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[GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by SilentCarto on Fri Feb 20, 2015 9:48 pm

Icy Shake wrote:And some birds, even if not in powered flight.
And certain pegasi.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Fri Feb 20, 2015 10:24 pm

:)
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by MiniGaunt on Fri Feb 20, 2015 10:41 pm

Typing this from a phone so ignore spelling errors. One question about cutie marks, as stated in Magical Mystery Cure, just because you have someone else's cutie mark, it doesn't change your talent. So why did Contingum want to take Blackjacks cutie mark? It wouldn't have done anything for her, and Blackjack would have retained her talent anyways. And besides the flimsy disguise, there was no reason to take Blackjacks body.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by JadedPony on Fri Feb 20, 2015 10:44 pm

RE: Re-entry.

Blackjack just needs to cast the cloud walking spell on the capsule then crash it directly through the center of the part of the Enclave she likes least leaving great big holes in the clouds as the craft's decent is slowed to the point they can eject safely. It would bring the concept of breaking to stop to a whole new level.

Historical Reference:




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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by JadedPony on Fri Feb 20, 2015 10:48 pm

MiniGaunt wrote:Typing this from a phone so ignore spelling errors. One question about cutie marks, as stated in Magical Mystery Cure, just because you have someone else's cutie mark, it doesn't change your talent. So why did Contingum want to take Blackjacks cutie mark? It wouldn't have done anything for her, and Blackjack would have retained her talent anyways. And besides the flimsy disguise, there was no reason to take Blackjacks body.

I think the necro-magic made it possible to actually steal special talents, at least in theory but given the events that have happened since that spell was cast, I don't think it was Blackjack's special talent that Coggy ended up with. Remember, Discord did something that Coggy couldn't figure out before he turned to dust.

Boy is he going to be hard to live with once this is over. As if he ego wasn't big enough before :P
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Fri Feb 20, 2015 11:36 pm

MiniGaunt wrote:Typing this from a phone so ignore spelling errors. One question about cutie marks, as stated in Magical Mystery Cure, just because you have someone else's cutie mark, it doesn't change your talent. So why did Contingum want to take Blackjacks cutie mark? It wouldn't have done anything for her, and Blackjack would have retained her talent anyways. And besides the flimsy disguise, there was no reason to take Blackjacks body.
Magical Mystery Cure isn't necessarily canon, in full, to PH. Alternatively, as above, the specific method could work differently, or because it never happened, the fact that taking another's cutie mark doesn't transfer the talent may not be known. Yet another option is that the cutie marks transferred were not what might have been expected on the surface.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by JadedPony on Fri Feb 20, 2015 11:53 pm

Actually, come to think of it, if Tom enters the atmo above Equestria at all the Pegasus are s-c-rewed. Hopefully it will hit at an angle over the ocean because when it breaks the oxygenated layer it's going to create a massive shockwave in the air that would crumble any cloud structures close by.  

Aim for the zebras! They have no cloud cities to lose! Once you are in atmo you can skim along the curvature of Equus till Tom gets where he is going but straight down into Equestria would be bad.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Sat Feb 21, 2015 5:10 am

There aren't really a lot of cloud structures left over Hoofington anyway, though, are there?
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by SilentCarto on Sat Feb 21, 2015 3:41 pm

MiniGaunt wrote:Typing this from a phone so ignore spelling errors. One question about cutie marks, as stated in Magical Mystery Cure, just because you have someone else's cutie mark, it doesn't change your talent. So why did Contingum want to take Blackjacks cutie mark? It wouldn't have done anything for her, and Blackjack would have retained her talent anyways. And besides the flimsy disguise, there was no reason to take Blackjacks body.
She didn't just steal the cutie mark. The cutie mark vanishing from BJ and presumably appearing on Cogs, if she had any skin left there, is a side effect of cutting off and stealing the "talented" bit of her soul.

JadedPony wrote:Blackjack just needs to cast the cloud walking spell on the capsule then crash it directly through the center of the part of the Enclave she likes least leaving great big holes in the clouds as the craft's decent is slowed to the point they can eject safely. It would bring the concept of breaking to stop to a whole new level.
By the time you get low enough to hit clouds, it's too late.

Physics physics physics, numbers:
You've seen the videos of the Chelyabinsk meteor from a couple years ago, right? It illustrates the issues of reentry quite nicely. The meteor entered the atmosphere at only 20 km/s, and it still glowed like a second sun. Imagine being inside that. The fastest reentry by a human-built spacecraft was the Stardust sample-return capsule, and it came down at only 12 km/s. (Due to the math of the situation, doubling the speed quadruples the energy involved. A vehicle entering the atmosphere at 80 km/s would have to deal with 64 times more energy than anything humanity has ever built.) So that's issue number one -- heat. On to the second thing the meteor did... explode.

The atmosphere thickens geometrically as you dive into it. That means it starts out thickening very slowly, then thickens faster and faster as you get closer to the ground. The 'turning point' of that progression starts at about 30 km on Earth. When a fast-moving object like a meteor hits that point, it's almost like hitting a brick wall. The air starts to thicken rapidly, putting immense stress on the meteor. The lump of rock couldn't take it. It broke apart, which dumped its kinetic energy into the air all at once (which is to say, exploded.) Most space capsules are designed to slow down to near terminal velocity before they reach that point.*

*The interesting counter-example is nuclear warheads. The designers wanted them to punch through the atmosphere as efficiently as possible to minimize the time window where an enemy could shoot them down. They were designed with sharp noses made of exotic (for the day) materials that could resist the heat and forces long enough to reach detonation altitude.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Somber on Sat Feb 21, 2015 3:44 pm

Maaaagic guys.  Maaaaaagic.  ::Waves hooves.::

On the other hoof, the automated pilot will try to return her back to the Luna Space Center, so... yeah...
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by JadedPony on Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:27 pm

Somber wrote:On the other hoof, the automated pilot will try to return her back to the Luna Space Center, so... yeah...

4 stars aided her in her escape.

However N.M.M. escaped the banishment might still be open. A opening created by the stars... perhaps a round star metal portal of some kind with ancient alien runes on them that opens wormholes to other matching gates back on Equus once it is activated and keyed in to the the unimaginable power source at the core... what would be a good name for such a portal? Hrm... let me think...

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by SilentCarto on Sat Feb 21, 2015 10:52 pm

JadedPony wrote:4 stars aided her in her escape.

However N.M.M. escaped the banishment might still be open. A opening created by the stars...
Well, it's not like she just broke loose at random. Her escape was more of a release, predicted and prepared for.

JadedPony wrote:perhaps a round star metal portal of some kind with ancient alien runes on them that opens wormholes to other matching gates back on Equus once it is activated and keyed in to the the unimaginable power source at the core... what would be a good name for such a portal? Hrm... let me think...


Chevron seven locked.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by ILM126 on Sun Feb 22, 2015 10:58 am

Sometime in a few days I'll be writing a huge thing about the Space stuff or ideas like re-entry, how TOM is going fly around the solar system via what I think is Equestrian Physics and other ideas...

So I'll get right back to what I was doing... Hope that this works ^^"
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by MSCA on Sun Feb 22, 2015 8:48 pm

JadedPony wrote:
Somber wrote:On the other hoof, the automated pilot will try to return her back to the Luna Space Center, so... yeah...

4 stars aided her in her escape.

However N.M.M. escaped the banishment might still be open. A opening created by the stars... perhaps a round star metal portal of some kind with ancient alien runes on them that opens wormholes to other matching gates back on Equus once it is activated and keyed in to the the unimaginable power source at the core... what would be a good name for such a portal? Hrm... let me think...

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by RoboRed on Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:24 am

So, I finally got around to reading this chapter three weeks later. Not sure how I feel about the possibility of Glory being brought back to life. Also, the mind reading thing, BJ's fight with Rampage, getting stuck with visions of everything happening at once thanks to the Perceptitron - crazy stuff. Guess it's all down to the wire now, isn't it?



Somber wrote:
snip:
BLARRRGGGHHHHH!  ::Flails hooves!::

I hate writing this chapter!  Hate hate hate hate!  UGH...

Okay... here's why I hate it.  At the end of FoE, Kkat introduced us to Fluffy and to the white hellhound which was a shout out to the games.  I didn't like that.  It seemed sort of out of left field and pointless.  I mean, they didn't even really talk nor had any serious plot use.  They were just there.

So what am I doing now?!  INTRODUCING CHARACTERS AT THE LAST MINUTE WHERE THEY DON'T BELONG!  WHHHHHY!  Just kill them, Blackjack!  Just use Sexy and liquify them!  You don't have to talk them over to your side!  AHHHHHHHHH!  Stupid stupid stupid somber!  Just have the character be a mook and do something to get killed... but NO!  I have to give him personality and motivation!  He doesn't want to die because he's not a brood, he's a person!  I should have given Cognitum robots or something!

Edit: Blackjack: "Look!  I know you want to get through this, but I don't care!  Unlike you, I actually have to do the shit you put into my life!  Why don't you just have Cognitum decide to give up?  Make every one happy.  If I can convince somepony to give up then I'm going to do it.  And if they give up, then I'm going to give them a chance.  And if you don't like it, then too bad.  You should have made me some blood thirsty monster that shoots anypony she faces.  But you didn't.  So suck it up and write this damned thing!"

Somber: "You're very rude, you know that?  I didn't think I made you so rude."

