byline: Anubis C. Soundwave

As promised, here's the Q & A session.

1. Who is Dr. Braxis?

He was the "other" mad scientist, a recurring villain and ally of the Renegades. Voiced wonderfully by Rene Auberjonois, he would eat scenery with Marilyn Lightstone's Crasher and the late Bernhard Erhard's Cy-Kill.

2. What time is this story taking place?

Sometime during the mid-80s, after the Puzzler episode of CHALLENGE OF THE GOBOTS. (Also see ending note.)

3. Just what exactly did the Renegades do?

...Leader One and Dr. Braxis pretty much answered that question. I don't want to go into detail.

4. What kind of Gobots are the magistrate and lawyer characters?

The lawyer's likely an ordinary car or van type, kind of rusty. Considering how easy the magistrate was on Crasher, she was probably another Crasher type.

5. Why is Crossword such a rude little cuss?

It's implied that most of Crossword's data came from Leader One, with a strong dash of Turbo and a hint of Spoiler and Zero.

6. Is Slingshot always such a tool to his fellow Autobots? Sunstreaker was distraught.

See Slingshot's tech spec. He's a jerk. But don't feel sorry for Sunstreaker--he's even worse.

7. Turbo's a lot meaner than his 1984 cartoon counterpart.

Please note #3. Also, Turbo was always (UNDERSTANDABLY) mean to Dr. Braxis.

8. The title indicates that this is a Transformers story, but we see a lot of Gobots characters.

This does center on the Puzzler gestalt, so....

9. It seems that Leader One's actually rather attracted to Crasher.

Let's just say that the events hinted at in #3 perked his attention.... At any rate, Crasher had a crush on him when she was younger (before her Renegade days). You do the math.

10. Why did Megatron shoot Starscream? He didn't even do anything!

Megatron's an evil jerk. He just wanted to be a dick to someone in this story. Besides, it was Starscream.

11. Why would the Stunticons care at all?

Breakdown has a one-sided crush on Crasher; they're both performance cars who use electrical attacks. Wildrider loves chaos.

12. It seems that Soundwave has been in contact with Dr. Braxis.

He is SOUNDWAVE. He knows all.

13. That Skywarp. He's a cut-up, thinking that Crasher...put out.

He is indeed, although (considering his general trend toward stupid) his salacious theory was understandable. Crasher, Snoop, Spoons and Vamp are the only noteworthy femmes in the Renegades; and Snoop...has very loose legs. Spoons is bulky; Vamp' Insecticon's dream girl--but no one else's! Crasher is a fearsome FORCE OF NATURE, hard to approach. (She also doesn't like Snoop, or Vamp.) Dr. Braxis explained how Crasher had the six components of Puzzler, including Pocket (if you'll note the toy, he's a short BANDAI clone of the Sunny One), without engaging in the shenanigans that Skywarp suggested. (Although she clearly did something with her mouth besides cackle maniacally; hence Leader One's...frustration.)

14. Where did legal prostitution on GOBOTRON come from?

[shrug] Alien planet. I don't question Ayeka's desire to marry Tenchi, and I won't question the motives of an 80s cartoon show based on a BANDAI toyline. Besides which--I made it up; it's only true in the TFCS universe.

15. Those Transformers and Gobots sure picked up on Earth expletives fast.

Some Autobots and the Stunticons caught on. Leader One is in regular contact with an Air Force Base--he's probably heard worse.

16. Cy-Kill and Megatron don't really see eye-to-eye, huh?

Megatron's annoyed that one: Cyk STOLE the Decepticons' gestalt tech to create the Puzzler, and two, that the Puzzler failed. I suspect that their separate schemes sometimes cause wires to cross. Cyk's both zanier and more down-to-earth than his Almightiness.

