Found here.Starting out as a fill for the request 'Sex slave AU' on the Hetalia kink meme, this sci-fi/steampunk hybrid quickly sprouted into an astonishing narrative combining twisting interpersonal plotlines with a vivid account of the multiple layers of society within the universe. To quote the author:"Sci-fi/steampunky AU (minor elements of both, probably more sci-fi than steampunk), where sexual slavery is legal. Nobody's really moral or immoral in this here space opera: England's a pirate stealing freefolk to sell them; the Nordics are gentleman thieves working to free them; Turkey and Greece are buddy cops Federal Agents hot on both trails. France, Spain, the Italies, and Rome are slave bondsperson trainers of varying ethics; Hungary's the legislative power who somehow has to keep them in line. The east Slavics are high-society slave-owners struggling to maintain a nascent empire; the Baltics (plus Poland) are revolutionaries struggling to try and bring it down.Plus, all your favourite sci-fi tropes: screwy alien biology! Multiple habitable worlds in the same solar system! Not explaining ever how their space travel works!"Although the plot and worldbuilding are good in themselves, the primary draw of this 'fic is the excellent characterisation, which makes many of the plotlines extremely emotionally motivated.So far the main plot threads are the Nordics-and-Netherlands thread, focused on planning to liberate a still-fighting Belgium; the England-and-Prussia-(and maybe America) thread, focusing on Prussia's promotion from untameable slave to crewmember and the intention to rescue America; the Estonia-and-Russia thread, which mainly deals with politics within the Empire; the Baltics-and- Estonia thread, which has Estonia unwittingly dealing with revolutionaries out to overthrow his owner; the France-and-Canada thread, with France trying to hold on to Canada; the Italy-Germany-America thread, with America going through bondsman conditioning; and finally, Greece and Turkey, trying to chase down the Nordics on embezzlement charges. Needless to say, these plotlines intertwine a lot.
Adult Fear: Alfred gets kidnapped from his home when his parents leave him there alone.
Toris's backstory is full of this; his family was shot and killed in the crossfire of a territory dispute, leaving a child Toris on his own. Later, he was deported suddenly by government orders, only for the train to turn out to be smuggling weapons across the border to La Résistance, which recruits him as a Child Soldier. After that, his hometown is bombed, leaving thirteen-year-old Feliks and ten-year-old Raivis trapped alone in a collapsed basement. Both of their families also die.
Affectionate Nickname: Ivan asks Eduard to call him Vanya, which is also what his sister calls him. Natalya sometimes goes by Natasha along the same lines, and Ivan occasionally refers to Eduard as dusha moya, which should actually refer to a girl.
Animal Motifs: There is quite a bit of alluding to dogs when it comes to the bondspeople. In the epilogue, even, Alfred finds himself unable to keep a dog because training one is too similar to training other things.
Unsinkable: I'm going to get the hell out of here, and you're going to find me an exit. Once I'm out, you can blab to Francis all you like, if he doesn't mind you talking with your mouth full of cock. Now march, bondsman.
Bad Dreams: Tim is prone to these, which Danmark happily helps with. It would seem that Toris has these as well, according to Feliks.
Because I'm Good At It: This is one reason Eduard wants Ivan to keep him as a bondsman instead of setting him free; he's spent most of his life becoming good at this specifically. Luckily, he does find another hobby.
Bittersweet Ending: At the end, almost everyone got what they wanted - that is to say, Ivan freed Eduard, the Capt. and Unsinkable returned Alfred home, and the Five-Man Band reunited Willem and Margot. Unfortunately, Avo Romae was still in business with his grandsons still under his thumb, Alfred grew up to be introverted and disillusioned, the revolutionaries failed miserably and the ineffective regime of power in The Empire went on, Willem and Margot never overcame their traumas, and Mathieu continued to be confused and uncertain about his life. But at least Kiku and Natalya wound up together.
The system and the worlds that occupied it were shit, they were made shit and when the sun died out they'd still be shit, and there was no hidden meaning or underlying message except that people were selfish pigs no matter where you went.
Death by Origin Story: Ivan and Katya's parents and aunt, as well as Toris's father, sister, and grandmother.
Decoy Protagonist: A few. At first, it seems Alfred will be the protagonist of his thread, but that role belongs to Captain Kirkland and Unsinkable. Similarly, it looks like Ivan is going to be the hero of his thread, but it actually winds up being Eduard.
