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Thine own sin have blighted thine heart
Damnedest flame to you I impart
Thou pleads an' begs, but the Lord's head turns
Writhin' and writhin', the Lord still spurns
From Heaven's Door

From Heaven's Door is a thriller web novel written by Scraggle, and the first installment in The Heaven Cycle. It can be read on FictionPress and is preceded chronologically by Before Heaven and followed directly by The Touch of Heaven.

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A mute amnesiac who later comes under the name of "Tango" wakes up in a dilapidated room with a few mostly useless items and with not a clue of who they are and where they are. Breaking out of the room and finding another amnesiac who calls themselves "Mint," the two find out the facility they've been locked in a multi-floor facility called Paradise, which is separated into various rooms each differing from the other and is teeming with creatures called Suits. As Tango and Mint work to break out of the facility and meet up with other runaways, they quickly learn the entire situation's been set up by an organization called Red Clover, a group of amoral researchers who's experiments intend to open up a portal to another world called "Heaven" - the results of which will be catastrophic.


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The work contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: Subverted. Charles and Tara are made out to be monsters who used their own daughter as an unwilling subject in the P.A.R.A.D.I.S.E. program, but it turns out Charles was forced into that choice by circumstance and Tara outright abandoned the project after that choice went too far.
  • A God Am I: Chayne and Ash's intent is to use the energies of Heaven and become gods. Something like this happens to Chayne and Mint after they both fall into Heaven, and while Mint denies their power as being godly, Chayne outright proclaims herself as a deity and intends to directly destroy humanity with her power. Ultimately, the delusion's shattered when Mint points out the emotions Chayne's ruled as imperfect and the grief over her daughter is still in her.
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  • Ambiguous Gender: Half of the characters are completely androgynous and their genders unknown until their files are read. This is an early clue that Red Clover utilized amnesia-inducing neurochips on the applicants before putting them into Paradise.
  • And I Must Scream: What happens to Ash. His mind is ultimately sucked into Heaven as a result of continued use of Heaven's energies as stimulative drugs, leaving his physical body a vegetable and trapping his mind in Heaven for the rest of foreseeable time in a state of eternal agony.
  • Archnemesis Dad: A tragic example with Charles to Jenny/Tango. Charles truly does love Tango and doted on them, but when it turned out Tango was in fact immune to the Phantom, Charles was pressured into using them in the P.A.R.A.D.I.S.E. program, where he was ultimately forced to cover up his own daughter's rape in the name of finding a cure to the Phantom and sent them out to die in the simulation. This caused Tara to leave him in disgust and for Charles to completely give up on the project. Although Tango ultimately comes to stop hating him for what he did, Tango refuses to acknowledge them as their father from then on and refuses to have their memories given back so they can part from their father as a stranger rather than his daughter. Ultimately, Tango parts on relatively peaceful terms with him and it turns out Ash is a better candidate for "arch-nemesis."
  • Arc Words: “Phantom, yard, seven,” which refers to, in order, the Phantom virus, the Courtyard, and Tango's designation as an applicant. There's also “salvation,” “purify yourself,” and, in the second half of the story, “you're worth it to me.”
  • Ax-Crazy: Ash is a barely-functioning psychopath who's at his happiest whenever he gets a chance to hurt someone and is completely willing to wipe out all life because he think everyone else takes up room in his life.
  • Big Bad: The Director, the one running Red Clover and the one responsible for running the P.A.R.A.D.I.S.E. program as a whole. Ultimately, it turns out the Director's long given up on the project and Chayne, his Dragon-in-Chief and eventual Dragon Ascendant, is responsible for most of the story's conflict.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Mint wears contacts and later glasses to help with their vision, and has trouble seeing without them (although they do state at one point that “I'm not blind" - whilst blindly trying to find their glasses). They involuntarily lose them for good near the end of the story, and while they're not severely inhibited, they're unable to see Jilton's indication that she was pulling a Reverse Mole and end up thinking the betrayal is sincere for a while.
  • Body Double: Chayne utilizes one of these, explained as a woman she'd paid a million dollars and promptly erased the identity of. The body double ends up killed by Jilton.
