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"We're not going to make the same mistakes this time. Sure, we'll probably make new ones. But not the same ones. I may not be the best person to offer help... yet I'm someone who can help, all the same."
Col. Alexander Reiner

SPECTRUM is a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic by Team Spectrum, a group of authors comprised of Alternate-TCB members and led by TheIdiot. Comprising the team are Carpinus Caroliniana, Doctor Fluffy, Kizuna Tallis, ProudToBe, RoyalPsycho, Sledge115, TB3, and VoxAdam, as well as formerly Jed R and The Void. Following the discontinuation of The Conversion Bureau: The Other Side of the Spectrum, it serves as the main story in a Continuity Reboot of the Spectrumverse.

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On a beautiful day of sight-seeing in the Everfree Forest, Lyra Heartstrings stumbles across the Tree of Harmony and witnesses a magical portal release a creature such as she has always wished to meet - a human. Yet wonder soon gives way to fear as the human, a soldier named Alexander Reiner, reveals that his homeworld of Earth is under threat... by Queen Celestia, and a corrupted Equestria.

Upon learning that the human race is faced with the Sadistic Choice between extinction or the total enslavement that is conversion and ponification, Princess Celestia, Lyra Heartstrings and the Bearers of Harmony vow to come to the aid of the alliance between mankind and human sympathizers, and hopefully, uncover the source of the madness which has taken hold of the fallen Celestia...

Side-stories in this 'verse include;

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  • A Sun in Winter by Sledge115 and VoxAdam. A distant prequel to the series as a whole, recounting the childhoods of Celestia and Luna in the Reindeer Kingdom of Adlaborn.
    • Joy to the Worlds by VoxAdam, TB3 and Sledge115. The tale of a fateful battle on the last Hearthswarming Eve and the destruction of Adlaborn on Imperial Equus.
    • Snowbound, by DoctorFluffy. In the wake of Joy to the Worlds, PHL troops investigate the source of a mysterious signal in Alaska.
  • Story of the Asian Front by Kizuna Tallis. The reboot of the Asia Side-Story of the original Spectrum.
  • The Slow Mutants by DoctorFluffy. A converted human, gradually losing their identity, goes on a search for salvation.
  • The Light Despondent, Remixed by DoctorFluffy. A rewrite of the original Spectrumverse side-story centered on Viktor Kraber's defection from the HLF.
  • Starvation by DoctorFluffy A horror tale about starving refugees in Brazil.

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Tropes (beware of unmarked spoilers):

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     Main Story 

First Published: May 26th, 2017

  • Adaptational Badass: Princess Celestia, compared to her less calm and collected depiction in the original story, with the authors themselves stating that one of the first changes they made while conceiving the reboot was to avert the Ron the Death Eater treatment given to her in the classic Spectrum.
    Doctor Fluffy: You know how I always complained about Celestia's characterization in the original story, and you probably did too? Well, not anymore! Coming in this fic, a new and better version of her! Written by people that actually like her! With depth, and resemblance to her show persona! WOW! I have consistently told my friends that if there was anything I could change about the main story, it would be that. And now I can!
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • For all the good it's done for her, Diamond Tiara is briefly mentioned by Cheerilee as having attempted to organize a resistance against the Empire.
    • Prime!Blueblood is also given this treatment, being given an important role to the story and a much less obnoxious characterization from the get-go.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: A downplayed example. In contrast to how Megan was in the original story with regards to Marcus, Reboot!Megan has a much frostier relationship with Alex.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Not that he's a gentle flower, but Alex can best be described as Marcus with the rough edges and vicious streak toned down. This was very much intentional.
  • Adaptational Villainy: TCB!Redheart is one such case. Word of God says that this, and any other cases of it that appear in the story, were done due to Rule of Drama, as a reminder of how seemingly good people can join evil causes. Fluffy relates one brainstorming session describing this reasoning as such:
    Fluffy: But please, for the love of god, we cannot let the PHL get all the background ponies and one episode wonders that everyone likes.

    It was like a minor itch compared to several broken bones but it still annoyed me.

    Sledge: (Sarcastically) They have a name, ergo, they must be good

    Fluffy: I don't know how I can respond to that. But it dampens the effect of EEEEVIL coming to Equestria if only the nameless faceless masses fall in line, the jerks seem to have always stayed, and the mane cast (and celestia) are there because brainwashing.

    Anyone can fall victim to the lies of an evil person. It's not just people you don't care about, it could even be your friends.
    • Queen Celestia mentions zebras, crystal ponies and hippogriffs among her Empire's ranks.
  • Adapted Out:
    • The main human character of the original Spectrum story, Marcus Renee, has been cut out of this new continuity, partly due to the authors figuring it would be in poor taste to use a character that was clearly important to Redskin122004 after having split from him on acrimonious terms and partly because some (especially Jed and Fluffy) were just tired of writing him. He's replaced with Alexander Reiner.
    • Certain crossover elements have similarly been preemptively cut out. One such case is the crew from Grand Theft Auto V, due to the authors feeling that their inclusion didn't fit the overall tone of the story.
    • Jacqueline Dionna Reitman, the founder of the PER in the original Spectrum, will be cut out as well. Replacing her will be a pair of Decomposite Characters in the form of Dr. Caitlyn North (the doctor who made the ponification potion available for public use) and Felix Nichols (a radical environmentalist who rallies similar-minded individuals to his cause for aiding the Empire).
  • And Now For Something Completely Different: Chapters Four and Five take place on Earth instead of Equestria, from two new viewpoints - Cheerilee and Ana Bjorgman.
  • Apocalypse Anarchy: Boston is a far cry from its pre-war self, being turned into a desolate warzone contested between humanity (represented by UNAC) and the Solar Empire.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Word of God states that the Prime!Mane Six and Lyra will play a much bigger role in this story than they did in the original.
    • Ana Bjorgman was a fairly prominent, but ultimately supporting character in the original story's Hostage Crisis arc and a minor side character from the side story Adrift. Here, she's the second human POV character to appear.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • A human, almost identical in description to Marcus Renee, is sent to Equestria. Except he's not Marcus.
    • A mysterious Eldritch Abomination is confronted by Discord, but the identity of it isn't the big reveal of Chapter Six, in contrast to the original story. Rather, it's who comes after that's the big one - Celestia and Luna's missing sister.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Celestia, who almost single-hoofedly shut down Alex in his tirade while he's threatening Fluttershy. It worked.
  • Big Bad: Queen Celestia returns to this role.
  • Call-Back: Celestia briefly reminiscences about her early childhood in Adlaborn, three thousand years ago.
  • Call-Forward: The story makes references to the future seasons that have yet to occur in SPECTRUM's time, such as Luna's fondness for gardening (shown in Season 7's "A Royal Problem"), as well as Ember and Thorax bonding (shown in Season 7's "Triple Threat").
  • The Cameo: Kraber makes a brief appearance in Chapter 4, and is mentioned twice in the same chapter. He makes a full appearance in the next.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Alex, though he's more cool-headed than Marcus was. Unlike the original story, however, none of the ponies are driven to becoming a sobbing mess like Celestia was then, even if they're still horrified by it.
  • Continuity Reboot: Of the original Other Side of the Spectrum.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: The Krampus and Havok are mentioned by Sint Erklass - and Havok, whatever it is, is referred to in the present tense three-thousand years later by Celestia.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Alex has a less-than-stellar relationship with his mother due to him reminding her too much of her late husband and playing obvious favorites with his half-sister, and Chapter Six shows he's done some unsavory things throughout the war that weight heavily on his conscience.
  • Doorstopper: At 250,000 words and counting, and that's just Act One.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Deconstructed. Icewind's compulsion to help Redheart is a Tragic Mistake - since he chooses to help TCB!Redheart.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Upon finding Redheart unconscious at her home, Bonbon puts two and two together, takes aside Icewind that she's come to the conclusion that they have a Changeling situation. The actual situation is... a bit more complicated than that.
  • Expy: Alexander Reiner replaces Marcus Renee as the Commander of the PHL although according to the authors, he will be playing a different role overall.
  • Famous, Famous, Fictional: Chapter Four, "Nightfall Over Boston", has this dynamic regarding the people announced. You have figures like Vladimir Putin and the real-life UN Secretary General mentioned alongside Spectrum figures like Jack Davis and Rebecca Kleiner.
  • Future Badass: One of the Royal Guards in Chapter Seven would go on to serve the Empire and die a heroic death on Earth, according to TCB!Redheart.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Celestia makes the decision to call on the leaders of all the other species and nations on Equus in order to prepare for the war.
  • The Heavy: TCB!Redheart serves as this role for Queen Celestia and the Empire as a whole, at least at the start.
  • The Hero: Lyra Heartstrings, in contrast to Marcus for the original story.
  • Hope Spot: TCB!Redheart seemingly comes close to a Heel–Face Turn in Chapter Seven, but the moment passes and she resolves to kill Alex.
  • Internal Reveal: Chapter Thirteen, "Concordia Maxima", reveals to every assembled Concordat the true scale of the war and Alex's story.
  • Kill and Replace: Subverted. TCB!Redheart simply incapacitates her Prime counterpart before taking her place.
  • Kill 'Em All: The fate of the reindeer in Imperial Equus is that of genocide and the destruction of their homeland.
  • Like Reality Unless Noted: Earth has this general feel, with the point of divergence being 2016. Also, while Vladimir Putin is seemingly still the Russian President, Jack Davis replaces Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States.
    • Chapter Fourteen showcases this, with a lot of real life figures mentioned in office, just not the ones they have in real life. For example, while Putin and Xi Jinping remain leaders of Russia and China, France, Great Britain and the United States each have either fictional leaders or their leaders don't actually hold the office they have.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Chapter Six ends with The Reveal of Celestia and Luna's previously unknown sister Galatea.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The ethereal reindeer dancing in the campfire. It baffles absolutely everybody in the campfire.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: Pinkie senses that something is wrong in Chapter Three. She should be, because it's not the Nurse Redheart they knew.
  • Moral Event Horizon: In-universe, Galatea considers the destruction of Adlaborn and the slaughter of its people to be the Empire's worst transgression, and so seeks to correct it by bringing Alex Reiner to Prime Equestria.
  • Nice to the Waiter: TCB!Redheart treats both Royal Guards guarding Alex's room pretty well, and flirts back with one of them.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Apart from their voices, we never actually do see the Imperials in Chapter Four. At least until close to the end, and even then it's a corpse. Later, in Chapter Thirteen, The Solar Tyrant herself appears through text, not in person.
  • Not His Sled:
    • As it turns out, Discord isn't the reason Alex is transported into Prime Equestria.
    • The Imperial that meets with Luna and Discord in Boston isn't the Queen Celestia clone, but Twilight Sparkle.
  • One-Man Army: As Ana ironically observes, the PHL is mentioned to have this reputation by the Empire, although conversely, their influence has been reduced compared to the United Nations Allied Command.
  • The Reveal:
    • Chapter Six ends with the revelation that Celestia and Luna have a sister they never knew about.
    • Chapter Thirteen brings a lot to the table; Tirek's involvement as well as Megan Williams' involvement for one.
  • Schrödinger's Canon: A lot of the previous Spectrumverse elements are in limbo regarding their canon status, though gradually elements of it are being reintroduced.
    • The Prologue opens on the destruction of Adlaborn, as witnessed in Joy to the Worlds.
    • "They Are Us" directly references Celestia and Luna's childhood in Adlaborn, as seen in A Sun in Winter. When prompted about whether she knows anything about humans, Celestia says that she vaguely remembers hearing tales of them from an old pegasus called Firefly.
    • "Nightfall Over Boston" re-canonizes Starvation (with some alterations), while the mentions of Stephan Bauer and the Dragons of the East confirm Europe and Asia (which has been rebooted) still exist.
    • DoctorFluffy has confirmed that he's going to be working on reboots of Light Despondent and Snowbound. Kraber's and Johnny C's appearances in Chapter Five supports this.
    • The exact canonicity of Last Train From Oblivion is in fluctuation, but it's been hinted that Pretty Privates do exist in this version of the Spectrumverse.
  • Setting Update: The story now takes place during Season 3 of the show, instead of between Seasons 2 and 3. However, there are mentions of locations and races only introduced in future seasons. In the first Earth chapter, it's confirmed that first contact occurred in 2016, setting it firmly in a different timeline compared to the original. It's finally confirmed that Imperial Equestria is eighteen years ahead of Prime Equestria.
  • Shout-Out: As to be expected. Word of God however states that they will be toned down compared to the original.
  • Terminator Twosome: With Alexander Reiner and an evil version of TCB!Redheart. In Fluffy's own words, it was made to set the reboot distinctive from the original.
  • Time Skip: The Prologue begins sometime in the distant past, and ends with the aftermath of Adlaborn's destruction and Sint Erklass's death thousands of years later, in Imperial Equestria.
  • United Nations Is a Superpower: While individual countries are mentioned, the United Nations Allied Command, or UNAC, is mentioned as the chief organization for humanity's war against the Solar Empire, replacing the vaguely-omnipresent reach the PHL had in the original Spectrum.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: Faust parts ways with Sint Erklass after having a conversation to this effect in the prologue.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "They Are Us", which definitively shows the Solar Empire as the enemy force fighting to eradicate humanity. While this could count as a Late-Arrival Spoiler given the story's reboot status, what makes it a Wham Episode is how the reveal is presented.
    • "Understanding Dawns", which begins innocuously enough and serves to characterize Reiner further, swerves into this when it reveals Celestia and Luna's other sister.
    • "Concordia Maxima", the concluding chapter of Act One, reveals Tirek's involvement and Alex's familial bond with Megan Williams, and ends with Redheart's death and Queen Celestia acknowledging the Concordat as a potential foe.
  • Wham Line:
    • The ending to "Understanding Dawns":
    Galatea: I am the Scribe of the Stardust, keeper of the plan of our existence. I am your sister and keeper both, Celestia. My name is Galatea. And I need your help.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Played with. Luna admits that she has no idea what a mortal life is like, and wonders if she truly is immortal.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Icewind, who believes himself to be the hero uncovering the Awful Truth of his world inevitably tumbling towards subjugation and war-torn devastation. It's a bit more complicated than he thinks it is.

     A Sun in Winter 
First Published: Dec. 27th, 2016

  • Action Prologue: The prologue takes place from the viewpoint of Lilja, a doe mage tasked with retrieving the infant alicorns Celestia and Luna.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Expands greatly on Celestia and Luna's past as Elsa's charge.
  • A Day in the Limelight: For Anna Erklass, especially since the previous two Christmas Episodes focused on her sister and her grandfather.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Subverted; Anna strongly mistrusts ponykind, and initially begs Sint to send Celestia and Luna away from Adlaborn.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The prologue feels more like a conventional epic fantasy, before the story switches over to Anna, taking a more Slice of Life tone.
  • Big Bad: The Krampus, a genderless, satanic entity imprisoned by Sint Erklass, and the figure behind the intensifying predatory attacks.
  • Christmas Special: The third one.
  • Distant Prologue: An extended one for Joy to the Worlds and the whole of Spectrum, taking place in the distant past.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Two, in fact - Anna and Elsa Erklass.
  • Fantastic Racism: Ponykind's conflicts have painted a less than stellar image for them - but the birth of Celestia and Luna throws any prejudices out the window for Sint Erklass.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Though the story takes place before things get rolling, a few things stand out, namely that Anna will become Elsa's first host after she was cursed, and the genocide is still yet to come.
  • Hidden Elf Village: Adlaborn, and its main city Vologda.
  • Lighter and Softer: The most lighthearted story in the entire Spectrumverse - contrast The Light Despondent and Last Train.
  • Predators Are Mean: The Krampus' underlings are shown to consist of predatory animals, such as wolves and polar bears. Even the demonic Windigos are implied to consume flesh as well.
  • Properly Paranoid: Anna is terrified of the possibility that outside forces will come for her homeland, with the foals inside. Given that Lilja was nearly killed in her mission, she may be right.
  • Screw Destiny: Sint Erklass denounces the idea that Celestia and Luna shouldn't be taught how to lead, in favour of nurturing them instead.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Krampus is imprisoned in a magically reinforced snowglobe, with enchanted snow keeping him from breaking free.
  • Something Completely Different: A... fairly light-hearted fantasy tale in the past, compared to the main story's contemporary tones.
  • Take That!: Sint's above statement is this to the idea that Celestia and Luna were never meant to lead, as espoused by Discord in the original Spectrum story.

     Joy To The Worlds 
First Published: Dec. 25th, 2014

  • A Day in the Limelight: For Sint Erklass.
  • After the End: Takes place just after the extermination of the reindeer.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: As seen at the top of this very tropes page, the author's notes describe the Spectrumverse as filled with "genocide, madness, infanticide, fanaticism and pop-cultural references".
  • Bittersweet Ending: The bad news is that Sint perishes at the end, and the reindeer almost completely exterminated. The good news is that Elsa survives (although being a piece of cloth, she can't do much unless she possesses a host), as well as the siblings Eadmund and Lucie. The story ends after he blesses the two with his powers and sends them off to Earth to aid humanity, finally passing away.
  • Christmas Episode: Well, a Hearthswarming Episode, technically. And a far darker and sadder example than others.
  • Continuity Nod: Frost Wind, the little colt that finds himself missing the Reindeer on Hearthswarming Eve, knows Aquamarine Glimmer and Comet Tail from the Asia Side Story, and is the cousin of Stellar Wind from Adrift.
  • Culture Chop Suey/Crystal Dragon Jesus: Hearthswarming incorporates elements of both Christmas and Hanukkah.
  • Defiant to the End/Last Stand: Sint Erklass refuses to go down without a fight.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Weaver successfully kills the oldest living being in Equestria.
  • Foregone Conclusion: TCB!Sint Erklass was mentioned to have been killed in the main story, while the reindeer were exterminated.
  • Genocide Backfire: Despite their efforts, the Solar Empire didn't totally exterminate all of the reindeer, and it's clear that the survivors will make them pay for what they did.
  • Last of Their Kind: For the reindeer of TCB!Equus, there's Elsa (whose soul is bound to a cloak), and two orphaned siblings named Eadmund and Lucie.
  • The Magic Goes Away: What Frost Wind feels about Hearthswarming without the reindeer.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Weaver, Sint's assassin, tells him she doesn't like what she is ordered to do, but will carry out her Queen's will.
  • Stay with Me Until I Die: Inverted. TCB!Elsa decides to stay with her dying grandfather rather than be worn by one of the two orphans.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Frost Wind's older brother Winter Truce promised that he would be back by Hearthswarming. As he serves in the Royal Guard and going by their mother's evasive reluctance to talk about it, it's more likely than not that he was killed in action.

     Snowbound 

First Published: Feb. 05th, 2016
Rebooted: Dec. 03rd, 2017

  • Absent-Minded Professor: Kgalakgadi.
  • Alaska: The setting of the story. Word of Fluffy is that it was inspired by the long list of abandoned things one can find out there - be it abandoned trains, abandoned military installations, or wolf puppies.
  • Body Horror: Johnny C claims to have seen a man's artificial hip exploding out of his body as he was being ponified.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Johnny C, to the point of forgetting to wear a winter coat when getting out of an airplane.
  • Cool Train: The 501, a large 2-8-0 steam locomotive made for hauling cargo that debuted in Light Despondent, returns!
  • Creator Provincialism: Yes and no. While New Hampshire, and the author's family farm show up, it's very much not the focus of the story.
  • Description Cut: Henri Bartholomeaux explains how sensitive the information in his decoy briefcase is, and how it's probably safe. Cut to a PER spy screaming about something in their eyes.
  • Hand Cannon: Johnny C carries a revolver so massive it's described as "almost the length of his forearm" and he holsters it on his back.
  • Holy Is Not Safe: Sint Erklass' corpse in Alaska. When a PETN/PER expedition finds it and tries to retrieve it, the latent magic starts to sabotage their work using Cosmic Horror Story tactics.
  • In Medias Res: Combines with Distant Prologue - the story starts sometime before the Distant Prologue to Light Despondent, flashes back to pre-war, then settles in early 2022 of January.
  • Noodle Incident: Kraber claims, in the Distant Prologue, to have died before, claiming that "it hurt".
    • The story itself is an explanation of one - it was alluded to as early as March of 2015, with a mention of Johnny C, Fiddlesticks, and several others having recovered a totem-prole from Alaska. The specifics were vague, but Fluffy physically couldn't keep himself from writing it.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The incredibly irritable characters we see introduced early in the story? They end up being sent to investigate the mysterious signal found up north.
  • Rescue Romance: Suggested to be between Johnny C and Fiddlesticks, as the former shot HLF attempting to kill Fiddlesticks on the grounds of his family apple farm.
  • Shown Their Work: Fluffy did a lot of research on Alaska for the story.
  • World of Snark: Everyone has a witty comment in response to everyone.

     Story of the Asian Front 

,First Published:' Dec. 29th, 2017

  • Continuity Reboot
  • Framing Device: The prologue shows Yon-Soo being interviewed, recalling the early days of the war on the Asian front and the formation of the Dragons of the East.

     The Slow Mutants 

First Published: Feb. 27th, 2017

  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Or, rather, prequel main character. While Kraber wasn't exactly a stranger to tricking his way out of situations, Hope is much less combat-oriented and more prone to sneaking out of bad situations.
  • Emergency Transformation: Like many pre-war newfoals, Hope took the potion to save herself from an advanced case of terminal cancer. She wishes she hadn't now.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Hope is a newfoal trying to preserve her identity and find her cutie mark. We already know she's going to fail.
  • Fridge Logic:invoked Stated by Word of Fluffy to be his main reason for writing this story:
    Fluffy: If newfoals were so obviously barely functional zombies, how did anyone ever think this was a good idea?
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Enforced. Even thinking swear words is like pulling teeth for Hope at times.
  • Villainous Rescue: The first chapter ends with Hope being rescued from an angry mob (consisting of both PHL and HLF personnell who assume Hope is a PER spy) by members of the actual PER, who kick off the second chapter by potioning a roadblock. Hope has to contain her horror through the Mother of All Poker Faces to keep herself beneath suspicion.

     The Light Despondent - Remixed 

First Published: Dec. 27th, 2017

  • Adaptation Expansion: Many things that Fluffy added in nearly halfway through the story have been added in from the beginning, such as the presence of Shieldwall, the spooky radio transmissions, and Yael and Heliotrope. The Battle of Nipville is also shown in full, as opposed to just appearing on TV.
  • Darker and Edgier: Already well on its way to becoming much darker than the original Light Despondent story upon which it was based.

     Starvation 

First Published: Nov. 08th, 2013
Rebooted: Oct. 27th, 2017

  • Apocalyptic Log: Much of the story is this, being a record of Acevedo's recollections of his life and experiences during the war.
  • Body Horror: Isaac Acevedo claims that he's become skinny enough for his ribs to start showing through.
  • Crapsack World: Most of Earth has devolved into this. Brazil specifically is overcrowded with refugees, most people are going hungry due to the barrier covering a large chunk of the Earth's landmass, and the Apocalypse Anarchy has gotten so chaotic that Acevedo considers it a bad idea to go outside without wearing his armor and carrying at least one gun.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: What the characters expect the broadcast to be, to tell any sapient aliens elsewhere in the universe of humanity's existence and the war that wiped them out.
  • No Party Like a Donner Party: Some people have resorted to cannibalism, or at least making a meal out of the newfoals, due to the lack of fresh food. Acevedo ate a newfoal shortly before he made his broadcast, and he's utterly disgusted with himself for it, although his friends try to reassure him that he did what he had to do.
  • Race Lift: Acevedo in this version is mixed race (half black and half white) though still ethnically Brazilian.

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