By the nature of this work, there are unmarked spoilers ahead. Avoid or read at your own risk.
To Stand Tall is a Recursive Fanfiction and direct sequel written by Conelly to On Missing Limbs, a completed crossover / fusion fanfic between Worm and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, written by fallacies. Reading the original fic before this sequel is highly advised. The tropes contained in its page apply to this one as well.
On Missing Limbs saw Taylor Hebert become a Guild hero, working with Dragon's assistance to capture minor villains. As To Stand Tall begins, her actions have provoked a small Mob War in Brockton Bay that will affect her and her family. Meanwhile, a team of old Diamond Dogs get out of retirement for a new job, and Solid Snake moves to the city to investigate the new PRT Director, Charles Adam Iriomote.
While On Missing Limbs consisted of a small number of snippets about different moments of Taylor's journey from a hospitalized wreck to independent hero, To Stand Tall takes her actions and the implications of the plot that would see her moving into the wider world in a longer work. The fic also takes advantage of the fused verses to not simply give Taylor a different power than the bug control she had in canon or make her reference the crossed work, but events and characters from the Metal Gear Solid continuity are mentioned and appear on their own as both passive and active citizens of the story alongside the Worm characters sharing the same history.
This fic provides examples of:
- Ascended Extra: The Diamond Dogs team. While most staff members in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain are randomized soldiers, some had unique names and portraits for themselves and were acquired in particular ways (as rescuing a prisoner or finishing a given mission). Silent Mastodon was the Spetznatz commander that you are tasked with eliminating in one of the first missions, and Flaming Buffalo, Frantic Squirrel, Gray Chameleon, Running Mongoose, and Biting Tree Frog are rewards from completing Mission 31: Sahelanthropus. Buffalo and Squirrel are hinted as being previously part of the XOF troops that Venom and the Diamond Dogs fought during the game. Helping them are Pequod (Ahab's pilot) and Laughing Wallaby (the British zoologist rescued during Mission 14: Lingua Franca), who are now married as the Kozlowski, and Queequeg (Miller's pilot during the game) is mentioned as well.
- Badass Normal: By the time the story starts (summer of 2011) they're all already pushing around sixty years old, and they're still able to fight with a man using a tinkertech bulletproof armor and send him running with only one injured. Slightly justified, as they are working as a team, and in MGSV you were able to play as any soldier in your staff and still be able to pull the same feats as Venom Snake, who was already well past his fifties.
- Reave, a PHO handle for a PRT employee commonly used in fanfics for PHO interludes, appears here as one Officer Zhou assisting Armsmaster and Vista, and defending the PRT building.
- Assassination Attempt: First in the prologue, when Empire members torch the Hebert's house with them inside. Later, Number Man's conscript gets close to killing Taylor.
- Big Heroic Run: Lacey reveals that the Empire know her civilian identity and that normal members of the gang are moving to her house at the moment. Instead of waiting for Dragon or Armsmaster, Taylor decides to try and run two perfect miles to her house in eight minutes, thinking she'll arrive sooner that way.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Flaming Buffalo has hints of this, making sexual jokes and acting whimsically as she visits Pequod at his house and while in the field. She successfully leads a team of normal soldiers in sending Saint on the run, despite being suited up in his stolen Dragontech armor, and capturing the computer station the Dragonslayers used to monitor and harass Dragon.
- Child Prodigy: Sunny is in the care of Snake and Otacon. Unlike the games, she grew up with her surrogate parents from the start, and she's younger than her first appearance in Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns Of The Patriots. As such, while she works on advanced math problems and helps Otacon build Philanthropy equipment, she's not a coding prodigy, and her younger age coupled with living alongside two caring but awkward men made her naturally awkward as well, instead of socially stunted.
- Cyborg: Minor example. After growing increasingly frustrated with Number Man's management of her training and jobs, the conscript finally lashes out, causing the forces of a target to bomb her location. She wakes up to Bonesaw, elbows deep into her guts, patching her up and fitting her with augmentations to be suited up in the power suit that Olga would have used during Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, becoming the new Cyborg Ninja.
- Ensemble Cast: On Missing Limbs followed Taylor as the main protagonist, with several chapters dedicated to different characters reacting to the events. To Stand Tall starts with Taylor as well, but other characters are slowly joining her in the unfolding events.
- Kill It with Fire: Taylor runs into her house to try to save Danny and Diamond from a fire started by Empire members.
- Papa Wolf: The fic starts with a recording in Iriomote's office (actually Revolver Ocelot), when he accepts a request of Danny Hebert for an interview. They meet, they exchange pleasantries, and suddenly Danny decks one punch on him without warning in front of his right hand and with a guard behind the door. The reason being that Ocelot's plots caused Taylor to be unnecessarily mutilated, and Ocelot himself sends the guard away, stating that he had it coming anyway.
- Red Herring: Of the two parasites that show up in MGSV, the Vocal Cord Parasite fits with the use of Wolbachia, but not The One That Covers. Ocelot gives the PRT doctor samples and files on the nanomachines and the parasite strain to be administered to Taylor to save her life, and one of the files mention the use of Wolbachia for its production. Good thing, as a) the Vocal Cord Parasite kills, while the One That Covers heals and grants powers, b) the doctor already questions the nanomachines as being tinkertech, and c) he's a mole in the PRT and under the watch of Cauldron.
- Simulation Game: In the same way as the games simulate the plots of the previous ones, and the plot of the original fic is a consequence of the VSS or Venom Snake Simulation planned by Ocelot. The opening acts of the fic are a simulation of the return of Big Boss to a destroyed Mother Base during 1975 (Ground Zeroes) and Venom's escape from the Cyprus hospital in 1984 (The Phantom Pain).
- These Hands Have Killed: Taylor is forced to kill several men to survive, and both her and Dragon are worried about what the experience might do to her. Fortunately for them, Snake is there to help Taylor make sense of it.
- Title Drop: In the narration during chapter 01-06. When Taylor is told Danny is dead, the confidence built by the personality changes induced by the hypnotherapy and her successes afterwards starts to crack. She then looks at herself in a mirror. "Still, here she was. On missing limbs, but standing tall.".