  • The Brute: Ash, one of the other executives and the member who's responsible for directly antagonizing the runaways the most. Becomes The Dragon once Chayne takes up the role of Big Bad, although their relationship hinges somewhat on a Big Bad Duumvirate.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: The tone of the story is all over the place, ranging from lighthearted dialogue between the characters and plenty of cheeky, sarcastic narration from Tango, to the horrific reveal of things like the cosmic horror lurking in Heaven, Ash's torture and rape of Tango, and the depressing story of Director Charles. Thankfully, the story ultimately ends on a happy note.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Chayne Summers, the preparation supervisor, is mentioned in passing in the middle of the story a few times in Harlow's files long before being seen. She turns out to be the Big Bad.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Ash plans to do this to Tango by spilling hydrochloric acid all over their face in retribution for them taking out his eye. Before the plot, Ash did manage to successfully torture Tango when they were still Jen in a horrific manner, raping her before mangling and flaying her right arm to a point where it was rendered literally unusable.
  • Companion Cube: Tango ends up particularly attached to a cut-out of Toucan Sam as well as a key they dub the “Key of Utmost Convenience.”
  • Cosmic Horror Reveal: What begins as a fairly run-of-the-mill “escape the mysterious place” story quickly falls more into the line of an H. P. Lovecraft story once the Mad Rooms are introduced and subsequently the existence of Heaven.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: There exists another world entirely on the far edge of space who's energies have leaked onto Earth and manifested as an incurable virus which has driven humanity into opening portals in reality for the purpose of trying to find a cure from the source itself, inadvertently coming close to unleashing an incomprehensible, god-like abomination into the world, the result of which will twist the universe into an eldritch world and destroy all humanity. Simply being near the energies of Heaven is enough to drive the main character to near insanity - and, in Ash's case, to full mindlessness once he tries using Heaven's energies as drugs - and another character comes just shy of the Despair Event Horizon after looking directly into Heaven. By the end of the story, though, this is downplayed, as the themes of human insignificance are vastly downplayed to construct a message of Humans Are Flawed. Ultimately, the apocalypse is completely - if narrowly - averted and humanity gets to live another day, albeit with the Eldritch Abomination still unstopped and humanity still affected by the Phantom virus, leading the final result to be more along the lines of Lovecraft Lite.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Tango and Darby are especially sarcastic, the former of both the first-person and silent variety. Surprisingly, Mint gets somewhat sarcastic when in the presence of Jilton.
  • Disabled Snarker: Tango, again, specifically of the silent version.
  • Disney Death: Darby and Lavender are thought to have been killed shortly before Tango and Mint reach the Director. Although Darby's shot, both are just chucked back into Paradise by Chayne and each ultimately lives to the end of the story.
  • The Dragon:
    • Chayne is this to the Director. Chayne backstabs him in the end.
    • Ash himself serves as this to Chayne. Once Chayne backstabs the Director, their relationship becomes closer to that of a Big Bad Duumvirate, as Ash and Chayne are treated as equal threats in the story's standing and Chayne treats Ash as more of a equal than a henchman. However, it's made clear Chayne's still pulling the shots and she's the final threat to be faced.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Chayne serves as this to the Director, being personally responsible for almost everything that happens during the preparation phase of the P.A.R.A.D.I.S.E. program and giving Ash direct orders. Ultimately, the Director turns out to be little more than a dying, remorseful old man who's given up on the project, and shortly after this is revealed Chayne swipes the position of Big Bad for herself to open the portal to Heaven without him.
  • Dropped Glasses: Happens a few times to Mint after they exchange their contacts for spectacles. Jilton and Mint later deliberately invoke this to draw Ash into a vulnerable position, which Mint compounds with a well-deserved Groin Attack.
  • Dumb Struck: Tango lost their voice as a result of Ash's assault on them in the backstory. Unlike most instances of this trope, they never regain it (although they're capable of talking normally in Heaven, as well as with the use of a communicator).
  • Early-Bird Cameo: When Tango first enters a Mad Room, they see a vaguely-described Eldritch Abomination described as a "half-formed thought" attempting to gain physical form but utterly failing. This turns out to be a pitch-perfect description of the Never-becoming, who aren't named or properly introduced until the next story.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The protagonists go through a lot of crap to stop the program and come close to losing hope multiple times. Ultimately, though, the program is collapsed, Ash and Chayne are stopped, and a potential cure to the Phantom is found due to the protagonists' efforts, leaving the runaways to sail out free to an uncertain - but hopeful - future.
  • Eldritch Abomination: “God,” an immensely powerful, non-corporeal thing lurking in Heaven described as “an eraser mark in the book of space and time.” It wants to get inside the human world, the result of which would destroy all humanity and allow Heaven to spill into Earth, which wouldn't be pretty.
