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A comic book series currently in the planning phase. As such, this page is also ongoing.

It centers around two sisters, two opposing classes, two realities, and the way they come crashing together.

Twenty years ago, Doctor Lane (who refused to give his first name, for privacy reasons) discovered the structure of cancer cells and the exact cause of the disease. Because of him, cancer can be "frozen" in the stage it had reached when treated (though not reversed). The discovery made him rich and prestigious, but it came at a price. His wife, Adrianna Lane, was dying of cancer when the discovery was made, unable to speak or move on her own, in what was practically a comatose state. He made the choice to "freeze" her cancer in the final stages - keeping her alive and without pain, but totally nonfunctional.

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Doctor Lane was left caring for her and their two daughters, Olive and Melody. He continued to work from home, but most of his time was spent taking care of wife's every need, while simultaneously balancing two young children. Year by year, he fell into a deep depression. He became a neglectful and abusive parent, and eventually stopped working altogether, instead living on his massive fortune. Olive and Melody had everything they wanted, except parents.

Doctor Lane became obsessed with finding a way to reverse his wife's cancer. He kept his work secret, for fear of being brought back into the global limelight, which he had hated. One day, while researching, he accidentally found a cure for semi-total brain death - which involved mapping the subject's brainwaves onto a new brain. He realized that he could transfer his wife's brainwaves into a new, healthy body. However, this was not a simple procedure. Her brainwaves would change every minute with her thoughts, feelings, etc. Basically, every single thought in her head had to be constantly mapped onto a new brain in real time. It would take a massive source of energy.

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The amount of energy needed for her entire lifetime would be so huge, it could power the global energy network for a day. The only place Doctor Lane knew where to find that kind of energy was at the subatomic level - the kind of energy that brought on worldwide panics at its most rudimentary.

Doctor Lane spent years researching subatomic forces before he hit on a solution. He figured out how to harness the energy from quantum entanglement. Which is Serious Business.

Doctor Lane set up a massive apparatus in his basement which would, bit by bit, suck up the energy from all the entangled particles in the area. But when he turned it on, he had failed to account for what would happen to the particles with all that energy gone. Therefore, according to the nth law of sci-fi, which states that any use of untested technology specifically for the purpose of saving a doomed loved one will explicitly damage reality (and which we do not, unfortunately, currently have), he ripped a hole in the fabric of space-time.

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Like any true scientist, Doctor Lane didn't believe in parallel universes or travel between them. Therefore he reanimated his wife and assured her that what he was doing was perfectly safe, and indeed, started legal talks about patenting the technology so it could be used by other people. Luckily for the universe, it got tied up in red tape and took a very long time to go through.

Soon after the rip was open, ten-year-old Melody managed to get herself sucked in. Doctor Lane assumed she had run away, and took no safety measures. He reluctantly contacted the police at his wife's urging, but with no leads, the "runaway" quickly became a cold case. Two years later, Olive, now ten years old, also got sucked in. Olive had spent two years with newly loving parents, and was a lot less messed up that Melody had been at that age. At this point, the Lanes became worried (Doctor Lane having loosened up significantly), and contacted the police - starting up an investigation that eventually led to the discovery of an alternate universe. Of course, as soon as it got to that level, the information became classified, and the Lanes were not informed of the discovery.

A little bit about the Alternate Universe. It diverged from ours a long, long time ago - long enough to affect human evolution. People who live there are much taller, averaging about 6 feet, with four arms and a "tail" that functions as a third leg. As for the culture: there is no democracy; the government is a monarchy. The rich live in a world of Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul, where their every need is cared for by (largely diesel-powered) technology, and they spend their days at parties and ice cream parlors. Everyone gets plastic surgery at a young age and so they are all beautiful. Conditioning, cultural pressure, and a combination of implants and drugs for those who don't cooperate, create a perfect "utopia".

The poor, meanwhile, work either on industrial farms providing food for the rich, or power plants providing their energy. Their lives are difficult: underfed and overworked, they rely on each other and have developed a kind of Communist society of their own, running on a barter system and dependent on each person sharing what they have. More recently, a young woman named Wine has begun to stir up a movement. Or more accurately, the beginnings of a revolution.

