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Phlebotinum-Handling Equipment

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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, and Containment Clothing.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Subverted in Record of Ragnarok, Thor's Járngreipr gloves are required to safely wield his hammer Mjolnir. But when they're destroyed, it's revealed the exact opposite is the case: The Járngreipr restrain Thor's power so he won't accidentally destroy Mjolnir before it's fully awakened.

    Comic Books 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Andromeda Strain: Waldoes are 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.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: Infinity Stones are Power Crystals which even on their own tend to kill anyone who tries to use them barehanded.
    • Captain America: The First Avenger: The Tesseract (which contains the Space Stone) is moved with special cases and held using tongs. We see why when the Red Skull grabs it directly and it opens a wormhole that teleports him to Vormir. It's actually perfectly safe to handle for short periods of time, as Nick Fury manually locks it in a briefcase at the beginning of The Avengers (2012), but the Tesseract does not tolerate being misused, and it punished Red Skull for that crime.
    • The Avengers (2012): Loki's Scepter contains the Mind Stone, which has similar properties to the Tesseract. Almost everyone HYDRA exposes to it later dies, save for Wanda and Pietro Maximoff. From Age of Ultron through Infinity War, the Mind Stone is embedded into Vision's forehead.
    • Thor: The Dark World: The Aether is the Reality Stone. It is contained initially by two giant stone blocks, and later with a handheld box for transportation.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014): The Orb is itself the equipment, preventing unwitting users from grabbing the Power Stone — Ronan puts the stone into his hammer to use it.
    • Doctor Strange (2016): The Eye of Agamotto is a necklace that carries the Time Stone.
    • Avengers: Infinity War: The Infinity Gauntlet allows its user to handle all six Infinity Stones including the five above, This is because they emit high levels of gamma radiation. Even with the Gauntlet equipped, using the power of all of the Stones at once causes severe damage to its wielder. Thanos has the entire left side of his body burned, and the Gauntlet fused to his hand, by doing two snaps with it: first to wipe out half of all life in the universe, then another one to destroy the Stones to avoid further temptation.
    • Captain Marvel (2019): When the characters encounter the Tesseract, only Carol can safely touch it, because her powers were reverse engineered from it. At this time, none of the characters know what exactly it is capable of, but Nick Fury is wary. Carol half-jokingly suggests that they get an oven mitt. It ultimately turns out not to be necessary because Goose the cat-slash-Flerken swallows it, and her stomach makes for a perfectly serviceable Stomach of Holding.
    • Avengers: Endgame: Since the Infinity Gauntlet was destroyed, Tony Stark creates another gauntlet using his nano-tech. The Nano-Gauntlet has the advantage of being able to fit anyone (it can modify itself thanks to its nanotechnology), but it also seems to provide less protection from the Infinity Stones' gamma radiation. Professor Hulk is the only one who could survive using it once since he has very high resistance to gamma radiation already, and even then his right arm is still (possibly permanently) ruined. While Tony is killed when he gets the Infinity Stones into his own Iron Man armor and does his own snap to erase Thanos and his forces.
  • 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 (2002): 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.

  • In The Chathrand Voyage, the Nilstone grants whoever wields it nigh-infinite magical power — and also kills anyone who touches it in a matter of moments, so long as they fear death (which is most people). However, the temptation of the Nilstone's power means that people have found various ways around this — the Scepter of Sathek is a less powerful artifact that, among its properties, allows its wielder to safely hold the Nilstone in one hand so long as they hold the Scepter in the other, while a potion from the Underworld that temporarily removes the drinker's fear of death may also be taken to permit safe handling of the stone.
  • The sword Nightblood is one of the most dangerous artifacts in The Cosmere. When unsheathed, it drains life out of the user (unless provided with Investiture like Stormlight), and a single nick devours the soul of the victim. Even when sheathed, it acts as an Artifact of Attraction for those who want to use it for evil, but otherwise, the worst it can do is ask the user to draw it. The sheath is made of aluminum, an Anti-Magic metal.
  • Played with in "Duty Calls", where Ciaphas Cain claims to have a device which suppresses a deadly-to-touch artifact, 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 with the artifact and what's actually the carry case for Cain's data-slate in hand...
  • Probably true of the sanctified cloths used to wrap Blackened Denarii, whenever they're captured by Knights of the Cross in The Dresden Files.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In The Enchanted Forest Chronicles story "Utensil Strength," an oven mitt must be worn to handle the Frying Pan of Doom - unless you're the proper person to wield it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Norse god Thor had a strength-doubling belt called Megingjord and an iron glove named Iarn Grieper which allowed him to wield Mjölnir, the hammer of thunder, without being burned.

    Tabletop Games 

    • 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.
    • The Great Beings had to forge a special set of tools to be able to hold the Mask of Life without getting cursed by it. Notably, they still couldn't do anything about the shocks of energy it gave off from being touched, but physical pain was a far better alternative to any number of curses it could inflict otherwise.

    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • The Darkness II: The Deciever's Grasp is a Darkness artifact that uses a human sacrifice to prevent the user from getting themselves killed and sent to hell while using the Abyssmal Maw, a miniature flamethrower whose victims are sent directly to hell. Unfortunately, Jackie isn't allowed to use this awesome weapon combination because nobody knows the command phrases for either of them.
  • 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. Even with careful handling, this only manages the risk of spontaneous explosion; it could still light off without warning. 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.
  • In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, you must be wearing Wraithguard (an enchanted gauntlet) in order to handle Keening and Sunder (a dagger and a hammer required to tap into the Heart of Lorkhan) without dying instantly. And in order to even wear Wraithguard, you must sacrifice a large portion of your health, permanently. If acquired the "standard" way, through Vivec, he will take you "outside of time and space" so that it doesn't harm you. Admittedly, the permanent loss of health may be a scripting errorExplanation 
  • Half-Life:
  • Metroid Prime: Samus' Phazon Suit protects her from Phazon exposure. Without it, she takes damage from standing in Phazon. With it, she no longer takes damage from blue Phazon (red Phazon is more powerful and still inflicts damage through the suit). In Corruption, she gets a PED Suit, which allows her to heal from Phazon exposure.

    Web Original 
  • 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.
  • Inverted in Not Always Right. Save It on a Flesh Drive mentions inability to use a capacitive touch screen while wearing gloves.
  • 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.

    Web Videos 
  • 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 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.

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama has a box which holds an alternate universe, and later, contains the same universe that it is in.
  • 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.
  • 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 
  • Hazardous Materials, or Hazmat, have a large group of laws and regulations regarding their handling and shipping. More dangerous materials cannot be shipped through cities or tunnels, and the most dangerous and reactive of materials such as Chlorine Trifluoride are usually manufactured on site rather than risk shipping them at all.
  • 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.