  • Eldritch Location:
    • “Heaven” fits this description in spades. It's another world that operates on vastly different principles to ours - described at one point as "six-dimensional space" and being comprised purely of non-corporal energies and non-Euclidean shapes - is mainly described in bizarre, oblique terms, is host to a colossal Eldritch Abomination capable of destroying humanity, and leaks energies through weak spots in reality that are capable of finding their way onto Earth from trillions of light-years away and manifesting as an incurable virus. Even better is that people are actually capable of connecting their minds to Heaven by coming into contact with weak spots in reality and having Heaven crack their minds. The same energies manifesting as the Phantom are able to be used as drugs by people to experience otherworldly stimulation, the use of which will eventually shatter the person's mind and suck their mind into Heaven. Finally, Heaven's energies bleed into reality itself, creating lovely things like the Mad Rooms – detailed below – and destroying all of humanity and shaping the universe into something akin to one giant Mad Room if Heaven is ever allowed to spill into Earth.
    • Paradise slowly starts turning into one of these the longer Heaven's energies affect it, subtly defying physics (three inches can exist in a place where only two could previously), changing around the layout at random, and portions of it simply collapsing into weak spots in reality known as Mad Rooms, which are nightmarish rooms that violate the senses, drive people to madness with prolonged exposure, and are inhabited only by formless things that exist through pain alone. The closer the Boundary gets to breaking, the more Paradise starts to completely change on itself and the Red Clover nest itself ends up affected, with portions of physical reality having collapsed into weak parts in reality and most of the staff completely gone for reasons unexplained.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Both Mint and Chayne, otherwise two completely normal humans, gain god-like powers for the climax after falling into Heaven. Mint manages to use these powers to directly destroy Chayne after pointing out her own philosophies are flawed.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Harlow Grave, a stoic, delusional mad scientist who doesn't bat an eye at Red Clover manipulating, drugging, and killing one-hundred applicants from around the world for the purpose of an experiment that could potentially doom the world, is horrified when Ash rapes and tortures Tango, and even more disgusted when the Director and Chayne cover it up.
  • Everybody Lives: Ultimately, the only major named characters to explicitly bite the dust are Harlow, a minor, one-scene character, and Chayne, who's the Big Bad and thus having earned a Karmic Death. Everyone else lives and the main characters get a decidedly happy ending.
  • The Evil Genius: Harlow Grave, a mad scientist implied to be fairly high in Red Clover's ranking and the one responsible for cataloging many of the notes that explain the plot.
  • Eye Scream: Two instances. Darby's eye ends up cut out shortly before he meets Tango and Mint, and Tango manages to cut out Ash's the second time they bump into him.
  • Freudian Excuse: Chayne is motivated to her omnicidal extremes by the death of her daughter, who was infected with the Phantom and shortly after lynched by Chayne's own former friends in a fit of paranoia and fear. The result drove Chayne to despair and ultimately misanthropy, convincing her the world was violent and humanity was a violent species that needed to be wiped out and replaced with something less “imperfect.” Even after essentially becoming a god, Mint points out Chayne's still buried down that grief within her.
  • First-Person Smartass: Tango's mute, but they deliver a crapton of snark through the first-person narrative.
  • Five-Man Band: The runaways have formed this by the end of the story:
    • The Hero: Tango, the most important character of the story.
    • The Lancer: Mint, The Heart and the best friend of Tango.
    • The Big Guy: Darby, the most physical of the group and the only male.
    • The Smart Guy: Jilton, the most quick-witted of the group and the fastest with a plan.
    • The Chick: Lavender, the Team Mom and the most level-headed of the group.
    • Sixth Ranger: Charles, who ultimately gives up on the project to personally take the runaways out of Paradise.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Mint, early in the story, jokingly remarks that “Heaven's the last thing we'll find here.” This turns out to be very much not the case – although “Heaven” is decidedly different than was expecting.
    • A recurring memory of Tango's is that of a woman they dub "cow-milk lady," who at one point is described as "motherly." Turns out this woman is Tara Waits, Tango's mother, the Director's wife, and the vice president of Red Clover.
    • Jilton drops a few hints that they're pulling a Reverse Mole to stop Chayne, stating that she doesn't want to be a “villain” and that she was playing for the “right side” the whole time – without directly specifying which is the “right” side.
  • The Ghost:
    • Arno Conde/#37, one of the applicants, is repeatedly mentioned to have survived the majority of the simulation and is read about in one of Harlow's files, but never makes it onscreen. The same applies to the other unseen surviving applicant, Ken Rokuru/#65.
