Fan Fic / Life Is Worth Living
The first fan-fic made by NKSCF
of Breaking the Deal
fame, Life Is Worth Living
is a Now and Then, Here and There
story that follows the adventures of an Original Character
, Matthew "Matt" Soterios
King, who, along with his girlfriend, Sara Ringwalt, gets abducted and taken away to Hellywood
. By making a Deal with the Devil
, Matt manages to stay alive and keep Sara from being hurt, but through Lala-Ru's return, Hamdo's lack of mental coherence, Matt dealing with his cardiac arrhythmia, and several other contributing factors, they end up bruised and battered beyond what anyone should ever experience.
From there on, Matt works to bring down Hellywood
from within, but after Hamdo orders Matt to do the unthinkable, he tricks Hamdo, an act that backfires once Hamdo learns of it, and then orders Sara to be raped, which results in her getting pregnant.
Hating himself for not being able to save her, Matt tries to give them a chance to escape, while also meeting Shu and Lala-Ru. However, thanks to Sara, they manage to escape, where they are found by Sis, who brings them to Zari-Bars, where they think they can be safe from Hellywood
forever. Matt struggles with his Christian faith, but finds a way to believe again after an encounter with a holy man in the desert, and begins to reestablish his relationship with Sara, who is coming to terms with what happened to her.
Unfortunately, when Shu and Lala-Ru reappear into their lives, things go From Bad to Worse
, leading to a confrontation with Hellywood
that causes them to be captured once more. With the help of their allies, Matt and Shu manage to break out of their holding cells and save Lala-Ru, who manages to take down Hellywood, giving them the opportunity to survive. Matt and Sara elect to remain behind, while also leaving a log of their journey to their son, and the story ends, concluding that "Life is worth living."
Noted for being one of the few Now and Then, Here and There
fan-fics out there of any worth, Life Is Worth Living
has been praised for its strong characterization and deep look into the world that is ruled by King Hamdo and the regions beyond his control as well.
The original story is right here: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5557166/1/Life_Is_Worth_Living
This series provides examples of:
- Abandoned Warehouse: In the flashback, Matt ends up in one when he's tricked into entering it when a girl he likes sets him up to be attacked. The whole ordeal ends up causing his cardiac arrhythmia, but he also meets Sara because of it, so he considers it to be a fair deal.
- Adults Are Useless: For the most part, every adult that Shu and Sara meet is this trope in the future, however, Sis is anything but.
- Afraid of Needles: Neither Matt or Sara starts off as this, but they are understandably unnerved after their torture at the hands of Schmerz.
- Age-Appropriate Angst: Seeing as how Matt gets beaten and tortured to the point of death, can't do anything to save Sara from being raped several times, and they both think they have no chance of getting back home it's easy to see how they could angst about their lot in life a lot.
- A God Am I: After he discovers that Matt and Sara have faked the consummation of their relationship, Hamdo almost kills them. However, some clever thinking and lying on Matt's part causes Hamdo to believe that they can't unless they get married in accordance to the will of the Trinity. Hamdo promptly states that they should have told him first, as he is God and the Trinity bows down before him. One of the most chilling parts of the whole fan-fic.
- Angel Unaware: Matt, Sara, and Shu are the only people that know that Lala-Ru is an angel sent to judge humanity's worth to keep on living and that thanks to their efforts, she decides that they deserve to live on.
- Arc Words: Life is worth living. Things being "ephemeral", referring to the poem that precedes every episode.
- As the Good Book Says...: Matt is definitely religious, which is a major part of his Mangst about whether or not what he has believed in for years is true, as he believes the Apocalypse should have happened years before Hellywood's existence. It's a major part of his Character Development when he discovers that nothing he has gone through has directly contradicted anything in the Bible. The Disciples are also quite religious as well. Fortunately, the story avoids hitting the reader over the head with this message.
- Ax-Crazy: Hamdo personifies this trope amazingly, just as he does in canon, especially during his Villainous Breakdown.
- Babies Ever After: Even though it isn't his biological child, Matt adopts Kazam as his own with Sara and takes care of Sis's children as well.
