Fanfic / Rolands War
A massive work of World Made by Hand Fan Fiction
. Therefore, in this entry on it, "I" or "Me" will always be referring to frog753
. Now that we've cleared this up...
Roland's War ideally should not be known by such a name. I have always called its various installments WMBH II, WMBH III, WMBH IV, etc. But those names are not very interesting, and far too derivative, so I named it after one of the protagonists, but-
Oh, you wanted an actual summary and trope list? Sorry, I got distracted for a moment. So anyway, continuing on...Roland's War
is an attempt to address some bad aspects of World Made by Hand
. By doing a Retcon
that eliminates the drastic climate change described in the book, it allows for Long Island to be inhabited. By bringing in the Arc Reactor from Iron Man
(or something that acts like an arc reactor, but goes by a different name to avoid a lawsuit), it instantly solves the problem of the only possible electricity being hydroelectric power. Most importantly, it actually adds some substantial, epic action to this post-apocalyptic word and examines in detail many other parts of the country beyond upstate New York.
In a nutshell, it's about how a group of Crazy-Prepared
people coordinate, in the face of impending disaster, a nationwide network of fortresses. Most of these are old-fashioned, strongly-built, solid-walled maximum-security prisons, abandoned due to massive prisoner die-off in the diseases epidemics that ravaged America. Safe in these fortresses, these responsible people wait for the chaos to die down, then emerge and start doing a few key things. They get to work on wind and solar power infrastructure right away, then make surrounding farmers an offer they can't refuse: Provide us with food, and we will provide you with security. It works, and soon the "United Coalition of Allied Fortresses" flourishes nationwide, especially on the east coast.
However, there are problems. A splinter faction of the Coalition hell-bent on restoring the USA to its former organized glory has a bad falling-out with the original Coalition, taking with it all the advanced U.S. Army tech they could scavenge. A power-hungry Coalition officer in Minnesota stages a coup, turning her state into an insular, oppressive Empire with her at its head. And most alarmingly of all, someone
has begun a savage cross-country reign of terror, destruction for its own sake that threatens to destroy everything the Coalition has worked so hard to build...
The key things to remember about Roland's War
- It's epic, over-the-top, and in all ways completely absurd. Applied Phlebotinum makes most of it possible. Mythic heroes (and villains) really are everywhere. If this is not your type of story, then leave now.
- Almost all characters are original, absolutely no characters from World Made by Hand appear, and the settings are mostly all not seen or even mentioned in WMBH.
- The fortresses described in the story are essentially characters themselves. Their inhabitants have unique collective reputations, habits, traditions, and special military units.
- While the story contains much smoking, drinking, and gratuitous violence, I the author do not condone such things. More on this later in the trope list.
Currently, Roland's War exists as a failed novel
(I got up to chapter 4, then changed my mind on what medium was best for telling the story), a two-person written roleplay on NationStates
that was suddenly halted due to the forum vanishing, and an in-process feature-length film script that I'm very much enjoying but will never actually be filmed. On October 30, 2009, work on a sequel script began. No, the first script was never finished. Yes, my mind has a tendency to jump very far ahead...
Let me just say this again: It's not like most fanfiction you see out there. It takes WMBH
canon and walks away with it, leading it to something almost completely original. I could care less about the specific story and characters of World Made by Hand
at this point. It's the setting, entirely the setting, that matters and that captivated me.
Now, on to the tropes, in no particular alphabetical order!
- Apocalypse How- Because of the retcons to the original book's apocalyptic events, it's now more like a Class 0.75, if such a thing is possible. Dieback is not quite as bad, and America gets back up on its feet much more quickly thanks to the Coalition.
- After the End- Pretty self-explanatory.
- Cosy Catastrophe- And how! The presence of the Coalition, arc reactors, and the stuff made in Coalition factories makes this world much more pleasant and livable than that of WMBH. Not much needs to be scavenged anymore
- Applied Phlebotinum- The arc reactor. I have no idea how it works, nor do I think the audience needs to. Just accept it for what it is, because the plot would fall apart without it. This trope also applies to the mysterious way Trey got superpowers, and the workings of Valentine's gauntlet, Marla's Powered Armor, and of course Project XVI.
