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Fanfic / The Strength in Weakness

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The Strength in Weakness is a Storm Hawks fanfiction by l OmegaInfinity l. Although the basis of the story is a Piper/Master Cyclonis Shipping story, it quickly expands the plot. Is currently the most popular Piper/Cyclonis pairing story on FanFiction.Net.

"Sometimes, to see the best in someone else, you have to see yourself at your weakest." After an ambush, Piper is taken prisoner by Cyclonia. Watch as what could have been the Atmos's darkest hour, becomes a tale of trust, friendship, betrayal, and even love.


The fic is currently Dormant, as the author is focusing on a RWBY fanfic called "Linked in Life and Love".

Tropes in The Strength In Weakness:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Despite having nothing but dislike for Cyclonis, Starling valiantly fails to hold back laughter when Cyclonis spooks Harrier into fainting.
  • All There in the Manual: This image shows Master Cyclonis in the outfit she borrowed from Piper.
  • A Match Made in Stockholm: The lead relationship has the overtones of this, though it is decidedly played for drama rather then comedy.
  • And Then What?: When Piper asks Master Cyclonis what she's going to do once she's united the terras under one banner, she can't seems to find an answer before she's interrupted. It's hinted that the person using Mind Control on her never gave her a goal beyond that.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • Piper says this word for word in her mental monologue when she wished for someone to rescue her, only to be captured by Snipe and the Dark Ace.
    • Cyclonia originally started the war in an attempt to try and unite the Terras. Now, most Terras are united, against Cyclonia.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Cyclonis stops trying to convince Piper to give up the information she wants willingly after she calls Cyclonis Lark, causing her to lapse into an almost murderous rage.
    • Starling's seems to be Cyclonis, especially at first, when she attacks Finn when he gets in the way after she sees Cyclonis on the Condor.
    • Aerrow's is implying that he doesn't care about the other Storm Hawks.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Cyclonis let's one out when Piper pushes her berserk button and calls her Lark early on.
  • Bill... Bill... Junk... Bill...: Clouds, Clouds, Clouds, Land, Clouds.
    "Wait, Land?"
  • Advertisement:
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Master Cyclonis, though it's wearing off.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Cyclonis' assessment of the Storm Hawks, deeming them a group of quantifiably insane individuals that somehow still work together perfectly. After meeting the Absolute Zeroes, she's considering applying that to Skyknights in general.
  • The Conspiracy: It’s implied that someone in Cyclonia sabotaged Master Cyclonis’s ship by putting Leech Crystals on one of the engines, and then tipped off the Murk Raiders to her whereabouts and paid them to attack her, and chapter 21 reveals that someone has been using enhanced Hypnosis Crystals to essentially Mind Control her for years.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: As Piper notes, Cyclonian war-tech is devoted to power at the cost of excluding everything else.
    • As Cyclonis notes, Finn. Kid's a savant with a ranged weapon, but put him in melee range, and he falls like a house of cards.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: The previous Masters of Cyclonia for Lark Cyclonis. They're both dead (Her father's flagship was lost to the Wastelands, and her grandmother was assassinated), but Lark Cyclonis has nothing but fond memories of them.
  • Disappeared Dad: Lark Cyclonis' father, a previous Master Cyclonis. Apparently his flagship fell into the wastelands near Terra Bogaton.
  • Downer Beginning: The story opens with Piper being dragged to Master Cyclonis’s tower after landing in Cyclonia, bound in chains, a flashback to how she was captured, and Cyclonis using a crystal she created to Mind Rape her and rip the secrets she needs to conquer the Atmos from Piper’s brain, and plans a massive attack.
  • Dramatic Irony: Aerrow makes a comment about the Lark incident in canon when Cyclonis boards the Condor, not knowing it's her.
  • Easily Forgiven: Zigzagged, given the circumstances. Piper is very forgiving of Cyclonis, mainly due to seeing into Cyclonis's mind and much later realizing that she's the victim of brainwashing, to say nothing of their mutual feelings for each other. Finn decides to trust Cyclonis because he completely trusts in Piper, and the two of them start acting like close friends. The rest of the Storm Hawks are similarly quick to accept her (although Aerrow takes a bit longer than most and Stork only calms down when he's made sure that mind worms weren't involved). Meanwhile, everyone else is far more skeptical and wary, putting up with her in hopes that her desire for peace is legitimate, rather than forgiving her or believing her to be remorseful.
