Transformers: Rise of the Maximals - Issue #1
Grimlock and Briq walk through a doorway and into a large hanger. Fonix looks up as they approach.
PNL: AutoHum Research Centre, Earth.
Link PNL: 2144 AD.
Grimlock: Tell me this no accident.
Fonix is standing before masses of charred metal. It is debris from two spacecraft that have been destroyed. Grimlock and Briq come to stand beside Fonix and survey the scene.
Fonix: Unfortunately your suspicions were correct, Grimlock. The debris we collected is from two distinct vessels.
Grimlock begins to drag around large pieces of debris. Fonix and Briq look on.
Fonix: One is our lost cargo ship. The other is of an unknown configuration…
Link PNL: Though definitely Cybertronian.
Briq looks to Fonix, very concerned with what he just heard.
Briq: The Empire?
Fonix: No, it’s not Imperial -- just built on Cyberton.
Fonix begins studying the debris once again, walking amongst it. He points out charring on some of the pieces. Grimlock is now arranging some of the pieces of debris, like a jigsaw puzzle.
Fonix: There is major scorching and buckling of the exterior hull panels consistent with plasma cannon damage. All signs point towards the Decepticons.
Briq: Sounds like they’ve gotten tired of our little Alliance.
Grimlock: Not Decepticons.
Briq (2): Then who? We sure as hell don’t fire on our own ships.
Briq and Fonix come to stand besides Grimlock, who is looking down at his handiwork.
Grimlock: Me call Prime.
A shot from above the three figures, looking down onto the scene. Grimlock has arranged pieces from the unknown ship’s hull, revealing a large insignia painted on it. It is the insignia of the Predacon Razorclaw - a large Lion’s head. Grimlock walks away from the other two figures, who stare at the scene in disbelief.
Briq: What does it mean?
Fonix: I believe it means Megatron has lost control of his pets.
A robot sporting the same insignia as the destroyed ship (Razorclaw’s brand) is dragged through a corridor by two larger robots that also have the same insignia. The one being dragged is kicking and thrashing, trying to escape their grasp.
Link PNL: Location: Unknown.
Predacon: Please! Please! Not this… Oh, Primus, No!
The robot is dragged into a room, where several other ‘Predacons’ are waiting, standing beside an operating table and an Autobot Proto-Pod, which is hooked up to some equipment, making the whole scene very creepy.
Predacon: You can’t… Please. What did I do?
The robot is tied down to the table. His face is etched with fear as he continues to plead for his life.
Predacon: Just let me… I’ll do anything! Let me talk to him!
The robot is powerless and can do nothing but look down as a ‘Predacon’ technician opens his chest cavity, revealing his Spark.
Predacon: Get your hands off me! Get ‘em off me! NO!
The robot’s body falls lifeless as his Spark is completely removed. The technician, holding the Spark, moves towards the Proto-Pod.
The Spark is placed in an entry port of the Pod.
The technician steps back as the Pod comes to life. Light streams from the seam of the lid of the Pod.
The light fades and the Pod opens.
A Proto-Matter sized ‘Predacon’ steps from the Pod, unsure of itself, taking in its new form.
The new Proto-Matter ‘Predacon’ is delighted to be alive, smiling widely.
Predacon: Heh… Ha! It worked! Haha!
His face suddenly changes to one of pain, and the other in the room look on.
Predacon: Heuuhh… Uhhh…
The new ‘Predacon’ grips his chest in extreme pain.
He falls to the floor and begs for help. The onlookers do nothing.
The eyes of the new Predacon go black, and smoke rises from his mouth.
Those who were standing in the room all turn and leave, leaving the body of the now deceased Predacon on the floor.
Grimlock is sitting in a large chair in his office. The chair has spun around so he has his back to the room. His head is resting on his hand as he stares out into nothing. Behind him can be seen his desk, a chair on the opposite side of the desk, and a doorway. There are a few ‘trophies’ from past victories mounted on the walls - pieces of fallen foes and the like. A voice comes from out in the corridor.
Dialogue PNL: Grimlock the Warmonger.
Grimlock spins his chair back around to see where the voice is coming from. There is a large window behind Grimlock’s desk that he had been staring out of.
Dialogue PNL: Exiled to Earth to keep you out of trouble.
In the doorway now stands the yellow Autobot, Sunstreaker, smiling smugly.
Sunstreaker: How’s that working out for you?
Sunstreaker enters the room and begins to look at the trophies on the wall.
Sunstreaker: Let me see if I’ve got this straight…
Link PNL: You’re in command of -- or should I say babysitting -- a bunch of our technicians, engineers and scientists that are working with the Humans in the hopes of getting them off this doomed little rock before it explodes.
