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Fanfic / Heroes of the Desk

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Heroes of the Desk is a completed modern-universe setup asking what would happen if 14 inch-tall 3D-printed characters from Blizzard Entertainment's Heroes of the Storm came to life, Indian In The Cupboard-style.

Now has a sequel, Heroes of the Desk: Repercussions.

Tropes in Heroes of the Desk

  • 24-Hour Armor: Johanna alludes to something like this being a consequence of Sanctuary and the surrounding areas being so bad at fighting demons/there being so many demons in the first place.
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  • Accidental Kidnapping: The burglars eventually succeed, and end up grabbing Li Li without meaning to.
  • Aerith and Bob: There's the nameless Player, the Heroes (Nova, Valla, Sonya, etc.) and...Bokat-Anne Vizsla.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Zig-Zagged in a Justified way—the air vents at a university facility are not large enough for a full-size human (averted), but a 14" tall Hero can crawl through them (played straight—supercomputing buildings need a lot of cooling).
  • All Just a Dream: In-Universe, that's what the Player is hoping these walking, talking Heroes figures are, but...
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Magnetohydrodynamic engines really do exist. They're just impractical and not used outside of prototypes (though they've shown up in fiction before), but they sound really awesome, so... The trend continues with magnetoplasmadynamic engines—it appears SPEAR's device can switch between the two at will, but the second mode of operation uses far more energy than the first.
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  • invokedAngst? What Angst?: Discussed by Raynor given Nova's previous condition. The response? A combination of Kinda Busy Here and Heroic Willpower.
  • Annoying Arrows: Justified since Sylvanas fires at Li Li while the former is small but the latter has been "embiggered" to normal size.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Nova becomes exhasperated with Valla, thinking her to be acting like this despite not being of any relation.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Played for Laughs by whoever Vizsla reports to. After hearing a team member was allegedly attacked by a toy, expresses disbelief, but as soon as she mentions small, living beings (like the captured Hero in her hand), it's suddenly more believable.
  • Artifact Title: If the Heroes' plan goes through, calling them "Heroes of the Desk" will end up being a misnomer since they'll be normal size instead of 14" tall. They succeed, fully playing the trope straight.
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  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Averted. The Heroes fear the arrival of Jake, a dog, will turn into this but nothing bad happens to them (unless getting slobbered on counts).
  • Badass Boast: Valla tries to talk tough to her captors. Except it doesn't work very well when you're 14" tall... Sonya gets a more appropriate one as a full-sized Barbarian going up against power armor. Sylvanas combines hers with Shut Up, Hannibal!, saying "I already died once. And that just pissed me off."
  • Batman Gambit: Johanna and Diablo know if they fight back against WET, they'll be killed. Which means they'll respawn in the chest, hopefully located somewhere they can exploit to escape.
  • Beam Spam: Downplayed. SPEAR/WET battleships don't have lots of big guns, but under the right circumstances said guns can fire much more quickly.
  • Been There, Shaped History: SPEAR and its predecessors have been maintaining the Masquerade for millennia—it goes back to feudalism. Other items include the Salem Witch Trials, something involving the Catholic Church, and early 20th-century whaling. Most remain Noodle Incidents, Cryptic Background References or both, though whaling eventually receives an explanation.
  • Big Eater: Brightwing. Even if the food in question is McDonald's.
  • Big Red Button: Played for Laughs, since the one person who discovers their Powered Armor has missile launchers is a scientist...who doesn't even bother to aim properly the first time since he has no idea what it does.
  • Blood Knight: Downplayed, but Valla shows shades of this during the robbery—even supposing to herself that the other Heroes might condemn her for such thoughts. Brainwashed!Valla plays this straight, threatening to "respawn" the other Heroes if they so much as move without her permission. Even after breaking the control through The Power of Hate, she is, if anything, more bloodthirsty, declaring that everyone in the facility will die and she will burn it the ground as revenge. She also makes a very public declaration that the blood of SPEAR and those who support it "will fill the oceans, the lakes, and the rivers." Escalated even further when, upon finding the Heroes have no money, she suggests just taking food by force "since we can't die and they're all squishy."
  • Booby Trap: The Heroes put down a good number of them.
  • Brain Bleach: Valla repeatedly remembers fighting Ghom in the Larder at Bastion's Keep. She wishes she didn't.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Played straight with Valla, but averted with Nova, who instead of becoming a loyal agent enters a state of mental breakdown instead.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: SPEAR apparently did this at least once, building a whole base inside an underwater mountain on which the wreck of Bismarck rested, because it made giving said battleship a new life easier.
