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The days that followed that fateful broadcast were an imbroglio of conflict. Nearly a third of Maximal and Predacon hunkered down, wanting no part in the chaos filling every street on the planet. Some took the opportunity to settle old scores, or set themselves up as petty tyrants over some city. A tenth of Predacons and nearly a quarter of Maximals declared as loyalists for the Builders. The rest began the Grand Uprising, the Fourth Cybertronian War. Cities were stormed, fortresses rushed. Malignant Builders were torn from the architecture of penurious Maximal and Predacon tumbledowns. Freedom fighters and revolutionaries once again saw daylight, as prisons and dungeons were besieged and liberated, though so to were murderers and thieves returned to the population. Fear permeated to planet, but amongst the Maximals and Predacons, an inchoate hope also blossomed.

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Civil war had once again erupted on this star-crossed world.
The Narrator, "Broken Windshields"

Three hundred years into the future, and Cybertron's Great War is over. The Autobots and Decepticons have created the Maximals and Predacons to fight on in their stead. Confined to Cybertron, a whole new generation of Transformers fight and die for their creators' amusement. But some of their creations start to wonder why they have to do this, and so begins an all-new Cybertronian war.

A Bad Future interpretation of Beast Wars, this storyline was first established in a bio of Blackarachina, during Transformers: Timelines visit to the Transtech universe. It was some years later before any readers got a good look at this universe, which was also the subject of a five-issue storyline, and assorted prose stories showing, among other things, the start of the war.

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The series consists of several text stories published on the fan club's website, along with a storyline in the fan-comic.

Stories from this series include:

  • Alone, Together, a club-exclusive comic note  featuring Trans-Mutate and Protoform X, dealing with the mysterious Destructons and their deranged leader, Lord Imperious Delirious.
  • Broken Windshields: Lio Convoy, agent of the Builders, is inspired to revolution after a meeting with a Maximal called Blackarachnia.
  • Head Games: Hapless Predacon Buzzclaw starts going up in the world when the Resistance recruits him for an important mission. But there's this nagging voice in Buzzclaw's head...
  • Broken Bridges: Burnt-out MCSF officer Stilleto has to deal with her own twisted memories, at the same time she holds off a Resistance attack.
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  • Micro-Aggressions: Former Autobot troublemaker Grimlock's back, and has a plan to get at the Builders, involving the horrific G-Virus.
  • Intersectionality: Out on the fringe of Cybertronian space, the good ship Dinosaur runs into several problems, including someone murdering the crew.
  • Trigger Warnings: Jaded cop Wolfang has to deal with a murder, a mysterious dame, his bosses and his own conflicting loyalty, as he stumbles on a terrible secret.
  • Identity Politics: Long before the Uprising, an ambitious Predacon named Gnashteeth, and his underling Scorponok decide to go into business for themselves, yeeeess...
  • Not All Megatrons: Megatron decides it's time for the Uprising to get beastly.
  • Cultural Appropriation: A rag-tag bunch of misfits (and one immortal psychopath) team up to stop a group of mighty robots making trouble for everyone, mankind included.
  • Safe Spaces: Cheetor and Preditron fight for their lives in the arena. But attempted murder is about to be the least of their problems.
  • Derailment: The big finale, as it's Resistance versus Builders versus everybody, as Galva Convoy's weapon is unleash.
  • The Inexorable March: A coda to the finale.


Tropes

  • Abusive Precursors: The Builders of Cybertron are utter dicks, having created the Maximals and Predacons solely to fight in their stead when they couldn't, and then after that putting them in rigged arena combat just so they can bet on it. They're also not above murdering people who've won previous games to "liven things up". Most of the outright dickery is perpetuated by the Assembly, but the Builders who reject their ways and speak out against them tend to be pushed to the side for it.
  • Adaptation Amalgamation: The series is basically a fusion of every prior Generation One/Beast Era Transformers story, freely lifting elements from the cartoons to the comics to the books to everything in-between.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • Scorponok is renamed Zarak, and Zarak is renamed Fausto Borx. Their combined form is renamed Megazarak, a la the Headmasters anime.
    • Beast Wars Inferno is renamed Formikon (his name from the Italian dub).
    • Vector Prime is renamed Vector Convoy.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Scylla goes from a ditzy, bad-tempered and easily distracted sort to a full-on badass sea pirate (complete with an Eyepatch of Power).
    • Claw Jaw, normally just background filler if he appears, appears briefly in Derailment portrayed as some kind of unstoppable leviathan in his beast mode.
    • Queen Rage, previously a cutesy Moe one-off character from the Beast Wars Neo manga, is reimagined as a take-no-prisoners warrior-queen who manages to carve out a fortified kingdom as civilization collapses.
    • The Vehicons go from mindless drones that pretty much exploded if so much as sneezed on to an unstoppable juggernaut that manage to take out a significant chunk of Cybertron's population. It helps that they can convert by touch.
    • Rampage, who wasn't exactly a slouch in Beast Wars, gets a boost in sheer toughness, becoming a Point One Percenter, able to regenerate from atoms.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Rampage is not as much of a demented murder-monster as his Beast Wars counterpart. He still likes threatening people with colourful death, but hardly ever follows through on them.
    • Megatron is legitimately trying to help his people cast off the yoke of oppression and be independent with their new beast modes. Contrast that to the time travelling, Spark absorbing conqueror. Mind you, he still has a lot of wealth and political power to gain from all this but he's not risking the entire space/time continuum to satisfy his ego and god complex.
    • The Commandoes are Maximals, rather than brainwashed-into-evil Decepticons, as they were in Robots in Disguise. Though "heroism" is pushing it, given the whole "suicide bomb" thing...
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Beast Machines-era Snarl, normally portrayed as a pretty good guy, is a Builder thug.
    • Bighorn, normally a Gentle Giant, is a Jerkass
    • Lio Convoy, the typical squeaky-clean Big Good, is willing to rig fights for his Builder masters, and on occasion murder survivors of previous Games on their orders. And then when he starts the revolution, he's still willing to do unethical things in the name of victory.
    • A great many Autobots are willing to enforce the system that makes the Maximals fight and die in pointless, rigged games.
  • Adaptational Wimp: In Transformers Cybertron, Vector Prime was the guardian of space/time being capable of freezing time and accessing a pocket dimension. Here he's just a regular Cybertronian.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The series goes out of its way to focus on obscure and underused characters from across the Transformers mythos, giving leading roles to C-list characters like Wolfang, Buzzclaw, Eject, Synapse, or Twirl.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Mostly averted. The AIs (or "second-born intellects" as they're called in-story) in the Human Confederacy are all friendly, normal folks that just happen to be machines, and the ancient AI that controls (or rather is) the Draco Ziggurat is also totally benevolent. Lord Imperious Delirious, on the other hand, applies for this trope all the way.
  • Aliens Steal Cable: By the 24th century, Cybertron is still picking up ancient Earth transmissions, and the Games were inspired by old broadcasts of The Hunger Games.
  • The Alleged Car: The Overcharge drones serve as a military variant of this: big, powerful, and heavily-armed, but also slow, laden with Artificial Stupidity, overpriced, and laughably fuel-inefficient. It's noted that just getting them to start is difficult, and they practically do more damage to their own side than the enemy. Even the owner's manual is a mess of "Blind Idiot" Translation.
  • Allohistorical Allusion: Duran Duran apparently got some questioning looks when "Union of the Snake" came out, and had to assure people it had nothing to do with Cobra.
  • All There in the Manual: The first mention of the Uprising universe came in a profile of Blackarachnia in the Transformers Fan Club magazine, which is also the only place that explains what became of Optimus Primal, Rhinox and Silverbolt - they died, which prompted Blackarachnia, Cheetor and Nightscream to go rogue. Depth Charge's absence from the stories was explained with his Fan Club exclusive toy, since he went after Blackarachnia and Nightscream when they fled the universe.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: In-universe, and invoked, in The Inexorable March, which has hidden cybertronix detailing a 'bot called Hatchet writing a paper about how Lio Convoy was a ruthless terrorist responsible for dozens of bad things, helped by ten thousand years of misinformation and hearsay.
  • American Accents: From the sound of it, Wolffang speaks with a New York accent.
  • Ambiguous Disorder:
    • Trans-Mutate is essentially a Cybertronian autistic.
    • Break apparently is treated like he's got one, what with the speaking in hashtags, and even weirder, taking a penguin alt-mode.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Exactly who it was that became Triple-Threat Prime is unclear. It could be Optimus, given the partners he had are those who've usually been partnered with Optimus in other media, but no concrete details are given (especially since some of them are also those who could be partners of Ultra Magnus). And exactly what became of them is also unclear, though given the Triple Threat Master technology is stated to take years off a 'bot's life, the answer seems pretty clear. Derailment confirms that Triple-Threat was Optimus, but that he died sacrificing himself to take out The Swarm.
