Transformers UK: Issue #124
Story: Crater Critters (part 2)
Back-up strip: Iron Man
Cover date: August 1st, 1987
Script: Bob Budiansky
Artwork: Don Perlin (story) Will Simpson/John Burns (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
Synopsis:By Adam Hogg
Blaster catches the Scraplets epidemic and thinks Goldbug has deserted him!
Blaster, Goldbug, and their scientist companion Charlie Fong, reach the edge of the huge crater resulting from the suspicious meteor impact the previous day. As Charlie walks on ahead, Goldbug warns him to be careful when suddenly the Decepticon triple-changes soar out and attack! Blaster fires his Electro-scrambler to send them spinning but Blitzwing blasts the cliff below Charlie. Goldbug rushes down the crater to help the tumbling human, where at the bottom both can clearly see what caused the crater - a Spaceship!! Goldbug has no time to investigate as Blaster is facing the Decepticons alone, when suddenly Charlie notices the remains of the freighter pilot - who desperately clinging to life warns the pair to stay back. Goldbug asks what happened to him, and the pilot manages to explain...
He was hired by the Decepticons to transport some cargo to Earth, but when he left lightspeed upon reaching the start of this solar system he had to go outside and perform some minor repairs. He passed through what appeared to be a cloud of spacedust - but it wasn't! He became infected, and in his weakened state lost control of the ship, and eventually crashed. With his last breath he warns Goldbug to leave before they get him too.The pilots head then falls from its shoulders, leaving the pair puzzled before Charlie notices thousands of tiny creatures now walking towards Goldbug. Whatever they are, they are not interested in Charlie, who desperately kicks and pushes to keep them at bay.
Above the crater, Blaster continues to disorientate the three airborne Decepticons with his Electro-scrambler - before the trio revert to their vehicle modes forcing him to rethink his strategy. Meanwhile at the nearby army blockade, the explosions around the crater have got the Army's attention, where Charlie's scientist friend is shocked to learn that he was allowed past to place a motion detection device near the crater - there was no such device!! Back at the crater, the three Decepticons now have Blaster trapped with his back towards the edge, but as they charge Blaster jumps away at the last second, leaving the still disorientated Decepticons to go crashing over the edge. Blaster watches them fall when suddenly a shot by Blitzwing's cannon crumbles the cliff beneath him, sending Blaster tumbling into the crater too.
Goldbug rushes towards his bruised comrade, whose Pride seems to be the only casualty - but Blaster suddenly feels a sharp pain in his hands, where tiny nuts and bolts have attached themselves. He then looks up to see the three Decepticon triple-changers - weapons drawn and at their mercy! A bad situation is about to get a lot worse though as Astrotrain reveals what all this is about - Scraplets have infected them all, and ultimately they are all as good as dead! Blaster recalls that Scraplets have the ability to resemble harmless nuts, bolts and screws - but are in fact the most deadly disease known to mechanical life forms in the galaxy - and no known cure!! Octane corrects him, apparently during the last outbreak thousands of Vorns ago (a Vorn is 83 Earth years remember), a rare chemical was discovered that killed the Scraplets, although its would seem to have been forgotten over time, and it's unlikely that any of them will live long enough to rediscover it anyway. As Octane speaks, Blaster contacts Goldbug by secret radio, in their weakened state they should be able to take the Decepticons on his signal. Goldbug agrees when suddenly Charlie tells him they must instead look for the cure - without it he is dead already. A second look at Blaster reveals that the Scraplets are spreading rapidly, and the longer Goldbug remains here he risks infection. Goldbug pauses in thought when suddenly Blaster gives the signal, and diving past the Decepticons to his gun he restarts the battle. Blaster shouts for Goldbug to aid him, while Charlie continues to persuade him otherwise. Goldbug makes the painful decision to leave, and just hopes that Blaster will understand. But as Goldbug disappears up the side of the crater, Blaster (who seems to have lost all sense of realism), brands Goldbug a coward, and vows that after finishing these Decepticons he will come for him next. Suddenly Blaster is hit, and on his back the Decepticons surround him, forcing Goldbug to stop and look back - how can he leave Blaster thinking he was betrayed. Suddenly a single Scraplet runs and jumps onto Goldbug's foot! The pain hits Goldbug, who looks at the tiny bolt which Charlie desperately try's to pull off. It's grip is too strong, and suddenly it splits in half creating two - it is spreading!! They had better move fast, with the pair speeding off away from the main road to avoid the soldiers.
An hour later and Goldbug is beginning to feel weak, but Charlie is sure that a town is nearby... Another hour and Goldbug is in desperate need of help, his bodywork riddled with Scraplets he admits that he can't go on much further - but Charlie tells him to hold on, surely a town is nearby.... Half an hour later and Goldbug lets out a plea for help, his Body is devastated, and begs not to be left to die in the middle of nowhere, especially not with Blaster thinking he was betrayed. To this Charlie has no answer, and offers no reassurance - he is silenced by despair....
More shocking events as everyone seems to be catching the deadly Scraplets disease, while Bob Budiansky seems to be pulling out all the stop to give Blaster a taste of exactly what Scrounge had to endure inside the Smelting pool. Meanwhile Goldbug looks doomed, with little to suggest he find the elusive cure in time, and unfortunately we will have to wait a massive TWO weeks for the conclusion as the action Force cross-over seems to just come from nowhere (aaaaaargh!!). Frustrating too, is how Blaster is left thinking that Goldbug has chickened out on him when this is not the case at all.