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[GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Tue Jun 09, 2015 11:55 pm

swicked wrote:
Somber wrote:I stopped in later, and one of the people there told me they really wished I'd been there.  Two of the panelists couldn't make it, and none of them had lots of experience public speaking, so there were lots of 'ums...' and 'ahs...' and dead air.  I don't know if that's true or not, but it's unfortunate.
I remember you saying, when you walked in, everyone just stopped talking.
I wish I'd been there for that Spike
I really think it was better you weren't on that panel, though, even if it turned out a bit of a flop. The panel was for promoting fics and Project Horizons really doesn't need promotion with one chapter left to go. It sounds like the panel just needed a dedicated moderator or something to direct discussion.
If so, it wasn't the only one. I think that having too many community guest panelists and too little moderation was a recurring theme, even if it didn't apply every time.
And yeah, I wish I'd been there for that too.

swicked wrote:It was interesting in parts. I wish Heartshine could have had a panel of her own strictly devoted to analyzing the different mental conditions of each prominent Project Horizons character, explaining which depictions you got right and which ones are hopelessly wrong. If she did a podcast just on that I'd listen to it.

But personally, nothing you said at the panel, Somber, wasn't something I hadn't heard from you before, so I can't really say how interesting it was for anyone else.
Seconded on the Heartshine points. Spending lots of time here, you absorb quite a bit, but her commentary on the psychological aspects and their relation to how they affect people in real life was something new to me. And the Q&A was certainly fun.

Twilightrose42 wrote:Is the fic A Guardian's Tale? The main character in that one is named Aria.
Yes, that's the one. Looks like he has a one-shot, too, and contributed a chapter to the ABCs of FoE anthology. "Pallydan".

Derpmind wrote:The ending chapters of FO:E seemed to have more, well, iffy things (mistakes) than the rest of the story. Really, one of the biggest IMO is showing who some of the Bearers of the Elements are in the epilogues. Considering the stupidly-huge fanfic community that sprung up around FO:E way before it ended, it's a big barrel of wasted potential to not just leave whoever becomes the Bearers up in the air for various writers to tackle. As is, I've never seen a story even try, especially since unless you want to go against cannon *DramaFaint*, you have to make your characters become friends with characters from the original fic.
Agreed. But then, the whole ten years later part was just, well, unnecessary. And let's not forget that unless you'd go against the show by not having an even mix of the three pony races, you'd need only earth ponies for the remaining two, including Magic. Granted, by then you could probably just say you didn't care even more easily than in season one, because batponies had been snubbed, and by season three, crystal ponies as well.


Hmm. Other Everfree things. M. A. Larson's presentation about how scripts change from initial concept to final product sent to the animation studio was pretty good, but it sounds like it's the same thing he does at every con. My first time, so that's not a problem, of course. One of the surprising points was just how late in the game Scootaloo's hero-worship of Rainbow Dash became a feature. That was most of the way through the first season, and practically incidental! Likewise, the amount of stuff that's put in just because the writer thinks it will be cool, that then makes it through to the end. That led into the Producers! panel featuring the directors of FiM, which covered the process from receiving the script to the final episode.

A panel on collaborative writing/shared worlds was pretty interesting to me, but I gather the advice was likely very different from the way PH was actually handled. Hinds might be able to elaborate on or correct that. But of course that'll tend to happen where they were dealing with a shared universe and continuity as opposed to how to make a team function on a single story. There was a panel on writing good song lyrics, which unfortunately seemed to end up mostly as the panelists talking about lyrics and why they liked them or not, rather than how to put words on paper and end up with something good, or at least something you can then make good. But there were some points I liked, such as how to rhyme correctly, avoiding too simple a structure, and paying attention to how much of the song actually has singing in it and whether someone can physically perform the song.

One of the highlights for me was the Sherclop Pones reading of Friendship is Witchcraft episode 10. I found it consistently funny, and it significantly improved Tree Hugger for me. Thought their interpretation of Discord was strong, too. Only problem was is started something like an hour and a half late because the preceding event, the cosplay competition, went well over an hour long.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Wed Jun 10, 2015 12:24 am

Icy Shake wrote:Hinds might be able to elaborate on or correct that.
I'm not sure what to say about that, sorry. From what I recall, though, yes, that panel was more about shared universes with multiple authors and stories than about multiple people working on a single story. Not entirely about that, but mostly. Though I could be misremembering.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Thu Jun 11, 2015 12:36 am

O. Hinds wrote:
Icy Shake wrote:Hinds might be able to elaborate on or correct that.
I'm not sure what to say about that, sorry.  From what I recall, though, yes, that panel was more about shared universes with multiple authors and stories than about multiple people working on a single story.  Not entirely about that, but mostly.  Though I could be misremembering.
Okay, sounds like we remember the same things, then.

Anyway, 73 reminded me of this from way back:
Chapter 24 wrote:“Do you know the Stable Dweller too?” I said with a small grin.

There was a pause.  “Um… yeah.”

“What’s she like?” I asked as I carefully added the mod.  I didn’t want my gun blowing up later because I’d screwed the thing on wrong.

“Well… ah… Blackjack?  You mean you don’t know who she is?”

“Well, no.  It’s not like she gets out east a lot,” I said with a small huff of annoyance.  “I like to imagine her as some big, tough, take-no-shit kind of mare.  Sorta like… did you know Big Macintosh?  You knew Applejack, so you must have…” I said as I wandered into a small medical bay.  Oooh... spare Buck, magical bandages... and dusty but still beautifully lustrous purple healing potions that would really heal!  Goddesses, I hated Enervation.  “That.  That’s what I imagine she’s like.  Big and tough and strong and doesn’t let anything cross her.  She probably dual wields miniguns with missile launchers strapped to them.”  I brightened as I grinned.  “She’s probably got some kind of power armor too.  Like magical super heavy plate that blasts lightning from her horn.  And flies!”  There was a prolonged silence from the little machine.  “Spike?”  I frowned.  From somewhere deep inside the mountain, I thought I heard laughter echoing down the halls.
So, is it just me, or does that sound a lot like Cogjack?

Chapter Seventy Three Running Thoughts:
I could have found a way to kill her if I’d really tried.  Found some means to end her eternal regeneration and give her the peace that life had denied her... but I’d refused.  I’d been certain that life was always better.

Interestingly, one of the cases where it's not all about Blackjack, since if it were, she might have taken the issue more seriously based on her own history of suicidal desires and tendencies.


“I mean, of course it’s ‘kill’.  Couldn’t be to tie you up and toss you in a closet or delay you with a musical number.  But let’s face it, when

Not really. This is actually very consistent for her, and those wouldn't be. Rather, her problems stem more from a lack of conscience, empathy, and restraint.


“What?  No banter?  No comeback?”  She looked at Scotch Tape and grinned.  “Hey!  You made it to the moon!  Awesome. Is this cool or what?”

That's some high strength denial right there.


“And where’s Glory?  Back in the rocket?  I mean I know she’s not flying around out there,” she pointed to the window and the moonscape.  “And Boo?  She’s got to be somewhere around, right?”  Rampage looked around the terminal, as if expecting to see the white pony appear from the air.

I think that here Rampage's childish side is really coming out in force, in that she's stridently ignoring everything outside of the little slice of people she cares about, as well as the general consequences of her actions, instead seeming to believe that despite her own choices and the effects they could easily have, everyone would just end up fine and be happy and nothing would really change between them.


“Fuck you, Blackjack, and fuck your lame-ass Reaper re-names.  I mean, Whisper?  Peppermint?  Next you'll tell me Brutus's ‘real name’ was Fluffy or... no.  Fuck you."  She stuck her tongue out at me and muttered, “Really, if you were going to make up a name, couldn’t it have been from somewhere other than a candy wrapper?

And let's not forget Doofus. Granted, Rampage I think ended up knowing about that one more directly from Hightower, so it's harder to complain about. But the key thing here is that with Whisper it was a simple renaming in a way that the others weren't, since it didn't come with personal history in the same way, and what Psychoshy was looking for wasn't the story behind her birth so much as a family, frankly, a life, going forward. The real content to it, in the form of Goldenblood's return and kind-of reunion with her didn't come until much later.
And that's a big contrast with the case here, where, while not the entire set of problems Rampage faces, her nature as a "real pony" is something she's expressed real concern over, making this a cromulent fact to raise.


“Okay, now you’re just being ‘pop my head like a bloatspite’ stupid, 'cause that's not true,” her annoyance focusing into anger.  “That’s impossible.”

Beyond the reference just being kind of funny on its own, and reasonably well placed in the sense that it's something she could reasonably say in that situation, there are actually a bunch of interesting, if kind of loose (and some pretty tight), parallels between Deus and Vader that give it some extra support on further thought.


“Deus did.  About you.  He wasn’t scared of you.  He didn’t want to rape you.  He wanted to protect you.  That’s why he stopped fighting for the Harbingers.  That’s why he followed us around as long as he did.  It was the only way he could be around you,” I said as I held my gaze.  Some of that might have been guesswork, but it felt solid.

Blackjack has learned the secret of truthiness. Maybe now she can start horning in on Homage's gig, which seems to lean on it heavily where heroes are concerned.


“I’m not Peppermint,” Rampage countered sharply.  “I’m Rampage.  A killing machine!  That’s all I do!  I’m a monster!”
“You’re Peppermint, a filly younger than Scotch Tape.  Think about every time you’re disintegrated.  It doesn’t return you to being as you are now.  It turns you back into a filly, and then you grow up into who you are now.”

Well, both, really. But I've tended to have trouble seeing it Blackjack's way, at least insofar as "filly younger than Scotch Tape" goes. Yes, getting rid of the early memories, possibly in combination with wasteland trauma, could well result in her being a messed-up person, maybe even in one who didn't develop normally into an adult (especially if, contrary to what seems to have been the case, one of the other personalities emerged every time something challenging came up rather than more irregularly, such that the main personality never learned to deal with anything). But perhaps due to the order in which information about her was revealed, I see her more as a messed-up adult with some childlike tendencies than a messed-up child with a bunch of adult characteristics.


“No!  It’s… you’re trying to trick me!  I know you’re up to something, Blackjack.

She is. But just because she's up to something doesn't mean she's not up to exactly what it looks like is on the surface.


“Now shut it, get back on your rocket, and get gone.  I’ll take care of Cognitum.  I don’t want her to kill you three anyway.  Well, maybe you, Blackjack, but only ‘cause you’re being a jackass right now!”

Due to recent discussions, I have Velvet on my mind, and now I'm just imagining the two of them locked in a room together for a few hours or a day.


Rampage tossed the bear aside and charged me with a scream.  I teleported out of her path as she ripped past, materializing a ways back from her.  She didn’t turn.  She ran right to the wall and then up it, did a twisting jump upside-down off the ceiling, and landed back on her hooves to face me with an ease as impressive as it was terrifying.

Less than normal gravity is fun.


If Shujaa, Twist, and Softheart had been helping, P-21 wouldn’t have had a chance.  As it was, he kept swinging, ducking, wildly backflipping, weaving, and barely keeping away from the wild claw swipes that threatened to rip him in half.

Mixed feelings there. Maybe it's because Rampage was a synthesis of all of them, and thus losing their support she doesn't have the bases for her own normal style, but unless that really is the case you'd think that her own experiences would be enough to carry her here. And without mainly Shujaa, maybe Razorwire, the running up the wall and jumping off the ceiling earlier seems a bit of a stretch. Also, P-21 doing backflips doesn't go down too easily with me, even if they aren't in full gravity here.


I raised Sexy, glanced at all that glass with space on the other side, and hoped that it was thicker than it looked, or maybe magic, unbreakable glass.  Advancing towards her, I moved till she filled most of the spread and opened up with buckshot.

Too bad she didn't have slugs. (Or rather, it seems, unless she picked them up later, the time to change out to them.)


Scotch poked her head out the hatch.  “Did I get her?”
I advanced to the twitching form.  “Looks like,” I said as I pressed the gun to her forehead.  “Time to reboot.”
Rampage opened her eyes, tears running down her cheeks.  “Please,” she whimpered, “help my little girl.”
I blinked.
Then Sexy went flying as her hoof moved faster than I could see, knocking it to the far corner of the room.

You have to give it to Rampage, she knows how to work an opponent. Take the fact she's the softest heart in the wasteland, and exploit it for all it's worth.


Okay, not going to rehash all of it for the reread, so I'll just save some time by saying that in various points in the chapter, if Blackjack were really at the top of her game, she'd have been using S.A.T.S. to mitigate her disadvantages.


P-21 and Scotch Tape took cover as [Rampage and I] danced around and around on our hindlegs, both pressing against Sexy as I struggled to land a shot that’d blow her brains out so she'd see reason.

I just love the Destroy her brain > She sees reason line of thought, and that it's completely sensible here.


She bit my horn!  Bit it!  I screamed as my focus shattered and I felt something crunchy happening atop my forehead.  The pain was so bad that I almost collapsed, Vigilance bouncing away.

It'd be easier to buy as some kind of shocking move if Blackjack hadn't gelded some guys, forced a bunch of shards of broken glass into someone's eyes, possibly gone after someone's wings, and yes, broken someone's horn.


I felt the dull impact of Rampage beside me, both of us kicking up glowing clouds of dust that settled on us as I looked up at the line of windows a story above us.

And of course moon dust has its effects which are probably not the most desired right now.

A metal plate had dropped down, covering the ones we’d punched through.

I'm disappointed with whoever designed that system, and the fact that it didn't trigger when the cracking started.


Where there is will, there is hope.
  Where there is hope, there is action.
  Where there is action, there is possibility.

I'm not sure this actually holds up better than the fear/anger/hate/suffering version. Also, it collapses down to where there's a will, there's a way.


I had no tricks left. . . .
[Two Paragraphs Later][/Spongebob]
. . . I leaned forward and jammed my moonstone-coated horn into her brow.  “No, this is Peppermint!” I hissed.  Without the recollector, there was no way she could experience the memory in the orb.
  So I gave her mine, transferring a memory of a memory into her mind.

:)


A filly didn’t have a lot of memories in general, particularly underneath all the experiences she’d had since waking in the Wasteland.  ‘Not a lot’ wasn’t ‘none’, though, and suddenly that simple little memory was drawing up others inside her that had lain dim and dark in the depths of her mind.

I wonder if this is a product of the phoenix talisman, leaving the memories there but inaccessible rather than just gone, as seems to be the case normally, as with Twilight's knowledge of Gardens, Tarot, Big Macintosh, and so forth when she's within the Goddess.


“No!” Rampage sobbed as she released me and fell on her side, clutching her head and writhing as if in physical pain.  I scrambled back as quickly as I could, flopping as I watched the armored mare flail as if in the midst of some epileptic fit.  Her claws raked at her head as if trying to physically scrape the memories out of her skull, and, failing at that, ripped and shredded at the ground.  Finally she collapsed on her side, sobbing brokenly, blood and tears mixing in the sparkling moon dust covering her and tiny bits of carpet drifting in the air like feathers.
  “She wanted me to live.  Mommies die for their babies.  But I didn’t.  I killed my baby, Mommy.  I killed her,” she choked out through helpless sobs.  I approached slowly as she muttered, “I’m sorry, Mommy.  I am so sorry.”

Like all this, and of course it pulls together her infanticide contrasted with Twist's sacrifice on Rampage's end, even if it's already been done for Blackjack herself. Only direct issue is I find it easier to see "I am so sorry" also using the contraction as a better fit for an emotionally overwhelmed character muttering.


I fucking murdered my own daughter, Blackjack.  How do I come back from that?”
  Gee, where had I heard that before?  She embraced me, and I braced myself as she wept.  “I know it hurts, Rampage,” I said gently, waiting as she held me in her hooves.  “And I know that you don’t want to go on, but I need you.”  Her sobbing continued as the embrace tightened around my shoulders.  Keep the anger in check, though.  I struggled to keep my voice even.  “I need your help.”  Her sobbing slowed, and I waited, rage condensing to hate.  “We need to save the world.”  Show your fucking face...

To answer the question: Blackjack, Psalm, and Goldenblood make a good start.
Now Blackjack gets to be the one who knows how to play her opponent like an instrument.


And I looked straight into her eyes, vacant as the corpse of a dead star, and pressed my horn against her forehead and unloaded… something… straight into Rampage’s mind.

Nice simile, and of course plays up the Eater connection.


