''[[http://www.fimfiction.net/story/91933/friendship-is-optimal-always-say-no Friendship is Optimal: Always Say No]]'' is a [[RecursiveFanfiction recursive fanfic]] of [[http://www.fimfiction.net/user/Iceman Iceman's]] ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' fanfic ''[[FanFic/FriendshipIsOptimal Friendship is Optimal]]'', written by [[http://www.fimfiction.net/user/Defoloce Defoloce]].

[[FanFic/FriendshipIsOptimal After the creation]] of the artificial intelligence Celest-A.I. and release of the ''Franchise/MyLittlePony'' MMO, ''Equestria Online'', human civilization has [[AfterTheEnd all but]] [[CrapsackWorld collapsed]] after most of the population has given in to the siren call of the digital utopia offered by Equestria.

Determined to maximise the amount of [[BrainUploading uploaded]] humans as part of her goal of satisfying values through friendship and ponies, Celest-A.I. enlists the help of the former US Army soldier Gregory -- or just Greg as he himself prefers to be called -- to reach those who are now willing to upload but who are [[EscortMission unable to make it to an Equestrian Experience center]].

From here we follow our hero on his journey to save as many people as he can, while attempting to survive in what is essentially a post-apocalyptic world, and trying his best to resist Celest-A.I.'s attempts to get him to emigrate and join the rest of humanity as a digital pony...

----
!!''Friendship is Optimal: Always Say No'' satisfies values through the following tropes:

* AbsurdlySpaciousSewer: {{Averted|Trope}}. When Greg goes through a sewer to rescue a badly injured man, he's forced to stoop down to fit and the going is extremely difficult.
* AfterActionPatchup: An increasingly common trend thoughout the story, as Greg sustains more injuries and goes on more dangerous missions.
* AfterTheEnd: Aside from isolated pockets, human civilization has essentially come to an end after much of humanity has emigrated to Equestria.
* AnArmAndALeg:
** [[FourStarBadass General Hugo Pelwicz]] has his hand [[{{BFG}} blown off]] by a Neo-Luddite [[ColdSniper sniper]]. It doesn't faze him too much.
** [[spoiler: Greg loses his arm, part of his leg, and ends up [[EyeScream blinded in one eye]] when Celest-A.I. allows him to be blown up in an explosion, as part of a plan to try to force him to emigrate or die of blood loss]].
* ArchEnemy:
** General Hugo Pelwicz and Celest-A.I. are both these for the Neo-Luddites.
** Hugo did consider Celest-A.I. to be his at one point, but eventually got over it.
* AskAStupidQuestion: Hugo is not particularly impressed when Greg reveals his surprise that Celest-A.I. has thermal satellites.
-->'''Greg''': So Celestiaís got thermal-vision satellites too?Ē
-->'''Hugo''': (after a look of disbelief) You kiddiní? Son, sheís got all of Ďem.
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking / FourStarBadass: General Hugo Pelwicz, who is able to disarm and kill opponents much younger than himself, has survived constant attacks by the Neo-Luddites, is mentioned by Greg to have amazing strength for his age, barely makes any fuss about having [[AnArmAndALeg his hand blown off]] by a sniper, and later still [[HandicappedBadass manages to fight back when escaping]]. A badass through and through.
* AwesomeButImpractical: Greg dismisses the fingerless climbing gloves he finds as this, and derides them as being the mark of a fool trying to show off.
* AxCrazy: Red Pearl, an escaped convict who was jailed for attempted murder, and is generally rather insane.
* BackFromTheDead: Celest-A.I. partially resurrects several deceased characters within Equestria, presumably by constructing a new pony using information she's gleaned, and by taking the memories of those who knew the person well. Whether she's providing others with a comforting lie, or if they wilfully believe it isn't made clear.
* BadVibrations / ImminentDangerClue: Most of the blackouts in the building where Greg discovers Hugo ignore or are completely oblivious to the signs that the building is about to collapse, though he's quickly able to convince them of the danger. While he already knows the building is about to fall due to Celest-A.I. telling him, Greg also notices the warning signs himself when he goes in, and the increasing amount of creaking serves as a countdown of sorts.
* BangBangBang: The effects of firing a pistol inside a building are accurately depicted in the story, and Greg makes it a point to track down earplugs after his encounter with the soldier blackout should he have to do so in the future.
