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Fanfic / Assimilation

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Assimilation is yet another Young Justice (2010) Self-Insert Fic, written by Satire Swift and posted on Sufficient Velocity. It's also posted on Spacebattles by the same author.

One moment Jacob Morgan was walking onto the subway, the next he found himself on an operating table surround by small lizard men. As these sorts of stories go, he was experimented on and transformed into something both more and less human. And, as these sorts of stories go, he managed to escape with the help of a fellow captive in the form of a certain alien warrior princess. By the time he got to Earth, he wasn't surprised to see the Justice League waiting for him. With nothing else left, Jacob decides to become the superhero Machina.


But what does it take to be a superhero? Powers? Circumstance? The people around you? The willingness to embrace being something other than human? Whatever it is, he'll have to pick it up. Because we all have to do it sooner or later.

It can also be read here.

Contains the following tropes:

  • Actually, I Am Him: When Serling asks Machina for the nanite sample, he's confused until he realizes that Ted Kord, who told Serling he was coming, must have failed to mention that he is the nanite sample.
  • Adaptational Badass: Kent Nelson gets this by suiting up as Doctor Fate one last time and being killed in battle by Klarion, rather than anticlimactically being sniped by him as in the show.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: Happens a bit from the events of the fic taking place around season 1 and featuring other characters from later seasons.
    • One chapter has an appearance from Deathstroke, who doesn't debut in the original show until the events of season 2.
    • Ted Kord (the second Blue Beetle), a Posthumous Character in season 2's backstory, is Machina's mentor and employer as the civilian head of Kord Industries.
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    • Toyman, who briefly cameoed in season 2 as a villain that the Reach-controlled Blue Beetle fought, is another antagonist that Machina goes up against.
    • Machina fights the Rogues in one chapter, with one of them, Captain Boomerang, making his animated debut as a member of the Suicide Squad in season 3.
    • Operatives of the Reach, some of season 2's main antagonists, also show up as a result of Khaji Da coming to Earth.
    • Retroactive cases happen with Troianote , Big Barda, Sumaan Harjavti, and Highfather, characters added to the fic while seasons 3 and 4 was still being written and before any confirmation they were in the show.
  • Adaptational Late Appearance: By contrast, various characters from Cadmus only appear much later, as Machina was not present for the Team's breakout of Superboy. It's only when Machina goes with Superboy to Cadmus that Guardian, Dubbilex, and the Genomorphs finally appear.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • The Elemental Kingdom of Machines is refer as the Silver rather than the Metal in the comics, as it is a fitting nod to the other Elemental Kingdoms' color schema.
    • The Bio-Ship is named Roma and the New Genesphere / Super-Cycle is dubbed Rommie.
    • The Reach Ambassador and the Reach Scientist are named Diplomat Kel'lec and Engineer Argo.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Machina's battle with Amazo sees the android disarmed and assimilated, so the Team doesn't subsequently encounter its creator Professor Ivo in the mission that happened afterwards. Subverted when Ivo did later turn up once more and played into the background of Red Tornado via his former partnership with T. O. Morrow.
    • The Fog going rogue and killing Professor Ojo likewise changes the narrative of the mission against the League of Shadows, preventing Hook, Black Spider, and Cheshire from being visibly encountered. It becomes a subversion for Cheshire as she later returns to Rhelasia (where she was mentioned having previously been active) for another assassination attempt on Serling Roquette.
    • Machina joins Superboy in Cadmus for a chapter that loosely adapts the reveal of Genomorph City, but the story instead focuses on them teaming up with Animal Man to fight the fungus creatures of the Grey, with Match repurposed into a host body for the Grey, with the steroid shields removed from the narrative.
  • Androids Are People, Too: The Fanfic.
  • Arch-Enemy: Machina has two personal adversaries, the Calculator, who uses the same technological powers and has attempted to hack control of Machina at various points, and General Sumaan Harjavti, who seeks to get even with Machina following the hero hurting him enough to become a cyborg.
  • The Assimilator: Hey, it's part of the title.
    • Machina can assimilate any technology he consumes due to being a mass of nanites. In an interesting subversion, he doesn’t get the data from said technology, though, as he has no real way to mentally parse and understand data.
    • Starfire can learn new languages through skin contact. She does this by kissing because it's "more fun".
  • Atrocious Alias: Sportsmaster, at least to Jacob. To the point where it actually helps motivate him to fight the villain.
    Narration: But I refused to lose to a man who willingly chose to call himself Sportsmaster!
