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Fanfic / Infinity Train FANFIC

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"You’re looking for a way to get off the train, right? I once told you that all of this is too big for you to handle. I haven’t changed my mind since. To get off the train you would need to get to the front car, which is physically impossible. Because only one person on this entire train is capable of doing such a thing. I once said that the Conductor is a dangerous man – and he still is. There is nothing more terrifying than something you know nothing about. And nobody on this entire blasted train knows anything about the Conductor."
- Klyde, Chapter 7

Infinity Train FANFIC is (appropriately enough) an Infinity Train Alternate Universe fanfic. Written by SirSpoder, it is the earliest piece of fanfiction created for the series on both FFN and AO3, with its first chapter being posted in February 2017; just months after the release of the original 2016 pilot. As such, while some of the author's guesses and theories about character backstories and the functions of the train manage to be on the mark, others diverge so much from the eventual show that the setting borders on In Name Only.

Picking up from where the pilot left off, Tulip and One-One (with Atticus tagging along) continue their journey to find the Conductor and a way for Tulip to return home. However, as they slowly make their way through the infinite number of train cars, Tulip quickly learns from the denizens she meets that the Conductor may not be the savior to her problem that she thinks he is. And as she digs further to uncover the secrets of the train, she finds that she is far more clueless about not only the true nature of the train than she could have ever imagined, but about who she really is as well.

The fic completed in April 2019, a few months before the premiere of the series. The fic also serves as the first entry in the author's The Multiversal Saga series of fanfics, which consists of other Infinity Train AU stories, as well as a few similarly canon divergent crossovers with Star vs. the Forces of Evil.

This fanfic contains examples of:

  • Absent-Minded Professor: Even after regaining some of her sanity, Dee Arr behaves like this.
  • Adaptational Intelligence: While Tulip in the series is pretty smart for a twelve-year-old, having a strong interest in game design, this fic's version of Tulip is a Teen Genius with a talent for computer engineering (and music). Merging with of all her alternate lives elevates her into an all-around prodigy in several fields.
  • Adaptational Personality Change: While Tulip can be a bit of a jerkass in the show, this version of Tulip always has a rude remark or quip at the ready, can be quite self-centered in her actions, and holds a short fuse for any and all silliness. Her Character Development involves shedding this behavior.
  • Alternate Self: Tulip meets several of these in Chapter 13's Dream Land, but the "real" versions of her boil down to herself, Pilut, Paranoid Tulip, and Conductor Tulip.
  • Alternate Universe Fic: Inevitable. Being written before the show was even greenlit means how the train functions and what its purpose is in this fic diverge greatly from canon.
  • Amnesia Loop: Tulip gets her memories erased each time she fails to beat the Conductor. And this has been happening to infinite versions of herself for over a hundred years across multiple alternate timelines. The only reason Tulip manages to gain access to the memories of all her alternate selves in each loop is because a previous one figured out a way to trigger a form of Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory by leaving a secret message in the library all of them inevitably pass through.
    Koo: "This wasn’t the first time this has happened. Countless versions of yourself have gone through this very train car, picked up this book, read it aloud as I stand by listening, explaining, and at one point sooner or later you would eventually get dragged back to the very back of the train with all your memories wiped."
  • Animated Tattoo: Like in the show, Tulip and other passengers have these. Unlike the show, it doesn't purely represent their personal problems; while having such issues to deal with means you'll have a higher number, the number here additionally represents how much one knows the true nature of the train and of the Conductor, with lowering the number being based on discovering new information related to those things. Getting it to zero does absolutely nothing.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: When Tulip rejects One-One's claim that she's subconsciously searching for a purpose rather than truly trying to leave the train, the robot points out several methods of escape that she's never once attempted, ending with this.
    One-One: "Just ask yourself this Tulip. Is it really the truth that you couldn’t get off the train… or is it more like you wouldn’t?"
  • Brick Joke:
    • In Chapter 1, Atticus leaves a corgi named Nero in charge of Corginia while he's away. The following chapter, he notes that he recently had a nightmare about the entire kingdom being destroyed in a fire.
    • Atticus mocks the idea of democracy in Chapter 1, joking that coups and rebellions would result from such a system. In Chapter 4, Tulips encourages the people of Atlantis to try democracy, which results in a violent civil war.
  • But Now I Must Go: At the end of Chapter 14, One-One and Zero ask Tulip if she'd rather stay on the train and continue journeying towards Infinity or return home and live a more mundane life. She chooses the latter, explaining in the epilogue that it was more important to choose home regardless of how enticing further adventures would be, because she knew her old self would have never even considered that option.
  • Cardboard Prison: A rather depressing version of this. Every passenger was capable of leaving at any time. They just weren't told that they could, and so spent years on the train long after they realized they wanted to return home. Tulip attempts to call out Sad-One on this, and while he doesn't see an issue with not giving anyone this information (the choice still existed), he does admit that they had purposefully picked people who didn't have the willpower to choose continuing to live their lives over going to Infinity and ignoring all their hardships.
  • The Con: Tulip coming up with one of these on her previous attempt was the closest anyone on the train had ever come to defeating the Conductor. In Chapter 13, she meets that version of herself, who claims it failed because she couldn't get past the Orchestra Car. Tulip immediately calls her out on the lie, saying that she just valued the "game" with the Conductor over actually helping fellow passengers.
  • Connected All Along: The wars that Fredrick the Third speaks of fighting in the first chapter turn out to have been battles fought against the Kingdom of Atlantis encountered in Chapter 4.
  • The Dreaded: The Conductor is seen as this by several characters, though the people of Atlantis worship him as a god.
  • Dream Land: Where Tulip gets summoned to in Chapter 13.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: It's a Fan Fic for Infinity Train. An "Infinity Train Fanfic", if you will.
  • Forced Transformation: Several characters that Tulip meets turn out to have been the result of this, with Tulip potentially being the only human passenger left. While most instances were caused by the train, one of these was actually performed by Tulip in a past life, though no one ever figures out how or even why she did it.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Atticus happily states that families are built on trust and faith in one another, Tulip despondently replies that she wishes that was always true, hinting that her parents are divorced, and that she and her dad have issues themselves.
    • Krow and Koo are obsessed with stealing gold from the train. They were a pair of conmen when they were still human.
    • Some characters happily worship the Conductor, while others are terrified or distrusting of him. The latter group are passengers that were transformed by the train.
    • Klyde being confused by "buses" or "jazz music" could be chalked up to him just being from an Old Western train car. Turns out that he is a human from the 1870s.
    • Tulip's vignettes in Chapter 9 appear to jump around her life far more than those of the other characters, which focus solely on the day they boarded the Infinity Train. Tulip has boarded the train at different points in multiple timelines for various reasons.