  • Alternate Universe: Uprising is an alternate universe to the cartoon. In the cartoon's universe, the Autobot and Decepticon war ended with a victory for the former and centuries of peace; here, there was no winner. Expelled by Earth and left confined to Cybertron, the war ground on interminably until their homeworld became so drained of energy that they could no longer power their bodies. This left them a frozen race of living statues with only the smallest among them (Mini-cassettes and Micromasters) left to retain their mobility. Enter the proto-races (aka the Maximals and Predacons), a next-generation of smaller, more energy-efficient Cybertronians who could function in these energy-starved times. The Autobots and Decepticons used them as proxy armies to continue the war in their stead. The centuries passed, and the fighting withered away; society bloomed from the ruined, stagnant planet. The Autobots and Decepticons joined to become the ruling oligarchs, "The Builders," with the Micromasters as their enforcers. The Maximals and Predacons became the civilian underclass kept in line by "The Games"; televised gladiatorial bloodsports in which the Builders periodically forced them to compete.
  • Anachronism Stew/The Theme Park Version: The Resistance arena in Protihex is deliberately designed to resemble ancient Earth... a Earth where the Statue of Liberty, Big Ben, and the Eiffel Tower are all in driving distance of one another.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Synapse's right arm is vaporized by Meduson as he's trying to kill Dead-End.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The Inexorable March ends with a group of Transformers crash-landing on an alien world and gearing up for another adventure as they try to get back home.
  • Anyone Can Die: In full effect by Derailment. Of the many, many P.O.V. characters, a lot of them die.
  • Appropriated Appellation: Thunderhoof and Terrorsaur mockingly call Gnashteeth "Megatron" when they beat him up. Later on, he decides to go with it.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Lord Imperious Delirious was a one-off villain in an old, very short-lived comic in the 90s. Alone Together makes him a major character, and he goes on to be a big problem in Intersectionality.
    • Maxima goes from a character who died after barely being on-screen in the "Combiner Wars" machima, to the very first Maximal.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: The Logicons of Metascan Omega did this in the ancient past, leaving behind a ziggurat of knowledge on their homeworld for any future races that wished to follow them. It's implied this is the natural endpoint for every sufficiently advanced species.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Ikard is a weasel who forces captured soldiers to fight to the death, then tries to murder Preditron to make nice with the Tripredacus Alliance. He's one of the first to be infected by the Vehicons.
    • After their centuries of pettiness and spite, and just generally being jerkasses, the Builder Assembly, to a 'bot, get their sparks ganked out and turned into Vehicons by Galva Convoy.
    • After Humanity expells the Transformers and practically treats them like a lesser species than them and nearly become gods, end up internally destroying themselves and become non-important in the future.
  • Ax-Crazy: Befitting someone called Galvatron.
  • Back for the Finale: Just about every character shows up for "Derailment".
  • Balkanize Me: At the beginning of the story, before the uprising begins, Cybertron is "united" (in the worst sense) under the Builder Assembly. Once the revolution begins, it's not long before the already-unstable planet fractures and by the end, Cybertron is divided between nine different powers; the Resistance (now the League of Autonomous Proto-States), the Maximal Nation, the Independent Predacus States, the Last Builders, the Neutral City-States, the Moons, Rageland, Shokaract's Domain, and the Darksyders.
  • Beastly Bloodsports: Thanks to his immobility, Squeezeplay has been reduced to watching vids of mechanimals goring one another. He can't even join in any more.
  • BFS: Lio Convoy's Solipsistic Staff gets reforged into a sword by "Derailment".
  • Big Bad: There's a lot of antagonists at play, but ultimately Lord Imperious Delirious is the supreme villain of the story.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Definitely more sweet then bitter, especially considering the absolute hell that comes before it. After all the horror, war, death, and devastation, the villains are all defeated and Cybertron finally knows true peace and equality. The victory was bought with the blood of thousands, but their sacrifice was not in vain.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: One of the key points of this universe is that, unlike some continuities, Maximals and Predacons are not just smaller, more efficient versions of Autobots and Decepticons, but an entirely separate race altogether. This means the Beast Upgrade doesn't work on the Builders and their flunkies and is implied to be a contributing factor to their terrible treatment of the next generation.
  • Blood Knight: Ser-Ket wants to be one, fighting actual wars on other worlds, rather than pointless games for someone else's amusement.
  • Body Horror:
    • Leatherhide is an Autobot who took on Maximal size, but has abandoned any kind of robot mode, only having two beast modes, with his robot mode head visible in his bat-form's mouth.
    • All of Megatron's failed upgrade attempts resulted in these.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Overshoot manages to take out three 'bots with these in quick succession.
  • Bread and Circuses: The Games, mostly for the Builders, but it also keeps the Maximals and Predacons from doing much themselves. Then, once the war's in full swing, the Resistance starts setting up their own version of the Games...
  • Brick Joke: In "Broken Bridges", Overshoot notes that the Overcharge drone's user manual is a garbled mess. The hidden text is a translation of that manual, and it is indeed a garbled mess. Figures, when you buy Quintesson.
  • Canon Character All Along: The starship known as the Dinosaur is actually Trypticon, trapped permanently in spaceship mode.
  • Canon Immigrant:
    • Many, many, many Mini-Cons show up repurposed as Micromasters.
    • Ser-Ket, a character from one of IDW's "Fall of Cybertron" tie-ins, shows up in "Head Games".
    • In a slightly more literal fashion, a handful of Go-Bot Renegades who escaped the near-destruction of their universe have infiltrated the Predacons.
    • Twirl, of the "Linkage" mini-comic, is an important character of Trigger Warnings, as is Over-Run, Armada Optimus' other Mini-Con partner.
    • "Identity Politics" introduces Budora, of the "Go" Anime. He's later followed by Gaidora in "Safe Spaces".
    • Some of the Decepticons from RID 2015 (Thunderhoof, Bisk and Paralon) make a appearance with the former showing up running a gang in Iacon. Strongarm is wired into the Maximal Command Security Force building, while Springload, Quillfire and Steeljaw appear through Derailment.
    • The Builder held hostage by the Monster Renegades is Highline, a character from the first movie's toyline.
    • Tidal Wave appears as a battleship in "Derailment".
    • The conclusion of "The Inexorable March" has the good guy ship crewed by 'bots from the aborted Chinese version of Transformers: Online.
  • Category Traitor:
    • The Resistance deem any Maximal or Predacon who side with the Builders as race traitors. Then as the war progresses and the Resistance gets worse, the title of "race traitor" starts getting applied to anyone who dares to be neutral or even Resistance members who object to the constant war crimes, like Snapper or Cheetor.
    • Humanity meanwhile, lists the Witwicky family as criminals (most likely on account of being friends with the robots).
  • Character Focus:
    • Buzzsaw is the main character of "Head Games".
    • Stiletto, a character from an old fan club text story, in "Burning Bridges".
    • Wolfang in "Trigger Warnings"
    • Bisk gets a whole section to his inner monologue during "Not All Megatrons".
    • Nucleon, who also got a section of that story to himself, gets a sub-story told from his point of view, "A Brush With Infamy".
  • Chekhov's Armoury: Just about everything in the earlier stories is a Chekhov's Gun of some stripe. The most important is probably the Grand Mal.
  • Clarke's Third Law: Let's just say that the dividing line between science and magic, spiritual and physical gets pretty blurry as the story progresses… to the point that it's questionable if such a line even really exists.
  • C-List Fodder: One suspects part of the reason the story was able to go as grim as it did was this. The notoriously cruel Builder Assembly, for instance, have their most famous members being Ratbat, Crosscut, and a Canon Immigrant version of Knock Out. Who cares if Crosscut is evil?
  • Cloning Gambit: After Lio Convoy starts the revolution, Eject comes up with the idea of cloning him. Then they decide to include the G-Virus into the mix, resulting in Galva Convoy, who starts hearing whispers from someone, and decides to forge his own plan, starting with corrupting his version of the Matrix.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Bisk thinks his life is one great big video game. But he manages to infiltrate the Builder's ultimate fortress and get out without ever being detected, and survives the Vehicon Apocalypse, so he's definitely doing something right.
  • Combining Mecha: Not so common on post-war Cybertron, though the Renegades use their combined form, Monsterous, to breach the Forever Vault. Rodimus isn't happy to hear that one. "Cultural Appropriation" reveals that Devastator- albeit a Micromaster-scaled version of his old self- remains an option for the newest incarnation of the Constructicons. Derailment introduces Magnaboss and Tripredacus into the mix.
  • Commander Contrarian: Ram Horn of the Tripredacus Council, who counter-argues every choice his fellow councillors suggest. They're very much aware of this, and use it to manipulate him into going along with them.
  • Composite Character:
    • Wolfang is Wolfang and Wolfang. That is, his true identity is the Predacon Wolfang Takara released during their Beast Wars Telemocha Series, but he can change the appearance of his robot mode to make him look like Beast Wars Wolfang so he can spy on the Maximal Command Security Force.
    • Stockade the 2003 Universe tank-bot and Stockade the 2008 Universe Triceratops are made the same character.
    • Deluge the G1 Autobot and Deluge the G1 Decepticon are the same guy; he started as an Autobot then defected to the Decepticons midway through the Great War.
