- Abnormal Ammo:
- In Chapter 18, a rune-inscribed crystal 50-cal bullet goes through Queen Celestia's shield and blows one of her ears off.
- In the same chapter, Discord shows off a tiny gun he acquired in his search for their dimension. It shoots Banzai Bills.
- Actually a Doombot: The "Celestia" whom Luna and Discord fight in Boston is actually a Mirror Pool clone.
- Alien Arts Are Appreciated: Subverted. TCB!Equestria's use of zeppelins has been confirmed by Redskin to be purely coincidental with the idea that skyliners (the Equestrian equivalent of cruise liners) could be adapted for military use.
Redskin122004: "Some new changed Newfoal thought it would be great if they can use them in the 'good fight' for earth, passed it on to Twilight who began to set up the ships to be refitted for defense and potions, and improve magical to help power it."
- Played straight with their use of concrete.
- In Calm Before the Storm, the Canon!Equestrians are absolutely enthralled with human artwork.
- Alien Invasion: The TCB!ponies' arrival on Earth. Though it wasn't apparent until sometime after their arrival.
- The Alliance: All of Earth's remaining armed forces unite as one to combat the ponies.
- And so has virtually every race on Canon!Equus.
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Newfoals are colonizing the land absorbed by the Barrier.
- An Offer You Can't Refuse: In a flashback from the chapter "Sanguine Meetings and Bloodied Past", Newfoal unicorn Stalwart Heart (formerly Marcus's brother Jacob) tried to make Marcus back off by magically choking Cheerilee. Marcus responds by killing him.
- Anachronic Order: The first chapter opens with Marcus restrained in a hospital after his beatdown of the Canon!Mane Six; the following chapter recaps the fight in detail.
- Anything But That!: Celestia willingly weathers the storm of Marcus's war memories... right until his recollections of TCB!Twilight and the rest of the Mane Six.
- Antagonist in Mourning: In the chapter "The Writes of Passage", we learn that TCB!Flim and Flam of all ponies were present at TCB!Granny Smith's side during her last days when TCB!Applejack was not.
- Despite their virulent anti-pony sentiments, some members of the HLF mourned TCB!Lyra's death, if only because of how cruel it was.
- Apathetic Citizens: What Discord thinks of the Canon!ponies. However, this is completely averted in Calm Before the Storm, when they're are exposed to human arts and see the photos detailing the effects of the Solar Empire's campaign and the plight of the War Refugees.
By the end of it, nopony would have considered isolationism. No matter their occupation, they resolved that they would Do Something Important. Whether it was manufacturing, support, maintenance of communication networks, or fighting on the frontlines with the new modular assault yokes and saddles that they saw at Isaac Dan Der Grimnebulin's stall... they would not quietly sit in their homes as war raged on... They would make absolutely sure that Earth won its fight.
- Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: The TCB!Equestrians believe themselves to be better than humans because humans have waged war against each other, while they apparently have never done the same to each other.
- Appeal To Audacity: In "Trust", Canon!Luna presses her head directly to the muzzle of an anti-alicorn BFG to convince the PHL soldiers that she's on the level, because would a puppet deliberately put itself in PHL crosshairs?
- Autobots, Rock Out!: TCB!Vinyl Scratch uses music to power up human and PHL troops in battle.
Vinyl: "Hey! All my speakers are awesome, you should've seen some of those humans fighting when my speakers are cranked up to 15!"
- Awesome but Impractical: The various proposals that President Davis receives. While the "awesome" part is uncertain, they're impractical because they just don't have that kind of time anymore.
"Then there are the various projects that Crowe Labs or any other convenient think tank tries to peddle to us and any other government that still has a couple acres they can set foot on without melting into puddles. They crank out new concepts once a week, it feels like. Wildly unfeasible energy weapons, bioweapons that we're not sure even work against ponies, barrier-resistant materials, spaceships, and something that they called Project Sunflower
! All prohibitively expensive, of course, requiring hundreds of imported Equestrian materials, things we'd need to make decade-long leaps in science to make, especially in the time that we have left! It took us a miracle to even delay the barrier! As far as I can tell, we have no choice. I'd love to say no and kickstart Project Sunflower, but the barrier would be at the Rockies by the time we had enough of that done for it to make a difference! From what Stephan has said, they were friendly, and we simply have no options left on the table!"
- Battle Cry: What Queen Elizabeth's final address became.
- Be Careful What You Wish For:
- In "Sanguine Meetings and Bloodied Past", one of Marcus' memories shows that he brought Cheerilee to Washington DC because she wanted the PHL to take a more active role in fighting the Tyrant. The visit coincided with a major PER/Solar Empire joint-attack, and Marcus had to kill his ponified brother.
- Luna wants to know what drove TCB!Twilight to beg for death. Not!Twilight shows her the potion's process of creation.
- Better to Die Than Be Killed: Marcus attempts to slit his throat when he thinks he is about to be ponified by the Canon!Mane Six, only for the knife to be taken from him. In desperation, he tries to faceplant on the knife, but ends up knocking himself out.
- Queen Elizabeth and the Prime Minister of Japan both took their own lives rather than be ponified.
- Humanity's last plan if all else fails is to create a mass extinction event by nuking the Yellowstone supervolcano.
- Beware the Nice Ones:
- TCB!Fluttershy and TCB!Pinkie Pie. Fluttershy uses her Stare to convince people to drink the potion, while Pinkie is every bit as childish and silly even as she commits horrible atrocities.
- TCB!Cheerilee plays this very straight when she sees Queen Celestia kill a child soldier.
- Beware the Silly Ones: TCB!Pinkie Pie. She commits the same atrocities as the rest of the elements while keeping her usual smile and childlike attitude throughout it all. Not to mention, her party cannon has been upgraded to a more lethal party shotgun.
- Canon!Pinkie Pie as well. Seeing how her hair goes straight and limp as she sees the Solar Empire's atrocities against humanity in Calm Before the Storm and never recovers is a very big warning sign that there won't be any more fun and games.
- BFG: While going through Marcus's memories, Princess Celestia witnesses one of Vinyl Scratch firing a harness mounted minigun at the Mane Six.
- The DSR-50 anti material rifle◊ carried by Bundeswehr sniper Alicia, specifically modified with magical runes to kill the Tyrant. She gets a good shot, but Celestia moves her head at the last possible second, leaving it ambiguous as to whether the gun could actually kill an alicorn.
- Big Applesauce: Discussed in Chapter 10, when Doctor Whooves says that the New Yorkers have survived too much to even contemplate evacuating. New York also serves as a major stronghold for the PHL.
- Discord also manages to rebuild a version in Canon!Equestria in chapter 25, to serve as housing and training grounds for the various armies that have come to fight TCB!Equestria. It was purged of every Chuck. E Cheese and Freddy Frazbear's pizza.
- Big Damn Heroes: Subverted. In Chapter 3, Princesses Celestia and Luna think they are rescuing the Mane Six and Spike from Marcus, not knowing just why he attacked in the first place.
- However, Princess Celestia plans on playing this straight by leading an allied army to assist humanity and the resistance movements against her evil counterpart.
- Both Sides Have a Point: In "Training Days: The Second Month", Marcus discovers Acevedo and TCB!Vinyl's attempts to discover the point of divergence between the two Equestrias, and goes to put a stop to it. They discover it on their own anyway. Marcus argues that the news of TCB!Lyra's discovery of the Bag of Tirek would cause a huge Broken Pedestal and give the HLF more fuel for their own fire. Vinyl and Acevedo on the other hand point out that the truth has to come out eventually, and even if they weren't the ones to break the news, someone or somepony else is going to find it, and Lyra did do a lot to make up for her mistake.
- Brawler Lock/Punch Catch: Marcus and Celestia in Chapter 3. It's a bit of both since Celestia doesn't have fingers.
- Breaking the Fellowship: The Cutie Mark Crusaders were disbanded thanks to the war. They get back together in "The Writes of Passage" (both versions of the chapter).
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Pinkie Pie and Discord shatter the fourth wall in the gag version of "The Writes of Passage", with Discord mocking the Tastes Like Diabetes nature of about half that chapter, then abruptly rewriting its outcome.
- Break the Cutie: TCB!Bon-Bon, after being Forced to Watch Lyra's execution, went completely and utterly insane. Not helping matters is the chronological lobular desync disorder, a mental disorder she got after Doctor Whooves had to perform an emergency crossing of the time-dimensional barrier to extract her.
In simple words, she had suffered a temporal stroke, leaving the two halves of her brain in separate time zones. One was always in the present, while the other...wandered. Sometimes she babbled about events that had yet to happen, or screamingly re-experience past horrors, not just from her own life, but of Eldritch nightmares from eons before Equestria's founding. It was a painful, debilitating and humiliating fate. But at times, the ability to experience the future before it happened was extremely useful.
- Canon!Lyra in "War March and Past Sins", when she realizes that she could have doomed the world if she had gone on the scuba-diving trip which uncovered the shipwreck that held Tirek's Bag.
- TCB!Twilight (and by extension, the rest of the Mane Six), owing to having their bodies hijacked by TCB!Celestia and being forced to witness atrocity after atrocity. She's reduced to an emotionally destroyed wreck, begging for Canon!Luna to kill her. And then Not!Twilight shows Luna the gruesome history of the ponification potion's development, capped off with the three thousand human test subjects it took to perfect it...
