United EX Stories #9 and #10 – “Hope for the Next Generation” / “Unearthed Future” Translation
“Hope for the Next Generation” / “Unearthed Future”
Written by Andrew Hall
Article: Might Gaine
Source: United EX Assaultmaster, Buildmaster Back of Box
(Note: We presented these chapters a little differently from the original format: Buildmaster’s packaging contained “Unearthed Future”, and Assaultmaster’s contained “Hope for the Next Generation” parts 1 and 2. To make it easier to follow, we spliced them together in chronological order.)
Hope for the Next Generation (1 of 2)
The forces of the Master Class had assembled in the Autobot headquarters. They waited to be briefed on the operation to attack the Decepticon hideout that had been located thanks to Marinemaster’s information.
Standing before them was a dark figure…
“Assaultmaster… It’s the spare body for Optimus Prime, isn’t it?”
“Exactly, Airmaster. As it is, it’s nothing more than an empty shell without a spark. But if I ride inside it, I’ll be able to interface with its Energon Matrix and mobilize it for battle, just like you Transformers.”
Clad in a protective exosuit designed for the interface, Major Clouder’s face showed a determined expression.
“This technology was developed by human and Autobot alike. It represents our dream and yours. I won’t let anyone twist it to their own purposes, and I’m not about to ask you to fight alone. Would you let me fight alongside you?
As the Autobots nodded the affirmative, Jetmaster put the group’s sentiment into words.
“You bet we would, Major Clouder. We trust you with our lives.”
“Thank you. In that case, Autobots! Let’s transform and roll out!”
The location was a hillside surrounded by mountains. In a cliff face, a great cavern yawned open. Around it were deep holes in the ground that appeared to be part of some archaeological dig.
Before them, Combatmaster stood alone.
“I’ve been waiting for you, Autobots.”
Dodging Racemaster’s preemptive strike, Combatmaster targeted Jetmaster and fired the first shot, but Jetmaster’s form had been hidden away by his stealth capabilities. It was Choppermaster that appeared in his place, equipped with the Jet Drones.
“You’ve got something of mine there, and I’m takin’ it back!”
As a fierce battle escalated between Autobot and Decepticon, Clouder used his Assault Drones to scan the area.
“What were they trying to dig up? Is this really their base?”
The drones’ sensors detected several large fragments of metal that seemed to have been excavated from the ground, one of which was engraved with an unfamiliar insignia.
“What’s this mark…?”
As if in answer to Clouder’s question, the Decepticon Buildmaster emerged from the cave along with the stolen construction drones.
“Take your filthy Autobot hands off of that. That’s proof of a glorious Decepticon future. It’s not for your kind to defile!”
“So, you’re supposed to be the guard dog of the construction site? If you think your future is scrapmetal, I can send you there right now! Unite!”
“A miserable human stands no chance of opposing us!”
Armed with the dual powers of construction and destruction, Buildmaster retaliated in his own Prime Mode. Pitted against the fierce spinning power of his opponent’s shoulder-mounted drill, Clouder manipulated Assault Master with the link system, but his movements were beginning to fall behind…
“Clouder, you keep on movin’! I can handle this guy!”
Grimmaster let out a howl as he intercepted Buildmaster, and as the clash between construction vehicles and dinosaurs began, Clouder continued into the foreboding depths of the cave…
Hope for the Next Generation (2 of 2)
Amidst a long and vicious battle with many of his comrades sustaining damage, Assaultmaster proceeded into the cave rumored to be a Decepticon hideout.
As if being drawn in by some unseen force, Assaultmaster moved deeper and deeper into the tunnel. Strangely, Clouder could detect no trace of life from within it. Just as he began to doubt whether this “High Regent” really existed or not, a voice rang out within his mind… or more precisely, from within Assaultmaster’s body.
“I thank you, Major Clouder… or as you were known as our ally, “Doubleclouder.” This sparkless body is an ideal vessel for me. Now, the true master of the future to come… is the High Regent Scrash!”
Clouder’s control of Assaultmaster was being rapidly eroded. He struggled to activate the combiner’s internal Immobilizer unit, setting it to overload.
“Now I understand what you are… But I won’t let your scheme come to pass!”
So began a battle that held in its grip the fate of a new era…
Function: Destruction Reserve
A secondary member of the Constructicons who was given the moniker “Gravedigger” for a destructive temperament poorly suited to building. His motivation is to bring about the revival of his heavily wounded elder brother.
