I submitted this for the Cybertronian Times at this year's Auto Assembly event where it was published. I thought that I'd share it here too. AUTHOR’S NOTE The following takes place in the interim between the end of the second season of the original Transformers cartoon and the beginning of Transformers: The Movie shortly before the Decepticons retake Cybertron as described in the latter’s opening narration. * CLASSIFIED PERSONAL STATUS REPORT #7A-WF-83429 LOCATION: IACON, CYBERTRON IDENTIFICATION: SHOCKWAVE SECURITY LEVEL: OMEGA-01-ALPHA As has been my continued duty for the past four million stellar cycles, I have overseen the continued operation of Cybertron and attempted, as much as has been possible, to ensure that the planet remains in the condition in which it was left by Megatron. This task has been made all the more troublesome of late since information regarding the reactivation of Optimus Prime and the crew of the Ark has begun to spread amongst the remaining pockets of Autobot resistance. In previous reports I have detailed my activities prior to Megatron’s reawakening on Earth. During this period I authorised two large-scale military actions against the Autobots still in operation on the planet. These efforts proved costly in terms of depleting my forces’ Energon reserves by approximately thirteen percent overall and in causing the destruction of forty-two sentinel drone units. However, both operations were successful in bringing an end to the rising tensions and the Autobot insurgency. However, since the reestablishment of contact between the Nemesis’s crew and Cybertron – and the concurrent resumption of communications between the Autobot resistance groups and Optimus Prime – sixteen military actions have proven necessary. All but three of these actions have taken place within the last stellar cycle. In short, in the seventeen stellar cycles since the initiation of our campaigns on Earth, Autobot resistance to Decepticon operations on Cybertron has increased at an exponential and unprecedented rate. All predictions based on typical models of Autobot behaviour failed to anticipate this rise in activity. The Energon reserves, in spite of periodic resupplies resulting from successful harvesting of Earth-based sources, have decreased by an additional thirty-two percent. Three hundred and twenty-six sentinel drone units have been destroyed, a further two hundred and fifty-one have suffered moderate to severe damage leading to two or more orbital cycles in a repair facility. It is only logical to conclude that the return of Optimus Prime to the field has reinvigorated the Sparks of the Cybertron-based Autobots. Furthermore, it is logical to assume that this situation will continue for as long as Optimus Prime continues to function. Therefore, the continued actions of Megatron on Earth are exacerbating the situation on Cybertron. Autobot victories there inspire the insurgents here. Based upon projections of Autobot personnel numbers on Cybertron made from Soundwave’s clandestine accesses to their DataNet prior to the launch of the Ark, I estimate that the military operations in recent stellar cycles have diminished the total number of Autobots to between one and two thousand. Decepticon forces currently stand as follows: GUARDIAN ROBOTS – 2 SENTIENT COMBAT-READY FORCES – 312 SENTINEL DRONE UNITS – 564 OTHERS (INCLUDING DAMAGED FORCES) – 489 TOTAL – 1367 Considering these numbers of readily available forces and the potentiality for producing additional sentinel drone units to replace those destroyed with the next Energon shipment from Earth, I believe that the time is now right to begin a full-scale purge of the Cybertron-based Autobots. It may also be possible to enhance our numbers by transferring Megatron’s Earth-based forces to Cybertron via the space bridge. Removing the Autobot presence on Cybertron will yield clear positive results for the Decepticon cause. Firstly, the Autobots based on Earth will be demoralised by the loss of their home planet. Secondly, what resources the Earth Autobots possess will be put under significant strain by the unanticipated addition of one to two thousand additional beings to their ranks. Thirdly, while psychology is not my area of expertise, I believe that the successful retaking of Cybertron will yield a psychological boost to Decepticon forces elsewhere. Fourthly, the removal of the Autobots from Cybertron will bring an end to the Energon expenditure generated by combating their insurgent activities. Fifthly, with the planet under complete Decepticon control, certain aspects of my forces can be re-tasked to Earth to assist where Megatron has failed and eliminate the Autobots there. Finally, Cybertron can be rebuilt according to the Decepticon design without fear of Autobot actions impeding this reconstruction. In anticipation of Megatron’s approval of this course of action, I have run test scenarios. Of the fifteen thousand iterations of the purge operation that have been processed by our computer network and my own cognitive array, we are successful in causing a complete evacuation or elimination of non-Decepticon forces eighty-seven percent of the time. This proposal, along with supporting data on predicted success rates has been sent to Megatron on Earth for his approval. Logic dictates that the proposal be accepted. Megatron, however, is not always a logical being. Over the millennia of my service to the Decepticons, I have noted his occasional lapses into illogic and borderline megalomania. There have been instances in which he has become overly focussed on the elimination of Optimus Prime or the completion of other obviously trivial tasks. In such moments, he has no regard for the cost of his undertakings in terms of Energon expenditure and troop depletion. The Autobot leader is not our goal, Cybertron’s return to greatness is. Deep within his Spark Megatron is aware of this. One should not expect perfection to emanate from beings that are plagued with emotional considerations. If illogic reigns within Megatron and he sees fit to disallow the purge of Autobot forces that I suggest, then logical alternatives must be considered. Foremost among these alternatives is the option of proceeding without Megatron approval or assistance. This could prove costly. My analyses suggest that our success rate will be greatly enhanced by employing the Earth Decepticons in the purge. Additionally, should I proceed against Megatron’s orders, there is the strong possibility that he could interpret this as a betrayal and order my immediate execution. Alternatively then, logic would suggest that I seek to replace Megatron with an individual more suited to the correct undertaking of our conflict with the Autobots. The leading candidates to