  • Conflict Ball: Deliberately invoked by the Builders when putting ship crews together. The Predacon workers have Maximal officers, which naturally prevents them working together effectively.
  • Continuity Snarl: The screen capture comic A Change to The Agenda presents the Uprising universe as the result of the Maximals failing to stop Megatron from killing Optimus Prime, leading Blackarachnia to kill the original G1 Megatron in retaliation. This doesn't fit with previously established facts from the preceding stories. In particular, if Megatron had died millions of years ago, then Galvatron—stated to be prominent figure in the last Great War—shouldn't exist at all. The comic was apparently made without the input of the writers of the series.
  • Corrupt Cop: An awful lot of the Maximal Security Forces, according to Overshoot. Probably because most of the recruits just signed up to avoid getting sent off to the Games (the MSF have an exclusion clause).
  • The Corrupter: Galva Convoy hopes to corrupt his version of the Energon Matrix and all the potential Sparks within into Anti-Sparks.
  • Crapsack World: Put succinctly, Cybertron is a pretty terrible place for anyone to live. Fuel is scarce, most of the cities nigh-abandoned or run down, the police ludicrously corrupt or evil (or both), and the Builders crap on everyone.
  • Crazy Memory: Galvatron's not remembering everything properly. It helps that he's not actually the original Galvatron, just a recreation.
  • Crossover: "Cultural Appropriation" sees a motley crew of Builders, Maximals, and Predacons go up against the Monster GoBots.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Apparently Galvatron was vivisected by the Builders in retaliation for bringing the Human Confederacy down on their heads with the Grendel Gambit.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: The end of Burning Bridges mentions a "Targetmaster Extirpation".
    • Trigger Warning gives more details on the Extirpation. The Targetmasters were smaller beings who could transform into guns for larger Transformers, some of them being native Cybertronians while others were humans or Nebulan allies. In the mainstream universes, the primary advantage of the Targetmasters is having a weapon that can aim itself, allowing the wielder to focus on other matters. In the Uprising universe, the Targetmasters are described as granting enough firepower to level siege-works (the mainstream universe Targetmasters are also mentioned as being more powerful than regular weapons, but not to this extent). When the Great War ended, the Targetmasters were deemed too powerful for either side to have and so were gathered in order to grant them exile to a safe world of their choice where they never needed to fear being used as weapons again. The assembled Targetmasters were then massacred by their former comrades, with both Autobot and Decepticon taking part in the slaughter.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • In the backstory, Galvatron's Decepticons versus the nascent Human Confederacy in the Grendel Gambit. The battle was embarrassingly one-sided in the Confederacy's favor, with them utterly mopping the floor with the Decepticons.
    • In the finale, the Tripredacus Council take the Preditron matter into their hands by fighting him in a Duel to the Death… while they're combined into Tripredacus. Needless to say, poor Preditron doesn't survive the ensuing fight, if it can even be called one.
  • Cyberspace: Apelinq and Saberback are drawn into a sort of mystical cyberspace by the Draco Ziggurat so it can communicate with them properly and "test" the Dinosaur crew's worthiness to stay on Metascan Omega.
  • Darker and Edgier: Probably one of, if not the darkest Transformers universes ever to see the light of day, depicting a war where most of the good ol' Autobots and Decepticons have aged into decrepit assholes, and their successors are perfectly willing to commit terrorism to achieve their ends.
  • Dark Messiah: Galva Convoy sees himself as this to the Transformers, liberating them from The Evils of Free Will by "upgrading" them into Vehicons. And he's encouraged in this thinking by Lord Imperious, who goes a step further by regarding himself as the Dark Messiah of all machine life.
  • David Versus Goliath: Preditron vs Tripredacus. He loses. Badly. Ser-Ket has better luck by strategically attacking Tripredacus's joints to crack him apart back into his component pieces, and even then the maneuver leaves her half-dead.
  • Dawn of an Era / End of an Age: The story ends with the Builder's time and countless centuries of warfare on Cybertron finally ending, with the dawning of a new age of unity and relative peace.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Diver and Cohrada, in "Head Games".
    • Bighorn, in "Burning Bridges"
    • Mach Kick steps on a land-mine in "Micro-Aggressions"
    • Hydra and Killer Punch get murdered in "Intersectionality", and Hard Head gets his Spark carved out by Lord Imperious Delirious.
    • Max-B is one of Megatron's test subjects he had to put down in "Not All Megatrons". Paralon gets interrogated to death by Megatron later on.
    • Break sacrifices his life to help the Resistance in Derailment. Scylla is killed when Banzaitron rams her ship with Tidal Wave. Springload is killed by the Vehicons. Steel Jaw is felled by a stray shot to the back of the head.
    • According to Blackarachnia's Collector's Club bio, she and Nightscream killed Optimus Primal long before the start of the Uprising stories after he refused to turn on their Autobot masters after the deaths of Siverbolt and Rhinox.
  • Death Seeker: Squeezeplay's become so apathatic due to his immobility he doesn't actually care that the Resistance is about to blow him up. He even turns all his camera on himself in the hopes his death is slow, painful and dramatic. It isn't.
  • Decomposite Character:
    • As with IDW, Bumblebee and Goldbug are separate characters (Bumblebee is mentioned as being long dead in "Head Games", while Goldbug is alive by "Derailment").
    • Know that in this universe, Razor-Claw has no relation to either Tigatron or Airazor, and exists entirely as a separate individual.
    • Override and Nitro Convoy. One's a Builder, the other a Commandron in the 34th century.
    • The Convoy Council also includes Armada Convoy and Galaxy Convoy, who going by the names are based on Armada and Cybertron Optimus Prime.
    • Beast Wars Megatron's megalomania and god-complex are absent, having been transferred over to Galvatron, as has being the mastermind behind the Vehicon generals.
  • Deconstructed Trope:
    • "A Brush With Infamy" explores exactly what would happen when you have robots the size of cities duking it out - massive environmental damage.
    • During "Derailment", Preditron fights Tripredacus. He gets beaten into the ground and dies. Valiant warrior-king or not, he's severely outclassed by the combiner.
  • Demonic Possession: Anyone infected by the G-Virus becomes a new body for Galvatron, like Cop-Tur. Grimlock wanted to unleash it on a crowd of builders and render them completely impotent, not caring it'd infect a lot more able-bodied Maximals and Predacons.
  • Demoted to Extra: Of the Maximals of the original Beast Wars, only Cheetor, Tigatron, and Airazor have notable roles. Optimus Primal, Rhinox, and Silverbolt were killed offscreen, while Dinobot and Rattrap make only brief appearances in one story.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Humanity's M.O. with Cybertronians. A Decepticon launches an attack on them that ultimately fails? Punish all Cybertronians by forcing them off their planets, regardless of alignment or involvement.
  • Distant Finale: The coda story, The Inexorable March, ends in the 34th century CE.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • At the end of the Great War, what was left of the Cybertronians were beaten up by the technologically more advanced mankind and penned in to a small area of space, which the humans call the "Allowed Zone", and regularly take more and more from them. Ahem.
    • A group of people told they were being Released to Elsewhere, only to be met with attempted genocide. Are we talking about the Jews in Nazi Germany, or the Targetmasters?
    • Preditron is considered the founder of the Predacons, but his writings are appropriated and "reinterpreted" by the Tripedacus Council for their own ends.
    • Gnashteeth doesn't like his given name, finding it ill-fitting and uncomfortable, and eventually decides to have it changed.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Betabear had a bad nucleon habit. Not a good thing when you're a bad-tempered riot control officer. His partner Stilleto had to put him down because it made him try and kill some sap who went near him.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: This universe was first mentioned in Transtech Blackarachnia's bio, then Depth Charge's, some years before we really see it.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • The resistance consists of Maximals and Predacons. They don't always get along too well.
    • Autobots and Decepticons came together to take down Thunderwing, which helped create the Builder Assembly.
    • Toward the end of Derailment, everyone left decides to work together against the Vehicons, and then Lord Imperious Delirious.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Megatron is sitting there, pondering the way the war's going, as he thinks back to the ant-droid farm he had when he was Gnashteeth. That's when the idea of the Beast Upgrade comes to him.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: In a twisted way. Galva Convoy, rather then viewing Lio Convoy as his enemy as the Builders wanted, idolizes him as his brother and loves him. He's enraged when Lio fails to return the feelings.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Rampage is disgusted by the attitude of Chak, Una and humanity as a whole.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: When the Beast Upgrade starts hitting Cybertron, several characters take on Dinosaur-based altmodes, like Preditron's T-Rex form.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good:
    • Cybershark simply can't fathom why Ser-Ket would be upset about the Resistance using Buzzclaw as a disposable patsy and callously killing him when the time comes. It was for the greater good!
    • Galva Convoy is straight-up Obliviously Evil, not really understanding why the Transformers would object to being "upgraded" into mindless, soulless Vehicons, or why Lio Convoy would be disturbed by him spouting the exact sort of "do what's necessary" rhetoric the Resistance has been using.
