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Fanfic / With Apologies to Harlan Ellison

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A Darker and Edgier reimagining (or perhaps Deconstruction) of the Team Fortress 2 universe by Cat Bountry, in which the old Administrator is replaced by an insane AI and things just get worse from there in the style of I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison (hence the story title).

Read it here.

MASSIVE spoilers ahead. Beware.

With Apologies To Harlan Ellison provides examples of:

  • And I Must Scream: Inverted, despite being a tribute to the trope namer. The last thing Engineer does is open his mouth and scream.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Engineer kills all of his teammates in order to spare them from the Administrator's torments. Lampshaded by Demoman:
    Demoman: Ye come tae kill me too, eh?
    Engineer: You gonna make this hard?
    Demoman: At least ye weren't lonely before. I should a' suspected it was you who would snap. Ne'er trust th' nice ones.
  • Body Horror: In so many horrible ways. Especially Pyrobeast and TwistySpy.
  • Buxom Is Better: No it most certainly is NOT for Pyro, after she's been turned into a woman. Her breasts are described as being so huge and swollen that she needs to carry them in her arms.
  • Cute Mute: The Scout, due to the Administrator ripping out his tongue.
  • Companion Cube: Soldier's shovel.
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  • Expy: The Administrator is very similar to GLaDOS, only much more malicious and less comedic.
  • Fan Disservice: Pyro's genderbent form seems to invoke this—a naked, buxom woman sounds nice on paper...except Pyro's features are horrifyingly exaggerated, with her massive breasts too heavy for her to even stand up properly and skinny legs that can't even support her weight. On top of that, she's still wearing that gas mask. With how much of a sadist the Announcer is, it's clear that she did this to her on purpose.
  • Gender Bender: Pyro is twisted into a horrific caricature of a woman.
  • Harmless Electrocution: Averted. Soldier is killed when he uses Shovel to yank out one of the Administrator's cables and is fried to death.
  • Head-Turning Beauty: Inverted. Pyro is transformed into a horribly exaggerated caricature of a woman, causing reactions of disgust rather than attraction from most of the team.
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  • Heroic BSoD: Well, everybody, but the Sniper in particular has more or less given up on doing anything except laying there.
  • Jerkass: The Spy. It's really difficult to sympathize with his predicament when he shows little to no sympathy for the others himself.
    He hates us. Whenever Medic is crying over whatever torment he has had to endure, you can hear Spy laughing. And when he's not laughing, he's screaming.
  • Killed Off for Real: The entire RED team except for Engineer.
  • Like a Son to Me: Engineer sadly thinks to himself that he loved Scout like a son right after Mercy Killing him with Shovel.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Heavy and Medic to each other.
  • Meta Twist: If you've read the original, you'll be expecting the story to follow the same groove. But unlike AM, the AI Administrator is lying about nuking the world, and the Engineer discovers a perfectly lively town nearby. Even the famous ending line is twisted: "I open my mouth. And I scream."
  • Mercy Kill: Inverted. Despite Engineer's apparent intentions, the way he kills his team-mates is less than merciful. Not to mention how it was all in vain anyway.
  • Neck Snap: How Engineer kills Pyro.
  • Off with His Head!: Spy's and Scout's deaths, courtesy of Shovel and Engineer.
  • Painful Transformation: Spy. And HOW. Pyro's later transformation is also implied to be quite painful.
  • Perpetually Protean: Apparently despising Spy worst of all, the Administrator inflicts the worst fate on him by making him into a real shapeshifter: not only is he perpetually transforming and unable to control it, but the constant process of growing, shrinking, expanding, contracting, melting and morphing causes him agonizing pain - to the point that he avoids walking because his legs break and reset with every step. Also, making eye contact with him is extremely difficult, for not only is his face changing constantly into everything from Richard Nixon to Frank Sinatra, but his eyes are described as "runny."
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Discussed by Engineer when the Administrator offers the team a woman to "pass on their genetic material".
    I feel sick all over again. The rancid meat in my stomach probably plays a factor in this. I may have been trapped here for more than a century but the thought of possibly raping a lady is still abhorrent to me. Especially if she's been tortured just like we have. Can I trust these men, my fellow prisoners, to feel the same way?
  • Sanity Slippage: After 112 years of being tortured by the Administrator, Soldier completely loses it, forgetting how to speak English and talking in gibberish to Shovel.
  • The Power of Hate: The only thing that has kept Demoman alive all these years, geared toward the Administrator.
  • The Power of Love: Engineer muses on this with Heavy and Medic as he kills them.
    I look over both of them, and I feel saddened. In a place where hate was so prevalent, where it ruled over every aspect of our lives, they were the last two people on earth who remembered how to love.
  • Tongue Trauma: Poor Scout got his tongue ripped out by the Announcer.
  • Twist Ending: The Administrator never fired those nukes.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's never made clear what happened to the old Announcer. All that is known is that she made the AI to "do her job for her", so it can be assumed that she was out of the picture long before the AI went rogue.