  • Break the Haughty: Kerrigan gleefully wonders if this is happening to Nova.
  • Brick Joke: Li Li really wanted fish cakes, and finally gets some.
  • Broken Bird: The problems suffered by this character are All There in the Manual, but become relevant again as a failed brainwashing attempt drags every horrible memory to the surface, making them useless to the goal of said brainwashing.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Sylvanas lampshades this in her fight with Valla, noting the latter is more "appropriately dressed" for fighting than she is, what with her exposed belly and all.
  • Character Death: Bokat-Anne meets her end at the hands of an enraged Valla wielding a railgun.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Valla's scarf tears off when she and Nova sneak through air vents in a bathroom. This is later used to track her down. Valla's crossbows also prove useful as impromptu ascension cables, similar to a use last seen in Chapter 2. The QuadMaster 1000 drone reappears and is useful for finding the chest by having Heroes jump from lethal heights off its back. Plasma cannons fire faster when supercooled by operating deep underwater and there's no reason that can't also apply if a certain mage dumps prodigious amounts of superchilled snow onto them...
  • Chekhov's Skill: The Heroes remember how they took out a certain type of Mook previously (almost entirely improvised at the time) and apply it again, making the fight much faster.
  • Children Are Innocent: It's hoped using a certain Hero to help explain the previously-hidden supernatural can exploit this trope to get people to listen.
  • Clark's Third Law: Discussed describing the uselessness of F-22 stealth against Functional Supernatural Phenomena—"Against that which might as well have been magic..."
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Played for Laughs after Jim Raynor receives psychic messages. Kerrigan is not happy that someone might be angling to steal him from her again. Turns out her guess is wrong.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: Justified—WET just bombarded a parking lot outside a convention center in which a woman appeared out of thin air and a bunch of video game characters showed up in very lifelike form. Everybody notices and won't shut up about it.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: An In-Universe example that also averts No OSHA Compliance. Jaina comes across some flashing red/green lights. As in Real Life, red means stop (you'll get fried), green means go.
  • Cool Plane: Turns out the Manta undersea transport can also fly... Though, in a nod to the possibly improbable physics of such a thing (the animal after which this is named is vaguely airplane-shaped), Raynor hypothesizes that the engines must be keeping them aloft with brute force as what is hydrodynamic isn't necessarily good for achieving powered flight.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: Combined with Historical In-Jokes, apparently feudalism, whaling, the Catholic Church, and the Roman Empire were somehow related to Functional Supernatural Phenomena.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Johanna and Diablo try to take on Bokat-Anne and an embiggered Valla. As predicted, pint-size Heroes versus fully-aware, unsurprised humans working with a full-size Hero ends badly for the small Heroes. However, that's exactly what they wanted to happen...
  • Cute and Psycho: Brightwing, when the subject of food comes up. She chides Valla for finding her bloody mouth disquieting (this after Brightwing ate a one bite)
  • David Versus Goliath: Pitting Iron Chancellor against Steadfast Samurai makes the former David and the latter Goliath. Considering it's basically Bismarck vs. Yamato IN SPACE (okay, in atmosphere) with the power disparity distorted even more in favor of the latter than they were as real battleships, it makes sense.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Dr. Kara Grimes' evaluation of the aforementioned Broken Bird brings out the snark—after reading the character's backstory, her reaction to the brainwashing failure is something along the lines of "Gee, ya think?"
  • Death from Above: Steadfast Samurai uses its plasma cannons to do this. Crew aboard Iron Chancellor discuss what would happen if their ship loses power and falls from 60,000 feet.
  • Death Is Cheap: So far, none of the Heroes seems to stay dead, respawning just like they did in their game whenever they are "killed." They later exploit this fact to their advantage, and the same rule applies even when big; you don't have to be "Indestructible" Johanna to survive being killed. The forces of WET and SPEAR also discuss/lampshade the trope as related to the Heroes, especially after Jaina respawns full-size aboard Iron Chancellor.
  • Deconstruction Fic: Applies to many "superhero" tropes used in the story. The rest of the world gets shown the supernatural? No Unfazed Everyman—sometimes Rousseau Was Right, other times Realpolitik kicks in. Total inversion of Hero Insurance; things got destroyed and now the rest of the world is a bit pissed.
  • Deflector Shields: J117 power armor has such defenses, making Sonya's blades worthless. They don't stop Brightwing's polymorph though. The Manta transport also has shields. Given that these ships operate in a place where the pressure is eight tons per square inch, invokedhaving shields makes sense if you have functional supernatural phenomena and/or super-advanced versions of Real Life technology.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Sylvanas vs. Valla. It's never really elaborated on why they were fighting.
