"I am Ayanami Rei shar Atrados tal Vader," she said, "Padawan-in-Shadows to His Divine Shadow Darth Anakyn shar Atrados tal Vader, Grand Duke of Caladan, Chancellor of Santov, and Dark Lord of the Ancient and Obtenebrated Order of the Sith; journeywoman of the Asagiri Katsujinkenryuu; implacable foe of Big Fire. I will not rest until the twisted evil of Big Fire is extinguished from this galaxy... and my war begins here."
In the fall of 1991, a burgeoning anime fan named Benjamin D. Hutchins (who had chosen the login name "Gryphon" for the campus computer network) was attending Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts. He had recently fallen in love with a series called Dirty Pair, and had seen the first anime fanfics to be posted on the Net written about it by Ryan Mathews and Larry Mann. Gryphon decided to write a Dirty Pair fanfic as well, and in an effort to demonstrate the possibilities to his friends, he churned out something he initially considered a quick-and-dirty "proof of concept" story in which he brought Kei and Yuri to WPI with a plot device from a friend's story and generally let chaos ensue.Some of his friends (including, among others, John "Truss" Trussell, Rob "ReRob" Mandeville, and MegaZone) collaborated with him on the project; they threw in a Big Bad courtesy of Bubblegum Crisis, they packed it full of WPI in-jokes, and named the story Undocumented Features.Although Gryphon initially intended for the story to be discarded once the "real" writing began, it soon took on a life of its own. Local reception was so positive that they decided to post it on the rec.arts.anime newsgroup. Much to Hutchins's surprise, everybody who read it wanted a sequel. So the writers — later to be known collectively as "Eyrie Productions Unlimited" — wrote one. And another. And then some side stories, and more and more...This is Undocumented Features. Two decades after the first story was posted, new stories are still being written in its universe. It is almost certainly the greatest Mega Crossover in all of Fan Fiction, and possibly in all fiction, period. The result is an epic, sprawling Space Opera setting that stretches across several thousand years of history and ranges across (and out of) the entire galaxy, written with a sly sense of humor and an almost religious regard for the Rule of Cool.You wanna step in? You're in for a wild ride.
Undocumented Features is divided into five sets of stories. They are, in more or less chronological order by internal dating:
The original four stories around which the rest of the series grew. The earliest works, they are also the crudest. They tell the story of how a motley group of college students became a band of immortal, spacegoing heroes. Because of their origins, they tend to be much more "jokey" in tone than the later, more serious works.
The glory years of the Wedge Defense Force, when they were effectively an interstellar United Nations, uniting the galaxy in an era of (mostly) peace and prosperity. But there are enemies lurking in the shadows, enemies who are plotting the downfall of the WDF.
In a single devastating strike, Maxmillian Largo of GENOM engineers the destruction of the Wedge Defense Force, tarring its members as traitors and villains with terrible efficacy. Gryphon is framed for the mass murder of a group of children and spends the next century or so on the run. Meanwhile, the galaxy falls apart as Largo expands GENOM's reach and all but turns it into a totalitarian government. The Exile period only ends when the War of Corporate Occupation ends and Largo is defeated. Gryphon has in recent years been quite critical of the earliest Exile writing (roughly 1993 to 1995) and its rather excessively angsty content; he now refers to those stories as his "crap period".
GENOM has fallen, Gryphon is cleared, the survivors of the WDF emerge from hiding, and the galaxy starts putting itself back together. But just as all seems to be going well, the apocalypse strikes — Ragnarok, the Final Battle, begins. Through the unexpected intervention of mortal and demimortal agencies, though, the end of all things is averted. In its wake the "second generation" are born, and their adventures begin to move into the foreground, starting with the arrival of Utena Tenjou in Midgard, while in the darkness new enemies make their plans. Easily the largest and most diverse segment of the setting. Its crown jewel is the epic Symphony of the Sword.
The New Frontier
The next generation of stories which will become the new "present day" of the setting, this "new era" has been announced but not yet formally implemented. The extant Warriors Of The Outer Rim series will be the main arc of The New Frontier, much in the same way that Symphony Of The Sword is the central arc of the Future Imperfect era.
Note that stories continue to be written for all eras except the Core; at any time there are, in fact, a number of sub-series which are awaiting completion as the muse strikes various members of the collective.
By a conservative estimate, Undocumented Features includes elements and/or characters from (at the minimum) the following sources:
Where known, each source's contribution(s) to the setting are listed here. Very minor sources are compiled in a Shout-Out listing after.
Earth Alliance government bodies during the Future Imperfect era include the Ministry of Peace (aka "Minipax"). This may be a portmanteau reference, as this was the case in the source material for the EA.
The nods to this one start in the first chapter of the first story, making it the first work of fiction referenced in the series. The later large-scale Cosmic Retcon seems to have rendered it more or less historical fact.
Wakko, Yakko and Dot as alien orphans raised by Marty and Eiko Rose.
The Goodfeathers appear as bullying children at the Warners' old orphanage, and Ralph is a security guard there.
Rhita and Runntt are a Kilrathi and Sirian who escaped from a Cardassian prison.
Dr. Slappi Squirl is a Salusian ex-comedienne, and their most eminent cyberneticist.
Dr. Skracchensniph aided PCHammer during the Exile.
Gryphon and Saavik have a "Pinky and the Brain" moment in Manhunt:
Gryphon frowned. "Hmm." He turned away for a moment, rubbing his chin thoughtfully, and then caught Saavik's eye. "Are you pondering what I'm pondering, Commander Saavik?" "I believe so, Captain," Saavik replied, then added with perfect seriousness, "though I must point out that if they called them Sad Meals, children would not buy them."
Robo is the creation, assistant and social secretary of Nikola Tesla. Although Tesla began constructing him in the 1920s, he was abandoned, half-built, for 400 years and wasn't completed until around the turn of the 24th-25th centuries.
The events of ATLA and Legend Of Korra happened on the planet Diqiu, presumably during the 22nd and 23rd centuries respectively.
The Taken by Stormstory arc of Symphony of the Sword is set on Diqiu 120 years after Legend of Korra. Korra is still alive, but nobody is quite sure how she achieved perpetual youth, or how permanent it is.
Babylon 5— er, 6, built in orbit around the planet Bajor. (It is commanded by Derek Bacon, and its staff includes several characters from Deep Space Nine.)
The Minbari, Centauri, Narn and Vorlons
24th-25th Century Earth being governed by the Earth Alliance.
The Psi Corps.
B5-style hyperspace is known as "metaspace" in UF.
One of the peripheral characters during the first movement of Symphony of the Sword is G'Kron, nephew of G'Kar, student at Worcester Prep, and always outraged by some injustice or wrong (perceived or actual) committed by Authority.
G'Kron's roommate at WPI is Beld Marmo, a flamboyant and gay Centauri.
Both versions of Galactica are represented — Kara "Starbuck" Thrace (new) for instance, is the daughter of Kent "Starbuck" Thrace (old).
Strictly speaking, three versions are represented, as Word of God indicates the Cylons are a race of lizard folk who make extensive use of robots — hearkening back to the original earliest scripts for the first series (and the novelization that was based on them).
Commander Cain of the Pegasus (old version, played by Lloyd Bridges).
In Second Chances, Corwin is seen finishing up the plans for the FNR-5 Fafnir assault 'Mech from Mechwarrior 4.
Various mecha in use throughout the galaxy.
Word of God states that Solaris VII is an Earth / Salusian colony world with a thriving Humongous Mecha gladiatorial combat industry.