Blackjack: "And I didn't think the being that created me would be so whiny.  So just write it.  After four years, it's getting old."

Somber: "Sigh... yes ma'am."
If BlackJack keeps trying to backtalk you, just remind her who's the one currently being used as a chew toy. *points at your avatar*


Last edited by RoboRed on Wed Mar 11, 2015 3:36 pm; edited 1 time in total

------------------
Aonee wrote:
jacky2734 wrote:((Aonee, don't make me invent a way to punch you over the internet.))
((If you do, I will invent a Korean technique to block it with someone else's face. And, construct more pylons.))

CamoBadger wrote:((Wow, zebra incest is powerful shit))

Mister Frost's friend, "Darren" wrote:"I'm scared to break up with her, though. Her dad's an ex-marine; if I make her cry he'll club me over the head with a pillowcase full of doorknobs and Tom Clancy novels."

Sindri wrote:This is a thread for fans of a fanfiction of a fanfiction about murderous miniature pastel equines in a grimdark post-apocalyptic future.
If you wanted to stay anywhere near socially acceptable, you should have taken a left turn about three layers of WTF back.

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:14 am

ILM126 wrote:Sometime in a few days I'll be writing a huge thing about the Space stuff or ideas like re-entry, how TOM is going fly around the solar system via what I think is Equestrian Physics and other ideas...

So I'll get right back to what I was doing... Hope that this works ^^"
Sounds potentially interesting.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by ILM126 on Mon Feb 23, 2015 6:57 am

O. Hinds wrote:
ILM126 wrote:Sometime in a few days I'll be writing a huge thing about the Space stuff or ideas like re-entry, how TOM is going fly around the solar system via what I think is Equestrian Physics and other ideas...

So I'll get right back to what I was doing... Hope that this works ^^"
Sounds potentially interesting.

Thanks, I just did some testing with an simulation program. (KSP ^^") It was my first test and it didn't turn out as well as I first  thought it would. But I'll keep on posting screenshots as my work progresses at an almost accurate ESS-A1 rocket =D

You can find the screenshots on my steam profile, I've only uploaded 4 so far. But now I'm off to launch Mark II! Fluttershy

I'll upload a picture of the rocket will all the stats soon. Then I'll work on the "old rockets" that Blackjack took and see if that is possible. Plus, just how high and wide is ESS-A1? Because in KSP the rocket is around 48m tall with 5m wide parts.

Off to build again!
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:01 am

Ooh, neat.

I don't have exact dimensions for any of these rockets, I'm afraid.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by ILM126 on Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:20 am

O. Hinds wrote:Ooh, neat.

I don't have exact dimensions for any of these rockets, I'm afraid.

Alright, I'll just work around it then. ^^
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Mon Feb 23, 2015 8:09 am

KSP's on a different scale anyway (assuming that you're not using a mod to change that).
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by ILM126 on Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:19 am

O. Hinds wrote:KSP's on a different scale anyway (assuming that you're not using a mod to change that).

Well ... Is there a standard measurement for the Equus system? I'm thinking of also writing a concept for that. For which I have already got something drawn up in my artbook. Just got to finalize it.

And I just use Minmus as the sun and the Mun the Moon, just still working it out ^^
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Somber on Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:23 pm

Twenty pages in and Blackjack is finally getting to fight Cognitum... ugh...
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Vergil on Mon Feb 23, 2015 2:12 pm

I declare this to be mad neato.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by RoboRed on Mon Feb 23, 2015 4:44 pm


------------------
Aonee wrote:
jacky2734 wrote:((Aonee, don't make me invent a way to punch you over the internet.))
((If you do, I will invent a Korean technique to block it with someone else's face. And, construct more pylons.))

CamoBadger wrote:((Wow, zebra incest is powerful shit))

Mister Frost's friend, "Darren" wrote:"I'm scared to break up with her, though. Her dad's an ex-marine; if I make her cry he'll club me over the head with a pillowcase full of doorknobs and Tom Clancy novels."

Sindri wrote:This is a thread for fans of a fanfiction of a fanfiction about murderous miniature pastel equines in a grimdark post-apocalyptic future.
If you wanted to stay anywhere near socially acceptable, you should have taken a left turn about three layers of WTF back.

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by RoboRed on Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:10 pm

Wasn't there some talk waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay long ago in this thread or the general chat about the "boss music" for when Blackjack fights Cognitum?

------------------
Aonee wrote:
jacky2734 wrote:((Aonee, don't make me invent a way to punch you over the internet.))
((If you do, I will invent a Korean technique to block it with someone else's face. And, construct more pylons.))

CamoBadger wrote:((Wow, zebra incest is powerful shit))

Mister Frost's friend, "Darren" wrote:"I'm scared to break up with her, though. Her dad's an ex-marine; if I make her cry he'll club me over the head with a pillowcase full of doorknobs and Tom Clancy novels."

Sindri wrote:This is a thread for fans of a fanfiction of a fanfiction about murderous miniature pastel equines in a grimdark post-apocalyptic future.
If you wanted to stay anywhere near socially acceptable, you should have taken a left turn about three layers of WTF back.

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Harmony Ltd. on Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:46 pm

I know I talked about the boss music for when she "fights" the Eater of Souls. And how it should probably be the most absolute of silence conceivable, to the point of not being able to hear your own body - because of just how absolutely all-drowning and all-consuming the Scream of the Eater is.

For Cognitum...

Cybernetics, filly:


lyrics wrote:Standing here
I realize
You are just like me
Trying to make history

But who’s to judge
The right from wrong
When our guard is down
I think we’ll both agree

That

Violence breeds violence
But in the end it has to be this way

I’ve carved my own path
You followed your wrath
But maybe we’re both the same

The world has turned
And so many have burned
But nobody is to blame

Yet staring across this barren wasted land
I feel new life will be born
Beneath the blood stained sand
Beneath the blood stained sand
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcpGIVbPYrI
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by RoboRed on Mon Feb 23, 2015 6:32 pm

Harmony Ltd. wrote:I know I talked about the boss music for when she "fights" the Eater of Souls. And how it should probably be the most absolute of silence conceivable, to the point of not being able to hear your own body - because of just how absolutely all-drowning and all-consuming the Scream of the Eater is.
Spoiler:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bX9w5Ma76c

------------------
Aonee wrote:
jacky2734 wrote:((Aonee, don't make me invent a way to punch you over the internet.))
((If you do, I will invent a Korean technique to block it with someone else's face. And, construct more pylons.))

CamoBadger wrote:((Wow, zebra incest is powerful shit))

Mister Frost's friend, "Darren" wrote:"I'm scared to break up with her, though. Her dad's an ex-marine; if I make her cry he'll club me over the head with a pillowcase full of doorknobs and Tom Clancy novels."

Sindri wrote:This is a thread for fans of a fanfiction of a fanfiction about murderous miniature pastel equines in a grimdark post-apocalyptic future.
If you wanted to stay anywhere near socially acceptable, you should have taken a left turn about three layers of WTF back.

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:36 pm

ILM126 wrote:Is there a standard measurement for the Equus system?
This one not really, I suppose.

ILM126 wrote:And I just use Minmus as the sun and the Mun the Moon, just still working it out ^^
Hm, clever, though Minmus is almost certainly at a significantly wrong inclination.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Tue Feb 24, 2015 12:19 am

Those're some nice musical options, there.

So a little while back we were talking about the hidden bit about the Angel running interference in favor of Cognitum and/or the Legate for basically the whole story. That raises the question of exactly how much she may have been doing. Obviously she could always have been working to direct EC-1101 to the Core. But I wonder if or when she would have been clued in by either of them about the importance of bringing Blackjack herself? What kind of contact did she have from maybe the first Folly use (maybe even later, say with Applebot) and when she showed up, or offscreen? Between everything, contact likely wasn't a trivial thing, especially since it would need to coincide with the Angel surfacing.

Chapter Sixty Six Running Thoughts:
Okay, so we're picking up again after Blackjack might be presumed dead. Incidentally, the fact she isn't is something that mitigates pretty strongly against any sympathy to the idea that Blackjack's special talent is both victory and has been transferred to Cognitum, especially in a cut-and-paste rather than copy-and-paste sense.


Once upon a time, there had been a Princess born in a castle.  She was a beautiful Princess, for everyone told her so, and the sweetest Princess, for everyone proclaimed it.  Of course, they also remarked on what a pity it was that she had killed her mother when she was born… though only when they thought she couldn’t hear.

Okay, so our viewpoint has switched to Charm, and we're getting her backstory. I'm expecting some unreliable narration as a consequence, but so far, it's looking fairly straightforward.

She lived in a palace surrounded by servants who provided for her and her fat, ugly older sister and insipid, vain older brother.

Disappointing she doesn't have anything better for Grace. I'll certainly give Splendid "vain," but "insipid" is a harder sell. He, after all, was the one with the largest-scale ambitions for the Society, and well-defined plans for how to accomplish them.


And so the Princess was upset and did everything she could to show everyone that her fat older sister was slow and stupid and her vain older brother was perverted and dumb and neither was worth a big pile of brahmin poop.

It started really early, with the sarcasm towards the end of the first paragraph, but has really accelerated around the end of the second and here at the beginning of the third: the fairy tale tone and vocabulary are breaking down as Charm's personality comes through more and more.

And she learned to say what people wanted her to say and do what others wanted her to do, even if it felt icky and made her feel bad, because then they’d be scared she’d tell and she could make them do things she wanted.  And she got money because sometimes that worked even better than doing the other stickier ickier things.