Domestic Abuser: All the owners to their bondsmen to some degree. Particularly highlighted by the Francis-and-Mathieu thread, where Mathieu develops a sort of Stockholm Syndrome toward his master, as well as describing Francis's constant use of his services and less-than-humane punishments (i.e. shock collars).
Foreshadowing: Plenty, though it's quite subtle. For example, this conversation:
Unsinkable: Never underestimate the power of underestimation! If there’s one thing I learnt on the streets, it’s that nobody ever suspects the simpleton.
Capt. Kirkland: Wish I'd figured that out before all of this. People quite like hanging a mastermind.
Another specific example, though a less subtle one - the auctioneer pointing out how remarkably similar Alfred and Mathieu look. They were identical twins Separated at Birth when Mathieu was sold into slavery. This becomes a plot point when the other characters mix them up... and Francis winds up with Alfred while Feliciano and Lovino wind up with Mathieu.
Happiness in Slavery: Katya's bondsgirl has this. So does Ludwig. Mathieu starts out this way, before the government crackdowns force Francis to auction him and he realizes that might be a good thing.
Heel Face Door Slam: Captain Kirkland receives this treatment from the Five-Man Band when they're forced to work with him, and all (six?) of them refuse to believe he's trying to do something good for once. He doesn't put much effort into convincing them otherwise.
Which later bites him in the bum, because when he gets caught and is about to be executed, the Five-Man Band is given the option to help him escape and they refuse.
Heroic Sacrifice: Several, but most notably Lovino letting Unsinkable (and the much-needed bounty on his head) get away and Kirkland letting the police catch him so that Unsinkable and Alfred can escape. Even Toris hands out a Take Me Instead to save Raivis, though he wasn't in any real danger.
Ironic Echo: During Ivan's Crisis of Faith after realizing Toris is The Mole, Ivan asks Eduard whether, if somebody tells you something while trying to manipulate you, the conclusions you come to can still be true. Eduard tells him yes. Later, when Ivan confronts Eduard about working with the revolutionaries, Eduard reminds him that even if the revolutionaries where manipulating him, the conclusions he came to - that The Empire is corrupt and dangerous - could still be true.
Made a Slave: Some characters were either sold off at a young age by their parents (the standard way). Or kidnapped by pirates from a poor district. Alfred was of course this as one of the plot threads.
Maybe Ever After: A few in the epilogue. The relationship between Kirkland and Unsinkable is never resolved. Then, it states that Lovino thinks pursuing Mathieu would be foolish because "he knows a lost cause when he sees one"... only to go on and say that he's done stupider things. The epilogue also states that Willem and Margot can't have normal romantic or sexual relationships again, but continues on to say, "then again, neither of them have yet tried."
It does also note that Adnan and Karpusi get to remain working partners indefinitely, and Francis and Elizaveta continue working with each other, noting in both cases that "certain ladies doth protest too much".
Missing White Woman Syndrome: More like Missing Well-To-Do Person Syndrome, but it's explicitly pointed out (in multiple instances) that the media is only concerned about the disappearance of the upper-middle-class Alfred F. Jones after the pirate raids, and don't even report the names of the thirty-some poorer or homeless folks the Great Delivery also picked up.
The Five-Man Band liberating slaves across the universe is the most straightforwardly good, along with Margot and Alfred being for the most part innocent.
The Unsinkable and Eduard are both relatively good people allied with some less-good allies - which they hope to fix.
Ivan is a devout and kindhearted person who winds up unintentionally hurting a lot of other people.
Lovino is a Knight in Sour Armor who resists the bonds system but doesn't make an active attempt to fix it; Feliciano and Captain Kirkland both come to disagree with it but still help it along, planting them firmly among the Anti-Hero regimen.
The police, Francis, Yao, and Elizabeta and her husband are not necessarily bad people but cause a lot of the plot's conflicts and often stand in the way of the right thing.
Avo Romae and the other bondsperson traders and trainers are the most straightforwardly bad characters, though they don't see anything wrong with their actions, themselves.
My Master, Right or Wrong: Eduard asks this question a lot about the Bragins' Empire, especially after meeting the revolutionaries, resulting in a sort of personal crisis for him. Mathieu also seems to struggle with it once he realizes he might want something other than to stay with Francis.
