Welcome to Cloudsville. If you're new, don't forget to sign up and say hi in the Introduction forum.

[GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Page 2 of 34 Previous  1, 2, 3 ... 18 ... 34  Next

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by SilentCarto on Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:41 am

Icy Shake wrote:I may have done that more like this: "Yes, Somber's writing certainly is still """"horrible""""." But then, I'd guess there aren't enough scare-quotes in the world to do that sentence justice. Spike
Wait, if you scare-quote a scare-quoted word, doesn't that mean you didn't really mean the scare-quotes?
Twilight crazy
avatar
SilentCarto
Alicorn

Posts : 1585
Brohoof! : 393
Join date : 2012-05-08
Age : 37
Location : Texas

Back to top Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:47 am

There are different potential views on the matter. It sounds like you're taking a negative-multiplicative route; mine works more along the lines of an additive or supra-unitary-positive-multiplicative interpretation.
avatar
Icy Shake
Alicorn

Posts : 1206
Brohoof! : 308
Join date : 2012-06-05
Age : 28
Location : Boston, MA

Back to top Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Tue Feb 10, 2015 2:15 am

Yeah, I'm not even trying to get this all in one post; hopefully the running won't need to be split.
. . . Nope. *Sigh*
It's not all my fault; it's a dense chapter, and 35,000 words long!

I'm happy to say that 65 was a lot better than I remembered it, and despite being pretty talky, was one of the highlights of the current volume. Oh, the difference a year and a change in perspective can make.

Chapter Sixty Five Running Thoughts:
Once upon a time, I’d been a security mare in a diseased stable teetering on the edge of systemic collapse, bloody revolution, or both.

Later on, basically an outsider in one that was literally diseased, and everyone outside it benefitted greatly from the bloody revolution you then brought about.


The Legate stared coldly, then launched himself at Boo.  She raised a hoof, twitched it, twitched it again, and then stared at it a moment.  “Oh snap…”
   In a flash, Boo ducked behind me, shoving me towards the cloth-wrapped zebra who’d landed where she’d been standing a second before.  “On second thought, this really is your thing, Blackjack!  I definitely don’t want to intrude on your whole thematic aspect of ‘badassness’!  Come on!  Give him a taste of fisticuffs… or hoofsicuffs… or whatever you pony folk call it!”

That didn't take long.


I gaped at her, stunned.  “What are you doing in Boo, Discord?” I snapped.  “Get out of my friend!”
   “Hello!  Fight going on here.  Priorities,” Boo said as she kept me between herself and the Legate.

He should know by now that Blackjack isn't actually very good at priorities. But give it a minute or so, and she'll probably be in business. Just needs a moment for the wheels to catch.


“Enough,” he bellowed, leaping at him... her... ugh, Discord was in a mare’s body… but male…  Whatever!

Well, Glory's had to deal with that from Dr. Morningstar for a few months. I'm sure you can manage, too.


Rampage, her helmet now battered into shape enough to let her peer out of one eyehole, charged him.

An interesting point here, in retrospect, is just to what extent Rampage knows the Legate is on Cognitum's side, given we're looking at at least a double-cross where that's concerned. [Wait, this is Shujaa, not Rampage. Point's moot.]


He tried to dive under me and heave me out of the way, but I’d put on a few hundred pounds since we last danced.

:D


“End him!” the Legate snarled, glaring at me from over his shoulder.
   “I don’t think so,” I said, pulling him away from Boo.  “I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m not going to let you kill her!”  ...Actually, that was pretty much the story of my life, come to think of it.

Is that our book-cover quote for the chapter? Maybe.


“And why is he trying to kill you?” I asked, pointing a hoof at the Legate.
   “Well, I suspect it’s because I have this nasty itty bitty little habit of…” Boo began, tapping her hooves together sheepishly.
   “Being an insufferable, conniving, degenerate wretch!” roared the zebra.

I'm not so sure Amadi has a lot of room to talk, there.


“I’ve got to save Boo,” I said as I hauled myself to my hooves.  I channeled Blackjack of Stable 99 as hard as I could and doggedly ignored all concerns for my baby or anything else.

I'm kind of conflicted about the "Blackjack of Stable 99" bit, at least as far as ignoring all concerns for her baby goes. Yes, throwing a bunch of worries and such into the closet is a major characteristic of her from that time, but it's also been strongly established, especially in the last few chapters, that putting a pregnancy in danger is very anti-Stable 99. So this seems a little loose, but in the context of a conversational narrator, it's probably fine.


“And Coyotl as well, for the time being,” Rampage said as she scowled down the street.  “If he wishes to kill him, it must be for a reason.”

Oh, are we about to get the story of the Brood's name? (If so, we'd be back in "priorities" mode.)


“Coyotl?” Rampage asked in confusion.  I nodded tersely and she continued, “It is my people’s name for the one you call Discord.  Coyote.  The Trickster.”  She blinked at me, her eyes narrowing skeptically.  “Did you believe ponies were the only ones that suffered his cruel games?”

Well, it's a reasonable guess for the last time he was free, anyway. But way back when, sure.

Discord… Coyotl… Flux… Boo… “Brood of Coyotl… they’re blanks!  Just like Boo!  Made with Flux from project Chimera,” I said, my mind running a mile a minute.

And putting it together.

“But how could he control them?  Blanks didn’t have any minds or souls to guide them.  On their own, they’d be instinctive.  You couldn’t control them like robots…”  I froze again, staring at my own legs.  “Or cyberponies…”  If you took Project Steelpony and Project Chimera, you could have a mass-produced army of utterly loyal automatons.  And there had been a zony in charge of that project…

Dun dun duuuuuunnnnnnn!


As we raced towards them, he struck out with a double hooved stomp that would have crushed Boo if he'd landed it.  Instead, after rolling aside, it found the end of a flat tipped shovel.  The handle flashed up, smashing the stout wooden handle across the Legate’s skull helmet.  He whirled, kicking out at Boo with his back legs.  Again, she dodged aside.  His hooves smashed into the wall behind her, and the wobbly stones at the top fell and thudded down on him.

Is there a difference between low-powered Discord and a classic Warner Brothers cartoon protagonist, such as Bugs, the roadrunner, or Tweetie?


The Legate, however, shrugged the stones off, whirled, and kicked out at them with his hind legs.  A little orange pony in my head couldn’t fault his technique as the rocks were sent rocketing right into Boo!

And depending on which sisters exist in this continuity, a pink one might think the same.


The Legate stood smugly.  “A simple disruption of your body’s biorhythms and connection to your soul.  The imbalances build and resonate until–”  He reached out and poked the stricken mare’s chest.  Suddenly her whole body spasmed and seemed to compress all at once.  Her mouth opened in a silent scream, and blood erupted from her maw.  She finally slumped but didn’t quite fall, looking as if a massive hand had squeezed her.  “That.”

Neat. Seems familiar from somewhere, but probably lots of places. Not sure I see why disrupting the connection with the soul would lead to the blood though, given what we've seen about souls so far. Maybe it's a secondary effect.


He turned towards Boo and me.  “I learned the weaknesses and gaps in the Achu fighting style long ago,” he said smugly as he approached us.
   Then two blood-smeared, red-striped hooves appeared around his neck from behind as Rampage sprang on his back.  “How about some good old fashioned Equestrian Commando fighting techniques, then?!” she hissed, bloody froth pouring from her mouth as her hindlegs gripped his back.

Go Twist!


“Get off of me!” he roared.  “You should be dead!  Why aren’t you dead, you red-striped freak?!”  He rammed the skull helmet back, one of its horns gouging her eye socket.

Given his situation and how it relates to hers, I think this could be rephased in fewer words, though perhaps no fewer characters: "Waaaaa! Waaaa! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaa!"


Instead, her hooves swapped and grabbed the leg in a hooflock that was familiar to me.  “You have the right to shut the fuck up or die, you sick son of a mule!” Rampage replied, levering the limb till it let out a resounding pop.

You know, between this and that time at the barge town, I'm kind of feeling like Softheart wasn't actually a very good cop. More like Stabler from L&O:SVU. Okay, in this case, may have just been a joke. That other one, though, yikes. Severe overuse of force, making up offences, and false claims of resisting arrest? [Oddly enough, this note was from last week, before 73 was released.]


“Oh no you don’t, you motherfucking Pink!” she swore, biting his mane and struggling to keep on top of him.  Her barbed tail lashed between his hindlegs, but though his eyes bulged in fury, he did not try to break away.

That makes at least two times in the last three chapters an attempt of deadly force to the genitals hasn't really worked out.


“I’m sensing a lot of aggravation from you.  Perhaps you can calm down and tell me about your mother?” Rampage grunted into his ear.

I do not anticipate Ock's ranking highly on the list of most effective contributions to this engagement.


A zebra phoenix talisman… the zebras had stolen Project Chimera and Project Steelpony.  Why not Eternity, too?

Well, in a sense, even ignoring that his preexisted Eternity, it was kind of stolen, or at least heavily piggybacked from, zebra work.
To give a reason it's less likely the zebras would have stolen Eternity than the others? Much smaller, more contained project that seemed to mostly involve just three people for the key bits. And those three were all pretty anti-zebra (okay, maybe not S&S directly, but I have a harder time seeing them having a motivation to go against Rarity, whom they seemed to like).


I couldn’t trust her now; ending her life was the most precious thing to her.  “Well, thank you for your intentions.”  I turned my back on her.  “Goodbye,” I said softly.  I wished I hadn’t asked.  Wished that I was still that clueless mare back in a stable worried about getting laid.  Ever since I’d gotten EC-1101, I’d been learning things.  Learning my Overmare was selling us out.  Learning about the dark side of Equestria’s government.  All my learning had gotten me was misery.  Right now…  I wished that I could have been just as ignorant now of my friend as I had been about everything else so many weeks ago.
   It would have hurt so much less…

Bookending the scene with that sort of thing. Nice way to do it. Also, the whole innocence deal could tie in interestingly with Boo and Discord, and pretty Edenic in any case.


“That doesn’t sound like the Blackjack I know.  Where’s the fire?  The winging your way home on a flock of alicorns?”
   “I matured,” I replied.  “I had to sooner or later.”  When had I gotten so serious?  In Thunderhead?  Maripony?  When Dawn betrayed me?  Where was that mare who’d laughed as she sang through a ghoul infested mansion, or who’d laughed as she rode a ship through rapids, or soared on an airship through the clouds?

If I had to give a time, I'd probably say the megaspell. Even fighting Lighthooves, there was the snowball. Not long before she had the dine-and-dash, which seemed a lot like her old self. Had to be after Dawn's betrayal, since that preceded the Gala. Granted, I don't think she's really gone, so much as covered up for a while as she's dealing with things that have grown bigger than before while not offering as many opportunities for what I'll call her better side to come out.


Finally, I asked, almost at random, “Why did the world go to shit?  What went wrong?”
   His smile disappeared.  I was glad for that, grouchy pony that I was.  “Ah, yes.  Why indeed?  It’s something I never understood either.”  He stared down the hall, then glanced back at me.  “You know, I was never supposed to stay a villain.  My role was very clear.  Open antagonist to challenge Twilight Sparkle’s presuppositions of friendship and make her face having her friends turn on her at the outset, and then I was supposed to grow into a grudging ally of sorts.  I had the scripts, and I was quite looking forward to my time with Fluttershy.  Rehabilitation.  Yay,” . . .  as I said back in Hippocratic, there are few things more boring than a corpse, and that goes double for the corpse of a world.  Besides, it’s not like any of that was supposed to happen, anyway...”

An interesting point, I think, is that it kind of extends both directions in time: the future isn't what it used to be, and the same is true of the time before the show, too. Granted, I still maintain that Cadence and Shining Armor actually never existed in the world of the show (or, at minimum, Cadence as an alicorn) until "A Canterlot Wedding," when they went from not existing to having always existed, but I digress.


Discord seemed oddly subdued as well, keeping her voice low.  “It’s not something I can easily explain, and I’m rapping against the fourth wall hard enough as is,” she said with a roll of her eyes.

No kidding.


“So something made them into the ponies that became the ministry mares?” I asked quietly, gorging myself on refreshingly direct exposition.

Okay, I laughed at that.


“There might have been a few players pushing pieces around the board from behind the scenes, but that’s always happening, no matter what world you’re in.  Even Princess Sunnybuns could be wonderfully manipulative at times.”

Yeah, I find myself vacilating between finding her incompetent and reliant on luck to pull through, and disturbed by the alternative that she's a massive manipulator. Oftentimes, of course, I hold both at once; just because you're manipulative, after all, doesn't mean that your manipulations hold together on their own.


“So… if there’s a way the world is supposed to be… what, am I supposed to go back in time and fix it?”  Was that even possible?  The thought began to make my head spin.

There aren't many characters in whom, if they had that degree of self-importance, I would find it this endearing.


“All I can say is that Goldenblood requisitioned a lot of my blood for it.  Ooodles and oodles.”  She smiled and wiggled a hoof at me.  “I’m sure you’ve noticed all the really interesting things you can make out of applied chaos.  Perhaps Goldie wanted an army of blanks?”
   “Not his style,” I replied immediately.

A literal army, not as much. But I do think Somber may have said some things about blanks and mechasprites both playing a part with Horizons. Not sure, though. [Again, last week.]

That niggled at me as we passed by a small hole in the wall, the sound of breathing on the far side.  Or maybe it was just the draft in these deep spaces.

Niggling makes it realer?


“Boo is unique.  Precious.  An individual.  Why, she’s growing her own soul and everything.  And she’s as immortal as I am.  Plus she sees things as they really are, which is probably why she loves you no matter how scary you become,”

I wonder if she sees the same thing Big Daddy does. Because his "blood and stars" could go either way. Also, this seems a lot like the thing coming up relatively soon with BJ's "I know I'm not the best pony" and Cogs's "I know you really mean that too." Granted, I think Discord and Big Daddy probably have a better read on her than Cognitum.


“Well, you’ve been experiencing quite the wrong sort of chaos, then!”  She gave an insulted snort.  “If I were evil, I would have snapped my claws and made Twilight’s head explode.  It was certainly within my power, but utterly outside my nature.”  She smiled.  “Chaos is change.  It’s a break from the status quo.  Chaos is invention.  It’s art!  It’s uncertainty.  It’s a gamble.  It’s in a butterfly’s wing, the motions of an electron, and the chemical reactions in your brain.  Without chaos, life becomes a set of comfortable routines from birth to death, never changing.  I manipulated and tormented ponykind… and zebrakind… and griffinkind… and plenty of others… to shake them out of conformity.”

Well, at least he's making a better case than some have for what they were pursuing. Especially helpful if he actually would like for her to be the next avatar of chaos.


Before I knew it, sweet little Luna was having me ground up to fuel her war machine, and a decidedly non-winged Twilight, her friends, and an old geology teacher were doing their best to help Moonbutt turn Equestria into the most ordered catastrophe this planet's ever seen.  I would have been quite impressed if it weren't so perverse.

And, of course, if anything, Cognitum's working to go beyond that. Too bad it works that way; wouldn't Blackjack like it if it were as simple as Chaos Bad/Good, Order Good/Bad?


She closed his eyes.

I wonder if Discord likes that this situation resulted in this narration.


Anyway, Celestia and her posse are, or at least were, all ‘Lawful Good’ when you got right down to it.  Even dear Pinkie was disappointingly predictable.  What, they didn’t have enough order already?  Order for order’s sake isn’t beneficial.  It’s stagnation.  Consider your home, Blackjack.  Stable 99, and Equestria.  Both were founded under good, orderly premises, but over time, good order rots.  The order becomes more important than the good, and the only changes that happen are the perversion and decay of the original ideals.

I'm trying to decide just how much this [http://spoonyexperiment.com/counter-monkey/counter-monkey-where-have-all-the-lawful-goods-gone/] relates to his point. Probably orthogonal, actually, having more to do with how you interact with other PCs than anything else. But it did make me think, while I was watching it, that based on my (limited) understanding of D&D's alignment system, Blackjack would pretty handily land as Lawful Good. Her personality is kind of chaotic, yeah, but her major motivations lean heavily towards (just) order, not chaos. Basically, I don't see a conflict between having a personality and being LG. Maybe if you're a paladin. Then again, maybe I'm not really taking in Discord's point as well as I might.