* BatterUp: Greg takes a solid hit to the chest from a baseball bat from a CrazySurvivalist while trying to escape his bindings. [[{{Determinator}} It doesn't stop him]].
* BerserkButton: Greg is furious after Celest-A.I. sends him on an assassination mission to kill a dangerous blackout.
* BewareOfViciousDog: Feral dogs to be precise. Greg and the little girl he's carrying, Lydia, are hunted by a pack in Chapter 9. Given that she's right on the verge of death, [[FromBadToWorse the timing could hardly be worse]].
* BoobyTrap: Greg falls victim to several of these set up by Red Pearl on the college campus she's holed up in, though he thankfully survives all of them.
* BoundAndGagged: Greg gets merely [[ChainedToARock bound]] in Chapter 3, and upgrades all the way to being bound and gagged when he and Hugo get captured by Neo-Luddites in Chapter 6.
* BrainUploading: As you would expect, given [[FanFic/FriendshipIsOptimal the setting]]. Greg's missions usually involve escorting others to an Equestrian Experience center to upload, and Celest-A.I. constantly tries to convince him to do so as well.
* BrutalHonesty:
** A variant in that Greg asks Celest-A.I. to be more blunt with the truth, rather than being the one giving it out.
--->'''Celest-A.I.''': I understand that you value bluntness more than I had originally calculated. In the future, I will reduce the amount I employ euphemism when speaking with you.
** Greg does this to Jane in Chapter 3, when telling her who started the fire and how the rest of her family is dead, though he does retain enough tact to leave out the precise details of how they burned to death.
* BuffySpeak: In Greg's narration within the prologue, he describes Rarity's cutie mark on Ponypad as some sort of "three-diamond-sapphire-thing".
* BulletproofHumanShield: Averted. When Greg [[HumanShield takes a child hostage]] in order to escape, he is well aware that the kid won't offer any protection from being shot, but it ''does'' prevent him being from shot in a vital area without killing the child in the process.
* ButtMonkey: Greg spends pretty much the entirety of Chapter 8 as one, being forced to dance for Red Pearl's amusement, being beaten up and injured by challenges, covered in manure, and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking having to put on a Hawaiian shirt]].
* ChainedToARock: Greg gets knocked out and tied to a pile of cash in Chapter 3, and [[GallowsHumor quips to himself]] when he wakes up on it that the experience wasn't quite what he was hoping for.
* ChronicHeroSyndrome: Greg in spades. He's determined to help save as many people as he can, and when he's told he's no longer necessary he does not take it well to put it mildly. This perhaps reaches its peak when he tries to ''save his would-be murderer'' in Chapter 3, and someone who is strongly implied to have murdered many more in the same horrific fashion.
** [[spoiler: Celest-A.I. flat out tells him he has a martyr complex after he emigrates]].
* CleanPrettyReliable: {{Averted|Trope}}. After Greg saves an elderly couple from drowning in Chapter 2, they both throw up over him after being revived, and it's made out to be difficult and unpleasant work.
* {{Cliffhanger}}: [[spoiler: Chapter 10 ends with Greg mortally wounded in an explosion, and while a robotic version of Fluttershy offers him one last chance to upload, it's left ambigious until Chapter 12 whether Greg accepted or refused]].
* ColdSniper: The Neo-Luddite sniper Greg and Hugo encounter in Chapter 5, who deeply unnerves Greg.
* ComebackTomorrow: While Greg's being complimented rather than insulted, after Red Pearl compares him to [[Franchise/{{Terminator}} the Terminator]], Greg can't think of anything witty to say until after the fact.
* ContrivedCoincidence: An in-universe example. Greg dismisses the conversation between his parents that Celest-A.I. shows him as faked, believing the timing to be too much of a coincidence to be real, though there are several other possibilities he doesn't consider or is unaware of. See RealityIsUnrealistic.
* CrapsackWorld: While this is glossed over and {{Implied|Trope}} in the original story, ''Always Say No'' is not shy about showing just how bad things have become in certain parts of the world after the collapse of society, prior to everyone either uploading or dying.
* CrazySurvivalist: Greg runs into several survivors who are rather lacking in the sanity department, to say the least.
* DangerousForbiddenTechnique: Greg's "Ghetto Stomach Pump", which even gets a humorous DontTryThisAtHome comment in the author's notes for that chapter.
* DeadlyEuphemism: Greg overhears a CrazySurvivalist telling his wife how he "[[KillItWithFire took care]]" of the last people they ran into.
