The Teraverse

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"How do I become a hero?" More than one person has asked me this, and I think this is a really great question. You do not need superpowers to be a hero. There are everyday heroes all around us... All you need is the morals and the strength to ask the question you already posed.

—Terawatt, in Chapter 73 of The Secret Return of Alex Mack

The Teraverse (also called the "Alexverse") is a Shared Universe Fanfic setting created essentially by accident by author Diane Castle with the publication between 2012 and 2014 of her Alex Mack fanfic The Secret Return of Alex Mack. The story of how Alex Mack transformed herself from "a kid with powers" to her Earth's counterpart to Superman inspired a whole raft of other fan writers, who began creating their own stories set in the same world (with Castle's permission).

The Teraverse started out as a modest Mega Crossover world centered around a blend of The Secret World of Alex Mack and a highly variant version of The DCU in which counterparts to the characters of the latter were starting to appear (not necessarily in familiar forms) at the turn of the 21st century. As writers joined the project and added their own ideas to the 'Verse, it quickly evolved into a world that only superficially resembled our own before the advent of Terawatt, and which had a secret history of metahumans and weird science dating back centuries or even millennia. Along the way a world that started out with a mostly Black and White Morality became somewhat more nuanced, but never to the point of excusing its villains and their depravity.

The Teraverse does not yet have a dedicated home page, but a listing of its fics is included on the home page for Castle's parent series A Brane of Extraordinary Women, and almost all of the fics in it can be found on the fanfic site Twisting The Hellmouth. Also, Spacebattles.com hosts a discussion area for the Teraverse. With the number of contributors it possesses and the rate at which stories in its 'Verse are being written, it may come to rival Undocumented Features in size and scope in only a few more years. The authors (especially Diane) also all tend to Show Their Work and/or Write What They Know in a multitude of obscure fields.

Stories[edit | hide | hide all]

As of April 2019, the stories in The Teraverse include:

The Teraverse is part of Diane Castle's super-series A Brane of Extraordinary Women, which chronicles in its various parts events which take place in several different universes, of which the Teraverse is only one.

There also exists a Who's Who in the Tera-Verse guide, listing characters, organizations, and locations in a format similar to that seen in "official" guides to The DCU and the Marvel Universe. It can be found here. (Warning! Spoilers abound!)

Additionally, there is a What's What in the Tera-Verse, made up of various public In-Universe documents including newspaper articles, art reviews and "Quickipedia" articles, reflecting the In-Universe general public's knowledge. It can be found here. (Warning: Spoilers abound!)

And there is a Teraverse Stories thread on Spacebattles.com for Teraverse stories that may not be posted on TtH due to their content or due to TtH Rules restrictions. It can be found here.

There is also a Tera-Verse Time-Line which attempts to detail and reconcile the chronology of the various stories and events. Some stories occur in a single day (or in the space of minutes!) while others may occur over a span of months or years. It can be found here.

Finally, artwork for the Teraverse can be found on the home page of A Brane of Extraordinary Women.

Contributory Works[edit | hide]

In addition to the sources already incorporated into The Secret Return of Alex Mack, the Teraverse also includes elements and/or characters from the following works:

  • Bringing Up Father: Jiggs owns a sub shop called "The Daily Grinder" somewhere in Massachusetts.
  • Cheers: In an odd case, Cheers exists as a TV show In-Universe, but apparently has differences from the "real" version, as Carla Tortelli works at the Jolly Redcap in the Boston stories by hysteriumredux. One possible interpretation is that the TV show as we know it is the "real" Cheers in the Teraverse, and the In-Universe show is merely inspired by it.
  • The Cthulhu Mythos: Harmony Kendall has an honorary degree from Miskatonic University. And somebody actually bioengineered a Cthulhu-like Kaiju and set it loose on Manhattan.
  • Galaxy Quest. A case which straddles the line between in-universe and not. The TV series from within the film exists in the Teraverse, and alongside Babylon 5, largely takes on the same relative significance in the Teraverse's pop culture, as Star Trek does in our own.
  • The Harold Shea books. A troll in Amazon Warrior Dee Dee is named "Yngvi".
  • The Karate Kid. Both Daniel LaRusso and Julie Pierce are the current grandmasters of the Miyagi-Ryu. Daniel wrote a book that went on to inspire the in-universe version of the original Karate Kid movie series (which was only three films long -- there was no in-universe version of The Next Karate Kid).
  • Kim Possible. Although KP is an In-Universe work, there is a dimensional counterpart to Shego in Siobhan Bri and one to Kim in Trish Chabot.
  • Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp. In an odd case, Franklyn Dagustino combines Suzanne MacGregor's simian heritage and Banacek's personality and skills to create the character Lancelot Link, title character of a series of stories he calls "Detective Chimp" and which he publishes on the website "Twisting the X-Men".
  • Men in Black. Agent K has a counterpart in the Teraverse, but there are no aliens, so he was never a MIB. Oddly enough, there was still a Men in Black movie.
  • The Mighty Ducks. "Real-life" Ducks player Connie Moreau decided to move to L.A. and pursue an acting career as an adult; she wound up being interviewed in I Do My Own Stunts, regarding her portrayal of the titular character in the Sister Marie biopic.
  • The Mouse That Roared: The Duchy of Grand Fenwick is a real country in the Teraverse, and produces wine -- including a cheap sangria-like product called "Pink Muscati Pinot Grand Fenwick".
  • The Simpsons: One of the convenience stores hit by a robber in The Mobstah Lobstah is Apu's Kwiki Mart, and the Simpsons (their yellowish skin suggesting jaundice to someone watching a security video of the robbery) are in the store at the time. Ned Flanders walks in as the robber leaves. (This conflicts with The Secret Return of Alex Mack, where it's very clearly an in-universe fictional work.)
    • Nelson Muntz appears, posthumously, as a high school quarterback in Bone Deep. Several other Simpsons characters also make brief appearances in that story.
  • Unbreakable: David Dunn and Elijah Price appear as the authors of one of the documents found in What's What in the Teraverse, a paper published in American Historical Review. However, there is also mention in chapter 8 of Bone Deep of a movie with a villain whose bones were abnormally fragile, which may be an in-universe version of this film.
  • The Wasp Not the Marvel character. A 1930's vigilante in Vermont.

Some of these may be thoroughly transformed and not obvious. For instance, the Universal monsters are more homages than direct imports.

Influential Works[edit | hide]

In-Universe works which have some influence on the events of one or more stories. (These are real works shared with our timeline; see Fictional Document below for works that exist only within The Teraverse.)

  • Cheers: As noted above, while Cheers exists as a TV show In-Universe, Carla Tortelli works at the Jolly Redcap in Boston.
  • Downton Abbey. Lady Jacqueline Dacre (Spring-Heel'd Jackie) uses the spoken phonemes of Lady Sybil Crawley as the basis of her synthesized voice.
  • The Durango Kid: One of the inspirations for Martin Kent's 1950s-era "mystery man" persona of "Braveheart".
  • The Flying Nun. Sister Marie has sometimes been compared to the titular character, Sister Bertrille, and has even been jokingly called by her name. While she doesn't seem to terribly mind that, she has asked not to be called "the flying nun," in order to prevent any confusion between her and the fictional character. (Her request in this matter is generally ignored, except in the cases of her personal acquaintances and introductions at her public appearances). It has also been mentioned that reruns of The Flying Nun have become wildly popular on Spanish-language stations (where it is dubbed and known as La Novicia Voladora).
  • Galaxy Quest. As noted above, the TV series from within the film exists in-universe, and largely takes the place of Star Trek in the Teraverse's pop culture.
  • The Golden Bough by James Frazer. Mentioned in passing in Mayfly, comparing Hugo Danner's life to the heroic archetype defined therein.
  • The Graduate. As a call girl Luciana Delabruzi was a successful Mrs. Robinson impersonator.
  • Horton Hatches The Egg. Source of the name 'Maisie', given to the Red Tree Software virtual assistant app, and which becomes a generic term for hand-held computer devices for literally centuries afterward.
  • Jeeves and Wooster. Frankie Dagustino models Franklyn Silversmith, his butler persona, on Reginald Jeeves.
  • The Karate Kid. A movie series based on Miyagi and Me, a non-fiction book written by Daniel Larusso.
  • Kim Possible. Despite this being an In-Universe work, the Teraverse has a dimensional counterpart to Shego in Siobhan Bri, and one to Kim in Trish Chabot.
  • H.P. Lovecraft‍'‍s works are mentioned in passing in The Mobstah Lobstah and Mayfly, but there seem to be differences between the Teraverse's version and that from our timeline; among other things, Illyria from Angel and Arsgomor from the Illyria: Haunted comic book are listed alongside Cthulhu, Shub-Niggurath and other creatures from the Mythos. Someone also bioengineered a knockoff of Cthulhu and set it on New York in Hell's Nanny.
  • Men in Black. Despite the existence of a dimensional counterpart to Agent K in the Teraverse, there was still a Men in Black movie, whose iconography and code-naming conventions the ISERB have appropriated.
  • The Mighty Ducks. A film series based on a true story. One of the 'real-life' Ducks players, Connie Moreau, turns up in I Do My Own Stunts and comments on her similarity to the actress who played her. She goes on to explain that Disney fictionalized the story (in order to remove themselves from it) by inventing Mr. Ducksworth and his law firm; Coach Bombay was actually a Disney corporate lawyer and the 'real-life' Ducks youth-hockey team was sponsored by Disney, which demanded the movie rights as part of the deal.
  • Pygmalion. Mentioned in passing in Mayfly, when Clarence Gaffney (aka The Savage) is compared to Alfred Doolittle.
  • Sister Act. Quoted or referred to several times in It's Just A Habit, Incubation Period, and The Dog Pack.
  • The Southern Cross, the official newspaper of the Diocese of San Diego. In-universe, specifically in the 'Sister Marie' stories, Maddie Sabatino-Taylor and several minor characters are contributors, and most main characters are frequent readers.
  • Star Trek. Although Galaxy Quest has been established as taking much greater importance in Teraverse pop culture, as has Babylon 5; Star Trek is probably not more well known than either of them.
    • There are some notable differences from "our" version of Trek, though -- for instance, the movie The Wrath of Gunn, which features the return of the genetic superman Gunnar Haraldson, who was the villain in the Teraverse's version of the TOS episode "Space Seed".
  • Unbreakable. There is mention in chapter 8 of Bone Deep of a movie with a villain whose bones were abnormally fragile, which may be an in-universe version of this film.
  • The West Wing, however, the series is apparently somewhat different from our universe, in that the President character is not Josiah Bartlett (who is a real person). Most of the in-universe references to the series have involved comparisons to other characters or, in one case, the mispronunciation of a place name.
  • Troping sites like this one exist; our jargon is used in comments seen posted on "Twisting The X-Men" in various stories, and The Other Tropes Wiki is mentioned by name in Shadow-Puppets.[1]

