Transformers: Exodus – The Official History of the War for Cybertron is a fantasy-adventure novel by Alexander C. Irvine. It revolves around the Transformers and the origin of the war and experiences prior to it. It was believed to be a possible prequel to Transformers: Prime as noted in the book Transformers Vault and verified as such in the Transformers: Prime episode "One Shall Rise part 3", which references the entire book as part of a flashback into the way the war between the Autobots and Decepticons began. Exodus explores the backgrounds of Optimus Prime and Megatron within the Prime universe, showing how they came to be the leaders of their respective factions. The book also delves more heavily into the mythology of other well-known aspects of the Transformers characters and locations, such as Alpha Trion and The Fallen, whose original name is revealed in this story for the first time as Megatronus Prime.
The story is set on Cybertron, the home planet of the Transformers. It has been several centuries since Cybertron's golden age of space exploration and planetary colonisation, and Cybertron's society has declined into a state of decadence. The planet's many Space Bridges have went offline due to years of neglect, and as a result Cybertron has lost contact with the other planets that the Transformers colonised during the golden age. When a new Transformer is born from the Well of All Sparks (which contains the AllSpark, the device that creates new Transformers), they are assigned to a caste and guild from which they may never deviate throughout their lives. Castes are separated into a hierarchy, with the highest castes relating to science, art and government, while the lower castes are given to manual labourers in factories and underground mines. Those in the lowest castes are not given individual names.
In the industrial city of Kaon, gladiatorial combat grows in popularity among the lower castes. One of the gladiators, a labourer who completely opposes the caste system and calls himself "Megatronus" after one of the original thirteen Transformers, rises to power and becomes a local celebrity due to his skills in the gladiatorial pits. Megatronus' fans and followers shorten his name to "Megatron" in their chants, and the name sticks.
In the city of Iacon, a clerk named Orion Pax, who works in Cybertron's Hall of Records and also dislikes the caste system, begins watching Megatron's political speeches and eventually contacts Megatron to discuss their similar political views. Megatron champions a free Cybertron, with each individual determining their own path in life, and Orion finds this highly appealing. Orion turns for guidance to his supervisor and mentor Alpha Trion, who encourages him to meet with Megatron in Kaon, cryptically stating that a great destiny awaits both Orion and Megatron.
Taking Alpha Trion's advise, Orion travels to Kaon and meets Megatron in person, along with two of his followers, Shockwave and Soundwave. Orion and Megatron engage in intense but friendly debates over the nature of free will, and they find broad agreement in the need for a new form of Cybertronian government. However, Megatron favours confrontation and revolution, while Orion hopes to inspire the masses to change the system from within.
As Megatron's political movement gains power, it also grows more violent. Terrorists professing allegiance to Megatron commit multiple bombings across Cybertron, one of these bombings destroys the "Six Lasers Over Cybertron" amusement park. Megatron repeatedly states in public speeches that he does not know the terrorists and did not orchestrate these attacks, and at one point Orion even vocally defends him. The terrorists then attack the Altihex Casino in the city of Altihex, where Sentinel Prime (the main political leader of Cybertron) is attending a show. When the bombings start, Sentinel relies on his three bodyguards, Starscream, Skywarp and Thundercracker, to escort him to safety. However, the three bodyguards are actually part of the plot as well, and they take Sentinel to Kaon and present him to Megatron. Starscream flirts with joining Megatron's forces, but seeing Sentinel as a potential bargaining chip he doesn't allow Megatron to kill him, and instead orders Skywarp and Thundercracker to take Sentinel to Trypticon Station, a scientific space station that orbits Cybertron.
To prevent an all-out war, Alpha Trion helps Orion and Megatron secure an audience before the Cybertron High Council in order to plead their case. The Council members are hostile to any notion of change and view Megatron as nothing but a criminal. Megatron continues to disown the terrorist attacks being committed in his name but continues to appeal for the total removal of the caste system, including the Council itself. His words are supported by the lower castes in the council's audience, who have started calling themselves "Decepticons". By contrast, Orion makes a more noble appeal to the Council. He points out that earlier generations of Transformers would never have been able to repel the Quintessons (an alien race that tried to invade Cybertron centuries ago) if they had been constrained by such a caste system. He proclaims their fuller potential as a race if each individual were to be acknowledged as an autonomous robot, using the ancient term "Autobot" as an expression of that ideal. After his speech, the Council member Halogen agrees that the two radicals might have a point, and that Cybertronian society might have become too static for its own good. Recognizing the depth of the crisis that Cybertron faces, Halogen asserts that they need new visionary leadership to guide a social rebirth. The Council, impressed by Orion's morals, appoint Orion as the new leader of Cybertron, giving him a new name and title: Optimus Prime. However, Orion's sudden elevation destroys his friendship with Megatron, who is outraged and believes the situation to be a set-up. Megatron kills Halogen at once, but as the crowd marshals for war, Optimus Prime manages to convince Megatron not to commit further violence within the Council halls. The two sides retreat from the halls and the great war between Optimus Prime's Autobots and Megatron's Decepticons begins.