Sunstreaker gestures to the window as he moves closer to the desk. Grimlock remains seated.
Sunstreaker: You can’t go outside because the planet’s population is at best fearful and at worst vengeful towards any and all Transformers after Galvatron’s little stunt.
Sunstreaker takes a seat in the empty chair on the opposite side of Grimlock’s desk.
Sunstreaker: You’ve been split from your fellow Dinobots, and denied the opportunity to help hunt down the Empire.
Grimlock is crushing the ends of the armrests on his chair with his hands, gripping tightly.
Sunstreaker: And you can’t shoot at Decepticons because of this flimsy Alliance we’ve got with them.
Link PNL: Have I missed anything?
Sunstreaker puts his feet up on Grimlock’s desk.
Sunstreaker: Oh yeah -- Now you think the Predacons are raiding transport ships but Prime has forbidden you from engaging in any investigative actions.
Link PNL: Sucks to be you.
Grimlock: Sucks to be Autobot.
Link PNL: What you doing here, Streaker?
An angle looking down onto the two Autobots from above. Sunstreaker is relaxed as he reclines in the chair. Grimlock is sitting up straight, obviously tense.
Sunstreaker: I happened upon a copy of your last report to Prime. It made for some interesting reading, so I transferred back to Earth.
Link PNL: Plus with all this Decepticon hand-holding on Cybertron and no sign of Jhiaxus’ friends, I was bored.
Sunstreaker takes his feet off the desk and leans in closer.
Sunstreaker: I know you, Grimlock, I know your style -- it’s much like my own.
A shot on Grimlock from the front. Sunstreaker can be seen from behind, leaning in.
Sunstreaker: You’re not the kind of ‘bot to sit still for too long, or let this stuff with the Preds slide. You’re planning something…
A close-up of Sunstreaker’s face. He is smiling, eagerly, with his eyes narrowed.
Sunstreaker: And I want in.
Grimlock, Sunstreaker and Fonix enter a hanger. In the hanger is an Autobot shuttle. Disembarking it are Sideswipe, Tracks and Trailbreaker.
Sunstreaker: I brought a couple of friends with me -- I’m sure I don’t have to introduce them.
Sunstreaker joins his fellow Autobots at the foot of the gangway of the shuttle. Tracks checks out his own paintjob.
Tracks: It sure is good to be back. There’s something about the light here on Earth -- it really makes your paint shine.
Trailbreaker: This is how Cybertron used to feel -- like the whole thing could explode at any minute.
Sideswipe: There is a certain excitement to it, sure, but the explosive thing is a bit too literal for my liking.
Sunstreaker: I knew I should have left you on Cybertron.
The newly arrived Autobots in the foreground speak with Grimlock and Fonix. Grimlock stares at Sunstreaker.
Trailbreaker: Speaking of which, our boys have given up trying to disarm the device?
Grimlock: How much you tell them?
Sunstreaker: They deserved to know what they were getting into.
A close-up of Fonix, laying down the details.
Fonix: We’re apprehensive to put any of our tech near it, in fear of an accidental arming. The data we do have on it though shows that it wasn’t constructed to be dismantled or disarmed.
The Autobots all exchange words at the foot of the shuttle.
Tracks: So it’s just… sitting there, ticking?
Fonix: The Humans have accelerated their off-world colony projects, boosted along with Autobot cooperation. Officially we’re Enemy: #1, but unofficially we’re their only ticket off this planet -- our continued technological collaboration is their only hope.
Trailbreaker: But the Humans -- they don’t know any of this?
Grimlock: According to them: All Autobots gone and no bomb.
Fonix looks sad, discussing the fate of the human race.
Fonix: Humans have a saying about rodents and an aquatic vessel in great distress -- if the Earth’s population were told the truth, there would be global panic, and they would more likely tear the Earth apart themselves before Galvatron’s little parting gift ever did.
Tracks steps up, excited to get cracking with things.
Tracks: So what’s the plan?
Fonix: The Human governments are quietly relocating as many people off-world as possible without raising suspicions that anything is awry, but with a population of 15 billion-
Tracks (2): No no, not the Humans -- for us. How are we dealing with the Pred problem?
Grimlock crosses his arms, defiant against the Autobots who have just arrived.
Grimlock: You heard Prime -- there no Pred problem.
Sunstreaker: Maybe not for him, but it’s a different story here.
Grimlock (2): I see no Predacons. Do you? Now get back on shuttle and go home.
Trailbreaker pleads the case for action to Grimlock.
