Phlebotinum-Handling Equipment

Some Phlebotinum is (more or less) harmless to living beings; it can be handled, carried around, or stored in everyday containers without any long-term side effects for those transporting it. Other forms of Phlebotinum are hazardous stuff in their own right, where prolonged exposure, physical contact, or even sniffing the fumes can have harmful, permanent, and/or fatal consequences.

In order to manage or transport the latter kind, you need Phlebotinum-Handling Equipment. This be anything from simple gloves (or a Hazmat Suit) to avoid physical contact, specially marked containers to keep the material secure and prevent it from irradiating the surrounding areas, or specialized machinery used to handle the material remotely (especially if it there is a lot of it). Sometimes Phlebotinum-Handling Equipment may itself run on a different kind of Phlebotinum, or provide effects that counter or neutralize the hazards presented by the Phlebotinum being handled. The specialized equipment may also be used to alter the material's States of Phlebotinum later.

See also Phlebotinum-Handling Requirements. Contrast Dangerous Phlebotinum Interaction when using two Phlebotina together makes them harder to handle instead.


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    Comic Books 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Andromeda Strain (1971): waldoes were used inside the sealed biohazard room while processing the title disease.
  • The "live forever" potion in Death Becomes Her is in a crystal vial that stands up on its end even though it comes to a point.
  • Moonraker: the scientists in Hugo Drax's lab use manipulators for part of their processing of the deadly poison. Unfortunately they use manual manipulation outside a sealed area for the rest, so after James Bond fools around with the vials one of them is knocked down and broken, killing them (2:15-3:50).
  • Resident Evil: when the T-Virus containers in the sealed area are being placed in the suitcase to be stolen, they're manipulated with waldoes.
  • Star Trek (2009): The Red Matter had to be held in a floor to ceiling plastic (glass?) containment unit and pulled out by a syringe one drop at a time.
  • From the Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Captain America: The First Avenger: The Tesseract is moved with special cases and held using tongs. We see why when Red Skull grabs it directly and seems to die.
    • Thor: The Dark World: The Aether is contained initially by two giant stone blocks, and later with a handheld box for transportation.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy: The Orb is itself the equipment, preventing unwitting users from grabbing the Power Stone.
    • Avengers: Infinity War: The Infinity Gauntlet allows its user to handle the 6 Infinity Stones including the three above, Power Crystals which even on their own tend to kill anyone who tries to use them.

  • Lone Wolf:
    • Lone Wolf's magical sword, the Sommerswerd, radiates such goodly power that it acts as a beacon to evil beings. On the occasions when Lone Wolf has to sneak into the hometurf of such beings, he has to keep the Sommerswerd sheathed in a Korlinium scabbard. The people who give him the scabbard warn him that the instant he draws the sword his cover will be blown by the sword's aura, so he should only wield it when he's in striking distance of the Big Bad.
    • Lone Wolf's lieutenant in the New Order series has the same problem with the Moonstone, which he carries in a Korlinium-laced satchel during his travels, as to not attract the attention of Naar's agents. It works quite well.

  • Labyrinths of Echo has a lot of these.
    • Such as protected spellcasting chambers enchanted to contain even the most destructive effects.
    • The prize goes to Death Gloves, one of most dangerous magical weapons around. These are mostly used by emitting a ranged attack, but a touch also turns anyone into spoonful of very fine ashes, and cannot be deactivated, short of placing into an Anti-Magic area. One prequel mentions that the inventor died before completion of this artifact, and the mage who picked up his notes and half-finished glove soon "vanished". The modern safety protocol requires a would-be wearer or maker to paint a protective rune on each nail with non-dissolvable ink, and one more on the roof of mouth with a poisonous ink — not enough to kill, but enough to leave permanent change in the body. And even with protected hands, it's "scratch your nose and die" deal. Thus, while armed, but not in battle, to mechanically prevent a glove's contact with anything not scheduled to instant and very thorough destruction, the user wears another glove on top, covered with a different set of runes for protection of non-living material.
  • Played with in Duty Calls, where Ciaphas Cain just stows a mutation-causing artifact in a standard carrying case, seemingly cancelling its effects. However, his aide Jurgen is a blank, and is the one actually preventing the device from working. Once the rogue inquisitor holding them hostage gets out of Jurgen's range...
  • Probably true of the sanctified cloths used to wrap Blackened Denarii, whenever they're captured by Knights of the Cross in The Dresden Files.
  • The Sell Swords: Artemis Entreri's Evil Weapon Charon's Claw can be wielded by anyone wearing a special magical glove. Without the glove, only people with very high willpower and discipline can hold Charon's Claw without being consumed by its evil power. Artemis is able to wield Charon's Claw without the glove, a fact that raises an epic level monk's (said monk is also able to hold Charon's Claw with no ill effects) opinion of Artemis considerably.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The purple goo in Warehouse 13 used by Pete and Myka to neutralize artifacts, functionally similar foil bags, and to a lesser extent their purple latex gloves.
  • Ordinary gloveboxes (see Real Life) are used in Stargate SG-1 when studying alien pathogens and the like. This fails when they are studying a virus-like nanotechnology, which starts eating through the gloves.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Norse god Thor had an iron glove named Iarn Grieper which allowed him to wield Mjölnir, the hammer of thunder, without being burned.

