This trope page is currently under construction. Anyone who has read this fanfic should feel free to add any tropes we seem to have missed.
Everything changes for Twilight Sparkle and her friends when a mysterious extraterrestrial ship crash lands in Equestria. When Twilight messes around in the ship's systems with her magic, she ends up transported to an alien world unlike anything she imagined: a box canyon in the middle of nowhere.
To get home, Twilight must enlist the help of the eccentric Red and Blue soldiers that live there... if she can get them to stop bickering first! Additionally, she finds herself being pursued by the enigmatic military agency known only as Project Freelancer. Back in Equestria, all is not well for Twilight's friends as forces involved with the crashed ship make themselves known. Reds, Blues and ponies will all have to work together to discover the mysterious connection between Equestria and Project Freelancer.
The story has been completed as of Feb 14, 2016 with an epilogue hinting at a sequel posted Feb 28, 2016.
A side story by the same author was released on July 22, 2016. A Widow's Search follows the story of a side character who appeared in only one scene of the main story after her husband Arcane Star was killed by the Meta.
The story contains examples of:
- Adaptational Nice Guy: Agent South, for a certain degree of "nice". As she dies, she finds some rapport with Twilight over the fact that they both have/had older brothers and passes on a message from Delta intended for Washington.
- A God Am I: Church briefly goes through this after taking over the Insurrection's facility network.
- Alternate Universe: A few minor liberties are taken with the MLP world (The Equestria Girls universe doesn't exist at all, and everything that happens after the season 3 premiere is up in the air), but most of the AU is on the Red vs Blue side, with the events of the Freelancer arc proceeding differently due to the presence of the ponies. There's also the fact that Equestria made contact with Project Freelancer many years ago.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Rarity, after delivering a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to CT.Rarity: He killed Captain Eberle, he killed everyone in the desert, he threatened to kill me, and worse, he called me old!!!
- Badass Boast: Pinkie gets one in the vein of Caboose when she figures out how to properly channel the little bit of O'Malley that still lingers in her mind."My name is Pinkamena Diane Pie, and I! Hate! Meanies!"
- Big-Bad Ensemble: Sunset Shimmer, the Director, and the Meta.
- Book-Ends: The story begins and ends with Twilight and Spike stargazing on the balcony of Golden Oaks Library, asking each other "Do you ever wonder why we're here?"
- Brick Joke: Early in Act 2, Pinkie Pie fills Sugarcube Corner with cakes which Twilight has to move to her pocket dimension just to get through. Near the end of Act 2, Twilight opens her pocket dimension to get something else and accidentally dumps all of the cakes on Reynard Vaez, doubling as a Shout-Out to Slice of Hell.
- Bring My Brown Pants:Caboose: That was the best battle I ever peed myself in!
- Call-Forward: In the final chapter, while meeting with Celestia, Chairman Malcolm Hargrove has to leave to attend to a call from Chorus...
- Cerebus Syndrome: Much like in Red vs Blue, the story gets a lot darker as more of the plot is revealed.
- Chekhov's Gag: In chapter 1-5, Church tries to pass Twilight off as his seeing eye dog to get past an armed checkpoint. When questioned how a seeing eye dog is supposed to help the supposedly blind Church aim, they then try to demonstrate by having Twilight "bark" when Church gets closer to his target. When they face Wyoming in 1-7, they use the same tactic to help Church overcome his poor aiming skills.
- Climactic Volcano Backdrop: The location of the protagonists' final battle against the Meta.
- Cloning Blues: The unfortunate magical A.I. copied from Rainbow Dash's mind. In short, Sunset Shimmer creates an M.I. (Magical Intelligence) to help Tex purge O'Malley from Pinkie Pie's mind. Unfortunately, M.I.s are illegal in Equestria and the construct had to be erased after completing its purpose. Combine that with the fact that the M.I. possessed all of the real Rainbow Dash's memories, and the Mane 6 essentially got to watch Sunset murder their friend.
- Doomed Hometown: Dodge Junction is this for Sunny Side, courtesy of the Meta.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Spike goes to Berry Punch's bar when he can't take any more of having Grif and Simmons as roommates... and drinks apple juice.
- "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: Wyoming utters "Well played" when the Mother of Invention's attack, which was intended to destroy Canterlot, zeroes in on his Pelican instead.
Church: Honestly? It was because of Tex. She joined the army and left me without so much as a goodbye, so I decided to go after her. It was either that or med school. And really, can you picture that? Doctor Leonard Church?
