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- Japanese name: Cybertrons
The exact origin of the Maximals has never been fully explained, nor has the time of their emergence as a faction. Dreamwave's The War Within depicts a Maximal symbol in Cybertron's prehistory, and IDW's Beast Wars Sourcebook references Maximal and Predacon conflict before the Pax Cybertronia (thus before the end of the Great War). The Sourcebook also seems to place its versions of 'Beast Wars II and Beast Wars Neo in this pre-Pax Cybertronia era. Additionally it indicates that Predacons (specifically BB) were being "re-educated" in Maximal prisons during the Great War.
At some point, possibly after the Pax Cybertronia had restored peace to Cybertron, the Maximal Upgrade program was introduced. The program emphasized fuel efficiency through downsizing. Many of the surviving Autobots eventually upgraded via bio-tech overhaul and cloistered themselves away, but some few stayed active in Cybertronian society to guide the emerging Maximal faction into the future. The Maximal Elders locked away much information about the Great War (and especially the location of Earth) from the young population, fearing it would re-ignite old grudges or inspire Predacon insurgents to rewrite history using transwarp technology.
- (Note: Specific dating for this has been suggested in ancillary material, but in the Beast Wars cartoon itself this date is fairly indistinct, as 1) there's no way to know when exactly the Great War ended, and 2) it's not clear if those are Cybertronian or Earth years.)
The Maximals retained many similarities to their Autobot ancestors, and many of the Autobots who underwent the Great Upgrade basically took on smaller, newer versions of their old bodies. The downsized Maximal body was apparently intended mainly for better fuel efficiency and greater durability. There has been some hinting that this was an offshoot of Micromaster technology, which had a similar goal. As was the case with the Autobots before them, Maximal robot modes frequently lack a robot-form flight option, unless a flight mechanism is specifically included or the Maximal has an airborne alternate mode.
The greatest and most common innovation of the Maximal era is the development of pseudo-organic Beast Forms, which allow Maximal alternate modes to blend in seamlessly with the organic lifeforms found elsewhere in the universe. This technology, an offshoot of earlier Pretender tech, sheathes the Maximal's alternate form in an artificial organic "skin" and integrates the beast modes instincts into the Maximal's form. While still primarily using Energon for fuel, such Maximals have been shown to be able to eat food like organic creatures, though it is unknown if they require such food to survive or merely as an alternate energy source. The beast mode instincts are integrated to such a degree that they have been able to dominate—if not override—logic circuits on occasion. When Maximals take beast modes, they tend to favor mammals, birds, and fish, though this is not a hard-and-fast rule.
At the time of the theft of the Golden Disk, the technology to adopt such forms was reliant on external mechanisms situated in stasis pods and CR chambers. They were mainly used for explorers and military personnel, while the general Maximal population retained classic mechanical body forms. Some time after the Axalon and Darksyde left the planet, an upgrade was instituted that incorporated DNA scanners and the ability to adopt beast forms directly into the mechanical-style bodies of the general populace. This move suggests a likely intent to increase exploration or colonization programs in the near future. In all likelihood the subsequent planetary conquest by Megatron derailed these plans.
- Transmetals - Beast-style Maximals hit by a Quantum surge have been shown to mutate in such a way that their physiology "reverses", so their "beast" forms take on mechanical properties while their "robot" forms become more organic. Often tertiary vehicular modes manifest. Such robots are undetectable to Vok technology.
- Fuzors- A hybrid of two or more beasts upon completing the selection process. These unique variants came about when the orbital stasis pods were effected by the quantum surge similar to how the Transmetals came about.
- Transmetal 2s - Beast-style maximals affected by the Vok's mysterious Transmetal driver became asymmetrical and monstrous in both forms, each of which incorporates mechanical and organic systems seemingly at random. These types of Maximals tend to possess odd extra "powers" such as healing or telekinesis.
- Technorganics - When reformatted by the Oracle, beast form Maximals become an entirely new type of being, merging true organic life and Cybertronian technology in every cell of their being.
The Maximal Imperium was the state that the Maximals formed. The term "imperium" would imply an empire, though the Maximals have never displayed any militaristic-expansionist inclinations, something more in line with the Predacons. However, it might be speculated that their exploration programs, referenced in Beast Wars and Beast Machines, were a precursor to an expansion-minded colonization program.
The Maximal Imperium appeared to invest both legislative and executive power in a bicameral legislature, the Maximal Elders and the High Council. It is unknown what the relationship and division of powers were between the two legislatures, although it appears the Elders were the more senior legislature. Like their Autobot ancestors, the Maximals had a strong belief in democracy, even going so far as to elect their military leaders when unable to communicate with the high command. This could cause problems when there was an even number of voters. Some evidence suggests that the Maximal Elders were more repressive and secretive than strictly necessary. Another powerful political body is the cross-factional Bi-Partate Committee for State Affairs, whose appointed members include both Maximals and Predacons.
The Maximals are by nature peaceful, but the realities of the universe still compel them to have armed forces. An elite force of security enforcers, the Maximal Command Security Force, was also established to help keep the peace. Another special group were the Imperial Peace Marshals. Usually the highest rank is Supreme Commander, awarded to Maximals of Convoy status, who are given an Energon Matrix linked to the Vector Sigma supercomputer. The Supreme Commanders answer to the Maximal Elders, and there is some evidence to indicate that the Maximal Elders included former Supreme Commanders.
The planetary capital is located in Cybertropolis, a city built over the ruins of old Iacon. The planet is shared with the remainder of the defeated Predacon faction. Many Predacons feel they are living as second-class citizens under a repressive rule. There is some evidence to suggest that Predacon presence on the planet was minimal but this is not confirmed. Regardless, a relative "Cold War" style peace prevailed, with much distrust simmering on either side. Maximals enforced the peace by means of groups such as the Imperial Peace Marshals and the Maximal Command Security Force.
We know that the Maximals focused heavily on exploration. Exploration vessels, filled with stasis pods containing newborn protoforms, would search out new planets and seed them with those protoforms, which would assume modes based on the native lifeforms and collect data. Post-war Cybertron experienced a visible boom in scientific and technological curiosity. Some of this curiosity, however, resulted in monsters such as the seemingly immortal and murderous Protoform X.