Ark (Transformers)

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The Ark
Ark-transformers.jpg
The Ark from The Transformers television series
First appearance Transformers #1 by Marvel Comics, September 1984
Affiliation Autobots
General characteristics
Class Vanguard-class deep space interceptor
Auxiliary craft Shuttle

The Ark is the name of several Autobot spacecraft in the Transformers franchise. It has appeared as a central fixture of the Transformers storyline ever since its creation, as the Autobots' main method of transport to Earth and as a base once they arrive.

Crew of the Ark[edit]

Transformers: The Ultimate Guide by Simon Furman classifies it as a "Vanguard-class deep space interceptor" with a crew complement of as many as 300.[1]

Which Autobots were on board the Ark varies with different tellings of the story. In all storylines the following Autobots are among the crew:

In the television series the Ark crew also included:

  • Hauler (Only appeared in one early episode)

(The cartoon episode "Desertion of the Dinobots" reveals that many characters are suffering from millions of years of exposure to Earth's atmosphere, even characters who were not introduced in the pilot episode. This episode implies, but does not state outright, that newer characters like Perceptor, Powerglide, etc. were "really" on board the Ark despite not being seen until the second season.)

In the Marvel Comics series the Ark was also crewed by:

In the film series universe the Ark was crewed by:

Transformers: Generation 1[edit]

Animated Series[edit]

Although it is universally referred to as "the Ark" in all other media, the Autobot spacecraft is never actually named on screen in the original The Transformers animated series - it is simply referred to as "Autobot Headquarters" in the dialog.

The Ark left Cybertron when constant battles between the Autobots and Decepticons had left the planet in an energy crisis, with Optimus Prime and a contingent of Autobots 4 million years ago in search of the fuel Energon. Shortly after launch, it was attacked by the Decepticons on the Nemesis (another spaceship that was not named as such in the original series). The Nemesis attached itself to the Ark using tractor beams. The Decepticons, including their leader Megatron, boarded the Ark and attacked. During the battle, the Ark was damaged and crash-landed on Earth, into the side of a volcano in what one day would be called Oregon (according to the Marvel comic book).[2]

In the Earth year 1984, the volcano erupted, jarring Teletraan I back to life.[3] Sending out a Sky Spy satellite, the computer scanned assorted Earthly vehicles and machinery to form alternate modes for the Transformers. Skywarp happened to be in the path of Teletraan's reconfiguration beam, and once reactivated, dragged the other Decepticons into the beam, allowing them to be reconstructed. As they departed the Ark, Starscream opened fire on it, disobeying Megatron's orders, who cautiously opted to have the Decepticons save their energy until further sources were found. The blast dislodged some of the rock face above the Ark, and the resulting collapse knocked Optimus Prime's body into the path of the beam. The Autobots lived again.[4][5]

Although the Ark was severely damaged in the crash, preparations were made to launch it again following the apparent destruction of the Decepticons. When the ship was nearly ready, the Decepticons re-emerged, prompting the Autobots to stay on Earth, using the buried hulk of the Ark as their base of operations. Following the construction of Autobot City in the early 21st century, the Ark shared duties as the home base for the earthbound Autobots, but it is clear that Autobot City was regarded as the bigger threat to the Decepticons. In 2006, the Ark was destroyed by Trypticon.

Marvel Comics[edit]

Cybertron, having become a rogue planet, was headed into the path of the asteroid belt. Optimus Prime led a specially selected group of Autobots on board the Ark to clear a path through the asteroids so that the planet could pass safely. The Ark was specially constructed for this mission. The Autobots successfully cleared a path for Cybertron, but were attacked by the Decepticons, and were too low in energy after clearing the asteroids to fight back effectively. Prime instead chose to order the Ark to crash into what was then the lifeless third planet in our solar system. The spaceship crashed into what is today called Mount St. Hilary, where the Autobots and Decepticons on the Ark lay dormant for four million years, until in 1984 the volcano erupted and activated the shipboard computer which then revived the Transformers on board. (Mount St. Hilary is fictional, although it was presumably modeled on the real-life Mount St. Helens, which erupted in 1980).[6]

The Autobots then used the Ark as their base on Earth until, under the command of Grimlock, the Ark was repaired and launched back into space. It served as the Autobot's base until the battle against Unicron, when Grimlock drove it into the Chaos-Bringer's head. The craft was repaired and stolen by Shockwave and Starscream. However, they had a few stowaways: Megatron, Ratchet and Galvatron from an alternate future. In the ensuing fight, a stray shot hit the highly volatile nucleon stored on the ship causing a massive explosion, forcing it to once again, crash into the Earth; this time somewhere in northern Canada.