- Break Them by Talking: Marcus to Canon!Twilight in Chapter 3, "Harmony and Hegemony".
Marcus: (describing the barrier) "For a while, we simply thought that Celestia had panicked, that she was trying to protect her subjects from a potentially dangerous race..."
Twilight: "No... I don't want to hear this!"
Marcus: "But if that was the case, diplomacy would surely have made her see reason, that we wanted co-existence on mutually agreeable terms..."
Twilight: "Please, stop..."
Marcus: "But when Lyra showed us the truth, that Celestia was building an Equestrian Empire, we realized that she was just the latest in a long line of despots and dictators, a mad god trampling down on everyone and everpony."
Twilight: (completely in tears) "STOP!"
- Broken Pedestal: TCB!Applebloom with regards to her sister and TCB!Scootaloo to an extend towards Rainbow Dash, but it really isn't Applejack or Rainbow's fault.
- Defied in "Trust". Marcus chooses not to bring Canon!Lyra with him back to Earth, because TCB!Lyra's legacy is too great for her to live up to. He also refuses to reveal that TCB!Lyra was the Unwitting Instigator of Doom that dug up the Bag of Tirek and caused the mess in the first place.
- Subverted when Acevedo and TCB!Vinyl discover the latter, and state that this doesn't change their view of their Lyra in the least.
Acevedo: "Lyra's a hero and nothing will change that. I'm a Catholic, and I proudly say that yes, she does deserve to be canonized as a saint. And yeah, she made a mistake, but by God, she did more to fix it in a few years than most people do in their lifetimes!"
- Brought Down to Normal: TCB!Luna after the Tyrant stole all her power from her.
- Bullying a Dragon: Canon!Shining Armor and a squad of Royal Guard try to capture Marcus, despite Lyra and the Mane Six warning them against doing so.
- Before his death, TCB!Discord also warned Queen Celestia that attacking humanity was a reckless move on her part.
- In "Training Days: The Second Month", Acevedo refuses to back down from trying to find the point of divergence between TCB!Equestria and the Solar Empire despite Marcus ordering him to stop. His continued refusal (and less than tactful speech) makes Marcus activate his runes in a threatening gesture, to which Acevedo refers to this trope by name.
- Burning with Anger: In Chapter 4, the good Celestia alights in solar fire as she delivers her statement of war to the Tyrant, burning with such heat that the surrounding forest catches fire without her even touching it.
- Bury Your Gays: TCB!Lyra was turned to stone and smashed to pieces by an angry mob while Bon-Bon was Forced to Watch.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: TCB!Pinkie Pie takes a while to remember ponifying Kraber's children, much to his anger.
- Cannon Fodder: The general purpose of Newfoals is to overwhelm PHL and other humans so real fighters (i.e, the Royal Guard) can take them out.
- The Caper: The protagonists of Grand Theft Auto V, Iron Will, Gilda, and a motley assortment of griffons engage in one to steal a new magical power source from a now-fortified Conversion Bureau.
- Casual Danger Dialogue: Kraber and his pony friend Aegis engage in some after they watch Canon!Luna hit the Rage Breaking Point and turn into Nightmare Moon. Though, to be fair to them, it's implied that they're in shock.
Aegis: "I think we know why Twilight teleported out. Whatever happened between Twilight and Luna... appears to have turned her into Nightmare Moon."
- Category Traitor: Human sympathizing ponies are written off as "humans on four hooves" by the pro-Solar Empire/ponification ponies. While being interrogated by TCB!Trixie, Captain Green Fields of the Royal Guard delivers this burning accusation:
Fields: "Go to Tartarus! [...] And you're no pony, you're one of those... those human things! You might trot on four hooves, but you're the very image of what Equestria needs to stomp on, squash out, crush underhoof until nothing is left! YOU, ARE, AN, ANIMAL!"
- The Cavalry: Some resistance fighters in Normandy saved Marcus from TCB!Pinkie Pie trying to force a potion-laced cupcake down his throat.
- Celebrity Survivor: Amongst the ponies of the PHL, Vinyl Scratch (aka DJ Pon3) seems to be a high-ranking member, Sapphire Shores uses her singing voice to raise morale amongst the troops, and Photo Finish is in charge of creating pro-human propaganda to spread throughout TCB!Equestria.
- Chaos Architecture: TCB!Twilight's mindscape in "For Whom the Bell Tolls".
- Chekhov's Gunman: Luna mentions Discord turning Sint Erklass' granddaughter into a cloak, in "Sanguine Meetings and Bloodied Past". Said granddaughter makes her full appearance fifteen chapters later, as Sint's own second-in-command.
- Childhood Friends: Lyra and Twilight.
- Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Amongst the Grand Theft Auto V characters, Michael plays this role to Trevor.
- The Cloudcuckoolander Was Right: Although they were Childhood Friends, Twilight dismissed Lyra's belief in humans. Sure enough, Marcus's arrival proves that humans do exist... and unfortunately, are under attack from an alternate Equestria.
- Combat Pragmatist: During a fight between TCB!Trixie and Canon!Rainbow Dash in "Sons of Legacies Part 1", Trixie transforms into Rainbow's father and knocks her out when they hug.
- Confusion Fu: Discord's fighting style, mixed with Looney Tunes-style Toon Physics. And lots (and we do mean lots) of Shout Outs.
- Crazy-Prepared: Subverted with the U.S. Military. The United States were building up their military since 9/11 to partake in The War on Terror, but they were preparing for terrorists; now they are using their beefed-up military to fight xenocidal aliens.
- Dark Is Not Evil: TCB!Luna sided with the humans and attempted to fight her sister. And of course, Canon!Luna.
- Death from Above: Human aircraft, Equestrian airships and the pegasi on both sides.
- Death Seeker: The TCB!Mane Six, especially Twilight and Rarity. See And I Must Scream and the Nightmare Fuel page for more.
- Deconstruction Fic:
- Bordering on Deconstructor Fleet, as this fic shreds through why Equestria and the ponies would engage in a typical Conversion Bureau plot, addresses the impracticality of transporting Equestria to Earth, the misanthropy of most ponies in TCB fics, and it does not shy away from the horrors of war. And even it has a deconstructor fic in the Starvation side story, which was based on taking most of the Fridge Horror of the setting and demonstrating how awful such a world would be for the people who don't get to be larger-than-life heroes.
- The chapter "For Whom The Bell Tolls" deconstructs another thing usually glossed over in other TCB fics - the creation and the testing of the potion itself. Let's just say there's a very good reason why the TCB!ponies are frequently compared to Nazis.
- Dedication: "Sons of Legacies, Part 1" is dedicated to Drawdex, a pre-reader/editor who recently left the team for personal reasons.
- Deep Cover Agent: In Chapter 11 it turns out that some of the Royal Guards were actually Changelings planted there since they were young.
- Defiant to the End: Queen Elizabeth.
- Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: Rune engraved .50 BMG rounds have been produced for sniper rifles (and presumably all types of firearms) that also have runes inscribed in them. They work so well, that they are able to hurt Queen Celestia.
- Despair Event Horizon:
- Discussed in Chapter 11; Marcus is a leading figure in the PHL and UN forces, and if he were killed or ponified, it could very well be what sends the surviving humans into a full loss of hope.
Discord: "With the Commander at the helm of the new Equestrian forces, humanity would give up all hope."
- Luna seems to have crossed this as of "For Whom the Bell Tolls" after being forced to watch Not!Twilight's experiments to create the ponification potion. All three thousand of them.
- Marcus reveals that his mother died of a stress-induced heart attack brought on by seeing Jacob ponified.
- Determinator: During his fight with the Canon!Mane Six, Marcus keeps on fighting even after being blasted through a glass window (no Soft Glass here, folks) courtesy of the party cannon and getting thrown into a wall.
- Princess Celestia in the mental sense. While obviously suffering from seeing the memories of her ponies commit such horrible actions, she willingly endures, only breaking when she sees the Mane Six participate.
Princess Celestia: (sobbing) "Show me more! All of it, I can take it!"
- Disappointed In You:
- Prism Flash is disappointed in his daughter Rainbow Dash for fighting with Trixie instead of talking out the problem like he taught her. It was part of an act by Trixie, who transformed into Rainbow's father.
- The Scribe is not at all happy with how her children mucked her plans up, particularly with the fact that Celestia found the Elements before the time was right and locked Luna and Discord away. However, she puts her disappointment aside because there are far more urgent matters to attend to.
- Doesn't Like Guns: Doctor Whooves detests not only guns, but weapons of any kind. He's in something of a minority position amongst the other characters.
- Dramatic Gun Cock: Lampshaded in Chapter 18:
There was the sound of a weapon being gratuitously cocked.
- Driven to Madness: TCB!Bon-Bon went insane upon seeing Queen Celestia kill Lyra.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: TCB!Blueblood.
- A bit of exposition reveals that Marcus's mother, Megan (yes, that Megan) died of a heart attack shortly after Jacob's ponification. On that same note, Marcus's Aunt Molly and Uncle Danny were also killed a year into the war when they were caught in the crossfire of a massive shootout between the PER and the police.
- Earth Is a Battlefield: The East Coast of the United States has become the latest battlefield in the war against the TCB!Equestrians; elsewhere, the Barrier has stretched far enough that Nairobi (Kenya), New Delhi (India), and New Brunswick (Canada) are on the frontlines as well.