Gryphon's handle comes from an RPG character he created, who wore a suit of powered armor resembling a scaled-down Griffin battlemech (the design of which was in turn based on the Soltic Roundfacer from Fang of the Sun Dougram.)
Wakaba Shinohara's Lens and sorcerous talents interacted unexpectedly, making her equivalent to the Silver Age Green Lantern.
Alan Scott, the Golden Age Green Lantern, is present somewhere in the setting.
Catherine Willows becomes the first recipient of the as-yet undefined technology created by Skuld for project BRIGHTEST DAY; supplementary material on the forums notes that she then receives the codename "Green Lantern".
Death (under the name of Teleute) visited Megazone during his near-death experience and told Derek Bacon about his death in the Real Life universe, as well as appearing at one of Gryphon's Christmas parties. She and Megazone have a daughter, based on "Didi" from ''Death: The High Cost of Living". Vaughn Gross is apparently an avatar of Destiny, although this was only ever mentioned once.
Kei Morgan eventually gained ownership of Starman's Cosmic Rod.
Diana "Wonder Woman" Prince is a member of the Experts of Justice in the early 25th century. Her history is roughly the same as the Post-Crisis version, only shifted forward five centuries. (Instead of Steven Trevor visiting Themiscyra during World War II, though, it was Steven Rogers.)
The "Corrigan Gardens" cemetery is mentioned as the resting place for many late criminals.
As Ben Hutchins explains in this post on the EPU forums, Detians 413 was a homebrew RPG created by Joe Martin, a former friend of his. This is the source for the Detians (pronounced with a hard "t", Det-ee-uns) and the Omega-2 retrovirus that makes them immortal. Edison Bell was Ben's player character in the RPG campaign.
Gallifrey exists separate from the universe but linked to it.
James Burke of PBS' Connections is a Time Lord.
The Daleks and Cybermen exist, but are shattered into various factions, including several allied to the Federation.
Rose Tyler, former companion of the Doctor, is now an actress playing his fictional counterpart Professor Enigma on the BBC-TV program of the same name. The Doctor, under the name "John Smith", has appeared in one adventure and proved so popular that there is talk of giving him his own series.
In Hellbringer and the After-School Special Mission Force #1: "The Bad Bank Caper", Saya Otonashi complains about the expectations people have of vampires because of Dracula, and points out that he wasn't just a vampire, he was also, in her words, "some kind of FREAKIN' WIZARD".
While in a Parisian cafe, Juri and Kate spot a human girl and a Nebari girl (who from the description might be late teenage/early twenties versions of Aeryn and Chianna) who are apparently on a date, during the events of The Rose that Blooms in the City of Light.
Gryphon quotes Crichton's line "I love hangin' with you, man" several times in Manhunt.
Gryphon was Crichton, at least for a little while during the Exile, according to a fake Terra Novan passport Kei finds in Aegis Florea 2.
The Diggers girls appear, although never as a group. Gina Shannon appears as one of Washuu's students in "Wilderness"; Brittany Shannon was a Kilrathi fighter pilot who was found on the Delphinus at the end of "Twilight".
Gordon Freeman was a student at WPI during the events of the early Core stories, and was catapulted 400 years through time by accident when Skuld attempted to rescue him from the aftermath of the Black Mesa incident. He is currently a member of the International Police's Special Assignment 173 (the Tesladyne Action Science League).
Barney Calhoun is the security chief for the IPO High-Energy Phenomena Laboratory.
Various Hogwarts students — most notably Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Malfoy — show up as padawans in the Jedi temple on Alderaan. One of their classes — "Advanced Topics in Force Duality" — is popularly nicknamed "Defense Against the Dark Arts". A teaser posted in the forums suggests that Hermione goes on to be the padawan of Jedi Master Hercule Poirot.
The Malacandrans, the shapeshifting Martians of DC Comics, share the fourth planet with Red and Green "Barsoomian" Martians. (Plus the Sarmak — see the entry for The War of the Worlds, below.)
Earth forces fought a brief war with the Red Martians after 21st-century terraforming restored enough of the planet's biosphere to awaken the Martians from the hibernation they'd put themselves in. (The war was complicated by the presence of a third side that both of the other two mistook as part of the other's forces.)
Dejah Thoris and John Carter are historical figures from this period.
The city of Helium has been re-settled and is a popular destination for tourists.
A mixed force of Martian mercenaries — including Red Martians and Tharks — facing an invading Covenant force are the focus of the ministory "The Honor of Mars: A War Story".
Natsuki Kruger appears as an RA at Deedlit Satori Mandeville Memorial Institute in the forum-published serial DSM Panic!, along with her pet "wolf-thing", Duran. According to author Phil Moyer, she is a fusion of the Natsukis from both series.
Natsuki's girlfriend Shizuru Viola is mentioned.
As are Kazuya Kurauchi, Nao Zhang, Chie Hallard, and Aoi Senoh.
Durandal appears as an AI originally installed in the Worcester Prep computer system but "liberated" by Ed Tivrusky and Ein after he manages to achieve stable rampancy. Gryphon has hinted in his annotations to The Duelists of the Rose that Durandal's presence at WPI was an accident, and that he was in fact a very dangerous piece of engineering that should never have been installed at a high school.
A later mini-story has shown that Durandal was active during Crossroads, and arranged to have his core intelligence installed at WPI for reasons not yet revealed. He also has the insanely powerful warship Marathon hidden somewhere.
Tony Stark is a friend of Gryphon's, and his company produces military hardware for the IPO. His most recent creations are a prototype robot called EVE, and a War Machine armor (without flight capability) that he provides to Virginia Shepard.
Due to an accidental interdimensional transport, there are two versions of many of the X-Men in the UF universe — a young, local version (mostly students at Beiwiru High School on Tomodachi, taught by Time Lord Don Griffin) and their older, displaced counterparts.
Super-sentinel Nimrod is active and has accepted his evolution into a fully free-willed individual, and calls himself Nimrod-X.
Penance (the one from Generation X) appears in Hellbringer and the After-School Special Mission Force #1: "The Bad Bank Caper", but is redefined as a skraeling, a minor demon race from Muspelheim.
The UF version of Victor Creed is an elegant Neo-Victorian gentleman from a Welsh-flavored colony on the world of New Snowdonia.
Laura "X-23" Kinney appears in Weapon of Choice with a background as an "assassin-doll" created by GENOM and hired out during the Exile.
Madripoor, a city on the world Gulo * gulo gulo is the latin name for the Wolverine.
MODOK also appears in The Bad Bank Caper.
Both Black Widows, Natasha Romanov and Yelena Belova, exist as UF-verse natives; both are defectors from a Neo-Soviet world or worlds.
In Aegis Florea 2, Kei quotes the Watcher:
"I observe and record," Kei replied with a pious grin, "I do not interfere."
Daredevil operates out of New Avalon's "Hell's Kitchen" neighborhood.
The Kingpin showed up as a crime boss during the Exile era.
The Quarians are encountered by the WDF during the Golden Age and later by Gryphon during the Exile.
A Babylon Project Galactic Database entry released in February 2010 outlines the military career of Virginia Shepard in the WDF, the Einherjar, the Valkyries, and the IPO, in that order, using screenshots from Mass Effect 2.
Tali (actually the namesake grandmother of the game's Tali) and Mordin appear in Star-Crossed. Tali from the game eventually appears in a series of epistolary stories that were posted to the EPU forums in Spring 2010.
There is a scene in Fulcrum of Fate set on Palaven, the Turian homeworld.
