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What lies on the other side of the door?
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SteamHeart is an audio drama created by Alex Shaw and is the sixth story in the New Century series, as well as the sixth and final part of Phase 1 of the overarching story.

Following on from the events of Arlington, SteamHeart involves a group consisting of characters from previous New Century stories traveling across America in the titular SteamHeart, a Steam Punk armored personnel carrier, on a mission to close the Wind Door from which originated the Zombie Apocalypse that ravaged the country over a decade ago.


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SteamHeart provides examples of:

  • Abandon Ship: The Natchez was abandoned after it's passengers ran it aground near Memphis.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Hrao's spears are able to easily cleave limbs from bodies.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: The titles given to some of the members of Team Steam, such as "Abbey the Adventurer", "James the Dashing Doctor", "Harry the Marvel Mechanic", "Pines the Paranormal Zoologist", and "Raven the Roving Reporter."
  • Admiring the Abomination: Jeremy finds monsters fascinating and jumps at the chance to study them up close.
  • Adorkable: Jeremy, especially when anything supernatural occurs.
  • Affectionate Nickname:
    • Frank occasionally refers to Annie as "honey pie" while she calls him "my darling."
    • Annie refers to Harry as "Sparks".
  • Agents Dating: Frank and Annie go beyond this, as they are married.
  • The Alcoholic: Raven is shown drinking more than any other character, and when he becomes worried about the impending SteamHeart expedition, his solution is to get wasted in a bar.
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  • Alliterative List: SteamHeart's three sections are described as "Pilot, People and Power."
  • Allohistorical Allusion:
    • While Frank's first wife, Henrietta, is killed by Wendigo, he mentions the fact he's not sure their marriage would have lasted, a reference to the fact that in our timeline, the two ended up divorced.
    • The man seen testing the V1 armor is Bud Hillerich, the creator of the Louisville Slugger.
    • It's mentioned that John Browning and William Winchester helped Henry make Abigail's shotgun.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Due to Mr. Wight choosing to Shoot the Hostage, James is forced to amputate both of Harry's legs, causing her to swear revenge against Wight.
  • Army Scout: Abigail, James, Annie and Frank are all technically this, as they have all spent time serving as RSA Cartographers.
  • Ass Shove: Abigail says that when faced with a grizzly bear, it's best to start shaving down the sides of your rifle, so that when the bear takes it from you and shoves it up your ass, it will hurt less.
  • Aura Vision: Abigail has some form of this with her starlit eye.
  • Awesome Personnel Carrier: What SteamHeart essentially is, though it was created before such a designation existed, so it is referred to as a "steamcraft."
  • Baba Yaga: Yagana is clearly supposed to be her, with the similar name and a house on living chicken legs.
  • Baby Factory: How Green Hollow views women.
  • Back for the Dead: Henry Jackson, not seen since The Cartographer's Handbook meets up with Team Steam and escorts them to the Southern Wind Door, where he is infected with the Wendigo Plague and takes his own life.
  • Bad Boss: The Slades, who Annie spent years for working as a houseworker, abused and underpaid her, treating her like an indentured servant and never getting her the education they promised when they first hired her.
  • Bald of Evil: Buford, whose bald head is off set by his thick, black beard.
  • Bathtub Bonding: Frank and Jeremy spend some time together bathing and bonding while in Memphis.
  • The Beard: The Arlington sisters attend the ball as Jeremy and Donald's dates, to hide the fact the two men are a couple.
  • Beard of Evil: Buford sports a black one.
  • Better as Friends: Where Henry and Abigail ultimately end up in their relationship.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Henry Jackson overdoses himself with morphine so that he won't turn into a wendigo.
  • The Big Board: A large, tabletop map sits in The War Room at NIA headquarters, complete with little figurines marking the various factions at play.
  • Big Damn Heroes: When most of Team Steam is pinned down by gunfire while trying to escape from Green Hollow, the previously thought dead Hrao suddenly shows up and saves them.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: On the other side of the Southern Wind Door, the expedition team encounters wasps the size of rats and flies the size of greyhounds.
