Recap / Ink City S 3 Red Dust

While the weather's improved since the recent snowstorm, the weather in Ink City continues to be rather cold... and what's more, odd whispers start drifting on the wind. While not everyone notices these whispers, those who do start acting increasingly odd. Unfortunately, one of the first and most clearly affected is Wasp... whose normal behavior isn't all that far removed. Still, it is noticeable enough to get some of the other Cybertronians worried about him... and makes Bumblebee even more determined to help him than before. Similiarly, Don is badly hit, drawing the attention of the recently arrived Edward Nigma to the problem.

Swindle, meanwhile, has his own problems to deal with. Ever since arriving in the city, the Con Artist's found himself in over his head. Most of the Cybertronians here are very different from the ones he's used to dealing with... For starters, this Megatron don't play around, and tried to get him to prove his loyalty by blowing up the Fountain, something Swindle shied away from after learning just what happened last time. His attempt to get Blurr off his back also backfired, making the Autobots unwilling to deal with him... Such a shame, especially since he's simply fascinated with Skyfire's unique engine and other components...!

But Swindle's still got plenty of cards to play, including a rather terrible treasure from his home world: a sample of Cosmic Rust. A Cybertronian plague that causes its victim's metal to rust away to nothing. Horrible, horrible stuff... Good thing he just so happens to have an antidote! So he comes up with A Simple Plan: deliberately infect Skyfire, then trade the cure for the goods. Clean, quick, easily controlled.

...Except for one tiny flaw: going through the Ink Well mutated the strain. Now, it doesn't just eat through Cybertronian metals; all metal's vulnerable. And the Corrostop doesn't work quite as well on this new version...

Six has a vision of the impending destruction and does what he normally does in such situations: draw pictures about it. Ignoring One's standing order to never communicate with anyone ever, he tries to warn everyone about the red dust, with some success. One isn't too pleased by his defiance, though, arguing they need to look out for themselves first and foremost. Learning the plague will affect them too shocks him into temporary silence, though.

Unfortunately, the warning doesn't sway Swindle. Infecting Skyfire, he manipulates Blurr into bringing him a copy of the older bot's engine plans in exchange for some Corrostop. That part goes off without a hitch; it's the curing that doesn't go too well. And that's enough to get him to start lying low 'til the heat dies down.

The infection spreads swiftly, sending shockwaves through Ink City. Trevor's compound falls swiftly, forcing him to accept the young Tigress' gracious offer for anyone who needs shelter to stay at the Orphanage with her. Tai Lung's none too pleased by her kindness, keeping a close eye on the stranger. The Water Tower crumbles, spilling its occupants out into the streets in a torrent of water.

Despite how widespread it grows, a few Cybertronians manage to avoid infection. Among them is Wasp, who finds himself promoted temporarily to leader of the Autobots as the condition of both Optimus Primes worsens. Though staggered by the new responsibility, especially when coming off his puzzle-induced madness, Wasp takes it very seriously, swearing to do his best to keep everyone safe until their leaders recover.

Even with Rapunzel helping to fight off the infection, reluctantly earning the moniker 'Angel' in the process, several soon fall victim to the plague. Making matters worse, when Prime!Optimus returns to life, he's forgotten his duty and reverted to Orion Pax... Something his old friend 'Megatronis' is quick to try and take advantage of.

Despite his best efforsts, the con responsible for the whole mess gets infected himself. Still, Swindle decides to stick to his guns and try to barter with the citizens. Got to see what he can get for his very last bottle of Corrostop, right? Which turns out to be the scorn of nearly everyone who sees his broadcast and a very, very upset Skyfire coming after him to politely request he donate the bottle to their search for a cure. Though a tad reluctant, he hands it over.

While The Artist and several of the city's top scientists work on improving the cure, a few of its residents continue suffering from the other sickness going round: puzzle madness. Though they determine that solving puzzles helps stave off the symptoms, it claims a few lives before starting to fade, around the same time that the improved Corrostop is spread around the city streets.

This Event includes examples of:

  • A Simple Plan: Swindle's plot to get his hands on Skyfire's engine plans.
  • Amnesia Danger: Prime!Optimus suffers from this when he respawns as Orion Pax.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Blurr loses both his legs to Cosmic Rust before succumbing.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Trying to barter with the lives of Skyfire's friends wasn't smart.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: When called out on trying to auction off the cure, Swindle insists it's not blackmail.
  • Body Horror: Corrosion is not a swift or easy death...
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: When Skyfire levels his BFG at Swindle, the con starts gushing over its worksmanship.
  • Forgot the Call: Orion Pax/Prime!Optimus.
  • In-Series Nickname: When first telling the others about how she healed him, Blurr calls Rapunzel 'Angel'. It sticks, though she regards it as an Embarrassing Nickname.
  • Insistent Terminology: Swindle isn't stalking Skyfire, per se... it's "persistent salesmanship".
  • Karmic Death: Twilight's Fantastic Racism made her see the Cosmic Rust as this for the warmongering Cybertronians. Her own death by Puzzle Madness plague is a straighter example.
  • Kill the Cutie: Four and Six get hit by the plague, too...
  • Magic Antidote: Rapunzel can't cure the Rust, only 'make the clock reverse' enough to impede its progress. And the weakened Corrostop doesn't instantly fix everything, either. (The improved formula, however...)
  • Moral Dilemma: Twilight is faced with one after hearing about the red dust: should she spread the warning around and ensure all the Cybertornians know what's coming? Or should she keep it to herself and hope the plague gets them out of the City for good? (In the end, she accidentally spreads the word, via unintentional video.)
  • Papa Wolf: Tai Lung shows a small degree of this towards Tigress, almost despite himself.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: After Six tells her the 'red dust' will only affect the robots, Twilight sees it this way at first.
  • Poison-and-Cure Gambit
  • Reality Ensues: What happens when an unstable Twilight's left to her own devices, without even her number one assistant looking after her? She starves to death.
  • Sanity Slippage: A potential side-effect of hearing the whispers of The Hidden People.