The Geth have appeared in Cybertron Reloaded, invading a city on the Transformers homeworld of Cybertron and working on rebuilding Unicron.
Virginia Shepard and Garrus both appear briefly in Weapon of Choice.
Shepard is now the centerpiece of the Future Imperfect miniseries Shepard's 11.
Misato Katsuragi is an officer in ACROSS, the Avalon County Robot Offensive Support Squad.
New Avalon is underlaid with civil defense tunnels, which have launch shafts up to various intersections.
Shinji and Asuka are powerful psis pursued by Big Fire.
Rei Ayanami was a failed Big Fire experiment in genetic engineering, raised by Marty and Eiko Rose.
Unit Two makes a cameo appearance at the end of Knights of the Tenth World, Part 2 and the beginning of Knights of the Tenth World, Part 3 as a monstrous golem intended to delay or thwart the Rune Knights.
The Santovasku Empire (another race of Precursors) used Sith sorcery to rule much of the galaxy until Princess Kahm Santova's rebellion against her father caused it all to collapse. Larry Mann's avatar, displaced in time, has been hinted to be involved.
Princess Kahm Santova was Darth Vader's original apprentice several thousand years before the current era; like Vader, her first name has become misconstrued as a title and has been used thus by generations of female Sith.
Rianna Santova, Kahm's daughter, became a freelance space trader and "Grey" Sith during the Exile.
Aki and her Superpowered Evil Side Jilehr appear as the split-personality AI secretary of Larry Mann's avatar.
Skuld has an AI assistant named Wheatley in the late Future Imperfect/early New Frontier era. And she refers to her laboratory facilities at the IPO as "The Enrichment Center".
GLADoS exists somewhere in the setting, but according to Word of God is unconnected with any other Portal material.
Cave Johnson was one of Skuld's first "Chosen", selected when she was rather young and inexperienced. While she now considers his selection a mistake, she still looks back on him with that certain fondness normally reserved for ex-boyfriends who were fun to be with but weren't good for you in the long run.
The setting of this series is fused with Cephiro from Magic Knight Rayearth to create The Tenth World, a previously-unsuspected demiworld existing between the mortal world and the lowest of the heavens.
Utena is a major player in the galaxy thanks to the events of Symphony Of The Sword.
Akio Ohtori is a high-level big bad even after he's killed.
Events of the series, OVAs and games all take place on the Japanese colony world Ishiyama.
During the Exile, Gryphon (under the alias "Peter Moreau") initially filled the role occupied by Ichiro Ohgami in the first few installments, until he was forced to fake his death and flee the planet. Ohgami then replaced him.
Kohran is a Salusian and Kanna is a Hoffmanite (a petite, delicate Hoffmanite, at that).
Corwin has used "ancient" spells such as the "Ragna Blade".
Wakaba's destruction of the Black Omega complex on Tau Ceti IV using her ring is explicitly described as resembling the Dragon Slave enough that those familiar with the "Old Sorceries" would recognize it as such.
The local equivalent of Lina Inverse is Lina Diggers, and has made a few appearances.
The Final Reflection, a Trek novel by John M Ford, provides one of the two Klingon languages, klingonaase, the notion of the "Black Fleet" in the Klingon afterlife, and the show-within-a-fic Battlecruiser Vengeance.
The current government of known space is the United Federation of Planets, but it is increasingly becoming a puppet of the Earth Alliance's policies.
Deedlit Satori Mandeville Memorial Institute is located on Jerrado, a moon of Bajor, not far from Babylon 6.
In Second Chances, the Mythbusters appear on TV attempting to recreate "the famous 'Captain James Kirk makes a cannon on a primitive planet' legend," as seen in the original Trek episode "Arena". (See Life Imitates Art below.)
Freespacer Harcourt Mudd "Mac" McKenzie from Worcester Prep is a distant relative of Harcourt Fenton Mudd of TOS infamy.
B'Ellana Torres first appears as a 13-year-old runaway who is adopted figuratively by the Duelists at Deedlit Satori Mandeville Memorial Institute and literally by her mentor, Chief Miles O'Brien.
Farius Prime, from an episode of Deep Space Nine, is mentioned in The Antianeira Incident.
Likewise source of a reference to Rigel VII as a planet of criminals.
Philip Boyce Memorial Medical Center is named after the Enterprise's chief medical officer seen in "The Cage".
The Q used to do their usual thing (in particular hounding Doc Mui), but after breaking their oath to stand by Odin at Ragnarok, Odin sealed them away. The only exception is avatar character macquivr (AKA "q").
As with Star Trek, this is a "whew, where to begin?" entry.
Many of the worlds from the Star Wars galaxy are present in UF — Corellia, Tatooine, Alderaan, Dantooine.
GENOM's military arm uses Galactic Empire equipment, up to and including the GENOM Armored Tyranny &Terror, which acronym referenced the uncanny resemblance between the Death Star and the logo used by AT&T in the 1990s.
A great deal of Episodes I-IV is ancient history; Darth Vader put himself into cryonic suspension and was recently revived. Similarly, Obi-wan Kenobi was somewhat accidentally resurrected from the Force.
Until recently, the Jedi have been scattered and isolated, with no central organization, as a result of Vader's purge millenia before. This has recently changed with the IPO's backing and the founding of a new main temple on Alderaan.
Padme Amidala, Naboo, and its troubles, however, are current events; the Federation that blockaded it, though, was The United Federation of Planets.
The Gungans, however, are not native to Naboo, but instead are the indigenous population of Funkotron.
Bastila Shan from Knights of the Old Republic suffered a brief fall to the dark side and is retraining under Master Jamie Hyneman of the Mythbusters.
HK-47 from KOTOR accompanies Rei Ayanami.
A minor character from KOTOR, a Twi'lek Jedi named Zaerdra, appears as a member of the Jedi council in The Revolution Will Be Televised.
Gryphon's personal ship, the Daggerdisc, is based on the same model freighter as the Millennium Falcon.
Boba Fett is a teenager at Deedlit Satori Mandeville Memorial Institute and current president of the Duelists chapter there.
A recent story tells of how he fell into the Sarlacc during the rescue of a friend and how he got back out.
The Solo twins, Jane and Jason, are the current owners of the Millennium Falcon and are, like their father before them, somewhat ethically-flexible smugglers.
Anakin Skywalker is Kyouichi Saionji's apprentice. And a different person from Darth Vader, who is Anakyn shar Atrados (given "Skywalker" as a pilot callsign millenia ago). The two have not yet met.
The use of "The Final Jump" as a euphemism for death comes from Brian Daley's Han Solo novels, as does greel wood, which in UF grows on Salusia.
The Telgorn DX-9 Military Transport from an old TIE Fighter game appears in Manhunt.
The ship The Queen of Ranroon plays a role in Hellbringer and the After-School Special Mission Force #1: "The Bad Bank Caper".
Glitterstim is a street-level drug.
Bacta tanks are part of the medical technology base.
Dana Sterling, the Robotech version of Jeanne Francaix. (Max and Miria's first daughter was named Komilia Jenius in Macross and Dana Sterling in Robotech. UF splits the difference by calling her Komilia Dana Sterling and using Libby Jenius as an alias.)
She calls her unit the "Southern Cross Crusaders" during the Exile.
"SDF" is a standard ship designation for especially large warcraft.
The first Wedge Defense Force ship, the SDF Wayward Son, was a Macross-class craft.
Max and Miria Sterling, and their many daughters (from both Macross and Robotech.)