  • Bond Creatures: Seth and Breoth share a spiritual bond.
  • Boom, Headshot!:
    • Frank pulls this on a Wendigo who attacked him while he was contemplating suicide.
    • Annie scores one on a member of the Southern Cross while on a moving vehicle.
  • Bound and Gagged: Abigail does this to Rose shortly after escaping Green Hollow.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: While being attacked by men from Green Hollow, James, Abigail and Annie are forced to use a pair of muskets they find in the abandon cabin they've taken shelter in.
  • Breeding Slave: The people of Green Hollow kidnap women they come across, chain them up, and force them to have children to increase the town's population.
  • Bungled Suicide: Hrao's dive off the cliff doesn't kill her immediately, allowing Seth to recover her and take her to Yagana for healing.
  • Call-Back: The last time we saw Tabitha, she said her dream was to be in charge of a zinc mine. When Team Steam runs into her, she is exactly that.
  • Chemistry Can Do Anything: SteamHeart is protected by ceramic plates treated with a chemical resin invented by Harry called "stonespring", which makes the plates nonconductive and bullet proof while being lighter than steel.
  • The Captain: Annie, who is selected to be in charge of Team Steam.
  • Captain Patriotic: Captain Annie Oakley, the leader and face of Team Steam, who's official outfit is a red, white and blue number meant to invoke the American flag.
  • Chained to a Bed: Abigail finds a whole room of women in this situation in Green Hollow, who are being kept as breeding slaves.
  • Character Exaggeration: Happens with the versions of James and Abigail who appear in The Winds of Virginia, with James having an over-the-top British accent, and one of Abigail's few lines being "I like punching!"
  • The Chosen One: Raven jokes that James is "the child of the prophecy", then calls him a jackass when he believes him.
  • Civil War: During the epilogue, it's stated that after the death of President Grant, the southern potion of the RSA ceceeded to form the New Confederate Territories of America under the leadership of President Joseph Termaine, and quickly declare war on the RSA.
  • Classified Information:
    • The condition of President Grant's health is considered this.
    • Jeremy reveals that the NIA has some idea about what's happening in England but he's not allowed to talk about it.
  • Claustrophobia: Abigail appears to suffer from this.
  • Code Name: The various agents of the NIA have these, such as Agent Z (Tabitha) and Agent Wolf ( Rebecca Wolverton).
  • The Comically Serious: Upon seeing James and Abigail's magic eyes, Donald McTavish's only reaction is "I've seen worse."
  • Concealing Canvas: The NIA war room has a liquor cabinet hidden behind a painting of George Washington.
  • Connected All Along:
    • William Fisher, who had been the pimp to Abigail's mother, was the father of Maurice Fisher, the racist gangster from Arlington.
    • The Bessie from the start of the story is later revealed to be the same Bessie who as a childhood friend of Henry Jackson's mentioned in The Cartographer's Handbook.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Frank and Annie mention some of the events of Arlington when Abigail asks them what they've been up to.
    • Abigail flashes back to the scenes in Secret Rooms where she first met Carl and then to when he saved her life after learning about his death.
    • Annie acknowledges that the talk of some sort of large, feline creature beings spotted around Memphis brings up bad memories of her encounter with Seth's manticore.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Hrao and Miguel run into Team Steam because they happen to decide to go back to Rama on the same day that the team has come to close the Wind Door.
  • Cool Airship: The NIA's Thunder Cloud completed sometime during SteamHeart's expedition.
  • Cool Gun: The shotgun Harry designs for James and Abigail.
  • Corrupt Politician: Dutch Van Tassel, a presidential canidate who is very clearly in the pocket of Washington's criminal underworld.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: When they return to the zinc mine with reinforcements, Team Steam discovers a warning left for them by the Lord of Brimstone written in blood.
  • Covered in Mud: Miguel does this to himself to act as camoflauge for his infiltration of Green Hollow.
