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Literature / Million To One

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Time Keeps On Slippin'

Million To One, occasionally abbreviated as "10x⁵:1", is an on-going original Web Serial Novel written by Zeke Freek and published on Fictionpress. The story takes place just before December 21st, 2012, the supposed end of the world. Just as the clock strikes midnight, time loops back one week to December 14th and nobody remembers anything that happened... except for a group of high-school kids in an unspecified eastern-european country who are being forced to compete in various supernatural challenges by an entity who calls himself, "God". It's written from the first-person perspective of the protagonist, Camera, an anti-social jerkass who considers himself more of an observer in life than a participant. Things develop slowly and become very complex as time continues to loop back, piling on mystery after mystery.


Originally started on June 15th, 2013, Two loops have already been completed. The series' update schedule is inconsistent, but tends to update with a new entry every 2-4 weeks or so.

It can be read here.

This series provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: So far, Etoile has done pretty much all of the fighting for the main team. It helps she's athletic and her powers are much more combat oriented than the guys.
  • Aerith and Bob: The series is really weird about this. There are very exotic names like Aeolus and Mikhail, names that are actual foreign words but not typically used as names like Etoile and Deux-fois, completely normal names like Jay, Simon, Preston, Jeanne and Kaeti (Although the spelling is odd), and completely made up names like Camera and Sena (It should be noted Camera is just a nickname though). Also, Aeolus and Etoile aren't pronounced the same as usual here, according to Word of God.
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  • Affectionate Nickname: Jay calls Camera "Snapshot", though it's more sarcastic than affectionate. Camera and Deux-fois tend to call eachother "Chimera" and "Doofus" respectively, which is usually played sarcastically but seemed to be affectionate at the end of Entry #12. As of Entry #16, Etoile has taken to calling Aeolus, "Aeo".
  • All Deaths Final: Seems this way so far. Despite the Time Travel involved.
  • Allergic to Love: Camera is so distanced and shut-off from human emotions that he just flat-out does not consider certain things. He mistakes a love letter for a declaration of war, doesn't realize Etoile was shivering from panic and not because it was cold, is completely oblivious to Aeolus' growing crush on Etoile, etc. This is likely a result of moving around when he was growing up, never forming any kind of bond or relationship with anyone.
  • Alternate History: A lot of little things are different but the biggest thing is that this Earth is largely dominated by three Mega Corps that over-rule most governments. The country the series is set in is located somewhere in Eastern Europe, but isn't any country you'd find in real life. There's also a Northern Mexico, which implies the Alamo turned out different in this world. According to Word of God, 9/11 never happened either.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Entry #27 is written from the perspective of Adrian Black, before the series proper started.
  • Author Avatar: Subverted. While Camera bares many similarities to the author, Zeke Freek, Word of God states Camera is not based on himself and they differ in several key areas.
    • Although the fact they share a birthday, January 24th, is probably not a coincidence.
  • Battle Aura: FLO manifests itself as a form of Aura emitted from a person's body.
  • Beast Man: The titular Beastmen.
  • Big Brother Attraction: Sena towards Camera. The omake sequence after Entry #26 makes it abundantly clear if her behavior hadn't already tipped readers off.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Jay's introduction is this in Entry #11, and he does it a few times after as well.
  • Big Eater: Etoile. In Entry #14, she apparently ate an entire twelve-pack of ramen for breakfast.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Etoile LeBlanc is french for "Star, The White One". Deux-fois is also french, it means "twice".
  • Boarding School: Silverstreet Academy.
  • Breather Episode: So far seems to have a habit of doing these after particularly dramatic or action-packed entries. Entry #6 and Entry #12 stand out the most though, both being fairly light-hearted conversations that help develop the characters and their relations to one another.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Jay does this as his introduction and every now and then does it afterward. Mostly averted by everyone else thus far.
  • Characterization Marches On: Camera's Jerkass qualities weren't apparent until Entry #5.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Etoile's ironhide ability seems to have this effect as a Required Secondary Power, or so Camera theorizes.
  • Children Forced to Kill: Simon killed his own mother when he was only six years old. Though considering he was malnourished, dehydrated, and just saw his brother die because of his mother's negligence and abuse, it's hard to condemn him for it.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Aeolus has never really had parents in his life. They were crushed by a meteorite. He was raised by his senile grandfather instead.
  • Cute Bruiser: Etoile is described as being pretty cute, and she's always ready to fight to protect others.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Nearly everyone, according to Word of God. Hints of certain character's pasts have been slowly revealed.
