In Beast Wars, there was a very clever plot device for adding characters as the series went on: stasis pods. The basic idea is that the exploratory ship of the heroic Maximals (the Axalon) was manned by a permanent four-member crew with several other crew members in a state of suspended animation known as stasis lock. If they were in stasis lock, they were in stasis pods. Get it? While being kept in stasis pods, the Maximals were in a fetal-like state wherein they were known as protoforms; they were vaguely humanoid blobs of liquid metal with very few defining characteristics (the extent of which seemed to be height, build, and gender). It is presumed that once the Axalon reached whatever planet(s) it was meant to explore, the protoforms would be programmed and brought to life. After a rather unfortunate encounter with Megatron and his renegade Predacons disabled the Axalon, the Maximals were forced to jettison all of the stasis pods into the orbit of the planet onto which the opposing factions crashed. From time to time, the stasis pods would crash to the planet's surface and the DNA of an animal would be scanned to provide a suitable beast mode for the protoform and it would pop out of its pod as a fully formed Maximal. Megatron, being the clever devil that he was, supposed that the Maximal protoforms could be reprogrammed into Predacons before they "hatched" and thus serve to swell the Predacon ranks. This is how Inferno appeared.
When Inferno's stasis pod crashed to the planet, Tarantulas and Blackarachnia (the latter of whom had been the first Maximal protoform reprogrammed into a Predacon) rushed to claim the pod (and its inhabitant) for themselves. For reasons that would become clearer later (which means you'll find it in the Tarantulas profile I have yet to write), it was of the utmost importance that the pod be in proper working order. Regrettably, it was not. Although the Predacon spiders were able to reprogram the protoform within, its logic circuits were already damaged from the impact. They had hoped that the pod would scan the DNA of another spider, but it was not to be: the pod scanned the DNA of a fire ant. This is where the damaged logic circuits came into play: when the pod scanned the fire ant DNA, the protoform also apparently received the "programming" of the fire ant which gives it its colonial herd instinct. Believing his stasis pod to be his colony and the Predacon spiders to be invaders to it, Inferno began firing on them as well as anyone else who came within a 50-foot radius of his little "bubble." When the Maximal Tigatron accidentally shot and destroyed the stasis pod, Inferno went into a frenzy. Soon he pledged his allegiance to the Predacon faction (which became the new "colony" in the Inferno vernacular) fealty to Megatron, whom he alternately referred to as "the Royalty" and "my Queen." Megatron did not particularly care for the second appellation.
"You will burn, Maximal! The Royalty commands it!"
Inferno quickly proved to be a fairly popular character. On the one hand, his insistence on referring to Megatron as his Queen had virtually unlimited comedic value. On the other, he was quite a bad ass. First, he was huge. He towered over every other first season character, including Megatron. He provided some aerial support for the other two flyers Terrorsaur and Waspinator in the form of a giant Cuisinart-like structure that sort of hung off of his back and allowed him to fly, hover, and do all sorts of cunning stunts. Last, and certainly not least, he had this totally awesome flamethrower that he used to set people and things ablaze. Typically such a roasting was either immediately preceded or followed by a low command to "BUUUUURRRRRRRN." His best flamethrower casualty was probably Tarantulas, whom he dispatched after a bit of treachery on the spider's part.
Being a fan favorite isn't a guarantee of a promotion, though it certainly helps. In the first season of Beast Wars, Inferno was more or less an enforcer and a big bruiser that went around intimidating Maximals. At the start of the second season, however, the Predacon second-in-command Scorponok took a rather unexpected belly-flop into a pit of a lava, and suddenly Inferno's career options increased. He was promoted to the rank of sub-commander, much to the chagrin of Waspinator who felt slightly over-looked (as well he should have, damnit). Inferno and the new scorpion/cobra fuzor known as Quickstrike (ugggggh too many links in one sentence) quickly established themselves as Megatron's new favorites and therefore his highest-ranking subordinates. The two got along fairly well for the second season, though Waspinator hated both of them. Inferno's character changed somewhat; no longer was he a sociopathic arsonist, he was a competent and able lieutenant. Well, ok, he still liked to set things on fire in a rather crazed manner, but he did it with a very proper British accent and with a rather imperious countenance that made it seem somehow more sophisticated and noble than it really was. Loyal to a fault, Inferno even blew himself apart with a raw deposit of energon at Megatron's behest. One of Megatron's plans was to retroactively kill Optimus Prime as thus destroy the Maximal faction before it ever had a chance to be conceived. Despite the fact that the destruction of the Maximals and all their precursors would destroy the Maximal-born fire ant, Inferno gleefully aided Megatron's time traveling quest of assassination without question and most likely (and bizarrely) with total comprehension of its potential consequences. I hope someday I'm able to find someone who is willing to endure chronological self-destruction just to make me happy.
If it was death Inferno was looking for, it was death he found. In the last episodes of the series, Megatron sent Inferno, Waspinator, and Quickstrike on a mission to destroy the proto-humans that existed on prehistoric Earth. Although Waspinator angrily resigned, Inferno and Quickstrike went about gleefully attempting to destroy our ancestors. Inferno's last comments to Quickstrike dealt with how pleased he thought Megatron would be with the great job they were doing on the genocide. And with that, the two corrupted Maximal protoforms looked up into the sky and saw Megatron's ship (the Nemesis) staring right at them. Apparently not trusting his two favorites to get the job done, Megatron vaporized the whole area with the ship's fusion cannon, thus ending Inferno's somewhat strange career.
Trivia: Inferno made an appearance in the Beast Machines series. Sort of. In a flashback sequence in which Waspinator is describing his decision to leave prehistoric Earth and return to Cybertron, an early human can be seen playing our favorite ant's head as a bongo drum. Also somewhat interesting is the fact that Inferno's voice actor, Jim Byrnes, played the voice of Thrust in Beast Machines. And as I'm sure you're all aware (because I just know you've all read my Thrust profile), Thrust was in fact Waspinator. How's that for becoming the thing you hate?
Did I leave something out? Have a different opinion? Do you just not like me? Do me a favor and /msg me and tell me why. Downvoting me without giving me an explanation is like reviewing a movie by saying "it sucks" and then not giving a reason. It doesn't help anybody improve anything and it certainly doesn't make me want to work any harder.