  • Creepy Cool Crosses: The warriors of the Southern Cross paint crosses on their bare chests, but don't seem to follow any of the actual tenants of Christianity.
  • Crystal Ball: At the end of the story, Abigail recieves a blue orb sent to her by Professor Krieger who says it will help. She quickly touches the orb and absorbs an unknown power from it.
  • Curiosity Is a Crapshoot: The series generally views curiosity as a good thing, and though Darion Clay's curiosity gets him turned into the first wendigo and leads to the wendigo outbreak, there were two other Wind Doors open at the same time from which the infection also spread, making it impossible to lay all the blame at his feet.
  • Dances and Balls: One is held in Washington to rally support for the SteamHeart expedition.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Tesla has it down to a science.
  • Deal with the Devil: Seth makes on with Yagana to heal Hrao, giving her his fondest memory to get her to perform an Energy Donation. It's implied he's done this before for Breoth.
  • Death Faked for You: Raven does this for Miguel in Green Hollow when he claims that the boy is still asleep in SteamHeart right before it blows up when he knew that Miguel actually snuck out to scout the town.
  • Description Porn: Harry going over SteamHeart's specs.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Annie bleeds out in Abigail's arms.
  • Distant Prologue: The story starts with a recounting of the wendigo outbreak, which occurred over a decade before.
  • Dramatization: The stories Annie tells about her childhood are based on events that happened to the real Annie Oakley, with small bits of fiction added in.
  • Dream Spying: Abigail has a brief flash of the climax of The Princess Thieves in one of her dreams.
  • Dream Team:
    • The heroes are a gathered collection of characters from Secret Rooms, Tiger's Eye, and Arlington.
    • While trying to sell Thomas on the idea of making the mission a public one, she describes a team of "Lewis and Clark teaming up with Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett and Charles Darwin."
  • The Drifter: Franks spent the four years between losing his family and joining up with the RSA as one.
  • Driven to Suicide: Frank considers it and almost attempts it twice after his first family is killed by wendigo.
  • Energy Donation: With Yagana's help, Seth does this for Hrao, giving her a third of his strength in order to heal her wounds.
  • The Engineer: Harry, the designer and creator of SteamHeart.
  • Epigraph: The story begins with a poem by Emily Dickinson.
  • Equivalent Exchange: James eventually realizes that to open a Wind Door, he needs an energy source, specifically fire, to power the action, with the size of the Wind Door dependent on the amount of fire available.
  • Eureka Moment: Harry invokes one in James, having figured out that in order for his powers to work, he needs an energy source and making him realize it as well.
  • Eye Colour Change: After Seth shares some of his power with her, Miguel notes that there are specks of orange in Hrao's green eyes.
  • Eye Scream:
    • Annie shoots Seth's manticore in the eye during their confrontation.
    • When things go south in Green Hollow, Annie dispatches Dale, the mayor, with a bullet through the eye.
    • Miguel dispatches Morris by stabbing him in the eye.
    • During his Roaring Rampage of Revenge, Frank is described as shooting one of the men of Green Hollow in the eye.
  • Facial Horror: Henry Jackson suffers a terrible wound to his face after being attacked by one of his soldiers turned wendigo.
  • Facial Markings: Yagana sports a number of facial tattoos.
  • Fair Weather Friend: It appears that Miguel's friends, Mary and Ben, made no effort to rescue him or even inform anyone about his disappearance.
  • Famed In-Story: Everyone who contributed to The Cartographer's Handbook is now this.
  • Fantastic Flora: In addition to carnivorous plants, the world beyond the Southern Wind Door has colorful but poisonous flowers whose toxin is the originator of the Wendigo Plague.
  • Fantastic Science: One of the representatives on SteamHeart is described as a monster zoologist.
  • Female Misogynist: Rose, who sees other women as baby factories.
  • Fiery Lion: As Miguel explains, the Fire Lion is like a lion, but he's also on fire.
  • Flashback: After learning of Carl's death, Abigail has a flashback to when she first met him in Secret Rooms and then later when he saved her life at the end of the same story.