  • Evil Is Petty: The Builders treat Micromasters, Maximals and Predacons as second-class citizens out of jealousy for their mobility.
  • Evil Knockoff: To counter Lio Convoy, Eject plans to create an evil duplicate with an Energon Matrix of his own. He succeeds in the form of Galva Convoy… and lives to regret it.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Scylla, to go with the improved piratical theme she's got going on.
  • Fantastic Caste System: There is mention of some very Functionist systems in place, if not functionism proper. Meanwhile, society is tiered with the Builders right on top, and the Maximals and Predacons at the bottom. Micromasters, Cyberdroids and anyone else lies inbetween.
  • Fantastic Noir: Trigger Warnings is written in the style of old-school noir stories, with Wolfang playing the role of Hard Boiled Detective.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Some Autobots and Decepticons downsized to Micromasters. The Builders don't treat them any better than they do the Maximals and Predacons. Up until slightly after Megatron's Start of Darkness, Micros weren't even allowed on the Builder council.
    • The Cyberdroids are second-class citizens, just barely above Maximals and Preds, looked down on for their alt-modes usually being either heads or engines.
    • As shown at several points in the story, the Builders don't trust the proto-races to guard them. Either they get Micromasters to do it, or failing that, utterly inefficient and completely bone-brained drones.
    • Meanwhile, post-Singularity humans treat regular old humans like second class citizens.
    • Lord Imperious Delirious is disgusted and horrified by Cybertronian mecha-biology, primarily their sparks which he views as "parasites" controlling robot bodies. It spurs him to invent the Vehicons, to remove the spark from every living thing on the planet.
    • Neither humans nor Cybertronians like each other.
  • Fascist, but Inefficient: Cybertronian society is engineered in such a way that the Builders are in charge, and everyone else suffers because... because, and the Builders refuse to give up on old grudges. At one point, Scorponok comes up with a way to increase energon output by a good percentage, but Megatron points out that it'd get shot down just because a Predacon suggested it.
  • Fauxshadow: During his talk with the Oracle, Overshoot is told one day mankind and Cybertronians will work together to fight something "beyond good, beyond evil". Sadly, the stories never show this happening, thought it's implied it will happen in the future.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: Thanks to information creep, loss of records, and the general march of time, there's a disturbingly growing number of Transformers who doubt the existence of supernatural beings and events like Unicron or the Swarm, despite evidence of their existence being plentiful and despite the massive impact these things had (including the deaths of millions). Deluge realized long ago that this phenomena would leave Cybertron defenseless if another great paranormal and disastrous event occurred, so he decided to do something about it; creating mutant Transformers like Rampage and Trans-Mutate.
  • For Want of a Nail:
    • The caption comic A Change To The Agenda claims that the crapsack Uprising universe came about because this is an alternate universe where Beast Wars Megatron successfully killed Optimus Prime and in retaliation Blackarachnia poisoned G1 Megatron with her cybervenom. Without Optimus Prime leading the Autobots, the battles they had with the Decepticons were apparently much more destructive, to the point that the highly advanced humans of the Uprising Era sealed the Transformers into a small sector of space and then left them to rot.
    • Apparently, while Unicron did attack Cybertron pretty much as usual, this time around he only ate one of Cybertron's four (well, three afterwards) moons before getting done in.
    • The final story implies that another, pretty major divergence was the absence of the Matrix.
  • From a Single Cell: At the very end of Derailment, Rampage manages to recover from being atomized. And as a major Death Seeker, he's understandably pretty pissed.
  • Full-Circle Revolution: As the story progresses and the conflict drags on, the Resistance starts becoming just as morally bankrupt and ruthless as the Builders, to the point of staging their own Games using Builder prisoners of war.
  • Gender Flip: Lots of minor Transformers without much accompanying fiction, such as Oiler and Spaceshot, are re-interpreted as females. Other characters who never received any pronouns at all, like Buckethead, became female.
  • Genius Loci:
    • Fortress Maximus, who is far too big and energy intensive to move, so he's been repurposed as a prison for political prisoners.
    • Trypticon is repurposed as a spaceship.
    • The Draco Ziggurat, a holy temple of knowledge constructed on Metascan Omega by the ancient Logicons before they ascended to a higher plane of existence, is self-aware to some extent and can be reasoned with. Fortunately, it's quite benevolent.
  • Genre Shift: "Trigger Warnings" has the story briefly go from sci-fi to crime noir, Cybertron style.
  • Good Is Not Nice:
    • Back when the Autobots could have even been considered good, during the war on Nebulos, they apparently used Fausto Borx's daughter Llyra as a distraction when he was fighting Fortress Maximus in order to win ("Apparently", because the story that reveals this is told by Nucleon, who's biased on the subject of Autobots).
    • The Oracle is very much aware of the Builders, and the Uprising, and the horrible things it will produce, but says it needs to happen, destruction to allow better things to follow. It is, however, intervening in little ways to nudge things towards the best (or least worst) outcome possible, and it's words are vindicated in the end when the events of the Uprising and Vehicon Apocalypse do indeed open the path to a better future for all Transformers… but only if they choose to walk that path, as the Oracle can only light the way, not force them to do things, even what is best for them. Thankfully, they do.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Rampage takes advantage of his healing abilities to save others from situations that would kill them. Well, we say "takes advantage". It's not so much he's trying to save them as he's trying to die, to no luck. On more than one occasion it leads to situations where someone thinks he's taken the bullet, only for Rampage to spring back to life, just as grouchy as ever.
  • Got Volunteered: In the midst of the Vehicon Apocalypse, Leatherhide and Packrat devise a means to protect the Darksyders from the swarm. But they need a guinea-pig. Naturally, it's Wasp who gets chosen, thanks to Scorponok and Terrorsaur grabbing him.
  • Great Offscreen War:
    • The Great War between the Autobots and Decepticons is treated as this, naturally. It casts a large shadow over the events of the series and we get some summaries/hints/references to events from it, but the closest we get to actually seeing any of it is a brief flashback to a very minor skirmish at the start of "Cultural Appropriation".
    • As events play out on Cybertron, it's intimated that a much bigger and more destructive schism/civil war is brewing out in the Human Confederacy between it's various factions, particularly two known as the Traditionalists and the Celestials. We never see any of this, just have it indirectly described or hinted at.
  • Greater-Scope Villain:
    • The human race. They don't appear very often but they're why the Cybertronians are stuck in such a small part of space with few resources.
    • The original Galvatron. His actions caused the human race to enforce the above blockade on Cybertronians.
    • Unicron. He did a good chunk of the damage to Cybertron and the additional Point One Percenters (Rampage and Transmutate) were created due to many of the survivors of his attack being Point One Percenters.
    • Thunderwing. His shadow looms throughout the series as the Builders came about when the Autobots and Decepticons were forced to unite to defeat him, and the leftovers of his schemes and rampage across Cybertron end up playing a big role in the current conflict, most notably the Grand Mal.
    • The Swarm, the threat that Optimus Prime sacrificed himself and the Matrix to save Earth from, which ended up being one of the big contributors to the Crapsack World status quo at the start of the story.
  • Heel Realization: Lio Convoy spends much of the back half of the story becoming consumed with guilt as he realizes just how many moral lines he's crossed in the name of freedom and how radicalized the Resistance has become because of his "no matter the cost" attitude.
  • Here We Go Again!: At the end, Galvatron II has created three Vehicon Generals (Thrust, Jetstorm, and Tankor) to serve him. The Distant Finale epilogue later offhandedly refers the events of the main story as the First Vehicon Apocalypse…
  • Heroic Lineage: Magna Stampede makes mention of being a descendant of Pyra Magna.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Lots and lots, the most significant being the one that happened in the backstory; Optimus Prime sacrificing his second (and last) life to save Earth and Cybertron alike from the Swarm.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade / Historical Villain Upgrade: Played with in Hatchet's book Lio Convoy: Unity Through Tyranny. While it decidedly vilifies Convoy as a tyrant whose atrocities forced the Builder's Council to release the Vehicons, it also accurately critiques "simplistic" views of Lio Convoy as a hero and visionary. It implies the legitimately nasty stuff Convoy did authorize like the G-Virus had gotten downplayed or airbrushed out over the centuries.
  • History Repeats: A big theme of the story is the cyclical nature of history, and the struggle to break those cycles:
    • The Malignus of Rebirth sided with the Decepticons to throw off an oppressive, autocratic regime. The end result was they were forced off of their planet by humans, and wound up under the thumb of an oppressive, autocratic regime.
    • 11 million years ago, Cybertron was a technologically powerful society that became factionalized and fell into brutal civil wars. In the 24th century, humanity is technologically powerful and became factionalized. By the 34th century, humanity has fallen into civil wars.
    • Both in a meta sense and an in-universe one, the final story ends with two Cybertronian ships crash-landing on an unknown planet.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • A double-version at that: the Builders of Cybertron who forced the Maximals and Predacons to fight for their amusement are sent to the Games to entertain the troops. Unfortunately for the Resistance, those Builder POWs were also infected with the Vehicon virus and quickly overrun the Resistance's capital after succumbing.