The barb was attached to a creature resembling a scorpion, if someone who had never seen a scorpion before had been given a vague description of one and had been so taken with the general idea of it that they’d hastily rushed to build the biggest scorpion of all time… and had neglected such trivial things as proportion, symmetry, and checking their work for errors.

Hmm. Nice bit of humor in the description. That said . . . okay, good. A real depiction follows.

Nine legs on the left, six on the right, a dozen eyes of varied shape and size scattered around what might be a head, mandibles and fangs that had no business being as long as my body, a pincer on one limb vaguely resembling a hand, and another limb ending in the scorpion tail-like protrusion completed the monstrosity before me.

I don't think I ever want to run into one of those.


The handlike pincer snapped out at me and seized me by my wings, drawing me towards the immense fanged, chomping orifice that was the creature’s mouth.

On the plus side, it sounds like it has only one mouth.


I popped a mouthful of stale garnets, the last of my stores, into my mouth as I reloaded the gun with flechettes to tear the monsters up a bit more before incinerating, swapping back and forth between magazines with my PipBuck’s inventory function.

Gems can go stale. Who knew?


More than once, I had to dart away from a container of cooking ammo, the rounds going off like a hive of blazing bees.  At least a few grenades were in the mix as well, blowing flaming pieces of crate and critter into the air and making the train shake and sway alarmingly.  Still, I fell into a moment of peace.  Shoot.  Jump.  Kick.  Blast.  Run.  Dive.  Reload.  Grab.  Smash.  Shoot.  Toss.  Smile.  Retreat.  Lunge.  Cast.  Shoot.  Block.  Twist.  Stomp.  Twist.  Reload.  Shoot.  Laugh.

Hey, remember when Discord asked when she got so serious and all? As I said, it's context-dependent. And now she has something that she can deal with, and which doesn't require thinking hard about difficult choices that will have big, direct effects on others, now that she's back in her element, this fun, charming, happier side of her is coming out again.

Enemies I could fight with no moral complications.  Opponents who were clear threats to me and my baby, which I could dispatch guilt-free.  It didn’t matter where I was.  This was the moment where, for several manic, magical seconds, I was alive from horn to hoof, metal or not.  This was joy.  This was sex.  This was life!

Yeah, basically.

Then I whirled to blast another and froze.  Before me stood a pony… but not a pony.  Four legs.  Two eyes, if one was a black button and the other a milky boil.  No mouth, just a blunted bump of a muzzle and two knobby, melted-looking ears.  The maroon hide reminded me of a ghoul, but less rotted and more diseased.  The creature’s mane and tail were tendrils rather than hair.  Most disturbing of all was a scar like cutie mark on its flank.

Aaaand the moment's gone. Creepy.


Shifting my gaze from one to the next, I waited for their mouths to open wide with countless jagged fangs… any second now… any second…
   But they didn’t.  They just crouched there, heads tilted, regarding me cluelessly.  Where had they even come from?  I glanced around, but aside from the motes and the grinding from below, everything was still.

Okay, this seems like it might be a reaction from Somber to how so many people found Boo, who was supposed to be unsettling, cute instead. It's going pretty far to accomplish that with some things that are likely functionally pretty similar to blanks, where the inherent alarm has kind of been lost due to long exposure to Boo, to say nothing of her evolution to adorable sidekick.  That said, I think that (if the logistics worked) blanks could still have given a similar emotional effect here by acting differently than we remember them at Hippocratic.


If I ever saw that snaggle-toothed son of chaos again out of Boo’s body, I’d give him a kiss that’d make his antler… horn… – whatever! – pop right off.

Well then.


And lying there, blind, helpless, minutes turning to hours… silence taking me as the last of my power was expended... I couldn’t be faulted for dreaming, could I?

With her blind and immobile, it's hard not to think back to the Seahorse. Only this time, someone arrives to help before the monsters. Scotch, of course, doesn't exactly count since she wasn't in a position to do anything about them when they arrived.
And, of course, afterwards, even when surrounded by her friends, she did dream then before dying, didn't she?


“She’s such a glutton,” I murmured softly as my dark blue daughter drank her fill yet again.
   “Babies always are,” Mom replied, just as soft, then gave me a wry smile.  “You were no different.  If anything, you were worse.”

Two fat-Blackjack jokes already? It's my lucky day!


I gave a skeptical sniff, and she grinned at me.  “It’s true.  And you didn’t limit yourself to milk.  How you got your hooves on your father’s apple cider, I’ll never know.”

You know, if that had happened in the real world, it might explain a bit . . .


“This isn’t a normal dream, is it?  Normally, I don’t know I’m dreaming.”

So there must be something special going on.

She looked up at me with teal eyes and smiled a little before glancing back down.

And there we have, if not direct confirmation, a strong suggestion of Luna.


“You’re one of those mote souls, aren’t you?”  She hesitated a moment, then nodded. . . .  “Why are there so many of you in the Core?”

Of course, if she were really one of the mote souls, it seems unlikely it would really know why. It's not like a whole lot of ponies had any real experience with this sort of thing.


“Why does it draw you here?”  I knew how: the silver rings.  But what was the ultimate purpose behind them?
   “I don’t know.  Because it can, I suppose.  It doesn’t eat us.  Doesn’t need us.  And yet it craves us and keeps us trapped within this place,” she said quietly.  “Perhaps it delights in tormenting us.  Or maybe it thinks it’s protecting us from the Everafter.  It can’t get all of us.  I’m still waiting for my sister to join me… and horrified she will…”  She hung her head mournfully.

But of course not all souls of Equestria were taken there; if that were the case, then, for example, Rarity and Applejack wouldn't have been in the star-vision in 34. The question is whether Luna knows if Celestia has died or not, since it's possible she died later and elsewhere, somewhere that her soul would have escaped to the Everafter. Granted, I may be using "waiting" in to narrow a sense.


“I’m sending help to you, Blackjack.  Please, do what you have to.  Get out of here.  See to your babies.”
   “Who are you?” I murmured as tears ran down my eyes.
   “Someone who knows what it’s like to deserve to hurt,” she replied in a whisper, the light fading out around us.  She scooped up my filly in her other hoof.  “I’ll look after your babies till you return.”

As I said last night, I think that Luna seems a lot different here than when she talks to Blackjack in the Shadowlands. Here she is—or at least seems—humble, contrite, and helpful, even loving. So is she faking now, or perhaps indulging some softer inclinations separate from the ambition and pride that defined her reign (which, of course, seemed to have been forsaken in the end as the pink cloud overtook Canterlot)? Or was she lying in some sense in the Shadowlands, trying to give the least favorable impression of herself? Or, was there an interaction between Luna's soul and Cognitum's mind that changed the former—and perhaps the latter, if not yet so starkly—making it seem more like Luna had been when the copy was made, and Cognitum had been ever since?
Anyway, the dream was nice and sweet, especially compared to what had been happening before.


Somepony was putting something hard into my mouth.

*Giggle* *snort*
Okay, I shouldn't react that way when she was coming out of a state of unconsciousness, but given that this is a second read-through and I know what it isn't . . . Maybe I'll grow up someday. Though thinking about my dad, at least a couple of his brothers, and my mom's sisters, maybe not.

I pulled it in with my tongue, tasted the fiery flavor of a ruby, masticated, and swallowed.

And it even continued for the next clause! (With less rapey!)


The mottled, horrifying visage of an abomination pony met my eyes.  It only had one eye, a maroon orb on the left side of its face.  Only the fact that my E.F.S. was blue kept my magic bullets in check.

There really isn't much escaping the fact that Blackjack does a fair amount of judging by appearance, sometimes with bad results. Think of that hellhound, for instance.


All the while, I passed by more and more abomina… weird things.

Well, at least she's trying. And it's not like I can be sure I wouldn't do the same. Probably do worse than her, actually.


Plenty were ponies, but I spotted others that appeared to be griffins, or zebras, or even hellhounds.  They stood around, or wandered aimlessly.  Every now and then, one would misstep and tumble, coming apart like wet roadapples.  A mote of light escaped and wandered away.  The bloody goop would form spiders, or scorpions, or other skittering things that I occasionally had to splatter with Boomstick.  Once, I watched as a mote slipped into a puddle of bloody goo which then coalesced into a tiny weird griffin.

Yeah, that's a pretty cool effect. Weird to think that if they were instead alive, with regularly attached souls, they'd probably be instantly killed by Enervation, though. But sometimes weird things happen.


But I can’t help but think that, even if her mane’s a little short and she can be so terribly depressing at times, Blackjack does remind me of what a certain yellow pony would have been.  I mean, seriously, freeing me, no questions asked or deals demanded?  Telling me to do better?  She needs someone around to tell her to stop apologizing to the dragon trying to eat her.  And take her out drinking!  I like Drunkjack.

Since I've always been on the "Generosity" kick, a lot of the time I associate Blackjack more with Rarity, but it's true that in this case Fluttershy was more similar. If only I didn't dislike the episode so much. Also, I, too, like Drunkjack.


Boo rose to her hooves and launched herself at me.  “Bwackjack!”  I’m sure, a few months ago, I would have been adorably bowled over.  Instead, she clanged loudly against my armor plate and sank into a heap.  “Owww…” she whined, rubbing her head.
   “Sorry,” I said as I kissed Boo's boo-boo.  “You two okay?”

Aww . . .


“Nah.  Couldn’t be.  Personally, I think there’s something in the water.  Fluoridation.  Look it up.”
   “Fluoridation?” I muttered weakly, then shook my head hard.

Hey, you need to protect your Precious Bodily Fluids. And after all the essence stolen from him, it's no wonder Discord's nearly spent!
Man, it always gets me that that's a real thing, though.


Discord gaped at me.  “No real difference?  Why, Blackjack, there’s all the difference in the world!  It’s like saying there’s no difference between ‘Blackjack’ and ‘messiah archetype’ or ‘Twilight Sparkle’ and ‘Fussypants protagonist’.  The difference is as profound as ‘dearest friend’ and ‘pony you’ve a certain fondness for’ or ‘deadliest foe’ and ‘recurring antagonist’.”

This has pretty much been my favorite part of the fourth wall breaking coming from Discord, and given the way it stuck with me in the year or so since this came out, probably played a big part in my warming up to that aspect of the chapter.

She pointed a hoof at me.  “When you think of something in such a way, you define it.  Contextualize it.  You make it matter.  If the Eater is just a piece of technological equipment run amok, then really everything you’ve gone through is a technical glitch.  But if the Eater is a fallen star, a god maimed and dead, seeking to be reborn, then everything you are, everything you’ve done, is a struggle for the very survival of the world!  What stakes could be higher?” Discord declared grandly, hooves raised to the roof.  Then she sat and gave a little wave of her hoof.  “But, eh… no real difference.  Like, whatever.”

So, I have to disagree here: even if the Eater is just a machine, and it's all a technical glitch, she's still been in a life-or-death struggle to save the world. (And there'd still be Cognitum and the Legate, though of course he wouldn't necessarily have quite the same relationship with the stars.) However, it would take away the good-vs.-evil aspect from her work against the Eater in particular.


Still, it’d done the trick of snapping me out of my navel-gazing, and I looked at the door.

You know, I bet navel-gazing is a lot harder for ponies. I guess it'd be easy enough as long as they were lying down, though.


“Well, that’s hardly what I was thinking,” Discord replied, indignantly.  “I was thinking that marmalade would go wonderfully on pizza.”
   I laughed quietly.  “That does sound good, actually.  We should have that when we get done down here.

I wonder if Discord would like Glory's cooking. For that matter, can Glory eat her own cooking, even when it's not for cyberponies?


“Just don't do anything I would do, Discord.  I don’t want to lose any more friends.”
   “Of course,” she said, a little bit dejectedly.  “I know how much you ponies hate to lose your friends...”  She waved a hoof dismissively.  “Well, fear not, Boo will come to no harm with me.”
   “I mean you too, you know,” I added, tapping her chest.  “You stay safe as well.”
   She stared at me a moment.  “You really mean that, Blackjack?”
   “Of course.  You’re definitely a ten on my weirdness scale, but… well…  You've got a hell of a bad reputation if even half of those old stories are to be believed.  You’ve suffered more than enough for everything you’re supposed to have done.  Everything I’ve seen you do has been good, if odd, and what you’ve told me, even if I don’t agree with all of it, makes it seem like you want to keep that up.  I hope that that’s one thing that won’t change, at least.  So, yeah… you’re my friend,” I said with a little shrug and smile.
   Suddenly, I found myself hugged by the yellow-and-red-eyed, snaggletoothed mare.  “You’re a bit less cushy than Fluttershy, but you’ll do,” she said with a smile.  “Just don’t forget to write when this is all over.  I simply won’t stand for a Sparkle not writing me.  It’s terribly rude.”

Wow . . . It's as though some effort was actually put into making him a friend, and there was a basis for it in the characters (ex-Fluttershy), and rather than following an almost unending stream of ill-will and red flags (plus some treason and barely avoided negligent-ish homicide) from Discord, he was making an effort to be a friend too. So, the opposite of Discord's arc in Season Four. Good job!


I paused, then frowned and glanced at my PipBuck.  EC-1101 had been made to access Equestrian systems… did robots count?
   “Dealer?” I whispered as loudly as I dared.  I glanced around, making sure the Ultra-Sentinels were out of earshot.  “Echo, are you there?”
   A flicker in my vision and he appeared.  Once, he’d looked like death.  Now, he appeared like a ghost, translucent, pale, and suffering.  The pained expression he wore made me want to hug him.  “Yes, Blackjack?” he whispered.
   My reason for calling him fell back, and I was barely able to resist the urge to ask him if he was okay.  Of course he wasn’t.  He was a mind and soul trapped in a PipBuck, slowly dying.  “Can I help you?”
   For a moment he appeared confused, and then, if anything, his sickly features turned even worse.  “No, Blackjack.  I’m sorry.  You can’t.”  He turned away from me, then asked softly, “What do you need, Blackjack?”
   I wanted to press him a moment, but couldn’t.  Not as he was now.  “These Ultra-Sentinels.  Can you use EC-1101 to keep them from blasting me?”
   He didn’t answer for a moment, then said, so quietly that I almost missed it, “Don’t worry about the robots.  Just do what you have to do.”
   I stared extra hard at the E.F.S. bar of the nearest robot.  Blue.  Huh.  “That was easy,” I murmured, glancing back.  Then I froze as I saw the translucent tears on his cheeks as he stared at me in desolation, then faded away completely.
   “Sorry,” he breathed in my ear.  “I’m so sorry, Blackjack.”
   “You did your best.  Big Macintosh would be proud.  Thank you, Echo,” I said, but to no response.  “Echo?”  Nothing.  “Echo?” I said a little louder.  Still nothing.  I sighed and rose slowly.  “You did so much for me.  If there was some way I could help, I would.  I’m sorry,”


I think that this whole section was good from both sides of the conversation. But the part right at the end especially so. It's building on some earlier conversation where he'd been giving mixed signals, plus the memory of his being bonded to EC-1101. It's not coming out of the blue, but especially with how he's never been entirely straightforward, you can see how Blackjack was missing the signs of his betrayal; for instance, the "sorry" could just be that he'll be gone and won't be able to help her after this. And of course from his side I do really feel like there's some regret there, but it's overcome by his fear of death and oblivion, without even an afterlife. It's not the stronger "sorry" of actually, on balance, not wanting to sell her out. Then Blackjack's response, in addition to being quintessentially her, is like a knife through the heart, for the thanks; the reminder of the stronger, more loyal pony he had looked up to and what he would think of this; and for how the person he's sending into a trap cares so much about him, and does want to help. That's got to pile on the shame pretty heavily.


“You could have given up EC-1101 at any time.  Returned it to ponies more deserving.  Who could use it to resurrect Equestria properly.  Your suffering was every bit a product of your own stubbornness and pride, Blackjack.  Even you coming here, now, like this… it’s all about you.”