Yeah, I could probably have done without this part of Charm's backstory. I guess there's some value to developing that she'll do anything to get what she wants, but there it is. Another point is that the way it's worded ("sometimes [money] worked even better than doing the other stickier ickier things") kind of makes it sound like there were kind of a lot of pedophiles there, who cared less for money than sex with Charm. And I guess that could make sense for the setting: the people she'd be interacting with would already be rich, and perhaps it's not so much pedophilia (after all, presumably if that's all then they could avail themselves of a serf child), but some kind of power trip of it being a member of the royal family (who is also too powerless to threaten them directly). The fact that there's so little focus on the other parts of "say what people wanted her to say and do what others wanted her to do" kind of adds to the issue; with sex as the only thing spelled out, was there nothing else she had to offer? Sure, that could be the case, given her lack of overt power and probable need to keep too many secrets too close to advertise her potential as a coordinating point, but what were the other parts? Or was that just acting the part of a princess, which segued into the rest? On the plus side, it does offer better context for, for instance, wanting Blackjack to be train-raped by the entire city of Hoofington.


Then a wandering Barbarian came to her home, and her father was afraid because the Barbarian had killed lots of ponies and could kill lots more.

Okay, Blackjack the Barbarian. Kind of ironic, actually, since at various points she's been more of a force for building and propping up civilization than tearing it down (Flank, for example). But here we're really starting with the unreliable narration, since Awesome never seemed afraid to me. I think what we might have here is a combination of Charm first attributing to herself nobler motivations than she actually had, and then projecting them on her father.


So when her father died, the Princess snuck in and stole all the special bits of lore the wandering Barbarian desired, and promised money and weapons besides.

I wonder if Charm is aware of the irony of naming someone who greatly valued history and "lore" a "barbarian," especially given that then she was the one to destroy that knowledge.

But the Barbarian was a stupid cunt who ruined everything!  Everything!

"And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling kids and that stupid cunt!"


Then the Princess met a noble Knight of a powerful order who also desired the secrets the Princess had learned.  He served a powerful Sorceress with power greater than that of the Barbarian queen,

Knight = Steel Rain, Sorceress = Cognitum.


But the Princess quickly learned the Knight’s order was not like back home.  No matter how she stomped her hooves, they ignored her.  When she made demands, they laughed at her.  When she lifted her tail, they were repulsed.

Well, that's what happens when you leave behind the place where you're at least close to the power, if not its center. Especially when you're a spoiled child without much to offer. Also I'm glad that someone she met feels that way. Seriously.


And if the Sorceress was in a bad mood because the Barbarian had gotten herself killed in the sky, or because a bad thing called Horizons was going to go off, she’d entertain herself by making the Princess experience all the horrible things that the Princess had once wanted for the Barbarian to suffer… and things the Princess had never imagined before… and things the Princess rather wished she didn’t know.

Okay, so I'm pretty sure this makes Cognitum, for all intents and purposes, not just a torturer—and not just a torturer for the purpose of extracting information or false confessions or something, but for personal enjoyment and to take out frustrations—but a child rapist. Not in a metaphorical sense, "mind rape," regarding the extraction of memories, but in directly pumping the experience of punishment rape into her brain. And let's remember, for some reason, Cognitum doesn't think that this makes her evil, or is indicative—I'd go so far as to say even suggestive!—that she would be unfit to rule a decent society.


Not even the arrival of a mischievous spirit, who whisked away the Sorceress’s Dark Magician and fallen Lady, could save the day.

Dark Magician = Snips, Lady = Dawn.


The Sorceress left for the moon to punish the one who played the trick and cast the true spell, leaving her Knight and Vizier behind.

Visier = Legate


The wires connecting her brain to the iron throne were still working, even without the Sorceress to control them.  She could feel the Barbarian struggle within, losing the strength of her will with every second.  Then the Knight kicked a copy of the Barbarian off the platform, and thanked the Barbarian for saving him long, long ago.

Of course, the "copy" is, properly speaking, more Blackjack than the Barbarian in the maneframe. An interesting point is that it doesn't seem like in Cognitum's case the mind-copy/rip lost its sense of will. Perhaps, though, what happened instead was the original will was lost, and a new one built up over time based on the memories and some sense of the patterns of thinking of Luna, but also influenced by the nature of the false Crusader itself.


The shockwave knocked the jars over, and the Princess was rattled as her prison rolled over and smashed into a bank of terminals on the edge of the platform.  The filly could barely think as she grabbed the wires with her hooves, desperate to keep them from yanking out of her brain.
   It didn’t help that the Barbarian was still screaming in her mind.

It seems like in that bolded sentence, there was a bit of a shift to more normal Blackjacky narration. That the Barbarian is immediately afterwards/concurrently screaming in Charm's mind suggests that it may be more than just communication.
It's also about the point where we move from the "past," things that happened in the last chapter, to the "present."


“She has Blackjack’s talent for victory.  I am utterly assured of it.  A pity she doesn’t realize Blackjack’s talent is victory, not survival.

Huh, so he buys into that, too. Oh, and on the survival point in particular: "Objection, your honor. Assumes facts not in evidence." At least, not that much stronger than the previous times it wasn't actually true.


“Discord was here?” the Vizier muttered.
   “Yes, for a minute or two, right before you arrived.  Stopped me from smashing the metal nag to scrap, made some taunts, and sent her and Cog’s pet skull somewhere.  Then he turned to dust and blew away,” the Knight said, now sounding a bit baffled in that helmet.  “What’s the matter?  Everything happened as you predicted.  Well… aside from Cognitum not being able to use EC-1101.  I wonder what happened there.  Still, nothing else major changed.”
   “You don’t know that!” the Vizier hissed.  “Discord.  Pinkie Pie.  Blackjack.  You have no idea how dangerous they are.  You think killing makes a pony dangerous!  Killing is nothing!  Knowledge.  Interference.  Those are dangerous, fool!”  He spat the last word so sharply that the Knight took a step back.  “If he was here, it was for a reason!  Why Dawn?  Why Snips?”
   “He was crazy!” the Knight retorted.  “Now all three are dead.  I don’t know what you’re so upset about.  He didn’t even have enough power to save himself.”

And here is another point where we see that Steel Rain, probably to an extent even greater than Cognitum, just doesn't get it. His problem, I think, is a lack of vision. Not only does it affect how he doesn't especially have a deep vision for what he wants Equestria to be after he takes over—"we have the guns and we should use them" and maybe some form of "survival of the fittest" don't strike me as having a lot going on—but he seems very focused on the mundane, like the fact that he's in (a washed-out version of) "the magical land of Equestria" doesn't matter. Nothing that isn't visible on the surface matters, and once someone is dead or something is destroyed, it can't have any lasting effects. In that respect, he may be something of an anti-Lighthooves, who was so caught up in the past and what was under the surface that he was willing to sacrifice the present and future at their altar rather than acknowledging their importance and trying to learn from them.
And seriously, he didn't notice anything worth mentioning about her change in appearance, etc., upon taking in Luna's soul? I guess maybe he just assumed that the Legate would have picked up on it himself, but bearing in mind he wouldn't have seen Cogjack before that happened, he could have thought it was all due to the mind transfer or cutie mark transfer instead.


“The prophecy is real.  It was revealed to me by… higher powers.  I’ve learned the best way to sabotage prophecy is to place someone unworthy in its role,” the Vizier muttered.

Maybe I should just stop trying to track whether it's supposed to be real or not and just see how things play out. We're in at least double or triple reversal range on that point by now.


“What could he have done?  Something… something… some juvenile, puerile prank… with dire repercussions….” [Legate]
“What’s the big deal?  He’s dead.” [Steel Rain]

Does . . . does Steel Rain literally not understand that events in the past can have effects in the present and future? Does he have less grasp of the continuity of time than an average five or six year old?

The Vizier struggled to maintain his composure, his whole body shaking for a moment.

You and me both, man.


He walked to the edge of the platform, sitting and spreading his hooves wide.  “Stars of the dark places.  Stars of ash.  Stars of death.  I beseech thee.  Tell me the dance of your circles.  How has Discord marred your celestial orbits?  Please!  I beg thee.  Ashur.  Dagon.  Namtar.  Show me…”

Okay, so he's directly working with the stars at this point. And I think there could be a few ways to interpret the "dark places," "ash," and "death." The dark places, for instance, what if that indicates they are not (or perhaps not merely) dead stars that chose to persist rather than yielding to new life, but stars from beyond the point of darkness the stars together, and then the EoS, were trying to push back?
Also, of the four stars represented by the other Starkatteri later on, the only one not invoked is Nibiru, the one whose representative(?) was Pythia, the zebra who worked with prophesy.


“I see.  I understand.  And Cognitum?”  The shivery light rang as if it were laughing.  A look of relief spread on his face.  “Thank you.  Then she is not the true Maiden, now or ever.”

Nope, still not going to let myself get too confident on any points of prophesy. Can't be sure, for instance, the stars are both accurate and truthful. That said, the idea of Cogs not being the Maiden is pretty attractive.


“The light of stars that died long ago, and would not go quietly into the darkness.”

Okay, so a point of support for them at least being dead stars who didn't want to do the whole rebirth thing.