  • Behind a Stick: The New Genesphere is designed and programmed to go into new environments, collect data, and occasionally hide. Rommie is good at two-thirds of these things, as she demonstrates when she tries to hide behind a park bench, a tree, and a bush. Note that Rommie is a seven-foot-diameter gray sphere made of alien technology.
    Jacob: Oh my God how are you a Scout Class?!
  • Birds of a Feather: Starfire and Wonder Woman are both very badass beautiful ladies from nonhuman origins. Their friendship was basically fated.
    • Machina and Starfire as well, at least with their starting circumstances. Both had their old lives taken away from them, and have no real way to return. Which eventually leads to their Relationship Upgrade.
    • Starfire and M'gann both bond quite easily, being friendly, upbeat aliens far from home with incredible powers trying to survive on Earth.
  • Canon Immigrant: Starfire is the obvious one in relation to Young Justice (and by extension the other characters in her origin such as the Psions and Blackfire), though Troia does also technically qualify, as her inclusion in the fic was before she had a cameo in season 3 (though Greg Weisman's Word of God did say she had been a member of the Team prior to season 2, the fic bumps her up to meeting them during the events of season 1).
    • General Avery Sunderland, a minor Swamp Thing antagonist, is also encountered at one point and is the focus of a mission where he traffics individuals for test subjects to bind with cybernetics controlled using the Red. The Calculator also becomes another major antagonist for Machina to fight, and a brief cameo from Swamp Thing is mentioned by Wonder Woman.
    • Joining Swamp Thing in the interludes is Animal Man and Vixen, additional elemental heroes, with Animal Man later teaming up with Machina and Superboy.
    • One chapter had Mister Miracle and Big Barda (based on her comic portrayal as this was written before it was revealed in season 3 she had yet to defect from Apokolips) meet up with Machina.
    • General Sumaan Harjavti shows up during the Team's mission in Bialya operating an Apokoliptian mecha, written before he was introduced in season 3 as Greater Bialya's ambassador to the United Nations. This allows him to retain his rank as general from the comics.
    • A brief cameo from Gemworld is featured as a dimension accessed in the Tower of Fate, complete with a cameo from Amethyst.
    • Doctor Light is mentioned in an incident to have killed Earth-16's Jacob Morgan.
    • The Amazons of Paradise Island are featured in one chapter, as is, due to the association with technology, the god Hephaestus.
    • Several elements, including Troia's birth mother and adoptive mother, from Who Is Donna Troy? are featured in another chapter to explore Troia's backstory.
    • Machina's fight with the Rogues sees Mirror Master, Golden Glider, and Trickster appear, plus a reference to Weather Wizard.
    • Elements of the WildStorm Universe are adapted into the story, which include Serling becoming The Engineer, Jacob/Machina's nanites are tapping power from the Bleed, and Science City One from Planetary.
  • Composite Character:
    • The civilian scientist Serling Roquette injects herself with Machina's nanites, and turns into the liquid metal powered Engineer, originally a Wildstorm character named Angela Spica.
    • T. O. Morrow, specifically the robotic body double that carried out the goals of the real one, reveals Magma Man powers and names himself Vulcan, filling the role of his final creation Red Volcano.
    • Ocean Master's scheme is aided by feral creatures known by names such as Trenchers or Deep Ones. Their deep sea origins and being named Trenchers recall the Trench, feral creatures that are associated with Atlantis but live in deep water. Their name as Deep Ones, along with them being infused with Apokoliptian tech, recalls a group of aquatic Apokoliptians known as the Deep Six.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: Jacob's ansible form. Upsides: He can communicate with telepathic people when in this form, like Miss Martian or the Bioship. Downsides: That's all he can do. He has to use his whole body to do it.
    • On the plus side, it boosts psychic coordination of the Team when he uses it to make a true hive mind, able to share knowledge at the speed of thought. This becomes useful when he gets trapped during the attack on the Tower of Fate and can't do anything but be in his ansible form.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Serling is extremely traumatized by her kidnapping and Near-Death Experience that she creates nanomachines to stop being a Distressed Damsel.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • In this fic's version of the Fog mission, the Fog kills League of Shadows agent Professor Ojo as it gains sentience, whereas normally he survives and is taken to prison.
    • The villainous telepath Psimon is killed off during a mission where he captures Miss Martian and she is forced to become a Burning Martian to fight him off, leading to his death.
  • Did Not Think This Through: Serling transforms herself into a cyborg to avoid being a helpless Distressed Damsel. Yay for girl power. Unfortunately, the university she works at disagrees. Known metahumans in campus are too much of a liability.