  • Dark Secret: According to Word of God, everyone has atleast one. Many characters have several.
  • Deadly Game
  • Dreaming the Truth: It isn't clear what any of it means but this happens to Camera often. In Entries, #8 and #14. He doesn't remember anything about the dreams after he wakes up, just that they were weird.
  • Driven to Suicide: After living through 64 time loops by himself after "losing" the game in the Fear Zone, Camera nearly cuts open his throat with a pair of scissors.
  • Easing into the Adventure: The whole of the First Loop (the first 13 entries), according to Word of God.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The earlier entries were much shorter in length, and the author didn't seem to know if he was going to use past or present tense.
  • Embarrassing Old Photo: Camera keeps a couple on his phone, which unfortunately Deux-fois now has access to. She blackmailed him with them in Entry #12. The omake sequence at the end of Entry #13 reveals the photos are Camera cosplaying as a Cat Boy.
  • Expo Speak: Lots of details about the world are given through Camera's first person narration.
  • False Friend: Camera to his team. This changes after Entry #18, where he starts to really care about them.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Jeanne is raped and choked to death. Entry #13 reveals this had happened to two other girls as well.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Aeolus and Etoile at the end of Entry #15, it persists into Entries #16 and #17.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The four members of the main team sort-of fit this. Etoile is the Sanguine, Deux-fois is the Choleric, Camera is Melancholic, and Aeolus is Phlegmatic. It's worth noting none of them fully commit to these temperaments and there's some cross-over between them.
  • Functional Magic: FLO. Deux-fois claims it is a force of nature that can bend reality. Not much else is known about it at this point though.
  • Gorn: If text counts. Several deaths have been fairly gruesome and injuries are played pretty seriously.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Aeolus has to practice a lot to improve his telekinesis. Time will tell if it pays off.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: God, so far.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Some of Camera's inner thoughts hint he might be putting up an abrasive front.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Camera thoroughly believes this.
  • It's Always Winter Justified. As in the story takes place in a repeating time-loop occurring between December 14th and December 21st, 2012.
  • Informed Flaw: Deux-fois' Verbal Tic doesn't come up nearly often enough for it to be considered a problem, but then again, that might be the point. Showing how the other A.I. took a very minor glitch and chastised her for it so mercilessly demonstrated their obsession with perfection. This is addressed in Entry #36, which shows just a taste of the harassment and bullying Deux-fois went through because of such a non-issue.
  • Jerk Jock: Jay has the look of one of these, and can be harsh sometimes but ultimately seems to be very cooperative. Entry #27 implies that this might just be an act however...
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: The series runs on this. So far, it's piled on mystery after mystery and there's no signs it's gonna stop anytime soon.
  • Killed Off for Real: Jeanne gets this twice, in Entries #7 and #30, considering the first time didn't stick. Adrian also bites the dust in Entry #30. As of the Fourth Loop, neither death has stuck. Mysteriously.
  • Kill It with Fire: Jay's method of combat, seeing as he possesses Pyrokinesis.
  • Known Only by Their Nickname: Camera. His birth name is Sander Miles.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Entry #9's title, "A Sea Of Italics" refers to how many sentences within it are in italics.
  • Lemony Narrator: Camera. Frequently.
  • Marshmallow Hell: Camera has been traumatized by this in the past. He accidentally encounters it again with Jay's mother, and is none too pleased for it.
  • Magical Computer: Deux-fois' presence seems to turn Camera's cell-phone into this. Its battery will apparently never die out and it's systems run much more efficiently.
  • Meaningful Name: Camera is a very apt name for someone whose more of an observer in life.
  • Mysterious Past: Most of the cast.
  • Non-Action Guy: Both Camera and Aeolus at this point, not that its their fault, their powers just aren't meant for fighting. Aeolus expresses some regret for this in Entry #16.
    • In Entry #17, Aeolus, who's in Etoile's body, fights off Mikhail to distract him from Jay's charge-up attack. He succeeds in knocking Mikhail off-guard due to Camera's assistance.
  • Not Blood Siblings: Averted. Camera and Sena are half-siblings (different fathers, same mother), so they are still related by blood.
  • Parental Abandonment: In Entry #13, it's revealed that Camera has never known his father. He was born to a lesbian couple through artificial insemination. For some reason yet to be revealed, they've been sending him around to live with various relatives. Camera claims he doesn't remember their faces or their names and hasn't seen them since the day he was born.
  • Personality Powers: Word of God states most, if not all powers reflect the characters who possess them in some way. This has been seen in a few instances thus far.
    • Camera's powers are all based around sight and vision, which fits his name and his status as an observer in life. Also in how he is searching for the answers to the mysteries around him.
    • Etoile's power is to turn herself into metal. This reflects her cheery, tough exterior and her will to protect people.