  • Enemy Mine: The original Master Cyclonis began the original war to unite the warring Terras under a banner of peace and stability. Today, the Terras are united,against the empirical Cyclonia.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Master Cyclonis didn't just use the Mental-Absorption Crystal on Piper immediately, she tried to convince her to give up the information freely first, and seemed genuinely reluctant to do so. When she did use it on Piper, it was after Piper had apparently pushed her Berserk Button by calling her Lark.
    • When Cyclonis uses her Mental-Absorption Crystal on Piper a second time, as a brief demonstration of its Mind Rape capabilities when her generals questioned how she got her new knowledge, her generals are horrified and frightened, with even Dark Ace seeming disgusted. Repton goes so far as calling Cyclonis a witch for the action.
    • When Ravess found out that Master Cyclonis had been using Talons as test subjects for the Crystal, putting three in the hospital in the process of perfecting it (though Cyclonis planned to help them when the Crystal was finished, which she did), she burst into Cyclonis's lab and punched her, called her out for using her loyal soldiers like that, and volunteered to be a test subject for it to keep it from happening again.
  • Eye Color Change: Master Cyclonis's eyes keep shifting colors throughout the story. The colors seem to correlate with The level of Mind Control that Cyclonis is under. Pink is Zero, Purple is subtle control, dark purple/black is heavy control, and Red is direct interference.
  • Fainting: Characters fainting becomes a Running Gag.
  • Foregone Conclusion: We know from the start that any attempt by the Storm Hawks to rescue Piper before she gets to Cyclonia will fail.
  • Forever War: The war with Cyclonia has lasted around 100 years. The Conspiracy seems to want to keep it going with no real victor.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Harrier is solidly established as this.
  • The Gadfly: Cyclonis, of all people when she isn't Brainwashed and Crazy. Most of the humour in the later chapters comes from her gleefully messing with just about everyone around her.
  • Gayngst: Shows up a few times, and not just with the main pairing.
    • There are some same-sex couples in Cyclonia, but some there do not approve of them, and have petitioned Cyclonis to outlaw them. Cyclonis fears that when her feelings for Piper get out a number of citizens will leave.
    • Dove has some anxiety about her feelings for Starling as well.
    • One of the Absolute Zeros is in a relationship with a girl from Tropica, and she was afraid to tell her leader at first.
  • Good Costume Switch: Cyclonis borrows one of Piper's outfits after they reach the Condor again (as seen here).
  • Gone Horribly Right: Cyclonia originally started the war in order to unite the various terras, which were all warring with each other. It worked, only the terras all ended up united against Cyclonia instead of with it.
  • Guilt by Association: A major part of Starling's hatred for Cyclonis stems from the death of her squad. At the hands of Repton and the Raptors. Who currently work for Cyclonis.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Whoever has been using Mind Control on Master Cyclonis has been keeping her from making good on her decision to end the war peacefully.
  • Hope Spot: Piper gets one when Aerrow tries to rescue her, only to get hit with a fire blast by Dark Ace, and Piper is forced to tell her team to flee in order to keep them from being shot down.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Finn tries to pull this one on Cyclonis. Key word being "tries" as he realizes halfway through that Cyclonis is way out of his weight class.
  • In Medias Res: The story begins with Piper being captured by Cyclonia, and much of the next chapter focuses on how it happened.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Chapter 30 has Dove and Starling accidentally walk in on Piper and Cyclonis making out.
    • Finn walking in on Piper and an un-cloaked Cyclonis making out.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Harrier might be a belligerent ass-hat, but he makes a good argument that Piper having a relationship with Cyclonis makes her credibility about the latter's Heel–Face Turn questionable. Subverted when Blister makes the equally good argument that Piper a) has formulated plans that have near-single-handedly saved their butts, and b) is smart enough to make good judgement calls.