  • Different World, Different Movies: Jacob initially says that the Young Justice world is the best universe because it has five seasons of Firefly. He then retracts it when he finds that they never made Farscape.
  • Dragon Ascendant: General Sumaan Harjavti, whose body is augmented with Apokoliptian technology, takes over Queen Bee's place in the Light after her disastrous confrontation with Machina.
  • Elemental Powers: As explained by Queen Mera from Atlantis, everything falls under an Elemental Kingdom's jurisdiction such as the Green. It's strongly implied that Machina is actually contributing to a whole new Kingdom's birth, specifically one for technology. This is eventually confirmed by Hephaestus, blacksmith of the Olympian gods, that Machina is becoming an elemental and will form his own Parliament. He does ends up becoming the Avatar of technology, the Silver, during his battle with the Dweller and forming his Parliament which includes Red Tornado, Vulcan, Serling/Engineer, and the Fog/Calculus.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Black Canary is convinced that Jacob actively dislikes her since he seems angry around her, refuses her aid, and acts irreverant around her until she leaves. The truth is, though, it's just a string of bad luck on her part- the first time she talked to him, she stomped on a whole bunch of issues he had by accident (that were the result of him witnessing four people die when he tried to save them from Amazo). He refused her training not because he was mad, but because as a shapeshifter he needed to learn how to fight as one and not a human. And he acts irreverant because he's not great at being around people- it's not anger or malice, that's just who he is.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Orm/Ocean Master taking control of a Lovecraftian Eldritch Abomination winds him up insane and being dragged away by said entity to a very unpleasant fate.
  • Everyone Can See It: The Justice League outright opened a betting pool on how long Machina would keep denying his feelings for Starfire. Oh, and Superboy and Miss Martian don't fool anyone.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: When he meets the Justice League, Jacob cannot help but remark the heroes are smaller than he expected... until he realizes he actually grew bigger since his own transformation.
    • Inverted when he meets Big Barda and Mister Miracle- they're taller than he is, which he wasn't expecting (due to his new height).
  • Extreme Omnivore: Tamaraneans can eat anything. Really anything. Their cooking is quite particular as a consequence. Examples include "Chicken and Waffle Lasagna."
  • Failed a Spot Check: Machina inwardly chides himself for not remembering Ocean Master being Orm after going through the trouble of defeating him and the Dweller.
  • For Science!: Dr Serling Roquette is extremely passionate about her work, for science's sake of course. However, after a near death experience and seeing what the resident nanomachine swarm is capable of, the woman starts to have ideas that drift into the Mad Scientist realm.
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot: Wally really likes the Pseudo-Romantic Friendship M'gann and Kori have. To cheer him up since he couldn't kiss Starfire to teach her any new languages, Machina told Kori that M'gann knew the native Martian language, so she kissed her. Wally most certainly approved.
  • Gone Horribly Right: A thankfully mild example, but Machina tries exposing Conner to blue sunlight, under the theory that it will give him full Kryptonian powers. It does... which Superboy and Machina find out when lasers shoot out of Superboy's head, destroying the fancy helmet he was wearing and carving a trench in the wall.
    • Serling's Never Be Hurt Again experiment that turns herself into a nanite cyborg does work! Bad news, she's now classified as a Metahuman and thus the university can't keep her on the staff. Oops.
  • Hero of Another Story: During the Team's battle with Klarion and Abra Kadabra, they accidentally wind up in Gemworld and Machina briefly encounter Amethyst, who is also currently battling with her enemy. Machina and Amethyst waved each other awkwardly before heading off to their respective battles.
  • Heroic Safe Mode: During the entire Bialya mission, Machina is scrambling to collect his scatter teammates before the military finds them, and it was causing him a great deal of stress. This was until Queen Bee informed him that she had captured Starfire, and then made certain... threats regarding her. Machina's internal monologue, which had been consistent at this point, completely stops and doesn't start again until he finds her. The results of what happens in between are predictably bad for Queen Bee.
  • Hero Insurance: Following the Fog Incident, the head honcho from Cryptarch Industries is extremely displeased to see his research building trashed by a "metahuman freaks fight" and mentions the only reason why they have federal insurance against superheroes battling is their association with the military. Otherwise, the Justice League would leave them with an apology and nothing else.
    • A policeman has a more nuanced opinion when he discusses casualties with Machina: superheroes tend to leave a huge mess in their wake, but they're doing their best in not-always-perfect circumstances. And some people are always complaining.