- When Church and Twilight talk to Sheila/FILSS, she refers to Church as Director before either of them have any idea what Church really is.
- A few chapters later, Church explains why he joined the army in the first place.
- Going Native: Unsurprisingly, Donut quickly takes a liking to Equestria. When Tucker finds him baking with Caboose and Pinkie Pie, Donut is wearing a bright baby-blue apron over his lightish-red armor. Tucker even lampshades this by saying the trope name almost word for word.
- Tucker: Dear god, youve gone native
- Gunship Rescue: When it looks like the Mane Six will have no choice but to use the Elements of Harmony against the Meta after he abducts Church (destroying Church in the process), the Blood Gulchers show up and (unintentionally) drop their ship on him. It doesn't keep him down, but their arrival still helps turn the tide.
- Horse of a Different Color: When Red Team comes across a chimaera that had earlier been injured by the Meta, Sarge opts to use it as transportation, much to the creature's disbelief.
- Humans Are Cthulhu: Twilight Sparkle and the other ponies think of the humans as this amazing, technologically advanced alien race when they first find the crashed spaceship. Suffice to say, Twilight is quite disappointed once she actually meets the Reds and Blues.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The Director's final fate, brought on by the destruction of the Mother of Invention's engines and its subsequent crash. He lives long enough to greet Twilight and Church when they go after him, but he doesn't last long after that.
- It's Personal: Rainbow Dash seems to have decided this in regards to the Meta after it kills Derpy.
- Killed Off for Real:
- Apart from various important Original Characters, part 2-6 confirms the death of Derpy Hooves.
- Part 2-10 reveals that, in this story at least, Lopez actually did manage to kill Sister.
- The final few chapters see the deaths of Simmons and Wash as well.
- Averted in Wash's case, who was revealed to be alive and well in the epilogue of the side story "A Widow's Search", living in Canterlot Castle in the guise of a pony on Celestia's staff.
- Kill It with Fire: Maine's final fate, brought on by deliberately dropping into a lava-filled chasm.
- Knight of Cerebus:
- Wyoming of all people ends up becoming this. Although the Freelancer himself is about as much of a threat as he usually is, he sets off the more serious story of Twilight's arc in Act 1 when he makes her a priority target for Project Freelancer, and is the first human Twilight meets who seems to know about Equestria.
- Then there's the Meta who massacres the entire Equestrian military contingent around Tex's ship, as well as a significant amount of ponies in the nearby town. To say that things immediately get more grim afterward is an understatement.
- Mind Rape: After being converted to an M.I., O'Malley is able to do this to anyone, even if they don't wear armor with an A.I. slot. Poor Pinkie Pie...
- My God, What Have I Done?: Sunset Shimmer goes through this after receiving a copy of Twilight's memories during their final conflict, to the point that she believes that Gilda—whose father she'd previously ordered slain—should have killed her in return.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Rarity delivers one to CT during the heroes' rematch against the Insurrectionists. Considering the abuse Rarity suffered at his hands earlier, it was a long time coming.
- Done hilariously by Pinkie Pie when she reveals that the Mad King Hayworth's attempt to brainwash her didn't work, and that she'd just been playing along with him the whole time so he wouldn't feel bad.
- Tex does this to most of the mane 6's attacks during their brief fight, and a few chapters later, the Meta does the same, even to Fluttershy's Stare!
- Oh, No... Not Again!: Church, upon returning to the rvb world and realizing that everyone is separated just like at the end of Season 2
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Church and the Blues try to pass Twilight off as a dog when passing through a military checkpoint. Surprisingly, it works, but the UNSC doesn't let front line personnel keep pets. Wyoming, however, is not fooled.
- Pet the Dog:
- Grif actually becomes a pretty nice guy around Fluttershy, but only because she reminds him of how Sister used to be when they were kids.
- South of all characters gets this as she dies, seeming to express sincere regret at what she's done and giving Delta's message to Twilight.
- Private Military Contractors: In addition to Project Freelancer, in its third act, the story introduces Whitewater: a company of Equestrian mercenaries hired to perform a hit on the main characters.
- Reality Ensues: When captured by CT and his Insurrectionists, Rarity tries the same trick she used against the diamond dogs in A Dog and Pony Show. It doesn't end well for Captain Eberle.
- Running Gag: Sarge completely mangling Twilight's name, often in ways that don't sound remotely close.
- To other Rooster Teeth shows and people.
Tucker: Aw, cheer up Caboose! Its not like you could have eaten it with your helmet on anyway!Caboose: Yeah, but I still had dreams...Tucker: Well, no dreams for you!