  • Flashback Effect: The start and end of Abigail's flashbacks are denoted by a wooshing noise.
  • Giant Flyer: Brethor the manticore is large enough to carry the already impressively large Seth aloft.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: When Truth says that men will fall in love with Annie and Abigail as part of her pitch for a public SteamHeart expedition, Abigail attempts to add Harry's name to the list as well, to which Truth replies with "Let's not go crazy."
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: When asked if he wants to see the inside of SteamHeart for the first time, James replies with "Oh, my giddy aunt, yes."
  • Gossip Evolution: Abigail had apparently heard the Vice President had been eaten by a minotaur, when in fact he was killed by a manticore.
  • Government Agency of Fiction:
    • The National Intelligence Agency or NIA.
    • The Department of Mysteries and the Paranormal, better known as UNICORN.
  • Grand Theft Prototype: Harry tells a story about how her former assistant tried to steal the prototype for the voxtube.
  • Great Escape: After most of Team Steam is captured by the people of Green Hollow, Miguel mounts a one man rescue operation to break them out.
  • Greed: Edison's primary motivation remains profit.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Hrao manages to cut a wendigo in half at the waist at one point.
  • Handicapped Badass: Annie claims to know a one-eyed sniper who is a better shot than when he had two eyes.
  • Happily Failed Suicide: Though not stated, it's clear that Frank is happy he didn't go through with his suicide, possibly because he wouldn't have met his wife, Annie, if he had.
  • Hates Being Touched: James expresses discomfort at being hugged by Frank during their reunion.
  • Hates Wearing Dresses: Abigail, who digs her heels in through the entire process of preparing for the ball.
  • Headbutt of Love: Jeremy and Donald share one before the departure of SteamHeart.
  • Head Hat: The Lord of Brimstone wears a horse's skull as a helmet.
  • Healing Factor: Seth possesses one powerful enough one that splitting his power three ways with Hrao and Brethor lets him still have one while giving both of them one as well.
  • Heroic BSoD: Harry suffers this after learning about the assassination of her parents.
  • Heroic Bystander: Jonathan Oakley, who hides Annie from the Slades and pays for the train ticket that lets her escape.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Tabitha's assistant, Jae-Hyun, stays behind at the mine to open the gate for SteamHeart, leading to his death at the hands of the Southern Cross.
    • Annie refuses James' medical attention in order to take out the men from Green Hollow who were sent after them, leading to her bleeding out.
  • Herr Doktor: Julius Kaufman, the RSA's surgeon general.
  • Hidden Depths: Unbeknownst to most people, Annie is almost a good a seamstress as she is a gunslinger.
  • Higher Understanding Through Drugs: Raven provides James and Abigail mushrooms in the hopes that the experience will allow them to better understand their endowments. While they don't gain better control of their powers, the mushrooms do allow James to apparently see the fabric of reality and let Abigail have a long distance conversation with Merlene.
  • Hired Guns: During his time as a drifter, Frank's only marketable skill was his natural talent at shooting, so he joined various groups of survivors to help protect them.
  • Historical Domain Character:
  • Hostage Situation: A dual one occurs in Green Hollow, with Annie, Abigail and James taking Rose with them while the rest of Team Steam remains in control of the villagers.
  • Hope Bringer: The team is meant to be this.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Bessie implies this when she tells Jeremy that if he goes to Mississippi, he'll find monsters, but not the ones he's looking for.
  • I Call It "Vera": Frank names the pillow that's up for grabs in the shooting contest Matilda.
  • I Can Explain: Seth confronts Annie about having warned her not to return to his lands, to which she says she can explain, only for her to admit she can't and urges everyone to run.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: During the Chase Fight with the Southern Cross, Annie, while on top of ''SteamHeart'', shoots a member of the Southern Cross on another, speeding wagon in the head, causing him to drop his freshly lit stick of dynamite into the wagon and blow it up.
