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Flaming revelations abound whilst Springer faces the impact of his actions...
|Generation One (Marvel UK) > Issue # 166 - 167|
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Marvel UK issues #166 - 167
- Major Characters (in order of appearance:) Flame, Emirate Xaaron, Springer, Autobot technician, Twin Twist, Topspin, Broadside, Sandstorm and Impactor.
- Minor Characters (in order of appearance:) Sizzle, Guzzle, Ultra Magnus, Fizzle, Flywheels, Rack'n'Ruin, Megatron, Roadbuster and Optimus Prime.
- Originally published: 14th-21st May 1988; Cover date ("off sale") 21st-28th May 1988
A mysterious figure watches on his monitor as Ultra Magnus, the Sparkabots and Flywheels roam around the surface of Kalis, frustrated at not having discovered anything further. The figure comments that there is no-one at liberty who could tell them, and that just three weeks ago nobody at all knew what was happening - until an explosion!
- Three weeks ago a massive explosion rocks the state of Kalis, taking both Autobots and Decepticons by surprise. Springer initially suspects the Decepticons but the technicians and Emirate Xaaron have a bigger theory.
- At a briefing a technician explains how the explosion was most likely caused by the venting of a huge nuclear fission reactor, causing a 1.5 megaton blast. The damage was small, but if the whole reactor had gone up it would have destroyed Kalis and even Cybertron itself. Springer says there are no subterranean reactors, but Xaaron responds with a tale of the past.
- Millions of years earlier Cybertron was at peace and the Decepticons considered harmless. But then Megatron rose to power and made them into an army. He declared his plans to turn Cybertron into a mobile battle station to conquer the universe, causing the war to break out.
- Springer realises that such a scheme would require a huge fission reactor. Xaaron agrees and explains that there were rumours Megatron had built the reactor deep beneath Cybertron, but no-one knew where. Springer and Xaaron determine to find the reactor quickly.
- Hours later they are still searching and waiting for technicians to detect anything. Springer reflects on how he's failed as leader of the Wreckers and can't live up to the legacy of Impactor. On Springer's first mission as leader he nearly executed Optimus Prime as a traitor , whereas Impactor never made mistakes, even dying to save Xaaron's life . Springer's train of thought is broken as one technician declares he has detected a large underground cavern with strong radiation readings, then another notes that their probes have been detected and multiple signals are attacking the base. A third technician has detected a high frequency radio signal coming from below, wanting to know if it should be jammed, whilst Twin Twist declares they are under attack and wants to know what weapons should be used. All look to Springer for direction but he is overwhelmed.
- Suddenly the base is attacked by robot zombies who surge in and slaughter the technicians. The zombies don't stay down and the Wreckers are overwhelmed. Springer realises this is his fault, but Sandstorm tells him as the only free one to get Xaaron to safety. Springer worries he will have to leave the other Wreckers at the mercy of the creatures, but realises it must be done to save Xaaron. He turns to the door where another zombie stands. But Springer can't bring himself to blast his way through and his gun is knocked from his hand. He just can't blast... Impactor!
The Wreckers and Xaaron are now held in a cell deep underground. They are startled when Impactor's corpse enters, followed by the Autobot Flame, who Xaaron thought was dead.
Flame expresses his delight to have captured "the Chairman of the ludicrously pompous Council of Autobot Elders and his fearless commando unit, the Wreckers". Xaaron demands to be released but Flame is still angry about what happened at Iacon's Academy of Science and Technology where Xaaron spoke out against Flame's revised scheme to create a battle station as it was inherently dangerous, relying on flawed technology. Flame was thrown out of the academy, but explains how it didn't stop him:
- Using funds he had embezzled, Flame reactivated a lab in Kalis and continued experimenting with nuclear fission but after getting careless he caused an explosion. Everyone assumed Flame had died, but he had been blown clear and found a tunnel leading down to Megatron's engine room. Since then he has made everything ready and used the Deception computer to reactivate and control the corpses of dead Transformers to form Flame's Legion of the Lost!
Now everything is ready and Flame has captured Xaaron to brag. But Xaaron is outraged as the reactor is old and dangerous. However the captives are bound with inhibitor bonds and Impactor's corpse easily subdues them. Flame leaves the corpse of the Wreckers' leader on guard whilst he goes to take care of other matters.
Flame checks up on the problems on the surface, to see Ultra Magnus and Sizzle arguing because Magnus has sent Flywheels for reinforcements and Sizzle disagrees with relying on a Decepticon. Flame deduces this squabble will keep them occupied.
In the cell Springer is near catatonic, having succumbed to a nervous breakdown upon meeting Impactor. Xaaron tells Springer that only he can help them by using his leaping ability to reach a hatch into the ventilation ducts and get to the surface to find reinforcements. Springer has lost his self-confidence but Xaaron argues that Springer can, telling him that Springer is insulting the memory of Impactor. "Fight on, Spriger - fight on! It's what Impactor would have wanted!" cries Xaaron, and the impact is not just felt by Springer.
Springer agrees and leaps. For a moment the corpse of Impactor hesitates, but then the computer signal takes over and he jumps on Springer. Both go through the vent. Xaaron and the other Wreckers decide to break out of the cell before Flame realises what's happened.
In the ventilation duct Springer tries to get Impactor to remember who he was. He talks of Impactor's courage being an example to Springer and tells him to fight back all the while as the corpse tries to attack him. Suddenly Impactor speaks and wants to know what he was doing and what he has become. He wanders off as Springer determines to save Cybertron "and this time... I won't let it down!
Note: this story is continued in Meltdown!.
- Flame's backstory is difficult to fit into what has previously been revealed about the war on Cybertron. Xaaron was shown as one of the Council of Elders at the start of the war, so it's hard for him to have been a university contemporary of someone who sought to revive a scheme of Megatron, whilst four million years seems a long time to have been working underground.
Items of note
- Roadbuster appears in a flashback to "Under Fire!" but is noticeably absent from the Wreckers in the present day.
- Flame's mention of "Iacon's Academy of Science and Technology" sounds similar to "Imperial College of Science & Technology" (now Imperial College London).