I like the feeling of Blackjack's purge of the Angel from Rampage, which in some respects seems quite similar to the Harmony used on Nightmare Moon. There's a whiff of deus ex machina about it, though, since Blackjack doesn't really know what she's doing, and it's something she's never really shown an ability for, in this mode anyway, until now. The moon dust helps a bit as a justifying plot device (also, due to its association with Harmony and in conjunction with the presumably weaker hold the Angel has on Rampage than NMM on Luna, it mitigates the comparison which otherwise might raise some questions), but I wonder how an implementation where the friendly souls in Rampage joined Blackjack in expelling the Angel, perhaps as a final push, would have worked. More familiar territory, shared nature, and a more direct arc built up might have made it feel more organic. But it probably would have required expanding the relevant portion somewhat, slowing down the pacing overall, but potentially introducing the possibility of a higher peak of intensity as they pulled together.


“They did it right next to me while I was in the Perceptithing.  I’m getting why Glory had issues.”
  “Seriously?” Rampage asked P-21.
  “Your reset button is a bullet through the brain.  Blackjack’s is through her happy hole,” P-21 replied with a casual smile and shrug.  “I didn’t make you crazy mares this way.  I just work with that I have.”

Great line there for P-21. Granted, Blackjack's usually the one who had to work with Rampage. Sometimes Glory, I think.


Couches were arranged along the walls with a bench in the middle that seemed ideal for setting Sexy down for a good seeing to.

Was that meant to sound vaguely sexual, even leaving the name "Sexy" aside?


“But you’ve been using that an awful lot today,” P-21 warned.  “Maybe you should just take it easy.  The state that thing is in, it'll probably give you brain damage.”
  “No, I’m... won’t!”

Just gonna say, I think this might be the first time Blackjack has tried to deny she had brain damage.


“…sure that they’re broadcasting outside the Hoof?” Homage whispered in my ears.  “To whom?  Why?”
  “No idea,” Windsheer replied.  “The Enclave?  Tenpony?  The Cathedral?  Your Lightbringer?  Why would the Legate want everypony to see boring footage of the Core?  There’s nothing happening there.  Ignore it.  We’ve got more important things to focus on.”

Okay, so still actively working on that front. And out of the people who are away that can probably do something about it, we know Tenpony is watching and interested from Life Bloom.


I watched with horror as Hammersmith bashed one to the left, Brutus slammed one to the right, and they crushed a third between them.  The bodies collapsed on top of one another, merged together, and sprang upon Brutus as a three-headed, six-legged profanity of flesh.  Some of them had anatomy that no zebra or pony possessed: eagle claws, lion paws, and snake tails.

And that's interesting, offering if not his return, then perhaps at least that a new chaos spirit, other than potentially Boo, could come about as a draconequus. Wonder why here they're still going after what would otherwise kill them. Lots of Flux, or radiation and Enervation? Something about the processing when it's massively sped up?


“Ma’am?  What are you doing out here?” a stallion asked, surprise clear in his tone.  “I thought… well… aren’t you...?”
You thought I was going to run.  To take care of myself.  To abandon you… all of you… because that’s what aristocrats do.

In this setting, most, yes. There was Vanity, though.


The tram was now moving through mountains of moonstone that loomed like colossal tombstones over the track, jutting out at sharp angles overhead.  To one side, towards the massive chasm, the pure white was tainted by streaks of dark purple, blue, and black.

Likely related to the Mare in the Moon, and blackened moonstone is notably what happened when Blackjack removed the Angel.


I wanted to be ready for anything.
  But I wasn’t ready for the sight of fifty white ponies in party hats facing us with bright star-filled eyes, grinning happily and shouting in unison, “Welcome to the moon, Princess Luna!”

Who would be? Also, funnier in hindsight. And I guess the people Cogs sent there didn't arrive yet.


Repeatedly their energy weapons struck him, but as quickly as bits of him were disintegrated or decayed into magical goop, the mass twisted in upon itself and reformed his striped body.  Incinerated dust simply swirled back in and reassembled itself. . . .
  Then something finally made the Legate slow down: the terminal’s dusty windows burst inward in a shower of glass and windblown rain, and magic shields shimmered into being between the zebra and his targets.  Velvet Remedy and a dozen alicorns had come to the rescue.  The shields exploded like crystal bubbles with every strike of his hooves, the alicorns grimacing when their magic was shattered, but they popped back as quickly as they were destroyed.  As he turned towards Velvet with a half-grin, half-snarl on his face, her horn glowed, and somehow, then even he was staggering about as if in a drunken stupor.

Okay, so here Velvet's personally seen him in battle. Makes it harder to support the idea she doesn't know enough about him to see that a few badasses can't just hold him indefinitely, and options for confinement aren't immediately obvious (and if there are any, may be worse than killing him, for him).


Triage walked down a hall in the Collegiate, puffing hard on the cigarette as she snapped, “I don’t care!  It’s a choice between saving a hundred lives now or maybe… maybe saving one life!”
  A flash of white wing and golden mane, and the stunningly beautiful Morningstar landed in her path.  “One life!  One life?!  How can you say that?!  That one life is worth a thousand of the people you’re wasting it on!”

Okay, someone in bad shape, somone that Morningstar cares about that isn't herself. There aren't too many of those.


“It will work!  The wing was proof!  Science can do anything!” Morningstar bellowed in her face.  “What would Blackjack say if she knew how you were letting–”

And further suggestion it's Glory.


“I want to live,” I whimpered, daring to look more directly at the massive ghostly white pony shape holding me.  “I don’t want to die.  I want to fix things with Glory.  I want a family with babies.  I want to help Rampage get better.  I want so many things now!”  I sniffed and smiled.  “Is that so wrong?  To want to live?”

Okay, color is suggestive of not Luna. Anyway, her history makes it so that when Blackjack talks about wanting to live, it's much more endearing than most cases I read or hear. Not quite as much well yeah, no shit, and instead something of an accomplishment in itself.


“It’s not fair,” I muttered, saying the dullest and most immature thing a pony could.

I dunno. I'm a fan of "It's not my fault," personally.


“Liaison Sapphire knew the O.I.A. was conducting regular launches transporting Flux to the Lunar Palace.  She started sending members of the M.o.A. and O.I.A. that she trusted up here with each launch.  She was our first overmare, too.

Go Sapphire, go M.o.A. Get shit done, and handling everything way, way better than Garnet. Seems like the liaisons who did stuff about the bad end to the war were mainly those associated with the pegasus ministries. Probably coincidence.


When Luna had Goldenblood arrested, that was when Sapphire thought it’d be best to leave.  Of course, we all figured that Luna would come up here sooner or later, one way or another, so we might as well be friendly when she did.  I have to admit, we rather thought it would be sooner.”

Oddly repetitious on the "Luna get here sooner" point. Moon dust?

“And so you guys just stay up here and… do what?” Rampage asked with a snort.  “Spend all day wigged-out on moon dust?”
  The doctor scrunched up his face evasively.  “No!  That’s... rarely happens

Hmm.
Ah, scrunchie face. :)


“She really is that bad,” the doctor remarked.  “I mean, from what you told me… she just had multiple microstrokes, and she wants to go fight?”
  “Yep,” Rampage said.  “Tie her up and give her a good dicking.  She likes that.”
  “No time for quickies now!”  I waved a hoof at all twelve-ish of them.  

Aww. That doesn't sound like her. But then, desperate times . . .

“I am not getting left behind.  I’m coming with all of you and that is that.”

I thought you said there wasn't time for that. :D


“I can drug her,” the doctor said, and I felt a little stab of fear that I might actually have to fight my friends on this.
  “No.  She’d get a spoon and defeat you.  She’s tricky like that,” Rampage said with a sigh.  I tripped over my own hooves and faceplanted into the floor in front of everypony... again.  “Very tricky,” Rampage repeated, solemnly.

I like Rampage in her not-serious moods. And when she's on Blackjack's side.


“Hey!  Do you eat your own poop and dead?” Rampage asked Comet.
  He furrowed his brows.  “We try not to think about it like that.”

Some things never change.


I’m surprised the pair she sent over here haven’t caused trouble.”
  “Oh, them?” the doctor said with a smile.  “Yes, they were very assertive when they arrived.  Made some rude and threatening declarations.

Okay, so they did make it. Still wanted to be friendly to Luna, though.


I don’t know the details personally, but I’m sure the Overstallion could explain it better,” Doctor Comet said with another smile.

Nice detail, adding that contrast


Her eyes stared up at me.  I’m hit.  Fuck.  Can’t feel… can’t move… fuck!  Her eyes widened as her breathing picked up, blood bubbling in her mouth.  No.  I have to kill her.  Russet will be okay if she dies.  Everyone will…  Her body trembled as I gazed into her eyes, a tear cutting through the blood on her cheek.  Russet… my beautiful girl… I have to… have to… to…  Then she went slack, slumping over as her red bar disappeared from my E.F.S.

I do not foresee the ability to hear her opponents' thoughts as they die being helpful for Blackjack's motivation and focus.


I tried to use my magic, and from the blue stallion came words as if from an old stereo.  Just get through today.  Whatever happens, get through today with no one else dead.  Just get home, and everything will be alright.  Get Scotch Tape home safe.  Watch Rampage.  Damn, Blackjack’s ass is almost as nice as Calamity’s.  Get back safe.

I see P-21 has his priorities in order.


I looked at another dark purple monolith.  “I think this is where Nightmare Moon was trapped for a thousand years.  These stones... I think they’re like giant memory orbs.”

That transmit, too. So, good thing it was Luna went Nightmare rather than Celestia. Or maybe Celestia would have been banished to the moon as well.


“I think that he put this here so that, if Luna ever did come here, it would be a sign she was actually Nightmare Moon.  Princess Luna would never come here if she was sane.  This place represents her very worst.”

Or desperate. Which would likely be the case if she needed to turn off Horizons.


“You can read my mind?” Scotch squeaked in shock, then pressed her hooves to her temple.  Don’t think of having sex with daddy.  Don’t think of having sex with Rampage.  Don’t think of having sex with Blackjack...

Are those, except maybe Rampage, things you would have thought of anyway?


“Oh yeah, prove it.  What am I thinking?” Rampage demanded.  I glanced at her, stopping my rubbing and letting my horn tune in.  I’ll tell her she’s wrong no matter what.  Goddesses, Blackjack is frigging weird sometimes, though.  Still, if she’s wrong, maybe Scotchy won’t think she’s actually reading minds, because frigging weird!  “Well?  It’s a number between one and billion.”  No, it’s not!
  “Uh...” I blinked at her.  “Seven?”  I glanced over at Scotch.
  Rampage blinked as well, then pointed a hoofclaw at me and laughed loudly.  “Hah!  Wrong!  I was thinking your butt is fat!”  She snorted at me, rolling her eyes.  “Reading minds.  Yeah, right.”
  I relaxed a little and smiled at her.  “Yeah.  Guess I was wrong.  I’m frigging weird sometimes,” I said, robbing her of her laugher.  “Just saying,” I added.
  “So frigging weird,” she muttered, looking at me uneasily.

Interesting that about the same move was used, prompted by P-21, just a chapter ago. Same wavelength I guess.

Too bad it’s not two way.  That would be useful.  P-21’s thoughts came with a warm tone that matched his smile.  

Yeah, 'cause P-21 knows what's up.

I looked back and thought.  Yeah.  I miss Lacunae.  Maybe it was just an effect of the moment, but I gave the thought a little added emphasis.  I imagined I was pushing it out at him.
  All three of them jumped as if simultaneously shocked.  “Lacunae!  You miss Lacunae!  You thought it at me!” Scotch tape said, then glowered at Rampage.  “And you’re a liar.”
  Rampage flushed and rolled her eyes.  “Sorry, kiddo.  You were kinda freaking out.”

Well, that was a bit of wasted effort on her and Blackjack's part.


It took a few minutes to work it out.  Apparently, as long as they were thinking it at me, I could pick it up, and vice versa.

And sometimes, I guess, she could pick up their thoughts even when not directed at her? But mostly when Blackjack is focused on them?


The Lunar Palace rumbled like an immense turbine in bad need of a new bearing.

So that's what they do when they aren't humming. :D


Beam turrets crackled as they spat magical death while sentry robots boomed their warning for trespassers to leave and be destroyed.

See, that works better with "surrender" than "leave," since once they've left, it's kind of hard to destroy them.


In the center of the ring, over the direct middle of the shaft, was an even higher dais connected by walkways and topped with an enormous throne of moonstone and steel.  A familiar golden mesh dangled from the top of the throne, and I felt my scalp itch at the sight of the thing.

Yeah, this doesn't say "I'm going to shoot anyone who tries to use this (that I don't like based on the connection)" at all.


“So, what’s the plan here?” Rampage asked.  “I rush into the middle and draw all their fire while Blackjack does whatever she does that makes her automatically win?”
“Tempting,” I mused.  “I’d really like to pull it off.  But the priority is preventing Horizons from firing.”  Besides, Cognitum had taken my auto-win talent.

Evidently not.


A princess in all but fact, but a cruel bitch of a princess.  A princess of hard data and harder contempt.

Okay, I'll admit, I don't really know what "a princess in all but fact" means, but I think I at least get the emotional content.


Every now and then, one of her soldiers would fire a spark grenade far from Cognitum, sending a swarm of mechasprites tumbling down into the pit in the center of the chamber.

Okay, suggestive at least that she's still worried about spark grenades.


It was days like this that I really wished LittlePip could be here.  Or Calamity.  Or Glory… definitely Glory… or somepony with some precision and range!  But nooo, I gave away my own sniper rifle.  It made me uncomfortable!  Ugh…

Well, could have been like Littlepip and the zebra fire-assault rifle, where it makes you uncomforatble once, and then you're fine with it and keep using it.


There was no way a few rockets brought that much Flux up here.  Ten thousand rockets, maybe.  I could only guess that somehow the Flux had expanded… or maybe they’d found some way to make the stuff… or maybe it just naturally broke the laws of nature out of habit.

The physical properties of the draconequus and its derivatives primarily consist of because fuck you, that's why.


Then from beyond the Core she spotted something strange: a long gray V of rapidly swirling clouds.  It almost appeared to have a massive face covering one side of it.

And the Tempest appears.


Awww, she doesn’t have her magic. Scotch tape thought sarcastically.  However will she get by?
For a filly who I can still paddle, you’re awfully snarky. I thought back at her.

Like to point out that you, Blackjack, are evidently not too old to paddle . . .


She fired again and thought, Hee!  Blackjack and Daddy sitting on the moon.  He’s gonna make her...er... damn it.  And she fired another burst with renewed vinegar.

I suggest "* swoon", with * a two-syllable modifier, preferably a trochee. "Fucking" would work.


“Has the Wasteland changed pony nature, Blackjack?”
“This is not the time, Dealer,” I replied sharply.  “I just watched my dearest friend nearly get killed.  End of the world shit going on.  You know that Cognitum is fucking crazy.”
“Maybe.  Or maybe she’s exactly what we deserve right now,” he countered as he continued to stare at the screen.

Wait, did he just crib from Red Eye?


“She’s what we deserve!” he shouted, turning away from the screen and looking at me with anguish in his eyes.  “We fucked up.  We fucked it all up!  We deserve a monster like her to rule over us.  To punish us for taking two centuries and still not setting things right!”

Few problems. Flaggelation looks even worse when it's imposed from outside, for one. And I'm not sure how generic punishment is supposed to make things better. But past that, Cognitum isn't planning on punishment, exactly. That's just kind of how you'd expect things to turn out when she meets resistance. Going further, though, if you had a big problem with how the ministries turned out, how Luna turned out, why would you think that giving everything over to ersatz-Luna, crazier, less competent, more tyrannical, and all-around worse than the original, would work out better by whatever standards you're judging by than the first?

I sighed and rubbed my face.  Echo sure had spent way too much time around Goldenblood.  “You don’t get to make that call.  Neither do I.  But nopony deserves a shittier life.  Not me.  Not you.  Not even Cognitum, even if she’s causing all this mess.  Everypony needs a chance at a better life, and if they blow it, another chance.  Nopony deserves a worse life.  Ever.”

Maybe it's partly because she's being juxtaposed with straw-man quality Echo, but this sounds a lot better. Not perfect, because you run into issues relating to how in general, there will be a lot of cases where some people end up worse off while others end up better. But not bad for a first approximation. And it suits her well.


“How do you do that, Blackjack?  Be so right and so wrong all at the same time?”

There really ended up being a lot of self-loathing from everyone lately, huh? At least, I think that's what this reflects. General bitterness too, though. Be interested in why precisely he thinks she's wrong, and how he gets from ponies have caused two centuries of suffering among themselves to therefore more suffering! I guess it's not that hard to to, but it's something I have trouble taking seriously, especially in such a broad application.


