Phlebic White was originally marketed to the public as “the world’s first intelligent lubricant,” a slogan which holds to this day. Rather than passively facilitating motion in the same manner as oil or grease, this pearlescent substance does so actively. Every droplet of the fluid contains millions of individual, microscopic cells, which wobble, throb, and vibrate when exposed to heat. They learn from repetitive motion, as well as from interactions with one another, allowing them to become a churning milk of pressurized horsepower.
Of course, describing Phlebic White as a “lubricant” is a significant understatement of the substance’s role in industrial processes. In order to perform its function, the fluid feeds on the same fuel source as the engine that it operates within. This may at first seem counterintuitive, as the purpose of a lubricant is to reduce the amount of heat lost to friction, rather than feed upon it; however, the net amount of energy expenditure of the machine at large is still typically reduced by its presence. This is because Phlebic White takes energy that would have already been lost to the environment, and uses it to restructure the interior of the machine itself. By expanding, contracting, and contorting in response to the surrounding mechanical landscape, Phlebic White actively alters the structure that it “lubricates,” and in some respects, seizes control of it. Industrial equipment under its influence is often impossible to control externally, and, in such cases, can usually only be turned off through starvation of fuel.
Because of this, any and all machines employing Phlebic White are legally classified as automatons. While the degree of “intelligence” displayed by the lubricant is questionable, it has shown some degree of sophistication in laboratory tests. For example, when poured into a custom chassis with a somewhat canine shape, Phlebic White has been able to learn how to move from place to place on its legs, and even search for its own fuel sources like an animal would food. Though no court has ever recognized Phlebic White itself as being a living substance, there is certainly a case to be made for it.
Though it is not yet available for public consumption, rumors have begun to emerge of the existence of a "Phlebic Red," a similar substance intended for direct transfusion into the bloodstream. According to those who vouch for its existence, only a few modifications to the original formula are required to allow the pale variety to survive in an organic environment, such as the introduction of hemoglobin into its synthetic cells. Those who allow it in find that it makes automatons of their own bodies, allowing them to relax behind their own eyes and watch their lives go by.