||This article may be too long to read and navigate comfortably. (April 2011)|
|Author||Alexander C. Irvine|
|Publisher||Del Rey Books|
|June 22, 2010|
|Followed by||Transformers: Exiles|
Transformers: Exodus – The Official History of the War for Cybertron is a science fiction adventure novel by Alexander C. Irvine. It revolves around the Transformers and the origin of the war and experiences prior to it. It was believed to be a possible prequel to Transformers: Prime as noted in the book Transformers Vault and verified as such in the Transformers: Prime episode "One Shall Rise part 3", which references the entire book as part of a flashback into the way the war between the Autobots and Decepticons began. Exodus explores the backgrounds of Optimus Prime and Megatron within the Prime universe, showing how they came to be the leaders of their respective factions. The book also delves more heavily into the mythology of other well-known aspects of the Transformers characters and locations, such as Alpha Trion and The Fallen, whose original name is revealed in this story for the first time as Megatronus.
Orion Pax and Megatronus
The story is set on Cybertron, the home planet of the Transformers. It has been several centuries since Cybertron's golden age of space exploration and planetary colonisation, and its society has declined into stagnation. Almost every Space Bridge has gone offline due to years of neglect, so contact with the other planets the Transformers colonised during the golden age has been lost. When a new Transformer is born from the Well of All Sparks (which contains the AllSpark, the device that creates new Transformers), they are assigned to a caste and guild from which they may never deviate. Castes are separated into a hierarchy, with the highest castes relating to science and politics, while the lower castes are given to manual labourers in factories and mines. Those in the lowest castes are not given individual names.
In the industrial city of Kaon, gladiatorial combat grows in popularity among the lower castes. One of the gladiators - a labourer who completely opposes the caste system and calls himself "Megatronus" after one of the original thirteen Transformers - rises to power and becomes a local celebrity due to his skills in the gladiatorial pits. Megatronus' fans and followers shorten his name to "Megatron" in their chants, and the name sticks. In Iacon (Cybertron's capital city), a clerk named Orion Pax - who works in Cybertron's Hall of Records and also dislikes the caste system - begins watching Megatron's political speeches, finding his championing of a free Cybertron where each individual determining their own path in life highly appealing. Orion turns for guidance to his supervisor and mentor Alpha Trion, who encourages him to meet with Megatron, cryptically stating that a great destiny awaits them both.
Orion travels to Kaon and meets Megatron in person, along with two of his followers, Shockwave and Soundwave. Orion and Megatron engage in intense but friendly debates over the nature of free will, and they find broad agreement in the need for a new form of Cybertronian government. However, Megatron favours confrontation and revolution, while Orion hopes to inspire the masses to change the system from within. As Megatron's political movement gains power, it also grows more violent. Terrorists professing allegiance to him commit multiple bombings across Cybertron. Megatron repeatedly states in public speeches that he does not know the terrorists and did not orchestrate these attacks. The terrorists then attack a casino in the city of Altihex, where Sentinel Prime (the main political leader of Cybertron) is attending a show. When the bombings start, Sentinel relies on his three bodyguards - Starscream, Skywarp and Thundercracker - to escort him to safety. However, the bodyguards instead take Sentinel to Kaon and present him to Megatron. Starscream flirts with joining Megatron's forces, but sees Sentinel as a potential bargaining chip and does not allow Megatron to kill him, ordering Skywarp and Thundercracker to take him to Trypticon Station, a scientific space station that orbits Cybertron.
The Great War
To prevent an all-out war, Alpha Trion helps Orion and Megatron secure an audience before the Cybertron High Council in order to plead their case. The council is hostile to any notion of change and view Megatron as a criminal. Megatron continues to disown the terrorist attacks but continues to appeal for the total removal of the caste system, including the council itself. His words are supported by the lower castes in the council's audience, who have started calling themselves "Decepticons". By contrast, Orion makes a more noble appeal to the council. He proclaims the Transformer's fuller potential as a race if each individual were to be acknowledged as an autonomous robot, using the ancient term "Autobot" as an expression of this ideal. Impressed by Orion's morals, the council appoint him as the new leader of Cybertron, giving him a new name and title: Optimus Prime. However, Orion's sudden elevation outrages Megatron, who believes the situation to be a set-up. He kills a council member, but as the crowd marshals for war Optimus Prime manages to convince him not to commit further violence within the council halls. The two sides retreat from the halls and begin the war for Cybertron.