There is some truth to that, but it's far from the whole story. I think there's some projection going on there, and even granting the "it's all about you" point, there's the fact that the mode is different with Blackjack than Cognitum: Blackjack doesn't see EC-1101 as an easy, catch-all answer to all the problems of the Wasteland, but has instead used it with a bit more humility. She's kind of like the Frodo to Cognitum's Saruman or Boromir, maybe even Sauron.


Upon it sat a delicate tea set, a bottle of Wild Pegasus, and a box of Apple Sugar Bombs.

Okay, this suggests either that Rampage hasn't told her Blackjack is pregnant or she doesn't particularly care at this point. Or, I guess, it was already there and she didn't think to remove it.


“Such a pity.  Had [Sanguine] been a little less ruthless and a little more loyal, he’d have his family now.”

Based on their reaction to him and the complications of prolonged stasis, I'm not too sure of that. But there'd have been a chance.


“Like Dawn?” I asked, with a scowl.  I had no way to force the answer out of her.
   Cognitum sighed again, smiling and bowing her head as she gave the smallest shake of her head.  “Ah, Dawn.  Poor, poor, Dawn.  So ardent to save the Wasteland.  So determined to bring about a better future.  So incapable of either.”

I was thinking for a moment how funny it'd be if she'd tried to hold back a laugh and choked a bit on her tea.

The crane hummed overhead, and a new pod was set down beside the table.  Within was the prone form of a yellow, emaciated earth pony who was barely breathing.

And we have Echo.


“I’m sure you’ve noticed that these jars function the same as the stasis pods.  Quite useful technology.  It can keep a body preserved… forever.”
   “That’s sick,” I muttered again.
   “What an odd notion you have, Blackjack,” Cognitum replied in turn.  “They all would have died long ago if I hadn’t kept them.”

Is it more of a villain thing to believe that the worst that can happen is death?


“That day, when Horse was showing off his latest innovation, a would-be Crusader Maneframe competitor fitted with equipment for uploading ponies’ minds, the cap happened to land on the head of one mare who attended the meeting in disguise.”  I watched as the cap fell upon Eclipse’s head as Horse failed to snag Goldenblood.  “He’d hoped to raid Goldenblood of his secrets.  Instead, he chanced upon something far more rare and precious.  Princess Luna.  Me.”
   “No way,” I muttered.  “If anything, you’re Horse in there.”

Oh, the downsides of being a protagonist who's less perceptive than the readership. I had forgotten that she hadn't put that together.


“Ah, Horse!” she said gaily, a broad smile on her face.  The crane whirled and deposited another jar.  In it was what appeared to be a skinned pony.  Bare, sightless, emasculated.

Aaaaand we can increment our gelding counter.


“Say hello, Director!” Cognitum said grandly, gesturing to me.  The pony just twitched a little inside the container.  “He lost most of his admittedly brilliant mind long ago.  I just keep him around to remember those that tried to control me.”
   “You did that to him?” I asked, horrified.
   “Enervation did.  A few seconds’ worth, before he jumped into the stasis pod,” she said, patting the jar.  “Though, in retrospect, I suspect he wished he’d melted.  He believed I’d take care of him, like I always had.  He liked pushing my buttons,” she said, as she turned away from the jar.  “Potentially, he might be soulless, too.  It’s always hard to tell once the mind goes.”
   “You’re evil,” I muttered.
   She seemed shocked, then angered.  “Dawn has killed dozens.  Horse was responsible for the deaths of hundreds.  You’ve killed thousands.  You’ve killed foals, Blackjack.  Helpless foals.  You’ve killed indiscriminately.  Your hooves are far bloodier than mine.  So let’s not throw about that ‘E’ word so casually, thank you very much.”

Evil and severely lacking in self awareness. A winning combination.

It wasn’t the same.  I, at least, tried to kill less if I could.  “It’s one thing to kill.  There’s worse things than killing.”

Oh hey. Thanks for backing me up there.


Okay.  If she wasn’t at least partly Luna, she’d done some damned in depth study for the part.  Still, this mare didn’t sound like Luna to me.  Everything she said was perfectly reasonable and logical.  I knew what it was like to be torn by desire and fear.  I knew what it was like to want something, even if it drew you to make mistakes.  But still, this mare sounded… petty.  Paranoid.  Vicious, even.  Nothing I associated with that mare I’d seen in memory.  Maybe the war had changed her more than anypony knew, but I still couldn’t believe that this machine before me was the real Princess Luna.

And it notably doesn't sound like the Luna she talked to earlier in the chapter, and not, I think, quite like the Luna Goldenblood confronted in Canterlot as it fell.


“I have a shell.  A peripheral.  One with limited range, which can be intercepted, blocked, or even subverted.  No one will respect a machine, even if I am the legitimate ruler of this land.  I need a body that is powerful.  Resilient.  Augmented,”

Umm . . . Cogs, were you paying attention to what you said? Because the augmentations can be blocked and subverted in many of the same ways as a robot body.


Cognitum: I’m not a monster.

"Despite everything you've seen to the contrary in, for example, the last five minutes."


You want to be free from the burden of responsibility, and I know you don’t love that augmentation.  You resent it.  Loathe it.”  She spoke as if I were the crazy one now.  “I can return you to a body of flesh and blood.  One with nerve endings.  Fully functional legs.  Eyes.  A stomach.  You could be a normal pony again,

She actually managed to say something intelligent and (maybe at least a little bit) perceptive. Good job, Cognitum! Have a cookie!


“I don’t think you’re fit to rule a… a lemonade stand, much less Equestria,” I countered.  Lemonade stand?  Really?  “Much less with my body.”
   “No?” Cognitum countered.  “Consider the Harbingers.  I’ve brought unity to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of individuals.

"The fact that I don't know how many, even to the point of being confident of the number of powers of ten are involved, is just more evidence that I'm fit to rule."


With my intellect, my knowledge, and EC-1101 granting me full and direct access, I could tame the Hoof in a month.

Is the "intellect" thing a product of her being a computer? Because I have some trouble seeing Luna saying that.


“You introduced me to a very interesting pony.”
   The jar descended, and within was… it reminded me of the glowing skeletal ponies I’d seen walking around the Hoofington Megaspell complex.  The unicorn skeleton was incomplete, an intact skull, mostly intact torso, floating vertebrae, and broken off limbs all connected by faintly glowing gas like the soul motes.  Swirls of the mist filled the eye sockets like stars.  “Hello, Blackjack,” the skeleton said quietly, his eyeglow brightening as he saw me.  “Did you get Snails out?”

And now we have Snips back. That was unexpected, but given her offer to move Blackjack's soul, it was either that or getting Snails from Team Imaginary Friends, or maybe some zebra from the Remnant, or one of the Starkatteri. And I doubt the Remnant would be real up to helping her. Probably not a Starkatteri, either, other than Amadi himself.


“By accessing an archive of information related directly to the O.I.A., collected over decades of hard work by one King Awesome,” Cognitum replied with a smirk as Snips was lifted up into the air.

"archive of information" my ass.


“He had amassed a collection of memories that Goldenblood himself had removed prior to his arrest.  They’d been scattered all across Equestria, and some further, but they remained, and Awesome had made it his hobby to collect them.”
   Ha, I’d caught her!  “Well, that’s interesting, because Charm happened to smash them all to pieces when I didn’t name her to rule the Society,” I snapped with my own smug smirk.
   But Cognitum was completely unflapped by my accusation.  “Yes, she did,” Cognitum said as the crane returned with the fifth jar.  “But she’d viewed them first.”  The jar dropped from the ceiling.  Within floated a much smaller unicorn.  Cables ran from the top of the jar down to her shaved scalp, where cybernetic plugs had been drilled in.  “I simply accessed them directly.”
   “Charm!” I gasped, looking at the emaciated filly.  A moonstone pendant hung around her neck.  I raised the missile launcher at the computer.  “Let her go!  Now!” I ordered.

Yeah, maybe Charm is just too old, but the lack of concern for children seems in conflict with the Luna of this chapter's dream, as well as Cogs after taking Blackjack's body (and, possibly, getting Luna's soul—need to confirm the order on that).

“Release a pony that came to me asking for your head?” Cognitum asked in amusement.  The hologram flashed to life in the air, forming into a giant glowing image of the filly.

Bro, do you even Blackjack?

“I want her dead!  No, wait, not dead.  I want her alive.  Like, take her legs off.  And make sure some Harbingers fuck her up her tail.  Like, ten times.  At least!” the filly said with a cruel grin.  “Maybe you can set her up on a stand somewhere and we can get a whole row of stallions to fuck her over and over.  Like, the whole Hoof.”

Charm is, as ever, charming.
avatar
Icy Shake
Alicorn

Posts : 1206
Brohoof! : 308
Join date : 2012-06-05
Age : 28
Location : Boston, MA

Back to top Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Tue Feb 10, 2015 2:20 am

Chapter Sixty Five Running Thoughts, Cont'd:
“We can bring peace to the Wasteland, unity to all the races that inhabit it, safety and security to all that crave it!” Cognitum pleaded as she stepped before me.  “I know you don’t approve of my methods, and I don’t expect you to, but I know you desire the same ends I do.  Work with me, and you can help return the world to its glorious state!”

"With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict, and bring order to the galaxy. . . . Join me, and together, we can rule the galaxy as father and son! Come with me. It is the only way."
. . . Well, the other big part of that conversation was in 73. Though in this case, it's much more just the tone, and it's really a fairly common trope. But what can I say? There are reasons Empire was the best of the three, and I like thinking about the movie.
. . . "No, I am your princess." :D


Floating serenely within the jar was a white unicorn with a red and black mane.  Her half-open eyes were a brilliant, beautiful red.  She didn’t have her cutie mark, but I could easily imagine them on her flank: a queen and ace of spades.  I popped my hand open and touched the glass.

And that is an offer. For all the things Cogsey got wrong, she at least got that right.


[Rampage] rolled her eyes.  “Yes.  I’ll be dead.  Honestly, I sell you out and you’re still hung up on that?

Well, given that the first principle of Blackjack is "Security Saves Ponies (All Ponies)", yes.

What do I have to do to get it through your head that I’m a nopony.  A fake.  A glommed-together amalgam of souls.  Have you found one memory, any memory, that’s of me and me alone?”

Rampage, let's remember that she's always believed Boo was a real pony. And I'm sure even you'd agree that Blackjack would die trying to save Boo, right? Why would Blackjack think you're less real than her?


“You’ve always been about giving ponies a chance,” Cognitum said quietly.  She had a point, but still.  The consequences of them being allowed to fuck up were greater than my worst nightmare.

Oh hey, that's one of my big problems with bringing Discord back (especially after rather than before his escape in Season Two), and only compounded by Celestia fucking off to Saddle Arabia! And Fluttershy's preemptive unilateral disarmament, even after seeing that he was doing things she shouldn't have been!

I turned and looked back at Cognitum.  “How about we turn it around?” I asked.  “Why don’t you trust me?  Tell me everything you know about Horizons and how to stop it.  I do.  You help settle things down in the Hoof and then... then... I give you EC-1101.  What do you say?  What’s another year or two?”

That's . . . actually a really good counter-offer. Good thinking, Blackjack.


“And what of you?” Cognitum asked as she stared at me, still calm.  Huh?  My bafflement made me hesitate a moment.  What was she talking about?  “Do you agree with her decision?” she said as she gazed into my eyes.  Who was she talking to?  I was about to ask, but before I could, she went on just as cryptically, “She might be able to destroy me.  The system has lots of volatile coolants and the like.  I doubt, however, that what you want would survive my destruction.”  She raised her head slightly, as if gauging my reaction.  “I am ready to honor my deal.”
   “Who are you talking–” I started, and then my eyes widened.  “Dealer?”
   “I’m sorry, Blackjack,” Dealer whispered miserably in my ears, “but I don’t want to die.”
   Suddenly, words flashed across my vision: Command Override: Cut Strings.

Well, it's not like only one of Blackjack's friends can betray her, right?


“Cogs... you can do a surrogacy spell, can’t you?” Rampage asked quickly.

That answers the bit about the Wild Pegasus.


“I likewise doubt a mare with Blackjack’s augmentations could carry a foal past the second trimester.  The reinforcements would crush the infant.  I’m very sorry.  But if I can find a suitable mare, rest assured that I will transfer the fetus immediately, Rampage.”

This is again making me think that Cognitum went through a meaningful change either in the body transfer or with the addition of Luna's soul.


The mare floated there in a jar, looking at a black cyberpony, a frozen unicorn robot, and a striped mare struggling against the hooves of a pony in glittery silver power armor.  Dimly, she was aware of something terrible having happened, but she didn’t care.  She simply bobbed in the jar, hearing the black cyberpony talking to the striped mare about what was best for Blackjack, Rampage, and the world.

Okay, so it sounds like this is post–mind transfer to the blank body, but before the soul is added. That or the blank body managed to learn to recognize and understand speech.


Next, the black cyberpony took out a thick pink plastic ring.  ‘Ministry of Morale Unicorn Filly Timeout Device’ was written on it, along with a smiling pink mare.  It snugged tightly around the base of the floating mare’s horn.

Okay, no magic for Blackjack. On a more prurient note, I wonder if Glory would have liked to have one of those back before Thunderhead.


From the midst of the disk came a small white orb.  The jagged black spiral caught the orb, which jerked as if caught in a powerful wind.  The orb was blown over to the floating mare and pushed against her chest, and a warm sensation flowed through her.
~    ~    ~
   And I started crying as a switch inside me was flipped and I was Blackjack again

And the soul's transferred, and with it, we move from "the mare" to "I."


I felt my chest expand and collapse with every breath.  My heart thundered.  Tears ran down my cheeks from whole and complete eyes.  I was me.  Me as I should have been... if my life had been different.  I hugged my body, feeling the faintest discomforts in me, aware of every gurgle of my gut, every twinge of my nerves.
   It was wonderful, and terrible, because the one thing I didn’t feel was the flutter of life within.  If it hadn’t been for that, I might have even been grateful..

Bittersweet, getting what she'd wanted so badly, and what had been a wedge between her and Glory, for so long, yet losing what she cared so much about. And losing, generally, on top of that: EC-1101, Cogs, etc.


“Thank you for delivering it, and this fine new body, to me.”
   “I didn’t have a choice in the matter,” I replied sourly.
   “Of course you did.  Echo said so dozens of times, though I’d have been quite put out with him if you’d actually listened.  His guilt very nearly ruined everything,”

Ugh, not the "radical freedom" bit. Maybe it's fine when confined to philosophy, but here you're just being obtuse and pedantic by refusing to acknowledge the actual content of what Blackjack was saying, easily gleaned from context.


“True, I didn’t expect this body to have a passenger, but I suspect that that will encourage your good behavior.”

Okay, maybe getting closer, but still not really defensive like she got later.


“You used me,” I said, ashamed and disgusted that I never questioned the routing taking me straight to my enemy.
   “You like being used.

In fairness, that is kind of true. She just prefers being aware of it, and helping willingly. So not really "being used," at least with the connotations present here, at all.

If I had time, I’d have sex with you and really make you love hating yourself,”

. . . Yes, R34 of that does exist.


Oh, right, the password thing. I really should remember "the name he likes so much."


“Purge?  What fool purges a super critical megaspell program after three failed password attempts?” Cognitum asked incredulously.

Okay, I'll admit that's extreme, but come on, you really don't want to allow that to get into the wrong hooves.


“I’d have to clone the program and then devote all my processing power to brute-force crack it.  The encryption protocol it's using is incredibly complex but entirely unique.  It's not any revision of the Advanced Encryptomagic Standard, Sparklefish, or even the Applejack Cipher!"

Ah yes, now I remember, at least who put the password in: Duct Tape. And the "he" is P-21. Still don't remember the name, though.


Cognitum sighed.  “Because I’ve felt her soul, Steel.”  She turned and looked at me, frowning thoughtfully.  “You cannot imagine what that was like, Steel Rain.  The guilt.  The pain.  The self-recrimination and self-destructive urge.  It hurt to be her.”

Well, you deserve it. And hey, you got to at least get a taste of what it's like to be a better mare than you are ever likely to be.


