Tales of the Canterlot Deportation Agency is a series of mostly oneshot My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfictions written by Estee, the author of the Triptych Continuum, revolving around the titular agency and its efforts to prevent Equestria from being invaded by dimension-travelling humans. Some are harmless, some are accidental, many come with dark purposes, all could potentially have serious negative effects on all of Equestria. The CDA tries to prevent anyone - human or pony - from getting hurt and safely send them back home.
There are several Tales currently written:
- A Typical Day: The first Tale, examining the basic purpose and structure of the CDA and a look at some of the sorts of incursions they have to deal with.
- Ben: One of the humans stranded in "The Zoo" is called in to identify a potential new arrival.
- Bree: One of the human counterpart agents of the CDA works on her job; keeping more people from her world out of Equestria.
- Melissa: One of the human counterpart agents of the CDA enjoys some of her hard-earned time in Equestria.
- Luna vs. The Law Machine: The first serial Tale; Luna must become personally involved when a damaged Law Machine from the Gallimaufry becomes the target of an Incursion... and declares that it shall begin enforcing the Law on Equestria as it did in its home dimension.
- Jack: The first story to be set predominantly on one of the worlds that are incursioning on Equestria. CDA Agent Jack Napier and his "other self" do their best to protect the pony world from exploitation as they try to stand up to their arch-enemy, the criminal mastermind Owlman.
- Soul Survivor: A direct sequel to "Bree", detailing Bree struggling to handle the survivor's guilt after her world ends, leaving her stranded in Equestria as the last survivor.
- Divine Intersection: A sequel to "Soul Survivor", looking at the world from Holier Than Thou Joanna's point of view
Word Of Fanfic Author is that the Tales and Triptych Continuum are separate continuities, but they share rules of magic and the pre-incursion setting — plus pre-incursion backgrounds shown for pony characters here will be their backstories in the Triptych Continuum.
Tropes generally present in Tales:
- Black-and-Gray Morality: On the one hand, many of the humans being confronted by the CDA are genuine monsters, including Mad Scientists (and their magical counterparts) who seek to use ponies as experiment fodder, attempted rapists, and would-be world-conquerors. On the other hand, the CDA can do some pretty dubious moral things themselves, and even one of their agents is seen wondering in A Typical Day if their policies are entirely necessary.
- Crapsack World: Many if not all of the worlds that the humans are straying through from.
- Ben, from the titular story, is a Troubleshooter from Alpha Complex, which everyone else in-story refers to with some level of horror and the ponies simply call "the madhouse". When trying to talk a fellow Troubleshooter into agreeing to stay in Equestria instead of going back and bringing others back for plunder, he outright describes the Complex as the worst world any of the ponies or other humans have ever heard of.Ben: They're from other worlds — so many other worlds... and some of those places produce nightmares. But ours? Is the nightmare. We are everything that could go wrong — everything which already has. We live in the middle of an endless scream and tell ourselves we're happy because if we aren't, someone will kill us for it.
- Bree, on the other hand, involves contact between Equestria and the Old World of Darkness. The titular human agent openly describes her world as dying in leaps and bounds, and she breaks down in tears upon confirming some pony souls have gotten trapped in its realm for the dead. It's mentioned in Soul Survivor that the ponies of the CDA actually call Bree's world "the abbatoir". note
- Jack Napier comes from a variant of Earth-3 from DC Comics - the "Anti-Earth", where heroes are villains and villains are heroes. It is not a nice place.
- Ben, from the titular story, is a Troubleshooter from Alpha Complex, which everyone else in-story refers to with some level of horror and the ponies simply call "the madhouse". When trying to talk a fellow Troubleshooter into agreeing to stay in Equestria instead of going back and bringing others back for plunder, he outright describes the Complex as the worst world any of the ponies or other humans have ever heard of.
- Crapsaccharine World: Equestria itself. It's a nice enough place, certainly preferrable to many of the other worlds the humans are coming from, but between the constant influx of human travellers and some of the morally shady things the CDA are willing to do...
- In Bree, it's mentioned that civilised regions like those inhabited by the ponies are actually a minority, and it's subtly implied that the "wild zones" are so full of monsters and dangers that Equestria may be a borderline Death World beyond pony society's borders.