The war is brutal and largely one-sided. The Autobots retain control of two cities, Iacon and Kalis, while the Decepticons take over everywhere else on the planet. Out of desperation, the Autobots launch the AllSpark into space to keep Megatron from gaining control of the source of Transformer life. Seeking a new advantage, Megatron orders Starscream to give him access to Trypticon Station's stockpile of Dark Energon, a power-enhancing substance that according to legend is the blood of the mythical being Unicron. The Decepticons consume the Dark Energon and become extremely powerful, gaining a combat edge and overwhelming the struggling Autobots. Megatron then seeks control of the Plasma Energy Chamber at Cybertron's core, planning to flood it with Dark Energon, which would permanently empower his own forces while poisoning Cybertron and starving the Autobots to death. But in order to activate the Chamber, he needs to acquire two code keys. One of these keys is stored within Sentinel Prime's chest, and Megatron acquires it by brutally murdering him. Before Megatron can fully activate the Plasma Energy Chamber though, the Autobots reactivate Omega Supreme, an enormous robot that transforms into both a rocket ship and a city, and once served as Cybertron's guardian. While transforming from a city to a rocket ship, Omega Supreme nearly crushes Megatron and the Decepticons, but they narrowly avoid getting killed by the giant. Omega Supreme takes off with the Plasma Energy Chamber and attempts to fly it to safety, but Starscream leads an aerial assault that manages to shoot him down, and after Megatron empowers himself with Dark Energon, he effortlessly defeats the Autobots and Omega Supreme's robot mode. He then floods the Plasma Energy Chamber with Dark Energon and sends it back into the core of Cybertron.
As the Dark Energon flows throughout Cybertron, Optimus Prime ventures into the core to fix the Plasma Energy Chamber, accompanied by the Autobots Bumblebee and Jetfire. Once they find it, Bumblebee manages to extract the Chamber from the core, stopping the flow of Dark Energon, and Optimus receives a mental communication from the core itself, which is sentient. With the flow of Dark Energon stopped, the core will eventually be able to heal itself, but it will take centuries, and during that time the core will not be able to generate enough Energon to sustain the population it currently does. The Transformers will either have to abandon the planet until it heals, or risk starvation. To show him not to lose hope, the core bestows Optimus Prime with the Matrix of Leadership. Seeing that the planet will soon be uninhabitable, Optimus Prime orders a mass exodus of the Autobot army, but most of the ships are shot down by Trypticon Station. One Autobot ship, the Eight Track, is able to link up to Trypticon Station and force it to crash into Cybertron, but as it falls the station transforms into an enormous, reptilian monster and goes on a rampage.
Alpha Trion grows ever more despairing for Cybertron, and he sets a radical plan into motion: the construction of the largest spaceship in Cybertronian history, the Ark, on which most of the Autobots may escape. Several Autobots, including Alpha Trion, Ultra Magnus, Jetfire and a newly-repaired Omega Supreme, volunteer to stay on Cybertron and protect what little territory the Autobots still hold. Despite Optimus's strong wishes, Alpha Trion refuses to leave Cybertron and declares the time has come for Optimus to make his own command decisions without his advise.
As most of the Autobots flee to the Ark and it takes off into space, Megatron commands Trypticon to transform into an equally large spaceship, the Nemesis, in which Megatron and most of the Decepticons will give pursuit. Before they leave, Megatron appoints Shockwave as the dictator of Cybertron, ordering him to destroy all remaining Autobots by the time Megatron returns. With the Nemesis in hot pursuit, the Autobots fly the Ark to the last intact Space Bridge, but because no one alive knows how to use it, there is no guarantee that the Space Bridge will work. But as the two giant spaceships get within range of the Space Bridge, it does indeed activate and teleports them to an uncharted part of space. With no Decepticons in sight, The Ark detects the energy signature of the AllSpark. Optimus Prime orders the Ark pilots to follow the signal, and their adventure in space begins.
Orion Pax/Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Alpha Trion, Ironhide, Sideswipe, Ratchet, Jazz, Sentinel Prime, Ultra Magnus, Cliffjumper, Springer, Prowl, Jetfire, Omega Supreme, The Protectobots/Defensor (none of the individual Protectobots are referred to by name), The Wreckers (Ultra Magnus and Springer are the only Wreckers in the novel that are openly referred to by name, but it is implied that the sub-group has many members).
D-16/Megatronus/Megatron, Shockwave, Soundwave, Rumble, Laserbeak, Ravage, Frenzy, Starscream, Skywarp, Thundercracker, Contrail, Ratbat, Barricade, Lugnut, Drixco, Blistream, Hotlink, Autoclave, Blackout, Onslaught, Trypticon, The Combaticons/Bruticus Maximus (Onslaught is the only Combaticon that is referred to by name in the book), The Constructicons/Devastator (None of the individual Constructicons are referred to by name).
Three unnamed Insecticons, Armorhide, Fastback, Bumper, the Lightning Strike Coalition (no members are openly referred to by name), Chromatron, Hydrau, the Cybertron High Council (Halogen, Gauntlet, Drivetrain and Sigil. Ratbat and Contrail are two High Council members who join the Decepticons when the war begins).
Transformers: Exodus has been called an easy read with good writing.
- Alexander C. Irvine (2010). Transformers: Exodus - The Official History of the War for Cybertron. Del Rey Books. ISBN 978-0-345-52252-8.
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