Tropes[edit | hide]

Tropes used in The Teraverse include:

In addition to those tropes present in The Secret Return of Alex Mack, the stories in the Teraverse make use of the following:

  • 2-D Space: Invoked (at one remove) by Sister Marie in Incubation Period, although in regards to atmospheric flight rather than spaceflight. According to Maddie Sabatino-Taylor:

Marie likes to say that 'they may think they do, but normal people really don't normally think in three-d.'

    • Justified, as Sister Marie was referring to gravity-bound pedestrians, as compared to telekinetic fliers (such as herself). The quote comes from a scene in which Sister Marie arrives at Maddie's house, unobserved by the LDS missionaries at her door because they failed to look up when Maddie told them she was expecting a nun.
  • Actual Pacifist: The Congress of the Meek/Inheritors, a pacifistic cult of working poor.
  • Affably Evil: Rafael Schubert, the Savage, na-Gavelot and others.
  • Alter Kocker: Nathaniel Pevsner characterizes himself as the biggest one in the Pevsner family, in the Omake to The Demon (?) And The Detective.
  • Alternate Universe: Very much one of The DCU.
    • Also, Alex Mack is summoned to one by Hermione Granger in The League of Extraordinary Women.
    • Something seems to be using portals to gather up the various versions of Alex Mack from the universes that contributed to The League of Extraordinary Women (and anyone near them) at the beginning of The Secret Collocation of Alex Mack.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: Not just one but two, battling over the control of the world in secret.
  • And That Little Girl Was Me: Marie-Therese Treville pulls this classic gag in It's Just A Habit, possibly in order to push Sister Marie into making a somewhat similar decision.
  • Another Dimension: Bendix Space, which is essentially a universe filled with nothing but roiling energy that some devices and metas can tap.
  • Appropriated Appellation: Jungle Bunny, the 1930's Harlem vigilante. McGruff the Crime Dog in Boston.
    • Sister Marie has been actively trying to avoid this trope.
  • Artificial Human: The technology for creating synthetic but organic human bodies exists and has been used on several occasions. Most notably, Kate St. Claire and Hedy "Sexy Thing" Dresden.
  • Artificial Intelligence: Few and far between, but their numbers are slowly growing.
    • One is among the scariest hackers and crackers in the 'verse.
    • Some of Warren Mears' gynoids and robots are genuinely self-aware. Even the ones that aren't are eerily intelligent.
    • The Machine.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Yefraytor Boris (Corporal Boris). A Siberian Char that has been altered by the toxins, mutagens, and radioactives tossed into the Lake from Hell to become over 30 meters in length and also capable of limited movement on land. The Alembic Security Complex has 30mm autocannon to keep him from simply storming the base if he gets frisky. The cannons can't actually kill him, just encourage him to reenter the lake where he can eat the smaller and more agile mutates.
    • The Giant Lobsters, Tarantulas, Guinea Pigs, and other monsters.
  • Asexuality: Sister Marie. As a Catholic nun, she was required to take a vow of chastity and lives in a convent, and most people would assume that, therefore, she's somewhere in the Chaste Hero/Celibate Hero/Married to the Job territory. She pretty much is, but in her published memoir (It's Just A Habit), she followed up a mention of her vow of chastity with "in my case, at least, I've never found that one particularly difficult to follow", and in Incubation Period, she tells Maddie, "I know it's meant to be, but I've never personally felt that my vow of chastity is a sacrifice." The fact of her asexuality was clearly known, at least to her mother and to Maddie, before she took her vows.
  • Atomic Hate: Nuclear events have occurred multiple times on US, Lebanese, and Chinese soil in the past decade or so. These include everything from meta and Godzilla Threshold situations, to something of the scale of an Atomic Hand Grenade.
  • Back from the Dead: Lord Deathstrike from Hermione Granger and the Boy Who Lived didn't actually die, although for about a decade many in the intelligence community thought he had. Regardless, even if he had, he could have come back with a combination of the weird-science cloning and memory upload technologies that he developed before his... sabbatical.
  • Bad Habits: Averted by Sister Marie of the Order of Sainte Jeanne d'Arc, who is a genuine nun who happens to have super powers.
  • Badass Normal: The Breslynn Orphans and many other "metas" are really just humans engineered to be at the top end of the bell curve and aren't, strictly speaking, "super" at all, any more than Captain America is.
    • There are also the various academy or independently trained intelligence specialists from Jonathan Lowe to Harry Potter, many of which are qualified for this trope.
  • Bag of Holding: In a near-future story, Debbie Thornberry has a purse which acts as one, in which she keeps her "Mary Poppins" costume and assorted props. She doesn't know how it works, exactly, and as of this writing hasn't revealed its origins.
  • Battle Couple: Many, including: Stew Scott and Siobhan Bri, Trish Chabot and Mike Long, Aidos and Wally, and McGruff and Red Vixen.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished/Bullet-Proof Fashion Plate: Eventually becomes an attribute of Terawatt. In chapter 52 of The Secret Collocation of Alex Mack, there are multiple mentions of how she manages to stay apparently untouched by a wet, muddy fight that leaves the other dozen or so people on her side completely bloody and filthy:

Stormburst had gotten blasted off maybe to Mount Shasta. We'd all been knocked over and smacked around. And Terawatt was still kicking demon ass. While looking immaculate. Did she just constantly use a big chunk of her telekinesis to keep herself clean and dry?

and

Oh, and Alex looked like she'd just gotten out of the shower, done her hair, and put on a new uniform. Alee needed to learn to do that.

