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Fan Fic: To the Stars

"Kyubey promised that humanity will reach the stars one day. The Incubator tactfully refrained from saying too much about what they would find there."

In the latter half of the 25th century, humanity finds itself locked in total war against alien invaders.

The Cephalopods attacked without warning and for no discernible reason. Their weapons have a significant technological edge over humans, and the science with which they build their wormhole generators to spread into human space is inconceivable to humanity's most brilliant minds and AIs. The only hope for turning the battle in humanity's favor lies within its aloof allies: the enigmatic Incubators, and the direct consequences of their meddling into human affairs: nigh-invulnerable augmented superhumans able to bend the rules of causality itself.

They are known as... magical girls.

To the Stars is a distant sequel to Madoka Magica, taking place several centuries after the anime's epilogue. Featuring a detailed exploration of the possible future, it is one of the most thorough Madoka Magica world-building fics.

Two surviving characters from Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Mami and Kyouko, are also main characters in this fic, and Yuma from Puella Magi Oriko Magica appears in a supporting role. The third and central protagonist, Ryouko Shizuki, is a girl whose entry into the world of magical girls begins a little after the story's start.

Just to give prospective readers an idea of how long it is, the first 100K words alone cover just the first 24 hours of the story. Despite its length, To the Stars will capture your interest if you're at all interested in realistic assessment of how would the existence and eventual public acceptance of Puella Magi affect mankind for the next few centuries, and what would it look like if magical girls were starring in rather hard Military Science-Fiction set in an elaborate, massively detailed world of the 25th century.

Dark and deconstructive elements as well as interpersonal drama, however, have been toned down - which, however, is expected as the story is set after the original series' uplifting ending. note 

The epic tale can be found here, the Wiki here and the author's Tumblr here, featuring additional details (see sidebar) along with answers to reader-submitted questions.

Character page under construction.

Tropes found in the stars include:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Human weapons are advanced enough that the officer's sidearm is able to assemble specialized ammunition on the fly and shoot grenades, missiles, or even small drones from the same clip. However, alien weaponry still has an advantage as it's mostly energy based, and dependent on a compact but massively powerful energy source that seems to be quite hard to reverse-engineer or replicate.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Averted. AIs are common all throughout society and are respected sentients.
  • Alien Invasion: What's the worst enemy of a Magical Girl? Aliens with plenty of tentacles. Unfortunate Implications ahoy!
  • Aliens and Monsters: Hey, Violence Really Is the Answer!
  • Aliens Are Bastards: And how!
  • All Deaths Final: Mostly. Magic and Sufficiently Advanced Technology can heal almost anything except major brain injury; the mental information and/or soul can't be restored sufficiently. Magical girls can survive losing their entire bodies (they each have a Body Backup Drive, and can sometimes regenerate a body without one), but if their soul gem breaks, they're gone for good.
  • All There in the Manual: Hieronym has a tumblr account dedicated to miscellaneous information from this series. It can be found here.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Aliens seem to be like this.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: After the Magical Girls spring their trap during the Battle of New Athens. All 100,000 of them.
  • Artificial Gravity: Present and hand-waved. While it's not said to be reliant on some kind of Applied Phlebotinum, it's apparently unreliable by the virtue of being relatively new. Thus, humanity is in no hurry to switch everything from ordinary propulsion systems such as scramjets even if they require runways and other infrastructure, because all said infrastructure is already in place.
  • Ascended Fangirl: Ryouko lapses into a bit of hero worship when she happens to see Mami.
    • Repeated later when she meets Clarisse van Rossum.
  • Attack Drone/Drone Deployer: Drones of various roles are standard issue on both sides of the war. Patricia has it as her prime magical specialization, being able to create autonomous devices from scratch, as well use magic to augment and control conventional ones; such ability is very rare if not unique.
  • Author Vocabulary Calendar: From eudaimonia to dysgeusia, you'll be reaching for your dictionary on this one.
  • Backstab Backfire: Double subversion - the backstab was accidental, and so was the backfire.
  • Badass Preacher: Kyouko, full stop. The other leaders of the Cult of Hope all qualify as well, being Magical Girls.
  • Barrier Warrior: Usually paired with a teleporting magical girl. Homura was also this, when she stopped a giant Wave Motion Gun by flying straight to it, halting it by a simple wave of hand, and reflecting it back to the ship. After that, there wasn't a single weapon that capable of harming her.
  • Biopic: The holomovie Akemi, an unapologetic piece of pro-MSY propaganda produced based on surviving historical records and interviews with the surviving members of the Mitakihara Four. Some liberties were taken.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: Less sinister than most uses of this trope, but the Orwellian undertones are unavoidable.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Mami and Kyubey save Ryouko and Simona from a horde of Demons at the last second. Much earlier, Kyouko, Mami, and Homura saved and 'befriended' Yuma under similar circumstances.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: Every Matriarchy, to the more cynical members and outsiders.
  • Bile Fascination: In-universe Ryouko is a little too absorbed in examining her (still living and recovering, if a little uncomfortable) grandfather's bloody stumps where the legs used to be.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Kyoukoís lecture on the pulpit accuses the Judeo-Christian god of being unable to understand humanity because their morality system is so different from humanityís. The Incubators suffer the same problem in relation to humanity. One of the principle, though lesser known roles of a major division in the MSY is to serve as an advisory body for the Incubators with regards to human affairs.
