Fortress Maximus was an architect in his early career, designing and even constructing many works on Cybertron. When the war came, he reluctantly turned his talents to fighting.
During the long absence of Optimus Prime, Megatron, and their respective troops from Cybertron, unit commander Fortress Maximus established a headquarters in the Manganese Mountains and continued the fight against Scorponok's Decepticon contingent.
One fine day on Cybertron, Fortress Maximus's troops staged an ambush on Scorponok's Decepticons, who had just leveled an Autobot city and were marching their prisoners toward the smelting pools. Maximus's troops cut a swath through the Decepticon ranks, quickly driving them into retreat.
Though his troops were jubilant at their victory, the battle was the last straw for Fortress Maximus. He had become so sick of the war that he decided to leave it. He didn't care if it made him a coward or not, he simply believed that the war would go on regardless of whether or not he was in it. Maximus declared that no matter what the others decided, he was leaving for the planet of Nebulos, a world he had long studied and which seemed to be at peace. His stunned troops agreed, and together constructed a starship dubbed the Steelhaven to propel them across the void.
Fortress Maximus immediately sent Highbrow as an messenger to the Nebulan natives; however, an accident made it appear that the giant robots from outer space came with hostile intent. Some of the more reactionary elements among the Nebulan leadership conspired to make Fortress Maximus's envoy Blurr also appear to have hostile intent, and thus were able to incite their fellow Nebulans to arms.
Fortress Maximus and his troops thus found themselves under a full attack from the Nebulans. Max ordered his troops to not fight back, despite complaints from the likes of Kup, and covered them as they retreated into the woods.
Faced with a newly hostile enemy, Fortress Maximus resolved to wage peace, not war. Gathering ten of his followers, he marched up to the Nebulan capital of Koraja, begged to be heard out, and had his group discard their weapons. When that didn't work, he did the next logical thing and pulled his head off. Four other Autobots also resorted to this grotesque stunt before Galen, head of the Nebulan World Watchers, was convinced they weren't a threat. Ring of Hate!
The five Autobots' heads were stored in a warehouse, and Galen occasionally consulted with Fortress Maximus, keeping him up to date on outside events as anti-robot protests rocked the capital city.
Soon after, a horde of the Autobots' Decepticon foes appeared before the city gates. Max advised Galen that turning the Autobots over to Scorponok would not prevent him from attacking, and under the Autobot-Nebulan peace agreement, Galen could not simply restore the five Autobots to their bodies. But together with Arcana, the pair came up with another plan. Five volunteer Nebulans were bio-engineered to combine with special armor, and transform into likenesses of the Autobots heads, connecting with and controlling them through the Headmaster process. Galen himself became Fortress Maximus's new partner. Fortress Maximus led his newly-enhanced troops against Scorponok, and soundly defeated his numerically superior squad. Broken Glass!
Fortress Maximus remained inert while Galen performed his various duties. He came back online to lead the Headmasters to the Grax Communications Facility, where a number of Nebulan leaders were apparently being held hostage by the Decepticons. It turned out to be a trap, however, as the Decepticons had also become Headmasters, with Galen's rival Zarak now bonded to Scorponok himself. Using several Nebulans as a distraction, Scorponok's troops overpowered Fortress Maximus and the others, taking them hostage. Love and Steel!
Max remained out of commission until Zarak, briefly overcoming Scorponok's influence on his mind, freed Galen and the other Autobot-allied Nebulans. Fortress Maximus and company smashed their way out of the holding facility, then ran straight into the newly-formed Decepticon Targetmasters. Max briefly led his troops against the Decepticons, but opted to retreat rather than fight it out. To spare Koraja the carnage of a full-scale fight to the finish, he covered their retreat with the time-honored technique of smashing his enemies with Koraja's metal sculpture of the planet Nebulos. Brothers in Armor.
Scorponok and Zarak challenged Fortress Maximus and Galen (here called "Kord") to a duel to settle their differences. Kord/Maximus won by cheating, but it didn't matter because the duel was a ruse to distract the Autobots while Slugslinger stole Autobot fuel converters. The Deceptions had bugged the Autobot base and learned of Earth. They needed the converters to travel there. The Decepticons left for Earth and the Autobots followed. The events in this UK story differ in significant ways to the Headmasters mini-series. Returning to the Autobot camp, Max/Galen decided to lead the troops away from Nebulos, knowing that Scorponok would follow. Brothers in Armor!!