  • Determinator: Jaina hypothesizes that their pursuers will chase them until either the Heroes are captured or those chasing them are dead. The Heroes themselves fit under this trope as well.
  • Deus ex Machina: Raynor points out that unlike in their fictional universes, their creators (Blizzard) can't save them, they have to save themselves.
  • Disney Death: If only because the "death" straddles two chapters rather than being immediately undone by a respawn in the same chapter, Jaina. Though, as is noted on the Playing With page for this trope, it's mostly exaggerated in the form of Death Is Cheap.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: SPEAR finds out someone's invoked The Unmasqued World even though they think The World Is Not Ready. In addition to destroying the actual evidence, they also do collateral damage on a large scale, and may have slagged a whole conference center in the process.
  • Divide and Conquer: The Heroes are left with the impression SPEAR may be vulnerable to this tactic.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Implied with Li Li; two of her Heroes of the Storm ingame outfits have her wearing sandals. When the other Heroes see her in different footwear, they take notice.
  • Dueling Messiahs: Johanna knows full-well what she's wading into talking about religion's relationship to the now-unmasqued world. It's left up to the reader to imagine what, exactly, she said (and indeed how various faiths reacted).
  • Epic Fail: Letting loose all your anti-burglar traps on the wrong target, bad idea. Faustus Serum + Broken Bird = nope. Firing massive rifle intended to be used prone while standing = bruised rear after being Blown Across the Room.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Subverted, then played straight. Jake barks at the mailman (Truth in Television). The Heroes take notice of this, and realize that if the dog isn't happy, something might be amiss....which turns out to be true when the crooks actually show up.
  • Eye Scream: Downplayed, Johanna nails one of the robbers in the eye with her bouncing shield.
  • Featureless Protagonist: The Player character. All we know about them is that they play Heroes of the Storm, probably live in an American suburb, and have a job whose hours can run long.
  • Fighting from the Inside: It's made clear that Valla is not happy about being brainwashed, but other than screaming as a prisoner in their own head can't do anything.
  • Flash Step: Sylvanas.
  • Flipping the Bird: Nova dive-bombs Sylvanas with a drone. Somehow, the elf knows this gesture and employs it on both hands in response.
  • Freudian Excuse: Sylvanas here is more of a self-centered Jerkass than her current morally-questionable self in World of Warcraft because she was tipped over during construction of her model, cracking her arm and rendering her unable to use her Shadow Dagger attack.
  • Fun with Acronyms: WET Bandits (Weaponized Extraction Team), SPEAR (Strategic Prevention, Extraction, and Ablation Regiment)
  • The Gadfly: Brightwing knocks some pills Jaina is sorting into the sink, causing the sorceress to fall when trying to retrieve them.
  • Gatling Good: WET gunships are said to have gatling guns.
  • Genre Savvy: The Heroes are well-aware that they were video game characters, and don't hesitate to lampshade when the real world behaves like the fictional universes they originated in. Raynor in particular seems prone to it.
  • Glass-Shattering Sound: A sonic weapon meant for breaching windows carried by the crooks does this. In addition to breaking windows, it has the side-effect of causing Jake to whimper and Li Li to complain of painful something.
  • invokedGood Bad Bugs: A glitch widely known in Heroes of the Storm (since patched) allowing a certain combination of attacks to throw an opposing player out of the game turns out to work similarly for these little Heroes, allowing imprisoned Heroes to escape.
  • Good News, Bad News: Gazlowe announces that there are only three attackers this time. Except they're all the monster power armor of doom enemy type.
  • Guns Akimbo: Valla, as per the game, dual-wields crossbows. Later, she is told about (but so far does not actually do it herself) using two massive MR-7 railguns at once. The latter is slightly different than the usual portrayal, since it's implied that doing this requires a special addon (the Synchronized Control Targeter) for the weapons, their power is reduced drastically so they can each be fired with one hand, and the sniper is lying prone to do so.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: In-Universe, before it was known who sent the robbers both Heroes and Player believe the incursions to be more than random burglary. They're right. The Player isn't the only one who thinks The World Is Not Ready...
  • Heel–Face Turn: Jaina's diplomatic skills enable her to convince Captain Sirella Martin and the crew of Iron Chancellor to switch sides despite the odds.
  • Heroic BSoD: Use of Faustus Serum on someone with a traumatic past can cause this effect, see Nova.