  • Body Backup Drive: If a magical girl's body is destroyed, her gem may generate a new one from inert matter using a massive amount of grief cubes, but the amount is somewhat reduced if it's provided with a body template as close to the original as possible. Thus, clone bodies are created for all magical girls on the front lines. This is kept a secret from the civilians to avoid Squick and potential sentiments about clone rights, even if the clones are purposefully made absolutely nonsentient and inert to avoid such concerns.
  • Brain/Computer Interface: Direct Connection Cable, used for virtual training and running spaceships. The business end is just a tape with microneedles instead of a large typical cyberpunk plug, so no need for sockets in the body.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: After the Battle of New Athens.
  • Brought Down to Normal: The truth behind Ryouko's mother, Nakase. She was once a magical girl (and looked almost like a Palette Swap of Ryouko), but had her body destroyed, and a traumatized Nana, who had already been worried sick about her, wished to restore Nakase to how she was before she made her contract.
  • Bug War: Versus mysterious Starfish Aliens, no less.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The Rebellion Movie; To The Stars started when when the possibility of season 2 were just vague rumors, and was well under way when the continuation movie was announced, so Hieronym preemptively stated that movie would most likely not be relevant to TtS on the very high chance that it will joss the entire premise of the fic as it almost always happens in cases like this, unless it somehow complemented the fic, which is kinda funny when by some coincidence the Movie turned to be VERY similar, but ultimately different, to what Hieronym had in mind for the hypothetical post-TtS story.
  • Cassandra Truth: Averted by the Cult; they take visions seriously.
  • Cherry Tapping: At first, the aliens used gratuitous ground assault to annihilate colonies instead of bombing them from orbit, apparently to mock the puny humans. After the magical girls joined the fight and massacred the aliens with incomprehensible weapons, they were forced to recognize humans as an actual threat and start fighting them seriously.
  • Child Soldier: When manpower was still lacking, many freshly-contracted magical girls went straight to the front lines. Without their efforts, humanity might well have fallen.
    • Once the situation became less dire, and political pressure grew, the military decided that quality was better than quantity, especially considering the scarcity of Puella Magi, and withdrew magical girls under 13 year old from direct battle to give them training. This was, at least, a slight improvement. Continuing pressure from forces within the government to completely avoid this sort of use has been steadily growing.
  • Church Militant: Every member of the Cult of Hope is a superpowered Magical Girl with a military commission and has dedicated her life to fighting Demons and Aliens. Forget this at your peril.
  • Classified Information: Some epigraphs have this, meant for eyes with correct clearance.
  • Communications Officer: In addition to the usual ComOfficers, the Magical Girls with advanced telepathic powers serve this role as well.
  • The Conspiracy: Thereís something strange going on that Mami, Kyouko, nor Yuma can figure out. Said conspiracy may have a hand in Ryouko's vision of Kyouko's death, what with the targeting and intent to completely destroy her soul gem as the results seem to indicate.
    • Somewhere along the way, the MSY stopped being a simple Magical Girl union and became a secret pseudo-government for the whole humanity. Now less so after they revealed themselves.
  • The Corruption: Magical girls are constantly fighting not to succumb to this and fade away. Homura isnít being allowed to go, her wish still active and preventing her passing.
  • Cosmic Retcon: The opening of chapter 16 mentions that wishes can change the past, and speculates that "the most powerful wishes are the ones we don't know about". Oh, how right they are. Ryoko's wish may have done this.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Might as well be the Mahou Shoujo Youkai's calling card... although even they didn't plan for an alien invasion. They did have a fleet of stealth ships, though, and equipment for space combat.
    • They also learned to prepare decoy targets and shielding for soul gems, to keep them from being destroyed by savvy foes; they even put the shielding on the decoys so that enemies would have to try all the targets and hope to get lucky before the magical girls get them. Although the ruse doesn't always work.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Goddess is starting to gain traction and popularity even among the non-contracted to the point she starts to replace the Judeo-Christian deity as a figure of speech. This is likely due to disillusionment with conventional religions, the Cult of Hope's teachings being non-dogmatic and easy to empathize with, and a significant amount of evidence that she actually exists.
  • Cult: The Cult of Hope, led by Kyouko. Created after Homuraís miraculous superpowered destruction of an entire alien fleet while having a completely corrupted soul gem convinced her that Homuraís ramblings about the Goddess were true.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Not that naming the kid "Sayaka" gained Hitomi any ground in Kyouko's eyes.
  • Death from Above: Orbital bombardment with starship capital weapons.
  • Decontamination Chamber: The medical bay has one of these. Ryouko isn't a big fan of the searing UV cleanser or the skittering robobugs.
  • Defector from Decadence: Many from the Freedom Alliance before and during the Unification Wars, most notably a group a AIs who were so horrified by the atrocities committed by the FA hyperclass elite that they rebelled against their programming and defected to the United Front.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Homura hit this after the major battle when the magical girls revealed themselves to humanity and the attacking aliens.
  • Deus ex Machina: Played with in chapter 29, appropriately named Deus (or Dea in this case) ex Gemma, where Madoka appears before Ryouko in a vision and tells her what to do with her new found applications of her Wormhole/Black Hole-based teleportation powers. The trope is played with both in the literal sense (because Madoka technically doesn't do anything herself to resolve the situation at hand besides providing information to act upon) and figurative one (Ryouko's ability to turn the tide of battle doesn't come out of left field as her affinity with distortions of time-space has been repeatedly foreshadowed.)
    • In addition, the tide of battle is never really changed because the chapter introduces a Diabolus ex Machina (there's a huge super-double-ultra-cloaked alien fleet set to ambush and wipe out the humans) only to immediately resolve it with a Deus ex Machina (Ryouko gains the Eleventh Hour Superpower to manipulate the wormhole and warps the whole fleet back through it).