The specific design of the Ark changes throughout the run of the Marvel series, the variation usually attributed to different artists' ideas of what it should look like. However, the Ark always maintained a thickened, spade-like shape with three or more massive, circular engine ports.

The Ark was repaired and relaunched with Megatron at the helm. This time Spike Witwicky and Sky Dive stowed away before the launch. Spike merged with Fortress Maximus who had been stored in the Ark during Spike’s absence, and in the ensuing fight with Megatron, Maximus threw himself into the anti-matter conversion chamber, causing the ship to explode. Both Megatron and Sky Dive escaped.

The Ark's brain manifests as a disembodied head called Aunty. She is the visual AI interface for the Ark's computer systems. Therefore, she is in complete and near-sole control of all of the ship's functions, including its Guardians. She's a kind personality, but also dutiful and coldly logical in her actions. That is, until the crash and/or Megatron's fusion cannon fried her circuitry, changing her from benign into an untrustworthy, raging megalomaniac.

Books[edit]

The Ark is mentioned by name in the 1984 children's book Battle for Cybertron.[7]

Dreamwave Productions[edit]

In the Dreamwave comics it is assumed that the Ark's history is roughly similar to that of the animated version, crashing on Earth with Optimus Prime, Megatron and their forces on board. After the defeat of the Decepticons a second Ark vessel was built, with the Autobots, the captive Decepticons and several human representatives on board. It was destroyed by rogue elements of the military being indirectly manipulated by Shockwave. The original Ark was destroyed when the Autobots Ratchet and Brawn set it to self destruct when it was attacked by Bruticus.[8]

A second vessel called the Ark appeared in Dreamwave's G1 backstory. Following a mass defeat of the Decepticons, all the Transformers were to return to Cybertron on the newly-constructed Ark II, but when it was launched, it promptly exploded, as a result of Shockwave's machinations. A group of seven human ambassadors known as the Magnificent Seven (including Sparkplug Witwicky) were casualties of the explosion.

IDW Publishing[edit]

Although the Transformers Comics by IDW Publishing would discard the traditional story of the Ark crash-landing on Earth with the deactivated Autobots and Decepticons inside in favor of having both sides already having infiltration units on Earth, the Ark would still appear. Here it was not the name of one ship, but a series of them, with Ark-19 being the name of Prowl's ship and Ark-27 being the ship Optimus Prime takes to Earth. A vessel named Ark-17 was also mentioned by Oprimus Prime. Also the Spotlight issue on Nightbeat reveals the ancestry of the name. The original Ark was a vessel launched to try to chart space around Cybertron. It disappeared with all hands. Spotlight: Galvatron revealed it had actually been investigating an anomaly believed to lead to a dark mirror of the Matrix; Galvatron flew it into this anomaly and the crew were "claimed" by the Dead Universe. It is suggested that the crew of the Ark was turned into zombie-like monsters similar to Galvatron.[9]

IDW Publishing also published a design collection titled The Ark. This 208 page book features the animation models from the original 1980s cartoon and was created by Jim Sorenson and Bill Forster.

Beast Wars[edit]

The Beast Wars television series, taking place in prehistoric Earth, references the Ark towards the end of the series. The Predacon Megatron discovers it, and hijacks Teletraan I using access codes he found on the Voyager Golden Record, left behind by the original Decepticon Megatron.

Blackarachnia (To Silverbolt): "Oh, it's no legend, Jo-Jo. Eons before Maximal or Predacon even existed, your ancestors, the Autobots, launched this ship containing their finest heroes. It was attacked by Decepticons and crashed here on Earth. When it (the volcano the Ark was lying in) explodes in 1984, our ancestors will awaken and start the Great War."

While Megatron's ancestors, the Decepticons, and those of the Maximals, the Autobots, slept in stasis lock, he fired his weapon upon the face of Optimus Prime, disrupting the time flow in the universe. The Maximals foiled his plan, by placing the spark of Prime within Optimus Primal, once again changing his body. Repairs were made on Prime, and the Maximals used the Ark as their own base, both to safeguard the Transformers within from Megatron, and because their own ship had recently been lost. However, Megatron later penetrated the Ark once more, absorbing the spark of his ancestor just before mutating into his dragon form.