Trailbreaker: Come on, Grimlock. We didn’t come all this way just for the scenery. And face it; Prime wouldn’t have signed our transfers if he didn’t know we were planning something like this.
Link PNL: So if you think about it, he’s given us the unofficial go ahead to take some names!
Fonix puts the plan together for everyone.
Fonix: I believe what Grimlock is trying to say is that due to his position as commander of Autobot forces here on Earth, he can’t be seen to be outwardly provoking a supposed ally, for example, a Decepticon subgroup, namely the Predacons.
A shot of the four Autobots from Cybertron. They are smiling, liking the sound of what Fonix is saying.
Fonix: However, if a small band of unknown Transformers happen to branch off from any recognised faction and begin to explore the events surrounding the recent disappearances of Autobot transport ships, though they are unofficially sanctioned and will come under proper investigation from Autobot authorities, they might find Earth to be a suitable base of operations for the time being.
Fonix turns to Grimlock, looking for his approval. The four Autobots from Earth look to each other, excitedly.
Trailbreaker: Sounds good to me.
Tracks: Where do I sign?
Fonix: Is that about right, Grimlock?
Grimlock turns from the group and leads them back out the door of the hanger.
Link PNL: Follow me.
Grimlock leads the group of Autobots into a command room. Its walls are covered with star-charts and course-plotting sheets. The Autobots from Cybertron are excited.
Trailbreaker: Now this is more like it.
Tracks: Ha! “Go home” he said. “No Predacons here”.
Grimlock growls at Sunstreaker to close the door. Tracks picks up some of the data sheets and casts an eye over them.
Grimlock: Close door.
Tracks: Hold on -- Star-charts, shipping manifests?
Grimlock (2): Not what you expect?
Tracks complains about the boring nature of the documents. The others take in the myriad of information sources in the room, including pictures of the damaged ship hulls from the opening scene.
Sideswipe: I never picked you for much of a reader, Grimlock.
Tracks: Where’s the armament count and tactical analysis?
Grimlock: This enemy not stand and fight. Need new strategy.
Fonix: The Predacons are mobile, but they have to be based somewhere.
Sideswipe surveys a map of nearby star systems. Fonix points out a few markings on it.
Sideswipe: You’ve narrowed it down some.
Fonix: To a few likely systems, yes.
Grimlock shatters Tracks’ glee at the thought of hunting down some Predacons.
Tracks: So we check them out, one by one.
Grimlock: No, too inefficient.
Trailbreaker: So, what then?
A close-up of Grimlock’s optics, narrowed.
Grimlock: We go fishing.
In the foreground of the shot, the Predacon technician from the operating room is studying a computer screen and is illuminated in its glow. Behind him is a doorway, and standing in it is the Predacon commander, Razorclaw.
Razorclaw: Any word from your contact?
Technician: I’ve sent him the latest results. No reply yet.
Razorclaw enters the technician’s office. The technician spins around in his chair to face Razorclaw. The technician has a data-tablet computer in his hand.
Technician: I’ve been studying the past versions of the programming and have discovered some peculiarities.
Razorclaw: Besides none of them working?
The technician hands the tablet to Razorclaw, whose visor narrow as he studies it.
Technician: Perhaps a more serious a problem than that.
A close-up of Razorclaw’s visor, his brow furrowed.
Razorclaw: This has been piggybacked onto each of them?
Razorclaw crushes the tablet in his hand.
Razorclaw: Could it be what’s causing the problems?
Technician: Doubtful. A hidden subroutine such as this is designed for a… later termination shall we say.
The technician turns back to his computer, preparing to show Razorclaw more details, but Razorclaw turns and heads for the door.
Technician: I’ve managed to isolate it from each of the previous versions and know what to look for in the future, but-
Razorclaw: Excellent work, keep me updated.
The technician spins around in his chair once again, seeking clarification from Razorclaw, who is back in the doorway.
Technician: But if the contact was trying to sneak this through, shouldn’t I ignore any future correspondence from him?
Razorclaw: On the contrary -- we continue on.
Razorclaw stands framed in the doorway; an imposing figure to be sure.
Razorclaw: If you’re confident you can remove it in each subsequent version, what fear do we have? Unless you aren’t confident of course…
A shot of the technician’s face, very concerned.
Dialogue PNL: In which case you may find the next Spark to go under the procedure is your own.
Fonix sits at a desk in his office, his attention pulled around to the door behind him, where Tracks is entering. At the centre of the room is a large table-top computer, covered in papers.
Tracks: Hey, Fonix - - you in there?
Fonix: Tracks, yes, please come in.
Link PNL: What can I do for you?
