Season 2 Episodes
The Search For Alpha Trion
The Key To Vector Sigma, parts 1 + 2
Season 3 Episodes
Five Faces of Darkness, part 4
Forever is a Long Time Coming
Return Of Optimus Prime, part 2
Season 4 Episodes
Rebirth, parts 2 and 3
Japanese Season 4 (Headmasters) Episodes
The Mystery of Planet Master
The Birth of Double Convoy
Nothing that I can think of
Alpha Trion was a multi-purpose character used in many roles throughout the series as the writers deemed appropriate. Most of the time they used him as a 'mentor' character. He was used in this mentor role in his first appearance, mentor to the female Autobots in The Search For Alpha Trion. In his second appearance (The Key to Vector Sigma) he was both mentor and saviour to the Autobots, as well as a tour guide. In his third (War Dawn) he appeared as a medic, in his fourth (Forever is a Long Time Coming) as a revolutionary. In his last US appearance (Rebirth, pts 2 and 3) he went back to the role of mentor, but this time as more of a spirit guide, talking to Prime from beyond the grave. (Or at least from beyond the vale of being eaten by Vector Sigma.) He made later appearances in the Japanese continuity. There he took on much the same spirit guide role, though this time he was perhaps more literally a 'spirit'.
One rather important thing of note is that Alpha Trion is the first Transformer ever to be shown to have facial hair! His facial hair and beard seemed to come from the old 'wise old men have beards' cliché. This old cliché is found in cultures the world over, from the West to Asia. As Trion ages and gets wiser his face actually changes. When we first meet him he has a long, flowing, ZZ-top style beard. When we see him in his younger forms in the time-travel episodes he has much smaller facial hair. He gets older, his beard grows, he gets wiser.
In fact, Alpha Trion is the only Transformer in existence who we have actually seen age. (The only exception to this is Rodimus Prime. In "Aspects of Evil" we see an aged Prime, the stress of carrying the Unicron-infested Matrix having made him grow weak, old and feeble.) We know there are some old Transformers who show outward physical signs of their age. Alpha Trion is unique because he gives us a rare chance to actually see a Transformer age.
Boy... Alpha Trion skirts the "I'm not obscure 'cause I did too bloody much" barrier. He was an incredulously active obscure character, having played a part in many integral episodes of Transformers history. But let's begin at the start, shall we?
Way back when the Transformers were the slaves of the Quintessons and the Autobot insignia was just a Slave Brand there was one Autobot who was brave enough to lead the others against the Quintessons and their enforcers the Dark Guardians. (The Dark Guardians were basically "evil" versions of the Autobots' Guardian Robots. In other words, they were purple Omega Supremes. Err, so anyway, as I was saying, there was only one Autobot who could stop them...)
He was A-3!! Err... Well, sort of. A-3, his companion Beta and their band of Autobots organised a revolt against the Quintessons but were losing against the Quintessons's Dark Guardians. A-3 had invented a device called 'the Coda Remote' (which was just an orange badge) that was designed to shut down the Dark Guardians allowing the Autobots to drive away their slave masters.
It all went wrong, however, when A-3 was brought to the future by the Quintessons (attempting to erase him from history, thus stopping the revolt). A-3 was returned to his own era by the future Autobots just in time to save the day, using his Coda Remote, shutting down the Dark Guardians, and letting the Autobots have their rebellion. Sure, Beta did most of the legwork, but you can't fault A-3's sparkly invention.
Some time between then and the civil war A-3 was rebuilt and renamed as Alpha Trion. The Transformer formerly known as A-3 inherited the Matrix during the war, but didn't use it. Instead he held onto it, waiting for someone worthy to pop along, so he could give the Matrix to them. This was just one of many examples of Alpha Trion's tendency not to actually get actively involved in the fighting. Even when he and Beta were revolting against the Quintessons it was Beta who did most of the actual combat.
Later on a being worthy to have the Matrix did make his appearance. That worthy being turned out to be the Autobot known as Orion Pax. After he was injured by the Decepticons, Orion Pax was brought to Alpha Trion (by the Aerialbots, in yet another time twisting adventure) who rebuilt Orion as Optimus Prime. Prime was given the Matrix of Leadership by Alpha Trion, though it's unsure whether he did so later or immediately after rebuilding Orion Pax.