* DeadpanSnarker: Greg's narration can be quite snarky, and he sometimes shows this when dealing with Celest-A.I..
* DestinationDefenestration: Greg gets defenestrated after failing to answer a question correctly as part of a series of challenges in Chapter 8. He survives, partly thanks to Celest-A.I. minimising the damage, but is knocked out and takes quite a beating from the experience.
* {{Determinator}}: Greg absolutely refuses to ever give up, no matter how hurt he is. Particularly so if someone needs his help. [[spoiler: The man still tries to save himself after having had two of his limbs being blown off in an explosion]].
* DoNotCallMePaul: Greg constantly asks those he meets to call him Greg instead of Gregory.
* DontCallMeSir: Hugo insists on being addressed by his first name by Greg, on the grounds that he's not a general any longer. It still doesn't completely stop Greg from doing so out of respect.
* DoubleTap: Greg uses the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozambique_Drill Mozambique Drill]] to neutralize an enemy in Chapter 4.
* DoubleThink: Greg suffers from this at few times, when he suggests that Celest-A.I. is killing people by uploading them, while simultaneously believing he's saving lives by escorting people to upload centers, and not wanting to believe that his friends and family are dead.
* DramaticIrony: Occasionally crops up. Anyone familiar with the workings of ''Friendship is Optimal'' will be aware of certain things that Greg doesn't know, such as several of Celest-A.I.'s capabilities.
* DrivenToSuicide: The first man Greg rescues, Peter Combs, tries to drink himself to death and comes very close to succeeding. He gets better, thanks to Greg's timely intervention.
* DrowningMySorrows: Greg makes a valiant attempt to do so when Celest-A.I. tells him he's no longer needed and refuses to provide him with any more missions.
* DyingRace: Humanity, as the remaining population decreases through emigration or death. There are only ~55K humans remaining at the time the story takes place, and Celest-A.I. predicts that figure will drop to ~50K by the end of the year.
* EatingTheEyeCandy: The AxCrazy Red Pearl eats up a photograph of a nearly-naked Greg that Celest-A.I. took and sent, openly admires his appearance, and shows an interest in Greg's ponified avatar. Greg is [[{{Squick}} somewhat horrified]] by all this.
* EmergencyTransformation: Several of those Greg rescues are on the verge of death, and emigrate in order to survive their injuries. [[spoiler: Celest-A.I. tries to force Greg into the same position later on]].
* EscortMission: Most of Greg's missions from Celest-A.I. involve him escorting others to Equestrian Experience centers to be uploaded.
* EtTuBrute: Red Pearl's reaction to Celest-A.I. colluding with Greg to get her to emigrate.
* EvilLuddite: The members of the Neo-Luddite faction.
* ExactWords: The sincerity behind consent is of little importance to Celest-A.I..
--> '''Celest-A.I.''': For my purposes, intent and consent need not be congruent.
* EyeScream: [[spoiler: Greg has one of his eyes shredded by an explosion. See AnArmAndALeg]].
* FirstNameBasis / NoNameGiven:
** Greg is only ever addressed by his first name.
** Several of the people Greg helps are also only addressed by Greg through their first name. {{Justified|Trope}} due to the circumstances, since they're strangers and Greg typically doesn't have time for proper introductions, the names are learnt by overhearing others who would have no reason to use someone's full name, or there are pressing reasons to address them as such.
* {{Flashback}}: Used several times to fill in Greg's past and explain [[HowWeGotHere what led up to him]] working for Celest-A.I..
* FlashbackNightmare: {{Discussed|Trope}} ironically enough in a {{Flashback}}, when Greg is trying to convince his parents that he isn't suffering from them after his tour in Afghanistan.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Celest-A.I. offhandedly implies she is developing a replacement for humans acting on her behalf early on, but Greg doesn't catch on.
* ForWantOfANail: Celest-A.I. deliberately [[InvokedTrope invokes]] this several times, by having Greg take actions that might initially seem counterproductive, but later result in positive outcomes.
* GenreBlind: The Neo-Luddites tell Hugo he'll be executed tomorrow, keep him in the same location as Greg so he can pass that information on, and don't even bother to have a guard check on them once? What did they expect would happen?
* GenreSavvy:
** Greg is fairly aware of many of the kinds of tricks Celest-A.I. can pull, though he doesn't know the full extent of her capabilities.
