The story starts off during the Iron War, where the rebellion of the Men of Iron is in full swing. The author notes that this is an oddly beneficial time period for the Eldar; mankind is suddenly getting attacked by their creations which had stayed loyal for millennia, psyker populations are booming and an anti-tech movement is gaining traction. Seems pretty convenient for them, doesn't it? Well, turns out, the entire debacle was engineered by a group of Eldar, the idea being that having a little war with a weakened humanity would be just the thing to shake their race out of its current state of being horrifically depraved monsters.
A collection of humans learn of this and decide that there's no hope in saving their own empire now. The best thing they can do is grab as much of Mankind's glory and get out of the Galaxy, to colonize the neighboring galaxies where the Eldar have not reached. But of course things don't go as planned; sabotage and treachery have been been afoot, and the expedition goes to Hell. Literally.
Now, thousands of years later, they have emerged, and they've got some major bones to pick with several factions.
Especially the Eldar.
"Oh Eldar, we're baaaack. NOS AUTEM TENEBRAS!"
Eldar: Oh, shit.
Tropes contained in Out of the Dark:
- Ambadassador: Astartes tend to be the interface between Federation and Imperium, in large part due to them being the only ones who don't immediately flip their lid when faced with people who don't worship the Emperor as a god.
- Arch-Enemy: The Eldar to the Federation. As a result of a group of them essentially causing their empire to fall and reduce them to a shadow of their former glory in the hopes of having a punching bag for their own race, the remaining humans of Dark Age have a boundless hatred for the space elves.
- Camping a Crapper: There is a flashback to an Iron War incident where Perturabo dealt with a robotic infiltrator which "was ambushing personnel in the sanitary chambers".
- Death by Depower: It's mentioned that an Endbringer Titan once used its harvester weapon to drain the WAAAGH energy of a Super Gargant. Without it, the construct promptly collapsed into its component junk.
- The Determinator: Federation Remnant as a whole. Oh, we just got dumped into the warp and are currently ass-deep in demons? Hold my beer, and pass the ammunition.
- Plenty of individual examples, but one notable example is the Lost Primarch of the Second Legion, Gottfried 'Gotz' Perturabo, who's widely regarded to embody the Emperor's drive, stubborness and determination.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Multiple examples:
- After the planet Tartarus got dumped into the warp, its population, almost all of them veterans of the Iron War, learned real quick how to fight against the Legions of Hell. This resulted in humans killing Greater Demons — the sort of gribblies that habitually devastate planets, and require special forces of Grey Knights to banish.
- Then, Feds pushed their Warp research further, and figured out how to permanently obliterate demons; not merely banish into the warp, which is Imperium's standard operating procedure, but perma-kill.
- Expy: Exacerbated by having multiple authors:
- Fate Worse than Death: It's Warhammer 40k, so duh.
- Planned but averted for a young Gottfried. For around a year, he was entrapped by a Nurgle-corrupted band of raiders; when Fed forces have closed in on them and were about to exterminate them, his at-least-halfway-demonic overseer tried to posess him, and succeeded in infesting his left arm; Perturabo had to cut it off. Helluva first meeting...
- Farseer Aldrea, who was responsible for starting the Iron War. She was captured by Perturabo (the Elder), and had her mind completely mapped; then, after her death would have bore no loss to Mankind, she was forced to cast her sight further in time and witness the birth of Slaanesh. She did not survive the experience. This was done entirely to punish her; no record of what she saw was preserved by the Federation, since although the exact details were unknown, there was an understanding that seeing this path to the end was a Very Bad Thing.
- The Federation: The remnants that follow General Perturabo (not the Primarch, but the guy whom he named himself after) call themselves this.
- Good Is Not Soft: The Federation comes off as nicer than the Imperium. Which is a bit odd, because their philosophy is that in a galaxy full of monsters, humanity must be the biggest monster to survive. See Pay Evil unto Evil.
- Horde of Alien Locusts: Tyranids. In a terrible confirmation of canon suspicions, an extra-galactic expedition is prevented from leaving the galaxy because of interference from the energy structures that Tyranids use as FTL. Then they find there is no way of going around said structures — there are too many of them. So they return to the main galaxy, predictably annoyed. This kicks off the third act of the fic.
- Horrifying the Horror: Demons flee from Federation Remnant forces (except Khornate demons, of course). This is explained by the Fed's warp researchers figuring out how to permanently destroy demons.
- Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: The Federation is using an alternate FTL travel domain called phase space. It's a set of multiple layers, each faster than the other, full of storms, reefs, flocks of some local wildlife, is extremely unpleasant for organics when transiting from layer to layer... and yet it's still preferable to Warp. At least phase space doesn't have sapient superentities actively trying to gobble you up.
- I Know Your True Name: As per canon WH40k, extremely important when having anything to do with with demons. In this fic, it's expanded as being the very identity of a demon: demons don't have their names, demons are their names. Furthermore, demons can be undone by using their name backwards, which is also how the Dawn Blade kills demons.
- Kill It with Fire: The Federation developed a nasty little weapon called Banefire, which is essentially super-phosphex that can kill daemons. It's also sentient and hates everything.
- MayflyDecember Romance An inadevertent example in the background, between General Perturabo and his long-dead wife, Maria. It's not like anybody expected him to live until M42...
- Mind Rape: Fed technology permits this, in a very thorough manner; they restrain themselves much more than any Inquisitor would. But it still seems to be an integral part of checking people for corruption, and unmaking Demon Princes.