  • Last-Name Basis: Cyclonis is Master Cyclonis's last name, and she prefers to go by that instead of her first name, Lark.
  • Leeroy Jenkins:
    • Piper rushing in towards a group of crystals which turned out to be a trap. She even lampshades it after the fact, saying that it would be something more like what Finn would do.
    • Aerrow calls Starling out for jumping the gun and attacking Cyclonis aboard the Condor without getting the full picture, injuring Finn in the process. Starling retorts that he failed to mention that their VIP was Master Cyclonis.
  • Living Lie Detector: Radarr, Aerrow actually saying the trope word for word when explaining why he trusted Master Cyclonis enough to bring her to Atmosia.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: So far, Dove has kept her grandfather entirely in the dark about Piper's visit, etc.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Someone sabotaged the Cyclonian warships and interfered with the invasion, as well as tipping off Murk Raiders to the location of Cyclonis' flag ship, and possibly killing Master Cyclonis' grandmother. The same person is supposedly the one who brainwashed Cyclonis and turned her into the despot she is.
  • Mighty Glacier: Switchblades are built for firepower, and lack speed and maneuverability.
  • Mind Rape: The Mental-Absorption Crystal that Cyclonis invented allows her to forcefully rip Piper’s knowledge of the weaknesses of the Terras and the different Sky Knight squadrons out of her head, but causes intense pain to Piper. She even feels “violated” afterwards (though apparently it wasn't very pleasant for Cyclonis either).
    • Master Cyclonis put three Talons in the hospital trying to perfect the Crystal, with Ravess volunteering to go through the process instead.
    • Ironically, someone has been using Mind Control on Master Cyclonis for years, causing her great mental pain when buried memories try to surface.
  • Missing Mom: Cyclonis' mother is never mentioned, but is implied to be the woman behind the scenes.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Cyclonis is horrified when she realizes that the Oblivion Crystal scarred Piper.
  • Motive Decay: The original master Cyclonis tried to unite the Terras, which were trapped in perpetual war. Nowadays... not so much.
  • Nightmare Fuel: In universe, Cyclonis, at a young age, stumbled upon the assassinated corpse of her grandmother... while the assassin was still in the room. She might even have witnessed the assassination!
  • No OSHA Compliance: Piper mentally lampshades how Cyclonian Skimmers, battleships and weapons seem to be designed with only power in mind, with nothing else, speed, accuracy, even safety, considered. The difference between the regular and "Elite" skimmers seem to be the fact that they can last more than a couple fights without giving out.
  • Not So Different:
    • One of the things that first drew Cyclonis to Piper (besides their shared intelligence and knowledge of Crystals) is the fact that They've both lost family in the war.
    • Cyclonis bonds with Dove over their mutual Gayngst.
  • Nothing Personal: The Murk Raiders. Apparently they were paid to attack Cyclonis' flagship.
  • Oblivious to Love:
    • It took a while for Piper to realize that Cyclonis had feelings for her.
    • Starling seems oblivious to Dove's feelings towards her as well.
  • Only One Name: Because of the war, the use of last names has gone out of fashion. Master Cyclonis’s family actually kept theirs though, and as it turns, Lark is actually her real first name.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Murk Raiders. No one, Cyclonis or otherwise, saw their interference coming.
    • An even better example is the one who set them up to attack the flagship and brainwashed Cyclonis.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Lampshaded by Cyclonis when she points out that the only disguise she used when giving the Storm Hawks the container booby-trapped with Aggrospores was a cloak, and some vocal distortion.
  • Paranoia Fuel: In universe, Cyclonis realizes that whoever was brainwashing her was someone close to her, meaning she can't trust anyone in Cyclonia until they find out who's behind it.
  • Power Copying: Master Cyclonis got Piper's skill with strategy in addition to her information on the defenses of the various terras.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Most Cyclonian Talons are these, genuinely believing that they are working towards the unification of the Terra's. Whether or not this extends to the Talon generals is unknown.
  • Quality Vs Quantity: When explaining to the Storm Hawks why she's trying to get Cyclonia to surrender to Atmosia, Cyclonis describes the war as this: 100 specially trained Sky Knights, broken into 20 squadrons, versus twenty-thousand mass-produced Talons. As she puts it, "This has become a war of quality vs. quantity. And quality won."