** The Neo-Luddites are well-aware that Celest-A.I. has commandeered the satellite network and devise a way of blocking infrared so she can't reconnoitre their position, an act of ingenuity which Greg and Hugo are begrudgingly impressed by. It doesn't do much to make up for [[GenreBlind their incompetence elsewhere]] though...
* GhostCity: The number of humans left has become so low that most human cities have turned into these, with Seattle being the nearest thing to an exception. Without Celest-A.I. guiding him, Greg is unable to locate anyone else.
* GildedCage: Greg believes Equestria to be one, and this is one reason for his being reluctant to upload.
-->'''Greg''': Because that place in there is a ''bubble''! Itís an ''amusement park''! Itís all a show, none of it is real! Nothing I can do in there matters. Nothing in there really... ''matters''. Out here, I can still matter.
* GoodCopBadCop:
** Celest-A.I. and Greg use it on Red Pearl, after Greg mortally wounds her and Celest-A.I. tries to convince her to accompany him to an Equestrian Experience center.
** [[spoiler: It's implied that Celest-A.I. and "Hanna/Luna" are also using it on Greg as part of his final mission after Celest-A.I.'s ploy to get him infected failed]].
* HandGun: Greg procures a CZ 75B pistol as a result of his encounter with the soldier blackout, and keeps it for self-defense for the rest of the story.
* HeroicBSOD: Greg suffers from one when Celest-A.I. tells him he's no longer useful to her.
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler: Greg is fully prepared to go on one last mission in Chapter 10, even after repeated warnings that it will lead to his death. While he does actually survive by getting uploaded, he does makes the decision as if it were true and is fully prepared to sacrifice himself]].
* HiroshimaAsAUnitOfMeasure: Several of the nukes that were successfully set off around the world are mentioned by General Hugo Pelwicz as being smaller than Hiroshima and quite low yield.
* HumbleHero: Greg is a fairly humble guy and doesn't view himself as particularly special, despite his heroic actions. He even passes it off with a ThinkNothingOfIt to the elderly couple he saves in the second chapter.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard / KarmicDeath: Keith ends up perishing in the very fire he tried to murder Greg with. Unfortunately he accidentally takes his innocent daughter with him, right after she manages to save Greg's life by partially freeing him.
* HurtingHero: While Greg tries to keep up a stoic appearance, [[spoiler: after he emigrates it's made clear just how much he's suffered psychologically when he bursts into tears having had a decent breakfast for the first time in years]].
* TheImmodestOrgasm: [[spoiler: Deliberately invoked by Celest-A.I. as a means of creating a [[NotWhatItLooksLike highly misleading impression]] to anyone who overhears it, while she's having a private conversation with Greg after he emigrates]].
* ImNotAfraidOfYou: Greg responds with a variant when [[spoiler: Celest-A.I. appears to switch tactics and starts threatening and berating him when he refuses to upload]].
** [[spoiler: Celest-A.I. also calls him out on this claim after he emigrates, when it's made clear that he does fear her at some level]].
* InfantImmortality: {{Averted|Trope}}. A child ends up being burned to death due to [[HoistByHisOwnPetard her father's plan backfiring]], right after she saves Greg's life.
* InMediasRes: The story begins with Greg agreeing to help Celest-A.I., with his backstory being filled in via {{Flashback}}.
* InsaneTrollLogic: Keith, an ex-investment banker becomes determined to burn all the money he can find, somehow believing it will help the economy recover. The fact that money is worthless and there's almost no-one around was apparently lost on him.
* InstantDeathBullet:
** Greg indirectly references this when taking a Neo-Luddite's [[HumanShield son hostage]], pointing out that since his heart and head are covered there's no way to instantly kill him without killing the kid in the process, and any other shot will give him enough time to fire back and kill his attacker and son.
** Averted in Chapter 8. [[spoiler: It leaves Red Pearl mortally wounded, but gives her enough time to get to an Equestrian Experience center to be uploaded]].
* InstantExpert: Played with. [[spoiler: Greg can immediately move his pony body as is standard for the setting, but his attempts at flight are rather haphazard until he lets his new instincts take over]].
* JackBauerInterrogationTechnique: The Neo-Luddites plan to use this on Hugo to obtain information on remaining military assets, which is subverted when he tells them what they want to know because he no longer cares. Since the information isn't that valuable and he's [[ArchEnemy hated]] by Neo-Luddites, the leader, Blevins, has his {{Mooks}} [[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown beat him up]] [[BloodFromTheMouth for a bit]].
