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[GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Vinylshadow on Sun Aug 03, 2014 12:56 pm

Yeah, you get used to coming back to a thread and the first thing to see are references to holes being filled

I've seen stranger
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Retl on Sun Aug 03, 2014 1:23 pm

Vinylshadow wrote:four holes?

one mouth...two nostrils...two ears

one between the legs, one beneath the tail...

plenty of holes that I can see
But it's a crown, right? So if it's whole, it'd be hard to reach from maw to tail...

Wait, didn't Queen Blackjack slice the crown into some number of pieces, I can't remember.

On second thought, that would probably hurt.
Maybe someone's trying to punish Charm for transgressions past? I mean, after what she said she'd do to BJ...

I wonder if anyone's drawn all those things yet. Or any pics of that character at all.
--
Prediction: Scotch Tape dies horribly to a miniature weaponized hacked hostile Scootaborg. Blue Bomber does a big nooooo but then bangs BJ and feels slightly better for about 5 minutes. And then Coglady nukes Chapel with everyone (but her) in it.

Wait actually I take all that back, the crown thing is actually some kind of powerup plot device for robots and cyberponies and they were trying to find a convenient way to patch out the bypass commands in the cybernetics, and then things took a lewd turn. So instead they used it on a zebra robot that joined Chapel while BJ and co were away. But then secretly the robot is a part of the Brood and now they have ULTIMATE POWER! OHNOE.

Okay I completely forgot what I originally meant to post now.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Luminous Lead on Sun Aug 03, 2014 1:37 pm

Somber wrote:The crown... why would it have four?!  She doesn't have that many holes!

She gets shot all the time! How DOESN'T she have that many holes?  Spike 

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Sun Aug 03, 2014 1:56 pm

In other news, Broken Accords (which is an ongoing story by Somber, if you didn't know) could still do with more readers. It only has twenty-two upvotes!
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Vinylshadow on Sun Aug 03, 2014 2:18 pm

King's been dethroned, Crown's been sliced to pieces

Clearly, this means we need to become a Democratic nation

Hm...what could happen in PH to make me hate Somber?

....nothing

Glory could die, Scotch Tape could die, P-21 could die, wouldn't bother me

Cities could burn, Cogjack could conquer or destroy Equestria, wouldn't bother me (I'm all for a 'tragic ending' to PH)

Blackjack could die, Littlepip could die; that wouldn't make me hate Somber, that'd just annoy me because then Fallout Equestria would devolve into complete and total chaos and I'd have to look for something else to read in the middle of the night
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Derpmind on Sun Aug 03, 2014 3:30 pm

Well this is interesting: Cosplay!! (From this reddit thread.)

Horn's a little too big though:
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Vexd on Sun Aug 03, 2014 5:35 pm

Vinylshadow wrote:King's been dethroned, Crown's been sliced to pieces

Clearly, this means we need to become a Democratic nation

Hm...what could happen in PH to make me hate Somber?

....nothing

Glory could die, Scotch Tape could die, P-21 could die, wouldn't bother me

Cities could burn, Cogjack could conquer or destroy Equestria, wouldn't bother me (I'm all for a 'tragic ending' to PH)

Blackjack could die, Littlepip could die; that wouldn't make me hate Somber, that'd just annoy me because then Fallout Equestria would devolve into complete and total chaos and I'd have to look for something else to read in the middle of the night

>LittlePip dying
Isn't this story at least partially tied in with the original FoE canon? If that's the case then that one's not happening
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Retl on Sun Aug 03, 2014 5:38 pm

Vexd wrote:
Vinylshadow wrote:King's been dethroned, Crown's been sliced to pieces

Clearly, this means we need to become a Democratic nation

Hm...what could happen in PH to make me hate Somber?

....nothing

Glory could die, Scotch Tape could die, P-21 could die, wouldn't bother me

Cities could burn, Cogjack could conquer or destroy Equestria, wouldn't bother me (I'm all for a 'tragic ending' to PH)

Blackjack could die, Littlepip could die; that wouldn't make me hate Somber, that'd just annoy me because then Fallout Equestria would devolve into complete and total chaos and I'd have to look for something else to read in the middle of the night

>LittlePip dying
Isn't this story at least partially tied in with the original FoE canon? If that's the case then that one's not happening
There's several ways of getting around that sort of stipulation if one wanted to. Easiest would be to time-skip beyond the epilogue and simply assert they died in the time that wasn't shown. Other ways include someone else quietly sneaking in and assassinating her, counterspell Celestia, and take her place; mind control; delayed but certain death; implications that the narrator of FoE was mistaken; magical time/event dissonance. And stuff. Though I'm definitely reaching pretty hard with that last one.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:02 pm


Chapter 69, everyone! It… well, that would be a spoiler. :)
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by CD on Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:03 pm

Damn you Hinds! I was gonna say 'first!' but then you beat me to it by seconds!

Ah well, I got a new chapter to read, so you are forgiven.


Last edited by CD on Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Dutcher on Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:11 pm

Please no new chapter at 2 am please no new chapter at 2 am...
We'll there goes my night
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:34 pm

Derpmind wrote:Well this is interesting: Cosplay!! (From this reddit thread.)

Horn's a little too big though:
Neat.

CD wrote:[REDACTED BY QUOTER]
That is not my name here.  I would prefer that you change it (or that a mod change it, if they see it first). (This has now been resolved.)


Last edited by O. Hinds on Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:53 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:39 pm

CD wrote:Damn you Hinds! I was gonna say 'first!' but then you beat me to it by seconds!

Ah well, I got a new chapter to read, so you are forgiven.
Ah, thank you. Sorry, but I consider it important to use the correct names for people (hence why, for instance, I was very careful to always call Harmony "Harmony Ltd." and Ryx "WavemasterRyx" until they gave me explicit permission to use other forms).
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Guest on Sun Aug 03, 2014 8:18 pm

A tiny worry, Spoilered for obvious reasons:
I get the feeling the break up was what Somber was referring to when he mentioned people being upset about the chapter. It doesn't upset me. Honestly, I think Glory would be better off with someone else.

Though, before I continue reading because I don't tend to do running commentary. It's difficult to remember your initial thoughts. I am really worried Glory is going to bite it soon. Now that she's not filling the girlfriend role. Alright back to reading. Won't make anymore of these and flood the thread.

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by WavemasterRyx on Sun Aug 03, 2014 8:36 pm

O. Hinds wrote:Chapter 69, everyone!  It… well, that would be a spoiler.  :)
*hugs Hinds and Somber each very gently*

Thank you, for writing this story, Somber.  And thank you, Hinds, and to the other editors for all the hard work you do to help it be so great.

I got my copy downloaded, and I'll definitely be reading it tonight, but I couldn't help wanting to know what happened at the start...

double spoilered:
Spoiler:
It's a very intense opening scene, had me tearing up right from the start.  I'm so happy that it turned out okay, and doubly happy that Boo made it back safe.

“I don’t care that you had sex with somepony else.  What I care is that you’re happy.  That’s it.  That is all that matters to me.  So I forgive you.”  “Oh Blackjack, it is you,” - had me crying again from happiness.

As much as I'm worried about what will happen this chapter, I'm really looking forward to reading it.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Sun Aug 03, 2014 8:41 pm

WavemasterRyx wrote:
O. Hinds wrote:Chapter 69, everyone!  It… well, that would be a spoiler.  :)
*hugs Hinds and Somber each very gently*

Thank you, for writing this story, Somber.  And thank you, Hinds, and to the other editors for all the hard work you do to help it be so great.

I got my copy downloaded, and I'll definitely be reading it tonight, but I couldn't help wanting to know what happened at the start...

double spoilered:
Spoiler:
It's a very intense opening scene, had me tearing up right from the start.  I'm so happy that it turned out okay, and doubly happy that Boo made it back safe.

“I don’t care that you had sex with somepony else.  What I care is that you’re happy.  That’s it.  That is all that matters to me.  So I forgive you.”  “Oh Blackjack, it is you,” - had me crying again from happiness.

As much as I'm worried about what will happen this chapter, I'm really looking forward to reading it.
I hope you enjoy it. It does have some rough stuff in it.


unrelated:
What's the term for someone from Hoofington, I wonder? Hoofingtonite?
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Fellorn on Sun Aug 03, 2014 9:55 pm

Spoilered:
This chapter has so many feels. The plan is really coming together and it is so nice to have so many lose ends being tied up. Loved the new chapter as always.
 Spike
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Retl on Sun Aug 03, 2014 10:13 pm

Spoilers: General response from first read/listen.:
That was fun. With the title, I was afraid it'd be something like the buildup suckerpunch of Scoodle on loop for two hours, two minutes, and twenty six seconds. Everything I remember was entertaining, and it's nice to have the group back together. Also, saucybits with Bluebomber and Blackiejackie is fun. And Boo being a silly helpful goofball.
The fate of that one disbeliver for the test thingy is kinda gross, but it's a very effective demonstration to prove the point. And they weren't particularly likable to begin with. Hopefully they didn't have any family they just left behind by being so reckless and hardheaded. And if they did, they're probably more level headed than that guy was.
Also lighting sigs with guns is probably supernotsafe.
I'm guessing the whiplash is probably relating to the relationship thing, but maybe it's just because I've never been into courtship or whatever that it's not much of an "Oh no!" type of thing as someone who can communicate reasonably and rationally suddenly being slain. 
But it does feel like things are getting closed to wrapping up, as now we're more directly closing the loop around back to where Blue was shocked to see BJ pregnant way back in the first 4 chapters, and completely resolved the friendship problem presented right in chapter 2. More or less looping around back to Glory's introduction and motives and whatnot. And her home is no longer what it used to be anymore, so that's been resolved for a while. I guess it's mainly just down to resolving the present global threats.

Anyway. Yay funs! And maybe Scotch'll get to join one of those fun parties again soon. Or probably host her own.

Anyway, thanks for chapter and thanks for sharing!
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Sun Aug 03, 2014 10:46 pm

Fellorn wrote:
Spoilered:
This chapter has so many feels. The plan is really coming together and it is so nice to have so many lose ends being tied up. Loved the new chapter as always.
 Spike
Ah, welcome, new person! I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Fellorn on Sun Aug 03, 2014 11:03 pm

O. Hinds wrote:
Fellorn wrote:
Spoilered:
This chapter has so many feels. The plan is really coming together and it is so nice to have so many lose ends being tied up. Loved the new chapter as always.
 Spike
Ah, welcome, new person!  I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter.
I've been lurking for close to 2 years. Finally decided to come out of my hole.    Sweetie Belle
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by swicked on Sun Aug 03, 2014 11:12 pm

Somber wrote:The crown... why would it have four?!  She doesn't have that many holes!
In case anyone was curious since the chapter is now out:
Spoiler:

This is a line of mine that got nixed, just after BJ had sex with P-21 and remarked about Stygius no longer being the champ:
"Stygius had lost his crown and a new one had been forged three times its size with four times as many pre-lubricated, vibrating attachments."

I fought for it to be in and Somber replied with something along the lines of "No, because she's being serious. P-21 is that good." since my line sounds kinda joke-y.
He suggested, instead, I draw a picture of Stygius with his little tiara of carnal competency resting atop his head with P-21 sitting across from him with his mighty crown of sexual superiority.
...well, Somber suggested I draw a picture, at least. The description is my own.

I have almost no ability to draw, though, so yeah. I alluded to it in my editor note at the end of the chapter, though, so it's in the chapter, and that's what counts! Twilight Sparkle 

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Mon Aug 04, 2014 2:15 am

On Broken Accords, I encourage reading it. It seems to be shaping up to be pretty interesting. On a related topic, I think that Somber is some kind of horse-words wizard. A new PH chapter and 17.5k words of a new story in three weeks (36k total)? Just nuts.

Refocusing to what's really important, viz., me,  Spike if you remember and liked that time last year I went through all of Somber's 2011 stories, you may enjoy my guest post on Somber at One Man's Pony Ramblings.