Man, going from major character near death, to we need to hold this thing off to save the world, to vindictive/forgiving philosophy back and forth, to a reverse "you'll have to speak into the microphone" joke is a bit jarring. Mood whiplash. But hey, Tom knows how to make an entrance. And his input is pretty relevant to what was going on, so seems like a good time to butt in.
Chapter Seventy Three Overall Thoughts:
Things start up with Blackjack thinking about Rampage: how she'd met her, some of what they'd been through, and why Rampage had turned against her. Coming back to reality, Blackjack sees Rampage undergo a pretty rapid shift in attitude from the casual, confident, certainty at the end of 72, with
“Hey, Blackjack.  Long time no see.  You’re looking good. ‘Fraid I have to kill you now,” to disgust and hesitation, musing on how Cognitum could have asked her to deal with them nonlethally. When she doesn't really get a response from Blackjack, P-21, or Scotch, she presses for something, but is pretty much shot down by Scotch over the fact that how she's planning to kill Blackjack overrides everything else. Oddly, she finds this seriousness strange, which prompts her to ask about Boo and Glory, and on learning about Glory, is genuinely sympathetic. All this isn't just showing Rampage's internal conflict, or how she's made meaningful connections with the group that she actually cares about. It's also showing a point which will be stressed before long: Rampage is based off of a child. And here she's acting in one of her childish moods. But I think it's overdone a bit, or over sold, in that Blackjack is pushing the line that Rampage is a child, one younger than Scotch. (To an extent, Rampage runs with this, but it seems to be limited and in humor.) Could be that I'm just taking what's said too literally, though, and BJ does mean that that's where Ramapge started (and reverts to physically), rather than that even after years or decades of living in the Wasteland, she's still actually a child rather than a traumatized and hurting adult with, perhaps, more childlike traits than is typical.

After a back and forth about if Rampage has decided not to go along with Cognitum's orders, and if Blackjack or one of the others will find a way to help Rampage die, Blackjack brings out the guns provided by Deus and her last trip to Miramare. "Rampage" isn't a composite of a bunch of personalities melded together, with one of them coming to the forefront from time to time. She's Peppermint, Twist's daughter by Deus. Rampage really doesn't take this well (featuring an interpretation of Luke's reaction to Vader in Empire), denying it, asserting her identity (ironically enough, given her repeated statement that she doesn't think it exists in a meaningful way, as Rampage the Reaper), and telling them to just go. Blackjack presses, though, asking if it wasn't Peppermint/Rampage doing it, then who betrayed her, from among the souls in the talisman, which succeeds in goading Rampage into attacking, with the goal to destroy her brain to reset her to a more amenable mood and outlook. This could have done with more discussion before leaving the ship, though, because Scotch points out that they really shouldn't be using guns or bombs as they are surrounded by glass, then the hard vacuum of space. This puts Blackjack at even more of a disadvantage than she would have been, but between teleporting, interference from P-21 and Scotch, and ultimately resorting to using guns, she's able to keep the fight going until Rampage cracks Blackjack's horn after playing weak and concerned—"Please, help my little girl"—to exploit Blackjack's tendencies as the "softest heart in the wasteland," and then breaks a window, sending them to the lunar surface before the backup shielding deploys.

While there, dying rapidly, ready to accept it, Blackjack encounters a new voice in her head, rendered in blue as the Eater's thoughts were in green. They amount to telling her to get back in the fight, that as long as she has the will to persevere, there's a chance she could succeed. She teleports back to the building's interior, now covered in moon dust and tingling where it's touching her broken horn. Rampage immediately follows through another window, grabbing hold and squeeze Blackjack. Blackjack responds by dumping her memory of experiencing the Peppermint memory orb into Rampage, which then leads to many, many more emerging from within Rampage herself. (This seems like it may be somewhat different from what normally happens with memory extraction and removal, where the memory is not only latent, but gone. I speculate this is an effect of the memories being removed after the phoenix talisman was implanted.) The onslaught of memories, especially of Twist's sacrifice to let her live, break Rampage's attack as she's overcome by guilt and grief. But with all this, she still doesn't know how she's supposed to go on after having murdered her daughter, echoing Blackjack, Goldenblood, and more. Blackjack picks up on undercurrents of the Angel, and responds in ways meant to draw out the Angel entirely. When she emerges, Blackjack unleashes a torrent of mental magic into Rampage, not as any kind of spell, but to just flood her with it and burn out the Angel, tear it apart. She seems to succeed, with the moonstone covering her horn having turned black before falling off and releasing a black shadow that is swept away. (This, incidentally, suggests that light magic, moonstone, or their combination can be used to draw souls out of soul jars, kind of like how starmetal can be used to, presumably, remove them while destroying the jar. This could open up the possibility of a less traumatic/potentially harmful means of killing, or even just rendering mortal, Rampage.)

Now, I like the feeling of Blackjack's purge of the Angel from Rampage, which in some respects seems quite similar to the Harmony used on Nightmare Moon, with Blackjack playing the part of Twilight and the moon dust stepping in for her friends and the Elements. There's a whiff of deus ex machina about it, though, since Blackjack doesn't really know what she's doing, and it's something she's never really shown an ability for, in this mode anyway, until now. The moon dust helps a bit as a justifying plot device (also, due to its association with Harmony and in conjunction with the presumably weaker hold the Angel has on Rampage than NMM on Luna, it mitigates the comparison which otherwise might raise some questions), but I wonder how an implementation where the friendly souls in Rampage joined Blackjack in expelling the Angel, perhaps as a final push, would have worked. More familiar territory, shared nature, and a more direct arc built up might have made it feel more organic. But it probably would have required expanding the relevant portion somewhat, slowing down the pacing overall, but potentially introducing the possibility of a higher peak of intensity as they pulled together.

At this point, Rampage still wants to die, but is back on board with the team and the idea of saving the world. They all get ready to follow Cognitum, but Blackjack suspects a trap if they take the tram directly to the Lunar Palace, and instead they will go by way of the Astrostable. On the way there, Blackjack decides to use the now heavily damaged Perceptitron. It predictably malfunctions, causing Blackjack to see and hear many things from across the wasteland at once, then distinct scenes even after the Perceptitron was removed. (Right now, Homage and Windsheer are talking about how the Legate is broadcasting footage of the Core to someone outside of Hoofington, backing up the concept that the Core letting people in was his doing. Then there's tactical discussion with Goldenblood and Storm Chaser, which again focuses on people trying to get into the Core. This is followed by the Zodiacs attacking a Brood bunker, and the Reaper team doing theirs. Neither is doing too well, but an interesting point on the Reaper side is some should-be-dead Brood merging together and showing features of a draconequus, like a snake tail, eagle claws, and lion paws. Jumps to the Society, where Grace still intends to fight, and Splendid to leave.) And Blackjack's bleeding out the ears and nose, so the rest start talking about options for taking down Cognitum without her. This is put to rest by Doctor Octopus, who says Blackjack is having a stroke, much like M.A.S. researchers pushing past burnout with drugs or whatnot. She needs to get to a hospital, and that means the Astrostable. Twist then jumps in, thanking Blackjack, apologizing for not realizing what she was putting Peppermint through, and explaining how the Angel had been holding the other souls back from Peppermint. But with her gone, the others are now able to shift in and out more freely, and Rampage (who now seems to remember what happens when another soul is at the forefront) says that in addition to remembering everything, she can now feel the others inside her, and knows what they feel and want. They arrive at the Astrostable to find fifty blanks in party hats and a sign welcoming Princess Luna, streamers and horns going off. And that's when Blackjack faints again.

She gets visions of several parts of the battle, but the key one at this point is at the Collegiate, between Morningstar and Triage. They're arguing over whether one of Triage's machines should be converted from helping lots of wounded to something that would work to potentially (Morningstar is more optimistic, Triage less) save one. Triage cares more about the hundreds she's working on now, Morningstar wants to prioritize the one, saying "that one life is worth a thousand of the people you're wasting it on!" and also later stressing what Blackjack would think if she knew what Triage was doing. So this is pretty suggestive that Glory is the subject of the conversation, given that there probably aren't many people Morningstar has that high an opinion of, and it'll overlap with someone Blackjack cares deeply about. Triage just says that unless Blackjack would care more about the hundreds of wounded she could treat than the single patient, she doesn't care what she'd think, and the scene is cut off as it transfers again to the blue-text voice. This time, it is compassionate, but seemingly less insistent that Blackjack needs to return, instead emphasizing the struggles that life entails, how they give life meaning greater than life itself. How life only is fair if people make it so, and how many, especially those fueled by hate, are to be pitied. And it's not something foreign to Blackjack, who's rarely been happy over her foes' deaths, at least for long. But once again, if she wants to make things right, the way she thinks they should be, she has to get back to the real world.

Blackjack awakes in the Astrostable's medical bay, where she gets caught up a bit. She had an aneurism burst, but thanks to a bunch of early healing potions and a regeneration talisman application she's at least stabilized. Should really stay under for quite a while longer for the stroke damage, and she's also experiencing symptoms of long-term moon dust use. But that's not happening, both because it's what the big white glowy pony said and because that's just not who she is and she'd go nuts not trying to help. On the way to the tram to the Palace, the three from 99 remark on how similar the Astrostable is to 99 in layout, as it's from the same design and recycling basis. But it's all pristine and well-maintained, as they never had an Incident, and in fact currently have an Overstallion, a detail which gives P-21 a particular moment of pleasure. The place was built by blanks, and got additional population from members of the O.I.A. and M.o.A. sent up by Sapphire, the liaison to Rainbow's ministry. Since then, the blanks have changed to become more like ponies in the way they act, but there's not a lot of focus given there (or to most of the stable, really) because they need to get going.

They're confronted by two of Cognitum's ponies at the tram, and a brief fight ensues. The key points are establishing that whenever Blackjack tries to use her magic, she starts seeing and hearing like through the Perceptitron, and that she can now read minds, in this case the mind of one of the ponies on the other side of the firefight thinking about her daughter and how she'll be safe if only she's able to kill Blackjack. This instance isn't dwelt on too long as everyone's on the tram and on their way, but then Blackjack starts hearing P-21's thoughts. It's interrupted for a moment by flashes of thoughts or memories coming from the moonstone crystals around the track, which had been changed to dark purple. Presumably, this was part of how the moon had helped prepare Luna for her return to Equestria, and Blackjack speculates that Goldenblood put the Lunar Palace somewhere that would be full of pain and shame for her, such that she'd only willingly return if she in fact was the Nightmare. Then P-21 asks Blackjack why she keeps rubbing or hitting her horn, which is recovering from burnout and being nearly crushed in Rampage's teeth. She'd been doing it to stop reading minds. Rampage puts it to the test, and Blackjack plays along because of how Rampage wanted to reassure Scotch, who was freaking out over it. It's a nice moment of them working together to help Scotch (even if lying to her about it seems a bit funny coming from Miss "Not Knowing Sucks"), and reinforces how Rampage is like a member of their family because it's structurally identical to how P-21 had prompted Blackjack to act like she had experienced immense pain through the Perceptitron before due to damaged PipBucks after Scotch tried to connect to Glory's. Another nice feature of this scene is that P-21 sees through it and just thinks about how it'd be nice if it were two-way, which leads to the exception to how they matched in that  Blackjack then accidentally broadcasts a thought to the others, exposing the deception. In any case, now they have thought radio again.

At the Lunar Palace, the group is immediately struck by the architecture, especially Scotch. It's all really impractical and unsafe, with mostly just a gigantic cylindrical space with four sets of stairs leading to a platform in the center, on which was a throne and mind-hat for a maneframe interface. And the maneframe was suspended over the platform. Scotch identifies it as indefensible and likely to lead to the person using the maneframe getting crushed if anything ever went wrong, and further pointed out that there's nothing to oversee here, and it doesn't make sense for that maneframe to go with a throne, as what would it be running? There's nobody and not much to rule over there. No, Blackjack calls it out as a lure for Nightmare Moon's ego, from the throne to the name. And it's meant to fire when she's on the throne, as it's sitting in the middle of the barrel of a gun. A battle begins with Cognitum, but the team is outclassed and rapidly disengages, fleeing into some of the maintenance/structural areas below, pursued by four of Cogs's people. This goes on for a while, with Blackjack again finding she just can't use her magic safely, this time seeing part of the battle at Chapel. While she and Rampage deal with the fighting, Scotch and P-21 are handling electronics. They've found that Horizons is set to go off in fifteen minutes, and all P-21 can do without root access is keep activating a buffer routine to buy a few seconds at a time. But at least if they can hold off the launch for about an hour, Tom will land east of Hoofington rather than in the Core, and there will be no way for the programming and other person in the system to correct for it. Just then, P-21 gets badly shot, and Blackjack gives some supressing fire while Scotch feeds healing potions. They share a tender moment, notable for an exchange of "I love you" without anything along the lines of the "well, this is how I feel, and that's probably love, right?" that was present when the two talked in chapter 69.

But of course it can't linger, as they've got business to take care of, and Blackjack follows a yellow bar on her EFS to the other side of the chamber, with Tom between them: a gigantic moonstone shaped like a teardrop and comparable in size to the HMS Celestia. The yellow bar is Echo, and Blackjack of course tries to bring him around to helping them stop Cognitum. He, unfortunately, is completely disillusioned with ponykind, believing it's been too changed by the wasteland and too corrupted to be allowed to continue as it is, that six heroes won't be able to "magically make everything better with their friendship." Rather, they need to be punished. Cognitum is what they deserve. A monster is needed to rule over everyone, punish them, because of two centuries of failing to make things better after Luna and the ministries screwed everything up. It's one of the more frustrating lines taken recently, because it seems fundamentally incoherent on its own terms. It'd be different if he were supporting Red Eye or something, but complaining about how Luna and the ministries fucked up, and everyone else failed to fix things, so the reins should be handed to crazier, more depraved, empathy-devoid fake Luna? And of course there's how many of those punished under the rule of a mad tyrant had nothing to do with the original problem, were mainly the victims of the ongoing failures, and of course would include many who had nothing at all to do with either, having not been born yet. Also, the fact that Cognitum thinks she's going to make everything better, not punish everyone. All that's leaving aside the point Blackjack makes about it never being right to try to make life worse for anyone, that everyone deserves a chance for a better life, and again if they screw up. And of course that's what she's living, having already forgiven him (as Echo knew she would, even before he betrayed her) and now trying to get him to live a better life rather than killing him as just an obstacle in her way.

But before this conversation really gets to end naturally, the blue-text presence breaks in, saying that the delaying plan to avoid hitting the Core isn't acceptible: "THE EATER OF SOULS MUST DIE!" After a joke about how loud he his (which was a bit of a dud for me as such, but does do some legwork reinforcing the size, scale, power of the spirit within, bearing in mind that I don't think anything like that ever really happened with the Goddess), and Blackjack saying that she's heard him before, he introduces himself to end the chapter: "CALL ME TOM."

Now, something that I've been becoming more aware of is how the late stages of the story have been focusing even more heavily on how characters deal with their failures, their sins, and how they led to the world just not being what it's supposed to be (or, as applicable, those of others rather than their own). You have Goldenblood, trying to direct blame at himself and Luna, the one who used him. He wanted punishment more than anything, in large part as satiation for his ego, but with respect to Luna, in part for revenge. He's willing for the innocent to be caught up in the cleansing of the guilty. Echo is different, spreading that blame broadly, and demanding punishment for all (execpt, it seems, for the worst actors: see how his plan included him being alive and fucking Cognitum running the new Equestria). In contrast to Goldenblood, he's not as much indifferent to how innocents will be punished as well as the guilty, as he doesn't believe there are any. He might have a lot in common with Lighthooves, who decided that he needed to tear down the entire structure that his ancestor's perfidy supported in a minor capacity. Cognitum saw the failures of wartime Equestria, and wants to double down on the direction the war was taking them—she could not fail, she could only be failed. Rampage seeks oblivion for herself, as did Blackjack at times. Like Echo to their Goldenblood, the Angel saw the pain the outside world was causing others, and gave them the peace of death. Celestia ran, first after Littlehorn, then Canterlot (okay, that one's not PH, but it fits the pattern). Luna gets dealt with most heavily in the next chapter. And Blackjack's primary mode changes from early in the story being to ignore everything that's wrong, or failing that to fall back on the "following orders" and "that's just the way it is" routines, to recognizing when things are wrong, acknowledge and condemn the wrong, but seek to make things better—and that includes offering whoever was wrong the chance to participate in that. And coming to see just how this was going, showing all the different modes and directions that overlap with, contrast with, come from different sources, have different intents with the same means or go for similar ends in different ways, it's helped to deal with the frustration that sometimes comes with seeing so many characters make bad or strange decisions based on how they were reacting to what's gone wrong/they've done wrong.

