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Sentient Phlebotinum
I am creation and destruction. I am the power to transform and to destroy. I am every drop of Energized Protodermis that exists, and every drop is me. I am as far beyond you, creature of armor and tissue, as you are beyond an insect.
— Energized Protodermis, BIONICLE

That Applied Phlebotinum you've known about and have been using since ever? It's alive ... question is, what are its intentions?

Often it has the ability to regenerate From a Single Cell. If it's also biological it may also be a Living Battery. May or may not be an Empathic Weapon or Living Weapon.

See also Mainlining the Monster, Powered by a Forsaken Child and Artifact of Doom.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Innocence from D.Gray-Man; its implied/stated how Innocence "chooses" people or something like that.
  • The Hougyouku from Bleach.
    • And in a far less plot-important example, Kon.
  • The Shikon No Tama from Inuyasha
  • The Paksis in Vandread.
  • Getter Rays from (what else) Getter Robo are either this or a Cosmic Horror.
  • The Evangelions.
  • Recent events in Toriko seem to indicate that Gourmet Cells are this.

    Comic Books 
  • In Empowered, it's gradually revealed that the super-suit is sentient to some unknown degree.
  • The Blue Beetle owned by the various Blue Beetles has been retconned into this over the years. It was originally introduced as a magical Egyptian artifact that gave superpowers to Dan Garrett, but by the time it passes to a third owner Jaime Reyes it turns out to be a sentient alien machine that gives the wearer a rather ridiculous range of super powers, at the cost of controlling their body and suppressing their personality.
  • Something that the New Gods are always trying to explain to Muggles but that the Muggles never really understand is that the Mother Box devices they use for so many things are actually sentient. The name derives from the fact the boxes feel maternal and protective toward their owners, and the owners in turn feel great affection for them and will mourn them if they are destroyed. The reason Muggles are always dubious about this is that Mother Boxes don't talk, they just make a sort of "pinging" noise that the New Gods seem to be able to understand.

    Film 

    Folklore 
  • Japanese legend claims that a personal item that is used and cared for for a hundred years will take on a life of its own.

    Literature 
  • Dust in His Dark Materials.
  • Simon R. Green's Secret Histories series concerns this, first with the family's enchanted armor is powered by a evil fugitive extradimensional being that eats newborns. The replacement is possibly a good guy, but being a Starfish Alien it's not easy to tell its complete motives.
  • In The Magic Thief series, by Sarah Prineas, Conn discovers that the magic of Wellmet is actually a living being, and that spells are its language.
  • In Those That Wake, Man in Suit is hopelessness given life.
  • The One Ring from Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. It can betray its masters, call out to its true master, and actively seeks to be brought to Sauron.
  • One of the most notable differences between the TV and novel continuities of Robotech is that the novels claim that the protoculture substance everybody is fighting over is itself collectively sentient, and that it has been "shaping" the events of the story to achieve its own ends. With the notable exception of Lazlo Zand, and possibly Emil Lang and the Robotech Masters, nobody seems to be aware of this. At least part of the reason for this addition to the story appears to have been to Hand Wave some plot points the novelization authors found otherwise illogical.

    Live Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: you see that blue police box that can travel through time? Well, it's not just the Doctor's space-ship. 'It' is a 'she', and often chooses where the Doctor lands. Furthermore, he didn't steal a ship. She stole a Time Lord.
    • In the new series with the 11th Doctor, the Flesh is synthetic organic material that can be molded into an Artificial Human, then used "like a forklift truck" for dangerous situations. Only we discover that it remembers each time is has been 'decomissioned', and because Lightning Can Do Anything, sudden powerful electric shocks can meld the current user's personality and memories to the doppleganger leading to a sad What Measure Is a Non-Human? situation.
    • And then there's The Moment. The power by which the Doctor ended the Time War by ending everyone and everything in the Time War, including his own people, is very much sentient, and helped the Doctor make his decision by letting him meet his future selves. In the end, the Doctor indeed makes the choice to take the new option opened by the presence of the other Doctors, but preserve the timeline by making it look like he went to such drastic measures. Unfortunately, the Doctor still remembers the old history.

    Toys 
  • BIONICLE: Energized Protodermis and Antidermis.

    Video Games 
  • Metroid Prime: Phazon. It also happens to be evil.
  • Metatron in Zone of the Enders, the resident Phlebotinum, is at least Psycho Serum and possibly sentient. Without an AI intermediary to "filter" a pilot and metatron the pilot tends to go insane and (in the above case) construct a virtual ghost of a dead lover to embody their genocidal tendencies.
  • The lums in Rayman. They're small orbs of energy which usually float towards you. The Backstory in Rayman 2 reveals that they combined their collected consciousness to create Polokus, who would then create the world.
  • In Freedom Force Versus The Third Reich, Energy X actually turns out to be Sentient Phlebotinum. And not exactly a nice entity, either.
  • Gears of War 3: Immulsion, which is a parasitic lifeform.
  • The magic cloth in Journey appears to have sentience and, in fact, different species within itself, from small scraps that float through the air together like fish, to a more familiar tassled Flying Carpet style, to a massive dragon-looking creature. They emit tones just like the traveler, and aid you on your travels.
  • The evil artifacts in Department 42: The Mystery of the Nine had a limited sentience that enabled them to escape the good guys' storage facility and seek out new owners.
  • Echoplast in Alter Echo is a variety of "plast" (material which can be shaped and reshaped psychically) developed in secret by the Big Bad which ended up becoming sentient.
  • Skullgirls: The Skullheart

    Western Animation 
  • Generator Rex: Alpha, the original control nanite. He was made sentient to be able to properly control the nanites to do tasks, but that didn't end too well. Any body he makes for himself is basically a swarm of nanites as well... Until he burns through them and has to get more nanites to build another new body, at any rate.
    • The Meta-Nanite has some sort of intelligence since Rex could talk to it and order it to cure every Evo in the world. Well, almost every one.
  • In the Justice League episode "Hearts and Minds", the Pitar is sentient and very unhappy with what the Big Bad is doing with its power.
  • In Young Justice, The Scarab constantly talks with its host, Jaime. It later turns into a Phlebotinum Rebel when placed back under Reach control, as it prefers working with Jaime to being ordered around by the Reach.
  • Heavily implied in the case of the Ice Crown on Adventure Time, most notably when it froze the world out of rage at its wearer's death in an Alternate Universe.
  • Voltron: The Third Dimension asserted that the robot lions had at least an animal sort of intelligence, and a telepathic link with their pilots.


Sentient Cosmic ForceApplied PhlebotinumSharpened to a Single Atom
Leaking Can of EvilThis Index Has a Mind of Its OwnSnarky Inanimate Object

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