17. What the flug's a "tin pet"?

It's a small, "kiddie-robot" body; the term is from MEDABOTS. The tin pet is a simple way to create a child robot, who could hold a conversation without sounding like Sludge. In fact, if the Dinobots were in tin pet bodies, their syntax issue would be non-existent. Using Sludge again as an example, most of his computer brain's processing power is devoted to weapons management, transformation and walking. He's lucky to get words out. The Puzzler Six, being rushed into production, are at the stage Sludge was at during SOS DINOBOTS (until Wheeljack and Ratchet upgraded the three Dinobots' brains)--hence why the six full-sized robots ROARED like Gigantor (tetsujin-28) during their debut episode.

The tin pet, in short, is a way for the Puzzler Six to converse with Cy-Kill without roaring or chatter like the following: "Him Swoop am no dinosaur. Him am pterosaur." (While Slag is correct, the syntax is off.) [The Dinobots and the Six--from a Transformer/Gobot perspective, are kids.]

I suppose you're going to ask what a chipset is next, so let me save some time: it's a motherboard/RAM card/personality component/laser core(spark) combo that makes a given robot alive.

18. Dr. Braxis was yammering on about a neural load killing the Stunticons.

It actually relates to #17. Dragging in the Dinobots again: to build a gestalt, you need sentient minds developed enough to handle the load of a neural LAN (which is essentially what a gestalt link is, a LAN between the component computer brains). It's actually a bit more complicated, but Dr. Braxis is explaining it in terms humans who know computers would understand--mainly to show the Decepticons that he does understand the basic concepts. Devastator, for example, is a seventh virtual computer composed of the six Constructicons' brains. The Dinobots' brains are too limited to handle the bandwidth needed for the network, and it would cause their brains to crash. Vector Sigma can upgrade brains to the needed specs, so we have the Stunticons.

19. Dr. Braxis doesn't seem impressed with Megatron.

He's worked with the Renegades, and he's seen Decepticon plots suffer EPIC FAIL. It's all underwhelming when you're a low-rent megalomaniac. You'd think giant sentient robots would be better at this RULE THE WORLD thing, but repeated plans to build DEATH RAYS or LETHAL SUPERWEAPONS harshes the buzz, man. Career burnout's setting in.

20. Optimus thinks Leader One's more annoying than the SEEKERS OF VILNACRON, Powerglide and those goofy Aerialbots?

Leader One's a mature, rational Slingshot without the inferiority complex. The HIGH AND MIGHTY just rolls off him, unintentionally. Leader One doesn't like Optimus much either, though he doesn't have Optimus on his mind in this story. (it's quite occupied with a two-wheeled vehicle with a primary color scheme--whom he likely wants to strangle; and a four-wheeled Porsche] he'd like to...assert his air superiority onto in a relatively benign way.)

A note about CHALLENGE OF THE GOBOTS in the Transformers timeline:

In the original show (as I rewatched it), CotG was set in the near future. However, that was never clear to me in the original airing (when I was about eight or so), so I had set CotG in the 80s, right along with S1 & S2 of Transformers. That's why Ironhide and Brawn are still alive, for one.

In fact, it was all a blur (drat that Autobot!) during my childhood; Transformers and Challenge of the Gobots were part of the same BIG-AZ ROBOT universe, along with GI JOE. (Which means in my current series I'm working on, Turbo could have chats with Destro.)

Thus, this story is set around 1985-86. For CotG, past the Puzzler ep; for Transformers, after the Aerialbots arrived--Slingshot, after all, had to be there to be...himself. (Aerialbot fangirls love him for it.)

I hope you all enjoyed this December sneak preview of the metaseries TRANSFORMERS: CYBERTRON SAGA. You've just read the prose version of the CHALLENGE OF THE GOBOTS series, ISSUE 3.

This month, keep an eye out for other TFCS stories in TRANSFORMERS/BEAST WARS and CHALLENGE OF THE GOBOTS, including a New Year's Eve preview of THIRTEEN, Part One (Issues 1-7).

The first comic issue should be released September 2009, the 25th anniversary of both THE TRANSFORMERS (9/17/1984) and CHALLENGE OF THE GOBOTS (9/9/1984). [Yes. The Gobots came first!]