Wine is known as the "Black Rook," the counterpart to the feared "White Knight." And who is the White Knight, you may ask? The White Knight is a job title, currently held by one Christian Rose. He leads an army/police force (in this world there is no distinction) of enforcers, nicknamed the Roses, whose job it is to crack down on crime and rebellion, keep the poor working, and make sure the systems of society are functioning smoothly. They work not only as police and military, but also as disaster first responders, educators, counselors, courts, and every other job considered too close to "work" for the rich to do, but which no one wants to entrust to the poor, and which needs too much of a human element to be done by robots. It is the White Knight (along with his current second-in-command, Simon Grey) who really runs the show - the President is just a title that is passed down from figurehead to figurehead. The Black Rook intends to fix all this.

When Melody landed in the Alternate Universe, she was found by the daughter of the President, Millie. She was horrified and struck by pity at this helpless, deformed little girl with no tail, only two arms, and an "ugly" little face. The princess took her in and promptly started her conditioning. However, what worked on an inhabitant of that universe did not work on Melody. The plastic surgery left her scarred, the brainwashing didn't quite work, and the drugs and implants made her insane. She became obsessed with the idea of "perfection", and specifically the fact that there were still millions of people on the other side of the rift who were "imperfect." Towards the end of (in her twisted, childlike mind) "saving" those people, she began kidnapping children from her universe and "adopting" them, conditioning and training them to be "happy" and "beautiful." She really did love them and intend to protect them... but you might have noticed all the air quotes around her "intentions."

Olive, on the other hand, by sheer luck was found by the slum-dwellers first. She lived a life of hardship, but grew up strong and cheerful. However, soon enough, the government realized the presence of an alternate universe and began taking steps to protect their own little bubble. Olive was identified as a potential threat, and had to go on the run. Meanwhile, Wine's revolution quickly became too extreme for her, leaving Olive with no allies but herself, and the vague rumors of her sister's presence somewhere in this world.

Tropes:

  • Above Good and Evil: Doctor Lane claims this trope, as befitting a mad scientist. In a twist, what he claims is not that good and evil don't exist, but rather that above and beyond those is a third, far more important concept: love.
  • Absent-Minded Professor: A unique variation, but Doctor Lane is definitely this.
  • Absolute Xenophobe: The Alternate Universe becomes this when they discover that they have a parallel universe that does not share their values.
  • Abusive Parents: Zig-zagged with Melody's adopted "parents" (the President and his housewife). Things like brainwashing and torture, which we would consider abuse at the very least, are normal for them.
    • Played straight with Doctor Lane. Although this more often manifested itself in neglect rather than abuse, his constant grief and stress over his wife made him resentful and cruel towards his daughters.
  • Achilles in His Tent: Olive really just wants to be left alone, which is nice for her until she realizes she's the only one with a chance of stopping the war between the universes.
  • Action Girl: Olive, as a result of having to fend for herself during her childhood in the slums. She fights with her bare fists.
    • And Melody, who is less experienced - but she has a chainsaw, which kinda takes "experience" out of the equation. Also, the combination of plastic surgery and the cocktail of drugs, patches and implants in her system have left her almost completely incapable of feeling pain, which renders her a formidable fighter.
    • Don't forget Wine, who is fast, clever and utterly brutal in a fight. She's perhaps not as strong as Olive or as much of a Berserker as Melody, but she uses serrated switchblades, and she uses them to end a fight as quickly as possible, honor be damned.
    • Actually, Cindy would count as this too, as would the rest of the girls in Melody's child army.
    • Out of the (female) characters of the main arc, the only ones who don't count as this are Adrianna Lane and Millie. In the many side arcs, however, there are a lot of chicks, girls next door, Naive Everygirls, and housewives who feature as important characters.
  • Action Survivor: Many of these show up in the side arcs, which focus on the effects of this cosmic conflict on ordinary people in both universes.
  • Actual Pacifist: Millie. She would rather be captured and even tortured than hurt a living soul.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Ernest Angel. "Ernest" even means "serious." He sees himself as the protector of the other children, and once the war starts, risks everything in a way a child his age shouldn't have to to keep them all safe.
  • Affably Evil: Christian Rose.
    • Faux Affably Evil: Simon Grey, who only puts up his facade of cheerfulness when he has to; otherwise, he's quite the misanthrope.
  • Afraid of Needles: Melody, for good reason.
  • The Alcoholic: Olive. When she's not fighting evil, she's flat on her back in the tent she lives in, sucking on a bottle of home-brewed something. Like most examples of the trope, she drinks to self-medicate emotional pain.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling : While Ernest Angel is extraordinarily mature for a 13-year-old, and understands that Cindy is brainwashed and doesn't understand the consequences of her actions, he still sees her as this.
  • Angry Black Man: Although the narrow black-versus-white race dynamics usually implied in this trope are not quite so rigid in the Alternate Universe, Wine is certainly a young black woman who is furious at the establishment to a frightening degree.
  • Archnemesis Dad: Doctor Lane becomes this to Olive (much) later on. He refuses to believe she is his daughter, thinks she's insane for believing she comes from an alternate universe, and fights tooth and nail against shutting down his wife's life-support machine.
  • Arms Dealer: One shows up in a minor story arc: a lifelong deadbeat and "Well Done, Son!" Guy, he finally makes it big selling arms to both sides during the war.
  • The Baby of the Bunch: Cindy is this while Olive, Melody, Wine, and Cindy are all traveling together. Originally it was just Cindy and Olive, after Olive rescued Cindy from the battlefield, and ended up practically raising her. Then Melody, Wine and Ernest Angel joined the group, leaving Cindy being taken care of by not one, not two, but three crazy ladies, plus an overprotective "brother."
    • Ernest Angel was also this for a while, as Olive worried about his troubling maturity, Wine worried that he couldn't take care of himself, and Melody babied him as only she knew how. This led to his making the choice to leave and try to rescue more children, against the will of his three "guardians." He later joined up with Millie, who made a much better parental figure.
    • Melody also counts as this, despite being the oldest (30 to Olive's 28, Wine's 23, Ernest Angel's 13, and Cindy's 10), since she is essentially permanently stuck with a child's mind, and Wine and Olive team up to protect her.
  • Badass Bookworm: Doctor Lane proves to be shockingly formidable, at least when his wife's life support is concerned. After Olive comes to shut it down, and he fights her off with a veritable arsenal of unexplained gadgets he has piled in his basement, the old man turns his entire mansion into a complete Death Course filled with booby traps. It ends up taking out an entire SWAT team... and then another one... until the feds finally get pissed off.
  • The Bad Guys Are Cops: Well, sort of cops. The real cops (the ones in our universe) zigzag this; the feds aren't evil per se, but they are extremely bureaucratic, and their red tape helps accelerate the slide down to war. For instance, it would have been really helpful if they had told the Lanes about the rift before it was too late Meanwhile, in the side arcs, there are a few local cops and sheriffs caught up in the war and trying to keep order; they generally fall on the 'good' side of things, barring one or two corrupt ones.
