Dark Energon is a powerful, corrupted version of Energon which can be used as a violent weapon and explosive. As Energon is the emanation of Primus, from which all Transformer life and power is formed. Even the smallest particle of Dark Energon can corrupt any amount of regular energon.
Long before the civil war, ancient Transformers began experimenting with Energon in an attempt to increase its yield and power. These experiments eventually produced results, creating an altered type far more powerful then normal Energon. This Energon, however was quickly found to be a mistake, the Energon was quickly shown to corrupt anything it touched, including Transformers, spreading like an infection that overwhelmed and altered the victim. Furthermore it was simply too powerful to be controlled by anyone. Because of this, it was called "Dark Energon", its creation was halted, and forbidden, with whatever remaining Dark Energon being destroyed. The files regarding its existence and how to create it were classified top secret and hidden. The last remaining Dark Energon, and facility capable of manufacturing it were locked away onboard an orbiting space station under heavy security, commanded for over a thousand years by Starscream, who was joined at some point with assistance from Jetfire, Thundercracker, and Skywarp. Rumors and legends spread about the Dark Energon, but were widely believed to be nothing more.
During the events of the great war, Dark Energon had remained hidden and sealed away for most of the conflict. However as the war neared its end, Megatron, having learned of the Dark Energon, sought it and initiated a full scale assault on the space station where it was being kept. He and a small team of survivors from his flagship infiltrated the base and encountered Sky-Commander Starscream. After all the defenses were beaten, Starscream attempted to destroy what remained of the Dark Energon in a last attempt to keep Megatron from getting it, but only partially succeeded. What remained of it was directly exposed to Megatron, who with his evil spark, and lust for power, was able to control it, gaining enormous power.
Hoping to gain such power Starscream switched sides and became a Decpticon. With his knowledge of its creation process, Megatron began mass producing the substance, using it in his war with the Autobots.
Controlling the Dark Energon, Megatron grew in power as its infection grew. To this extent he came up with a plan to reach the core of Cybertron, and infect the very core of their homeworld. In the battles he fought to obtain the Omega Key, he used those powers to open doors or destroy Anti-Aircraft Cannons. As he sought the key to the planet's core, Megatron battled Omega Supreme, and through the use of Dark Energon corrupted his systems and defeated him, allowing him access to the core of their world.
Following this, Optimus Prime embarked on a mission to reach the planet's core and rid Cybertron of the infection. As he and his own team ventured to the core, they witnessed the Dark Energon's corruption first hand. When they finally did reach the core Cybertron's sentient mind told them they were too late, as the planet's very Spark had been corrupted; however it also told of a way to save the planet. If the core were to shut down, the planet would be able to heal and purge itself of the infection. The process would take millions of years, during which the planet would be uninhabitable. Being the only way to save their homeworld, Optimus Prime reluctantly agreed. To make sure that hope remained, and that the Autobots always had a piece of their homeworld, Cybertron's core gifted to Optimus a piece of what remained of it's pure spark, shaped like the Matrix of Leadership, and the Autobots began evacuating the planet.
The Dark Energon that infected the planet would not be removed until millions of years later, during which the Transformers had to abandon their homeworld, migrating all over space, making Dark Energon partially responsible for all of the events that happened in the years after the civil war.
Dark energon has a number of effects and side effects:
- It can be used as a very strong power source, just like regular Energon.
- It can be used to force open heavily locked doors and override other electronic devices.
- Any device that uses Dark Energon will begin to grow dark, spike shaped crystals from it, referred to as "corruption", they will continue to grow, with continued use, and or exposure to Dark Energon, reaching to other devices which it will corrupt upon contact, these spikes are also hazardous and will harm anyone who touches them. Direct exposure to Dark Energon by a Transformer will overwhelm, and destroy them. Megatron however was able to control it, presumably due to his evil spark and will. As said by Starscream any Transformer exposed to it would be destroyed instantly. Megatron proved however, that if a Transformer is exposed to dark energon by another Transformer, who is able to control it, it will keep them from being destroyed, while yielding all the power.
- Dark Energon crystals are also capable of spawning Energon Spiders. However, it has not been revealed at this time whether they come from the crystals directly, or if Trypticon was able to manipulate the growth of the Dark Energon he released in some way.
- Dark Energon can revive dead Cybertronians. Megatron used this ability in Transformers: Prime to revive an army of dead Cybertronians on Earth, which Optimus and Ratchet promptly battled and defeated, and then used it to revive all the dead on Cybertron and bring them through the space bridge, which was destroyed when he touched the first one that came through.
The violet-glowing Dark Energon supercharges any Transformer who ingests it, making them stronger, faster, more powerful...and more aggressive. It turns pain into pleasure, rendering any blows inflicted on a user futile and heals their wounds as well. However, it also acts as a powerful narcotic, filling the user with thrilling, dark sensations and causing addiction. Dark Energon withdrawal turns the user into a raving brute desperate to do anything for more. If the craving is not satisfied, the user devolves to a beast-like state and eventually dies.
- Those who imbibe Dark Energon have been seen to project it from their bodies for various destructive purposes, such as attacking enemies, overloading computers, and bringing machines under their control. When a user is killed, the energy acts like a sentient thing (a worrying aspect for a force originating from Unicron) and flies from their corpse to empower any other user nearby.
- Pieces of Cybertron infected by Dark Energon tend to turn purple and explode upward into twisted, sharp spikes and growths of metal. Some Dark Energon wielders have even shown the ability to detonate a cluster of these spikes in order to produce a group of mechanical spider-like creatures, which swarm anything nearby.
- A Cybertronian corpse injected with Dark Energon will reanimate itself as a feral zombie, intent on destroying all in its path. They are mostly mindless berserkers, but can be commanded by a living Cybertronian who has also been corrupted by the evil energy.
- It has been shown (in the cartoon series) that if part of a reanimated Cybertronian corpse is cut off from the main body, it loses its function to animate. So far in the show, two exceptions have been shown: Cliffjumper's corpse still moving even after being cut in half and Skyquake's arm moving on its own after falling off the body. (It is unknown whether the fact that each were revived by a single shard is a factor to these exceptions.)
- It should be noted that in Transformers: Fall of Cybertron Megatron was revived with the use of Dark Energon, but suffered no ill effects, let alone be zombified.