Several million years later (about 9 I'd say), the Autobots had been driven underground and Optimus Prime was stranded (sort of) fighting for a planet known as Earth. Alpha Trion seemed to have gone into hiding, and was acting as the advisor for a group of female Autobots who were fighting in the resistance movement against the Decepticons. Alpha Trion again settled for a passive role in events acting as Charlie to the Female Autobots' Angels. In fact most of his role in the resistance seemed to be constantly telling Elita-One that if she used her special time-stopping power she would die.
When OP heard that the female Autobots were still alive, and that his girlfriend Elita One was captured by the Decepticons, he went to Cybertron. Not surprisingly, he was captured. Against the advice of Alpha Trion, Elita One used her special time-stopping power to free Optimus Prime. However the time-stopping power left Elita-One drained and Optimus had to bring her to Alpha Trion to save her. Alpha Trion fixed her up as well as he could, then explained to OP that only he could supply Elita-One with the energy she needed to survive.
The valiant Optimus Prime, of course, hooked himself up to Elita and let his energy flow forth. (This was pretty close to being a graphic sex-scene, Prime hooking his crotch to Elita's, then grunting and as energy flowed into her. Surprising they got away with it in a kid's cartoon.) Elita One's safety assured, Alpha Trion sent the two silly kids on their way, to save the Female Autobots, and send the Decepticons packing back to Earth.
Later Alpha Trion became a central focal point as the Decepticons endeavoured to create a new generation of warriors. They needed the key to Vector Sigma. The key would activate Vector Sigma, the super-computer which could breathe life into Transformers. Because Alpha Trion was the keeper of the key he became the object of the Decepticons' aggressions. They beat the ever-living crap out of him and stole the key, even shoving him so deeply into a wall that the Autobots had to peel him out when they came to save him.
The old Autobot then led his comrades into the centre of Cybertron, to stop the Decepticons. When they got to the centre of Cybertron, they were too late. The Decepticons had brought their new warriors, the Stunticons, to life. So the Autobots rebuilt 5 space shuttles into new TFs to face the Decepticons. But there was only one catch: how would they activate Vector Sigma without the key?
Alpha Trion then came to the rescue, revealing that he too was a key to Vector Sigma. He sacrificed himself, becoming one with Vector Sigma to activate the computer so that he could breathe life into the Aerialbots (to fight the Stunticons).
Trion appeared again for a little miscoloured cameo in Return of Optimus Prime. When Optimus went into the Matrix, searching for help against the hate plague, Alpha Trion admitted that he wouldn't have a clue what to do. This meant that Alpha Trion was present, in some form, in both the Matrix and Vector Sigma.
Trion's last appearance was in the story known as Rebirth. Optimus Prime, at a loss for what to do about the Decepticons, went into the centre of Cybertron and used the husk of the Matrix to interface with the ancient computer Vector Sigma. Alpha Trion was there and he warned OP about the Plasma Energy chamber, an incredibly powerful energy chamber that the Decepticons were trying to take control of. He also told Optimus Prime that the Plasma Energy chamber had sent the Autobots who were later to become Targetmasters and Headmasters to Nebulos, by overloading their ship.
Optimus took Alpha Trion's advice and went to Nebulos to retrieve his Autobots and the key to the plasma energy chamber (Which incidentally was a lot less cool, and a lot less consistent, than the key to Vector Sigma). This was the last we ever saw of Alpha Trion, and it has to be assumed that he's still 'one with Vector Sigma', and unable to affect the real world. Bummer.
(Remember that the three episode Rebirth series did not occur in the Japanese series.) In the Japanese TV show Alpha Trion continued to play his role as a spirit guide and mentor. When Convoy (Japanese Optimus Prime) travelled to the centre of Cybertron, in search of Vector Sigma, Alpha Trion's ghost met up with him and helped to guide him towards Vector Sigma. However all he could do was stand around and watch as Cyclonus and Scourge attacked Convoy.
When Hot Rodimus (Japanese name for Hot Rod) and Fortress (the Cerebros part of Fortress Maximus) arrive to help Convoy, Alpha Trion enters the Matrix, repowering it and, in the process, turning Hot Rodimus into Rodimus Convoy (Rodimus Prime). As far as I know, that's the last you hear of Alpha Trion in the Japanese series.
