The epilogue to the original Transformers comic book, told in the 1991 UK Transformers Annual.
Story by Simon Furman, pencils by Staz, inks by Lesley Dalton, and colours by
I stand on a glazed plateau hewn from a
mountain of metal, a shining dish of tungsten and chromium high above the planet
below... and I remember.
Though distant, the memories are still painful, like the dull ache felt in a
limb no longer there. Memories... battles won and lost, friends long dead, enemies
long gone... like escaping gas in the ocean depths they bubble slowly, inexorably
to the surface.
My mind seeks refuge... in a better time. When we had reached an ending... of
sorts. Millions and millions of years, locked in perpetual combat with an enemy
that had lost sight of any sort of ultimate goal, an enemy flailing blindly
in a fog of destructive fervour. And suddenly, in one massive stroke - it was
But it never ends.
Prowl regarded his leader's back solemnly, disturbed by these long, silent moods
that, of late, had seemed to come more and more frequently. These days, when
Optimus Prime was not in the council chambers, involved in affairs of state,
or on one of a seemingly ceaseless round of state visits, overseeing the rebuilding
of a world unused to peace, Prowl always knew he could find him here - in Nova
Point's huge observation bay.
He'd first noticed the change in the towering Autobot some months after they'd
returned to Cybertron. They'd spent weeks on the planet Klo, helping the surviving
inhabitants re-build and heal. The Decepticons were gone, those still able sent
fleeing through space with their tails firmly between their legs. But the scars
ran deep, and would take many years to heal. Klo had been a rare world, one
to whom peace was a way of life, and war an unheard of thing. But then the Decepticons
came, meaning to claim the planet as their own. The Klovians didn't resist,
but still the Decepticons cut them down like so much cattle, burning their cities,
tearing their lives apart.
Prowl sighed, reflecting on the fact that much of the blame for the catastrophe
on Klo belonged to him. He'd trusted the Decepticons, had believed they would
uphold the post-Unicron [--- text missing ---] spaceships and
left them to die with a planet all thought was tearing itself apart. Grimlock
saved them, took them off Cybertron in stolen craft in pursuit of the Decepticons.
But by then it was much too late. Not only had the Decepticons ravaged Klo,
they'd also discovered the tracer Grimlock had placed aboard their lead craft.
When the Autobots arrived, like some mythical cavalry, there to save the day,
the Decepticons were waiting for them. Many more died, and it fell once more
to Optimus Prime and a handful of humans to save both them and the Klovians.
Even now, Prowl thought, it hurt to remember what a mess he'd made of things.
Not even the untouchable, implacable Grimlock had come away from that battle
unchanged, and - since their return to Cybertron - the Dinobot commander had
almost disappeared from public view. Like so many others, restored to full power
by the 'wonder fuel', Nucleon, he had lost the ability to transform his body.
Though ostensibly stronger than before, he - again like so many others - felt
they had lost something precious, something vital. Did they feel almost like
outcasts because they were Transformers who simply no longer transformed? Prowl
didn't know, and didn't particularly want to find out. He, like those others,
was also a child of Nucleon. Was its cursed legacy his to inherit as well? Would
he too, someday, become an outcast from his own race? He shuddered, the thought
less than appealing.
And what of Prime? Though he couldn't know for sure (the Autobots' leader was
not given to baring his soul to those under his command), Prowl suspected that
much of his current malaise was due to his 'rebirth' as one of the Nucleon generation.
Recreated after his destruction, Prime had also merged with his Nebulan partner,
HiQ; the two Powermaster components, fleshling and Transformer, combining at
a molecular level to form one being. Though built to transform, the new Prime,
with the Nucleon soaked HiQ as his core, ended up frozen in robot form.
And now, many months later, here he stood. Back turned to a thriving new world
on Cybertron, staring out into space from Nova Point, the towering edifice that
climbed into the stars, high above the planet surface. What was he looking for
out there, wondered Prowl. Did the answers lie somewhere in the stars?
coughed, alerting Prime to his presence, even though he felt sure the imposing
figure before him was well aware he had company. This... detachment was what
worried Prowl more than anything. What had happened to the spirited, friendly
leader he had once known? Was it the Nucleon, or was it more? After so many
years of perpetual combat, had peace now burned him out?
Prime turned to face him, slowly, as if he bore a vast weight on his shoulders.
"Yes, Prowl?" he said, before even completing his turn, thus confirming
"It's Grimlock," replied Prowl, getting straight down to business
without preamble, hoping against hope that he could jar Prime back into gear,
"he's up to his usual tricks again." Prowl smiled. "I should
have known his low profile wouldn't last!"
Prime did not return the smile. "That spacecraft, the one I just saw lift
off. He was on it."
It was not a question, Prowl knew that. Even detached as he now seemed to be,
Prime - it seemed - didn't miss much. "Yeah. Usual stuff, no clearance,
no authorisation - just hops in a space transporter with his Dinobot buddies
and heads off into the wide, blue yonder."
Prime just stared.
Prowl paused, trying his best to maintain the rueful smile. "Y'know, I'm
surprised it bothers me anymore. It's just... well, it's just Grimlock!"
"Then why do you bother me with it?"
It was Prowl's turn to stare, his jaw slack with shock. Never in their long
association had he known Prime to speak to any of them in such a curt, dismissive
way. And to him?! Trite as it sounded, Prowl considered them to be more than
merely commander and lieutenant... he considered them friends!
"Because," said Prowl through gritted teeth, annoyed despite himself,
"I took the precaution of interfacing with his ship's computer. He's locked
on course to Hydrus Four. Ring any bells?"
Prime just stared. But this time Prowl knew his words had had effect. In his
eyes, Prowl saw something he'd never seen there before. It was fear.
"Let me refresh
your memory, Optimus Prime. Hydrus Four, a part colonised world in the Hunfi
system. Where, a few years ago, scientists discovered a new source of energy...
called Nucleon! Energy that Grimlock first used on himself and then on us! Shall
I go on?"
"No." It was a whisper.
"Any idea why he's going there? These days, Cybertron's rich in Matrix
energy. We don't need Nucleon, and even if we did it's been proven far too dangerous
and unstable to use safely. So why? What could he possibly want on that godforsaken
place? It's hardly on the galaxy's top ten tourist spot list!"
For a moment it looked as if Prime was going to answer Prowl's question. But
only for a moment.
"I don't know," was all he said.
Prowl stared at him, but Prime refused to meet his gaze, keeping his eyes fixed
firmly on the floor in front of him. The moment dragged out until finally Prowl
turned abruptly away. Half out of the observation room's door, Prowl turned
back, his parting shot bitter and inadvertently right on target.
"I just hope you know what you're doing. Don't forget, the Decepticons
are still out there somewhere... what's left of them anyway. They too have deactivated
and wounded warriors, and I doubt they'd be too concerned about how they got
them functional again... or what price they had to pay! Whatever Grimlock's
up to, he may just end up leading the Decepticons straight to the Nucleon they
so craved last time we fought!"
Prime said nothing. He had turned back to the view port. Prowl snorted disgustedly,
wondering aloud what had become of Optimus Prime. Because whoever this figure
in front of him was, it wasn't the Prime he knew and admired.
Prowl exited, not seeing Prime lower his head once more, not seeing fingers
gouge deep into the metal ledge in front of him... and not seeing the mix of
dreadful despair and self-loathing in his eyes!