  • Insistent Terminology: It's not The SteamHeart, just SteamHeart.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Frank's suicide attempt after the death of his family was interrupted by the timely arrival of a Wendigo, prompting his survival instincts to take over.
  • I See Dead People: Abigail is described as being able to see ghosts.
  • Kissing Under the Influence: After taking Raven's mushrooms, Abigail expresses an interest in kissing most of the members of Team Steam.
  • Knife Nut: Buford is a fan of brandishing his Bowie knife.
  • Last-Name Basis: Raven refers to everyone by their last name.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When Director Arlington asks Abigail to recount the events of Secret Rooms she says the whole thing would take about six and a half hours, which is roughly the run time of the audiobook.
  • Leitmotif:
    • "Agent in Shanghai", the theme for Tiger's Eye serves as a leitmotif for Miguel and Hrao.
    • "Arrival", the theme for The Princess Thieves plays when Abigail ponders what is happening in England.
  • Leprechaun: Jeremy recounts a story where he and his childhood friend Jasper attempted to follow a rainbow to find a leprechaun. While Jasper wanted the leprechaun's gold, Jeremy hoped to convince it to bring him to the fairy world.
  • Love at First Punch: Seth becomes attracted to Hrao after she beats him in combat.
  • Love Confession: James and Abigail confess their feelings for each other while under the effects of Raven's mushrooms, making things awkward between them when the effect wears off.
  • Love Transcends Spacetime: Despite all the changes that occur in this timeline and the different conditions of their lives, Frank Butler and Annie Oakley still end up meeting, falling in love and marrying just like they did in our timeline.
  • Magical Eye: Abigail and James believed they each gained one from the orb they found, though for James, it has so far merely rendered him blind in one eye.
  • Magical Native American: Played with. While it turns out that Raven is a shaman (albeit a failed one), he calls James out for believing that just because he's Native American, he can help James and Abigail understand their endownments.
  • Majorly Awesome: Major Frank Butler, one of the country's best sharpshooters.
  • Man-Eating Plant: The team sent through the Southern Wind Door encounter a species of this, including a large one that almost eats one of the soldiers.
  • Maternity Crisis: Tabitha goes into labor shortly before the Southern Cross attacks her mine.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane:
    • Sampson could be one of at least three identical strangers that the members of Team Steam keeps running into through Contrived Coincidence, or he could be some kind of supernatural being with an unknown agenda.
    • Is Sampson's companion the real Maggie Struthers, who somehow survived the wendigo attack that reportedly ended her life and made her way back to her hometown, or is she a supernatural creature pretending to be Maggie Struthers?
  • Meaningful Rename: Annie's real name is Phoebe Ann Mosey. She gained the nickname Annie from her family and adopted the surname Oakley in honor of Jonathan Oakley, the old man who helped rescue her from the Slades.
  • Meet Cute: Annie and Frank have one where she beat him in a shooting contest, similar to how they met in real life.
  • Mexican Standoff: Team Steam ends up in one while in Green Hollow, with Bertram holding a knife to Frank's throat while Annie points a gun at his mother.
  • More Dakka: The design philosophy behind Abigail's shotgun, i.e., if the gun shoots out enough lead, it doesn't matter how inaccurate the wielder is.
  • The Mourning After: Raven had a wife who was killed before the wendigo outbreak. He never got over his death and goes on a guilt-filled drinking spree after sleeping with a prostitute in Memphis.
  • The Mutiny: The Natchez apparently suffered one, because it is said it's captain was thrown overboard before the boat reached Memphis.
  • My Secret Pregnancy: Downplayed. Tabitha admits that she was pregnant during her last meeting with Abigail, but she didn't tell her because she wasn't sure at the time.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: The Arlington sisters, Harry and Truth, are named after Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth, respectively.
  • Near-Death Experience:
    • Hrao becomes sick not long after arriving in Centrum and experiences one of these, encountering the Fire Lion and the Father of Passing in the process.
    • Hrao has one again after her Bungled Suicide, in which she sees the Fire Lion and Father of Passing again and hallucinates Seth as the Panther of Night.