All in all, a solid chapter, particularly where Rampage was concerned, and it did good work in continuing to establish and expand Blackjack's mental powers. The interactions between the party members were strong, particularly around the Rampage fight. And it's nice to see Echo again, even if he's on a twisted morality kick. Should also add, Doctor Comet, who was taking care of Blackjack, ended up dying just before they left the Astrostable. I really wasn't expecting that, as he had a fair amount of interaction as far as bit characters go, and was the only pony from the Astrostable that Blackjack had interacted with. So that came as a surprise, and the way it was done, with her just turning over her shoulder to talk to him and seeing he'd been shot dead, was, I think, unusual for the story, and increased the shock value. Kind of like Steelhooves's death, only with a minor side character who felt like he had some plot (well, main character) armor by association, but turned out he didn't.
Chapter Seventy Three Editing:
I mean I know she’s not flying around out there,”

comma after "mean"


“No!” Rampage sobbed as she released me and fell on her side, clutching her head and writhing as if in physical pain.  I scrambled back as quickly as I could, flopping as I watched the armored mare flail as if in the midst of some epileptic fit.  Her claws raked at her head as if trying to physically scrape

heavy repetition of "as if", not helped by the other three uses of "as" in the middle sentence and one in the first. Maybe change one or more? Ex, 1st or 3rd to "as though", or 2nd to "like Tenebra in an epileptic fit". Maybe also "flopping as I" to "flopping while I"?


“Look on the bright side,” Scotch tape said sarcastically a

"tape" should be capitalized


“Oh yeah.  Watch this,” I slurred a little as I pushed myself t

question mark after "yeah"?


“My field may be psychology, but I know severe red flags when I see them.

should that be "psychiatry", since he just said he went to med school and through residency?


Who hold life and the lives of other in contempt.

"others"?


The stallion they talked to wore a medical coat and reminded me of nothing so much as a male Boo.  His mane and hide were both pale pink, and he had eyes that seemed to glow faintly with stars.
. . .
The white stallion looked at the other two, mouth working silently in bafflement, but they just shook their heads.
. . .
The white stallion consulted a clipboard.
. . .
A bloody hole oozed in the pink hide of his forehead right where a unicorn’s horn would be.

Color mismatch on Doc Comet


Scotch tape shook her head.  “Trust me, you don’t want to know.

"tape" should be capitalized


“You, Triage, and Rover should write a book: dumb patients fighting when they shouldn’t,” I said as I took a seat and breathed hard.

since it sounds like she's proposing the title, should that be in title case: "Dumb Patients Fighting When They Shouldn't"?


One thing that was definitely different, though, were the clouds of mechasprites flying in little swarms overhead.

the subject is "One thing," so it should be "was the clouds"


Blue-gray like homage, but with a flat black mane

"homage" should be capitalized


Don’t think of having sex with daddy.

"daddy" should be capitalized


You miss Lacunae!  You thought it at me!” Scotch tape said,

"tape" should be capitalized


Awww, she doesn’t have her magic. Scotch tape thought sarcastically.  However will she get by?

"tape" should be capitalized


From down the hill, a dwindling stream of refugees raced as if their lives depending upon it.

"depended" not "depending"


“Here they come, kids,” a mare muttered as, along the hilltop the dead trees swayed and crackled.  

should not have comma after "as"


Finally, he stirred, pulled himself up, lowered his head, and vomited a slurry of blood and healing potion on to the floor.

suggest "onto" for "on to"


The moondust coating me made my horn tingle like it was plugged into an electrical socket.

"moon dust"


A turquise pony lunged up, locked her hooves around the neck

"turquoise". also iffy on "hooves" for who I assume is Capricorn


“Oh, my!  Are you alright?” she gasped in alarm.

don't think there should be a comma after "Oh"


capsized remains of the H.M.S. Celestia visible as a dark shadow beside the pier

"HMS"


She spang, somewhat ungainly, into the path of the cone.

"sprang"


And it’s going to complete in the next fifteen minutes, which is good enough to hit the Core just like Cognitum and the Legate want.  It’s autocorrecting the F.A.D.E. fields it’s using to aim at the Tokomare.
. . .
No.  Something like that requires you to use the mind interface on the throne.  Of course, the second you do, the F.A.D.E. targeting fields will go off and trap you inside the firing tube.  He gritted his teeth and typed some more.  From below came an odd sour note, and the Flux turned a little more rainbowish.  And there’s someone else in the system already messing with things who’s not making it much easier.  [b]They keep trying to jury-rig the F.A.D.E. fields to hit the Core.[/v]  If you stop them, I might be able to get us a few more minutes.

question: is there something autocorrecting as well as Echo, or did P-21 in the course of this conversation realize that it was someone else making the corrections to the FADE fields, not part of the programming?
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Thu Jun 11, 2015 12:55 am

Other chapter editing is a long one today. A lot of it deals with bringing uses of family members (Sister, Brother, etc.) in line with Mom and Mother, making sir/ma'am/madam/miss/mister/missus capitalized only when part of a name, and non-directional quotation marks and apostrophes (at the beginning of chapter 55 . . . I'm finally getting around to that more that half a year after saying I might).
So, questions:
Do you care particularly about the capitalization of "Princess," and if so, how would you want that to work? The same way as any other rank or title, like "General" or "Prince," or should cases related to alicorn princesses be different?
Similarly, "wasteland" and "wastelander" or similar forms. For FoE, they weren't, but the Equestrian Wasteland and things like Wasteland Crusaders and Wasteland Heroine were. Here, it's a mix, strongly balanced toward capitalization in general, equal-ish for forms of "wastelander" specifically.
And there are inconsistencies in stable numbering (e.g. "Stable Twenty-six can’t send us anything this month either" vs. "They attacked Stable 29, where the Applejack’s Rangers have been gathering"). Is that something you want to standardize, and if so, how? One option would be going the original's route, which was to write out all of them except 0 and 101, but that seems like it's be an obnoxious amount to change, and would further hit "99." Another would be to use numerals for everything above 10; or everything above 19 or 20; or everything above 20, excepting multiples of 10. Or something else. Could do numerals for everything, but the prominence of One, Two, and (to a lesser extent) Three in the original might suggest in favor of at least leaving the single digit stables written out.
Other Chapter Editing:

11:
“Yes Ma’am,” Busted Legs muttered.

"Ma'am" shouldn't be capitalized


12:
I reached a door that lead to a winding stairway up.

"led" not "lead"


15:
“Miss!” Big Macintosh rose his voice a touch higher in concern as more ponies started to shove in behind her.

"raised" not "rose", and I don't think "raised his voice" is on its own a speech tag, so there should be a second space after quotation


16:
P-21 shook his head, “When you went rolling away

comma should be period, have second space after


Meanwhile, U-21 here,” he said with an even stare at the brown unicorn, “spent every free minute trying to remind me of everything I wanted to forget. . . .  It was a pretty good lock, but not good enough,” he added with a little smirk.

second quotation is double tagged. since the "added" part is pretty clearly just the last sentence, can't really just split after "unicorn". Simplest solution would be just deleting "he added with a little smirk" or replacing it with a wholly separate sentence about him smirking by the end. Alternatively, you could end the second quotation after "out of it" and move the final tag to between it and the last sentence, something like: . . . you were out of it.” Smirking a little, he added, “It was a . . .”
That one would also have the effect of more directly emphasizing how the last sentence was an addition rather than part of the body of what he was saying.


“Assuming I live that long.”  I added

period should be comma, should have only one space after quotation


“Think we got ‘em?  I sure hope the PipBuck’s intact,” one mare said from outside.

suggest changing this tag from "one mare" to "she" since the paragraph started with her introduced as "a mare" and she's already been talking. If keeping the current tagging, maybe make this a separate paragraph since it's not clear if it's the same speaker?


I had to admit, I never thought body armor could be stylish and effective.

should there be some emphasis on "and", perhaps italicized, or with a "both" before "stylish"?


“Good evening, Madam.

"Madam" shouldn't be capitalized


“Hello, Madam.  What is your chem potion of choice?”

"Madam" shouldn't be capitalized


P-21 lead the way up the stairs as her giggles became hysterical laughter.

"led" not "lead"


I asked, more to save off the fight brewing between the two over my bomb collar.

I believe that should be "stave off"


Yes I am.” I said quickly with a

period should be comma


A treacherous ramp of debris lead up to the hole.

"led" not "lead"


The shag carpet under our hooves squished with every step and a tangy, coppery smell clung to everything.

suggest comma after "step"


I frowned as I pushed and shoved but, aside from squealing with a terrible racket, they weren’t budging.  

comma after "shoved"?


trying to help the enemy!”

shouldn't have closing quotation mark


They don’t even need me at the M.o.I. anymore.”

shouldn't have closing quotation mark


know which is a safer bet. I can’t see the zebras

only one space after period


Once Glory was up, P-21 was next.  Once he’d ascended the slippery slab

suggest changing a "Once" to something else, like "When" or "After"


as I kicked my way up to the top of the exchange building.  

"exchange" should be capitalized


I froze on the slope, wincing at the rounds that bit into my flank as I swapped clips and aimed my carbine as carefully as possible.

maybe change "clips" to "magazines"


and focused on the horizontal plane. I didn’t see how anypony

only one space after period


It’s clear all the way--“

inverted quotation mark


yeah, I was pretty sure it was a her...  head

should have only one space after ellipsis


“What… do you want… sister?” Glory begged the question between her tears.

"sister" should be capitalized


“His poor poor face,” Mini said as she kicked


comma after first "poor"?


18:
“Um… Miss… if it pleases you Miss… may I suggest a rejuvenation potion?

"Miss" shouldn't be capitalized in either case, and comma after "you"


“Not that I’m thinking above my station, Miss!

"Miss" shouldn't be capitalized


Her smile faded a little.  “His room is just down the hall, Miss.”

"Miss" shouldn't be capitalized


21:
“No Ma’am.  I get in accidents a lot.  And fights.”

"Ma'am" shouldn't be capitalized


“I see,” My mother said in resignation.

"My" shouldn't be capitalized


“Same thing that’s happening everywhere, miss…,” an old unicorn mare said

based on the other cases, I think "miss" should be capitalized


Their attack was foiled by a handful of troopers lead by Big Macintosh of Ponyville

"led" not "lead"


And that lead me to another thought

"led" not "lead"


23:
his momma said in a vinegary voice.  She stepped into view, bony and sour-looking, but she still smiled.  “There you go.  Look just like your Daddy.”

I don't think "Daddy" should be capitalized


24:
But this lead to a small office and side room rather than more storage

"led" not "lead"


26:
managed to sneak out a slightly enervated healing potion before I blacked

"enervated" should be capitalized?


“Why?  Is something happening, Sir?”

"Sir" shouldn't be capitalized


27:
The puce pegasus lead me to an office

"led" not "lead"


29:
“Well, that’s not me, Ma’am.  The pony ultimately i

"Ma'am" shouldn't be capitalized


30:
“No Father.  I’m fine.”

comma after "No"


He says they might try and kill you, father.”

"father" should be capitalized


“No, father.  Not yet,” she replied before looking back at him.

"father" should be capitalized


Maybe put her in the H.M.S. Celestia on the moon… that’d keep her safe, right?

"HMS"


31:
“Senior psychologist at the Fluttershy Medical Center,” she said, and then frowned.  “At least… I was.  I think.  Has something happened?  I feel dreadfully out of sorts.”

should that be "psychiatrist" since Ock went to med school and through residency?


“The doctor?  Well… he was a grandfather.  A professional.  Cared for his grandkids.  Didn’t mention a wife… seemed to think he was dreaming or something at first.  And he was a psychologist of some sort,” I said with a smile and a shrug at her baffled look.

should that be "psychiatrist" since Ock went to med school and through residency? (of course, Blackjack mixing it up could also explain it in this case)


33:
We’re scrambling to pull things together, Sir.

"Sir" shouldn't be capitalized


“You’ve been working on your swordplay, brother!”

"brother" should be capitalized


37:
A path, straight as an arrow, lead directly towards the building.

"led" not "lead"


41:
“Die motherfucka!  Die die die!” screamed a ganger

comma after first "Die"


42:
“Uh… Blackjack.  Sixty Nine.  Stable Ninety Nine.  One two three four five six seven eight nine ten,”

this is the only time in the story "Stable Ninety Nine" is used


43:
“Thank you, Sir.  We’re fine.  This is just one

"Sir" shouldn't be capitalized


“Can’t you help, Sir?” he quietly asked Vanity as he fiddled

"Sir" shouldn't be capitalized


“Wake up!  Please wake up, big brother!  Please!

I think "big" and "brother" should be capitalized


44:
“Come on, Ma’am,” the blue pegasus

"Ma'am" shouldn't be capitalized


Which lead to attacks across the Zanzebra Strait.

"led" not "lead"


45:
Um... no offense, Ma’am, but that’s crazy.

"Ma'am" shouldn't be capitalized


That topic lead to the revelation that he could

"led" not "lead"


and this lead to a demonstration followed by a discussion

"led" not "lead"


Then I froze as I stared at the concrete steps that lead up to the main floor.

"led" not "lead"


48:
“Yes, Ma’am.  Let it never be said the

"Ma'am" shouldn't be capitalized


“Is it for the war, Ma’am?” Octavia asked with

"Ma'am" shouldn't be capitalized


Rarity.  “Very well, Ma’am.  I accept.”

"Ma'am" shouldn't be capitalized


“It’s true, Sir,” Blossomforth shouted.  “Six of th

"Sir" shouldn't be capitalized


49:
as I lowered my eyes. “Yes Ma’am,” I murmured.

"Ma'am" shouldn't be capitalized


“Alright Tia.  What’s it this time?

comma after "Alright"


Maybe another protest on the Diamond Dog relocation?”

"Diamond Dog" shouldn't be capitalized


“It is good to see you as well, Dearest Sister,” Princess Celestia said softly and without a hint of sarcasm.  “Have you seen this?”

I don't think "Dearest" should be capitalized


“Yes... I would much... much rather not marry you, dear sister.  Much rather...”

"sister" should be capitalized


55:
Do see that she gets to Father, dear sisters.”  And he turned and quickly trotted away.

should "sisters" be capitalized? I'd guess not. Including for completeness


they are our "servants."  We have given

non-directional quotation marks


"So, tell me about the lightning rods," I asked Glory

non-directional quotation marks


I wondered who the 'Neverenders' had been and how they'd been replaced by the 'Hells Ponies'.

non-directional quotation marks and apostrophe


boldly declared 'Fuck Big Daddy', but that message

non-directional quotation marks


"I don't know the specifics of their operation," Glory replied, looking at me in concern and chewing on a wingtip.  "All I can give you are generalities."  I gave a small nod.  She took a deep breath, then let it out in a huff before going on, "Well, lightning rods were produced at the end of the war. . . . as I understand."

non-directional quotation marks


I'm not sure how many are left abroad.

non-directional apostrophe


"How do they find their targets?" I asked as we

non-directional quotation marks


"Blackjack, are you sure..." Glory began, n

non-directional quotation marks


"I'm sure," I answered, frowning as

non-directional quotation marks and apostrophe


"Well, Dusk would know . . . and sends a fire command."  

non-directional quotation marks


"I think it used to be completely automated, but . . . they disabled that."

non-directional quotation marks


"What counts as a magical energy source?"

non-directional quotation marks


"A spark battery?  A missile?" Glory suggested.

non-directional quotation marks


"Maybe even a charged gem cartridge? . . .  constant observation of the ground."

non-directional quotation marks


"Have you ever heard of surfacers reaching the Enclave?"

non-directional quotation marks


She'd been cross ever since the fight with the Legate.

non-directional apostrophe


‘big bad freakily familiar fucker’, or BBFFF for short.  "Every now and then you hear stories about somepony slapping together a hot air balloon or something."

non-directional quotation marks


"No.  Patrols usually find those."

non-directional quotation marks


"It doesn't end well for them, I’m told.  Something about giving surfacer ponies ‘flying lessons’."

non-directional (double) quotation marks and (first) apostrophe


"Of course," Rampage muttered.  “Why are we saving these assholes from eating each other, again?”

non-directional quotation marks


"In any case, Blackjack, . . . as a power source."

non-directional quotation marks


"So just unplug me?"

non-directional quotation marks


pretty sure she--“ the pegasus began,

inverted quotation mark


"Blackjack, we can't just deactivate you!  Those systems control your heartbeat and respiration."

non-directional quotation marks and apostrophe


"Okay..." I said slowly as I thought it out.  "So... what if . . . make me the Wasteland's biggest paperweight?  Would that work?"

non-directional quotation marks and apostrophe


"It... might?" she finished

non-directional quotation marks


"But you don't have to do this, Blackjack!  Thunderhead's problems aren't yours, and you already have enough problems that are."

non-directional quotation marks and apostrophes


"Right.  Between Dawn and that striped motherfucker, I'd say your plate is pretty full,"

non-directional quotation marks and apostrophe


"No," I replied, glarin

non-directional quotation marks


"Maybe Twister will reach help in time. . . . Maybe it doesn't. . . . I don't have . . . the Wasteland."

non-directional quotation marks and apostrophes


"But what if Lighthooves is right and the Neighvarro back down?"

non-directional quotation marks


"Then Thunderhead wins. . . . technological might of Thunderhead."

non-directional quotation marks


I put a hoof across Glory's shoulders

non-directional apostrophe


"Do you think they'll fold like that?"

non-directional quotation marks


"No. . . . They'll fight.  Wage one final massive battle."

non-directional quotation marks and apostrophe


"Lighthooves is betting that

non-directional quotation mark


won't risk it.  He's probably

non-directional apostrophes


"But I saw . . . the possibility of the bioweapon."

non-directional quotation marks


"Did that bullet knock some extra smarts into your brain, Blackjack?"

non-directional quotation marks


"Hush," P-21 said with a small smile.  "So what's your plan?  I assume it will involve running for our lives at some point?"

non-directional quotation marks and apostrophe


"My plan?"  I frowned at him a moment.  "Getting to Thunderhead, meeting with Honored Councilor Stargazer, and having her put the brakes on this crazy train."

non-directional quotation marks


"And if she can’t or won’t?"

non-directional quotation marks


"We bust into Shadowbolt Tower and destroy the plague ourselves,"

non-directional quotation marks


no idea how we'd accomplish

non-directional apostrophe


"We give them Lighthooves as a rogue element and remove the excuse for an attack.  And if they attack anyway, we stop them."

non-directional quotation marks


"Only you could say something like that with utter sincerity and still have it actually sound possible."

non-directional quotation marks


"Oh, I don't know.  I'm pretty sure . . . run for their money."

non-directional quotation marks and apostrophes


56:
And yet... he didn’t fight as the father I knew.  You should have been broken!  And when you were ready to slay him... I couldn’t take it.  And yet... when I tried to kill you... He was not the father I knew.

should "father" in these cases be capitalized?


