A Maximal science vessel and a fugitive Predacon starship crash land on a mysterious, primitive world.
In an unknown star system, a transwarp portal opened, releasing two combatants: a stolen Predacon starship and its pursuer, the Maximal science vessel Axalon. Already carrying the scars of battle, both ships immediately opened fire upon each other. On the Axalon, a youthful crewmember reported on their damaged condition, to which another crew member bitterly complains about their non-combat exploration vessel not being cut out for this mission. Their commander, Optimus Primal, stated that they were the only ship in range capable of intercepting the fugitives. On the Predacon starship, the first officer urges his leader, Megatron, to finish off the Maximals while their shields were down. Megatron arrogantly rebuffed this suggestion, preferring to toy with his opponents by luring them into the orbit of the nearby planet. As the Axalon passed the Predacon starship's starboard side, Megatron fired the side guns, hitting the Maximals with a broadside which crippled their engines and caused significant damage to their stasis hold. Optimus Primal ordered their cargo of stasis pods be released into safe orbit, before firing the forward plasma cannons, strafing the Predacons' hull and taking them down with the Axalon. With no engines, both ships were caught in the planet's gravitational pull and crashed onto its surface.
Crashing on a cliff above a lake, Optimus Primal asks for a damage report, and the youngest crewmember said that he didn't want to know. Meanwhile, Predacon warship landed smack in the middle of ash-hardened opening of an active shield volcano, faring considerably worse. Megatron ordered the navigation computer to tell him if this was the planet he had sought. The computer replied that it was unknown, as while the course settings were accurate, the readings were not consistant with what was to be expected of the location. Dismissing this for the timebeing, Megatron demanded to know if the mysterious planet had energon, which the computer confirmed to his elation. But, it warned that there was so much energon that exposure would permanently damage their robot modes. Furious, Megatron ordered his science officer to scan for local lifeforms which they could adapt as alternate modes to survive on this world. The Predacon ship launched a drone, scanning the fossils of a tyrannosaurus rex, velociraptor and pteranodon, as well as living a living spider and wasp. Back at the cliff, the Maximals had the same idea, scanning a gorilla, rat, rhino and cheetah. The youngest crew member, adopting the form of the cheetah, declared himself to be Cheetor and was very pleased with himself. An older, cynical member of the crew has taken the form of a rat, dissed his young comrade for his suppose lack of taste and introduced himself Rattrap. The oldest and strongest of the crew told the pair to cut out their bickering and to call him Rhinox. Optimus Primal exited the CR Chamber and ordered the crew to moderate their conflict circuits, reminding them that their new beast forms are to protect them from the long term effect of the abundant energon fields, and while they need energon for power, their robot modes would short out after a few minutes of exposure. After Optimus comments that this world was one unusual planet, where ever it was, Rhinox pointed out that the transwarp drive allows them to journey from space and time, so they could be in any place, any time. Optimus was concerned about the stasis pods in orbit, as it meant the Maximals were outnumbered.
Back at the other crash site, the Predacons were testing out their new beast modes, bar one. First officer Dinobot studying the Golden Disk, was furious, declaring that it was 'all wrong', and that this world was not Earth. He turned to Megatron and spat that the latter was a failure, not only in throwing away victory against the Maximals while it was in his grasp, but failing to guide them to the right planet. Dinobot threw the Golden Disk back into the ship in disgust, and said they had stolen the Disk for nothing, and that Megatron was an idiot. In control of his own anger, Megatron calmly asked what Dinobot had called him, to which his second in command belligerently replied that Megatron had heard, adding that he was an incompetent leader, and challenged him for leadership of the Predacons. Megatron was merely amused when Dinobot transformed and brandished his weapons, stating that the usurper was so impulsive, brave, but sorely misguided. An incensed Dinobot asked if Megatron accepted his challenge, which the leader laughed off, musing that there's more to being a leader than courage, for instance, a leader needs to be clever and cunning. The loyal Scorponok appeared, blasting the treacherous Dinobot with a missile and sending him flying off into the distance. Megatron watched his former first officer fly away, and informed the other Predacons that didn't matter which planet they were on, as they came looking for energon to fuel their war with the Maximals, and this planet was rich with it. If they survived the crash, only the Maximals could pose a threat, so Megatron dispatched his crew to seek out and destroy their enemies.
