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Cradleland is a story, published on FictionPress.Com, about a passenger airliner bound from New York to Los Angeles that encounters some strange colored lights and suddenly loses contact with air traffic control. Landing on a stone road at the crack of dawn, the passengers and crew soon learn that they have somehow landed on another planet in another solar system far from Earth. The only clue to getting home is uncovering the mysteries of the world.
The story has examples of the following tropes.
- Alien Among Us: It is implied that aliens had secretly visited Earth during the Middle Ages, to buy slaves from existing slave markets.
- Aliens Are Bastards: The ba'thulaz used humans as cattle and labor, and still viewed them as such centuries after the end.
- Ancient Astronauts: The Teventrans' ancestors were an unwilling example.
- After the End: the planet where Delta Airlines Flight 2 landed had been the target of a massive nuclear attack centuries prior to the events of the story.
- Brain Food: The ba'thulaz eat brains, and they prefer the brains of sentient creatures- like humans.
- Casual Interstellar Travel: The means Delta Flight 2 traversed interstellar space is an example of this.
- Giving Radio to the Romans: Dean Rhodes, an American who had been living in Teventra for thirty years, had patented a few inventions, including a Stirling-cycle engine, based on his engineering knowledge. He did not build any radios, though.
- Hand Wave: When Pedro asks Dean how the interstellar portal works, Dean replies, "Magic".
- Humans Are Bastards: The ancestors of the Teventrans were humans purchased from existing slave markets in various places on medieval-era Earth.
- The Teventran government orders the military to stop Delta Flight 2 from returning home, both on the fear that the natives of Earth might send armies to enslave them, as they learned that humans from Earth had enslaved their ancestors centuries before, and also because the passengers had technical knowledge which would help the republic.
- I Choose to Stay: Dean Rhodes chooses to stay behind, because he had lived in Teventra for thirty years, and has a wife and children.
- Three of the passengers- a Mafiya hitman, an MS-13 gangster, and a fugitive- slip away from the camp where they were sequestered to start a new life with Teventra;'s criminal underworld.
- Improbable Piloting Skills: Pedro landed a 767 on a narrow concrete road, not much wider than the jet itself.
- Invisible President: The Teventran characters refer to the republic's chancellor, but the chancellor himself does not appear in the story.
- Slave Race: The Teventrans' ancestors were this.
- Portal Network
- Ragnarok Proofing: The hyperspatial portal generator. Justified as it was in a hardened underground facility, which protected it from a nuclear attack, was made of Applied Phlebotinum , had no moving parts, and had not been used in centuries.
- Averted with the facility itself, which, while it was still standing, showed signs of decay.
- Sequel Hook: Three of the passengers chose to stay to make their place in Teventra's criminal underworld.
- And two children from Teventra had stowed away on the airplane when it returned to Earth.
- Transplanted Humans: all of the humans on the planet.
- The Law of Conservation of Detail: While much is revealed about Teventran society, it is clear that Teventra is only a small slice of the world, as other nations are alluded to. Also, the bathu'laz who had occupied the portal facility had come from a land across the ocean.
- We Will Use Manual Labor in the Future: The ba'thulaz used the Teventrans' ancestors as manual labor. It is implied that the planet was a backwater colony with only minimal industry, and it is known that humans were used as a food source.