Tracks surveys the reams of data and statistics that litter Fonix’s office.
Tracks: I’m curious about something and you seemed like the right ‘bot to talk to.
Fonix: Fire away.
Tracks takes a seat at the table-top computer.
Tracks: Fill me in on this Proto-Matter stuff.
Tracks (2): Sure. I’ve got time to kill before we get the green light from Big G.
A close-up of Fonix, smiling politely.
Fonix: Please don’t be offended but from what Grimlock has told me of you, you’ve never been the most studious of Autobot. Why the sudden interest?
A shot from the side of the two Autobots conversing.
Tracks: This stuff is getting rolled out everywhere, right? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that one day we’re all gonna be sporting it.
Tracks (2): But, my problem is their size.
Tracks gestures to his own form.
Fonix: Ah. You see it as a literal downgrade?
Tracks: Well, yeah. I mean, how can it compare to this?
Fonix moves from his desk against the back wall to the table-top computer in the middle of the room and sweeps off the papers with his hands.
Fonix: I could bore you with statistics, but perhaps a better alternative would be to let you get a little more hands-on.
Fonix (2): Computer, launch application: PD1.
The table-top computer glows and comes to life. Tracks sits back, stunned. Fonix begins to interact with the computer’s surface.
Tracks: What’s all this?
Fonix: With your flare for schematics and eye for details, combined with my technical wizardry, let’s design a body -- that way you’ll know exactly what it’s capable of.
A close-up of Tracks’ face, smiling, in the glow of the computer.
Tracks: Sounds like a plan.
An Autobot transport vessel travels through space.
PNL: Graapen system.
Link PNL: Autobot Cargo ship Neya on route to Cybertron.
Link PNL: Cargo: Proto-Matter.
The right engine of the Autobot ship takes heavy fire and explodes.
On the bridge of the attacking Predacon vessel, the captain barks orders to his crew.
Pred Captain: She’s listing! Get alongside!
A docking clamp extends from the side of the Predacon ship towards the Autobot vessel.
From inside the Autobot vessel, a section of hull explodes and Predacons swarm in. The Pred Captain is still barking orders.
Pred Captain: You two, with me -- we’re taking the bridge.
Link PNL: The rest of you -- secure the cargo hold!
The Pred Captain bursts onto the bridge of the Autobot ship, blaster drawn.
The bridge is empty and the ship is on autopilot.
A close-up from behind the Pred Captain, who is looking back over his shoulder, after hearing a crunching noise.
A shot of bulkhead doors. Voices are coming from the other side of them. The chamber is in darkness, but the doors are lit from a light above it.
Dialogue PNL 1: Is this it?
Dialogue PNL 2: Yeah -- Get it open!
The doors are ripped from their hinges and cast aside. A group of nine Predacons look in, with mixed emotions on their face. Some are angry, others are confused.
Pred 1: What’s going on? Where’s all the pods?
A shot from behind the group of Predacons looking into the chamber. The chamber is vast but in pitch blackness. The only thing illuminated is a single Proto-Pod in the middle of the room, bathed in a pool of light.
Pred 1: I don’t like the looks of this…
The same angle as the previous panel, but this time, four sets of Autobot optics glow to life in the darkness behind the Proto-Pod.
Tracks: And I don’t like the looks of you.
A shot of the Predacons, weapons at the ready.
Pred 1: What is this? And who in the pit are you?
Dialogue PNL: Me Autobot…
Grimlock, in Dino-mode, looms up behind the group of Predacons, who look back in horror.
Grimlock: … with teeth.
The chamber with the single Proto-Pod is now illuminated and the bodies of the Predacons litter the floor. The chamber is also showing signs of a battle, with the odd blaster-hole in the walls. Sideswipe enters the chamber and joins his fellow Autobots.
PNL: Not long after...
Sideswipe: I’ve begun decrypting their ship’s data-tracks; we’ll soon know where it’s been making berth.
Tracks drags some limbs of the dead Predacons into a pile along with the bodies. He has green grease and oil splattered on his chest and over his Autobot logo.
Tracks: An Autobot with teeth, huh? I like it. It’s messy, but I like it.
Sunstreaker: I’d say we’ve found a name for our little band then.
Tracks drops the limbs in the pile and looks at Sunstreaker in confusion.
Sunstreaker smears the oil on Track’s chest into a small insignia. Track’s looks down in bemusement.
Sunstreaker: Giving the Autobots back their bite.
A close-up of Track’s chest, showing the green oil arranged into a wolf-like mask covering the Autobot insignia.
-----End of Issue #1-----
Sunstreaker: Welcome to the Maximals.