- Act 1 Part 8 introduces Jones, a bit character voiced by Gavin Free in the actual show. Jones' depiction in this story is much more in line with Gavin's goofy demeanour in Achievement Hunter, complete with speaking with confusing British-isms and a moment where he refers to Caboose as "Mi-cool".
- Act 1 Part 9 introduces two Original Characters Reynard Vaez Jr. and Mike "the Rage" Mogar, both of which are Expies of Achievement Hunters Ray Narvaez Jr. and Michael Jones
- The Achievement Hunter Main 6 complete their cameos in Act 2 Part 9 with the appearances of Lieutenant Jack and the "Mad King" James Hayworth, Jack Patillo and Ryan Haywood respectively. Hayworth's MO involves keeping people in holes and naming them "Edgar", while Lieutenant Jack expresses interest in giving up on the battle to go build a house.
- Tex cuts a bit of Rarity's mane during a fight scene, and Rarity reacts much like Yang Xiao Long.
- In one of the chapters, Caboose repeatedly fires off confetti cannons, much like Joel did in one episode of the Gauntlet.
- Simmons tells Rarity a story based on one Gus told on the Rooster Teeth Podcast.
- The indie band that appears at the party in the finale is implied to be playing "Blood Gulch Blues". Even the band's name (Trotcadero) is a pony parody name of Trocadero, the real life indie band that does most of the music for Red vs Blue.
- The tricked out Pelican that Sarge makes in the third act plays Talkin' That Shit.
- The Recovery Agent in charge of the alien dig site in the later half of Act 2 is Captain Eberle, an Expy of Rooster Teeth's own Kara Eberle. She even knocks an ice cream cone out of Caboose's hand at one point, giving us this exchange:
- Under O'Malley's influence, Pinkie Pie menacingly asks Rainbow Dash if she wants to bake Cupcakes with her.
- In the final chapter, a pony named Sandalwood attempts to join Red Team. She matches the description of and shares a few similar traits and interests with the protagonist of All-American Girl, whose birth name is Sandalwood. This makes sense considering the author frequently collaborates with Shinzakura on that and a number of other projects.
- To other Rooster Teeth shows and people.
- Standing Between the Enemies: Twilight manages this in the Act 1 finale, stopping the Reds and Blues from fighting after having learned the truth about their war.
- Storming the Castle: The second to last chapter involves the heroes storming the Mother of Invention to save Twilight/the Ancora A.I., forcing them to fight through countless Freelancer agents, what's left of the Whitewater soldiers including Gilda (now with magical A.I.s), and culminating in a duel between Twilight and Sunset Shimmer before the ship goes down.
- Talking the Monster to Death: In Act 2-5, Pinkie is able to talk down O'Malley and get him to question why he's so angry all the time. Pity that the Meta decided to interrupt.
- Talking to Himself: Lampshaded despite the medium. When speaking with Sarge over the radio, Wyoming notes that his own voice when imitating an American accent sounds remarkably like the red sergeant.
- Titled After the Song: The story and each of its chapters are all titled after songs and lyrics from the various Red vs. Blue soundtracks by Trocadero and Jeff Williams. The final chapter's title is "Always Red Vs. Blue", referring to the song played during Season 8's finale—fitting, since the Meta is the final opponent left for the protagonists to overcome.
- Tomato in the Mirror: The pony Twilight Sparkle... or the M.I. Ancora?
- Villainous BSoD: Happens to the Director after Celestia deliberately puts herself in harm's way to prevent her attack force's airship from being destroyed.
- Villain Respect: After Pinkie's chat with O'Malley above —and in the midst of a successful purging of the Meta's collected A.I. via the Elements of Harmony—he gives her a grateful look before he disappears.
- Virtue Is Weakness: The Director tells Celestia this after he reveals his intentions to hold Canterlot hostage with the Mother of Invention.Director: Perhaps now you see the cost of letting your conscience take precedence?
- Vitriolic Best Buds: A good summary of Twilight and Church's relationship. The other ponies and humans develop similar ones when they start to meet each other in the second act.
- We Used to Be Friends: Celestia and the Director were good friends twenty years before the story's beginning. Due in no small part to the circumstances surrounding Project Freelancer, it doesn't last.
- Willing Channeler: Sunny Side allows Tex to possess her in order to fight Project Freelancer.
In the end, a true friend is someone you never have to let go of. Someone who will always be with you in spirit. Even if they're not here right now....