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom: What would happen if the nukes planted in the Yellowstone Caldera are set off.
- Elaborate Underground Base: The PHL base is located deep underground and links up to the tunnels and subway systems of New York.
- End of an Age: At least two characters have referred to the death of old TCB!Equestria in the face of Celestia's Solar Empire. Trixie has referred to Imperial Equestria as "Equestria no more". Granny Smith, however, summed it up in an outright Nightmare Fuel-inducing fashion:
Granny Smith: "No! Landsakes no Bloom! Get yerself away from this place as soon as you ken'. Get out of Ponyville, getch yerself outta Equestria! This whole place has been poisoned. It's dyin' Bloom, and what'll be left will soon be just a corpse, movin' and talkin' and playin' like it were alive, but dead through and through..."
- Kreme-Brulee spells it out as well:
"Does this seem like Equestria, where we have to be so afraid? Watch our flanks in the presence of those abominable things?! Since the wedding, maybe even before then, our land, or something in Celestia, has shifted! We're turning into something else, something that isn't Equestria, and my Great Babe doesn't belong to whatever that is! It belongs to Equestria, or whatever of our Equestria is left after Celestia -" (EXPLOSION INTERRUPTION)
- In "The Writes of Passage", we learn that Tirek's curse reduced the formerly all-alicorn pony race to having only one of the three attributes, resulting in the modern pony races.
- Canon!Equestria is also experiencing its own "end of an age". The Age of Innocence, held up by Celestia for more than a thousand years, is over.
- Enemy Mine:
- Princesses Celestia, Luna, and Cadance team up with Discord to end Queen's Celestia's campaign of xenocide.
- Queen Chrysalis may despise Princess Celestia with a passion for casting the Changelings out of Equestria into the Badlands, but is more than willing to join forces with her to help stop the Tyrant.
- Ensemble Cast
- Rotating Protagonist: Most of the time, it centers on Marcus, but the story has a tendency to frequently switch its viewpoint character.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: She may be a couple billion humans too late, but with Princess Celestia declaring war on her "loving twin", this gets played straight.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Princess Celestia's mane returns to its natural pink color after having seen what TCB!Equestria has done to Earth. Since her hair never returns to the style seen in the show, it seems to be her "serious look".
- Pinkie Pie. After seeing the whole extent of the suffering and how Newfoals get false happiness imprinted into their brains, her hair goes straight, which shows that she's done with fun and games.
- Expy: TCB!Twilight is essentially a pony version of Josef Mengele. Albeit not of her own volition.
- Extremely Short Timespan: While a week has passed in Canon!Equestria, only fourteen hours passed on Earth. Doctor Whooves explains that time is like a river, and some places flow faster and slower than others.
- Eye Scream: In a flashback in "Trust", TCB!Spike did this to Queen Celestia while helping Rarity to escape, though her eyes later regenerated.
- Faeries Don't Believe in Humans Either: Except for Lyra and a few other eccentrics, nopony in the canon Equestria saw humans as anything other than creatures of legend... then the story begins.
- The Farmer and the Viper: TCB!Trixie's attempts to help Focus Ray keep ending up getting the good guys hurt. The Blue Spy is eventually forced to kill him.
- Final Speech: Condemned to be turned into a statue and smashed, TCB!Lyra got to extensively quote Charlie Chaplin's speech from The Great Dictator in front of an angry crowd of TCB!ponies calling for her blood. Not an example of Shaming the Mob, since Lyra knew most of them wouldn't listen to her. All she could hope for was that somepony would record her last words for future use against Celestia. This did happen, and Photo Finish uses them for that very purpose.
- Fridge Horror: Why would Queen Celestia allow the face of the pony resistance to deliver a Rousing Speech, effectively turning her into a martyr? Because she's just that confident, and many ponies in the crowd are already brainwashed? Probably, but an even more likely (and disturbing) explanation is that this is Celestia's Troll side showing again. She not only knows she's very likely to win, she's deliberately giving her enemies Hope Spots. (Confirmed in Chapter 18.)
- The Final Temptation: In Chapter 15, Canon!Equestria's Bag of Tirek tries to offer Discord something to prevent it from being sent to the stars. Discord shuts it up by asking if it could give him back his mother.
- Forced to Watch:
- TCB!Bon-Bon was forced to watch Lyra get turned into stone and crushed by an angry mob. Broke the poor girl's mind in two.
- The TCB!Mane Six were all trapped within their own minds, their bodies taken over by dark puppets. All the girls can do is watch on helplessly, and Twilight even begs Luna to kill her.
- Soon after this, Not!Twilight forces the memories of her experiments on human subject for the ponification potion onto Luna; there were almost three thousand of them.
- Force Feeding: TCB!ponies are known to force the potion down the throats of their targets.
- From Bad to Worse: In Chapter 10, it comes to light that the griffons are sending over the Tsumerai (their version of the Special Forces) to aid the battle for North America. Just one of them is supposed to be incredibly skilled and badass, and they're sending all one hundred of them. Sounds like good news, doesn't it? Except their main duty is to protect the ruling monarch, and the only way all of them are able to come over is because their King just died, leaving Gilda as the last member of the Royal Family for a country that was already barely on its last legs after being cut off from trade by Queen Celestia.
- In Chapter 19, the fight against the Tyrant is interrupted by Luna transforming into Nightmare Moon.
- Future Me Scares Me: After a fashion. TCB!Equestria is about four years ahead of Canon!Equestria, and the Canon!Mane Six and Princess Celestia are truly horrified at their counterpart's actions. Especially' Celestia, who experienced firsthand through Marcus's shared memories what she was like. She... didn't take it well.
- Generation Xerox: Blueblood looks, acts and has the same name as an ancestor from centuries back.
- Ghost Memory: Thanks to Canon!Twilight's mind-sharing spell, Princess Celestia now knows most of Marcus's life such as his Marine training, his pre-war life, among others. The same is true for Marcus, but a mental "guardian" calling itself "Tia" keeps most of them away from him due to the fact that over a thousand years worth of memories would make him a vegetable.
- Godzilla Threshold: Princess Celestia decides to consult Discord about The Bag of Tirek. The talk ends with Discord himself deciding to join the fight.
- The entire Middle East allies with each other to fight the Solar Empire. And then there's the nukes set near the Yellowstone megavolcano.
- Despite still being wary of them, President Davis states that siding with the Canon!Equestrians is the best course of action, what with all other choices running out fast.
- Grew Beyond Their Programming: If Discord is to be believed, Celestia and Luna were only meant to move the sun and moon, not to actually rule over the ponies.
- The Gulf War: Chapter 11 briefly reveals that Marcus' father died to protect his comrades from Iraqi Republican Guards. One of those men is Richard Stanley, the father of Porter (one of the main characters of the Asia Side-Story) and a former HLF member who appears in Case Files.
- Happily Adopted: TCB!Scootaloo.
- Both versions of Dinky and Amethyst Star for that matter. Derpy raised Dinky as a single mother before she married Doctor Whooves, whereupon they later found and adopted an orphaned Amethyst on one of their time traveling adventures.
- Happily Married: One of the few good things to have carried into TCB!Equestria is that Doctor Whooves found Derpy.
- Harmless Villain: Chapter 11 mentions how the PER has been trying to cripple the U.S. Military, failing every time... until the attack on Mexico City.
- Hate Fic: According to Redskin, the entire fic came about as this to the original TCB story and particularly the stories of the divisive author Chatoyance, who has come to personify what most fans hate about TCB stories.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Discussed at least twice. TCB!Trixie is concerned about this happening to her and the other PHL soldiers after the war, and King William (in a completely different chapter) is truly saddened by what they've been driven to:
Trixie: "Cadance... what has this war done to us? What are we going to be when it's done? Heroes, criminals, monsters worse those than those we've fought... or, something else altogether... it scares me Cadance. It scares me..."
King William: "Damn them... Damn us... So much loss, so much death and pain and suffering and rape of innocence... We'll all go to the Devil for this."
- Head Desk: In Chapter 15, Lyra has this reaction to learning she missed out on finding a ship carrying proof of human existence in the Galloping Sea. And, less amusingly, upon hearing that said ship contains the Bag of Tirek.
- Heel-Face Turn: TCB!Bon-Bon was all for complete ponification, until she was forced to kill a Newfoal trying to beat Lyra to death.
- Heroic BSOD:
- TCB!Trixie gets a brief but powerful one after finding a tortured Spike in a prison cell.
- Luna gets so angry with the actions of Queen Celestia that she actually turns into Nightmare Moon.
- Hoist by His Own Petard:
- The Fujin missile which took down the Great Equestrian airship was able to do so by absorbing all the magic the TCB!ponies used in a failed attempt to stop it.
- TCB!Cloudchaser was hit by a poison that works like this- it absorbs any magic in the area and kills the person or pony slowly. Thankfully, Discord saves the day.
- The Barrier, while their trump card, essentially screws TCB!Equestria over big time, since it vaporizes everything (agriculture, infrastructure, buildings, and information about how to create these things), leaving the conquered lands useless to them, especially since their food production is breaking down. They destroy the very resources they need so much. Not only that, but they've overstretched themselves so far that it'd be nigh-impossible to even figure this stuff out, and it's all during wartime no less.
