Sparkwar is the twentieth, twenty-first, and twenty-second episodes of the Beast Machines TV series.
Part 1: The StrikeEdit
Cheetor is fleeing from the usual horde of Cycle drones. Rattrap cuts in and destroys a lot of them.... then Nightscream does the same... and so on, with Thrust looking on in anger as Silverbolt blows away a batch of drones that are surrounding Blackarachnia. Thrust ends up getting bashed down by a flying pile of Cycledrone parts, then surrounded by Maximals, who send him packing. Rattrap notes that their victories are coming rather easily these days, with a touch of trepidation.
Megatron, observing, coldly notes that he won't allow the "mongrel" Maximals to run roughshod over his planet.
Rattrap has cobbled together a cart from busted Cycle drones, and hauled it back to base (apparently this was the purpose of the mission!) Blackarachnia thanks Silverbolt for an assist in battle, but he only chews her out for losing focus.
The Cycle drone parts are for Botanica, to help her unlock the secrets of the organic core. Nightscream tries to warm Botanica up to the idea of combat, but she's having none of it; she's a scientist, not a warrior, and doesn't want to become more like Megatron. Optimus defends her position, saying the other six can easily handle one Vehicon general.
Aboard the big floating head, Thrust gets chewed out by Megatron for failing to hold the Maximals at bay; when Megatron says he's no better than Tankor or Jetstorm, Thrust angrily reminds him that he's remained loyal, and it was Megatron's choices that caused the other two to turn against him.
Cheetor tries to cheer up a moping Optimus, who's down in the dumps over the missing Sparks. Nightscream, meanwhile, approaches Silverbolt, trying to get him not to be such a jerk to Blackarachnia. Silverbolt isn't interested in anything else until the war is won, and flies off.
Optimus has some kind of brief vision just then, alerting him to trouble with the Sparks. And above, we see Megatron gleefully holding aloft two of the Sparks in question. A moment later, two new Vehicons roll out from a chamber, as Thrust looks on in approval: one floats, and shoulder-mounted helicopter blades; the other is bigger and bulkier, and "skates" just above the ground. Thrust starts to deliver a lecture on the way things work. The new guys look at Thrust, at each other... and then one of them casually bashes Thrust aside, as Megatron laughs.
Nightscream pursues Silverbolt above the surface, still pressing the Blackarachnia issue. But Nightscream is suddenly blasted out of the air, then caught by Silverbolt. They spot the new generals, who stare ominously... then laugh and transform. The floating one becomes a sleek, twin-bladed helicopter: "Obliterate!" The other, a six-wheeled ground vehicle: "Terminate!"
Nightscream radios for help. The Maximals move out; Botanica stays behind, over Cheetor's protests and with Optimus's blessing.
The group arrives in time to help. They handle the new generals easily, and find their vocabulary limited to little but "OBLITERATE!!" and "TERMINATE!" Silverbolt is concerned and confused as to why Megatron would create such ineffective general; Rattrap figures they're easier to control. Primal tries to reach their Sparks, hoping to free captive Maximals within and also to learn the location of the Sparks, but they escape and run off.
Botanica, meanwhile is working with her machines, when a vat of green goo that she's using begins to seethe and speak her name, overwhelming her with visions of drifting Sparks....
The team pursues their quarry; the Generals round a corner and turn to face their opponents, their backs to a wall. For a brief instant, the Maximals are triumphant. And then a cloud of drones — identical to the generals — rises into view.
It's a trap — the Maximals are surrounded by hundreds of drones. Their leaders transform, and speak. The helicopter muses that Primal never learned not to underestimate his opponents; the tank simply laughs that the team fell for the simplistic ruse.
The drones open fire; Primal absorbs it and uses the energy to blast through the platform they're standing on, so the ground falls out from beneath his group. They try to retreat to base, but at every turn they're intercepted by drones. Primal notes that their foes are clearly master strategists.
Back at said base, Botanica finds herself adrift. She is treated to various flashbacks to Megatron's invasion, his armies of drones, the Maximals' fights.... then finds herself alone again.
