Transformers: Robots in Disguise Episode Guide
Episode 14: The Decepticons
Original U.S. air date: September 22, 2001
Written by: Tom Wyner
T-AI has finished decoding the information on the microchip Optimus Prime discovered in the Piuma ruins, and it reveals a map pinpointing a location in east Asia. Koji recognizes it as the site of a UFO sighting from sixty years ago which his father investigated. Optimus summons X-Brawn, Prowl and Side Burn and they all travel to the site via the global space bridge. Upon arriving, they find the Predacons are already digging there -- Megatron apparently discovered the location himself from Dr. Onishi's mind. The excavation reveals a spacecraft from Cybertron with six Autobot "proto-entities" in stasis pods still aboard, which crashed sixty years ago and was never found.
The Autobots engage the Predacons to take the Autobots back, but before they can Megatron flies in and takes the Autobots himself. The other Predacons flee, and the Autobots are unable to find them until they reappear at a nearby military base with the proto-entities. There, Megatron has them duplicate various military vehicles and adds his own spark energy to turn them to his side. The first is an armed missile trailer which becomes Mega-Octane, and when Optimus attempts to invite him to join the Autobots, he quickly attacks and swears loyalty to Megatron.
As Mega-Octane holds off the Autobots, four more templates are found: an armed jeep, a tank, a space shuttle, and a military helicopter. The sixth and final template is a tanker truck which Optimus is holding onto. The resulting Transformer, Scourge, physically resembles Optimus but is loyal to Megatron. Calling his new soldiers "Decepticons," Megatron orders them to hold off the Autobots and then retreat to fight again when they are at full strength.
This is the first episode where we get a direct look at how Transformers in this universe are created (first suggested in "Skid-z's Choice"). The idea of Transformer "sparks" using other templates is borrowed directly from the Beast Wars -- in fact, at one point Sky-Byte nearly uses an eagle as a template and complains that it would produce another Predacon instead of a Decepticon.
Of course, "Decepticon" was the name of the entire team of villains in the original Transformers lineup. In Beast Wars, the Autobots and Decepticons became Maximals and Predacons, and since the first villains were beast Transformers instead of vehicles, the Predacon name was preserved. Confusion is furthered by the fact that the Decepticon toys in America are given the old Decepticon logo, while the other Predacons use the different Beast Wars Predacon logo. Just remember that Predacon=beast villain while Decepticon=vehicle villain, and you'll do fine.
Note that the microchip with the map to the Autobot ship is not the o-part recently discovered in "The Ultimate Robot Warrior", but the one found in Koji's photograph much earlier in "The Secret of the Ruins". It looks like Dr. Onishi has made watching Autobots fall from the sky something of a specialty. How he has time for that as well as being a world-renowned expert on energy resources ("Battle Protocol") and a globe-trotting archaeologist ("The Secret of the Ruins") is anybody's guess, although it might explain why he never has time to comb his anime hair into something more attractive.