    • In the final battle, Lio Convoy deliberately lets himself get infected with the Vehicon virus then tackles Galva Convoy, who is promptly infected and killed by his own bioweapon because he shares the same CNA as Lio and the virus can't distinguish between the two.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: Humans, as part of their overall Star Trek homage, use "futuristic" versions of common sayings.
  • Hope Spot: The rise of Rodimus Prime was one for the Autobots in the Great War… one which proceeded to quickly peter out, a fact which contributes to his low status in the story's present.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Humanity as a whole. They treat Cybertronians appallingly, punishing all of them for the crimes of a few, but have no problem allowing the Quintessons free reign.
  • Humans Advance Swiftly: It took a little less than forty years for humans to reverse-engineer and surpass the limits of Cybertronian technology. By the twenty-fourth century AC, they've actually overcome death. As the later stories show however, it didn't take long for Cybertronians to catch up and eventually overcome the humans.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Sure, mankind may have become a technologically enlightened people, capable of reviving people who've been dead for thousands of years... but they're also arrogant snobs, who won't revive people they don't like, and have boxed the Cybertronians in, not to mention that if they do something they don't like, humanity's perfectly prepared to take what little else they have. Though they're alright if the Cybertronians do something positive.
    • One of the worlds they destroyed was the planet Master, which had been taken over by Galvatron and the Decepticons, forcing the inhabitants, regardless of alignment, to flee to Cybertron to live as second-class (at best) citizens.
  • Hybrid Overkill Avoidance: In the final days of the war, Galvatron and Optimus Prime became a mixture of Headmaster, Powermaster and Targetmaster - the Triple Threat Masters. It came at the cost of vastly reducing their lifespans, but in Galvatron's case no-one involved cared much and Prime didn't have much of a choice if he wanted to stand a chance against the former.
  • Ignored Epiphany:
    • Even after the Uprising escalates horribly out-of-control and the Vehicon Apocalypse begins, Grimlock is stubbornly steadfast that his "no matter the costs" attitude was completely justified and the G-Virus was totally a good idea. He only finally begrudgingly admits that he may have been wrong just before dying.
    • In the epilogue, Overshoot and Stiletto reflect on how the events of the series came about in part because the Builders chose to see the aftermath of Thunderwing's rampage (such as the restoration of Cybertron's biodiversity and environment) as a nuisance and threat to their power rather then a sign from the gods that they had a chance to make true peace and equality. Thankfully, the Transformers do not repeat that particular mistake after the Vehicon Apocalypse.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Deluge argues as much about his efforts to create Point One Percenter Maximals and Predacons. Rampage disagrees.
  • In Mysterious Ways: It is heavily implied that the Oracle is subtly nudging things throughout the story to bring about a better outcome, or at least to give the Transformers a fighting chance. However, the way it does so are subtle, obscure, and indirect, with outright Divine Intervention (such as making Overshoot into a Spirit Advisor) being rare at best, as the Oracle is only to guide mortals not rule over them. This is emphasized towards the end, as Overshoot explicitly states that the Transformers have to choose to make a better future in the aftermath of the Vehicon Apocalypse for it to happen, and forge that better future themselves.
  • Internal Deconstruction: An especially vicious one for the entire Transformers franchise. The Autobots and Decepticons are barely-distinguishable juntas determined to keep their Forever War going in some form or another out of bloodlust and hedonism, the Maximals and the Predacons are a new generation used as proxies in said war, Grey-and-Grey Morality is everywhere, War Is Hell, Anyone Can Die, the Transformers confined to a scant few worlds by the "Puny Humans" they once protected or attacked, humans that befriend them are deemed "race traitors", lack of Energon and resources is decimating Cybertron, the villain is essentially an AI that finds the idea of Mechanical Lifeforms unnatural and wants to "upgrade" them into soulless purely-mechanical robots, and most of the famous characters are long-dead, living the C-List Fodder to take center stage. It's a tale that takes just about all of the franchise's Saturday-morning clichés and tropes and conventions and tears them all down to tell a grim story of war, morality, death, and the inexorable march of time.
  • Internal Reformist: Hot Rod's become one, trying to convince the Builders to downsize, and maybe knock it off with the jackassery. Grimlock thinks he's wasting his time.
  • Interspecies Romance: Heavily implied to have happened between Rapticon and N'ell in the epilogue.
  • Jaded Washout: Buzzclaw, a Predacon who won one of the previous Games and spent his life afterwards getting drunk off the winners' stipend, only for Lio Convoy's exposure of their often-rigged nature to pile on a heaping of self-doubt in his own abilities.
  • Jerkass:
    • Pretty much the only flavor of larger-sized Cybertronian left.
    • Bighorn. Cybershark merely has a total Lack of Empathy and doesn't seem to get why Ser-Ket is upset over Buzzclaw being used as a patsy, but Bighorn's a total asshole towards him, before and after his death.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Ram Horn shoots Cicadacon after Tripredacus is forcibly separated, not because of any altruistic motive, but because he saw what Cicadacon and the deceased Sea Clamp thought of him. The guy still had it coming.
  • Kill 'Em All: According to Jim Sorenson, pretty much all the characters from 1984 are dead.
  • Know When to Fold Them: When the Resistance gets to the Builder Assembly, there's one last guard left. He decides fighting Lio Convoy isn't worth it, and stands down.
  • Lack of Empathy: While the Resistance is filled to the brim with extremists, Cybershark manages to be amongst the worst of them simply because he has zero empathy, morality, or understanding of others' feelings. When he sets up Buzzclaw as a patsy to die in Fortress Maximus, he's utterly baffled as to why Ser-Ket or any of the others would be upset or disturbed by it, seeing it as simple pragmatism.
  • Large Ham: Know that Razor-Claw is a large ham, and that he will never stop talking about himself in the third person!
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • The Builder Assembly spent four hundred years making everyone else's lives miserable out of petty jealousy, then ordered and condoned the creation of the Vehicons to put down the Uprising when the proto-races had enough of their crap. Then they're betrayed by Galva-Convoy and turned into Vehicons themselves.
    • After four centuries of hounding and oppressing Cybertronians due to the collateral damage of the Great War, humanity's technological empire collapses into brutal civil wars and a new dark age in the 25th century. By the 34th century, they're no longer a concern for Cybertron.
    • Gnashteeth's former underling Budora turns on his boss and suggests maybe it'd be best if he ducked out quietly. Later on, Gnashteeth decides to have a "talk" with Budora.
  • Legend Fades to Myth: By the time of the 124th century, information creep means that Optimus Prime is barely remembered by historians, who think Optimus Convoy probably didn't really exist.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Corahda impulsively goes charging into battle with Builder reinforcements during the assault on Fortress Maximus… and ends up running straight into a whole brigade because of it, having underestimated the amount of reinforcements. He doesn't survive, unsurprisingly.
  • Madden Into Misanthropy: Or the Cybertronian equivalent. Within a few cycles of being created, Galva Convoy has studied all of Cybertronian history, and comes to the conclusion that it'll all have to go - Maximal, Predacon, Autobot and Decepticon alike.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Stiletto. She's damn good with knives. Or anything sharp and pointy.
    • Overshoot snarks that the Overcharge drones are well-named, because the Builders paid too much for ludicrously inefficient clunkers.
    • The Maximals got their name from Maxima, who got her name from Fortress Maximus. Meanwhile, the Predacons got their name in part from Preditron.
  • Mercy Kill: Ser-Ket kills Ikard to save him from becoming a Vehicon, figuring even someone as awful as him doesn't deserve that. He thanks her as he dies.
  • Merger of Souls:
    • In the backstory, Thunderwing, upon gaining the power of the Underbase, assimilated the souls of the Mayhem Attack Squad into his own, transforming himself up into a nightmarish Humanoid Abomination that tried to destroy Cybertron and was only brought down by the Autobots and Decepticons working together… thus leading to the end of the Great War and the formation of the Builders of Cybertron.
    • Lord Imperious Delirious is the result of nearly the entire population of Gorlam Prime doing this to themselves via mass-Brain Uploading. The result is the very definition of a Mechanical Abomination.
  • Mechanical Abomination: Lord Imperious Delirious, a terrifying alien machine with unholy powers created when an entire planet's civilization uploaded their souls and consciousness into a database the size of a moon, merging into a single eldritch digital being who subsequently deemed himself the Dark Messiah of all artificial intelligence.
  • Mechanical Evolution: Despite taking place in an alternate universe to the Beast Wars, the Maximals and Predacons couldn't transform into animals, at least not yet. It wouldn't be until Not All Megatrons that Megatron funded the Beast Upgrade, finally allowing the factions to do so.
  • Mind Rape:
    • Hello, mnemosurgery, for any 'bot who isn't diligent enough in their duties as a fascist thug. Just adding to the creepiness, it's state-sponsored, and no-one seems to have any problem with the idea of Predacons rummaging around in someone's head to remove unpleasant memories.