Even the planet's sewers provide no safe haven, filled with more drones. The Maximals decide to fall back to the Council Citadel, while a plant-vine nearby shows Botanica what's going on.
The Maximals slam shut a pile of heavy doors behind them. Firepower impacts the doors from the outside. Optimus has a horrible realization: they've been herded here. A screen with the helicopter's face on it approaches; he invites the team to surrender. Primal tries to reason with him, but the helicopter — Obsidian — says that he and Strika are doing what they've always done, which is to defend Cybertron. The Maximals have been taking on the two greatest generals in Cybertronian history.
A horde of Heavy Artillery drones bursts through the doors. The group retreats again, but is soon sealed into another room with scads of drones. Primal vows to go down fighting, but then Botanica bursts ito the room and transforms. She launches a plethora of planet-vine-bomb things, disrupting the drones and causing them to randomly blast each other.
Strika and Obsidian, watching from afar, note that their targeting systems are being disrupted, by the new Maximal whose capabilities they know little about. The Maximals revert to beast mode and retreat, and Botanica simply melts into the floor.
The generals finally arrive at the scene, find the Maximals have vanished, and order their forces to stand down. The two later report back to Megatron, prepared to accept punishment for failure — a point that Thrust happily emphasizes. Megatron is pleased with their loyalty, though, and for keeping the Maximals occupied, allowing him to finalize his plan for the Sparks.
Botanica burrows her way, drill-like, into the Maximal base. She explains what changed her mind; Rattrap facepalms: "Another one with visions." The team apologizes for trying to force her into their way of doing things; Botanica vows that it's her fight as well. Silverbolt is pessimistic; the new Generals have fought a thousand wars together, and won them all. Primal observes that they were culled from the missing Sparks, and vows not to let Megatron violate another. A dancing vision of Sparks fills the screen as we fade out.
Part 2: The SearchEdit
Megatron's fascist planet is being patrolled by legions of the new drones as the Maximals, in beast mode, make their way along the lower levels of the surface. They observe that Megatron is fortifying his position. Optimus has a jolting vision of the drifting Sparks, apparently the Oracle contacting him about the Sparks, which have been moved.
Within the big floating head, Megatron speaks to his three generals, directing them to locations where the Maximals will be, and instructing them to capture Optimus alive.
Rattrap introduces the team to his scrambled field generator devices, small disks intended to befuddle the Vehicons' sensors. Rattrap's not quite sure they'll work, but the team figures it's better than nothing. The group tries them out, changing to robot modes... then dives for cover as Obsidian passes by overhead. But the general doesn't notice them, instead moving to carry out his orders along with Strika.
Optimus tells the group that his flashes were of familiar places, and splits them up into three teams to go investigate. Rattrap and Botanica aren't too happy at being paired up, but the group deploys as ordered.
At the Maximal shell yard just outside processing plant #57, Cheetor, Silverbolt and Blackarachnia move in. Silverbolt is not interested in taking orders from Cheetor, despite Blackarachnia's assurance that a lot has changed since they were parted. Obsidian, watching from concealment, prepares his strike force.
As Optimus and Nightscream walk below the surface, Nightscream finds a familiar claw slash in the wall. Nightscream wants to find Noble, but Primal gently persuades him to take one job at a time. They run into a cave-in around the corner; Op's eyes flash with white light, and, glancing at a floor hatch, he says they're heading down...
Rattrap and Botanica arrive outside the Citadel, still squabbling. Rattrap detects a massive positronic residual charge, but inside they find piles and piles of Spark canisters... empty. They've arrived here too late. They depart, only to be ambushed by Strika. Botanica is chagrined that Rattrap's scramblers didn't work very long; they fall back.
Obsidian observes from high above as the Maximals explore the shell complex. Silverbolt and Cheetor argue over the latter's leadership capabilities, till Obsidian attacks. Surrounded, Silverbolt decides a berserker head-on attack is the only option.
