Appearing in "Pretender to the Throne"
- Pretenders (First appearance)
- Optimus Prime (Mind)
- Goldbug (Repaired)
- Hotspot (Only in flashback)
- Air Raid (Only in flashback)
- Grapple (Only in flashback)
Synopsis for "Pretender to the Throne"
Since his last encounter with the Transformers, Ethan Zachary has taken up a job as a video game designer for Alternate Reality Inc. Having downloaded Optimus Prime's mind into the company's computer, Ethan has spent months trying to convince Optimus Prime that he is not a computer program, but in reality a real-life Autobot warrior. Trying to get Prime to remember proves to be difficult. When his secretary brings him in a newspaper detailing how Decepticons have captured a genetics lab, even this doesn't manage to rouse Prime's memory. However, upon conjuring up an image of Buster Witwicky from Prime's memory, Ethan learns that Buster lives in Portland. Tracking down Sparkplug's phone number, he asks Buster's dad for help. Sparkplug, having lost everything to the Transformers - his health, his home, and both of his children - wants nothing to do with the Autobots ever again and angrily slams the phone.
However, because Sparkplug's phone has been bugged by Spike, the call is overheard by the Autobots aboard the Steelhaven. Goldbug, just finished being restored in a new body, finds the claim of Optimus Prime being alive impossible (as he was present during Prime's funeral) and decides to go and investigate. Landing on Earth and driving to Alternate Reality Inc, Goldbug confronts Ethan Zachary about his claims. To Goldbug's shock, he believes the truth when he sees Optimus Prime's image on Ethan's computer screen. Ethan explains everything and how it was only recently that he managed to unearth Prime's past memories of the Autobots.
Goldbug comes up with the idea of putting Optimus Prime in a situation where he is leading the Autobots on a mission to help jar his memory. Deciding to try this out, Ethan has Optimus Prime hack into the database of the genetics lab that has been captured by the Decepticons. As Prime is accessing the flow of data, he is in turn collecting the information on Scorponok's new project: To convert a number of his warriors into "Pretenders", Transformers that are hidden in an outer organic shell for additional disguise and protection. When the intrusion is detected, Vorath attempts to delete the hacker however Prime manages to escape. Scorponok, on the other hand, is complete and his warriors Iguanus, Bomb-Burst, Sub-Marauder, Skullgrin, Bugly, and Finback are reborn as Pretenders. When Scorponok learns that the hacker has escaped he is furious.
Prime reports back to Ethan Zachary and learns of Decepticons plans, beam the information up to Steelhaven, the Autobots are able to duplicate the Pretender process in Landmine, Cloudburst, Waverider, Groundbreaker, Sky High, and Splashdown. In order to lure the Decepticons to them, Prime travels into the genetics lab's computer database again allowing for Vorath to trace the connection. As the Decepticon Pretenders attack Alternate Reality Inc in person, Scorponok downloads into the computer network to attack from there.
Given a view of the battle outside through Goldbug's optic sensors, Optimus Prime directs the Autobot Pretenders in fighting off their Decepticon counterparts until they malfunction due. While Optimus Prime battles Scorponok in cyberspace Golbug gets his optic sensors back online. The battle ultimately ends with Scorponok being defeated by a data surge and disconnection and the Autobots sending the Decepticon Pretenders into retreat. After the battle is all over, Goldbug and Ethan have their spirits raised when Prime realizes that he is a born leader and warrior, however, he still believes that he is a computer game character.
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