  • BFGs: As metas become more frequent, non-powered agents begin using heavier and heavier weapons. This leads to the SRI's Orphans using general purpose machine guns in the assault rifle role and Rinkin Mueller adapting a 20mm aircraft cannon to anti-personnel use.
  • Big Eater: This is a common story element, affecting just about anyone who has been exposed to GC-161. Though in one scene in Incubation Period, an unaware character jokes that in Sister Marie's case, it's just that "French girls don't get fat".
  • Biker Babe: The uniform of some female vigilantes in Boston.
  • Bitter Almonds: Invoked by name when one of Rafael Schubert's commanders suicides in Deep Trouble. Trope partially averted, because the examiner has augmented senses including chemical sensors.
  • Blob Monster: One of the more common powers granted by GC-161 exposure is the ability to transform into a blob of silvery goo. The transformed individual can see, hear, and speak normally through some unknown means, but is immune to pressure differences, inhaled toxins, and many other physical threats.
    • And then there was the Downington Blob, which was much more like what you think of when you hear the term "blob monster".
  • Boston: The primary location of hysteriumredux's MMIU/Dog Pack stories.
  • Boxing Lessons for Superman: Azure Crush (who is one of the strongest humans on the planet) started out with the fighting style of an angry high school girl. To be fair, at the time she got her powers she was an angry high school girl. She later learns how to fight from the Batman.
  • Brain In a Jar: Hedy "Sexy Thing" Dresden is one of these attached to a synthetic but mostly organic body.
  • The Cameo: Alex/Terawatt herself makes surprisingly few appearances in these stories, and when she does it's almost always as a supporting character, and often in disguise or her civilian identity. Most of the authors keep a hands-off approach because they don't want to screw up in writing her.
  • Cane Fu: Cane fighting is a fad in Boston thanks to the Crime Dog.
  • Canine Companion: Umysl, Penny Wynalazek's service dog and unofficial mascot of the Chicago Crew hero team.
  • Canon Foreigner: All Teraverse authors add new crossover characters from other sources. CaptainBoulanger, hysteriumredux, and batzulger also use many original characters.
  • The Caper: Any time a member of the Mundy Family shows up or it's a batzulger story, there is a high likelihood that a caper of some kind is or will be occurring.
  • Captain Ersatz: Semi-Averted. David Lo Pan actually is Dr. Fu Manchu, who faked his death and changed his name to throw his enemies off the scent.
  • Celebrity Lie: In Holy Tragedy, a prissy teacher with no imagination accuses Maddie Taylor's son Jimmy of this when he mentions in class that Sister Marie is his godmother. Even when Maddie confirms that Marie is his godmother, the teacher clearly believes Maddie is lying, too. (Apparently, she thinks superheroes appear spontaneously out of the ether, don't have childhood friends, and can't make friends, either, even with people they see on a regular basis. Let alone be someone's godmother.)
  • The Chessmaster: Dumont Appledore, Rupert Giles, Jack O'Neill, Lord Ruthvan Malfant, and Sefot Na-Gavolot.
  • Chicago: The primary location of batzulger's Chicago 7 stories.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: More as a side-effect of story focus than an actual fact in the Teraverse, the vast majority of devoutly Christian persons we see are Catholic, such as Sister Marie and most of her close associates.
  • Cloning Gambit: Lord Deathstrike's seemingly endless collection of secret bases with their cloning tubes.
    • The Nazi experiments to clone Hitler which led to the Breslynn Orphans and other enhanced humans.
  • Collective Identity: Spring-Heel'd Jackie is the poster child for this one.
    • Similarly, Cate Baltimore and Rinkin Mueller share the identity of "Kennedy Redondo/Rollins," an Australian mercenary.
  • Combat Pragmatists: Many of the non-metas with two stand-outs being Wanderer and the Equalizer. Either one will use whatever they have to to win.
  • Conversational Troping: In The Secret Collocation of Alex Mack, Harry Dresden describes a tactic used by Terawatt and Stormburst as "Summon Bigger Fish", and actually makes a comment in his narration about explanations for the "trope-deficient".
  • Consummate Liar: WO1 Stewart Scott is one of the best for survival reasons, seeing as he had to go undercover in the Russian Underworld for almost a year and a half and not get killed. Argyle Garrett qualifies as long as the person he's lying to is law enforcement. If he tries lying to anybody else, he's a ridiculously bad liar. All of the Mundy Family learned this skill as they grew up, they couldn't help it.
  • Cool Boat: Storm Class Boats.
    • The Limpet, The Foundation for Oceanic Research's sub-tender/mobile operations platform; and their advanced technology submarineThe Cetacean.
    • There is also the Schubert Industries Limited flotilla of advanced subs and Q-ships including the stolen K-222.
  • Cosplay: The Pevsner family reunion in the Omake to The Demon (?) And The Detective is based around 1940s costume for all participants.
    • There are also scenes taking place at the San Diego Comic Con, with large numbers of cosplayers, in The Secret Return of Alex Mack, It's Just A Habit, and Incubation Period.
    • In Boston the dogfaces (McGruff groupies) dress in Crime Dog outfits, Wink in Pink costumes are seen in the club scenes and Batman costumes are particularly popular in the gay leather bars.
    • Incubation Period chapters 52 and 53 describe a high school Halloween costume contest, in which some of the contestants clearly consider themselves cosplayers (at least two asking to be called by costume-appropriate names, one of them being Terawatt).
    • Debbie Thornberry explicitly compares how she takes on the persona of Mary Poppins to cosplayers getting "in character" in chapter 5 of Hell's Nanny.
  • Crazy Prepared: Even discounting the New York Bat, there's Allison Mundy and her obsession with lockpicks, and the entire Mundy Family's "hobby" of stealing random building plans and casing museums that they might have an interest in the future.
  • Create Your Own Villain: The events of The Secret Collocation of Alex Mack seem to indicate that the demon princess D'Lazza, the antagonist of The League of Extraordinary Women, was/is/will be a version of Danielle Atron thrown back in time and into a hell dimension by a reunion of the team that was originally formed to defeat her.
  • Crossdresser: Several characters dress as the opposite gender as a disguise, including Joanna Ze'evi (as Jonathan Lowe), Rinkin (as Strannik) and BeeDazzle (as Mr. Unknown).
    • And then there's Richard Stanton, AKA Madame Fatal, who after the end of his crossdressing hero career lived out the rest of his life as a woman.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Lampshaded in Deep Trouble, when Escobar Cortez asks Warren Mears, "If you can build stuff like this, why did you become a crook, Warren?"
    • A similar lampshade comes up in Shadow-Puppets referencing the "weather machine" used against the Del Oro Extreme games in an earlier story:

[B]ut still, why are you not patenting this and selling it for profit?

