Echidna Beast Mode Picture

Function: Cyber Bioengineer
Primary Weapon: Biological Weaponry
Transformation: Genetically Mutable Biomorph

Echidna’s stasis-pod was one of hundreds dropped by the Maximal exploration/colonization ship Axalon at the beginning of the Beast Wars. It was also one of many to be affected by Magmatron’s mass reprogramming broadcast, intended to turn all of the Maximal protoforms lying dormant on Earth into Predacon warriors, but fortunately she was also among the dozens of protoforms that didn’t successfully activate after being reprogrammed. Instead, Echidna, the intended leader of one of the scientific research colonies the Axalon was supposed to seed, remained in suspended animation in an arid desert.

Until Waspinator found her unusually large pod.

The industrious little castaway eventually succeeded in hauling the pod back to his nest under Mt. Aetna, where he stored it with many others he’d recovered. Eventually he found himself in need of a scientist’s aid and a female’s companionship, and so carried the pod deep into a jungle teeming with life, where the pod’s scanners would have a wide range of genetic templates to choose from.

With some determination, and a little luck, Waspinator was able to override the safety protocols that had prevented the pod from activating, and it immediately sprung to life, sweeping the surrounding jungle with its yellow beams.

What emerged however was like nothing Waspinator had expected. Echidna’s pod had locked-down its activation routines because its scanning routines had been damaged in much the same way as those of the Fuzors had been, albeit much more severe. The Fuzor’s pods had been able to settle on two choices, and successfully merged the DNA templates into coherent, albeit mutated, organisms to be grafted to the protoform. Echidna’s pod, however, was completely overwhelmed by the diversity of life inside its scanning range.

The pod suffered a critical information overload, as the scanners dumped the full template for every organism within 500m into the pod’s gene-sequencer. The gene-sequencer struggled to make sense of the information and as a last resort accessed Echidna’s own neural network. It tapped her programming as a bioengineer and her creativity as a sentient being to arrive at a novel solution.

The gene sequencer used all of the genetic data, but compressed over 99% of it, rendering it apparently inert within her beast-mode’s genome. When Echidna emerged, she found herself wrapped in a form that wasn’t clearly recognizable as anything in particular. As her consciousness fully booted, however, she realized that the pod had dismantled its gene-sequencer, and integrated it into her internal systems, during the final stages of her activation. Curious as to why this would be the case, she accessed the sequencer’s functions, and suddenly found herself aware of every DNA molecule in her beast-mode’s organic cells. With but a thought, she could switch genes on and off, altering the organic portion of her structure as necessary – she’d become a new type of Transformer.

After testing this ability’s offensive capabilities on Waspinator, she scooped up the little bug’s remains, and followed his flight log back to Mt. Aetna, where she promptly moved in and set up a lab to further explore her capabilities. There she found Waspinator’s stockpile of inactive stasis-pods, and immediately saw what every Predacon dreams of seeing – their own personal army.

She had everything she would need to conquer the strange planet she was on and exploit its genetic resources. She felt what some might describe as a twinge of guilt though, as she watched Waspinator laboriously rebuild himself, his efforts slowed by a broken spark. She still doesn’t understand why, but for some reason she was compelled to help her activator, and even to be nice to him after completing his repairs.

Since then, she has proven to be unusually tolerant of the bug’s antics. Although his rather pathetic romantic overtures meet with no success, she often indulges his aspirations to invent things, finding his stubborn determination oddly inspiring in her own work..

Of course, that work consists of grand attempts at world conquest and heinous experiments on other life-forms (Cybertronian and terrestrial), but she’s a Predacon; that’s just what they do.

Strengths: As a Maximal protoform, Echidna was a leader-class unit intended for a science colony – as such, her structure was much larger and more powerful than smaller ‘mega’, ‘deluxe’, and ‘basic’ class units, and her cognitive systems were expanded and preprogrammed with leadership and scientific protocols, including a massive database on bioengineering and Cybertronian biology. She is an artist in the realm of genetics, and a genius when it comes to manipulating sparks and protoforms. Her own beast-mode’s genetic code is entirely mutable by conscious thought, allowing her to adapt herself as the situation demands. Retroscanning other organisms into her genetic code has armed her with a terrifying array of biological weapons that she can activate at will. She can even combine these weapons and tools in new ways, to create things like poisonous claws or flesh-eating pollen.

Weaknesses: Echidna has invested little to no time training with her built in Cybertronian weaponry, leaving her somewhat at a disadvantage in conventional combat. An extremely crafty enemy can fluster her and put her on the defensive, preventing her from activating any appropriate offensive weapons. Her love of ridiculously pointless but sadistic experimentation some times back-fires on her.
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