- Bad Ass- Pretty much every major character. It's just that kind of story.
- Badass Longcoat- Roland and Eli basically epitomize this one, although there are others. I believe Commander Zachariah wears one, and Erica wears one over her Spy Catsuit during everyday travel. Subverted by Frank Valero, whose standard-issue Savannah Citizen Militia P-Jacket could be considered a Badass Shortcoat!
- Badass Cape- Valentine is a perfect example. It usually is seen getting blown around by Dramatic Wind.
- Badass Normal- Many characters who don't have the incredible abilities of some of the others fit this trope: Frank Valero, the Jenkins Brothers, Commander Zachariah (sort of...), Dave Rice...but one stands head and shoulders above the rest. That would have to be Vangelis, my original hero. He's just an exceptionally good soldier, quick and accurate with his AK, skilled at riding a horse or motorcycle, and possesses an exceptional work ethic. But that's it. People in the story see him as way more powerful, but that's all just inflated reputation.
- From the sequel: Leyna's sister Julie, Patrick Marenco.
- Charles Atlas Superpower- Roland's Gun Kata was obtained this way: while the world was busy destroying itself, he hid out in a cabin in the middle of nowhere with a DVD of Equilibrium and trained obsessively until he could actually pull it off. Because no one else went to this trouble, he seems superpowered. This trope is also basically the explanation for Commander Valentine's physical prowess, and would seem to explain Inquisitor Calliope, though there's more to her than meets the eye...
- The Gunslinger- Roland is a C, Eli is a combination of A and D. These are the essences of their characters, and you won't see them fighting with anything other than their trusty guns.
- BFG- The Missouri Sniper, who has a habit of hanging around on top of his state's Capitol building, has one of these.
- BFS- Zacharias's claymore. But let us not forget Valentine's absurdly large rapier, sized so that she can properly hold it with her gauntlet hand if necessary.
- Character Name Alias- Roland, Valentine, Vangelis, and Calliope. All have painstakingly kept their real identities secret, and all have good reasons for choosing the pseudonyms they use.
- The name Roland can be seen to come from various sources, depending on whether you're a bigger fan of: a) Stephen King b) Warren Zevon or c) 12th Century French poetry.
- The namesake for Vangelis is a composer, perhaps best known for the Chariots of Fire score.
- Calliope was one of the ancient Greek muses. This has nothing to do with Inquisitor Calliope's job...the alias dates back to her much less violent pre-apocalyptic life.
- Valentine is a direct Final Fantasy VII reference. And wait until you actually see a description of her, then it will make even more sense...
- Sue Donym- Sort of, kind of, not really like the trope was intended to be. But close enough, in two ways. Leyna is not actually named Leyna...it's technically a pseudonym that she created by taking just one letter off her real name! Erica did something very similar, but by changing rather than removing a letter. Can you guess which one?
- Meaningful Name- Well, more like meaningful nickname in one case where this trope is played completely for laughs. Aaron Gates, an NCO at Worcester Airport, has perpetuated the nickname "Spider" for himself. He doesn't have any spider-like qualities at all. He simply chose the name in order to see peoples' reactions when they suddenly remember what the original "Spider Gates" are.
- Ascended Fanboy- Roland could be seen as this, having gotten his abilities from a movie he loved.
- The Chessmaster- General Spiven, the young Montanan who formed the Northern Plains Confederacy and broke it away from the Coalition, is definitely one of these. Arguably, so are Calliope and Valentine, though in somewhat different ways, given their very different personalities.
- Samus Is a Girl- Though most people recognize them by now, Marla, Leyna, and Valentine have to deal with this when an enemy faces them for the first time. Valentine's outfit gives away her figure pretty quickly despite its overall ambiguous nature, but Leyna's doesn't and Marla is inside a large and not very feminine-looking Powered Armor. Of course, they usually say something to the enemy and give it away with their voice...