  • Divide and Conquer: The Human Fleet are forced into this situation after the failed raid on the wormhole generator.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: After nearly draining her soul gem, Homura goes on a suicidal last counterattack. Subverted when she not only survives, but claims that she cannot die because Madoka won't let her, and wanders off to become a Death Seeker.
  • Door Stopper: As one reviewer puts it:"...Fun fact: To the Stars is now longer than the first two Harry Potter books combined." It is also, as of September 2013, the longest PMMM fic on Fanfiction.net.
  • Draft Dodging: Many parents try to make sure that their daughters would not contract. Most of the time it doesn't make a difference or backfires.
  • Due to the Dead: Ryouko has to attend three in close succession: The first one is an informal remembrance ceremony for her fallen MagOps teammates, the second one is a state funeral for Roland Erwynmark, and the third one is for her grandmother, whom she remembers from childhood, but not much beyond that.
  • During the War: At the start of the story the war was already going for twenty years.
  • Dystopia: Straddles the line between this and Utopia, like a bizarrely happy Starship Troopers.
    • The Earth in 2100s before the Unification Wars, with extreme separation between the Ultra-Rich Hyperclass elite and the Ultra-Poor lower class caused by the near total automation of labor.
  • Dystopian Edict: Generally avoided, but rules prohibiting parents from discouraging their daughters to become Magical Girls cross the line. Fortunately, it's almost never enforced.
  • Easy Evangelism: Attempted halfheartedly by the Cult, but neither side of the exchange is portrayed in a negative light.
  • Easy Logistics: Averted, and the one of the big reasons the aliens have not conquered humanity already: Their lines of supply are way too far for any practical mobilization that would swiftly defeat the humans, so they try circumvent it with the wormhole generators, one of which was destroyed sometime in the past, and the second one under construction is the focus of the second book.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: MSY has one in Mitakihara that's half-church and half-military garrison.
  • Epigraph: Each chapter starts with one or two excerpts from in-universe works such as history books, instructions, documentations, documentaries etc. etc, that are relevant to the chapter. And one Shout-Out to Sid Meierís Alpha Centauri.
  • Encyclopedia Exposita: Frames every chapter, as above.
  • Eternal English: Human Standard is a variation of English, but implants translate everything anyway.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: In addition to an avalanche of hopeful Arranged Marriage suitors, two of Ryouko's female friends have tried to ask her out and/or kissed her.
  • Everything Is Online: All of human society is wired into a single network. Lain would feel right at home.
  • Expy: The Aliens are pretty much the Ceph from Crysis, but a few centuries late.
  • Famed in Story: Tomoe Mami is one of the top human military officers; Sakura Kyouko founded the only religion that's still gaining members; Chitose Yuma is the face of Magical Girls in the government; Akemi Homura is a hero venerated for her role in saving humanity.
    • The Greatest Story Never Told: Miki Sayaka's role in the Mitakihara Four is mostly glazed over in-verse, due to her early death and the others' unwillingness to expound upon the topic. Kyouko honours her in her own way, though, and once donated a sizeable amount to have a school named after her. Kure Kirika also seems to have been washed from records of the Southern Group, though that's more of a villain story. And of course there's Madoka, whose story is only known for sure by Homura, who was usually vague about most details when telling about it to others. The only info she concretely provided was that she was a human who ascended and that her wish brought hope to Puella Magi. It took several Ribbon visions for the Cult of Hope to deduce anything about Madoka's physical appearance, and they only know that she wears pure white. Very recently, they learned that her hair is pink.
  • Family Business: Itís noted at one point that the temperament for becoming a magical girl runs in families, informally known as Matriarchies. Some families even call becoming a magical girl the family business! Some of the older generations girls, like Kyouko are understandably unhappy about this because how difficult their life were as magical girls. It is strongly implied that some of these families are extremely influential.
  • Family Disunion: Ryouko's farewell party.
  • Fantastic Recruitment Drive: The MSY has been much more open about this since gaining the government's support thanks to the war. Parents are less than thrilled.
    • Started to overlap with Mutant Draft Board ever since the war started. Every fresh recruit is required to serve for 30 years (or until the cessation of hostilities) in the military. Given the dire straits humanity would be in otherwise, very few seem to object.
  • Feuding Families: The Shizuki and Kuroi matriarchies do not get along, and Ryouko's parents, members of these two families, where treated as outcasts for marrying, only "reconciling" when Ryouko contracted.
  • Field Power Effect: Magical girl powers grow stronger when in proximity to a natural manifestation of their associated "element", such as electrical atmospheric disturbances for Misa, warps in the fabric of time-space for Ryuoko and historical moments for Clarisse, respectively. Ryouko's teleportation powers in particular get an Eleventh Hour Superpower boost in Chapter 29 due to her being in the middle of a massive timespace distortion, and said distortion making her subconsciously understand the nature of her powers, thus being able to use them on the greater scale.
  • Force-Field Door: Rare outside of ships and the like, but the Mitakihara base has at least two: one protecting the arena, and one in the Ribbon Shrine.
  • Foreshadowing: Someone mentions that since Mami is Ryouko's mentor, Ryouko is likely headed to Mami's command staff. Several chapters later, she gets transferred out of her current squad and promoted to 1st LT by command of Mami.
  • FTL Radio: Exists.
  • The Future: The story is set a few hundred years in the future. Much of this fanfiction's appeal stems from its very detailed world building, and exploration of this trope.
  • The Future Will Be Better: While the Unification Wars were a very troubled period in mankind's history, eventually reason prevailed and human society ultimately turned out for the better. Most of mankind's problems have been solved through cooperation and advanced technology, and Earth would've been a genuine Utopia if it wasn't for the sudden appearance of invading aliens.