- Hold Your Hippogriffs: Chapter 14 features the expression "Tartarus on Equus".
- Holy Backlight: In the chapter "The Answer'", Derpy first appears gliding out of the TARDIS, explicitly described as being 'backlit like an angel'.
- Holy City: According to the chapter Setting It Right, Mecca has been wiped out by the barrier, devastating the Islamic world. Though, there has been no word on Vatican City or Jerusalem. However, given The Barrier's starting point (Switzerland), it's safe to say they were destroyed before Mecca in that order.
- Home Base: The PHL headquarters are in the Freedom Tower in New York City.
- Homeworld Evacuation: Doctor Whooves suggests a plan to evacuate as many humans as possible to a planet in the Epsilon Eridani System. It won't be able to get them all, but it'll be something, at least...
- Human Shield:
- Marcus uses Applejack to take a very powerful kick from Rainbow Dash; powerful enough to bring AJ's breakfast right back up.
- Gilda uses a Royal Guardspony as one in Chapter 16... by stabbing him through the gut and blocking spells with him.
- Humiliation Conga: In Chapter 11, Prince Blueblood is disowned by Princess Celestia, scared and humiliated by Discord, and tripped by Marcus.
- I Did What I Had to Do: The dragon king Spykoran destroyed all of Dream Valley, burying Tirek's Bag and killed any pony remaining in Dream Valley (along with the Six Princesses) that had been corrupted by its influence. He feels massive regret over what he did, but stands by the fact that it was the only way to keep Tirek from returning.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Marcus tried this on Stalwart Heart to bring his former human self, Jacob (Marcus's little brother) back. It doesn't work.
- TCB!Cadance's and Trixie's efforts on Green Fields prove more successful, but then again, he wasn't a Newfoal.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Marcus nearly manages to get a headshot on Canon!Twilight with a bread knife.
- Improvised Weapon: After killing a Timberwolf, Marcus uses the tail, its claws, and even its head as a weapon.
- In Medias Res: The story starts after Marcus' entry to Canon!Equestria. In the overall arc, the main story starts after the war has lasted for 3-4 years.
- Insult to Rocks: This little exchange in Chapter 11.
Prince Blueblood: "How dare you call me a donkey! You look like a minotaur that went a few rounds with an ape he just found!"
Marcus: "No, calling you a donkey is an insult to such a mighty, fine, foul-working breed of equine. You, make me laugh."
- I Take Offense to That Last One: When Canon!Dash calls TCB!Trixie a "fat blue fake trying to fly", Trixie is more offended at being called fat.
- It's Personal:
- Marcus's reasons for wanting to kill the TCB!Mane Six, ranging from Rainbow Dash ponifying his soldiers right in front of him to Twilight ponifying, seducing, and marrying his own brother, which led to Marcus having to kill said brother.
- Discord has the memory of his TCB counterpart's torture and death at the hooves of Queen Celestia.
- Luna, thanks to her mind-reading skills, was not only witness to the degradation of TCB!Twilight, but was then forced to experience Not!Twilight's memories of experimenting with the ponification potion. Her response? Turning into Nightmare Moon.
- Kraber with regards to TCB!Pinkie Pie, who ponified his children at their birthday party.
- Interrupted Suicide: Marcus tried to slash his throat to avoid capture, only for Canon!Twilight to take the knife from him.
- Invaded States of America: After the Barrier has consumed most of Europe, the TCB!Equestrians strike the Eastern United States.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: TCB!Trixie, who doesn't have a high opinion of either humanity or ponykind, but will put her life on the line to defend them anyway.
- Journey to the Center of the Mind:
- Marcus and Princess Celestia go deep into Marcus's past and present with the help of a mind sharing spell. Needless to say, Celestia nearly Goes Mad From The Revelation upon seeing the atrocities her little ponies are committing on the humans.
- Luna does this to TCB!Twilight in "For Whom The Bell Tolls". The things Luna discovers push her so far off the edge of rage that she turns into Nightmare Moon!
- Discord has to do this to rescue Marcus from Sombra's control in the "Sons of Legacies" arc. It quickly turns into a Battle in the Center of the Mind.
- Katanas Are Just Better: The Tsumerai, the griffon military's equivalent to the special forces, use katanas as their standard blades.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: Stalwart Heart.
- Kill the Poor:
- Chapter 11 reveals that the PER kidnapped homeless people across the US and ponified them to assist in attacking Washington DC.
- The ponification potion was created and used for "beneficial purposes" before Celestia began her conquest of Earth, but its creation required extensive experimentation. Redskin 122004 explained that Celestia picked off humans from poor areas across the world over a long period of time to avoid detection while acquiring test subjects.
- Knight In Sour Armour: TCB!Trixie aka the Blue Spy, though she's worried, with good reason, that she may be slipping further into darkness.
- Lampshade Hanging: From Trevor Philips. Yes, ''that'' Trevor Philips. Surprisingly, he takes a firm grip on the Sanity Ball and is one of the few characters to actually take note of the absurdity of the story's plot.
- The Lancer: Stephan to Marcus, with his own Lancer in the form of TCB!Trixie.
- Last Stand: This was suggested as an alternate plan of action to using the Yellowstone megavolcano to create a Class X Apocalypse How scenario. It doesn't take, for the simple reason that it would be a Senseless Sacrifice.
- Laughing Mad: A (possibly) ponified clown that Pinkie Pie brought to the ill-fated birthday party for Kraber's kids was found giggling mad.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Trevor's plan of attack in Chapter 16... on a stealth mission. Thankfully, everybody talks him out of it.
- Literally Shattered Lives: One of Queen Celestia's favorite execution methods, given that she used it on her universe's Lyra and Blueblood.
- She later demonstrates the spell "Ashes of Solaris", which turns bodies into ash from the inside, causing the victim to crumble apart at a touch.
- Life or Limb Decision: During the attempt to retake Washington, Marcus "amputates" a man's arm with a shotgun after it gets splashed with potion, saving him from ponification.
- Lowered Recruiting Standards: By the time the Barrier swallows up most of Europe, children start making up some parts of military units and the Bundeswehr also allowed Kraber, a former HLF operative and someone who desperately needs a mental health evaluation, to serve (thankfully, his Ax-Crazy nature is only limited to his enemies).
- The inclusion of Newfoals into the Royal Guards and the Wonderbolts is this.
- Mad Oracle: TCB!Bon-Bon.
- Magically Binding Contract/Binding Ancient Treaty: The Concordia Maxima, which is used to bring all the races of Equus to join the fight against the TCB-verse. To Celestia's surprise, this includes Queen Chrysalis and the Changelings.
- Manly Tears: When Canon!Lyra meets with Marcus in the room he is being held in, Marcus is overwhelmed with emotion to the point of tears since the Lyra in his universe became a martyr for opposing Queen Celestia, saving many human lives, and was also a good friend of his. It happens again when Marcus tells the Canon!Mane Six about the state of his world.
- Mary Sue: In-Universe – the concept is Discussed, and Deconstructed at the same time. According to Marcus, the ponification potion turns people into "perfect ponies". Applejack quickly dismisses the concept of perfect ponies as complete crap.
Marcus: "The last time we all met, we were at war. Applejack pinned me down so that Twilight could administer the potion, promising to make me 'perfect'... a perfect pony..."
Applejack: "Ponies ain't perfect, bub! Anyone tells you otherwise don't know their flank from their face."
Fluttershy: "A-hum... Ponies can be mean, and cruel... but also kind..."
Marcus: "I never thought I'd see the day... ponies used to seem like the biggest hypocrites to have ever lived, going on about harmony, friendship, love and tolerance while they did... all that..."
- In a flashback scene from "For Whom the Bell Tolls", TCB!Twilight, right before her corruption, even refutes the argument in front of Queen Celestia. It did not end well for her.
- Mass "Oh, Crap!": The entire PHL/UN Taskforce and any associated mercenaries collectively shit bricks when they realize that Queen Celestia will be appearing on the battlefield.
- The Medic: TCB!Derpy is one for the human and PHL soldiers out in the field.
- Medieval Stasis: Discord chews out Princess Celestia over causing Equestria to turn into a stagnant Sugar Bowl in Chapter 11.
- Mercy Kill:
- During his deployment in Mexico City, Marcus saw a father kill his ponified son before taking his own life. He later had to do the same to his own little brother Jacob, who also got ponified.
- TCB!Twilight begs Canon!Luna to kill her and her friends.
- Mind Rape:
- Princess Celestia voluntarily undergoes (you can't fault her determination) and suffers through Marcus's war memories to see if he really is telling the truth and share his pain... until TCB!Twilight and the rest of the Mane Six showed up, and she broke.
- Then it happens to Canon!Luna, when Not!Twilight (the dark personality that overtook TCB!Twilight's body) shows her all that she did, which enrages Luna so much that she turns into Nightmare Moon.
- Canon!Sombra does this to Marcus to feed off his despair and guilt by making him see the friends and family members of his that died during the war. And then Sombra takes control of Marcus' body.
- Mistaken Identity: The reason Marcus attacks the Canon!Mane Six.
- Misplaced Retribution: It turns out that while Marcus' mother (Megan) did go to Dream Valley and defeated Tirek, she didn't defeat TCB!Tirek himself. In fact, she actually defeated the Tirek of Canon!Equestria.
