Optimus was now in Maximal City with Grimlock and Llyra. “So, let me make sure I understand this,” he remarked, “you guys tied your defense A.I. to the most powerful super-computer in Transformer history and keyed it so that only your leaders could access it, is that correct?”
“…I mean, it sound stupid when you say it like that,” replied Nightscream.
“I don’t know what the original Maximal Elders were thinking,” sighed Optimus, “but their decision has clearly left you guys vulnerable. We first need to sever Sentinel from Vector Sigma.”
“Hold on!” protested Kong. “The Oracle can look into the future! It can teach a computer how to predict an enemy’s movements!”
“We can do that just fine without it!” argued Grimlock as Optimus keyed in a command. An image of a mere fraction of the universe then appeared in the table.
“I am the Oracle,” greeted an ethereal voice. “After the Central God, Primus, was, before the ancestral home-world, Cybertron, was, I was. Who awakens me?”
“Oracle…Vector Sigma…you know, you got more names than a Tolkien character!” snapped Optimus. “In any case, it’s Optimus Prime again, on Animatros.” There was silence for but a moment.
“…Why have you awakened me again, Optimus?” asked the super-computer in the voice Optimus was familiar with.
“You have an A.I. bound to your programming, Vector Sigma,” explained Optimus.
“An A.I. that is an extension of my will. To sever it from me would be like asking you or the Maximals to cut off one of your limbs.”
“So we DON’T touch Sentinel just yet,” guessed Kong.
“Not until you hear what I can only hint at about all Transformers.”
“What’s THAT supposed to mean?” asked Llyra. The room was then surrounded by stars as the planet of Cybertron appeared in the center. An explosion of red, purple, blue, and green light then erupted from Cybertron’s canyons. Vector Sigma then resumed speaking in its ethereal voice.
“The Great Transformation awaits, Optimus Prime. Prepare for all that you knew to be reformatted. The Divine Experiment will end and those who seek a conclusion will try to stop you. Remember this: the seeds of the future lie buried in the past. To unleash the warrior within, you and your brother must do as your Animatronian allies have done and tame the beast without. Seek balance, Optimus Prime. Transform your destiny. Transform and transcend.”
Over with Megatron, the Predacons were ignoring Megatron’s orders to remain. They seemed to be in a trance. “DON’T LEAVE! I SAID STOP!” roared Megatron. The Predacons didn’t listen, they just left the Decepticons. Megatron snarled before turning to Thundercracker. “Get those deserters back NOW!”
“They won’t listen to outsiders,” called Weirdwolf in full robot mode. “It’s the Call.”
“…The Call?” asked Megatron.
“The Call of the Flame Convoy,” explained Weirdwolf. “All those with a beast mode can hear a frequency that calls them to the Pangea so the Flame Convoy can address all of Animatros in one place. It can be resisted until all business is concluded, but it prevents an Animatronian from killing another.”
“Well, that’s fine!” grunted Megatron, sarcasm thick on his voice. He then doubled over in mental pain and heard Vector Sigma’s words.
“The Great Transformation awaits, Megatron. Prepare for all that you knew to be reformatted. The Divine Experiment will end and those who seek a conclusion will try to stop you. Remember this: the seeds of the future lie buried in the past. To unleash the warrior within, you and your brother must do as your Animatronian allies have done and tame the beast without. Seek balance, Megatron. Transform your destiny. Transform and transcend.” The prophecy then stopped and Megatron steadied his breathing
“Reformatted?!” he gasped. “Experiment?!”
Back in Maximal City, Vector Sigma showed another vision. It was set in the jungle. A yellow-orange femme with mobile crane alt-mode kibble was stumbling around in pain. Optimus’ optics lit up. “Roadblock!” he breathed.
With Rattrap and his group, Rattrap continued sifting through Inferno’s mind. Sonic, as usual, was getting restless. “Man, I could go for a run right now!” he groaned.
“You and me both, Sonic,” muttered Cheetor.
“Hey, be patient, will you?” admonished Airazor.
“Hang on a cycle,” muttered Rattrap, “this can’t be right!”
“Whenever I see her glancing at herself, I see another body! It’s like she was Cybertronian!”
“No way, from Cybertronian to Animatronian?!” asked Cheetor. “That’s so cool!” He then felt his partners’ gazes on him. “I mean, under normal circumstances, it would be cool! I mean, the circumstances…yeah, I’ll just shut up.”
“Oracle,” Kong asked Vector Sigma, “is Roadblock on the planet?!”
“I am,” replied the femme.
“…You can see us?!”
“I can. And I can communicate with you now.”
“Who’s Roadblock?” asked Llyra.
“An Autobot war hero,” explained Optimus. “She led the charge against Jhiaxus’ predecessor, Deltron!”
“Roadblock, thank the Matrix you’re alive!” cheered Kong.
“…I became trapped!” hissed Roadblock. “I was abandoned!”
“This is Megatron’s doing, no doubt,” replied Optimus. He then held his hand out. “But, my and my friends can hel-”
“STAY AWAY FROM ME!” shouted Roadblock. “The Decepticons aren’t the problem, the Dynasty of Primes is!”
Back with Rattrap and his team, Rattrap uncovered more. “Slagheap City!” he swore.
“What’s wrong?!” asked Sonic.
“The bot Inferno was! I just saw her shake hands with Tarantulas!”
“So HE’S the one behind all this!” declared Cheetor. “We’ll scrap him for that!”
“Can you uncover more?” urged Airazor.
“Give me a cycle!” The Maximals then heard something.
“…Oh no, the Call!” groaned Cheetor.
“We’ve still got business to settle here, kid!” Rattrap went back to work as Cheetor explained the Call to Sonic. Rattrap only lasted a few seconds before he gasped. “Say it ain’t so!” he gulped. He then pulled his tail out of Inferno’s head. “Inferno is…the Autobot war hero, Roadblock!”
“Roadblock, what do you mean?!” cried Optimus in shock.
“Do you know how my husband died?!” accused Roadblock. “My brother too?! Hoist and Grapple were the only lights in my dark world and Zeta Prime let them die when their shuttle drifted to a star that went supernova! Sentinel Prime then covered up the truth! There was only one choice I had left; to join the Decepticon Empire and cast off my old Cybertronian shell!” Optimus was stunned at what Roadblock said.
“You don’t know what you’re saying! The Decepticons and their allies have started a second war between them and us! But we CAN overcome their rampant misuse of darkness and bring us all together under the Matrix’s wisdom!”
“Don’t you get it, boy?! The MATRIX is the destructive force!” Roadblock then slowly shifted into…Inferno! “The Decepticons are right! As long as leaders are elected by some outdated mystic bauble, the wars will only continue!” The vision faded abruptly and left the heroes stunned. The Maximals then heard something.
“The Call,” observed Kong.
“Perhaps we should pick up the remainder of our forces on our journey to the Pangea,” suggested Tigatron.
“Maximals, let’s find our friends and make our way to Hydran,” called Kong. They left the room in a somber mood. Optimus, Grimlock, and Llyra sat alone, contemplating the recent vision.