The Ark was nearly destroyed again by Megatron when he discovered and reactivated the Nemesis. The Maximals were able to activate (with the help of Dinobot II on the Nemesis) a shuttle found on board (that according to Blackarachnia, "The history records never mentioned a shuttle!" with Rhinox replying "History's still being made!"), and used it to both stop the Nemesis and return home, after re-sealing the cave. They also returned the spark of the original Megatron to its rightful place.

The Ark would remain until its emergence in 1984.

Transformers: Cybertron[edit]

Atlantis[edit]

According to Vector Prime, the Atlantis is one of the four Cybertronian starships that transported the Cyber Planet Keys to the four colony planets. The Atlantis is the ship that transported a Cyber Planet Key, the Omega Lock, and Transformers to Earth. Known as a city that floated on the air, it malfunctioned and fell into the Bermuda Triangle.

It is later discovered by the Autobots at the bottom of the ocean, and Vector Prime warps the Atlantis to the dark side of the moon until he and the kids could find the Omega Lock. Unfortunately, Megatron takes the Omega Lock before the security system is shut down, resulting in the Atlantis' explosion.

Some time later, the kids follow Sideways, who kidnapped the Mini-Cons, to a repaired Atlantis, which Sideways had worked day and night to make into an evil hideout. They manage to escape when Starscream comes back to warp the ship. Starscream would subsequently use the vessel on several occasions, notably to extract a second portion of Primus's spark to increase his size and power once again.

In the time-space tunnel, Bud, Jolt and Reverb sabotage the engines to slow Starscream down. On Gigantion, where Sideways crashed into a fissure, Quickmix buries the Atlantis (except the bridge) in quick dry cement. The Autobots dig the Atlantis out to make a space bridge and later bring with Gigantion's inhabitants back to their proper universe.

Optimus Prime (Galaxy Convoy), in the final episode of Transformers: Cybertron, "Beginning", proposes a new Space Bridge project using the power of the four Cyber Planet Keys and the four great Cybertronian ships. Many Autobots and former Decepticons joined in the project. Leaving Jetfire (Dreadrock) in charge of Cybertron, Optimus Prime led the Atlantis with the Earth Cyber Planet Key, joined by Red Alert, Safeguard, Scattorshot, Leobreaker, Menasor, and Heavy Load.

Ogygia[edit]

The Ogygia (Mu in Japan) was the ship that brought Velocitron's first Transformers to the planet. Shortly after Primus was reawakened, Override arrived on Cybertron with it so that the Autobots could travel to Gigantion. It served as the Autobots' home base in the other universe, and engaged the Atlantis in battle several times. Together with the rest of the ships, it became part of the huge vessel known as the Ark, and was later sent out into the galaxy again to help expand the space bridge. Override led the Ogygia and Velocitron Cyber Planet Key with Brakedown, Quickmix, and Undermine.

Hyperborea[edit]

The Hyperborea (Lemuria in Japan) is the ancient Cybertronian vessel that brought the first Transformers to the Jungle Planet. It was then buried where Scourge's future temple was. When the black hole threatens to swallow the Jungle Planet, Scourge's emotion unburies it. The Hyperborea fuses together with the other three Cybertronian vessels to become the Ark, which is used by Primus to destroy the black hole.

Afterwards, the ships separates, and the Hyperborea joins its sister vessels in traveling into the unexplored reaches of the galaxy to build a new space bridge network. Evac led the Hyperborea (Pangea) and Jungle Planet (Animatros) Cyber Planet Key with Backstop and Lugnutz.

Lemuria[edit]

The Lemuria (Pangea in Japan) was the Cybertronian ship that brought the first Transformers and Cyber Planet Key to Gigantion. After battle with the inhabitants of Planet X, the Lemuria was built into a city at the center of the planet, where the Cyber Planet Key lay. After the Cyber Planet Keys and the Omega Lock were stolen by Galvatron, the Lemuria's engines were activated and it was used by the Autobots in an effort to create a new spacebridge between the alternate universe and Cybertron's universe. Though this effort failed, the sacrifice of Vector Prime reopened the interdimensional portal, allowing the Lemuria to accompany the Ogygia and the Atlantis back to its home universe. Combining with them and the Hyperborea, the Lemuria became part of the Ark, which Primus used to close the black hole.