  • Necessary Evil: When Abigail asks President Grant why he gave Mr. Wight the power he has, Grant refers to Wight as this.
  • Nerd Glasses: Jeremy wears a pair.
  • No Biochemical Barriers: Played with. It's never made clear if Hrao can be infected by the Wendigo Plague. On one hand, some of the characters hypothosize that she's immune because she's a different species, which readers know is true. On the other, Hrao's people have ancient legends of an affliction similar to that of the wendigo, and she is described as starting to twitch and convulse at the end, though this could also be due to the wounds she suffered in battle. Whatever the truth, the evidence is enough to convince Hrao to throw herself off a cliff.
  • The Nose Knows:
    • Hrao has a heightened sense of smell compared to humans, allowing her to notice a swarm of wendigo approaching Team Steam before the rest do.
    • Seth is able to deduce that Frank and Miguel have been to his homeworld recently because he can smell the world's distinct scents on them.
  • Of Corset Hurts: Abigail complains about being unable to breathe when she's forced to put on a corset in the dress shop.
  • Off with His Head!: Hrao manages to decapitate a number of wendigos in her fight with the swarm.
  • One-Handed Shotgun Pump: Abigail's shotgun is designed to allow for this.
  • One-Man Army:
    • Hrao is able to take out an entire swarm of wendigo largely by herself, though she is badly wounded in the process.
    • Frank becomes one in Green Hollow, fighting the town's entire military force by himself.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Averted. Annie gets shot in the leg while escaping Green Hollow and ends up bleeding out when James can't treat her wounds in time.
  • Our Manticores Are Spinier: Seth's companion, Breoth, who is the winged and lion-faced variety. He is often refered to as a "scorpion-lion" by those unfamiliar with the term manticore.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: After the death of President Grant, Vice President Sean Riley, a President Personable, succeeds him.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Frank had two children who were killed by Wendigo, along with his first wife.
  • Parental Abandonment: Miguel discovers that nobody, including his father, came looking for him after he disappeared. Upon confronting his father, Miguel discovers Fransico has shacked up with another woman and her two suns and sees Miguel's return as a nusance.
  • Patient Zero: The prologue confirms that the Wendigo encountered in Maggie Struther's section of The Cartographer's Handbook is indeed the first person transformed in a Wendigo, a former Confederate sailor named Darion Clay.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Abigail, Annie, Harry, Truth and Sarah all have specially made dresses for the Washington ball.
  • Plague Doctor: The Lord of Brimstone's majordomo wears one of these masks and is refered to as the Plague Doctor by Raven.
  • Point of Divergence: May 10th, 1872, the day in which the Wind Doors opened across the world, and the first person was infected with the Wendigo plague.
  • Portal Door: The Wind Doors, which are a trio of apparently spontaneously occurring portal that opened to an alternate Earth.
  • Previews Pulse: The trailer for the story starts with one.
  • Previously On…: At the start of the episode where he and Hrao are reintroduced, Miguel gives a summation of the events that occurred in Tiger's Eye.
  • Propaganda Hero: The SteamHeart expedition is this, with a specific focus on Annie.
  • Properly Paranoid: When James shares his deduction that Annie and Frank have been ordered to execute Abigail and him if they go rogue, Abigail reacts like there's something wrong with him, but he's largely correct (the only part that proves untrue is that Annie and Frank are suppose to kill them if they ever found out about the order).
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Episode 3 features Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach.
  • The Quest: The group's mission to find the Wind Door from which the Wendigo plague emerged from and close it.
  • Recursive Canon: In addition to The Cartographer's Handbook existing as a Fictional Document, at the end of the story, Raven presents the rest of Team Steam with in-universe versions of Secret Rooms, Tiger's Eye, Arlington, and SteamHeart that he wrote based on the Team's various eye witness accounts.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Thomas and Sarah Arlington, emphasized by the red and blue coats they respectively wear in The War Room. Abigail's Aura Vision even shows them with the respective colors.