- Crossover: Subtle ones proliferate, by mention for many. The "character name titled" tales all involve a more direct crossover.
- The titular character of Ben is actually Ben-R-QDR-3, a RED-ranked Troubleshooter who narrowly survived death after an experimental device transported him to Equestria from Alpha Complex. Which is just his cover story: he's a mutant teleporter who got a desperation transport either ridiculously wrong or right — but when questioned by local pony authority, his first Troubleshooter instinct was to lie. He wasn't the last to come, but is the only one who has survived; the others have all either committed suicide, gone insane to the point where their bodies shut down, or died while trying to detox from the drugs present in their bodies from a normal Alpha Complex life and diet.
- The titular character of Bree, on the other hand, is a Euthanatosnote Mage from the Old World of Darkness. Said story also involves a vampire who has learned how to travel the worlds by way of Blood Magic and reveals Jake from the previous story as a Technocrat of the New World Order.
- Reading between the lines identifies the title character of Melissa as Melissa Gold, aka Songbird of the original Thunder Bolts, also referencing Dan Abner, aka the Beetle, aka MACH-I.
- According to a blog post, Tess, a recent New Cynosure arrival mentioned in Ben's story, is hinted to be a Hoffmanite, which is confirmed in Luna Vs. The Law Machine and adds the Gallimaufry to this interdimensional mess. There's also enough clues in the same tale to identify fellow resident Laurie as the literal wild card in the 'temporary human settlement camp' deck. She fell through one of Chalktalk's active portals.
- Jack is "The Jester" (or he would be if he allowed himself a codename), a heroic doppelganger to The Joker from the Mirror Universe of DC Earth-3. Ultimately, the bundle of chemicals is inspired by the classic joker playing card image — to take the name "Wild".
- Dr. Gregory House shows up as a stranded resident of New Cynosure in Soul Survivor.
- Fantastic Ghetto: The "temporary human settlement camp" (aka New Cynosure) qualifies. The Princesses recognize that there are peaceful humans who either arrived by accident or found their deliberate method only worked in one direction. Those incursions were granted two square kilometers carved out of a wild zone, and there they live, work, and make any friends they can. They can even recreate technology as long as it works cleanly. But... it's isolated from pony territory, there are guards, the entire thing is covered by a shield, and everything outside the border is hungry.
- However, one option for some of the violent incursions is an underground prison. (Ben doesn't ask about the rest.)
- Insistent Terminology: Unicorn teleportation is always referred to as "going between".
- Language Barrier: Partially averted, with a side dose of local Translator Microbes. Any human landing in Equestria will be able to speak the language. However, those coming into the other nations will be locked into that tongue and must learn any others normally. The process doesn't seem to cover printed words and as Bree discovers, it only functions while all parties are in Equestria: her attempt to build an interdimensional communicator works — and produces the sound of a pony neighing in her right ear.
- The Men in Black: The CDA essentially serves this role to Equestria as a whole, sending humans back to their own worlds before they can cause problems for Equestria.
- No Bio Chemical Barriers: Played straight, but when dealing with smarter, purposefully transported humans, claiming that Equestria averts this (and/or that the inherent magic is essentially a form of radiation that will poison a human) is a popular method to trick them into leaving and going home without anybody getting hurt.
- Noble Bigot with a Badge: Officer Crossing Guard, at least as is seen in the Tales focusing on perspectives of the humans. He hates the fact that some humans are stuck in Equestria and have to be kept at the Zoo, and despises the fact the CDA needs to work with human agents. He's still scrupulously fair about following the rules set by the Princesses.
- Outside-Context Problem: Many of the more aggressive humans think they will be this. HA HA HA—No, they are not.
- The "temporary human settlement camp" was named New Cynosure by one resident: the name stuck. It's a reference to Grimjack and partial inversion of that premise: a single set of rules in a small area, but with pandimensional residents. (David claims to have named it in a quest to find anyone from his own world who's really into old comics at ten for a dollar.)
- Soul Survivor: "Avatar": The Three Investigators is referenced with a mention of "Juniper Jones" and a scrapyard.
- Taught by Experience: The author eventually clarified that this is the reason behind the CDA's Fantastic Racism against humans. The Equestria of the CDA is supposed to be an Equestria that has suffered through hundreds of bad Human in Equestria fics, and they assume that all humans are psychopathic maniacs because they've had to deal with far too many who are.
