The Maximals continue their search for the missing sparks.
- Japanese title: Guidance of the Illusion (虚像の導き Kyozō no Michibiki)
Megatron's fascist planet is being patrolled by legions of the new drones as the Maximals, in beast mode, make their way along the lower levels of the surface. They observe that Megatron is fortifying his position. Optimus has a jolting vision of the drifting Sparks, apparently the Oracle contacting him about the Sparks, which have been moved.
Within the big floating head, Megatron speaks to his three generals, directing them to locations where the Maximals will be, and instructing them to capture Optimus alive.
Rattrap introduces the team to his scrambled field generator devices, small disks intended to befuddle the Vehicons' sensors. Rattrap's not quite sure they'll work, but the team figures it's better than nothing. The group tries them out, changing to robot modes... then dives for cover as Obsidian passes by overhead. But the general doesn't notice them, instead moving to carry out his orders along with Strika.
Optimus tells the group that his flashes were of familiar places, and splits them up into three teams to go investigate. Rattrap and Botanica aren't too happy at being paired up, but the group deploys as ordered.
At the Maximal shell yard just outside processing plant #57, Cheetor, Silverbolt and Blackarachnia move in. Silverbolt is not interested in taking orders from Cheetor, despite Blackarachnia's assurance that a lot has changed since they were parted. Obsidian, watching from concealment, prepares his strike force.
As Optimus and Nightscream walk below the surface, Nightscream finds a familiar claw slash in the wall. Nightscream wants to find Noble, but Primal gently persuades him to take one job at a time. They run into a cave-in around the corner; Optimus's eyes flash with white light, and, glancing at a floor hatch, he says they're heading down...
Rattrap and Botanica arrive outside the Citadel, still squabbling. Rattrap detects a massive positronic residual charge, but inside they find piles and piles of Spark canisters... empty. They've arrived here too late. They depart, only to be ambushed by Striker. Botanica is chagrinned that Rattrap's scramblers didn't work very long; they fall back.
Obsidian observes from high above as the Maximals explore the shell complex. Silverbolt and Cheetor argue over the latter's leadership capabilities, till Obsidian attacks. Surrounded, Silverbolt decides a berserker head-on attack is the only option.
Optimus and Nightscream, meanwhile, have found a stunning ruin below the surface, a great city that was replaced after the great war between the Autobots and the Decepticons, during the Great Upgrade: Iacon. The two apparently trigger a ghostly spector, a holographic tribute to the original Optimus Prime.
Rattrap and Botanica get out of robot mode to escape detection, and duck into a convenient building; Striker drives by without finding them. Rattrap taps his scrambler disk uncertainly, only to get snapped at by Botanica. But Rattrap's attention is suddenly distracted by the contents of the building they're in: holographic pleasure chips. He loads several of said chips into his backpack, then spots some sort of player for the chips just then. He plugs into it, becoming enthralled with a vision of a peaceful metallic world. Just then Striker enters and attacks.
At the shell plant, Silverbolt finally gets blasted back to the ground, and rebuked by Cheetor for his recklessness.
Optimus and Nightscream are about to move on, when the virtual Prime reaches down and scoops Optimus up, bringing him up to face level. From Nightscream's point of view, the hologram disappears, though Optimus continues to float in mid-air. Thrust arrives just then and attacks, but Optimus is seemingly in a trance.
Rattrap is still lost in his fantasy world, till Botanica pulls the machine's plug. A blast scatters the Maximals as well as Rattrap's precious chips, which he scrambles to scoop up. He tells Botanica to keep Strika occupied.
As leader, Cheetor decides on a strategic advance to the rear.
Nightscream is dodging cycle drone shots, while Optimus talks with Optimus on some other plane. The Prime hologram tells him that the Oracle lies within him, and he has but to summon it. Primal does so, and is surrounded by a white, Oracle-style hoola-hoop. The hologram of Optimus Prime chuckles... then laughs... a laugh which quickly deepens into that of Megatron, whose face suddenly replaces the figure of Prime.
Striker is posed to deliver a killing blow to Botanica, when Rattrap notices that one of her feet is on the activation pad of the holo-player he was using earlier. He leaps, landing on her shoulders and plugging one of the chips into her head, ensnaring her with the same vision that he was having before. He's pretty pleased with himself; Botanica drags him off.
In the shell yard, Cheetor has a bit of inspiration. The Maximals use a discarded power core to defeat their tormentors, blowing it up in their faces.
Megatron gloats to Optimus; he used the Spark vision to have the Maximals sent off on fools' errands, so Optimus would access the Oracle for his benefit. Megatron has studied and mastered most of the Oracle's secrets, but there's still some pieces missing... till now. And a fast, forceful download commences.
Megatron gloats again; all the pieces are in place, and now he can complete his ultimate plan for the Sparks. The hologram fades away, and Optimus finds himself in the middle of Nightscream's cycle drone battle.
Nightscream, meanwhile, has been brought down by weight of numbers, when a bolt out of the blue hits his attackers. It's Savage, lumbering onto the scene and prompting the cycle drones into a frantic retreat. Savage morphs to Noble and jogs after them, out of sight. A second later the drones go flying through the air. Optimus recovers, and immediately orders Nightscream to follow him to a rendezvous with the others.
The Maximals are shocked that Megatron has the full power of the Oracle, but Primal tells him that he gave Megatron access to the Oracle on purpose. While Megatron was downloading it, Primal accessed information from him as well, and learned the location of the Sparks. They have but a short window of opportunity to act, to free the Sparks from the location where they're being held: within the big floating head.
Major Characters (in order of appearance): Characters
Minor Characters (in order of appearance): Characters
Writer: Michael Reaves
Original Air Date: March 29, 2000 (YTV); September 30, 2000 (FOX)
- At long last, Megatron starts saying "yesss" again.
- In the episode "In Darkest Knight", Megatron said that extracting the data on the Oracle would be "slow, painful and regrettably, fatal". Guess he just loves hyperbole.
- While traveling through the sublevels of Cybertron, Optimus Primal and Nightscream stumble upon the ruins of Iacon.
- After that, they encounter a hologram of Optimus Prime. It needed more Peter Cullen.
- At one point, Rattrap refers to one of the pleasure chips as "virtual but not virtious". He probably meant it was a porno or something.