  • Cyborg: Cybernetic replacements/enhancements are clearly a maturing technology in the Teraverse, with cyborged animals and humans appearing, including Konneycha and Cerberus of the Chicago Crew, and Cesca Santana's associate Romeo. On the villainous side, several opponents including Ort-Myer, Onatopp, and 47 have been upgraded. The Prometheans all are cyborgs, only using corpses for their organic components.
  • Da Editor: Tony Vincenzo of the INS wire service.
  • Dance Battler: A number of the heroes and villains use Capoeira, and a few even use Savate. Wanderer uses both of those along with other acrobatic styles such as Taido and Kalaripayattu.
  • Dating Catwoman: Subverted in the cross-dresser Madam Fatal and the villain Lethal Lady.
  • Death by Irony: Coupled with Karmic Transformation: Pierre L’Grenouille-Dévoreur in The Lady and the Detective, whose name literally means "Peter the Frog-Eater": transformed into a centipede by the substance he wanted to use to rule the world, and then eaten by a frog.
  • Death Ray: Created by Lord Deathstrike using a transuranic element found in a meteor.
    • Project FOGHORN used by ISERB is a disintegration beam that disrupts atomic bonds while absorbing the released energy harmlessly.
    • Sam Carter created a space-based MASER using Terawatt as the power source.
  • Designated Victim: Dalton Spence, a Teraverse fan, has been killed off in stories by several other writers as an In-Joke.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: An embarrassment of riches with Lo Pan, Sumuru, Ort-Meyer, and Count Na-Gavolot definitely being such. Even Rupert Giles qualifies and judging by the events of On Location, Jennifer Stephenson does as well.
  • Disguised in Drag: Richard Stanton, a 1930s actor/vigilante dressed as Madame Fatal, a little old lady, to fight crime.
  • Divided States of America: In Shade, set several centuries in the future, the United States seems to have broken up and reassembled, with an authoritarian government holding onto most of the country and several "free" cities only loosely affiliated with them.
  • The Don: Boston has two- Don Vincenzo (Mafia) and Larry (mutant lobsters).
  • The Dragon: With so many Diabolical Masterminds in play, there are a variety of Dragons in the stories, such as Mr. 47, Dr. Jezebel Terrenzo, Ting, and Grendel.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The Lion, the Walsh, and the Laboratory was one of the very first Teraverse stories, and is essentially a joke whose punchline is the appearance of Snagglepuss. It's been almost completely ignored by subsequent stories, although in late 2018 one made a throwaway reference to Snagglepuss, suggesting he hasn't been entirely Retconned from the 'verse.
  • Eloquent in My Native Tongue: Sister Marie in Over The Line, where her very identity is called into question over the fact that she's not fluent in Spanish.
  • Escape Artist: Several but the champion is Allison Mundy, who managed to escape from a bare concrete cell while handcuffed by her hands and feet to a padeye in the floor while stripped to her underwear.
    • Faith Delabruzzi learned escapology (in parallel with being a dominatrix) from Luciana Delabruzzi, whom she believes learned it from a stage magician in Atlantic City decades earlier. As of the events of The Mobstah Lobstah, she's passing on her training (in escapology only) to Eliza Thornberry.
  • Everything Is Online: Shown by the CtOS and Ted Kord's, Malcolm's, and Willow Rosenberg's ability to infiltrate almost any form of telecommunications or computer records.
    • Averted in Operation Eternal Flame, in which critical information was intentionally kept offline.
    • Also averted in Speedloader Dynamite Dance Party, because Roanapur's entire telecommunications infrastructure is built on electromechanical equipment from the 1930s.
  • Everything Sounds Menacing in German: In the in-universe fantasy film Amazon Warrior DeeDee, the evil troll Helga Headbanger speaks with a thick German accent, despite there being no German ethnic group in the film's imaginary universe.
  • Evil Overlord: Pierre L’Grenouille-Dévoreur has ambitions to be one -- but possesses neither the skills nor the minions (nor the competence) to actually accomplish his goal.
  • Fake Nationality: Spring-Heel'd Jackie, twice over: once for being a Fake Brit (and a pseudo-Victorian as well!), but even more for being a Fake Extradimensional Alien.
    • Rinkin Mueller (a Japanese/German) almost never operates under her actual nationality having impersonated an Aussie (her most common), a Texas ex-Beauty Queen-looking woman, a South African, a Chinese, and a Russian.
    • Stewart Scott has made a career of impersonating Russian and Serbian mobsters.
  • Fantastic Catholicism: We see the very beginning of it in It's Just A Habit when Sister Marie and two other nuns found the Order of Sainte Jeanne d'Arc. Officially an order of nuns dedicated to first responders and emergency preparedness, it is also explicitly intended as an order for nuns with super-powers -- like Sister Marie -- and their support structure.
  • Fantastic Drug: GC-161 ("Geec") is the most important and creates metas, but also Rush, Tar, Asp, Red Eye, Lowe's Serums, and other enhancement pharmaceuticals exist.
  • Fast Roping: Many of the trope's fallacies are averted when it is performed by Mike Long, Alf Bellows, and Dexter Reilly as a variant on the Super Window Jump escape plan in Dallas.
  • Fictional Document/Show Within a Show:
    • Jack Ryder's Big Things - Bad Things - Strange Things. A History has sections posted through many of the Chicago 7 stories
    • It's Just A Habit is revealed, in its epilogue, to be Sister Marie's published autobiographical account, "It's Just A Habit: Sister Marie in Her Own Words".
    • Several portions of It's Just A Habit, as well as the entire text of I Do My Own Stunts, are presented as newspaper clippings. Partially averted, in the sense that all of the newspaper clippings are attributed to real newspapers.
    • There are also references to an in-universe Terawatt fan club webforum. Two chapters in The Secret Return of Alex Mack are, in fact, copies of postings on that forum attributed, directly or indirectly, to Terawatt herself. One of these triggers a story development in It's Just A Habit and is routinely quoted (including as the page quote above).
      • It has also been mentioned that one thread exists entitled Walking in Terawatt's Shoes. Despite the metaphorical possibilities of that thread title, it turns out to be eminently literal: the thread contains tips for Terawatt cosplayers attempting to deal with walking in her platform-heeled boots.
      • There is also, apparently, an entire subsection of said forum devoted to Sister Marie; one scene in Incubation Period is presented in the form of a thread from said subsection, where various users are discussing one of Sister Marie's non-heroic public appearances.
    • "Twisting The X-Men", the in-universe counterpart to the Teraverse's home, "Twisting The Hellmouth", from which we have seen occasional postings.
    • Dumbo is a Walt Disney Pictures (live action) remake based on the classic Disney Animation film, and starring Lulu, the telekinetic flying elephant. (And was created for the Teraverse well before the real-world Disney announced their live-action remake.)
    • Boston Accent is a film crime drama with Seth Meyers playing ten different roles.
    • Mallory for Hire is a mystery novel loosely based on an old Banacek case, written by Francesco Dagustine (Franklyn the Butler).
    • Amazon Warrior Deedee is a best-selling novel by Daniel LaRusso, later made into a blockbuster movie starring Buffy Summers and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Selections have been written from this novel.
    • Beverly Hills Narc is a long-running TV action/comedy series starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as Gunther Shtepple, a high school gym coach who moonlights for the DEA to meet the alimony payments to his vindictive ex-wife Marci, played by Cheryl Sarkisian (the actress formerly known as Cher).
    • Sister Marie is a biographical film made by Walt Disney Pictures and based upon Sister Marie's published autobiographical account, "It's Just A Habit: Sister Marie in Her Own Words". Sister Marie did not personally appear in the film but did provide technical support for at least one flying scene.
    • Aquamaniac is a series of 6 horror films and a related book series about a humanoid lizard man.
    • What's What in the Tera-Verse is composed of a collection of Fictional Documents from the Teraverse.
    • A Catholic Mother's Guide to Baby Names is a baby-names book mentioned in Incubation Period; a portion of the story text is excerpts from it.
    • What If There Is a God? (by Jennifer Bishop) is an autobiographical account; the author herself is a character in Incubation Period, and part of the story text is made up of posts and/or comments from her blog.
    • Detective Chimp, a series of fan-published stories on "Twisting the X-Men", written by Franklyn Dagustino, which combine Suzanne MacGregor's simian nature with Banecek's personality and skills to create the titular detective.
    • Venus in the Half Shell, an illustrated novel told in rhyme about the sex life of lobsters.
    • She Sells Seashells, award winning PBS documentary series on oceanographic issues hosted by Dr. Suzanne D. MacGregor.
    • All Part of the Service is a Kiki's Delivery Service/Marvel Cinematic Universe crossover fanfic published on "Twisting the X-Men".
    • The Two-Faced Doughboy, a lost film from 1928 which starred Richard Stanton, the future vigilante Madam Fatal.
    • Featherman, a Japanese Sentai show with a bird theme, competitor to the Super Sentai franchise, broadcast continuously in a single continuity since 1985.
  • Foreign Language Tirade: Marie-Therese (Sister Marie's mother) has one of these in It's Just A Habit, when announcing her desire to become a nun. There is a little bit of a twist, in the fact that both she and the target of her tirade (Sister Marie herself) are Americans who were raised fully bilingual in the language she's using (French)... and since it's contained within her own narrative, written for publication, Sister Marie provides a full translation.
  • Former Child Star: Harmony Kendall, as well as her friend and former co-star Allegria Kuzma.
  • Fun With Acronyms:
    • The Coalition for the Liberation from Ichthyo-Terrorism (CLIT).
    • Mentioned in passing in Incubation Period: an "architecture-and-engineering" firm called Brown, Uchida, Ingraham, Lister, Tankersley, and Associates (BUILT).
  • The Future: There are epilogues and stories set 10 to 300 years after the end of The Secret Return of Alex Mack. These postulate the colonization of the Inner and Outer Solar System, Generation Ships, Terraforming, and other advanced technologies that were starting to be developed in the main time frame; averting even further that Reed Richards Is Useless. They also indicate that the United States has undergone some degree of Balkanization.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Scattered all throughout the Teraverse, including such notables as Ted Kord, Dr. Gretchen Thomke, Fred Burkle, Hedy 'Sexy Thing' Dresden, and Penny Wynalazek.
  • Gayngster: Frankie Dagustino, the ex-mafia butler 'Franklyn' at the MMIU.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: With Walsh's legacy, Ort-Meyer's obsession, and Schubert Industries' research; new chimeric bioweapons are starting to appear and some will get loose.
  • Genius Ditz: Harmony Kendall, who is completely The Ditz unless you get her on the topic of unicorns and their folklore, on which she can discourse like an experienced anthropologist/mythologist. (Not without reason, either -- as it turns out, she has a Ph.D. from Yale in Mythology.)
  • Giant Enemy Lobsters: Larry, Darryl, and Darryl, the bus-sized lobsters that appear in Boston, led by the Merman.
    • And let us not forget their smaller cousin, Burt.
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: Hermione Granger's sunglasses in much of Hermione Granger and the Boy Who Lived -- they're the display screen for her forearm-mounted computer.
    • Also Cate Baltimore and Dana Tasker's sunglasses, which function as a display for some of their gear.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Most of the unarmed combat types are more or less formally trained in one or more styles of standardized martial art. There are exceptions, however, such as Mike Long, Charani, Mammoth, Konneycha, Azure Crush when she started out, the Toxic Avenger, and Aidos.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: Many and belonging to many governments, though most often seen are those belonging to the United States, its subordinate jurisdictions, and various European nations (including, arguably, Vatican City). Central to the Teraverse in many ways, though, is the United States' Superpowers Research Initiative, aka the SRI.
  • Gratuitous French: Just about every second word uttered by Pierre L’Grenouille-Dévoreur.
    • Also quite common in the various stories featuring Sister Marie and her associates; notably, she suggested naming her religious commune mostly in French.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: Acknowledged (and very carefully not invoked) by Seth Pevsner in chapter 17 of The Lady and the Detective when he finds himself in a position which should -- but doesn't -- result in him plummeting to his death.
  • Gun Porn: The stories that batzulger writes are littered with this.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: In addition to the products of Nazi weird science, there are also Lord Deathstrike's lizard-men and wolf-men.
    • The Merman.
    • Project Galinka with the Utahraptor DNA contribution to their genome.
    • Technically the Kothoga qualify for this trope.
  • Hard Light: Ingersoll Dash and Ayananta both possess Telekinesis that appears to manifest as light-based structures.
  • Heaven: Definitely exists, along with Valhalla, as seen in Ye Shall Not Die Alone.
  • Heroic Build: Subverted in Boston by Herbie Popnekker, Al Wilson, and Evan Crawford.
  • Heroic Suicide: The Burlington Wasp when he begins turning into a Wendigo.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Dr. Gretchen Thomke and Detective Lien Kane, the two women who take turns being "Spring-Heel'd Jackie", are this.
  • Honorary Uncle: Since he does have the same last name as her deceased father (and herself), Jack O'Neill invited Sister Marie to call him Uncle Jack. He's often referred to her as his niece. Since their marriage, Willow has adopted the usage as well, and upon meeting Sister Marie, immediately got called 'Aunt Willow'.
    • In Incubation Period, Sister Marie's best friend, Maddie, found it particularly surprising when Marie introduced her 'Aunt Willow':