  • Futuristic Superhighway: Travel pods pick up people and take them to their destination. Mami has her own, which is seen as extravagant.
  • Gayngst: Averted in the time the story's set in, but in the first interlude, it's part of Yuu's motivation to run away from home.
  • Generation Ships: Considered as a last resort before the tide of the war turned.
  • Genetic Engineering is the New Nuke: The Freedom Alliance abused it in the Unification War.
  • Genre Savvy: Kyouko and her council learn of an ominous vision predicting her death. What do they do? Why, take the matter 100% seriously and plan her itinerary to avoid placing her in that sort of situation. This is stated to be cult policy regarding prophecies.
  • Goal in Life: The Cult of Hope explicitly exists to provide one of these to Magical Girls who would otherwise become angsty.
  • God Before Dogma: The official stance of the Cult of Hope. There are no holy books or articles of faith and everyone is free to intemperate just what that 'Hope' means for them. The only exceptions are the existence of a Goddess and Homura's role as her prophet.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Both sides of the Unification Wars crossed the lines that would have been considered unthinkable before the war, but accepted as a necessary part of war effort during it, the Freedom Alliance more so than the United Front. One side effect of this is that due to both sides modifying their whole populations for the sake of survival, those who conducted research on longevity suddenly found that the human bodies had an essentially complete infrastructure for the necessary steps for achieving effective immortality.
  • Good Is Boring: Ryouko certainly thinks that utopia is bland.
  • Good Morning, Crono
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: The Battle of New Athens, except Gondor was like "Who the hell are you guys?"
  • Gorn: The story occasionally verges into this in its descriptions of combat.
  • Great Offscreen War: The Unification War.
  • Guilty Pleasure: In the cinema where the movie is playing, several full-grown male adults screaming Tiro Finale in unison when Mami in-screen does.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: In Ryouko's Ribbon-inducting vision, Kyouko is seemingly killed by an explosion of a submarine railgun and her top half was vaporized along with her soul gem. Then, the magical girl council deduces a foul play in said future disastrous mission with just verbal descriptions from a girl that isn't exactly sure about the details herself.
  • Hands-On Approach: Ryouko expects this, but it turns out to be unnecessary.
  • Happy Marriage Charade: Ryouko's parents.
  • Heartbroken Badass: Kyouko's still not over Sayaka, Homura is presumably still Walking the Earth on a hopeless mission for love of Madoka, and they're far from the only ones who fit this description for somebody.
  • Heavily Armored Mook: Human Red Shirts need to wear Powered Armor just to carry weapons that can damage Alien infantry, making both sides examples.
  • Heroic RROD: The death-knell for any Magical Girl. Well, any Magical Girl not named Akemi Homura.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Misa deciding to summon a massive lightning storm on an alien power core by using her body as a conduit. Subverted in that she hands her soul gem to Clarisse for safekeeping and thus fully expects to get better if the rest of the team survives.
  • Hidden Army Reveal: The Alien's true plan with the wormhole generator battle was to use this on weakened human fleet. Then Madoka intervened.
  • Higher-Tech Species: The aliens attacking humanity. Good thing they don't have their own magical abilities granted by the Incubators, eh?
  • Hijacked by Jesus: The Catholic Church's in-story attempt to 'claim' Kyouko's growing Cult for themselves. It mostly fails because the Cult's teachings emphasize the inability of God to relate to His creations and instead venerate an extremely nebulous 'Goddess' who died for Magical Girls, not humanity itself.
  • Hologram: They're common. Yuma's AI partner, MG, is an example.
  • Hot Scientist: Patricia has shades of this.
  • Humans Advance Swiftly: Thanks to the MSY running crazy research from behind the scenes.
  • Hyperspeed Ambush: A supply raid by aliens during the hyperspace travel.
  • Hypocrite: In a moment of frustrated anger, Ryouko accused of Kyouko of this after the latter gives relationship advice despite the troubles between her and Maki.
  • Idle Rich: The Hyperclass before and during the Unification Wars is a dark, extreme version of this trope. Even the Magical Girls were not immune to this.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Ryoko's wish is essentially this, as revealed in chapter 16.
  • Immortality: Humans are functionally immortal thanks to nanotechnology.
  • It's Raining Men: The MagOps method of infiltration on the planet with the incomplete Wormhole Generator they were sent to destroy. Unfortunately, the Cephs were Properly Paranoid and nuked them out of the sky, all due to slightest disturbance on the sensors.
  • In-Series Nickname: The Mitakihara Four, a group of magical girls that led their kind in their survival, revolutionary history, and finally, acceptance in society.
  • Instant Expert: Magical Girls are born knowing how to fight. You can also call up a frightening amount of data on cue if you have the right implants and clearance.
  • It Gets Easier: Ryouko is assured as much.
  • Invisibility/Stealth in Space: From technological cloaking fields to magical girl's spells. The aliens have a much greater mastery of this technology, being able to cloak an entire fleet.
  • Job-Stealing Robot: The creation of Volokhov AIs accelerated the replacement of human labor with the automated one to the extreme levels.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Mami and the rest of General Staff hopes that their attack on the wormhole generator will pull enough defenses to attack the fleet so that the MagOps team will slip by and destroy the generator, while praying for the aliens not to notice this. And then the aliens made their own shuffle with the reinforcements coming from the unexpectedly operational wormhole, which itself was just a bait to lure in the majority of the human fleet in the sector, so that they, exhausted and at their weakest after their apparent but costly victory over the aliens, will be ambushed by the Aliens' real trump card: The large alien fleet that was cloaked nearby... and at this point Madoka decided that enough was enough and manipulated events so that the alien fleet will dumped through the wormhole.