    • Megatron also has it done to Cryotek, to get control over his slice of the criminal underworld. Some characters do notice that Cryotek's started acting weird afterward, but don't make a big deal of it.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Pretty much how the plot kicks off. The Builders treated the Maximals and Predacons like crap for centuries, so naturally they turn on them.
  • The Mole:
    • A few Predacons are actually Go-Bots, having snuck in from another universe. During a raid on the Forever Vault, they spared Cop-Tur out of confusion as to whether he was their Cop-Tur, which he wasn't.
    • Wolfang the Maximal Security Officer is secretly Wolfang the Predacon Secret Police agent.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Lio Convoy starts feeling this way more and more as the Uprising drags on and the Resistance starts becoming just as bad as the Builders. By the end, Eject feels the same way about working for the Builders and everything he did for them.
  • Mythology Gag: Many, especially since the text stories are written by Jim Sorenson, who loves mythology gags.
    • During "Broken Windshields", Autopedia, the Autobot database from Last Stand of the Wreckers, makes an appearance. On 24th century Cybertron, it's just used to track the many stupid laws the Builders write.
    • "Alone, Together" establishes Trans-Mutate and Rampage are Point-One Percenters.
    • "Burning Bridges" has Nuke as a popular stimulant.
    • Engex is a popular drink order at Cybertronian bars, along with a component of makeshift grenades.
    • Cyber Planet Keys are the reigning currency on Cybertron.
    • While on guard duty, Stiletto finds an old Noisemaze unit, and wonders if the building once held Guardminders as well.
    • On seeing one Builder in a crowd with a monocular head, Snapper reckons he's been subject to empurata.
    • One of the many things kept in the Forever Vault is some schematics for Madmachines, a evil device of the week from Transformers: ★Headmasters.
    • The G-Virus is said by Hot Rod to be fuelled by Dark Energon.
    • Hidden text in Micro-Aggressions establishes the first human AI was build in 1985 (a reference to TORQ III, from the original cartoon).
    • During Trigger Warnings, Blackarachnia first goes under the alias of "Venus" (after her first VA, Venus Terzo), then Elita (after her Animated counterpart).
    • According to Jim Sorenson, during the war on Earth, San Francisco got destroyed. Again.
    • "A Brush With Infamy" is filled with references to various parts of Transformers media.
    • "Not All Megatrons" has Megatron committing mad science once again.
    • Also, during the same story, Packrat loots a Stasis Pod from the Alchemor.
    • One of the Micromaster squad in "Safe Spaces" is Crunch, who previously showed up as a hi-and-die in the Dreamwave Micromasters miniseries. His luck isn't any better here.
    • Early on in "Derailment", a character muses he'll end up like Trailbreaker "after the DJD were through with him", a nod to the poor guy's graphic fate in The Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye.
    • Stockade getting turned into a Vehicon. The 2003 Stockade was a repaint of Tankor. Here, the Vehicon virus starts turning her into a Tank Drone before her comrades try (and fail) to save her.
    • Toward the climax of "Derailment", a character mutters disbelief at how the war's come to everyone fighting a giant, screaming head. The much-mocked Combiner Wars webseries had Starscream turn into a giant, screaming head that everyone had to fight. Another reference shows up earlier on, when Lio Convoy tries bashing his sword as a sign of authority, but the sound it makes is a less-than impressive "doink". Said sound effect was a brief meme after some lousy sound editing from aforementioned series made the Mistress of Flame bashing her staff against the ground more comical than intended.
    • Steeljaw shows up leading The Pack, much like how his cartoon counterpart led another Pack. As in RID, Steel-Jaw likes scratching everyone's faction insignia, though here it's to establish their membership, not to disable tracking devices.
    • Antagony and Cataclysm show up working for Shockaract at the end of "Derailment", just as they did in their first appearance. Here, Antagony comes out on top of her rival.
    • The Book of Logos mentions an unidentified villain, probably the Liege Maximo, waiting for "the alignment". Alignment being a convention story written by Simon Furman explaining just what was up with the Liege.
    • Deluge mentions that previous Cybertronian incidents involving Earth involved "the Cube", "the Harvester" and "the Hate Plague".
    • The hidden text in "The Inexorable March" has a moment where Headmasters (tiny robots who turn into a larger robot's head) are conflated with Titanmasters (the renamed version of the Headmasters from Titans Return). Also, Lio Convoy's supposed Titanmaster partner is apparently called "Moon Usagi", after Moon - one of the few Beast Wars II characters not to show up in the story.
    • The end of "The Inexorable March" is one great, big, glorious homage to the opening of Beast Wars (with some Beast Wars II and Beast Wars Neo thrown in).
  • Necessarily Evil:
    • Grimlock unsurprisingly believes in this, as he planned to release the G-Virus that would turn every Builder present into a raving maniac like G1 Galvatron. Since Builders are totally immobile, Grimlock reasoned that they would thus become harmless, as they wouldn't be able to give coherent commands or plan attacks on the rebels. This also means, however, that Grimlock was more than willing to infect every Maximal and Predacon who happened to be in the area as well.
    • Lio Convoy is willing to deceive and kill if it means overthrowing the Builders and giving the Maximals and Predacons the chance to create their own future.
  • Never Found the Body: Grimlock seemingly dies in the finale when he suicide-bombs a tower to turn the tide against the Vehicons, but afterwards no body can be found, raising questions about just what happened to him.
  • Never My Fault: As Nucleon bitterly notes humans were all too willing to ignore their role in the Scouring of Nebulos while blaming all Cybertonians.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: In the backstory, Thunderwing's rampage with the Underbase did a lot of damage to the Autobots and Decepticons, but it also restored Cybertron's bio-diversity.
  • Nice Guy: Gnashteeth is an affable, jovial sort, even willing to talk to Maximals. Then his mentor Double Punch screws him over in the name of politics...
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Thunderhoof unleashes one on Gnashteeth, bad enough to leave him in the CR Chamber for a deca-cycle, as a warning.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The fact that Overrun is called Overrun is made a plot point, when Wolfgang realises his name has nothing to do with his jet alt-mode. Because he's actually a Targetmaster.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • The last she was seen, Blackarachnia was in the Shattered Glass universe, with Alpha Trion. Exactly how she wound up back home, without her stolen Transtech body, isn't clear.
    • Something called "The Scouring of Nebulos" was the final straw for mankind. It's revealed in "A Brush With Infamy" to have been the war reaching the planet, and the battle between Fortress Maximus and MegaZarak utterly devastating an already battered planet, so much so it couldn't support life.
    • An incident involving Thunderwing and the Grand Mal. He got his hands on the Underbase, absorbed its power, and his troops, killed the Wreckers and merged with the flying fortress.
    • Something called "The Rending".
    • The Grendel Gambit, Galvatron's last zany scheme to get at mankind. The exact specifics aren't clear, thanks to The Book of Logos being written in pseudo-Jacobian speech, but the general indication is he and the Decepticons tried to use Pretender tech to disguise themselves as humans and get past mankind, and it really didn't work out.
    • The fight between the Cybertronian Empire and the Autobots. "The Book of Logos" hints that Megatron (as in the original Megs) might've been involved somehow, in events not too dissimilar from the non-canonical Alignment. (The confusion might have something to do with Logos jumping from time to time, so it's entirely possible the fight with the Swarm came before Unicron showed up).
    • According to "The Inexorable March", somewhere after the 24th century, Cybertronians had a run-in with the Ammonites. They got through it, but whatever happened made them decide not to go wandering out of their galaxy.
    • Rodimus' disastrous leadership of the Autobots.
    • The exact specifics of Unicron's attack on Cybertron.
    • While it is made clear Optimus got a resurrection, the story is amazingly unspecific as to how.
  • No Place for Me There: In the end, a near-crippled and repentant Lio Convoy leaves the newly-peaceful and free Cybertron, deciding he's too polarizing a figure to lead the reconstruction of the planet.
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • During "Cultural Appropriation", the Oracle says as much about mankind and Transformers, in its own way.
    CAN YOUR LEFT HAND BE THE ENEMY OF THE RIGHT?
  • Not So Stoic: Gran the Cyberdroid, after being removed from Fortress Maximus:
    -rts 1, 3 not found retrying socket error 114 ports 1, 3 not found retrying socket error 114 ports 1, 3 not found retrying socket error 114 ports 1, 3 not found
    Plasma Kord Where are you I am lonely
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: At the beginning of "Derailment", Tarantulas tries using the Robo-Smasher on Grimlock. It doesn't work.
  • Off with His Head!: Gnashteeth threatens to hang Thunderhoof's head from Iacon's spires. When he becomes Megatron, he follows through on this threat.
  • Older and Wiser: Hot Rod's done a lot of growing up in the years following the Great War and his disastrous tenure as Rodimus Prime, and is resultantly why he's one of the few Autobot Builders still clinging to his honor and morality.
  • One Steve Limit: In this universe, names don't repeat: every Transformer is given a specific name that no other Cybertronian shares. Hence we have characters like Scavenger and Skavenger, Dead End and Dead-End, Skywarp and Sky Warp, etc. The two exceptions are Rampage, due to taking the name on spur of the moment when someone else mishears him, and Megatron, who changed his name from Gnashteeth to deliberately invoke his famous predecessor.