  • Hidden Depths: Apparently, this version of Sylvanas is a little more thoughtful and less, well, evil than the current World of Warcraft portrayal. Even Raynor is surprised since in Heroes of the Storm she still had Jerkass, selfish tendencies ("Hold your tongue, or I'll tear it out"/"You have my thanks...for now"). One also would not expect Jim Raynor to drop a modified quote from the Bible ("Pride goeth before the fall and all that"). The teen perving over Sylvanas apparently remembers his history too—it helps his great-grandfather was in the US Navy and fought in important World War II battles.
  • Historical In-Joke: Li Li learns that SPEAR (or its predecessors) were involved in concealing magic/FSPs all the way back to the Middle Ages if not before. Thus, the Salem Witch Trials, the very existence of feudal government as a system, 20th-century whaling and something involving the Catholic Church were all actually related to concealing the supernatural.
  • History Repeats: What SPEAR and WET are worried about with The Unmasqued World, though whatever happened with the Romans remains a mystery. Jaina argues that this isn't required to happen, and suggests trying to defy the trope since circumstances may have changed.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Bokat-Anne Vizsla.
  • Hollywood Acid: Downplayed example in Kerrigan's snake, which appears to ooze such since she modified it. The robber Harry finds this out rather painfully when it is dropped on his head.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Discussed and subverted. Nova repeatedly discusses her rifle lacking such noise-damping, so in order to use it without being noticed they'll have to find some auditory cover.
  • Humans Are Flawed: A core reason SPEAR believes The World Is Not Ready. Often, discussion of this leads to a Cryptic Background Reference about the Roman Empire.
  • Hypocrite: The Heroes accuse the Player of this after being questioned as to why they managed to stuff the inanimate Sonya into the chest that turned them all real in the first place. Captain Sulu also likes to think he's done nothing wrong and that his use of force is always appropriate, which is hard to believe after the reader is left with the implication that he might have melted a building full of innocents when the target could have been hit without doing so.
  • I Can't Believe I'm Saying This: Johanna gets the feeling upon wondering how the little Heroes can best kill or respawn themselves to find out where the chest went.
  • I Warned You: The Weaponized Extraction Teams take this attitude in the modern day once The Unmasqued World kicks in. Those with similar viewpoints been concerned about an unprepared world since the Roman Empire.
  • I Let You Win: It turns out using the hacking equivalent of an Incredibly Obvious Bug does get noticed, but SPEAR let Nova think her Black Sheep Wall had done its job of exfiltrating data without being detected.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: Spoken verbatim by Dr. Kara Grimes, who can't access the embiggering equipment. She's a medical doctor, not an academic one and thus lacks authorization (and presumably training) for such things.
  • Insistent Terminology: Blizzard calls their game a "hero brawler" instead of a MOBA; characters lampshading this is even the page quote on the trope page for MOBA. SPEAR does not call it magic, it's "Functional Supernatural Phenomena."
  • Juggling Dangerously: Try juggling eight people, while flying upward, and coordinating between three jugglers.
  • Just Following Orders: Discussed in the context of Iron Chancellor's crew—they're mostly scientists, not WET, but they shoot at the Heroes anyway.
  • Kick the Dog: SPEAR, arguably. Plasma weapons are supposed to be more accurate than explosives, but when the "ablation" part comes and something has to be destroyed, the ship doing it causes collateral damage on a massive scale anyway. It's also left unclear at the end of that chapter whether or not they also liquified a conference center filled with ordinary people.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Once too many "ablations" end up on YouTube it sort of becomes a foregone conclusion unless one wants to vault over the Moral Event Horizon.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: Kerrigan decides against ribbing Nova, given the state Nova is in by this point.
  • Laughing Mad: Sylvanas seems quite unconcerned with being trapped in a room full of toxins, but it's justified as she doesn't need the air that said toxins would prevent normal beings from breathing. Her amusement creeps out the Mooks, though, leading one to compare her to the Joker.
  • Law of Inverse Recoil: Subverted for Valla (unfortunately for her rear); firing a huge sniper rifle intented to be used prone while standing tends to end badly.
  • Leave No Witnesses: Mentioned to be part of WET's modus operandi when necessary. This possibly means that yes, Steadfast Samurai could have flatted a conference center full of innocent people.
  • Life Imitates Art: In-Universe, it's discussed how much SPEAR is like a certain other Government Agency of Fiction, down to one character actually mentioning Phil Coulson by name.
  • Living Toys: Due to some thus-far-unexplained magic, formerly-plastic Heroes of the Storm characters become completely real, to the point where they cannot even be repaired using plastic parts anymore.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: Downplayed, as it's more "test the stealth" but before Valla and Nova are sent off to find out where the missing Hero has gone to, the Player runs them through a series of improvised tests to see how their methods of avoiding being seen hold up in various situations.