The light continued to wash over everything for a few moments longer, the Enervation scream now sounding like the whisper of hundreds of unholy voices.  They hinted at ways to break things.  Corrupt things.  Undo things that should not be undone.  Make things that should not be made.

Sounds like my impressions of the black book.


“I see.  Blackjack was the only factor then?”  Another pause.  “And she is no more?”  More hissing whispers.  They rose and fell, and made the zebra frown.  “Blackjack is broken…”  He muttered the phrase as if tasting it and finding it to his liking.  “Good.  Then all is accounted for,” he said as he rose to his hooves, his face sublime with confidence as the glow faded.

Yeah, see, that's not what they said. "Broken" isn't the same thing as "dead" (which isn't the same as "no more," for that matter, especially in this story). I believe I originally attributed this to confirmation bias, and I see no reason to change this now. That said, given his own knowledge of the malleability of prophesy, you'd think he might come in with a bit more skepticism.


Discord affected something, but it was slight.  The tiniest wobble of the outplay of events.  A hair’s shift out of alignment, ultimately for naught.”

Of course, we're dealing with a story where a whole lot is based on small events having large consequences. And ignoring the different things strictly within PH, look at what Discord said in the last chapter, about how it may wel have been some little thing that kept Twilight from ever becoming an alicorn, like her writing the wrong thing in one of her letters.


“You can’t believe.  That is why you will never rule anything, Steel Rain, because you cannot believe in anything greater or more meaningful than yourself.  You will either serve forever as Cognitum’s puppet, or you will serve my masters just as I do and revel in the power they grant their most devoted.  But you will serve, or you will die.  Is that understood?”

Yeah, that's not too far off from how I see Steel Rain.


“That striped bastard thinks he can talk to me like that?  Me?  I’ll show him and his fucking stars who owns this world.  I won’t serve anyone.  Not him or Cognitum or Dawn or Crunchy Carrots.  Me.  I’m the one who should be in charge.  I won’t be second to anyone.  Anyone!”

And he starts going and missing the point. Also, of course, that's pretty much the tack Charm was on after the selection of Grace. And look where it got her.


“It’s like when I was shot in the head, only this time it’s lots of little holes and the bullets are still in there,” the Princess said as she hugged the smashed torso and head like a run-over windup toy.
. . .
“You should get back in a jar.  The stasis fields should stop your pain,” the Dark Magician said, his bones flashing brighter with every word.
   “I don’t want to get in the fields.  It’s like not having my body again.  I don’t want to not feel like my body isn’t really there again,” the Princess whimpered, quivering.
   The broken Lady, however, did not respond for several seconds.  “Child, what are you talking about?  When were you… shot?”

And there's some more confirmation: Dawn would have a good idea if Charm had ever been shot, and nothing in her recitation of her history indicated she'd ever not had her body. So looks like Blackjack is in there now.

“All the time.  I’m always getting hurt.  My body.  My heart.  My soul.  Always getting hurt.  People always shoot me.  Even my friends shot me.  Glory shot me in the face… but it’s okay.  It was an accident,” the Princess muttered weakly.

Yep. Though an expansive definition of "accident."


The broken stub of a leg reached out and brushed the wires dangling from the Princess’s head, making her wince and draw back.  “It must be… it must be the neural taps Cognitum wired.  She kept the connection constant.  When the computer was destroyed, the link persisted; it must have shoved Blackjack’s memories into the only buffer still connected to it!”

Okay then. That's that.


“Go away.  You won’t be king any more than I’ll be queen.  Nopony likes you.”
   The Knight blinked at her.  “I like me,” he said in faintly injured tones, his voice regaining a little of his old self.
   “Nopony else, then,” she said with a roll of her eyes.  “It doesn’t matter how smart or clever or sneaky you are.  If nopony believes in you, or likes you, or wants you, they’re not going to follow you.  It doesn’t matter how shiny your armor is or how big your guns are.  Everypony knows you hate them, and probably think you’ll kill ‘em the second it suits you… ‘cause you will.”  She closed her eyes.  “I used to be just like you.  Then I got wires stuck in my head.  Now I’m not so stupid anymore.”

The thing is, she'd actually started picking up some of that even before then, even if not fully put together into a comprehensive whole. And certainly before Blackjack was transferred. But that helped put the pieces together, I think.


“STAY AWAY FROM MY KIDS!” the Revenant screamed in near feral rage as the maroon ghoul opened his jaws wide, pink cloud boiling up his throat.

Sanguine to the rescue. As far as deux ex machinae go, it's okay. Set up, at least.


“What kind of power do you need?” the broken Lady asked immediately.
   “A circle of at least six unicorns, Snails, or… or…”

Special bond, they have.


“Each of those arms carries one point twenty-one gigasparks, at least.  It’d vaporize you,” Dawn said immediately.

Don't do it, Marty!


“I need some medical assistance for Mr. Horse,” the Golem said with a worried frown, glancing over her shoulder at the quivering lump on her back that had once been a pony.  “He’s not himself.  It has been over one hundred and five million minutes since he told me how amazing he is.”  She looked back at all the rest of us.  “I’m quite concerned,” she added in complete sincerity.

Sweetie Bot is up there on my list of adorable side characters, along with Xanthe (and Stealth Suit), the seaponies, and Harpica. It's hard to believe that Horse managed to make a personality so much better than his own—especially since at some point it's clear that he didn't succeed in just making a near-mindless, perfectly and happily submissive slave. Maybe he delegated.


The Golem tilted her head and blinked cluelessly.  “It would be more efficient and effective to contact paramedics and have Mr. Horse taken to a Ministry of Peace medical center.  He seems to have lost most of his epidermis.”

This is laugh-out-loud hilarious.


“What about you?  Aren’t you worried about yourself?” she asked.
   “No,” the bones replied with a papery sigh.  “I’m old and I’m tired.  I’ve done so much, and too much of it’s been bad for me to ever be able to even attempt to live happily.  And… now that I’m back together… I owe Blackjack for what I did to her.  Owe a lot for the ponies I’ve hurt.  Some things don’t get forgiven.”

Except, of course, that's kind of the opposite of the point. We're in Blackjack's story, after all. If nothing else, she'll manage, maybe already has.

“Blackjack feels the same way all the time,” the Princess said.  “She can’t forgive herself.  But I know she’d forgive you.”
   “And you as well, child,” he said as she climbed closer to the humming arm.  “Ironic.  The mare that can’t cut herself a little slack for her mistakes will happily excuse far worse from others.”

Yeah, basically. That's a big part of my belief that she'd make a good Generosity.


The Princess didn’t know what else to do.  Only that he was being brave, and that a real princess, not a snotty nasty mean princess, would give him something before he went.  So she kissed the top of his skull, then threw him up into the gap.

Hey, if you try to do what a real princess would do long enough, maybe you'll know what it's like to be one.


“Mr. Horse isn’t going to like me breaking off pieces of his masterpiece,” the Golem said in worry as she reached over and pulled one of the terminals off the ruined machine.
   “Do it,” a choking, mottled voice hissed.  Everyone froze at the horrid sight of the skinned stallion lifting his head.  Blood dripped down his lips.  “You’re trying to transfer an intelligence, right?”

So, it sounds like he'd not lost his mind. Soul, possibly. If not, Sweetie must have some moonstone on her or something.


“Shut.  Up,” the Knight said, then stomped down hard.  His hoof crushed the ghoul’s skull like a silver hammer hitting a rotten egg.

Was that a Beatles reference?


“Stop!” the broken Lady hissed as the Knight shoved the bloody Skinned Pony aside.  “You heard the Legate!  He fears Blackjack!  Leaving her alive would be your best weapon against him.”
   “I have no doubt it would.  But I also know that Blackjack isn’t going to let me rule the Core.  She’s handled way too much shit.  I’d rather face a star-worshiping zebra alone than let that bloody mule loose again.”

Ah, so many people have such a high opinion of her. Like Boomer and Twister, didn't they say they'd rather go against a squad of griffin mercenaries naked and unarmed rather than Blackjack? Something like that.


“I’m sorry, Mr. Horse.  I’m afraid I broke,” she buzzed as she lay there.  “Would you like me to execute the transfer?”
   The Princess looked up at the armored pony.  He stood on the broken body of the Lady, his cannons swiveling down at the Princess as she hugged the terminal.  All she had to do was throw the machine aside and beg him for help.  Maybe offer to run the Society for him.  Something.  Anything to save herself.  Because that’s what she’d always done.
   What she’d always done had never made her happy before.  “Yes!” she cried out.

It's really too bad it took her as long as it did to learn that, but better late than never. And she is getting the opportunity for some real heroism here.


I lurched as everything came together, the experience like a board across my face.

Back in business.


I had no idea if I’d retain the memories when the spell ended, or if I’d contaminate myself with Horse.  He hadn’t seemed particularly good, but if he could help…

I think that calling Horse "not particularly good" is overly complementary to him. He had a lot of Goldenblood's problems, without many of his good points, like his deep love of Equestria and the capacity to love another pony like he did Fluttershy.


“Good,” he said, and then pulled his plastic covered pendant off and pushed it into my hooves.

Oh, so that's how he was managing it. Presumably brought by Sweetie Bot, given he was skinned by Enervation before getting into the stasis pod.

“Your best… weapon…” he breathed, then slumped over to the side.

I'm kind of sorry she hadn't thought of it herself, but of course, she only had the one at the time and kind of needed it for other things.

I pulled away and watched as his body slumped, liquefying before my eyes.