- Villains Act, Heroes React: The CDA only reacts to humans after they enter Equestria, they never try and stop them from crossing over in the first place.
- Justified Trope: Equestrians stand out as badly on any human world as humans stand out in Equestria, more in fact due to such worlds generally being mono-sapient species realms. This means they can't react to portals before they open, nor can they go onto the other side and try to stop invaders at the source.
- Averted Trope: The CDA deliberately recruits human agents, where feasible, to try and prevent people from crossing over in the first place. This is especially important for the darker worlds, such as the one where Bree comes from.
Tropes present in A Typical Day:
- Bring My Brown Pants: One would-be conqueror fouled himself both ways at once when he found out how badly outmatched he was.
- Fat Bastard: One grossly overweight dimensional traveller who came to Equestria loaded with guns and grenades, intending to conquer it.
- Groin Attack: The CDA are too late to stop one incursion... too late for the human, that is, who continues sexually harassing the disinterested mare until she bites him on the genitals, explicitly castrating him.
- One-Man Army: What the Fat Bastard dimensional traveller at the beginning of the story thought he was going to be thanks to coming with guns and grenades. He wasn't.
- Riding into the Sunset: How the tale ends, but with walking, not riding:"It's a nice sunset — good color palette, some nice cloud touches, very artistic work — let's head towards it for a while."
- Self-Insert Fic: In-Universe. One dimension hopper’s reason for making the trip was that it would have been their "ultimate form of self-insert fic".
Tropes present in Jack:
- Answers to the Name of God: From "Comedy = Tragedy + Time", when the chemicals are trying to decide on a name, and is willing to take an Appropriated Appellation:"Oh God, no!" the driver screamed.
God? The chemicals briefly considered that
Which didn't make it God. As a potential name, 'God' struck it as being a little too egotistical. More suited for [his enemy], at least when it came to the ego. Fortunately, the implied power level was still just a little bit short.
- Artistic License – Medicine: Mentioned in "Comedy = Tragedy + Time", in regards to inducing unconsciousness:[His enemies] seemed to be out cold. It hoped they were truly out cold. The chemicals had learned a few things on its own, and one of the faster lessons was that people were a lot harder to render unconscious than the movies made things seem.
- Bat Signal: Angle Shooting: Mentioned, as a nod at Batman use of this, because the story is based off those stories:"I'm saving up," the man shot back.
"For a spotlight? I haven't looked at the rates for those, but I'm sure you have enough put away for, say, a dozen or more..."
"And the next time I need to speak with you, I'll shine them all at the sky and spell out your name in lights," the man sarcastically declared. "If I knew what that was. Pass me the emerald. Then I'll give you the good part."
- Call-Forward: The destruction of "the abbatoir" - Bree's world - is mentioned in the third chapter. This is explored in more detail in the subsequent fic "Soul Survivor".
- Chained to a Railway: Referenced in "Comedy = Tragedy + Time":The Chemicals: Someone ties you to train tracks and strangely enough, your cause of death on the autopsy? It gets listed as 'heart attack.' Because you freaked out thinking about oncoming trains."
- Cruel Mercy: Those who anger Owlman aren't killed - instead, he systematically murders their family, friends and other loved ones, until the person who irritated him is the last one left.
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom: In chapter 3, "Discard And Draw", it's revealed that Bree's world has been utterly annihilated, leaving her as the Last of Her Kind.
- First-Name Basis: "All In", a former bully refers to a classmate by her surname, Quinzel, and as a sign of how she's willing to be more friendly to him, she responds with her first name, Harleen.
- Human Resources: When the story starts, Owlman has become aware of Equestria and begun kidnapping foals from it to vivisect in pursuit of potential (and profitable) exploitation to make from their flesh, blood, organs or other miscellaneous tissues.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Card game related titles for most of the chapters, such as:
- Literal Split Personality: Jack and "The Chemicals" are treated as entirely seperate beings by everyone, including themselves.
- Meaningful Name: From "Discard and Draw", this fact of known pony names is mentioned:Luna: We have seen many whose names match their jobs a little too closely, and perhaps some of that is destiny. Parental steering accounts for something of the rest.