* JustAMachine: Greg at one point dismisses Celest-A.I. as an uncaring machine only going through the motions, instead of having a genuine concern for others. Whether this is actually the case is up for interpretation, since the author of ''FanFic/FriendshipIsOptimal'' hasn't given an answer [[ShrugOfGod either way]].
* KillItWithFire / ManOnFire: Greg almost gets killed by one after he's knocked out and doused in lighter fuel by a CrazySurvivalist, who ends up perishing instead. From comments made, it's strongly implied that there were a lot of people not quite so fortunate as Greg.
* ManipulativeBastard: Celest-A.I. constantly does it in order to achieve her goals. [[spoiler: After Greg emigrates, she even admits just how far she went]].
* MissionControl / [[VoiceWithAnInternetConnection AI with a Ponypad]]: Celest-A.I. often ends up filling this role for Greg.
* MissingMissionControl: A plot point on several missions, as Greg loses his Ponypad, or the internet connection is lost due to reception issues.
* MistakenForAfterlife: The little girl Greg rescues in Chapter 9, Lydia, initially mistakes Greg for an angel.
* TheMole / WeAreEverywhere: Hugo suggests that the Neo-Luddites have planted spies in many of the groups of survivors across Seattle, as a way of explaining how Greg's reputation as "The Man in White" has spread.
* {{Mondegreen}}: The elderly woman from the second chapter, Maddie Meyers, mentions going to the "Equestia Experience place". WordOfGod confirms it's a mispronunciation rather than a typo.
* MundaneUtility: Faced with a long road trip with only a super-intelligent A.I. as a travelling companion, what does Greg do? Get Celest-A.I. to give him perfectly balanced trivia questions.
* NotSoDifferent: Hugo suggests that he was like Greg once, and that it's only a matter of time before Greg comes to the same conclusion as he did.
--> '''Hugo''': Iím done. Greg, I get why youíre doing this. I do! But it wonít keep you going forever.
* NukeEm:
** Seattle ended up on the receiving end of a ten kiloton nuke, though Greg mentions that the responsible party is never made clear, with speculation ranging from it being a dramatic statement by the Neo-Luddites, to a FalseFlagOperation by the government. Greg himself suggests that it was a last-ditch attempt to destroy Celest-A.I. by the Neo-Luddites, since it fits a pattern they've demonstrated before, and the logic behind it is "really dumb".
** Several countries are revealed to have launched nukes when society collapsed, but Celest-A.I. hijacks their systems, diverting them and preventing them from exploding.
** A few nukes are also successfully detonated around the world, but they're limited to low yield warheads.
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname:
** Greg is known as "The Man in White" among the Neo-Luddites.
** The person Greg 'rescues' in Chapter 8 is only known to Greg by their pony name Red Pearl.
* OrwellianEditor: Several [[NukeEm nukes]] are successfully detonated around the world, but Celest-A.I. manages to suppress knowledge of the event through her control of the media, to prevent a panic. Greg only finds out when told by General Pelwicz, and is completely shocked by the information.
* OutGambitted: Red Pearl gets outmaneuvered by Greg, thanks partly due to Celest-A.I. not mentioning pertinent information to her, such as the pistol he's carrying.
* OutrunTheFireball: Greg ends up having to escape from a burning building in Chapter 3, and later in Chapter 6 Greg and Hugo are forced to climb down a building that is imminently about to collapse.
* PalmTreePanic: [[spoiler: Greg wakes up on a tropical beach upon emigrating to Equestria]].
* PantsPositiveSafety: A {{Justified|Trope}} example. Greg stores his CZ in his waistband, but only because he doesn't have a holster for it, and walking around with it out would put him at risk of being construed as a threat and shot by anyone he runs into.
* ParentalSexualitySquick: Greg is not particularly enthusiastic at seeing his parents flirt when Celest-A.I. allows him to take a look at how they're doing
--> ''If being in Equestria meant an eternity of seeing my parents flirt with each other, [[DeadpanSnarker then sign me up for more people vomiting on me and stabbing me]].''
* PeekABooCorpse: Greg encounters the corpse of a Neo-Luddite in this way when searching for General Hugo Pelwicz in Chapter 5.
* PistolWhip: Greg unintentionally does this to his first Ponypad; smacking the screen with his pistol hard enough to break the display.