In the final episode of Transformers: Cybertron, Optimus Prime (Galaxy Convoy) proposed a new Space Bridge project using the power of the four Cyber Planet Keys and the four great Cybertronian ships. Many Autobots and former Decepticons joined in the project. Metroplex led the Lemuria and Gigantia Cyber Planet Key with Drillbit, Signal Lancer, and Brimstone under his command.

Ark[edit]

After a long quest spanning the Cybertron television series, the Autobots finally manage to obtain all four cyber planet keys and all four colony ships. The cyber planet keys in combination with the Omega Lock are used to awaken Primus's full potential. Primus used his full power to merge the four Cybertronian ships: Atlantis, Ogygia, Lumeria, and Hyperborea (Japan: Atlantis, Mu, Lemuria, and Pangaea) into an ancient ship of legend, the Ark (Japan: Noah). It is used by a reawakened Primus to close the black hole. The Ark is then separated back into the four ships so that the Autobots can travel to distant corners of the universe and build new space bridges.

Transformers live-action film franchise[edit]

According to a post by Roberto Orci, the Autobots travel across interstellar space in a large spacecraft, then travel to Earth in protoform mode. It is equipped with missile launchers and machine guns as well as a gun station that can move to shoot ships behind it.[10] This ship would appear in Transformers: Ghosts of Yesterday, the prequel novel to the 2007 live-action film, called the Ark. Here, it was the vessel bearing Optimus Prime, Ironhide, Bumblebee, Ratchet and Jazz in their search for the Allspark. It is described as being spherical in shape, and its weapons systems and shields are superior to its Decepticon counterparts. It is also said to be able to hold approximately 350 Transformers.,[11] and was apparently the namesake of the original Ark.

Dark of the Moon[edit]

The original Ark appears in Transformers: Dark of the Moon.[12] Taking on a different role and a new form of a small grey ship rather than gold capable of turning its cockpit into a machine turret. In 1961, a Cybertronian spacecraft crash lands on the far side of the moon. Known as the Ark, it was the last ship to escape a Cybertron devastated by war. Piloted by Sentinel Prime, it carried "the Pillars", technology that could save the Cybertronians once and for all, but was hit by Decepticon missile fire. On Earth, the crash of the Ark is detected by NASA, and President John F. Kennedy authorizes the mission to put a man on the moon as a cover. By 1963, the Decepticons have raided the ship and taken hundreds of Space Bridge pillars from it, leaving only five, including the Control Pillar. Russian probe Lunar Four notices this. In 1969, Apollo 11 lands on the surface of the Moon to investigate the Ark and find the crew dead. The astronauts take samples from the ship before leaving. Somehow, the Russians manage to get their hands on an engine part from the ship and bring it to Chernobyl where it is experimented upon. Later, in 2012, Optimus Prime and Ratchet travel to the Ark and retrieve Sentinel and the five Space Bridge pillars after finding the engine part at Chernobyl and learning of the truth behind the Apollo missions. The Ark is abandoned after this.

Books[edit]

The Ark appears in the book Transformers: Dark of the Moon The Junior Novel.[13]

Toys[edit]

  • Dark of the Moon Cyberverse Autobot Ark with Autobot Roller (2011)
A toy replica of the Ark that opens into a playset that fits Cyberverse Legion Class figures. Comes with Legion Class Autobot Roller, which transforms into a Lunar rover.[14][15]

Transformers Animated[edit]

There is a ship in this 2008 Cartoon Network TV Series called the Orion that is based on the Ark. The Decepticon ship Nemesis is much bigger and powerful in this series. The Nemesis chases the Orion to Earth where it shoots the ship down. The Nemesis also crash lands.

The Orion was once a powerful warship during the Cybertronian Wars. When they were over, all of the Orion's weaponry was stripped except for one cannon. It then served as a cargo ship for Optimus Prime and his maintenance crew. While being chased by Decepticons, the Allspark sent the Ark pummeling through the space bridge where it ended up above Earth. It then fell right into Lake Erie, which laid for fifty years before its crew reactivated. After making friends with humans, the Autobots decided to leave the Ark and settle on a surface base.

When Lugnut and Blitzwing arrived on Earth to find the Allspark, the Autobots decided to repair the Orion and leave the planet. But they instead use up its remaining cannon on the Decepticons.