- Monumental Damage: The Barrier destroys many human landmarks, such as Westminster Clock Tower (aka Big Ben) and the Pyramids of Giza.
- Balmoral Castle is destroyed by Queen Elizabeth taking the Royal Guard and PER agents down with her.
- Hancock Tower was destroyed when the Great Equestrian crashed into it.
- Windsor Castle is mentioned to be destroyed when a plane crashes into it just as the UK is overrun.
- The Legal Seafood restaurant◊ note is destroyed by a boat sent flying from Nightmare Moon's appearance.
- The Andrew McArdle Bridge was blown up to obliterate a large Newfoal horde.
- Mecca, the Muslim equivalent the The Vatican, has been destroyed by the Barrier.
- Mood Whiplash: After Discord spends all of Chapter 18 ("Strike") in an extremely humorous Loony-Tunes style fight against the Tyrant, this is followed by Chapter 19 ("For Whom The Bell Tolls"), possibly the single darkest chapter in any Conversion Bureau story ever published, and thus far the only chapter of this story where the author felt the need to put up a warning label.
- "Sons of Legacies, Part 3", however, went the opposite direction, starting off with Marcus' wartime nightmares... and then going to the Looney Tunes-esque fight, which may be even more absurd than the one in Chapter 18.
- Moral Dissonance: The TCB!ponies are intentionally depicted as having this, no question about that. However, Canon!Discord's chewing out of the Princesses for sealing him away and preventing him from using his chaos to make ponies stronger rings kind of hollow, considering his liberal use of Mind Rape and warping reality around him For the Evulz in his first canon appearance. His trips through The Multiverse do eventually force him to reconsider this view, and in "Sons of Legacies, Part 1", he takes responsibility for his own role in failing to stick to the Scribe's plan for Equestria's future.
- Moral Event Horizon: In-Universe. The reader gets the choice of at what exact moment that TCB!Equestria crosses the line, because there are just that many to choose from, but Trixie's discovery of the Cold-Blooded Torture of Spike makes it very clear that this is her own breaking point.
Trixie's legs suddenly felt as soft as rubber, and she sat with a horrified gasp. Wet tears of her own ran down her face. This was worse than the Newfoals, worse than the war. This was a life brutalized and tortured, by Equestria... Equestria. Loving and tolerant... Equestria. Peaceful and forgiving... Equestria no more...
- This was also heavily discussed and subverted in War March and Past Sins, with the eponymous past sin being that Spykoran resorted to drastic measures to keep the Bag of Tirek buried. While the other world leaders of Equus are horrified by what he did (with Luna herself calling him a murderer), Discord, Marcus and to a lesser extent Celestia agree that Spykoran did what had to be done, and Spykoran himself deeply regrets his actions.
- For Luna, it's seeing how TCB!Celestia corrupted the TCB!Elements and the very gruesome tests done to make the ponification potion work. These revelations push her into a primal Unstoppable Rage so great, that she turned back into Nightmare Moon.
- In "Trust", we learn that the backbreaking straw which made the U.S. military take action against the HLF was their kidnapping, torturing and murdering a PHL mare to make an example of her.
- More Dakka: The PHL is built on this trope. However, it also is justified, since the huge waves of Newfoal attacks make tons of dakka absolutely needed. The end result is pretty obvious.
- Ms. Exposition: The Scribe, the godlike incarnation of ponykind's genetic memories and last remnant of the first race of alicorns.
- Multinational Team: The remainders of Europe's armed forces have now joined together as one to keep fighting the ponies.
- The Multiverse: An explicit feature of the story. The Multiverse Journey side story has Discord traveling through the universes of Warhammer40000, Assassin's Creed, The Slender Man Mythos, Naruto, Samurai Jack, and even meeting Q.
- Multiversal Conqueror: It's very clear that once Queen Celestia is done with Earth, the regular Equestria is next. And according to Discord, she will likely only continue on after that. It turns out to be Tirek's whole plan.
Discord: "The multiverse is vast, each world having vastly varied ways of existing, all with different ideals. Something the corrupt queen wouldn't be able to stand. Oh, there are powers out there that can rival, yes, or even beat her. But she will play it smart; she will gather power from other worlds before finally striking, with a limitless army at her beck and call from dozens, if not hundreds, of worlds."
- Murder-Suicide: A flashback shows a man killing his recently ponified son and then himself after reciting The Lord's Prayer, to TCB!Applejack's disgust and Marcus' horror.
- Mythology Gag:
- During the source material's planning phase, Princess Celestia was supposed to be a Queen, but Hasbro nixed that on the basis that Princess=Good, Queens=Evil. Guess what TCB!Celestia's title is.
- Doctor Whooves, on why trying to breach the Barrier by force, even with nukes, won't work:
- In Chapter 15, Discord notes that both Tirek and Nightmare Moon wanted to bring about The Night That Never Ends.
- In Chapter 21, Rainbow Dash says that Trixie could be a spy, which is what she suspected Twilight of being back in the second episode.
- My God, What Have I Done?:
- Marcus after killing Stalwart Heart to save Cheerilee.
- King Spykoran in Chapter 15, in an effort to keep the Bag of Tirek from corrupting anyone else, destroyed all of Dream Valley and its inhabitants (who had been affected themselves), as well as sunk the ship that held the findings of an archaeologist with the bag itself on board. Despite his regret, he does maintain that he did what had to be done.
- Canon!Lyra in that same chapter when she realizes just how close she came to causing the apocalypse.
- My Greatest Failure:
- Apart from exiling Luna to the moon, Princess Celestia regards her hasty banishment of the Changelings to the Badlands, as well as losing the Crystal Empire to Sombra, as these.
- In his own twisted way, Canon!Discord feels he's let down the alicorn Faust by indirectly inspiring the Royal Sisters to become rulers of Equestria in the first place, which he believes has reduced the ponies' capacity for self-determination.
- Necessary Evil: How TCB!Cheerilee and The Doctor view the use of Child Soldiers.
- Neck Snap: Marcus killed his ponified brother this way.
- Never My Fault: Although his intentions could be considered benign, Discord had a bad case of this in the earlier chapters when he refused to acknowledge the damage he caused in attempting to bring Earth-like levels of "chaos" to Equus and his own role in what he accuses Canon!Equestria of turning into (namely the fact that Celestia and Luna only took power in the first place because they felt it was their responsibility to clean the damage up). His trips through the multiverse finally do force him to reconsider this view somewhat.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Discord attributes Canon!Equestria's Medieval Stasis to Princess Celestia's desire to let the ponies live in harmony, which he claims has only made them complacent and overly dependent on her and presumably, ill-prepared for their war with TCB!Equestria. In turn, the Princesses only took power because they felt it was their responsibility to clean up the damage Discord's carelessness with his chaos caused, leading to the misunderstanding and conflict between them that has lasted to the present day. In short, both parties are equally guilty of failing to stick to the Scribe's plan for their world.
- In Chapter 19, Canon!Luna hesitates to kill TCB!Twilight, which allows the latter to escape and teleport the other Element bearers away.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: TCB!Twilight accidentally helped open the portal that got Marcus to Canon!Equestria, bringing them into the war to aid Earth.
- In "Strike", some PHL soldiers are on the verge of attacking Canon!Luna and Discord when Queen Celestia shows up and indirectly shows the former are on the level.
- Nightmare Face: It's not implied to be the case in the text... but just look at Queen Celestia in this cover art. Look at it! It manages to invoke Light Is Not Good and Dark Is Evil at the same time.
- Nightmare Fuel: In-Universe. The memories seen by Princess Celestia during the mindsharing spell become this over time.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Discord. Of note is that he's a massive case of Even Evil Has Standards, because even he's sickened and appalled at Queen Celestia's actions.
Discord: "We only began to fall down the hole full of horrors and sins, so start kicking and screaming, kid. It's only going to get worse."
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Discord states that if he could, he would create an army of "cyborg ninjas dual wielding chainsaw katanas, riding on land sharks with head-mounted laser cannons".
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Upon first arriving in Canon!Equestria, Marcus beats the ever loving hell out of the Mane Six (well, four out of six, due to Rarity and Twilight being late to the party) after mistaking them for their TCB counterparts. Later, he even manages to give the Princesses a run for their money.
- In "Strike" TCB!Cheerilee, in a fit of Unstoppable Rage, unleashes a brutal and well-deserved one on Queen Celestia after her "Ashes of Solaris" spell kills a teenage boy soldier.
- No Indoor Voice: Luna of course, but it's taken Up to Eleven in Chapter 14.
Sufficiently to say, even over the roar of the blades, the engines, buffeting winds, and ear protection; William's ears were ringing for several hours after one Princess Luna's proclamation.
- Not So Different:
- Princess Celestia shows her evil counterpart how ponies and humans are similar and capable of living in true harmony with each other, though naturally, this doesn't change the Tyrant's mind.
- A conversation between Celestia and Discord in Chapter 11 has Discord implicitly say this (without referencing Queen Celestia) about Princess Celestia. He points out that her "harmony" has caused ponykind to stagnate, and implies that his normal brand of "chaos" was actually similar to how humanity and Earth function, and claims it would have been a much better way to encourage the growth of pony civilization in the long run.
- There are two instance of Newfoals trying to invoke this on a PHL pony, first with Stalwart Heart to Cheerilee, then Focus Ray to Trixie. Neither are successful.