  • Red Shirt: The soldiers Henry Jackson brings to escort Team Steam to and through the Southern Wind Door are quickly slaughtered by the plants holding the Wendigo Plague.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Abigail and Harry get one during their time in Memphis.
  • Revenge: Harry tells Truth she is going to "get" Mr. Wight after he costs her her legs.
  • Road Trip Plot: The story is mainly a combination of this and The Quest.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Frank goes on one against Green Hollow after Annie's death.
  • Roman à Clef: Annie admits that she changed the name of the Slade family in her story, because she did not want history to remember her abusers, a case of Truth in Television.
  • Rule of Seven: Once they embark on their journey, Abigail discovers with her Magical Eye that there are actually seven Wind Doors active: One is Mississippi, one in Canada, one in Egypt, one in Tennessee, one in England, one in West Virginia, and one in Missouri.
  • Running Gag: Abigail's desire to get the people who contributed to The Cartographer's Handbook to autograph her copy.
  • Run or Die: When the group runs into Seth, Annie quickly urges the group to flee.
  • The Scapegoat: Initially, due to lack of information, the Wendigo plague is blamed on things such as foreign foods, Indian curses and the Voodoo of former slaves.
  • Seal the Breach: Team Steam's overall mission is to reach the Southern Wind Door and close it.
  • Secret Test of Character: Abigail pretends to consider throwing herself off a cliff to see if Annie would shoot her in order to keep her endownment with Team Steam.
  • Seen It All: Donald McTavish being The Comically Serious seems have been born out of his work in UNICORN.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • The last we see of Rebecca, she is traveling to England to make contact and see what's happening there.
    • Between the climax of the story and the epilogue, Abigail, James, Miguel, Hrao and Jeremy travel to West Virgini to close the Wind Door there. Jeremy doesn't go into detail about what happened there, but says that it is a story in and of itself.
    • In the last scene, James mentions that he and Abigail are preparing to travel north on Thunder Cloud to meet with Captain Wilson and close the Northern Wind Door.
    • Finally, at the very end, Abigail recieves a package from Professor Krieger containing a blue orb similar to the starlit one. Abigail quickly touches it and absorbs its power, but can't immediately tell what it has changed in her. When questioned about it, she simply suggests she'll have to wait and see.
  • Shaped Like Itself:
Abigail: "I don't like tight spaces."
James: "She's claustrophobic."
Abigail: "That too."
  • Shared Unusual Trait: Abigail and James share a pair of black, starlit eyes between them.
  • Shoot the Hostage: Mr. Wight is willing to do this, having his men open fire on the people of Green Hollow when they refuse to stand down, even though they're holding Team Steam hostage. This action ultimately costs Harry her legs.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Abigail uses a specially designed shotgun.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Frank talks about the wife he had two children with before he met Annie and the fact that he is skilled at glassblowing, both of which are facts about the real Frank Butler.
    • Annie's flashback to her time with the Slade's is accurate to events that happened to the real Annie Oakley.
  • Show Within a Show: Team Steam attends a performance of The Winds of Virginia, a Gone with the Wind-esque adaptation of the Weirwood section of The Cartographer's Handbook.
  • Sidetracked by the Analogy: Miguel observes that an agitated Hrao paces like an animal in a zoo, before saying that he at least thinks she does, since he has never been to a zoo before.
  • Signature Team Transport: The titular ''SteamHeart''.
  • Sixth Ranger: Hrao and Miguel, who join Team Steam over halfway through the book.
  • Sole Survivor: For a time, Bessie was the only survivor of the unit that was sent to locate the Southern Wind Door.
  • Steam Punk: As with other stories in the New Century Multiverse, elements of steam punk appear in the story, most notably, the titular SteamHeart.
  • The Stinger: After the credits, there is a scene where Mr. Wight confronts Katherine in her office and demands all the information she has on Abigail and James.
  • Stock Sound Effect: The sounds of the gunshots heard during Frank and Annie's shooting competition are straight out of an old Western.