    • The recurring phrase "Are you glad? Are you sad? Are you mad?" foreshadows that One-One is a part of the Conductor, with the person referred to as Conductor for most of the story being a separate, third personality called Zero/"Mad-One".
  • Great Big Library of Everything: The library car in Chapter 7, which turns out to have been created by a past version of Tulip.
  • Human Chess: A variant. The first car Tulip and company visit after leaving the Corgi Car turns out to be one of these, filled with robotic AI chess pieces, though only one is still functioning as intended.
  • Irony:
    • Tulip notes the irony of the Corgi Car being filled with Roman architecture after Atticus mocks the idea of democracy.
    • She's then thrown into Stunned Silence when Atticus states he'll leave Corginia in the safe paws of a young corgi named Nero.
  • Karmic Transformation: If you stay on the train for long enough and have a significant moment of weakness, the train will begin transforming you into a twisted reflection of what you desire. It will even temporarily erase your memories during the process, so you don't realize what is happening until it's too late. And some don't even regain them.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: All the passengers, but some characters more than others. As a baseline, no one can remember how they got onto the train to begin with. Meanwhile, other important pieces of information, such as how much they remember about their lives prior to the train and even how long they've been on the train, varies from person-to-person.
  • Lizard Folk: Klyde, the sheriff of the Sand Car. Becoming a gecko was his punishment courtesy of the train.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Tulip isn't told about her own identity by Klyde or Koo, who are both fully aware of her 100+ year history on the train. The former didn't say anything because he always hopes she'd be a better person on each new loop and actually take her exit instead of continuing her game of Xanatos Speed Chess with the Conductor, while the latter thought she didn't know enough about the train yet for a reveal to be worth it.
  • Missing Mom: Tulip's parents are also divorced in this fic, but they separated when she was young, and she was raised by her former jazz musician father. It's implied that Tulip has never interacted with her mother since the divorce as well.
  • Mood Whiplash: Chapter 6. While the beginning is dramatic, as Tulip is made to question what she's doing on the train, the middle of the chapter is a humorous homage to Monty Python and gets even Tulip to lighten up for once... at which point the original Steward appears to attack everyone.
  • Morality Pet: It's revealed in Chapter 14 that Tulip served as this for Sad-One, reminding him of his lost humanity and making him realize the changes that must be made to the train once he and Glad-One returned to the Engine.
  • Murderous Mannequin: The humanoid versions of the Steward are this.
  • Musical Trigger: Tulip's Final Battle with the Conductor in the Orchestra Car is this. She must perform Duke Ellington's "Caravan" on the drums, lest she and her comrades get murdered by an approaching army of Stewards. He doubted she'd be able to accomplish thanks to her Daddy Issues.
  • Mysterious Watcher: Tulip theorizes this to be the case in Chapter 1, with the Conductor being confirmed as this in Chapter 3.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: One-One, though Glad-One really is as goofy as they seem. They explain in Chapter 6 that keeping their head down in-between occasional train car manipulation has proven to be the best way to survive on the train. As for why they never revealed this to Tulip, they claim it's because You Never Asked.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When Dee Arr loses control of her robot body, One-One suddenly becomes incredibly serious and shows great knowledge in how to fix the situation, later saying that they know exactly how it feels like to be corrupted and tampered with themselves.
    This was the voice of neither Glad-One nor Sad-One. It was… something else. Not necessarily a different person, but still – something else.
  • Place Beyond Time: The train already exists in such a place, but its ultimate goal is to go pass this location into the "Infinite Beyond" far outside of "creation" and all known worlds.
  • Point of No Return: The Conductor is treating this loop as his final game with Tulip, and The Multiverse Hall is Tulip's final chance to leave the train without having to attempt defeating him.
  • Pooled Funds: The car visited in Chapter 3 is this, filled with mountains of gold, jewels, and other valuables.
  • Properly Paranoid: The version of Tulip that figured out how to trigger memory recall and managed to create her own personal train cars to hide in, believing it was the only way to be even remotely safe from the Conductor.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In Chapter 10, after Tulip is pushed to view some of her past memories and demands to know why she's being tortured like this, Koo calls her selfish. When she attempts to rebut this, asking if he thinks her being stuck on the train is just because she threw a tantrum, he has this to say:
    Koo: "I don’t think it, I know it. You were the one who arrogantly thought you could outsmart the Conductor of this train. You were the one who arrogantly thought that if you could prove how tech-savvy you were, how clever you were, that you could just avoid the responsibility and reality of the failure you left back home, the failure both in you and your father. I watched for over a century of you playing your elaborate game of chess with that stupid Conductor. Over a century, Tulip. I watched how you purposefully stayed on this train just to prove a point. So you tell me who the selfish one is in this scenario."
  • Red Herring: The photo in the train schematic room is directly referred to as this after Tulip gives her theory on it. Turns out it's just a photo of Dee's kids that the Conductor stole.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: Dee Arr is said to have become this upon awaking on the train, only existing within the computer monitor that serves as the head for a humanoid robot body. It later turns out a past version of Tulip did this to her for unknown reasons.