- Not What It Looks Like: In Chapter 3, "Harmony and Hegemony", Princess Celestia pulls off her Big Damn Hero moment just as Marcus drives Canon!Twilight to tears while describing Queen Celestia.
- Nuclear Option: U.S. President Jack Davis decided to nuke Washington DC rather than let it fall into Queen Celestia's hooves.
- One suggestion for a final plan of action against the barrier was all out nuclear bombardment. It didn't take, as the barrier destroys all man-made objects, including nuclear weapons. So mankind rigs the Yellowstone megavolcano with nukes instead.
- Obligatory War Crime Scene: Chapter 4 is just filled with these, with each of the TCB!Mane Six getting one of their own.
- Odd Friendship: Discord and Marcus seem to be developing one as of Chapter 11; they appeared quite friendly at the beginning, anyway.
- Offing the Offspring: A tragic case in Chapter 4; while Marcus was fighting in Mexico, he saw a father and son split apart. The son was ponified, and the father killed him before killing himself.
- Oh, Crap: Twice during the Canon!Mane Six's fight with Marcus. First is when Twilight sees that Marcus is impervious to magic. The second is when Fluttershy's Stare fails to subdue him.
- In Chapter 6, TCB!Trixie gets a massive one when she realizes that Queen Celestia is modifying the potion to turn the Newfoals from a bunch of Stepford Smiler zombies into an army of soldiers, willing to kill... meaning that she has over a billion potential new soldiers.
- Princess Celestia when she realizes that Queen Celestia is more powerful than her.
- Everyone gets one in Chapter 17 when they realize that Queen Celestia is within spitting distance of them. And then Cheerilee sees the sudden arrival of Nightmare Moon. This being after having just delivered a royal beatdown on Queen Celestia.
- In Chapter 18, TCB!Twilight's eyes "widen in shock" when Pinkie Pie's 'Pinkie Sense' warns her of an ambush.
- One-Man Army: Marcus. His rune markings help with that.
- Out-of-Character Moment:
- Well, aside from the obvious, TCB!Cloudchaser notes how Twilight isn't obsessing over human technology.
Cloudchaser: "What really got me wondering though, is why you aren't going gaga over [human technology]? You love this kind of stuff, Twilight!"
- Discord refers to Celestia chewing out Prince Blueblood as one of these. It's justified, as she had been under a lot of stress recently.
- TCB!Lightning Dust and TCB!Rainbow Dash are implied to be in a relationship with each other. Justified in that certain events in TCB!Equestria played out very differently from canon, and there's the fact that none of the TCB versions of the Mane Six have been in control of themselves or their actions. Which raises... certain questions.
- Explicitly noted in "For Whom the Bell Tolls", when some Bundeswehr soldiers question Fluttershy's unexpected competence while under fire.
- People's Republic of Tyranny: The TCB!Equestrian army is called the Salvation Army, while their airfleet is called the Rescue Fleet. The reeducation centers are called "Mind Healers" by pro-Empire ponies. Averted with the official name of Equestria itself, however, which is now called The Solar Empire.
- Physical God: Celestia, Luna and Discord are seen as such. They're later revealed to be the brainchildren of the Scribe, the guardian of the first alicorn race's memories and the avatar of the last alicorn Faust, who fought Tirek in the distant past. Considering that Discord calls Faust his "mother", this would technically make him Celestia and Luna's brother, which he acknowledges to some extent, calling their trip to seek her out a "good old fashioned family reunion".
- Pitying Perversion: Berry Punch, and presumably all other members of the PETN (Ponies for the Ethical Treatment of Newfoals), assume that the Newfoals' Uncanny Valley behavior is comparable to coming out of a drug addiction, and that they should be treated with respect. Of course, it never occurs to them that maybe turning them into ponies in the first place was unconscionable in itself.
- Posthumous Character: TCB!Lyra.
- The Power of Love: TCB!Cadance still believes in this, despite Shining Armor's love for her being unable to overpower the Tyrant's control.
- Power Tattoo: Marcus's tattoos are actually runes enchanted with an archaic form of magic that greatly enhances his strength, speed and stamina and makes him resistant to most kinds of pony magic.
- Praetorian Guard: The Tsumerai act as this to the Griffon Kingdom.
- Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Canon!Twilight to Marcus before throwing him through a wall.
Twilight: "Hey, you! Meet my friend Sir Isaac Neighton!"
- Precision F-Strike: In Chapter 10, The Doctor recites the failsafe code for the nukes set up to detonate Yellowstone – "Celestia is a cock loving whore." Deliberately vulgar and insulting to Queen Celestia so Newfoals can't activate it. Additionally, the password for getting into the PHL's main headquarters is "Fuck that Solar Bitch."
- Properly Paranoid/Crazy-Prepared: Marcus, Celestia, and Luna are trying this, according to the first chapter of Calm Before The Storm. They don't think things will go horribly wrong, thus dooming humanity and all sentient life... but they have to be sure.
- Proud Warrior Race Guys: The Minotaurs and Griffons are depicted as this. However, it's clear they're pretty big fish in their respective small ponds, and are utterly shocked by the scale of warfare that humanity has been engaged in.
- Putting the Band Back Together: The TCB!Cutie Mark Crusaders get reunited at the end of the canon version of "The Writes of Passage".
- Pyrrhic Villainy: The Americans intend to invoke this if the barrier makes it too far by wiring the Yellowstone volcano with nukes. Even if the barrier can keep the ash and radiation out, part of the volcano will be inside the barrier when it blows, causing a chain reaction that will turn Earth into a Death World and ensuring that humanity's enemy will have fought and died for nothing.
- Questionable Consent: The TCB versions of Rainbow Dash and Lightning Dust are a couple. Twilight Sparkle and late former human Stalwart Heart were married. None of the Elements of Harmony have been in control of their actions since before the war even started. The beings bedding Lightning Dust and Stalwart Heart were the twisted constructs Queen Celestia put in control of their minds and bodies, but Rainbow and Twilight are still able to perceive everything that happens.
- Rage Breaking Point:
- Marcus has seen a lot during the war, but always kept (for lack of a better word) calm. After ending up in Canon!Equestria and encountering the Mane Six, though, he finally loses his head.
Twilight decided there and then that, to the end of her days, she would never forget the look of shock, followed by inexpressible rage that plastered itself over his features.
- In Chapter 11, Discord is visibly angry when he finishes chewing out Princess Celestia over Equestria's Medieval Stasis. During the same chapter, Princess Celestia finally lets loose all her stress and built-up rage on Blueblood when he pushes his attitude too far.
- Stephan, after seeing Alicia and Daniel fall to their "deaths" thanks to Queen Celestia, begins beating the hell out of the Queen's indestructible shield, proving it wasn't as indestructible as commonly thought. Then Cheerilee hits hers as well when the Tyrant kills a child in front of her.
- Meeting TCB!Pinkie drives Kraber into this.
- And then Luna sees what happened to TCB!Twilight's original personality. It's so horrific that it makes even one who has delved as deeply into dreams as Luna think she might get nightmares from it, causing such levels of anger and despair in her that she turns into Nightmare Moon.
- Ragtag Band of Misfits: It's revealed in Chapter 21 that the PHL/UN Taskforce's unicorn personnel are something like this. Thanks to Queen Celestia drafting the strongest and smartest unicorns at the best schools across Equestria, the taskforce has very few unicorns that are actually experienced at "serious" magic. The ones they do have are usually "escaped academics that were often easing themselves into semi-retirement, self-taught like Trixie, or less-than-entirely-patriotic students who had slipped out before the Tyrant could warp their brains," while the bulk of their unicorns are untrained laborers or civilians forced to Take a Level in Badass.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Canon!Chrysalis may have had no problem with leeching off his love for Cadance while impersonating her, but she never once considered "sharing herself" with Shining Armor during her attempted takeover.
- Reality Ensues: Twilight explains the scientific reasons that the usual TCB plot wherein Equestria just pops up out in the middle of the ocean is impossible. Besides the massive amounts of magical energy it would take to transport an entire continent to another dimension, that is:
"Is that what you're saying?
That somepony popped Equestria out of our reality and crashed it onto his? How's that even meant to work? Several trillion tons of continent does not make a gentle impact on another world
, not without mega-tsunamis and earthquakes that would level entire cities, followed by a dust cloud that would blanket the world in an artificial winter lasting decades! And what about the world we leave behind, what about Equus?
Would it just carry on spinning without a care, despite having a hole several-thousand-miles-across gouged out of the planet's crust? Even if you didn't breach the mantle, creating a supervolcano that would pull the planet inside-out, the change in mass and absence of the Princesses would throw the sun and moon out of their orbits, causing them to collide, or even worse, to impact with Equus itself! Anypony – anything, left behind would die, horribly!
Every griffon, every dragon, zebra, reindeer, whatever!"
- Reassigned to Antarctica: What the Royal Guards stationed at the Castle of the Two Sisters think.
- Redemption Equals Death: During his fight with Queen Celestia, TCB!Discord saved several innocent bystanders who would have been killed in the crossfire; the Queen eventually overpowered him before slowly and painfully depleting him of his magic.
- The Remnant: The military forces and civilians that survived Europe's destruction are still fighting for the UN and humanity.