  • Barbarian Longhair: The slum-dwelling Communist men are considered to be this by the rich because of their long, unkempt, very un-50s hair.
  • Bar Brawl: Olive doesn't start these, but she has a bad habit of getting involved.
  • Beastess: Olive is depicted as this by propaganda: her nickname as Public Enemy #2 is "The Brute."
  • Beauty, Brains and Brawn: Near the finale, Olive, Melody, and Wine become this, with Melody as Beauty, Wine as Brains, and Olive as Brawn.
    • They also function as a Combat, Diplomacy, Stealth trio, with Olive as combat, Melody as diplomacy, and Wine as stealth.
    • Not to mention Town Girls, with Melody as uptown, Wine as downtown, and Olive as out-of-town. Bonus points for the geography being literal.
  • Because I'm Good at It: Christian Rose's motivation for staying in the White Knight position. Justified in this case, because the fact that Rose is good at his job is the only thing that prevents Simon Grey from getting it, which would be much worse.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: The reason Melody finally switches sides. Olive is the first person in her life to tell her she doesn't need to be "fixed."
  • Bomb-Throwing Anarchists: Wine's revolutionaries are painted as this by the Roses' propaganda machine, which is not hard, since, well, they are actually like that.
  • Boyish Short Hair: Olive's hair is... well, not really short (it's a shoulder-length blunt bob), but the simple, practical nature of it still serves as a Foil to Melody's waist-length tresses, Cindy's ruthlessly straightened and dyed waves, and Millie's heavily styled finger curls.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Cindy, Melody's "little sister." Of course, she has a good excuse.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: Olive is burly, hard-drinking, uptight, and tough as the devil's boots, but her real motivation is her desire to love and be loved. She is torn apart by her relationship with Wine (who she practically raised), not to mention deeply hurt by her father's neglect. Notably, she is the only one to treat Melody like the fragile, mentally ill girl she is, rather than just writing her off as evil.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Simon Grey is a scheming, corrupt Starscream with Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, who is only in his field of work to squeeze as much money as he can out of as many different forces as possible. That doesn't, however, mean that he isn't the best at his job. His official title is "logistician," meaning that he does the work of a secretary, head of HR, legal adviser, data processor, accountant, and foreman, all in one - and he does it all really, really well. One of the reasons Christian Rose stays in his job is because he is the only person capable of controlling Simon Grey.
  • The Butcher: Christian Rose is called this by Wine's movement.
  • Cain and Abel: With a story with as many complicated family relationships as this one, there are bound to be a couple. More than anything else, they drive the plot.
    • Melody and Olive are probably the biggest example. Olive, the younger sibling, is a Heartbroken Badass who reluctantly steps up to the hero role. Melody, the older, is an Ax-Crazy obsessive type who wants to take over the world. They spend the first three-quarters of the story advancing their mutually exclusive goals, often in direct competition to the other, without either of them realizing that the other sister is still alive. When they finally do find each other, things get hairy.
    • A more traditional example is the rivalry between Olive and Wine, her adopted sister. Olive was relatively young (17) when the Roses discovered her, and Wine was even younger (12). Olive was forced to go on the run, and made the decision to leave Wine behind, hoping she could have a relatively normal life. Of course, once Olive was gone, the Roses kidnapped Wine and her parents Fragrance and Slumber, and tortured and killed her parents in front of her in an attempt to get information on Olive. Since then, Wine has begun a crusade against all "outsiders," including - especially - Olive.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Simon Grey isn't so much proud of his villainy, as much as he doesn't give half a donkey's ass what you think.
  • Cheerful Child: Olive was this as a little girl.
  • Child of Two Worlds: Olive was born in our universe and spent her early childhood there. Yet she grew up and formed her family in the Alternate Universe. The result is that she doesn't really fit in anywhere. Luckily for her, she never does have to choose, as in the finale the two universes merge, catastrophically, forcing them to work together to survive and build a new world from the rubble of the two old ones.
  • Children Forced to Kill: See Child Soldiers below. Some, like Cindy, had no qualms, seeing it as a game. Others, such as Angel (real name Ernest), had more realistic reactions. Ernest Angel especially suffers from this treatment.
  • Child Soldiers: Melody's child army. They weren't originally intended to be this, but once her scheme was threatened, Melody had no qualms about sending her little dolls out to protect Mama. Worst of all, she remained a Mama Bear to them, and was unable to understand why people were fighting back against the sweethearts with machine guns.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Simon Grey has a bad case of this.
  • Clock King: Simon Grey, the Logistician with a capital L, verges on this sometimes. A lot of the time, actually.
  • Consummate Professional: Christian Rose. His job involves starving and beating people for asking for basic human rights, violently putting down rebellions, and other horrible things. Yet he has nothing against the people of the slums, and indeed rather admires them. He's not completely consummate, though: there are times when he will look the other way out of a sense of honor. His professionalism finally breaks down when he is ordered to fire on Melody's children. True to the trope, the backlash from this decision destroys his career, and very nearly destroys him.