57:
That lead me up stairs and to a balcony overlooking

"led" not "lead"


59:
“I can vouch for her, Ma’am,” Twister said respectfully.  The general gave the mare a long stare, and she drew herself more rigid.  “Sorry, Ma’am…”

"Ma'am" shouldn't be capitalized


The general’s eyes locked on him, and he coughed.  “Sorry, Ma’am.”

"Ma'am" shouldn't be capitalized


drain out of the room.  “Thank you, Ma’am,” Twister blurted.

"Ma'am" shouldn't be capitalized


“No, that’s not it, Ma’am,” Twister replied.

"Ma'am" shouldn't be capitalized


“We’ll be leaving.  Come along, sister.

"sister" should be capitalized


60:
Wait!”  I snapped, interrupting him.

should have only one space after quotation


“Contrary to what you might think, brother, the real world doesn’t align itself neatly into

"brother" should be captalized


63:
“Which natives are those, brother?” Grace said as she

"brother" should be capitalized


“That’s why you can’t heal, daddy.  You have Enervation rings inside you.”

"daddy" should be capitalized


67:
“Rest a moment, sister.  I will hold it for now.”

"sister" should be capitalized


“Could you help me please, dearest sister?”  Luna said as her horn glowed.

"sister" should be capitalized


69:
“Dogs dig, and fast.  Riverside gone, but Sand Dogs still here.”

"Sand Dogs" shouldn't be capitalized


72:
one plunging straight into a abyssal crevasse of deep

"an abyssal"


75.2
To his credit, he recovered in a summersault and launched himself right at Sekashi.

"somersault" (this spelling was only used once)


They’re not worth your life, sister.

"sister" should be capitalized


“Goodbye, sister.  Do try not to die.  I am rather fond of you...”

"sister" should be capitalized


“Goodbye, brother.  I hope you have a good life in Tenpony.  I don’t think you should return.”

"brother" should be capitalized


“Goodbye again, brother.  Do give my love to Charm,”

"brother" should be capitalized


“Poor brother.  You always had to be so damned noble.”

should "brother" be capitalized?
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Thu Jun 11, 2015 6:37 am

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

Icy Shake wrote:Do you care particularly about the capitalization of "Princess," and if so, how would you want that to work? The same way as any other rank or title, like "General" or "Prince," or should cases related to alicorn princesses be different?
"Princess" as a normal, mortal, and secular title is treated as, well, a normal title. "Princess" as in "the Princesses" (meaning Celestia and Luna, if that wasn't clear) is capitalized.

Icy Shake wrote:Similarly, "wasteland" and "wastelander" or similar forms. For FoE, they weren't, but the Equestrian Wasteland and things like Wasteland Crusaders and Wasteland Heroine were. Here, it's a mix, strongly balanced toward capitalization in general, equal-ish for forms of "wastelander" specifically.
"Wasteland" is capitalized when it it's referring to the Wasteland as world with its own rules or when it's short for "Equestrian Wasteland" or the like to describe a geographic area.
"Wastelander"... that I'm afraid I'm not sure about, sorry. Someone from a wasteland, someone from a Wasteland, someone of the Wasteland... It could go either way. Thoughts?

Icy Shake wrote:And there are inconsistencies in stable numbering
Hm... Tricky, yeah... I like your idea of leaving the low numbers written out, though; thanks. Cutting off... At the end of the teens? And I suppose writing out the multiples of ten, too, since that resolves the "Nineteen or Twenty?" question. That sound good?

Icy Shake wrote:I don't think "Dearest" should be capitalized
I've made both changes, but why "Big Brother" but "dearest Sister", if I may ask?

What on Equus happened to the quotation marks and apostrophes at the beginning of 55?

Icy Shake wrote:should "father" in these cases be capitalized?
I don't think so. Why?

Whew. My, that was a rather long Other Chapter Editing, yes.

Icy shake wrote:heavy repetition of "as if", not helped by the other three uses of "as" in the middle sentence and one in the first. Maybe change one or more? Ex, 1st or 3rd to "as though", or 2nd to "like Tenebra in an epileptic fit". Maybe also "flopping as I" to "flopping while I"?
It's now
“No!” Rampage sobbed as she released me and fell on her side, clutching her head and writhing as though in physical pain. I scrambled back as quickly as I could, flopping while I watched the armored mare flail like Tenebra in the midst of an epileptic fit. Her claws raked at her head as if trying to physically scrape

Icy Shake wrote:Color mismatch on Doc Comet
Hm... Right, I'll change the "white stallion"s to "pale pink stallion"s.

Icy Shake wrote:since it sounds like she's proposing the title, should that be in title case: "Dumb Patients Fighting When They Shouldn't"?
Just caplitalized, or are the quotes included?

Icy Shake wrote:also iffy on "hooves" for who I assume is Capricorn
Hm. I'll use "hoof flipper things".

Icy Shake wrote:question: is there something autocorrecting as well as Echo, or did P-21 in the course of this conversation realize that it was someone else making the corrections to the FADE fields, not part of the programming?
I do not know, I am afraid. Somber?

Icy Shake wrote:Less than normal gravity is fun.
No, this area has 1g.
Chapter 72 wrote: I pushed it open and carefully poked my head through; on the other side was a corridor with, right in front of the door, a stretch painted with caution stripes. Signs warned of 'Caution: Weight Increase' and 'Caution: Weight Decrease' with arrows pointing in opposite directions, however that worked, but there was no sign of anything or anyone hostile. I crept out as silently as I was able and made my way down the hall, my weight indeed increasing back to what I was used to on Equus from one end of the caution-painted area to the other.

Icy Shake wrote:And of course moon dust has its effects which are probably not the most desired right now.
In some universes, the moon is made of cheese. Here, it's made of drugs.
...
And now I'm wondering if it would be profitable to ship them back, providing a motive for lunar mining operations...

Icy Shake wrote:I'm disappointed with whoever designed that system, and the fact that it didn't trigger when the cracking started.
It's wartime Equestrian engineering, and the safety system exists and still works. That's not good enough for you? :)

Icy Shake wrote:The physical properties of the draconequus and its derivatives primarily consist of because fuck you, that's why.
:)

Icy Shake wrote:I suggest "* swoon", with * a two-syllable modifier, preferably a trochee. "Fucking" would work.
:)
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by ILM126 on Thu Jun 11, 2015 1:24 pm

Alright, came back to check on story. Sees some stuff that suggests a new chapter. Goes to Google Doc, pages loads and it appears to be quite busy.
Scrolls down, finds now new chapter.....
What's causing all that traffic then?
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by StormyDasherGames on Thu Jun 11, 2015 2:46 pm

Luna Hmm....I wonder if somber will put it on fimfiction....
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Derpmind on Thu Jun 11, 2015 5:40 pm

Icy Shake wrote:Anyway, 73 reminded me of this from way back:
Chapter 24 wrote:“Do you know the Stable Dweller too?” I said with a small grin.

There was a pause.  “Um… yeah.”

“What’s she like?” I asked as I carefully added the mod.  I didn’t want my gun blowing up later because I’d screwed the thing on wrong.

“Well… ah… Blackjack?  You mean you don’t know who she is?”

“Well, no.  It’s not like she gets out east a lot,” I said with a small huff of annoyance.  “I like to imagine her as some big, tough, take-no-shit kind of mare.  Sorta like… did you know Big Macintosh?  You knew Applejack, so you must have…” I said as I wandered into a small medical bay.  Oooh... spare Buck, magical bandages... and dusty but still beautifully lustrous purple healing potions that would really heal!  Goddesses, I hated Enervation.  “That.  That’s what I imagine she’s like.  Big and tough and strong and doesn’t let anything cross her.  She probably dual wields miniguns with missile launchers strapped to them.”  I brightened as I grinned.  “She’s probably got some kind of power armor too.  Like magical super heavy plate that blasts lightning from her horn.  And flies!”  There was a prolonged silence from the little machine.  “Spike?”  I frowned.  From somewhere deep inside the mountain, I thought I heard laughter echoing down the halls.
So, is it just me, or does that sound a lot like Cogjack?

*Cough*:

Source. (I disagree. Cogjack's nowhere near that.)
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by swicked on Thu Jun 11, 2015 7:21 pm

StormyDasherGames wrote:Luna Hmm....I wonder if somber will put it on fimfiction....
Dude, your sig is too big.
I am changing it into links.

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by SilentCarto on Fri Jun 12, 2015 8:36 am

FeatherDust wrote:But maybe more important even than just being inspiring.  Song is an aspect of Harmony, and so anathema to the Eater.  I kind of think a shared musical number is the common pony's small way of tapping into the power of the Elements.

In fact, speaking of which, there was a weird moment when Whisper fell after being shot.  She was surrounded by Brood, and:
"Shhh," the Brood said as one... except for a few who wore strange, confused frowns as they watched the scene.

The Brood are a lot of things, but confused is not one of them.  It's almost like the song was screwing with their control signals or something!
Or possibly they've grown enough of a soul to be touched by it, yeah. Very interesting.

I was listening to the Rainbow Rocks soundtrack yesterday, and I came up with a threory that it was the involvement of Equestrians -- Twilight, then Sunset Shimmer -- that allowed them to synchronize songs like that without any setup or planning.

Somber wrote:There was a little wrinkle.  Some 4chan folk thought that I was going to turn the panel into a Somber is the greatest pony and Horizons is the best fic ever panel
I... what... don't even.... Did they just fall into our universe through a magic mirror or something?!

Somber wrote:I was in a private meeting with Jay Thessiens and Jim Miller, directors of MLP, and there was a schedual conflict.
At this point, I could write all kinds of conspiracy theories about an FOE movie being in the works.

Somber wrote:Oh!  The meeting with the directors was very instructive.
A likely story!

Icy Shake wrote:But then, the whole ten years later part was just, well, unnecessary. And let's not forget that unless you'd go against the show by not having an even mix of the three pony races, you'd need only earth ponies for the remaining two, including Magic.
Well, I'm actually okay with having an earth pony for Magic, thanks to the aforementioned Celestia referring to its virtue as Leadership.

We've only ever seen a unicorn (or alicorn) directing the Elements, but the Elements aren't specialized to unicorn magic; it's only thanks to Tirek we have absolute canon confirmation that magic is in all ponies, not just unicorns. Unicorns are simply used to dealing with magic by projecting it as spells, so maybe Celestia and Twilight just instinctively shaped the Elements' power output in that way. I could see other possibilities. Considering that the Elements reshaped into (apparently functional) technological devices after being used to power yet another technological device, I could buy an earth pony who used technology and computers to harness and direct their effects. (Need to blast a baddie? "Hang on, I've got a beam pistol here, just need to switch over the power feeds and reinforce the chamber...")

It seems to me, also, that an earth pony would be particularly suited to dumping that energy into the land when the big challenge is cleaning up and revitalizing the natural world. It would be interesting to see the new Bearers traveling around, establishing little super-fertile zones to kickstart agriculture.

Maybe with a pegasus in charge, you'd see a lot of rainbow lightning bolts and healing rains and wide-area weather control.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by SilentCarto on Fri Jun 12, 2015 8:58 am

O. Hinds wrote:"Princess" as a normal, mortal, and secular title is treated as, well, a normal title. "Princess" as in "the Princesses" (meaning Celestia and Luna, if that wasn't clear) is capitalized.
So basically the same way you capitalize "God" when talking about the Judeo-Christian deity, but not when talking about the Greek god Zeus.

O. Hinds wrote:"Wastelander"... that I'm afraid I'm not sure about, sorry.  Someone from a wasteland, someone from a Wasteland, someone of the Wasteland...  It could go either way.  Thoughts?
It can go either way. It depends on whether you're using "wastelander" in the same sense as "urbanite" (one who is skilled at surviving in wasteland areas) or in the same sense as "American" (a resident of the Equestrian Wasteland). So it would be a "Wastelander" when compared to an Enclave pony or Remnant zebra, but a "wastelander" when compared to a farmer, serf, or resident of Tenpony Tower.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Fri Jun 12, 2015 9:01 am

SilentCarto wrote:So basically the same way you capitalize "God" when talking about the Judeo-Christian deity, but not when talking about the Greek god Zeus.
That sort of thing, yes.

SilentCarto wrote:It can go either way. It depends on whether you're using "wastelander" in the same sense as "urbanite" (one who is skilled at surviving in wasteland areas) or in the same sense as "American" (a resident of the Equestrian Wasteland). So it would be a "Wastelander" when compared to an Enclave pony or Remnant zebra, but a "wastelander" when compared to a farmer, serf, or resident of Tenpony Tower.
Ah, thanks.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:30 pm

For those interested in EFNW things, here's the Fallout Equestria Side Stories panel audio. Sadly, as far as I know the recording from the Fallout Equestria panel (the one Somber and Heartshine were on) still hasn't shown up anywhere.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Somber on Wed Jun 17, 2015 11:01 am

Some one in Reddit said they knew who took the video though.  I contacted his tumblr but haven't gotten a reply yet.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Tacoman587 on Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:40 pm

The quest for the mysterious EFNW audio recording continues. But who was this strange hero who recorded it all? Find out next week on the PH discussion thread!
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Somber on Wed Jun 17, 2015 2:05 pm

A recording has surfaced!  Thanks to pencil guy http://itspencilguy.tumblr.com/ here is a camera recording of most of the panel!  Now you can all hear how much I suck butt!  http://www.dailymotion.com/daviddavidson177  Also, thanks to this guy for making the recording in the first place.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Tacoman587 on Wed Jun 17, 2015 5:07 pm

I listened to it and it was pretty sweet, although half way through I was wondering if we were going to see more than Somber's right arm, hehe. Thanks for doing the panel Somber and for finding that guy's recording! Also, thanks to that guy who did it if he ever sees this. 

Now we just need Somber to come to Canada for a panel or two....
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Wed Jun 17, 2015 5:45 pm

You can even see the camera I saw when I was there on its tripod. What happened to that recording, I wonder? Still, this is certainly better than nothing, I think.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Thu Jun 18, 2015 12:17 am

Derpmind wrote:
Icy Shake wrote:Anyway, 73 reminded me of this from way back:
Chapter 24 wrote:“Do you know the Stable Dweller too?” I said with a small grin.

There was a pause.  “Um… yeah.”

“What’s she like?” I asked as I carefully added the mod.  I didn’t want my gun blowing up later because I’d screwed the thing on wrong.

“Well… ah… Blackjack?  You mean you don’t know who she is?”

“Well, no.  It’s not like she gets out east a lot,” I said with a small huff of annoyance.  “I like to imagine her as some big, tough, take-no-shit kind of mare.  Sorta like… did you know Big Macintosh?  You knew Applejack, so you must have…” I said as I wandered into a small medical bay.  Oooh... spare Buck, magical bandages... and dusty but still beautifully lustrous purple healing potions that would really heal!  Goddesses, I hated Enervation.  “That.  That’s what I imagine she’s like.  Big and tough and strong and doesn’t let anything cross her.  She probably dual wields miniguns with missile launchers strapped to them.”  I brightened as I grinned.  “She’s probably got some kind of power armor too.  Like magical super heavy plate that blasts lightning from her horn.  And flies!”  There was a prolonged silence from the little machine.  “Spike?”  I frowned.  From somewhere deep inside the mountain, I thought I heard laughter echoing down the halls.
So, is it just me, or does that sound a lot like Cogjack?

*Cough*:

Source. (I disagree. Cogjack's nowhere near that.)
Fun, and I certainly love the picture, but it's not really what's described, more of an exaggeration for effect. In contrast, chapter 65 suggests Cogjack may have grown larger following the addition of Luna's soul, and Cognitum used lightning from her horn to intimidate the people there at the time. Power armor, check. Flies. Shot down both Big Daddy and Rampage when they stood against her. The big difference is that she uses energy-based guns mounted to floating pods. And she seems to have changed from lightning to rays between 65 and 73 or 74.

O. Hinds wrote:
Icy Shake wrote:And there are inconsistencies in stable numbering
Hm...  Tricky, yeah...  I like your idea of leaving the low numbers written out, though; thanks.  Cutting off...  At the end of the teens?  And I suppose writing out the multiples of ten, too, since that resolves the "Nineteen or Twenty?" question.  That sound good?
I'm fine with that.

O. Hinds wrote:
Icy Shake wrote:I don't think "Dearest" should be capitalized
I've made both changes, but why "Big Brother" but "dearest Sister", if I may ask?
That one's basically a gut check related to my perception of how closely bound the modifier is.

O. Hinds wrote:What on Equus happened to the quotation marks and apostrophes at the beginning of 55?
My best guess would be either pasting in large amounts from another program or extensive editing of existing text which moved or added new quotation marks but add new spaces or punctuation. But I really don't know.

O. Hinds wrote:
Icy Shake wrote:since it sounds like she's proposing the title, should that be in title case: "Dumb Patients Fighting When They Shouldn't"?
Just caplitalized, or are the quotes included?
Just capitalized, since generally speaking titles haven't included punctuation or formatting.

O. Hinds wrote:
Icy Shake wrote:I'm disappointed with whoever designed that system, and the fact that it didn't trigger when the cracking started.
It's wartime Equestrian engineering, and the safety system exists and still works.  That's not good enough for you?  :)
If I were confident that it had been well designed and simply failed due to the passage of time, then sure. But given wartime Equestrian engineering and the longevity of things in the setting, it's quite likely that reacting before catastrophic failure occurs wasn't designed in at all. Which wouldn't be good enough for me, no.

Chapter Seventy Four Running Thoughts:
There was a certain point somewhere in my life where reality and my expectations of it diverged sharply and never really realigned after.

Conveniently I think mere hours, if that, after the story started. Funny how that works.
. . . Yeah, really not seeing your life realign very close to what your expectations would have been even before those things you list.


“Look, Tom, I hate to tell you, but we’re a little occupied right now.  I’m trying to save my world from your moonstone annihilating the Eater.  Sorry.”

Hey, I get you're busy and all, but you've got to understand, he's been pretty unoccupied for the last couple hundred years. That kind of thing will change your perspective.


“Charity?” Scotch said.  “What are you doing here?”
   “Charity?” Rampage asked with a frown.  “That’s Big Daddy!”
   I sighed and rubbed my face with my hooves.  “This is all in our heads,” I groaned, then regarded Tom flatly.

"Look guys, I know how this sort of thing goes. Just roll with it."


I looked over at P-21, who seemed a little troubled.  “Who do you see?”  
   He looked over at Scotch Tape, then at Tom.  “Somepony… who helped me…”

Oddly vague. Makes me think it might be Blackjack, since she fits the bill (could be Glory, or maybe someone Blackjack killed, but the latter doesn't fit as well, because why hide it?) (Okay, based on Blackjack's thing about it not being someone they love, maybe not. But she could be wrong. And who says Rampage doesn't love Big Daddy and Scotch doesn't love Charity?)


I can only speculate that the malfunction of the divinatory device resulted in this gestalt.”  He arched a brow at me.  “Or did you do this intentionally?”

Yeah, that's a good one.

Rampage burst out laughing and snorting.  “Blackjack!  Doing something like this?  On purpose?  Hah!”  The three of us stared at her flatly as her laughter faded.  “What?  I’m just saying you usually do cool stuff on accident and mess up if you…”  She trailed off, then said sulkily, “Well, I thought it was funny.”

Hey, I agree, but the timing could have been a lot better. I have the luxury of not being caught up in all this.


“That is why Horizons must fire and the Eater must die,” Tom said simply, his hooves still clasped before him and a sad smile on his face.

Makes me think of, say, the Civilization franchise. The perspective of the player is so fundamentally different from what any of the people in the world would see that there's just no comparison.


Then we heard the singing of the stars.  One note, then a second.  A third.  A dozen.  A hundred.  A thousand.  Countless voices and melodies resonating from the universe around us.  The familiarity and beauty tugged at my heart and drew tears to my eyes.

Like her remembering it here. Seems a little like Scotch still having the emotions associated with the mecanical abomination even after the memory was removed.


The moon and sun drifted closer and closer to the rock, the former crashing in a momentary firework of light and energy, then darkening to nothing.  Finally the sun itself smashed into the world in one last flaming burst of defiance.  

Strongly stressing the tiny nature of the sun and moon here.


“Indeed.  The Eater encourages technology that leads to replacing flesh with machinery, merging minds, and greater strife.”  The scene abruptly changed to a strange, exotic land, a battered city of cracked and patched minarets surrounded by a sandy desert.  Row after row of augmented alicorns and pegasi flew in precise formation, strafing the equine defenders on the wall, while dark earth pony and hellhound phalanxes marched in neat regiments below, approaching with relentless might from all directions.

Thinking a bit of Our Town here.


As more and more organic systems are replaced by predictable, regulated systems, the individual becomes an ever simpler equation.”  He leveled his eyes at me, smiling paternally.  “You may note that I’m having this conversation with you four and not with Cognitum herself.  It would be futile.”
   “So, you think we’re going to let Horizons fire?”

Of course, this isn't a great example, because organic Blackjack's response was entirely predictable.


The scream built and rose, and with it the blue glow disappeared entirely, and a thing… a horrible silvery thing bathed in a green aura... rose from the earth.  I didn’t know if it was flesh or metal or some horrible alloy of the two, and I didn’t want to know.  I just knew that it was wrong, and the very existence of such a thing ripped at my sanity.  I could only pray that Tom wasn’t giving this vivid a vision to my friends.  Scotch Tape had clenched her eyes shut, and P-21 closed his as well as he embraced her.  Rampage looked on, but her face was a mask of horror.
   Then darkness.  Merciful darkness.

Going with the scarier if you don't show the monster route, I see. Fine choice, especially with the lead in of already killing almost everything and sucking in their souls.


I knew… I just knew… if she were here, then she could figure out some solution.  Find some way to make it all make sense!  It was too big.  Too much.  Too much for anypony.  I wanted her here.  Wanted her to hold me.

Starting out well, if not ideal, but quickly falls into exactly Glory's big complaint: Blackjack needed her for moral support, not so much in practical matters.


But Blackjack doesn’t know what the future will bring.  She does what she feels is right, even when it’s the wrong thing to do.  She learns from her mistakes, sure, but she never thinks she knows the only way.

Best case in point might be the choice at the Society.


P-21 held Scotch Tape to his chest protectively.  “If you think I’m ever going to just let my daughter die, then you’re deluded at best and evil at worst.  I don’t care if we do get to spend eternity floating as souls or spirits or whatever.  I want that chance to be a father.  To have a family.  And I won’t rob thousands of others in the Wasteland of that chance, either.”

So, problem here is the stumble at the beginning. Tom was very specifically not asking any of them to die. They all got to live on the moon. No, he was asking them to accept something more akin to exile, at least on the personal level. Bringing it around to all the others at the end helps, but doesn't really cover the whole thing.
Now, if he'd instead said something about his daughter's life, that could have been been in reference to her new life outside of Stable 99, since forcing an effective return to (a much improved, but with none of the people she used to know) Stable 99 in the form of the Astrostable would be effectively killing that. And it could still be a good argument, and definitely one with strong emotional content (possibly even stronger than simply her death, depending on your point of view and how the details worked out). But it wasn't the one he made. Also it wouldn't transition as well into the point about everyone else.


“But… but the lives of billions… trillions… numbers beyond your reckoning are at risk!  Your life, and your own babies… the lives of the few cannot equal the lives of so many.”

One death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic. Gotta know your audience, Tom, and this won't play with the one you've chosen.


We’d live with the Eater, deny it whatever we could, and perhaps someday find some way to deal with it safely.  We could do it.  Ponies and zebras and griffins and… everyone.  We could make the world better.

And minotaurs . . . and rocks.


“I told you,” Discord said with a grin.  “Sometimes these ‘mere mortals’ can accomplish truly staggering feats.  They would even have redeemed me if those haybrains had stuck to the script!”

Hmmmmm. Not sure that was the script that could redeem him . . . and I bet there were better potential ones.


“I would pass on.  To what, or where, I do not know.  Perhaps I would return to the beyond to shine again, or remain within this sphere, or proceed to some other destiny.”  He gave her a gentle smile.  “Do not fear for me, young one,” he continued with a wave of his hoof.  “One way or another, I will endure.”

Could just be coincidental word choice, but I like that the giant cut stone named for her used her stat.


I wished Glory was here, if not to help in the fight, then to think of a solution for if… no.

Again . . . same impulses that alienated her. And I get it, but it's a case where remembering "it's not all about you" ends up meaning it works out better for Blackjack as well.


“Hey, Princess Fuckslut!  I’m still alive down here!” I shouted into my broadcaster, transmitting on as many frequencies as I could.

Ah, eloquence. It should be noted that this is one of those instances where the insult is probably worse for the recipient than the one dishing it out. Blackjack has largely owned "slut" for a while now; in contrast, I've gathered that Cognitum has never really gotten over that her old body was or had been a creep's sex toy (and she may have been in it at times when he was using it? timing isn't the clearest).


“Blackjack,” my broadcaster crackled.  “Your impudence is pathetic.  Your obscenities betray your utter futility.  Do you really think I’ll succumb to petty insults when I’m so close to my triumph?”

Yes. And it should be noted that you've just spent time replying to it.


“I’ve changed my mind,” she stated primly.  “About you surviving, that is.  Get down there and kill her.  Now.”

Wow. You stuck to that for so long. You sure can't be goaded. Nope. Not you.


The other was an earth pony mare with a strange long, slim, single-edged sword gripped in her jaws and her mane tied in a topknot.

Suggests to me that the starmetal sword was something like a cavalry saber or backsword, less likely to resemble a katana.


Sexy roared my frustration as he took cover behind a vertical beam, and then a second later his guns appeared to either side of the beam and fired back at me with way more precision and luck than any blind-firing unicorn deserved.

just to be clear, of course, it's still likely less than you've had at times


Two more minutes, Blackjack. P-21 promised.  Soon as I can get Sniper to step on a mine, I’ll be there.

now that's an interesting thing: seems P-21 also names people based on what they're using. Or Blackjack did it already and he adopted it for simplicity.


“Shoulda known better.  Any job that has you going to the moon is no good.”  I should blow her brains out when she turns away… but… fuck.  I’m in over my head here.  I’ll never get back to Dise at this rate.  “Couldn’t say no to that much money though.”

Remember--you're not just doing it for money. You're doing it for a shitload of money!


Rampage? I thought as we started back towards the ring platform around Tom.
   I still haven’t gotten her.  I think she’s down to her last missile, though.  I’ve gone through way too many legs with this cunt.  Rampage paused.  What do you mean you hope I give her a choice to give up!  That’s your bag, Blackjack.  I got four ponies in me telling me she’s going down!
   I didn’t think it!  Did I?  Ok, if I did, I didn’t intend too.  Just do what you have to and meet up.

I like this. Fun touch, and a good choice for introducing the non-intentional broadcast.


Then she reared back her head and smashed her forehead into the unicorn’s until, on the third impact, the unicorn’s horn broke off.  Perhaps that would have been an ideal time for Rampage to stop, as the unicorn shrieked and her magic disappeared, sending her missile launcher clattering down into the wreckage below.

Lots of going after the horn from her lately.


“You still want to die?” P-21 asked with a frown.
   “I just smashed a mare to death with my face.  What do you think?” Rampage said

You could try . . . not doing that. Not saying that's the only alternative, but it's one you could consider.


I glanced down and saw Bastard, taking cover behind a broken fold of steel, send another grenade aloft, but a beam from Cognitum detonated the apple before it reached the remaining drones.  Then another.  When Cognitum blew the third out of the air, he snapped, “Damn it!  Those are a hundred caps each!”

Dude, some perspective. That's 1/10,000 of the prepayment you got from Cognitum.


I wondered how Rampage of all ponies was going to help me all the way up here.  And then an enormous wagon-sized chunk of metal scrap came flying through the air straight at us.

Having friends with super strength is nice.


“Is he dead?” Rainbow Dash asked tersely.
   “Yeah,” Silver said.  “Even we die when our heads get cut off.”  The augmented mare was missing a foreleg, and both her wings were shattered.  “Damn it…” she said as she regarded the two dead Enclave cyberponies she’d formed a trio with.  “I was going to try and get that Morningstar guy to grow him a new penis… or a new body… or something.

Sadly, he was outlived by his running gag.


One by itself might not have been a problem, but twenty within three seconds were enough to make her focus on defense once more.  It also had the added effect of launching me away from that incinerating magic and towards one of the shimmering magical fields.

Lucky it didn't also send you spinning like a top.


With the real Luna's soul empowering her, she might not need to chow down on gems constantly, but she still had to manage her power.

Depends on the output difference between a more than building sized super shield and what Cognitum is doing. Alternative explanations range from Luna's soul being weakened by its centuries of torture, effects related to soul jar creation, or lossiness due to mind/soul compatability problems.


“You’re a nut!” Scotch Tape screamed up at her.  “Luna doesn’t mean fire, you ditz!  You can’t even get her powers right!”  I could have cheered, but I was too busy sliding downwards along the crackling surface of the shield.

Agree, but that's dependent on whether she heard (or telepathically received) when Blackjack said the same thing.


The slab of metal, still glowing with Cognitum’s magic, shifted to the side, and I saw Rampage’s striped form standing over Scotch, her legs straining against the impossible weight as only an earth pony could.

Somehow I don't think the relevant factor is that she's an earth pony. Which is only brought out even more due to Scotch also being an earth pony.


Then Cognitum smiled as she drew me closer.  Her magic pulled Sexy from me and, with a flare, scrapped the weapon.  Oh, come on, I thought plaintively.

And so she kills a character far more beloved than she ever has been or will be. :(


“Now, which one first?”  Rampage brightened and raised her hoof but the crushing magical grip silenced her as well.  “Not.  You,” Cognitum declared firmly.  “If I have anything to say about it, you’ll live out the rest of time wandering lost and blind on this wretched ball of rock.

Okay, so maybe Rampage was right about her consistency issues. Because on that point at least she's been bouncing around like a pinball.
Also, fuck, man.


Rampage can be entombed alive here, and the traitors can return with me as witnesses that I am the greatest princess of all time!”

Still can't decide what to do with Rampage, huh?


How to make this hurt Blackjack the most?  Burn him alive now?  He was her little fuck pet, rutting her every second they could.  So obscene!

You know, at first just now I thought that it was only with the added context of chapter 75 that this was shown to be an inconsistency with Luna's character, but then I remembered how in an earlier conversation with Luna's soul Luna had indicated she wasn't as prudish as Celestia, night was a time for lovers, and, of course, there was the memory of Goldenblood's dream.


“Yeah,” he said, then lowered his face into the cowpony hat.  For a moment his face was completely hidden inside it.  Then he withdrew it and smirked at us.
   And dangling from his lips were a half dozen metal stems.
   The detonation was like a lightning storm as six spark grenades went off in unison.  I felt my mane stand on end and tasted batteries as the crackling disruptive magic washed over us.  Even for me, in an entirely organic body, it was disorienting this close.
   And Cognitum was much closer.

P-21. Makes shit happen.


“Where’s P-21?” I shouted and thought at once.  Then I grew more alarmed as I looked around and didn’t see him.  I struggled for several seconds, before looking over the edge and trying to find a tiny blue form.  Again, nothing.  Then I spotted P-21’s black hat dangling from a broken spur of metal.  I picked my way over to it, the structure groaning under my hooves as I made my way to it and scooped it up in my hooves.