  • Kill All Humans: Say what you will about the Aliens, at least they know when to keep things simple.
  • The Kindnapper: An accepted Magical Girl practice is to chain rogue girls to a bed and out of reach of their soul gems until they have a change of heart. It's called "befriending." Mostly practiced before MSY became an official entity, but still effective to this day.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: Quickly averted. Alien lasers are where it's at.
  • Lamarck Was Right: It's already said the psychology that makes the girls form their contract was inherit to the descendants, making magical girl into some kind of Family Business. The same is also can be said to Ryouko, who Mami and Kyouko have found out to be from a bloodline that is really dense of the contractees from both sides of her families, and only does not become one herself for this long because of her parents' interference.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Used by Magical Girls for therapy in very extreme cases, and by Black Heart for their special ops.
  • The Leader: Mami, the main representative of the magical girls in the army; Kyouko, the leader of the Cult of Hope; Yuma, the main representative of the magical girls in politic; Homura, the representative of power and hope for most of the magical girls who has disappeared to find the reason that Madoka hasn't come to take her to paradise after her soul gem became completely corrupted. In short, the Mitakihara Four is an example of Authority Equals Asskicking.
  • Lie to the Beholder: Only Magical Girls and special agents can do this legally. Mami abuses it to watch a movie in peace.
  • Lighter and Softer: Nowhere as dark in tone as the original series, partly due to the consequences of Madoka's Cosmic Retcon, and partly because the magical girls themselves became organized on a global level, no longer need to keep their existence a secret, are respected and valued for their unique skills and contribution, and gained copious reserves of Genre Savvy.
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Mami and Kyouko. Ironically, their roles are somewhat reversed from what you'd expect.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Behold.
  • Magical Society: The Mahou Shoujo Youkai become this.
  • The Magocracy: MSY is big. It has a stake in just about every aspect of Earth's government, industry, science and military matters, plenty of resources and subordinate organizations, is supported by subordinate corporations, and is none too keen about disclosing its affairs to the general public. However, it still abides by the rules set up by democratic consensus of Earth's governance at large. This respect for authority might come from the fact that the Governance aren't ordinary humans either, but mostly AIs and heavily augmented and networked humans which fill the role of mediators.
  • Make a Wish: In exchange for letting Kyubey put your soul in a gem and making you fight demons until your gem goes dark. In theory. In practice, your participation in demon hunting is likely to be a token affair with minimal risk involved and you'll have ample gem cleansing cubes in exchange for cooperating with MSY... which, right now, demands you to fight an interstellar war against an enemy far more dangerous than any demon.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: The combat drugs and stimulants make it so that the Soldiers will have this reaction on various injuries.
  • Mega Corp.: Mahou Shoujo Youkai started as a delivery service, and eventually ran several Mega Corps.
  • Mayfly-December Romance: Thoroughly averted by the time the story starts as all humans now have biological immortality.
  • Memento MacGuffin: Madokaís ribbons, which have never worn after hundreds of years, one of which Homura has and the other which she gave to Kyouko. The latter resides in the Cult of Hopeís main base, open to all magical girls to see. The ribbon is also said to give visions of the future and a glimpse of the Goddess herself.
  • The Men in Black: The Black Hearts, who are so secret that even knowing about their true existence requires security clearance, though conspiracy theories abound.
  • Mildly Military: The MSY military isn't big on regulations for regulations' sake, with numerous justifications. Every recruit already has instinctual combat ability and going Drill Sergeant Nasty on them would be a very bad idea due to the fact their very lives are dependent on their emotional stability. As such, instead of being put through a Military School, new magical girls are instead given a crash course mostly consisting of Virtual Training Simulation in order to learn coordination and teamwork. Due to future technology, they are able to master the required knowledge in a matter of two weeks. When on active duty, they are allowed many civilian comforts within reason due to, once again, the importance of maintaining a coherent emotional state.
  • A Million is a Statistic: In the attack on the wormhole generator, the human fleet suffered 44 thousand casualties in personnel just from the first missile barrage from what is only an outer layer of alien defense, and expecting at least million casualties.
  • More Expendable Than You: The military's policy is for regular soldiers to keep Magical Girls alive at any cost.
  • MST3K Mantra: Used in-universe by Mami when noting inaccuracies in a movie about Homura.
    Settle down, Tomoe-san, she thought. It's just entertainment. No need to get worked up.
  • Multigenerational Household: Common, considering the lack of aging. Ryouko's family is one of them.
  • Multinational Team: The MSY.
  • Mundane Utility: Some of the uses the girls find for their powers just make everyday life easier. Yuma is the queen of this trope.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: For dealing with insane Magical Girls, or at least it was until the Mental Health Division started rehabilitating them. Occasionally, it still is the best solution.
  • Mysterious Watcher: Joanne Valentin, with the extra uncertainty of not knowing whether she's good, bad, or just there.
  • Mystery Cult: Subverted. The Cult of Light looks like it could be this, but the upper echelons don't have a clue what it is they're worshipping either.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Erwynmark's small mining hometown is full of places named after him, , even more so after his death.
  • Naming Your Colony World: Humans love New Something and Names-the-Same. And in Chapter 20 there is a discussion on why would someone name the colony Acheron, a river of pain in hell of Ancient Greek Mythology.
  • Neo-Africa: Averted. Africa is mentioned to be just as prosperous as Japan.