“When I transferred your mind and put myself in your body, I inadvertently made contact with your soul as well.  Your purest Blackjackness.  I don’t know how you survive so.  The drive for redemption is so strong that it burns.  Your craving for physical pleasures to distract you from your own depression would be heartbreaking if we weren’t so at odds.  Your devotion to your friends... your need to save others... your...”  She shivered and hugged herself.  “It’s far easier to have no soul than yours.  To have a clarity of thought and drive...”

Well, let's get something straight: she has at various points needed direct help surviving being her, insofar as not killing herself or going full Reaper is concerned.
Concerning the bolded section: I guess 73 wasn't (maybe, if this counts) the first time that sex as a reset button was brought up, but this one was (if it counts) considerably more oblique. And I suppose, given it was a year ago, it's not too surprising if maybe some readers forgot the point, or never picked up on it from her actions.

“You should interrogate her, still.  Tug off that pendant and see how she likes having her soul torn out,” Steel Rain replied, then paused and continued, in a lower tone, “Or... you have her baby...”
There was a resounding clang as Cognitum popped her hands out, grabbed Steel Rain, and threw the silver-armored stallion to the ground.  With cold contempt, she said softly, “Never, ever, suggest such a thing again.”

Okay, my instinct was incorrect: this may be coming from being in Blackjack's body or having touched her soul, but the intensity of feeling regarding the baby did not come from Luna.


And as she talked, the hologram changed to show a video of the Core vanishing in an expanding sphere of white energy.  I watched Chapel incinerated instantly, followed a few seconds later by the Collegiate, the Arena, Elysium, and the Fluttershy Medical Center.  I suspected she was taking a few artistic liberties with the ponies screaming and running around aflame.

And here it's established that she can show detailed things, including the present-day Hoof, that weren't recorded.


“Don’t be ridiculous.  The only moonstone on Equus was brought back during the Marigold scandal.  No.  The moonstone he plans on using is there, on the moon.”  The hologram changed to that of an immense white crystal resting at the bottom of a rifled shaft.  “Goldenblood commandeered Horse’s mechasprites and sent them to the moon on a clandestine rocket to build a facility and to collect and fuse moonstone into a projectile massing several hundred thousand tonnes.  With a few more secret launches of Flux to fire it...”

And, finally, Project Horizons is revealed. That plus the talk of the starmetal-moonstone reaction . . . it's justified. Does't get much bigger than that.


The hologram changed to that of an immense white crystal resting at the bottom of a rifled shaft.  . . .
I saw, in the image, the bottom of the shaft below the projectile explode.  The stream of energy flung the massive moonstone crystal upward, accelerating it to a greater and greater speed until it exploded out into space.

Ah, but did the hologram include the details of the barrel, and what was above? Given the purpose of everything, I'd guess not.


Six enormous stone pillars reinforced with unbreakable starmetal scaffolds kept the whole thing from collapsing, even as bits of the ceiling occasionally tumbled down around us.  And there, in the center, was what could only be one thing:
   The Tokomare.
A pair of massive, corkscrew-like concentric starmetal spires rose from the immense underground lake that filled the bottom of the cavern, the inner coil climbing clockwise and the outer counterclockwise; in the center was a column of what I could only describe as brilliant white glow.  The whole looked to be at least a mile in diameter.  A veritable storm cloud of mechasprites whirled and curled around them, their tiny bodies resonating with Enervation’s note.  As we drew closer, I saw that the helixes’ silver surfaces were pitted and scarred, with holes large enough to fly Raptors into seemingly burned through here and there.  I watched in shock as a humming swarm tore a hundred-foot-long strand of metal from the surface of one of the helixes and whisked it up towards the ceiling.

That is some good scenery.


The insides of the coils were feathered with great vanes like the blades of a turbine.  Immense blobs of reddish flesh crept on the metal, lurching their way mindlessly along and changing seemingly at random from shapeless masses to tentacled horrors to chitinous creatures.  “What is that stuff?” I asked as we passed one quivering, humming lump.

And the S.P. continues. Not that I'm complaining. However . . .

like the blades of a turbine. . . . we passed one quivering, humming lump.

Sneaky. Or, just maybe, not even intended. But given what you said about the original version of 73 ("It was in the original version, actually.  :)"), I'm not so sure. I missed that one until I copied the thing into the notes for the scenery porn in general. (Went back and added the stuff after "creatures," though.) Of course, in this case, Scotch isn't here, and that makes all the difference, since she wasn't on the mind to begin with.


“With EC-1101, I will be able to prevent this.  Moreover, I will be capable of enacting the restoration of the Core in its entirety.”  
. . .
“When starmetal and moonstone are brought into close proximity but prevented from reacting by highly specialized magical fields, something wondrous happens.”  And I already knew what that ‘wondrous’ thing was.

Yeah, the "NOPE!" is getting stronger, but at least in Cogs's defense, she thinks it's just a machine.


“Tom – that’s what the moonstone projectile is named, for some reason – will fuel a complete restoration of the Core.

It was a good reference. And it's not like Goldenblood wouldn't be aware of it, so why not?


“You want Horizons to go off,” I said, still not quite believing it.  “Why so obsessed with EC-1101, then?”
   “Trottenheimer’s firing trajectory is unaccommodating for interception,” she replied calmly.  The display of the Core appeared, along with a cone rising up from the center.  “Tom must descend within ten degrees of the Core’s vertical axis for the modified F.A.D.E. shields to catch it.”

And there's the rub.


“You’re not Luna,” I retorted.  “You might be parts of her mind, but you’re a... a thing!  A copy.  You’ve got no soul!  You’re more Nightmare Moon than... than...”  Oh shit...  I watched her scowl, but my mind was working a mile a minute.  If Luna... Princess Luna... had actually been Nightmare Moon, the implications staggered me.  The war with the zebras.  The death.  The bombs.  Even this!  Worse, it meant that my choice was to either do nothing, and possibly kill my friends and my baby, or help Equestria’s greatest monster.
   Tough call...

Well, striking a nerve is a good thing. But yeah, never been good in hostage situations, have you?

“No soul?” she said coldly, tossing her mane as we passed through the inner coil.  Beyond was that immense white glow.  “Blackjack, I control far more souls than you could ever imagine.”

Cognitum, sit down a minute. Now, I'm going to make one simple request, which I hope you'll be able to comply with. Here goes: could you please stop being deliberately obtuse and misinterpreting what Blackjack says, or deflecting it to a different line of conversation? It's not like it's getting you anywhere, and if anything probably makes her less inclined to work with you. It's also annoying for me, the reader. Thank you.


“Why is touching my ‘purest Blackjackness’ so intolerable?” I asked sourly from inside my jar.  “I know I’m not the best pony, but–”
   That prompted a laugh from my old body.  “Oh dear.  And I know you mean that too.”  She sighed, shaking her head.

Still love this pair of lines.


You are damaged, Blackjack, beyond my ability to deal with.  Just taking your body filled me with such feeling of guilt that I could hardly stand it.

Yeah, and, to be entirely honest, probably more than Blackjack really should have felt. But just because she's more than a messiah archetype doesn't mean she isn't that, too.


Six unicorns, one standing at each point, were trying to keep a ball of brilliant white contained in the middle.  Green lightning from their horns raked across it, forcing it back whenever it drifted.  The black robes they wore were a little much.

Ah, the real deal. And, it would appear, maybe the EOS wasn't exactly the one who was tormenting the soul now revealed to have been Luna back when Blackjack died the second time, after Hightower.


“It’s highly agitated, sir,” one of the unicorns reported to Steel Rain, a moonstone pendant dangling on his chest.  “I don’t know how long we can keep it contained like this.”

Or, I guess it was the EOS, and now the containment is just tighter.


“It’s time for you to be rewarded for your loyalty and devotion, Echo.”  She stuck out her hoof.  “Snips, please transfer him back.”
   Snips hesitated a moment, but then his bony horn began to glow, summoning the dark magic.  “Stop.  Why are you helping her, Snips?” I pled.
   “Magic is all I have left, Blackjack.  And if I don’t help her, she’ll go after Snails,” he said in that soul whisper.

Not a great situation for anyone. But it's hard to blame him too much, especially in context; he at least has more he's working for than Echo.


“There.  You’re safe now, Echo.  You’re safe,” she said as she patted his mane, then suddenly took several steps away from him.  “I mean... I have fulfilled my part of our agreement, Echo.”

Hmm. Sounds like she wasn't expecting the first reaction. Again, could be due to the contact with Blackjack's soul and/or body.


Cognitum sighed.  “Blackjack, I have been civil.  I have been patient.  I have tried to reason with you, and I have tried to demonstrate to you that I am the proper ruler of Equestria.”

You've tried, but failed so goddamn miserably. Either you weren't trying very hard, or your perspective is so warped and your incapacity for self-reflection so total that you can't even see how you've constantly sabotaged that effort. And in the latter case, that's yet more evidence you're unfit to take that position.

“Well, so far you’re doing a pretty shitty job,” I said evenly, as if giving a report in school but without the annoyance of actually being in class.  “You’ve demonstrated neither ethics nor morals in your behavior.  You think that you are Princess Luna and that that entitles you to whatever you desire.  You believe that your ends justify your means, and you’ve committed gross violations against both me and others.  You show no remorse for any of this.  Even if you are Princess Luna, which I seriously doubt, that in no way mitigates the cruelties you have visited on others.  So no, I won’t help you.

I see the decision is unanimous.


She stood, frozen, for almost a minute.  “You’d let the world die to spite me?” she asked in disappointed tones only a mother could use.
“I’m not letting the world die.  You underestimate my friends.  Glory and P-21 will learn what has happened to me.  They will contact others.  LittlePip.  Homage.  Calamity.  Grace.  Others that respect the cause I work towards.  They will find a way to stop Horizons, with or without EC-1101.  Then they will end you,” I answered, the truth so clear and simple to me that even here, like this, I felt a great sense of peace.  “It’s not about you, Cognitum.”

Okay. Blackjack's message about her friends and allies? Spot on, and not just a great reflection of her and her ideals and what she's learned, but the ideas behind FiM as well. The last line? A perfect use of something built up for so much of the story, and well targeted at the immense entitlement and self-regard of Cognitum. And the fact that the lead-up in the paragraph to that line is an active demonstration of Blackjack illustrating how "it's not all about me," even after all she's done and with the fact that she's the only one on the scene, is brilliant.
It's like the climax to the Season Four finale, but with, I think, better justification and somehow both less cynicism and less naive, blind faith that things will work out (long enough for the plot device to reward Twilight for becoming friends with Discord).
Now, of course, I have a feeling that she's going to cave, like she does in almost every hostage situation, but it was nice while it lasted.


“What are you doing?” I asked as I hovered in the jar.
   “Discovering how many you will let die before telling me what you know,” she said calmly.  “You will not keep me from my realm, Blackjack.  But you’ve let hundreds die in the past... what’s a few hundred more?”  A targeting reticle appeared on the holographic image, pointing right at the village.  “Excuse me a moment.  I have to focus on this.  Even with a direct connection, you can’t comprehend the interference I have to push through.”

Yeah. Though, of course, note that it could be faked, based on the stuff from the impact simulation. Though, of course, at least this one isn't: we get confirmation later. But more on point: way to go about demonstrating just how much you'd make a good leader, Cogs.


Cognitum answered.  “You have the power to make this stop, Blackjack.  Not I.  I have little else to lose.”

Holy shit, and after you made the point earlier about Blackjack having choices about coming to you? You can't even be consistent in your shitty philosophy? Wait—got that wrong: I think we're not dealing with shitty philosophy, but perhaps mid-grade sophistry.


Rover stood beside a pony stall bedecked with prewar clothes, sniffing at the air, with the young female Fifi at his side.

Now, if there's one thing we know about diamond dogs, and thus sand dogs, it's that they can dig in the blink of an eye. So these guys have a decent shot if they start early. Less so the ponies there.


I curled there, eyes clenched shut, trying to remember that if Cognitum got full control of EC-1101, she’d have powers infinitely worse.  That was small comfort to the picture I had of incinerated friends.

That's an interesting point: one of the things Blackjack has regained is the ability to close her eyes.


“Stop,” I croaked.  “I’ll tell you.  Please.  Stop.”

It had to happen eventually.


“However, I have faith in you, Blackjack.  I know you can do it.  I’m willing to bet the lives of everypony in Chapel that I’m right.”

Remember that thing Rarity said about it not being a gift if it doesn't really come from you? Yeah, this kind of rhymes with that.


I anticipated some military-grade scrubbing software, a zebra chaos daemon program, or at least a Stable-Tec Chimera worm.

Heh.


I thought about it.  What did P-21 want the most, that could also be a name?  Family?  No.  Not a name... and besides, back then, he hadn’t wanted it.  What he’d wanted most was to escape.  Could that be it?  No.  Not just escape.  That wasn’t enough for P-21.  Freedom.  He’d wanted freedom.  But was it a name?  Ehhh… maybe?  I swallowed again, my heartbeat thumping in my chest.  He’d wanted to leave... but he’d also been willing to return with me.  He’d wanted to put it right.  Wanted...  wanted...
“Justice,” I muttered.  “He wanted justice.”  And was it a name?  Perhaps.  Maybe.  As much as most pony names.  It just felt... right.  I had a good feeling about it.  “Try ‘Justice’.”

Yeah, that thing about "as much as most pony names" is carrying a lot of weight. Then again, I bet that it's been used by people as a given name, too, like "Felicity" or "Wisdom." And I know it's a surname.


“I knew you could do it,” Cognitum purred.  “It’s your special talent.”
   “My what?” I asked with a frown.
   “Victory.  Your talent is winning,” Cognitum said as she looked at my flanks almost hungrily.  “Poor Deus.  Sanguine.  Even you, Steel Rain.  You were facing a mare whose very talent is overcoming adversity, no matter its form.”
   “My talent is victory?  Do you have any idea how many times I’ve been shot up?  How many times I’ve died?” I demanded, then blinked.  “I mean, sure, I got better, but I haven’t had it remotely easy.”
   “Victory isn’t easy.  It has a cost.  Always.  But you are always able to pay that cost.  Perhaps you don’t like it.  Perhaps you even hate it.  But victory is branded on your flanks for all to see.  A winning pair, impossible to beat in the game of Blackjack.”  She smiled as if she’d just hit the jackpot herself.

Again, I'm not buying it. First of all, I trust Somber too much for that to be the real answer, and if it is, then after it's taken from her it leaves us with a really unusual end to the plot structure, since Cognitum would end up victorious, if perhaps at some great cost. Beyond that, Cognitum's been wrong about almost everything else, so why stop now?


“Save your breath, my dear Blackjack.  When Snips died, his poor soul went all to pieces.  What remains is not a good pony at all.”

Well, not hard to see why, then. Of course, gotta bear in mind that where souls are concerned, it seems like different conditions result in wildly different outcomes.


I felt something moving through me, searching for something integral to myself.  Not my soul, precisely, but linked to it.  I could feel it on a fundamental level, like my baby moving within me in my old body.  The dark violation found that something, and I felt a tear inside.  Instinctively, I glanced down at my flank and saw the twin cards fade from view.
   “Finally,” she said like a mare in afterglow.  “Victory.  Oh yes.  I feel it.  With none of the little niggling taints of guilt.  Wonderful.”

And that is fucked the hell up.


“Oh, poor, poor, wretched Dawn,” Cognitum breathed.  “What suffering we endure for ambition,” she said as she regarded the mare straining on the length of starmetal.
   “Kill her, already.  Your habit of keeping these trophies is going to get you in trouble,” Steel Rain admonished.

Oh hey, he's talking sense.


Cognitum whirled as a male laugh echoed softly in the cavernous space.  “Who’s there?” she demanded of the air.
   “You’re doing it wrong,” the voice said.  “I have to start it off like this: ‘knock knock’.”
   She frowned around at the air.  “Knock knock?”
   “Oh, honestly.  Who’s the joke here?” he said in annoyance, and then there was another flash.

This is some nicely rendered Discord (and it keeps going after that!), and a good entrance.