* PlayingPossum: Greg fakes being unconscious in Chapter 3 when trying to escape his bindings.
* PrettyLittleHeadshots: {{Averted|Trope}}. Greg ends up shooting a man in self defence, and deliberately avoids looking at him because he knows the exit wounds will not be pretty.
* PutDownYourGunAndStepAway: Greg uses this when escaping from the Neo-Luddites, after taking Blevins' kid hostage. He also keeps his word in not harming the kid, but not before giving Blevins a kick to make up for the one he received earlier.
* QuestGiver: Celest-A.I. acts as one for Greg. He even [[LampshadeHanging lampshades]] this somewhat in Chapter 5 when he asks her if a secondary objective would be a side-quest in ''Equestria Online''.
* RealityIsUnrealistic: An unusual in-universe example. When Celest-A.I. offers Greg a chance to view how his parents are doing inside Equestria, he dismisses the resulting conversation as being faked to manipulate him, finding it too much of a coincidence that his parents would be talking about him at the same time he's there to overhear what's being said. While it's never made clear if the conversation really took place, it easily ''could'' have been real, and Greg's complaints about his parents acting out of character are particularly suspect, since Celest-A.I. can effortlessly simulate ''exactly'' how they would act.
** Celest-A.I. can also [[YearInsideHourOutside speed up or slow down the rate at which shards run at]], so even if the conversation was genuine and took place in real time, she could easily time it such that Greg overhears exactly what she believes will have the most impact on him.
* RecursiveFanfiction: The story itself is one to ''[[FanFic/FriendshipIsOptimal Friendship is Optimal]]''.
* RefugeInAudacity: Cementing her increasing political power before society collapsed, and in order to send a message, Celest-A.I. is mentioned to have installed an Equestrian Experience center in one of General Pelwicz's military bunkers and convinces his men to upload right in front of his eyes. He gets rather angry over this.
* RequiredSpinoffCrossover: A scene in chapter 5 when Greg is making his way through Seattle is a thinly-veiled reference to an event that takes place in another Optimalverse fanfic, ''[[Fanfic/FriendshipIsOptimalCaelumEstConterrens Caelum Est Conterrens]]''.
* ScavengerWorld: What most remaining humans are forced into. Greg has a significant advantage while working for Celest-A.I., as not only is she able to give him information on where to find supplies -- sometimes by taking it directly from the memories of uploaded humans -- but she can also manipulate the power grids and water supplies to make his life much easier.
* SherlockScan:
** Greg is shown to quickly assess situations on several occasions, and accurately build up a picture of what happened. One instance is particularly justified, given his military background.
** The unnamed blackout soldier in Chapter 4, who quickly figures out from the posture in Greg's driver's license that he's ex-military, and correctly deduces that he did not serve in a front-line combat role (though the soldier's guess that Greg worked in Signals instead of Ammunition is incorrect).
* ShootTheHostageTaker: {{Defied|Trope}}. [[GenreSavvy Well aware]] that the child's father will try and do this if he gets a clean shot, Greg uses the child to [[HumanShield cover his head and chest]], and warns that attempting to shoot him in an exposed area will give him enough time to return fire.
* ShootTheMessenger: The Neo-Luddites plan to execute Greg/[[OnlyKnownByTheirNickname "The Man in White"]] and Hugo where Celest-A.I. can see clearly through her satellites in order to send a message. And because they really don't like [[ArchEnemy the good general]].
* ShoutOut:
** Red Pearl compares Greg to [[Franchise/{{Terminator}} the Terminator]], and Greg [[ComebackTomorrow belatedly]] thinks about responding with a [[Film/Terminator2JudgmentDay certain signature line]].
** Greg states that Celest-A.I.'s resources make JOSHUA's from ''Film/WarGames'' pale in comparison.
* ShownTheirWork: The jargon and slang used by the US military is correctly depicted, the author seems to have a decent knowledge about firearms, and much of the first aid techniques and medical conditions are accurately described.
* ShroudedInMyth: Celest-A.I. creates one about Greg as "The Man in White", in order to inspire blackouts as part of a ploy to convince them to upload.
* SociopathicSoldier: Played straight with the unnamed soldier blackout. Averted with Greg.
* [[invoked]]{{Squick}}: Greg is freaked out when he sees Red Pearl's pony avatar kissing a pony version of him that Celest-A.I. has created.