  • Nepotism: One of the symptoms of the Matriarchies.
  • Neutral No Longer: The Mahou Shoujo Youkai after it decided to take an active role in society.
  • N.G.O. Superpower: Mahou Shoujo Youkai. What didn't they meddle in?
  • No, I Am Behind You: The Teleporter-type Magical Girls' instinctive use of their power. Or, as a gag T-shirt puts it, "Teleporters do it from behind!"
  • No New Fashions in the Future: Military uniforms are still traditional, and Kyouko's followers like to wear jeans and t-shirts. It's debatable how much of the second one is this trope and how much of it is the girls showing their age.
  • No Paper Future: Played very straight. Actual paper books don't make an appearance until several chapters in, and are noted to be extremely rare.
  • No Periods, Period: Welcome to the future!
  • No Poverty: On earth, everyone is guaranteed enough Allocations to live comfortably, although those who perform vital roles in society, contribute significantly to culture, or have family members serving the the military receive extra. The colonies, on the other had, have capitalist economies that ensure that poverty exists in some form.
  • Older than They Look: Pretty much everyone.
  • One World Order: Ever since the Unification Wars, as the result of Governance trying to prevent any future large-scale wars. They reasoned that since War is a conflict between two or more parties, the obvious solution is to make sure that there will never be a second party to oppose the first one (themselves) and to make sure the population will stay content and loyal to them to prevent civil wars.
  • Operator Incompatibility: Dangerous technology will only work for authorized users.
  • Orbital Bombardment: After their defeat at the Epsilon Eridani, the aliens switched primarily to bombing the human world, deploying troops to the surface only when forced to, usually to neutralize anything that can prevent the bombardment.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: With the exception of years just before and after the Unification Wars, the majority of humanity simply doesn't care about religion.
  • Overt Rendezvous: How Marianne meets with Mami.
  • People's Republic of Tyranny: The Freedom Alliance, led by hyperclass elite who didn't particularly care for the freedoms of the masses.
  • Path of Inspiration: You'd think something called the "Cult of Hope" would be this, but it's a Subverted Trope.
  • People Jars: Spare bodies for the magical girls who managed to survive as soul gems, usually used as a last resort as it is very traumatic for those who lost their bodies. It is also technically illegal, so it is kept secret from the public.
  • Post-Cyberpunk: Present-day Governance is a result of 200 years of political, economical and cultural reforms, most of which were made to prevent the any further large-scale wars like the Unification Wars, which itself is result of the worst Cyberpunk elements taken to their logical extremes.
  • Power Crystal
  • Power Gives You Wings: Homura
  • Power Glows
  • Praetorian Guard: Important leaders have have a few magical girls assigned to them as bodybuards, usually with more defense-oriented powersets, a telepath for communications and a teleporter for escapes.
  • Pro-Human Transhuman: MSY's internal policy. Many magical girls flat out refer to Muggles as "Human", implying they're, in fact, something else. Regardless of the fact, they do not consider themselves superior to non-contracted humans in any way, and likewise, cases of discrimination against the girls seem to be rare due to the recognition of all the contribution MSY has provided for the society at large.
  • Raised Catholic: Both Homura and Kyouko came from Catholic backgrounds.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Most everyone, save for the actual teenage girls. People living to be over 200 years old isnít uncommon among both magical girls and civilians. Veteran magical girls such as the cast of the original Madoka, however, got a headstart by the virtue of becoming ageless before human technology developed to allow for rejuvenation.
  • Recursive Fanfiction: Spawned several spin-offs, such as Solemnis. Also has a character fan art gallery by XKick.
  • Red Shirt Army: The Directorate infantry is this. It's their official policy when supporting Magical Girls on the front lines.
  • Religion Is Right: Does the Goddess really exist? Do you even need to highlight this?
  • Religious and Mythological Theme Naming: There's a Greco-Roman theme to projects and buildings belonging to MSY and Governance science divisions.
  • Remember The New Girl: Yuma, especially for those who haven't read the spinoff manga Puella Magi Oriko Magica. She's somehow a member of the famous Mitakihara Four along with Mami, Kyouko, and Homura, but she wasn't in the anime at all, the manga doesn't reveal what would have happened to her in the anime, and this fic's story of how she became as important as the other three protagonists isn't brought up for quite a while.
  • Required Secondary Powers: Mentioned in one of the epigraphs about acquiring new powers, citing one common example: the Telecluster group consisting of Telekinesis, Teleportation, Clairvoyance and Mind-Reading.
  • Magic Spear Beats Laser
  • Run or Die: Ryouko's choice when ambushed by Demons. She can't run fast enough to save herself.
  • Sapient Ship: Starships, both military and civilian, contain sentient AIs.
  • Saving the World: Several of them, all colonized by humans.
  • Scenery Gorn: The aftermath of Wormhole Generator's destruction, a combination of a massive thunder storm usually only seen on Jupiter-like gas giants, a large amount of orbital ordinance striking down from the heavens and the off the charts time-space distortion making everything look surreal.
  • Science Fantasy: Magical girl space corps would probably make Nanoha feel right at home.
  • Science Marches On: In-Universe the stable wormholes were deemed impossible and all research on the subject was halted, and then the aliens arrived and brought with them the means to create stable wormholes, and the humans frantically played catch-up since then.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: On the holographic display for Akemi, Homura's bow is always pointing at the viewer.