- Back Story: If any character appears in the original show, then they will—mostly—have a back story. For example:
- Abelia: Was once a member of a primitive tribe several thousands of years before the modern age who was abducted by scientists from Das Paradies to become Hamdo's wife due to the fractured genetics of the Hamdo family.
- Hamdo: Came from a kingdom called Das Paradies, the remnants of a country that had accidentally propelled itself into the future thanks to becoming corrupt with their technology. Hamdo also is the result of generations of inbreeding, which has caused his mental instability.
- Pashahanta: Despite having no name in the series and only appearing twice, Pashahanta is the man who first raped Sara in Hellywood.
- Matt/Sara: Were both happily dating each other before the fan-fic started, just as Matt was about to go off to college. They met each other the night that Matt was tricked by a fellow student he had been interested in dating into coming to a secluded part of town, where he was beaten and eventually entered the accident that caused his cardiac arrhythmia, but allowed him the chance to meet Sara. Later on, to celebrate Sara's birthday, Matt takes her out to dinner, giving her a pendant as a gift. Unfortunately, this, along with Sara's appearance, causes Abelia to come back in time to capture them, as they think she's Lala-Ru in disguise. Neither of them takes this well at all.
- Batman Gambit: Matt plays a very serious one when he manages to record a couple similar to Sara and he having sex so that he can play it and make it sound like they're having sex like Hamdo ordered them to do, while not having to perform the act themselves. This backfires when Hamdo discovers it and orders Matt to be beaten and Sara to be raped. Matt is understandably unhappy with the way he fumbled the idea.
- Bedouin Rescue Service: Happens later on when Matt is saved by a nomad, one of the few remaining Christians left on the planet.
- Beta Couple: Some of the fans see Shu/Lala-Ru this way. Word of God says that this was slightly intended, but could be seen as male/female Heterosexual Life-Partners instead.
- The Bible: Matt gets a holographic version of the Bible from the Disciples that save him. It's one of the only surviving works of literature left in the world.
- Born Lucky: At the beginning, Matt believes himself to be this. He's well off, got a bright future ahead of him, and has a great relationship with his parents and girlfriend. (Although he hates the word lucky, since he doesn't believe in luck.) When his world falls apart he starts to lose this state of mind. By the end of the story, though, he realizes that he has a great life and decides to keep on living it to the fullest.
- Boy Meets Girl: Matt meets Sara the night he develops his cardiac arrhythmia. He calls it the best night of his entire life, well, except for the cardiac arrhythmia part.
- But I Digress: Matt, being the narrator, engages in this a lot. He lampshades it constantly.
- Canon Foreigner: Matt, obviously, being an original character. The Disciples as well.
- Chekhov's Gun: Matt's hacking skills and Lala-Ru's healing powers.
- Child Soldiers: Being a Now and Then, Here and There fan-fic, it's a no-brainer that this shows up a lot.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Hamdo forces Matt and Sara to go through this constantly. It almost breaks both of them, but thanks to their love for each other, they make it through it.
- Consummate Liar: Matt, despite his upbringing, has learned how to lie far too well for his own liking. In the story, he lies to pretty much every single character. He hates himself for it and wonders about the morality of lying to protect someone, but leaves that up for God to decide. In fact his lying causes almost every single problem he ever encounters. Then again, one could argue that if he hadn't lied, then he never would have made it as far as he did.
- Contrived Coincidence: Sara does not like the fact that she just happens to look exactly like Lala-Ru and that Matt just happens to give her an pendant that just happens to be shaped exactly like the one that Lala-Ru wears.
- Crazy-Prepared: Matt delves into this, using such means as getting an audio recording of two people having sex to make it sound like Sara and he are acting as Hamdo commanded them to and installing a virus that completely incapacitates Hellywood, but only if he were to return to it, which was a ridiculous idea, since he had never planned to go back there.
- Dead Guy Junior: Sara's child, Kazam, is named after his father, who, even though Sara didn't love him, still respected the way that he saved them all when Hellywood died.
- Deadpan Snarker: Matt is most definitely this, especially thanks to the fact that this entire story is being told from his point-of-view, such as this instance where Abelia asks for Matt's name:
Abelia: “I admire the ferocity behind your eyes, boy. What is your name?”