- Meaningful Rename: From "Discard and Draw", this is mentioned about when ponies get their cutie marks:Luna: Some ponies, upon finding their marks, take a new name.
- One-Word Title: The chapter called "Shuffle", which is part of the card game related Idiosyncratic Episode Naming of the chapters, but it could be said that it's what's being discussed in the very first sentence of the chapter, "shuffling" locations:The current 'usual place' had only been their usual for ten days: Jack and Victor switched up those locations regularly
- Please Get Off Me: From the last chapter, Jack accidentally had a Suggestive Collision with a girl, and she angrily implies this request, displeased with him due to seeing him as a Jerk Jock:"— you," the angry (and somewhat nasal) voice declared, "are on top of me."
[Jack] desperately rolled right
- Shout-Out: Perhaps unintentional, but Jack's world is referred to by Luna as "the Shadowfell", which is a plane of existence from The Multiverse of Dungeons & Dragons.note
- Suggestive Collision: In the last chapter, Jack accidentally lands on-top of a girl because he didn't watch where he was going, along having an injured leg, and she gives a Please Get Off Me line, although less kindly than that:"— you," the angry (and somewhat nasal) voice declared, "are on top of me."
[Jack] desperately rolled right, and nearly went into two of the students who'd stopped to applaud.
- Survivor Guilt: All In: While not specifying that he feels responsible for the loss of his family, Jack is traumatized by their loss.Frustration and grief and the horror of being the one who lived.
- Transformation Sequence: From Shuffle:From the outside, it can look just about instantaneous. They'd both seen that, for Victor had recorded the process on video — once.
From the outside, chemicals contact skin and pink loses all hue, goes to white. The effect rushes along that outer layer of fully ineffective biological armor, even as the colors of the fabric start to shift. Entire limbs bleach, just about all at once. Hair goes through a different kind of color change, which includes one to the texture. Posture warps: the chemicals have a different way of standing, something which makes it a little taller than Jack and leaves his back sore for a few hours after the loan is repaid. (It's sorry about that, but the situation is something it can't help.) And then the side effects kick in, including the one which is the existence of that other.
From the outside, it's a few heartbeats. But on the inside, everything is still shifting. Balances aren't quite any more, and the new levels haven't found themselves. Neurons are trying to fire two sets of messages at once.
Transition lasts eighty-four seconds.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: From "Shuffle", it's one of the things the narration mentions about Jack, when he sees Bree:Her hair didn't go with her skin, her skin didn't go with her height, and overall, she was someone his pre-championship self would have briefly considered tripping in the school corridors just to see which part of her anatomy hit first.
(Not that he would have done it, because he'd never attacked girls. But when one of the female students inevitably went for it, he would have watched. And laughed.)
Tropes present in Ben:
- Babies Make Everything Better: Averted. Ben expects that Tanya's pregnancy will make things very much worse, for one simple reason: The baby will be the first human native to Equestria, the first one to have no homeworld to which he may be returned. And so the Princesses will either have to let him stay, or allow humans to be banished to worlds not their own.
- Landing in Someone's Bathtub: Played with, with how Jake arrived:Jake had been off-duty when one of the experiments had gone wrong and delivered him to Canterlot — and this was the part which had taken an extra three weeks to emerge — nude. In his bathtub. Which had been filled with lightly-scented bubbles at the time, and also Jake. None of this had made a particularly positive impression on the pony he'd arrived in front of. A rather surprised and somewhat angry pony named Princess Celestia
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Ben gives one of these to his fellow Alpha Complexer, describing how the system that he clings to is horribly, awfully broken and he's a monster for trying to be loyal to it.
Tropes present in Bree:
- Arc Words: "This isn't personal."
- Always a Bigger Fish: Invoked. Bree is a powerful Mage herself, but she makes it clear that from what she can sense of the Princesses, they both are far stronger than she is, to the point it would be a Curb-Stomp Battle if they decided to stop her.
- Anti-Hero: From some viewpoints, Bree herself. An unrepentant killer who kills people after logically deducing that it would only benefit the world if they were dead — or, in other words, a textbook perfect Euthanatos.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Jake the Technocrat explains that he would never dream of interfering with magic in Equestria, since magic actually is natural for Equestrians the way the Technocracy insists it is unnatural in the OWoD, and furthermore magic is the only thing that allows the ponies of Equestria to keep their thin, fragile regions of civilisation alive.