Looks like, contra what the others had said, he'd lost neither his mind nor his soul. The mind would have been a mercy, but to be honest, I'm not sure being in the soul vortex would actually be better than trapped in the stasis pod.


I’d had quite a few memories in my time from dozens of different ponies.  I could remember all the memories I’d had with Charm, and could feel chunks of Horse like huge blocks of ice slowly melting away inside my head and joining the rest of the pool that was Blackjack.

That's quite a bit to have taken on, especially the Charm stuff.


She was like the Overmare: hounded by shame, feeling urges no filly should face, and keeping herself together with an overwhelming sense of pride that she didn’t come close to meriting.  She would have had a happier life working under Caprice... before I’d come along, that is.

I guess there was some ambivalence, then, not just thinking sex was "icky" and "made her feel bad," beyond using it as leverage over others? Or why else would Blackjack think that she'd do well under Caprice?


Steel Rain stood by Charm.  One hoof was stomped firmly on the end of the taut wires trailing from her head to the nearby ring, and the other was resting on her head, ready to push it away and either yank the wires out or just outright crush it.  “No more fucking around, Blackjack.  No more.  That striped fuck was right.  You’re way too dangerous to be left alive.  Now, you’re going to come over here, you’re going to lay down, and you’re going to die, or I’m pulling every plug all at once.”

One of the problems with a protagonist who is so capable of getting through everything is that it means you need to bring up the few major weaknesses they do have a lot. The fact that Blackjack is super weak to hostage-taking means it comes up a lot, which is kind of frustrating because it would be so nice for her to call the bluff sometimes, but it would also be fundamentally against her character. Basically, what I'm saying is that hostages are Blackjack's kryptonite, and that's kind of a mixed bag in how it affects things for me: on a local level, it's frustrating because of how impractical it can seem, and the feeling of a lack of sense of proportion; on the global level, it's something that, if it weren't there, would leave her someone else, someone I probably wouldn't be as attached to.


“You bastard,” I muttered . . .
“Oh, sure.  Insult my parentage, too.  That’ll work wonders,” he laughed.

And hey, there's at least a chance his parents were married, unlike Blackjack's.


Charm smiled through the tears on her cheeks.  “You’re a fucking moron, Blackjack.  You know that?”

I'm going to go with "yes."

I froze, and Steel Rain looked down at her.  “Shut up,” he growled.
“Or what?  You’ll kill me?” Charm said, grinning even more as she wept.  “You’re scum.  A coward taking a filly hostage to kill a pony better than you.”
I stared at her.  “Stop it, Charm.  He’ll kill you.”
“Oh, I know he will.  There’s no ‘might’ about it, whatever he says.  He’s smart.  You should have killed me the second you made Grace Regent, but you fucked it up,” she said, laughing.
“Shut up!” Steel Rain bellowed again, a note of desperate frustration in his voice.
“Fuck you, you stupid fuck!” Charm shouted back at him, laughing some more, tears running down her cheek.  “You are fucked.  Because Blackjack is still Blackjack.  It doesn’t matter what you do to her.  She does the right thing.  No matter how much it fucking hurts.  And she’s been fucking hurt.”
I gaped at her.  “Don’t.  Please, Charm…”
She sniffed and smiling bitterly at me.  “You’re the only pony who’s ever wanted to save me, Blackjack.”
“Don’t!” I begged, as Steel Rain looked from her to me.
“What…” the silver armored pony said as he turned his attention back to his hostage.
   “Goodbye,” she said, and her legs tensed beneath her.  I tried to grab her with my magic, but she was too quick.  By the time I'd grasped her, she had already kicked off and was lunging towards me.  I could lift her but I couldn't stop her.  Too heavy.  Too fast.
   The wires in her brain snapped taut, flipping her body around in the air a moment before several pulled free with a spray of blood.  Tiny, wet gobs of pink, bloody tissue gleamed at the ends of the wires.  She slid close enough to me that I lunged at her and pulled her into my hooves with my magic.  Her body spasmed wildly with a gagging sound as she seized, her eyes pointing in two different directions.  I heard the thunder of Steel Rain approaching as she thrashed.

There's a lot of Dickens that I don't especially care for, not least because so much of it seems stretched out. But the end of A Tale of Two Cities really got to me. I hear echoes of it here in Psalm's sacrifice, the best and noblest act of her life, and for someone she'd shared not just a body with (and more directly), but a mind/memories, if only for a short time. But it's interesting that she is, in effect, doing the same thing Snips did, and which she was pushing back against, at least to the extent of reminding him that he could be forgiven (at least by Blackjack) and presumably could go on. Granted, I think that Charm seems to be motivated more by gratitude, maybe even some form of love, than guilt. And she would have been happy to keep on living, but needed, like Glory later did, a chance to do something bigger than herself.


Given the armor had only been lined with it, rather than made of the stuff, I wasn’t vaporizing the pony within.  I was, however, blowing apart hoof-sized hunks of armor with each impact, striking the moonstone hard against the silver coating.

That should also be throwing off huge amounts of radiation, I think. But there are ways around that, or at least to recover from it.


“Wait!  You don’t understand!  I was molested as a colt!”  Boom went a foreleg strut.  “My mom rented me out to raiders!”  Boom went a chest plate.  “Cognitum made me do it!”  The left side of his helmet flew apart in chunks and a wide, terrified eye stared at me.  “The Legate used his star magic on me!  I swear!”  His other forehoof exploded in a cloud of shrapnel.  “Damn it, stop!”
   “I don’t care!  I don’t care if you were brainwashed by your father into becoming a sex slave for Crunchy Carrots who tortured you for failing to conquer the Wasteland.  You’re dying right now!

It's really unusual for her to just keep going after someone tries to surrender, but I can kind of see why she's not, since he'd just pulled the hostage move. Maybe she even would have if he'd just gone and asked for mercy from the start instead of making up what sounds like obvious bullshit to appeal to another of her soft points. But as Rampage said: body has to pop their murder cherry eventually. Sure, there've been some candidates before this, but this one would probably be the least ambiguous.


Then, the fucker did the one thing I’d hoped he wouldn’t.  He raised his bloody hooves in the air and shouted as loud as he could, “I give up!”  
“What?” I whispered hoarsely as I froze.  He gave me a perfect shot: right through the hole in his helmet, straight at his eye.  Even without S.A.T.S., I could hit him.  
He coughed weakly.  “I surrender.  I quit.  I throw myself on your mercy!”  My eye twitched as he pulled off the ruined helmet and grinned at me, his pink features now swelling up.  He coughed again, bringing up bloody phlegm.  “Arrest me.  Lock me up.  Take me to trial.  I’ll pay for my crimes however you want.”
   “Is this a joke?” I whispered, staring at him.  It was a trick.  Shoot him now, a smart, sane part of me insisted.  Right now.  Before he said another word.

Hmm. Well, I guess he never said it, exactly, before then. But she's being pretty . . . formalistic . . . about what constitutes a surrender, and frankly "kill them before they have a chance to surrender" doesn't come across as much better than "take no prisoners." The key thing here is that she "had hoped he wouldn't" surrender, by which she seems to have meant saying some very specific words. Absent that, it'd be easier to see in a light more consistent with her general principles, like that she was so beside herself with rage that she wasn't even thinking about that at all, and only that very exact statement was clear enough to shock her out of it. But her "hope" seems to indicate that she had been thinking about it, and had been listening, but chose to keep attacking an unarmed pony appealing to her sympathy (and even directly asking her to stop), if not her mercy, anyway.


“You’re right.  I really do want you to do better.”  He gave a nervous little smile.  Then I slammed him in the face with my hooves, knocking him back over the edge.  He scrambled for purchase and caught in a gap in the rails.  “But even my optimism has limits.”

Okay, so here, now, she's doing it as an actual decision: she wants to save ponies, wants them to do better, but she can't trust him enough to give him the chance. It's different from who she normally is, but it's built on a more solid foundation than the mere use of the wrong words in his surrender.


“You’re not an executioner,” he screamed as I stepped onto the elevator.
   The statement, one I’d said dozens of times before, broke through.  If I just let him die, was I still Blackjack?  Was I any better than him?  Okay.  Yes, I was.  But still, just leaving him to die?  Why didn’t I just shoot him in the head while I was at it?
   I sighed, closing my eyes.  Everything I’d taken from Horse and Charm told me I was a complete idiot for even thinking it.  That I should go back and put a magic bullet through his head.  Maybe two or three.  That’s what a good, sensible pony would do.  Heck.  That was what LittlePip did.  I wasn’t saving anything worth saving, and I might be sparing a monster worse than the four that had violated me.

I guess it figures that one of the few things stronger than appealing to Blackjack's mercy is appealing to her guilt. Can't say it's entirely obvious to me why she wouldn't have thought of it herself, but then I'm sitting at home and she's in a much less relaxed situation. So let's just go with that.
However! I'll say this: if there's something worse than executing him, it's got to be executing him by letting . . . gravity? his circulatory system? . . . do the work. That's just adding stupidity and complacency on top of the betrayal of principle. Especially given how many times she's survived because of someone not just killing her when they had the chance.


There were a half dozen reasons why I should just go, and a half dozen more why I should go back and make sure he was dead.  There was only one reason to try and help him…
   But Security saves ponies.

And I'm calling that the dust jacket quotation for the chapter.


He started to scream as his crippled forehoof melted away, and he extended the oozing stump towards me.  “Shavvve muh!” he burbled as one eye burst, then the other.
“I did,” I answered quietly.

Well, there might have been some slightly rocky bits on the way, but it's hard to think of a better end for the serial-traitor Steel Rain. Crunchy Carrots, Dawn, Cognitum, the Legate, Blackjack. And he finally got what was coming to him.


Paintings on the walls depicted scenes of Equestrian life from before the war, and, shockingly, there were three pictures showing zebra lands.

Hey, when you're Goldenblood, you can get away with a lot. And it's also possible nobody else ever really went in there.


Horse’s memories were of Pinkie sealing this place after Goldenblood’s arrest.

Okay, maybe it was just that GB can (could) get away with stuff Rarity would confiscate in a heartbeat, and Pinkie would see as evidence of a no-good extra-bad pony.


Taken by Goldenblood after he’d been removed for striking Twilight or absconded with by Horse when he’d taken over.

Huh. Didn't remember that point. Seems anticlimactic.


Of course, the contents were so heavily encrypted that I didn’t have a chance of accessing it via hacking.  So I just entered in all the passwords I could think of and got rejected again and again.  Knowing my luck, it would be something completely random.

You mean . . . someone did passwords correctly? Mirabile visu!


Not power… I stared at the terminal and carefully typed ‘Love, Loyalty, and Secrets’.

Aww . . .

The screen flickered, text scrolled, and then it flickered again.  Suddenly, the screen went blank save for one line.
           > THERE SHALL BE ONLY ONE PRINCESS.  I PLEDGE MY LIFE TO ETERNAL DARKNESS.  I SWEAR MY LOYALTY TO THE UNENDING BLACK.  ALL HAIL NIGHTMARE MOON.  MAY THE NIGHT LAST FOREVER!

Umm . . . What?


Then I felt a wind sweep over me and turned to see a black vortex of magic forming.  It swirled around in a flat, ebony disk, then stilled.

Okay, that makes a lot more sense. Should have remembered that detail about where they were going. Old old magic from Nightmare Moon's seat of power.


I gently levitated the prone Charm onto my back and gathered up the photographs in an envelope just in case.  After all, I didn’t have my statuettes any more.

That's really sweet. Time will tell if she loses the bonuses, though, and the ponies in her head.


The description of the castle is pretty nice, but I think the detail about the modern pieces sticking out was some of the best:

Here and there were signs of modern technology.  Cables drawn along the edge of the floor.  A room with a dusty broken terminal.  An old rifle from the war, so badly maintained that it’d serve better as a club.  Compared to the grand architecture, they clearly didn’t belong here.  Magical glyphs throbbed powerfully against the walls, illuminating the halls.


The noises were coming from a nearby... bedroom... along with the sound of classical music and a familiar wet noise I hadn’t heard since 99.
           I pushed the door open and beheld the glistening, undulating mass of pony flesh that was an orgy.

I don't think it's too often a story has the sequence kill a guy, try to save a kid's life, walk in on an orgy. But it works here.


Hell yeah, Psychoshy's here!


“Another... well... okay, I’m not sure where.  It’s a place that’s in Equestria in the Hoof, but it’s set slightly to... well...”  Whisper glanced over at Stygius, who chirped and shrugged, looking over at his sister.

I'm sure it's nowhere noteworthy. Probably best to just forget about it, or better yet, not think about it at all.


“Hey, I don’t hear you complaining about not being obligated to fuck your brother anymore!  Honestly, I finally find a community I feel comfortable in, where family members regularly fuck each other, and they still act like it's a bad thing. The whole world is insane, I tell ya...” Whisper retorted.  

I mean, it's a good point. Especially since I've come to drop my suspicions that Tenebra actually was ambivalent about that, harboring some attraction to Stygius, there's even less reason to be all bent out of shape at the obvious solution (and its messenger). Seriously, it's kind of a lot for just being taken a bit out of the spotlight.


“Perish the thought, dear husband.  Go on.  Be kingly,” she said with a little wave of her hoof as she leaned against Tenebra.

I can see she takes him very seriously.


“I think quite a few are fond of ‘recreational’ too,” Persephone said, making Tenebra blush.
“Mother!” she said in scandalized tones.
“What?  If I were in better health, I’d join you.  With my darling, of course.”  She looked archly at her husband.
“I like her,” Whisper whispered to me.

I do too. Sure, partly it's just because she's a foil to King Stick Up His Ass, but really, what's not to like?


Were there any males brought in?


“Be gone from my presence.  Breed a batpony or three, and perhaps I will send you back.”  And he settled back onto his throne and stared silently at me.
   I stared at him.  “You... I...  How can you–”

"I'm sterile!"


“And he really thinks that Horizons won’t destroy this place too?” I snapped.
   Whisper shook her head.  “I don’t know if he’s aware of it, but he seems convinced that nothing reaches this place.  So... I don’t know.  I don’t know how many super massive explosions like that there’s been.  The balefire bombs and megaspells didn’t touch this place, so... maybe?”

Somehow I imagine a giant chunk probably including BPM being taken out of the planet might have a chance of making more of a difference than the balefire bombs.


I slowly approached them, wishing I had Sekashi’s ability to read lips.  Clearly, Glory wasn’t happy.  P-21 emerged, followed by Rampage.  I started at the sight of an ethereal filly inside her, following her movements, along with a whole cluster of motes.

Yet another indication that Rampage isn't a random collection of souls, but has a specific person she was.


I scowled at myself.  “I want my body back, you cunt!  I want my baby!”
The dark purple shape turned and looked at me, its head slipping out of the cloudy shell of my body.  Step by step it emerged, regarding me with cool teal eyes.  “It is not in my power to grant you that, Blackjack.”

This was not expected.


“That is the question, is it not?” she replied coolly.  “Princess, or Nightmare?”
“Really?  I have to deal with riddles now?” I asked flatly.  “Which is it?”
“Are you Blackjack, or Security?” Luna countered with her own question.  I don’t know if it was her size or the presence of her alicornness, but I balked and swallowed hard.

Well, annoying as it is for Blackjack, it's at least grappling with an issue that could just be kind of hand-waved away.


“Ponies are not simple things.  This is something that I understood better than my sister.  Ponies are complex. . . .  My sister believed that ponies were simply, innately, good.  That all people were.  I understood the nuance of dreams.  The subtle differences of thought.  You ask if I am Princess Luna, or Nightmare Moon.  The answer is yes.  The more important question is which was I more... and that, I cannot answer.”

Fair enough, I guess. But I think there may be a degree to which this is muddying things up more than they need to be. A lot of the complexities and evil of the Nightmare could just be wrapped up as part of the dispersion of Luna. To what degree is she specifically the entity that wanted the night to last forever, and how much did that remain? That's a less nuanced question, but one that's probably more useful for a number of purposes.


“Blackjack, I ordered the deaths of ten million ponies and caused the deaths of sixty million zebras over the course of the war.  You’ve seen Nopony’s Land.  You haven’t seen the multitude of other battlefields, but I assure you that there were many worse.  And if you consider how many lives the megaspells took, the number of corpses at my hooves becomes incalculably higher,” she bowed her head.  “No matter how you regard it, I am evil too.”

These evils of war and ambition are certainly a facet of her character. You can't get around that. But I also don't think you can escape, for instance, the way she gave her life to limit the damage from the Littlehorn agent megaspell, something I have trouble seeing Cognitum doing—though I'll grudgingly admit I could well be wrong on that, as there's at least some shred of concern for others suggested by her protectiveness of the baby she's carrying. However, I don't recall anything indicating that Luna tortured and raped children for a distraction from her frustrations. I seriously think some distinction has to be made between the gradual buildup of evil in a terrible situation where it would be hard to know if there would be another way out and gleefully jumping straight to ludicrous, malicious supervillainy. Also, I think that there may be a big difference in their degrees of self-awareness.


I swallowed hard, struggling to find an answer contrary to one condemning her.  “It was Fluttershy... she made the first megaspells.  The zebras made the balefire bombs.  Goldenblood... he... he manipulated you!  He was working behind the scenes, doing things.”

I note that Blackjack doesn't mention Fluttershy giving them to the zebras. Anyway, nice example of how you can make excuses for people you like while refusing to do the same for those you don't. See also: me, right above this.


“Thank you, Princess Luna,” he said a touch sarcastically, his hips moving.  Suddenly the image changed again, now looking down at a double bed with a pregnant Fluttershy next to a sleeping Goldenblood.  His hips twitched under the sheets as he murmured in his sleep ‘Princess Luna’.  Fluttershy lay next to him, her eyes wide as she stared up, tears running down her cheeks.

So, remember how earlier the Legate was saying that whatever Discord did was a little thing of no consequence? Here's a good counterexample from PH itself. I think it's entirely possible that the war could have ended differently if Princess Luna had just waited to talk to him in the morning. If nothing else, Whisper may have been born, changing up the Hoof.


“I want to resign.”
. . .
“And you want to try and fix things with Fluttershy,” Luna retorted.  “Don’t deny it.  I’ve seen your dreams.  Will your resignation resurrect your dead child, Goldenblood?”

Okay. I just don't know what she was thinking there. I have trouble seeing that work out well.


Making him give up five years of memories to retire. Threatening Fluttershy. Not too hard to see why he'd turn against her. And, of course, isn't it a rule of MLP that anyone who tries to hurt Fluttershy gets punished?


She shook her head, looking to the side where a massive pink and green dragon blasted Goldenblood with flame.  Every bit of him was burned away.  Every bit.  By dragonfire...

Now she's putting it together.


“Where is he?”
She stared at me for the longest moment.  Then she whispered softly, “I don’t know.”
“Stop playing games.  Tell me the truth.  Where is he?” I insisted.
For a moment, I didn’t think she was going to tell me.  I started to turn away, but then she said quietly, “Here.  He’s here.  In my fortress.  My Redoubt.”
I felt a cold prickle go up my spine.  He was here.  And so close.  So very close.  “Thank you,” I answered, not looking back at her.

And we have our next chapter.


“I just wanted to protect my people.  I just wanted to do better than Celestia... for once,” Luna begged.  I glanced back.  The purple soul was slipping back inside the dark shell of my body.  If only things were different... if only things had been better...

And now, especially with the benefit of later chapter, I have more trouble than ever buying into the idea that Cognitum is Luna. This sounds like someone who believed she had been wrong. (Incidentally, note how differently she came across than everything Steel Rain said.) This Luna, the one who saw the death of Canterlot, just strikes me as too different from Cognitum to really be the same. Now, of course there's a good chance I'm going to be proven wrong in short order as 74 and up get released. But at least for now I can imagine that she learned something for her suffering, and became a better soul for it. On this, at least, I want to be optimistic.
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Icy Shake
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Tue Feb 24, 2015 12:20 am

Chapter Sixty Six Overall Thoughts:
The obviously striking point about the start of the chapter is the narration. It's moved to a fairy tale style, and many of the names have been replaced with archetypes like the Barbarian (Blackjack), the Princess (Charm), and the Knight (Steel Rain). The amount of detail and concreteness falls for a while as the events in narration are all things that happened in the past of the story. Specifically, Charm's past, as she's taken the role of the narrator for the moment. We learn about her past, some obvious, like how she didn't like her siblings and wanted to rule the Society, and that she was an entitled, spoiled brat generally. What I found shocking was a bit of the detail about how she was working to wrest control for herself: apparently an important component of it beyond genral scheming, making promises, etc. was having sex with people and using the threat of revealing it to extort them ("And she learned to say what people wanted her to say and do what others wanted her to do, even if it felt icky and made her feel bad, because then they’d be scared she’d tell and she could make them do things she wanted.  And she got money because sometimes that worked even better than doing the other stickier ickier things."). She continued trying to gain some control after fleeing the Society to the Core with Steel Rain, and tried to port that tactic along with others like simply ordering the Harbingers, or complaining. Later on there seems to be a suggestion, not particularly supported by Charm's narration, that Blackjack makes based on Charm's memories (which she appears to retain roughly in full by that point) that Charm may have had a degree of ambivalence about that, enjoying it beyond the leverage it gave her over others ("She was like the Overmare: hounded by shame, feeling urges no filly should face, and keeping herself together with an overwhelming sense of pride that she didn’t come close to meriting.  She would have had a happier life working under Caprice*... before I’d come along, that is." *Caprice, of course, ran Flank and Stable 69, known particularly for sex work and drugs, so the obvious inference is "work under Caprice as a sex worker."). This detail is one I find uncomfortable beyond a lot of the rest of the chapter, but I suppose is meant to illustrate to some degree her willingness to do anything to pursue her ambitions, and probably one aspect of her messed up psyche. Anyway, after a while she was had the brain wires put in so Cognitum could extract the memories she'd taken from the orbs and learn about Horizons. Afterward, she'd been put in the stasis tube and often tortured as a diversion for Cognitum (which, since it took the form of pumping experiences into her mind, including everything she'd wished on Blackjack, which had notably featured Blackjack being raped by everyone in Hoofington, I'm pretty sure qualifies Cognitum as a child rapist—lovely, and let's remember that she doesn't particularly think of herself as evil, or at least of anything she's done as disqualifying her as an appropriate leader).

Anyway, that basically gets us up to the present, when Steel Rain blows up the maneframe and Blackjack's mind is transferred into Charm's brain, which had still been connected to the computer. Charm's pod gets knocked over and she travels over behind the maneframe where she finds Dawn and Snips who soon realize what's happened after Charm refers to the wires reminding her of being shot in the head, something she'd never experienced. They determine that enough of the maneframe should still be intact to transfer Blackjack's mind directly to her clone body, if only they can get it. It's too far down for normal magic, but Snips says that he could use soul magic, and since the soul was bonded to the clone body, it might get pulled along if he summons the soul. However, he would need more power, and the only choice for that is to use some of the power going through the conduits of the Tokomare (1.21 gigasparks!), which he could access if it were directed through him. Yeah, it would destroy him in short order, but since he's a soul jar, he might survive long enough to get Blackjack's new body up. With the help of Sweetie Bot, who shows up with Horse's body looking for medical help, Charm, removing the ring to which the wires in her brain are directly attached and carrying it with her, is able to get Snips to a location he could be placed in the flow of power and throws him in, after he made a short speech about having done too much bad to have a good life again or be forgiven. Naturally, Charm says Blackjack, at least, would forgive him, and he agrees, adding that she'd forgive Charm as well, but it's not like he has another option anyway. She throws him in, and he's able to get Blackjack's body up before he's disintegrated. Charm and Sweetie Bot then work to set up the mind transfer, with the help of Horse, who it turns out is in posession of both his mind and his soul. After the transfer, we're back to standard Blackjack narration in full.

Now through this point there's been more going on in parallel, mostly concerning Steel Rain and, at the start, the Legate. Some is the basic stuff about how they're going to work together and betray Cognitum as she's returning from the moon or right as she gets back. Surprise, I know. But the Legate also wants updates on what happened before he arrived last chapter, especially with Discord. Because Steel Rain has a stunning lack of vision and imagination, and is entirely unable to think beyond himself and the mundanities of the world despite the fact that he's working with a personality outgrowth of a monarch from two centuries prior and a guy who claims to have been working against Discord before, he doesn't think that the little bit about Discord getting her to combine with Luna's soul would be important. To make sure that nothing's really changed, he does a ritual to commune with the spirits of three “Stars of the dark places.  Stars of ash.  Stars of death,” Ashur, Dagon, and Namtar. (An interesting point here is that Nibiru, the fourth star later learned to be associated with the remaining Starkatteri and the one which appears most closely linked to prophesy, was not invoked.) Based on the side of the conversation we hear, they indicated that there were minor changes, but nothing lasting. He's satisfied by this and goes off to rejoin the Brood. The reader, on the other hand, will recall the big deal Discord was making in the last chapter about how something as little as Twilight writing the wrong thing in one of her letters to Celestia could be the reason FoE happened instead of the later parts of FiM. That, and plenty of cases within the story where small matters changed the world.

Steel Rain is appropriately freaked out by what the Legate had just done, but after he left, resolves all the more that he'll never serve another again. He tries to prevent the others from restoring Blackjack's mind to her clone body, despite Dawn's assertions that Blackjack could be his best chance against Cognitum and the Legate. He, however, just doesn't care; he has a list of people he wants to die, and Blackjack is by far the top of it. A feral Sanguine bought the others quite a bit of time, and after he was more or less dealt with, Dawn made an attack of her own to get the last few seconds for the mind transfer, but not long after Blackjack's back in business, Sanguine and Dawn have been killed. However, Blackjack does have time to talk to Horse for a bit: he has her use her hornhead magic to grab some of his memories about Horizons, Goldenblood, and Cognitum before he dies; says that both he and Goldenblood had just been pieces like everyone else, controlled by some "her"; and just before taking off his moonstone talisman and giving it to her to cut short his suffering, that it will be her best weapon against Steel Rain. It's just then that Steel Rain returns as Blackjack is trying to take Charm and leave. While her back is turned, he's grabbed her and has one foot on her head, another holding down the wires going into her brain, ready to pull them out. As so often, we have a hostage situation, and as ever, Blackjack is ready to fold on the snowball's chance in hell that Steel Rain won't just kill Charm right after her. After he removes the foot from her head, Charm starts talking to Blackjack, trying to convince her Steel Rain will just go back on any agreement he makes. She believes that Blackjack will do the right thing, and that Steel Rain is fucked. When Blackjack tells her to stop, she replies with, “You’re the only pony who’s ever wanted to save me, Blackjack . . . Goodbye,” before launching herself forward, ripping the wires from her brain and depriving Steel Rain of his hostage.

Blackjack does the only thing she can think of as Steel Rain approached, and throws the moonstone talisman at him. On impact, there's an explosion: a moonstone/starmetal reaction with the coating of his armor. Blackjack is able to TK the talisman back and just keep hitting him with it until his armor is basically scrapped and he's pretty injured himself. He starts throwing out sob stories, says "Damn it, stop!" after having no weapons and no means to really defend himself, and can barely try to block her attacks, but she just doesn't care until she's brought to a halt when he gets it just right by saying "I give up! I surrender. I Quit. I throw myself on your mercy!" Even there, though she's stopped her attack, she decides to just leave him behind, tangled up in his busted armor and dangling over the edge of a platform, likely to fall to his death in short order; as he says, she wants him to do better, but to her, even her optimisim has its limit. But he makes one final plea, that she isn't an executioner, and in the end (after considering, among other things, the murder and unambiguous war crime Littlepip perpetrated against Autumn Leaf) she makes the call to free him, and extricates him from his armor and gets him back on the platform, saying that he'll be working in the Society to feed the Wasteland for the rest of his days. But moments later he rams Blackjack and Charm, whom she's carrying, off of the platform. Blackjack teleports back no problem, and before he's even finished his next sentence, he see's he's missing something: Blackjack has his moonstone medallion. He melts to death in short order, managing a couple of pleas ending with "Shavvve muh!" to which Blackjack simply responds "I did."

