Written by Marv Wolfman and Cherie Wilkerson
"When we're done with him, Optimus Prime won't be their leader... he'll be their destroyer."
Two human scientists, Jessica Morgan and Gregory Swafford, are conducting the test of a ship coated with an experimental, heat-resistant alloy. As they move closer to a sun, they detect another vessel--Optimus Prime's flagship, on a collision course with the sun (see "Dark Awakening"). Swafford despises robots, and Prime in particular since he blames the Autobot for an accident that happened to him years ago, scarring his face. Jessica is determined to help him, however, and brings Prime's body aboard their ship moments before the star goes nova. During the explosion, their ship is also coated with some strange red spores...
Back on Earth, in the lab of Mark Morgan, Jessica's father, the scientists test the spores on some laboratory mice. The spores infect living beings immediately and cause them to go into a violent rage. Just then, the Terrorcons attack the lab, looking for the alloy. The Technobots arrive to stop them, but once the respective teams combine into Abominus and Computron, their battle destroys part of the lab, sending a part of the ceiling down on Jessica's legs.
As the Terrorcons escape with the alloy, the Protectobots arrive and tend to Jessica. Mark is powerless to stop the well-meaning Autobots, but is blinded with hatred for them. Gregory suggests a new plan: using the spores to infect Optimus Prime, and sending him to destroy the Autobots. The two are unable to revive him, however.
Back at a nearby hospital, First Aid has given Jessica an exo-skeleton for her legs, which were paralyzed in the destruction of the lab. Mark is enraged and takes her home. Mark and Gregory plan to melt Prime down as raw material for the alloy, but Jessica won't allow it. Finally, Mark asks Jessica to tell the Autobots where Prime is so they can come rescue him...
Knowing it is a trap, Jessica explains the situation to the Autobots. Rodimus immediately assembles a strike force, ignoring Jessica's warnings. At the lab, Jessica leads Rodimus to Optimus Prime; meanwhile, the rest of the Autobots have walked straight into Mark's hands. He releases the spores into the room, infecting them. As the Autobots try to tear each other apart, Jessica and Rodimus escape with Prime's body, only to encounter the Decepticons, also looking for Prime. The crazed Autobots attack and infect the Decepticons; only Galvatron escapes unharmed.
Outside the lab, the Autobots who remained to stand guard battle an infected Superion, but are all shot down.
Back at Autobot City, Rodimus hopes Wreck-Gar can revive Prime, but he's beyond even the skills of the Junkions. Finally Rodimus orders Sky Lynx to find a Quintesson, hoping one of the creators of the Transformers can help...
Ultra Magnus tracks Rodimus down and manages to infect Wreck-Gar, who in turn infects Rodimus. By this time almost the entire planet has been contaminated by what has become known as the hate plague.
Meanwhile, Sky Lynx has found one of the Quintessons, being chased by a hoard of infected Sharkticons. Sky Lynx offers him safety in return for helping to restore Optimus; the Quintesson can't help but agree.
Back on Earth, Sky Lynx and the Quintesson work together to repair and rebuild the Autobot leader. The mission is a success: Prime lives! "And this time, no force in the universe can stop me!"
Gregory Swafford's accident took place some time between 1985 and 2005 during a battle in his lab between Optimus Prime and Megatron.
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