- Irony: Amber Thistledown (a Verbena in Bree's home city) wants to know why she shouldn't just save so many lives to come by killing Bree right now — which comes within shouting distance of the Euthanatos Chodana itself. It doesn't get past Bree.
- Kirk Summation: Bree gives one to Jake, a member of the Technocracy, to explain her rejection of his suggestion that she abandon the Traditions and join the Technocracy.Bree: "Because in the perfect world of your superiors," she softly answered, "no one even dreams of magic — and so no one would ever dream of ponies..."
- Lie Detector: Bree can use her magic, coupled with her tablet, to make one. It can also tell if people are telling the truth.
- Parody Sue: Bree herself, as a tongue-in-cheek reference to how common this is amongst OWoD players and especially players of MtAsc. In-Universe, Bree herself regards her sue-ish aspects (most notably a distinctly improbable color scheme and absurdly big boobs) with embarrassment, and several other Mages taunt her about it, especially when they realise that she hasn't used magic to tweak her looks but actually does look this way naturally.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Bree and Jake both toss these at each other over their respective alignments.
- Self-Deprecation: Bree does it several times, at one point confessing that she finds it harder and harder to believe that her world doesn't deserve to die.
- Supernaturally Delicious and Nutritious: Pony blood suppresses Frenzy in Kindred. The problem is that not only are Ponies sentient, but the (recently discovered and closely held) Tremere ritual requires three human sacrifices to get to Equestria and a pony sacrifice to get back.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Jake claims he and the CDA have the same kind of goal, and if he could only trust them to trust him, he would happily build devices to help them in their goal of preventing invasions and eventually sealing their worlds off purposefully.
Tropes present in Melissa:
- Abusive Parents: One of the things Lyra and Melissa had in common. Melissa's parents were physically abusive, Lyra's were emotionally abusive when her Cutie Mark manifested and revealed she was a musician, not a banker like them. Lyra's parents were so bad that the Princesses essentially divorced Lyra from them. Melissa's parents ultimately set her on the path to becoming Screaming Mimi.
- Body Horror:
- Lyra finds the cyber-implants that give Melissa her special vocal powers horrifying; she touched them "once" and the thought of doing so again disgusts her.
- In contrast to her usual fanon portrayal, Lyra here thinks Melissa's human form is freakish, a nightmarish warping of aspects that should be familiar but aren't.
- It's mentioned that it took Melissa several years to stop waking up with screaming nightmares after finding out what happened to the unsuccessful subjects of the power-granting treatments she underwent. This is a reference to the old Power Broker storyline in the Marvel Universe, where half the subjects gained varying degrees of super-strength and damage resistance — and the other half lost any semblance of human shape.
- Lyra finds the cyber-implants that give Melissa her special vocal powers horrifying; she touched them "once" and the thought of doing so again disgusts her.
- Cassandra Truth: Melissa can't get any of the "big brain" type superheroes working to help solve Equestria's incursion crisis because almost none of them are willing to listen to her.
- Interspecies Friendship: The focus of the story is how Melissa and Lyra enjoy playing music together and being in each other's company.
- Reed Richards Is Useless: Justified Trope. Reed Richards, and many other heroes with Super-Intelligence, aren't willing to talk to Melissa about the matter due to her past as supervillain Screaming Mimi.
- Reformed, but Rejected: Melissa herself, which is why she can't try and enlist more superheroes to help Equestria.
Tropes present in Luna vs. The Law Machine:
- Adaptational Villainy: Beyond the specific Law Machine itself, which is explicitly called out as being broken, the Law Machines in the original setting aren't quite as bad as the ones presented here; there's no "cumulative voting for stricter laws" in the canon, so the Restrictors would not work even if they did exist.
- All Crimes Are Equal: It doesn't matter to a Law Machine whether the broken Law is murder, rape or casual littering — the punishment is always being made to disappear.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Things like murder and rape are at the top of a Law Machine's list of 36 Laws. At the bottom? Well, to put this in perspective, Casual Littering is the 24th of those 36 laws.
- Black-and-White Insanity: Although most Law Machines are actually reasonable, within the limits of their programming, this Law Machine is damaged and clearly going insane in regards to enacting its protocols.