  • Cool Big Sis: Amazingly, Melody managed to become this to one of her children, Cindy.
  • Coy, Girlish Flirt Pose: Melody gives a couple of these, as do Cindy and Millie.
  • Crying Little Kid: Makes use of a few of these as the war spreads.
  • Cultured Badass: Christian Rose, the White Knight, may lead a corrupt police/military system whose primary job is to keep the poor in line, but he dresses well, loves literature and opera, and drinks a heck of a lot of tea in a world where coffee is decidedly more prevalent (enough so that it's rumored he invented tea in this world.)
  • Culture Police: Along with being the Secret Police for the poor, the Roses are also this for the rich. They're in charge of making sure that absolutely everyone is happy at all times, and any Debbie-downers are fixed immediately.
  • Dark Messiah: Wine. She isn't afraid to hurt her followers just as much as she cares for them to keep them in line.
  • Deliberately Cute Child: Cindy pulls this quite often. It works on Melody easily, but she's in for a shock when she tries it on Olive.
  • Dirty Communists: The rich of the Alternate Universe view the people of the slums as this.
  • Dirty Cop: Even by the standards of the Roses, Simon Grey is dirty. He worked his way up to second-in-command through bribery and threats. He's variously hard and soft on crime based on whomever is paying him most at the time. However, he is still kept on because of his skills as a brilliant logistician.
  • Dirty Coward: Also Simon Grey.
  • Disappeared Dad: Doctor Lane fits the "too busy" part of this to a T. He tended to solve parenting problems by throwing sweets and toys at them.
  • The Dreaded: Christian Rose was this for a long time, until Wine and her followers changed that. Now, people throw spitballs and occasionally more deadly projectiles wherever he goes.
  • Embodiment of Vice: Each of the seven main characters, good or evil, has a fatal flaw that corresponds to one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Some are subtle, others not so much.
    • Olive is Sloth. She is constantly running away from or otherwise evading her responsibilities, and she spends most of her time drinking, fighting, and Walking the Earth despite being the only one who could possibly save the world(s). Ultimately, she waits too long, and the war starts without her.
    • Melody is Envy. Her original motivation for villainy was that her scars and deformities made her unpopular, and she desperately, obsessively wanted to be popular. She began kidnapping children, not only because she genuinely wanted to help them, but also because she thought that doing so would make them love her, like she saw other, "prettier" people being loved.
    • Wine is Wrath. Her single-minded hatred of the rich and the Roses, to the exclusion of all else - to the exclusion of actually helping her people, sometimes - consumes her. This becomes a major problem once the war starts, since she would rather Kill 'Em All than make alliances with "outsiders," even if it means her people being wiped out.
    • Millie is Gluttony. As a rich, vain, vapid girl, she wanted furs, she wanted cake, she wanted diamonds, and she wanted them now. (Of course, this meant that the people who were responsible for getting those things for her didn't like her very much.) She is, however, the first to begin overcoming this flaw, as she sees how other people live and recognizes how lucky she has been.
    • Christian Rose is Pride. Despite knowing how awful what he does is, he takes pride in doing it, justifying his actions in all sorts of ways. He hangs on to his professionalism, his code of honor, and the necessity of stopping Simon Grey as reasons to value his work. After all, he couldn't possibly be the bad guy!
    • Simon Grey is Greed. He collects money from all sorts of sources - corrupt lower-level Roses who bribe him to let them slack off, slum-dwellers who have managed to scrounge some money from God-knows-where and want to escape punishment, rich people who want to continue to write macabre poetry or anything else that would normally qualify them for reconditioning, rich people who want a specific poor person targeted, poor people who want a specific rich person targeted - the list goes on. He hoards most of that money, but he also manages to have several nice cars, a lovely house, and anything else he wants. The 'ambition' part of Greed is covered, too - he is, after all, the resident Starscream.
    • Doctor Lane is Lust, in the original sense of the word - desire for pleasure. He fights, tooth and nail, to the exclusion of all else, to keep his beloved wife, his comfortable life, and his quiet, private bliss. He objectifies and puts up on a pedestal the woman he loves (largely because he has always been the lonely, nerdy kid, and I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me is in effect), to the degree that her actual wishes and desires as a human being mean nothing to him.
  • Even Evil Can Be Loved: Melody is deeply cared for by both Millie and Olive.
    • Wine, despite not loving anyone, is loved by Olive. Wine's family adopted Olive before Wine was even born, and they grew up as sisters; Olive cares for her accordingly. Wine, on the other hand, views Olive only as an "outsider," and thus an enemy. (She gets over it in time to move in with Olive, Melody and Christian Rose in the finale.)
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Doctor Lane and his wife. Played with in that while he really does love her, it's a very unhealthy kind of love that is doomed to fall apart.
  • Evil Albino: Not exactly the same, but Wine has vitiligo. Interestingly, her vitiligo progresses along the course of the series, so that by the end (after her redemption) she actually is albino.