    • Despite being the vice president of Red Clover, Tango's mother, and the Big Good, Tara never makes any direct appearance in the plot.
  • God Is Flawed: Chayne posits this philosophy as means of justifying her omnicidal misanthrophy, stating that an "imperfect god made an imperfect race in his image" and humanity has come out as disastrously violent because of this. Chayne vows not to be like this interpretation of God when she recreates humanity.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: The ultimate fate of Ash from abusing the energies of Heaven. This nearly happens to Mint as well.
  • Greater-Scope Villain:
    • ”God,” the immensely powerful Eldritch Abomination residing within Heaven that has the potential to destroy the world. Although it wants into Earth, it's largely unconcerned with the plot proper and only obliquely described.
    • Subverted with Paradise Association, the parent company of Red Clover. While they're initially made out to be as amoral as Red Clover, given tha they authorized the project and pressured Charles into using his own daughter – the only immune to the Phantom virus – in the test, they remain completely unaware and uninvolved of the worst things done in the program. Ultimately, they and Tara become the closest thing the story has to a Big Good.
  • Handicapped Badass: Tango manages to get as far as they do with a single arm and no voice. Mint and Darby similarly apply, as the former is a Heroic Albino and the latter only has one eye. Both manage to confront things like Red Clover and the Suits and live to tell the tale.
  • The Hedonist: Ash is a dark example of this. In his quest for stimulation - the only thing that matters to him - Ash is willing to destroy his own mind with Heaven's energies simply because it's a sensation no other person has felt before.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Ultimately, the Director has a change of heart after giving up on the project and gets everyone out of Paradise on a boat to devise a proper cure to the Phantom at the very end of the story.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Jilton goes from the side of Red Clover, to Tango and later Mint, then to Chayne and Ash, then finally back to the runaways as the story runs its course.
  • Heroic Albino: Mint suffers from albinism and is likely the single most pure-hearted character in the story.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Tango experiences a particularly bad one after learning Ash raped and tortured them, causing them to break down and fall unconscious for five straight days.
    • Mint goes on the borderline of breaking down and almost completely gives up after looking into Heaven directly. Thankfully, Jilton manages to raise their spirits.
  • Humanoid Abomination: The Suits, masked, scissor-wielding things that chase Tango and Mint whenever they come across them. They're later revealed to be things created from the energies of Heaven itself and made into physical holograms.
  • Humans Are Flawed: The story's ultimate message. While it's acknowledged Chayne may have a point that some humans are utterly terrible and humanity as a whole is far from perfect, they are fundamentally good at heart and should come to peace with their flaws rather than attempt to ignore them like Chayne.
  • Identity Amnesia: What all the people who wake up in Paradise suffer from. This is due to neurochips implanted in their brains by Red Clover blocking out certain memories.
  • The Immune: For reasons unexplained, Tango is the only person immune to the effects of the Phantom virus (and thus, the energies of Heaven entirely). This is what prompts their father to use them in the experiment, and ends up desperate enough that they cover up their rape/torture by Ash to use them in the simulation anyways.
  • Informed Attribute: Ash is reputed by Harlow to be a genius neurosurgeon and a valuable asset to Red Clover even in spite of his crueler qualities. What we see on page is a barely-functioning psychopath who's not even close to that description.
  • In Their Own Image: Chayne's ultimate goal is to use Heaven's energies to become a god and recreate mankind more to her own liking.
  • Jerkass: Alongside being a disgusting murderer, rapist, and an aspiring Omnicidal Maniac, Ash is an utterly callous excuse for a human being who wastes no time in being as much of a dick to anyone who's not currently benefiting him.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Although the tone of the story is often fairly lighthearted and witty, whenever Ash or Chayne appear, the comedy stops. This is taken even further with the existence of Heaven, which shifts the genre of the story to borderline Surreal Horror whenever it and the things within appear.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Enforced by Red Clover. Everyone wakes up without any memories in Paradise because Red Clover implanted neurochips into their brains, suppressing their individuality in the process.
  • Lovecraft Lite: Although the resident Eldritch Abomination is still very much an incomprehensible, undefeatable nightmare capable of destroying mankind through its sheer presence and the apocalypse is just barely averted, the main cast clings onto hope and ultimately manage to Earn Their Happy Ending, and Mint retains their sanity even after having their mind cracked by Heaven.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: The Director is Tango's father.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: The Suits all have masks and aren't nice in the least.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Jilton has a tendency to butter up the people around her and deliberately exploit others to her advantage, so much so it's not even clear who she's genuinely loyal to until the end.