“Hmmm... clearly Dadaist in the melange of cobbled together elements.  Really, it looks almost as if it were thrown together utterly at random.  A selection of Jungian shadows mixed with soaring inferiority complexes pasted together with narcissistic delusions of grandeur in a purloined body.  Really.  I don’t think I could do better if I tried.  And believe you me, that’s saying something.”

That . . . actually is entirely correct and makes sense each step of the way, even though it sounds like a mess of psycho-gibberish. ("Dadaist" might be a little hyperbolic.) The Jungian shadow bit is especially good, and mirrors itself with Blackjack, but with her positive aspects unrealized due to her low self-esteem ("I know I'm not the best pony . . . ").


“Oh, and if you want to go grab a dictionary right now, go right ahead.  I have time.”

I'll have you know I only needed to look up the shadow part, smartass! :p


Then Discord turned his attention to Snips.  “This one isn’t even finished yet!  Let me see.”  And he snapped his claws.  From the storm, a cloud of tiny motes swept through the side of the jar and into the skull.  “There we go.  Really, you need to be careful with that dark magical stuff, old sport.”  He snapped his claws again, and the jar vanished in another flash.

Wow, he really is being good-good. And it's not like it's a surprise he'd be able to do soul magic: it seems like a fairly reasonable extension from the Discording of the Mane Six, especially Fluttershy.


Then he regarded me, and his eyes softened a moment.  “And this poor pathetic little lump of a mare.  What is she doing here?  She clearly doesn’t belong in this assembly at all.”  He swept me up in his arms, stroking my mane gently.  “A pony of my very own!  I will hug her and stroke her pretty mane and call her George.”

So cute, but don't you dare crush her!


I knew Princess Moonbutt back when your ancestor was an abacus.

Nice.

I don’t know what you’re supposed to be, but you’re no Princess.”  He then gestured at the bright soul being held by the straining unicorns.  “THAT is a princess.”

Preach!


“What?” I gasped, sitting up a little and staring at the glow.  Maybe it was having organic eyes again, or maybe it was Discord’s presence, but as I stared, I detected something within the mote.  Something beautiful and wonderful and mysterious.  Dark, but not the bubbling evil that had been inflicted on me before.  It was glorious and terrible, and I couldn’t tear my eyes away as I beheld it.
   The soul of Princess Luna.

And, even after everything, it has the feeling of a religious experience for Blackjack, much like her first memory of the Sisters.


He snapped his fingers like a gunshot, and a great wind seemed to gust out of him.  It swept around the platform, knocking the unicorns away.  For a moment, the soul seemed to struggle to raise upward, but then bands of magic wrapped around her and Cognitum.  Slowly, the pair began to be drawn together.  Slowly the pair melted one into the other.  The alicorn soul slipped into Cognitum.  There was a blinding flash, and I had to avert my eyes.
When I dared to open my eyes again, I stared up at a gray statue, hand outstretched, fingers frozen post snap.

His last trick, last victory, perhaps. But just how will it play out?


Then she rose.  Was it just me, or was she now... larger?  She threw back her head, her mane streaming behind her like a bloody banner streaked with soot.  Her armor seemed sharper now, the laser-etched filly and ‘Security’ gone.  She stood before us all, a Princess of Death.  Her red eye panels blazed with light as she began to laugh, high and exultant.
“Fools!  Fools!  All of you, fools!  I am the Queen of the Night!  And this world is mine!” she crowed, her wings spreading as her red and black magic mane and tail snapped in the air behind her.  “Bow before my greatness!”

So far, I'm not seeing an improvement.


“Maiden of the Stars.  At last,” he said, the crackling magic fading from Cognitum’s horn as she faced the skull-masked zebra.  “You are precisely as you should be.  It is time for our destined battle!  One to decide the fate of zebra and ponykind!”

That's some timing.


He charged across the platform, hooves thundering as he closed the distance.  She reared up, horn and wings crackling with bright red magical lightning.  The two closed in, and the Legate let out a battle cry!
Then he took her outstretched hoof in his, pushed back his dragon skull, and kissed it.
What?

Wat.
:D


“Beautiful.  You are beautiful, my Maiden.”  Then he regarded me in amusement as she stopped the crackling lightning, and I realized that I knew this zebra...
Amadi.

And so another piece falls into place.


Cognitum answered, “Why, it’s the first step in my great unification of the Wasteland.  I know how useful war is.  When the Brood of Coyotl attack, the Harbingers will repel them... after certain ponies are eliminated.  Big Daddy.  General Storm Chaser.  Grace.  Ponies with the leadership skills to counter me.  The Harbingers shall be regarded as heroes.  I... Blackjack... the hero of the battle... will declare myself the Princess of the Moon.  We will use Horizons to restore the Core, and I will use EC-1101 to rebuild my realm.  We will negotiate a peace with the Remnant.”  She gestured to the Legate, who bowed graciously to her.  “And all will be restored.  All thanks to you.”

Gotta admit. It's a good plan, as long as the two are actually both on the same page.


“My friends will stop you.”
“Your friends are now my friends,” Cognitum replied smoothly.

Well, for a bit. I mean, just look how well you managed to pull that off. Again, it's like you weren't even trying.


Then everything went dark all at once.  The hologram.  The terminals.  Even the maneframe.  Cognitum turned her head wildly in bafflement, the only illumination coming from the stream of lights circling the spire and Cognitum’s red glowing eyes.  “OH, COME ON!”

Given she had come from the Sweetie Bot body: nice.


Then a familiar rasp filled the air.  It was long and low, wet and labored.  And a gravelly, wet voice asked, “Identify yourself.”
   Cognitum froze.  She glanced from Steel Rain to Vitiosus to me, then answered, “I am Princess Luna reborn, rightful heir to Equestria!  You will transfer control of EC-1101 to me, immediately.”  Nothing happened.  Then she asked, her voice a little more wary.  “Who is this?”
   “Project Horizons Command AI,” the voice rasped.

Ooh, sounds like she gave about the worst possible answer to that. And, of course, if it wasn't expected just from the voice, it sounds like based on recent information we can confirm that's at least modeled after Goldenblood.


“Did you execute Fluttershy?” the voice rasped softly.
   They stared at each other again.  “Fluttershy is dead!” Cognitum snapped.

I forget: would she have known at this point that the Fluttertree was safe?


“It’s Goldenblood.  It’s fucking Goldenblood!” I cackled.
   “Goldenblood is dead!” Cognitum snapped.  “I watched his execution myself.”

Sort of. But also: Cogs should be aware of the Dragonfire Gambit from The Book of Littlepip. Just sad.


“Tell me that we can kill her now,” Steel Rain said, pushing down on my back and making me struggle to breathe.  For a second, I was certain that I was done.  I felt my ribs creak.
   “No,” Cognitum snapped.  “No.  She may yet be useful.”

He did say that her habit of keeping trophies was dangerous. Discord, too.

Steel Rain hissed softly through his ventilator.  The Legate frowned as well.  “No.  You should absolutely kill her now.”
   “I said no!”

Man, everyone seems smarter than her right now.


“But don’t worry; I’m not going to leave her in a jar where she might escape.  No...”  She turned to the maneframe, and the cable snaked out once more.  It pressed itself to my head.  “A mindless Blackjack is a far safer Blackjack.”

Well, at least she's doing that.


“Five minutes?” Vitiosus asked.
   “Fine,” Steel Rain replied sourly.  I floated there, cursing them over and over again as I tried to think at the void to do... something!  There had to be some way to control this space.  Steel Rain trotted over to the jar that held me and looked about, and then his hind leg kicked out.  “Oopsie,” he said as the jar rolled across the platform and then tumbled off the edge, out of sight.  He trotted over and leaned out to gaze down, then gave a little shrug.  Then he faced me, guns pointed forward.  They loaded with a loud thunk.  “Hey, Blackjack.  I don’t know if you can hear me, but... thanks for not killing me at the manor.”  Then his cannons fired, and my world ended as I screamed into the absolute void around me.
Footnote: >Start New Game: Y/N?

Death number three!
avatar
Icy Shake
Alicorn

Posts : 1206
Brohoof! : 308
Join date : 2012-06-05
Age : 28
Location : Boston, MA

Back to top Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Tue Feb 10, 2015 2:22 am

Quadruple post? Eugh.
Choose one:
Applebloom
Scootaloo
Twilight
Crazy
Rage

Chapter Sixty Five Overall Thoughts:
Okay, the first thing that needs to be said about this chapter is that it is unusually long, even for Project Horizons: at over 35,000 words, it might be the longest chapter that wasn't split, and within that space, there was a lot going on. Beyond that, it's a wham chapter, at least the second in which the author's note included something to the effect of "the story isn't over"; if it hadn't followed a natural breaking point complete with unprecedented time skip just a few chapters before, it would have felt like it should have been the end to a volume.

It starts where the last chapter left off, with a fight between the Legate and Boocord, which the latter rapidly ducks out of in favor of Rampage and Blackjack, as she really doesn't have the power at this point to mount a proper defense, much less actually do much to the Legate. The most salient feature of this battle (beating out a point where Discord caused a wall to fall on the Legate, at first a few pieces at a time on his head, then the whole thing, Loonie Toons style), as a battle, is the souls in Rampage coming out in sequence in order to trip up the Legate, who was capable of countering Shujaa's martial arts handily. I don't think the Angel made an appearance, and Doctor Octopus's contribution wasn't very useful, but otherwise the combination of different styles was able to keep him busy and ultimately put him in a position where, head locked by Rampage, Blackjack was able to take off his head with Penance. He, of course, isn't finished by that, but it gives the three a chance to get away.

During this time, Shujaa happens to mention that to the zebras Discord was known as Coyotl: this enables Blackjack to put two and two together and realize that the Brood were likely the merging of two of the O.I.A.'s projects: the blanks of Chimera augmented with the cybernetics of Steelpony, with some stuff thrown in to make them controllable, yielding a powerful and manufacturable army.

The first major emotional beat of the chapter is probably when Blackjack confronts Rampage about her conversation with Steel Rain. Rampage says that he just wanted her to extend an offer to Blackjack: giving her a new body in exchange for EC-1101. Blackjack can retire, and Cognitum gets to rebuild the Core, and they wipe the slate clean. She also offered Dawn's head on a platter, an Ironpony, and gold. The last is kind of besides the point, and of course Blackjack has always lusted after an IF-88, but offering Dawn seems like a misreading of Blackjack's character, one which will be continued as time goes on. Blackjack presses Rampage on if Cognitum offered to kill her, and Rampage doesn't answer, Blackjack leaves Rampage, bitter over the betrayal and wishing she'd never asked at all.

This is followed by a conversation between Blackjack and Discord as they descend farther into the Core. In large part, it focuses on how Equestria went wrong, and how Discord sees the nature of order and choas.

I'd like to make a digression on the first topic of their conversation: it very explicitly breaks the fourth wall, with Discord talking about how Twilight  was supposed to become a real alicorn, after the model of the Sisters, not anything like the Goddess, and he mentions having the scripts and everything. Rereading this has been an illustration to me of just how crucial the mindset of the reader is in terms of his enjoyment of something. When I first read the chapter, this was a major problem for me, one which pulled me out of the story and soured me to a greater or lesser extent for probably the remainder of the chapter—another 40+ pages. Despite everything—Stronghoof, grabbing whole scenes from other media, Discord previously doing the sumo thing and appearing dressed like Superman, Pinkie's super-PTM OD, etc.—I was taking it with a degree of rigid seriousness that wasn't really appropriate for the story. Yes, there is a lot in PH to take seriously, and that's one of the things I love about it. However, that's not all there is to it, and by approaching the scene with the wrong mindset in general (and some prejudice against breaking the fourth wall, even when it's done in a way that mitigates the effect—it's done by Discord, and Blackjack doesn't think too much about it), I got a worse experience than I really needed to. On a second read, with more willingness to go with the absurdities of the story all around, and prepared for Discord's bit, it didn't have that kind of negative effect for me, so much as just the feeling that it was a bit that kind of fell flat as a matter of taste. And because I wasn't letting that particular segment impact the rest of the chapter in the same way as the first time, I came to find that the chapter as a whole was much stronger than I had thought—sort of exposition-heavy at times, but on the whole a stand-out chapter.

Okay, back to the conversation itself: Discord doesn't know what caused the difference, but he was never reformed, Twicorn never happened, and Equestria fell into war and despotism. Crucially, though, she says that, in her opinion, it wasn't some kind of mind control spell that led to all this, but that the potential for the abuses and mistakes had always been there, if the Mane Six were put in the right situations for their worse aspects to fester, or their better ones to be misapplied. It's something that was developed in both FoE and PH, and which Discord, as someone who had used that to his advantage in the past, was well-placed to deliver.

Discord also uses this time to expound on how he thinks of himself, and of the relation between order and chaos. To start, he very specifically doesn't see himself as evil; notably, if he had been evil as such, he could easily have just killed Twilight and her friends and made Equestria his chaos capital and all that, and he was "cast as a villain by powers beyond [Blackjack's] comprehension" anyway. One point is that until his captivity and torture, he'd not really understood the perspectives of those he'd played his jokes on, and thought that they were, in essence, just humorless. Now, not so much, and he's even sympathetic to Blackjack's distate for chaos, given the type she'd been exposed to in the Wasteland. But that's not how he thinks of himself: more than anything, he sees himself (and chaos) as an agent of change, where harmony and order lead to stasis. His view is that when order is pushed, even if it starts out good, the order in time will take precedence over the good; he uses wartime Equestria as an example. The state it built was meant to be strong and secure to ensure a thousand year reign of prosperity and adoration for Luna, but while the powerful, ordered state was brought about, it was one which left the ponies living in it unfree and fearful.

A side note here is that blanks are immortal, if obviously capable of being slain, and Boo has been growing a soul and could one day become a new avatar of chaos, if Blackjack doesn't first. Boo's not intrested, certainly not in ruling the Wasteland with an army of Brood, since she wants to be good like Blackjack.

At roughly this point they're interrupted by one of the abominations below the Core, and Blackjack is separated from Boocord. This segment brings Blackjack back in her element, able to just fight against things she doesn't need to feel bad about killing, while showing off some of the scary stuff you get down there. She drains all her power reserves, and ends up falling to a ledge where she falls unconscious. There's a dream, a more typical one rather than someone's memory, with Blackjack living with her mother and twin babies. It's sweet, another instance of Blackjack imagining a more normal world, but she knows it's not real. She ends up talking to her "mother," who at that point has teal eyes, and claims to be one of the soul motes that are floating around in the area. She gives some details about what the motes are doing; they were sent there after death from all over Equestria by the Enervation rings, but the Eater doesn't really need them for anything. They're just there. She is awaiting her sister's arrival, but dreads that she will come, given the suffering she's undergone and being blocked off from the Everafter.

Blackjack awakes to creatures made of reconstituted corpse slurry—from what happens when a body melts in an Enervation field and a soul mote lands in some of the stuff, allowing it to take form for a time, but lacking a mind—feeding her gemstones. She reunites with Boocord, and there's some more talk. The focus this time is on the nature of the Eater of Souls, and what that means to Blacjack's life. If Cognitum is correct, and it's just a malfunctioning machine that needs to be fixed, then a lot of what Blackjack has been through is a mechanical glitch devoid of moral content (I personally disagree, as her contributions are brave, heroic, and so forth whether she's up against evil or a mere awaiting catastrophe); if the Legate is, then it's a great clash between good and evil, a struggle for the survival of the world. Before they split up, there's a touching moment where Blackjack says she wants Discord not to do anything she'd do: she doesn't want to lose any more friends. Discord's a little put out, but promises she won't let Boo get hurt; Blackjack didn't just mean her, though, but Discord as well, who she also sees as a friend.

Next we have Blackjack heading to Cognitum, and a brief conversation with the Dealer so he can keep some Ultra-Sentinels off her. It's a powerful scene, and one where if anything already knowing Echo's betrayal makes it work better, as it's easier to see how Blackjack's statements of genuine goodwill to him—including that Big Macintosh would be proud of him, and how she wished she could do something to help—could be accentuating the guilt he does seem to feel, if not strongly enough to override his fear of death.

