Hot Rod's vision blurred as he began to die. His sight dimmed, and he could feel his fuel pump straining as Galvatron crushed down on his neck, compacting vital passageways and severing circuits. It would all be over soon and the agony of his passage into death was nothing next to the agony of knowing he had failed and the fear of leaving his friends behind to face the evil alone. Still the pressure increased. It was more than a bot was meant to bear, he knew. But he pushed aside the threatening despair and let himself sink to his knees to ease the strain on his body, hoping to gain a few more moments. His breath labored in his chest as though his filters were crushed in tritanium manacles "First, Prime," gloated Galvatron, "then, Ultra Magnus, and now, you. Galvatron sneered into his face. It's a pity you Autobots die so easily, or I might have a sense of satisfaction now!" With a final move born of desperation, the Autobot released his grip on Galvatron\rquote s wrists and tried to push against his chest instead. Hot Rod flailed his arms around, making a last futile grasp at the Matrix before he died. In that moment he understood that, whatever he did, he would die because Galvatron was more powerful than he was, As he did he saw within the matrix the shadows of those who had died this day. Hot Rod had looked at the Matrix as a final consolation. And, within its light patterns, he found several silhouettes that were waiting for him. All were Autobots who had died during the war, his mother , and her fellow scientists of the colony, the elite team that had traveled to Earth millions of years ago. Optimus Prime was with them, and Hot Rod forced himself to meet his gaze and accept that, if that soul was there, it was his fault. Optimus had looked back in silence, his eyes displaying so many emotions that Hot Rod had not been able to identify all of them. It was the central shade at the front that caused the guilt to return. I had wanted to become a great Autobot like Optimus Prime himself but because of my stupidity I'm responsible for the death of the legend. It's too late for me to do anything because I will soon be one with them." it's my fault" he thought to himself. i "I deserve to die" N0 he thought to himself out of guilt for what happened. Never give ground never ever surrender.\b0 Hot rod heard a voice in his head "No, I am a Autobot if I die then it shall be fighting"was his final thought as Hot Rod grasped for the matrix before he fell into total blackness Yes Galvatron. Destroy him now. Tear him apart. Destroy the chosen one. Destroy, NO! Don't let the light touch him! N,,never! Using the last of his strength, Hot Rod reached out for the matrix His hands clattered against the chain around the neck of the beast, then closed over the Matrix. Despite his loss of strength from the battle, the chains snapped easily as the Matrix came away in his hands. he suddenly felt the metal chain give, At the same time, as a strange new sense of power seemed to sweep through him and he kicked out against Galvatron who was rolled away and sent flying away from him and crashing into the wall. As he rolled over to look back, an intense blue light engulfed the Autobot like a purifying flame and he stood, straightening proudly and growing in stature before Galvatron's amazed eyes. The Matrix clasped in his hands. Power and glory radiated from him like twin beams of light as the room was bathed in an unworldly light, a voice filled the room as Hot Rod heard a voice in his mind. "Arise, Rodimus Prime," it said. "Optimus," he breathed, as he recognized the voice and felt himself change. NO! It cannot happen. It cannot happen like this! Not now! Galvatron heard some of the same wonder that had tinged his voice when he first spotted the Matrix around his neck. He became taller, stronger, and faster, age began to show on his face and wisdom as well, as he grew older at a seemingly accelerated rate, his body growing in height so fast that a series of after images seemingly show him increasing in height He looked at the Matrix. He had begun to open it. Suddenly the room felt much smaller, as if Galvatron was being crowded out of it by the sheer power and will of the Matrix and its new gaurdian. his precarious hold on sanity slipping away as he heard the voice of the Autobot leader he had sent to the grave as Megatron. "No," Galvatron gasped struggling against the feeling, and almost reflexively, he fired at the Autobot hoping to knock Rhodimus away from him or blast the Matrix from his hands. The beams of destructive energy were reflected away from him as soon as they reached the limits of the glowing blue aura,..... He blasted again and again, to no effect as the energy beams began scattering and dissipating into darkness All except for one, which penetrated the field not damaging his opponent, but knocking the Matrix out of his hands and sent the Matrix spinning toward the ground. It hit the floor with a metallic clink and the blue fire died as the relic rolled to a stop by the wall. Galvatron looked up grimly at his new opponent. Losing the Matrix hadn't robbed him of his power. He was about the same size now, with a broad chest and a look of maturity