- Action Girl- Valentine, Leyna, Marla
- Dark Action Girl- The two closest examples, Calliope and Erica, subvert this in interesting ways. The former is usually too sedate, unobtrusive, and by-the-book to qualify, while the latter is so evil she kind of passes the limit for the trope.
- Lady of War- It's a good thing I found this trope, because it describes the image I was trying to project with Valentine perfectly. Subverted somewhat in that her fighting style is more up-close and violent than most examples of this trope.
- Big Bad- Empress Juno, Erica, the Federal Authority Council.
- The Dragon- Zacharias is this for Erica, Calliope is this for Empress Juno, and Roland is arguably this for the Federal Authority Council.
- The Hero- A whole host of characters, arguably, though Roland and Vangelis were sort of the originals.
- The Lancer- Dave Rice is this to Roland, and that sniper guy could be seen as filling this role in Leyna's crew.
- Expy or Captain Ersatz (not sure which, exactly)- Major Booth from the Federal Authority's Fort Atlanta looks, sounds, and acts an awful lot like Sawyer from Lost...since I am the author here, I suppose I am entirely at fault for this lazy characterization. Sorry.
- Trey is a straight-up Captain Ersatz of Gambit from X-Men, the in-universe explanation of course being that he was given the same superpowers as Gambit through experimentation in secret Coalition labs...obviously the scientists have read way too many X-men comics...of course, his backstory and overall personality is still radically different.
- On the other hand, my NationStates roleplay featured a character called Marcus Salinsky, who is a sort of double expy from my past work. I've previously had characters by that name in NationStates and in my Urinetown fanfic stuff. They're not really the same person, but two out of the three wielded the same weapons...
- Cast of Snowflakes- I'd like to hope I pulled this off properly. My distinct characters are all quite distinct. Some of the others (particularly poor Vangelis)...aren't...
- Technical Pacifist- Billy Madison (no, not that Billy Madison, see below...) sort of fits this, because killing makes him nervous and he only insists on carrying one rather meager gun. Subverted by Leyna...she used to be very dedicated to peace, and with the advanced technology she possesses could almost qualify for this trope, but unfortunately Project XVI was not designed with non-lethal force in mind...
- Powered Armor- Marla is legendary because of hers, a government prototype recovered from a research lab years ago. It's almost nothing like that of the elite Minnesotan "mobile infantry", which move slower, can't fly, aren't as durable, and don't have much weapons variety. But then there's Calliope's, which is something else entirely, a piece of Imported Alien Phlebotinum acquired from South Africa years ago...
- Rule of Cool- Governs the way I write this story! Awesomeness before realism, no matter what the cost!
- Unfortunate Names- The Pop Culture Name example of this has struck poor Billy Madison at full force. Yes, I have a character named William Madison, more commonly known as Billy. As soon as the Adam Sandler movie of the same name came out, his life became miserable. The apocalypse has actually done wonders for him. Also, Leroy Jenkins, father of the Jenkins Brothers, who had no idea his name would come to mean so much...
- The Fake Cutie- Kind of sums up Erica: her surface personality is bubbly and perky, seemingly quite girlish and cheerful. But, she's actually a monster.
- Ax-Crazy- Ok, maybe this sums up Erica equally well. All Ax Crazy characters are a bit different in their own way, and Erica is certainly a bit on the subtler side, but she's crazy and likes to kill people.
- For the Evulz- Why Erica does what she does, as somewhat a result of her insanity. She derives delight from pain, death, and destruction and can't be reasoned with unless her own life is really seriously threatened. Which doesn't happen as often as others might think.
- Self-Made Orphan- Some sources say Erica is one, but it's not 100% clear...
- Blood Knight- Not so much Erica, but definitely Zachariah. He very much enjoys a good war, and seeing as he possesses a BFS and a reasonably large automatic pistol, I can't blame him.
