Appearing in "Afterdeath"
- Ethan Zachary (First appearance)
Synopsis for "Afterdeath"
Ethan Zachary is a programmer for a new energy collector called the Hydrothermocline, a device that creates energy from the temperature differentials in the ocean, and he has a perchance for programming and playing his own video games on the devices large computer. When one of his colleagues runs some tests, his gaming is interrupted to allows this however because he programmed a cheat code called "Afterdeath" that allows him to resume at any point in the game he doesn't mind. Little do they know that they are being spied on by a newly created Decepticon named Vortex.
While aboard the Ark, Wheeljack has detected and removed the Cerebro shell that has been implanted in Optimus Prime and they rig it to enable them to listen into the Decepticons and learns of their plot to steal the Hydrothermocline. Going there with the newly recreated Protectobots, Optimus Prime confronts Megatron and his newly created Combaticon. The two teams merge into their gigantic robot forms Defensor and Bruticus. Witnessing this, Ethan Zachary is captured by Bruticus and Megatron attempts to use the young man as a bartering tool. However, Ethan offers them an alternative: Instead of fighting for the Hydrothermocline in real life, and risk destroying it, they can battle inside his computer game Multi-World.
Entering the building and seeing the computer, Ethan explains that he can rig them to the computer and download them into the game where they can fight it out, the winning team getting to decide the fate of the Hydrothermocline. Megatron wishes to increase the odds and suggests that the losing team's leader should also be destroyed. Despite the odds, Prime agrees and they are all plugged into the computer. Ethan also hard wires two joysticks that will cause either Optimus Prime or Megatron to be destroyed depending on the outcome of the game.
Downloaded into the game, Optimus Prime decides to go and lead the Protectobots to battle the Decepticons, however Hotspot declines offering instead to send out the Protectobots in pairs so that Prime is safe. First Aid goes with Street Wise, Blades with Groove, and Hotspot goes alone. Over in the Decepticon camp, Megatron has the same idea, sending Swindle with Brawl, Vortex with Blast Off, and Onslaught on his own.
In "Vine City", Street Wise and First Aid get the aid of the plant creatures that live there as they treat the plants with respect while Brawl and Swindle blast their way through them. While the two Decepticons are tangled up in vines they are blasted out of the game. The same follows for the other Combaticons, as they are defeated by the Protectobots when they help protect the natives of "Cloud City" and "Swamp City", and soon each of the Combaticons are out of the game.
When it comes to the final battle between Optimus Prime and Megatron in "Pipe City", Megatron is angered to see that none of his troops have survived the game and that he now has to face Optimus Prime and Defensor on his own. In the real world, Megatron lashes out at his warriors for failing however Vortex secretly tells him of the "Afterdeath" cheat code giving Megatron the edge. Allowing himself to be "killed" by Defensor (a move where Defensor sacrifices himself in the process) Megatron uses the cheat code to revive himself in the game. However, Prime still gets the victory by knocking Megatron back down a pit, "killing" some of "Pipe City's" people in the process.
Although Optimus Prime has won the game for the Autobots, he concedes to the Decepticons because he violated the Autobots code of never killing, even though it was done to fictional characters in a video game. At Prime's insistence, Ethan pressed the button that destroys Optimus Prime. The Decepticons leave shortly thereafter with the Hydrothermocline and the Autobots with the body of their fallen leader. When all the Transformers are gone, Ethan pulls a floppy disk out of his computer, labels it "Optimus Prime" and places it in his collection of disks of "deceased" game characters.
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