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[GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Mon Jul 20, 2015 12:30 am

I've made edits to correct two continuity issues.
In Chapter 60:
It wasn’t the clunkier Neighvarro style of armor nor the smoother lines of Thunderhead; this armor concealed every inch of their body, even the undersides of their wings.  The uniform black was broken by lines of purple.
has been changed to
It wasn’t the clunkier Neighvarro style of armor nor the smoother lines of Thunderhead, and instead of a uniform black, it was mostly purple.
In Chapter 62 Part 2:
It was just too hard to tell a pony by the end of their muzzle and the underside of their wings.
has been deleted

These (hopefully) fix two problems, the second of which concerns the color of Mare Do Well's armor and which I noticed while looking for instances of the first.
The first I noticed when checking a reference: GPE power armor, as far as I can tell, is fully enclosed. The reason for the confusion (and I'm afraid that, IIRC, that this being a problem in PH is due to a memory glitch on my part; I for this offer my apologies) is a passage in the original when the muzzle tips and wing undersides are left uncovered. Vector-Brony's images use this design, having inherited it, according to the documentation (found, among other places, here) from one Brisineo. In turn, Brisinio's design, as documented here, is based on the same description I was remembering. The problem is that that description, when I looked through the original just now, is of Rainbow Dash wearing one of Rarity's early prototypes and is the only description I found in the original of armor with those openings; what I did find were multiple descriptions of GPE armor being fully enclosed. I again apologize for the presence of this error. If you see any remaining instances of incorrectly described armor (including this design detail and the coloring of Mare Do Well's), please let me know. Thank you.

RoboRed wrote:
editing notes:
Well, I saw a couple, but I forgot all of them except one, and I don't remember specifically where it was. But there was a part where someone said "Okay,,,". Yes, with three commas instead of three periods for an ellipsis.
Ah, thank you.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by swicked on Mon Jul 20, 2015 2:06 am

RoboRed wrote:
Spoiler:
On another note, I can't help but shake this feeling...what if the ultimate choice for the party members isn't set in stone yet, but is actually set by what Somber & co. read from speculation in the coming months from here, FIMfic, EQD, Reddit, 4chan, and other places?
Shy
Spoiler:
Sorry to disappoint you, but no.
As I said in a previous post, the chapter used to be three pages longer detailing the choices for party members Blackjack made, the chapter ending just as they enter the tunnel.
Those three pages were chopped off to make for a stronger hook.
(not that those pages are going to be the start of the next chapter, Somber went in a different direction with that)

You guys really can speculate and it really will not make a difference to the established party.

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by MSCA on Mon Jul 20, 2015 3:54 am

editing note:
"You’ve got bradicardia" => "You’ve got bradycardia"
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Mon Jul 20, 2015 4:13 am

Ah, thank you.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Somber on Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:52 am

Thanks for reading, folks.  I'm sorry the scene was so hard, Ryx, but in a funny way, you shaped it.  Boo was going to die saving Blackjack from Cognitum, but she was so loved, particularly by you, that she was spared and I had Cog's menagerie save Blackjack... and get back her body... and yeah... everything.  After that, I really didn't have a use for her... until that very end with Blackjack.  So thank you for that.  You saved Boo's life.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Harmony Ltd. on Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:53 am

swicked wrote:
RoboRed wrote:
Spoiler:
On another note, I can't help but shake this feeling...what if the ultimate choice for the party members isn't set in stone yet, but is actually set by what Somber & co. read from speculation in the coming months from here, FIMfic, EQD, Reddit, 4chan, and other places?
Shy
Spoiler:
Sorry to disappoint you, but no.
As I said in a previous post, the chapter used to be three pages longer detailing the choices for party members Blackjack made, the chapter ending just as they enter the tunnel.
Those three pages were chopped off to make for a stronger hook.
(not that those pages are going to be the start of the next chapter, Somber went in a different direction with that)

You guys really can speculate and it really will not make a difference to the established party.
I'm glad to hear that.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by ILM126 on Mon Jul 20, 2015 10:45 am

I had no idea why I was thinking about the Falcon 9...

Ch76 Quote:
I didn’t care.  I gazed up, only a little, at the rocket shining in the moonlight.  It was trailing smoke and looked like it was going pretty fast and tilted too far over, but I could still hear the engines.  For a moment, I thought that it would be able to land even in its damaged state.  Then it passed out of sight behind a low hill, and a second later the distant roar of the engines was replaced by a tremendous, drawn-out crash, then silence.  At least it hadn’t exploded…  But it looked like any plan to just fly back for Rampage after the Eater was taken care of was going to be a little bit trickier.  Well, by magic or earth pony gadgetry, I would get her down from there.  Maybe the zebras had moon rockets too?  They had missiles, after all.






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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by swicked on Mon Jul 20, 2015 12:39 pm

Harmony Ltd. wrote:
swicked wrote:
RoboRed wrote:
Spoiler:
On another note, I can't help but shake this feeling...what if the ultimate choice for the party members isn't set in stone yet, but is actually set by what Somber & co. read from speculation in the coming months from here, FIMfic, EQD, Reddit, 4chan, and other places?
Shy
Spoiler:
Sorry to disappoint you, but no.
As I said in a previous post, the chapter used to be three pages longer detailing the choices for party members Blackjack made, the chapter ending just as they enter the tunnel.
Those three pages were chopped off to make for a stronger hook.
(not that those pages are going to be the start of the next chapter, Somber went in a different direction with that)

You guys really can speculate and it really will not make a difference to the established party.
I'm glad to hear that.
Yeah, so, who do you expect to see and why?
I'm curious.

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by ILM126 on Mon Jul 20, 2015 12:45 pm

And another amazing chapter from the number one writer of anything fallout :D
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by decumos on Mon Jul 20, 2015 1:02 pm

I don't think that Blackjack will take Psalm with her (she have to stay alive for Brood), and I doubt she'll risk Scotch Tape's life (she promised P-21, after all), and also Bastard needs to stay as well to protect her. Moreover, I don't think she'll take any faction leader (e.g. Storm Chaser or Brutus), because they need to organise survivors.
Not sure about members of Littlepip's party. I think they all will stay behind as well, it's not their story, after all, they've already played their part.
I am convinced there's certainly gonna be one of Glory's relatives (Sky Striker or Dusk, but most likely the former) and Lancer (because Amadi is still alive). And probably Rover, because he knows the layout of the Tokomare, if I remember correctly. As for another one, I'm clueless
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Harmony Ltd. on Mon Jul 20, 2015 2:10 pm

swicked wrote:
Harmony Ltd. wrote:
swicked wrote:
RoboRed wrote:
Spoiler:
On another note, I can't help but shake this feeling...what if the ultimate choice for the party members isn't set in stone yet, but is actually set by what Somber & co. read from speculation in the coming months from here, FIMfic, EQD, Reddit, 4chan, and other places?
Shy
Spoiler:
Sorry to disappoint you, but no.
As I said in a previous post, the chapter used to be three pages longer detailing the choices for party members Blackjack made, the chapter ending just as they enter the tunnel.
Those three pages were chopped off to make for a stronger hook.
(not that those pages are going to be the start of the next chapter, Somber went in a different direction with that)

You guys really can speculate and it really will not make a difference to the established party.
I'm glad to hear that.
Yeah, so, who do you expect to see and why?
I'm curious.
First, if I understood it right, she can take 6 people with her.

Whisper already occupies one slot.

I'd guess Pythia is going to come, if only because her previous help proved decisive (divination on the battlefield is a powerful weapon), and also because of her knowledge of the Eater. She has also proved to be more than able to defend herself, so she isn't going to be dead weight.

Four other slots...

My guess is that LP's crew is out from this one. I also have a feeling the Cyber Crusaders are out of this equation.

I suppose Rover is a must, given his knowledge of the Tokomare. I just hope he doesn't die, I have plans for that mutt...

Lancer, maybe? Cleaning up after the mess his dad left.

As for the twi remaining ones... It's probable one of Glory's family is going to force themselves in. Sky Striker? Hope he doesn't die either, 'cause he's a big political symbol and probably key in the future of Hoofington.

As for the last one, I'm not sure. My irony-sense tells me it should be Nails, because, well... Redemption is pretty much one of the main themes of PH, isn't it?
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by decumos on Mon Jul 20, 2015 2:16 pm

Harmony Ltd. wrote:First, if I understood it right, she can take 6 people with her.

I may be wrong, but I think that she can take only 5 people with her, she herself is the sixth.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by WavemasterRyx on Mon Jul 20, 2015 5:55 pm

Somber wrote:Thanks for reading, folks.  I'm sorry the scene was so hard, Ryx, but in a funny way, you shaped it.  Boo was going to die saving Blackjack from Cognitum, but she was so loved, particularly by you, that she was spared and I had Cog's menagerie save Blackjack... and get back her body... and yeah... everything.  After that, I really didn't have a use for her... until that very end with Blackjack.  So thank you for that.  You saved Boo's life.
*hugs slowly* I'm very sorry for causing you so much trouble with her, sir... It is nice you were able at least to find a good reason for having kept her around... and I did think how the menagerie's counterattack turned out was a strong scene... Still, I'm sorry...