- Mysterious Past- Valentine, Calliope, Vangelis, Roland...especially Roland. He deliberately conceals his identity behind his pseudonym and an absolute unwillingness to tell ahyone anything about his time before his training during the apocalyptic years. Averted by Dave Rice, Frank Valero, the Jenkins Brothers, and some others.
- Berserk Button- Disparage pre-apocalyptic literature, theater, or any other such elements of high culture and you'll merely make Calliope mad. Attempt to reveal anything about her pre-apocalyptic identity and you run the risk of triggering something far, far worse...
- Wicked Cultured- Most definitely Calliope and, to a lesser degree Empress Juno herself. Averted by Erica, who is so distracted by her own evil that she has let this trait fall out of her everyday personality.
- Chaotic Good- Eli and Leyna, being wandering mercenary types but with definite standards and fundamentally good natures.
- Chaotic Neutral- Billy Madison, solitary wanderer and scavenger, who doesn't like staying in one place or allying himself with any one cause for too long, and has no qualms about trading alcohol, tobacco, and firearms to anyone for food.
- Shout-Out- This work is loaded with 'em.
- One of the earliest was in the novel installment, where the main enemies are a terrorist group called the Mandrill Initiative, a rather idiotic (if I do say so myself) mashup up names and concepts from Lost and Matt Ruff's novel Bad Monkeys.
- The Minnesotan mechas pay direct tribute to the APUs of The Matrix Revolutions.
- The uniforms of the Minnesotan Red Guard bear a suspicious resemblance to those of the Save-A-Soul Mission members in most productions of Guys and Dolls. Really.
- Roland's Gun Kata is an obvious tribute to Equilibrium.
- Valentine's outfit is a clear reference to the character of the same name in Final Fantasy VII, who she used to cosplay as in the pre-apocalyptic days.
- Eli's guns look just like Vash's in Trigun, and his name is an odd tribute to a Three Dog Night song. Also, he can curve bullets like in Wanted...sort of...
- Frank Valero's last name...yes, it's a common American gas station. Stop looking at me like that. I'm bad with names.
- Mildly Military- The Coalition is the very definition of this! Discipline is infrequent, drills are relaxed yet somehow effective, soldiers always wind up with assignments they enjoy, promotions are frequent, and the rank structure can get a bit wonky. I suppose I would say the Coalition falls into this trope trap because (in-universe) it needed to stay loose in order to adapt to the changing post-apocalyptic world or (real-life) I don't know enough about real military life to write it accurately!
- The Empire- Well, obviously the Empire of Minnesota. Also, the Kingdom of Delmarva, before they attempted an idiotic simultaneous conquest of South Jersey and Philadelphia and were crushed by a multi-state Coalition force. Also, as the Federal Authority grows in size and evilness, some might say they all headed towards this trope, but I'd say they're more like a dark version of...
- The Federation- Well, think about it. The Federal Authority wants to bring back an organized, centrally governed United States. Except it's obviously not going to be quite like it was in the pre-apocalyptic days.
- The Coalition arguably fits this trope too, though they are actually not quite organized enough.
- Butt Monkey- Can a place be one of these? Because Fort Riverhead (on Long Island, NY, in the town on Riverhead) and Fort Toledo (in Toledo, Ohio), frequently mentioned in the "Ugliest Fort in the Coalition" write-in poll, certainly might qualify.
- Jerk Ass- Roland. Being very powerful has made him feel that he has a right to be obnoxious with impunity.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold- Roland! He's actually very kind and compassionate, but he's buried so deep that almost no one knows. Just watch, it'll come out sometime...
- Author Avatar- Roland actually is supposed to be me. In the future.
- Evil Redhead- Calliope is this trope personified. Actually, I believe she is one of my only red-haired characters.
- Lethal Chef- One of the Jenkins brothers relates the story, in a letter to his parents, of how one of his friends at Fort Pittsburgh North decides it would be a good idea to create a chicken and radish stew. Something goes wrong, and all who eat it, while not killed, are struck with serious food poisoning. The stew-maker is sentenced to extensive latrine duty and ordered never to cook again.