Okay, back on topic, we have a new installment in the Continuing Annals of Confirmation Bias: during my rereading of "Simply Rarity," there is the last journal entry
S.R. Spoilers:
       Dearest Diary,

       This is your final page.  I never imagined in my wildest dreams that my greatest friend would ever be a book of my own writing.  I know how vain that sounds, but it’s true.  At the very worst times, and the very best, you’ve been with me.  You’re proof of all that I’ve gone through.

       I don’t imagine I’ll ever share you with another.  Not even Sweetie Belle.  So if any pony is reading this, then I can only say that you are the greatest of my friends.  I hope that in reading this, you understand a little bit about me.  If I seem reluctant to discuss my past, or evade questions about my relationship to Sweetie Belle, or act odd about money; you can now understand why.

       And so, I can only hope that you will also understand to never discuss it with me.  The memories are too raw to speak of.  I don’t want praise for my generosity or charity.  I don’t deserve praise.  Had I been truly generous I would have let the shelter take Unique away.  What I do to help others is my repayment for all the help that’s been given to me.  If at times I seem reluctant to waste money, please understand that there are many ponies who will never realize how wealthy they truly are to those who have nothing.

       So, mysterious reader, thank you for taking this time and making the effort to understand a pony undeserving of your friendship.

       Sincerely, surely, simply,

       Rarity.
Given that a part of what is effectively the terminating punctuation of Somber's treatise on generosity sounds quite a lot like (sentiment, not prose) something Blackjack would feel and believe, well, something something Element of Generosity.  Rarity 

Chapter Sixty Nine Running Thoughts:
She sobbed, drew her gun, and pressed it to my forehead.  “I’ll kill you,” she slurred around the mouthgrip.

Boy, that escalated quickly.


“You’re the only one allowed to hurt me,” I rasped ever so faintly.

Ah, good call-back. Glory's rule, though, since I think Blackjack's originally included P-21 as well. Granted, that was before she and Glory were even an item.


“Get.  Out.  I don’t need you, and I don’t need Blackjack.”

Whoa, I really hope that second part is just referencing her "gross biological needs." That's damn hurtful, otherwise. But it does seem like she's seen and heard some things to justify that.


“Like you don’t know,” she spat with contempt, then added in a mocking tone, “If you can’t restrain your carnal impulses, I’ll just find a stand-in to handle your biological needs.”

HOW THE FUCK DID SHE EVER BELIEVE THAT WAS BLACKJACK?


A former enemy, Whisper, had accepted my identity more readily than the mare I loved.  How sick was that?

Well, in fairness you got to her first, and this case was the reverse.

And if Whisper had met Cognitum and a few impostors with good intentions before I showed up, would she even have believed me?

Oh hey.


“Go Fish,” I muttered, taking the bottle and sniffing, then before drinking it.

Nice touch, though it's possible it could have been leaked at some point, especially offscreen. Though I suppose especially with the Perceptitron it would have been seen if that were the case.


“I try not to,” P-21 said with a frown, still not looking away from me.  “She couldn’t decide if she was Blackjack, Twilight Sparkle, Trixie, or Princess Celestia.”

Until Princess Celestial got thrown in, that was actually fairly plausible.


Suddenly her mouth split in an ear to ear grin.  “Bwackjack!”  And she bounded right at me, bowling Glory over in her rush to my side.

Cats know. They just do.


“Ish you! Ish weally weally you!” she said as she lunged at me and wrapped her hooves around my neck, hugging me tightly.  “Youw all wight!”

Goddamn she's adorable.


“No no no, Boo!  That’s not Blackjack.  I told you back in Chapel.  It’s another fake,” Scotch Tape said as she tried to tug one of the legs off my neck.  “Geeze, she wasn’t even close to this clingy with that other one!”

Now I'm disappointed in her, but at least she still gets partial credit.


From out of it tumbled a few pistols, black barding, a half dozen little statuettes, Penance, and the bizarre Perceptitron thingy.

Yay! Blackjack has her (other) gang back together! Too bad it seems like the others didn't use the bonuses very well.


“What am I, chopped lettuce?” Scotch Tape huffed, crossing her forehooves.  “Never get invited to any of the good parties.  Might as well be back in the stable,” she muttered with a pout.

This got me laughing. Reminded me a bit of a comic I recently read, specifically the line "[Robin]'s just a kid. He can't go to a Swedish sex party! He can barely handle American sex parties."


“But wait!  Wait!  What about Rampage?  She vouched for her,” Glory said with a little frown.  She threw her hooves in the air.  “This is just insane.”
“Again–" P-21 started evenly.

I love that this line of logic is entirely reasonable.


“You– ugh, she was really bitchy, Blackjack.  Like… I’ve seen you whiny, but I’ve never seen you mean.  She was mean.

We've seen her mean. It wasn't fun. Luckily for us, we weren't on the receiving end of Mean Blackjack.


“And you thought that was me?” I asked, a little incredulous.
“Blackjack, you’ve been gone for months!  Last time I saw you, you had more metal than flesh, and for all I knew, something had been put in your brain.  It wouldn’t have surprised me!” Glory snapped, then flushed again.

Fair point. Still doesn't explain why following or working with her would seem like a good idea.


“She got you in bed, didn’t she?” I asked with a grin.  That must have been two days I was watching somepony else through the Perceptitron.  Really, how much could you watch other ponies going through their daily routines before dying of boredom?
Wrong question to ask.  She immediately burst into tears, covering her eyes with her hooves.  “I’m sorry!  You’d been gone so long, and… she seemed really convincing and… I’m sorry!  I’m so sorry!”
I watched her sob for several seconds, glanced over at P-21 and Scotch Tape, and they gave a pair of matching shrugs.  “I forgive you, Glory,” I said, trying to keep my voice as even and uncondescending as I could.  “You love me and so you had sex with a version of me.  No big deal.”

I just love this whole plot line, and how it works with them. It feels so natural, and the way it ends up hurting one or both of them (I guess mostly Glory) over things that seem so inconsequential to Blackjack . . . well, it's a hard thing to learn to change your basic emotional responses to a broad category of experiences.


So please stop with the weird surfacer hangups about sex, because it’s really weird.

"surfacer" seems like a weird choice there, given she's not from the surface, but I get it just means not-stable (99) all the same.


“Okay,” I said with a small frown.  There was a large list in my head.  And, oddly enough, sexytimes with Glory kept aggressively, passionately bumping up on it, over and over, warm and wet and... um, I mean, later. Right.

: (
On the other hand, Blackjack's being all responsible and stuff. So that's good.


“It isn’t as good a life as you might imagine.  Much as I hate Cognitium for what she did, I have to admit, she did me a favor keeping this spare around.  I can feel your hoof, Glory.  I can feel you.  You don’t know what that’s like,” I said as I stroked her cheek.

So romantic. Also sad.

Finally, she gave a little smile and nuzzled me back.  “I’ll have to go easier on you next time we’re together.  I wouldn’t want to scar you up so soon.”

Well, I suppose some levity was called for.


“The world’s more important than me and my baby,” I said hollowly.  “Aren’t I being selfish taking the risk?”

Well, yes, but that doesn't mean it's not worth trying. And, moreover, it's perfectly natural to not want to pay every price.


“Glory?” I rose and stepped after her.  Something about her tone, so small and hurt, was just wrong to me.
“Stop,” she said, not turning back to look at me.  “Just… let me go, Blackjack.”  Her shoulders shook slightly as she bowed her head, her mane hiding her face from me.

Ah, see, here I'm more on Glory's side than normal, but even if it was just an accident or meant to be implicitly obvious, the words alone do kind of suggest she wasn't thinking of the baby as Glory's. And talking about raising a kid with someone else does seem pretty far on the emotional-non-monogamy side.


“I...” I stammered, trying to think.  “You’re... good.  And smart.  And nice.  And...” I said, but the words felt hollow to me.  True, without a doubt, but I knew other good, smart, nice ponies that I didn’t love.  “I just do!” I finally blurted.

Well, I mean, that's what it generally comes down to, isn't it? Not exactly something that's as quantifiable as ticking off checkboxes and assigning weights to things. And incidentally, while Glory's answer of why she loved Blackjack way back when they first got to the Collegiate was probably better, that's at least partly because she's a more organized thinker and more able to express her thoughts cogently.


“And I’ll be there for you in the future,” Glory said quietly, “as a friend.  But you and I... we don’t... have anything anymore.  I’ve always been carried along, swept in your wake, left behind, and picked back up again.”  She covered my mouth with her wing.  “And I know you do like me and care for me.  And I’m very thankful for that.  But that... that isn’t love.  You have a deeper connection with P-21 then you will ever have with me.  And I need someone I can have that connection with.  It isn’t going to be with you.”  She sniffed and leaned up, kissing my cheek softly and then pushed my hooves off her shoulders.

Now I feel like I've got a weight on my chest. It's just too unexpected that this is how it would go. And it seems like there was no way around it. I get why, but it really hurts.
And it's hard that the way she knows Blackjack really would try and that's part of the problem. But I can see why. The whole "won't treat me like a baby" with "puts me first" at first glance seems a little disjointed, so I'll need to think on it further, later, about what dimensions each is working on.


She paused and looked over her shoulder at me, smiling calmly amid the wet on her cheeks.  “No,” was all she said, and then stepped out of star house.

I can't decide if she means that or not, or if it's worse if she does or doesn't.


And if you were going to dive into Tartarus, would you be okay with her coming with you?”

So, is Tartarus a thing now, and not just for Hades as a personal quirk? If so, what, and what's the distinction between it and Hell?


LittlePip once talked about thirty something orgasms?  Well, if I ever talked to her again, I'd have to compare notes, because the way my... everything was buzzing, I couldn't tell if I'd had dozens of small ones or if the one he'd given me a little less than two hours ago just hadn't ended yet..

I feel like this is a case of just plain deciding to one-up FoE. I'm okay with this. Especially since P-21 isn't likely to try to use it as a way of shaming her later for fun. Bitch.


“Practice.  Lots of practice and learning to pace myself.  And I had some of those healing potions set aside just to help me push past the refractory period,

World building!


“Are you okay with what we did?” I asked, looking back at him.  The question made him frown thoughtfully.  If his fur hadn’t been spiked in erratic ways, he’d have looked far more moody.
Finally, he smiled.  “If it’d been any other mare... no.  No in a big way.  But it was with you, so I think it’s fine,” he replied evenly, then raised a hoof.

Well, I guess he could have maybe felt pressured by her, indirectly through their shared history in 99, even though he initated and she wasn't doing anything to pressure him directly. Or maybe it was not the thing as a whole, but something internal to the scene(s). Maybe something that would remind him of the Overmare.


Of the six tiny mares in my head, one suggested one more round, one said enough was enough, one couldn’t stop giggling, one was taking notes, one offered critique and pointers for next time, and the last had her eyes covered with her wings as she blushed into her hooves.

Rainbow, AJ, Pinke, Twilight, Rarity, Fluttershy. Did I get it right? I'm least confident about the first two. AJ might have more endurance, but the diction seems more her than RD, and RD is the greater extremophile.


“Blackjack, I should go first.  I know I heard somepony down stairs a few hours ago.  What if somepony came back?” he asked as I walked along the balcony.  With my sweaty, sticky mane in my eyes, it was hard to see as I trotted down the stairs.
“Oh please, who could–” I began to say when a throat cleared.  I froze and scraped my hoof across my bangs.  I stared down at Calamity, Velvet Remedy, Stygius, Tenebra, Goldenblood, and Whisper all sitting in my living room.

LLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLL!
They. Heard. Everything. Now get washed up, you've got work to do.


“Do you mind if I wash up, or do you want to talk first?” I said as I wiped some semen from my muzzle.

Don't ever change.


Surfacer ponies... who could figure them out?

Yeah, this just feels weird since it's almost always, till now, been used in reference to ponies on the ground in contrast to pegasi, and one time as a contrast to the batponies of the shadow realm.


