Key to Vector Sigma
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The Key to Vector Sigma first appears in the two-part episode of the same name in The Transformers, where Megatron sought it out in order to activate Vector Sigma and give life to his new Stunticons. Finding it in the possession of Alpha Trion, Megatron and his Decepticons stole it from the Autobot elder and proceeded to Vector Sigma. Alpha Trion and Optimus Prime's Autobots soon followed, only to be forced to deal with Vector Sigma's security drones, which Megatron took command of using the Key. They managed to circumvent the drones, but by then Megatron had succeeded in using the Key to activate Vector Sigma and imbue the Stunticons with personalities, at which point he took the Key and departed for Earth.
Seeking a means of countering the Stunticons, Optimus and his comrades rebuilt Cybertronian aircraft as the Aerialbots; without the Key, it fell to Alpha Trion to activate Vector Sigma by merging himself with it. He succeeded in giving life to the Aerialbots, and then learned that the Key had the power to drain energy from matter, converting it into lifeless metal. Shockwave learned of this and reported it to Megatron, who began using the Key to transform Earth into a metallic world. Fortunately, the Autobots were able to reclaim the key, and Silverbolt destroyed it in order to keep it out of Megatron's hands forever.
The Key to Vector Sigma would later feature again in Beast Machines, where Tankor learned of it and managed to obtain it from Vector Sigma in his quest to rid Cybertron of organic and techno-organic life. Finding the Key to be dangerously powerful after his initial engagement with the Maximals-who were driven mad when they were temporarily left completely metallic-Tankor decided that it would be best to manipulate Megatron and his Vehicon drones to accomplish the plan. This would eventually result in a massive clash between the energies of numerous copies of the Key and those of the Plasma Energy Chamber, which saw Tankor's demise. Megatron would later employ the Key again in an effort to drain the energy from Cybertron's organic core, only to inadvertently set the stage for Cybertron's reformatting into a techno-organic world.
In Transformers: Retribution, Shockwave seeks to access Vector Sigma in order to create a Decepticon Matrix of Leadership, but has learned that Optimus Prime unknowingly took the Key to Vector Sigma with him when he departed Cybertron. As such, he employs Alpha Trion as an alternative Key, only to unwittingly enable the Quintessons to open a Space Bridge and send their Sharkticon invasion force under General Tyrannicon to Cybertron.