- Frank Valero also has a penchant for bizarre recipes of dubious edibility, which also makes him somewhat of a One-Note Cook... he just can't seem to give up on the idea of making a successful eel and scallop stew!
- Spy Catsuit- She may not be a spy, but a black leather one of these is Erica's signature outfit. Unless she's on a pre-planned stealth sort of mission, though, she usually wears a Badass Longcoat over it. If it seems somewhat absurd, I would say it's explained by the fact that she consciously chose to wear it (and adapted to it very well) in order to project a certain image to her enemies and band of followers.
- The base layer of Valentine's outfit, Marla's interface suit for her mecha, and what Calliope is wearing under her normal uniform, only revealed when someone triggers her Berserk Button sort of qualify, but also fall under Sensual Spandex.
- Cool Shades- In addition to his black Badass Longcoat, Roland wears Aviators. Subverted by the fact that no one really remembers what action movie heroes looked like, so they actually find Roland's outfit to be cool rather than cliched!
- Nice Hat- Zachariah wears a somewhat fedora-like hat...by pairing it with his Badass Longcoat, he's trying to create a sort of Wild West look. Whether this is successful or not as a matter of some debate among Erica's crew.
- Smoking Is Cool- Subverted in that while no deliberate effort is made to make it seem cool because the primary heroes don't smoke, it is still quite prevalent. Billy Madison is the embodiment of this in that he is essentially a walking cigarette machine, scavenging them where he can and trading them to people for food, while he himself also smokes almost constantly. So do Frank Valero, Shoe (and therefore also Eli, in his attempt to take on Shoe's identity after killing his double early on in the story and thinking it was the real guy), and a whole host of minor, barely-seen characters. Averted by the main characters, who mostly have a strong opposition to all drugs and alcohol.
- Remember, Tropers, I the author do not smoke or condone doing so. But I've seen enough of this world to realize that not having any characters smoke would be absurd.
- Supporting Leader- Dave Rice is this for the Federal Authority, while Major Finnegan fulfills this role in the Northern Plains Confederacy as a counterpoint to the younger General Spiven, who is busy directing attacks from behind the scenes most of the time.
- Guns Akimbo- Roland has two guns and usually uses them both at once. Eli sometimes has two, sometimes doesn't. Same goes for his predecessor Shoe. And I guess Leyna qualifies...if Project XVI hadn't included two guns in its final design, it would merely be Project XII.
- Took a Level in Badass- This is how Eli got to be where he is today. Before successfully killing Shoe (Or rather, his double, but we didn't know that until the real Shoe showed up several years later alive and well), he was just another young punk with aspirations of being a great gunslinger. After that fateful duel, he took on Shoe's twin custom revolvers, Badass Longcoat, and Cool Shades and spent plenty of time training...
- Lampshade Hanging- This happened in the Delmarva Conflict storyline, after Lieutenant Eccles's offer of assistance to John Lavulpo is shot down with a withering denunciation of the ways of the Coalition. In reply, Eccles babbles out a little monologue in which he says he now realizes the Coalition and its fortresses are foolish and just plain odd. Basically, this was me lampshading the fact that I indeed found my own fictional world here to be a bit too weird, especially when I was roleplaying with someone else who didn't quite get it...
- Secret Police or State Sec- Minnesota's Red Guard. They're sort of less secret than the first trope, but not quite as big as the second. Clad in unique maroon uniforms and armed only with Minnesota-made copies of the Kar98k and Smith & Wesson Model 29 (and a sword...), they serve as an internal security force for hunting down and destroying any who stand against the Empire. Their agents are notoriously proud and at time vain, refusing to wear body armor and using nothing but their slow, accurate, and powerful signature weapons. Yet the Red Guard gets results and inspire terror in the Minnesotan general populace, and that's what counts. In an ironic note, their ground vehicle of choice is a slightly up-armored vintage VW van. Yes, secret police driving hippy vans. Not sure how I came up with that one. Their leader is High Inquisitor Calliope, sort of...she shares the position with other men and women who bear other equally inflated ranks/titles.
