In the middle of a pitched battle in the Rigel system, Kup has just finished telling Hot Shot one of his trademark war stories, much to the younger Autobot's chagrin. The elder of the two Wreckers notices that their Decepticon opponents are not standard Vehicons, but instead sport experimental Enemy-class drone bodies. Kup was in fact present when that design was first tested, and, despite his companion's protests, he decides to tell that tale...
It is the midst of the war for Cybertron. Ultra Magnus has just taken over the Wreckers, Megatron is fueled by Dark Energon, and boxy shapes and glowing stripes are in fashion. The war isn't going so well for the Autobots, so new Wrecker Kup decides to try and bring Wheeljack, who had left after a falling out with Ultra Magnus, back into the team. He finds the warrior engineer just outside Alfes Station, sitting on a pile of dead Decepticons, and the pair exchange tough guy banter until Wheeljack finally opens up. He has been scavenging the wreckage of newly minted Decepticon heavy troops, and has found that they're clad in nanocrystal lattice armor created in his old laboratory in Ankmor. Kup expresses surprise that the surly loner Wheeljack is a scientist, but nevertheless agrees to join him in a strike on the Decepticon science installation that has set up shop there.
The duo sneak their way in through a chemical run-off pipe and a tangle of vent-tunnels, and, from a hidden vantage point, find that the operation is being run by the notorious Decepticon scientist Shockwave. With him is Thundercracker, who is not best pleased about their squalid workspace, and Rumble and Frenzy, who are strapped down for some experiment. Conveniently for the eavesdroppers, Rumble has Shockwave reiterate the goal of said experiment – the scientist plans to extract the sparks of the diminutive Decepticons and place them in laser core containment chambers, a permanent process which will allow them to be easily swapped into new bodies. Rumble and Frenzy aren't happy with this plan, especially once Shockwave explains the less-than-certain chances of success, but some death threats soon have them raring to participate.
Shockwave has grand plans for his laser core process, envisioning a future where injured Decepticons can quickly and easily have their sparks moved into new bodies, overwhelming the Autobots with unending troops. Thundercracker throws the switch, and the laboratory is filled with light and smoke. As the room clears, Rumble and Frenzy are in their new bodies... but they can't agree as to whether Shockwave has gotten their colors the right way around!
As the Decepticons bicker, the Wreckers burst down into the room, and Wheeljack demands that Shockwave leave his laboratory. Just like Kup, however, the Decepticon finds it hard to believe that destructive Wrecker is a scientist. The two sides exchange threats, and Thundercracker releases Rumble and Frenzy as backup. Wheeljack, luckily, has a plan – he lined the entire lab with unstable energon and detonation charges years ago, which he now threatens to set off. With guns and missiles now off limits thanks to the explosives, the room descends into a chaotic melee. Eventually, Shockwave disarms Wheeljack and orders Rumble and Frenzy to shoot the two Autobots, but they grab the duo's abandoned data disc bodies, wagering that the Decepticons will be unwilling to "shoot themselves". Rumble and Frenzy charge Kup and Wheeljack, but get bludgeoned with their old bodies, which the Autobots then throw out the window into the waste canals. The pair flee to retrieve their bodies, leaving the Wreckers with an even fight. Wheeljack manages to convince Shockwave that he's just crazy enough that the explosives could be real, and the Decepticon makes the logical decision to call a retreat. Once they've fled, the surly Wrecker admits to Kup that he was bluffing after all!
In the present, Kup explains how the pair brought Shockwave's abandoned data to Autobot Command, and while Optimus Prime declined to pursue the laser core process, it nevertheless helped improve regular spark transplants, getting many Autobots back on their feet. Hot Shot realizes that their assailants have stopped shooting, and Kup reveals that this was his plan all along: hunker down, wait for them to run out of ammo, and escape whilst they resupply. Just as Hot Shot expresses his gratitude that the story is over, his partner reveals that it isn't quite finished...
Shockwave, Thundercracker, Rumble, and Frenzy have convened with Soundwave in Kaon, where the spymaster has demanded that his two minions are returned to their original bodies. Shockwave agrees, and reveals that not only was he able to download full records for the laser core process before retreating, but that he retrieved a scrap of Wheeljack's armor. He plans to extract the Wrecker's CNA and use it to clone new bodies to house laser cores, and requests access to Dead End and Wildrider, critically-injured at Skyquake Pre-Memorial Hospital, as test subjects.
Back in the present, Hot Shot wonders how Kup can tell the story of events he wasn't present for. The elder Wrecker's answers with "Shut up!".
- Shockwave refers to Thundercracker as Slipstream on one occasion. However, it's possible the script was originally written with an additional female voice actor in mind.