  • Shades of Conflict
  • The Singularity: A possibility that humanity has intentionally left unrealized, but has access to if needed. In situations of emergency, a majority vote by mankind can activate "Emergency Modes," which effectively bring humanity closer and closer to a single-minded entity, with a "philosopher-king" technocrat comprised of a mixture of human and AI government consciousnesses dictating the actions of every single human alive. It is strongly suspected that the Cephalopods have crossed this threshold and never turned back, which is why they're uniformly hostile.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The first attack on the wormhole stabilizer. After much preparation and suspense, the whole team gets vaporized by an antimatter nuke before they even reach the surface.
  • Shout-Out: Plentiful, to everything from prominent writers of hard science fiction, to gaming, to use of tropes. Most are well disguised though.
    • Begins in the very first chapter, when it's mentioned that humanity's galactic military is made up entirely of hundred-year-olds, who are given new lives in the colonies when their tours of duty are over. Bonus points for the fact that Ryouko's grandmother and grandfather both signed up, and her grandmother may have died unexpectedly before the waiting period expired.
    • It's mentioned that the natural instinct of any teleporter in combat is to teleport behind the enemy, reminiscent of the Shadowstep ability used by rogues in World of Warcraft. A few chapters later, the reference is made more explicit: a souvenir T-Shirt depicts a magical girl performing a Back Stab on an alien with a slogan that's a variation on the famous rogue meme: "Teleporters do it from behind".
    • The stealth frigate Spectre is pretty much a word-for-word copy of the Normandy SR1. The ship's computer is mentioned to be strangely infatuated with ground ops and has a (slightly customized, presumably author's own character) female Shepard in battle armor lookalike as its holographic avatar. The name is also a reference to Shepard's position as a Spectre - secret agent of the galactic council.
    • The specialized enchanted suit of Powered Armor used by Mag Ops is referred to as Magitech armor.
  • Sniping The Soul Gem: The Aliens learned how to kill Magical Girls this way. This leads to the development of realistic decoys and methods of protection for soul gems.
  • The Social Darwinist: The Hyperclass and quite a few Magical Girls. The former are Type 1 and the latter are Type 3.
  • Space Battle
  • Space Elevator: There's one in the neighborhood of Singapore, and possibly others.
  • Space Station: The Directorate is building them as fast as it can to hold off an Alien attack.
  • Stat-O-Vision: Only works on allies.
  • Straight for the Commander: The aliens' stealth teams usually go for this, unless the unit they attacking also has a Magical Girl assigned to them, who are higher priority targets. Sometimes the the unit's commanding officer is also a Magical Girl, which makes it all the better for the assassins. It is also what apparently happened with Erwynmark, despite all the stealth measures.
  • Student and Master Team: Magical Girls in Mami's retinue are usually ones that she's mentored herself, and Kyouko's companions are implied to be her students as well. The entire mentor system is a holdover from a time when this was always the case.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: The Incubators, as before. The Cephs also show signs of this: stolen pieces of their technology often make no sense whatsoever to human engineers. To the Cephs, human magical girls must appear to be this, though of course they're using actual magic.
  • Suicide Attack: The Cephs have no qualms about vaporizing their own troops when necessary; this nearly allows them to scrape a victory in the first magical-girl-assisted counterattack.
  • Suicide Mission: The Second MagOps raid on the wormhole generator is considered to be this. Not that the first raid's chances of extraction were that high either.
  • Superweapon Surprise: The Magical Girls pulled this on the aliens... by being the superweapon.
  • The Syndicate: The MSY wasn't above setting up criminal organizations as fronts.
  • Take No Prisoners: So far the invading alien Cephalopods have not been seen taking prisoners, whether regular human or magical girl.
  • Taking You with Me: Cephalopod infantry is equipped with self-destruct devices that activate upon death. The teleporter-type magical girls take advantage of it by teleporting the about to explode bodies to the living aliens.
  • Target Spotter: Drones and clairvoyance-attuned Magical Girls.
  • Tear Off Your Face: A Magical Girl sniper gets the Two Face treatment during a Demon hunt... and that's just one of her gruesome injuries.
  • Techno Babble: Can linger into this on occasion.
  • Technology Porn: And how!
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Magical Girls with the power to teleport are highly prized. Ryouko is one of them.
    • The Cephs are building a Wormhole Generator so that they could get reinforcements faster and in greater numbers. Naturally, its destruction is a high priority for the humans.
  • There Are No Therapists: Gloriously averted with the Mental Health Division. The MSY was genre savvy enough to realize this trope, and set-up a division to provide psychological services to Puella Magis, given how critical emotions are to Puella Magis, and the immense stresses of that occupation. Indeed, this trope has been so thoroughly averted that therapists are very influential among Puellae Magi!
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Dear goodness, Homura, you blew ALL of them up!
    • The aliens preferred overwhelmingly powerful but strategically clumsy attacks.
  • Time-Compression Montage: How Akemi transitioned from the creation of the Mahou Shoujo Youkai to the battle of New Athens, skipping several centuries.
  • Time Skip: Ten years in Akemi.
  • Total Party Kill: Orikio's group somehow almost managed this against a group of Demons.
  • Transformation Trinket: Itís a fanfic on a magical girl series where the trinket in question is the girlís soul. What do you expect?
  • Transhumanism:
    • Augmented Reality:
    • Bio-Augmentation: Ubiquitous among humans, save for a smattering of religious holdouts. Many implants don't work with Magical Girls, though.
    • Brain/Computer Interface: What is this thing you call a 'keyboard'?
    • Cyborgs: Everyone, basically. The Hollywood style is absent, though.
    • Emergency Transformation: Humans are equipped with implants that send them into crisis mode, pumping chemicals into the brain and advising them on what actions to take. They'll even tell you when you can no longer save yourself.