And it's here that Blackjack finally meets Cognitum, who is occupying the Sweetie Bot. What follows is a lot of information dropped in exposition, but structured within Cognitum and Blackjack each trying to work the other to get what they want: Cognitum wants EC-1101, Blackjack's body, and hey, maybe even her cooperation in rebuilding the Hoof and Equestria; Blackjack primarily wants to get information on Project Horizons. Because of how Blackjack really only wants the one thing and it's the only leverage Cognitum has over her not to use the missile launcher she brought with her (could be inconvenient, at any rate, and would probably signal no real hope of Blackjack working with her afterward), it's kind of dominated by Cognitum. She makes offers, like giving Blackjack Dawn and Charm to do with as she pleases—and reveals that Charm had come to her, asking that she take over the Society and punish Blackjack, notably with gang rape. But this Cognitum projecting her own motivations onto Blackjack; I think it's pretty clear that executing her former enemies is something she'd see as a compelling offer, especially when they are helpless, floating in preservative jars, with Dawn missing limbs and Charm having a bunch of wires deep in her brain which allowed Cogs to extract the memories from Awesome's orbs that Charm had destroyed only after having viewed them. The information therein is focused on internal matters of the O.I.A. and allowed her to piece together most of what Project Horizons was. But of course she's not telling just yet.

Also there, in a jar, are Sanguine and Horse. Sanguine is still insane following the loss of his family, but she was likewise able to extract information about Chimera from him. Horse's skin had all been flayed off by Enervation in the couple of seconds he'd been outside before getting in the jar. Much like Sanguine, his mind is gone, and possibly his soul ("it's hard to tell once the mind is gone") but Cognitum is keeping him as a trophy given the indignities she'd suffered under him after having been copied into the false Crusader. Again, this sort of thing isn't likely making the prospect of Cognitum taking over more appealing to Blackjack.

Of course, Cognitum, revealing that she thinks of herself as Luna, the rightful ruler of Equestria, doesn't exactly respond well to being called "evil" by Blackjack, saying "You’ve killed thousands.  You’ve killed foals, Blackjack.  Helpless foals.  You’ve killed indiscriminately.  Your hooves are far bloodier than mine.  So let’s not throw about that ‘E’ word so casually, thank you very much." Of course, that's really missing quite a bit of what was going on then, and in terms of "bloody hooves," not counting the deaths on Princess Luna's as on Cognitum's doesn't exactly make sense given her perspective. And that is one thing that Cognitum does well: she covers how Luna was terrified much of her life, always knowing that her sister had "banished [her] to the moon for asserting [her]self," and how if her own sister could "betray" her, then anypony could. Yet for all that, she had been more comfortable on the sidelines (a point I find a little strange given the isolation and envy that motivated her in the first place, but hey, unreliable narrator), so she didn't seek to rule; but for all that, how could she break Celestia's heart and let Equestria down in its hour of need after Celestia's abdication? Putting together the two, she made a realm that couldn't hurt her, one which would leave her in the background, mysterious and untouchable. Hence the ministries, which would insulate her from the "anger of [her] subjects for any hardships [she and they] faced."

It's at this point that Cognitum makes her first big play: offering Blackjack a new body. She wants Blackjack's body because she feels that she needs a living vessel to rule, and also to be freed of (some of) the vulnerabilities of a robotic body. As part of this, she brings in Snips, now just a skeleton connected together by soul magic, since of course any swap would require a soul transfer. Then comes the body: the clone of Blackjack from Hippocratic, with even its skin healed. For all that it's what Blackjack's wanted since becoming a cyborg, she just isn't ready to make that trade, as it requires too much trust of Cognitum, first to actually leave Blackjack intact in the body, then to stop being psychotic and evil (but one step at a time, right?). Cognitum says that Blackjack's always been about giving ponies a chance, but this is just too far: Blackjack finds the consequences of cooperation failing are just too extreme, so she makes a counter-offer. Cognitum tells her about Horizons and they stop it, Cognitum lets things settle down in the Hoof, and then Blackjack gives her EC-1101 in a couple years. But it's not an acceptable offer either, as that gives BJ time to fail to follow through on her end. Negotiations having broken down, Blackjack is about to let loose the missile launcher when Cognitum calls on Echo, and he cuts off Blackjack's control of her augmentations.

Blackjack's mind is transferred to the blank, and then her soul, but not before a magic inhibitor is put on the clone's horn.

Then conversation continues, revealing that Cognitum had been manipulating Blackjack all along, and had first met her as Applebot soon after she had defeated Deus. She was testing her.

Cognitum tries to activate EC-1101, but to use the whole thing rather than just activating nodes individually requires getting by Duct Tape's encryption. She could get past it in time, but before then, they'd all be killed by Horizons. She asks what Blackjack has done, which is of course nothing. That gives us this exchange between Cognitum and Steel Rain, which I found particularly nice:
“She’s lying.  She must be lying,” Steel Rain insisted as he stood beside Cognitum.
“No.  She’s not.” Cognitum answered.
“How can you be sure?” Steel Rain replied.
Cognitum sighed.  “Because I’ve felt her soul, Steel.”  She turned and looked at me, frowning thoughtfully.  “You cannot imagine what that was like, Steel Rain.  The guilt.  The pain.  The self-recrimination and self-destructive urge.  It hurt to be her.”
“What are you talking about?” I muttered in bafflement.
“When I transferred your mind and put myself in your body, I inadvertently made contact with your soul as well.  Your purest Blackjackness.  I don’t know how you survive so.  The drive for redemption is so strong that it burns.  Your craving for physical pleasures to distract you from your own depression would be heartbreaking if we weren’t so at odds.  Your devotion to your friends... your need to save others... your...”  She shivered and hugged herself.  “It’s far easier to have no soul than yours.  To have a clarity of thought and drive...” she shook her head.

Blackjack ends up figuring out that the encryption was Duct Tape's, and says she's figured out what's going on, but refuses to give specifics for the obvious reasons, asking why she should.

Cogs says it's needed to stop Horizons from killing everyone, and we finally get the answer of what it is: a complex on the moon featuring a giant gun, made to shoot a huge hunk of moonstone at the Tokomare in order to cause an explosion easily large enough to destroy Equestria, though not Equus as a whole. One of the twists, though, is that Cognitum doesn't actually want to stop it from firing: she needs more starmetal in order to rebuild Equestria faster in addition to leaving the Tokomare largely intact to power her new world, and for that, she wants to use Tom (the moonstone projectile) to create huge amounts more in the moonstone-to-starmetal conversion reaction that Horse had demonstrated, using the city's F.A.D.E. shields to catch Tom and hold it in place. However, this requires the right angle of approach, no more than ten degrees off vertical, so she needs to make sure it fires in a narrow time window.

Now, because this has included discussion of the Tokomare, and we've seen how the spritebots are harvesting starmetal from it to shore up the city, the topic of souls comes up, as millions are trapped between the concentric, opposite-directional helixes of the artifact. Turns out that's just a byproduct, but Cognitum claims that if it's fixed, then they could be freed. This turns to Snips explaining why toucing Blackjack's soul had been so intolerable for Cognitum: “When the two are in opposition, turmoil results.” (Incidentally, that admission is further proof that Blackjack shouldn't work with Cogs, since if coming into contact with Blackjack's kind, generous, self-sacrificing soul caused her such pain, what does it say about her mind?) Still on souls, Cognitum has Snips transfer Echo's soul back to his body, then she gives him a moonstone talisman and releases him from his jar; he's not in good shape, but she figures he might survive.

And then we're back to negotiation, with some of the best lines of the debate coming at this point:
“Blackjack, I have been civil.  I have been patient.  I have tried to reason with you, and I have tried to demonstrate to you that I am the proper ruler of Equestria.”
   “Well, so far you’re doing a pretty shitty job,” I said evenly, as if giving a report in school but without the annoyance of actually being in class.  “You’ve demonstrated neither ethics nor morals in your behavior.  You think that you are Princess Luna and that that entitles you to whatever you desire.  You believe that your ends justify your means, and you’ve committed gross violations against both me and others.  You show no remorse for any of this.  Even if you are Princess Luna, which I seriously doubt, that in no way mitigates the cruelties you have visited on others.  So no, I won’t help you.”
   She stood, frozen, for almost a minute.  “You’d let the world die to spite me?” she asked in disappointed tones only a mother could use.
   “I’m not letting the world die.  You underestimate my friends.  Glory and P-21 will learn what has happened to me.  They will contact others.  LittlePip.  Homage.  Calamity.  Grace.  Others that respect the cause I work towards.  They will find a way to stop Horizons, with or without EC-1101.  Then they will end you,” I answered, the truth so clear and simple to me that even here, like this, I felt a great sense of peace.  “It’s not about you, Cognitum.”

Blackjack's effectively underlined why it's just not possible for her to play along, right after Cognitum made a dumbfoundingly un-self-aware statement about her case. (Also, "civil"? "Patient"? Hardly) But then the follow-up is wonderful: the accusation that Blackjack's letting everyone die out of spite and its refutation. It reminds me of the climax to the Season Four finale, only working so much better for me. (Though of course this was released first.) Defiance in the face of the threat, and something resembling a backup plan. Where Twilight capitulated and was rewarded because the plot said so, Blackjack is putting her faith in her friends and allies who have not only earned her faith in the past, but have the resources to potentially succeed in the present. Of course, it isn't to last as Cognitum goes full-extortion on Blackjack, turning the anti-dragon beams on Flotsam, Riverside, and then Chapel before Blackjack gives in. Note, though, that at least here she was giving in to hostage taking involving more than just her personal friends (though they were certainly involved), and it was actually happening then, rather than being a fait accomplit as was the case with Tirek.

Blackjack tells how it's Duct Tape's encryption, and Cognitum makes her take the remaining two guesses to spare Chapel, the first with the hint "the name he loved," and knowing Duct, figured "he" meant "P-21." She guesses "Scotch Tape," which was awful and didn't even make sense. The next hint is "the thing he wants most." It's hard, especially given the conflict between the two hints; Blackjack discards "Freedom" as not namey enough, and settles on "Justice" as at least as much a name as most pony names. It's correct.

It's now that Cognitum says that she knew Blackjack could do it, that her special talent was victory. She's certain of it; I'm not, for various reasons, not least of which is that Cognitum's been dead wrong about a lot of stuff so far, so why assume she's right here? Also, it doesn't seem to match with Blackjack's cutie mark story, which I dearly hope is given more elaboration before the story is out. But, believing this, Cognitum wants to try out some more dark magic: she has Snips rip Blackjack's cutie mark from her, and transfer it to Cognitum herself. Finally, Dawn breaks free of her jar, raving about how it was supposed to be her, not Blackjack. Cognitum simply has Steel Rain crush her skull.

And now, an appearance is made. Discord returns, and man is he on. His dialog is simply marvelous. Now on the scene, he returns Snips's soul to him and sends him away. Then the real fun begins as he goads Cognitum, saying she's no princess, that's a princess, indicating a great soul mote that had been confined by six unicorns and was trying to escape. He offers to pop it into her, given that Snips was gone, and in the end she agrees, and he sends it into Blackjack's old body, using the last of his power and being left, once again, a stone statue. For her part, this is the new Luna:
Then she rose.  Was it just me, or was she now... larger?  She threw back her head, her mane streaming behind her like a bloody banner streaked with soot.  Her armor seemed sharper now, the laser-etched filly and ‘Security’ gone.  She stood before us all, a Princess of Death.  Her red eye panels blazed with light as she began to laugh, high and exultant.
“Fools!  Fools!  All of you, fools!  I am the Queen of the Night!  And this world is mine!” she crowed, her wings spreading as her red and black magic mane and tail snapped in the air behind her.  “Bow before my greatness!”

Her first act after this is killing the six unicorn mages, who had run upon her outburst. Great start.

Then the Legate arrives, and for a moment it seems he's finally ready to do battle with the Maiden of Stars. But such is not to be. The prophesy was one of his own creation, used to control the Remnant. He and Cognitum have a plan together, that will let Cognitum consolidate control of Hoofington and rebuild the Core. What the Legate gets out of it is conspicuously absent.

Blackjack says her friends will stop her, but Cognitum counters with the chilling point that Blackjack's friends are her friends now. Granted, given her personality, I don't see that lasting long.

Cognitum activates EC-1101, which causes power to fail and (what Blackjack identifies as) Goldenblood's voice to sound out, asking for identification. Cognitum identifies herself as "Princess Luna reborn, rightful heir to Equestria." The voice identifies itself as Project Horizons Command AI, then asks if she executed Fluttershy. Cogs says she, like everyone is dead, and BJ says that the voice is Goldenblood. Cognitum isn't convinced; she watched his execution. Blackjack, naturally, points out that death is a relative concept in this story. See, for example, Cognitum herself. In any case, Cognitum starts to issue an order when the AI calls her a tyrant and activates Horizons.

They have a few days before the moon will be aligned, though, so Cognitum plans on going to the Lunar Palace to make the adjustments so that it hits the Core at the right angle manually. She leaves to meet up with Blackjack's friends and head to the Luna Space Center, after transferring Blackjack's mind to the knockoff Crusader Maneframe and ordering the Legate and Steel Rain not to harm her or the clone body. After she leaves, they kick the jar over the ledge and Steel Rain blows up the computer.

Blackjack death count: 3.
Chapter Sixty Five Editing:
My work concerns had been limited to dealing the occasional incident of indecent exposure,

"dealing with the"?


So when I took a peek in here–" Boo tapped a hoof

non-directional quotation mark


oil drum.  "I couldn't help but notice how roomy it was!  How homely!  After all, it was built from my blood.  My stolen blood, I remind you," he explained

non-directional quotation marks


"Where better to lay low and stay out of trouble but in here?”

non-directional quotation marks


Discord… Coyotl… Flux… Boo… “Brood of Coyotl… they’re blanks!  Just like Boo!  Made with Flux from project Chimera,” I said, my mind running a mile a minute.

"project" should be capitalized


Shujaa showed ever increasing frustration, and pain.

hyphen for "ever increasing", drop comma?


One of them could kill a pony; even I questioned how long I could last against the force she wielded.

suggest change to "I questioned how long even I"


that skull off him, B... D... Biscord?”  I asked the white mare, desperately, as I

should have only one space after quotation




the other ripping into my rump and legs with scythe like blades

scythelike or scythe-like


It lay within the shelter of a M.W.T. crate laying on its side.

"lying"


With a distinctly manic grin on my face, I murmured.  “I shall name you

period should be comma


all was a scar like cutie mark on its flank

"scar-like"?


Like a hammer striking a chisel, the flatcar sheared right through the outstretched claw hand and then clean through the monster’s body.

maybe change to "like a chisel struck by a hammer" since it's the chisel, not the hammer, that shears through things?


My power flashed, flickered, and went dark, leaving me in the depths where no one… not Boo, not Cognitum, not even Rampage or the Legate, could find me.

change last comma to ellipsis, or ellipsis to comma?


Outside the window came a colossal flash of energy, turning Mother into a black silhouette.

should sentence start with "From"?


I spotted an elevator shaft; the mare’s voice seemed to come down it.  There wasn’t anything for it.  I looked around at the mangled herd, turned on my levitation talismans, and started up, leaving them behind.  “Why were you bad, Discowd?”

I'd suggest making Boo's line a separate paragraph, since for the rest the subject is Blackjack


Discord rolled her eyes, “Oh, you have got to be kidding–” then she blinked at my frown and quickly amended, “I mean, yay.

first comma should be period, or speaking verb needed. If not going the speaking verb route, "then" should be capitalized and there should be another space after the first quotation


If I were an insane supercomputer, that’s where I could be.

"could" to "would"?


A spear of metal ran vertically from the top of the jar to the bottom, like a metal martini olive.

suggest change to "piercing/impaling/something her like a metal martini olive" since it's really Dawn that's like the olive, not the spear


“There’s two parts to that, really.

dialogue, but since it's playing the part of Luna, maybe make it "There're"?


it reminded me of the glowing skeletal ponies I’d seen walking around the Hoofington Megaspell complex.