And I feel worse, because there's something I really want to point out, but it would be entirely too selfish of me to bring up more than I already have...
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Mon Jul 20, 2015 6:58 pm

Ryx wrote:*hugs slowly* I'm very sorry for causing you so much trouble with her, sir... It is nice you were able at least to find a good reason for having kept her around... and I did think how the menagerie's counterattack turned out was a strong scene... Still, I'm sorry...
Somber was thanking you for that thing you're apologizing for, you know. :)

Ryx wrote:And I feel worse, because there's something I really want to point out, but it would be entirely too selfish of me to bring up more than I already have...
Sorry about that. What sort of thing is it? Something you'd like to happen?
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by WavemasterRyx on Tue Jul 21, 2015 3:17 am

O. Hinds wrote:Somber was thanking you for that thing you're apologizing for, you know.  :)
I know... and I am grateful... I just feel incredibly guilty for being responsible for such a major change... especially with how badly I misrepresent her...

O. Hinds wrote:Sorry about that.  What sort of thing is it?  Something you'd like to happen?
Well there's certainly plenty of things I might wish could happen (and shouldn't), but no, not quite...  I'll email you about it tomorrow, if that's alright, sir...
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Tue Jul 21, 2015 4:21 am

Ryx wrote:I know... and I am grateful... I just feel incredibly guilty for being responsible for such a major change... especially with how badly I misrepresent her...
Your Boo may not be our Boo, but she doesn't seem like a bad Boo.

Ryx wrote:I'll email you about it tomorrow, if that's alright, sir...
I'm not sure just when I'll be able to get to it, but that's fine.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Tue Jul 21, 2015 2:54 pm

Ugh, busy, out of town until yesterday, didn't get to reading it until last night. But hey, that's a bright side to this not being the last chapter, right? Spike

Chapter Seventy Six Running Thoughts:
I’d find her, and then we’d… something.

I see Blackjack is staying true to form.


A tiny part of me was at once impressed and slightly irked that this earth pony contraption was accomplishing something that once had taken legendary magic to accomplish.

Well, I figure there could have been a fair amount of unicorn magic or derived work involved as well. Not as sure just how pegasus magic would be incorporated, especially if reentry is giving troubles, but I wouldn't rule it out entirely.


“You don’t have to apologize just because Daddy... Dad died.  It’s okay.”

Something I'd noticed a while back was that Scotch started out calling P-21 "Dad," and only added "Daddy" later on, which I think of as a sort of sign of increased trust and comfort in that she's letting her guard down more, using a form more associated with younger children. Granted, Stable 99 and all that could be expected to mess with these things, but setting that aside, the new, intentional reversal looks like another indication of the rift between Blackjack as she is now and Scotch.


The cabin had been sliced through diagonally, the beam just barely missing Scotch, who was now clinging desperately to what remained of the pilot’s couch she’d been standing by as she and Bastard fell away to the side with the top of the rocket.

This does not do good things for the timeline of Operation Rescue Rampage.


Then I folded them to dive after my falling friends and… ugh…  Damn it.  Just because I had the wings, I didn’t have to be a pegasus!
I teleported underneath Bastard, my blank, and Scotch Tape, slowing them with my magic.

You can give a unicorn wings, but you can't make her flap!


“I am really getting tired of this!” Bastard bellowed at me.
   “You’ve only been dealing with it for a day, you baby,” I replied,

Remember back when Blackjack was complaining about the Wasteland, maybe a few weeks or a month in, and others were telling her the same thing? Turnabout.


Well, by magic or earth pony gadgetry, I would get her down from there.  Maybe the zebras had moon rockets too?  They had missiles, after all.

Seems likely to me that, at least at that point, there'd be some kind of taboo.


Then I opened up a channel to–
   Instantly, all three of us fell to the ground, screaming.

Canterlot broadcasters. Yay. Because there was something the Hoof didn't have to throw at them.


“I’ll just wait here.  Can you tell me when I’m supposed to kill you?”  There was almost a plaintive note in his voice.

Strange, and a contrast to some of the others which seemed to handle autonomy within goals better.


It was just like Littlehorn… walking among the still piles after the pegasi had blown the Pink Cloud away.  So many… too many…
   Hard to imagine that, just a few minutes ago, I’d been happier than I had been in days.

Well, not so much. These whiplashes have a way of popping up.


I’d already fired Folly.  Who knew that that was doing to my kids?  I shoved that in an overflowing box marked ‘Thoughts to Avoid’.

Different name for it/analogy than Blackjack's closet.


From above us came a thumping electric shriek, and I started, pointing Vigilance up in time to see the white synthetic mare Sweetie Bot standing atop a nearby scrap pile

Wasn't expecting Applebot, but once she's there, no reason not to think of Sweetie. Glad she's still alive.


“...That was terrible,” Scotch replied.
   “Indeed,” Sweetie Bot said, annoyed.  “My mandatory praise protocol escaped the purge command when Horse set me free.”

Thankfully, the ability to recognize that a mindless, soulless husk would be preferable to Horse was allowed to exist.


Somepony had hastily slapped bright orange paint over its formerly-rainbow hull and Wonderglued an enormous purple wig to its ‘head’.  “We found a Scootaloo.”
   “RAINBOW DASH IS AWESOME!” the robot boomed in a scratchy mare’s voice at what must have been a hundred decibels, charging forward, firing both weapons to either side, and simply running down the uncomprehending Brood in front of ‘her’.  “TWENTY PERCENT COOLER!”

The amount of trying just cratered, didn't it? So far, she seems likely to be running at the level of a sub-Turing evocation, and I don't even know if Scootaloo even ever used "20% cooler." But that's the charm here, isn't it?


“Technically, a Scootaborg.  The Ultra-Sentinel has a nonstandard bottled brain instead of a control talisman.  She'd somehow managed to get trapped in the Scootaloo exhibit of a derelict Stable-Tec building, and the original protocols she was implanted with… deteriorated somewhat.”

They managed to find that in the few days since chapter 69?! That was lucky.


Take control of the Tokomare…  That had been Cognitum’s plan, after all.  I doubted that she anticipated the Core being used to pull the Eater to the surface

This could be making room for Cognitum to have been "victorious."


Still, what the robots were saying... it was an idea.  Take control of the Eater.  It would eat Tom, but I could use all that energy to fix things.  Besides, Tom had wanted all of us to die.  And the cybernetic nightmare we'd seen was just Cognitum's plan; I wouldn't have to do that.  I could make things the way they were supposed to be.  A strong, safe, secure Equestria.  I could erase and undo two hundred years of pain and suffering like it had never–

Starting to think like Cognitum isn't a way to stay on my good side. And no offence to Sweetie Bot, but she seems out of her depth here, and should probably not be deferred to over Tom's assessment of what the Tokomare is.


Okay, now I was getting annoyed by this over-amplified peasant.

Heh.


Then I lifted my head as proudly as I could.  I’d walk just like I had all those months ago at Brimstone’s Fall.

Well, hopefully a little easier than that. And maybe without the near-complete failure.


I walked forward, and despite the crowding, they made way for me to pass.  As I did, so many reached out to touch me in passing, not obscenely, but as if it make sure I was real.
   “Princess,” I heard so many say over and over again.  “She’s back.  She’s going to save us.”

They're really attaching a lot to a cool mane, given the prevalence of various types of alicorn and cyber-alicorn around.


I glanced at his battered PipBuck and guessed stable pony.  “Tell me about it.  I woke up this morning a unicorn, and now look at me,” I said with a small smile he didn’t mirror.
   “Mazel Tov,” he said as we trotted past the second floor.

Now considering implications of possible stable of Jewish ponies . . .


“Yes.  Is she okay?” I asked with a small and now worried smile.
   “She suffered in excess of thirty Grays.  She has acute radiation syndrome.  Nausea and vomiting.  Acute diarrhea.  Severe headache and fever.  Impaired CNS function.  Fatigue.  Shock.”
   Okay.  I’d been there before.  “But you’re giving her Rad-X and RadAway, right?”
   “We’ve purged the radiation from her body,” he said neutrally.

this isn't the kind of thing you hear when there's good news.


The dingy little room was barely large enough for the bed, which was far too large for the shriveled occupant that lay on it.  Everything was bandaged.  Everything.  Only the purple strands of mane scattered around the pillow gave any identity to the occupant.

Yeah. Not the kind of thing you want coming up right now, what with the fate of the world and everything. Or ever, of course, but the distraction aspect is more pertinent some times than others.


“She knew you were coming,” he said.  He didn’t raise his eyes, his gaze fixed on his daughter.  “Knew you were alive.  That you’d be back.”

I was not expecting her to be conscious at all, much less able to speak. Unless he's projecting or something. So her condition's better than I thought.


The door opened, and in walked Triage.  “Today makes me pine for my fucking residency,” she said sourly as she closed the door.  

She had residency?!


“It’s... a zebra... concoction...we’ve been using... with her...” she said around the

So stressful a situation, she's channeling Shatner.


I failed to kill Rampage like she wanted.  

Okay, that's a worse post-facto justification for failure than the rest, given that was the opposite of what Blackjack wanted to accomplish.


“Hush,” she said, and so I did.  “I’m the only one allowed to hurt you, remember?  So stop beating yourself up, Blackjack.”  

Unless you're saying you're together again, I think that deal's lapsed.


I’m sorry you had to leave Rampage behind.

given what she actually has heard, that's some good deductive work under the situation


“Problem is that a healing talisman restores a pony to a set ‘Healthy’ medical state, otherwise it’d run constantly, ‘healing’ healthy tissue and probably causing cancer.  And I don’t have that state recorded for Glory.

I guess it defaults to figuring that having your entrails dumped out of you and a gash in your abdomen are things that need to be fixed, given "Play."


“Could you… could you do one of those mindscapes… like you shared with Tom?”

Maybe that thing wasn't a guess. Hmm. Okay, interaction allowing her to get some of Blackjack's memories when Blackjack was mind-visiting her, due to the moonstone painkillers?


A mind was like a series of pools.

. . . Was that a "series of tubes" reference?


“Not a filly,” I interrupted her, and that seemed to surprise her.  “Not any more.  She’s a young mare now, and if that’s what she wanted to do, then so be it.”

Much as Glory's thing was in character, good on Blackjack for sticking to this point.


“I lied about not loving you.

No! Who could have seen this coming?


“Where did she get enough moonstone for that?”
   “Goldenblood.  Some of his agents stole samples from the Hoofington Museum of Natural History.  A plot he put in motion before his execution.

I was not expecting that to be followed up on after all this time. And interesting that he could still do that so late, and it was happening in parallel with Partypooper. Anyway, I can always appreciate things showing Horse didn't have the O.I.A. under control.


“They’re alive.  I need to get them out of me.  They’re just not safe with me.  I shot Folly.  They’ve been exposed to Flux.”

Not as many times as Cognitum did.


“I talked to Triage.  She’ll do the surrogacy spell.  Grace has agreed to be the surrogate mother.”

Again though, Awesome's testimony as to his heritage is questionable, and even absent that, unless both sides have had enough inbreeding to probably cause a lot of problems, tenth-plus cousins just don't count for much.


Glory was... don’t think about it...

that's more Blackjack-normal diction than some of the other stuff earlier in the chapter. Could be due to being herself in the mindscape, or something about the emotional intensity, or just coincidence.


“They just need more time!  Others will come to if we give them a chance!” Velvet hissed, sweeping the sword. “You just want to kill them, you bloodthirsty monster!”

You know who doesn't have the moral standing to make this argument? The one who allowed the balefire bomb plan for the Goddess with a bunch of hellhounds still around. And alicorns, after what they knew from Canterlot, though that case was closer to the Brood when the Legate still had the control. Still, fuck you, Velvet.
You know who has better moral standing to make Velvet's argument? Blackjack, at least pre-Luna. Who else? Storm Chaser, the person she's arguing with! She tried to handle the attack on Thunderhead in a responsible way, after all.


“Those beams have driven off the Rampage and Cyclone.  They’re taking cover behind the Canterlot mountains.

Wow, really? I thought Hoofington was more distant than that.


“Abadsol’s starmetal.  I’ve tasted that tang before.”

Wow, talk about your on-the-nose names.


“How do you know this?” Velvet asked.  “No offense, sweetie, but–”

Oh my god you condescending piece of crap shut up.


“And if you call me ‘sweetie’ again, I’ll personally get a dead star to piss on your wedding day.”

THANK YOU.


“So the question is... know anyone with any experience having their soul linked up to a couple thousand perfect killing machines without going completely insane?”

Blackjack, with the mechasprites, maybe, but that strikes me as mind more than soul. Or just the Luna bits. An alicorn would be the obvious choice, with Psalm the only option in Hoofington.


You can only have a soul that’s not yours for so long before it just squishes the mind into a new shape.

Well, Cognitum seemed to manage for a few days while basically retaining her old patterns of action. Maybe a little more nuts? Hard to tell off of such a high base. And difficult to say if her time applies to Blackjack's or not. Seems, also, likely though that the process would go faster with Blackjack, since she had more physical transformations than Cognitum as a result of the body-mind-soul combination.


She frowned and leaned towards me, crossing her hindlegs and resting her chin on her hoof.  “Would you take it back if I could?  Even if it meant you’d lose?”
   I shuddered, looked away toward that horrible nest, and couldn’t answer.

Or: Sure, after this is over. May be too late by then, but could be the best balance.


They used to usher souls to the Summerlands, long ago.  What I think you’d call the ‘Everafter’.

Is that some shared stuff with "Requiem" I see?


That soul was taking far too long to assert itself on the Brood.  Then again, maybe it had been a flawed pony to begin with.  Maybe her pacifism made her too timid to draw the Brood away from the fighting.  

I'll agree with the "flawed" part. Also, where the pacifism is concerned, note that at no point on screen that I can think of has she ever managed to get anyone else on board with it for long, and even then has been fine with herself or them playing direct frontline support to people fighting and killing.


I registered other fighters.  Psalm, not using a weapon but simply her shield, protected a small knot of ponies, hoof pressed to her bandaged chest and face twisted in anguish.  

Psalm is there . . . hold it, need to go to the right volume. Ahem. PSALM IS THERE AND YOU CHOSE VELVET OVER HER? WHAT THE HELL?!


Tenebra stared at me for a moment with tears in her eyes before returning to battle with her father’s sword.

. . . Soon to collapse in an epileptic fit. Instead of going with Glory's advice and sticking to ranged weapons. Maybe it's a reaction to Glory's death.


“How is weather supposed to be a weapon?” I asked in bafflement.

See, this strikes me as pushing the dumb too far. Mere hours ago, Blackjack saw the Tempest, which she had heard about before, and weaponizing the S.P.P. was Luna's idea.


This huge, diffuse bar of baleful light struck the S.P.P. hub’s shield, but there were no sparks this time.  No, this time there was only screaming.  My sister’s screams.
   The Eater was trying to devour my sister.

Ah, should have seen this coming. Bit of a downside to this plan.


Again and again, my friends rolled through my mind.  Impaled.  Irradiated.  Forsaken.  Sacrificed.  Not me.  I was the last!  I was the fucking last!

There's still Scotch . . .
But then, she's long tended to focus on what she's lost, where she's failed, what was and might have been rather than what's still there and her successes.


“No, Mama,” Boo said, weeping as she held me as tight as she could.

And Boo.


‘Okay’ was a prayer you repeated again and again in the hopes that it would become true.

Like the prayer Blackjack shared with Luna in their mindscape.


Regardless of the ultimate fate of the Eater, the Wasteland persists until civilization is imposed upon it.  Grace, Finders Keepers, Triage, Persephone, Big Daddy, and Storm Chaser are all instrumental to this, and I’ve left notes with each to find these papers here.

Note the presence of Persephone, and absense of Hades. :) Goldenblood knows what he's doing.


“Boo, do you think ‘victory’ is a talent?”
   “Like, just winning?” she asked, scrunching up her face.  When I nodded, she blew a raspberry.  “No.  That’s dumb.  What’s the point in that?”

Oh Boo. You're so smart. Smarter, in fact, than a decent portion of the people reading this story, or at least, than the ungenerous readings that they claim to have made.


“Yes,” she replied, touching the bandages.  “It doesn’t feel much different than being in Unity, only they’re like vessels needing to be washed out and refilled.”  

Well, better late than never, I suppose.
ETA: Or, maybe they did give it to her from the start. With a real stretch, the initial description might fit Psalm in addition to Velvet.


“I forgive you, Psalm.”
   “Forgive... me?”  She sounded confused.
   Now I was baffled as I opened one eye, seeing her frown thoughtfully.  I regarded her.  “Isn’t that what you were going to ask me?  To forgive you for what you did during the war?”
   She actually smiled.  “No.  Not anymore.  I... wanted it because I knew it would never come.  It let me damn myself.  Now, though... I don’t think I need it.  Not like I used to.”

Good for you, Psalm. You're learning.


“You don’t know what you’re talking about, Psalm,” I muttered tensely under my breath.  “You have no right to forgive me.  I have no right to be forgiven.”  
   “Nevertheless, I forgive you,” she said calmly, with a disturbing serenity that made me growl.  Did she really think all my sins could be forgiven… just like that?

And Blackjack kind of isn't. Remember, it's not about deserving forgiveness, or earning it, but about whether it's given. Like what Crumpets told Psalm about love.


“If you’d forced Glory to return to Thunderhead, you’d be dead, and nopony would have stopped Lighthooves or his biological weapon.  The civil war would have happened anyway.  Glory loved you, and she tried letting you go, but sometimes we can’t leave the ponies we care about.  Even when we say we don’t, we still care.  We still love.”  I opened my mouth, and she interrupted me, “And the same for P-21, Rampage, and Lacunae.  None of them would have wanted you to do this to yourself.  They all chose to follow you.”

Oh, but in the moment, it's so much easier, so much more comforting to take the blame on herself, rather than acknowledge their choices' role in leading to their deaths. She loves them, and accepting that they're dead because of actions they wanted to make feels like blaming them, and she can't do that. Lacunae is the worst, of course, since that one was really, 100% just her unless you're pushing plausibility way, way out the window.


“Now, Bucketjack... I mean, Blackjack... I’ll have you know that I’ve been doing an extensive audit of your accounts with Chapel.  I’ve calculated out all the fines, fees, interest, annoyance surcharges, various municipal taxes, and assorted favors I’ve extended to you over the course of our association.  The amount probably exceeds the gross domestic product of the entire Wasteland!”

I really think you're ignoring the other side of the ledger.


“Please, come back, Blackjack.  You’re super annoying, sometimes... well, always, but I want you around doing the right thing.  Okay?”
   “I’ll do my best,” I answered, pulling away.  Usury made a gagging noise, but Bottlecap smiled at the filly warmly.
   “Take care, Security,” Bottlecap said with a wave of her hoof.
   “Die in a fire,” Usury muttered as I stepped out.
   “I heard that!” Charity snapped.

Come on, you've got to at least tailor it to what she's about to go into!
Also, too bad Caprice wasn't included in the list of ghosts, unless under "other." Sure, there wasn't much they did, so it wouldn't really have happened anyway, but I wonder what her reaction would have been.


“What happened to my blank?” I asked Scotch.
   “They’re going to keep it safe.  It seems chugging a bottle of Flux is going to keep it going for a long time.”  She made a face.  “That Morningstar pony gave it a whole ‘nother ten liters of the stuff, just to see what would happen.”

Got me laughing a bit. And hey, she's got to deal with Glory's death somehow, right?


“Six anti-Enervation medallions for whoever is going with you.  Twelve extra-strength rejuvenation potions, with moonstone fragments to keep them fresh longer, brewed half an hour ago.”

Well, I guess that'd actually make it seven, unless one is for her. Still, given the Littlepip deal, could still harken back to the Elements plus Spark.


Luna’s... electroshocked... how did she know?

Heh.


I turned to the medical pony and...
She was gaping in shocked horror at Bastard.  Bastard’s cigarette had fallen from his slack jaw as he goggled back at Triage.  Scotch Tape gave me a baffled look as the pair stared and then, in unison, jabbed a hoof at the other and shouted, “You’re supposed to be dead!”  In perfect synchronicity, they gestured to themselves.  “Me?  You’re the one who’s supposed to be dead!”  They froze.

So, Bastard was Triage's babydaddy?

My eyes swept from one to the other.  The coats were a little off, but they had similarly-colored eyes... horns... builds... faces...  “Uh.  Do you two know each other?” I asked dully.

Okay, maybe not. And I guess "ran off" doesn't fit them each thinking the other is dead all that well.


You’re supposed to be dead.  Everyone was dead and gone and behind me.  What happened to you?  How can you still be alive?”
“Zebras,” he said with a shrug.  “You?”
“M.A.S. experiment,” she answered.
“Told you working for the M.A.S. was a bad idea,” he countered.

Well, that does explain her having been through residency.


“Don’t even bother asking.  It doesn’t matter, and you don’t need to know the details.”
“Awwww...” I, Scotch Tape, and Boo said in unison.
“Don’t you have a world to save?” Triage snapped at me.

It'll wait for the cutscenes and dialog trees.


Whisper and Tenebra were next, and then a half dozen Zodiacs I barely recognized and wished I knew better.

Ha!


“Every single person here is willing to pay whatever fucking price it takes to see tomorrow!  Some of us have already paid more than you’ll ever know.  Some of us have debts that are way, way overdue!  Doesn’t matter.  You can stay there crying in the mud, if you want.  Sit on your ass.  We’ll go ourselves and find some way to pull this shit off!”  She took a deep breath.  “But... and it pains me to admit this... there might be more ass in there than I can kick personally, so I’ll let you come along.  If you can keep up.”

Whisper, keeping it real.


Okay, guessing the roster time. Scotch Tape, Psalm, Whisper, Boo. Blackjack. Wildcard, maybe two. Bastard? Likely Pythia.


Your face is a one way trip.

Wow, way back to her introduction and inspiration.
Chapter Seventy Seven Overall Thoughts:
Hard to say how I feel about this chapter. On the whole, I found I enjoyed it and connected with it more following, roughly, the point where the S.P.P. hub was seen approaching than before. But it's hard to disentangle the effects of having started reading fairly late at night while I was tired, and continuing from that point well rested in the morning. But I do think that part of it is that everything with Glory wasn't working all that well for me. I think it's an example of building up to something that just can't really be delivered on in a way that'll match it. Or maybe it's that Glory already had her death, and dragging it out just wasn't adding much. The suddenness, the separation, the ambiguity of where their relationship was, so much that made the 72 death so impacting to me got undone here.

Also, I had trouble with a lot of the action, as it just seemed kind of distant, detatched. Like watching the battle over Endor from the window of the Emperor's throne room in the Death Star. The fall to earth was good, though.

When the gears shifted more to focus on Blackjack herself, and the people she lost, and those she still has (or, when I was in better shape), I was enjoying it more. Sure, it covered similar ground a few times, but that's all right. Psalm's parts worked for her, and built well off of her development over the last few chapters. Scotch seemed to get short shrift, but worked where she was used. Boo was fun, and I liked the bit about victory being a talent being dumb. Charity irked me, like always (also Velvet), and Psychoshy knew all the right things to say. The Princesses' conversation was interesting.

But what I really liked was dragging Blackjack(/Luna) to the point where it's easy to see her as planning not to come back, to a worse point than she's been at than just about any since "Mares and Stallions," and certainly since the end of 62.1, when that was gone altogether, if only for a little while. And then you brought her back at least enough to give some hope.

So, mixed review. Not sure how much of that was on my end, how much on the story's. Also, with the Glory stuff, it's obviously something that is going to work for some people, and not others. I'm one of the latter.
Chapter Seventy Six Editing:
“It’s okay,” I said weakly.  “You were… distracted.”

missing indentation for paragraph


“I’m trying to get it to set us down outside the

missing indentatino for paragraph


Scotch tape gagged, her green hide taking

"tape" should be capitalized


“The Legate needed Celestia One.  Everypony melting in the Core would have been enough.  He needed the Twilight Society to see thousands of ponies being torn to pieces by nightmarish monsters to get them to fire.

should that be "melting in the core wouldn't have been enough"?


But we were still be shot at.

"being shot at"


that a mainspring? Then I opened up a

only one space after question mark


I smacked it against the ground repeatedly, and thankful both the screech and the agony cut off.

"thankfully"


"Wow," she said brightly, "that makes

non-directional quotation marks


I was a touch taken back by her cheerful demeanor,

"taken aback"?


staring at the stars. Was it me, or

only one space after period


Madam, I don’t-“

should have dash or second hyphen, inverted quotation mark


 Minced, blown up, incinerated... one time we showed up late to a fight and all anyone would say was that he'd been hit by some sort of alien ray.  Left behind a life-size statue made entirely out of Sugar Apple Bombs.  Damn thing was delicious.”  I gaped at her silently, and she grinned and pushed on, “So yeah, all I'm saying is, if there ain't no corpse, you probably shouldn't be getting your hopes up."

in a lighter color text than the rest. ends with non-directional quotation mark


We’re busy fightin.

apostrophe for "fightin"


“All of em,” she answered.

apostrophe for "em"


Glory’s condition–“

inverted quotation mark


“P.A.” the unicorn said dryly, in a strange accent.  “Short for–“

should have comma after "P.A.", last quotation mark is inverted


“Soon as it comes, she’ll be able to help us herself.

need closing quotation mark


The hollow expression on Moondancer’s face as she held the weeping white pegasi fillies Lambent and Lucent.  

"pegasus fillies"
chapter 60: Two identical young dove-gray fillies with pink manes listened to Glory and Dusk with matching expressions of awe.  Her siblings, Lambent and Lucent.
Color mismatch between 60 and here


“‘Security saves ponies’.  

I think in this case the period should be inside the single-quotes, as it's normally a sentence on its own.


concoction...we’ve been

space after ellipsis


“The General and Velvet Remedy,” he answered as I gaped from one to the other.

"General" shoudln't be capitalized


I have an Alicorn soul inside me, and I still can’t think of some way to just… just… make all this not be happening!”

I don't think "Alicorn" should be capitalized


“Don’t... bother... her... nothing... she... can... do....” Each word

last ellipsis should have only three dots, should have second space after quotation


I think the General and Velvet Remedy are going to kill each other over that damned control box.

"General" shouldn't be capitalized


No Alicorn soul

I don't think "Alicorn" should be capitalized


the later holding her with a contented

"latter"


"That's..." Glory said with

non-directional quoation marks


"That was nice...  Thank you,"

non-directional quotation marks


"But I need to talk to you.  

non-directional quotation mark


"But that still doesn't mean I'm going to let–"

non-directional quotation marks


"We’re expended!  Even with the reinforcements we’ve gotten, we can’t last another hour!  We need–"

non-directional quotation marks


“It doesn't give commands, exactly.” Pythia replied, and then regarded the hapless brood stallion

quotation should end with comma, not period, "brood" should be capitalized


possess them like a dragon's hoard

non-directional apostrophe


“You know about Alicorn souls?” I asked.

I don't think "Alicorn" should be capitalized


What I think you’d call the ‘Everafter’.

"everafter" has only been capitalized once out of 25 times ("Or maybe it thinks it’s protecting us from the Everafter." in 65)


White mist was now streaming from the massive tips of the massive feathers form the cap.

I think the second form should be "forming", "that formed", or "from"


You’re safe with me, mama.”

"mama" should be capitalized


I stopped, then turned. “Psalm,” I said with

only one space after period


Bottlecap and another mare... she looked familiar... ahah!

"aha"


Bottle Cap and Usury were both averting their eyes as she recovered.

"Bottlecap"


Scotch Tape and Bastard immediate veered off to check on it.

"immediately"


Applebot slaving in some protectaponies as

"protectaponies" should be capitalized


“I think the time for Princesses is over, sister.

"sister" should be capitalized


she whimpered,  “Please, don’t let

two spaces after first comma


inward-spiralling stars surrounding it

"inward-spiralling" should have only one "l"


As I did, so many reached out to touch me in passing, not obscenely, but as if it make sure I was real.

"as if to make sure"


I wanted to let her know that after surviving this, she’s not boring any more!”  

"anymore"?


A moment later, the other quarrellers noticed me, and as one they grew silent.

"quarrellers" should have only one "l"


The flyer fliched at the gesture.

"flinched"


I sat there almost curiously, watching it, like a foal smiling down a gunbarrel.

"gun barrel"


Littlepip said in her squeaky little voice.  

not that I don't like it this way, but "LittlePip" :)


her digitized face replacing Littlepip’s.

"LittlePip's"
Other Editing:
46:
Carrion stopped his fire, gunbarrels raising steam in the wet air as he looked at the gray glowing one in shock.

"gun barrels"
Now to catch up with comments.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by hawkeye92 on Tue Jul 21, 2015 6:37 pm

Well, it's been a very long time- years probably. I haven't stopped reading and I am still looking forwards to the resolution. However, there's a one big niggling thing about this final part of the story that's bugged me pretty badly.
 
Spoiler:
This story has taken a lot of twists and turns along the way and arguably for the final section has completely jumped the shark and left any semblance of rails behind. I'm OK with that, the writing quality hasn't dropped and it didn't feel as rushed as the final third of the original FoE and it helps that I'm probably remarkably easy to entertain. Additionally, PH has largely been character driven which is where I got most of my pleasure reading and that's never really changed. That said, I'm not a fan of the overtly anime style and references being dropped in more and more frequently but that's probably personal preference more than anything and I can live with that, even if changing a story's 'tone' halfway through is a risky move to take.
 
The big issue I have is with the character deaths in the final arc. Frankly, there are too many and a number don't perform enough of a role in the story to really be warranted.
Starting off early- we have a story where we get a core few protagonists established early on who stay through more or less the whole story; P-21, Glory, Rampage are really the only ones who spring to mind with others being later and/or less regular additions. None of these core companions die in the vast majority of the story. In fact the opposite happens where they get amazingly close to death then are miraculously saved. To suddenly reverse this right at the end doesn't work very well. You can set up 'anyone can die' as a premise, it can work really well for tension but it has to be established early on to let the consumers know what they're getting in to (Spooks is the best example I can think of this where the concept is executed to absolute perfection). Otherwise, in a story such as this one character death needs to really push the story on and it can be an effective tool, but needs to be used sparingly.
 
If you overuse character death it means that not only the impact of the characters' deaths is lessened, but also the consumer tends to lose attachment and emotional investment in the remaining characters. Needless to say, is pretty fatal in a character driven story.
 
I'll include a brief overview of my reaction to character deaths in the last few chapters as an illustration.
 
Morning Glory 'killed' in a Balefire blast- Actually quite sad, Morning Glory actually was my favourite character, I found her oddly relatable and hell I have a soft spot for pegasi. That said, since she had survived some really crazy stuff before there was a glimmer of hope that she was still alive.
 
Minor characters killed in the first interlude- Minor characters are minor, don't really care about them all that much since it's been so long since they were previously in the story and I've forgot about them. Very similar to the climactic battle in Harry Potter where a ton of side characters got killed off out of shot and all I could do was go 'meh' (Harry Potter is another good example of changing tone midway through a series, I wasn't a fan personally).
 
P-21 on the moonbase: Now, this was a character death done right. It worked really well, P-21's character arc had been well and truly wrapped up at this point, it was a great opportunity to underline how tense the final battle had become and it also makes interesting options for Scotch Tape. Overall his death was like a punch to the gut and was a pretty good piece of storytelling. He'd been with us right from the beginning of the story, one of the anchors the character driven nature is secured from and to suddenly lose him really sucked. Well done.
 
(That said, regarding Scotch Tape having to deal with it, her liaison with Bastard wasn't a good idea from a meta standpoint- since Somber has worked with children/as a responsible adult for young adults in the past and is well aware of some of the issues surrounding that, this scene raised both eyebrows and actually set off some alarms in my head. I get the whole maturing thing, but I personally think it was a truly terrible call.)
 
Rampage: Like the Terminator, she'll be back. The way she was abandoned in space was pretty mean though and I certainly felt sorry for her. Also thought it was a shame that we lost another major character for probably the rest of the story (even if it's almost guaranteed she'll be back in the epilogue).
 
Stygius: Hot off the heels of P-21 this really didn't have a lot of impact at all. The only narrative point was that the bad guys *really* don't like singing (also possibly as a tool to make Whisper borderline suicidal-more on that later). Here is probably the first character death that could have been avoided.
 
Goldenblood: I honestly didn't expect him to survive the story after it was revealed he was alive, didn't have a great deal of attachment to the character. Killed off the demo the final boss' power. Fair play, but not much of a reaction from me.
 
Glory: Here's the big one and where I realised there's a problem. Glory and P-21 were the two key supporting characters pretty much through the entire story. P-21 has just died, leaving a massive hole is what is (or used to be) a character driven story. Now another key character effectively 'gives protagonist plan to defeat final boss, encourages main character to live for her' then dies. On its own it was actually really good but in context it comes at the end of a truly colossal story, effectively hot on the heels of the other main supporting character dying and a whole ton of supporting characters and by this point I'm emotionally exhausted by it and Glory's death barely registers for me. Reiterating that Glory is my favourite character from PH, that's not a good sign (I got very misty eyed when she fell in the collapsing building, that was a powerful moment). I wouldn't have minded if she did die, but for any real impact it can't be alongside P-21 et al.
 
From a narrative perspective, what did her death drive that not dying wouldn't? In her dying moments she encourages Blackjack to live for her- would have been better achieved if she was still living, even if wounded badly enough to be of no further active participation. Driving Blackjack into the 'don't know who's soul is who' thing- could have been done anyway, dealing with the loss of P-21, general stress and unknowable soul stuff.
 
Bringing us to the present, we're going into the final climactic chapter with most of the characters of the character driven story killed off very recently which has dulled readers to any real sense of loss and is now making them expect more or less everyone else to die too, which in turn reduces character death impact too. If I were a betting man, I'd put money on Whisper not surviving the final chapter, partially because Stygius has also died and it would be some kind of tragic romance style ending for them, partially because Fluttershy gets reanimated in the original's epilogue and killing Whisper off is the most convenient way of tying up that loose end and partially because we've lost so many main and minor characters that frankly I'll be surprised if any of the chosen six make it out alive.
 
The take home message is though- after such a long story, the sudden mass killing off of characters has been emotionally draining, that is, there's nothing left to care about anyone else left alive and anyone else kicking the bucket from here on out won't really be mourned the way they perhaps deserve.
Honestly, though this isn't the first story to do this and it isn't going to be the last. Harry Potter, Star Trek Enterprise (as far as meaningless deaths go, that takes the cake), Mass Effect to a lesser degree, etc, etc.
 
It shouldn't really be taken as discouragement, it's intended as constructive criticism, even if the issue is more or less impossible to fix. I suppose it's more a recommendation for other people planning on writing a story, not to fall into that trap.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Tue Jul 21, 2015 7:01 pm

@Icy Shake:
Ah, thank you.

Icy Shake wrote:Color mismatch between 60 and here
I've gone with 60, the dove-gray.

Icy Shake wrote:"everafter" has only been capitalized once out of 25 times ("Or maybe it thinks it’s protecting us from the Everafter." in 65)
I'll change both of those.

Icy Shake wrote:. . . Soon to collapse in an epileptic fit. Instead of going with Glory's advice and sticking to ranged weapons. Maybe it's a reaction to Glory's death.
I brought that up. Apparently it's a combination of not being skilled with a ranged weapon yet and having gotten some medical aid from the Collegiate.

Icy Shake wrote:See, this strikes me as pushing the dumb too far. Mere hours ago, Blackjack saw the Tempest, which she had heard about before, and weaponizing the S.P.P. was Luna's idea.
Sorry.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by swicked on Tue Jul 21, 2015 7:46 pm

O. Hinds wrote:
Icy Shake wrote:. . . Soon to collapse in an epileptic fit. Instead of going with Glory's advice and sticking to ranged weapons. Maybe it's a reaction to Glory's death.
I brought that up.  Apparently it's a combination of not being skilled with a ranged weapon yet and having gotten some medical aid from the Collegiate.
The chapter wrote:I dimly wondered if Glory and Triage had found a treatment for her epilepsy.
They did. Shadow Citadel medicine all but literally medieval. Triage was able to fix Tenebra up with...
...darn it, I don't remember now. I swear it was an actual thing. My initial suggestion was maybe some form of reduced dosage of mentats, like a half a pill prior to doing anything she felt was overly stressful. Somber suggested something else, though. I don't remember what.
But yeah, there was no place for it, but Tenebra is receiving treatment now for her condition.

O. Hinds wrote:
Icy Shake wrote:See, this strikes me as pushing the dumb too far. Mere hours ago, Blackjack saw the Tempest, which she had heard about before, and weaponizing the S.P.P. was Luna's idea.
Sorry.
I wish I could remember the discussion around this bit.
I think the line was supposed to be more referential to the scale of the attack being utilized here. The idea of the weather being a weapon on the scale, or greater than, Celestia One. A megaspell, not just a lightning gun or artillery piece.
Feh.

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by SilentCarto on Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:04 pm

Chapter 76 Commentary:

Glory is alive.
Glory is
alive!
I would have enjoyed that more if BRIAN BLESSED hadn't boomed it in my head.

“We’re travelling at speeds with more numbers than any sane being should be travelling,” Scotch Tape shouted, barely audible over the roaring, rattling, and banging.
Well, that depends entirely on the units you use. If you express it in kilometers per second, it sounds quite reasonable. (Which isn't to say it's not still an insane speed to be traveling through an atmosphere. Plasma trails are Mother Nature's way of saying, "Slow down."

And then you kick her in the face with your ENERGY LEGS.)

There was a flash of brilliant green light through the middle of the cabin, and then with a wash of heat and noise the inside of the rocket was a lot more outside.
Oh, and the Core defenses are back online. But you might have noticed that.

Then I dropped them.
Not far.  About two hundred feet.  Then I teleported down, caught them, slowed them, and repeated the process.
This somehow reminds me of that absurd scene from Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children, but in reverese.

Bastard drew a bent cigarette, put it in his lips, and started to light it when the thing snapped in two, dangling by a fiber.  From the glare he sent me over the top of his sunglasses as I landed myself and folded my wings, clearly this was my fault.
It's been forever since I saw Cowboy Bebop, but this somehow feels like a Spike Spiegel moment.

Then I opened up a channel to–
Instantly, all three of us fell to the ground, screaming.
Lovely. All the fun and excitement of the Hoof at its worst with a side order of Canterlot to go.

"That was Horn Damage by Pink Fog. An oldie, but a goodie. Next up, we've got Break Me by Red Eye Blind, so stay tuned to KHUF -- the Wasteland Horror Station!"

“We’re... just going to go.  We’ll come back when it’s time for you to kill us.”
Phrasing, BJ! Dammit... make a note in your PipBuck NOW: do not return to Scrapyard. Ever.

I carefully lifted them and stared down at a young pink earth pony mare Scotch’s age with a blood-smeared mane and braces attached to little wheels on her hind legs.
Oh goddammit. Kid can't get a break.

“Indeed!” a filly piped up, and what once had been a Brood corpse lying off to the side rose up and shimmered.  The foal-sized robot was visible for just one second before a hologram of a filly Apple Bloom appeared over it.
BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLA--

“Sorry for spyin’.  Wanted to see if you were Blackjack or ‘mu-hu-ha ha’ Cognidumb.”
...okay, fine, you can live. For now. (Or... stay functional. Whatever.)

Scotch Tape gave Sweetie Bot a slightly uneasy half smile.  “Um.... nice.  Have you always had that artillery in your horn?”
“What can I say,” Sweetie Bot replied with a carefree shrug.  “My little Horsie always loved mares of a... higher caliber.”
“...That was terrible,” Scotch replied.
“Indeed,” Sweetie Bot said, annoyed.  “My mandatory praise protocol escaped the purge command when Horse set me free.”
I... uh... I want to laugh, but most of my brain is just going, "Wut?"

“We found a Scootaloo.”
“RAINBOW DASH IS AWESOME!” the robot boomed in a scratchy mare’s voice at what must have been a hundred decibels, charging forward, firing both weapons to either side, and simply running down the uncomprehending Brood in front of ‘her’.  “TWENTY PERCENT COOLER!”
[wut intensifies]

“Just hook it up to the Tokomare, which will link it to your PipBuck and through your PipBuck to you,” Sweetie Bot explained.
THIS SOUNDS LIKE AN EXCELLENT PLAN WITH NO POTENTIAL COMPLICATIONS. Tilt

Take control of the Eater.  It would eat Tom, but I could use all that energy to fix things.  Besides, Tom had wanted all of us to die.
Warning, Will Robinson! Warning! Warning!

Emperor Palpative would be laughing his ass off at that idea. Never do anything that would make Emperor Palpatine laugh.

She pointed a wing at the Tokomare’s thick main ring.  Six points on it lit up.  “These points are the generators that will form the aperture to hold the stone in place while the Eater feeds.”  From those six points, smaller, thinner fields radiated out, forming a cup at the base of the chute with a tiny hole in the middle.  “You have to disable those six before Tom hits.”
“What happens if I do?” I asked as I stared at the diagram.
In short? Folly's big brother.

The Brood looked at each person in the nurse’s station before dropping his eyes.  “I don’t know,” he said in that rusty, raspy voice.  “I just...  I didn’t want to.  I couldn’t hear it wanting me to kill.  I didn’t know what else to do but fight... and then...”
I'm having a surprisng amount of trouble not thinking of this Brood as a changeling. I think the headcanon in my head has reached critical mass.

“Not all starmetal is from the Eater.  It’s all nasty stuff, though.  Not sure if you noticed, but the word ‘Eater’ doesn’t jive with ‘projection’.”
I'd comment on Pythia being the patron saint of exposition, but given the origin of her name, it wouldn't be much of a joke...

“So the question is... know anyone with any experience having their soul linked up to a couple thousand perfect killing machines without going completely insane?”
Uhhh... I wouldn't call Trixiecorns "perfect killing machines", but are we talking about Psalm here?

The blade once adorned with resplendent unicorns now was decorated in stars and moons in a constellation of the night sky.  I gaped at it and then drew Vigilance.  The gun’s design hadn’t changed, but the names etched in the metal were now done in elegant script, and similar constellations were etched along the barrel.
Well, that's not eerie as fuck or anything.

“That shield is supposed to be invulnerable, right?” I asked nervously.
“Yes,” she murmured as her brows knitted together, “but I don’t think they ever tested it like this.”
Wouldn't be much of an 'impenetrable defense' if it only took a few high-output lasers to crack. This thing was built to stand up to balefire, right? And the Enclave, who had access to all the naval artillery in the world, never broke it.

The swirling clouds suddenly took on that hideous, glaring green glow as a beam lanced through them.  Such was its brilliance that it could be seen through the swirling murk.  This huge, diffuse bar of baleful light struck the S.P.P. hub’s shield, but there were no sparks this time.  No, this time there was only screaming.  My sister’s screams.
The Eater was trying to devour my sister.
That, on the other hoof... might.

I didn’t move.  Had I really... I had.  I had, hadn’t I?  I hadn’t even thought of it.
I seriously have no idea what she's talking about.

I sat down at the party table in the centermost seat, empty chairs to either side of me.  “Empty chairs... empty tables...” I murmured at everything spoiled and scattered around me.  The phantom faces and shadows of those I had known and loved watched me from beyond as I sat there, awaiting my turn to join them.
"Mad World" is running through my head, here.

Your mother tasted like... apples...
This is... not a quote I recall or can find via document search. What? Is this the Eater speaking directly to her mind?

I threw back my head and screamed, flinging the bowl away.  I screamed again, and the ghosts applauded.  I screamed and they cheered!  This was the price to be paid.  Not death.  No.  Not death.  Not release.  Not relief.  I screamed like I’d never stop screaming.  I’d scream forever, past forever, till all the stars died and only the eternal void remained.  And I’d scream in that blackness, forever.
Yyyyyeah, this is not a good time to be screaming...

EC-1101.  Shields.  Folly.  Three smart ponies had given me three different options.
Always good to have options.

The storm whirled around us, but I felt strangely calm.  My earlier despair had suddenly shifted to a slight, inexplicable eagerness, as if my center of mass had just altered.  I was apprehensive, yes, for the stakes hadn’t changed in the slightest... but now?  Now I was positively keen on getting down there and facing a monster.
I guess "nothing to lose" is kinda the same as "everything to gain"...

 It was a different kind of weeping than before; grief is not the same as contrition.  Absolution was not the same as redemption.  I could handle paying the price.  Telling me there was no price to be paid... that was so much harder to accept.
Kind of odd seeing the same scene that BJ has played out time and time again, but from the other side.

“Die in a fire,” Usury muttered as I stepped out.
Been there, done that. Well, okay, the dying came slightly AFTER the fire, but anyway!

She was gaping in shocked horror at Bastard.  Bastard’s cigarette had fallen from his slack jaw as he goggled back at Triage.  Scotch Tape gave me a baffled look as the pair stared and then, in unison, jabbed a hoof at the other and shouted, “You’re supposed to be dead!”  In perfect synchronicity, they gestured to themselves.  “Me?  You’re the one who’s supposed to be dead!”  They froze.
Oh, god. HAH! Now I'm going to have to look back if Triage ever mentioned her dead brother...

“You’re two hundred years old?”  I gaped at Bastard.  Then at Triage.  “Both of you?!”
Oh, wow. So, "probably not" on letting any of that slip. I wonder if that means something the old Hoofington Six did activated her wake-up cycle.

I stared at her, then at all of them.  Just... pick?  “I... how can I choose?  This... I’m not sure that there’s going to be any coming back from this.  I can’t ask you to come with me.”
This is tough, because how much I care about a character is directly proportional to how much they've been in the story, and inversely proportional to how willing I am to take them on a suicide mission.

Well, let's start by eliminating anyone who's not single. The batponies need Whisper too much and Tenebra's out on medical grounds even if she IS on antiepileptics. I'm disinclined to break up existing teams, so I'm going to skip the FoE ponies and the Cutie Mech Crusaders. I don't have quite the same compunction about the Zodiacs, but eh. Crumpets and Sky Striker should still be in recovery, not charging into battle. Brutus, Storm Front, and Hammersmith will be needed as leaders in the coming days.

So, out of who's left, Pythia's a shoo-in -- she's too useful and too much fun not to bring along, especially since Boo's out. I'd love to have Xanthe and Carrion along, too. For the last three, I'm thinking either Team Enclave -- you can never have too much firepower -- or Rover, Silver, and Gnarr.

Okay, fine, in the case of Tom, you CAN have too much firepower. But they're not at that point.

So! Let's see how I did.

“But... and it pains me to admit this... there might be more ass in there than I can kick personally, so I’ll let you come along.  If you can keep up.”
Pffft! Epic. XD

“Fuck one way trips.  Life’s a one way trip.  Your face is a one way trip.  I’m coming back.”  She flew over my head, her tail snapping at me, but our eyes met for a moment.  She gave a little smirk back at me as she waited to see my next choice.
Hmph. Not one of my first choices, especially given that she just lost Stygius, but okay. She was high on my second-string list, anyway. And yes, I know she would murder me for saying that.

Author’s notes: The penultimate chapter.  I really wanted this to be the very last one.  I really did, but there was just too much to wrap up.  I hope that folks can forgive me.
Nah, I think 77 is an auspicious number to end on when the main character's name is an allusion to gambling.

Oh, and you’ll never guess what Bastard’s real name is, but trust me, it really is that embarrassing.
Rocinante?  Applebloom

Editing:

P.A. didn’t seem phased by me or by the chaos going on around us.
Fazed. 'Phased' only applies to waveforms and business plans.

Not sure if you noticed, but the word ‘Eater’ doesn’t jive with ‘projection’.
Jibe, not jive.

I had room for other people’s ghosts as well.  Dusk’s Lightning Dancer and Lensflare’s and Calamity’s Windsheer were in attendance.
Eh? When did Lightning Dancer die? She was at the party in 70, but I can't find a mention of her death since then.


Last edited by SilentCarto on Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:00 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:54 pm

SilentCarto wrote:    
Your mother tasted like... apples...

This is... not a quote I recall or can find via document search. What? Is this the Eater speaking directly to her mind?
She's not remembering it perfectly. You're looking for Chapter 72:
“You really think of me as your mom?” I asked when we pulled ourselves together.

She rolled her eyes.  “Well, yeah.  I didn’t want to have sex with her either, and she was one of the few mares that made me feel that way.  Well, Rivets, but more ‘cause she was a million years old and her hoo-hah probably tasted like licking the mouth of a rusty gray water pipe.”

“More like a bag of stale grass chips,” P-21 interjected casually.

Scotch Tape and I both froze, staring at him, and I couldn’t help but shudder.  Scotch scrunched up her face.  “Daddy!  Ew!  I did not need to…”  She clutched her head.  “Ah!  Stupid brain!  Stop thinking about Rivets’s hoochie!”

“What?  It did.  With a slight tang of…” P-21 said as if he were recalling a old vintage of wine he didn’t particularly care too much for.

“Daddy!  Noooo!  There is no tang!  No tang!  Ah, stop thinking, dumb brain!” Scotch wailed.  She covered her ears with her hooves, chanting loudly, “La la la, not thinking about Rivets’s tangy hoochie...”  She paused and cried out, “It’s not working!”

“Ha!  It takes years of practice to master the art of not thinking about it, Scotch Tape,” I said with an amused smile.  Then P-21 looked at me, his eyes narrowed.  “What?” I asked him, arching a brow.  His lips curled in a small smile, and I felt a little nervous sweat run down the back of my neck.  “What?” I repeated nervously, flushing.

“Your mom tasted like… apples,” he said with such certainty that I knew, from that point on, I would never be able to eat Sugar Apple Bombs without thinking about the part of my mom I wanted to think about least.

“Oh…” I closed my eyes.  “I… didn’t want to know that.  Why did I have to know that?”

“You’re evil, Daddy,” Scotch Tape said with a pout.

You might not recall it because it wasn't the original version: this was added in as part of the replacement for (trying to think of how to put this in a way acceptable on this forum . . .) Scotch's "not in my eye!" moment, which had drawn complaints.


Oh, unrelated, but Charity's part of the chapter, and something I heard today, made me think of another way she could introduce herself (in addition to “Welcome to Charity’s, where we ain’t”): "I'm Charity, as in 'all proceeds go to.'" Spike
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Thu Jul 23, 2015 3:50 am

@SilentCarto:
Ah, thank you.

SilentCarto wrote:Eh? When did Lightning Dancer die? She was at the party in 70, but I can't find a mention of her death since then.
It's not explicit, but see this bit:
Chapter 76 wrote:The dead look on Dusk’s face as she hugged an Enclave helmet to her chest, eyes staring past me.

SilentCarto wrote:I seriously have no idea what she's talking about.
Sitting in front of the Eater's big soul beam gun thing.

I found your commentary amusing. :)

Icy Shake wrote:Oh, unrelated, but Charity's part of the chapter, and something I heard today, made me think of another way she could introduce herself (in addition to “Welcome to Charity’s, where we ain’t”): "I'm Charity, as in 'all proceeds go to.'" Spike
Hah!
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by SilentCarto on Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:18 am

Icy Shake wrote:
“Oh…” I closed my eyes.  “I… didn’t want to know that.  Why did I have to know that?”

“You’re evil, Daddy,” Scotch Tape said with a pout.
Ah, okay. Thanks. I do remember that now.

Icy Shake wrote:Oh, unrelated, but Charity's part of the chapter, and something I heard today, made me think of another way she could introduce herself (in addition to “Welcome to Charity’s, where we ain’t”): "I'm Charity, as in 'all proceeds go to.'" Spike
That would be pretty funny!

O. Hinds wrote:
SilentCarto wrote:Eh? When did Lightning Dancer die? She was at the party in 70, but I can't find a mention of her death since then.
It's not explicit, but see this bit:
Chapter 76 wrote:The dead look on Dusk’s face as she hugged an Enclave helmet to her chest, eyes staring past me.
Ohhh. I thought that was her own helmet and she was broken up over Glory's imminent death, just like the rest of the family.

O. Hinds wrote:
SilentCarto wrote:I seriously have no idea what she's talking about.
Sitting in front of the Eater's big soul beam gun thing.
I guess I didn't get the impression she was anywhere close to the line of fire, since it fired once already without hitting her.

O. Hinds wrote:I found your commentary amusing. :)
Why thank you!

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:26 am

SilentCarto wrote:Ohhh. I thought that was her own helmet and she was broken up over Glory's imminent death, just like the rest of the family.
Ah, sorry.

SilentCarto wrote:I guess I didn't get the impression she was anywhere close to the line of fire, since it fired once already without hitting her.
Then it turned to aim at her, though.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by swicked on Thu Jul 23, 2015 4:19 pm

SilentCarto wrote:
Scotch Tape gave Sweetie Bot a slightly uneasy half smile.  “Um.... nice.  Have you always had that artillery in your horn?”
“What can I say,” Sweetie Bot replied with a carefree shrug.  “My little Horsie always loved mares of a... higher caliber.”
“...That was terrible,” Scotch replied.
“Indeed,” Sweetie Bot said, annoyed.  “My mandatory praise protocol escaped the purge command when Horse set me free.”
I... uh... I want to laugh, but most of my brain is just going, "Wut?"
...so, uh, bad joke?

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by SilentCarto on Thu Jul 23, 2015 6:45 pm

O. Hinds wrote:
SilentCarto wrote:I guess I didn't get the impression she was anywhere close to the line of fire, since it fired once already without hitting her.
Then it turned to aim at her, though.
Oh, okay. I see now. I guess I wasn't following that bit very well. I didn't really get the impression that BJ was trying to kill herself so much as just not recognizing the danger.

swicked wrote:
SilentCarto wrote:
Scotch Tape gave Sweetie Bot a slightly uneasy half smile. “Um.... nice. Have you always had that artillery in your horn?”
“What can I say,” Sweetie Bot replied with a carefree shrug. “My little Horsie always loved mares of a... higher caliber.”
“...That was terrible,” Scotch replied.
“Indeed,” Sweetie Bot said, annoyed. “My mandatory praise protocol escaped the purge command when Horse set me free.”
I... uh... I want to laugh, but most of my brain is just going, "Wut?"
...so, uh, bad joke?
Nah! Well, yes, but I enjoyed it. I'm mostly just sharing Scotch's reaction to the revelation that, as she says, Sweetie has artillery in her horn.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by SilentCarto on Fri Jul 24, 2015 12:15 am

Icy Shake wrote:I walked forward, and despite the crowding, they made way for me to pass. As I did, so many reached out to touch me in passing, not obscenely, but as if it make sure I was real.
“Princess,” I heard so many say over and over again. “She’s back. She’s going to save us.”

They're really attaching a lot to a cool mane, given the prevalence of various types of alicorn and cyber-alicorn around.
That actually makes a lot of sense. In the post-IMP world, the mane is what marks the difference between a mere alicorn and a Princess.

Icy Shake wrote:You can only have a soul that’s not yours for so long before it just squishes the mind into a new shape.

Well, Cognitum seemed to manage for a few days while basically retaining her old patterns of action. Maybe a little more nuts? Hard to tell off of such a high base. And difficult to say if her time applies to Blackjack's or not. Seems, also, likely though that the process would go faster with Blackjack, since she had more physical transformations than Cognitum as a result of the body-mind-soul combination.
Cogs was already Luna. Well, Luna plus 200 years of drift, but that's still pretty close. It's not a round hole filing off the edges of a square peg, at any rate.

Icy Shake wrote:See, this strikes me as pushing the dumb too far. Mere hours ago, Blackjack saw the Tempest, which she had heard about before, and weaponizing the S.P.P. was Luna's idea.
Well, there's kind of a difference between being able to deny the sky to your enemies or hit their camps with tornadoes, and being able to actually do something with it when you're "danger close" with the enemy. It could probably have been phrased better, though -- something like, "What's she going to do, tornado us all together?"

Icy Shake wrote:Well, better late than never, I suppose.
ETA: Or, maybe they did give it to her from the start. With a real stretch, the initial description might fit Psalm in addition to Velvet.
It was always in Psalm. That's why her chest was bandaged when she was shielding during the battle. Her pacifism is new, but she was explicitly staying out of the fight there -- I guess when she broke Penance, it was symbolic of more than just destroying her old gun.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Fri Jul 24, 2015 10:03 am

SilentCarto wrote:
Icy Shake wrote:I walked forward, and despite the crowding, they made way for me to pass.  As I did, so many reached out to touch me in passing, not obscenely, but as if it make sure I was real.
  “Princess,” I heard so many say over and over again.  “She’s back.  She’s going to save us.”

They're really attaching a lot to a cool mane, given the prevalence of various types of alicorn and cyber-alicorn around.
That actually makes a lot of sense. In the post-IMP world, the mane is what marks the difference between a mere alicorn and a Princess.
In some respects yes, others no. Put better, it would have stressed how those other forms might encourage skepticism. Also, Cognitum had the mane and tail, but the admittedly limited view we saw of people's reaction to her (and it may have been the wrong cross-section of the population, consisting in large part of various higher-ups) did not, that I can recall, include anything like that.

SilentCarto wrote:
Icy Shake wrote:You can only have a soul that’s not yours for so long before it just squishes the mind into a new shape.

Well, Cognitum seemed to manage for a few days while basically retaining her old patterns of action. Maybe a little more nuts? Hard to tell off of such a high base. And difficult to say if her time applies to Blackjack's or not. Seems, also, likely though that the process would go faster with Blackjack, since she had more physical transformations than Cognitum as a result of the body-mind-soul combination.
Cogs was already Luna. Well, Luna plus 200 years of drift, but that's still pretty close. It's not a round hole filing off the edges of a square peg, at any rate.
Again, I have some mixed feelings there. The memories and narrative certainly have a bigger gap for Blackjack, but along other axes I think we can infer that she was actually much closer than Cogs, based on things like the choice Luna's soul made during their confrontation and the more comprehensive transformation. That said, changes to memories, the subjects/sister/etc. things, do plausibly seem like they would be more immediately apparent, especially given an internal vantage point. But it still strikes me as notable that about the only real change I noticed in Cognitum was the stronger insistence that she was Luna, which with what I've tended to see as very large deviations from the original in the copy seems strange.

SilentCarto wrote:
Icy Shake wrote:Well, better late than never, I suppose.
ETA: Or, maybe they did give it to her from the start. With a real stretch, the initial description might fit Psalm in addition to Velvet.
It was always in Psalm. That's why her chest was bandaged when she was shielding during the battle. Her pacifism is new, but she was explicitly staying out of the fight there -- I guess when she broke Penance, it was symbolic of more than just destroying her old gun.
I think I missed that because of all the heavy action she'd already seen. I thought it was just an injury from earlier, since I didn't go check. But also, "pacifism" makes a much stronger association to Velvet than Psalm to me. Difficulty there is that having that be an aspect of Psalm's soul that is getting in the way strikes me as troublesome, since it's either very new, and thus I'd question associating it with her soul, or has always been present but for most of her experience kept her from playing her part to serve Luna and fight for Equestria. (Then again, although it seemed the soul was likely important to its operation, the mind probably is too, especially for the actual direction part.) But of course at this point I may also be running into the problem of putting too much stock in the conjectures of an unreliable narrator.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by swicked on Fri Jul 24, 2015 10:42 am

Icy Shake wrote:
SilentCarto wrote:
Icy Shake wrote:Well, better late than never, I suppose.
ETA: Or, maybe they did give it to her from the start. With a real stretch, the initial description might fit Psalm in addition to Velvet.
It was always in Psalm. That's why her chest was bandaged when she was shielding during the battle. Her pacifism is new, but she was explicitly staying out of the fight there -- I guess when she broke Penance, it was symbolic of more than just destroying her old gun.
I think I missed that because of all the heavy action she'd already seen. I thought it was just an injury from earlier, since I didn't go check. But also, "pacifism" makes a much stronger association to Velvet than Psalm to me. Difficulty there is that having that be an aspect of Psalm's soul that is getting in the way strikes me as troublesome, since it's either very new, and thus I'd question associating it with her soul, or has always been present but for most of her experience kept her from playing her part to serve Luna and fight for Equestria. (Then again, although it seemed the soul was likely important to its operation, the mind probably is too, especially for the actual direction part.) But of course at this point I may also be running into the problem of putting too much stock in the conjectures of an unreliable narrator.
My headcanon is that Psalm never liked fighting (though I think that's always been illustrated in the story). She never liked killing. It upset her every step of the way and her special talent was the only reason she could keep going, putting her faith that Luna and Goldenblood knew what was best for her. When she became Lacunae she was saddled with ever more fears, regrets and depression. She continued fighting because the Goddess forced her to.

My personal headcanon regarding that decision is that when offered the chance to have an ancient cursed device shoved into her body to connect her soul to the murderous Brood Velvet was a bit reluctant, asking about the dangers associated with the procedure and stating she still needed to be there for the alicorns. She could have been convinced to do this, but it's a lot more than she'd been asked to do before. This was her soul, after all. What would happen if something went wrong?
Lacunae was then asked based on Blackjack's experiences via memory orbs, having seen Psalm's repeated reluctance to killing no matter how much of it she'd seen, and Psalm just agreed.

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

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