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Recap / Ink City S3: Prime Deception

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When Tengu Shredder set the City on fire, Three was seperated from his twin brother and the rest of the stitchpunks. Unfortunately, Starscream found him first — a lucky break in the Decepticon's eyes, as he was very interested in figuring out how the little non-organics functioned.

Unbeknownst to him, however, Belldandy wasn't the only new arrival to Ink City that weekend... and amongst the newcomers was Optimus Prime. Among his 'welcoming' wagon were several stitchpunks — so many that Optimus initially thought they were the dominiant species in this new area! While most were wary of him at first, given their poor experiences with other robots, Optimus's nobility managed to strike a chord with them... as did his promise to protect them.


He was called upon to fulfill that promise much sooner than anyone anticipated. While trapped in Starscream's lab, Three managed to get a distress message out. Naturally, Optimus responds — and despite his attempt to convince the fragile-seeming stitchpunks to let him handle everything, Four, Six and One hitch a ride on the Autobot.

Though taken off-guard by Optimus showing up, Starscream tries turning the tables the only way he knows how: fighting dirty. Once he spots the miniature army, he tries aiming at them instead — but misses. He only gets one shot before he winds up strapped to his own medical bed. After Optimus safely carries the others away, he's left to contact the only ally he can think of: Caroline.

Thanks to the handy-dandy free standing portal device she constructed from GLaDOS' notes, freeing him's a simple affair. Starscream immediately puts his own spin on the Decepticon-Autobot war. Though Caroline's Genre Savvy enough to recognize who the villains are, she regards him as too valuable an ally to lose.


Thus, she makes two offers: to secretly gather data on the stitchpunks for him so as not to rouse their protector's ire... and to earn Optimus' trust in order to determine how to kill him.

Before she can leave, Cabrakan arrives. The Reaper comments on the oddity of their partnership, pointing out Starscream's usual hatred of 'organics'. To both their surprise, Caroline plays it off by painting herself as his loyal servant, nothing more than a 'pet' to the mighty Decepticon. While Cabrakan isn't fooled, he lets the lie stand... for now.

Shortly afterward, another ally arrives: Soundwave, one of his fellow Decepticons. However, this is a mixed blessing, as Soundwave's ultimate loyalty is to Megatron... and while their leader isn't there, he intends to follow all his orders, including a standing command not to attack Optimus Prime. Soundwave also recognizes a bit of familiar coding in the young Jetstorm, and is startled to learn the young bot was given part of Starscream's code in an experiment to create an Autobot who could fly.


Taking advantage of this, Starscream offers Jetstorm another flying lesson, then lures him back to his lab to test some synthetic Energon he'd created. The injection has some unexpected side-effects; a surge of energy nearly knocks the younger mech offline, and when he awakens, his memory's completely gone. Immediately realizing the potential of this, Starscream spins a lie about the Autobots brainwashing him, and convinces him to let Optimus keep believing he's still under their control.

Meanwhile... Trevor's temporary 'truce' with his usual victims wasn't keeping the Mad Scientist from continuing his experiments. Having immediately taken an interest in Aisling upon her arrival, he has one of his robots capture her so that he can run tests on her unusual blood. Unfortunately for him, she manages to get her hands on his communicator... While he tries to play off the broadcast as one of his new security cores acting up, nobody buys it — particularly not Optimus, who storms the compound and breaks her out immediately.

Afterward, Optimus asks the other residents for more information about Trevor. The more he learns, the less he likes. While hearing Twilight Sparkle's proposal of a city guard is encouraging, he also agrees that they need a jail as well — they just need to figure out somewhere to put it.

Starscream conducts some tests of his own upon a sample taken from the Ink Well. To his shock, it appears to be just regular old ink, with no special properties at all...! As he puzzles over this result, Trevor contacts him, hoping to compare notes. His superior attitude fails to earn him any points, and his claim that he only 'spared' Optimus for the sake of future research on the Prime only gets him called out by Soundwave. Still, he does get Starscream interested in the samples of ink blood he'd managed to collect before being interrupted, and an uneasy alliance is formed.