  • Fantastic Caste System: The Alternate Universe has one.
  • Fantastic Naming Convention: People in the slums are named after the "joys of life." Hence Wine, Fragrance, Slumber... and Olive and Melody fit right in.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Averted with Melody, Millie, and all the other rich women. The rich in the Alternate Universe are completely taken care of by machines; there is no need for any of them to cook, and indeed, doing unnecessary work is looked down upon as "common." Ironically, played straight with Adrianna Lane, because our universe is so much more advanced.
  • Fille Fatale: Cindy. Melody taught her to be this way, and indeed, it pretty much always gets her what she wants in the Alternate Universe. Cindy undergoes some major Culture Shock when she is picked up by Olive, and discovers that most people from our universe are just creeped out.
    • Also, despite the fact that Melody is 30 years old, and should really count as a Femme Fatale by now, her childlike mindset means that she fits more under this trope.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Almost all of the main characters are this, in some form or another. Olive and Melody were both just normal little girls, Doctor Lane was just a nerdy scientist with precisely one person who cared about him, and Wine was just another downtrodden peasant girl. Soon enough, all four of them are poised to topple universes.
  • Giggling Villain: Melody.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Olive had these before she ended up in the Alternate Universe.
  • Girl with Psycho Weapon: Melody often carries a chainsaw. The dissonance was even creepier when she was younger.
  • Girly Bruiser: Melody, in her pleated pink miniskirt, fishnet tights and heels.
  • Good Girl Gone Bad: Melody wasn't necessarily a happy kid, but she was sweet and open, and often weepy. After twenty years in the Alternate Universe... not so much.
  • Hair Decorations: Melody wears a pink bow in her hair, to symbolize her girliness and innocence.
  • Heavyworlder: Olive and Melody are considered this in the Alternate Universe, where lighter gravity makes the inhabitants taller, faster, and lighter than those of our universe. Melody's "unnatural" strength was mostly destroyed (and her spine elongated) by her conditioning, but Olive remains frighteningly strong in the Alternate Universe. So much so, in fact, that she is nearly Brought Down to Normal when she finally gets back. However, it's not all good - the average person in the Alternate Universe is 6'3". Olive, on the other hand, is 5'5". It's a source of much embarrassment and neck pain.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Wine becomes this in the course of her campaign to get revenge on the Roses, until the moment when the war is raging, Christian Rose has been cast out and tortured, and he is kneeling at her feet, bloodied, begging her to spare him and even offering to join her cause. She very nearly kills him. Sparing her enemy is the beginning of her redemption.
  • Hobos: The homeless in the slums are usually so because they've stood up to Christian Rose, and as such are admired. They tend to be older people who decided they deserved to retire and accepted the punishments of losing their houses, not being fed, and often being whipped until Rose gives up. As such, they're always full of good stories and good advice.
  • Housewife: The Alternate Universe is rife with these, befitting its 50s-style, repressed false-utopia thing. They are affected terribly by the war between the universes.
  • Humongous Mecha: Oh, yeah, the Roses have a couple of these. Just gonna throw that out there.
  • Insane Equals Violent: Unfortunately for absolutely everyone, Melody is seen this way - meaning that no one tries to get her treatment. When she finally gets help, thanks to Olive, she begins to understand the consequences of her actions, and by the end of the series, is inching towards healthy relationships and communication.
  • Invasion of the Baby Snatchers: Melody kidnaps children in order to "fix" them, and thus make them "love" her. Slightly downplayed in that she specifically targeted children without families, so that she could be their surrogate family.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Doctor Lane, who has been a sympathetic Anti-Villain for most of the story, does this when his wife finally finds out about the lengths he has gone to protect her. His response to her horrified reaction is to tell her she couldn't possibly understand, and that he obviously loves her more than she does him. Then he slaps her.
  • Keeping the Enemy Close: This is originally how Olive, Wine and Melody end up fighting together. Melody is insistent upon converting Olive and Wine to her perfect little family, Wine knows her best chance of stopping the war lies in sticking with Olive, and Olive just wants to make sure Wine and Melody don't get into any more trouble. Soon enough, however, they become friends, and eventually True Companions. (Olive and Wine quickly bond over keeping Melody from drugging them in their sleep.)
  • Kid Sidekick: Ernest becomes this to Millie soon after joining up with her, as they work together to save Melody's child army from certain death and to give them semi-normal lives.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: Olive. She's a tough, bitter, cynical alcoholic drifter whose motto can be summed up as "Get off my lawn!", but when push comes to shove, she knows what the right thing to do is, and will sacrifice everything to do it. Even when she ultimately fails to stop the war, she spends years risking her life to help as many people as she can, and to eventually make peace between the universes. And also, to get the kids off her lawn.