Whisper was forcing Stygius and Tenebra to have a discussion about me and semen.

There is much to be said for Happy Psychoshy.


“It’s alright.  It’s nothing I didn’t see coming a mile away,” I lied... or did I?

Well, this is just what she said she'd do after the suicide attempt, and after getting back from Hightower, just with a slightly different thing setting it off, at most. And as good as the reason may have been, there would always end up being a reason to leave her in safety, wouldn't there, and that was the problem.


I choked as I regarded the stone.  Forgotten.  When I died, how would I be remembered?  Would any raise a stone with my name upon it?  Probably not, and if they did, it would be undeserved.  To be forgotten was true death.  With flesh rotted and bones pulverized to dust and the great histories lost to the passage of time, what of the person who had lived?  Or had they ever lived at all?  There were eight names on Vigilance’s mouthgrip, but what did I know of the first six but their names?  Almost nothing.  And when Vigilance rusted away, would anyone ever know?

Aaaannd cue existential crisis. Hopefully it'll be over soon, once she gets a distraction.


“It was the only place with enough space.  The manor is a terrible mess.  Those Crusaders were absolutely ghastly.  Children can be so destructive at times,” the ghoul said in her whispery rasp.  True, and having a battle and a tank driving through it too had done absolutely nothing for the structure.

The ghoul focus thing coming up? Seems appropriate. Also, yay, Harpica!


“You said you’d kill me if I ever fucked up,” I whispered, pressing my face into his chest.  I could hear his own heartbeat, slow and steady and sure.  “I’ve gotten everyone killed.”

She hasn't said that to him in a long time, I think, even excluding the three month lapse. And apart from earlier this chapter, thought it either. Good to ease in, and especially now it feels like she's falling back on what she had before she had Glory as a partner.


That wasn’t twenty.
That wasn’t a hundred.
It was everypony.

Bearing in mind that many are dead at this point, etc., I've tracked some ~180 characters in the present not part of Blackjack's party who seemed like they did something at least reasonably important or were likely to show up again. Yeah. Kind of a lot.
Also, making me think of It's a Wonderful Life again.


The Burner Boys were running gambling games with some Thunderhead ponies and a hoofful Steel Rangers.

Steel or Applejack's, or are they getting together to tackle the bigger threat again?


“What are they all doing here?” I gasped.
“You said you wanted everyone who could come.  Once word got out that the Security at the Society was a fraud, and that the Lightbringer’s friends and Security’s team vouched for this one... well, suddenly everyone wanted to be here.  Between alicorn teleportation, Enclave pegasi, and the clearing weather, this was the place to be,” Velvet Remedy said with a sweep of her hoof.

UNCLE BILLY (emotionally at the breaking point)
Mary did it, George! Mary did it! She told a few people you were
in trouble and they scattered all over
town collecting money. They didn't ask any questions, just said
"If George is in trouble, count on me." You never saw anything
like it.

“They’re all people you helped in one way or another, Blackjack,” P-21 said quietly.

Oh god, it really is.


I carefully wiggled in, P-21 slipping in behind me with far more ease.

It's a stretch, but I'll count this as a "Blackjack is fat" joke.


“Yeah.  I’m really Blackjack.  Security the reboot.  I’m sure I’ll be shot and mangled all to hell inside a week.”

As opposed to Security the Robot, which is why I called you here.


In the mind, will counted more than muscle, and willpower was just a nice way of calling a pony stubborn.  I had stubborn coming out my ass.

Really? Because I'm pretty sure earlier it was something else.


I seized another and heard Big Macintosh say solemnly, ‘I’m right disappointed in you.’

Bic Mac knew how to say just enough. And I bet that hurt more than a lot of the others.


Cognitum gave a chill stare at the tank.

I've still not forgotten that one of my middle school, or maybe early high school, English teachers insisted that "chill" wasn't an adjective synonomous with "cold."


He lifted his great brown eyes.  “Because... she’s my daughter.”

Not the biggest shock ever. Or this chapter. Makes plenty of sense, but a lot more hurtful for Shujaa to call her an animal and whatnot, if that's what's going on.


“I’m really... really... really stupid,” I said with a hapless grin.  “I want my friends back, and I want everypony okay.  And yeah, I know it’s immature and naive and... I just want it that way.  Call me an idiot.”

Has me thinking a bit of the concept of Spike making his friends his hoard, as in "The Jewellery Box" (really sad that seems to have died) or "It Takes a Village."


“You’ve told her enough already,” P-21 cut her off coldly.  “Really.  ‘Why do you love me?’  Isn’t it enough that you are loved?  Period?  Only you would want to quantify something as elusive and ephemeral as love!”

Hey, that's what I said! Think he's the right one to deliver it, too, especially with Rampage out and Lacunae gone.


“I also know that as long as she and I are together, you and her wouldn’t be.  It took three bottles of champagne to get us in the same bed.  Not a good sign for an open relationship, even if it would make Blackjack happy.

Well, poly with them all having sex together, but point taken.


“There is no good time.  You two have a baby together now.  You’re...” Glory started to tear up.  “Do you know how much it hurt to hear that?  You two have something I’ll never have with her.  And sure, I could pretend that the foal is mine or adopt or something, but it’ll never be the same as what the two of you share.”  She hissed in pain and shook her head.  “Better I find some mare I can share that with.  Some mare who won’t make me wonder if I’m second best.  Who won’t try and make me stay back, even if there’s risk.”

Yeah, of course it's this. Just got a shiver. And I get it, as above, though it's sounding like it's worse than my (admittedly optimistic) take that maybe it was just a case of Blackjack saying something thoughtless. Though again, thinking back to 99, there really wasn't any special bond between a mare and the sire of her daughter.


El oh vee ee...  No matter how I bounced the word off my brain it came back as a raging ball of doubt and uncertainty.  How could he give it?  How could I deserve it?

The same way you gave it to Glory (and him, of course), and the same way you give out forgiveness: it's not about desert.


And that horrible, nasty little ‘why’ popping up right, left, and center.

Oh, I can answer that one: Somber likes drama.


Once that was done, we’d have the rest of our lives to talk about love and family and... a wonderful life I could only barely imagine right now.

Snerk. Oh, entirely different context and everything, but given how much I was thinking of it earlier, how could I not bring it up?


“When I saw ya before, it was blood and stars.  The other you was just blood.  You... you’re nothin’ but stars.  So I dunno what ta believe.  But you askin’ is better than the other you demandin’.  That’s a start.”

Ironic, given the other had Luna's soul.


“Now, some of you have seen another me that came out of the Core talking about unity.  

Seriously, "unity" is a terrible line in the aftermath of the Goddess's Unity.


My hoof tingled a bit, and I felt... good, actually.  Like I’d had both a long night’s rest and a full meal.

I bet this will be important later.


There was a seminal texture to it, and a flavor that hovered somewhere among wallpaper paste, rust, and raw radroach. . . . I smacked my lips and peered at the residue sloshing in the bottom of the bottle.  “Mmm, pretty good.”

Did she ever eat raw radroach? I know she's had the others. Oh, and I guess this answers that she still likes the taste of metal.


“This mare, who by all accounts had no reason to care about our problems, came to the sky and threw herself into the middle of a battle with the goal of saving as many innocent lives as possible.

Well, I mean, besides her girlfriend's affiliation with Thunderhead. But if we're REALLY aggressively rounding down . . .


The Society is instituting reforms for the serfs that work our plantations, thanks in part to this mare’s generosity and compassion.

Thanks for feeding one of my hobby horses.

“Never before have the Steel Rangers encountered such selfless generosity!  It is a testament to–”

Well, if someone's going to lay it on thick, it might as well be Stronghoof.


“This isn’t an easy place to live.  In fact, I’m sure all of you have, at least once, thought how much it sucks to live here.  But the Hoof is our home, and that doesn’t change no matter how hard it gets.  We might all be different.  Different people.  Different values.  Different dreams.  But to all of us, this place is home, and all of us are family.”  I turned and saw P-21 beaming on the edge of the stage.  I looked back.  “And whether you love your family or not, you stand by them no matter what!  So that together, we all become stronger.  So that together we rise up, with no one being left behind.  Together we rise!  Hoofington rises!”

So, a couple things. First, note how this is very much pushing the unity line, without using the word. Second, damn that's a great appropriation of the enemy's warcry.


As we trotted off the other side of the stage, I asked him, “You think we can actually do it?”
He glanced back and snorted.  “Right now, hell no.  There’s at least five hundred Harbingers and probably five times that many Brood.  But it never hurts to have high spirits.”

It's bullshit, but it's my kind of bullshit.


I tried to be as succinct as I possibly could.

#notprojecthorizonsthings
I kid, I kid.


“So let me get this straight,” Mare Do Well rasped from inside her helmet.  “You knew Luna was going completely out of control... and decided that the best thing to do was create a weapon that would kill everypony in the world?!”

WELL WHEN YOU SAY IT LIKE THAT IT SOUNDS CRAZY, AND LIKE I'M AN ASSHOLE.


“Give a mare two centuries to figure it out,” she muttered.  Maybe it was the Flux I’d just drank, but everything seemed so much clearer and sharper to me.  

Thought it might be important, though given the timing it's also possible some of the improvement was from the statuettes and she just didn't have a chance to benefit yet. Hope it's not pushed too far, though, but there does need to be something to level the playing field against Cogs. Doesn't all need to be on her, though, especially now.


Xanthe shifted and fidgeted.  “Well... I mean... we’re not reapers or zodiacs, but my friends and I should be able to get the third.”  Two dozen ponies stared at her, and the stealth suit she wore chirped an ‘uh oh’.

Xanthesuit! And with Harpica in the same chapter, it's like Christmas came early this year! . . . Huh, missed her earlier when she was listed as being there. Well, bumped up from lineless extra!

“Cursed,” she replied with a tragic sigh.  “But well.  I am glad you are still alive, Maiden.”  I grinned and gave her a hug, the zebra stiffening under my embrace.  “Well... what’s a little more curse?” she muttered.

So adorable!


Calamity, Velvet, Homage, and Life Bloom gave sickly smiles before they took in the utterly grim looks on everypony’s face.  “Y’all are serious?  Y’all got folk out here that won’t die?”
Big Daddy, Grace, and Triage gave a little shrug.  “It happens,” Big Daddy said simply.  “I’ve dealt with a few in my time.  Rampage was that way.”
Calamity sputtered, “This place is damned screwed up!”

You all need to get on their level. And up to speed. That too.


“You in charge.  You’re organizing a few raptors and flight squads.  I’ll be in charge of every gang and soldier in the hoof.  I’m the one calling the shots here, missy,” he snapped back.

Wow, not even an hour before the bureaucratic infighting begins. And between the air forces and ground, too! So, Blackjack gets to play adult in the room?


But now I frowned.  “No.  I can’t.  I have to stop Horizons, or all of this is pointless.”  I saw the defense we needed most falling apart.  Somepony had to manage all of these factions so that we had a chance.  My eyes surveyed the present ponies and stopped on the perfect candidate.
“Him,” I said, pointing a hoof at Goldenblood.

That's . . . actually a really good choice. Sure, he probably can't do battlefield level stuff worth shit, but I'm betting he can at least manage the people, and given a military goals framework to go off of probably wouldn't botch the strategy too much, especially given a decent adviser. And it's not like he has another agenda anymore.


“Are you insane?” Goldenblood hissed under his breath.

We've been over this again and again: YES I AM. UNCONDITIONALLY AND IRREVOCABLY INSANE. GET WITH THE PROGRAM.


Fool me once... shame on... just don’t mess it up!”