that Galvatron hadn't seen on his face before. He fixed him with a dangerous glare from eyes that, oddly, hadn't changed a bit. Fully matured he looked more like Optimus now in build and form as well but still had some attributes inherited from his mother. Turning to face his enemy, Rhodimus felt his new form brimming with power and energy. "This is the end of the road, Galvatron," Rodimus Prime said, his voice different, deeper more mature, pointing an accusing finger at the Decepticon. Galvatron steeled himself for impact as he rushed him, quickly bridging the distance between them, and tore into the Decepticon leader with a strength he had never before possessed. They were on equal footing now, but Galvatron was still in shock. Everything had been going his way. He would destroy the Autobots. He would figure out how to use the Matrix against Unicron and free himself from the monster's mental hold. He would rule the universe. He attacked, but he was still surprised by the sheer force of his tackle. While Galvatron staggered backward, lashing out at his arms and face Galvatron was no longer able to defend himself. Galvatron kicked and struggled, as he punched him in the kidneys with a left hook and then tried to clobber him with a blow to his head with the butt of his cannon but he was no match for him now. Not at the height of his new power. Rodimus went and locked his arms around the Decepticons body and went to lift him up off the ground as he grabbed him roughly by the shoulders however, a force like an electric current raced through Galvatron and he saw everything with a sudden new clarity. His death, his rebirth, his quest for the Matrix, and his search for his own identity had all been preludes to this last confrontation. Rodimus Prime and He were the fists of the light god and the destructive dark god, poised on the edge of a new era. By rebelling against Unicron, He had sealed his own fate. The dark fist of the chaos bringer had brought the light to his rival, offering up the Matrix as the instrument of his own defeat. And yet, in doing so, he had freed himself from a servant's role forever. All this went through his mind in the space of an eternity and an instant While Galvatron flails his arms about. But Rodimus is now an equal to him in strength and lifted him over his head and hurled him into the wall head first. Nooooooooo yelled Galvatron as he saw that he was hurtling toward the wall that separated them from the vacuum of space. I have lost the fight, but for the first time in my life, I am ready to do so. If I must die now, I die free he thought to himself as he covered his head with his arms as he smashed through the metal plating and went hurtling out into the dark emptyness of space. Galvatron punctures my side. It can't happen. I must find him. I must destroy him! He must not open the Matrix! Rhodimus paid him no more attention. Rodimus Prime grasped the Matrix and slipped his fingers into the holes on the grips. he could feel its power surging to the surface again. as he lifted the matrix into the air he felt somehow that he was no longer alone, taking a slow long look to his left and right he could see his fallen comrades standing to either side of him and many, many more behind them as well. though they had died giving their lives for the autobot code they stood before him looking every bit as alive as they had ever been in life. ironhide and rachet stood to either side behind his shoulders and behind them farther back were prowl and red alert as well as inferno and grapple, hoist and trailbreaker, wheeljack and windcharger mirage and huffer they and many, many more stood behind him their bodies shining and composed of pure matrix energy and light. to the very front of him stood alpha trion, and another as well. suddenly rhodimus saw him a tall and powerful warrior whose very form was colored in regal red, white and blue. the great autobot legend himself, he who had so recently haunted his dreams, the very one who he felt the most greif for, the very one. who had been like a father and role model to him. have you come to mock me?, why do you haunt me so? I have not come to torment you Rhodimus. spoke Optimus i appeared to you in your dream when you needed to call forth the strength of deep personel anger to defend your self against galvatron. the matrix generated me from from your memories to see how you would fare against galvatron. you are prime Rhodimus, i come to you because the matrix senses your need when you are in danger and sometimes others to offer you guidance in life. what is this power, what are it's limits the matrix? rhodimus asked. a tool, a wish, a powerful weapon to defend our very existance from unicron. the matrix spoke to him. rhodimus immediately recognised the voice the matrix had choosen, Alpha trion. would i ever be as wise? what may i use it for? there are few incidents in our long history of a prime in posession of the matrix who had been inhanced by it's powers. it has healed you, even changed you for a time. but be warned this power , this... gift may only be used once, Alpha Trion warned him. going down this path again would likely lead to your distruction. it is the power of life