I'm sure, if he had tech specs, Alpha Trion would have high intelligence. He'd also have weak combat stats: the Decepticons absolutely trashed him in Key to Vector Sigma and he didn't even put up a fight. Perhaps he's a pacifist. (Well, considering he led a revolution, one would assume he's not a pacifist, just a wimp.)
Anyway, Trion's endurance and strength might be low, but he'd have a very high courage. Admittedly he spent most of his career letting other people do the dirty work, but when it came to the crunch he stood up to the Decepticons as best he could. He even sacrificed his own life to help the Autobots. Too bad he helped them to create the damn Aerialbots. What a sad legacy.
While Alpha Trion never got a Transformers: Universe profile, he does have a profile in Dreamwave's "More Than Meets the Eye." The profile details a Dreamwave-based version of the character, as a guardian of Vector Sigma, which has only a surface relationship to the character seen in the TV show.
Takara loves doing reissues. For them reissues are money in the bag. Best of all, they can recolour their reissues as almost anything. They can colour them as the Cheeseticons and know they'll sell. So why hasn't Scourge been reissued? Scourge is the perfect reissue toy.
He can be recoloured in darker blues or lighter blues as a 'Sweep' and fans would buy them by the truck load. But he is also the perfect existing toy mould for Alpha Trion. He has the facial hair. he has the back wings. His alt mode is even perfect. Even Scourge's head weapon could stand in for Trion's head crest.
So why hasn't Takara reissued Scourge then?! Ahh, what do I care? I don't even buy Takara reissues.
That said, Takara has released an Alpha Trion toy of note. It is a PVC, a Super Collectible Figure. There's not much to say about the toy. It's essentially the same as any other SCF; lots of ways for the limbs to fall off, but not much playability.
Of note is the Official Transformers Collectors Convention attempt at an Alpha Trion toy. An intended exclusive for Botcon, as it was called then, was to release a recolour of Beast Machines Snarl (the lion) as Alpha Trion. Probably the only parallel between this toy and Alpha Trion is the facial hair. Yet somehow, this probably wouldn't have been a bad choice.
I don't know. The only thing about Alpha Trion that ever really stuck in my head was the image of him imbedded in the wall in Key to Vector Sigma. That was cool, though it rather freaked me out as a kid. (In fact, the reason I think it is so cool now probably has more to do with the fact that it did freak me out as a kid than it does to do with the fact that Alpha Trion was so badly hurt.)
Apart from that, I don't think that Alpha Trion was a very impressive character. Admittedly this has a lot to do with the fact that I really like Emirate Xaaron and both characters essentially occupy the same 'space' in their continuities. That said, as time goes by I am warming to old Alpha Trion a bit more.
In fact, much of their histories are very similar. Both were leaders early on. Both went underground when the Decepticons took over. Both merged with god-like figures of power when they died. Xaaron just did it with style, and without pastel colours.
Sadly, though, Xaaron is going to continue to fall by the wayside, while Alpha Trion becomes more prominent. Being a character from the cartoon Alpha Trion has received a slight resurgence in the last few years. He's gotten his little PVC (which is yet to be released outside of Japan as a Heroes of Cybertron figure. If that happens he'll even get a tech spec), he's been featured in the Dreamwave comics, and he's a Botcon favourite.
Monzo's also asked me to mention the fact that Trion was present both inside the Matrix and Vector Sigma, in episodes Post 'Key to Vector Sigma'. The fact that this is true, is quite intriguing, and Monzo's right to tell me to mention it. After all, how can he be in two places at once? Alpha Trion held onto the Matrix for a long, long time. Even though he wasn't a Prime, he may have had some affinity with the Matrix. Perhaps what appeared to Prime in Return of Optimus Prime wasn't Alpha Trion, but an imprint of him left on the Matrix. Maybe that's why the colours were all wrong.
The Search For Alpha Trion
The Key To Vector Sigma, pts 1 + 2
Forever is a Long Time Coming
The Return of Optimus Prime, pt 2
The Rebirth, pts 2 + 3
[THE ARCHIVE] [MAIN PAGE]