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Published in: Transformers Annual 1991
More than four million years ago, before Optimus Prime was leader of the Autobots, Prowl, Jazz, Wheeljack, Sunstreaker, Inferno, and Stampede were sent on a mission to Stanix, deep within Decepticon-controlled territory to create chaos. A young and cocky bunch, they labelled themselves "the Magnificent Six".
After rescuing a group of neutralists from a Decepticon unit led by Steamhammer, they were pinned down under steady bombardment by Thunderwing.
A flippant remark by Sunstreaker after the town's museum was destroyed angered Huxx, the town elder, who convinced the other neutralists to betray their Autobot defenders. They were tortured for seven days by the Decepticon general Megadeath.
After breaking their will, Megadeath challenged the Autobots to stop him killing Stampede. They were all too afraid to stop him. Megadeath released the Autobots, giving them two hours to find the neutralists before a neutronic explosion would devastated Stanix.
Unable to find the neutralists, the Autobots instead hid, and attacked Megadeath when he came to investigate. Though crippled at ground zero, Megadeath refused to tell then where the neutralists were, and the Autobots were forced to flee Yuss before the bombs exploded.
Demoralized by their experiences, the five survivors claimed amnesia after returning to the Autobot Army rather than confront their shame.
In 1990, with the Matrix lost and all hope at a Decepticon alliance ruined, Optimus Prime orders the five survivors (plus Silverbolt) back to Stanix to locate the site where the Underbase once stood, in the hope of tapping into its former power source as an anti-Unicron weapon.
The surviving members of the Magnificent Six are paralyzed by indecision as they pass through the ruins of Yuss -- and are ambushed by Megadeath, who now commands the mutated neutralists. Imprisoned in the same Yuss justice building where Stampede was killed, Silverbolt forces the others to overcome their haunted past. They escape, and the five Autobots beat Megadeath nearly to death with their bare hands (well, Prowl uses part of a refrigeration unit.) Rather than be put on trial for crimes against the Transformer race, Megadeath ruptures his internal reactor and explodes - finally demolishing Yuss... and its ghosts.
But they're older, wiser mechs who know more of the nature of war - and while there's six of them again, they know they - and their actions - are not magnificent.
Items of note
- This is a text only story.
- This story takes place in Earthforce continuity, as Optimus Prime references the more-disastrous-than-in-the-US outcome of their attempted alliance with the Decepticons. Unicron is taking his sweet time reaching Cybertron.
- Because everything must tie back to Primus and Unicron, the story establishes that the Underbase was linked to the center of Cybertron, and therefore to Primus. This means a link to Primus' power exists at its former site.