Technorganic describes the melding of technological and biological components into a single entity, fused at the cellular level, and generally involving the power of the Oracle.
A technorganic Transformer is no longer a purely technological robot, nor an organic life form. In the words of technorganic guru Optimus Primal, they are "both, and neither"—a balance of organic and mechanical, combining the strengths of both.
Technorganic Transformers appear to be highly resistant to injury with highly-advanced internal healing abilities.
Technorganic Cybertronians do not have on-board computers to handle secondary operations as previous Transformers did; functions such as transforming now require conscious thought and effort. They still retain the ability to transform between two forms, but their transforming is not a mechanical shifting of moving parts, as with their robotic predecessors. For most, it appears more like fluid shape-shifting, generally accompanied by a burst of bright energy. Botanica is an exception to this rule; her transformation is accompanied by a rapidly generated circle of technorganic plants, which shrink back down to reveal her robot mode.
Because the process is so different, many Transformers need to re-learn how to transform once they find themselves in a technorganic body. They must achieve an internal, zen-like mental balance, or "still point" as Optimus refers to it, and will themselves into their other mode. Some use a mantra such as "I am transformed" to help until they get the hang of doing it on their own; others such as Silverbolt, Botanica and Nightscream seem to master the process right away. If this state of mental balance is lost, a technorganic Transformer in robot mode may revert to their beast mode.
Powers and weaknesses
Techorganic Transformers are invisible to traditional scanners while in beast mode; they no longer give off an "energy signature" like ordinary machines. However, when in their robot mode, they are as readily detectable as any other Transformer.
Optimus Primal's band of technorganic Maximals possessed powerful (almost supernatural) combat abilities. All technorganics would have similar capabilities.
On one occasion, ingesting a seemingly organic fruit caused Primal and his team to mentally devolve into primitives. When the tree that generated this fruit was slashed by Cheetor and hit by shots from the Vehicons, it shattered into fragments, as if it were a digital illusion, and the fruit's effect was immediately undone. Primal concludes that the fruit's organic nature was devolving their bodies, but the implications of the incident remain somewhat unclear.
Another vulnerability comes from the Key to Vector Sigma, a device which converts organics into "techno-matter". When applied to the technorganic Maximals, it caused them to convert to a metalized state, resulting in pain and hysteria; it could eventually have resulted in deactivation if its effects were not reverted.
Cybertron had long been a planet of metal upon metal, "technology" alone. According to Primal's interpretation of the Oracle, the returning Beast Warriors brought with them organic components of the planets they had visited, allowing the Oracle to begin the process of reformatting the planet to be technorganic. The Maximals eventually discovered Cybertron's organic core, with deep sublevels comprised of soil and containing organic fossils, such as the one scanned by Nightscream.
At the end of the conflict, Cybertron was reformatted planet-wide, creating a new Earth-like world, a mix of technorganic flora and fauna, oceans (presumably full of water), and vast cities of varying construction; some largely technorganic in nature , others retaining more "traditional" inorganic metal or stonework construction, depending on the part of the planet.
Just what the reformatting of Cybertron implies for Primus, whose body is Cybertron, is unknown.
Usage & Definition problems
Beast Machines provides a fairly clear definition of what a Technorganic Transformer is, distinct from the fully-mechanical Generation One-era Cybertronians. By comparison, it remains unclear what the Beast Wars-era characters were, other than that they were evidently not Technorganic, since that would have rendered the distinction (and their reformatting) meaningless. The original Beast Wars cartoon never clearly explained the technology used to produce their "fleshy" beast modes. It is therefore unknown whether these animal parts were comprised of genuinely living organic tissue, or were were made of faux-biological synthetic matter.
Among the contradictory facts of the Beast Wars physiology are:
- A major premise of Beast Wars was that, in order to create their beast altmodes, the Cybertronians needed to scan and replicate the DNA of living or fossilized creatures.
