- Major characters (in order of appearance): Kup, Outback, Siren, Perceptor, Springer, Prowl, Sizzle, Trailbreaker.
- Originally published: April, 2007
A spaceship crash-lands on a desert planet covered in yellow crystals. Among the wreckage, a mechanoid survivor sees a vehicle approaching, which transforms into Kup. However, Kup ignores his pleas for assistance and decapitates him with a club. From Kup's interior monologue, we learn that his spaceship also crashed on this planet, that he has no hope of being rescued, but that the strange crystals fill him with a sense of well-being so that he gives little thought to anything else. As the suns set he returns to a makeshift shelter, which contains the remains of Outback, a fellow survivor of the crash who was killed when a generator meltdown caused the crystals to go critical. Kup is clearly not in his right mind, as he has a conversation with Outback while wielding his severed arm as a weapon.
At night-time, as Kup powers down, an apparition emanates from Outback's corpse, informing Kup that "we're coming to get you!" Outside, Kup sees zombie robots, from which he defends himself until sunsrise. In the daylight, he emerges and lies within the crystals, feeling himself becoming more alive. The following night the 'zombots' reappear and enter Kup's shelter, only to be savagely defeated by a sudden access of strength from the old robot. Only one escapes, fleeing as Kup's sparkcore threatens to go into meltdown.
The zombot is revealed to be Siren, who --after returning to his ship via orbital jump-- angrily berates first Perceptor and then Springer for the loss of his team and the pointlessness of the task - the radiation that has damaged Kup's mind also restricts his would-be rescuers to cumbersome protective armor that makes him think they are zombies, and any energy discharge - from their weapons or from Kup's damaged body - could detonate the crystals in a catastrophic chain reaction. Yet Springer, who is the 'ghost' attempting to communicate with Kup, is determined to rescue his former mentor because of what he and the entire Autobot army owe to his training. Both Prowl and Perceptor, in their respective ways, advise Springer to give up this quixotic quest before any more Autobots lose their lives, but then he learns that the 'specialist' he requested has arrived...
Once again at nightfall the 'zombots' reappear, and once again Kup wreaks havoc among them, the exertion driving his sparkcore into meltdown again. However, the appearance of Trailbreaker, minus rad-armor and protected by his forcefield, shocks Kup momentarily, permitting Trailbreaker to secure him and prevent disaster. Back on board the Ark-17, Springer and Trailbreaker consider the situation - although Kup has been rescued, his mind is broken, his body is severely damaged and too outdated to repair, and his spark is being maintained by artificial means. Springer wonders whether bringing him back in this condition, and at the cost of so many other lives, was worth it.
- A bit of Trailbreaker's shoulder is clipping through Springer's on the final page.
Items of Note
- The unnamed planet on which Kup and Outback crashed may be one of those seeded with ultra-energon by Shockwave before the ruin of Cybertron. As well as driving Kup insane, the energy from the crystals gives him immense power in a manner similar to Ore-13. If so, this planet may be representative of all those seeded by Shockwave other than Earth, since he was prevented by the Dynobots from stabilizing any of the other worlds.
- Kup--and his visions of zombies--are drawn in a different style from the "real world", such as the scenes on-board the Ark-17. Kup's nightmarish world is rendered with messy black cross-hatching and shadowy splotches, colored with either primarily orange tones (for daylight) or blue (at night), and the panels are given thick, jagged borders. In contrast, the "real world" events are cleanly rendered and colored normally. When the two "worlds" collide with Trailbreaker's arrival, even the dinged-up Trailbreaker looks polished compared to the been-through-hell Kup.
- Springer makes reference to the events of the Stormbringer comics as being why he was late arriving on the scene.