multiplied in strength and possibility. it can heal, it can grant life, it can be wisdome or knowledge, kindness or mercy, it can harness life and release it as a weapon, it can create shelter from the storm. it is the penultimate power of being prime. rhodimus considered the situation they were in. unicron would win should he be allowed to live, the entire universe perhaps all of creation itself would cease to exist. One thing was certain though... he must act. how long will the power last? he asked the ancient cybertronian. as long as you do. Alpha Trion said it's strength and purpose are linked to yours Rhodimus felt the burden of leadership wiegh heavy upon his shoulders, but he could also feel the faith his fallen comrades had placed in him. he could feel their strength their hope. what will you do with the power? Alpha trion asked. I will do what i must answered Rhodimus what honor demands. when you use the matrix it will feel as though you have been reborn. for a time you will have powers unlike any you have ever held before. this event will surely mark you, change you. a new prime for a new age. but what kind of prime you will be is up to you. I beseech you, follow the path of honor and rightousness, do not be led down the path of battle for the sake of the battle itself, we are the defenders of all that is right in the universe, Rhodimus even when defending what is right, or doing what honor demands, costs us or our loved ones, all we hold dear. as quickly as he had appeared Alpha trion was gone. Rhodimus spared one more moment to reflect on what Alpha Trion had said, he had never felt so powerful, so strong, so certain of the path he must take, what he must do. it was time to end this. each autobot placed his hands on the shoulders of another in front of him connecting each one to another and through them to Rhodimus as well as each transfered their spark energy into another, and another and another still. blasts of pure spark energy leapt from them directly into rhodimus's body. more energy poured forth from them, as they fed their strength and energy to their cause as each spark returned to the matrix in passing through the link. their energy, their faith poured into him and he held it, stoked it as a blacksmith would stoke a fire, and in turn gave it to the matrix. the matrix was so bright now it shone like a bright silvery white star.Now Rodimus Prime held out the Autobot Matrix of Leadership before him, gazing at its gold and silver construction in wonder. There was one more task to be done and he had been chosen to do it. he didn't know why. Why him? Optimus Prime had given the Matrix to Ultra Magnus. Kup was the wisest of them, Grimlock the strongest. i was the one with the untamable fire. Why not one of them? Why me? I know not how you were forged, Rodimus spoke to it, nor what force or mind directs you but you have never failed Optimus or the Primes of old.Raising up the Matrix of Leadership, its crystal heart starting to glow, Let us now join and do what must be done!. Rodimus said to it, for our lost world of cybertron and our fallen leader of legend, For those who have given their lives to end this terrible war, "Now," he said, "light our darkest hour!" as he held the matrix against his chest. The matrix's glow became nearly blinding, and with a hiss the casing split and separated away from the blue crystal. Which hovered in midair as the matrix opened in Rodimus Prime's hands Even as the Matrix opened in his hands and unleashed its power upon Unicron he could hear Optimus's voice again, answering his unspoken question" it is to the younger generation that the wisdome of the elders is passed onto, We know you will not fail us my son. Something out of the ordinary had happened within him... and ended as quickly as it had occurred. Was it the same presence? Had it returned? No. This was different. It was an elegant stream of harmonic sound, barely audible and yet so mesmeric, spartan and yet so full. A brilliant light filled the room. There was no fire nor heat, just an inescapably brilliant white light that flooded the chamber with a radiating light like that of a galaxy being born as the matrix pulsed and expelled a scintillating blast of the purest energy as the light of primus coursed through the bowels of unicron's mammoth body as Rodimus prime called forth all of the wisdom, all of the knowledge , and all of the power of every transformer that had given their life for the cause and willed it to aid them in their time of need. It was a radiance bright enough to wash away all details, all lines, all divisions and distinctions. Then light, light brighter than any since the dawn of the cosmos, burst through the shadows and shade that had smothered this landscape. It rushed forth from the matrix like a tidal wave of pure brilliance, scouring the shadows from the labyrinth. The wraith like shadows recoiled from the light and tried to flee, but the illuminated pulse reached it effortlessly. The Shadows reeled and burned as it fell into the deepest darkest areas it could find. And still the wave advanced. Pure enough to seek out the blackest night, the deepest pit, the darkest hour ... and light it. and then a shining