Matt: “Richard Bachman, but my friends call me Stephen King,” I said, smirking.
- Deal with the Devil: Matt makes one with Hamdo to help him design weapons that Hamdo will use to attack his enemies in exchange for Sara's safety. However, Hamdo being himself, this doesn't work well in Sara's favor.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Sara has her moments, but it's all a facade, which she eventually breaks out of.
- Doomed Hometown: What happened to Tabool, Boo, and Nabuca's homes, and eventually Zari-Bars for Sis and her children.
- Dying Town: They're all over the place, but there is some hope that some of them may be revitalized later on.
- Dysfunction Junction: It's amazing any of the characters stay as stable as they normally are.
- The End of the World as We Know It: The sun is in the last phases of its life. The reason for this being that humanity was accidentally propelled into the future thanks to a Time Travel experiment gone wrong, as well as several events known as the Great Cataclysms that ruined the Earth's resources. Providentially, though, they get a second chance to restart the planet with Lala-Ru's Heroic Sacrifice.
- Eternal English: Something that the author explains by means of all people having a universal translator implanted into their heads. Matt and Sara have their forcibly introduced, leaving scars on their heads as a result.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Disciples are the descendants of Christians, the people of Zari-Bars are implied to be Jewish, and Hamdo's legions are based partly on African warlords.
- Fauxlosophic Narration: Matt does this every now and then to spice things up. Like usual, he lampshades its use.
- Freudian Excuse: Hamdo hated his father for mistreating him, so much that he steals Hellywood from him and runs away, growing fearful that his father and his other enemies are trying to kill him. When Matt finds this out, he doesn't think it's a viable excuse at all for his insanity.
- Friendly Enemy: Despite the fact that Matt had to shoot Boo with his taser to prove its effectiveness to Hamdo, Boo doesn't hate him for it at all, although Matt still feels bad about it. Matt's relationship with Nabuca has this going as well, and being nice to Abelia has its rewards too.
- Friend to All Children: Both Sara and Matt love kids and it was one of the things they liked about each other when they were first dating, so much that when Matt offered Sara a check for a million dollars for saving his life, she asks him to send it out to buy off children being used as child soldiers. This really starts to hurt them when they find out that Hamdo has children fighting his wars later on, but when they make it to Sis's home, they once again find their niche with children. Eventually, they decide to stay in the future and watch over Sis's kids when she dies.
- From Bad to Worse: Things start out dark, and get steadily darker. However, thanks to its Happy Ending, everything works out as it should have.
- Game-Breaking Injury: Matt suffers from cardiac arrhythmia, a disorder that causes him to suffer greatly if he physically exerts himself too much, and hinders him throughout his time in Hellywood. However, it was the only reason why he was not conscripted into fighting as a soldier for Hamdo.
- Gratuitous German: Is used and lampshaded within the fan-fic with things like naming an interrogator named Schmerz (German for pain) or the kingdom that Hamdo and Abelia are from is called Das Paradies.
- Heroic Sacrifice: As in the series it's based off of, Lala-Ru sacrifices herself to save everyone, giving the Earth a second chance for life in the process. Although the author says that she didn't die, since angels can't die, so she merely ascended to Heaven to report back to God on her findings. Even so, the trope rings true for the characters involved, who don't know this.
- Holding Back the Phlebotinum: Matt deliberately holds back his knowledge of several weapons that he knows how to build in order to prevent Hamdo from gaining access to a game breaking weapon. He does, unfortunately, give them access to designing tasers, which comes back to haunt him during the attack on Zari-Bars, as he watches people being incapacitated by them.
- Hostile Weather: Matt and Sara get lost in a sandstorm, barely making it back to each other.
- Idiot Ball: Hamdo possesses this in shades, but that's because he is what he is.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Matt notes that Shu has this attitude and wishes that he could be more like him. He even admits that if it weren't for Shu, then Sara would probably be dead and he would have nothing to live for.
- Infallible Narrator: Matt definitely remembers way too much for such a terrible time in his life. However, he says that he's always had a great memory and he did talk with other people to get his facts straight so that Sara and he can give a proper message to their son, Kazam.