  • Made of Iron: Zig-Zagged; the Player slaps Valla across the room but she doesn't respawn. However, when the Player smacks Jaina (who is trying to be helpful by turning off an annoying alarm clock), she respawns from the impact. Later, Li Li is kicked and ends up respawning. It seems what it takes to kill a Hero depends on what best fits the moment (Played for Laughs, Played for Drama, etc).
  • Magic A Is Magic A: The chest and Heroes seem to have some well-defined rules (which the Heroes learn to exploit):
    1. Any plastic Hero placed in the chest becomes entirely real, though at the scale they were when created in plastic.
    2. Any such mini-Hero will not die, but rather disappear in a flash of blue mist and reappear in the chest.
    3. The chest's interior is Bigger on the Inside and can serve as a Heroes of the Storm-style battleground, though it doesn't seem to be permanently configured like this.
    4. The rules hold when the Heroes become normal-size beings, though they no longer respawn in the chest they reappear near it.
  • Magic by Any Other Name: Functional Supernatural Phenomena, as called by SPEAR, though there's some justification as they view it as not merely magic, but something to be analyzed and studied even if the result is "We have no clue how that worked."
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: What's Magic by Any Other Name and what's actually really advanced technology in SPEAR's arsenal is left deliberately ambiguous.
  • Meaningful Name: SPEAR does this with some of their ships—Iron Chancellor is made from the sunken German battleship Bismarck. Otto von Bismarck's nickname was the "Iron Chancellor." Ditto Steadfast Samurai, being built from the old Yamato. The organization itself could also qualify and at the very end, they wish to avert the trope relative to their original mission by picking a different name.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: A telltale sign of being under the influence of Faustus Serum is eyes that have turned bright blue.
  • Mind Wipe: Discussed. Nova's past, since erased, becomes a plot point once again.
  • Missing Steps Plan: Discussed by Jaina as she doesn't think they can all just walk in the front door of SPEAR to be right-sized.
  • Mistaken for an Imposter: The entire Hero line-up when they show up, full-size, at BlizzCon. Needless to say, they fit right in at first glance. Later discussed by parents at a highway truckstop; these must just be "cosplayers" they think—until Nova cloaks and throws someone across the room.
  • Mr. Exposition: Downplayed; Li Li's conversation with scientists does have small amounts of exposition but anyone expecting a full-on briefing of what SPEAR (and its predecessors) does or did would be left wanting more, since the reader is only given a general idea. Li Li herself serves as Miss Exposition In-Universe to the other Heroes as well (though again the reader is not given any context—only that "Li Li told the other Heroes things").
  • Necessarily Evil: As explained by two scientists to Jaina, given past threats to human civilization from functional supernatural phenomena some of what has been done in service of maintaining the Masquerade may fall here when it's not We Did What We Had to Do.
  • Never My Fault: George Sulu blames Jaina for everything he's done.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Jaina's blizzards supercool a plasma turret on an enemy ship...which lets it fire faster.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Maybe. Nova tells the Heroes and gathered BlizzCon fans to "Clear the room" and "Everyone get out of here!" before the next chapter references an orbital strike (even though the ship launching it was only 60,000 feet up—though the Heroes don't know this). However, either the Heroes are then blatantly ignoring a flaming building or perhaps the ship didn't target the convention center after all. Or maybe there's just nothing left to save.
  • Noodle Incident: Finally averted in the case of whaling—it turns out in this universe Sapient Cetaceans is fully played straight. For reasons unknown (though given human history it's not hard to guess why), they were building complex devices to melt the polar ice caps and deal a crippling blow to civilization.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: There are a lot of "doctors" around SPEAR's facility, but many of them are non-medical. The narration even points this out upon introducing an MD proper.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: The Player blows off warnings of suspicious activity from the white car. This ends up leading to an unpleasant surprise later.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Subverted. There are many types of non-medical doctors around SPEAR's facilities, but they have distinctive fields of study. Raynor gets this reaction upon asking the two scientists they saved whether either of them knows anything about a Manta transport's engines—they don't, it's not their field. Wane knows about the materials science, but that's it.
  • Pardon My Klingon: Sylvanas drops a line from her games, "Bash'a no falor talah!" (Taste the chill of true death!) She speaks Thalassian again later ("Shorel'aran") before venturing off to obtain an evacuation ship, though the implications are subverted as she returns no worse for the wear.