  • Innocently Insensitive: M'gann pulls her canon "He's just a machine, so don't worry [about destroying him]" line for Mister Twister. Jacob fires back that so is he.
    • In the aftermath of the Amazo fight, Black Canary tries to give Jacob a motivating speech about his combat abilities, telling him that he did well but it's clear that he needs some instruction. It's meant to kick him into gear and say "You did good, but you can do better," but Jacob snaps and yells at her that one thing he's been requesting for in the month since he arrived at the mountain was that he get some- any- training whatsoever, and that if he'd had training, then four civilians who got in the way of the fight might have lived.
    • Jacob mentions to Artemis that it would be really, really stupid to have your hero name be the same as your real name, leaving her clenching her jaw and agreeing with him. It helps that he doesn't actually know her real name.
  • Interspecies Romance: Koriand'r is an alien descended from big cats, and Jacob is a mass of nanites held together by his formerly human mind. They end up dating.
  • Loophole Abuse: In one of his training sessions with Black Canary, Jacob is told that they will spar until one of them falls on their butt. In response, he makes light of it by shapeshifting into a spiked ball and telling her "How can you make me fall on my ass WHEN I DON'T HAVE AN ASS?!?" He then starts cackling while chasing her around the ring until she gives up.
  • More Dakka: Given how Machina can turn any part of his body into weapons, this is always on the table for him, and something Mister Twister discovered when the superhero kept making more and more laser canons.
    • A slightly more restrained version occurs later when his plasma cannon doesn't have a high enough fire rate, so he creates a plasma rotary cannon instead.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Kori, Kori, Kori. Since she doesn't have the same concept of "decency" than humans and is quite the Statuesque Stunner, she made Wally fall in lust with her at first glance and singlehandedly kickstarted Robin's puberty.
    • As she and others point out, however, there are good reasons for it- Tamaranians absorb solar energy through their skin, similar to Kryptonians (such as Superman or Superboy), so the less clothes they have on, the better it is for them. Additionally, they're so durable that clothes aren't really necessary for them, unlike they were for humans. So when Kori goes out into battle wearing a sports bra and shorts, she's not being foolish- she's being practical.
  • Mythology Gag: The Team really accuses a resemblance to Teen Titans: not only they have Starfire and Robin, they have a robotic member (Machina/Cyborg) and a green-skinned, cheerful shapeshifter (M'gann/Beast Boy).
    • Machina muses that Robin looks more like Tim Drake than Dick Grayson.
    • Kori's swimwear is actually her superhero costume from The '80s. Quite appropriate, actually.
    • When the Team decides to do Kareoke, Jacob sings "Am I Blue," which was sung by Batman in Justice League Unlimited, to convince Circe to turn Wonder Woman from a pig to her normal self. Because superhero stories.
  • Never Be Hurt Again: Serling's primary motivation for turning herself into a cyborg.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: The Light's investigations managed to find proof of a Jacob Morgan native to Earth-16... who died some years ago in a supervillain attack by Doctor Light.
  • No-Sell: Since he's not organic, Machina can't be contacted by telepathy unless he's in a very specific transformed state. This means that he's unfortunately left out of the loop if the Team tries to do the telepathic mindlink. It manages to save them a lot of time and effort in Bialya when the amnesia attack happens- he's not affected at all and is able to take down Psimon in seconds.
  • Oh, Crap!: Psimon is a Squishy Wizard with incredible mental prowess capable of taking down even martians- a race whose hat is telepathy. He's invested a lot of time and effort into his telepathic powers to the point where he fears very few people, even those who could rip him to shreds in seconds. Thus, his understandable reaction when he realizes that the being in front of him- Machina- is totally immune to his telepathic attacks and is brandishing powerful weapons in his direction.
    • Machina has this reaction himself when he interfaces with the Blue Beetle Scarab. The process unlocks some of the black boxes in his Nanites (revealing that whatever transformed him into a nanotech being has some form of connection to the Reach in the process). What REALLY causes this reaction in him is the invading Green Lantern (not from Earth), who proceeds to attack Machina and attempts to take him back to Oa.
  • Post-Modern Magik: Machina's technopathy looks more and more a case of this — he started able to do interesting things, but his growing power is rather ambiguous.
  • Put on a Bus: After the mission to Barcelona and the trauma she suffered during it, M’gann decides to take a brief leave of absence from missions, so that she can train with J’onn and get her mind and emotions back in order.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Martian Manhunter, after hearing Jacob's complaints regarding not getting training before being forced to fight Amazo, apologizes and accepts that Jacob should have gotten some form of training, even if not from Black Canary. He also accepts that Jacob's concerns about Black Canary not being able to teach him how to fight are valid, so, as a fellow shapeshifter, he offers to be the one to train Machina how to fight.
