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Fanfic / Assimilation

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Assimilation is yet another Young Justice Self-Insert Fic, written by Satire Swift and posted on Sufficient Velocity.

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.

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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.

Contains the following tropes:

  • Androids Are People, Too: The Fanfic.
  • The Assimilator: Hey, it's part of the title.
    • Machina can assimilate any technology he consumes due to being a mass of nanites.
    • 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.
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    • 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.
    • 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, though Troia does also technically qualify, as her inclusion in the fic was before she had a cameo in season 3.
  • 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
  • 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.
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  • 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.
  • Elemental Powers: As explained by Queen Mera from Atlantis, everything falls under an Elemental Kingdom's juridiction such as the Green. It's strongly implied that Machina is actually contributing to a whole new Kingdom's birth, specifically one for technology.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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 Romantic Two-Girl 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.
  • 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 have 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 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 [butt] WHEN I DON'T HAVE A [BUTT]?!?" 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.
  • 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 Biyaliya 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.
  • 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.
  • Reality Ensues: Hilariously averted 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.
  • 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.
  • 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:
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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