  • Pet the Dog: Minor moments with the robbers, who are somewhat concerned that apparently the Player has at least one child they were not told about judging by the huge number of toy towers they find. One even worries their noise will "wake the kid." They also knock out Jake the Golden Retriever instead of killing him.
  • Powered Armor: WET has at least one type—called the J117. It packs shields and allows its operative to carry a BFG.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Inverted—headshots from the MR-7 are messy. Kerrigan lampshades this, though it's handled in a You Do Not Want To Know, passing-reference fashion to keep the "T" rating while still conveying the inversion of the trope.
  • Punch-Clock Hero: Alluded to as per Heroes of the Storm—for whatever reason since entering the Nexus, Nova's loyalties are only to her team of the moment.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: The narration points this out regarding most of the personnel at the SPEAR/WET facility. Raynor's response to Sylvanas' attack drives the point home further. Raynor fully discusses the trope warning everyone else that there's no reason to cause excessive harm to the average Mooks around a SPEAR base. A certain person vehemetly disagrees.
  • Put on a Bus: Two characters introduced early in the story disappear for at least half the narrative, only reappearing in the final chapter.
  • Reality Ensues: Flying drones are fun...until the batteries drain. Thankfully, Nova and Raynor get the drone down before it drops. Nova's GPS, despite being from the 2500s or so, has the same problem in cities that most small GPS (think smartphone) units have—it loses accuracy. Though Gazlowe's traps are useful, that very fact causes even the Player to trip on them, leading to their dismantlement. Triggering an alarm and immediately cancelling it while blaming a "system error" may work in the Heroes' universes, but SPEAR/WET will not fall for such shenanigans, as noted by Bokat-Anne. Showing up right next to a US Navy carrier group without answering hails or identifying yourself is a good way to be shot at.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Admiral Pious seems to fit the description. George Sulu likes to think he is, but... Sirella Martin fits the trope in word and in deed as she changes sides from WET/bad SPEAR to science/good SPEAR.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Why SPEAR resurrected Bismarck and built a base on the mountain where its wreck lay. Also referenced with whaling, although exactly why again remains unexplained for a few chapters.
  • Reluctant Fanservice Girl: Sylvanas has found out how she is portrayed at conventions and in fanart, thus realizing that she is somewhat of a sex symbol in this world. She does not like it despite having no objection to the clothing she is presently wearing being the source of the fanservice.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Kids at a McDonald's really like Brightwing.
  • Running Gag: Any time the Player exhales significantly in annoyance/anger, Brightwing is conveniently nearby to be flipped end-over-end (she thinks it's fun).
  • Punched Across the Room: Justified, since the Player is much bigger than Valla (or any of the Heroes).
  • Sanity Slippage: Exaggerated—beating Brainwashing through The Power of Hate comes with great danger.
  • Shout-Out: Loaded.
  • Shown Their Work: EXIF data is a real thing—most smartphones (and some smart cameras) embed GPS information into their files, making locations easily traceable (assuming the GPS had an accurate lock at the time) if the data is not removed prior to uploading to the internet. Geolocating based on IP addresses is less accurate, but if the IP in question is fixed to a well-known building (like a universty computing cluster) then it becomes a simple matching game. The USS Harry S. Truman is also in fact one of the Real Life battle groups on the Atlantic side, at least at the time this fanfiction was written. Beale and Nellis are real Air Force bases (in California and Nevada respectively), though the types of units assumed to be present for the sake of the story may fall under Artistic License – Military.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Sylvanas and to a lesser extent Jaina get the opportunity to engage in this.
  • Something Completely Different: One chapter switches entirely to an in-match view, though outside normal Heroes of the Storm, depicting said Heroes as fighting of their own volition rather than being controlled by humans on the author's vision of a StarCraft-themed map.
  • Spies in a Van: The Heroes and Player take note of a white car that seems to spend an unusual amount of time loitering in the neighborhood where it had previously never been seen. The fact that there are binoculars on the dashboard convinces the Player that someone (the Heroes) should watch it.
  • Squick: In-Universe, reactions to a certain Blood Knight are headed in this direction. Brightwing's Jabba Table Manners got this reaction too.
  • Stock Phrase: "Hold, please..." cue something insane happening, like Heroes of the Storm characters fighting on the player's desk].
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: Sylvanas' Shut Up, Hannibal! quip ends up here after being questioned as to what, exactly, she is (hint: don't call her a thing).
  • Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: Aside from not calling it that SPEAR seems to take this view of "Functional Supernatural Phenomena." Even if something escapes current understanding, the organization refuses to just accept A Wizard Did It without trying to figure it out first. Should that fail, they still don't like calling it "magic" (as noted under Insistent Terminology).