A construction drone that can use its large drill for combat or excavation. Transforms into an arm.
A construction drone that fires special disks which can be used to control the movements of enemies. Transforms into an arm.
A construction drone with a front blade that scan for underground objects. Transforms into a leg.
A construction drone that rams opponents with its roller. Transforms into a leg.
Buildmaster Prime Mode:
Combined with the four Build Drones stolen from the Autobots, Buildmaster’s power exceeds even that of Devastator. Internal sensors allow him to accurately detect metal or relics buried deep within the ground.
Function: Special Assault
A spare body for Optimus Prime constructed by the Department of Defense with the assistance of Wheeljack. Since it doesn’t contain a spark, Major Clouder pilots it manually.
A tank drone that launches intercontinental ballistic missiles. Transforms into an arm.
A jet drone that can use its reconnaissance functions to hack into nearby devices. Transforms into an arm.
A helicopter drone invisible to enemy radar. Transforms into a leg.
A truck drone that fires electromagnetic pulse artillery. Transforms into a leg.
Assaultmaster Prime Mode:
By tapping into the energy reserves of the drones, the combined Assaultmaster can fire an Immobilizer ray that freezes the movements of super-robot life forms temporarily.
The Allspark’s comments
Is this the end of United EX?! Yes and no: While this cliffhanger ending is the final chapter of United EX fiction included with the toy releases, we have it on good authority that the the story was written to end on a cliffhanger so that it could hopefully be wrapped up in a later comic book or other media. It would detail the epic battle between Clouder and Scrash, and tie up the loose ends from the earlier chapters.
Like the previous chapters, this two-part finale contained a lot of references and nods to many previous US and Japanese TF stories:
- Buildmaster is Gravedigger, the one-off Constructicon character from the obscure find-your-fate book Dinobots Strike Back. His wounded older brother is Bonecrusher, who was drowned in lava with the rest of Devastator during Transformers Zone.
- Assaultmaster is a missing link between the Transtectors from Masterforce and the Eldedroid bodies from the e-HOBBY post G2 fiction. Wheeljack’s involvement in the creation of Assaultmaster should be no surprise, as Assaultmaster’s “Immobilizer” is actually one of his past inventions, and he would go on to create the similar Eledroids.
- The unknown insignia is the Predacon logo and the cave on the cliff face is meant to be Tarantulas’s. The Master Chaos Decepticons are digging up buried Predacon technology from Beast Wars! This references the Micromaster reissue fiction, which also showed Operation Combination bots uncovering Predacon wreckage near the Ark.
What did you think of United EX? I personally liked exploring some of the more underused characters. The Micromaster Air Patrol, Detritus, Gravedigger–these are characters I never imagined would have their own stories after all these years. And obscure fan favorites like Clouder and Kakuryu returning to continue their stories was a treat, too.
United EX also serves as a bridge from G1 into G2 . Transitions from one series to the next have often been a bit rough with Transformers series, especially in Japan. Fans have had to rely on obscure materials like the Masterfile No. 1 booklet to learn how Headmasters ties into Masterforce, for example. The same was the case with the transition into G2: Japanese fans were presented with a sudden era of peace between Autobots and Decepticons, followed by an equally sudden all-out war and introduction of a ton of new fighters on both sides.
United EX shows that even prior to the events of G2, characters from both generations were fighting alongside and against one another. Rapido, for example, had been training with Hot Rod, honing his mind and his leadership skills. Roadblock was around, too, performing sneaky ambushes under Onslaught’s supervision. When the storyline is
eventually continued, I can imagine that even more ties will be made between the two eras.
Lastly, United EX occurs in parallel with one of the least explored storylines of G1: Operation Combination, and takes on the difficult task of explaining “Who is Scrash?” For years fans have wondered what is up with Scrash, who was the Decepticon leader at the time, and yet received barely a mention in the TV Magazine story pages. As more is revealed about Scrash in United EX, we are left with even more questions–Is Scrash a parasitic lifeform seeking to possess Assaultmaster’s body? Is he the conflicting Decepticon persona of Clouder, repressed since Masterforce, and manipulating the events of Operation Combination from behind the scenes? Or is he something else altogether? Hopefully we’ll know soon.
Thanks for reading our United EX articles! We had a lot of fun putting them up!