"I've known you for ten years. Your parents are both only children. And yet, here you are, introducing this girl, who's barely older than we are, as your aunt? How do you suddenly have an aunt? And she's Jewish?"

  • Hot Chick in a Badass Suit: Spring-Heel'd Jackie in her white silk shirt and "ivory" mask, black leather vest and pants, and red swallow-tailed morning coat is one form of this.
    • Marcie Ross and Trish Chabot when they are in their 'Field Service' uniforms. These being the black suits popularized by the Men in Black Conspiracy theories.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: "Princess" Awqasisa is basically a mummy afforded animation by a bizarre fungus, who when injured "heals" by consuming large quantities of carbohydrates and water for the fungus to use as raw materials for repairing her.
    • Although they do not get immediate healing benefits from food, most of the biochemically-based supers in the Teraverse (like Terawatt) demonstrate many of the other features of this trope.
  • I Have Many Names: Proteus, Caitlin Baltimore, Count ne-Gavelot, Rinkin, Stew Scott, the Savage, Jonathan Lowe, and others.
  • I Love Nuclear Power: Radiation from Pyre/Bendix Space granted Axwell Tiberius, and Ann and Oniko O'Brien their size and strength.
  • I Should Write a Book About This: Sister Marie gets told this several times, and eventually does so. The general argument being that since she, unlike Terawatt, et al, doesn't have a secret identity, she can tell her story without exposing it.
  • Impersonation Gambit: Performed by both Dana Tasker and Cate Baltimore.
    • Also a semi-reverse conducted by both Gil Hart and Al Mundy, who are both impersonating different double-0s at the same time.
    • Stewart Scott is frequently undercover as a gangster (usually Russian or Serbian), though he has gone undercover as himself once.
  • Insistent Terminology: Marie-Therese... best known as Sister Marie's "Maman", she tends to acquire and shed titles and/or surnames at the drop of a hat... and doesn't seem to mind most nicknames... but insists that her hyphenated first name not be shortened.
    • Which makes perfect sense, simply for avoiding confusion, because the most likely variation is her daughter's full first name.
    • While she was married, and for a couple of years after her husband's death, she was hyphenating her surname as well; a friend once joked, "Can't have Marie-Therese without her hyphens."
    • Also, the OSJ's Patron Saint is referred to as Sainte Jeanne, not Joan of Arc, at least until someone asks for clarification.
    • In Boston whenever Faith Delabruzzi mentions 'The Toilet Museum' Peter Valentine insists that the proper name is the 'Museum of Plumbing'.
  • Intoxication Ensues: A mild case of this affects both women who portray Spring-Heel'd Jackie when they wear the suit; the technology behind it has a slight side effect on their brains that lowers their inhibitions and enhances their libidos. It's nowhere near severe enough to be a problem, but it helps make Jackie's personality entirely different from either of their own.
    • Also a side effect of Yatz's Serum, resulting in the Creeper's mania.
  • In a Single Bound: Spring Heel'd Jackie's specialty, as her suit is capable of leaping over 30 meters straight up.
    • The Creeper is also capable of incredible jumps.
    • Konnycha is "merely" able to jump two stories vertically in a half-ton suit of powered armor.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Jack Ryder to his very bones.
    • Maddie Sabatino-Taylor as well, to a lesser degree.
  • Kaiju: Cthulhu, Gojira, Kraken.
  • Karmic Death: For Pierre L’Grenouille-Dévoreur and his flunkies in The Lady and the Detective -- transformed into centipedes and eaten by frogs the moment they escape from the cave in which they had been trapped. In L’Grenouille-Dévoreur's case, it's also Death by Irony -- see Meaningful Name, below.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Kothoga creatures' main weakness, and since they has fantastically powerful regeneration and are otherwise nearly indestructible...it's good that it's there.
  • Last of His Kind: The Savage/Shining Hawk, The Midwich Cookoo, Hanna and Charani
  • Last Rites: Averted and discussed in It's Just A Habit. At the start of the story POV character Marie O'Neill is a Catholic Eucharistic minister -- a variety of Catholic lay-clergy with a very limited remit -- and in one chapter she remarks on the difference between the movies and reality when it comes to the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.
  • Legacy Hero: Spring-Heel'd Jackie claims to be a descendant of (or at least the heiress of sorts to) the figure of Victorian folklore known as "Spring-heel'd Jack".
    • Shade from the story of the same name is the latest in a long line of Bats protecting New York City.
    • The British "Double-Ohs" have a lineage which includes traditional code names.
    • Mystery Man Jason 'Tomahawk' Ward was a lineal descendant of the original pre-colonial hero Thomas 'Tomahawk' Hawkins.
  • Legacy Immortality: Camicia Rossa is an Italian crime-fighter who has been active since the 1860's. He is rumored to be immortal, but cynics suggest that he is actually many different men adopting the same identity and costume.
    • The same is suggested as one explanation for the equally long criminal career of Fantômas.
  • Living Aphrodisiac: Burt the Blue Lobster is thought to literally be an aphrodisiac and if killed and consumed would act as a 'natural' Viagra.
  • Living Lie Detector: The Champions can do this along with tuning out any surrounding background noise so they can get an even better idea of the target's heart rate.
    • Drusilla can see lies as they are spoken as well as emotional state and intent.
  • Lizard Folk: The Lizard King of the Chicago Crew along with his "relatives", the Kothaga.
    • Lord Deathstrike's lizard men.
    • Schubert's Komodo Commandos.
    • Waylon "Croc" Jones
    • The Professional Alligator Wrestler (and sometime hero) James "Leatherback" Collins.
  • Loveable Rogue: Jonathan Lowe is an ethical criminal with an exceptionally strong moral compass.
  • Lower Deck Episode: Several stories shift the focus to the less-prominent members of the SRI, and let us see just how badass they can be on their own. And one plotline in Incubation Period follows Sister Marie's best friend, intrepid reporter Maddie Sabatino-Taylor.
  • Loyal Phlebotinum: Inverted. Anyone can use the Death Rays created by Lord Deathstrike on any target they like -- but they are keyed to his DNA and will blow up if they are turned on him. (Harry Potter had a sample of Deathstrike's DNA injected into him as an infant, which was unfortunate for Deathstrike...)
  • Magic: One of the most FORBIDDEN elements of the Teraverse. No spells or spellcasters are permitted.
  • Mad Scientist: Rafael Schubert, Henry Bendix, Nico Black, Oniko O'Brien, Lo Pan, Lord Deathstrike, Tucker Wells, Jezebel Terrenzo (technically she's a mad psychiatrist) are just a few examples.
  • Master Actor: Richard Stanton portraying Madam Fatal, a little old lady.
  • Master Swordsman: Rinkin Mueller, Caitlin Baltimore, Teri McAllister, Max Keller, Nick Parker, Bill Devereaux.
  • Meaningful Name: "Pierre L’Grenouille-Dévoreur" from The Lady and the Detective, which literally means "Peter the Frog-Eater".
    • Inspector Diana Castillo and Dr. Diane Schloss, both alluding to the creator of the Teraverse.
  • Mega Corp: Petrox Oil, which is actually owned by one of the Ancient Conspiracies and is one of its primary sources of income and money laundering.
  • The Men in Black: Field agents of the ISERB have sort of fallen into using the MIB look and feel, lifted from an in-universe Men in Black movie which appears to have been similar to the one in our time line.
  • Mercenaries: There is a remarkable assortment of them in the Teraverse. People that are willing to fight and kill for money range from elite Assassins and former assassins like guns for hire Siobhan Bri and Ethan Rayne; to the Consummate Professionals that are contracted to Department Six such as Wanderer, Wipe-Out, Socrates, and the Kid; and on to Private Military Contractors as in Nick Tollander and his Oneida Assets firm.
  • Meta Fic: A couple of the stories include or are actually glimpses at In-Universe fan works, including content posted on "Twisting The X-Men", the counterpart to the series' host site "Twisting The Hellmouth" in a world where Buffy Summers is a real person but not a Slayer.
    • It's Just A Habit is presented as a published autobiography, including the final chapter being comprised entirely of a thank-you letter to the readers, "About the Author" summaries of two major characters, publication and copyright information, and the photo credits for the supposed book's cover art.
    • And then, taking the whole concept Up to Eleven, there's All Part of the Service - a Kiki's Delivery Service/Marvel Cinematic Universe crossover which was written for "Twisting the X-Men".
  • Metas Need Food Badly: Virtually every meta whose powers come from biochemical enhancement or alteration ends up with a much higher metabolism and corresponding food intake. In some cases, this intake is sufficient to cover the energy cost of their powers, but most of the time -- as with Terawatt -- it's nowhere near enough to fuel the powers demonstrated by the meta. It eventually turns out that very powerful supers actually tap Bendix Space (aka "The Bleed") for energy, and their increased food cost simply covers the needs of the mechanism that does so.
  • Millennium Bug: Mentioned in passing in Over The Line, by Graham Miller, who noticed that Sister Marie's California driver's license bore a renewal date very close to the 1999/2000 transition.