Lynn Minmei, who unlike her canon (and especially her Robotech) counterparts is a rock musician — frontwoman for "Minmei and the Marauders".
Isamu Dyson and Guld Bowman from Macross Plus are both WDF pilots in the Rogue Squadron Series. Guld is also a Veritech flight instructor with a reputation for deliberately washing out candidates that he doesn't approve of including Kozue Kaoru, because he resents her natural talent for flying.
Jyurai is located inside a nebula in the Enigma Sector, and as a result is somewhat isolationist and difficult to get to; subsequently its military power is often underestimated. (It's spelled Jyurai due to the early fansubs which inspired the creative team.)
Washuu (likewise spelled "Wasyuu" because of its usage in early fansubs) is married to Kris "Redneck" Overstreet.
Ayeka is married to Rob Shannon and is the mother of the Princess Achika.
One of the first times Hiroshi Morisato tests his Mol unit, he is involved in an accident with an alien intelligence; as a result the two fuse and he gains the ability to become the latest Ultraman.
The events of Ultraman happened on Earth in the Pre-Contact era, with the Ultramen defending Tokyo before they realized they were the cause of the giant monsters attacking. So they left, never to return until Hiroshi/Ultraman Dash makes contact with them again.
EVE is a prototype robot from Stark Industries, who returns from her first, test mission with not only her designated target but also a legendary lost Minbari ghost ship (The Queen of Ranroon) and WALL•E.
The events of this novel are (mostly) historical fact — the invasion it describes was an expeditionary force of 50 Sarmak Martians, dispatched in 1904, who limited their efforts to the British Isles as a test of equipment and tactics. When the invading force died from Earth diseases, the Sarmak entered hibernation and didn't emerge until the Earth-Mars war of the early 21st Century. The Sarmak are the oldest of the four native races of Mars.
The name "Sarmak" is a reference to a George Alec Effinger short story, "Mars: The Home Front" (published in the anthology War of the Worlds: Global Dispatches), which used that name for Wells' Martians while they attacked the Barsoomian Martians.
Skuld's "High-Speed Tactical Insertion System" bears a striking resemblance to the method and appearance of the Martian cylinders.
And is nicknamed "the Martian Cannonball."
The Salusian cruiser HMS Thunder Child sacrifices itself to protect fleeing refugees from a Covenant invasion force of the colony world New Woking in the ministory "The Honor of Mars: A War Story", echoing the similar sacrifice of an identically-named ship in the novel.
The Martian Foreign Legion forces in the same story include Sarmak Martians, and utilize both the tripod war machines from the original novel and the sleeker flying craft of the 1953 film adaptation.
Caitlin Fairchild of Gen13 plays a small but critical role in the ministory The Balance; her acquisiton of superpowers occurs well off-screen between the opening and closing of that story. (She appears to be the version predating Wildstorm's merger with DC, hence an entry under Wildstorm.)
The Kilrathi and and their deity Sivar War-God (who is another face of Norse god Tyr Grimjaws).
The Salusians use the Terran fighter designs from Wing Commander in the UF-verse.
Ultimate source of the Church of Man, although the version that appears in UF is greatly mutated from its origins.
Roman Lynch was a powerful mob boss some years before the Future Imperfect era; his grandson Justinian Lynch, operating from a base within the Freespacer fleet, is trying to rebuild his criminal empire.
Pilot Officer Kerliss of The Race appears in the Twilight miniseries, the fifth and sixth episodes of it, where he regards the head of Inferno and says, "Superior sir, you appear to have lost the rest of your body. Are you all right?" Inferno reacts accordingly (being a mostly insane ant-based robot).
Arguably the most famous line in the movie — "Now that's a real shame when folks be throwin' away a perfectly good white boy like that." — is (mis-)quoted at least twice in various stories (in reference to both Utena Tenjou and Paige Guthrie).
Chess — A photo found by Kei early in Aegis Florea 2 reveals that the Hanagumi put on a production of this musical in 2354; it's hard to tell from the description, but it appears that Gryphon was cast as Freddy and Sumire as Florence.
The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny — Commissioner Amberson in Secrets is Prince Julian of Amber. The Chronicles exist in-world as fiction; Corwin is named for Prince Corwin, and takes his personal style from the Prince's. Corwin also buys a copy of the Chronicles for Utena as a gift.
Crest of the Stars — Lafiel Abriel and Jinto Lin Kirk are Gryphon's helmsperson and nav officer on the IPS Challenger.
The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon — referenced in the title of chapter one of Star-Crossed, "The Crying of Lot 490".
Doonesbury — Raoul Duke in Manhunt seems to draw on Uncle Duke as well as Hunter S. Thompson.
Dragnet — Devlin Carter's AEGIS badge number is (deliberately) one off from Joe Friday's LAPD badge number.
Dragonlance — Some of the spells/words of power Tsuwabuki uses come from these books.
Duran Duran — Kaitlyn's ragged stuffed tiger "Seven" is a reference to the Duran Duran album "Seven and the Ragged Tiger".
Electric Light Orchestra — The phrase "I have a message from another time..." which appears in the title block of all of the later stories, is a line from ELO's song "Twilight", which was famously used by the animators who would later form Gainax in the DAICON IV opening, itself a Mega Crossover.
The Flying Nun — Sister Bertrille, slightly altered, appears in a teaser "trailer" for an upcoming story set in "The New Frontier" era.
Fallout — The presence of Rad-X antiradiation medication in shipboard medical supplies.
Fatal Fury — Eiko Rose winds up fighting (and winning against) Joe Higashi in a martial arts tournament.
Firefly — Word of God indicates that the brown coats worn by the crew of the Surprise in Manhunt is possibly the only Firefly reference that will ever be found in UF.
F³ (Frantic, Frustrated and Female) — Troubled main character Hiroe Ogawa was Kaitlyn's last roommate at boarding school before Utena; after finding a cure for her condition, she became a Companion to Time Lord James Burke.
Girl Genius — Comments made by characters which are obscure enough to cloud whether they are citing a work that exists in-world, or referencing historical figures.
The Great Escape — When Janice is held by the Psi Corps in Hunter Rose, a Corps guard gives her a ball and glove to amuse herself with in solitary.
Gulo's Tale — source of planet "Gulo"?
Heat Guy J — a robot based on J appears in Second Chances.
The Man Who Laughs — The 1928 silent film adaptation of this Victor Hugo book is referenced twice in Hellbringer and the After-School Special Mission Force #1: "The Bad Bank Caper" through the known aliases of The Joker: first as Conrad Veidt (the star of the film) and second as Francis Gwynplaine (the character he portrayed). It should probably be noted that this film was a primary inspiration for the Joker, and a 2005 comic about the origin of the Joker was released under the same name.
Mars Attacks!! — The fungoid aliens who used Mars as a staging ground for an abortive early 21st-century invasion of Earth are the Gnards and/or Paeecs.
Mighty Orbots — Nick is seen watching this cartoon on TV while in hiding during the events of Outward Trajectory.
Pink Floyd — Adam Johnson picked "pfloyd" as his WPI username because he was a fan. Zoner uses The Wall as a metaphor for the way he distances himself from his friends when he gets depressed. Gryphon quotes The Wall in Manhunt 3.
Tom Lehrer — While jokingly calculating on his fingers how "too much" older he is than Utena in Christmas Rose, MegaZone briefly quotes the song "New Math".