Not going with the Bushism? "Fool me once . . . shame on you. Fool me, you can't get fooled again."
Chapter Sixty Nine Overall Thoughts:
Okay, so the obvious big thing here is Glory breaking up with Blackjack. It hurt, kind of a lot, to the point I was tearing up a little at one point. But at the same time it's been a long time coming, and the initial points she made about being left behind, protected, were almost exactly what she had said was (one of) the problems leading up to the full D/s bondage relationship with collar and everything. Sure, the punishment was about keeping her from punishing herself, but the end was to keep her from going off alone again. And Glory is right that Blackjack would try, would really try, to do what Glory needed her to, but let's be honest: when push comes to shove, Blackjack would always find a reason to protect Glory. Now, just being her friend won't likely change that, but it does at least change the character of the relationship context of the actions.
Now, it does seem like that alone wasn't what motivated the break just then, as the pregnancy was stated to be an important inciting factor, and the timing agrees, with there appearing to be at least some conciliation until that point. Now, I'm not sure if she would have reacted the same way if Blackjack had been clearer that she was going to see Glory as her mother, too, which I at least assume to be the case, just left as an implicit assumption. There's something to be said for the position that Glory wasn't thinking that way, but that was all after Blackjack's poor handling of the announcement and acting like P-21 gets more of a say than her. One thing that struck me as a little strange, which may have been related to her just being shell shocked at the time, was that she was taking seriously the idea Blackjack was ready to sacrifice her baby; now I can think of some reasons for that, like her internalized connection between sex and love and probably procreation, and so thinking Blackjack didn't see unborn children as important in the same way she doesn't see sex as important; or she wasn't there to see how much she cared about her baby; and she never understood just how much her mother meant to her, too. In any case, she missed the strongly, strongly broadcasted signal that Blackjack didn't want that, and was asking for permission to put her desires before everyone else. She was basically begging, maintaining something like a strong exterior, true, to be told that she wasn't a bad pony for wanting to save her child. And it was a bad situation, but that was an important part of what Glory's side of the deal was supposed to be.
That said, it would be unfair to say that Glory was really wrong to break things off—given the number of times she's been hurt by Blackjack, calling it quits was a reasonable move, and contra P-21, that was as good of a time as any, because there would always be reasons not to, why it should be put off, and at least in this manner it was controlled rather than slipping out accidentally or in a fit of anger and frustration at a time when Blackjack didn't have hours for catatonia or sex therapy. I'll back P-21 up on the point about trying to quantify love and saying you need to give a reason, of course; that's just not something everyone can do, and Blackjack is far more of a feeler, more intuitive than analytical, so of course she wouldn't have an answer. As for Blackjack and deserving love, well, let's bring out the old refrain: it isn't always about you. It's not necessarily about deserving love, but accepting it and making the most of it, which parallels her own habit of giving out forgiveness almost irrespective of desert. They can earn it after the fact.
As for P-21 and Blackjack . . . old news. He's gone from hate to ambivalence to love long before now, but it never needed to be front and center, although it was called out in Thunderhead with Scotch. I don't know exactly how it will play out, apart from them both playing parental roles to the child if they all live, but something will work out.

I liked the mind dive with Deus, in many respects. The imagery was nice, and reminiscent of the one into Lacunae to bring her back from her catatonia, but I thought that the fix was a little too direct, too purposeful, highlighting that this was something that she never really learned how to do, I think, generally just stumbling her way through before. Sure, making conact, talking, things along those lines she's practiced, but not I think the direct healing. Maybe it was just softer (soft vs. hard sci-fi sense) than I was feeling at the moment. Big Mac's line was a highlight.
Anyway, Vanity's appearance was great (oh, and the monument and Goldenblood's comment were a nice touch, well worth including), especially with the photograph. I liked Deus, but it was kind of jarring how he'd just switch between a more or less civil conversation with Vanity to CUNT! repeatedly and abruptly. Nice to have a real answer with Peppermint, though I feel like I shouldn't be surprised: rape during heat and all. Deus's watching Rampage during their time in the Reapers together was a good point, because hey, what was he supposed to do. But now of course I'm expecting that Blackjack finally having an answer to Rampage's "Who am I" will play a key role in bringing her back around, and maybe even being willing to live on.

Not too much to say about the war council. Reminded me of the end of It's a Wonderful Life, which isn't much of a surprise (incidentally, wouldn't George Bailey make a great Element of Generosity?). The test was hilarious, and of course looks to be setting up Flux as a way for Blackjack to get an advantage, much like radiation for alicorns. Nice way to do things, and with that I think I can say I don't have any need to question blank sterility anymore. But I hope that it's not pushed too far, because I'm really hoping that the Cogs/Legate lines end with more than just one-on-ones with a buffed up Blackjack, although I assume that will play a role in them. The speech was fine, but two things stuck with me. First was the importance of tone. There was a lot of overlap with Cogs's unity line, but the underlying sincerity, and the idea that they would be one effort, together, rather than one body, under "Blackjack," made all the difference. Kind of like of "The Mysterious Mare Do Well" might have been a much better episode if only the tone had been "wow, look at what these bastards did to someone who's supposed to be their friend" rather than "these guys were totally in the right, what they did was justified, Rainbow's actions were beyond the pale, and she should be punished for them." The second was that I didn't think, upon reading it, back to Goldy's Hoofington Rises speech, but instead to the derivative chant and call of the Harbingers; I took Blackjack's use of it as an appropriation from their enemy, not a callback to the city's past. And while there may have been some in the audience who would take Goldenblood's line of thought, I'm guessing all of them had heard the Harbingers' refrain, and almost none a recording of his speech, so the context they took would probably be closer to the former than the latter.
Stronghoof was great, as was Triage cutting him off. Two explicit callouts to generosity felt nice, because that's one of my things.
Then there was a lot of exposition, but delivered at least with some good personality. We know the outlines of what's to come, and I'm sure most of it won't go to plan, but that's normal. I'd have expected Rainbow to be better at hiding by now, but maybe I can give some leeway due to running into Goldenblood, which had to be a shock. It's good that so far the Littlepip crew has been taking a decided backseat to the core and secondary cast of PH.
As for the 69-ishness, pretty well done bearing in mind the barriers that needed to be put up since this is a family picture. I don't think it surpassed one of the early GloryJack bondage sessions, though. But there you had more flexibility since although it was a kinky subject, it wasn't exactly sex (but sure, after . . . ), just sexy.
Chapter Sixty Nine Editing:
“Not a very good Blackjack impersonator, is she?”  Scotch commented,
should have only one space after quotation


“Go Fish,” I muttered, taking the bottle and sniffing, then before drinking it.

"then began drinking"


“Bwackjack?” A mare said from the still-open door,

"A" shouldn't be capitalized.


and then a white head popped out over Glory’s head, pale eyes blinking as she stared at me.

suggest cutting second "head": "a white head popped out over Glory's, pale eyes blinking"


“This is Bwackjack!  See?”  She said,

"She" shouldn't be capitalized, should have only one space after quotation


head and tellin me what I needed ta do while Bwackjack was dealin with da bad computer thingy,
bad puter thingy was gonna do swapsies and he was gonna get her to swap somethin else

apostrophe for "tellin", "dealin", "somethin", possibly "puter"


From out of it tumbled a few pistols,

might want it to just be "From it" or "Out of it"


This was it! My chance

should have second space after exclamation point


Two hours later, Blackjack nursed a Sparkle-Cola and a developing headache.

"Blackjack" should be "I".


‘Best way you can help is to follow me and stay out of my way’ she said,” P-21 said

comma after "way"


um, I mean, later. Right

only one space after period


Scotch tape said.

"tape" should be capitalized


“Who’s gonna be kissin who with three of em?”

apostrophes for "kissin", "em"


“What?” I blinked in bafflement at her.

should have second space after quotation


was all she said, and then stepped out of star house.

"Star House"


the one he'd given me a little less than two hours ago just hadn't ended yet..

should


I know I heard somepony down stairs a few hours ago.  

"downstairs"


Our little troupe headed over towards Blueblood manor.  

"Blueblood Manor"


“Been a long time since I could answer that with a yes,” I said with a small smile.  I checked behind me.  Whisper was forcing Stygius and Tenebra to have a discussion about me and semen.  Goldenblood walked behind them, silently, eyes downcast.  I glanced over at the mare.

I know it's cleared up once you read the following quotation, but "at the mare" should probably be "at Velvet" so you know who it is before the line is said


Steelhooves’s head cut off right infront of me.

"right in front"


“And it ain’t just you that has ta’ pay it.  Takes two ta’ tussle

"ta" shoudln't have an apostrophe


as they say.” He said with

period to comma, "He" shouldn't be capitalized


and anxiety in my chest. Her amusement

only one space after period


Among the Crusaders, the Harbingers, and Deus, most of the once-immense building was smashed.

Does "among" substitute for this meaning of "between"?


Somepony had taken great lengths to cut those letters an inch deep into the granite.

"taken great pains" or "gone to great lengths"?


There were eight names on Vigilance’s mouthgrip, but what did I know of the first six but their names?

Card Trick.  Tarot.  Little Poker.  Full House.  52 Pick-up.  Straight Flush.  Aces.  Royal Flush.  Bridge.  Hearts.  Gin Rummy.  Go Fish.
There were listed 12, 11 if Go Fish wasn't actually on there.


“She needs to go back to Star house.  This is bad.”

"Star House"


Somehow I started to actually take breathes rather

"breaths"


“Yeah.” I said, and together we

period should be comma


“I mean, who in their right mind is going to go way out here for a probably-just-another-imposter Black… jack...” and I trailed off as I stepped through.

the "and" seems out of place


Bottle Cap, Charity, and Keeper seemed to have set up an impromptu swap meet with the Collegiate and Society.

"Bottlecap"


A trio of Hellhounds lingered in the back, with everyone giving the beasts a wide berth.

"hellhounds"


I could pick out Windclop and a few other familiar faces from Meatlocker, more alicorns than had arrived with Velvet, griffin Talons from back east...

Littlepip's area, and thus the Talons, were in the west, weren't they?


entertainment, we can wait.” P-21 said

period to comma


‘Cunt!’  it was accompanied b

"it" should be capitalized


hitting me like a sledge hammer.

"sledgehammer"


through what you suffered.” I answered

period to comma


“Cause... who wouldn’t?” I asked back awkwardly.
give a bit of help, cause you fucked

apostrophe for "Cause"


Nopony deserves that.” I answered

period to comma


some of those went too deep even for me to pull three.

should that "three" be "free", or maybe "them"?


Deus ground to a halt. Cognitum smiled d

only one space after period


Vanity stopped at the exit.  The green stallion appeared... tired.  

Green maned/tailed, but his body was white.


know what she looks like.”  Doof said, pulling

period to comma, should have only one space after quotation


forward as he leaned towards the green unicorn.

white, green accents


A filly rampage taking out a raider four times her size.

"rampage" should be capitalized


“Be careful, Cunt,” he said, the word about as affectionate as he could manage.

"affectionately"?


to the south west over the Luna Space Center.

"southwest"


to ‘now calm down sugarcube.’  

comma after "down", period to outside of quotation marks


Raptors were seen over by the Luna Space center.

"Center"


“Love... you... me... yeah...”  I muttered lamely.

should have only one space after quotation


conversation ‘till later I’d be

shouldn't have apostrophe for "till"


damned impersonators!”  yelled another.

should have only one space after quotation


“You don’t even have her cutiemark!” guffawed a third.  “Get her off the stage!”

"cutie mark"


down tends to stand out.”
“Now, some of you have seen

paragraph shouldn't end with closing quotation mark


“This is pure Taint.

you don't capitalize "taint"


mouth with a hoof,  popped the top

there's an extra space after the comma


something with tendrils or antenna tried

"antennae" or "antennas"


And blanks...”  she let the same

"she" should be capitalized


“...are immune to Taint.”

"taint"


“That wasn’t Taint!

"taint"


as if just the empty bottle was dangerous.

"were"


P-21, Scotch Tape, Velvet Remedy and Homage.

comma after "Remedy"


destruction of Shadowbolt tower to the appearance

"Shadowbolt Tower"


That drove m- er, drove Rainbow Dash

I think that should maybe be a full dash


we’re not reapers or zodiacs, but my friends and I should be able to get the third.”