  • Mind Screw: Essentially what happens whenever someone is in or being affected by Heaven.
  • Misanthrope Supreme: This is Chayne's leading motivation. After her daughter was lynched by a paranoid mob after being infected with the Phantom virus, Chayne become struck with hatred with humanity and ultimately seeks to utilize Heaven's energies to wipe all mankind out, before recreating them free of what she deems to be flaws.
  • Mr. Exposition: Dr. Harlow, who lives for about one scene before being axed off to explain the nature of the setting to Tango and who's posthumous notes, scattered around the facility, provide crucial information about the characters and the details of what happened before everyone was placed into Paradise.
  • Nice Guy: Mint is kind, optimistic, and risks their life to protect Tango after they fall unconscious for five whole days. Lavender is also quite supportive.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: We only get a few vague hints as to what happened to the Red Clover faculty on the forty-ninth floor once Heaven starts to affect it. Judging from a series of text messages Mint reads, it's not pretty.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Chayne and Ash's goal is to allow Heaven to spill into Earth and kill off humanity and become gods. While Chayne is at least intent on recreating humanity – albeit in her own image, Ash simply wants to kill everyone because he hates everything.
  • Only Sane Man: Lavender plays the straight man to Tango, Mint, and Darby, and is the only member of the runaways with no glaringly eccentric traits.
  • Ontological Mystery: A fairly straight example. It's revealed fairly quickly what the where is and who's running the place, but the actual reason as to why isn't until late into the story.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Jilton, normally perpetually levelheaded, quick-witted and not easy to take off-guard, devolves to frantic, desperate begging once Mint nearly goes catatonic after looking into Heaven.
  • The Plague: The Phantom virus, a degenerative, incurable virus capable of affecting anything living and breathing. Oddly for this trope, the Phantom actually originates from another world (Heaven) entirely as opposed to being earth-borne, manifesting as a result from Heaven's energies somehow finding their way onto Earth from a weak spot in reality. The P.A.R.A.D.I.S.E. program, and thus, the entire plot, is put into action to punch a hole into Heaven in an effort to find a cure to the Phantom from the source of it.
  • Precision F-Strike: The normally squeaky-clean Mint lets out an exasperated "goddammit" to Jilton after she screws around with them. Granted, the world is only hours from ending at that point and Jilton is wasting time, so they're in their right.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: The darkest reveal in the story outside the aspects of the Cosmic Horror Story are Ash's rape and torture of Jenny/Tango before they were sent into Paradise, the aftermath of which resulted in Tango's arm being paralyzed and their voice being lost. Ash repeatedly threatens to revisit the cruelty on Tango, and at one point gloatingly implies they intend to do the same to Mint.
  • Reality Bleed: Heaven's effects on Earth include creating weak spots in reality and forming parts of Paradise into the Mad Rooms. It threatens to spill into Earth and essentially turn the entire world into a Mad Room to become more like Heaven's eldritch dimension. This has the consequence of destroying all humanity in the process.
  • The Reveal: Tango is the daughter of the Director, and they were sent into Paradise because they are the only immune against an incurable virus called the Phantom — which is currently infecting Earth and is the reason the project was set up in the first place.
  • Sanity Slippage: Ash gradually loses more and more of his already-dwindling sanity the longer he's hooked up to Heaven's energies, resulting in him forgetting things at random and eventually trying to kill off all humanity. Ultimately, he completely loses his mind and becomes a vegetable as a result of his mind losing itself to Heaven.
  • Silent Protagonist: Tango is mute. It's not much of a problem considering the story is told from their point-of-view. They're given the ability to talk through a communicator a few times and later end up talking normally to Mint whilst in Heaven, but neither stick.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Both Tango and Darby. Ash, however, outclasses them both.
  • The Sociopath:
    • Ash is described in-universe as a low-functioning sociopath with absolutely horrid impulse control, leading to him to commit a laundry list of atrocities that builds to screw him over in the name of stimulating himself. This goes as far as destroying his own mind to stimulate himself and attempted omnicide purely because Ash thinks everyone else is tainting his “perfect universe.”
    • Darby/Billy was suspected to be this before he was put into Paradise, and was ironically the only person Ash got along with. Darby vehemently denies it.