- Retired Badass: Prime Minister Rokubungi, the Prime Minister of Japan in TCB!Earth, was a former commando in Japan’s Strategic Self Defense Forces.
- Reverse Mole: TCB!Fancy Pants.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Downplayed. The PHL ponies aren't afraid to get their hooves dirty when fighting alongside the humans.
- Right Hand Versus Left Hand: In "Strike", the PHL shooters under Stephan's command mistake Canon!Luna and Discord for their TCB counterparts and would have attacked them if not for Queen Celestia appearing.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
- Marcus's beatdown on the Canon!Mane Six (although it's misaimed); that said, Marcus seems to be after Fluttershy and Twilight more than anypony else.
Marcus: "It's you, or me, Flutterbitch. I've dreamed of this moment, for years. How does it feel, to be trapped, like the rest of us, in a vice with no escape? Tables finally turned, bitch. Now, you, are, going, to, DIE!"
- Discussed in Chapter 10. TCB!Snowflake's anger problems are well known throughout the PHL, though Cloudchaser has been helping him with them; if Cloudchaser were to die from the injuries she sustained in battle, it could very well send Snowflake into one of these. Luckily, Discord saves her.
- Queen Celestia kills one of the Child Soldiers in Boston. Result? Cheerilee completely loses it and, thanks to her runes, tears into Celestia with an unholy fury.
- The memories within TCB!Twilight's mind drive Luna to transform into Nightmare Moon, and her first action is to charge screaming towards the Tyrant.
- Sadistic Choice: In the flashback in Chapter 11, Marcus had to choose between saving the Newfoal that used to be his brother, or Cheerilee.
- Sanity Slippage: Though Marcus hasn't driven Celestia insane with his memories, this doesn't mean she responded well to them.
- Scenery Gorn: Boston in Chapter 15.
- Schizo Tech: In "War March and Past Sins", Discord points out that the ponies are too coddled by Celestia to have come up with trains or electric generators without getting the ideas from somewhere else.
- Seppuku: Rumored to be how Japan's Prime Minister went down. Supposedly, he did it with a torn-out unicorn horn, half-ponified.
- Set The World On Fire: The trees unfortunate enough to be anywhere nearby Celestia during her little conversation with Queen Celestia (and by "nearby", read "beyond the shores of the lake she's flying above"), a precursor to her Angst Nuke of rage that featured her smashing down on the image of the Solar Tyrant's face with enough force to evaporate a large lake and produce a huge crater. Badass Boast included.
- Shapeshifter Guilt Trip: Inverted by TCB!Trixie, who uses her Blue Spy abilities to take on the appearance of Lyra Heartstrings as a distraction during the fight with Focus Ray. Since Ray is a Newfoal, his first reaction upon seeing the Solar Empire's greatest dissident is to drop all else and charge at her.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran:
- Marcus, although it's rather subtle at times. He displays a lot of the classic symptoms of PTSD, such as having frequent flashbacks to previous events in the war, and the sheer amount of hatred he harbors toward the TCB!Mane Six borders on psychotic. In Chapter 21 it actually helps him against Sombra because all the fear has been burned out of him, leaving nothing for Sombra to use. Despair on the other hand, he has plenty of...
- Princess Celestia is becoming one due to her having absorbed Marcus's memories. Coupled with having no time to cope with the memories, the shock and horror of what her "precious little ponies" are capable of, and the depths of evil to which her counterpart has sunk, it's of little wonder that she finally snaps in Chapter 11. Discord eventually casts a mental spell on her to help gather these memories and help her deal with them, but time will tell if it's successful. Later on, Scribe helps get Celestia into a healing chamber within her home to help speed the mental reconstruction process up.
- And then there's Kraber. He's frequently said and shown to be a heavy drinker, his hatred of Pinkie Pie definitely qualifies as psychotic, though it's justified in that he hired Pinkie Pie to plan his children's birthday party, only to find his family ponified. On top of that, there's his Long List of crimes while in the HLF, and according to Princess Luna, his nightmares hang over him even during the day. He's also drowning in a sea of guilt and shame over his actions in the HLF, and also exhibits many signs of PTSD as well.
- Ship Tease:
- TCB!Spike and Rarity were implied to have had something before Rarity's brainwashing.
- Between TCB!Rainbow Dash and TCB!Lighting Dust. Yeah, it's okay, take a minute to let that sink in. Blame the Mind Rape.
One was the rainbow-maned Captain of the Wonderbolts, while the other was her loyal (and some said, loving) lightning-fast second-in-command. Within seconds, both had disappeared within the gleaming spires of the citadel, and from the fact that they had been flying supersonic over the capital, the implication was that they bore urgent news.
- Shooting Superman:
- Before her fight with Queen Celestia, TCB!Luna shoots herself in the head at point-blank range to prove that alicorns can't be taken out by conventional means. This is after Luna is Brought Down to Normal from being less powerful than her sister to begin with.
- Averted in Chapter 18, where humans have pulled out entirely new hybrid weapons – a fusion of their own technology, magical runes and crystal fragments. With it, they manage to shoot off Queen Celestia's ear, though it doesn't kill her, since she can regenerate limbs.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!:
- After enduring the Tyrant's attempts to convince her of the evil of humans, and listening to her abuses of the term "harmony", Princess Celestia delivers a heated one to a vision of her evil counterpart in Chapter 4.
- Canon!Equestria's Bag of Tirek tries to convince Discord to not throw it away into space, tempting him with the usual stuff. Discord asks it if it can bring his mother back to him. That promptly shuts the bag up.
- Shut Up, Kirk!:
- When Princess Celestia angrily calls Discord out on how his vision of chaos caused untold amounts of pain and damage to the ponies and Equestria, Discord retorts that her Harmony has caused its own damage by causing pony civilization to become stagnant, and the ponies themselves complacent.
- In "War March and Past Sins" when Luna calls Spykoran a murderer for destroying Dream Valley, Discord reminds her that she herself would have killed the world as Nightmare Moon.
- Single Tear: Marcus sheds one before he kills the Newfoal that used to be his brother.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Marcus, especially by pony standards. Kraber even moreso.
- Split Personality: TCB!Trixie has about three of them due to her work as a spy.
- Stepford Smiler: The Newfoals. They never stop smiling either, unless someone pushes one of their Berserk Buttons.
- Sociopathic Soldier: Marcus seems to have most of the characteristics of a Type 4. Kraber meanwhile was a mixture of a Type 2 and Type 4 in his days with the HLF; nowadays, he's mostly in the latter.
- The Stoic: Marcus seems to always be completely calm, except when you piss him off or when he has flashbacks to the war.
- Stunned Silence: The Diamond Dog representative, the minotaur representative and Princess Luna fall into this after Blueblood's blasphemous comment about Marcus' situation.
- Suddenly Shouting: Discord in "War March and Past Sins", when Spykoran tries to avoid the subject about the Bag of Tirek.
- Doctor Whooves in Pushed to the Limits when Cheerilee tries to get him to rest.
- Sugar Bowl: Deconstructed by Canon!Discord.
"Do they really? Oh, woe is me, to try and understand your flawless judgment
. I mean, just look at your standing army! You have them equipped with... spears! They question nothing! Trouble? You resolve without an effort
Risks? Why worry, the princess knows. Secrets of the past? What secrets of the past? The princess would never lie, so why think further? Why try anything new, when the one proven to know better is in charge? The ponies are going to be stagnant once you reach your limit, which is nearing, and you know it!"
- Super Breeding Program: Celestia and Luna encouraged a lot of intermarriages between the three pony races in order to try getting more alicorns. Celestia rejects calling it anything driven by eugenics however, as she states that breaking the barriers between the three tribes would've been right to do anyway, and "purity" driven movements did not end well.
- Super Strength: Anyone with runic tattoos, such as Marcus and Cheerilee. When his runes are fully charged, Marcus is strong enough to break Celestia's front ankles in a direct contest of strength. And when Cheerilee's runes activate...
- Superweapon Surprise: Humanity plans to have the Yellowstone megavolcano act as this, should it get to that point.
- Take That:
- "Ponies for Ethical Treatment of Newfoals" (PETN) is really close to the name "People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals" (PETA).
- Discord has... unfavorable things to say about Chatoyance in the gag version of "The Writes of Passage".
Discord: "If you want characters to suddenly start acting out of character like this, go read a Chatoyance fic!"
- He also apparently visited the Borderlands universe, and found that he didn't like Hyperion weapons very much.
- Kraber's backstory is basically one giant middle finger to Chatoyance's story The PER: Michelson and Morely - The Speed of Right, in which the eponymous PER agents ponified a group of children at a birthday party with a pinata full of potion. More specifically, he's what happens when the father finds out what happened to his kids and does not at all like what he finds out.
- While searching through Marcus' mindscape, Discord pushes his way across a horde of Newfoals, at one point stomping on "a white unicorn with gold-rimmed glasses, golden eyes and a frizzy pinkish-orange mane", the spitting image of Chatoyance's profile picture. There is a lot of blood spattering.
- Stephan expresses annoyance at looking like a Twilight vampire when he's turned sparkly by the Crystal Heart.