"Reapers", "Zodiacs"


“The Legate...” I paused, thinking of how

should have second space after quotation


to a depot here, south east of the Luna

"southeast"


and the Gale- ahem, the Rampage.

full dash?


she said, gesturing each in turn as she moved counter clockwise around the map.

"to each"?


broadcasters did they get out of Shadowbolt tower and take to Stable 99?”

"Shadowbolt Tower"


You’re organizing a few raptors and flight squads.

"Raptors"
Other Editing:
Ch 8:
The HMS Celestia’s tied up there.

"HMS" shouldn't be italicized


Ch 26:
If they hadn’t been so fixated on the HMS Celestia, they probably would have set up shop in the dams.

"Celestia" should be italicized


Ch 28:
Gonna see if we can pull something useful off the Luna.”

"Luna" should be italicized


Ch 29:
Elder Crunchy Carrots aboard the HMS Celestia,

"HMS" shouldn't be italicized


Ch 30:
talismans, and the HMS Celestia to keep her safe.

"Celestia" should be italicized


Ch 32:
“When the… sigh… HMS Applejack was en route from Manehattan, they encountered the
The HMS Celestia came in two flavors:

"HMS" shouldn't be italicized


Ch 33:
Thrush says busting her and her crew out of the Celestia is worth one free trip.”

"Celestia" should be italicized


Ch 34:
“They still don’t even know if he drowned or got vaporized when the Celestia blew.”

"Celestia" should be italicized


Ch 37:
Looking north, I could see the bow of the Celestia pointed out of the water.

"Celestia" should be italicized


Ch 43:
the rusting letters on the bow:
HMS Celestia.
Okay.  

past the gaping hole I’d blasted in the ship, and on to the HMS Luna.

"HMS" shouldn't be italicized


Ch 44:
the bay underneath the HMS Celestia.  

"HMS" shouldn't be italicized


Ch 52:
what happened on the Celestia and at Goldenblood’s house

"Celestia" should be italicized


Ch 57:
“Have you recovered from the Celestia’s attack?”
Things would have been much simpler if you’d simply left me the Celestia.

"Celestia" should be italicized


Ch 60:
When you destroyed the Celestia…
It feels like just before the Celestia, you know?

"Celestia" should be italicized


Ch 64:
You wanted to keep the Celestia from blowing half the Hoof off the map.

"Celestia" should be italicized
So, it was perhaps unusually painful, but on the whole, a stronger chapter for it. I applaud the willingness to take the risk of writing something I'm sure very few people wanted to read, but it grows naturally from what's happened and the people involved, and I think it sets up some good stuff for the future. Thank you, Somber, and brushing team, for the experience.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by swicked on Mon Aug 04, 2014 2:44 am

Icy Shake wrote:
Of the six tiny mares in my head, one suggested one more round, one said enough was enough, one couldn’t stop giggling, one was taking notes, one offered critique and pointers for next time, and the last had her eyes covered with her wings as she blushed into her hooves.

Rainbow, AJ, Pinke, Twilight, Rarity, Fluttershy. Did I get it right? I'm least confident about the first two. AJ might have more endurance, but the diction seems more her than RD, and RD is the greater extremophile.
You got the order Somber (well, and the rest of the team IIRC) had in mind, but not the one I did.

I wonder if anyone else interpreted this differently?

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Luminous Lead on Mon Aug 04, 2014 3:51 am

Spoiler:
Yeah, Doof found his voice! It's nice to see literal representations of Cog's cogs of influence being torn out of his head. Also, Rampage lineage confirmed!

Blanks are immune to taint? It doesn't result in, errr, Fatties? Well, looks like it's paved the way for Majin Buu Backjack, so I'm not complaining. :D

Either way, Blackjack just doesn't seem to do great in the parent department.  Her dad was unknown and almost certainly died. Her mom was decapitated. Her new dad/uncle (Discord) got disintegrated, and the mom that grew her body for her is a totally evil cyberized body-snatching baby-stealing jerk.  It doesn't even stop at the parents, though. Almost her entire childhood entourage was murdered by, eaten by, or became cannibal raiders. Her marefriend slept with someone else and then left her, her brother/cousin/whatever-relation is now openly in love with her, and her effective-niece wants in on her bed-parties.  Only relative not in a twisted relationship with her is the immortal clone sister/cousin in whose brain new-dad/uncle was living for a while.

Anyone living near or with Blackjack is cursed to never live out a normal life. ;D

“Don’t think of blanks as ponies or zebras,” Triage explained.  “If the bodies are recovered, the flux can be alchemically extracted and shaped into a new blank instantly.
Or, like, eaten, right?  Anyone else see Boo becoming the new avatar of chaos from sheer cannibalistic gluttony?

swicked wrote:
Icy Shake wrote:
Rainbow, AJ, Pinke, Twilight, Rarity, Fluttershy.
You got the order Somber (well, and the rest of the team IIRC) had in mind, but not the one I did. I wonder if anyone else interpreted this differently?
I'd switch Rainbow with Rarity, if only because Rare and Van were quite prolific in that one memory, and Rainbow does like to boss people around and coach.

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by WavemasterRyx on Mon Aug 04, 2014 4:22 am

O. Hinds wrote:I hope you enjoy it.  It does have some rough stuff in it.
*nuzzles Somber and Hinds each just barely*

initial thoughts:
Yeah... it would seem my celebration was grossly premature...

I guess the best way I can explain it is much like with SteelHooves, it just feels like Pinkie's rainbow lost another row of color...  I was trying to prepare myself for someone in Blackjack's party dieing (and I'm certain one of them still will...) but this was just as painful.

That's all I can really say right now...  It was a very well done chapter, but it hurt.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Exodus Hero on Mon Aug 04, 2014 4:43 am

BAD PICTURES IN COMING!
What I thought of the chapter:

But in all seriousness, I thought it was a fantastic, well written chapter with good pacing throughout (Specifically, the raunchy bits made me laugh as much as cringe and when an author can do that, it takes some skill). Also,

What I expected to happen:


Pretty glad it didn't, although this doesn't mean this won't happen in the future...
Not to give ideas or anything...
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Mon Aug 04, 2014 6:31 am

Icy Shake wrote:A new PH chapter and 17.5k words of a new story in three weeks (36k total)? Just nuts.
Yeah.  I was a bit shocked to see the new Broken Accords chapter.  I have no idea how he does it.  Not that I'm complaining, though.  :)

Icy Shake wrote:Refocusing to what's really important, viz., me,  Spike if you remember and liked that time last year I went through all of Somber's 2011 stories, you may enjoy my guest post on Somber at One Man's Pony Ramblings.
Neat.

Icy Shake wrote:
Chapter Sixty Nine Running Thoughts:
She sobbed, drew her gun, and pressed it to my forehead.  “I’ll kill you,” she slurred around the mouthgrip.

Boy, that escalated quickly.


“You’re the only one allowed to hurt me,” I rasped ever so faintly.

Ah, good call-back. Glory's rule, though, since I think Blackjack's originally included P-21 as well. Granted, that was before she and Glory were even an item.


“Get.  Out.  I don’t need you, and I don’t need Blackjack.”

Whoa, I really hope that second part is just referencing her "gross biological needs." That's damn hurtful, otherwise. But it does seem like she's seen and heard some things to justify that.


“Like you don’t know,” she spat with contempt, then added in a mocking tone, “If you can’t restrain your carnal impulses, I’ll just find a stand-in to handle your biological needs.”

HOW THE FUCK DID SHE EVER BELIEVE THAT WAS BLACKJACK?


A former enemy, Whisper, had accepted my identity more readily than the mare I loved.  How sick was that?

Well, in fairness you got to her first, and this case was the reverse.

And if Whisper had met Cognitum and a few impostors with good intentions before I showed up, would she even have believed me?

Oh hey.


“Go Fish,” I muttered, taking the bottle and sniffing, then before drinking it.

Nice touch, though it's possible it could have been leaked at some point, especially offscreen. Though I suppose especially with the Perceptitron it would have been seen if that were the case.


“I try not to,” P-21 said with a frown, still not looking away from me.  “She couldn’t decide if she was Blackjack, Twilight Sparkle, Trixie, or Princess Celestia.”

Until Princess Celestial got thrown in, that was actually fairly plausible.


Suddenly her mouth split in an ear to ear grin.  “Bwackjack!”  And she bounded right at me, bowling Glory over in her rush to my side.

Cats know. They just do.


“Ish you! Ish weally weally you!” she said as she lunged at me and wrapped her hooves around my neck, hugging me tightly.  “Youw all wight!”

Goddamn she's adorable.


“No no no, Boo!  That’s not Blackjack.  I told you back in Chapel.  It’s another fake,” Scotch Tape said as she tried to tug one of the legs off my neck.  “Geeze, she wasn’t even close to this clingy with that other one!”

Now I'm disappointed in her, but at least she still gets partial credit.


From out of it tumbled a few pistols, black barding, a half dozen little statuettes, Penance, and the bizarre Perceptitron thingy.

Yay! Blackjack has her (other) gang back together! Too bad it seems like the others didn't use the bonuses very well.


“What am I, chopped lettuce?” Scotch Tape huffed, crossing her forehooves.  “Never get invited to any of the good parties.  Might as well be back in the stable,” she muttered with a pout.

This got me laughing. Reminded me a bit of a comic I recently read, specifically the line "[Robin]'s just a kid. He can't go to a Swedish sex party! He can barely handle American sex parties."


“But wait!  Wait!  What about Rampage?  She vouched for her,” Glory said with a little frown.  She threw her hooves in the air.  “This is just insane.”
“Again–" P-21 started evenly.

I love that this line of logic is entirely reasonable.


“You– ugh, she was really bitchy, Blackjack.  Like… I’ve seen you whiny, but I’ve never seen you mean.  She was mean.

We've seen her mean. It wasn't fun. Luckily for us, we weren't on the receiving end of Mean Blackjack.


“And you thought that was me?” I asked, a little incredulous.
“Blackjack, you’ve been gone for months!  Last time I saw you, you had more metal than flesh, and for all I knew, something had been put in your brain.  It wouldn’t have surprised me!” Glory snapped, then flushed again.

Fair point. Still doesn't explain why following or working with her would seem like a good idea.


“She got you in bed, didn’t she?” I asked with a grin.  That must have been two days I was watching somepony else through the Perceptitron.  Really, how much could you watch other ponies going through their daily routines before dying of boredom?
Wrong question to ask.  She immediately burst into tears, covering her eyes with her hooves.  “I’m sorry!  You’d been gone so long, and… she seemed really convincing and… I’m sorry!  I’m so sorry!”
I watched her sob for several seconds, glanced over at P-21 and Scotch Tape, and they gave a pair of matching shrugs.  “I forgive you, Glory,” I said, trying to keep my voice as even and uncondescending as I could.  “You love me and so you had sex with a version of me.  No big deal.”

I just love this whole plot line, and how it works with them. It feels so natural, and the way it ends up hurting one or both of them (I guess mostly Glory) over things that seem so inconsequential to Blackjack . . . well, it's a hard thing to learn to change your basic emotional responses to a broad category of experiences.


So please stop with the weird surfacer hangups about sex, because it’s really weird.

"surfacer" seems like a weird choice there, given she's not from the surface, but I get it just means not-stable (99) all the same.


“Okay,” I said with a small frown.  There was a large list in my head.  And, oddly enough, sexytimes with Glory kept aggressively, passionately bumping up on it, over and over, warm and wet and... um, I mean, later. Right.

: (
On the other hand, Blackjack's being all responsible and stuff. So that's good.


“It isn’t as good a life as you might imagine.  Much as I hate Cognitium for what she did, I have to admit, she did me a favor keeping this spare around.  I can feel your hoof, Glory.  I can feel you.  You don’t know what that’s like,” I said as I stroked her cheek.

So romantic. Also sad.

Finally, she gave a little smile and nuzzled me back.  “I’ll have to go easier on you next time we’re together.  I wouldn’t want to scar you up so soon.”