  • The Starscream: Chayne to Director Charles once it's clear he's no longer convenient to her. Ash is a would-be one to Chayne herself, swearing he'll kill both her and everyone else so he can have his “perfect universe” to himself. He doesn't get far.
  • Stupid Evil: Ash commits a metric ton of pointlessly stupid atrocities and actions that serve no other purpose than to gratify his constant need for stimulation, all of which build up to screw him over. In his defense, Ash has literally been driven insane by the energies of Heaven and is using a drug that only damages his mind further, leading his culpability in said actions questionable (although Chayne does remark Ash was a sociopath decades before he started the program).
  • Team Mom: Lavender serves as this to everyone else, being both the oldest and the most motherly of the group.
  • Talks Like a Simile: Jilton has a tendency to stuff everything they say with a load of acting/show-based metaphors and references.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Ash. While he's reportedly a genius neurosurgeon, none of that comes to page; Ash regularly takes a drug that's known to damage the mental faculties of people who use it, rapes and tortures one of the patients he's supposed to be monitoring for kicks, completely oblivious to the consequences, and uses the energies of another world as stimulants. The last damages his mind in such a way that he forgets things at random, even forgetting who the people he's supposed to be monitoring are and casually letting an established traitor who nearly killed him once back into his and Chayne's plan with open arms. It's also what eventually (and inevitably) does him in.
  • Tragic Villain: The Director, Charles Waits, is a man who became consumed with the responsibility of finding a cure to the Phantom virus and saving the world, eventually being pressured into using his own daughter, covering up their rape, and sending them into the simulation even after their psychological damage. The result drove Charles' wife Tara away from him in disgust, and when Tango finds their father, Charles has become a withered, dying old man infected by the Phantom himself who's destroyed his own life and completely given up on the program.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Jilton's made to work for Red Clover to run what she thinks is an actual simulation with the expectancy that she'll be let free after. Needless to say, Red Clover isn't planning to free her.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • Ash undergoes this in his final scene, on the verge of his sanity at the final time the runaways confront him and incoherently muttering and vowing to kill off all humanity whilst on the verge of losing his own mind to Heaven. He eventually completely snaps after Mint shoots his ear and goes insane, losing his mind to Heaven and becoming a vegetable.
    • Chayne undergoes a brief one when her plan to open a portal to Heaven is foiled, and suffers an even larger one while in Heaven. After Mint points out that even as a “perfect” god, the grief and hatred Chayne's buried down – and previously ruled as imperfect – still exists in her, Chayne devolves to angry, defiant protesting and screeching, giving Mint an opportunity to overpower and destroy her.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Harlow's role is extended to about a chapter before Tango kills him. He gets a bit more characterization through the various notes he's provided, but it's mostly exposition.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • The Director and, by proxy, Paradise Association turns out to be this, organizing the project in a desperate attempt to devise a cure to the incurable Phantom virus and save the world. Ultimately, the Director's pressured into using his own daughter in the simulation and ends up consumed by his responsibilities, and completely gives up on the project once it's clear it's done more harm than good.
    • Chayne Summers herself is intending on completely wiping out humanity, whom she's deemed a diseased species, and becoming a god so she can reconstruct the world free of “imperfections,” aiming to create a beautiful world where violence isn't even a concept.
  • Wild Card: Jilton's loyalties are complicated. She manages to play both sides for chumps on regular occasions, and even when she's with the heroes, her loyalty is often dubious at best and masked through a series of metaphors. Ultimately, she's just as much against Chayne as the runaways are.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: A few of Red Clover's lower-ranking named employees – most notably Reggie and Marin – disappear after their role. It's vaguely implied, however, that they may not have had a very good time after Chayne took control of the project.
  • Wham Line: A few.
    • In Chapter 12, this bombshell is dropped:
      Chayne: You were so cold. Antisocial. Reluctant. Exactly what I'd expect from the daughter of the Director.
    • In Chapter 14, two are dropped that explain a massive amount of both the reason for the plot and Tango's role in it:
      Charles: It's why we're running the program, Jen. To save the world.
      Charles: Three months before this all began, we discovered you were immune [to the Phantom].
    • Not exactly from an in-universe stand-point, but to the reader:
      Where's Tango?
  • You Are Number 6: Every applicant to the P.A.R.A.D.I.S.E. program is given a number from 1 to 100. Chayne addresses some of the applicants once she's captured them by numbers rather than by name.
  • You Wake Up in a Room: The story starts off this way, with Tango awakening in a derelict room with no memory of who they are or what they're doing there.

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