    • As Energized Protodermis either transforms or destroys whatever it touches, there are special containers that able to hold it, such as a vial the Toa Metru sought in Maze of Shadows, another vial in Time Trap, and Zamor Spheres.
    • Exsidian from Bara Magna is used as an ingredient in making Energized Protodermis resistant materials.

    Video Games 
  • In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, there is the Wraithguard gauntlet that is needed to handle Keening and Sunder (magical knife and hammer, deadly when handled with bare hands) safely.
  • Half-Life:
    • Half-Life 2's gravity gun was originally used for handling dangerous stuff required for Dr. Vance's research.
    • As was the HEV suit throughout the series for that matter.
    • And the cart Gordon used to push the Green Rocks in Unforseen Consequences.
  • The Command & Conquer: Tiberian Series, has the eponymous Tiberium, green rocks from outer space, that needs special equipment to handle, like Harvesters or Weed-Eaters. It is very toxic and mutagenic to Earth life, and will kill unprotected infantry very quickly. This isn't the case for the Scrin. On the contrary, they need Tiberium to survive. Their infantry is actually healed while standing on Tiberium.
  • Raw lyrium in Dragon Age is extremely toxic. The only people who can safely handle it are Dwarves and the Tranquil. Even they run the risk of lyrium poisoning by either breathing it in or getting it in their bloodstream. Dwarves usually transport lyrium in carefully sealed barrels before processing it. None of these measures are sufficient for handling Red Lyrium, a far more powerful and dangerous version of lyrium. As Varric puts it, Red Lyrium is lyrium like a dragon is a lizard. Makes sense when it's revealed that Red Lyrium is lyrium Tainted by the Blight.

    Web Original 
  • Inverted in The Mercury Men: The Mercury Engineers wear special suits not because the Gravity Engine is dangerous to handle, but because they are made of light and can't handle it without wearing the suit.
  • The standard SCP Foundation artifact entry lists what the thing looks like, the many, many safety precautions and equipment needed to handle it, and how it was found.
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: Wonderflonium may or may not be this. We see it in a case with a warning, but the warning merely cautions the reader not to bounce the Wonderflonium.
  • Inverted in Not Always Right. Save It on a Flesh Drive mentions inability to use a capacitive touch screen while wearing gloves.
  • Fenspace: Handwavium is a somewhat downplayed example, merely requiring gloves and a dust-mask for most uses. Jeremy Clarkson apparently insisted on a full Hazmat Suit when handling it himself, but then that was probably Rule of Funny in-universe.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons: Springfield Nuclear Power Plant has the previously mentioned gloveboxes, and once (Rule of Funny) had legboxes too.
  • On The Super Hero Squad Show, Infinity Fractals have to be held in containment units, as touching them can have completely random effects.
  • Futurama has a box which holds an alternate universe, and later, contains the same universe that it is in.
  • The Sword of Tengu from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003 series is a powerful Magitek sword. So powerful that it harms its wielder unless the wielder is wearing a special gauntlet. Splinter has the discipline and strength needed to wield it without the gauntlet, but he is left badly weakened afterwards. The Shredder can wield it without the gauntlet too but that's because he's really an alien piloting a Mobile-Suit Human. He's not actually holding the sword.

    Real Life 
  • Remote Manipulators (a.k.a. "waldoes") are often used for this purpose.
  • Gloveboxes
  • Antimatter must be kept in a magnetic trap. For now this is just because the antimatter will be lost if it touches anything else but one day a mass large enough to be dangerous might be contained the same way.