- Interrupted Suicide: With Shu's help, Matt manages to stop Sara from killing herself. He tells her that if she were to kill herself then he'd have nothing to live for anymore, so he'll just die with her. This, along with other factors, snaps Sara out of her intention to kill herself and she decides to keep fighting.
- Jumped at the Call: A major part of Matt's Character Development is learning to help out more people than just himself and Sara, even though he is a nice person and genuinely wishes to help out others. After Zari-Bars' populace is captured by Hamdo, Matt immediately goes out with Shu to save Lala-Ru and get everyone else out of Hellywood.
- Kids Are Cruel: No matter what happens, Matt never blames the Child Soldiers for hurting Sara or him, because he knows that they have been brainwashed, and he always forgives them when they mistreat him.
- Killed Off for Real: Hamdo, Sis, Boo, Nabuca, Tabool, Pashahanta, Soon, Kazam, and Elamba.
- Locked into Strangeness: As a result of massive stress brought on by torture, Matt's black hair turns to white. Word of God admitted that he knew the Artistic License - Biology aspects of this and did it anyway for Character Development reasons, which actually worked, as the white hair is a constant reminder of his failure to save Sara and himself from harm, but, at the end, Matt becomes content with the change and moves on with his life.
- Loners Are Freaks: Matt and Sara used to be like this before they met each other. To their credit, they both tried to find people they could be friends with, but failed miserably. Sara was admittedly better at making friends than Matt, something he finds compelling about her.
- Love at First Sight: Matt's reaction to seeing Sara for the first time when he wakes up from his mini-coma.
- Mama Bear: Just like in the show, it is a bad idea to mess with Sis's children.
- Magnetic Hero: Shu, just like in the show, has this as part of his heroic personality. Matt has a lesser form of it, managing to befriend or at the very least having grudging respect from Nabuca and Abelia.
- Meaningful Name: Matthew Soterios King is definitely looked at as a savior by some characters.
- Monochromatic Eyes: The author notes that he discovered this trope via reading TV Tropes, and then decided to explain an in-universe reason for it being apparent and why Abelia didn't have this trait (explain for her in her Back Story above.) The reason for the denizens of the future to have this change is due to it being taken out of humanity's genetic code thanks to random mutations.
- Mood Whiplash: Happens tons of times over the course of the fan-fic. One moment everything will be absolutely wonderful, but then the next, things go From Bad to Worse.
- My Greatest Failure: Matt's greatest failure is not being able to prevent Sara from being raped. However, after much time to move on, Sara tells him that there was nothing he could do to prevent it, so he forgives himself.
- Mysterious Waif: Lala-Ru most definitely. It turns out that she's an angel sent to Earth to judge humanity to see if it's worthy enough to continue as a species. After living on the Earth for years on end, she finally comes to the conclusion that humanity is worth the risk and when she disappears her death has given the Earth and humanity a second chance.
- Mythology Gag: There are plenty, almost to the point of Continuity Porn, especially with some of the dialogue being taken exactly from the show itself.
- The Narrator: The entire story is told from Matt's point-of-view. We find out in the end that he's been telling his life story via the old recording devices of Hellywood, as Sara is doing the same thing in another room. The reason for them telling their stories is because they want a record of it for their child, just in case something happens to them.
- Nerds Are Virgins: While more of a geek, Matt is definitely a virgin by choice, as is Sara, who is definitely nowhere close to being either a nerd or a geek. It's implied at the end of the epilogue that they'll be busy having fun once they get married.
- Not Afraid of You Anymore: Matt gets a moment in the closing chapters with Hamdo.
- No Water Proofing In The Future: One of Hellywood's failings, but some of the technology remains intact after Lala-Ru has disabled the battle station.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Matt does this purposefully in order to help Hamdo as little as possible, because he has a massive amount of information that could easily be used to further Hamdo's goals.
- Official Couple: Matt/Sara, one of the sweetest original pairings created, especially since it's one of the few reasons they can remain sane during their stay in Hellywood. Word of God has also said that he left very subtle Shu/Lala-Ru in the story if people wish to pick up on that and view them that way.