A Touch of Frost — According to Word of God, Corwin's threat to the demonically-empowered shade of Akio Ohtori in Sympathy For the Devil was inspired by a moment in that series when the normally-happy-go-lucky Detective Inspector Jack Frost suddenly shifted entirely into Bad Cop mode with a suspect who was about to get away with a crime.
True Blood — A "synthetic blood analogue" drunk by Saya Otonashi during the events of Hellbringer and the After-School Special Mission Force #1: "The Bad Bank Caper" may be a reference.
Wanted — The Stig performs a maneuver lifted from the film version of Wanted in The Santero Affair.
Watchmen — Although the name of "The Veidt Savings and Loan" bank on Kane's World is a direct reference to The Man Who Laughs as noted above, it's not out of the realm of possibility for it to be a portmanteau reference to Adrian Veidt as well.
Winnie the Pooh — a small stand of trees on the campus of Deedlit Satori Mandeville Memorial Institue is called "The Single-Acre Wood".
Wise Blood — In Manhunt chapter three, Gryphon resists the urge to quote "Where you are ain't no good unless you can get away from it" from this 1979 film.
The X-Files — In the 24th century, the WWWA had an "X-Class" classification for paranormal events and investigations thereof.
Zeiram (live action film). Teppei works as a technician for the TPG in Nekomikoka.
Zork — A White Legion survival kit includes 100 zorkmids. In addition, a character is referred to as tearing into another "like a grue in the dark".
Feel free to correct or add anything that previous contributors have overlooked, because there's always going to be something that previous contributors have overlooked. This list is all but guaranteed to not be complete and exhaustive. No one, not even the creators, is sure how many sources have contributed to the setting over the years. (For a quick idea of how densely a single UF story can be packed with references and sources, check out this thread on the EPU Forums. This is, it should be noted, for one of the shorter pieces. Also check out the quote at the top of this page, which packs seven references into a single In the Name of the Moon speech.)
It has been confirmed that (barring unforeseen circumstances) UF will never include elements from:
A position on this list is by no means permanent, though — The Lord of the Rings once held a place here until the release of the Peter Jackson films.We also have a character sheet, with even more tropes.
Air-Vent Passageway: Part of the caper plans in Hellbringer and the After-School Special Mission Force #1: "The Bad Bank Caper" — as Lain Iwakura says, "Oh, good... I was -hoping- we'd be hitting all the cliches on this job."
Aliens Speaking English: Strictly speaking, averted, but a remarkable number of species have names that sound like or can be slurred to sound like common names in English. Or Japanese, for that matter.
Applied Phlebotinum: Beyond the "ordinary" technologies of the space opera setting, there is the "Overtechnology" controlled by the Wedge folks, even well into the Future Imperfect period.
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Rose Tyler's BPGD entry lists over a dozen degrees and honors she has earned, and finishes the list with "Bronze medal, Jericho Street Junior School Under-7 Gymnastics Team".
Author Appeal: Gryphon — as he states in another EPU story — is clearly a fan of the Jazz and Big Band eras, and it shows in many of the background details, ranging from the Art Deco architectural stylings of New Avalon to the choice of music played there on New Year's Eve.
"That's me; both hands on the keyboard, one foot in the Swing Age. If I could afford it, I'd drive a car with tail fins."
Awesome McCoolname: Quite a few, some of them aversions as they're the names of real people, and one spectacular inversion in that the real-world counterpart of MegaZone changed his name to match his avatar's.
Bank Robbery: In Hellbringer and the After-School Special Mission Force #1: "The Bad Bank Caper".
Bifauxnen: Kaitlyn mistakes Utena for a boy (admittedly at a distance, and Utena is wearing her hair short at the time) the first time she ever sees her in Wounded Rose. Slightly played with in that as soon as they meet face-to-face, Kate has no problem discerning that Utena is very much a girl.
Big Bad: Surtur, possibly and ultimately; various smaller local Big Bads including Largo in the Core era and Akio "Trigon" Ohtori in recent Future Imperfect stories.
Bi the Way: Kaitlyn, Utena, Anthy, Juri, Azalynn, and possibly dozens of others, mostly in Future Imperfect stories.
Blade Spam: The Hyakken no Arashi, which means "storm of a hundred blades" but is actually not an example of Storm of Blades. Asagiri katsujinkenryuu novices who execute the manuever successfully are promoted to journeyman.
Characterization Tags: Liberally used by the fan community surrounding EPU to differentiate the UF versions of characters from their original source versions; and to distinguish between self insert characters and their real-world counterparts in conversations referencing both.
Continuity Nod: Both to its own continuity and to those of its sources.
Conveniently Unverifiable Cover Story: Utena and the other Cephiran refugees in Symphony of the Sword get elaborately detailed and genuine identity records set up for them by Gryphon and MegaZone — in other words, by the government of Zeta Cygni — along with documentation "proving" that they are in fact refugees from a Rim colony wiped out by pirates.
Die Hard on an X: The GA story REDNECK: Die Hardly is Die Hard on Salusia. Redneck even gets to say "Yippie-ki-yay, mother fucker!"
Ditto Aliens: Subverted — which is easy to do in text if the author cares to — with many examples of subspecies and subvarieties of many different alien species — even those who were Ditto Aliens in their original sources.
Doorstopper: The series, as of November 2008, contains some 20 megabytes of ASCII text. If we assume an average word length of 5.1 characters, that's over four million words. Various fans have printed and bound subsets of the stories over the years, and the results have almost always been monstrously huge books.
Some stories, like Hunted Rose, clock in at over 40,000 words, which is enough to qualify for consideration in the novel category for the Nebula award.
The Dragon: As of the events of Code-Name Ultra, it appears that Clarissa Broadbank has moved into this role for Shockwave Alberto, abandoning her earlier codename of "Agent A" to become "Falcon Gold".
Due to the Dead: "Stolen Time" is Ben's tribute to his friend Derek Bacon after he died in Real Life in 1996. UF!Derek's ubiquitous series of guidebooks is an extension of this.
Dyson Sphere: The Zeta Cygni Dyson Sphere has the Avalon pseudocontinent and the cities of Perth and New Avalon, the home of many of the forces of good. While cool and all, the Zeta Cygni sphere has created a lot of problems that they've had to write around (generally by Hand Wave), such as how it was built, how to get an apparent night inside the sphere, and what they do with all of the energy collected. It's from a Core story, so it's pretty impossible to Retcon now, but had Gryphon known he'd still be writing in the universe 20 years later, New Avalon would probably be on a Halo.
The Epic: As a whole, it's an epic story about the Wedge Defenders and their friends and families. Symphony of the Sword qualifies as an epic on its own.
Epistolary Novel: Correspondence, the sequel to Star-Crossed, as a way of fitting Tali'Shukra into the existing canon.
Eternal Hero: Most of the Wedge Defenders (the non-traitorous ones, anyway) became immortal Detians, but they also share the element of returning (from the Exile) to take their rightful place as heroes of the galaxy in the Future Imperfect era. Utena is also a form of Eternal Hero, holding the ever-recurring title of Rose Prince. Various other characters may also qualify from their original sources, such as The Doctor, Optimus Prime, and the Valkyrie.
Eternal September: Aversion: the Core stories preceded it, making them a snapshot of Internet culture among early-90s college students, who were the last generation to start using the Internet before it became mainstream. Notably, the first repository of anime fanfic on the net was hosted on WPI's FTP site and administered by MegaZone.
