, and all agreed when Lt. Petersson
'retired' from the WDF on 19 June 2093 that he would be missed.  The
next day, Optimus Prime, in his new robotic form, showed up for
Gryphon's 120th birthday party.  As for Lt. Petersson, he's still seen
every now and again, since Optimus Prime is now, perhaps, the most
unique Powermaster of them all -- his own.
RENEWAL OF HOSTILITIES
The turn of the century saw the Decepticons reappearing, this time
allied militarily with the warriors of Kilrah.  The Seventh Kilrathi
War began on 9 January 2102 with, as usual, a simultaneous invasion of
the Vega and Enigma sectors -- except that this time, the Enigma
invasion-force was 80% Decepticon.  The Decepticons were not pleased
by this development -- the mighty Decepticon Army, forced to work as
mercenaries for carbon creatures -- but hard times had forced it on
them.  It was either this, or starve again, as in the beginning of the
last century.
The WDF mobilized against the Kilrathi invaders, and with them were
the many Autobots who had joined during the Yawn.  Soon the Enigma
sector operations had become another joint effort.  This was Kilrah's
biggest push to date, and despite the fact that Optimus Prime and
MegaZone played off each other's plans brilliantly (and with what one
observer termed 'inspired lunacy'), the war dragged.  Soon it was
evident that it would be a long and hard-fought battle to drive the
Kilrathi and their Decepticon hirelings from each and every world they
owned -- galactic trench warfare at its worst.
With the SDF-17 in the Vega sector and Optimus Prime's flagship, 
CWS _Remembrance_, in Enigma, the two-fronted war ground on and on,
affording no opportunities for the kind of personal-touch warfare that
Optimus Prime favored.  Fourteen years of unremitting combat began to
wear heavily on even the motivated and patient Autobots, not least
because this war, unlike most of their own, was affecting millions of
uninvolved beings on the conquered worlds.  The WDF's patience had run
out long ago.  They were hanging on through grim determination and
sheer stubbornness.  Then, in the middle of 2116, an opportunity came.
GHORAH KHAR
Intelligence data gathered by the Autobots' master spy, Punch,
indicated that Galvatron was going to personally command Decepticon
operations on Ghorah Khar from June through August of 2116.  Ghorah
Khar was a Kilrathi border world; it had been Kilrathi territory
before the war, but had flared into revolt at the beginning of the
decade and added itself to the hot spots list.  The Kilrathi
government had apparently thought that a show of force from their
Decepticon allies would quiet the rebellion -- a rebellion which the
Elite Guard themselves had not been able to quell in six years.
Optimus Prime sent the _Remembrance_ and the rest of the battle group
on to another area, leaving Ultra Magnus in command, and took a small
strike force to Ghorah Khar, hoping that this would be the break he
needed.
It was.  On 14 July 2116, the Autobot force ran a Kilrathi/Decepticon
blockade and landed successfully on Ghorah Khar.  Although they
encountered stiff resistance from the ground forces entrenched there,
they reached Galvatron's capital by the twentieth, whereupon Optimus
Prime issued a challenge to Galvatron.  Still smarting from his defeat
of a century earlier, Galvatron flew into a rage, injuring three
subordinates who encouraged him to order a retreat, and went to face
Optimus Prime in single combat.
OPTIMUS PRIME V. GALVATRON: ROUND TWO
The fight which ensued has been called the single most impressive
combat in Transformer history.  It lasted for nearly three hours.
During the course of the combat, both parties refused assistance from
supporters numerous times, and the outcome was constantly in doubt.
Some say it was Galvatron's finest hour; considering his consistent
record of retreat from even remotely threatening situations, it does
seem uncharacteristically tenacious of him to actually carry a duel
through to its conclusion.
In the end, it was Optimus Prime who proved victorious, breaking
Galvatron and with him the fighting spirit of the Decepticon forces.
They gathered up their leader's shattered remains (after his passing
was confirmed by Ratchet) and vanished, not to be seen again for
nearly three centuries.
Ominously, though the event went largely unremarked, Unicron's head
vanished from Cybertron's orbit at around this same time.
THE BIG YAWN
At long last, the Decepticons were vanquished, and peace returned to
Cybertron.  Truth to tell, most of the Autobots found this all
insufferably boring, even worse than the last gap in the action.
Those who couldn't or didn't want to settle back into polite society
stayed with the WDF, the 3WA, or other military and police
organizations.
Aside from poorly-documented, possibly spurious encounters in the
Outer Rim Territories, nothing more was seen or heard of the
Decepticons until 2412.
SURPRISE ATTACK
In one of the most poorly-timed offensives of all time, a Decepticon
force under Shockwave assaulted and sought to secure the Iacon region.
A lightning strike on the Iacon Diplomatic Center, where a Salusian
special envoy was engaged in talks with Autobot leadership about the
Salusia-Cybertron alliance's position with regard to Federation border
defense, was intended to kill Optimus Prime and his staff, rendering
the defenses of the area disorganized.  Fortunately, Shockwave's
intelligence was in error - Optimus Prime was still at Autobot City on
Earth.  The Salusian special envoy, his 3WA escorts, and Ultra Magnus,
the senior Autobot on the scene, were miraculously uninjured in the
attack, and, seeking to get off world and alert the Autobot City forces
to the attack, they went to the Iacon spaceport.
There, they encountered the second big surprise of the day.
MEGATRON'S RETURN
At the spaceport, Ultra Magnus and his companions encountered an
apparition from the past - none other than Megatron, former Decepticon
Commander Supreme.  They found this most confusing, since Megatron was
not only supposed to be dead, but a -different- dead Transformer, by
that point in time.  Even more confusing, he did not want to fight
with them.  Instead, he engaged in ritual combat with Shockwave,
destroying him, and declared his intention to return the Decepticon
Army to its former state of glory and erase the Corruption.
A startlingly high number of Decepticons joined him; those who did not
attacked Megatron en masse.  When the smoke cleared, only Megatron was
standing, and his supporters pledged their allegiance with one voice.
The Army of the Decepticons was almost whole again.
SIDEBAR: MEGATRON'S REVERSAL
Here, in Megatron's own words, is the story of what happened to
Megatron during the time he was believed to be Galvatron, and  how he
shook off the Corruption.
        I encountered Unicron [in 2005] he offered to remake me,
and the other Decepticons that traitor [Starscream] had abandoned, in
return for servitude.  I refused.  I belong to nobody.  Unicron was
displeased, and left me, and the others, to drift.
        In four hundred years of drifting in the void, I learned
much about myself.  After all, for the first time in millennia, there
was no war to take up my concentration, no treacherous underlings to
watch my back for.  Nothing occupying my mind except itself  Human
beings can remake themselves with mere decades of thought and
reflection, and we are not so different from them as we would
sometimes like to believe.
        Do you remember when the word 'Decepticon' was a word that
inspired trust, respect, thoughts of integrity and honor?  Do you
remember when every Transformer's dream was to earn a place in the
ranks of the Decepticons?  When we protected Cybertron from the
ravages of off-world despoilers?  When we stopped the empire-building
tendencies of the decadent old monarchy?  Decepticons freed Cybertron
from the Quintessons not Autobots.  The Autobots didn't even exist
then.  I fought in that war, as a general to the Decepticon Commander
Supreme, Scorponok.  Do you remember Scorponok?
        And then, we grew complacent, sure of our power.  Corruption
spread in our ranks.  Our standards were lowered, and the rabble
started to enter the ranks.  Even the mighty Scorponok was not immune
to the spreading corruption, and it seemed the easiest thing in the
world to slip into power-mad imperialism.  If you ask Optimus Prime,
he will tell you: before the Cybertronian Wars, I was an honorable
robot.  I began my decline when we invaded Tellar.  Something in me
changed the day Scorponok ordered me to take my brigade and break up a
simple civilian peace demonstration with lethal force.  At first I
hated following those orders; then, slowly, I came to accept them, and
then to even enjoy my work.
        Then ambition and power-lust overtook me.  I assassinated
Scorponok--my own creator, a leader I had revered for centuries!--and
took his place.  I kept my position through force and intimidation,
slaughtering all who sought to oppose me.  I killed innocent civilians
for fun  That practice was to prove my undoing.  One of the
civilians I slaughtered would be rebuilt as Optimus Prime my
opposite number, my greatest arch-foe.
        For millennia, I kept going that way, allowing all manner of
scum and villainy to join my army, crushing the Autobots whenever I
could, always, it seemed, with the upper hand, but never enough to be
victorious.  And then, in 2005, Optimus Prime and I met for our final
battle, and all but destroyed each other.  Starscream abandoned me,
and I drifted, all but dead, unable to do anything but think and
reflect, for four centuries.
        Over that time, I realized about myself all that I have just
told you, and it sickened me.  I believe--I hope--that I have purged
the madness and evil from myself, and I set myself a similar goal for
my return.  When I returned, when I was rescued, I vowed that I would
purge the Decepticon Army as well, and return them to their former
glory.  And then, after a cold eternity in the void, my wish was
answered.  I encountered a vessel of the Cylon Empire, and, fascinated
by my mechanical complexity, they picked me up.
        My wounds had healed over the centuries, just as my mind had;
all I required to be fully revived was energy.  The Cylons, in their
attempts to disassemble and examine me, provided me enough to become
ambulatory again.  I attempted to be diplomatic with them, but they
only responded with violence, leaving me no choice but to answer them
in kind.  The engine core of their ship provided me with all the power
I needed to return to Cybertron.
HARBINGER
Megatron's day of combat was not over yet, however.  After undergoing
repairs for the injuries sustained in his battle with Shockwave and
his loyalists, he found himself locked in mortal combat with his most
surprising enemy yet - Galvatron, recreated yet again by Unicron.  In
the ensuing combat, Megatron found himself blinded, and was saved by
the intervention of a human who, in the ensuing battle, became his
binary partner, 3WA agent Priss Morgan.  Galvatron was destroyed by
the newly-bonded team.
While Megatron underwent repairs for -that- battle, Optimus Prime
arrived on Cybertron and went to meet with the Decepticon leader.  Not
long after that meeting, a small group of Decepticons under the ad-hoc
command of Windrazor broke away from the new Decepticon order and
departed from Cybertron, calling themselves the Imperial Decepticons
and vowing to return and take Cybertron some day.
A resurrected Starscream, who had spent the intervening time existing as a cybernetic 'ghost' within the computer system of the Wedge Defense
Force super-dimensional fortress Wayward Son, appeared on the scene
shortly thereafter, to maximize the shock value of Megatron's day.  By
the end of that day, the Army of the Decepticons had allied themselves
with the Autobots, and Cybertron looked forward to its first real
period of unity in millennia.
First, though, it would have to face its greatest challenge.
UNICRON'S REVENGE
On October 4, 2412, Unicron reappeared over Cybertron, bent on the
final destruction of his ancient enemy's children.  This time, the
Transformers knew he was coming, defenses were dug in, and the entire
planet was on alert.  Against Unicron's size and power, all of that
amounted to nothing at all.
In the ensuing battle, the combined Transformer defenses accounted for
Unicron's minions.  Scourge, the master of the Sweeps, was shot down
by Martin 'PCHammer' Rose; Cyclonus was slain by the newly-bonded
binary team of Starscream and WDF General Patricia 'Terror' Currier.
Megatron, wielding the weapon the Constructicons had made him from the
remains of the Hammer of Primus, succeeded in seriously wounding
Unicron, but it seemed as if nothing could stop him.  The Autobot
Matrix of Leadership, still a pale shadow of its former glory after
resurrecting Optimus Prime, seemed a faint hope indeed, but, at the
eleventh hour, Prime used it anyway.
The result was astonishing.  Used in Megatron's presence for the first
time, the Autobot Matrix caused the Decepticon leader's components to
reconfigure and release a prize that no living Transformer, including
himself, had known he possessed - the long-lost Decepticon Matrix of
Leadership, its power untapped and undimmed throughout its career.
Scorponok had hidden it in the last place he thought anyone would ever
be able to look - within the body of his ablest lieutenant.
Megatron sought to release that power as a weapon against Unicron,
and, as is wont to happen on Cybertron in times of crisis, something
amazing happened.
UNTIL ALL ARE ONE
The interaction of the released Autobot and Decepticon Matrices
created an energy field that surrounded Cybertron, drawing in every
Transformer it touched.  As the field contracted, it brought all the
functional Transformers on Cybertron together, causing them to
transform into completely new shapes, until at last they all fused
together into a single huge entity, equal in size to Unicron and
possessed of the combined firepower of the whole Transformer race.
This entity - the embodiment of Primus himself - proceeded to win the
eons-old battle between himself and Unicron, destroying his ancient
enemy.
Victorious at last, Primus gave himself up to the universe,
disintegrating again into the thousands of smaller beings who make up
the Transformer race.  The echoes of his brief reappearance, though,
will continue to resound in the collective Transformer consciousness
for millennia to come.
RECONSTRUCTION
As this work goes to press, Cybertron, under the governorship of the
Autobots, with the Decepticons back in their rightful place as the
true military service of the Transformer race, is picking up the
pieces.  The damage done by Unicron's final assault will take years to
erase, but if there is one thing the people of Cybertron are good at,
it is reconstructing war-damaged areas.  Megatron now serves with the
3WA, having left the able and courageous Thunderwind in command of the
Decepticons.  Optimus Prime still leads the Autobots, a position that,
today, makes him Cybertron's effective head of state.  Peace and
unity, it seems, have returned to Cybertron at last - a unity made all
the more poignant by the revelations the Transformers have recently
endured about themselves and their gods.
As for Windrazor and his Imperial Decepticons, nothing more has been
heard of them since their departure from Cybertron, but no one expects
them to stay hidden forever.  When they inevitably return, the
Transformers of Cybertron will be ready.
On Cybertron as perhaps nowhere else in the galaxy, life goes on.
        - SAD, SW, RW; Eleanor City, 6/20/2413
               (c) 1997 Eyrie Productions, Unlimited










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