- Original Character: Matthew "Matt" Soterios King is a regular student, who just happens to have a rich family that's worth a little over several million dollars. However, he never lets his future inheritance cloud his vision, and is continually one of the nicest people anyone could meet, one of the reasons why Sara fell for him in the first place. He also suffers from a heart condition that will kill him if he physically exerts himself too much.
- Our Angels Are Different: Lala-Ru has always been a Mysterious Waif, but through speaking with Matt she mentions that she is actually an angel sent to judge humanity's worth. She almost decides against them, but thanks to the actions of Matt and Shu, she reconsiders her opinion and "sacrifices" herself to give the world water again, from which it can rebuild itself. Because of this explanation of her origins and her renewed convictions, NKSCF says that she doesn't die at the end, merely going back to Heaven to report back to God.
- Likewise, Abdimalkah has shades of this, knowing things he shouldn't, and acting otherworldly. Wordof God says he could be taken as this trope or as more of a Stealth Hi/Bye by a regular guy.
- Perpetual Smiler: Before the events of this fan-fic, both Sara and Matt were this, but through the things they start to experience in Hellywood they start to lose this part of their personalities. They get it back at the end, though.
- Playful Hacker: Despite saying that he hasn't done anything too wrong with his computer skills, Matt knows enough about implanting computer viruses to send one into Hellywood's systems without it being discovered until it's too late.
- The Quiet One: As a kid Matt was like this, but he eventually grew out of it. Lala-Ru plays this up as well, only speaking when she wants to.
- Real Men Love Jesus: After finally realizing just why he believes in his faith, Matt is definitely this trope. Most notably, however, he thought that this was who he was before Hellywood, but after suffering through everything, Matt finally understands what this trope really means.
- Rebel Leader: Elamba, the leader of Zari-Bars' resistance, and it costs him dearly.
- Religion Is Right: At least that's what Matt and Sara believe in. Whether it's right or not is left up to the reader, although the author is a devout Christian.
- Shout-Out: Several, including Star Wars, Batman, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and a more obscure one to church folklore about the name of the Ethiopian eunuch from Acts of the Apostles.
- Shown Their Work: Besides the intentional artistic license revolving around Matt's hair color changing, there is a lot of work shown in just how much research was done for this fan-fic. This ranges from studies in human evolution, church and biblical history, and the continuity of the show itself.
- Spell My Name with an "S": The author uses the names utilized by the official English translations for such things as Zari-Bars, Hellywood, etc.
- Stepford Smiler: For a time, Matt becomes this, merely being happy because he doesn't want anyone to know how he really feels about his lot in life. He gets better.
- Supporting Protagonist: Sara, which becomes Hilarious in Hindsight as she is also telling her own version of the story to a recording, which makes Matt the supporting protagonist of her story.
- Team Dad: In the end, Matt becomes this for Sis's children, along with Sara who becomes the Team Mom.
- Team Mom: Sis. Sara becomes this once Sis dies.
- Time Travel: The way that Sara, Matt, Abelia, and Shu get sent into Hellywood's time. Also how the human race ended up at the end of Earth's lifespan, due to a time travel experiment gone wrong.
- Undying Loyalty: No matter what happens, Matt is always faithful to Sara, even when she tries to push him away. Everything he does is to make sure that he can remake the world around them so that they can be safe together.
- Unwitting Pawn: Hamdo becomes this, thanks to Matt deliberately leaving a computer virus in Hellywood's computer systems that will take several months to fully integrate itself inside of it. When Hamdo pushes Matt over the edge by threatening Sara and his friends, Matt activates it just as Lala-Ru begins to destroy Hellywood too, which helps lay waste to the battle station.
- Villainous Breakdown: Just like in the series, Hamdo goes through spectacular ones every time someone does something that upsets him or causes him to rethink his plans.
- Word of God: As is usual for his stories, NKSCF always likes to talk to his reviewers and answer any questions they have. He has said that thanks to his reviewers his story got better along the way, and he has also admitted to falling on some tropes that don't work in real life mostly for Rule of Cool or Rule of Drama. He also admitted that the story doesn't change too much, because he mostly wanted to explore the history behind some of the characters, to give them other motivations than what was seen in the series. He also wanted to help develop the backstory of the world itself, explaining how it got to be so desolate.