- Name's the Same: General Julius Augustus Perturabo and Primarch Perturabo, for good reason: the latter was either modeled, or modeled himself, after the former.
- No Gravity for You: One Ork Warboss attempts it against Gottfried's force when fighting in a stronghold made out of a rebuilt Space Hulk. With Guts' Legion specialising in space actions, this isn't as effective as expected.
- Odd Friendship: a few are mentioned to crop up, between people expected to hate each other. One that's been shown in writing is between General Perturabo, who bears that name and has effectively become the patron of the IV legion, and a captain of Imperial Fists descent.
- Original Character: all of the main characters are original, and much of the backstoy was invented by Derain; a necessary consequence of Games Workshop not fleshing out anything earlier than M32.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: This seems to be the philosophy of General Pertarubo and his group.
- When they learn from an Eldar Farseer that the Eldar were responsible for the AI Rebellion they force her to see the future she was so scared of (the birth of Slannesh), which leads to Your Head A-Splode for the Farseer.
- When the Federation learned how to unmake Daemon Princes, a group of Word Bearers tore out their own eyes. The Federation forcibly implanted augmentic eyes into them and made them watch an umaking. Their reactions were recorded for educational purposes.
- Planet Spaceship: Tartarus, where most of the fic takes place. It was built to transit into the Andromeda galaxy. The 'spaceship' part got derailed after the planet was dropped into the warp, but the planet still has FTL capability and the mother of Orion drives strapped to a hemisphere.
- Reference Overdosed: standard operating procedure for the Order of the Sigilites and the Stone Men. The first are historians who organized during the Iron War to keep as much of Mankind's culture intact, the latter start out sub-sapient and take centuries if not millenia to 'spark' into full sapience — thus they are bloody old. Most of the references they make fly over the head of other people, though...
- RPG Elements: The Solarian warriors' augments start off somewhat below Astartes level, but improve with time and experience all the way to Custodes at least.
- Screw You, Elves!: A good portion of the Federation's society is essentially based on this. Since the Eldar (or rather a small group of them) were responsible for dismantling humanity's empire so that it could be used as a therapeutic punching bag for the rest of their race, it's not surprising that the remnants are dedicated to screwing the Eldar over however they can. Anything that hurts them is A-okay in their book.
- Shout-Out: In addition to the aforementioned BattleTech case:
- The beginning of the fic has Federation scientists named after X-COM ones.
- A pariah fighter named Ruby, using a gunscythe.
- During the heroes stay in Warp, there is a part lifted from the siege of Minas Tirith. The Federation is Mordor.
- The naval tech given to Imperium has names from Nexus: The Jupiter Incident.
- One of the infantry weapons from the same package is called BPG 9000 and uses tyridium.
- Superweapon Surprise: Since the Federation has access to all the technological feats that humanity had at its zenith, it would have been more surprising if they didn't have a literal armory of OP superweapons.
- Sympathetic Magic: How Aldrea managed to corrupt the Iron Men.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Warhammer 40k was already of this mindset; in this fic, it manages to go even further.
- Three-Act Structure Spread out over 20,000 (ish) years. The first act was set during the Iron war, around the 25th millenium — or M25 in canon Warhammer notation. The second act was restricted to Tartarus, in more ways than one, after it was plunged into the warp. The third act is set in M42 and counting.
- Throw It In!: the author has canonized numerous side-stories and tech files written by other board members. The very name of the faction — Federation Remnant — was cooked up in a side story.
- Timey-Wimey Ball: The Warp is involved, there are a few:
- Tartarus in the warp. It behaves as a reverse demon world of sorts, and it has its own time flow and causality separate from the rest of the Universe.
- Further complicating matters, there is no consistent time flow on Tartarus itself; portions of the planet experience time at different rates, to the point where its inhabitants stopped counting, and its greatest expression...
- the Chronostrife: a massive act of sorcery, orchestrated by the four Chaos Gods themselves, through their mortal servants, to create a weaker form of a Stable Time Loop, guaranteeing that some form of the Heresy will take place — but not necessarily the Heresy that happened in canon; other options were available, what was absolutely certain was that a Heresy was sure to happen.
- Lastly, there's the Dawn Blade. A semi-sentient, shape-shifting weapon, which has traveled across millions of years, been wielded by some of the greatest sophonts in history (including the Emperor), and is one of the most straightforward ways to kill a demon — you 'just' need to cut it twice. It was also nigh-impossible to analyze — those who tried (including the Emperor), could only conclde that the weapon itself was resisting attempts to study it, and was outright trolling its researchers. It was created on Tartarus, during a knock-off Chronostrife, at the same time that it was shattered. It made itself from a blade of demon-killing psychoactive crystal, imprinted on a shard of General Perturabo's own soul, which it obtained because the man was stabbed through the eye and into the brain with it. It kills demons after two cuts because on the first cut it reads their True Name, then sends it back through time to properly descipher and unravel it, and on the second cut it 'reads' it inverted, which in this continuity unravels a demon.
- Vestigial Empire: Though the Remnants stylize themselves as a federation, they still qualify as they are all that remains of time when humanity was at its most powerful. Recently, though, they've started expanding their realm in the material universe, so they might not stay vestigial for too long.
- War Is Hell: If you were expecting war to not be horrifying here, you clearly don't know the franchise very well.