Naked First Impression: By the nature of this story, this isn't unusual; both Katya and Ivan first see Eduard in this state, and Eduard has this first impression of Ivan, too; Lovino also first sees Mathieu in the nude.
Police Are Useless: Adnan and Karpusi are both horrifically inept at their jobs, not to mention that they fail completely to catch on to the Council's corruption. Averted by Hassan, a Nice Guy cop who actually does realize what's going on and helps the five-man band that's been trying to free the bondspeople.
Police State: Hallar seems to be one, though the police in turn are controlled by Romae.
Poor Communication Kills: A recurring motif in the story. With varying levels of spoiler: The poor communication between the BSPA, Francis, Antonio, and Lovino causes both Mathieu and Alfred to wind up with the wrong buyers, and equally poor communication leads Mathieu to the false hope that he may find mercy and freedom, which are promptly ripped from him. The poor communication between the Five-Man Band members in themselves and toward the police officers lands all five of them in jail. Poor communication between Eduard, Toris, and Ivan causes all of them to be nearly blown up, and an equally tragic misunderstanding between Ivan, Katya, and their troops caused a genocide of Kala in Darinys. Meanwhile, poor communication between Adnan and Karpusi causes them to continuously fail to catch their crooks, and poor communication between Unsinkable and Kirkland threatens to fracture their friendship many times. And that's just the overview.
Promotion to Parent: Katya goes through this for Ivan and Natalya after her parents are assassinated. Of course, being Not So Different, Toris has the same thing happen after the bombing of Darinys leaves him to take care of the orphaned Feliks and Raivis.
Reality Ensues: When Ivan nobly tries to free Eduard, this is pretty much the result; all Eduard has known his whole life is slavery, so he has nowhere to go, no skills, and no friends, not to mention that he's frightened and confused by the idea of losing the only life and identity he's ever had. Needless to say, Eduard is not happy with this course of action, and Ivan gives up on it and doesn't bring it up again for a long time.
The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Seen in all the Kilnus characters to some degree, but especially Toris. The revolutionaries start the story scheming Ivan's torturous descent into madness. Later, the rebel leader plans to blow up the Bragins' home - with her own troops inside.
Roguish Poacher: Captain Kirkland is a rather dark version of this, since he poaches people.
Sacrificial Lion: Unsinkable is in constant danger of becoming this at the hands of other characters. Captain Kirkland also comes dangerously close, but Francis saves him.
Take a Third Option: When Eduard has to choose between supporting La Résistance and The Empire: he comes in with a gun, demands that both sides knock it off, and ensures the safety of his friends on both sides.
Take Me Instead: Toris tries to get Ivan to attack him instead of Raivis. Subverted in that neither are really in danger from Ivan.
Though these words are never spoken, Kirkland lets the cops take him so that Unsinkable can get away.
Those Two Guys: Adnan and Karpusi are this to some degree. Also the pair of older bondspeople travelling with Antonio to the auction. Feliciano and Lovino make an Early-Bird Cameo as this, though both become individually important later.
Toris's backstory is possibly the worst of these; his family was shot, so he ran away to his grandmother, only to be deported away from her on a train that was taken under rebel control and stashed with weaponry. After finding him on the train, the rebels recruited him as a Child Soldier; after this, he becomes involved in a Shoot the Hostage situation that causes his hometown to be bombed, leaving nearly everyone he knows dead, save for his Morality Pets Feliks and Raivis, who he finds starved and dying of cholera.
Unreliable Narrator: All of the characters are this to some degree, since each have their own takes on their situations; for example, Francis looks like a Jerk AssDomestic Abuser from Mathieu's perspective, but like a fairly reasonable (if somewhat hopeless) man in love from his own perspective; Ivan looks like a whiny Annoying Younger Sibling from Katya's perspective, a childish but ultimately benign friend from Eduard's perspective, and a brutish, pitiful Caligula from Toris's perspective; Captain Kirkland looks like an unforgivable Slimeball from Tim's perspective but like a slightly smarmy Noble Demon to Unsinkable. And so on.
Unsettling Gender-Reveal: Subverted twice by Feliks; he reveals his gender to Norge, who takes it in stride, and to Eduard, who doesn't seem to particularly care. Neither change their opinions of him at all upon discovering he's male.