  • Super Doc: Subverted; medical personnel at SPEAR are separated into distinct medical fields (such as general practice or psychology).
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Justified for Sylvanas as an undead elf—she doesn't need to breathe. Said undead elf points out that isn't true for the rest of her companions, however, when they (in her opinion) dawdle on evacuating. Exploited when the Heroes need to retrieve an escape ship from a flooded area. Sylvanas returns, no worse for the wear (thoroughly soaked) having brought the required vessel up. During a subsequent chase, Sylvanas again points this trope out in her case after Raynor notes that "everyone" will end up drowning should they be sunk.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Its aversion in this universe is lampshaded by Sylvanas—"The world does not stop because you decided to have idle chit-chat" regarding leakage in the underwater base the Heroes find themselves in. She also gives everyone a good Death Glare for yammering while being chased by an underwater super-battleship built from the old Bismarck.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Gazlowe believes Jaina will try this if the Heroes deal with SPEAR, but dismisses it as impractical since SPEAR would (in his view) just pull a Shut Up, Kirk! in response.
  • Take Our Word for It: Unless you live under a rock in a cave deep in the rainforest, you know magic + Real Life religion would be volatile, to say the least. Whatever Johanna said (and reactions to it) aren't spelled out. One implication is clear (see Dueling Messiahs)—there will be disagreements. Jaina later speaks of trying to mediate between people who confuse "volume for validity," implying the Muggles of all sorts are not necessarily taking this well.
  • Take That!: Valla takes a dig at Nova for complaining about not being able to keep up with her, while referencing her follower from her own universe never had this problemnote 
  • Technically Living Zombie: What happens to the creatures enthralled by Kerrigan (four black ants, one house centipede, two spiders, one garter snake, one thumb-size fieldmouse).
  • Technobabble: Dropped directly by Dr. Grimes—the FSP used on her patient by WET is far stronger than whatever was used on that character in their universe.
  • Telepathy: Raynor and later Kerrigan are on the receiving end upon arriving in a SPEAR facility.
  • Tempting Fate: The Player runs afoul of this hoping no one would do a robbery in broad daylight. Subverted, as the robbery happens at night. Sylvanas catches flack from other Heroes for doing this by wondering aloud why the robbers have not returned, since they clearly wanted two things but only managed to grab one. She gets an immediate reaction again for saying that she thinks WET is too busy to notice the rest of the Heroes who are now full-size thanks to an embiggering device.
  • That Was Not a Dream: ...they're here, they're real, and they're not a figment of anyone's imagination despite what the Player was hoping.
  • The Atoner: Sylvanas is starting to show signs of this. Discussed by Raynor, and later Johanna comes to the same conclusion.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Minor example—after all the effort the Heroes put into defending that chest, it gets stolen anyway along with Li Li.
  • The Bridge: Played straight for SPEAR ships, however, it being located somwhere practical where it can't be "shot at or shot off" is lampshaded by Kerrigan.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Subverted by Bokat-Anne; she lampshades how this trope may apply in the video games the Heroes are drawn from, but it does not apply to SPEAR. Kara Grimes' attempt to wave off the alarm only made security more suspicious that something was amiss. Discussed by Johanna—Bastion's Keep gets a Take That! from her for, in her opinion, falling into this trope, while she guesses WET's security won't be like this considering her recent experience with Bokat-Anne.
  • The Magic Versus Technology War: Played with, since it's not clear whether some of the fancy toys SPEAR uses are science-based or magic-based (in fact, this confusion exists In-Universe as well, see Sufficiently Analyzed Magic). Either way, it's them versus the Heroes, who themselves are set up to be quite "magical" by comparison, even if SPEAR won't call it that.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The Man Behind the Man ultimately running SPEAR is revealed to be "The Board." They throw in the towel, realizing trying to control the Heroes is impossible since they're neigh-unkillable and they'd have to resort to increasingly drastic measures to maintain the masquerade.
  • The Power of Hate: How Valla breaks the control of Faustus Serum. Much to the concern of Johanna. That this character then screams at innocent scientists before threatening to kill people for their food shows how much unhinging breaking Faustus this way has caused.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Jaina drops one on Captain Sulu.
  • The Tease: Nova, as per Heroes, has dropped some of her Consummate Professional attitude, much to Raynor's annoyance.
  • The Talk: Played for Laughs when Li Li has to be educated on why this world finds Sylvanas so attractive.
  • The Unmasqued World: The whole point of the Heroes showing up at BlizzCon, implied to be 2015 due to who's hosting. They believe SPEAR is wrong—the world would be ready if given the chance. They also have an objection to being locked up/experimented on.