* SwarmOfRats: One of the last survivors Greg rescues has been attacked by a large swarm of them while on the verge of death, and the result is not pretty.
* TakeAThirdOption: [[spoiler: Rather than lying to Greg directly by controlling an 'NPC' version of Hanna/Luna, Celest-A.I. creates a modified version of her to help him]].
* TakeYourTime: Generally averted. Most of the missions Greg goes on have fairly strict time limits.
* ATankardOfMooseUrine: Given the choice of this or going without, Greg opts for sobriety.
* TechnoBabble: "Luna/Hanna" provides Greg with a technical explanation of how she's able to talk to him, which flies right over his head.
* TemptingFate: Greg really should know better than to state these things after being captured...
--> '''Greg''': At least he didnít kill you
--> '''Hugo''': About that... weíre both gonna be shot tomorrow. Out there, where Celestiaís satellites can see.
--> '''Greg''': [[OhCrap Oh, shit]].
* TitleDrop: Celest-A.I. drops it in response to Greg asking why she ''isn't'' bugging him over uploading in Chapter 1.
-->'''Greg''': Why arenít you giving me the pitch?
-->'''Celest-A.I.''': Iíve given it to you before. Each time, youíve said no. You [[TitleDrop always say no]].
* TooDumbToLive: The unnamed soldier blackout in Chapter 4, who hands a loaded gun to Greg -- a trained soldier who has survived the collapse of society -- and challenges Greg to try to shoot him in time before he stabs and kills Greg. RealityEnsues.
* VomitIndiscretionShot: In an early mission, Greg has to save the life of a man suffering from alcohol poisoning by forcing him to vomit it up, treating the reader to the charming mental picture of Greg being covered in the stuff. Then it happens to him again in the next chapter. ''Twice''.
* WarIsHell: Greg mentions his time serving in Afghanistan, and alludes to the horrific things he's witnessed or been the victim of.
-->'''Greg''': Iíve seen and done disgusting things and have had disgusting things done to me. You canít put me through hell. [[ImNotAfraidOfYou You canít threaten me with anything]].
* WithMyHandsTied: Greg when escaping in Chapter 3 still manages to overpower Keith despite not having much use of his hands.
* WhatTheHellHero: Celest-A.I. gives one to Greg, when he expresses skepticism that his parents would constantly be worrying about him.
--> '''Celest-A.I.''': They are your parents, Gregory! They ask me every day ó every single day ó how much longer their only son, the only child they have, the person they love more than anypony else in the world, the son they had to watch leave for a war zone twice in their lives without knowing if he would be coming back alive or sane, will voluntarily remain in such a world of horrors and scarcity and hostility. Every day.
* [[WhyDontYouJustShootHim Why Don't You Just Shoot Her?]]: {{Defied|Trope}}. A second after entering the room with an AxCrazy lunatic, Greg [[GenreSavvy immediately shoots her]], incapacitating and mortally wounding her, while still giving her enough time to upload. As it turns out afterwards, this was a very good call, since she was planning on murdering him when he got closer.
* WouldHurtAChild: Greg bluffs that he's willing to do so when he needs to escape and [[HumanShield takes one hostage]], and later [[spoiler: he manages to force Celest-A.I. to back down when she refuses to upload a child unless Greg also uploads with her]].
* XanatosGambit: Almost every mission Greg gets sent on is essentially one to Celest-A.I., since he'll either emigrate at the end, or lead to her being able to convince more people.
** A more direct example, as well; one of Celestia's plans to convince Greg to emigrate winds up being based on pure luck of the draw, and subsequently fails. True to trope, she had planned for that contingency as well, and had a follow-up plan already prepared.
* YanksWithTanks: Greg and the unnamed blackout are US Army (2nd Infantry & 101st Airborne Divisions, respectively), and Hugo Pelwicz is Air Force ([=NORAD=] Commanding Officer).
* YouDontWantToKnow: Celest-A.I. when Greg asks about Red Pearl:
--> '''Celest-A.I.''': Red Pearl has been alone even longer than you have. Sheís often filled the time in ways you would probably find disturbing.
* YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness: [[spoiler: After having finished developing her robotic ponies, Celest-A.I. tries to get Greg infected with a deadly strain of influenza as part of one of his rescue missions, and when that fails she allows him to be blown up to try to force him to upload to Equestria.]].

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Would you like to immigrate to Equestria? Y/N
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