...her current license had an issue date from January of two-thousand, and was due to expire in two-thousand-five. Back when we'd all been breathing sighs of relief that the world's electronic civilization had not come to a crashing halt at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, Sister Marie had apparently been in the process of renewing her driver's license.

    • Truth in Television, in that California adds a colored stripe for drivers under the age of 21, for alcoholic beverage control purposes. Young drivers' licenses are usually set to expire on their 21st birthday, and the renewal license is then issued without the stripe. Marie's birthday has been cited as February 11, 1979, so she would have turned 21 in 2000.
  • Mind Control: Lord Deathstrike developed and used a mind control system composed of two parts -- a bulky "chair" in which the actual mind control is accomplished, and a coin-sized disk which is implanted behind the ear of the controlled victim and is basically a radio receiver for verbal commands from a handler. The "chair" is large enough that it requires a good-sized van or truck to transport it, and it takes several hours to subdue and subvert a victim.
  • Mr. Smith: The agents of ISERB use boring and anonymous names as their cover IDs constantly.
  • My Card: Spring-Heel'd Jackie actually says this line while giving an actual physical card to a thug at the door of a criminal hideout she and Batwoman are about to crash in Bat by the Bay. In case you're curious, it reads:
Lady Jacqueline Dacre

adventuress

Jahannum, London, San Francisco
  • The Nicknamer: Madonna Sabatino-Taylor... Maddie to her friends. Some of the nicknames she has coined are endearing, while others are definitely meant to be disparaging or embarrassing... though some of those might qualify as insults of endearment. They're often derivative enough to be quite obvious. Sister Marie tends to object and correct her, but generally only in the cases of disparaging/embarrassing ones being applied to people.
    • For examples: Madame (Marie-Therese), Holy Tragedy (her church and elementary school, Holy Trinity), Our Lady in Pieces (her high school, Our Lady of Peace), Our Lady of the Disapproving Glare (Sister Lorraine, her high school principal), Miss Nasty-Broadcasting-Chick (a mean reporter with the local NBC television station), Mommie Dearest (Mother Elizabeth), the Church of the Puking Sheep (Good Shepherd Catholic Church in San Diego, so-called for the concrete statue of a sheep in front of it that does look like it's puking).
    • She also tends to use diminutive forms of first names, particularly when she's dealing with people younger than herself.
    • She's also gone to significant lengths in choosing appropriate custom ringtones for all her incoming cellphone contacts, which could themselves be considered a form of nickname.
  • Ninja: In the Teraverse, the ninja consist of a loose group of clans that provide specialized shadow war agents for Japan in the place of a government-run set of academies as most other major powers have. They function as spies primarily, and most of the rest of the world (including those same elite intelligence academy graduates) believes that that the modern day continued existence of"Ninja" is a creation of comic books and the movies. Named clans include: the Osaki Clan based in Salt Lake City (having Rinkin Mueller and Cate Baltimore as genin) and thought by the other clans to have been completely destroyed; the Phoenix Arizona off-shoot of the Imura Clan, with Max Keller and Teri McAllister; the Honda Clan with close ties to the Japanese government; the Takashi, the Kawaguchi, and the Oshiro.
  • No Conservation of Energy: A consequence of anyone or anything that taps Bendix Space for power, because doing so is essentially stealing energy from one universe for use in another.
    • Averted, at least partially, for those characters like Terawatt and Sister Marie whose powers impose a sometimes drastically increased caloric intake on them. (The "partially" comes from it being unclear whether they are actually taking in as many calories as their powers expend; in many cases, there appears to be a rather significant shortfall which has to be made up from somewhere.)
      • Later stories indicate that the actual power comes from Bendix Space, but the body's stored chemical energy is expended to shape and direct it.
    • And since No Conservation of Mass redirects to this trope: Harmony Kendall's acquired ability to transform into and back from a unicorn must produce and dispense with about 500 Kg (half a ton) of mass each way, in just a couple of seconds.
      • In addition to Harmony the Unicorn, the Lizard King and Mr. Ting also gain size and mass from the utilization of Bendix Space.
  • Not My Driver: Reversed by Dana Tasker and Cate Baltimore to kidnap someone they need to question.
  • Nuns Are Funny: Averted by Sister Marie of the Order of Sainte Jeanne d'Arc, who is a well-rounded individual and is no more wacky or goofy than any other person. However, one of her fellow nuns, Sister Lucy, was named after a Queen of Narnia, sometimes comports herself accordingly, and occasionally uses Aslan metaphors when talking about God. Even so, she comes across more as having a bit of fun with it than odd or eccentric.
  • Nuns Are Spooky: Although she actively works to avoid this trope, Sister Marie does sometimes give off this vibe -- particularly in a moment in It's Just A Habit where she castigated the mayor of San Diego for trying to politicize her, then flew into a church whose doors opened for her apparently on their own. The production of a film version of this scene is discussed in I Do My Own Stunts.
  • Nuns-N-Rosaries: Trope referred to by name by Angelina Sepulveda in Incubation Period chapter 69.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: One of BeeDazzle's tactics for keeping her various personae separate -- her primary hero ID deliberately comes across as a bit of a Valley Girl Ditz.
    • In The Lady and the Detective, Seth Pevsner briefly suspects Harmony Kendall of this when she quickly and convincingly carries out the cover story that keeps him out of the public eye. He might be right -- she mentions in chapter three of Do You Have To Open Graves that she has a Ph.D. in Mythology from Yale. (As well as several more honorary degrees.)
  • Of Corsets Sexy:
    • Faith Delabruzzi and Carla Fiori wear corsets as needed for their current... assignments.
    • Debbie Thornberry generates a telekinetic corset for herself as part of "Mary Poppins" persona.
  • Older Than They Look: There are strong hints that retarded aging is one of the common effects of GC-161 exposure: we know for a fact that Terawatt looks like a twenty-something well into her 70s (plus stories set in the distant future note that she was an active hero for over a century), and Daniel LaRusso's first impression of Beatrice "Wink in Pink" Thompson is that she looks too young to be the mother of a teenager.
    • In stories set in the far future, Cate Baltimore, Jack Ryder, Sebastian Haff, and Eddie Tyrgyvssen are known to be hale and hearty well into their fourth century of life.
  • One Name Only: Lampshaded, as Faith ('just Faith' in the BuffyVerse) is clearly named Delabruzzi to conceal herself.
    • And inverted with actress Cherilyn Sarkisian (Cher) who uses her full name when playing Marci Castrati, Gunther Shtepple's ex-wife.
    • Various nuns in It's Just A Habit and Incubation Period are mentioned as having temporarily used (or are seen while temporarily using) one name only, when they first entered the convent as a 'postulant' (a trainee-like status), later earning the right to augment it with the title of 'Sister'. This also applies to Marie-Therese for almost the entirety of Operation Eternal Flame and portions of Incubation Period (but not the other stories in which she appears).
  • Opera Gloves: Several women in the setting wear long formal-style gloves to hide practical functions: the modern Madam Fatale to control her psychometric power, Spring-Heel'd Jackie to deliver electric shocks, and Black Scorpion to disguise her armor.
  • Our Angels Are Different: Sword of Glory believes she is a holy yet still mortal entity that has been sent to Miami by the Zoroastrian Supreme Being Ahuru Mazda.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Lord Deathstrike's "wolf-men". They don't actually transform, physically, but are in all other regards primarily Hollywood-style wolfmen.
  • Our Zombies Are Different:
    • Aidos, Bill Glenmorgan, and the rest of the Prometheans are Type Cs created by Dr. Tucker Wells's research.
    • Awqasisa is a Type-PS from a symbiotic relationship with a lichen, and unlike most Type-PSes she is fully intelligent, non-infectious, and non-murderous.
  • Overly Long Name: Dr. Mahesh "Bug" Vijayaraghavensatyanaryanamurthy, the MMIU physician.
  • Pals with Jesus: Sort-of invoked by Maddie Sabatino-Taylor in Incubation Period, when she and another reporter are in a remote area during an emergency and asked where they are staying the night. She vaguely replies:

"Oh, we have a friend who has a house... just up the hill..."