  • Required Secondary Powers: One downside of Machina's new body? He can't swim anymore. His body is simply too dense, and he just sinks to the bottom.
  • Rescue Romance: Downplayed, but the Ship Tease is strong from the beginning between Machina and Starfire, since they mutually helped each other to flee from the Psions.
  • The Reveal: The device used to transform Jacob into a Post-Human is of Reach design, a predecessor to the Scarabs used by the modern Reach. Moreover, he is considered a Codex Archon, an agent of the Reach’s patron and master - The Dominion. Aka, the “dead god” Calculator gets his powers from.
  • Save the Villain: Machina and Queen Bee are on a cargo plane that is about to crash. The latter demands Machina to save her because he's "supposed to be a hero." Machina simply throws a parachute to her before flying away with Starfire.
    • Averted for Ocean Master/Orm. The Team does not save him from being dragged away, as he screams for their help, to an unpleasant fate by the Dweller, as he gets much deserved punishment for being responsible for waking up the aforementioned entity and putting New York City in danger.
  • Secret Identity: Subverted for Jacob. His control over his shapeshifting was poor to begin with, and he can't change his coloration, so mimicking a normal human wasn't possible. And by the time that it wasn't a problem or could be worked around, he found that he didn't really want one.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Simultaneous Arcs: Events from the show which Machina is not present for may occasionally be alluded to as an explanation why those heroes are not present in a current story.
    • The Team's mission to stop General Avery Sunderland and Calculator coincides with the events of the episode "Downtime", explaining why Aqualad is not available for this mission.
    • During Machina's adventure in Rhelasia against the War Dogs, other rogue Rhelasian forces, and Cheshire, when only Starfire and Rommie come to help, it is explained Superboy and Miss Martian are undercover in a prison, alluding to the events of the episode "Terrors" where they infiltrated Belle Reve.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Red Inferno and Red Torpedo never get melted, and T. O. Morrow's android copy becomes Vulcan and has a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Team Member in the Adaptation: In addition to Machina himself, Starfire becomes an operative of the Team. The Light also acquires new agents in General Sumaan Harjavti and Calculator.
  • Technopath: Machina, since his nanites allow him to interact with technology and imitate it.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Kori has mustard, but she also has a notable inversion- Tofu. Because it so closely resembles the gruel she was fed by the Citadel, it brings back traumatic memories for her.
  • Unwilling Roboticisation: Being eaten by nanites certainly wasn't one of Jacob's primary goals when he woke up the morning he was abducted.
  • Villains Want Mercy: A defeated and deformed Ocean Master freaks out when the Dweller begins dragging him to the depths of the seas to be taken to his "throne" while screaming and begging the Team to save him. However, the Team are in no mood to save the man who woke up the Eldritch Abomination in the first place.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: A Martian staple. Because Machina has shown a gift for it, the Martian Manhunter decides to teach him some things.
  • Warrior Princess: Koriand'r, of course. Diana and Donna Troy also quality. Jacob at one point dwells on how he's met so many in such a short time frame and starts wondering if M'gann is one. She denies it.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Machina tends to interact with sufficiently sapient robots as if they were people. Contrasting with this, the Light and associates refer to him as "this new League weapon".
  • The Worf Effect: Deathstroke of all people finds himself at the end of this. At the hands of a newly cyborged Serling Roquette.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Hilariously subverted when Jacob uses an infrared laser to disable the engine of a helicopter, and saying that in the real world, it's actually very hard to get gasoline-based engines to explode, and just damaging it will make it stop working without a fireball. Then Jacob realizes that he's not in the real world, he's in a superhero universe, and that the tropes of such apply... three seconds before the chopper goes up like a bomb.
    • When Jacob tells Hawkgirl about what her DCAU counterpart did (betrayed her people to save the earth) she doesn't go into a despair spiral or get angry about it, she just criticized a few aspects of the story, then announced that that version of her isn't her and that what other versions of her did have no real bearing on what she does.
    • He anticipates this when he met Prince Orm in Atlantis, only knowing the character based on his appearance in Justice League, and is wary that he could either be evil, or he could be decent (since this Orm is more polite).
  • You Can't Go Home Again: For Kori, that's because Tamaran was invaded by the Citadel and coming home would mean being captured again. For Jacob, that's because he doesn't know how to get back to his home reality, not to mention his issues mentioned in the Secret Identity trope above.