On the one hand, I get it. I do. On the other, getting everything you need to with Cognitum is a little bit more important, not least because saving P-21 and letting Cognitum recover is pretty much the same as not saving P-21 at all and letting her recover.


“How long till it goes off?” I asked the sallow yellow stallion.
   “I have no idea!  Your fight has thrown every sensor in this place for a loop,” he shouted.  “If we could keep it up for fifteen minutes or so, it might miss the Core completely.  Be a bad day in the Highlands, but...” he shrugged

Well, isn't that the attitude about the highlands almost everyone took all the time?


“You don’t know a healing spell?  What kind of unicorn are you?” he replied skeptically, trotting over to P-21 and setting his horn alight.  It wasn’t as impressive as a medical pony could have done, but it stopped the bleeding and repaired most of the scratches and holes.
   I narrowed my eyes at him.  “You know, once upon a time, unicorns only had a few spells related to their magic talent.”

And then the writers decided to forget that ever happened.


I kept smacking Cognitum with the bar while Rampage, Bastard, and Scotch kept her thrashing, half-disassembled body pinned in place.  “You’ll die!  All of you will die!  Die die die!  I hate you all!  Hate hate hate!”

Seems like some reversion to hear earlier . . . personality.


It had been changed on a fundamental level, and I did not belong here any longer.  My mind was a square peg trying to fit into a round soul.

This pun is so much better than it should be.


“I am eternal.  I am the night!  I am forever!” she declared imperiously, and redundantly.

Ooh, going for where it hurts: the form of her rhetoric.


“Fool!  Did you not hear what I said?  To deceive.  To control.  I wished to dominate all the world!  You cannot understand the burdens of such a choice!” she declared boldly, but I could smell a whiff of bullshit coming from her.  Monsters never talked about their crimes or burdens.

Uh . . . haven't they? Or is the point that almost nobody she's talked to turned out to be a monster in the end?


“I know you’re a good pony, Luna.  Even if you don’t think you are.”  Visions of Psalm in the orphanage appeared beside us, like silent films.  Of Goldenblood lying in his hospital bed.  Of Luna helping foals with their nightmares.
   Luna smiled and wiped her tears away.  “And I know you’re a good pony too, Blackjack.”  And now on our other side were images of me saving Scotch Tape from 99, fighting to protect Chapel from Dawn and Deus, and fighting Cognitum in the Lunar Palace.  “Even if you don’t think you are.”  She sighed, and all the images and shadows faded away.  The ground around us began to glow as if we were standing in a pool of starry moonlight.  “So... what do we do now?”  We touched horns and brows, and both of us gave sad smiles to the other.

I don't quite know why, but this reminds me of the scene leading up to Lacunae releasing the alicorns' memories.


It ran from my rump all the way up my spine to my shoulders, where a crescent moon decorated the chestpiece.  Atop my head sat a simple crown.  And then...
   I blinked.

Like how that was done.


“She’s got feathers.  Does that mean... what does that mean?” Rampage asked as she scowled at my wings.  “Damn it, Blackjack, you’re not allowed to get any weirder!  You’ve exceeded your maximum allotment of weirdness!”

In a way, it kind of resembles Twilight becoming a Princess, like what was supposed to happen as Discord said. Just two centuries later and through her descendent.


And there was the issue of families.  Maybe a wedding.  How did you even do weddings?

I believe the canon answer has been reiterated as "poorly."


“They only eat metal!” Echo shrieked as he tried to sweep them off his body.  “They’re only supposed to eat metal!” he screamed as he disappeared beneath the swarm.
   Three second later, only a puddle of blood remained where he’d stood.

Gruesome. Did the terror and denial nicely.


Her hooves ripped down the throne, flinging the debris to the side.  I levitated my old body onto my back, almost by instinct.  Even if it was just an empty shell now, it was still me.

And the thing to bear in mind is it's probably not an empty shell based purely on the method of transfer used.


Three lives... plus Bastard... versus the world.  It was an easy choice.
   But then, I’m not a clever pony.

One of the rare cases where something like a hostage situation/disconnect between big-remote and little-immediate priorities hasn't raised much, if any, frustration from me. Might be that it was a faster thing, and not framed in quite the same way, but it's also the same don't-let-Horizons-fire mentality in miniature.


“Oh, come on!  The megaspell was way worse than this,” Rampage replied.  “I’d say this was number three on the list.  The space center and Maripony were tied for number two.”

One, that's not how ranked lists work. That would make this number four, not three. Two, you weren't there at all for Maripony, and you were on the other side for the space center, so you wouldn't really have experienced it, or even witnessed remotely close up any that followed Cognitum leaving, which included most or all of the part dealing with the Legate, and certainly the balefire bomb. Maybe Blackjack dumped those memories as part of the exorcism, though, and would have at least described what happened at Maripony.


Okay, so Blackjack fired Folly while she had her Flux clone on her back. Also, for I think the first time, Folly didn't ask for confirmation of firing. I wonder if it's possible the clone body ended up absorbing most or all of the Flux, as a preferential sink for it, and thus health effects for Blackjack and/or her babies would be lessened.
But wait, that doesn't do anything for the times Cognitum fired. Never mind.


“Do something!” Scotch Tape pled to me, tears streaking her cheeks.  “Anything!  You’re a princess now or something, aren’t you?”

makes me think of that one part of the little drummer boy stop-motion animation movie where he asks the one king to do something for his lamb (sheep?), and when told that there was nothing he could do, protested that he was a king, and got shut down with "a mortal king only." Doesn't work quite the same here. Maybe if you're going by the Legate's definition, though.


I wanted to do something.  Anything.  Anything to undo this.  To come up here alone, and... but no.  If I had, I wouldn’t have made it.  It was always because of my friends that I’d been able to do anything at all.

A reminder to those who've said that she's been doing everything all on her own, or protesting that she's being set up to take on the Eater alone.


I looked over at Tom’s sparkling form.  “Please,” I prayed.  “Please save him.”
   I cannot.  I am bound until I face the Eater.  I am sorry, Blackjack.
   I bowed my head as Scotch Tape embraced him, tears running down my face.  I could cry again.  Damn him.  Damn all the stars.  What good were they if they couldn’t save a single pony’s life when we needed them to?

When God gives you lemons, you FIND A NEW GOD!

What good was everything that had happened to me if I couldn’t save him?  Security saves ponies.  Princesses protect their subjects from harm.

On first read, this seemed like merely a reaction to Scotch's "Princess or something" line. But with 75, it becomes an earlier case of her thinking of ponies as the subjects she is supposed to care for. And it's not just that; it's both, as she's kept Blackjack's version as well.


P-21's last conversation with Blackjack is a strong emotional point, and that's even when you consider it includes a well integrated but very visible Star Wars reference and the focus on whether his cutie mark is a penis. I think it has to do with the huge contrast between where they started and where they ended up, with the immediate preceding part being with Scotch, much like Glory's followed a scene of her being the lone badass. (Also, his personal journey, or its start, was highlighted earlier with Cognitum's thing about them fucking every chance they got, etc.) And his cutie mark, "a bold red heart bursting through a ring of chain encircling it," is great. (I also like the way his focus on it just not being a penis echoes Scotch's fear that hers would be a toilet.)


Tearing myself from his side was like tearing my heart in two.  But I had to go, no matter how much it hurt.  Since I had to go... I did.  I always did what I had to... even if I couldn’t save the ponies who mattered most to me.

Okay, so notwithstanding things from 74, there's still a lot there. I guess it really is only the sex side that's changed, unless parts of the effects of the new Luna-Blackjack combination only phased in over time.


“Hey,” Rampage called after me, and I looked back.  Rampage stared at me from over her shoulder.  “It was fun.”  She smiled, her eyes streaked with tears.
   “Yeah,” I answered weakly, with my own, tiny, half smile.  “It was.”

Sometimes simple is the best way to go.


“She’s not coming,” I answered hollowly.  Scotch Tape curled up in a tighter ball, the young mare shaking in her grief, her tears exhausted.

Phrasing relevant.


There, Velvet Remedy riding a wing of alicorns through a howling storm.

The SimpsonsBlackjack did it!


Eh... if only she had been a stallion.  If only Priest... if only...  Recharge.  Refresh.  Discharge.  I hope she makes it.  She will.  Just made... a... mistake.  Not her first...

Trying to pin down what this mistake might be, and having trouble. Staying too long, maybe, but doesn't feel right. I don't think it's anything closely to do with taking back her old body or saving them instead of shooting Tom. Or, maybe, yeah, I think I've got it. Expanding:

I didn’t hear Rampage.  Perhaps there wasn’t anything for them to say to each other.  I should have looked earlier.  Maybe come up with a better name.  Like Blackjack.  Recharge.  Refresh.  Discharge.  Eh... if only she had been a stallion.  If only Priest... if only...  Recharge.  Refresh.  Discharge.  I hope she makes it.  She will.  Just made... a... mistake.  Not her first...

There's a change in subject or focus most of the time when he hits the recharge/refresh/discharge sequence. The "she" who made the mistake but who will still make it isn't Blackjack, it's Rampage, and the mistake was not leaving sooner. That was good foreshadowing, and the limitation of receiving to surface thoughts was nicely employed to enable it while leaving it obscured.


I closed my eyes, imagined a Blackjack-shaped hole in my mind between here and the terminal, and pushed my way through.
   There was a pop, and I opened my eyes to see the dimly-lit terminal around me, all the window shutters closed but otherwise with no more signs of damage than there’d been when I left.  “Yes!” I shouted as I felt my blank body across my shoulders.
   And just the blank body.

Okay, so it seems she can take blanks and clones, maybe? Because it worked with Boo before at least once.


Suddenly there was another thud, but this one was from the rear of the tram.  And it was accompanied by a shriek of metal from where the tram was locked to the rail.  I rushed to the rear windows and looked down.
   Rampage shoved again.  The mare, her eyes boiled shut and her ears caked in blood, heaved her body against the tram, pushing and straining hard.  Every few seconds, her body regenerated and then began to die again.  But she pushed and shoved as gravel showered down upon her.  The brakes screamed in agony and motors ground as the car was violently projected forward by the striped mare.
   She came back.  She came back.  She chose to live rather than to die.

It's a way out for the others, and in one sense a victory much like it was for Blackjack at the end of 62.1 when she realized she didn't want to die at all anymore. But that's kind of tempered by the agony.


Being exposed to vacuum, even with her regeneration, had to be agony.  It was everything she’d ever feared.

Yeah. Well, apart from killing children again. But also exactly what Cognitum had said earlier before changing her mind again.


“Let go of me, you bastard,” I snapped, ready to kill him.
   “You want it all to be for nothing!?” he roared in my face.  “Then die here!  You want to make it mean something, then get your fat, melodramatic ass in that rocket now!”

It's a rare thing for a fat Blackjack line to fall flat for me. But there's just too much else going on, too much emotion and more appropriate focus elsewhere and loss and the need to just keep going on to make it matter for me to enjoy what would normally be a nice bit of fun at her expense.


“Got it.  Glad to see you’re moving to anger.  Now, will you launch this damn thing?”

Huh. Beat "Tanks for the Memories" by over a month.


I lay down too, and the rocket surged towards the stars.  It passed through the rain of tumbling rocks.  Several enormous ones were spinning right towards us, but I reached out with my magic and pushed them away.

This, along with P-21's line about moving the world, and Blackjack's about not asking her to move the moon yet, all make me suspect she may end up directly influencing Tom's course. Or it could be setting that up as a red herring.


I could bear to think as the old stallion went on, singing of the pain that burned inside me as I imagined a life with five friends, together... free... happy...

Drawing attention more to the ones lost, the one she still has, and that's understandable. But still, not including Boo or her babies.
Chapter Seventy Four Overall Thoughts:
Once again, the chapter jumps right in to a major event, this time a discussion with Tom, the star spirit occupying Tom, the giant rock, about whether Project Horizons should be allowed to fire. Tom's stance is that it must, that the Eater of Souls must be destroyed even if doing so requires the death of pretty much all intelligent life on Equus. Further, if the Eater isn't destroyed, it will slowly drain the life force out of the planet, leaving it a dead, empty husk because the rate of generation of new life is less than the drain caused by the Eater and its Enervation rings capturing souls. Before the war, this wasn't a problem, as the rate of creation (higher at the time in the comparatively lush and populated world) was above the drain (probably lower due to the Eater possibly not having awakened/activated to the same degree as now, and because there weren't Enervation rings scattered around the world). So, he's saying, failure to destroy the Eater is dooming the planet to a slow death and effectively killing the billions in the millenia to come who won't have a chance at life at all. In opposition is Blackjack and her crew of P-21, Rampage, and Scotch Tape, who were all dragged along into a mental meeting taking place basically outside of the normal flow of time. They all contend that it isn't right to kill everyone they know and care about, and who have been fighting to survive and create better lives for themselves and those who they thought would come after them. P-21 asks why the stars aren't doing anything, if it's really so vital that the Eater be killed, and Tom lays out that many have other things to worry about, some like the Eater, some worse, while others would prefer to simply destroy Equus entirely along with the Eater. Blackjack stresses that the whole thing could backfire, actually empowering the EoS due to the moonstone to starmetal transmutation reaction enabled by F.A.D.E. shields, but Tom says that that probably wouldn't happen because he'd willingly been bound to the moonstone, and hasn't been weakened by fighting to escape it. But he does acknowledge that it could happen. Regardless, though, he's pretty adamant about the point until Blackjack offers an alternative interpretation of how things can go: no Horizons, and she goes back and buries the Eater, the Gardens fire, increasing the rate new life is created, and people begin a project of finding Enervation rings and burying them in the Core to minimize the drain. It may not be perfect (notably, it doesn't do much to help all the souls already captured and tormented), but Tom is willing to accept it as an alternative, one that the people of Equus have the right to make for themselves.

One enjoyable point here is why Tom seems so caught up in the idea of killing the Eater, and preserving Equus in the broadest sense, when most stars aren't. The Eater had killed Tom's original planet, and the failure he perceived in himself motivated him to pursue the EoS, and may have contributed to his fixation with its destruction rather than containment. Notably, he'd never really put in the thought to determine how containment could end up being a workable course of action, instead getting tunnel vision on what he'd already committed himself to. His impulse in dealing with his failure was to keep it from happening again, and he was fine with his own destruction or that of a world in achieving that.

In a way, Tom has a lot in common with Red Eye. Each made plans around the idea of maximizing the very long-run at the expense of many currently living, without their agreement. They both seek to effectively end one world and begin a new without some of the constraints of the old: Red Eye sets out to eliminate raiderism and ignorance and food poverty; Tom the gradual weakening of the planet's magic and biosphere under the influence of starmetal and the Eater of Souls. Tom seems reminiscent of Dawn, too, in fact, in his singleminded insistence on doing things now and completely, eschewing the possibility of working with people for a gradual improvement in favor of the once-for-all solution. Yet I don't think that the emotions evoked by these three are all the same. Part is that Tom seems, to me, to much more genuinely regret the costs his path takes. That's the freeing aspect of not seeing another possible way out, I suppose. Red Eye and Dawn seem instead to hold many of the people affected by their plans in contempt for not fixing things already, and further put themselves at the center of their imagined new worlds. Tom doesn't have that megalomaniacal aspect, being ready and willing to sacrifice himself, with some ego there due to the loss of his own planet, true, but more cognizant of his own limited role in the universe's song, and that it must and should come to an end.

Leaving the conference, it's mostly an action sequence for quite a while, as the crew, now with Echo included, fights through Cognitum's remaining mooks and some volleys from Folly to get to Cognitum, now hooked into the maneframe, before all being captured and held in Cognitum's magic. She decides to kill P-21 first, and although she first removes all the grenades from his mane and tail, he plays holding onto Dusty Trails's hat as sentiment, which Cognitum buys, giving him the chance to detonate a collection of spark grenades right by her. This shuts her down, and after a scare that P-21 had gone missing after dropping from Cogs's magic (to say nothing of having been sniped earlier and a near miss with Folly), Echo transfers Cognitum's mind out of Blackjack's old body into a buffer in Blackjack's new PipBuck, and Blackjack's mind into her old body.