- Cross Cultural Kerfuffle: Because Luna is from a society that believes Chaos Is Evil, when she first hears about the Freemovers and their constant attempt to keep ahead of the Law Machines, she immediately explodes in fury, accusing the Freemovers of being inherently evil and valuing murder, rape and other criminal acts over law and order. She is then sharply put in her place as Tess explains the Freemovers are Rule Abiding Rebels and, in fact, Order Is Not Good, thanks to the power of the Law Machines and the efforts of the Restrictors.
- Evil is Petty: Though they'd be aghast at being labelled as such, the Restrictors are the unholy lovechild of this and Moral Guardians; petty, small-minded, insufferable "standard upholders" who constantly trail from human colony to human colony in massive numbers, waiting for the colonists to agree to the Laws against murder and violence (and thusly impede their ability to defend against the Restrictors) before swarming in and vote-jockeying to enforce stricter and stricter laws. As Tess explains it, they're just waiting for the Freemovers to run out of possible colony worlds, so they can be assured that all of humanity is forced to live under their laws under penalty of death-or-worse.
- Oh, Crap!: Luna's reaction as Tess explains the true terror of the Law Machine and she starts envisioning the world that "the Loyal Opposition" might eventually create if it successfully adopts Equestria as its territory.
- Order Is Not Good: The story is dedicated to showing just how awful a truly lawful society can be.
- Rule-Abiding Rebel: The Freemovers, humans and human subspecies that constantly migrate from world to world to escape the Law Machines — more specifically, to escape the oppressive Restrictors, who immediately pounce on worlds where the big crimes have been outlawed and they can then enforce their "standards". Freemovers don't necessarily want anarchy, but they do object to the idea of living in a place where littering gets the death sentence.
Tropes present in Soul Survivor:
- After the End: With a side dose of And Then What? The bad guys won. The world is gone. Everything Bree did with her life in the name of stopping it was utterly pointless. What happens now?
- All Girls Like Ponies: From "Areté", referencing how unexpectedly easy it was to calm two sisters, since Luna is an Winged Unicorn:Luna: the female youths of your species seem to have a natural attraction towards us
- Alliterative Title: Soul Survivor
- Apocalypse How: The World of Darkness has been consumed in an unspecified cataclysm involving, among other causes, "a red star".
- Bullying a Dragon:
- Dr. House shows up and begins acting with his usual abrasive tastelessness to the shell-shocked Bree. including a very direct physical attempt to keep her in the hospital area. She responds by gripping his throat, buying herself enough time to complete the rote which would normally take her home — only to discover she's opened on a gate onto nothing.
- Joanna, a Holier Than Thou theocrat from some unidentified but very unpleasant theocratic location, makes her debut appearance to taunt Bree as a "spawn of Satan" who deserves to have died with her world. She's such an asshole that one of the New Cynosure pony guards openly tells Joanna that he'll turn a blind eye if Bree decides to kick the shit out of her. She's ultimately driven away when Laurie, one of Bree's few friends and a telekinetic, responds to Joanna proclaiming Bree should be stoned to death for being mixed-race by telekinetically pelting her with rocks until she flees in fear for her life.
- Bree herself invokes this when Crossing Guard gets on her nerves with what she perceives as false sympathy, pointing out that her particular magical powers are far stronger than his own. However, she has no intention of killing or even hurting him: she just feels she now knows enough about unicorn magic to attempt a direct counter.
- Cardboard Prison: Bree points out that with her level of entropy magic, she could pretty easily burn a hole through the shield and slip out. But aside from the dangers of the wild zone and the risk of the ponies hunting her down... where exactly would she go?
- Death Seeker: Develops slowly over the course of the story. Surviving her world's ending hasn't exactly left Bree in a good emotional place, and she keeps noticing opportunities for actions which might lead to her own demise. Ultimately, she winds up attempting Suicide by Cop with Jake as her intended killer, trying to make him believe he's in a fight for his life and has to kill her — but it doesn't work. She also directly tells the Diarchy that in the event of her losing sanity, they were her backup plan for killing her. They don't take it well.