- Praetorian Guard- A unit of the above-mentioned Red Guard tasked with protecting the Empress qualifies as one of these.
- The Everyman- The Jenkins brothers were created during the NationStates roleplay for this exact reason: just two ordinary young guys from Lancaster, PA, one stationed in Philadelphia and the other in Pittsburgh. They look at and react to big events, write letters home to their parents, and generally don't do anything extraordinary...yet.
- Joe Abernathy was created for the script as one of these, though he's also the opening narrator.
- Vangelis could be said to be one of these, but his past is too mysterious and possibly dark, so I say he doesn't count.
- The sequel, in an attempt to move towards realism, adds several more: Patrick Marenco, Andrew Rael, Jim Anderson and Rick Dillard...for all I know, I may introduce even more!
- Former Child Star- Marla. No, really. Ok, so maybe she wasn't a child star in the typical sense of the trope, but she was something close! Please don't go telling her I made her into a mecha-piloting character of mine...
- Fighter-Launching Sequence: Several occasions, though the best example would probably be near the end of the second script, when the Minnesotan Imperial Air Force lifts off to do their big attack on everyone else. Countered by the scenes of Northern Plains Confederacy and Wisconsonian Coalition air forces taking off to intercept the attack and bomb the crap out of Minnesota.
- All There in the Manual- I am working on a massive character and location guide that will hopefully be a sort of homemade version of this trope. If I ever finish...
- Gas Mask Mooks- Erica's soldiers, when they use chemical weapons. And the Miners, all the time.
- Goggles Do Something Unusual- Valentine's super-elaborate magnifying goggles. Their various lenses are constantly moving and adjusting, and give her a great advantage in combat.
- Shrouded in Myth- Practically the case with every major character! Since modern media was essentially wiped out in the apocalyptic events, most news travels by word of mouth or usually unreliable newspaper-like "broadsheets", and ordinary people or ordinary Coalition grunts don't get much of the truth. Most of the great figures of the age are distorted to seem even more powerful than they actually are, their great deeds magnified because anything that goes above and beyond "just getting by" is grounds for greatness. Vangelis in particular is so shrouded in myth he can barely move: his monumental journeys shortly after joining the Coalition and his continued willingness to participate in major military operations across America have led to him being seen by the general population as a superhero of sorts, when really he's just a Badass Normal career soldier trying to get by and serve the Coalition as best he can. Played for laughs near the end of the first chapter of my failed novel, when he sits down at a table with a bunch of soldiers who don't recognize him, then freak out when the fort commander introduces him to them.
- Deadly Decadent Court- The court of Empress Juno, centered around the Imperial Palace in St. Cloud, Minnesota. No one's really plotting to overthrow the Empress, but if you get in the way of any of the aristocrats or run afoul of the Empress's personal Red Guard unit, you're in trouble...
- Several of the "Not Actually Pornographic Porn Tropes": Gun Porn, Scenery Porn, Technology Porn- There is definitely too much focus on stunning vistas of the healing, rural America and the grandeur of the forts. And an awful lot of intricate close-ups of Marla's mecha. And also too much focus on basically anyone's guns, especially those of Roland and Eli.
- Those Two Guys- The rather peculiar, never separated Pfc. Withers and Corporal Bosworth. And the Iowan bounty hunter duo Book Kassidy and the Oxford Kid (please don't kill me, I've never seen the original movie...).
- No Doubt The Years Have Changed Me- Remember, by a strange coincidence, Roland actually went to high school with a lot of the major characters, both heroes and villains, but he doesn't go by the name they knew, looks different, and acts much different. As the plot reaches certain points, this trope comes into play as he reveals his true identity to them one at a time. Sometimes in better circumstances than other times.