Optimus and Nightscream, meanwhile, have found a stunning ruin below the surface, a great city that was replaced after the Great War between the Autobots and the Decepticons, during the Great Upgrade: Iacon. The two apparently trigger a ghostly spector, a holographic tribute to the original Optimus Prime.
Rattrap and Botanica get out of robot mode to escape detection, and duck into a convenient building; Strika drives by without finding them. Rattrap taps his scrambler disk uncertainly, only to get snapped at by Botanica. But Rattrap's attention is suddenly distracted by the contents of the building they're in: holographic pleasure chips. He loads several of said chips into his backpack, then spots some sort of player for the chips just then. He plugs into it, becoming enthralled with a vision of a peaceful metallic world. Just then Strika enters and attacks.
At the shell plant, Silverbolt finally gets blasted back to the ground, and rebuked by Cheetor for his recklessness.
Optimus and Nightscream are about to move on, when the virtual Prime reaches down and scoops Optimus up, bringing him up to face level. From Nightscream's point of view, the hologram disappears, though Optimus continues to float in mid-air. Thrust arrives just then and attacks, but Optimus is seemingly in a trance.
Rattrap is still lost in his fantasy world, till Botanica pulls the machine's plug. A blast scatters the Maximals as well as Rattrap's precious chips, which he scrambles to scoop up. He tells Botanica to keep Strika occupied.
As leader, Cheetor decides on a strategic advance to the rear.
Nightscream is dodging cycle drone shots, while Optimus talks with Optimus on some other plane. The Prime hologram tells him that the Oracle lies within him, and he has but to summon it. Primal does so, and is surrounded by a white, Oracle-style hoola-hoop. The hologram of Optimus Prime chuckles... then laughs... a laugh which quickly deepens into that of Megatron, whose face suddenly replaces the figure of Prime.
Strika is posed to deliver a killing blow to Botanica, when Rattrap notices that one of her feet is on the activation pad of the holo-player he was using earlier. He leaps, landing on her shoulders and plugging one of the chips into her head, ensnaring her with the same vision that he was having before. He's pretty pleased with himself; Botanica drags him off.
In the shell yard, Cheetor has a bit of inspiration. The Maximals use a discarded power core to defeat their tormentors, blowing it up in their faces.
Megatron gloats to Optimus; he used the Spark vision to have the Maximals sent off on fools' errands, so Optimus would access the Oracle for his benefit. Megatron has studied and mastered most of the Oracle's secrets, but there's still some pieces missing... till now. And a fast, forceful download commences.
Megatron gloats again; all the pieces are in place, and now he can complete his ultimate plan for the Sparks. The hologram fades away, and Optimus finds himself in the middle of Nightscream's cycle drone battle.
Nightscream, meanwhile, has been brought down by weight of numbers, when a bolt out of the blue hits his attackers. It's Savage, lumbering onto the scene and prompting the cycle drones into a frantic retreat. Savage morphs to Noble and jogs after them, out of sight. A second later the drones go flying through the air. Optimus recovers, and immediately orders Nightscream to follow him to a rendezvous with the others.
The Maximals are shocked that Megatron has the full power of the Oracle, but Primal tells him that he gave Megatron access to the Oracle on purpose. While Megatron was downloading it, Primal accessed information from him as well, and learned the location of the Sparks. They have but a short window of opportunity to act, to free the Sparks from the location where they're being held: within the big floating head.
Part 3: The SiegeEdit
Nightscream flaps along beneath a Cybertronian moon, evading hordes of drones. He meets up with Cheetor and Blackarachnia. Megatron's big floating head is hovering over the central spaceport, and the Maximals wonder how they can put a stop to whatever Megatron is re-supplying for.
Obsidian and Strika are nearby, ordering troop movements, when a familiar howl sounds. It's Noble, who obliviously strolls up to the Maximals' hiding spot in plain sight, leading the drones right to them. Cheetor orders a retreat, as they're on recon; the group disposes of their attackers and begins to leave. But despite Nightscream's pleadings, Noble continues fighting. Nightscream finally fires off a sonic burst that destroys Noble's attackers, and the beast retreats along with them.