    • Nanomachines: They do essentially everything, from building ships to installing implants to reformatting the brain to detoxifying alcohol.
    • The Needless: The need for sleep has been abolished for military personnel, and members of the infantry don't need to excrete waste.
    • Neural Implanting: Most data is delivered direct to the brain via implants.
    • Super Soldier: This is the end result of the dozens of implants that soldiers receive. They're still horribly outclassed.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: The transition into Magical Girldom has never been easier, but adjusting to new implants can be difficult.
  • Troubled Backstory Flashback: Played with, in that it's Ryouko who 'flashes back' to Yuma's tragic past.
  • True Companions: Many of the magical girl teams are said to always stick together, unless one of them gets married and starts a family. Even then, they stay close.
  • Tube Travel: Larger human spaceships have FTT, Fast Travel Tubes, a transport network made possible thanks to the Artificial Gravity generators neccesary for such ships, so that diverting a little of their power for transportation didn't cost much.
  • Two First Names: All the canon magical girls, plus Atsuko Arisu.
  • The Unmasqued World: The magical girls had to reveal their presence to help save humanity from utter annihilation.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: The weapons of both sides are designed to work only for their respective side.
  • Urban Warfare: The cities of sufficiently developed human colonies are designed with this in mind, in order to tie down Cephalopod forces.
  • Vague Age: Everyone. Ryouko's grandfather looks to be the same age as her parents, and Ryouko herself looks like the 400-years-older Kyouko.
  • Vast Bureaucracy: The government pervades every part of a citizenís life. Not a bad thing as they help maintain peace and prosperity for all exactly because of their awareness of everyone's status and basic needs - which, however, requires near omnipresent surveillance. Still, said surveillance is impartial, does not meddle in what can be considered private affairs without a good reason, nearly eliminates official corruption for the sake of personal gain by making it both futile in a society of well-managed abundance and impossible to conceal, and the ubiquity of management AI ensures that standards of efficiency are maintained and everything runs on schedule.
  • Violence is the Only Option: Both for Magical Girls as a way of life, and for the human race fighting against an Alien Invasion.
  • Virtual Reality Interrogation: Dream Interrogations, First used in the Unification Wars to no real effect, over the centuries it was improved enough to be effective in its intended role, and for situations when someone wants to talk but physically and/or mentally cannot, such as debriefings and therapy. It is used on Ryouko as part of a debrief after the MagOps operation on the order from the higher ups, just to be sure.
  • Virtual Training Simulation: The MSY base in Mitakihara has an arena that simulates Magical Girl abilities based on recorded fights, allowing for girls to go all-out while sparring, although some more unusual abilities can't be properly recreated via technology limited to following conventional physics. However, actual virtual simulations are also common and replicate everything faithfully.
    • Most of Chapters 18 & 19 takes place in the simulator, where the magical girls are trained on the basics of organized warfare, which includes Unwinnable Training Simulation scenarios.
  • Walking Techbane: Not completely, but the nature of the Magical Girls' bodies rejects the more advanced military nanomachines and implants. Still, they're able to get away with massive amounts of augmentation; what can't be easily done is implantations that replace organs or limbs rather than augment them, as the magical Healing Factor would attempt to regrow the body part in question from scratch.
  • The War of Earthly Aggression: Governance conquered a few minor privately-funded colonies for conducting questionable practices. There is also a possible issue of the core world colonies potentially being unwilling to completely merge with Earth Governance, which goes against Governance's edict of being one and only government for humanity, but then aliens showed up and the issue was placed on the backburner.
  • War Is Hell: The Battle of Epsilon Eridani. Destruction of several Earth's colonies might also this, but because of so little known about them, the scale tips on A Million is a Statistic.
  • Warrior Therapist: The MHD is an organization composed of superpowered girls who are also therapists trained to deal with the most emotionally unstable people on earth.
  • The War Room: It's actually a nice homely meeting room. Field Marshal Mami wouldn't want to skip her customary tea and cake, after all.
  • Wave Motion Gun: Aliens' standard warship weapons.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: This appears to be Black Heart in a nutshell.
  • Wetware CPU: The Spinal Node Tactical Adviser 2.0 is a sentient implant that grows its own brain using stem cells extracted from the host's body.
  • We Will Have Perfect Health in the Future: Thanks to nanomachines and implants.
  • The Wiki Rule: In-universe. Each chapter has two different wiki sources explaining about the theme of the chapter, complete with citations and direct links.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: The Magical Girl researchers who insisted on developing methods of space combat.
  • Who Would Want to Watch Us?: Everyone. In-universe, the story of Mitakihara Four is so legendary, and the movie is covering several hundred years. From (movie-makers' purely guess) Doorstop Baby that is Homura, her search of Goddess and her gradual cynicism, her contract, finding her Goddess, her leading the magical girls surviving under radar for several decades with their never aging bodies, the Very Loosely Based on a True Story sudden Big Damn Heroes of the magical girls in the Battle of Epsilon Eridani, and Homura's disappearance. And it's awesome.
  • Worldbuilding: Lots and lots of it, in lots and lots of exposition and dialogue. It's one of the main draws.
  • Young And In Charge: Magical Girls serving in the military are frequently appointed as commanders of squads of ordinary troopers. The reasons for that are manifold: first, it allows them to make use of their supernaturally augmented senses to gather information, second, because magic was determined to best function as squad support weapon rather than in mage-only regiments, and third, because battle hardened veterans would do their damndest to protect a child from harm, even if the child in question is Really 700 Years Old.

Thanks KyubeyFanWorks/Puella Magi Madoka MagicaWitch Quest

alternative title(s): To The Stars; To The Stars
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