A special mention should go to Cthia. Described as "one of the hottest bands in galactic music", it is composed entirely of Vulcans, playing enormously pretentious rock on traditional Vulcan instruments in perfect blank-face no-emotion style. Cthia, however, is a fakeFake Band. They are actually a more relaxed rock band who call themselves The Illogics, Vulcans mostly from a subculture that rejected the Surakite way. They created the overcontrolled, emotionless Cthia as a joke, to parody and criticize the Surakites... only to find themselves trapped in the roles when Cthia became a hit. Especially ironic is the fact that "cthia" is a Vulcan word meaning, at its root, "truth".
Famed in Story: Hell, most of the Wedge Rats are in the history books by now.
Famous, Famous, Fictional: With an odd twist in that often the fictional citation will be from one of the other sources for UF, and likely to be recognized by the reader anyway.
Fantastic Fighting Style: The Asagiri katsujinkenryuu, among others. The Duelists' Society is built on this trope, testing melée fighting styles from around the galaxy against each other.
Faster-Than-Light Travel: No less than four different methods are employed by the various civilizations and organizations in the galaxy.
Each of which is given distict advantages and disadvantages. Space-fold Drives are useless for exploration, horrendously expensive energy-wise but are great for getting fleets around in a hurry. Warp Drives are medium fast but very flexible in where you can go. Hyperdrive is fast, but travelling down uncharted routes is dangerous. Metaspace Drive is cheap (for the shipowner — ships don't necessarily need an installed drive) and fast, but also has risks involved in getting too far off course, as well as the initial cost of setting up the metaspace gates.
For non-ship-based FTL, there's the IPO's secret Stargate network. However, it can only get you to places in the network, and there were no Precursors leaving these things lying around, they're new technology. Sorcerous teleportation works well enough, but is limited by the power of the caster. And finally, the TARDIS can travel to any point in space and time.
Fictionary: Fragments of Dantrovian, Hyeruulian, Mandalorian, Kryptonian and other languages, including both tlhIngan Hol and klingonaase.
Of special note is the language of Funkotron, alleged to be a dialect of English, although this is a matter of some controversy as this excerpt from "The Kindness of Strangers" shows:
Fuu Hououji: Hay-LEE DIT-SHIZZY yo! Granny-anny nevva go unda wit'a SUCKA-FOO SHOOBY-DOO dilly-o! Homeys oughta haul yo SACKY-DUMP slackit-back'a NAR SHADDAA! Prezzy SLUG-TELLY BIZZY-*BAM*!
(Literally, "Haley, you worthless sack of shit! My grandmother wouldn't have fallen for a sucker play like that! They ought to trade your useless ass back to Nar Shaddaa. The King shot his TV!" The last sentence is functionally equivalent to "Jesus wept.")
Genius Ditz: Mirai Morisato. Although she initially gives every impression of being nothing more than a fashion-obsessed airhead, as of the events of Code-Name Ultra it's clear that Mirai is a genius at public relations and managing media — to the point where her airhead persona may actually be little more than Obfuscating Stupidity.
Genki Girl: Most notably Ayami Nakajima, Admiral of the Confederate Freespacers, and more energetic at 8 in the morning than it should be legal to be.
Idiot Ball: The entire Exile plot. The WDF's biggest enemy is known for being able to make robots that appear human. So when video surfaces showing their commander supposedly cheerfully gunning down little kids, a lot of them (including his girlfriend) immediately believe it's him, instead of a Buma.
Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The Symphony of the Sword is divided into major segments called, predictably, "symphonies", which are numbered. Each symphony is further divided into smaller segments whose names always include a term for a part of a symphony or some other small work of classical music: movements, pavanes, preludes, interludes, intermezzos, fanfares, entr'actes, and so on.
I Have Many Names: Gryphon's many aliases during the Exile era plus his string of titles — including but not limited to The Midgard-Knight, Fleet Captain Hutchins, Admiral Hutchins of the IPSF, Chief Hutchins of the IPO, Kaichou, the Big Kahuna, and He-Who-Could-Not-Run-Things-Without-Ruri — is the biggest example, but there are others, not the least of which is Corwin's own list of titles.
Instant Expert: By the Future Imperfect era, "skillsofts" — skills rendered into software form which can then be downloaded into the brain — are available.
In Weapon of Choice, Skuld suggests that Laura Kinney take an install or two to alleviate the boredom of a medical procedure, and offers her a choice of the three skillsofts she has on hand: knitting, Centauri drunken boxing, and "how to draw comics the Bacon Comics way".
Intellectual Animal: Many of the creatures and species created by the Wedge Defense Force's Life Services Division, including Gojira Nakajima and arguably neotigers like Kaitlyn's "pet," Sergei.
The Internet Is for Porn: When Dorothy declares that her dorm room bed will be insufficient to the task of supporting both her and one other person, Corwin asks her where she got that idea. She replies, "Use Net". (Corwin then mutters, "Stop reading the alt.sex groups.")
Life Imitates Art: In Second Chances (releaed in late 2003), the Mythbusters are seen on TV attempting to recreate "the famous 'Captain James Kirk makes a cannon on a primitive planet' legend," as seen in the original Trek episode "Arena". During the 2009-2010 season, the real Mythbusters actually did this for a Viewer's Choice episode. (One wonders if the Viewer in question was a UF reader...)
Loads and Loads of Races: Which is only to be expected given the abundance of SF and Fantasy sources contributing to the setting, a few of which are listed on Loads And Loads of Races themselves.
Love Dodecahedron: Several of the core characters are involved in what amount to stable extended polyamorous relationships.
Love Triangle: Several, of different varieties. At least two stable Type 8 relationships form during the course of Symphony of the Sword, but other triangles including some with unrequited love are also present. Gryphon himself, despite having occasional friend-lovers all over the galaxy, seems to be in a stable (and fully informed) Type 7 with Kei and Skuld.
Made of Indestructium: The setting has at least three indestructible metals, mostly from Marvel comics: Adamantium (which is technological in origin and seems to have been designed to be magic-resistant), adamantite (a similar compound which plays well with magic but which is poisonous if used internally), and uru (similar to adamantite but much heavier). Presumably vibranium is also available, given the presence of Captain America in the setting.
My Nayme Is: Hyeruulian names look alien, but usually can be pronounced like English or Japanese names — for instance, M'yl'ya "Emmy" Kyn'o'bi, the distant descendant of Master O'bi-Wann Kyn'o'bi, and Uum'y R'yuu-z'ky, Rune Knight of the Sea. Of course, the Hyeruulians insist that non-native speakers are missing certain subtle elements of the pronunciation that only they can hear.
Example: In the forums-only story Correspondence III: 2400-2410 it's mentioned that a space station named Terok Nor was considered and then dismissed as a possible location for the Babylon project. "Terok Nor" is the original Cardassian name of the space station that is better known as Deep Space Nine; the mention is a joking reference to the accusations that the concepts behind Star Trek: Deep Space Nine were stolen from an early presentation about Babylon 5 made by J. Michael Straczynski to Paramount executives in an attempt to get backing for the latter show.
The first time we see Utena Tenjou in The Symphony of the Sword, her hair is cut short (we learn why several stories later). Although UF!Utena is very much from the TV series, she starts off looking like Movie!Utena — at least until she lets her hair grow back out.
Named Weapons: Most of the Cool Swords, especially in Symphony of the Sword, are named. Liza Shustal even instructs Juniper on the importance of named weapons.
Take a stick to a fistfight. Take a knife to a stickfight. Take a gun to a knifefight. Stay out of a gunfight.