"complex" should be capitalized


This is the result of what happens to a pony who meddles in souls.

dialogue, but kind of mashing two phrases ("result of" and "happens to") together. Maybe consider "result of what happens when a pony meddles in", "result when a pony meddles", "result of a pony meddling in", or "is what happens to a pony who"


Every now and then, a jolt of green lightning sparked from the tips.

drop the comma?


I don’t need her any more, after all.

"anymore", I think


I barely recognized myself without a layer of metal covering, or with flesh and blood limbs attached.

"covering me"?


and I saw lines of data code passing by along with strange,

suggest "code data", or just "data" or "code": code is the more specific of the two, and thus would be the one modifying the more general of the two if both are used


She’s not.” Cognitum answered

period should be comma


I don’t think so.” Cognitum interrupted

period should be comma


Megamart?” she paused, then asked in a softer tone.  “Your old

should have another space after first quotation, "she" should be capitalized, and the period should be a comma


I curled there, eyes clenched shut, trying to remember that if Cognitum got full control of EC-1101, she’d have powers infinitely worse.  That was small comfort to the picture I had of incinerated friends.
   “It gives me no satisfaction to do this,” Cognitum said solemnly.  “Tell me what you know of this encryption.  What is the password?  The name.”
   “No.  I won’t,” I said weakly.  What would I say if I met ponies who’d survived this?  That they died to protect a password?  To keep a monster from power?  But if I did give it up, how much worse would it be?
   “Pity.  Well, what next?” she said brightly.  “So many potential targets.  The Society?  The Arena, perhaps?  Those ghoulish monsters in the old hospital...”  One by one, the holograms swapped from one to the next. “The Rainbow Dash Skyport?  Megamart?” she paused, then asked in a softer tone.  “Your old home?”  The hologram changed to the entrance to Stable 99 and the ponies trying to work the surface.  Cognitum remained silent for several seconds, and then asked in a soft, almost seductive tone, “Or maybe... here.”  I kept my eyes closed.  “Look,” she prompted gently, and I shook my head like a foal.  “Look,” she repeated more forcefully.  I cracked my eyes open.

I don't think that Blackjack should be able to see the holograms switch in those bolded sections in the middle.


To have a clarity of thought and drive...” she shook her head.

should have second space after quotation, "she" should be capitalized
Other Editing:
34:
But then there’s project Steelpony.  I expected the data to be damaged.

"project" should be capitalized


40:
I… it was the second time she’d done the Sonic Rainboom!
her Sonic Rainboom was well established and is probably well known in pegasus history.

"Sonic Rainboom" shouldn't be capitalized


Last edited by Icy Shake on Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
avatar
Icy Shake
Alicorn

Posts : 1206
Brohoof! : 308
Join date : 2012-06-05
Age : 28
Location : Boston, MA

Back to top Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:56 am

@Icy Shake:
Ah, thank you very much as always.

Icy Shake wrote:drop the comma?
Hm... I don't think so, sorry.

Icy Shake wrote:suggest "code data", or just "data" or "code": code is the more specific of the two, and thus would be the one modifying the more general of the two if both are used
Hm... Yeah, I'll change it. I think that it could have worked as just being Blackjack, though, even though it wasn't in dialogue.

Icy Shake wrote:An interesting point here, in retrospect, is just to what extent Rampage knows the Legate is on Cognitum's side, given we're looking at at least a double-cross where that's concerned.
That reminds me... you didn't spot the hidden bit of history in 73, did you? I don't recall you commenting on it, at least.

Icy Shake wrote:Granted, I still maintain that Cadence and Shining Armor actually never existed in the world of the show (or, at minimum, Cadence as an alicorn) until "A Canterlot Wedding," when they went from not existing to having always existed, but I digress.

re Blackjack's alignment: Eh... I don't know; I think she'd be Neutral Good at most. She's not against order, but neither is she for it; she values good above either its presence or absence. That's how I see it, at least.

Ah, and it's "Sugar Apple Bombs", not "Apple Sugar Bombs". You missed an instance of that as an error but fortunately quoted it in your running thoughts.

Icy Shake wrote:. . . Yes, R34 of that does exist.
...Really?

Icy Shake wrote:I forget: would she have known at this point that the Fluttertree was safe?
Fluttertree, yes, but I don't think that it was yet clear that Fluttertree could be turned back into Fluttershy. Cognitum obviously thinks she can't be.

Icy Shake wrote:and reveals that Grace had come to her, asking that she take over the Society and punish Blackjack
Ah, pretty sure you meant Charm there.

Also, with your commentary, I'm starting to get a better sense that Cognitum may be less sane than I was thinking.
avatar
O. Hinds
Zebra Engineer

Posts : 4843
Brohoof! : 382
Join date : 2012-05-09

Character List:
Name: Ris Haends Aeronauticus
Sex: Male
Species: Zebra

Back to top Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:20 pm

O. Hinds wrote:@Icy Shake:
Ah, thank you very much as always.
You're welcome!

O. Hinds wrote:
Icy Shake wrote:An interesting point here, in retrospect, is just to what extent Rampage knows the Legate is on Cognitum's side, given we're looking at at least a double-cross where that's concerned.
That reminds me... you didn't spot the hidden bit of history in 73, did you?  I don't recall you commenting on it, at least.
No, I don't think I caught it, or at any rate it's not standing out in my memory. I may need to look into that sooner rather than latter.

O. Hinds wrote:
Icy Shake wrote:Granted, I still maintain that Cadence and Shining Armor actually never existed in the world of the show (or, at minimum, Cadence as an alicorn) until "A Canterlot Wedding," when they went from not existing to having always existed, but I digress.
Was there something you wanted to say about that, or were you just bringing into the open air the bit where I show I'm a cantankerous, rigid old man on his porch, bitter about the kids these days? Spike

O. Hinds wrote:Ah, and it's "Sugar Apple Bombs", not "Apple Sugar Bombs".  You missed an instance of that as an error but fortunately quoted it in your running thoughts.
Added for next time.

O. Hinds wrote:
Icy Shake wrote:. . . Yes, R34 of that does exist.
...Really?
Didn't try very hard, but a single search got a result that matched.

O. Hinds wrote:
Icy Shake wrote:and reveals that Grace had come to her, asking that she take over the Society and punish Blackjack
Ah, pretty sure you meant Charm there.
Well, I guess turnabout is fair play. Rarity

O. Hinds wrote:Also, with your commentary, I'm starting to get a better sense that Cognitum may be less sane than I was thinking.
Don't go thinking that too much based on what I had to say. Or at least take it with a hefty grain of salt. I don't like or respect her very much, so confirmation bias is likely to come into play, with me, intentionally or not, underreporting when she does things that make sense and pushing harder on things where she comes of as having a few loose screws. Add to that the way I tend to preface the former with things like "well, I'll give her . . . " or "one thing she gets right," and you're probably not getting a fair and balanced assessment.
avatar
Icy Shake
Alicorn

Posts : 1206
Brohoof! : 308
Join date : 2012-06-05
Age : 28
Location : Boston, MA

Back to top Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:59 pm

Icy Shake wrote:No, I don't think I caught it, or at any rate it's not standing out in my memory. I may need to look into that sooner rather than latter.
It's a small thing, and probably immaterial by this point, but I found it pretty surprising. Actually, when I first spotted it, I flagged the bit as a probable bad wording starting a chain of logic it wasn't meant to. Turned out, that chain of logic was correct.

Icy Shake wrote:Was there something you wanted to say about that, or were you just bringing into the open air the bit where I show I'm a cantankerous, rigid old man on his porch, bitter about the kids these days?
Oops, sorry! There was a lot of post to go through. As I recall, I was just going to smile. :)

Icy Shake wrote:Added for next time.
Thanks.

Icy Shake wrote:Didn't try very hard, but a single search got a result that matched.
Huh. I've not come across that.

Icy Shake wrote:Don't go thinking that too much based on what I had to say. Or at least take it with a hefty grain of salt. I don't like or respect her very much, so confirmation bias is likely to come into play, with me, intentionally or not, underreporting when she does things that make sense and pushing harder on things where she comes of as having a few loose screws. Add to that the way I tend to preface the former with things like "well, I'll give her . . . " or "one thing she gets right," and you're probably not getting a fair and balanced assessment.
Yes, but I consider you to have at least fairly good judgement; the existence of the bias is then itself data.
avatar
O. Hinds
Zebra Engineer

Posts : 4843
Brohoof! : 382
Join date : 2012-05-09

Character List:
Name: Ris Haends Aeronauticus
Sex: Male
Species: Zebra

Back to top Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by SilentCarto on Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:16 pm

O. Hinds wrote:It's a small thing, and probably immaterial by this point, but I found it pretty surprising.  Actually, when I first spotted it, I flagged the bit as a probable bad wording starting a chain of logic it wasn't meant to.  Turned out, that chain of logic was correct.
I'm not sure what you're referring to. There were a lot of little historical tidbits in this one. I can't find it now, but I seem to recall there was one line that implied a past relationship between... someone. Was that it?
avatar
SilentCarto
Alicorn

Posts : 1585
Brohoof! : 393
Join date : 2012-05-08
Age : 37
Location : Texas

Back to top Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:58 pm

I suppose it might be described as that, but if you mean "relationship" in a romantic sense, then no.
avatar
O. Hinds
Zebra Engineer

Posts : 4843
Brohoof! : 382
Join date : 2012-05-09

Character List:
Name: Ris Haends Aeronauticus
Sex: Male
Species: Zebra

Back to top Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by SilentCarto on Wed Feb 11, 2015 11:13 am

Sorry, then I have no idea which particular bit you mean.

So! I was reading a fantasy novel called Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. There's one bit where a retired hero has a sword hanging on the wall from a plaque labeled "Folly". One of the locals comments that Folly seems like a strange name for a weapon.

Of course, my immediate thought was, "It seems like a perfectly reasonable weapon name to me!"
avatar
SilentCarto
Alicorn

Posts : 1585
Brohoof! : 393
Join date : 2012-05-08
Age : 37
Location : Texas

Back to top Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by FeatherDust on Wed Feb 11, 2015 4:07 pm

Just finished chapter 73.

Honestly, I have very little to say at this point, because there's not a lot of speculation to be done about why things are happening.

My main thought is about Tom and the Eater.  We'd been under the impression that Goldenblood had somehow captured a star spirit, but clearly not.  It was an agreement.  Tom wants to strike down the Eater.

And at this point, I'm just reminded of Babylon 5.  The Vorlon and the Shadows.  Giants in the playground, unaware of whom they are stepping on.  They're both focused on their cosmic-scale battle, and not caring much if that happens to wipe out half a planet's worth of life.

NOW GET THE HELL OUT OF OUR GALAXY!
avatar
FeatherDust
Hydra

Posts : 546
Brohoof! : 112
Join date : 2012-05-25

Character List:
Name:
Sex:
Species:

Back to top Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Wed Feb 11, 2015 8:23 pm

SilentCarto wrote:Sorry, then I have no idea which particular bit you mean.
I'll give you a hint: it's in the middle third of the chapter.
avatar
O. Hinds
Zebra Engineer

Posts : 4843
Brohoof! : 382
Join date : 2012-05-09

Character List:
Name: Ris Haends Aeronauticus
Sex: Male
Species: Zebra

Back to top Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Wed Feb 11, 2015 8:32 pm

SilentCarto wrote:Sorry, then I have no idea which particular bit you mean.

So! I was reading a fantasy novel called Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. There's one bit where a retired hero has a sword hanging on the wall from a plaque labeled "Folly". One of the locals comments that Folly seems like a strange name for a weapon.

Of course, my immediate thought was, "It seems like a perfectly reasonable weapon name to me!"
I think that now, with the benefit of knowing what Horizons is and Folly's possible role as a stepping-stone on the way there, the name might be even more appropriate than before.


O. Hinds wrote:
Icy Shake wrote:Didn't try very hard, but a single search got a result that matched.
Huh. I've not come across that.
682872
avatar
Icy Shake
Alicorn

Posts : 1206
Brohoof! : 308
Join date : 2012-06-05
Age : 28
Location : Boston, MA

Back to top Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by FeatherDust on Wed Feb 11, 2015 8:46 pm

O. Hinds wrote:
SilentCarto wrote:Sorry, then I have no idea which particular bit you mean.
I'll give you a hint: it's in the middle third of the chapter.
I can't find the "hidden bit of history" either. It's either hidden better than I thought or it's something some of us already knew (or suspected) and so doesn't stand out as new information...
avatar
FeatherDust
Hydra

Posts : 546
Brohoof! : 112
Join date : 2012-05-25

Character List:
Name:
Sex:
Species:

Back to top Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Wed Feb 11, 2015 10:07 pm

Icy Shake wrote:682872
Huh. Looks like Cognitum made an additional modification PH didn't mention.
avatar
O. Hinds
Zebra Engineer

Posts : 4843
Brohoof! : 382
Join date : 2012-05-09

Character List:
Name: Ris Haends Aeronauticus
Sex: Male
Species: Zebra

Back to top Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by SilentCarto on Thu Feb 12, 2015 12:48 am

O. Hinds wrote:I'll give you a hint: it's in the middle third of the chapter.
That doesn't really narrow it down much.

I note that the corrupted moonstone landscape suggests that Luna had removed the memories that led to her becoming NMM, though since she was still NMM on her return, I'm not sure how much good that did. Maybe you're thinking that represents a possible avenue of attack against Cogs, using the same technique she did to return Peppermint's memories, but... I don't see what good it would do. Cogs could hardly be any Nightmare Moonier than she already is, really.

The corrupted moonstone also might suggest a connection back to the blackened dust that resulted when BJ ripped the Angel out of Rampage, depending on why exactly that dust turned black. It also might suggest a way to get Cogs out of BJ's body -- tear the memories out and leave the empty shell behind -- but I'd be more sanguine about that option if BJ wasn't already beyond burned out.

Doctor Octopus sure knows a lot of neuromedicine for a guy who's "not that kind of doctor". But then I guess diagnosing an aneurism isn't exactly brain surg--
Er, it's not rocket sci--
Oh, dammit, you know what I mean.

Doc Comet didn't object to the "and dead" part of what they eat, which is a bit odd considering Applebot née Cognitum expressed shock that 99 didn't incinerate their dead. I suppose on the moon you don't have anywhere to send the exhaust or ashes, so maybe they have a special vat for that.

The only other thing that jumps out at me is the soldier in the tram car, whose daughter Russet was apparently being held hostage by Cogs. Someone in the Hightower guard house had written a suicide note addressed a Russet two hundred years ago, but that would imply that both she and her daughter somehow managed to become immortal, so I'm not putting odds on that unless there's some linking fact I'm forgetting. I guess they could have been revived if they both had genetic samples and brain engrams stored in the Redoubt, but as far as I know, Cogs didn't have access to that.

(And that's assuming they're identical names, and not short for Golden Russet and Russet Homespun respectively.)
avatar
SilentCarto
Alicorn

Posts : 1585
Brohoof! : 393
Join date : 2012-05-08
Age : 37
Location : Texas

Back to top Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Thu Feb 12, 2015 5:33 am

SilentCarto wrote:That doesn't really narrow it down much.
Well, where would the fun in just giving it to you be? :)

SilentCarto wrote:I note that the corrupted moonstone landscape suggests that Luna had removed the memories that led to her becoming NMM, though since she was still NMM on her return, I'm not sure how much good that did. Maybe you're thinking that represents a possible avenue of attack against Cogs, using the same technique she did to return Peppermint's memories, but... I don't see what good it would do. Cogs could hardly be any Nightmare Moonier than she already is, really.
That's not it, but I'll comment that I think it did do a lot of good. Sure, she was still NMM on her return, but she used such brilliant tactics as... scary-looking trees. As opposed just just squashing the Mane 6 before they got anywhere near the Elements.

SilentCarto wrote:The corrupted moonstone also might suggest a connection back to the blackened dust that resulted when BJ ripped the Angel out of Rampage, depending on why exactly that dust turned black. It also might suggest a way to get Cogs out of BJ's body -- tear the memories out and leave the empty shell behind -- but I'd be more sanguine about that option if BJ wasn't already beyond burned out.
Also not what I meant, but it's an interesting idea.