  • Straight Gay: Jeremy and Donald.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Abigail's insistance that she doesn't want to fight Hrao just to make her feel good about her own fighting skills.
  • Switching P.O.V.: Like other New Century stories, the point of view switches between various characters throughout the story.
  • Tagalong Reporter: Raven, a writer for the Washington Post who is assigned to the SteamHeart expedition in order to chronicle it.
  • The Team: Team Steam.
  • Technical Pacifist: Abigail refuses to use violence unless all diplomatic options have failed or to kill unless absolutely necessary.
  • Temporary Love Interest: During his time in Memphis, James meets and quickly becomes infatuated with Agent Wolf, who he loses his virginity to. After the successful closing of the Wind Door, she sadly leaves for her next assignment, with both acknowledging it's unlikly they will see each other again.
  • Tempting Fate: Jeremy states that though he'd love to explore the Wind Door, the government would never send him.
  • That Liar Lies: Abigail directly calls out Dutch Van Tassel after he contradicts himself in a blatant attempt to win her favor.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Miguel and Hrao's Leitmotif starts to play as the former readies himself to infiltrate Green Hollow.
  • To Absent Friends: The gathering of the remaining members of Team Steam at a bar in Washington serves partially as this as they give a toast to Annie's memory.
  • Tomboyish Name: Harry, which is short for Harriet.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: Its noted that in the early days of the Wendigo plague, when people didn't understand the condition, a number of innocent people were murdered by mobs after being incorrectly blamed for the outbreak.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: The people of Green Hollow have been kidnapping women and using them as breeding slaves.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Raven wears his wedding ring on a cord around his neck in memory of his deceased wife.
  • Tranquil Fury: While on his Roaring Rampage of Revenge, Frank opperates with cold and ruthless efficency.
  • Trespassing to Talk: Mr. Wight does this to Katherine in The Stinger, breaking into her office and waiting for her so he can demand what information she has about Abigail and James.
  • Unproblematic Prostitution: While Abigail's mother had a bad history with the place, when Team Steam visits the Diamond Bell, it seems like a good work place with no real stigma attached to it now that the Fishers are no longer around.
  • Unwillingly Girly Tomboy: Abigail is forced to dress up and participate in the Washington ball, despite how uncomfortable it makes her.
  • Verbal Tic: Frank has a habit of following any swear with "Pardon my/your French."
  • Voice of the Legion: Yagana's voice is two different female voices overlapped as one.
  • Vomit Chain Reaction: A short one, as when James begins throwing up Raven's mushrooms, it prompts Abigail to as well.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: An audio versions accompanies James and Abigail's bodies purging themselves of Raven's mushrooms.
  • The War Room: One sits at the heart of NIA headquarters, complete with a Big Board.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Averted with Carl's former partner, Virgil. As the group is discussing Carl, James mentions that Virgil is working as a farrier.
  • We Named the Monkey "Jack": Rebecca named her dog Raith after her lost love.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: James describes Mr. Wight as having an unidentfiable accent.
  • When It All Began: The story starts with a Distant Prologue that shows the first victim of the Wendigo Plague attacking a family, resulting in the outbreak that would ultimately cause the collapse of the United States and set up the events of the series.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Episode 11 is one for Annie, who reminices about her childhood.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks:
    • Miguel finds a bejeweled trinket while exploring the Natchez and while he recognizes that it would have once been considered valuable, he discards it for having no practical value.
    • While negotiating with the people of Green Hollow, Annie says they have gold to trade, which one of them, Buford, argues is worthless.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Frank, shockingly, shoots a boy named Adam who had been guarding them immediately after Miguel releases Team Steam from the Green Hollow jail. This is likely meant to show how much an effect Annie's death has had on him.
  • Wrench Wench: Harriet Arlington, SteamHeart's driver, mechanic and designer.
  • Zerg Rush: The wendigo attack SteamHeart by throwing huge numbers at it, attacking the steamcraft's weakpoints with self-sacrificing attacks, something James notes is unusual for the species.
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