  • The Watson: Also falls under another trope. The Hero taken accidentally ends up in this role, allowing the kidnappers to explain much of what their organization does. This seems silly—why expose all the secrets? That is, until the second trope comes into play—The constantly-curious child-age Li Li seems innocent enough and is generally willing to help her abductors thus far since their requests are pretty innocent-sounding.
  • The World Is Not Ready: The Player invokes this without saying it as a reason for not involving the police even though burglars just smashed a window. Explaining living video game characters would be too much. SPEAR tells Li Li this almost verbatim as the reason they collect things like her or the chest. It's later revealed via Cryptic Background Reference that SPEAR believes Humans Are Flawed due to something related to the fall of the Roman Empire.
  • This Is My Side: Between Kerrigan and Sylvanas. Each stakes out half the player's dwelling to, ahem, claim any lifeforms that might reside within.
  • This Is Reality: Nova dismisses Raynor's concerns about the location of SPEAR's facility because "this is 2015" rather than the 2500s-era of StarCraft. She's wrong—they are in fact deep underwater.
  • Throwing Your Shield Always Works: Johanna's schtick in-game translates to reality. First, she nails a WET operative in the eye while pretending to be a toy. Then, she flings her shield into a lab switch to make herself full-sized.
  • Tim Taylor Technology: The magnetohydrodynamic engines of a Manta can be improved by shunting power from plasma shields.
  • Toilet Humor: A big part of Valla and Nova's infiltration of a university computing facility involves exploiting the following (more often Truth in Television than anyone would like)...
    1. Workplace bathrooms are not a place people want to hang out in, because...
    2. ...workplace bathrooms often smell, because...
    3. ...people don't clean up after themselves, since...
    4.'s not their house.
  • Tranquillizer Dart: The robbers know about the dog from their surveillance. Thus, they knock out the canine rather than killing him, in a small Pet the Dog moment.
  • Unfazed Everyman: Subverted. The normal people of the world take notice and won't stop talking once the Heroes are made public.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Played straight at BlizzCon then subverted as the Heroes stick out like sore thumbs when removed from their element. Subverted again when F-22 pilots engage Steadfast Samurai—"Is that a flying battleship?" We're actually treated to a man becoming increasingly agitated by all the weirdness to the point where he shouts "Open your eyes and see the weird shit in front of you!"
  • I Did What I Had to Do: SPEAR's attitude toward their maintenance of the Masquerade when it's not Necessarily Evil. Generally, the former viewpoint is found in the Weaponized Extraction Teams while the latter prevails among science types.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: It turns out centuries of (at least in their view) trying to save humanity from themselves has turned at least some of SPEAR (and most of WET) into unabashed believers in We Do What We Must to maintain the masquerade. Compare with those who agree The World Is Not Ready, but strongly object to both how to conceal the supernatural and what actually merits concealing.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Quite literally, once the Heroes leave the Player's residence, Kerrigan and Sylvanas' broods are never mentioned again.
  • What the Hell, Hero?/What the Hell, Player?: Nobody likes alarm clocks, and while the Player attempts to turn theirs off, they also end up hitting Jaina hard enough to respawn her even though all she wanted to do was help by turning off the alarm. Valla, Raynor, and Jaina herself call out the player on this, even though it was technically an accident and Death Is Cheap. Jaina calls out scientists who keep saying what WET does is wrong but haven't taken the opportunity to raise significant objections. The Heroes get this when one amongst them threatens to fill an entire ship with poisonous gas. The Big Bad even lampshades it, saying "heroes" don't do that.
  • When It All Began: The Player sits down the dozen Heroes characters for a chat explaining their origin in the context of deciding to print them as models.
  • The Woobie: In-Universe, a downplayed version as Sylvanas is seen merely as a brooding, self-centered Jerkass by the other Heroes until they find out part of the reason she's sulking is due being tipped over during painting that cracked her arm several times. Kerrigan's glee over having a larger set of minions than Sylvanas is thus tempered by this knowledge.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: The Player accuses the Heroes of this after their traps go off by the front door, since This Is Reality and robbers don't just waltz in the main entrance.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Chapter title, and Raynor delivers a withering look to the Player after being asked why they brought Sonya to life. Keep in mind the Player made a big deal out of how difficult Heroes were to make, specifically how they should be painted/finished before assembly. Then Sonya gets slapped together without so much as a single sheet of sandpaper or drop of paint... This is also the general reaction when ordinary citizens find out about certain parts of The Unmasqued World, namely the flying battleships.

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