The war is brutal and largely one-sided; the Autobots retain control of two cities, Iacon and Kalis, while the Decepticons take over the rest of the planet. Out of desperation, the Autobots launch the AllSpark into space. Megatron orders Starscream to give him access to Trypticon Station's stockpile of Dark Energon, a power-enhancing substance. The Decepticons consume the Dark Energon and become extremely powerful, gaining a combat edge and overwhelming the struggling Autobots. Megatron then seeks control of the Plasma Energy Chamber at Cybertron's core, planning to flood it with Dark Energon, which would permanently empower his own forces while poisoning Cybertron and starving the Autobots to death. He murders Sentinel Prime and steals the key to the Chamber, but before he can access it, the Autobots reactivate Omega Supreme, an enormous robot that transforms into both a rocket ship and a city. Omega Supreme takes the Plasma Energy Chamber and attempts to fly it to safety, but Starscream leads an aerial assault which shoots him down, and after Megatron empowers himself with Dark Energon, he effortlessly defeats the Autobots and Omega's robot mode. He floods the Chamber with Dark Energon and sends it back into Cybertron's core.
As the Dark Energon flows throughout Cybertron, Optimus Prime ventures into the core to fix the Chamber, accompanied by the Autobots Bumblebee and Jetfire. Once they find it, Bumblebee extracts the Chamber, stopping the flow of Dark Energon, and Optimus receives a mental communication from the core itself, who is in fact the spark of Primus, the creator of Cybertron and the Transformers. Primus states that he will eventually be able to heal himself, but the process will take centuries, and in the mean time he will be unable to generate enough Energon to sustain the population he currently does, which will cause Cybertron to become cold and barren, so the Transformers will either have to abandon Cybertron or risk starvation. Primus bestows Optimus with the Matrix of Leadership, which contains the collective wisdom of all past Cybertronian leaders. Optimus orders a mass exodus of the Autobot army, but most of the ships are shot down by Trypticon Station. One ship, the Eight Track, is able to link up to the station and force it to crash into Cybertron. As it falls, however, the station transforms into an enormous, reptilian monster and goes on a rampage.
The Great Exodus
Alpha Trion grows ever more despairing for Cybertron, and he sets a radical plan into motion: the construction of the largest spaceship in Cybertronian history, the Ark, on which most of the Autobots may escape. Several Autobots - including Alpha Trion, Jetfire, and a newly repaired Omega Supreme - volunteer to stay on Cybertron and protect what little territory the Autobots still hold. As most of the Autobots flee to the Ark, Megatron commands Trypticon to transform into an equally large spaceship, the Nemesis, in which he and most of the Decepticons will give pursuit. The Ark takes off into space, and the Nemesis pursues. They fly to the last intact Space Bridge, but because no one alive knows how to use it, there is no guarantee it will work. As the two giant spaceships get within range of the Space Bridge, it does indeed activate and teleports them to an uncharted part of space. With no Decepticons in sight, the Ark detects energy from the AllSpark. Optimus Prime orders the Ark pilots to follow the signal, and the Autobot's adventure in space begins.
Orion Pax/Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Alpha Trion, Ironhide, Sideswipe, Ratchet, Jazz, Sentinel Prime, Ultra Magnus, Cliffjumper, Springer, Prowl, Jetfire, Omega Supreme, The Protectobots/Defensor (none of the individual Protectobots are referred to by name), The Wreckers (Ultra Magnus and Springer are the only Wreckers in the novel that are openly referred to by name, but it is implied that the sub-group has many members).
D-16/Megatronus/Megatron, Shockwave, Soundwave, Rumble, Laserbeak, Ravage, Frenzy, Starscream, Skywarp, Thundercracker, Contrail, Ratbat, Barricade, Lugnut, Drixco, Blistream, Hotlink, Autoclave, Blackout, Onslaught, Trypticon, The Combaticons/Bruticus Maximus (Onslaught is the only Combaticon that is referred to by name in the book), The Constructicons/Devastator (None of the individual Constructicons are referred to by name).
Three unnamed Insecticons, Armorhide, Fastback, Bumper, the Lightning Strike Coalition Force (Grimlock, Swoop,) Chromatron, Hydrau, the Cybertron High Council (Halogen, Gauntlet, Drivetrain and Sigil. Ratbat and Contrail are two High Council members who join the Decepticons when the war begins).
Continuity with Transformers: Prime and Transformers: War For Cybertron
It is implied that Transformers: Exodus, along with its two sequels, Transformers: Exiles and Transformers: Retribution are placed within the same continuity of the animated TV show Transformers: Prime and the video games Transformers: War for Cybertron, Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron. This is because many of the elements introduced in Transformers: Exodus are either directly referenced or match with events that occur in the TV series and games. This is primarily the revised backstory with Optimus Prime and Megatron, which is explained by Ratchet in the 3-part episode "One Shall Rise" in Transformers: Prime. It has been confirmed by Hasbro that the books, video games and TV series are all in the same continuity. However, many details are largely inconsistent between each work, specifically War for Cybertron and Exodus itself. While it is believed by many that War for Cybertron is a video game adaptation of Exodus and vice versa, due to the similarities. However, the plots of both the book and game highly differ from each other.
Transformers: Exodus has been called an easy read with good writing.
- Alexander C. Irvine (2010). Transformers: Exodus - The Official History of the War for Cybertron. Del Rey Books. ISBN 978-0-345-52252-8.