replace Megatron would be Soundwave, Starscream, and myself. Soundwave is not trusted by the rank and file Decepticons. His position as Megatron’s chief spy master has done little to encourage a rapport between Soundwave and the other members of our faction. It is well known that he has gathered information on Autobots and Decepticons alike. His sole support would come from his mini-con cassette minions; these scant few, while formidable are insufficient to sustain Soundwave’s mastery over the Decepticons. Soundwave’s personality – being as he is an individual devoid of charisma and charm – is also ultimately ill-suited to leadership. Starscream, on the other hand, is a far more capable speaker and director of soldiers. He has long sought the position of Decepticon leader and would leap at the opportunity to replace Megatron. It is highly likely that the other Seekers would support one of their own in a bid for power. However, Starscream is both vain and egotistical. His abilities as both a warrior and a leader are far less than he believes them to be. Ultimately, Starscream’s ego would lead to the destruction of the Decepticons. Logically, the sole alternative to succeed Megatron as the leader of the Decepticons should he prove to be incapable of continuing in that position (which will be demonstrated by a refusal to initiate the purge of Cybertron’s remaining Autobots) is me. My advanced computational abilities allow me to function as a combined battlefield computer and tactical commander. Coupled with the destructive potential inherent in my alternate form and my adherence to logical action above all else, it would appear that I am the sole viable – and, indeed, logical – alternative to Megatron. In order to ensure a smooth transfer of power in the event of the necessity of Megatron’s removal, it is logical that I prepare a plan of action. Key agents from Cybertron’s Decepticon forces will dispatched to Earth to provide assistance with the Autobot forces there while I begin to replace the damaged sentinel drone units with new, updated models. Alterations to the weapons systems of the existing drones to allow them to better defend against and counter Megatron’s fusion cannon have already begun. I must now await Megatron’s response before further actions can be taken. * CLASSIFIED PERSONAL STATUS REPORT #7A-WF-83432 LOCATION: IACON, CYBERTRON IDENTIFICATION: SHOCKWAVE SECURITY LEVEL: OMEGA-01-ALPHA A communication has been received from Megatron on Earth. A recent success has led to the capture of a human Energon production facility and the generation of a large number of Energon Cubes. The entire shipment is being sent to Cybertron to allow the construction of additional sentinel drone units for use in the proposed purge operation. The shipment will be dispatched in three solar cycles. While my concerns regarding Megatron’s abilities to lead the Decepticons are not completely abated, he has approved the purge operation on the grounds that our victory will be severely demoralising to the Autobots. He will be leading an assault force through the space bridge that will arrive in two orbital cycles. This force will be made up of the majority of our Earth-based warriors, including the three gestalt teams. With my continuing concerns regarding Megatron’s propensity towards illogical actions and decisions, I have resolved to maintain my contingency plan for his smooth removal. A series of sentinel drone units will be removed from the production manifests and sequestered in a secure location awaiting the moment when they may prove necessary for the purpose of installing myself as Decepticon leader. It is only logical that I continue to stockpile these forces and the Energon necessary for their operation for the duration of my concerns. Should they prove ultimately unnecessary, a strategy to explain their existence must be devised. Consideration of this matter will be undertaken. * CLASSIFIED PERSONAL STATUS REPORT #7A-WF-83504 LOCATION: SIMFUR, CYBERTRON IDENTIFICATION: SHOCKWAVE SECURITY LEVEL: OMEGA-01-ALPHA The final Autobot evacuation shuttle was allowed to leave the spaceport on the Hydrax Plateau and pass through our orbital defence perimeter sixteen megacycles ago. The population of Cybertron is now one hundred percent Decepticon. Soundwave’s reports from Earth indicate that the Autobots have taken to calling the purge operation the Battle for Cybertron. Additional details indicate that they are regrouping at the Ark. I believe a swift counterattack to be unlikely. Megatron has ordered that Decepticon forces will now use Cybertron as their primary base of operations, leaving Earth as a secondary outpost. With his presence on the planet now permanent, my position has been downgraded to Military Operations Advisor and Scientific Liaison. For four million stellar cycles I had undisputed control over Cybertron, its resources, and its industries. Now I am required to submit constant requests for materiel and assistants to those who were previously my inferiors. An illogical situation. I have begun to contemplate logical alternatives. These include the activation of my contingency plans for Megatron’s removal. However, additional drone units will now prove necessary due to Megatron’s command over the control systems of all but my personal supply of sentinels. Logically, then, I will require allies to assist in his removal from power. However, such allies are liable to be untrustworthy and prone to the placing of their own goals above the good of all Decepticons (which will be served by my installation as leader in Megatron’s place). A method of introducing the loyalty control mechanism that was to be used on the agents sent to Earth to these new “allies” will be necessary. Footnotes:  Equating to 5.4 million astrolitres.  Most notably his failure to terminate Optimus Prime and the reactivated Ark crew.  Note that testing is still ongoing and that these results may change. Considering the sheer number of scenarios tested, however, this would seem to be somewhat unlikely.  An accurate and effective method of ensuring the continued loyalty of these agents while they are stationed on Earth and subject to outside influences is being devised. Refer to Classified Personal Status Report #6D-XF-74656.  While the combination process results in a less intelligent overall robot (the united forms of the Constructicons and the Combaticons are not noted for their intellectual prowess, while the Stunticons’ united form appears to be borderline psychotic), the inherent strength of Devastator, Bruticus, and Menasor will prove useful.  Using models generated from Optimus Prime’s previous behaviour following severe defeats, I estimate only a six percent chance that he will authorise retaliatory action.