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Thrust suddenly into a world they do not understand, two children struggle to find their place.
Written by Daine Salmon, Unlikely Eden is a weekly updated Web serial told from the alternating points of view of two 10-year-old girls. The story begins with the destruction of the girls' home, a large pseudo-military school/orphanage. This forces them to escape into the surrounding area (the world they do not understand) where they immediately run afoul of the residents of a small outpost. Through a fortunate coincidence, they encounter and are aided by a crotchety old trucker and his teenage ward, who become their only friends besides each other. Throughout the course of the story, they gradually begin to learn the complicated sequence of events that led to the destruction of their home. From prophecies to roller skates to robot teddy bears, there's never a dull moment.
- Heather - She's the first character we meet, as she's the first narrator. A 10-year-old girl with a bit of a hero complex and a stubborn streak, she's described in one installment as having dark skin, dark hair and blue eyes.
- Alison - Alison is the other 10-year-old around whom the story revolves. She's somewhat less forceful than Heather, though no shrinking violet herself. she's blonde with green eyes
- Adelaide - An ornery and sometimes secretive old trucker about whom the girls know little, barring the fact that he apparently saved Gunnar from an unsavory situation
- Gunnar - Her real name is Sarah, but apparently she chose the nickname in her younger years and it stuck. She's 13 and Adelaide's closest ally.
- Buttons - Initially non-functional; a giant, anthropomorphic, robot teddy bear purchased by the tech obsessed Gunnar before meeting the two girls.
Unlikely Eden provides examples of:
- The Bechdel Test - passes easily.
- Designer Babies - Heather, Alison, Gunnar etc.
- Gadgeteer Genius / Wrench Wench - Gunnar.
- Psychoactive Powers coupled with Placebotinum Effect where "Preferred Weapons" are concerned.
- Plain Name - It's a plot point that all the Coalition soldiers have fairly mundane names, so much so that when pseudonyms (or nicknames) are used, the protagonists remark on the unfamiliar nature. Hjordis and Gunnar for instance
- Switching POV - Heather and Alison take turns narrating
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming - Each installment is named for the last word (or few words) of the passage.
- Present Tense Narrative
- Bullying a Dragon - an example that very nearly gets the 'bully' removed from play
- Lampshaded as well:
Alison: "I couldn’t understand why he would choose to start a fight when surrounded by what he saw as the “enemy”.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom - Sort of. More like Glowing Eyes Of Activation that sometimes mean Doom
Heather: "When I’d seen some of them stumble, I’d thought she’d made it happen, but her eyes hadn’t flashed; they were just distracted."
- Power Glows - see above
- Badass Adorable - Heather and Alison (and, to an extent, Gunnar)
- Cute Bruiser - Heather
- Driving Stick - The Kraken, Adelaide's rig, probably doesn't have an internal combustion engine, but mysteriously, it does have a manual transmission.
- Fluffy the Terrible - Buttons
- Gentle Giant - Buttons again
- Infant Immortality - Averted so very much during the destruction of Heather and Alison's home at the opening. It's not overly graphic — at all, but it's made clear that children do, in fact, die.
- Prophetic Fallacy - Many of the reasons for the girls situation can be traced back to a questionable interpretation of a specific prophecy.
- Robot Buddy - Buttons, yet again
- Cute Kids And Robots - Buttons was intended to be cute in universe (see below) and spends a great deal of time with the protagonists who happen to be cute kids.
- My Little Panzer - Buttons is popular isn't he? Subverted in that he's an abandoned prototype that never made it to market due to terryfying the children in the test group.
- An Axe to Grind - Heather's weapon of choice.
- Improvised Weapon - Technically Heather's axe is one of these
- Girls with Guns - Guess why Gunnar chose her nickname?
- The Gunslinger - Gunnar again
- Super Soldier - Quite a bit of them
- Badass Army - there are at least two of these potentially.
- Humans by Any Other Name - "Otherkind"
- Humans Are Flawed
- Shout-Out - Big Wheels and Sailor make appearances as transports in the yard when Heather and Alison first get to Greywall.
- Fantastic Caste System - All Coalition soldiers are engineered to be one of four castes. Visibly they are indistinguishable, but their abilities are all specialized for their combat roles. This governs everything from who leads, to the formation of friendships.
- Future Slang - mostly in the form of colloquial terms for things that don't exist in the present
- "Ours/Ourkind" - meaning the enhanced soldiers (self referential)
- "Otherkind" - meaning ordinary humans (from the soldiers' point of view)
- "Kins" - members of the Kinetic caste (encompassed by the Ours/Ourkind moniker)
- "Probs" - members of the Probability caste (encompassed by the Ours/Ourkind moniker)
- "Folding out" - transporting or moving things with the use of foldspace technology
- "Flash" - referring to the situational bioluminescence of the soldiers' eyes. See the Glowing Eyes of Doom entry above.
- Mad Oracle - Subject Five. Complete with the accompanying Cryptic Conversation
Subject Five: "Survivors quelled the Beholder’s wrath, you were brought by Victor but not beholden be"
- You Are Number Six - Subject Five.
- Religious and Mythological Theme Naming -
- The "Beholder" that destroys the girls home at the outset is actually a completely technological siege engine (though obviously inspired by the mythological creature)
Heather:"The Beholder unit was giant sphere resplendent with glistening weaponry encircled by counter-rotating interlocking treads."
- Adelaide's transport is called the "Kraken"
- The manufacturer of the Kraken's EMP weapon is Dragonwalk Industries. The EMP itself is simply referred to by Gunnar as a "Dragonwalk"
- Manly Tears - from a little girl no less.
- Rollerblade Good - Heather in the first installment (Techically Roller Skate Good)
- Berserk Button - Heather witnesses someone she's just met killed by a soldier. The following occurs.
Heather:The tingle was so strong, it felt like my skin was on fire.
I saw the Beholder tearing through that wall again. I saw the children hit with debris, killed where they stood.
If I’d been wearing the skates, I’d have been faster. He’d noticed me when I’d started my charge, and I saw him laugh. Adelaide had tried to grab me, but just like in that hallway, I knew exactly where everything was and where I had to be.
I saw the walls of my everything crumbling around me. I saw the bodies, crushed and bloody as they congratulated one another on a job well done. I saw it all. And then I hit him with it. All of it.
- Faster-Than-Light Travel - Of the "Jump Drive" variety repurposed as transporters and teleporters (and potentially a weapon).