A Wetware Body is when a biological Host
is possessed by a computer or other artificial intelligence (named after a casual term for the biological equivalent of hardware, as in Wetware CPU
). This can lead to the host acting either like a machine (monotonic, unemotional, unfocused on anything but objective) or as it normally would (if the possessing A.I. is a good actor). In science fiction discussion circles it's often referred to as "cybrid", after the moniker used in Hyperion Cantos
, however, the concept is rare enough that the term remains relatively obscure.
Frequently this process has the side effect of causing the A.I. to feel emotions for the first time, which may act as the trigger to self-awareness and empathy, or like a virus that inevitably destroys the mechanical hijacker.
Wetware Body characters are most likely to appear in Sci-Fi horror genres, or in stories where machines and artificial intelligences are common, or at least present by some capacity.
A subtrope of Meat Puppet
Note: Becoming a Wetware Body means you are the host
, not the possessor. For the other way around, see Wetware CPU
. Do not confuse with Wet Sari Scene
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Anime & Manga
- Ghost in the Shell has what amounts to technological zombies; human corpses with the frontal lobe replaced by a transmitter so their body can be manipulated by an A.I.
- This is more often done by a remote control hacker, however. In the manga Human-Error Processor it's suggested locking a person suspected of being a remote-controlled zombie into a room that's a complete Faraday's cage, making it impossible for the signal to reach him, while in the 2nd Gig series it's revealed that a zombie was controlled through a wired transmitter in the same room, since the encounter was deep underground where conventional wireless signals can't reach.
- It's implied in Suzumiya Haruhi that Yuki and the other Data Interfaces are something like the cybrids from Hyperion Cantos. See the Literature section for more details.
- Evy is the unfortunate Wetware Body for Sideswipe in the fanfiction Transformers: Juxtaposition. Does not quite fit the trope in that Sideswipe is not an unfeeling AI (quite the opposite) but there are no other tropes that fit this peculiar time-share relationship.
- 02-Ef A9 learns how to do this in Nobody Dies Six A Is One Continent. Interestingly, the moral issues on the part of the AI are explored, as 02-Ef is one of the story's protagonists.
Films — Live Action
- The Hyperion Cantos has a peculiar spin on this: Human bodies (with no memories) are grown so that an AI can take over; the AI-in-a-human-body is termed a "cybrid." The interesting thing about them is that they tend to act as human, rather than like machines (because the AIs in the Hyperion universe are remarkably human), and many if not most are based on historical personalities (one based on John Keats is central to the story).
- A major subplot of Xenocide involves finding a Wetware Body for Jane.
- In the Star Trek novel Q Squared one of the alternate timelines has Data as a positronic brain in a biological body. He and his android counterparts discuss the advantages and drawbacks.
- Robert A. Heinlein's novel Time Enough for Love has one of these created.
- The Ursula K. Le Guin novel City of Illusions features a society which considers that a proper use for mentally inferior people.
Live Action TV
- In the Stargate SG-1 episode "Entity", an alien computer intelligence that had previously taken over the base's computer system jumps to and takes over Samantha Carter's body in order to communicate its intentions.
- In the Season 7 episode of Star Trek: Voyager entitled "Body & Soul", the Doctor has to hide from a race who doesn't allow photonics. He downloads his program into Seven of Nine's consciousness and takes temporary control of her body, using it to indulge himself in way he wouldn't normally be able to do. Primarily by overeating and getting intoxicated. Hilarity Ensues.
- Several show up in Lexx notably 790 series cyborgs, moth-breaders, and mantrid drones note .
- Bioshells from the GURPS setting Transhuman Space are bioroids (or more rarely, reconstructed corpses) whose brains have been replaced with hardware so they can be used as a shell for an AI or Ghost.
- In Eclipse Phase AGIs can be sleeved in biomorphs just as easily as the average human can be sleeved in a synthmorph. They can also inhabit someone's mesh inserts or a "ghostrider" implant, and control them with a "puppet sock".
- The Murakumo units in the BlazBlue series are a set of Power Armors that prefer to body-jack artificially-created young women to act as hosts for their Omnicidal programming.
- Lynx in Chrono Cross turns out to be the host of the FATE computer system which has been manipulating the islands for thousands of years.
- Girl Genius: At some point prior to the story, Lucrezia Mongfish was conducting experiments in transferring minds between organic and mechanical bodies. Her "finest work" was the Muse of Protection, Otilia, whose mind was placed into the organic body that came to be known as Von Pinn.
- In Schlock Mercenary, Petey uses illegal cloning equipment to create multiple flesh-and-blood bodies for himself. This allows him to suborn Tauseggian ships by simply throwing the loyalty switch on their AIs and then issuing new orders.
- After one of DoytHaban cyborgs got his brain cooked with a laser shot, his Haban part (implanted AI) chose to regrow the tissue and "extend" into now-blank brain, thus becoming a hybrid AI/wetware entity. He even got married later.
- Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger: The commander rents a biosynth hybrid positronic AI in a bioengineered body as a somewhat snarky "bloodhound".
- AI in Red vs. Blue—or at least certain ones—are capable of taking over the mind and body of the soldier whose armor they're in. In fairness, although the Freelancer Project didn't stop using AIs after discovering this, they did try to remove the one who started it. Emphasis on the word try, as O'Malley had figured out how to Body Surf at this point. The others shown to be capable of this are Tex and Church, who both simply take over the body of the person they "possess", and Sigma, who, like O'Malley, is more about influence than direct control. On the other hand, even if an AI is not taking over their partner's body, they still can affect their mind and thought process to some degree, as seen by the examples of Carolina (went nuts after getting two AIs implanted) and Washington (went nuts after Epsilon went nuts while implanted).
- Washington is arguable as the Reconstruction and later Season 10 suggest that his "madness" was likely due to learning of the horrors that Director Leonard Church inflicted on Alpha-Church (and, by association, Epsilon-Church). Upon waking up and realizing Carolina had gone temporarily insane due to conflicting AIs, Wash argued the same happened to him so that he could begin his lifelong campaign of trying to expose The Director while rescuing Epsilon and Alpha.
- In Worm, Dragon uses mindless Meat Puppets that she can upload her consciousness into to pilot her Powered Armor, as a way of getting around her hard coded behavioral restrictions.
- Code Lyoko stars an antagonist A.I. named XANA, who later into the series gains the ability to possess living creatures, its logo usually illuminates and appears in a person's eyes or forehead to reveal this.
- Courage the Cowardly Dog focuses an entire episode on the house computer possessing the bodies of the old couple that the protagonist lives with, only to grow bored and return to being the computer after much hijinks ensues to prevent the Wetware bodies from being harmed/completely DESTROYED beyond medical help.
- Muriel only though. Eustache spends most of the episode as a talking head, after the computer accidentally breaks him.