power was pouring through him, beyond the light, beyond even the greater strength he'd held during the day's battle, and he was nothing but a too-fragile vessel directing it against the dark force. Rodimus Prime became enveloped in a spheroid globe of matrix energy Forming a pulsing shield and wrapping its way protectively around the matrix bearer in a impenetrable bubble-like cloak as the force of the power within him began to build. Increasing to its full, maximum capacity. Crackling and buzzing with bright intensity until finally, the globe of light exploded with the roar of a photon cannon. Expanding outwards in torrents of lightening like tendrils, Streaking across the floor with a strength that was blinding in its dangerous beauty like a brilliant tidal wave of pure, white blue energy. Rhodimus stood, holding the matrix, holding the responsibility of a world above him, it surged with power, giving him it's purity, giving him the key to leading The Autobots against Unicron the single most omni potently powerful form of evil that ever existed. Unicron was exploding around him, the hum of electricity, the explosions of chemical containers, and the breaking of circuitry, the death throes of the planet-devourer As the tendrils of matrix energy thought out every piece of unicron's body destroying every part of him from the inside out. Not a single lever, gear, or pulley was left untouched. Pain! More pain then I have ever felt before. Even if I must destroy this body, I will destroy him, I will destroy your chosen one! Pain! I must remove the Matrix from within me now! I can feel it, feel you inside me, tearing me apart piece by piece from the inside. Never have I felt like this. I can feel him; feel you, moving throughout this body.Floors and ceilings erupted, energy danced along bursting power lines. Unicron was screaming, they could hear it everywhere. Kup couldn't help but smile. Someone or something seemed to have found a way to put a dent into the giant Transformer.Unicron felt energy the likes of which he had never felt before rip through his body, pouring through him, tearing holes in his chest and destroying parts of his central computer. I feel it shatter within the cranial structure of this body. I am now trapped within this head. No longer do I have control of this body, but still I can feel its pain. Spasmodically, Unicron ripped off one of his own legs, trying to get rid of the light, which pervaded his entire being. Elsewhere inside, Springer, Kup, and Arcee fought a losing battle against the cutters. One pierced Springer's arm, and another lined up for the kill. Suddenly, both exploded. None of the Autobots knew what was happening, but Unicron's interior had suddenly gone to Hell. Determination on his face, Rhodimus held the Matrix up high. Light was streaming forth, a power he did not understand in the slightest, and it tore the mighty form of Unicron into scrap metal. He could hear the giant Transformer's scream and a small part of him couldn't help but smile. Unicron was dying. Now it was time to think of his friends. The kid had done it. Jazz dragged himself to his feet, noting that he was running a bit low on energy. Then the entire room began to shake. We've got to get outta here, Bumblebee said. They quickly climbed down and joined Daniel. I remember the way back to where the others are, the kid said. Others? Jazz finally asked. Who else is here? Arcee, Springer and Kup. But we lost Hot Rod somewhere when we fell out of the ship. Cliffjumper opened his mouth to ask another question, but Spike cut him off. We'll ask questions once we get out of here. Lead the way son . They ran down passage after passage, the humans in front and Jazz bringing up the rear. They found the other three Autobots soon enough. Springer spotted them first as he and Arcee turned to see Daniel, Spike, and the other Autobots approaching. "Spike, Daniel!" Springer cried in relief. "Springer, what's going on?" Spike asked. "No time to answer that now, let's get outta here!" As if to validate Springer's point, Unicron's hand dug through the wall they stood beside. They ran. "Look!" Daniel cried, noticed a side corridor. The corridor was filled with a blue-green radiance, and a strangely familiar, yet different Autobot running behind it as explosions rock the hall way with the Autobot just a step or two ahead. It looked like Hot Rod, but larger and more mature looking, a leader in the making. There was something about those chosen to lead the Autobots that just made them stand out. A way of movement, a tilt of the chin, an air of purpose and power. Kup had seen it too many times to not recognize it in the Autobot that was running toward them down a crumbling corridor.He opened the Matrix the son has finally proven himself. Kup realized. "hot rod" Springer had spotted the Transformer he knew as such a good friend. \ldblquote I thought you were dead. No time to explain, Rhodimus shut him up with an authority in his voice that caught everyone's attention. Unicron is dying and I don't intend for any of us to go with him. Seeing that everyone was looking at him Rhodimus Prime smiled as the familiar words came to him "Autobots, transform and roll out!"