Well, I suppose some levity was called for.


“The world’s more important than me and my baby,” I said hollowly.  “Aren’t I being selfish taking the risk?”

Well, yes, but that doesn't mean it's not worth trying. And, moreover, it's perfectly natural to not want to pay every price.


“Glory?” I rose and stepped after her.  Something about her tone, so small and hurt, was just wrong to me.
“Stop,” she said, not turning back to look at me.  “Just… let me go, Blackjack.”  Her shoulders shook slightly as she bowed her head, her mane hiding her face from me.

Ah, see, here I'm more on Glory's side than normal, but even if it was just an accident or meant to be implicitly obvious, the words alone do kind of suggest she wasn't thinking of the baby as Glory's. And talking about raising a kid with someone else does seem pretty far on the emotional-non-monogamy side.


“I...” I stammered, trying to think.  “You’re... good.  And smart.  And nice.  And...” I said, but the words felt hollow to me.  True, without a doubt, but I knew other good, smart, nice ponies that I didn’t love.  “I just do!” I finally blurted.

Well, I mean, that's what it generally comes down to, isn't it? Not exactly something that's as quantifiable as ticking off checkboxes and assigning weights to things. And incidentally, while Glory's answer of why she loved Blackjack way back when they first got to the Collegiate was probably better, that's at least partly because she's a more organized thinker and more able to express her thoughts cogently.


“And I’ll be there for you in the future,” Glory said quietly, “as a friend.  But you and I... we don’t... have anything anymore.  I’ve always been carried along, swept in your wake, left behind, and picked back up again.”  She covered my mouth with her wing.  “And I know you do like me and care for me.  And I’m very thankful for that.  But that... that isn’t love.  You have a deeper connection with P-21 then you will ever have with me.  And I need someone I can have that connection with.  It isn’t going to be with you.”  She sniffed and leaned up, kissing my cheek softly and then pushed my hooves off her shoulders.

Now I feel like I've got a weight on my chest. It's just too unexpected that this is how it would go. And it seems like there was no way around it. I get why, but it really hurts.
And it's hard that the way she knows Blackjack really would try and that's part of the problem. But I can see why. The whole "won't treat me like a baby" with "puts me first" at first glance seems a little disjointed, so I'll need to think on it further, later, about what dimensions each is working on.


She paused and looked over her shoulder at me, smiling calmly amid the wet on her cheeks.  “No,” was all she said, and then stepped out of star house.

I can't decide if she means that or not, or if it's worse if she does or doesn't.


And if you were going to dive into Tartarus, would you be okay with her coming with you?”

So, is Tartarus a thing now, and not just for Hades as a personal quirk? If so, what, and what's the distinction between it and Hell?


LittlePip once talked about thirty something orgasms?  Well, if I ever talked to her again, I'd have to compare notes, because the way my... everything was buzzing, I couldn't tell if I'd had dozens of small ones or if the one he'd given me a little less than two hours ago just hadn't ended yet..

I feel like this is a case of just plain deciding to one-up FoE. I'm okay with this. Especially since P-21 isn't likely to try to use it as a way of shaming her later for fun. Bitch.


“Practice.  Lots of practice and learning to pace myself.  And I had some of those healing potions set aside just to help me push past the refractory period,

World building!


“Are you okay with what we did?” I asked, looking back at him.  The question made him frown thoughtfully.  If his fur hadn’t been spiked in erratic ways, he’d have looked far more moody.
Finally, he smiled.  “If it’d been any other mare... no.  No in a big way.  But it was with you, so I think it’s fine,” he replied evenly, then raised a hoof.

Well, I guess he could have maybe felt pressured by her, indirectly through their shared history in 99, even though he initated and she wasn't doing anything to pressure him directly. Or maybe it was not the thing as a whole, but something internal to the scene(s). Maybe something that would remind him of the Overmare.


Of the six tiny mares in my head, one suggested one more round, one said enough was enough, one couldn’t stop giggling, one was taking notes, one offered critique and pointers for next time, and the last had her eyes covered with her wings as she blushed into her hooves.

Rainbow, AJ, Pinke, Twilight, Rarity, Fluttershy. Did I get it right? I'm least confident about the first two. AJ might have more endurance, but the diction seems more her than RD, and RD is the greater extremophile.


“Blackjack, I should go first.  I know I heard somepony down stairs a few hours ago.  What if somepony came back?” he asked as I walked along the balcony.  With my sweaty, sticky mane in my eyes, it was hard to see as I trotted down the stairs.
“Oh please, who could–” I began to say when a throat cleared.  I froze and scraped my hoof across my bangs.  I stared down at Calamity, Velvet Remedy, Stygius, Tenebra, Goldenblood, and Whisper all sitting in my living room.

LLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLL!
They. Heard. Everything. Now get washed up, you've got work to do.


“Do you mind if I wash up, or do you want to talk first?” I said as I wiped some semen from my muzzle.

Don't ever change.


Surfacer ponies... who could figure them out?

Yeah, this just feels weird since it's almost always, till now, been used in reference to ponies on the ground in contrast to pegasi, and one time as a contrast to the batponies of the shadow realm.


Whisper was forcing Stygius and Tenebra to have a discussion about me and semen.

There is much to be said for Happy Psychoshy.


“It’s alright.  It’s nothing I didn’t see coming a mile away,” I lied... or did I?

Well, this is just what she said she'd do after the suicide attempt, and after getting back from Hightower, just with a slightly different thing setting it off, at most. And as good as the reason may have been, there would always end up being a reason to leave her in safety, wouldn't there, and that was the problem.


I choked as I regarded the stone.  Forgotten.  When I died, how would I be remembered?  Would any raise a stone with my name upon it?  Probably not, and if they did, it would be undeserved.  To be forgotten was true death.  With flesh rotted and bones pulverized to dust and the great histories lost to the passage of time, what of the person who had lived?  Or had they ever lived at all?  There were eight names on Vigilance’s mouthgrip, but what did I know of the first six but their names?  Almost nothing.  And when Vigilance rusted away, would anyone ever know?

Aaaannd cue existential crisis. Hopefully it'll be over soon, once she gets a distraction.


“It was the only place with enough space.  The manor is a terrible mess.  Those Crusaders were absolutely ghastly.  Children can be so destructive at times,” the ghoul said in her whispery rasp.  True, and having a battle and a tank driving through it too had done absolutely nothing for the structure.

The ghoul focus thing coming up? Seems appropriate. Also, yay, Harpica!


“You said you’d kill me if I ever fucked up,” I whispered, pressing my face into his chest.  I could hear his own heartbeat, slow and steady and sure.  “I’ve gotten everyone killed.”

She hasn't said that to him in a long time, I think, even excluding the three month lapse. And apart from earlier this chapter, thought it either. Good to ease in, and especially now it feels like she's falling back on what she had before she had Glory as a partner.


That wasn’t twenty.
That wasn’t a hundred.
It was everypony.

Bearing in mind that many are dead at this point, etc., I've tracked some ~180 characters in the present not part of Blackjack's party who seemed like they did something at least reasonably important or were likely to show up again. Yeah. Kind of a lot.
Also, making me think of It's a Wonderful Life again.


The Burner Boys were running gambling games with some Thunderhead ponies and a hoofful Steel Rangers.

Steel or Applejack's, or are they getting together to tackle the bigger threat again?


“What are they all doing here?” I gasped.
“You said you wanted everyone who could come.  Once word got out that the Security at the Society was a fraud, and that the Lightbringer’s friends and Security’s team vouched for this one... well, suddenly everyone wanted to be here.  Between alicorn teleportation, Enclave pegasi, and the clearing weather, this was the place to be,” Velvet Remedy said with a sweep of her hoof.

UNCLE BILLY (emotionally at the breaking point)
Mary did it, George! Mary did it! She told a few people you were
in trouble and they scattered all over
town collecting money. They didn't ask any questions, just said
"If George is in trouble, count on me." You never saw anything
like it.

“They’re all people you helped in one way or another, Blackjack,” P-21 said quietly.

Oh god, it really is.


I carefully wiggled in, P-21 slipping in behind me with far more ease.

It's a stretch, but I'll count this as a "Blackjack is fat" joke.


“Yeah.  I’m really Blackjack.  Security the reboot.  I’m sure I’ll be shot and mangled all to hell inside a week.”

As opposed to Security the Robot, which is why I called you here.


In the mind, will counted more than muscle, and willpower was just a nice way of calling a pony stubborn.  I had stubborn coming out my ass.

Really? Because I'm pretty sure earlier it was something else.


I seized another and heard Big Macintosh say solemnly, ‘I’m right disappointed in you.’

Bic Mac knew how to say just enough. And I bet that hurt more than a lot of the others.


Cognitum gave a chill stare at the tank.

I've still not forgotten that one of my middle school, or maybe early high school, English teachers insisted that "chill" wasn't an adjective synonomous with "cold."


He lifted his great brown eyes.  “Because... she’s my daughter.”

Not the biggest shock ever. Or this chapter. Makes plenty of sense, but a lot more hurtful for Shujaa to call her an animal and whatnot, if that's what's going on.


“I’m really... really... really stupid,” I said with a hapless grin.  “I want my friends back, and I want everypony okay.  And yeah, I know it’s immature and naive and... I just want it that way.  Call me an idiot.”

Has me thinking a bit of the concept of Spike making his friends his hoard, as in "The Jewellery Box" (really sad that seems to have died) or "It Takes a Village."


“You’ve told her enough already,” P-21 cut her off coldly.  “Really.  ‘Why do you love me?’  Isn’t it enough that you are loved?  Period?  Only you would want to quantify something as elusive and ephemeral as love!”

Hey, that's what I said! Think he's the right one to deliver it, too, especially with Rampage out and Lacunae gone.


“I also know that as long as she and I are together, you and her wouldn’t be.  It took three bottles of champagne to get us in the same bed.  Not a good sign for an open relationship, even if it would make Blackjack happy.

Well, poly with them all having sex together, but point taken.


“There is no good time.  You two have a baby together now.  You’re...” Glory started to tear up.  “Do you know how much it hurt to hear that?  You two have something I’ll never have with her.  And sure, I could pretend that the foal is mine or adopt or something, but it’ll never be the same as what the two of you share.”  She hissed in pain and shook her head.  “Better I find some mare I can share that with.  Some mare who won’t make me wonder if I’m second best.  Who won’t try and make me stay back, even if there’s risk.”

Yeah, of course it's this. Just got a shiver. And I get it, as above, though it's sounding like it's worse than my (admittedly optimistic) take that maybe it was just a case of Blackjack saying something thoughtless. Though again, thinking back to 99, there really wasn't any special bond between a mare and the sire of her daughter.


El oh vee ee...  No matter how I bounced the word off my brain it came back as a raging ball of doubt and uncertainty.  How could he give it?  How could I deserve it?

The same way you gave it to Glory (and him, of course), and the same way you give out forgiveness: it's not about desert.


And that horrible, nasty little ‘why’ popping up right, left, and center.

Oh, I can answer that one: Somber likes drama.


Once that was done, we’d have the rest of our lives to talk about love and family and... a wonderful life I could only barely imagine right now.

Snerk. Oh, entirely different context and everything, but given how much I was thinking of it earlier, how could I not bring it up?


“When I saw ya before, it was blood and stars.  The other you was just blood.  You... you’re nothin’ but stars.  So I dunno what ta believe.  But you askin’ is better than the other you demandin’.  That’s a start.”

Ironic, given the other had Luna's soul.


“Now, some of you have seen another me that came out of the Core talking about unity.  

Seriously, "unity" is a terrible line in the aftermath of the Goddess's Unity.


My hoof tingled a bit, and I felt... good, actually.  Like I’d had both a long night’s rest and a full meal.

I bet this will be important later.


There was a seminal texture to it, and a flavor that hovered somewhere among wallpaper paste, rust, and raw radroach. . . . I smacked my lips and peered at the residue sloshing in the bottom of the bottle.  “Mmm, pretty good.”