SilentCarto wrote:Doc Comet didn't object to the "and dead" part of what they eat, which is a bit odd considering Applebot née Cognitum expressed shock that 99 didn't incinerate their dead. I suppose on the moon you don't have anywhere to send the exhaust or ashes, so maybe they have a special vat for that.
Ah, I asked about this! (Also not what I meant, though.) Basically, 99 was supposed to cremate its dead, yes... but those ashes were then fed into the recycling system. The incinerator was, in fact, part of the recycling system, but it was treated as if it wasn't due to the squick factor.

SilentCarot wrote:The only other thing that jumps out at me is the soldier in the tram car, whose daughter Russet was apparently being held hostage by Cogs. Someone in the Hightower guard house had written a suicide note addressed a Russet two hundred years ago, but that would imply that both she and her daughter somehow managed to become immortal, so I'm not putting odds on that unless there's some linking fact I'm forgetting. I guess they could have been revived if they both had genetic samples and brain engrams stored in the Redoubt, but as far as I know, Cogs didn't have access to that.
Hah!

So... you've still not gotten it, I'm afraid. Hm. Well, I'm basically holding off so that you and Icy Shake have chances to work it out yourselves... Would you prefer that I just told you? And at least quoted the exact bit to read or something? I would like this bit of Somber's cleverness to be admired, but that doesn't really work if it's so subtle that no one picks up on it at all...
avatar
O. Hinds
Zebra Engineer

Posts : 4843
Brohoof! : 382
Join date : 2012-05-09

Character List:
Name: Ris Haends Aeronauticus
Sex: Male
Species: Zebra

Back to top Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by FeatherDust on Thu Feb 12, 2015 9:00 am

O. Hinds wrote:Well, where would the fun in just giving it to you be?  :)
Well, it would mean we can talk about your point rather than staring at each other in incomprehension. Twilight Sparkle

So... you've still not gotten it, I'm afraid.  Hm.  Well, I'm basically holding off so that you and Icy Shake have chances to work it out yourselves...  Would you prefer that I just told you?  And at least quoted the exact bit to read or something?  I would like this bit of Somber's cleverness to be admired, but that doesn't really work if it's so subtle that no one picks up on it at all...
Not to speak for Carto, but I'd like to hear what it is.

The downside is after all this setup it can't possibly live up to the hype and we're all gonna go, "Ohhhh, is THAT all?" Fluttershy
avatar
FeatherDust
Hydra

Posts : 546
Brohoof! : 112
Join date : 2012-05-25

Character List:
Name:
Sex:
Species:

Back to top Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by SilentCarto on Thu Feb 12, 2015 9:24 am

O. Hinds wrote:
SilentCarto wrote:Doc Comet didn't object to the "and dead" part of what they eat, which is a bit odd considering Applebot née Cognitum expressed shock that 99 didn't incinerate their dead. I suppose on the moon you don't have anywhere to send the exhaust or ashes, so maybe they have a special vat for that.
Ah, I asked about this!  (Also not what I meant, though.)  Basically, 99 was supposed to cremate its dead, yes... but those ashes were then fed into the recycling system.  The incinerator was, in fact, part of the recycling system, but it was treated as if it wasn't due to the squick factor.
Ah, I see. I wondered how they were supposed to keep from losing a couple dozen pounds of carbon every time someone died.

O. Hinds wrote:So... you've still not gotten it, I'm afraid.  Hm.  Well, I'm basically holding off so that you and Icy Shake have chances to work it out yourselves...  Would you prefer that I just told you?  And at least quoted the exact bit to read or something?  I would like this bit of Somber's cleverness to be admired, but that doesn't really work if it's so subtle that no one picks up on it at all...
Yeah, as I said, that was all that jumped out at me. What's the quote?
avatar
SilentCarto
Alicorn

Posts : 1585
Brohoof! : 393
Join date : 2012-05-08
Age : 37
Location : Texas

Back to top Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Thu Feb 12, 2015 9:40 am

Weeeell, I suppose if I put them behind spoilers, no one would have to click if they didn't want to...
The Relevant Text:

“Doctor Octopus?” P-21 asked.
“Unless there’s another medical specialist inside Miss Peppermint here, yes,” she said tersely.  “It’s been an absolutely lousy few days for everyone concerned.”
“You’ve been aware of what’s going on?” Scotch Tape asked, a touch warily.
“Yes.  It’d been rather difficult to maintain focus and push through the Angel’s interference, but now that she's gone and dear Peppermint’s back, I can address this.  Drink another restorative draught,” Rampage said as she put another potion to my lips.  It barely made a dent in the pain.  “I remember this happening to M.A.S. researchers pushing themselves too hard to meet a deadline.  Burnout is a safety measure to prevent more severe damage to the unicorn.  Some unicorns would try and push through burnout with talismans or drugs.  The results were never pretty.”
“Wasn’t pushing past burnout…” I muttered.
“No, you were just using a highly experimental device too much with an injured horn while coated with highly magically sensitive moon dust.  Completely different,” he replied with soft sarcasm.  “Also…”  She suddenly leaned in and hugged me closely, but with care.  “Thank you, Blackjack.  Thank you, thank you, thank you,” she whispered in my ear.
“Twist?” I murmured.
“I never meant to hurt my baby.  I only wanted her to live.  To be happy.  I didn’t realize what was truly inside this talisman.  The ghosts trapped inside,” she said with a snotty sniff.  “I thought she could have a happy life.  That’s all I wanted.  Please.  Please tell her that,” she begged me as she pulled back, weeping.
“Why are they all coming out now?” P-21 asked.
Rampage wiped her eyes, still holding me gingerly.  Her tone returned to that of the doctor.  “The Angel saw Cognitum as the best way to end the pain of the Wasteland.  Even better if the Legate was right.  Her desire was so great, she stood between Peppermint and the rest of us.  The shock of knowing the truth and the mental attack Blackjack made on the Angel broke her interference.”
The Hidden Meaning:
Dr. Octopus already knows Peppermint.  He says that he was blocked by the Angel, and that the Angel was so determined to block Peppermint because she, the Angel, thought that Cognitum and Vitiosus were the best ways to bring peace to the Wasteland.  It's not just him.  He might have just quickly taken to using her name, but Twist?  She knows what happened too.  They all do  But none of them have been able to mention it for a while, for much longer than Blackjack's known Rampage to be working with Cognitum and Vitiosus.  Rampage already didn't know who she was, Twist and the others already couldn't tell her, when she and Blackjack met.  Rampage has been into the Core before, and something happened there that she still doesn't remember, probably because the soul that was in control at the time just got zapped.  By the time Rampage and Blackjack met, the Angel was already fully teamed up with the villains.
To those who opened the second spoiler: How well does that live up to the hype, then?  :)
avatar
O. Hinds
Zebra Engineer

Posts : 4843
Brohoof! : 382
Join date : 2012-05-09

Character List:
Name: Ris Haends Aeronauticus
Sex: Male
Species: Zebra

Back to top Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by MSCA on Thu Feb 12, 2015 8:20 pm

Whoa, that's a great twist.
avatar
MSCA
Colt/Filly

Posts : 25
Brohoof! : 8
Join date : 2014-01-29

Back to top Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:00 pm

I agree! It's probably not terribly important to the story at this point, what with the problem already solved and all the other ones that aren't, but I think it's still a neat detail. And one so very subtly included.
avatar
O. Hinds
Zebra Engineer

Posts : 4843
Brohoof! : 382
Join date : 2012-05-09

Character List:
Name: Ris Haends Aeronauticus
Sex: Male
Species: Zebra

Back to top Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by FeatherDust on Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:49 pm

O. Hinds wrote:Weeeell, I suppose if I put them behind spoilers, no one would have to click if they didn't want to...
Well... yes, the other souls appear to be fully aware of who Rampage really is and what's been going on, but I'm not sure why. None of the souls could ever recall much past their own deaths until now. They always awoke thinking it was moments after their death, not up to date on current events.

Of course, soul-memory appears to be weird; it's easily overriden by a meat-brain. Blackjack can't remember -- consciously -- the things that happened while she was unbodied. Maybe Peppermint being unblocked or the Angel being gone also gave the other souls access to her brain-memory, but I'm not clear what's going on there. Octopus referenced "maintaining focus" which does sound like the Angel was intentionally stopping them from communicating. You may be right in that the Angel took over in the Core and made a deal behind Rampage's back. Hard to say.
avatar
FeatherDust
Hydra

Posts : 546
Brohoof! : 112
Join date : 2012-05-25

Character List:
Name:
Sex:
Species:

Back to top Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by swicked on Thu Feb 12, 2015 11:32 pm

I don't agree. Soul-memory... it's not supposed to exist. That's been made clear by Snips the soul-expert.

You have to remember... every time we've seen Twist, Octopus, etc. before now, they only remembered up until the moment they died. No more. They didn't have a brain and body to experience and grow with.

Before I was an editor I remember questioning how Angel was able to remember Blackjack across meetings. It was later addressed (IIRC) that Angel had figured out a way to take control of a part of Rampage's mind. Possibly by merit of the fact that she took control of Rampage so often.
I don't know if the other souls actually "knew" Peppermint for that long, but Angel is gone now. Her treasure trove meat brain would be up for the taking. I wouldn't be surprised by the other souls, instantly having access to the memories and context Angel had stored there regarding what the world is like now, could just move on from there. It became their memory whenever they awoke, keyed to the phoenix talisman.

So yeah, long story short, they didn't know Rampage was Peppermint. They didn't even know they were in Rampage at all. They didn't know anything. They were stuck as they were just before they died. The clarity they have there comes from Angel no longer being in control of the portion of Rampage's mind she stole and that portion now being freely available to the other souls. Her memories are now their memories and they can build from that.

A good question, though, could be "How did Angel get a portion of Rampage's brain all to herself in the first place?"

swicked
Royal Alicorn

Posts : 6598
Brohoof! : 960
Join date : 2012-05-17

Back to top Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Fri Feb 13, 2015 1:40 am

swicked wrote:It was later addressed (IIRC) that Angel had figured out a way to take control of a part of Rampage's mind.
I don't recall that.

swicked wrote:So yeah, long story short, they didn't know Rampage was Peppermint.
...I thought Somber told us that they did?

Also, regarding soul memory, remember that these aren't free souls; they're bound to the Phoenix Talisman. Rampage/Peppermint's is also bound to the talisman rather than her body, which means that there must be a data link between the body and the souls in the talisman. And since the talisman was only designed to have a single active soul, the others being completely passive and just providing power, there I doubt that that link had many security measures against internal tampering.
avatar
O. Hinds
Zebra Engineer

Posts : 4843
Brohoof! : 382
Join date : 2012-05-09

Character List:
Name: Ris Haends Aeronauticus
Sex: Male
Species: Zebra

Back to top Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by FeatherDust on Fri Feb 13, 2015 1:40 am

swicked wrote:I don't agree. Soul-memory... it's not supposed to exist. That's been made clear by Snips the soul-expert. You have to remember... every time we've seen Twist, Octopus, etc. before now, they only remembered up until the moment they died. No more. They didn't have a brain and body to experience and grow with.
Not quite... he said he'd be "very surprised" if Blackjack remembered anything of the well of souls, not that it was impossible -- he just had never seen it work. Yet clearly souls can learn and remember, since skull-Snips, soul jars, and ghouls can learn and remember while they clearly don't have meat-brains to 'experience and grow with'.

I think it's more likely that a meat-brain just overrides anything the soul learns while discorporated. The conscious mind is too loud to hear the soul under normal consciousness. In dreams or visions, maybe, though...

After all, when Blackjack woke up after the events of Black, she did remember her vision of the Stars in some small way, at least for a few seconds. It faded like a vague dream, but she did retain some fragments of it long enough to consciously examine the memory.

I've been trying to track down whether the souls in Rampage, prior to this chapter, had any continuity from one appearance to the next. That is to say, is there any time when one of them pops up and clearly recalls having talked to Blackjack before? The most obvious one I can locate is when Doc Octopus starts psychoanalyzing Lighthooves, but while he's clearly aware of the scenario and what they've previously learned about Lighthooves, Octopus doesn't actually say anything to indicate he's fully aware at that moment -- I can't tell how much it's him and how much Rampage is borrowing his expertise without letting him entirely "awaken".
avatar
FeatherDust
Hydra

Posts : 546
Brohoof! : 112
Join date : 2012-05-25

Character List:
Name:
Sex:
Species:

Back to top Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by SilentCarto on Fri Feb 13, 2015 9:55 am

O. Hinds wrote:Weeeell, I suppose if I put them behind spoilers, no one would have to click if they didn't want to...
Hmm. I guess I'd sort of figured she didn't want to recall the horrors of the Core and was repressing it normal-style. Are you thinking the Angel made contact with the EoS while she was there?

FeatherDust wrote:I've been trying to track down whether the souls in Rampage, prior to this chapter, had any continuity from one appearance to the next.  That is to say, is there any time when one of them pops up and clearly recalls having talked to Blackjack before?  The most obvious one I can locate is when Doc Octopus starts psychoanalyzing Lighthooves, but while he's clearly aware of the scenario and what they've previously learned about Lighthooves, Octopus doesn't actually say anything to indicate he's fully aware at that moment -- I can't tell how much it's him and how much Rampage is borrowing his expertise without letting him entirely "awaken".
Octopus was the first one (besides the Angel) who "woke up" and recognized his situation, just after Horizon Labs. I agree, it seems that each of the personalities existed in a sort of fugue state until they were snapped out of it, then they became conscious, with a continuous memory and the ability to observe events through Rampage's eyes and deliberately influence her actions. (At the same time, once Rampage became aware of them, she was able to ascribe certain impulses to distinct personalities.) All the personalities demonstrated that dreamlike state when they first emerged -- answering questions in their area of expertise, but not remembering their situation for a while. When they did become aware, Twist and Shujaa panicked. Softheart seems to have re-submerged without a fuss when she was finished, possibly because of her mindset when she threw herself in front of that train. Octopus and Razorwire were brought out of the fugue state and retained awareness on their next appearances. I believe that either dredging up Shujaa's memory or returning Peppermint's fully woke the rest of the souls that had been asleep to that point. (Edit: Or else the Angel was the one keeping them in that fugue state since before the bombs fell, so her removal allowed them all to fully awaken.) Rampage may now be more aware than she's ever been.

That said, I think we do need to consider the possibility that the Rampage we've known up until now was under the Angel's influence. Not that she was under the Angel's control at all times, but that the Angel was the loudest voice in her head even when Rampage/Peppermint was in control. Rampage's death-seeking behavior might be due to having that particular devil whispering in her ear, much like BJ's suicidal tendencies were amplified by having Psalm in her head, and she might have accepted Cogs' offer of death in part due to the Angel telling her, "Believe it, join her."
avatar
SilentCarto
Alicorn

Posts : 1585
Brohoof! : 393
Join date : 2012-05-08
Age : 37
Location : Texas

Back to top Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Fri Feb 13, 2015 10:57 am

SilentCarto wrote:Hmm. I guess I'd sort of figured she didn't want to recall the horrors of the Core and was repressing it normal-style. Are you thinking the Angel made contact with the EoS while she was there?
The Eater, I don't think so. That would have confirmed that Vitiosus was correct, and that apparently didn't happen. Cognitum and Vitiosus, though, yes. Hm. Though Vitiosus maybe later; I'm not sure why he'd have happened to be in the Core at the time. Definitely Cognitum, though, and probably Vitiosus through her.

Ooh, I didn't think of the Angel being a constant active influence like that, though...
avatar
O. Hinds
Zebra Engineer

Posts : 4843
Brohoof! : 382
Join date : 2012-05-09

Character List:
Name: Ris Haends Aeronauticus
Sex: Male
Species: Zebra

Back to top Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by ILM126 on Mon Feb 16, 2015 2:29 am

Alright, I've been gone for a few weeks now. So... Anything I missed while I was gone?
avatar
ILM126
Pegasus

Posts : 215
Brohoof! : 15
Join date : 2014-08-30
Location : Australia

Character List:
Name:
Sex:
Species:

http://ilm126.deviantart.com

Back to top Go down

Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Page 2 of 34 Previous  1, 2, 3 ... 18 ... 34  Next

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum