- Motto: ""Fight for a better tomorrow.""
- Weapon: Atom-Smashing Blaster
As Sky Lynx descended below the gauzy mists surrounding the unknown planet where the surge of Matrix energy had appeared, he and his Autobot companions gazed in awe at the planet’s richly exotic flora.
“Astonishing!” exclaimed Sky Lynx. “Simply incredible.”
“It’s beautiful.” agreed Arcee.
“It’s almost as stunning as...Paradron.” remarked Sandstorm hesitantly.
“Sightseeing is nice and everything,” said Springer, “but let’s not forget what we’re here for.”
“Indeed, my friend,” replied Sky Lynx, “I am already homing in on the location of the energy surge and...oh, dear, it appears we were not the only ones looking for the Matrix.”
Down below, the unmistakable glimmer of the Matrix shone in the middle of what was plainly an excavation site. Five Transformer robots, possessing neither Autobot nor Decepticon markings, were present at the site.
“This is gonna be awkward.” said Sandstorm.
“You said it, Mr. Obvious.” quipped Springer.
“Leave it to me,” said Arcee, “I know exactly what to do.”
Sky Lynx landed near the excavation and Arcee exited him while Springer and Sandstorm remained inside on standby, ready for anything.
Arcee walked towards the alien robots, never betraying her unease. She calmly removed a sliver of energon and presented it to them, after which she spoke the universal greeting: “Bah weep grana weep ni ni bong.”
Their reply was swift and vicious, drawing their guns and firing point blank at Arcee, who fell hard on her back.
“ARCEE!” screamed Springer. “Oh, they are dead for doing that, I swear it!”
Springer and Sandstorm charged the alien robots, all guns blazing, while Sky Lynx separated into his avian and mammalian components and joined the attack.
The five alien robots responded by transforming, but it was a transformation process unlike anything the Autobots had ever seen. The quintet’s heads separated from their bodies and turned into small robots, while their bodies took the forms of various beasts: a wolf, a vampire bat, an alligator, a dragon, and a gorilla. Each one had a hatch through which the small robots could enter them.
The alligator rushed Springer, dodging the enraged Autobot’s fire with an agility more befitting a crocodile than an alligator. Once he was close enough to Springer, he pounced, knocking the Autobot on his back. Before Springer could react, the alligator closed its powerful jaws around his right leg and bit clean through it. Springer screamed in pain and confusion.
Sandstorm, a born survivor, sensed that the vampire bat was the most dangerous of this bunch, and concentrated his fire upon it, with successful results. But this gave the wolf an opening to lunge at Sandstorm, his razor sharp teeth ripping out a chunk of Sandstorm’s arm.
Sky Lynx’s two components more than held their own against the ape and the dragon, until they changed strategy and transformed into fighter jets, bombarding him with laser fire.
“Oh, splendid!” remarked Sky Lynx sarcastically, “They have triple changers on this planet, too!”
While Sky Lynx’s avian half engaged one of the jets in air combat, the other jet dove towards Sky Lynx’s mammalian half, changing into gorilla mode and tearing one of Sky Lynx’s legs out of its socket, then using the leg to bash Sky Lynx in the head.
“I say, old boy,” piped up Sky Lynx’s other half, “that’s my component you’re dismembering, and I’m quite fond of it, so do cease and desist.” Sky Lynx punctuated this by firing his cannon at the gorilla, hitting it in the back.
But at that moment, the wolf and the alligator joined the dragon in attacking Sky Lynx all at once. This was too much for Sky Lynx, but it took the beasts’ attention away momentarily from Sandstorm, who was not as badly injured as they assumed. Sandstorm ran to where they had left the Matrix sitting and grabbed it. He transformed to dune buggy mode and raced away from the fray as fast as he could.
But not quite fast enough. The wolf now said, “Snapdragon, Apeface, transform to jet mode and recover the Matrix!”
The deadly duo complied and took off in pursuit of Sandstorm, who saw them coming in his rear view. “Okay,” said Sandstorm, “time for them to eat my dust!”
Sandstorm transformed into double-bladed helicopter mode and dodged the jets’ fire before elevating himself above them and creating a wind funnel which caused the two jets to crash into each other and hit the ground. Sandstorm began flying away, but Snapdragon was not quite down for the count. He transformed to robot mode and fired with great precision at Sandstorm, hitting one of his blades. Sandstorm changed course for the nearest clearing and prayed they wouldn’t track him down before he had time to come up with a plan.
Just when things looked hopeless, fortune smiled upon Sandstorm. At the clearing lay ancient stones with arcane symbols carved into them. Sandstorm could feel the Matrix inside of him pulsating, as if to tell him that he must land there.
Sandstorm did just that, landing and transforming to robot mode and pointing the Matrix at each of the stones. The Matrix shone brightest when it was in front of one particular stone. Inspecting the stone closer, Sandstorm saw that the carvings formed a perfect slot for the Matrix. He put the Matrix inside, and suddenly there were colorful swirls of light dancing around the clearing. A hidden door on the ground opened to an underground stairway. Removing the Matrix from the stone, Sandstorm bolted down the hatch before it finished closing.
At that moment, the five bestial robots reached the clearing. First they tried clawing at the spot where the door was, to no avail. Their weapons couldn’t penetrate the material the door was made of, either.
“Lord Zarak is not going to be happy.” said the wolf.
“At least we have prisoners.” offered the bat.
The wolf shook his head. “That won’t compensate for our failure. This is a dark day for the planet Nebulos.”
The quintet returned to their master’s fortress, the Autobot prisoners in tow. After chaining up Sky Lynx in the courtyard and depositing Springer and Arcee in the dungeons, they made their way to the master’s throne room. To their surprise, they found themselves interrupting the master’s conference...with the Decepticons.
Apeface spoke up. “Forgive the interruption, Lord Zarak, but we bring grim tidings.”
“Yes, I know,” replied Zarak calmly, “the escaped Autobot has used the Matrix to penetrate Cerebros’ lair. We shall wait for them to emerge, and then attack mercilessly. In the meantime, I shall conclude my negotiations with the Decepticons. But first, introductions are in order – Decepticons, this is my elite guard, the Headmasters: Weirdwolf, Skullcruncher, Mindwipe, Snapdragon, and Apeface.”
“We observed you in action.” said Cyclonus. “You fought well.”
“Yeah, but we wouldn’t have let any of them get away.” snarked Triggerhappy.
“Why, you...” growled Skullcruncher, who attempted to advance towards Triggerhappy but was blocked by Weirdwolf, who declared, “This is not the time.”
“Indeed,” agreed Zarak, “for the alliance on the table would appear to prove most beneficial for us. It occurs to me that, rather than attempting to destroy Cerebros on our world, it would be far more effective to lure him to the Decepticon empire, where we shall combine forces with the Decepticon legions and terminate Cerebros.”
“There’s one thing I don’t understand.” said Misfire. “What’s that strange thing your soldiers do with their heads?”
“Ah,” said Zarak, “you shall have a demonstration. Headmasters?”
The Headmasters’ heads removed themselves from the Headmasters’ bodies and took their true form. “Allow me to introduce,” said Zarak, “Monzo, Grax, Vorath, Krunk, and Spasma.”
“What ARE you?” queried Misfire.
Monzo opened his chest plate to reveal an organic humanoid torso pockmarked with circuitry and cris-crossed by wires. “We are cyborgs. It is the greatest honor for a Nebulan to be selected to serve Lord Zarak’s army.”
“It is a complicated and painful, but very rewarding process.” said Zarak. “As it happens, I have four new recruits who could become components of the Decepticon elite guard, if you are willing...”
“Never,” barked Triggerhappy, “I won’t stand for it.”
“Calm yourself, impetuous one.” grumbled Cyclonus. “Lord Zarak, though we would not want the interface to be as direct as it is for your Headmasters, we would be open to the possibility of your cyborgs merging with...our weapons.”
“Brilliant!” exclaimed Zarak. “On this day, the Targetmasters shall be born.”
Through the thin floor, Springer and Arcee had heard the entire conversation in the dungeons below.
“If we could somehow transmit Zarak’s files with the Headmaster and Targetmaster technology to Earth...” mused Arcee.
“One thing at a time.” said Springer. “First we have to break out of here. Which is going to be especially hard for me, now that I only have one leg!”
“I hope Sandstorm’s having better luck than us.” sighed Arcee.
Sandstorm had been spending what felt like an eternity wandering through an underground maze. Thanks to the Matrix’s translating capabilities, it had not taken him long to figure out that the illustrations and markings on the wall were a history of Nebulos and the feud between Cerebros and Zarak. Finally, Sandstorm came to a massive, ornate door. After giving the door a mighty push, Sandstorm found himself in a colossal chamber containing ancient treasures including, most prominently, an enormous sword. And seated in the middle of it all was Cerebros himself.
“So,” said Cerebros solemnly, “it appears I have been designated the new Autobot leader, as prophesied.”
The next thing he said put Sandstorm in shock.
“I regret that I must refuse the Matrix, and continue to create my own destiny, for better or for worse!”