Meanwhile, the Maximals are surveying the land around them and cleaning up the wreckage on the Axalon. Rattrap complains about all the fuss about the Golden Disk. Optimus Primal replied that the Disk was Cybertron's most closely guarded relic, and Megatron stole it because it had the location of a major source of energon. Rattrap doesn't care, saying they were supposed to be doing deep-space exploration and that it isn't his job to chase after criminals. He sarcastically asked Primal if he was sure he was cut out for this command. Optimus reminded him of remember the Great War, and that if Predacons were able to secure a massive source of energon, they wouldn't hesitate to start a new one. On a lighter note, he told Rattrap that the smaller Maximal wanted exploration, so here they were on an unknown planet, and what more could they want. Rattrap said a working space ship would be nice, to which Primal remarked that there was no pleasing some people. Cheetor sees two cheetahs running on the plains near the ship, and Optimus Primal approves of the form Cheetor chose due to the speed. Deciding to show off (and goof off) Cheetor gives chase to the animals. Optimus tries to call him back, but the energon radiation severely limits the range of their communications equipment. Rattrap comes up and asks Primal if its the first day on the job for the untested Maximal commander, to which the latter tells him to shut up.
Elsewhere, Cheetor has caught up to the two cheetahs and attempts to engage in conversation with the animals, which, unsurprisingly, scares them. Cheetor doesn't understand why they are so frightened, then saw the two cheetors act aggressively against a rather large wasp. Realizing it was a Robot in Disguise, Cheetor transformed and fired upon the wasp unprovoked. The wasp, revealing itself to be the Predacon Waspinator, transformed and retaliated in self defense. Back at the Axalon, the other Maximals move out to give Cheetor backup, with Rhinox ramming his way through a pile of boulders. Waspinator manages to get the better of Cheetor when the Maximal's rifle jams, but fortunately the Maximals have arrived. Unfortunately, Megatron and the Predacons have arrived as well.
Optimus Primal tries to convince Megatron to not engage in hostilities, as the Maximals and Predacons have been at peace for centuries. Megatron spat back that while the Maximals may have been at peace, the Predacons, like all enemies who appear 'peaceful', were merely biding their time. The Predacons have never forgotten their goal of galatic conquest and that they were merely waiting for the right time to strike. At that moment, Cheetor's gun unjammed and he fired point blank into Megatron's face. Megatron is greatly impressed by Cheetor's treacherous sneak attack, but over-dramatically said that now the 'power gauntlet has been cast'. Whatever that meant. He ordered the Predacons to terrorize, while the Maximals maximized and both sides opened fire upon each other. As the Maximals sought cover, Cheetor's was blasted by one of Scorponok's missiles and is trapped under a boulder. Optimus Primal orders Rattrap to assist Cheetor while he provided cover fire. Rattrap refuses to risk his life for anybody else, to Optimus' anger. The Maximal leader flies to Cheetor's position but is hit by Predacon fire, much to Rattrap's smug delight. Nonetheless, Optimus manages to free Cheetor while Rhinox forces Rattrap to provide the pair with cover fire. With the Predacons now seeking cover of their own, the Maximals made their escape. Megatron orders pursuit, but he and his Predacons succumb to the effects of the energon buildup and are forced to revert to beast mode.