Blackjack takes Charm up to the surface and finds a medical cache Steel Rain had mentioned, feeding Charm several healing potions (preserved by putting a sliver of moonstone with each vial) and a Hydra, the last of which especially seemed to help stabilize her a bit. She goes to Goldenblood's office at the O.I.A. and at his terminal enters the password to open a dark portal. She goes through it, still carrying Charm, and finds herself in a dark, ancient castle with a few more modern (wartime) bits of technology. She follows some of the first noises she hears, and walks in on a twelve-pony orgy, finding among the participants Whisper (Psychoshy) and Stygius. They catch up, and it turns out that, in order to bring new genetic material into the heavily inbred batpony kingdom, Whisper has convinced their king, Hades, to allow in some outsiders for breeding purposes. (By all appearances, they're not 99-style slaves, though they aren't allowed to leave, same as the batponies themselves for the most part. Can't risk attracting attention.) Blackjack wants to leave, but Hades won't allow it, and he's the one who controls the portal out. He doesn't care what happens to the outside world; his people are protected from everything that happens there due to the castle's nature as part of a shadowy other-world that doesn't interact much with the real world. The megaspells did nothing, and he expects the same will be true of Horizons. His wife, Persephone, is more sympathetic, but doesn't seem ready to push the issue. In frustration, Blackjack teleports away, and finds herself in the shadows. She can't move anything, like stones on the ground, and walking is difficult. She can see other ponies, but only vaguely, and they are illuminated by bits of light in them that are, presumably, their souls, and light up the rest of their bodies. She sees Glory crying, but doesn't know why as she can't hear them and doesn't know how to read lips. She sees Rampage, whose lights are one in the shape of a filly and a bunch of, basically, soul motes floating around it. Cognitum's light is colored, unlike the rest, dark purple, and seems to "strain against its confines." It's Luna's soul, and it removes itself from Cognitum's body to talk to Blackjack. Most of the discussion is built around convincing Blackjack that yes, Cognitum could be Luna, and is certainly more like her than Blackjack wants to admit. Ambission, ruthlessness, manipulation, blood. All are things they share. To illustrate, Luna shows a memory of when she and Goldenblood were making plans for how her government would take shape. He wanted the ministries as a buffer, but she didn't want to be separated from running things. He proposed the O.I.A. as a way to insert herself behind the scenes, and she agreed, insisting that he be the one to run it, and suggesting he pursue his interest in Fluttershy; she'd be more receptive than he'd think. Then came a memory of a dream of his Luna stepped into years later to make plans about looking into the megaspells Fluttershy was working on. It happened to be a sex dream of him and Fluttershy, and he's not too happy about the interruption, especially for something that could have waited until the morning. But she brings the dream closer to reality, making the dream-Fluttershy she was inhabiting her actual age and pregnant condition, and Goldenblood in his pink-fog wounded state, rather than the young and healthy and not-pregnant dream he'd been having, saying "enjoy the fantasy." He sarcastically says "Thank you, Princess Luna," and the focus slips to Fluttershy, awake, who hears him say "Princess Luna" while twitching his hips in a wet dream. The next scene Luna shares, in the immediate aftermath of Shattered Hoof Ridge, is Goldenblood wanting to resign his post to do something other than deal with the war,  and to try to fix things with Fluttershy. Luna is harsh, asking if his resignation would "ressurect [their] dead child," and insisting that if he leaves, he'd need to have the last five years blanket-erased. She ends with a thinly veiled threat that if he didn't stay on, Fluttershy would be among the ones thrown under the bus at the end of the war. He agrees to stay on, but it's no longer has hard to see why he would, by the end, see Luna as a tyrant who might well need to be stopped for the good of the world. The last scene is in a cell, with Luna interrogating Goldenblood. He says he was used, by many people; he'd let it happen, and thought it was best. But it would have been better if he'd died. He says that unlike him, the ministry mares aren't Luna's friends, which understandably angers her given his betrayal. He says he'll tell her what Horizons is if she'll abdicate in favor of her sister so she can end the "nightmare" of the war. She refuses, and tells him to let his secrets hang him, then shows him blasted with dragon flame. Blackjack puts it together, and presses Luna on his fate; Luna admits that he's still alive, and in her fortress, the Redoubt. Then Luna leaves, her parting words that she had wanted to protect her people and, for once, do better than Celestia.

And so the chapter ends with Blackjack having a direction to follow: find Goldenblood, and get answers.

One of the highlights of the chapter was the changed narrative style at the start. It did a good job of conveying the feel of a more limited, childlike perspective, and offered some insight into Charm. True, I found the sex angle there kind of distracting, but it wasn't something which kept me out of the flow long. What's more, the plot point of Blackjack's memories being added to hers (and vice versa), and of course the perspective shift, helped add more weight to Charm's heel-face turn and ultimately sacrificing herself.

On which note, Steel Rain's death was one of the most satisfying of the story. The stripped down fight, with both him and Blackjack largely disarmed, added some intensity and intimacy that likely would have been more muted if he'd had his cannons throughout and she'd had the sword, or more to work with generally. Along the way there were some sticking points for me, largely as Blackjack kept attacking after he wasn't really able to fight back and had shifted to his (obviously false) Blackjack-bait excuses and asking her to stop. That wouldn't have been so much on its own, but she had been hoping that he wouldn't surrender, and did stop pressing the attack when he did in so many words. That kind of formalistic loophole-seeking isn't something I really expect or hope to see from Blackjack, but it's mitigated by both her state of mind at the time and how she very nearly went through with a decision to just leave him there for dead. I did appreciate the appeal to "I'm not an executioner," though, and that it did end up getting through to her; it made a strong contrast, in the end, to Littlepip and Autumn Leaf. That she gave him the chance and he squandered it felt the the perfect end, entirely consistent with how he's acted throughout the story and one last indication that no, she couldn't save him, and that's what cost him his life.

Hearing from Luna was very interesting, and I think that one of the key things to bear in mind is the stark contrast between the surface of her message, that she and Cognitum are greatly alike, and the tone of its delivery. It seemed to me that Luna believed she was wrong, and contrite for her mistakes. She was in some ways offering comfort and sympathy to Blackjack, and insisted that Blackjack not blame Celestia or Goldenblood or the ministry mares for what were, more than anything, her decisions. I'm not sure if she's got some angle here, but the impression it left with me was that none of these were things that Cognitum would do. Add that to the inescapable point of canon that Princess Luna gave her life trying to mitigate the damage of the megaspell attack on Canterlot, and I think there's good support for the idea that even if Cognitum was a perfect copy of her mind and largely unaltered in the interim (which I have trouble believing), Luna has diverged from that point considerably.
Chapter Sixty Six Editing:
The top half of the machine was a flaming mess, but the bottom half and the platform was still intact.

second "was" to "were"


The beating green light slowed, and a spasm of pain crossed the Vizier’s face, “But all will be set right,

comma before quotation should be period, or speech tag needed


“What is that light?”  It throbbed like veins of green light within the Vizier’s hide.

I'd suggest changing the second "light" to something else so that you don't have a sentence amounting to "[The light] throbbed like veins of green light . . . "


“I don’t have a memory orb to hold it in, through.”

"though"


I grabbed that portion, pulling it into myself as piece of his mind slowly blacked out one after the next.

"pieces"


I struck the edge of the maneframe, lying on my back and watched the hoof drop towards my head.

"lying on my back and watching" or "lying on my back, and watched"


I threw Horse’s Moonstone medallion at his face as hard as I

"Moonstone" shouldn't be capitalized


Windows looked out over the Core and down towards the ministry plaza a few blocks away.

change to "towards Ministry Plaza"?


Not power… I stared at the terminal and carefully typed ‘Love, Loyalty, and Secrets’.

should have second space after ellipsis, and "Loyalty, Love, and Secrets" is what he actually said in the memory


“Stygius’s talent lets him cross just like father, but only he alone can use it travel from this world to yours.

"father" should be capitalized


“Applejack…,” Goldenblood said thoughtfully.

redundant comma


He scrambled for purchase and caught in a gap in the rails.

Just to be clear, is he caught in a gap in the rails, or did he catch a gap in the rails, which he's holding onto at that point?
Other Editing:
:17
I haven’t seen her like this since--“

inverted quotation mark


“I’m sorry…” she muttered softly.  “I just… liked not being me.”
“Yeah,” I muttered, chewing down another bitter tablet.  “I liked you not being you too.”

maybe change one of the "muttereds" to something else (like the first to "murmured", or the second to "grumbled"), or add a "back" after the second?


31:
I really hoped Paladin Apple Sugar Bombs Stronghoof didn’t see...

"Sugar Apple"


33:
The hydra had done nothing for me; I think I was at the point where my body just couldn’t heal anymore.

"Hydra"


35:
The three most important things are love, loyalty, and secrets.

"loyalty, love, and secrets"


43:
Her face had been covered with Apple Sugar Bombs dust.

"Sugar Apple"


68:
Stygius went to Meatlocker for a dose of hydra, but by the time he got back

"Hydra"
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