  • Open Secret: Everyone knew about Betabear's nucleon habit. They just didn't see it as a problem until he tried to murder some schmuck and got a knife to the brains for it.
  • Outside-Context Problem: The Renegades, thanks to their tech not only being alien from Cybertron, but the universe in general. Thanks to that, despite mankind being ahead of them, they could have incapacitated and killed the team sent to retrieve the Stone of Sky Warp.
  • Painting the Medium: During Derailment, during a section written from Twinstrike's POV, the text splits in two, to represent Twinstrike's two heads.
  • The Paragon Always Rebels: Lio Convoy was considered the Builders' single best agent. Once Blackarachnia reveals the Energon Matrix in his chest, however, he decides to lead a rebellion to overthrow the Builders.
  • The Paranoiac: Killer Punch. It's not enough to save him, but he does manage to reveal Synapse's murderous intent.
  • Paranoia Fuel: In-universe. The second time the Resistance tried infiltrating Fort Max, the team had been informed about his abilities. Unfortunately, this meant they all turned on one another thanks to Cerebros messing with them.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Given their severe, often petty and irrational, attitudes towards Cybertronians, the fact that humanity let them keep the Energon Matrix is nothing short of astounding.
    • Of all the infiltration team, Survive is the only one to offer Ser-Ket legit consolation for being duped after Buzzclaw gets a spike to the brain.
  • The Political Officer: They're Micromasters, there to keep an eye on the Maximals and Predacons. Synapse of "Intersectionality" is the Dinosaur's appointed officer, and he's a total skidplate. And that's before he starts murdering people.
  • Posthumous Character:
    • Rhinox, Silverbolt and even the Boss Bot himself, Optimus Primal, are all dead by the time the story begins. Rhinox and Silverbolt because of Predacons. Optimus, however, was killed by Blackarachnia, Nightscream and Cheetor.
    • Cerebros, the actual intelligence behind Fortress Maximus, is long dead. But his thoughts live on inside the cyberdroids that manage his bulk.
    • Eject laments the fact that all the truly great Cybertronians like Optimus Prime, Megatron, Shockwave, Soundwave, Bumblebee, Prowl and Starscream are long gone.
  • Propaganda Hero: Cheetor and Preditron find themselves being used as this by the Resistance, much to their mutual displeasure. And it gets a lot worse once Ikard and Blackarachnia decide they'll more useful as martyrs, since the Tripredacus Council wants Preditron dead in exchange for their support and Cheetor is condemning the Resistance's tactics a little too openly for their tastes.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Preditron, the first Predacon. Much like Dinobot, he espouses a unique brand of honor and chivalry, which most modern Predacons don't.
  • Ramming Always Works: Bazooka brings down the Grand Mal's shields by ramming the Ex-Jet into it's shield generator at full-speed. He doesn't survive the crash, but it does work.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Eject, who gives his life to ensure Lio Convoy and his team can board the Grand Mal to stop the Vehicons, and uses his last words to (in his own sports-obsessed way) apologize to Lio for not standing up to the Assembly sooner, encourage him onwards, and reveal how he really feels about him. "Make me proud, slugger".
  • Redemption Quest: Lio Convoy leaves on one at the end, and when we last hear of him in the epilogue he's become a genuine Ideal Hero revered by history, rather then the ruthless Pragmatic Hero he was during the Uprising.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Averted. Apparently here Lio Convoy and Lio Junior aren't related at all. Likewise, Galvatron from Beast Wars II and Megastorm have no relation. However, Beast Wars Galvatron is treated as a reincarnation of G1 Galvatron, as opposed to his anime version, who just took the name. Also, Maxima was apparently the "first daughter" of Fortress Maximus in this continuity.
  • The Remnant: Cybertron itself, thanks to humanity, who eventually got fed up of their actions. Three hundred years ago the Autobots and Decepticons were given only four colonies. By the time the story starts, they'd been brought down to one, while the Autobots and Decepticons continue pointless fighting rather than trying to rebuild their society.
  • The Resenter: A lot of Builders, towards their smaller descendants. And the Micromasters, and anyone who can move.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The Resistance has some pretty legitimate grievances against the Builders, but from the start they're willing to do an awful lot of unsavoury actions to get their freedom, and they just get worse and worse as the story goes on.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: "Queen" Rage leads the fight against the Vehicons from the frontline and keenly feels the loss of every one of her soldiers.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: In "Derailment", Hot Rod and his Micromaster underlings ignore Ratbat's orders to play meat-shield, and go rogue. It saves their lives.
  • Screw the War, We're Partying!: During "Cultural Appropriation", Skavenger of the Constructicons wants to skip transporting a prisoner and go into a nearby casino.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Blackarachnia, Nightscream and two Predacons tried fleeing Cybertron. They wound up in Axiom Nexus. Blackarachnia wasn't pleased when she wound up coming back.
  • Screw You, Elves!: Stiletto and Rampage tell the two humans who show up at the end of "Cultural Appropriation" how they feel about them. Stiletto calls them spoiled children who've never suffered real hardship, and Rampage calls them out on their habit of Disproportionate Retribution.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: Some especially large Builders like Fortress Maximus and Trypticon are so strapped for energy that they're forced to permanently lock themselves into their alt-modes.
  • Shock and Awe: Rampage has a set of Galva-conductors (no relation to Galvatron) which let him zap people. He uses them to incapacitate Lord Imperious Delirious, followed by ripping his head off.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Plasma tends to talk in shout-outs, usually in poetry (though she also quotes The Beatles).
    • Dante the Cyberdroid wasn't even supposed to be here today! And like in the planned ending of Clerks, he ends up getting killed.
    • In the backstory, the EDC was formed from G.I. Joe's Star Brigade. Cobra gets a mention in the opening of Cultural Appropriation.
    • The humans maintain the Treaty of Prysmos, the name of the planet from short-lived Hasbro property Visionaries.
    • The Human Confederacy fleet look and act an awful lot like the Federation from Star Trek. Captain Blix even has a sash like Worf.
    • The Builders' last-ditch order to make sure the Vehicons don't come near them is General Order 66.
    • In the 124th century, Cybertronian historians believe that the Solstar Order represented humanity during the drafting of the Pax Cybertronia.
    • Megatron and Scorponok's story in Identity Politics, that of someone forced into crime, which he turns out to be really good at, and becomes more ruthless as he goes on, takes some cues from Breaking Bad.
    • Ikard orders a drink, hot, much like one Captain Picard likes his earl grey hot.
    • The Convoy Council of the 34th century are reluctant to go outside the Milky Way to avoid "lions, tigers and bears", as Megalo Convoy puts it.
    • Micromaster Run-Over speaks only in quote from The Simpsons. Its quite easy to do so—in this universe, the show ran for several thousand episodes (at the time the story was written, it was a little over 600).
  • Small, Secluded World: Relatively speaking. The events of the series are confined to the "Allowed Zone", the tiny bubble of space around Cybertron that the Human Confederacy lets the Builders rule over and consisting of only Cybertron and four colonies (formerly eight colonies, but Galvatron went and blew that). Only one story even bothers to really leave Cybertron itself for any extended period.
  • Skewed Priorities: Even as the Uprising reaches it's fever pitch and the Vehicon Apocalypse begins, all the Tripredacus Council really cares about is eliminating Preditron, the first Predacon whose writings they appropriated and twisted to justify their rule, because they see him as a potential rival for leadership of the Predacons.
  • Spirit Advisor: After dying in the Oracle's presence, Overshoot's spirit is temporarily held back from passing on to the afterlife in order to convey info from the Oracle to Stiletto. Once the Uprising is all over, he clings on just long enough to say goodbye to her before being sent off to the Allspark.
  • Start of Darkness: "Identity Politics" is one for Scorponok and Megatron.
  • Surfer Dude: For some reason, B'Boom talks like this.
  • Taking You with Me:
    • Sunstorm blows himself up to save his congregation from Vehicons.
    • Banzaitron and Tidal Wave ram Broadside, taking down Scylla.
    • Rampage to Lord Imperious Delirious. Of course Rampage survives.
  • Talkative Loon: Fortress Maximus's components, on account of having more than one person's mind and history crammed inside their head. They don't even know who they are anymore.
  • Talk Like a Pirate: Scylla be talkin' all pirate-like, yar.
  • Tautological Templar: Fortress Maximus is partly responsible for Cybertron's current crappy state and it's enforcement. He thinks it's still better than any possible alternative, regardless of the fact that Cybertronians are still being made to live in a police state where at any point they might be made to fight and die for no real reason, simply because they're being prevented from wrecking other worlds.
  • Those Two Guys: Stiletto and Overshoot. Even death doesn't stop them from being this, thanks to the Oracle making Overshoot it's avatar.