- Abandoned Hospital- Seeing as this is After the End, abandoned hospitals are everywhere, but the trope is subverted by them not staying that way. Instead, they are likely to be converted by just about any faction into a certain kind of fortress which they call a "residential facility". Such places are usually less secure but more comfortable for civilians to live in than the prisons-turned-fortresses. In some of these forts that were formerly asylums, lingering signs and feelings of past atrocities are said to still remain...
- Prison / The Alcatraz- Subverted in a way utterly vital to the story. Basically, the strongest, most imposing prisons across the U.S. are used as fortresses that can keep anyone out rather than in! Most of the super-imposing, most-feared real life state penitentiaries of the U.S. are the pride and joy of the Coalition and whatever other factions might control them. Let's face it: if Roland's War was a car, it would run on not gasoline, but prisons.
- Warrior Poet- Leyna and Valentine, to the absolute maximum. Valentine publishes her various works of poetry and prose in Vassar's sole remaining literary magazine quite often, and her speeches are acknowledged across the Coalition as not just empty bluster but true art.
- Knight Templar: Calliope is kind of a dark-skewed version of this, certainly, though she's a bit...quiet...for a Knight Templar. But Roland...ah yes, he definitely is the foremost Knight Templar of the Federal Authority. And will remain so until he eventually comes to his senses and realizes what he's doing...
- Super Prototype: Marla's Powered Armor, for sure. Years ahead of anything else the U.S. Military had developed, it stands alone among the technology used after the Crash as a glimpse of what might have awaited us if the world hadn't gone crazy. Also, the Project XVI gear sort of counts, but not in the exact same way...
- Everyone Went to School Together: Well, really...it's mostly true. Roland, Leyna, Valentine, Erica, Calliope, Dave Rice, and maybe a few other people I'm forgetting at the moment all went to the same private school, though some people's time there overlaps with everyone else's more than others...
- Loads and Loads of Characters: I'm sure people will challenge me and say I don't have enough to qualify for this trope, but I beg to differ. Though I haven't given much detailed thought to anyone beyond the main cast, there are an awful lot of characters. The Coalition is a big group, and that's just part of the story. So in fact, I really do have loads of characters.
- He's Just Hiding: Roland. He doesn't actually die in his final battle with Erica aboard the An-22 at the end of the first script. Neither does Erica, though. Valentine rescues Roland, and Zachariah rescues Erica. However, while Roland goes into hiding for the next 6 years, Erica is in a coma the entire time. Related would be Never Found the Body.
- The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The four-member (2 male, 2 female) Federal Authority Council, whose faces are never seen but who frequently interact with Roland himself on a regular basis. Roland kills them at the end of the first script, and without them, the Feds lose the will to fight the Coalition. In the sequel, the reorganized Federal Authority has loosely become The Government instead, handling American civil affairs while the Coalition is responsible for the military.
- Fake Defector / The Infiltration / Becoming the Mask / He Who Fights Monsters: Calliope. She's actually not a bad person at heart, or at least didn't used to be, but when her sister was gunned down by the Red Guard, she resolved to enter their ranks, rise to the top, and destroy the Empire from the inside. Obviously, this is taking a while, and she's had to kill and torture a lot of people to get and keep the position of High Inquisitor and earn the trust of the Empress. Unlike most Inquisitors, she doesn't enjoy the job at all, so she's numbed herself to everything. Directly reminding her of her past is one of the only things that can really affect her emotionally...
- No Communities Were Harmed: Averted, because realism and the real appearance of places is integral to the way the story works and the whole character of this work. The only way the trope is sort of played straight is in cases where new buildings are built post-crash (like the purpose-built fort High Point) or when there are retcons to real life or mysterious "reconstruction" events that allow buildings that are presently demolished in reality to exist post-crash.
- Fun with Acronyms
- The Coalition's attempt at creating a coffee shop chain in the "next generation" sequel
- "United Coffee of Allied Fortresses? Why does that sound so familiar?" In case you don't get it, UCAF is the acronym for the Coalition itself
- The People's Liberation Army of Nebraska
- "Oh great. It's the Contraception Army..." As in, you know, Plan B...