  • The Lad-ette: Olive fits this trope more than Tomboy. She is a major heavyweight (although this is portrayed as a problem, and by the end of the story, she quits drinking), loves to brawl, wins pit fights for money even when blackout drunk, doesn't take care of herself very well at all (again, treated as a problem, as at least part of her lack of hygiene is a form of self-sabotage), and don't even get me started on the swearing.
  • Land of One City: The Alternate Universe, or at least the plot-centric part of it (AKA Earth), has only one populated city: the Shining City, a sparkling city on a hill that is entirely populated by the rich, and looks and acts more than a little like Disneyworld. Outside of that perfect city, the slums stretch on seemingly forever. Most of the plot-related action in the slums takes place in the Inner Slums, a ramshackle "city" of its own surrounding the Shining City. It is the most densely populated part of the slums, the most strictly guarded by the Roses, and the location of the large factories where Wine's rebellion brews behind closed doors. However, the slums extend across hundreds of miles, changing from tenement houses and factories to plantation farms and the feared and deadly strip-mine tent cities on their way, before petering out into wilderness. Olive spends a lot of time on the fringes of this massive city-state, and even in the wilderness outside it. She is one of the only people in hundreds of years to happen upon the ruins of what was once, it seems, a world very similar to ours. The portal is located at the northern edge of the Shining City, and so it becomes habit for the alternates to refer to our universe as "our neighbors to the north" (which, in turn, causes our universe to begin to refer to their alternates as "our neighbors to the south.")
  • La Résistance: Wine's revolution, which makes Wine a Rebel Leader.
  • Lawman Gone Bad: From the point of view of the rich, Christian Rose is this when he snaps after being punished for refusing to kill Melody's Child Soldiers - and joins Wine's revolution.
  • Lethal Chef: Olive, fitting with her "frat-bro in an adventure heroine's body" characterization.
  • Lightworlder: Due to the inhabitants of the Alternate Universe being this, they get slaughtered during the war. Only their surprisingly high-tech military brings them up to an equal footing, once they start fighting with robots.
  • Little Girls Kick Shins: Cindy is prone to doing this whenever her only mother figure, Melody, is threatened. She knows how to use a gun, but hey, when you're busy throwing a tantrum because you haven't gotten your mandatory ice cream for breakfast...
  • Long Hair Is Feminine: Melody has waist-length blonde hair. Even when she was little, her long hair served as a counterpart to Olive's (then) Girlish Pigtails. Now, her loose, lovely blonde tresses with their feminine bangs contrast with Olive's Boyish Short Hair.
  • Mad Scientist: Doctor Lane wasn't supposed to be this... it just sort of happened.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Whenever the Roses go out to do their work, they wear a creepy mask that gives this impression. It covers the full face, and half of it is gold with a smiling child's face painted on it (symbolizing the Culture Police), and the other half is iron with a snarling demon face painted on it (symbolizing the secret police). When Christian Rose is released after being bloodied to the brink of death, he uses his mask to cover up his bruised and gory face. Removing it and standing vulnerable and "ugly" in front of Wine is the first step towards relinquishing his considerable pride.
  • Mama Bear: Melody, to her children.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Simon Grey. His wealth helps, legitimate or not.
  • Medieval Morons: As the two universes begin to collide, the people of our world view the much less advanced (socially, anyway - their technology might even be considered more advanced) alternate universe as this.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Doctor Lane. He really, honestly didn't mean to send two universes into a devastating intergalactic war. However, once it happened, he also really didn't care all that much.
  • Miles Gloriosus: Simon Grey may be smart, but he is significantly less brave than he makes himself sound.
  • Missing Mom: Olive and Melody had this, until she was reanimated.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Doctor Lane fits this trope to a T.
  • Multiversal Conqueror: The Alternate Universe eventually decides that any society whose values are so abhorrently different from theirs, even another universe, must be either converted, enslaved, or destroyed. They never get a chance to expand this to multiple universes, but the possibility was on the tables.
    • Currently being debated is the idea of Eldritch Abominations from somewhere coming through the rift, amping up the stakes of the war. However, this just might be too cliché.
  • No Such Thing as Alien Pop Culture: Averted, although it rarely comes up as important. The rich in the Alternate Universe have to have something to do between ice cream parties and shopping trips. They have a ton of free time on their hands, and so they watch a ton of television. TV is all run by the Roses, who have a whole department for writing, acting, filming, and producing. Much of what is shown is propaganda and ads (which, given that everything one can buy is sold by the state, are really the same thing), but there are a few popular shows. A quick list for the bored, or for reference in background panels:
    • Music channels, consisting mostly of singers in expensive outfits on expensive sets singing peppy songs about how wonderful life is. Most of these songs are little more than jingles for the state. These channels are also one of the only 'employment' opportunities for rich women, who are not paid and basically live the same lifestyle as always, but with a few hours a day of filming, the honor of getting to 'work' with the Roses, and celebrity status.