Did she ever eat raw radroach? I know she's had the others. Oh, and I guess this answers that she still likes the taste of metal.


“This mare, who by all accounts had no reason to care about our problems, came to the sky and threw herself into the middle of a battle with the goal of saving as many innocent lives as possible.

Well, I mean, besides her girlfriend's affiliation with Thunderhead. But if we're REALLY aggressively rounding down . . .


The Society is instituting reforms for the serfs that work our plantations, thanks in part to this mare’s generosity and compassion.

Thanks for feeding one of my hobby horses.

“Never before have the Steel Rangers encountered such selfless generosity!  It is a testament to–”

Well, if someone's going to lay it on thick, it might as well be Stronghoof.


“This isn’t an easy place to live.  In fact, I’m sure all of you have, at least once, thought how much it sucks to live here.  But the Hoof is our home, and that doesn’t change no matter how hard it gets.  We might all be different.  Different people.  Different values.  Different dreams.  But to all of us, this place is home, and all of us are family.”  I turned and saw P-21 beaming on the edge of the stage.  I looked back.  “And whether you love your family or not, you stand by them no matter what!  So that together, we all become stronger.  So that together we rise up, with no one being left behind.  Together we rise!  Hoofington rises!”

So, a couple things. First, note how this is very much pushing the unity line, without using the word. Second, damn that's a great appropriation of the enemy's warcry.


As we trotted off the other side of the stage, I asked him, “You think we can actually do it?”
He glanced back and snorted.  “Right now, hell no.  There’s at least five hundred Harbingers and probably five times that many Brood.  But it never hurts to have high spirits.”

It's bullshit, but it's my kind of bullshit.


I tried to be as succinct as I possibly could.

#notprojecthorizonsthings
I kid, I kid.


“So let me get this straight,” Mare Do Well rasped from inside her helmet.  “You knew Luna was going completely out of control... and decided that the best thing to do was create a weapon that would kill everypony in the world?!”

WELL WHEN YOU SAY IT LIKE THAT IT SOUNDS CRAZY, AND LIKE I'M AN ASSHOLE.


“Give a mare two centuries to figure it out,” she muttered.  Maybe it was the Flux I’d just drank, but everything seemed so much clearer and sharper to me.  

Thought it might be important, though given the timing it's also possible some of the improvement was from the statuettes and she just didn't have a chance to benefit yet. Hope it's not pushed too far, though, but there does need to be something to level the playing field against Cogs. Doesn't all need to be on her, though, especially now.


Xanthe shifted and fidgeted.  “Well... I mean... we’re not reapers or zodiacs, but my friends and I should be able to get the third.”  Two dozen ponies stared at her, and the stealth suit she wore chirped an ‘uh oh’.

Xanthesuit! And with Harpica in the same chapter, it's like Christmas came early this year! . . . Huh, missed her earlier when she was listed as being there. Well, bumped up from lineless extra!

“Cursed,” she replied with a tragic sigh.  “But well.  I am glad you are still alive, Maiden.”  I grinned and gave her a hug, the zebra stiffening under my embrace.  “Well... what’s a little more curse?” she muttered.

So adorable!


Calamity, Velvet, Homage, and Life Bloom gave sickly smiles before they took in the utterly grim looks on everypony’s face.  “Y’all are serious?  Y’all got folk out here that won’t die?”
Big Daddy, Grace, and Triage gave a little shrug.  “It happens,” Big Daddy said simply.  “I’ve dealt with a few in my time.  Rampage was that way.”
Calamity sputtered, “This place is damned screwed up!”

You all need to get on their level. And up to speed. That too.


“You in charge.  You’re organizing a few raptors and flight squads.  I’ll be in charge of every gang and soldier in the hoof.  I’m the one calling the shots here, missy,” he snapped back.

Wow, not even an hour before the bureaucratic infighting begins. And between the air forces and ground, too! So, Blackjack gets to play adult in the room?


But now I frowned.  “No.  I can’t.  I have to stop Horizons, or all of this is pointless.”  I saw the defense we needed most falling apart.  Somepony had to manage all of these factions so that we had a chance.  My eyes surveyed the present ponies and stopped on the perfect candidate.
“Him,” I said, pointing a hoof at Goldenblood.

That's . . . actually a really good choice. Sure, he probably can't do battlefield level stuff worth shit, but I'm betting he can at least manage the people, and given a military goals framework to go off of probably wouldn't botch the strategy too much, especially given a decent adviser. And it's not like he has another agenda anymore.


“Are you insane?” Goldenblood hissed under his breath.

We've been over this again and again: YES I AM. UNCONDITIONALLY AND IRREVOCABLY INSANE. GET WITH THE PROGRAM.


Fool me once... shame on... just don’t mess it up!”

Not going with the Bushism? "Fool me once . . . shame on you. Fool me, you can't get fooled again."
Chapter Sixty Nine Overall Thoughts:
Okay, so the obvious big thing here is Glory breaking up with Blackjack. It hurt, kind of a lot, to the point I was tearing up a little at one point. But at the same time it's been a long time coming, and the initial points she made about being left behind, protected, were almost exactly what she had said was (one of) the problems leading up to the full D/s bondage relationship with collar and everything. Sure, the punishment was about keeping her from punishing herself, but the end was to keep her from going off alone again. And Glory is right that Blackjack would try, would really try, to do what Glory needed her to, but let's be honest: when push comes to shove, Blackjack would always find a reason to protect Glory. Now, just being her friend won't likely change that, but it does at least change the character of the relationship context of the actions.
Now, it does seem like that alone wasn't what motivated the break just then, as the pregnancy was stated to be an important inciting factor, and the timing agrees, with there appearing to be at least some conciliation until that point. Now, I'm not sure if she would have reacted the same way if Blackjack had been clearer that she was going to see Glory as her mother, too, which I at least assume to be the case, just left as an implicit assumption. There's something to be said for the position that Glory wasn't thinking that way, but that was all after Blackjack's poor handling of the announcement and acting like P-21 gets more of a say than her. One thing that struck me as a little strange, which may have been related to her just being shell shocked at the time, was that she was taking seriously the idea Blackjack was ready to sacrifice her baby; now I can think of some reasons for that, like her internalized connection between sex and love and probably procreation, and so thinking Blackjack didn't see unborn children as important in the same way she doesn't see sex as important; or she wasn't there to see how much she cared about her baby; and she never understood just how much her mother meant to her, too. In any case, she missed the strongly, strongly broadcasted signal that Blackjack didn't want that, and was asking for permission to put her desires before everyone else. She was basically begging, maintaining something like a strong exterior, true, to be told that she wasn't a bad pony for wanting to save her child. And it was a bad situation, but that was an important part of what Glory's side of the deal was supposed to be.
That said, it would be unfair to say that Glory was really wrong to break things off—given the number of times she's been hurt by Blackjack, calling it quits was a reasonable move, and contra P-21, that was as good of a time as any, because there would always be reasons not to, why it should be put off, and at least in this manner it was controlled rather than slipping out accidentally or in a fit of anger and frustration at a time when Blackjack didn't have hours for catatonia or sex therapy. I'll back P-21 up on the point about trying to quantify love and saying you need to give a reason, of course; that's just not something everyone can do, and Blackjack is far more of a feeler, more intuitive than analytical, so of course she wouldn't have an answer. As for Blackjack and deserving love, well, let's bring out the old refrain: it isn't always about you. It's not necessarily about deserving love, but accepting it and making the most of it, which parallels her own habit of giving out forgiveness almost irrespective of desert. They can earn it after the fact.
As for P-21 and Blackjack . . . old news. He's gone from hate to ambivalence to love long before now, but it never needed to be front and center, although it was called out in Thunderhead with Scotch. I don't know exactly how it will play out, apart from them both playing parental roles to the child if they all live, but something will work out.

I liked the mind dive with Deus, in many respects. The imagery was nice, and reminiscent of the one into Lacunae to bring her back from her catatonia, but I thought that the fix was a little too direct, too purposeful, highlighting that this was something that she never really learned how to do, I think, generally just stumbling her way through before. Sure, making conact, talking, things along those lines she's practiced, but not I think the direct healing. Maybe it was just softer (soft vs. hard sci-fi sense) than I was feeling at the moment. Big Mac's line was a highlight.
Anyway, Vanity's appearance was great (oh, and the monument and Goldenblood's comment were a nice touch, well worth including), especially with the photograph. I liked Deus, but it was kind of jarring how he'd just switch between a more or less civil conversation with Vanity to CUNT! repeatedly and abruptly. Nice to have a real answer with Peppermint, though I feel like I shouldn't be surprised: rape during heat and all. Deus's watching Rampage during their time in the Reapers together was a good point, because hey, what was he supposed to do. But now of course I'm expecting that Blackjack finally having an answer to Rampage's "Who am I" will play a key role in bringing her back around, and maybe even being willing to live on.

Not too much to say about the war council. Reminded me of the end of It's a Wonderful Life, which isn't much of a surprise (incidentally, wouldn't George Bailey make a great Element of Generosity?). The test was hilarious, and of course looks to be setting up Flux as a way for Blackjack to get an advantage, much like radiation for alicorns. Nice way to do things, and with that I think I can say I don't have any need to question blank sterility anymore. But I hope that it's not pushed too far, because I'm really hoping that the Cogs/Legate lines end with more than just one-on-ones with a buffed up Blackjack, although I assume that will play a role in them. The speech was fine, but two things stuck with me. First was the importance of tone. There was a lot of overlap with Cogs's unity line, but the underlying sincerity, and the idea that they would be one effort, together, rather than one body, under "Blackjack," made all the difference. Kind of like of "The Mysterious Mare Do Well" might have been a much better episode if only the tone had been "wow, look at what these bastards did to someone who's supposed to be their friend" rather than "these guys were totally in the right, what they did was justified, Rainbow's actions were beyond the pale, and she should be punished for them." The second was that I didn't think, upon reading it, back to Goldy's Hoofington Rises speech, but instead to the derivative chant and call of the Harbingers; I took Blackjack's use of it as an appropriation from their enemy, not a callback to the city's past. And while there may have been some in the audience who would take Goldenblood's line of thought, I'm guessing all of them had heard the Harbingers' refrain, and almost none a recording of his speech, so the context they took would probably be closer to the former than the latter.
Stronghoof was great, as was Triage cutting him off. Two explicit callouts to generosity felt nice, because that's one of my things.
Then there was a lot of exposition, but delivered at least with some good personality. We know the outlines of what's to come, and I'm sure most of it won't go to plan, but that's normal. I'd have expected Rainbow to be better at hiding by now, but maybe I can give some leeway due to running into Goldenblood, which had to be a shock. It's good that so far the Littlepip crew has been taking a decided backseat to the core and secondary cast of PH.
As for the 69-ishness, pretty well done bearing in mind the barriers that needed to be put up since this is a family picture. I don't think it surpassed one of the early GloryJack bondage sessions, though. But there you had more flexibility since although it was a kinky subject, it wasn't exactly sex (but sure, after . . . ), just sexy.
Chapter Sixty Nine Editing:
“Not a very good Blackjack impersonator, is she?”  Scotch commented,
should have only one space after quotation


“Go Fish,” I muttered, taking the bottle and sniffing, then before drinking it.

"then began drinking"


“Bwackjack?” A mare said from the still-open door,

"A" shouldn't be capitalized.


and then a white head popped out over Glory’s head, pale eyes blinking as she stared at me.

suggest cutting second "head": "a white head popped out over Glory's, pale eyes blinking"


“This is Bwackjack!  See?”  She said,

"She" shouldn't be capitalized, should have only one space after quotation


head and tellin me what I needed ta do while Bwackjack was dealin with da bad computer thingy,
bad puter thingy was gonna do swapsies and he was gonna get her to swap somethin else

apostrophe for "tellin", "dealin", "somethin", possibly "puter"


From out of it tumbled a few pistols,

might want it to just be "From it" or "Out of it"


This was it! My chance

should have second space after exclamation point


Two hours later, Blackjack nursed a Sparkle-Cola and a developing headache.

