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Fanfic / The Universiad

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The Universiad, a Spacebattler story (First thread, second thread, third thread, post index) is a collaborative Mega Crossover fanfic started and moderated by gideon020.

12,000 years ago, the members of the SpaceBattles Forum were thrown from 21st century Earth into a trans-universal wasteland known as the Broken Lands. Millennia of struggling to survive and sporadic internecine warfare followed between the now-immortals until they finally managed to put aside their differences and unite. Eventually, they managed to activate the massive Forerunner spacecraft they christened the Forum. During this time, they encountered the dark power of the Black Queen, a universally-displaced Celestia and Luna, as well as the eternally-warring Empires of Steel.

During their travels, they managed to find a Beacon, a means of accessing another universe. This one led to the Mass Effect universe. However, things Went Horribly Wrong. The First Incursion turned out to be a disaster due to the then-inexperience of the Forum, and the best they could manage was a fighting retreat with refugees from the Reaper invasion.

Millennia have passed. Many beacons have been found. Countless Incursions have been carried out and the Forum has grown from strength to strength in numbers and technology alike. Now, Applejack has been inexplicably humanized and thrown into their midst... but to what end? The last time an inhabitant of canon!Equestria fell into the hands of the Forum was a major turning point in the lives of all involved. Will it be the same here and how? Have the mysterious powers who threw them into their current life decided it's finally time for them to go home, or are their fates about to take a turn for the worse?

Main plotline on hiatus as of July 10, 2014.

This fanfic contains examples of the following:

  • Alien Space Bats: Though the Forum has hashed out no-touch agreements with a loose network of Random Omnipotent Beings (ROB), every now and then a rogue thinks he can play with a Member. "Dumped somewhere by ROB" thus still remains a plausible means of tossing someone unscheduled into another universe.
  • All There in the Manual: There are tonnes of tidbits of history, material and micro-snippets scattered across the threads, too small and disorganised to count as full sidestories in their own right, yet adding a bit here and there to readers' understanding of the characters, their past and the setting.
  • Alternate Universe: Other than the canonical universes, there are also tonnes of these.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: Despite the Forum's tech base being built on Forerunner tech, there are still bigger things out there. Some, like The Culture, are simply more powerful. Others, like Star Trek, Star Wars and Warhammer 40,000, have Outside Context Problems.
  • Anachronic Order: Though the main storyline is linear, there are any number of sidestories scattered throughout time.
  • And You Thought It Was a Game: During the First Incursion, a Forumite who still hadn't realised that it was Not a Game had the Forum's anthem changed to the Curbstomp Song. To put things bluntly, Hilarity Ensued.
  • Armchair Military: The failure of the First Incursion was in part due to these sorts "commanding" MILNET. Afterwards, GhanjRho had them deposed and replaced with properly able officers.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Forum has the ability to make Differently Powered Individuals, most of which are at least competitive with military-grade cyborgs and the high-end of which are at least a match for OSR-grade gear. It is however usually easier and more economical to just use cyborg augmentation, to say nothing of other possible unforeseen issues. Furthermore, even if the potential is there, an inexperienced and untrained meta may not be able to tap all of it from the get-go; take for example Shibosho, whose initial strength from superpower was actually inferior to his old milspec augs.
  • Boring, but Practical: For all the Forum's general high tech level, it generally prefers to stick to more tried-and-tested designs. Of course, when your tech level is sub-Forerunner, what appears boring to some people is awesome to others.
  • Colonel Badass: There are a few, with Gideon Zero-Two-Zero being only the biggest of the lot.
  • Contrived Coincidence: In ckk's Infinite Stratos sidestory, it had to be peculiarly bad luck that the very person asked to try sniff out the local OSR undercover operative just happened to be that very operative.
  • Death is Cheap: For a Forum Member at least, as they can respawn.
  • Death World: How bad are the Broken Lands? Dragons are among the weakest things one can expect there.
  • Don't Make Me Destroy You: In the Cleaner sidestory, the OSR tried to get a journalist to withhold his findings. It didn't end well for the guy.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The Cleaner sidestory - as in cleaning up loose ends, or being less messy than the alternatives? Yes.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Oh you'd best believe it. 12,000 years to accumulate issues, the first few lifetimes of which were spent without anything like formalised therapy or even proper civilisation, is a lot of fodder for almost all the Originals.
  • Eldritch Location: The Broken Lands. Just one of their features is a set of mountains that just never seem to get closer no matter how much or what one travels towards them in.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: Extensively played with; while the main plotline has Applejack being inducted into the elite of the elite that is OSR, some Originals are members of elite groups and others are not. In fact, at least one group, NAVCOMM's Close Air/Orbital Support Task Force, explicitly takes pride in being the regular joe schmoes who unglamorously play A-10 INSPACE.
  • Evil Luddite: The Equality Party, otherwise known as "Equalists", are a movement that seeks the banning of all augmentations. Given that augs are ubiquitous even among the civilians and are necessary to counter Forum-exclusive diseases, only a tiny number of diehards take them as anything more than an annoyance at best.
  • Forever War: The Empires of Steel have been in one since even before the Arrival of the Originals. The Forum has positioned itself as a neutral mediator and carved out a neutral zone, albeit one where both sides' spies are fully at work.
    "Zangarad is a place where lies flow like water, and the shadows have blades."
  • Four-Star Badass: There are a few.
  • Gambit Pileup: The First Incursion experienced one due to then-divided Forum forces having wildly differing agendas.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Invoked in the Cleaner sidestory, where Lilithium literally drives mad a native journalist who had dug too deep.
  • Have You Told Anyone Else?: Zig-zagged in the Cleaner sidestory. The native journalist thought he could avoid being dealt with by informing his editor and friends, only to learn that the OSR had already disposed of them.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall/No Fourth Wall: Due to the easy way the authors slide between referring to themselves the authors and "themselves" the characters, it can get hard at times to determine whether a statement is being made In-Universe or out.
  • My Greatest Failure: The Forum's failure during the First Incursion and the Black Queen War, which can't really be called anything nicer than a clusterfuck, have weighed on all the Originals these millennia.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The First Incursion was one of these. The Eternity, Forum and Infinity blew Reapers away with ease none of the Citadel races could manage... which caused the Reapers to panic and go all out. Things went downhill very fast afterwards.
  • Ontological Mystery: Underlying the whole plot. No one knows who or what plucked the Originals out of their comfy homes and threw them into the wider multiverse.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Despite being inferior in raw power to the Forum's Forerunner-derived tech base, Star Trek, Star Wars and Warhammer 40,000 have been declared off limits to subsequent Incursions due to the presence of Q, the Force and Chaos respectively.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Most of the starships in NAVCOMM's Tip of the Spear carry capital-plus firepower in subcapital frames. Also deconstructed, as cramming that firepower in means defence and redundancy is sacrificed.
  • Practical Currency: Bullets are the "coin" around The Forum, in the style of Metro 2033 (because they're an expendable resource, and The Forum is post-scarcity).
  • Required Secondary Powers: OSR augmentations are so powerful that Power Limiters are needed, with many careless operatives destroying themselves from careless use. Applejack provides a gory close look at it.
  • Scars are Forever: Though most scarring can be corrected by cosmetic surgery, Spirit Scars leave physical and emotional Achey Scars that only a deity-level entity can heal.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Done by Gladiusone to a taxi driver to get him to drive to a fight between Bane and Power Girl. He then hires the guy to be a permanent driver.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Something forced the Originals to flee from the Dockyards they had originally appeared in the Broken Lands in. A mysterious collective amnesia has developed about what the real cause was.
  • Serious Business: The Forum once got into a civil war over paper. How serious? It lasted 15 years and the Originals still pay remembrance by having annual 15-day long live-fire "reenactments". Although it is something of In-Universe debate whether the paper dispute was the actual reason, or merely the straw that broke the camel's back on centuries of stewing internecine hatreds the way the assassination of Franz Ferdinand kicked off World War I.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Done by Gideon020 against ckk185 when the latter tried to protest the OSR's actions during his Infinite Stratos trip.
  • State Sec: The Office of Special Resources, The Unfettered Token Evil Teammate who tick off most of the criteria on the list. They are outside and above the chain of command of the Forum's official military services. Their leader reports direct to the Moderators. As the name suggests, they have the final word on Forum resources. They have their own intelligence and R&D arms and their technology and training is far beyond all the rest, such that even an OSR "grunt" is superior to most other Forum special forces. Only their comparatively low numbers prevent any coup attempt from being a Curb-Stomp Battle, and even then heavy casualties are expected.
  • Super-Toughness: Hiigaran spacecraft became In-Universe Memetic Badasses after an infamous incident during the first contact snafu where their battlecruisers took only localised damage against Covenant plasma torpedoes and gave theoretically larger, more powerful Forum forces a run for their money.
  • Talk to the Fist: Done by Gladiusone against Bane.
    "I will break you as I did your -" ground out Bane, but I leapt up and snap-kicked my heel into his face in a kenpo move before he could finish the sentence.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: The Forum has made some most reluctant allies, the Time Lords among them. That's at the factional level, mind; individual members of any faction range from staunch personal friends (the Doctor himself comes to mind) to outright enemies and anything in between.
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: Whatever the source and true nature of the Forum's immortality is, it remains unknown for this reason. Metaphysically deity-level allies who attempted to glimpse it quickly scrubbed the knowledge from themselves, suggesting something truly sinister.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: In all the millennia of their wandering, the Forum has never been able to locate the universe they came from.