This brings us to the second mental encounter of the chapter. Blackjack's body, occupied by Luna's soul and just vacated by Cognitum's mind, is now hostile to hers, leaving her in agony until she's met, now chained to the ground before a throne, by Nightmare Moon. Blackjack is largely unimpressed, though, and breaks free, talking to the Princess before her and insisting she is Luna, not Nightmare Moon. Notably, Blackjack remembers her previous encounter with Luna in the shadow world; the Nightmare figure doesn't. It insists repeatedly it is Nightmare Moon, citing the way it structured a government to avoid accountability and dominate the nation, and the millions she'd ordered killed or to their deaths. Blackjack responds in each case with parallel examples from her own life, and with all of the others from wartime Equestria who had contributed to it and its apocalyptic conclusion, from Celestia to the aristocrats and business community, and more. But the big press comes with asking if the soul enjoyed doing everything, and saying that it sure didn't seem that way to Blackjack. Rather, Luna had been reluctant to take the throne (and, for all that it appeared walked back for a long time, that was actually one of the impressions given by the very first memory of Celestia and Luna Blackjack saw, of the meeting leading to the start of the war), and she would have used her megaspells offensively at the first chance she had if she'd truly desired domination of the world and the eradication of the zebras over everything else (to say nothing of the whole issue that Nightmare Moon is known for one pretty particular character quirk which never seemed to surface during Luna's reign). Through it all, Blackjack is able to chip away at the facade, pulling out the truth that Luna had made grevious mistakes, but hadn't sought all that had happened, that she'd been trying to do what seemed right at the time. Like many others recently, she is defined by her reaction to her sins and failures. The most obvious point of comparison is with Tom, with whom she shared the chapter. He dealt with the killing of his world by seeking to stop the source from ever repeating it again, with a sense of revenge added in. He let this consume his vision, becoming unwilling to see an alternative way forward until one was offered from outside, long after he'd committed to the point that his own life was over either way. Luna, on the other hand, sought to embrace her actions, taking on their implication of her evil as a shield against the reality that she'd not been so depraved as to seek the outcomes that her actions, and those of others, had wrought, but that she'd failed to bring those she had wanted. Not evil, but fallible. And beyond trying to hide from that vulnerability, she wanted to become the monster that would be happy with the world as it was, rather than the pony she'd been, who couldn't be.

Blackjack says Luna is a good pony, even if she doesn't think so, and Luna says the same right back before asking what comes next. And together they intone the message Spike gave back in chapter three: “We do everything we can to make up for it, knowing that we’ll never succeed in getting rid of the guilt.  We devote ourselves to spending every second trying to do better despite the fact that it will never be enough.  And we pray with every single good act we do that somehow, when our lives are over, that our lifetimes will come close to making up for the wrong we committed.”

And Blackjack returns to the waking world, and as she does her limbs, removed to help immobilize Cognitum, returned to her and changed to better incorporate into her biological body. Much of the armor plating over her is removed, revealing her face and horn and restored eyes. Her mane has changed from the blazing fire of black and red to ethereal sunset red and purple, and her wings (though still armored, I believe), are now natural, white feathers replacing the black metal vanes of her final round of augmentation. A crown manifests upon her head. Blackjack is an alicorn Princess, some two hundred years after and in a very different world than her many times great grandmother was meant to become one. Kind of. Blackjack's body has changed, and her mind shares it with Luna's soul, but her own probably remains in her cloned body, based on the fact that there wasn't any necromancy or chaos magic involved in the transfer.

Sadly, Cognitum isn't quite done yet, and has possessed the swarm of mechasprites occupying the Lunar Palace, and reverting to speech that makes her old "GIVE IT TO ME!" look eloquent. She attacks, devouring Echo in moments before reforming to make another attack on Blackjack. For her part, Blackjack needs to make a snap decision between using Folly's last silver bullet to destroy Tom to prevent Horizons's firing from mattering and shooting the mechasprite swarm to save her friends. It's not even a choice. Tom remains. It's one of the few times that something that looks kind of like a hostage situation, leading to a big disconnect between the big-picture/long-term and personal/short-term hasn't made me feel at least a little frustrated with Blackjack always choosing the latter. And I think that one of the reasons contributing to that is how it's the choice presented by Tom in miniature: there, choosing between all future life on Equus and those now living; here, everyone on the planet against the few she cares most about in the Lunar Palace. And she made the same choice each time, along with all her friends in the talk with Tom. So making the big-picture "right" call would be directly denying the emotional underpinnings of not just the story and characters in general, but of this very chapter in particular. The irony, of course, is that in repeating the choice in miniature, she's reversed it at full scale, and Horizons remains a threat.

But bringing it back to the Palace, they find that P-21, who had taken Echo's place in spamming the buffer spell to hold off Horizons's ignition, has been speared through by a bunch of structural metal. Nobody knows how to free or save him. Blackjack, for all her newfound power, doesn't have enough, or at any rate doesn't know how to use it to any effect here. With the response "What good was everything that had happened to me if I couldn’t save him?  Security saves ponies.  Princesses protect their subjects from harm." we see that neither Blackjack nor Luna has fully overcome their fixation on their failures, on what they can't do. But they go forward, with Blackjack getting Bastard to take Scotch away before having her own last words with P-21. And these stress the journey they've gone through, and how much of a contrast P-21 strikes against the breeding equipment slated for execution he started as. And some of that is communicated implicitly through what his actions before talking with Blackjack, much like happened with Glory in 72. There, the little pegasus hiding under the floor was fighting off waves of Brood to enable Blackjack and the rest to do what they needed to save the world; here, P-21 was sharing a heartfelt goodbye with his daughter, not just the product of sperm taken from him. It also includes finishing the bit set up a couple chapters back where the decal that had covered his cutie mark was starting to come off. He asks Blackjack to take the rest off, and tell him whether it's a penis. Even after everything, he wants that confirmation, which after seeing his mark, "a bold red heart bursting through a ring of chain encircling it," Blackjack is able to give. He doesn't want to know what it is in the end, end lets her go.

Rampage has been holding up the rubble there, helping to let P-21 continue activating the delay mechanism. Tom has told her that if she remains in the palace, the chaotic energy of Horizons going off will easily shred the necromantic spells maintaining her phoenix talisman, and she'll get the death she's so long searched for. She says she wants to stay, insisting Blackjack leave without her, and that this way neither she nor P-21 will die alone. They part with a short, simple exchange that fits the two and their relationship, doomed from the start by the disconnect between Blackjack's need to never give up on anyone and Rampage's to, at long last, end herself, yet good as long as it lasted.

Blackjack leaves and catches up with Scotch and Bastard, alone. On the tram, she uses the link established between her clone body and the others to see P-21 and Rampage one last time, and gets P-21 continuing to activate the delay and think about what comes next, some regrets, the like, before he hits an error and Horizons fires, killing him mid-sentence as he expresses hope he'd bought them enough time.

The Lunar Palace explodes, sending rock and debris flying everywhere, some of it coming down on the tracks and the tram. They are stopped before they reach the terminal for the launch facility, and Blackjack can neither figure out a magical means of forcing the car the rest of the way there nor teleport Scotch or Bastard with her, only her clone body. Then the tram starts to lurch forward under impacts from the side, and they see it's Rampage, who had caught up with them traveling through the harsh vacuum of the lunar surface and now pushing them the rest of the way to the terminal as she continuously degrades and regenerates. She chose life after all, but they couldn't figure out a way to get her into the terminal with them to leave for Equus, with the building already losing air. Blackjack can't do anything but promise to return for Rampage and perhaps hope that the Astrostable survived and Rampage can make it there. Otherwise, she'll be doomed to an eternal life of solitary agony, at least until someone can get back to the moon for her (and they would still need to find her if she didn't stay in one place).

The survivors get on the rocket and start the voyage home, only just beginning to cope with they shocks they've just experienced and Blackjack reminiscing about her friends and ruminating on her failures before imagining what might have been, all with Johnny Cash's "Hurt" playing.

I'll part with one point in this chapter and the last that felt off to me. The countdown to Horizons firing, and what it means. It seemed like partway through, Cognitum did something to the targeting talismans such that they'd end up going to the Core even if the launch time was past the original window for success, which it seems had passed by the time P-21's error popped up given an even longer tram ride than the previous. So it seemed like changing the rules in the middle, when that could have been avoided by just giving a longer initial time they needed to hold Horizons from firing, without introducing that strange inconsistency. I think that the disappointing twist that there was only the one shot left for Folly was enough at that point, and covered everything an unexpected and irreversible because (?) extension of the red-zone time did.
Chapter Seventy Four Editing:
I lifted my hooves in alarm. “No!

only one space after period


Mind games were getting old.. but he’d also made

need third dot for ellipsis


but he’d also made sure it was clear this wasn’t actually real, like Happyhorn.

Should that be "unlike Happyhorn"?


The sky was the color of flux, and the mountains appeared as if they’d been shoved up and scoured by colossal claws.  

"flux" should be capitalized


I wished Glory was here.

"were here"


He lounged in the air over Tom’s head, pulling out a pair of square wire framed glasses and a small chalkboard with way more numbers and diagrams than any decent person needed and explained in a pedantic voice.  “You can present her with

should the period be a comma?


where the sun doesn't shine!"  A devious glint sparkled in Discord's eye as he leered at Tom.  "And considering you are a sun, that's something I'd really like to see."  And he tossed

non-directional quotation marks in each case


I wished Glory was here, if not to help in the fight,

"were here"


“Do?  I don't have do things to have weird shit happen to me.

"have to do"


“You know, for being a unicorn princess, you’re pretty lousy at killing me and my friends.

I think this "princess" should be capitalized


If she wasn’t actually a princess, she could pull off the look pretty damn well.

princess capitalized?


Even without a direct line of fire, he had phenomenal aim, and I was forced to shift to the side to try and buy myself cover.

Should that be "direct line of sight"? seems like the cover point was that even though there wasn't a straight line from her to him, there was from her to his guns, and I don't think pistols really do indirect fire


Focus….  Focus on Mr. Pistols.

should have only three dots in ellipsis


Rampage said, then looked up at Cognium.  

"Cognitum"


And the skywagon-sized chunk streaked down at the Scotch, her eyes wide... only to halted just before impact, the girders under the filly groaning.

"halt"


I saw Rampage’s striped form standing over Scotch, her legs straining against the impossible weight as only an earth pony could.

"earth pony's could", or "weight she held as only an earth pony could"


Was that fiery magic something my old body was capable of, now amplified immensely due to the princess’s soul that imbued it?

"princess" should be capitalized


and the traitors can return with me as witnesses that I am the greatest princess of all time!”

I think "princess" should be capitalized


“I got him!” Bastard shouted, the longcoat-wearing hitpony levitating P-21 from over the edge.  I limped over to him.  His eyes fluttered open, and with a pained smile, he croaked out a weak "Hey."  He looked a mess, his body battered and abused but intact.  Huge bloody clumps had been torn from his hide, and he looked as if he’d been tossed in a thresher.  I hugged him gingerly.  “Anypony got a healing potion?” I asked, mostly looking at Bastard.

this needs to be broken into at least two paragraphs, maybe three, due to separate speakers. I'd suggest after "edge" or "over to him" and "thresher"


“I am a princess!  You can’t do this to me!”

I think "princess" should be capitalized


“But I was her sister.  I was a princess.  I had to rule.

"princess" should be capitalized


a shout of "Hold on!" as she grabbe

non-directional quotation marks


Unfortunately, that meant she wasn’t able to hold onto Scotch Tape

this should be "hold on to"


Anything!  You’re a princess now or something, aren’t you?”

"princess" should be capitalized


be a real father....”  He punched in the keys again.

should have only three dots in ellipsis


That I wanted him besides me.

this should be "beside"


I would find a way ....

shouldn't have space between "way" and ellipsis, only three dots in ellipsis?
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Thu Jun 18, 2015 4:42 am

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

Icy Shake wrote:That one's basically a gut check related to my perception of how closely bound the modifier is.
Ah, okay; thanks.

Icy Shake wrote:My best guess would be either pasting in large amounts from another program or extensive editing of existing text which moved or added new quotation marks but add new spaces or punctuation. But I really don't know.
[shrugs]

Icy Shake wrote:Just capitalized, since generally speaking titles haven't included punctuation or formatting.
Thanks.

Icy Shake wrote:But given wartime Equestrian engineering and the longevity of things in the setting, it's quite likely that reacting before catastrophic failure occurs wasn't designed in at all. Which wouldn't be good enough for me, no.
Hey now, "catastrophic" is kind of a strong word. I mean, only two people ended up outside in hard vacuum, and they weren't supposed to be doing what they were doing anyway! Next you'll be whining about "safety railings" for high catwalks, honestly...
(But yeah. Reacting before the window broke would definitely be preferable.)

Icy Shake wrote:I think this "princess" should be capitalized
Not sure why she's referred to as a unicorn there either (Blackjack's old body?), but eh.

Icy Shake wrote:"halt"
Also "the Scotch" to just "Scotch". :)

Icy Shake wrote:One death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic. Gotta know your audience, Tom, and this won't play with the one you've chosen.
Hm. Interesting relation with the Civlization comparison you made earlier. On a human scale, one death is tragic, but millions are so large that they're hard to even comprehend. On the scale of a player of Civlization, one death is pretty much invisible (unless, in some games, it was someone very important), but millions are a readily apparent and possible very damaging loss.

Icy Shake wrote:This pun is so much better than it should be.
:)
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Somber on Sun Jun 21, 2015 11:30 am

Sigh, sorry everypony, looks like the final chapter is going to be delayed even more.  At this point it'll either be two chapters or an A and B chapter, because I fucking suck.  Sorry.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Silver136 on Sun Jun 21, 2015 11:32 am

Hey, the longer the better in my opinion. More to read.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Tacoman587 on Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:37 pm

The ride never ends Crazy
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by WavemasterRyx on Sun Jun 21, 2015 6:31 pm

Somber wrote:Sigh, sorry everypony, looks like the final chapter is going to be delayed even more.  At this point it'll either be two chapters or an A and B chapter, because I fucking suck.  Sorry.
*nuzzles slowly* It'll be okay, sir, just take the time you need to.  Rushed endings are a terrible injustice to any story...
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Mon Jun 22, 2015 3:31 am

Sorry, Somber.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by joltius on Mon Jun 22, 2015 9:14 pm

Somber wrote:Sigh, sorry everypony, looks like the final chapter is going to be delayed even more.  At this point it'll either be two chapters or an A and B chapter, because I fucking suck.  Sorry.
I think it's better split on part 1 and part 2.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by SilentCarto on Tue Jun 23, 2015 11:41 pm

WavemasterRyx wrote:It'll be okay, sir, just take the time you need to.  Rushed endings are a terrible injustice to any story...
Upvote! Like! Retweet! Reblog! The ending is the most delicate part of a story; it can't survive being packed into too small a box. A slightly-too-large box with a little excess padding never hurt anything, though.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Wed Jun 24, 2015 12:23 am

SilentCarto wrote:
WavemasterRyx wrote:It'll be okay, sir, just take the time you need to.  Rushed endings are a terrible injustice to any story...
Upvote! Like! Retweet! Reblog! The ending is the most delicate part of a story; it can't survive being packed into too small a box. A slightly-too-large box with a little excess padding never hurt anything, though.
Agreed! Honestly, I wasn't surprised that there ended up being two chapters on the moon, for a similar reason as here. Yes, there's only one big plot point left, but there are dots along the way that need to, or at least should be, connected first, and given enough space to set the mood. And hey, moon to trip back to final battle on the ground in six instead of three chapters/parts is still closer to target than . . . was it Hippocratic that was meant to be one, but ended up three or four? I feel like that something along those lines was said at some point.

Slightly OT, but I hope that, à la Fallout: Equestria, a fuller understanding of Blackjack's cutie mark event fits in and ties some things together sometime around the climax. Could even see it being a thing where Luna's soul is relevant in making that happen, given that it seems like she may have been suppressing it, or remembers it as though she was in a fugue, or there's otherwise something of a lacuna there, the causes for which might be sidestepped by the soul switch.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by SilentCarto on Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:24 pm

Icy Shake wrote:Slightly OT, but I hope that, à la Fallout: Equestria, a fuller understanding of Blackjack's cutie mark event fits in and ties some things together sometime around the climax. Could even see it being a thing where Luna's soul is relevant in making that happen, given that it seems like she may have been suppressing it, or remembers it as though she was in a fugue, or there's otherwise something of a lacuna there, the causes for which might be sidestepped by the soul switch.
Very much agree with this, too.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by FoolNeim on Sun Jun 28, 2015 1:59 am

I had a random question about the chapter number:
Is there much of a point to keeping things at exactly 76 Chapters? I'm guessing after 76 part 2 + Epilogue come out, there will be at a brief final period of revision before the story gets set in stone.

Maybe it would be better to have exactly 15-16 chapters per Volume? It's actually pretty nice how the chapter lengths don't vary a whole lot, and neither do the volume lengths (although I would think with the final chapter, there can be more flexibility).

Right now there are two double chapters, and apparently chapter 76 will be another.

Maybe just renumber the chapters and rename the Part 2s to make it 79 officially? Seems like it'd be a pretty easy thing to implement.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

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