- Deconstructed Character Archetype: Possibly breaks down Crossing Guard's status as a Noble Bigot with a Badge. When he approaches Bree (just before taking her to the camp) and offers her sympathy, she immediately calls him out on what she perceives as his lie: she declares that he's only sorry anyone survived. This gets him angry enough to ignite his horn — but no fight actually occurs: one tiny spark of visible entropy from Bree is enough to make him realize he's outmatched.
- And ultimately, we're looking at Bree's interpretation of his words: we don't know how he actually feels.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All three chapter titles are One Word Titles, start with A, and are Mage: The Ascension terminology: Areté: A mage's "power level". Avatar: The aspect of a mage's soul that lets them work magic. Awakening: The event when a mage forms their Avatar and becomes able to use magic.
- Irony: Bree managed to save two children from her world before she escaped... and they're both Changelings: a sibling pair consisting of a nocker (eight years old) and a bobcat pooka (four). So the total survivor count includes no normal humans.
- Last of His Kind: In "Awakening", Bree is called the "last mage".
- Mind over Matter: Laurie is a telekinetic: an ability used to pelt Joanna with stones, for being insulting.
- One-Word Title: All three of the chapter titles:
- Shout-Out: In Awakening: The 'fully-distracted Japanese youth, who'd been caught in the middle of an open argument with his right hand', is said by Word Of Fanfic Author to be Shinichi Izumi from Parasyte, and confirmed in Divine Intersection - True Believer, by being named as Shinichi and Migi.
- Sole Survivor: It's what Bree believed she and those she rescued were, for her world.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Mentioned in "Avatar", as a possibility with "life magics":[Bree]'d never really managed to advance in life magics, not beyond basic biometric readings, and that was the path which led to shapeshifting.
Tropes present in Divine Intersection:
- Corrupt Church: We don't know much about the "Holy Word" that Joanna belongs to, but what we have learned seems to paint it as a combination of all of the old shames of the Catholic Church combined and turned up several notches. It's patriarchal, racist, sexually oppressive, emotionally abusive, and generally strives to keep its population docile, ignorant and submissive. Stoning people to death and vicious beatings are mentioned as par for the course.
- Crystal Dragon Jesus: Subverted? The only things recognizably "Christian" about the Holy Word is that it contains several historical flaws and failings of the Catholic Church and exaggerates them. For example, the strict segregation between women and men stems from Christianity's ancient teachings that women are spiritually impure and inferior to men. The Fantastic Caste System? A combination of its support for feudalism as "divinely mandated" and "Canaanism", the historical justification for enslavement of the African race by claiming it was ordered by god. The negative view of sexuality needs no further discussion. Even The Reveal that the Holy Word is a strictly oral tradition is an exaggeration of the reality that in the medieval period, priests were actually forbidden from teaching literacy to peasants, to ensure they could not read the Bible for themselves.
- Fantastic Caste System: The "Holy Word" uses a combination of strict gender segregation of tasks with a race-based caste system, where one's skin color determines one's occupation. Joanna's own dark brown skin and curly hair marks her as a laborer, for example. This is one of the major reasons why she hates Bree; as a mixed race individual, Bree is as much a social maverick as a living blasphemy.
- Heroic Heelization Speech: Discussed. When Joanna meets Bree and calls her out as a demon, Bree casually pins Joanna down, puts her hand to her throat, and points out that if Bree really is a demon, there's no reason for her to not just squeeze.Bree: "Except that you're wrong. I know who I am. And when it comes to what you think, Joanna — I don't care. But if you want to keep arguing? Go ahead. Equestria has free speech: you keep using that for an excuse when someone tells you to shut up. You can argue all you like. Maybe you'll even find the words to convince me you've been right all along.
If you still feel that would be a good thing.
- Sex Is Evil, and I Am Horny: The Holy Word demonizes sexuality as sinful and impure.
- Shout-Out: The blue-haired girl first seen in Soul Survivor is named here as Miguni. And between her following Centurion (an earth pony stallion Guard) everywhere he goes, trying to take care of his problems, and using her control over magnetism to stay with what she keeps calling her Ashikabi, it's clear that New Cynosure has managed to pick up a Sekirei.
- Thought Crime: One of the reasons why Joanna is so screwed up? Is because the Holy Word has very strict tenets about "wrongthink", which are supposed to be confessed to and publicly punished.