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Sentient Phlebotinum

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"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 Monster Organ Trafficking, Powered by a Forsaken Child and Artifact of Doom.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach:
    • The Hogyoku, which Aizen was aware of and used to further his plans of self-evolution to become a god. However, he didn't see it deciding to take back that power at the climax of his battle with Ichigo at all, which Urahara gambled it would do if Ichigo pushed Aizen to his absolute limits and set up a Kido trap to activate and imprison him the moment that started to happen.
    • And in a far less plot-important example, Kon.
  • Calumon from Digimon Tamers is in fact the Light of Digivolution given life.
  • Innocence from D.Gray-Man; it's implied/stated how Innocence "chooses" people or something like that.
  • Getter Rays from (what else) Getter Robo are either this or a Sentient Cosmic Force.
  • The Shikon No Tama from Inuyasha, created when a powerful miko fought a horde of demons. Unable to win, she sealed the horde in the jewel, along with her own soul.
  • The Evangelions.
  • Recent events in Toriko seem to indicate that Gourmet Cells are this.
  • The Paksis in Vandread.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • In Empowered, it's gradually revealed that the super-suit is sentient to some unknown degree.
  • New Gods:
    • 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.
    • The Apokoliptian counterpart to the Mother Box is the Fatherbox. It too is sentient. Unlike the Mother Box, it is manipulative and controlling... not unlike Darkseid himself, one of the worst fathers in comics. When Orion was given a Fatherbox to replace his seemingly dead Mother Box, it tried to turn him back to Darkseid.

    Fan Works 

  • The angels in the various angel sports movies: e.g. Angels in the Outfield.
  • The antagonist of Sci-Fi movie Fire From Below. It is a radioactive substance, useful for both a power source and armor plating when depleted. The problem is it seeks certain substances to burn with virtual sentience.
  • The Crystal Skull from the Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
  • Star Wars: The kyber crystals that power lightsabers are Force-attuned and capable of communicating with Force-sensitives that wield them. The reason Sith lightsabers are always red is because the Sith Mind Rape their crystals to make them stop pestering them to turn to the light side of the Force.

  • 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.

  • Zamonium in "The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear" is a sapient, super-intelligent and regrettably very hostile chemical element.
  • Dust in His Dark Materials. It's later revealed to be God itself
  • The One Ring from The 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.
  • 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 The Migax Cycle, the seserance has a bit of a mind and will of its own.
  • 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.
  • Simon R. Green's Secret Histories series concerns this, first with the family's enchanted armor is powered by an 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.
  • The Starchild Trilogy: The baby rogue star created by Cliff Hawk in Rogue Star. It is a living creature of unimaginable power, and quickly grows beyond his abilities to contain or constrain it.
  • In Those That Wake, Man in Suit is hopelessness given life.

    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 'decommissioned', and because Lightning Can Do Anything, sudden powerful electric shocks can meld the current user's personality and memories to the doppelganger 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.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Any magic item in some editions of Dungeons & Dragons can be made intelligent — this is most frequently found in weapons, but nearly anything enhanced by magic can be given intelligence. Most artifacts, in fact, are intelligent, and have specific agendas of their own. Any intelligent item can hold back on granted powers if it feels like it (generally, if the wielder isn't doing something the item wants — in at least two cases, this can include living), and sufficiently strong ones can force users to take particular actions.


    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • Dead Space: It comes as something of a shock near the end of the game that the Marker, the immobile piece of alien Phlebotinum (well, a manmade copy of the alien Phlebotinum anyway) at the center of the events, is intelligent and has been manipulating you the entire game through audio-visual hallucinations. Later games in the series drop the mystery, as Isaac (the player character) already knows that.
  • 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.
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition: Lyrium, given that it can be corrupted by the Darkspawn Taint like any other living creature. The corrupted form being Red Lyrium.
  • In Freedom Force Versus The Third Reich, Energy X turns out to be this. And not exactly a nice entity, either.
  • Gears of War: Imulsion, used worldwide as a cheap, clean, and efficient fuel, is actually a parasitic lifeform that infects and mutates other living creatures as part of its reproductive cycle.
  • 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.
  • Metroid Prime: Phazon. It also happens to be evil.
  • The lums in Rayman. They're small orbs of energy which usually float towards you. The Backstory in Rayman 2: The Great Escape reveals that they combined their collected consciousness to create Polokus, who would then create the world.
  • Skullgirls: The Skullheart
  • Suikoden: The 27 True Runes have wills of their own, and will force their human hosts to use them if they lack the willpower to resist. And will arrange circumstances in which their hosts to have no choice in the matter, if it comes to that. Most of them don't think anything like a human, though.
  • The Phlebotinum in Undertale and Deltarune are Human SOULs, so, of course they're conscious.
  • 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 Will of Magic from El Goonish Shive, an alien intelligence with Blue-and-Orange Morality. Turns out when MAGIC ITSELF is intelligent, stuff can get weird.
  • The tar from Sam & Fuzzy. Over the course of history, it's been used (intentionally or otherwise) to create entire races of "inhumans" (from vampires and werewolves to talking cats and scheming, immortal, dinosaur politicians). It's known to take on physical forms and properties based on the thoughts (even subconscious) of those near it. Turns out, prolonged exposure to one or more minds can permanently imprint on it, creating one or more independent minds within the substance.

    Western Animation