  • The Sandman: Tulip encounters a higher being named "Dream" who counts this among his many names.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Tulip's constant use of a screwdriver to get herself and others out of scrapes in early chapters is a nod to the Sonic Screwdriver in Doctor Who.
    • Chapter 6 has the group witness what is basically a scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail reenacted by frogs, with Tulip even lampshading that she feels like she recognizes the scenario from a movie.
    • The final chapter has Tulip talk about visiting Oregon for the summer, because of the many interesting things she'd heard about the place.
  • Sole Survivor: Fredrick the Third, Noble Steed of the West is the only chess piece in his train car that still works.
  • Stock Animal Behavior: Lampshaded. When Krow, a blind magpie, insists that he must count all the gold coins in his vault because his species loves shiny things, Tulip points out that this is a myth and that magpies in particular are actually unnerved by shiny and unfamiliar objects. Upon this revelation, Krow immediately asks his companion Koo the Owl why he never told him this for so many years.
    • It later turns out that giving Krew the task of counting coins was the only thing Koo could think of to prevent him from succumbing to both dementia and the train.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Played with in the final chapter. A time capsule photograph reveals that, while none of them are related to him, all the main characters closely resemble members of Klyde's family: from Dee being a dead-ringer for his wife, to Tulip looking like his daughter. The others are initially shocked by this, with the attached letter predicting this reaction and assuring them that this (probably) wasn't the train's doing.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Everyone in the Atlantis Car.
  • Talking Animal: Several. From corgis, to geckos, to owls. Some of them started out as regular humans, though.
  • Theseus' Ship Paradox: Well, moreso the Sorites paradox, but the basic idea applies to the solution of the puzzle in the Sand Car.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: The train exists outside of time and space, with infinite timelines (past, present, and future) existing simultaneously and collating into a single one. Characters from multiple eras of history also co-exist with each other. Once everyone successfully leaves the train, they're returned to their proper time periods.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Tulip in Chapter 8. While she was already pretty abrasive in previous chapters, the others forcing her to run while Atticus makes a heroic sacrifice at the end of the prior chapter has her be particularly rude here, insulting and attempting to belittle Dee Arr and One-One at very turn.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Tulip by the end of the story, with the explicit reason why she was able to defeat the Conductor when all her alternate and past selves failed is that she learned to empathize and care for others.
  • The Un-Reveal: When Tulip says that the story of how she met One-One is a long one, Atticus replies that they have time, so Tulip gets ready to tell it... only for One-One to interrupt and point at an approaching shark.
  • Was Too Hard on Her: When Tulip breaks down sobbing after the above "Reason You Suck" speech, Koo apologizes and admits that he might have taken things too far.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 10 has The Reveal that Tulip has been on the train and attempting to escape for over a century, being mind-wiped by the Conductor after every failure.
  • Wham Line:
    • At the end of Chapter 8, after decoding the secret message someone in the library left, Dee Arr is suddenly dismantled, One-One vanishes, and (out of nowhere) Koo appears to complain about her not yet figuring out what has been going on. Leading to this realization:
      Tulip: "I… was the one… who left the message?"
    • At the end of Chapter 11, Klyde reveals this piece of information to Tulip:
      Klyde: "Because [the Conductor] wants to end this once and for all. He knows you’re coming. And he’s expecting you."
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Tulip delivers a few of these to her past selves when they try to claim that they just weren't capable of beating the Orchestra Car, pointing out how they could have all escaped years ago, but instead treated the whole situation as a game with the Conductor, and the lives of everyone around them as chess pieces.
    Tulip: "I know for a fact that you could’ve gotten off this train a century ago if you’d wanted. With all this power and you couldn’t come up with a plan to do that? Give me a break."
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: One of the first things Tulip mentions about her home life in the fic is that she played chess with her dad when she was younger, but hasn't in a long time due to him having no time for her.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The final chapter has all the modern day characters back on Earth getting together at a rundown saloon to dig up a time capsule left by Klyde and catch-up with each other. Zero and One-One also show up to bring apology gifts for the whole incident.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Chapter 9 is a series of vignettes of the day several characters were transported to the train.
  • The Wild West: The Sand Car serves as this, being a desert town populated by cowboy reptiles that Tulip feels wouldn't be out of place in an old cartoon.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!:
    • Tulip's reaction that one of the train cars is Atlantis of all places. Ironically, the Conductor holds the same exasperated feelings towards that car himself.
      Every ounce of logic in her body refused to believe it. But like some kind of omniscient god, the train continued to take pages and ideas from fictional realms, mythical realms and shove it into her face, as if mocking her.
    • Koo's reaction when Tulip manages to get a door in the Multiverse Hall to lead back home on her first try, only to slam it shut and reject the offer.
  • You Wake Up in a Room: In Chapter 2, Tulip reveals that she doesn't remember how she got on the train, with some of her other memories also being fuzzy.

"You must realize the power you possess in your palm at this very moment and make a choice – a choice on how to use that overwhelming power."