  • The Plan: Camera wonders if God has some kind of overarching reason to putting them all through his game.
  • Plucky Girl: Etoile is this in spades. This starts to become subverted a bit when she shows she has a harsh bitter side to her and has some trust issues.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Yep.
  • Shout-Out: Several. To various games and anime.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Jay Adonis. Camera acts like this sometimes too.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Camera got a mysterious letter in Entry #10, written as a poem in glittery purple ink. Aeolus and Etoile are convinced it's a love letter, while Camera thinks it's a declaration of war....
    • Entry #17 pretty much confirms this is true. It's a girl named Sena from the third team who seems to know a lot about him.
    • Entry #22 confirms that Sena is his younger half-sister who came to Silverstreet Academy to find him.
  • Super Cell Reception: Camera's phone seems to have this now that Deux-fois inhabits it.
  • Supernatural Phone: Again, Deux-fois turns Camera's cell-phone into this.
  • Superpower Lottery: Or something like it, according to Deux-fois.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: Because it's written from Camera's point of view, anything that happens outside his peripheral vision that he isn't told about can become this.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: The main team before Deux-fois was introduced. Even after that, it still kinda counts because Deux-fois is an A.I. without a body.
  • Undignified Death: Jeanne's corpse is beaten and barely-clothed, and even parts of her hair were ripped out. She was raped, choked to death and tossed on the floor like garbage. It's implied the killer/rapist's other victims were found in similar states.
  • Voices Are Mental: The text specifically mentions that this is Averted when Aeolus and Etoile switch bodies in Entries #15, #16, and #17. Camera even remarks how surreal it is to hear them speak in eachother's voices.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: Completely averted for various reasons but the most prominent being that it's Winter Break.
  • War Is Hell: Parodied at the beginning of Entry #25.
  • Wham Episode: Entries #15, #18, #22 and #26 all qualify so far.
  • White Void Room: The first entry takes place in one of these. also Camera's dream sequence in Entry #8.
  • World Of Gay: While there are no canon pairings yet, when homosexual overtones are present, they are treated as something completely normal.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: It's been pointed out repeatedly that the series' acronym, "10x⁵:1", is incorrect as that is the exponent for 100,000, not one million. When this is pointed out to Zeke Freek, he bluntly states that exponents work different in-universe.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Downplayed, but present. Camera and Sena have silver and dark green hair respectively. Mikhail's bangs are blue but noted to be dyed. Everyone else so far has black, brown, blond, or red hair.
    • Word of God states while most of the cast believes Mikhail's bangs are dyed blue, it's actually the rest of his hair that's dyed black, which is a double-subversion of this trope.

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