  • Token Good Teammate:
    • Hot Rod, Full-Tilt, Sunstorm, and Goldbug are about the only Builders who think maybe treating the Predacons and Maximals like crap, and murdering them for utterly petty reasons isn't the best way to go. They're later joined by Buckethead and the Constructicons, who even agree to a cease-fire with the Resistance. Grimlock would count as well, given he's fighting alongside the Resistance, but his ruthless strategies kind of put a kibosh on that.
    • Una is about the only human who shows any sympathy toward Cybertronians. In the last story, she decides to ignore normal regulations and repay the favour when a bunch of them save her and her ship from an attack.
  • Token Human: Deconstructed; in this Bad Future where humanity and Transformers now regard each other as borderline enemies, the Witwicky family are posthumously scorned as criminals for daring to have been friends with "the robots".
  • Transhuman: Most of humanity are now some stripe of Transhuman, divided between biologicals, circuitry-enhanced, and psychals. Baseline humans and sentient AIs/robots (called second-born intellects) make up sizable minorities.
  • Uncertain Doom: After Scylla's killed in the Battle of Yuss, Cybershark is put in charge of the forces remaining there. Later on, the fleet falls to the Vehicons, and Cybershark goes missing, presumed dead or assimilated. We never find out what happened to him. Likewise, Grimlock's fate is left uncertain; the obvious assumption is that he died blowing up the tower in the final battle, but his body is never found.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Optimus Prime sacrificed his second life, and the Matrix with it, to save humanity from the Swarm. Humanity responded by penning Cybertronians into a small area of space, and never once showing any gratitude.
  • Uniqueness Value: Trans-Mutate and Rampage are Maximal-born Point One Percenters, and apparently the only ones around. When the Builders learnt about them, they tried everything they could to figure out how that happened. The last story reveals they are the only Point One Percenters, and that they're the final result of years of nightmarish experiments.
  • Unreliable Narrator:
    • The Book of Logos, the hidden story of "Derailment", is written as a religious vision in pseudo-Jacobean English, which makes figuring out what's happening... a little difficult, to say the least.
    • The hidden story of "The Inexorable March" contains many references to the events after the main story. Problem is, the guy narrating it is shown to be very unreliable as a journalistic source, suffering a bad case of cognitive bias, so anything he mentions should probably be taken with a grain of salt.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
    • In the midst of their raid on the Forever Vaults, the Monster Go-Bots accidentally infect a hapless guard with the G-Virus, and think no more of it. That guard turns into a new Galvatron. Then, during the Vehicon Apocalypse, this Galvatron witnesses Megatron using Waspinator to ward off the Vehicon hordes, and gets inspired to grab some drones of his own, which leads to at least one more bout with them.
    • Poor Optimus Prime in the backstory. How could he have known his Heroic Sacrifice to stop the Swarm from destroying Earth would leave the Transformers forever without a Prime or the Matrix, helping set the stage for the eventual rise of the Builders.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Bisk doesn't know or care what Megatron wants his services for, he's just in it for teh loot. Going by Megatron's inner monologue, Bisk's been used as a Darksyder patsy several times before.
  • Villainous Legacy: Ser-Ket claims to be descended from a warrior lineage that stretches all the way back to Liege Maximo.
  • The Virus: Starting with "Safe Spaces", an apparent "upgrade" the Builders installed starts turning Micromasters into hulking drones, which tear out the Sparks of anyone they catch, turning them into more drones. The Vehicon Apocalypse begins.
  • Visionary Villain: Megatron becomes determined to spread the Beast Upgrade across Cybertron, and for once that's the entire plan. There's no hidden mechanism behind it, or ploy. He just wants the proto-races to fend for themselves. Although it does happen to make him astoundingly rich (and the experiments cause the deaths of a few 'bots).
  • War Is Hell: And then some. The series goes to great lengths to portray each and every war and battle scene as realistically devastating and visceral as possible. And then the Vehicon Apocalypse begins and it goes Up to Eleven.
  • We Used to Be Friends:
    • On a species-wide scale. The hidden text of "Micro-Aggressions" says mankind and the Autobots did work together at first, but by the 2030s, the relationship was pretty much dead.
    • Full-Tilt was Trypticon's Only Friend during the Great War. Unfortunately, Trypticon being forced to permanently convert himself into spaceship mode lead to a lot of brewing resentment, especially when Full-Tilt failed to join Trypticon in hating their Maximal and Predacon crew.
    • Wideload and Goldbug were once best friends and teammates on the Throttlebots during the Great War. Then Hot Rod's disastrous tenure as Autobot leader led a disillusioned Wideload to defect to the Decepticons, destroying their friendship. They only make up at the end, after the Vehicon Apocalypse.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • "Alone, Together"'s prologue focuses on Rattrap and Botanica leading a group of 'bots to bust Dynobot out of prison. Apart from Botanica getting a mention at the end of "Derailment", they're never heard from again.
    • "Micro-Aggressions" mentions that Hot Rod has the Aerialbots and Protectobots under his command, but despite the planet-shattering war, they're never seen again.
    • In "Intersectionality", Synapse is arrested by the Dinosaur's crew, and told he'll be sent back to Cybertron and put on trial when everything's over. He's never seen again, though one could presume he's either left imprisoned in Dinosaur City or extradited in the aftermath. Trans-Mutate, meanwhile, is entirely absent from Derailment after apparently returning to Cybertron with everyone else. "The Inexorable March" suggests she was looking for answers about her and Rampage's creation.
    • At the climax of "Cultural Appropriation", Monsterous is defeated, and separates back into his component parts. What happened to them afterward is unknown.
    • At the climax of "Safe Spaces", Gaidora is last seen tackling Cheetor and Ser-Ket into the arena, just before the Vehicon Apocalypse breaks loose. Her fate isn't given, but... doesn't look too good for her.
    • In one of the most extreme examples of this trope, humanity as a whole. In the 25th century, the Human Confederacy fell into civil war. In the 124th century this is documented as "The Fall of Man" by Cybertronian historians but what's become of the human race by the 34th century is never revealed.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: During "Head Games", the Resistance has to kill several Micromaster guards to get through Fortress Maximus, with Cerebros noting their deaths (even the ones who were Decepticons), but it's okay because the Resistance are the good guys, right? In "Micro-Aggressions", we see their fellow Micromaster buddies hoping for a chance to get back at the Resistance for killing their buddies, who hadn't even been given full fuel rations by the Builder higher-ups, which might've saved them.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Ser-Ket to Lio Convoy, when she learns about the Resistance's plan for Fortress Maximus.
  • Whole Plot Reference: Yes, the Games do resemble The Hunger Games on purpose, both in and out of universe. Eject took the idea from an old broadcast he caught.
  • Who Will Bell the Cat?: Sling and Archadis suggest killing Snapper in revenge for his "turning traitor". Rampage declares that anybody who wants to hurt Snapper is free to… if they go through Rampage first. Sling and Archadis decide to show mercy and leave Snapper with the Ex-Bots.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: Circa 1984, Starscream led a raid on the British Museum and during the battle, Brawn threw some worthless stone that got lodged in Skywarp's cockpit. Upon the stone's removal, Skywarp found a use for it as a paper weight and the Maximals and Predacons eventually put it in a museum of Decepticon artifacts as "the Stone Of Skywarp". The stone's human name? The Rosetta Stone. Its rightful owners eventually reclaim it but considering the fate of human society, it might have been kinder to leave it on Cybertron.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: Star Dasher's profile mentions how the Star Seekers were brought in by a pair of Headmaster boun- freelance peace-keeping agents. The first is Devcon, but the second goes unidentified, other than their partner being called Spratt. Unsolvable mystery, right?
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • Galvatron II recruits "his" old gang, whatever leftover partners of his, Scourge and Cyclonus' that he could find, but by the time of the Vehicon Apocalypse has gotten fed up of them. Afterward, he's got three Vehicon drones ready to go, and all they need is some Sparks...
    • Preditron and Cheetor end up with targets on their backs from the Resistance after they decide the two will be more useful as a martyrs for the cause; Preditron because the Tripredacus Council wants him dead in exchange for their support, Cheetor because he's daring to openly condemn Blackarachnia and Ikard's ruthless tactics.
    • Once Galva Convoy has everything he could need from the Builder Assembly, he immediately has his Vehicons kill or convert them all.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: The final push in Lio Convoy's Heel Realization comes when he learns — to his horror and disgust — that Galva Convoy actually idolizes him for his ruthless methods, claiming to embody what the Resistance really stands for; not freedom or justice, just winning at any cost.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Optimus Prime's resurrection only brought him back for forty two cycles, and that was without him pulling an Optimus to save Earth.
  • Your Size May Vary: The art in "Head Games" doesn't quite jibe with the suggestion of the city-sized Fortress Maximus compared to the much smaller Maximals and Predacons.
  • Zerg Rush: The Pack versus Erector's forces. Steel Jaw and Ramulus acknowledge they could take the Builder forces this way, but they'll loose a lot of troops in the effort. The desperate situation of the Vehicon Apocalypse forces them to do it anyway.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The Vehicon Apocalypse is basically the Cybertronian equivalent.

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