"Blackjack" should be "I".


‘Best way you can help is to follow me and stay out of my way’ she said,” P-21 said

comma after "way"


um, I mean, later. Right

only one space after period


Scotch tape said.

"tape" should be capitalized


“Who’s gonna be kissin who with three of em?”

apostrophes for "kissin", "em"


“What?” I blinked in bafflement at her.

should have second space after quotation


was all she said, and then stepped out of star house.

"Star House"


the one he'd given me a little less than two hours ago just hadn't ended yet..

should


I know I heard somepony down stairs a few hours ago.  

"downstairs"


Our little troupe headed over towards Blueblood manor.  

"Blueblood Manor"


“Been a long time since I could answer that with a yes,” I said with a small smile.  I checked behind me.  Whisper was forcing Stygius and Tenebra to have a discussion about me and semen.  Goldenblood walked behind them, silently, eyes downcast.  I glanced over at the mare.

I know it's cleared up once you read the following quotation, but "at the mare" should probably be "at Velvet" so you know who it is before the line is said


Steelhooves’s head cut off right infront of me.

"right in front"


“And it ain’t just you that has ta’ pay it.  Takes two ta’ tussle

"ta" shoudln't have an apostrophe


as they say.” He said with

period to comma, "He" shouldn't be capitalized


and anxiety in my chest. Her amusement

only one space after period


Among the Crusaders, the Harbingers, and Deus, most of the once-immense building was smashed.

Does "among" substitute for this meaning of "between"?


Somepony had taken great lengths to cut those letters an inch deep into the granite.

"taken great pains" or "gone to great lengths"?


There were eight names on Vigilance’s mouthgrip, but what did I know of the first six but their names?

Card Trick.  Tarot.  Little Poker.  Full House.  52 Pick-up.  Straight Flush.  Aces.  Royal Flush.  Bridge.  Hearts.  Gin Rummy.  Go Fish.
There were listed 12, 11 if Go Fish wasn't actually on there.


“She needs to go back to Star house.  This is bad.”

"Star House"


Somehow I started to actually take breathes rather

"breaths"


“Yeah.” I said, and together we

period should be comma


“I mean, who in their right mind is going to go way out here for a probably-just-another-imposter Black… jack...” and I trailed off as I stepped through.

the "and" seems out of place


Bottle Cap, Charity, and Keeper seemed to have set up an impromptu swap meet with the Collegiate and Society.

"Bottlecap"


A trio of Hellhounds lingered in the back, with everyone giving the beasts a wide berth.

"hellhounds"


I could pick out Windclop and a few other familiar faces from Meatlocker, more alicorns than had arrived with Velvet, griffin Talons from back east...

Littlepip's area, and thus the Talons, were in the west, weren't they?


entertainment, we can wait.” P-21 said

period to comma


‘Cunt!’  it was accompanied b

"it" should be capitalized


hitting me like a sledge hammer.

"sledgehammer"


through what you suffered.” I answered

period to comma


“Cause... who wouldn’t?” I asked back awkwardly.
give a bit of help, cause you fucked

apostrophe for "Cause"


Nopony deserves that.” I answered

period to comma


some of those went too deep even for me to pull three.

should that "three" be "free", or maybe "them"?


Deus ground to a halt. Cognitum smiled d

only one space after period


Vanity stopped at the exit.  The green stallion appeared... tired.  

Green maned/tailed, but his body was white.


know what she looks like.”  Doof said, pulling

period to comma, should have only one space after quotation


forward as he leaned towards the green unicorn.

white, green accents


A filly rampage taking out a raider four times her size.

"rampage" should be capitalized


“Be careful, Cunt,” he said, the word about as affectionate as he could manage.

"affectionately"?


to the south west over the Luna Space Center.

"southwest"


to ‘now calm down sugarcube.’  

comma after "down", period to outside of quotation marks


Raptors were seen over by the Luna Space center.

"Center"


“Love... you... me... yeah...”  I muttered lamely.

should have only one space after quotation


conversation ‘till later I’d be

shouldn't have apostrophe for "till"


damned impersonators!”  yelled another.

should have only one space after quotation


“You don’t even have her cutiemark!” guffawed a third.  “Get her off the stage!”

"cutie mark"


down tends to stand out.”
“Now, some of you have seen

paragraph shouldn't end with closing quotation mark


“This is pure Taint.

you don't capitalize "taint"


mouth with a hoof,  popped the top

there's an extra space after the comma


something with tendrils or antenna tried

"antennae" or "antennas"


And blanks...”  she let the same

"she" should be capitalized


“...are immune to Taint.”

"taint"


“That wasn’t Taint!

"taint"


as if just the empty bottle was dangerous.

"were"


P-21, Scotch Tape, Velvet Remedy and Homage.

comma after "Remedy"


destruction of Shadowbolt tower to the appearance

"Shadowbolt Tower"


That drove m- er, drove Rainbow Dash

I think that should maybe be a full dash


we’re not reapers or zodiacs, but my friends and I should be able to get the third.”

"Reapers", "Zodiacs"


“The Legate...” I paused, thinking of how

should have second space after quotation


to a depot here, south east of the Luna

"southeast"


and the Gale- ahem, the Rampage.

full dash?


she said, gesturing each in turn as she moved counter clockwise around the map.

"to each"?


broadcasters did they get out of Shadowbolt tower and take to Stable 99?”

"Shadowbolt Tower"


You’re organizing a few raptors and flight squads.

"Raptors"
Other Editing:
Ch 8:
The HMS Celestia’s tied up there.

"HMS" shouldn't be italicized


Ch 26:
If they hadn’t been so fixated on the HMS Celestia, they probably would have set up shop in the dams.

"Celestia" should be italicized


Ch 28:
Gonna see if we can pull something useful off the Luna.”

"Luna" should be italicized


Ch 29:
Elder Crunchy Carrots aboard the HMS Celestia,

"HMS" shouldn't be italicized


Ch 30:
talismans, and the HMS Celestia to keep her safe.

"Celestia" should be italicized


Ch 32:
“When the… sigh… HMS Applejack was en route from Manehattan, they encountered the
The HMS Celestia came in two flavors:

"HMS" shouldn't be italicized


Ch 33:
Thrush says busting her and her crew out of the Celestia is worth one free trip.”

"Celestia" should be italicized


Ch 34:
“They still don’t even know if he drowned or got vaporized when the Celestia blew.”

"Celestia" should be italicized


Ch 37:
Looking north, I could see the bow of the Celestia pointed out of the water.

"Celestia" should be italicized


Ch 43:
the rusting letters on the bow:
HMS Celestia.
Okay.  

past the gaping hole I’d blasted in the ship, and on to the HMS Luna.

"HMS" shouldn't be italicized


Ch 44:
the bay underneath the HMS Celestia.  

"HMS" shouldn't be italicized


Ch 52:
what happened on the Celestia and at Goldenblood’s house

"Celestia" should be italicized


Ch 57:
“Have you recovered from the Celestia’s attack?”
Things would have been much simpler if you’d simply left me the Celestia.

"Celestia" should be italicized


Ch 60:
When you destroyed the Celestia…
It feels like just before the Celestia, you know?

"Celestia" should be italicized


Ch 64:
You wanted to keep the Celestia from blowing half the Hoof off the map.

"Celestia" should be italicized
Ah, thank you.

Some of the things you're saying I need to italicize are already italicized, yet the chapters haven't been edited recently.  I'm not sure what's going on there.

Icy Shake wrote:"Blackjack" should be "I".
Nope.  The use of her name here is for effect.  Not all the editors got that either…  Hm.  I can't think of a good way to make it cleared that that's the case, though.

Icy Shake wrote:"ta" shoudln't have an apostrophe
Argh!  Dialect!  All these places where apostrophes ought to be, and here the apostrophe that is there shouldn't be?  Thanks.

Icy Shake wrote:"affectionately"?
I'm not sure how the adverb form would be correct there, sorry.  I believe that the current adjective form is correct.

Icy Shake wrote:Until Princess Celestial got thrown in, that was actually fairly plausible.
Heh, yeah.  :D

The Glory thing hit me too, unsurprisingly…

Icy Shake wrote:That's . . . actually a really good choice. Sure, he probably can't do battlefield level stuff worth shit, but I'm betting he can at least manage the people, and given a military goals framework to go off of probably wouldn't botch the strategy too much, especially given a decent adviser. And it's not like he has another agenda anymore.
Aye.  He doesn't need to do the battlefield stuff; the people under him know there jobs.  He just needs to be a reasonably competent neutral party occupying the top spot so that the others don't waste time fighting over it.

Regarding your interpretation of the speech, I'd say that the majority's lack of knowledge of the phrasing's history could be cause for more concern from those who do know it.
Basically, what Blackjack is doing here is building a nation and appealing to the rising nationalism to rally the people together for war.  Now, there's nothing fundamentally wrong with that; this is a fight that needs to be fought, and Blackjack is benevolent.  However good it appears, though, it should elevate the alert status of those who know their history, particularly those who were actually there (particularly Goldenblood).  Blackjack is strongly mirroring Cognitum here and is the more potentially dangerous of the two.  Cognitum threatens and tricks.  She can make people follow her, but it's always a careful balance requiring continuous effort.  When she holds a meeting, she beats down the dissenters and leaves the rest grumbling.  WHen Blackjack speaks at a rally, she is met with a thunderous ovation.  Certainly, she does not force people who do not want to follow her to… but she makes people want to follow her.  She is wielding tremendous power, much more, I think, than she is conscious of.  The last time Goldenblood saw something like this, it ended with nearly everyone dying being the least unacceptable available option.  And yes, Blackjack seems good.  Like she wouldn't let things get that bad, and definitely like she wouldn't try to take things that way deliberately.  But he didn't start out thinking that Luna was going to go wrong, did he?  Strong militarized nationalism behind a charismatic leader has history in Equestria.  Big Daddy's "We’re gonna plan the best way to stomp the Brood and the Remnant out of our valley" is also something that should be making alarm bells ring in Goldenblood's head.  Again, with Blackjack, it's probably fine… probably… but it could go so wrong.
(It's possibly I'm focusing more on this than is justified, though.  I happened to be listening to Die Moorsoldaten when I got to the speech, and it may have colored my thinking.)

WavemasterRyx wrote:
O. Hinds wrote:I hope you enjoy it.  It does have some rough stuff in it.
*nuzzles Somber and Hinds each just barely*

initial thoughts:
Yeah... it would seem my celebration was grossly premature...

I guess the best way I can explain it is much like with SteelHooves, it just feels like Pinkie's rainbow lost another row of color...  I was trying to prepare myself for someone in Blackjack's party dieing (and I'm certain one of them still will...) but this was just as painful.

That's all I can really say right now...  It was a very well done chapter, but it hurt.
I'm sorry.  I'm a bit upset about the Glory thing too, as you can imagine. Less so now than when I first read it, but I'm still hoping that it'll work out for them.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Guest on Mon Aug 04, 2014 7:32 am

just one thought:

Ch69 wrote:And I had some healing potions set aside to push me past the refractory period.

Really? That is the worst waste of supplies I can imagine. There are no extra medical supplies. That is not a thing that exists unless you have a crystal ball.

editing:

Ch69 wrote: You in charge.

Believe that period is supposed to be a question mark.

Ch69 wrote:I trotted over the stand beside the unicorn.

Think that should be to not the.


Last edited by Last on Mon Aug 04, 2014 7:46 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Mon Aug 04, 2014 7:42 am

"Last wrote:Believe that period is supposed to be a question mark.
No, I believe that the current punctuation correctly indicates the way that this is being said.

Last wrote:Think that should be to not the.
Ah, thank you.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Harmony Ltd. on Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:40 am

O. Hinds wrote:unrelated:
What's the term for someone from Hoofington, I wonder?  Hoofingtonite?
"Inmate"

And Hoofington is their asylum.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

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