Cheetor admonishes Nightscream over his "little pet" nearly getting them killed, and orders him to cut the creature loose. Nightscream reluctantly heads in the other direction, with Noble following like a puppy.
Later, Optimus reminds Cheetor and Rattrap of their upcoming mission's importance. Rattrap wonders if they could get away with a Trojan horse gimmick. The others, and the audience, look at him like he's nuts.
Cheetor, Nightscream, and Silverbolt are to distract the Vehicons; the rest go to infiltrate the big head and free the Sparks. Rattrap offers up his disks again, new and improved this time. As the group heads out, Cheetor coughs meaningfully and nods in Noble's direction. Optimus responds with a look to Nightscream, who reluctantly shoos him away. Noble departs with a puppy-like whimper, and the group moves out.
Thrust reports to Megatron, who manifests himself in the form of his glowing red Spark. Megatron opens the Spark containment grid, releasing a pair of drifting Sparks. Energy shoots out from Megatron... and the Sparks are consumed, absorbed into his own, as Thrust watches dumbfounded. Megatron testily demands Thrust's report, while gobbling up a couple more Sparks. The Maximals no longer concern him, he tells his General; he's mastered the secrets of the Oracle, and nothing can stop his grand ascension now.
On the surface, Nightscream and company initiate their "noisy distraction". Optimus's group tries out Rattrap's scramblers, which seem to work, and leap aboard a hovertransport that's heading for the big head. The distraction group, elsewhere, plays a game of cat and mouse with the drones. Cheetor slaps a disk on one of the drones, causing the others to read it as a Maximal, and blast it to scrap. Silverbolt is impressed.
The generals examine the wrecked drones, and find one of the disks. Primal and company, meanwhile, have infiltrated the big head. Primal listens to the voices in his head — literally — which direct him toward the Sparks.
Strika figures out how to reconfigure the device's harmonics, causing feedback to overloading all of the other disks. A moment later, the Maximals are picked up by the big head's sensors. Thrust soon arrives to attack. The distraction team soon finds themselves similarly occupied.
Rattrap gets the Maximals through a doorway, then seals it before Thrust can follow. The group finds themselves in a large round chamber with a seal at the bottom... a seal which opens to reveal a huge canister full of glowing, seething Sparks. The canister rises to meet the orange-red form of Megatron above. He's pleased to see the team; tentacles lash out and snare the group.
Megatron initiates his trans-ascension, chomping down on a few more Sparks. He intends to unite every Spark on Cybertron into one, perfect being — himself. The containment unit opens, and the Sparks drift upwards. Optimus entreats them to resist, but Megatron just laughs.
On the surface, all the combatants stop and stare as Megatron's ultra-Spark rises out from the big head. Megatron lashes out with energy beams that suspend the Maximals in mid-air and begin to draw out their Sparks. Nightscream manages to evade the beams momentarily, till he trips on a fallen drone. But as the beam begins to drag him away, he sees Noble lurching towards him. Strika sees him too, and orders her drones to attack. But the mighty beast is too much for the drones. Obsidian and Strika are bested as well. Noble reverts to Savage and blasts the beam holding Nightscream, freeing him. Savage launches, heading for Megatron, but Megatron zaps him, knocking him out of the sky. Savage falls and hits the ground hard. He reverts to Noble, and dies cradled in Nightscream's arms.
Nightscream, infuriated, blasts Megatron with his sonic weapon. The blast disrupts Megatron's hold on the Maximals, the captive Sparks, and himself, too, as he howls in agony. The Sparks begin falling back into the containment unit, and the big head begins to plummet. The Maximals quickly work to gain control of the vessel; Rattrap extends a bridge to a control center, and finds the manual control system. The head falls from view... then rises again. Cheetor and Silverbolt are briefly exultant, till they turn back to Nightscream, still kneeling beside Noble.
The group gathers around a holo-image of the slain beast, as Optimus eulogizes the creature who bought them their victory with his life. But elsewhere on the empty streets of Cybertron, Megatron's orange-red Spark can be seen flitting through the shadows.