The Key is the eleventh episodes of the Beast Machines TV series.
Synopsis[edit | edit source]
Tankor has returned to the chamber of the Oracle, this time with the Diagnostic Drone in tow. He disables a holographic inferno, revealing "the Oracle". Tankor waxes expository on the ancient Autobot datatrax that tell of the spheroid computer, Vector Sigma, which he believes to be one and the same as the Oracle. More vital to Tankor's ambitions, however, is the legendary Key to Vector Sigma, said to hold the power to "turn organics into technomatter".
Proving his tank body to be surprisingly spry, Tankor leaps into the air to enter the Oracle—only to be summarily and violently rejected as lacking a "receptive spark". Still determined, Tankor gambles that where he failed, an entirely spark-less drone will succeed—and wins. The drone emerges safely from "beyond comprehension", bearing codes that materialize to form the Key to Vector Sigma. Tankor begins plotting a field test of its powers.
Deep underground in the fossil cave, Nightscream's attempt at communing with the extinct is interrupted by the siren call of hard labor: drilling for water. Cheetor and Optimus Primal butt heads over the relative futility of well-digging versus a direct assault on an apparently complacent Megatron. Optimus proves to be justified, as the drill successfully penetrates an underground reservoir, not of water, but a mysterious green goo that begins flooding the nascent orchard. The freshly planted seeds sprout instantly into full-grown plants—Optimus reflects on the Oracle's prophecy that the planet's organic core would revive organic life on Cybertron. However, the arrival of an aggressive Tankor swiftly overshadows this newfound source of hope.
Tankor disillusions Optimus Primal regarding the mythical nature of the Key with a demonstration: the conversion of the entire orchard into cold blue technomatter. A second shot from the Key aimed for an unflinching Optimus strikes a heroically suicidal Nightscream instead, reverting him to beast mode. Nightscream shivers in pain as his technorganic body evidently fights the conversion process—which appears to be contagious. Gloating himself into a frenzy, Tankor prepares to fire a third shot from the Key, only to grow increasingly distressed as he instead overloads and collapses. A posse of Tank Drones led by the Diagnostic Drone barge into the cave to drag Tankor's body away to safety.
Nightscream's demeanor grows increasingly erratic, forcing Blackarachnia to confine him to a web cocoon, which itself becomes technomatter on contact. Noticing one of the plants has turned green again, Blackarachnia drops him into the pool of organic goo, which eases his pain, but proves too small in volume to be more than a temporary treatment for the disease. For a cure, they will require much, much more.
Optimus Primal orders Rattrap to track Tankor remotely, but Cheetor countermands that with a demand to repair the drill to excavate more goo. Both orders prove fruitless as both Tankor's energy signature and his spark are unreachable, and the drill is beyond repair. Cheetor suggests usurping one of Megatron's own Vehicon Moles to drill to the organic core.
Megatron queries the Diagnostic Drone on the events surrounding Tankor's untimely demise, and the drone begins analyzing the fallen general's head...
Optimus, Cheetor, and Rattrap track a Mole on the surface to its home warehouse, only to run afoul of a fleet of Motorcycle Drones which they dispatch with some strategic application of Running Away. Megatron observes all this from his headquarters, and shows off the upgraded buildings of Cybertropolis, now fully mobile, airborne, and firmly under Megatron's personal control.
Escaping the narrowing alleyways between skyscrapers, Optimus leaps through and shatters one of Megatron's massive display screens to land inside the Moles' warehouse; the others follow suit. Once again Rattrap finds himself in the middle of one of Cheetor and Optimus Primal's arguments-by-proxy: Cheetor advocates taking control of a single Mole for escape, and Optimus wants control of the entire flight-capable warehouse.
Back in the fossil cave, Blackarachnia offers a thermos of goo to an increasingly mentally unstable Nightscream, who flies into a rage and attacks her. Her attempts to capture him and evade his touch both fail, and she finds herself infected by technomatter.
The Drones' warehouse has lifted off the ground, and falling support beams strike Cheetor unconscious. While Optimus protects him from drones' artillery, Rattrap interfaces with an actively resisting Mole. Megatron begins tilting the warehouse on its side, letting Maximals, drones, and all fall hundreds of feet out of the sky. Rattrap's appropriated drone somehow provides ample protection from the sudden stop as they hit the ground, and begins drilling.
The two surviving Vehicon generals offer to pursue the enemy underground, but Megatron already has an agent with the Maximals in its sights.
The three find Blackarachnia and Nightscream missing, but their plans to search for them are interrupted by the Mole opening fire. Nightscream takes this opportune moment to sweep into the cave, Blackarachnia riding him, both cackling insanely. Optimus bulldozes over Cheetor's knee-jerk objection and assaults the Mole while Rattrap finds himself cornered by the infected Blackarachnia. Cheetor is likewise trapped by a falling fossil as Nightscream menaces him, when an eruption of organic goo floods the orchard once again and showers all the Maximals, curing the technomatter affliction.
Optimus emerges from the green geyser only to be, once again, the verbal target of a passive-aggressive Cheetor. Rattrap, however, is fed up with being used like a ball in a game of ping-pong, and Cheetor finally spells out what's been on his mind. He demands respect, particularly after filling the team's leadership role during Optimus Primal's absence communing with the Oracle. Optimus points out that a team can't have two leaders, and Cheetor huffily concedes. Blackarachnia forebodes that the conflict is far from over, and "Some problems aren't that simple."
A sextet of Tank Drones bear the lifeless chassis of Tankor to an unknown destination under the guidance of the Diagnostic Drone, who summarily dismisses them. The drone addresses someone approaching just off-screen... the true Tankor, online and well. His plan has apparently worked perfectly, both sides of the conflict now convinced of his destruction. Tankor grasps his fallen double's appendage, causing its illusory shell to flicker, revealing the green wireframes beneath. He saws through the arm and the whole body reverts to a green outline, vanishing completely when he removes the Key from the hologram's grip.
Tankor contemplates the power now firmly in his servos, and revels in holding sole possession of "the key to a new Cybertron..."