    • The readers are aware, though the person she's speaking to is not, that she is referring to a nearby Catholic church. It's only "sort of" because, in context, she might have not been referring to God, but rather to either St. Elizabeth (whom the church was named after), or to Sister Marie (who had suggested staying the night there in the first place).
  • Paparazzi: Mother Elizabeth often cited the potential disruption caused by paparazzi as an unwanted side effect of Sister Marie's heroic vocation. Including, at least once, making a thinly veiled reference to the death of Princess Diana.
    • BeeDazzle actually uses papps as intelligence sources.
  • Paris: Notable for quite a few metas operating in it, including Terawatt at least once. It has also been revealed that Sister Marie's maternal grandparents immigrated from Paris due to World War II.
  • Le Parkour:
    • Taught at the covert spy academies and used by many acrobatic heroes and villains. Faith Delabruzzi belongs to the MIT Parkour Club. The Creeper takes it up to eleven.
  • Pedophile Priest: A scandal involving child sexual abuse, much like the one that took place in Real Life (and as portrayed in the film Spotlight), is referred to as backstory in several of the "Sister Marie" stories. However, it's apparently been timeshifted somewhat earlier (to 1999-2000; implied from Sister Marie's own references, and solidified by a minor character in Incubation Period, a high school student in the class of 2004, who mentioned that it happened while she was in eighth and ninth grades).
    • The timeshift is possibly partially justified by the fact that, according to Word of God, 9/11 did not occur in the Teraverse (Spotlight cited it as a delaying factor).
    • Part of Sister Marie's stated purpose in becoming a superheroine and founding the Order of Sainte Jeanne is to rehabilitate the Catholic Church's public image; this is why she's so very public about the fact that she's really a nun, and not just a cosplayer.
    • While none of the perpetrators are ever seen or named in-story, one chapter does mention one victim and her reaction after the scandal breaks.
  • Phony Psychic: The modern Madam Fatale pretends to have psychic powers for her clients. Lampshaded in that her psychic powers are actually real but not supernatural in origin and require no ritual or cold reading. Fatale is a closeted meta with psychometric power.
  • Pirates: The extinct Plank Walker cult in Indonesia personified the memetic stereotype of "Ninja Vs: Pirates".
  • Posse: "Jackie's Boyz" AKA San Francisco's "Bay Area Meta Operations Task Force", who have fallen into a comfortable partnership with Spring-Heel'd Jackie, and hover somewhere between the classic use and the modern use of the term.
  • Powered Armor: Numerous examples, ranging from the powered diving hard suits employed by Schubert's goons; to the Black Scorpion's mix of armor and magnetic fields; to Spring-Heel'd Jackie's convincing but bogus alien guise. After biochemical manipulation, this is the number two way of becoming "super" in the Teraverse.
  • Precognition: Drusilla and Pyre occasionally gained flashes of futures.
  • Psychopomp: The girls whom Shar meets immediately after her death in Ye Shall Not Die Alone.
  • Puppy Love: Or the early teen equivalent: At age 13, Herbie "Hardball" Popnekker develops a crush on 14-year-old Eliza "Shaman" Thornberry. Sadly, it wasn't reciprocated. (But he does find love later with a girl met during one of his early cases.)
  • Rape as Backstory: Faith Lehane is taken in by Luciana Delabruzzi after being raped, changing her name to Delabruzzi. Later becomes a sex worker/dominatrix.
  • Redemption Quest: Azure Crush, Robert McCall, Victor Cready and others trying to make amends for past behavior.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Partially rationalized by the explanation of why the use of the nearly limitless extra-dimensional energy source accessible from Bendix Space/Pyre Space is not used, as potentially planet-destroying effects may occur.
    • Averted as the high-tech firms run by various geniuses are actively marketing their advanced technologies. This has resulted in the entire 'verse being almost a decade or more ahead of our own in the available technology of all kinds.
  • Rent-a-Zilla: The series of Kaiju that someone is creating (starting with a Cthulhu knockoff in Hell's Nanny) and setting loose on various targets around the world.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: An April 2019 story (Amends) includes a nightmare that seems to be based on the real-world fire at Notre Dame Cathedral; the chapter was posted within 48 hours of the real-world incident.
  • Robosexual: Warren Mears.
    • Escobar Cortez, after discovering the girl he fell in love with wasn't a cyborg as both believed, but a gynoid.
  • Robot Girl: Warren Mears' April Mark III.
    • Gull Hjärtatavjärn, also created by Warren Mears, is a Ridiculously-Human Robot who was initially unaware that she was a robot, believing instead that she was a former spy/mercenary with partial amnesia who had been cyborged after a near-fatal injury.
  • Rogue Agent: Dumont Appledore ran an entire rogue intelligence network inside the British intelligence community in the Backstory (and main story) of Hermione Granger and the Boy Who Lived. Later, Hermione, Ron, and Harry themselves are essentially rogue agents (although with the tacit approval of some factions of British Intelligence), and end up running their own network.
    • There is also an entirely impromptu team of intelligence, military, and "independent" specialists who have taken it upon themselves to deal with some of the greater secret threats.
    • Ethan Rayne is an example of a rogue turned mercenary.
  • Roma: Charani Kaldaresh is proud of her heritage as a Roma.
  • Rome: Setting for Terawatt: Seven days in Italy, following up on an incident that takes place in Rome in The Secret Return of Alex Mack. The same incident is also referenced in It's Just A Habit and Operation Eternal Flame.
  • San Francisco: San Francisco and the Bay Area are the home of Spring-Heel'd Jackie, the Bay Area Meta Operations Task Force, Batwoman, Flower Mantis, and Centipede.
    • ISERB also has an office in the area.
  • Screen Name: Several very meaningful examples, including notwithoutmyhyphen for Sister Marie's mother, Marie-Therese. The most obvious example is perhaps in the fictional author's header, disclaimer, and author's notes for All Part of the Service, which includes screen names for four different characters.
  • Secret War: A subset of the stories deals with the organizations and people that allowed something like Harworts and the other intelligence academies to be created, and in fact necessary. Due to the nature of a multi-author megacrossover, elements of this story arc are leaking into other plotlines in the Teraverse.
  • Shock and Awe: Electrical discharge powers are some of the most common abilities granted by GC-161 exposure.
  • Southies: Charles Sullivan, Herbie Popnekker, Evan Crawford and Peter Valentine all have strong South Boston working class accents. The Wagha Wagah Café represents yuppie change in the old neighborhood. Parts of Incubation Period also take place in South Boston.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Harmony Kendall as a child and teen, according to the people who worked with her.
  • The Spymaster: Rupert Giles, Ruthven Malfant, and Dumont Appledore.
  • Spy Catsuit: Allison Mundy's Sneak Suit, which darkens in low light conditions and is impossibly smooth, so it won't snag on things.
    • Averted by Wanderer's and other covert operators' dark BDUs and other camouflage uniforms.
  • Spy Satellites: KORD's WorldSat series. Most are equipped with an RF resonant cavity thruster drive for station keeping and maneuverability and being tucked up in higher orbits when they're not being used.
  • Spy School: The UK's Harworts, The US's Culpepper Academy, The PRC's Temple, and the Russian Institute and Finishing School are just some of the elite training sites. The various ninja clans have their own schools, and the League and the Order also have their own facilities.
  • Stealth Expert: Quite a few in verse, but the Mundy family takes it to the next level.
  • Stock Ninja Weaponry: Subverted by the Wanderer; as she has said, "It's the 21st century, why should I be stuck with gear from the 15th century if there's better stuff around?" She will use swords and other traditional weapons, but only if they are the best tools for the job at hand.
  • Super Registration Act: The United States' 1960 "Vigilante Registration Act", which appears to have been responsible for the end of the era of "mystery men" and pulp-style heroes, at least in the States.
  • Super Serum: GC-161 and its various knock-offs and offshoots: Venom, Tar, Rush, Asp and more.
    • Then there's the work of the Nazis, Deathstrike, the Lowe Family, and other "weird scientists".
    • And finally, the various natural enhancement compounds and organisms found in distant, isolated spots, like the Lazarus Pits and the Waters of Teraka.