In Symphony of the Sword:
Percy "Techie" Mui: (to his son) To paraphrase Admiral Overstreet, bring a knife to a fistfight, a gun to a knife fight, grenades to a gunfight — oh, hell, if you know where it's going to be beforehand, mine the area. If all else fails, there's your friend, the air strike.
Then, "Gryphon's Expansion of Overstreet's Law of Tactics":
Take a stick to a fistfight. Take a knife to a stickfight. Take a gun to a knifefight. Take a 'Mech to a gunfight. Bring a lance to a 'Mech fight.
Followed by "Matrix Dragon's Expansion of Gryphon's Expansion":
If all else fails, bomb the planet.
And finally, "Julzz' Commentary":
And if all else fails, bring your friendly neighbourhood God.
NGO Super Power: Many, including GENOM, the Wedge Defense Force, and the International Police Organization.
Nice Hat: An unidentified extra in Lost and Found — implied to be a thug who is trounced between scenes — says this about Magneto's helmet, which is indeed a classic example of the trope.
No Bisexuals: Averted in the Future Imperfect era — there are several in the primary cast of Symphony of the Sword.
Noodle Incident: Frequent references are made to incidents which occur in stories that are either being planned or in the process of being written but have never been published. Especially notable are two planned Symphony of the Sword stories that were announced back in 2002 but never finished due to Gryphon developing writer's block and deciding it was easier to just move on to the next Arc.
Nothing Is Scarier: Hammer retreats to Utopia Planitia after Sonset, and finds an abandoned base with dead bodies lying around and all the lights turned off. Of course, everyone had just left due to GENOM's Evil Plan coming to fruition, but it sure was creepy anyway.
Not a Date: Corwin and Utena go on many of these before they wise up.
Not Me This Time: Mojo Jojo is quite upset, annoyed and put out when everyone assumes he must be part of the Big Fire attack on prom night — especially since it preempts, upstages, and ruins the plan he did have to attack the girls at their graduation! CURSES!
Old Shame: According to Word of God, some of the Core, as well as Gryphon's "Crap Period" during the early part of the Exile.
Omake: Mini-stories, entries from The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, excerpts from the Babylon Project Database, and TV listings for New Avalon, among other goodies, available only on the EPU Discussion Forums.
Our Elves Are Different: Most of them are actually Celestial beings native to the lower heavens (Alfheim and Svartalfheim), akin to but less powerful than angels. Hyeruulian elves are believed to be the descendants of "colonists" who moved to Midgard.
Patchwork Fic: EPU gleefully mixes and matches elements from sources that have multiple continuities with a wild abandon that carries the reader along with its audacity. A good case in point would be the native and extradimensional versions of many of the X-Men who now coexist in the UF universe.
Planetville: Some are imported whole from source material; others, native to the setting, are justified by the explanation that many colonies were settled almost entirely by specific racial/cultural groups — for instance Tomodachi, Ishiyama and the other Japanese worlds.
The Power of Rock: Especially prevalent with the Freespacer military operations and in Symphony of the Sword.
Precursors: Several sets, most notably the Atlanteans and the Mandaloreans, who existed several thousand years before the "current era". The creators of Halo, however, are even more ancient, having been tentatively dated to at least a quarter million years in the past.
Punch Clock Villain: The Big Fire accountants forced into being field agents by their Q-Boss, Earl, in The Antianeira Incident.
Rape as Drama: Well-handled: Both Kaitlyn and Utena have rapes in their backstories — Kaitlyn's more violent than Utena's Mind Screw seduction by Akio — and it takes them both years and much support by friends and family to get over the lingering psychological aftereffects, even as both go on to be Big Damn Heroes.
Noriko, too. Which contributes to her eventually going Yandere and doing it to Hammer, of all people.
Raygun Gothic: Usually a deliberate design aesthetic chosen by architects and artists within the setting; for instance, both New Avalon and Asgard have a lot more Art Deco elements than one might expect.
Numerous small moments throughout Symphony of the Sword — such as the Art of Noise looking for "Batherson's College" in Toronto, the Crunch-and-Munch guy at the hockey game, and Utena and Saionji belatedly remembering the principle of specific heat — are based on events that actually occurred to members of the writing team.
A number of 20th-21st Century figures appear in the 25th Century courtesy of the WDF's "Project Hero", which gave selected outstanding persons the Omega-2 immortality treatment. Most notable among them is Jackie Chan, who is an Expert of Justice in the Symphony of the Sword era.
A short story set in the early Golden Age told of how the WDF enacted a special plan to give former NASA astronauts a chance to walk on the moon.
A number of real people appear in Valhalla or in forces dispatched from Valhalla — for instance, Virgil "Gus" Grissom shows up at the end of Clarion Call.
As noted in the sources folder above, a number of television personalities have counterparts in UF's 25th Century who have appeared "on screen", including but not limited to the MythBusters and the Teutuls of American Chopper. However, none of them have actually been the focus of a story of their own, so they only count as Real Person Fic on a technicality.
Nikola Tesla is regarded as one of the greatest inventors in Galactic history, to the point that he tutored Skuld.
Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: As one fan once said, "UF is where characters go to become awesome again after their original writers forget how to treat them right."
Re Write: Several stories have ended up being rendered obsolete by later story developments, and have been or are going to be rewritten to fit back into continuity — such as the pre-Future Imperfect story Cybertron Dreams, now known as Cybertron Reloaded, and the epic "Day of Infamy".
Rich Idiot with No Day Job: Subverted by Prince Garon of Gamilon, who is using Obfuscating Stupidity to keep from being named as heir to the Gamilon Empire in favor of his younger sister Amanda, who not only wants the position, but whom he feels is much better suited to the job.
Rouge Angles of Satin: Deliberate invocation in Last Transport, to demonstrate Kid Flash's rather spastic — and unintentionally funny — typing style.
Rule of Cool: Everything. It's the editorial main objective.
Running Gag: "Taco night"; Derek Bacon's series of "So You/You're..." guidebooks, which seem to have a volume to cover every unlikely extremity a character might find himself in.
Subverted by the seemingly endless list of Dantrovian religious holidays celebrated by Azalynn. Although she appears to be making them up on the spot as needed or convenient, most of them, regardless of how strange or silly they are, are apparently real.
Mostly, they were made up by the Dantrovians due to the more conservative views of other races on the subject of sex in order to allow them more freedom there.
It's kind of an undeclared running joke in the UF universe that everyone you meet named Carter is related. Devlin's late, unlamented father was the notorious gangster Jack Carter of Get Carter fame (Edison and Samantha are presumably Jack's estranged brother and sister). Somewhere a ways back and off on another branch in their family tree, you can find the mystic and dream explorer Randolph Carter of Boston (1874-1932?).
Martian warlord John Carter's provenance as part of that same clan is harder to establish, since he himself doesn't know when he was born, but family legend claims him as the one who (ca. 1650) established what would become the American branch of the family, and thus as a fairly distant ancestor of Randolph's. — Gryphon, 3 December 2011
Santa Claus: By the beginning of Azalynn's Winter Holiday, Saionji (after having been trounced by Kaitlyn) has somehow acquired a new sword to replace the one she destroyed. As he was disoriented and not a little crazy at the time, he's not quite sure where it came from. He remembers a man in red with white hair and a beard giving it to him and telling him to do better with it than he did with its predecessor, but isn't sure if that were a hallucination or not, and notes that he wasn't a good enough boy that year to get a present from Father Christmas.
Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: averted, surprisingly. Most everyone in the story happily lives in one spiral arm of the galaxy, with a coreward and rimward frontier. And then, there's this from Gryphon on the forums:
"Assuming she's in another [galaxy] and not somewhere in the colossal void in between the galaxies, that leaves us with only (at best modern scientific estimate) about 124,999,999,999 more to check, each containing somewhere around 500 billion solar systems. Even with a TARDIS - even if it somehow only took one second to check each entire galaxy and move on to the next one - that search would take just under 4,000 years."
Sdrawkcab Name: The realm of Oriphos, which occupies the cosmological mirror-opposite position to Cephiro.
Self-Insert Fic: And how! Practically the Ur Example. However, this has been averted in the Future Imperfect era, where the focus has begun to shift to a "second generation" of protagonists, some of whom are the children of the self-inserts.
Sex Face Turn: Saionji's "rehabilitation" via having sex with Azalynn.
Special mention should be made of Professor Enigma, a BBC-TV series that has been running almost continuously for 500 years. Based on the adventures of the "real" Doctor — who has actually made a guest appearance on the show — its current Professor is played by actress and former Companion Rose Tyler; its production staff travels around the galaxy in a real, if decrepit, TARDIS to film on location.)
Slash Fic: In-universe example: in chapter 3 of Manhunt, Vanessa Leeds reports (as part of her intelligence gathering efforts on the galaxy-wide Net) discovering the existence of Foe Yay slash fans shipping Largo and Gryphon, much to the latter's disgust.
Something about a Rose: Since the arrival of Utena Tenjou in Midgard and the founding of the Duelists' Society, Rose Duels have become the most common form of martial arts exhibition among the Ragnarok Wave, their families, friend and acquaintances. And Captain Picard in a Rose Duel is definitely Rule of Cool.
Song Fic: Pretty much any story with a performance by the Art of Noise in it turns into this for a while.
Space Western: Star-Crossed is this to a tee. Settlers are trying to make a living in a hostile land when two strangers come into town, trying to escape their violent past. On a Halo.
Speech Impediment: Kaitlyn Hutchins, with various subversions — her stutter vanishes when speaking with Marty Rose or either of her lovers, and it disappears entirely in her early 20s for reasons that are not yet fully explained. As is not uncommon in the real world, it also vanishes when she sings.
Epileptic Trees: Could Kaitlyn's stutter have been caused by being exposed to NeuroKill in utero during Days of Miracle and Wonder?
Steam Punk: The entire tech base of the planet Ishiyama — including their spacecraft; also, Corwin shows a fondness for steampunk designs, as evidenced by the construction of Tiny Robo. And for the ultimate example: after Ragnarok, the stability of the universe is maintained by a steam-powered Babbage-style difference engine of truly gargantuan proportions.
The point was, she really -had- seen attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion (if by "the shoulder of Orion" you meant Betelgeuse), really -had- watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser gate. She'd grown accustomed to seeing epic things happen with slightly alarming regularity as a kid; had even, in some ways, started to think she might be getting a little bit jaded.
That Man Is Dead: Liza Broadbank, after watching her life come crashing down around her and rebuilding it from scratch, renames herself Liza Shustal.
Theme Naming: The world, cities and nations of Ishiyama — the planet where the local version of Sakura Taisen took place — are named for members of the Sakura Taisen production team. Other planets often have names appropriate to their "specialties", such as Terpsichore III, the site of a music conference; Heston's Planet, homeworld of Mojo Jojo; and Kane's World, home to Batman.
Theme Tune Cameo: Occasionally pieces of music from various soundtracks show up in the story as "native" compositions — for instance, "Scarlet no Gakuen" from Revolutionary Girl Utena became a piece Kaitlyn wrote for her school orchestra, inspired by Utena.
This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Numerous instances both directly invoked and simply demonstrated. Most recently seen in Weapon of Choice when Laura Kinney declares that facing Kimura is something she must do herself, without help from Gryphon's forces.
There Is Only One Bed: Played for laughs (well, mostly) in Wounded Rose, where six people try to jam into one motel bed on the road back from Toronto. Kaitlyn, Utena, Amanda, and Azalynn end up on the single queen-sized mattress.
To the Pain: Kaitlyn to Garcia in Hunter Rose, only it's done telepathically and out of sight of the readers; we just see Garcia surrender after he views Kaitlyn's threat.
Trapped in Another World: They get so many of these that they have a guidebook — "So You've Just Arrived From A Parallel Universe" — for newcomers, and cops on the beat in New Avalon have a standard procedure for dealing with them.
What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Instead of a hidden moral value, it can actually be measured in terms of Spengler flux. ACIs run a wide range from barely sentient to emitting three times the Spengler radiation of average humans.
"Blind we are," Yoda said softly, as if only to himself. Then, in a slightly louder voice, he added, "Blind we have been. Since the time of Nemo shar Atrados... blind we have been."
Who Wants to Live Forever?: Subverted — his loved ones decide to get the immortality treatment as well. Then the people who care about them, until every single Wedge Rat is immortal. As are their descendants.
Played somewhat straight in Aegis Florea 2 when Sumire is revealed to have, as a result of a combination of this Trope, Victory Is Boring and her own unrequited love for Gryphon, spent the previous forty years in the throes of a Heroic BSOD until Kei reboots her with a What the Hell, Hero?/"The Reason You Suck" Speech that is so scathing and insulting that she cannot help but to rouse from her self-imposed emotional stupor and get angry.
Wolverine Claws: A common cybermod, actually called "wolvers" in-world. After he arrives in the UF-verse, Wolverine is annoyed when he finds that he cannot sue for the misappropriation of his name.
You Kill It, You Bought It: Akio kills Zagato and takes his place as High Priest of Cephiro. Anthy later kills him, and winds up becoming High Priest herself.
You Mean Xmas: Various alien holidays held at about the same time on the Galactic standard calendar, including of course the inevitable Dantrovian excuse for an ... intimate experience with like-minded individuals.
Zeerust: Much of the civilized galaxy feels like the late 20th-early 21st century with Space Opera accoutrements. For example, 25th-century Toronto is essentially identical to Toronto now. New Avalon, a planned city built from scratch at the beginning of the 25th century, is deliberately designed to feel like a New England city circa 2000 AD. Lampshaded in one of the stories where a character says "Whenever we set out to build new things nowadays, we realize all our best stuff was made in the twentieth century, but it got knocked down, and we want it back, so we build it again." Within the setting, some 25th-century sociologists believe this is the result of having large numbers of immortals born in the 20th in the population, imposing their tastes and familiarities on the culture as a whole.)
Undocumented Features is large enough to have created its own internal tropes:
Married Mai Waifu For Real. A significant percentage of the Author Avatars end up married to or in permanent long-term relationships with various hot fictional babes. Just to name a few:
Princess Amanda of Gamilon? Private band with her brother and their bodyguards.
As well as Kait's old guitarist.
PCHammer? Lead singer of the Clay Pigeons, biggest band in the galaxy at one point.
Most of the early parts of Symphony of the Sword revolve in part around Kaitlyn Hutchins' band The Art of Noise (named for the 20th century British techno band the same way singer Englebert Humperdinck took the name of an 18th century composer).
Here, Read This. Derek Bacon's interminable series of advice and self-help books for the person in an unusual situation is well past Running Gag territory and turning into a trope. A few confirmed titles:
So You Are Falling from a Great Height (Which is, according to Word of God, a different book entirely from the previous title — this one is a manual for people who've just been ejected from high-flying aerospacecraft and/or defenestrated from tall buildings...)
So You're Dead: A Non-Survivor's Guide To Valhalla