- Catseye (a unicorn modeled after Chatoyance's avatar on Fimfiction.Net) makes a physical appearance in the "Training Days" story arc as an antagonistic figure determined to sabotage the heroes' efforts. Not only is she a pony supremacist with less than flattering views on the other races in Equus, but it's also stated that her prejudices extend to half-pony hybrids of other species, with quick blurbs in her introductory scene hinting that she herself is a half-pony hybrid who detests her heritage and takes great measures hiding it. It's a none-too-subtle reference to the fact that Chatoyance is a Male-to-Female transsexual who has a reputation for coming off as incredibly misandric.
- On a meta-level, Canon!Celestia showing a distaste for eugenics is also a Take That directed at Chatoyance, where one story states that her Celestia actually used eugenics to make the ponies better by breeding out any "undesirable" traits.
- It's very easy to miss, but in "Training Days: The First Month", one of Catseye's followers considers using the word 'adamant' in their group's name. Chatoyance once wrote a story called The Reasonably Adamant Down With Celestia Newfoal Society, a none-too-subtle potshot leveled at her critics and critics of the TCB universe in general.
- Canon!Discord makes a couple quick potshots at conservative pundit Dinesh D'Souza and notorious evangelist and actor Kirk Cameron.
- A dream vision of TCB!Lyra states that Jacqueline Reitman (a stand-in for Chatoyance) handles anything that disagrees with her worldview with the maturity of a baby.
- A conversation between Canon!Twilight and Doctor Grimnebulin has a quick middle finger being shot at Chatoyance's story Code Majeste, wherein it's stated that humans lack souls because they lack magic.
- Taking the Bullet: TCB!Cloudchaser took a few spears that were meant for Bulk "Snowflake" Biceps.
- Taken for Granite:
- TCB!Lyra, Luna, and Blueblood were all turned into stone. Lyra was crushed by an angry mob and the sight led to TCB!Bon Bon's complete mental breakdown, Luna is kept as a trophy, and Blueblood got crushed as well, though it's implied that was because even Queen Celestia couldn't stand him.
- Blueblood gets turned to stone by Discord in the mostly-canon universe, this time as punishment for being such an Entitled Bastard. But it's temporary, in this case.
- Tastes Like Purple:
- When the magical portal that transports Marcus into Canon!Equestria opens up over Ponyville, Twilight Sparkle remarks that everything tasted purple for a moment when she senses the massive amounts of magical energy radiating from it.
- The void between universes tastes orange to Discord.
- Teacher/Student Romance: Princess Luna had this with Sombra, although it was one-sided on his part. He claims that her not returning his feelings was one of the main reasons he went evil. Discord calls it out as trite.
- Tears of Joy: TCB!Cadance sheds some after Green Fields, one of the Royal Guards, is freed from the Tyrant's control with The Power of Love.
- The Teaser: The story begins with Marcus, already captured and mouthing off at Canon!Twilight.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: As revealed in "Pushed to the Limits", the Second Gate to PHL HQ is designed to take no chances with unauthorized personnel, involving turrets, gas, napalm and who knows what else.
And sometimes Trevor's attitude to life was refreshingly welcome: there's no kill like overkill.
- This Is Unforgivable!: Princess Celestia is not at all happy at what Queen Celestia has done. She immediately declares war on the tyrant in response.
- Title Drop: In "The Writes of Passage".
"They called this negative range of emotions, 'the Other Side of the Spectrum'."
- Too Dumb to Live: Really, Blueblood? Antagonize the traumatized alicorn who has already shown she doesn't like you? Smart...
- Trapped Behind Enemy Lines: What Marcus thinks happened to him when he arrives in Canon!Equestria.
- The Troubles: While he was a human, Focus Ray was a member of the Irish Republican Army.
- Twenty Minutes into the Future: Earth is currently in the year 2023, but appears to be not too different from today... well, you know, without the xenocide. Justified, considering that TCB!Equestria's invasion would have greatly impeded all non-military scientific progress. The situation is actually somewhat similar to Resistance - it's not that much more advanced than our time (there's mentions of some PHL-enhanced tech making its way into the private sector, but not very much) but the military sector is incredibly advanced.
- Uncanny Village: TCB!Ponyville, if not most of TCB!Equestria, is like this now, if the opening description in "The Writes of Passage" is anything to judge by. There's perpetually smiling zombie-like Newfoals everywhere, and there's something wrong with the sunlight. According to said opening description:
The sun, although bright and radiant, seemed to cast a colder, more pallid light... everything on which it cast its gaze seemed... lesser. Not washed out, or colourless, or even decayed. Just lesser, diminished, reduced.
- Though as of Calm Before The Storm, the veneer seems to be ever so slightly cracked.
- Underestimating Badassery: General Ironclaw and Warlord Wilmorn Darkhoof, the respective military leaders of the Griffon Empire and the Minotaurs, didn't believe they were in need of training from the humans. Oh, how wrong they were.
- Villains Never Lie: Princess Celestia wonders this about Discord in Chapter 11, noting that he may speak half-truths, use Insane Troll Logic and Moon Logic Puzzles, but not outright lie.
- Vomit Discretion Shot: After Cadance witnesses a vision of TCB!Discord disintegrating, she promptly releases her stomach contents in a nearby bush.
- When Stephan and Kraber are shown what TCB!Twilight did in regards to the creation of the potion, both of them start losing their lunches in nearby trash cans.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Applejack spits her breakfast back up after being used as a meat shield to take a kick from Rainbow Dash.
- Later, Canon!Celestia after seeing what her little ponies are doing to the humans due to a mind sharing spell.
- The War on Terror: Marcus served some time in the Middle East before the war with Equestria.
- We Are Struggling Together:
- Initially averted in that the resistance groups and the military don't seem to have any problems with cooperating with each other, as well as in the case of New York's mafia and gangbangers, who now hand out weapons free of charge to civilians. Plus, continuing to fight each other in a city with high military presence is just stupid in every way.
- Played straight, however, when humans first meet up with Canon!Luna and Discord. The PHL is all primed to kill them should they twitch wrong, and they've brought their best god-killing gear with them. Possibly the only times that Queen Celestia showing up somewhere has a positive effect, convincing people Discord and Luna are not her allies.
- We Can Rule Together: How Stalwart Heart (formerly Marcus's little brother Jacob) tries to convince Marcus to be ponified and join him in "spreading harmony".
- We Have Reserves: Queen Celestia's plan for using her vast reserves of Newfoals to conquer other universes.
- Wham Episode: "For Whom The Bell Tolls". It is the single darkest chapter of the story so far. Readers get to see how Queen Celestia replaced the minds of the Elements with the mockeries seen in the war, followed by a detailed description of what happened to the three thousand test subjects TCB!Twilight used to make the ponification potion work without horribly disfiguring or killing the subject, capped off by Luna turning into Nightmare Moon, which cows Discord into seriousness.
- Wham Line: "Hidden Truths" ends with Canon!Discord telling Celestia he freed himself because her "ever loving twin" killed his TCB counterpart.
- "Pushed to the Limits" ends with Canon!Luna announcing to a squadron of human pilots that they have Marcus, meaning that Canon!Equestria will finally join the war.
- What the Hell, Hero?: In the TCB-verse, most of Ponyville gave one to Twilight and company when news of the Barrier's expansion began to spread across Equestria.
- In "War March and Past Sins", everyone is horrified by what King Spykoran did to keep the Bag of Tirek buried, and some even outright call him a murderer. In his own defense, Spykoran admits what he did was terrible, but maintains that he did what had to be done.
- When Dimensions Collide: The bad kind which turns into a fight for survival for humanity.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Canon!Cadance is genuinely afraid of outliving everypony she has ever cared for. Celestia and Luna as well, to a lesser extent.
- When Marcus realizes that he (and to an extent Cheerilee and possibly Lyra) could possibly have their own ascensions, he starts worrying that this will happen to them.
- Why Won't You Die?: Luna asks the Mirror Pool Clone TCB!Celestia this question. She's quite justified in asking, given the downright horrific things she saw the Queen do to turn the TCB!Mane Six into her lackeys and the potion prototype experiments. Queen Celestia also does this to Stephan, which is also justified, given that he's punching the crap out of her!
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Marcus suffers from this earlier on, when he initially believes he simply traveled back in time to Equestria before they ended up on Earth, and tries to kill the Mane Six and Celestia to prevent the war. He quickly realizes he was wrong and now has allies that can help turn the tide of the war in humanity's favor.
- Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Luna's antiquated linguistics get lampshaded in Chapter 11.
- You ALL Share My Story:
- Stephan, the star of the Europe Side-Story, occasionally fights alongside Marcus, and seems to have been promoted to deuteragonist.
- The crew of the Starvation Side-Story finally meet Marcus in "Trust".
- Averted for the crew of the Asia Side-Story, who handle things halfway around the world, though Marcus does tell Cheerilee in "Trust" to go look for them so they can help out in the upcoming final battle.
- Marcus is treated by Isaac Dan Der Grimnebulin in "Sons of Legacies, Part 3".
- You Are Too Late: Doctor Whooves tried to save TCB!Lyra and TCB!Bon-Bon. Unfortunately, Lyra's death was a fixed point in time, and the fallout from the Doctor's meddling caused Bon-Bon's already fractured psyche to become embedded with visions from all of history.
- You Can't Fight Fate: TCB!Lyra's death is one of the immutable fixed points in history that Doctor Whooves can't change.
- Your Head A Splode: What happens to those close enough to Marcus when he attacks with his "force push".