- Instances of damage to beast mode tissue were inconsistent, sometimes merely exposing sparking circuitry, other times being shown to seemingly bleed ("Spider's Game"). However, Cheetor states that "I don't have real blood—just mech fluid." ("The Web")
- The Beast Warriors apparently did need to breathe to sustain themselves. ("Dark Voyage")
- They often consumed organic food as fuel. ("Power Surge", "The Low Road", "Code of Hero", "Victory") This eating also apparently translated into some form of digestion or analogous process, as evidenced by Rhinox's infamous fart attack.
- Despite this, in Beast Machines, Cheetor explicitly states that they no longer eat food, instead powering up on Energon alone. Confusing the matter further, Primal then says in reply that "we used to" only consume Energon, which clearly is not the case. ("Forbidden Fruit")
- Megatron was able to create a sapient clone of Dinobot with simply "a spec of [his] DNA", seemingly indicating that both the organic and robotic "genetics" are present in a DNA sample. However, the clone did not have a robot mode it was capable of transforming into, a fact which has unclear implications. Oh, and the real Dinobot was able to eat him, for whatever that's worth...
- When forced to spend a prolonged period in their beast modes, the Maximals suffered from persistent dreams of living as "real" animals, which eventually consumed them and, upon awaking, their personalities became entirely bestial. Tigatron explained the schism between the Cybertronian and animal personalities as a side effect of a "programming block". ("Call of the Wild")
- Looking outside the show, the Beast Wars writers have stated that, in animal form, the characters are "fully organic" , citing both "Dark Voyage" and "Call of the Wild" as examples.
Transmetal forms likewise appear to remain at least partially organic:
- Optimus Primal once showing interest in a bunch of bananas. ("Feral Scream Part 2")
- In Beast Machines, Megatron loathed his BW Season 3 (thus implicitly non-Trechnorganic by the BM definition) dragon form as "disgustingly organic". ("Sparkwar Pt. II: The Search")
- Megatron's attempts to purge these "orgainic" portions ultimately created the purely organic Savage/Noble creature. ("Prometheus Unbound")
Confusing matters further, in the years since the Beast Era shows, the term "Technorganic" has occasionally been used by secondary sources to describe these pre-Beast Machines characters. IDW's Beast Wars Sourcebook makes frequent references to characters possessing features like "technorganic musculature"; the Ultimate Guide refers both to Optimus Primal's beast mode and all Transmetals as "techno-organic" (with hyphen). Also, the term bio-mechanical crops up occasionally in biographies and reference books, used synonymously with this use of "technorganic" to refer to pre-Beast Machines beast warriors.
These reference-material uses of the phrase "Technorganic" clearly differ from the specific meaning given by Beast Machines and thus may or may not be an accurate descriptor of Beast Wars-era Cybertronians, given the conflicting descriptions of Beast Wars Transformers' physiology.
Although the terms "technorganic" and "biomechanical" are not used to to describe Animated Blackarachnia & Waspinator, their combination of organic and mechanical components is similar. The word "techno-organic" has been used to describe Blackarachnia in the comics on one occasion, and in the episode "Predacons Rising" Sari has also been reffered to as techno-organic after the events of "A Bridge Too Close, Part II".
- The Axalon was implied to be an ordinary exploration ship, with an ordinary mission: deploy new Transformers on a planet, have them pick up beast forms, explore, then return to Cybertron. If this is going on all the time, with lots of different exploration crews, why did the Oracle decide that Primal's crew was so specially needed to bring back organic elements?
- Nightscream scans organic elements, and acquires a beast form, without ever leaving Cybertron! So again, why did Primal's team need to go through the Beast Wars just to acquire beast modes?
Non-Beast Era usage
The terms "technorganic" and "biomechanical" have also been used to describe characters from other, non-Beast Era TF franchises, general characters based on redecoed Beast Wars toys such as Armada Cheetor. In the absence of a full backstory, however, the status of such purely mechanical or partly organic is debatable.
Of particular note is Armada's Predacon. His Dreamwave bio states that he has experimented on himself with "biomechanical" technology to integrate organic tissue into his Cybertronian robotics, something that most other Transformers are said to find repulsive.