On the way home, Optimus Primal informed Rattrap exactly who is in command of the crew and chewed him out for disobeying his direct orders. Rattrap countered in that case he has to be shot at because Primal was afraid of doing it himself. Optimus angrily replied that he would never give an order that he wouldn't be willing to carry out himself, then wearily explained that he was able to give Rattrap better cover fire than the smaller Maximal could give him. Rattrap sheepishly realises Primal was right, and that at least they got out of the fight alive. Optimus said they sustained injuries and it would take time to repair the damage done. Bringing up the rear, Cheetor informed Optimus that he believed they had escaped the Predacons. Optimus Primal cautioned the young Maximal to keep his sensors on full, as the Golden Disk theft reports indicated there were six Predacons, but one was missing from the battle today. Rattrap theorised that perhaps he was destroyed in the crash, but Rhinox said that sort of luck hadn't been coming their way lately. As if to punctuate his point, Dinobot bars their way across the stone bridge to the Axalon. Dinobot demanded their attention, stating who he was and that he had left the Predacons to join the Maximals, but as leader. He challenged Optimus Primal to a one-on-one battle, the winner shall lead the Maximals, but the loser shall be destroyed!
To be continued...
Original airdate: September 16, 1996
Written by: Bob Forward
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
Dinobot: "No, no, no! It's all wrong! this cannot be Earth! Megatron - you failed! Not only did you fail to destroy the Maximals when you had the chance, you failed to bring us to the right planet! We stole the Golden Disk for nothing! You idiot!"
(Dinobot tosses aside the Golden Disk)
Megatron: "Heh, I beg your pardon? What did you call me?"
Dinobot: "You heard - you are an idiot and an incompetant leader, and I am taking over. Dinobot, terrorize!"
(Dinobot transforms into robot mode)
Dinobot: "I challenge you to battle, Megatron. The winner shall lead the Predacons, and the loser shall be destroyed!"
Megatron: "Ahh, you're so impulsive, Dinobot. Brave... but misguideded."
Dinobot: "Do you accept my challenge?!?"
Megatron: Hahaha... there's more to being a leader than simple courage. Well, there's cleverness and cunning as well. Isn't that right, Scorponok?"
(Scorponok fires a missile, blasting Dinobot away)
- -- Megatron deals swiftly with Dinobot's belligerence
"Ahh, a treacherous, under-handed sneak attack. Oh-ho,ho, I like you, pussy cat, yesss."
- -- Megatron's response to Cheetor's unprovoked attack
"This guy's got bearings of chrome steel."
- -- Rhinox to Dinobot's announcement that he would join their group, but as their leader
- Before they gain their beast modes, the Maximals and Predacons are shown mostly in shadow. This is probably to save the animators the trouble of coming up with entirely different models for each character. However, if one pays close attention, there are some marked differences to the facial areas shown, and Rattraps' arms are slightly different.
- As this was the first episode, the transformation/catchphrase sequences are rather overbearing by comparison to later episodes of the series.
- The Japanese version of the episode, titled "Enter the Super Robot Lifeform Transformers", has a slightly alternate opening. The episode begins with scrolling letters across an outer space backdrop, "Star Wars"-style, which explain the basics of the Transformers history (Cybertron, factions, energy plundering, etc).
Animation and/or technical glitches
- When Waspinator fights Cheetor, the stripes on his thighs are mapped in the wrong axis.
- As the Optimus, Rhinox and Rattrap ride out to give Cheetor support, Rhinox breaks through a 'roadblock' of boulders. However, in the previous shot of this location, the boulders were not present.
- When Rhinox picks up Rattrap and swings him around to face the Predacons, Rattrap's gun clips right through the boulder in front of them.
- Rhinox's trademark 'Chaingun of Doom' does not appear in this episode or in the following episode. During the battle with the Predacons, he uses Cheetor's discarded gun.
- Cheetor spends the longest time in the open while in robot mode, but does not suffer the effects of energon overload that the Predacons do.
- Optimus Primal mentions the Great War, which is was what the Transformers of the Beast era called the conflict between the Autobots and Decepticons.
- Cheetor has the dual-honour of being the first character to appear in Beast Wars, as well as the first character to fire a shot (unprovoked) at the enemy.
- During the scene where the Maximals reveal their new beast modes, it is not clear why they (bar Optimus Primal) had to rename themselves.
- Dinobot has the distinction of the first Beast Wars character to transform into robot mode.
- Waspinator fires pink eye lasers (similar to Dinobot's) during his battle with Cheetor.
- Rattrap is a serious asshole this early in the series.