    • Cartoons, usually Looney-Tunes style slapstick comedy with people getting banged on the head a lot. Tends to include a lot of grotesquely comedic caricatures of the poor. A common trope is for the situation to get completely out of hand and be wrapped up by a heroic Rose entering the scene and fixing all the problems, usually by doing little more than snapping his fingers.
    • Reality shows are the most popular kind of television, and there is a plethora of them. The full list of reality shows takes up thousands of channels, and they all follow roughly the same format with altered trappings, so there's really no point in listing them here.
    • It is also worth mentioning that all the above television, even the propaganda itself, is laced with subliminal messaging. One minor story arc follows a Rose whose job it is to design and implement subliminal messaging.
    • Aside from TV, the Alternate Universe also has quite a bit of toy culture. Bracelet-making kits, glittery stamps, gumball machines, jukeboxes, wind-up toys, and a mindboggling variety of dolls are all beloved by the rich. They even have an alternate-universe version of the Slinky, called the "Silky." It is a doll made of silk, designed to "walk" in the same way a Slinky does by flipping onto its hands, then feet, then hands again.
  • Old-School Chivalry: Most of the female characters (except for Wine, who is viewed as little more than an animal) recieve some of this from the rich men.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Melody. Pink cardigan (cashmere!), pink pleated skirt, pink heels, and a pink bow. Yup, this lady's a Girly Girl.
  • President Evil: The President. Although he's actually a king, so take that as you will.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Wine and her followers.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The Alternate Universe. Fits into type 1 and 2.
  • Sheltered Aristocrat: All of the rich people.
  • Socialite: The President's daughter, Millie, is very much this.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Millie. As a teenager, she convinced her father to take in little Melody, was her doting big sister for a few years, and for a long time didn't understand what was wrong with her little sister. That being said, a combination of lifelong brainwashing and genuine shallowness and privilege made her perfectly willing to be ruthless at times. Eventually, as the war ramps up, she sees how other people live and becomes truly kind, working as a nurse to protect the victims of the war, often on the front lines. By the end of the story, she has become the White Knight, and does the job much better than Christian Rose ever could - even by his own admission.
  • Standard '50s Father: As the story progresses and the reader sees more and more of the war's effect on ordinary people in both universes, a lot of these start popping up.
  • Storming the Castle: The war officially starts when the feds get sick of losing SWAT teams to Doctor Lane's elaborate booby-trapped Supervillain Lair, and start a full-on siege operation - only to run into a parallel force coming from inside the rift.
  • Street Urchin: Wine was one as a child, after her (and Olive's adopted) parents, Fragrance and Slumber, died. Olive's having to abandon her and go on the run from the Roses prefaced her Start of Darkness, when the Roses killed Fragrance and Slumber in front of her to squeeze information about Olive out of her, fueling her lifelong obsession with bringing them down.
  • Supervillain Lair: Doctor Lane turns his mansion into a fully-functional one, complete with elaborate death traps and booby traps, to prevent anyone from getting in to shut down the rift. When Adrianna Lane finally finds out about the lengths he went to protect her, she is horrified. The Reveal happens just as the war is starting, when the Lanes are hiding in the top-floor bathroom as the Roses and feds clash. Adrianna Lane does not forgive her husband, and neither of them survive the night.
  • Tagalong Kid: While Angel was later upgraded to Kid Sidekick (after joining up with Millie), he and Cindy originally fulfilled this role to Olive, Melody and Wine.
  • Tank-Top Tomboy: Olive.
  • Think of the Children!: To the Alternate Universe's horror, they "discover" a parallel universe where children are permitted to grow up without plastic surgery to make them beautiful and "corrections" to make them wholesome, and where rich and poor children could even interact if they chose to. Even worse, in this barbaric other universe, women must work to support themselves instead of being married off at 16, and they even wear pants. Naturally, the White Knight is sent to save the souls of the savages, and kill them if they refuse to submit.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Olive, as tomboy, and Melody, as girly-girl.
  • Tomboyish Name: Olive. Which was actually unintentional; the name was chosen long before the personality was finalized. (She was named when this was still supposed to be a comedy about a time-traveller with superpowers.)
  • Tough Love: After Olive is saddled with Cindy in the last part of the war, Cindy is exposed to normal parenting for the first time. While downplayed in that Olive's style would not usually be considered this trope, with the way Cindy had been raised before, it comes as a serious shock to her.
  • Tyke Bomb: Cindy and the rest of the child army are this.
  • The Vamp: Melody is depicted as this by propaganda: her nickname as Public Enemy #1 is "The Whore."
  • Wainscot Society: For much of the story, the relationship between the two universes resembles this; Olive and Melody repeatedly slip from one to the other, and Melody steals children from one universe, but widespread awareness of the so-called "wainscotting" does not come about for a while.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Wine.

Characters:

  • Olive Lane
  • Melody Lane
  • Wine Wroth
  • Millie White
  • Christian Rose
  • Ernest Angel Guerrero
  • Doctor Lane
  • Adrianna Lane
  • Simon Grey
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