Over on the club message boards, a topic about the upcoming Timelines Summer Special mentioned the garish coloring of Action Master Thundercracker. Look, and be horrified!
I asked if any fiction (official or fan-made) has ever been made using AM Thundercracker as a character, to which board member Victorysabre quipped, "I hear several people have tried, but during the attempt, all artists went blind for some reason." This immediately made me think of the classic Monty Python sketch about the funniest joke in the world.
It's parody time! And possibly the first piece of fiction anywhere to feature Action Master Thundercracker (although, given that the toy has existed for over 15 years, I fully acknowledge that this is unlikely).
Decepticon scientists, frustrated by persistent losses against their enemies, the Autobots, labored long and hard to come up with a new weapon that would turn the tide of their never-ending battle. At last, they believed that they had come up with the ultimate weapon. But they would need a volunteer.
There were risks, they admitted. If the experiment failed, the unfortunate test subject could end up a twisted heap of scrap, but the potential payoff would be undying glory in the annals of Decepticon history.
Frustrated at his recent forced conversion into a non-transforming "Action Master" by an infusion of Nucleon, and tired of being pushed around by his superior officer, Air Commander Starscream, Thundercracker volunteered for the experiment. Anything was better than this life! After a short briefing with the Decepticon scientists about the nature of the procedure, Thundercracker stepped into the modified CR chamber.
The idea was to coat Thundercracker's armor with a light-refracting substance that would result in him being invisible to all optic sensors. This substance was sprayed onto every part of Thundercracker's body. The scientists were concerned that the substance might interfere with the electrical circuitry running through all of Thundercracker's joints, causing him to suffer massive systems failure, and possibly extinguishing his spark.
If only they were so lucky.
Thundercracker emerged from the chamber alive and well, but not at all invisible. Upon seeing the garishly colored form, the scientists' optical circuits instantly shut down. Unable to see, the scientists ran into each other and, in their efforts to escape the laboratory, trampled over one hapless assistant, crushing him to the floor and causing severe injury. Thundercracker, unware of what was happening, walked out of the room, looking for someone who might explain what was going on. Several more Decepticons were blinded when they inadvertently saw Thundercracker approach. Slowly, Thundercracker began to understand that he might be the problem. He went back to the laboratories to seek help, but everyone he met found themselves stricken blind.
It wasn't long before the team of blinded scientists found some of the other Decepticons, and were able to explain what had happened. The possibilities for using Thundercracker's condition to fight against the Autobots were immediately apparent, but the Decepticons needed to be able to ensure the preservation of their own ability to see in order to take proper advantage of the situation.
This led to another team of scientists to devise a set of imaging goggles that the Decepticons could wear, in hopes that this would help them to approach Thundercracker safely. The first scientist to try out the goggles approached the room in which Thundercracker had agreed to remain (pending a resolution to his condition). Upon seeing Thundercracker, the scientist's optic circuits exploded, and the scientist screamed out in agony.
"The goggles! They do nothing!"
The next solution involved covering Thundercracker in a large fabric sheet, stolen from the humans of Earth. Two Decepticons would then escort Thundercracker to the battle site, and upon reaching the appropriate position, they would take the sheet off of Thundercracker and cover their eyes.
The results were instantaneous. Autobot warriors fell left and right. Unfortunately, the sheet blew away, and neither Thundercracker nor the available Decepticons were able to recover it. Although Thundercracker was instructed to return to the laboratory, seventy-four more Decepticons were blinded during the journey, negating any benefits gained by the losses on the Autobot side. More Transformers might have been able to escape this destruction in an earlier age, but since so many Transformers had become Action Masters, few could transform into alternate modes that would have facilitated escape.
Various other experiments were tried, but none were successful. Both the Autobots and the Decepticons found themselves stricken whenever Thundercracker would approach. Ultimately, Thundercracker grew tired of being a de facto prisoner of his own people, and left the Decepticons to strike out on his own. This only made matters worse, as every being that Thundercracker came into contact with was blinded upon seeing even the slightest reflection of his color scheme. Attempts were made to destroy Thundercracker, but any soldier who saw the renegade Action Master lost his sight before he could fire his weapons, and any computerized weapons system that attempted to lock onto Thundercracker's form shut down while attempting to calculate the Pantone color codes that Thundercracker's paint scheme used. Slowly, the Transformers began to die out.
Several thousand years later, an alien race came upon a record left by a Transformers historian, one of the last of the race. No one could tell if the historian was Autobot or Decepticon. By that time it didn't matter. Thundercracker had annihilated friend and foe alike, before finally succumbing to systems failure himself, a process accelerated by the lack of any surviving medical technicians that might previously have been able to provide maintenance. The record stated a simple opinion, the truth of which would go on to be debated for years:
"In the end, it was the introduction of the Action Masters that proved to be the death of the Transformers."