  • Real Name as an Alias: As it turns out, Lark is actually Master Cyclonis’s real first name, though she prefers to go by Cyclonis, and besides when she was in disguise, only her father, grandmother and a third person who’s been erased from her memory ever used it.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Cyclonis experiences not so random and sudden changes in eye color, with one of the options being dark red. Not unlike the Dark Ace's eyes.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Cyclonis helping Piper get over her Gayngst by planting a Forceful Kiss on her. She even mentally admits that it's insane and would mess everything up if it didn't work... but it did.
  • Rewatch Bonus: On a second reading with knowledge of the plot, you may notice numerous unsubtle hints that suggest Dark Ace is the one mind-controlling Cyclonis. Note all the snippets in the early story where Cyclonis's expression changes to mirror that of the Dark Ace, or her sudden mood swings when he enters the picture, for instance.
  • Right Behind Me: Yes Finn, Cyclonis is in fact right behind you.
  • Running Gag: Fainting.
    • Piper faints when she gets Cyclonis to admit that she has feelings for her.
    • Dove faints when she learns Piper and Cyclonis are together.
    • Finn faints when he walks in a decloaked Cyclonis and Piper kissing. Piper lampshades it that time.
    • Harrier faints when he sees that the Storm Hawks brought Cyclonis to Atmosia.
  • Secret Keeper: It only lasts a couple of chapters, but Finn keeps the fact that Cyclonis is on the Condor again secret until she and Piper are ready to tell the others.
  • Sleep Cute: Cyclonis on Terra Amazonia, especially during her nightmares, needs this.
  • Stockholm/Lima Syndrome: The main relationship has overtones of this, due to the fact it began with cruel Mind Rape, evolved into more passive memory sharing, and ended with declarations of love.
    • To be fair though, the situation's kidnapper, Cyclonis, was probably mind-controlled during the events and thus had little agency in her evil acts. Interestingly, it's implied that Cyclonis ended up overcoming her brainwashing because she mind-raped Piper, which further distances her from moral indictment.
  • Talking to Themself: At one point Cyclonis has a mental debate with herself. After it's over, she lampshades how odd it probably is and decides she should see a shrink about it sometime in the future.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Master Cyclonis originally expected the Storm Hawks to be a case of this, based off her own experiences with Snipe, Ravess, etc.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: There are hints in chapter 30 that Starling has this attitude towards Cyclonis.
  • The Power of Love: Implide to be the reason Cyclonis was able to reform herself. Her attraction to Piper helped her break the Mind Control she was under.
  • There Was a Door: Both Piper and Lark get annoyed and complain that they should have knocked when Starling and Dove walk in on them making out.
    • Earlier, when Finn walks in on Piper making out with an un-cloaked Cyclonis, which both of them lampshade whilst waiting for him to wake up from his fainting spell.
  • Un-person: At least one person has been edited out of Master Cyclonis's memories.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The first Master Cyclonis originally started the war to try and unite an Atmos divided between numerous factions. It worked... but has trapped Cyclonia and the Atmos in a Forever War driven by hate and extremism by the former.
  • Wrench Wench: Ravess apparently became this, working tirelessly to keep a single Talon Switchblade Elite operational well past the warranty's expiration.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 21 confirms hints from a few chapters earlier and reveals that someone has using Hypnosis Crystals to basically Mind Control Master Cyclonis for years.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: No one seems to have noticed the massive invasion force of Cyclonians. Of fifteen, only three warships actually attacked their targets, with the rest vanishing completely. The only mentions are to Snipe's attack failing and getting him captured, and Ravess who apparently tried to answer the distress signal that Cyclonis' flagship sent out.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Aerrow calls Starling out for attacking Cyclonis unprovoked (after he had explained that there was a VIP on board, and that it was a complicated situation), and injuring Finn when he got in the way.
  • Written by the Winners: An Atmosian history book Cyclonis finds mentions an Atmosian/Cyclonian battle that ended in the latter's favor due to a 'freak storm', which Cyclonis attributes to her grandmother's abilities.

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