When Megatron was fully revived, Ratchet managed to reactivate the Orion and the Autobots were prepared to leave Earth until a missile took out the engines, causing the ship to crash into a volcano crater.

Later in the series, the Orion is revealed to be the vehicle mode of the giant Autobot Omega Supreme.

The ship went unnamed throughout the cartoon itself (with the comics incorrectly referring to the whole ship, instead of just its online computer as "Teletran-1"), but was given its official name in the book Transformers Animated: The AllSpark Almanac II. This book also revealed that it was but one of many identical-looking ships that each transformed into giant warriors called Omega Sentinels (with one of which being Omega Supreme). Each of these ships bore a resemblance to the Ark in shape, but only the Orion bore its iconic golden color scheme.

Transformers: Timelines[edit]

In the Fun Publications Shattered Glass story, where the Decepticons are heroic and the Autobots the villains, the Ark and Nemesis appear as well. The Ark is purple in color, but otherwise is shaped like the Generation 1 ship. Launched from Cybertron in 2009, the Ark was commanded by Rodimus. Among the crew of the Ark were Beachcomber, Big Daddy, Blaster, Brawn, Elita One, Goldbug, Ratchet, Seaspray, Star Saber and Swoop.

Transformers: Prime[edit]

In Transformers: War for Cybertron, when Cybertron was dying, Optimus ordered all Autobots to evacuate in ships. Optimus and a few others stayed behind, as they were going to leave on a new ship Optimus was building, the Ark. In Transformers: Fall of Cybertron the Ark is already prepared, but the Decepticons try to destroy it, but Optimus prevents that with the help of Metroplex, and kill Megatron in the process. Later on in the game, Metroplex transfers all of his Energon to the Ark, and sacrifices himself in the process. Optimus calls all the Autobots to board the Ark and leave Cybertron alone and quiet. In space Megatron caught up with the Ark in the Nemisis. Soundwave leads the first wave of Decepticons and destroys the Ark's pulse cannons. Jetfire is then launched in to space to destroy the tow cables. Bruticus is launched from the Nemisis to destroy the Ark's Energon fuel line. Jazz then comes to defeat Bruticus. Somewhere in the Ark Megatron and Optimus engage in battle. Before a winner can be declared, the Ark and the Nemisis are pulled in the portal and closes leaving Cybertron.

The crew of the Ark included the following-

  • Optimus Prime
  • Jazz
  • Prowl
  • Ironhide
  • Ratchet
  • Sideswipe
  • Bumblebee
  • Perceptor
  • Bulkhead
  • Silverbolt

References[edit]

  1. ^ Furman, Simon (2004). Transformers The Ultimate Guide. DK Publications. pp. 16–17. ISBN 978-0-7566-3012-6. 
  2. ^ "Transformers: an adult primer // Here's help understanding toy robots, the latest rage", Chicago Sun-Times; December 16, 1986; by Patricia Smith
  3. ^ High on sci-fi. Star Tribune, March 2, 2007, by Salas, Randy A.
  4. ^ http://mastercollector.com/articles/reviews/revoltech-review.htm
  5. ^ Bellomo, Mark (2010). Totally Tubular '80s. Krause Publications. pp. 90–93. ISBN 1-4402-1282-1. 
  6. ^ Marvel graphic novels and related publications: an annotated guide to comics by Robert G. Weiner, page 96
  7. ^ Battle for Cybertron. Kid Stuff Records & Tapes. 1984. ISBN 0-87135-016-5. 
  8. ^ http://www.bwtf.com/comicbooks/dreamwave/g1ongoing/1
  9. ^ http://www.bwtf.com/comicbooks/idw/infiltration3
  10. ^ Orci and Kurtzman Questions: Post movie - Page 6 - TRANSFORMERS message board
  11. ^ Transformers: Ghosts of Yesterday, by Alan Dean Foster, 2007, page 98
  12. ^ killerfilm.com - The Ark confirmed for Transformers 3
  13. ^ Michael Kelly (2011). Transformers: Dark of the Moon The Junior Novel. Ballantine Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. ISBN 978-0-316-18629-2. 
  14. ^ TFW2005.com - Dark of the Moon Sentinel Prime Toy Revealed
  15. ^ MTV.com - Transformers: Dark of the Moon Cyberforce

External links[edit]