  • Super Soldier: Technically Hannah, Charani, the 701 soldiers, and Mr. 47; as they all were engineered or augmented to their current level of ability. The point could be made that Marie and Joe and the Champions also qualify.
  • Super Speed: Both Sister Marie and BeeDazzle have telekinetic flight and shields allowing them to travel at supersonic speeds in atmosphere.
    • Wink in Pink, Ultraman, and Konneycha can all run at well over 100 kph.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Performed by Wanderer in her "Strannik" ID and BeeDazzle as her "Mr. Unknown" persona. Wanderer is good enough and has practiced this identity so thoroughly that she has currently been able to fool the World's Greatest Detective...Batman...so far.
    • Jonathan Lowe has lived most of her life as a man.
  • Tarot Motifs: The villainous organization operating behind the scenes in the future setting of Shade uses Major Arcana as code names for super-powered individuals and Minor Arcana for teams of Mooks.
  • Teen Superspy: Graduates of Harworts (or any of the other academies) all qualify as they will be still in their teens at the time of the graduation ceremony.
    • Others that qualify for this trope are "Homeschooled" or "Independent" types such as Dana Tasker, Marcie Ross to some extent, Alexi Mundy or any of the Mundy children, and of course Cate Baltimore. The Kid from Department Six is also one of these at the start of his career.
  • Telekinesis: One of the classic abilities granted by exposure to GC-161. Of the five most powerful characters who possess it (Terawatt, Samantha Carter, Sister Marie, Dani Atron, and BeeDazzle) there is a significant difference in strength, range, and versatility in the manifestations. And late in The Secret Return of Alex Mack it's shown that many of the other "standard" GC-161 powers -- even the silver morph -- are actually variations on telekinesis.
  • Theme Naming:
    • In-Universe, the cyborgs Tucker Wells has created are all named after classical Greek gods in Speedloader Dynamite Dance Party, and the later models are named after Shakespearean villains.
    • The Tyrgyvssen family (from It's Just A Habit and other stories) intentionally named their four children after the Pevensie children in The Chronicles of Narnia, and they're somehow in the correct age order. The family also owns a yacht named - what else? - the Dawn Treader.
    • Most of the devoutly Catholic characters have first names taken from Catholic saints. In Up In Smoke, two nuns are identified as having been encouraged to take on unofficial assumed names in order to intentionally align themselves with this theme.
    • Invoked in a scene of Operation Eternal Flame, in which Sister Marie has just been informed of Maddie's second pregnancy; she responds by asking Maddie to not name the child Bernadette, after the "Saint of the Day", if she should be female and born on February 11th. In Holy Tragedy, that child is revealed to be named Scholastica - possibly after the "Saint of the Day" for February 10th.
    • The Black family from the British Intelligence Community names its children after stars celebrities.
    • Everyone in the direct line of the Mundy family has first names that easily lend themselves to the nickname "Al".
  • There Are No Therapists: Hovers between Invoked and Averted. While there are certainly psychiatric professionals in the Teraverse, there is some concern on the part of Jack O'Neill and the SRI about the needs of metas in that regard. And in Operation Eternal Flame, he recruits Sister Marie to act as a counselor and friendly ear to Terawatt during the segment of The Secret Return of Alex Mack where Alex takes a Ten-Minute Retirement after Shar's death. However, Sister Marie doesn't actually make it to Paradise Valley before Alex shakes herself free of her Heroic BSOD, as seen in Secret Return.
  • There Is a God: At least one. Odin and Thor are name-dropped when Valhalla is offered to Shar in Ye Shall Not Die Alone, and presumably "the Heaven you learned of in church" is overseen by the Abrahamic God, if He's not just the same entity as Odin wearing a different face. And the one doing the namedropping? Skuld of the Norns.
  • They Walk Among Us: Invoked in-universe by Spring-Heel'd Jackie, who claims to be an extradimensional exile. (But really isn't.)
  • Time Skip: It's Just A Habit summarizes multiple years during chapter 46, and then abruptly skips again between the last two chapters.
    • 170 years from 1837 to 2007 in East and West.
  • Time Travel: One of the most FORBIDDEN elements of the Teraverse. Any sort of temporal fiddling is not allowed.
  • Title Drop:
    • Sister Marie explaining that she really is a nun, and has not adopted a superheroine name... and as for the costume? "It's Just A Habit."
    • It turns out that Holy Tragedy is Maddie Taylor's disparaging nickname for her children's Catholic elementary school, properly called Holy Trinity, which she also attended (and which is located next door to and affiliated with a Catholic church of the same name, which she is a parishioner of). Notably, she uses it while speaking to a character known to dislike nicknames, and this is the only case in which she doesn't correct herself to the appropriate proper name. (The entire story consists of a single scene, taking place in Holy Trinity's second-grade classroom.)
    • L informs 001 that the mission she is being sent on is Operation Deep Trouble.
  • Translation Convention: Several portions of Over The Line, including the entirety of the first three chapters, are narrated by a police investigator. It turns out that he's with the Mexican federal police, and the narrative and dialogue in these sections is apparently translated from Spanish...
    • ...until the last three lines of Chapter Eleven, when Sister Marie forces a Switch to English.
  • Training from Hell: Many instances, with Action Girl being the standout. Others include Wanderer, any of the students of the Academies, and Cate Baltimore.
  • Transsexualism: Kate Saint-Claire, AKA the Batwoman, was born Kent Kane. Already considering reassignment surgery because of her long-standing gender identity, Kate was fatally wounded while investigating the murder of her parents, and had her brain transplanted into a synthetic female body.
    • Jonathan Lowe really does not qualify as this as she considers herself female, and merely presents a masculine appearance due to her desire to actually do interesting things that a woman 'should never do'.
  • Undead Tax Exemption: Kate Saint-Claire, born Kent Kane. Although the means by which an entirely new identity was built for her are mostly glossed over in Bat by the Bay, they're shown to be completely mundane and the result of spending lots of money.
  • Uplifted Animal: Dr. Suzanne MacGregor, enhanced orangutan, and Arnold Haney the pig.
    • To a much lesser degree, Cesca Santana's associate Romeo, and (non-canon) Snagglepuss the lion.
    • The fugitive lobsters Bert Blue and Darryl, and the late Larry the Lobster.
  • Walk the Plank: The Schaplopen ("Plank Walkers") were a ninja-like cult originating among 17th-century Indonesian pirates.
  • Warrior Heaven: Valhalla is a very real place, as seen in Ye Shall Not Die Alone.
  • Weird Science: Much of it dating back to Those Wacky Nazis. The story Dirty Science is about a US military team set up to recover and protect artifacts of weird science, some of which were created "off the books" as part of Operation Paperclip immediately after World War II.
    • Some of it is even older. There's the work of Hugo Danner's father in the very early years of the 20th century, and Lord Deathstrike's efforts in the 1970s were based on Salazar's alchemical experiments some centuries earlier with the radioactive meteorite he found.
  • Where Do They Get All Those Wonderful Toys?:
    • As of the events of Bat by the Bay, the BAMF in San Francisco is getting equipment from KORD Industries and Kane Weapon Systems.
    • And in Incubation Period, Sister Marie gets a frequency-agile digital radio transmitter, a computer server (with uninterruptible power supply), a satphone, and a custom smartphone voice-interface app ("Maisie") from her Aunt Willow, apparently under an agreement to serve as Red Tree Software's beta-tester for the app. The term "Maisie" becomes the de facto name of all digital assistants in the future.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The eponymous Springfield of The Simpsons may be the one in Massachusetts, according to the events of chapter 14 of The Mobstah Lobstah.
  • Written by the Winners: Spring-Heel'd Jackie claims that the bad reputation of her alleged forebear is a case of this.
  • You Look Familiar: Several characters physically resemble each other, such as Faith Delabruzzi, Dana Tasker, Eliza Dushku, and Missy Tremaine. Similarly, John Kruger, Harry Tasker, Jochim Ansallang, and Arnold Schwarzenegger (as hysteriumredux put it, "All large Austrians look the same").
  1. Someone should tell the author that ATT is the official Tropes Wiki of the Teraverse.