This Event includes examples of:

  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Occurs the second time Optimus encounters Soundwave at the Well. In sharp contrast to their first meeting when the Decepticon arrived, the mood is more somber and introspective, with Optimus pointing out that as much as Soundwave admires Megatron, his arriving in Ink City would throw the Decepticons back home into a Succession Crisis.
  • Amnesia Danger: Jetstorm falls victim to this thanks to the synthetic Energon.
  • Berserk Button: Optimus Prime doesn't like being lied to. Not one bit.
    • Starscream gets very upset when Trevor dismissively calls Soundwave a 'drone'.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Optimus gets to do this twice, effectively introducing (or reintroducing) himself to some of Ink City's biggest villains in the process.
  • Blatant Lies: Between his attempts to keep others from responding to Aisling's distress signal and trying to pretend that he handled the Optimus situation well, Trevor naturally uses a lot of these... and gets called out on them.
  • Bold Inflation: When Optimus is the one doing this, that's a pretty good sign you're screwed. Not that Trevor heeds that (or any other) warning.
  • Caught on Tape: Soundwave specializes in this, and uses it to torpedo Trevor's claims about dealing effectively with Optimus.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: By the time Cabrakan responds to Starscream's distress signal, Caroline has already freed him.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Optimus doles out two of these shortly after his arrival.
  • Deal with the Devil: She'd already struck deals with GLaDOS, Starscream and Trevor by the time Optimus arrived... so really, what was one more promise made to the Decepticon after all of that?
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: Trevor's decision to keep lying to Optimus well past the point of Implausible Deniability.
  • Dynamic Entry: To be fair, Optimus does give Trevor every opportunity to avoid having this befall his lab as well...
  • Expendable Alternate Universe: If Starscream succeeds in finding a way to kill off Optimus Prime, that will surely lead to millions of innocent deaths... but that's okay with Caroline, since it won't be her world paying the price for her scientific curiosity.
  • False Friend: Caroline voluntarily becomes this for Optimus. Jetstorm also becomes this after losing his memory.
  • Flaw Exploitation: If all goes according to her plan, Optimus' soft spot for humans will be his downfall...
  • Happiness in Slavery: Caroline claims this when she tells Cabrakan that she's 'Lord Starscream's' pet.
  • Has Two Daddies: Jetstorm gets Starscream and Soundwave acting like his 'parents'.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Jetstorm trusts Starscream and thinks the only reason he wants to create synthetic Energon is so that they won't have to fight over limited resources anymore.
  • Implausible Deniability: Trevor, you really are a horrible liar...
  • Interspecies Romance: Alluded to: apparently the only thing keeping Starscream from getting all up on Caroline's aft is the fact she's not a robot.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Starscream and Soundwave's relationship has shades of this, and it's played for all it's worth.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Starscream attempts to exploit this when he sees how several of the stitchpunks hitched a ride on Optimus and got carried straight to his lab. Not that he's able to do much about it.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: While trying to repair the damage caused by the fire, Belldandy uses a great deal of energy fixing Trevor's complex. Trevor immediately starts plotting to experiment on her instead.
  • Not So Different: For all intents and purposes, Optimus regards Trevor as a human Decepticon, thanks to his worryingly similar methods.
    • While justifying her decision to ally with Starscream over Optimus, Caroline comes to an uncomfortable realization that inverts this: by healing her when she was injured, Starscream showed more concern for her well-being than her own boss, who had just recently nearly burned her alive and showed no remorse whatsoever for it.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Seeing how deeply Optimus and Aisling already cared for one another left Caroline feeling so guilty she had to cut the video feed and resort to voice messaging just so she wouldn't have to watch them any longer.
  • Oh, Crap!: Starscream's very surprised by Optimus's Dynamic Entry into his lab.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Trevor and the Decepticons may both benefit from mutual research, but that doesn't mean they like each other or are willing to put on more than the thinnest veneer of 'respect'.
  • Poisonous Friend: Manny sort of realizes that Trevor's bad news, but still wants to trust his word.
  • Social Darwinist: As Starscream explains to Caroline, power determines freedom, and the best way to exercise that freedom is destroying those weaker than you. By protecting the younger and weaker bots, Optimus threatens their way of life.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: Starscream ends up like this after facing Optimus.
  • Tranquil Fury: Optimus goes into this while confronting Trevor.
  • Villainous Breakdown: When Soundwave replays his humiliating defeat by the Autobot commander, Trevor lashes out and has some difficulty regaining his usual bearings.

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